On Eve Of One-Year Countdown To Beijing Olympics, Author Of Senate Resolution Reiterates Call On China To Act

On Eve Of One-Year Countdown To Beijing Olympics, Author Of Senate Resolution Reiterates Call On China To Act

Menendez-Brownback Darfur resolution passed just last week

Washington - One year from tomorrow - August 8, 2008 - the Olympic Games in Beijing will commence. This milestone comes as the Chinese government is under intense pressure to use its unique military and economic relationship with the Sudanese regime to proactively help bring an end to the genocide in Darfur.

Just last week, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) that officially urged China to work to bring an end to the killing. The resolution mentions China's responsibility to uphold the spirit of the Olympics as the host of the 2008 games.

Today, Menendez released the following statement:

"The Beijing Olympics will attract the world's spotlight next year, but it will be dimmed if China continues its hands-off approach toward Darfur. It would be an encouraging gesture of hope if China recognized the one-year mark by strengthening its efforts to end the genocide. No other country has the same leverage with Khartoum as China, but its lack of commitment to consistent action to date has merely encouraged the bloodshed."

Background on Menendez-Brownback resolution

The resolution points out that the government of China "has long-standing economic and military ties with Sudan and continues to strengthen these ties in spite of the on-going genocide in Darfur." For example, China purchases at least 70 percent of Sudan's oil and has reportedly cancelled approximately $100 million in debt owed by the Sudanese government. China also recently provided funds for a presidential palace in Sudan at a reported cost of approximately $20 million. In addition, the human rights organization Amnesty International recently accused China and Russia of selling weapons to Sudan that are used in violence in Darfur.

The measure calls on China to urge Sudan to allow the entry of the U.N. sanctioned peacekeeping force and to comply with U.N. resolutions demanding that the Government of Sudan disarm militias operating in Darfur. It also calls on China to join the international community in threatening sanctions on the Sudanese government if it continues to carry out or support attacks on innocent civilians or to frustrate diplomatic efforts to end the violence.

The resolution comes as Chinese preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are heavily underway. The resolution recognizes that the spirit of the Olympics is "incompatible with any actions, directly or indirectly, supporting acts of genocide."

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