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A Change in Tone from the U.S. Congress

May 21, 2008

The Wall Street Journal
May 20, 2008, 3:49 am

nullTypically, U.S. congressional resolutions on China are highly
critical of the nation's government and it actions. Last month, by a
vote of 413-1, the House of Representatives passed a resolution
calling on China to end its crackdown on Tibet. Other recent
resolutions have criticized China's one-child policy, supported
Taiwan's right to self-defense and named China as one of several
"serial abusers of human rights."

But in another sign of softening in the tone toward China, at least
temporarily, in the wake of last week's devastating earthquake, the
U.S. Senate yesterday passed a resolution mourning the loss of life
in the May 12 Sichuan quake. The measure, introduced by Barbara Boxer
(D, Calif.) and Lisa Murkowski (R, Ark.), "expresses the sense of the
Senate mourning the loss of life resulting from the earthquake and
expressing condolences to the people of China, especially those who
lost loved ones," according to a statement on Boxer's Web site. The
resolution also called on president Bush to provide relief aid and
expressed the Senate's willingness to provide additional resources to
help those affected by the quake.

Xinhua called the resolution by the Senate "an unusual move to
express its sense." A similar resolution has been introduced in the
House of Representatives by David Wu (D, Ore.).

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