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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee counters China lobbying

April 19, 2009

Tibet Custom
April 17 2009

The bill would force foreign delegates involved in any influence of
state legislation to register as lobbyists, subjecting them to all
requirements and restrictions

  Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee speaks at "A Day Commemorating Tibet"
held at the State Capitol in Sacramento on 2 March 2009/Photo:Friends of Tibet

Still smarting from the defeat of his resolution that the state
officially recognize His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibet last
month, Assemblyman Sam Blakeslee has taken aim at the Chinese government.

A San Luis Obispo resident who represents the 33rd Assembly District,
Blakeslee has introduced a bill that would require agents of a
foreign government who lobby for or against state legislation to be
registered as lobbyists.

His bill, AB 1334, is in response to the Consulate General of the
People's Republic of China's opposition to his resolution marking His
Holiness the Dalai Lama and Tibet Awareness Day. Under pressure from
the Chinese government, a vote on his resolution was blocked and the
measure was sent back to the Assembly Rules Committee.

"This is not some theoretic issue," Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo,
said in a prepared statement. "Representatives of the Chinese
government entered this building and defeated a measure. It's a
shocking breach of the sovereignty of this body. The public needs to
know that we act solely in their interest, not at the behest of any
special interest, foreign or domestic."

Federal regulations cover lobbying activities by "foreign agents,"
but California has no such restrictions.

Shandon rancher William P. Clark backed Blakeslee's bill, saying in a
letter to the assemblyman: "In my years as Chief of Staff to Governor
Ronald Reagan and again as Deputy Secretary of State and later
National Security Advisor to President Reagan, I do not recall any
case of foreign consular officials lobbying at our state level in
such a blatant and aggressive way. To suggest that such activity is
irregular is to state the obvious; in fact, such actions appear to be

AB 1334 requires foreign agents engaged in lobbying to register with
the secretary of state and subjects them to all of the registration,
disclosure and gift limit requirements and prohibitions imposed upon
lobbyists by the Political Reform Act.

"The Chinese government is the only special interest I'm aware of
that's getting away with organizing overseas junkets, hosting dinners
for legislators at the Consulate General's home and taking positions
on bills without a single disclosure requirement," Blakeslee said in
his news release. "All special interests should play by the same rules."

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