PRESS RELEASE

Rep. Mike Capuano Urges China to Take Greater Action on Darfur

February 12, 2008

Congressman Michael E. Capuano (MA-08), co-chair of the Congressional Sudan Caucus, today wrote to President Hu Jintao of China, urging him to take stronger action regarding the ongoing genocide in Darfur. [Read the letter in PDF format.] 119 Members of Congress joined Rep. Capuano in signing the letter, which was sent six months before China will host the summer Olympics in Beijing, and on a day when activists around the world pressed China to do more to end the genocide.

The lawmakers wrote, "We... urge you to use your significant influence with the government of Sudan to ensure that it ends its ongoing obstruction of peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts to protect civilians and restore a basic level of stability to the region. Without a much stronger effort from the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to convince the government of Sudan to end its obstruction, the real though limited progress made during the past year will be undone, and the possibility of an expanded regional crisis beyond Darfur's borders will continue to grow."

Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost due to the ongoing genocide in Darfur and over 2.5 million more have been displaced. Those displaced continue to suffer as a result of the ongoing violence. Additionally, local and international aid workers risk their lives every day to deliver supplies and offer assistance.

On July 31, 2007 UN Security Council Resolution 1769, authorizing the United Nations — African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), passed unanimously. At the time, the People's Republic of China played a prominent role in securing the government of Sudan's commitment to the UNAMID mission.

"Despite these efforts, UNAMID is in danger of failure, primarily because the government of Sudan continues to weaken and delay this critical mission. China can and should use its influence with Sudanese officials to advance the efforts of UNAMID," stated Congressman Mike Capuano.

The PRC played a prominent role in achieving the unanimous vote on Resolution 1769 and must continue working to ensure the success of the UNAMID mission. "Unfortunately, the PRC has in recent months shown no willingness to take such action, and has instead reverted to its former role as the government of Sudan's chief protector and apologist at the UN and on the international stage. While the PRC doubled its trade with Sudan and reaffirmed its friendship with the government of Sudan in 2007, it has since August shown no willingness to seriously hold its friend to account. To the contrary, reports from the UN Security Council indicate that the PRC has taken every opportunity to shield the government of Sudan from any attempt to hold it accountable for its willful obstruction of Resolution 1769, and even tried to shield it from the full and rightful condemnation of the Security Council following the January 7 Sudanese Armed Forces' attack on the UNAMID convoy," the lawmakers wrote.

"We must do everything we can to end the genocide and deliver assistance to the millions of people who live in fear every day. The PRC must participate in those efforts, using its unique relationship with the Government of Sudan to bring about an end to the conflict," stated Congressman Mike Capuano, co-chair of the Congressional Sudan Caucus.

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Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208