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Tuesday, May 20, 1997

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  • China and Most Favored Nation Trade Status

    President Clinton yesterday began a campaign to renew most favored
    nation trade status with China. The move comes as no surprise
    following yet another lobbying blitz of what is now referred to as
    the China lobby — major corporations like Boeing, Coca-Cola and
    Motorola.

    But most favored nation trade status must be approved by Congress
    and opponents of the measure have vowed a tough fight. Human rights
    groups say that the Clinton administration has once again
    sacrificed basic freedoms on the altar of commerce. Last week in
    Los Angeles, New York, Portland and Seattle, human rights groups
    and writers highlighted the case of Chinese author and dissident
    Wei Jingsheng, one of the most important political prisoners in the
    world today.

    He is considered the paramount leader and symbol of the ongoing
    struggle for democracy and human rights in China and has spent all
    but six months of the last seventeen years in prison. Once an
    electrician at the Beijing Zoo, Wei Jingsheng emerged as an
    eloquent and utterly fearless fighter for individual rights in
    China during the Democracy Wall movement of the late 1970s. He is
    now serving a 14-year-sentence on round-the-clock surveillance and
    his health has continued to deteriorate.

    TAPE: KATI MARTON, chair of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

    TAPE: ARTHUR MILLER, author and playwright.

    TAPE: PETER GABRIEL, popular singer..

  • Women and Rules in the Military

    The court-martial trial of the country’s first female B-52 bomber
    pilot, Lieutenant Kelly Flinn, looks set to begin in North Dakota
    this week. Lieutenant Flinn faces charges of adultery, lying to
    investigators and disobeying an order in connection with two love
    affairs the Air Force says she had — one with a married civilian.

    The case of 26-year-old Lieutenant Flinn has not only highlighted
    the military’s tough rules against adultery and certain types of
    romantic relationships, but also the way those rules are applied.
    Many victims and women’s groups say that the rules are
    disproportionately applied to women.

    GUEST: TODD ENSIGN, the head of Citizen Soldier, an advocacy
    organization for servicemen and women based in New York City.

    GUEST: LIEUTENANT CRISTA DAVIS, a communications officer at
    Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana.

  • Pentagon Unveils Plans

    The Pentagon yesterday unveiled its strategic blueprint for the
    21st century. Secretary of Defense William Cohen announced a new
    round of base closings and cuts in service personnel. But he
    actually increased the Pentagon’s budget for new weapons system, a
    big boon to defense contractors. The procurement budget will
    reportedly increase from $40 billion a year to $60 billion a year
    by 2002.

    GUEST: WILLIAM HARTUNG, a senior research fellow at the World
    Policy Institute, an independent think tank that examines US
    foreign and economic policy. The World Policy Institute is based at
    the New School for Social Research in New York City.

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