Mainland critic to quit Congress

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 April, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 April, 1998, 12:00am

One of Capitol Hill's most dogged China critics, Gerald Solomon, is to quit Congress at the end of the year.

Mr Solomon's retirement is likely to mean less emphasis in the House of Representatives on debating China's human rights and arms proliferation record.

The 67-year-old Republican from New York has been the architect of annual attempts in Congress to deny Beijing its Most Favoured Nation trade status.

And as chairman of the all-powerful Rules Committee, which controls which legislation is debated, he has been extremely sympathetic to allowing anti-China motions to make progress.

Under his watchful eye last autumn, 10 bills on China policy were passed in a two-day sitting - including legislation to outlaw commercial dealings of the PLA in the US and to bar Chinese officials on a human rights blacklist from entering the country. Those bills have yet to pass the Senate.

In debate, he has often referred to China's leaders as 'dictators' and accused the Clinton administration of being too soft on Beijing.

Although Mr Solomon's hawkish views on China put him in a minority in the House, his leadership of the Rules panel has ensured such views are regularly aired.

Mr Solomon, a 20-year House member, cited health reasons and the need to spend more time with his family as prime reasons for quitting.