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US Congressional Advisory Panel: China Not Responsible Global Partner


A panel of experts that advises the U.S. Congress is accusing China of pursuing its own interests around the world, and not acting as a responsible global partner to the international community.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission issued its fifth annual report Thursday. The report recognizes China as a global actor, but criticizes it for not living up to its expanding responsibilities as a growing economic and military power.

Commission chairman Larry Wortzel, a long-time China expert, said the 44 recommendations made to Congress deal with a wide range of issues. These include China's accumulation of one trillion dollars worth of foreign currency reserves, expanding Chinese naval capabilities, and Beijing's lack of cooperation in securing an effective U.N. resolution on Sudan over the conflict in Darfur.

Wortzel says the panel has expectations of China, but so far Beijing shows no signs of meeting them.

"The commission hopes that China will use its position on the United Nations Security Council and its growing influence in Asia and Africa and elsewhere to address a range of serious problems, including the threats of terrorism, weapons proliferation and ethnic conflict," he said. "But it hasn't really happened yet."

Another issue is U.S. criticism that China does not adequately protect American intellectual property rights, on goods like videos or name brand clothing, in China.

U.S. customs officials have so far this year seized more than $150 million worth of pirated goods, most of it coming from China. Commission co-chairman Carolyn Bartholomew said copyright piracy of American goods is rampant in China.

"Entire towns [in China] can depend on the revenue generated by counterfeiting," she said. "The Chinese government has failed to control such violations and typically prefers administrative fines, rather than the more effective avenue of criminal prosecutions."

The commission also touched upon North Korea's nuclear program, the growing Chinese military threat toward Taiwan and concerns over Beijing's restrictions on Chinese Internet users.

Some of the commission's recommendations are the same as last year, and Wortzel refused to list them in order of priority. But he repeated accusations that China manipulates its currency exchange rate to gain unfair export advantage.

He added that this time, the commission assessed U.S.-China trade ties in terms of what expectations American leaders had when President Clinton signed legislation granting China permanent normal trade relations in 2000.

The U.S. move paved the way for China to join the World Trade Organization five years ago, in December 2001. Bartholomew says China has made progress on writing internal legislation to comply with some of its WTO agreements, but is falling far short in implementing new laws and adequately enforcing the ones already on its books.

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