News Release

Context for Clinton Trip to China

WASHINGTON — As President Clinton prepares for the summit in China, think tanks in the United States are churning out media releases on U.S.-China relations. But some scholars associated with the Institute for Public Accuracy, a nationwide consortium of policy researchers, contend that key aspects of the summit’s economic context are being overlooked.

Among those available for interviews on underlying economic issues of the upcoming China summit are:

RADHIKA BALAKRISHNAN
An economics professor at Marymount Manhattan College who specializes in trade and Third World development, Balakrishnan says: “It’s a good thing that President Clinton is going to China. Opening up dialogue is always good. But Clinton, in his zeal to help the interests of multinational corporations, should not forget the very real concerns about human rights — including workers’ rights. A big part of Clinton’s agenda is promoting U.S. commercial interests globally, which are not necessarily the interests of labor, either in the United States or China.”

JANE D’ARISTA
A lecturer in the International Banking and Financial Law Studies Program at Boston University School of Law, D’Arista said: “We should not make the mistake, as we did in other parts of Southeast Asia, of forcing too rapid liberalization of financial markets. This is the problem we’re facing with Japan, Korea, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Their financial markets were opened without sufficient legal and institutional frameworks for supervision and regulation. They are not present in China either.”

ROBERT WEIL
Weil, the author of Red Cat, White Cat: China and the Contradictions of ‘Market Socialism,’ says that the upcoming trip to China by President Clinton has a little-noted subtext: “The real story in China is what’s happening on the ground, in terms of the massive displacement of labor. The official number of surplus rural laborers is an extraordinary 130 million, and is rising rapidly. Meanwhile, in cities, there are at least 9 million unemployed and a projected 15-20 million more in the near future, with millions more losing wages and pensions. That is what the policy of opening to global market forces and investment, as advocated by both Clinton and Jiang Zemin, means for China. But this is meeting growing resistance from Chinese working people, which we don’t hear much about. If the economy slows down, such protests could easily increase.”

For more information, contact Theresa Caldwell or Sam Husseini at the Institute for Public Accuracy, (202) 347-0020.