US HOUSE LINKS MFN STATUS FOR CHINA TO HUMAN RIGHTS

The House was headed on a collision course with the administration Wednesday, as it approved a measure linking favorable trade treatment for China in 1992 to improvements in human rights and other conditions.President Bush said he would veto legislation that imposes any conditions on MFN - short for most-favored-nation - trading status with China. The House vote of 313 to 112 was more than the two-thirds majority needed to override a presidential veto. But the real battleground is the Senate, which is less likely to produce an equally wide margin when it takes up the issue next week. Earlier, the House voted by 223 to 204 to rescind MFN to China, with 51 Republicans voting for the measure. This unexpected vote seemed intended as a signal to the administration that its policies toward China have failed to improve conditions that deteriorated with the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Bush, however, has said MFN should not be used as a hammer to force compliance in an array of disputed areas. But House members, many of them Republicans, accused the administration of coddling a corrupt Chinese leadership that reversed a blossoming reform movement by cracking down on free speech and protecting state-run industries. "Let us not forget that the Chinese government is a vicious communist dictatorship," said Rep. Gerald Solomon (R) of New York, who offered the resolution revoking MFN. Lawmakers said the measure that sets conditions, offered by Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D) of California, would allow the United States to remain engaged by linking next year's MFN renewal to China's improvements in human rights, reduction of trade barriers, and eradication of missile sales to third-world countries.

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