China Still Exports Prison-Made Goods

CHINA is still exporting prison-made goods to the United States, a human rights group announced. Meanwhile, the Clinton administration is struggling toward a policy on trade with Beijing.

The Laogai Research Foundation said an investigation revealed that the Chinese government was trying to cloak the practice by changing the names of prison factories, opening sales offices, changing product brand names, and integrating prison enterprises with legitimate businesses.

"The Chinese government has always lied about the `laogai' products. They are lying still," said Harry Wu, a Chinese-American executive at the foundation who spent 19 years in the Chinese reform-through-labor prison system.

President Clinton has until June 3 to announce whether he will renew China's Most-Favored Nation trade status for another year, or whether he will link future renewal to an improved record in human rights, weapons proliferation, and unfair trade practices.

Four members of Congress, all proponents of putting conditions on China's trade status, attended Mr. Wu's news conference, saying they deplored China's apparent violation of US law barring imports of prison-made goods.

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