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Gingrich Asks For China's Help

He suggests 'renegades' may have been at work in fund-raising controversy

BEIJING (AllPolitics, March 28) -- House Speaker Newt Gingrich, meeting with Chinese leaders today, asked for their help in unraveling the accusations that Chinese citizens may have made illegal contributions to U.S. political campaigns.

Gingrich didn't have to raise the sticky issue. On the lawmaker's first meeting on his first day in China, Vice Premier Zhu Rongji brought up the controversy again to deny allegations of Chinese involvement.

Gingrich said he told Zhu that there may have been "renegades who were violating both our law and their government."


Speaking with reporters later, Gingrich said: "We would appreciate their help as we seek to determine who the renegades are, and we know that since they must be renegades they would be eager to help us find out who was engaged in this act they were opposed to."

Gingrich said he didn't get an answer to his request. He met later with President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng, but did not raise the issue with them.

Li described Gingrich's visit as "an opportunity in which we can enhance mutual understanding."

Gingrich is leading an 11-member congressional delegation to talk with Chinese leaders about several issues, including trade, human rights and the future of Hong Kong after July 1, when it returns to Chinese rule. The U.S. has pressed China to maintain Hong Kong's free market environment and its citizens' basic freedoms.

"Every evidence we get is that they want to make this work," Gingrich said of the Hong Kong transfer of power. He described the Chinese leaders as serious, respectful and friendly in the discussions. "Their interest is building a relationship," he said.


The Chinese are hosting back-to-back U.S. delegations. Vice President Al Gore left China today, wrapping up a four-day visit to discuss many of the same issues and lay the groundwork for a 1998 visit to China by President Bill Clinton.

Gore flew on to Seoul, Korea, where he was to discuss ways to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula. On arrival, Gore joined in a wreath-laying ceremony to remember soldiers killed in the Korean War.

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