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President Bush's Response on Fang Lizhi, 1990

President Bush commented on Fang Lizhi during his News Conference Following the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Summit in London, United Kingdom
July 6, 1990

Chinese Dissident Fang Lizhi

Q. Tonight, in an interview to be broadcast in the United States, Fang Lizhi, the recently released Chinese dissident, says you owe him a dinner. He couldn't make it to the one you threw in Beijing, and he would like to be invited to the White House for dinner. Would you do that? I have a followup.

The President. Well, he's here in this country. I thought he wanted to stay out of the public eye. I thought he himself said so. So, you've got a little different information than that. We'll just defer the rest of your question. What's your followup?

Human Rights

Q. If I can follow up: If you do meet him, he is going to complain that you have a double standard for human rights -- that you have one standard for the Soviet Union where you complain about human rights violations -- or have in the past, at least pre-Gorbachev -- and that you don't complain so much about human rights violations -- you're not as tough with the Chinese. He complains about sending Brent Scowcroft [Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs] and Larry Eagleburger [Deputy Secretary of State], et cetera. What would you say to him?

The President. I'd say that he's wrong. He's got a little time warp here because we spoke out at the NATO meeting. Indeed, I think we took the lead at a meeting in Europe -- I guess it was the G - 7 meeting, not NATO -- where we took the lead in expressing our joint indignation in terms of the abuses of human rights at Tiananmen Square. We've kept certain sanctions on China. I am heartened that Fang Lizhi is free and free now to say what's on his mind like this. So, I would say that if he feels that way he's simply not expressing the facts as they are. I don't agree with that. I notice some of my critics in the United States Congress say that, and I think they're just as wrong as they can be.

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