Christopher Smith

Christopher Smith

NEW JERSEY's 4th DISTRICT

<span class="kicker">Smith Co-Sponsored Legislation</span>House Passes Bill to Sanction Iran, Russia and North Korea

2017/07/25

Today, with the support of U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), the U.S. House of Representatives passed a broad bill designed to sanction three key bad actors on the world stage. The legislation, entitled, “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (H.R. 3364), is an enhanced version of legislation that passed the Senate 98-2 last month, and gives the U.S. Congress more diplomatic tools to use against Iran, Russia and North Korea.

     “When foreign nations are supplying arms to our enemies, egregiously abusing human rights and using nefarious digital attacks in an attempt to undermine democratic elections—including here in the United States—the stakes could hardly be higher,” said Smith, Chairman of the House panel on global human rights, on the House Floor. Click Here to Read Smith’s Full Statement.

     “Iran possesses the largest ballistic missile program in the region and its medium-range ballistic missiles are already able to strike Israel, our allies and installations in the Gulf from deep within Iranian territory,” said Smith, a co-Sponsor of the bill. Iran’s growing space launch program—a thinly-veiled testing scheme for intercontinental ballistic missiles—is cause for greater alarm still. This legislation provides crucial tools and I support it wholeheartedly.”

     The legislation, which began as a sanctions bill against Iran before growing to encompass Russia and North Korea, was drafted in response to the Obama Administration’s failed nuclear deal, which gave Iran billions of dollars in sanction relief. Since receiving these funds, research from the House Foreign Affairs Committee has found that the Iranian government continues its support for Hezbollah, the Assad regime and other regional proxies.

     In 2015, during the House debate on the Iran Nuclear deal, Smith noted the need for increased sanctions against Iran, calling on Congress to “[r]einstate comprehensive, robust sanctions.” Earlier this year, Smith praised the Trump Administration for implementing new sanctions, putting Iran on notice for their aggressive military actions.

     “Putin’s government has moved from threats to aggressive action against our friends—including Ukraine, allies and innocent civilians abroad. And it did so long ago, when it invaded Georgia in 2008. I was there, in Tbilisi, several weeks after that invasion began, to work to secure the exit of two young children, constituents of mine, trapped behind Russian lines in South Ossetia. I will never forget the quiet courage of the Georgian people in Tbilisi—not entirely surprised by Putin’s invasion, they were too wise for that—uncertain whether the Russian army would proceed to Tbilisi, and determined to soldier on in defense of their country,” said Smith.

     Smith also added, “I am glad to see sanctions against Russia, created in part for its aggressive actions in Ukraine, codified by the U.S. Congress.”

     In documentation supporting the legislation, the Committee also noted that Russia has provided material and other support to the Assad regime, and indiscriminately bombed civilians in a civil war that has killed or displaced millions. In addition, the Russian state has repeatedly conducted cyberattacks against democratic states with designs to splinter the NATO alliance.

     “North Korea is a gulag masquerading as a country; we must cut off all economic lifelines to Kim Jong-un and punish Pyongyang's clients and its enablers. With hundreds of thousands of North Korean laborers abroad—sending as much as $2 billion a year back to the regime in hard currency—we should look at targeting this expatriate labor and the governments and corporations that employ them. Loopholes in our sanctions on North Korea’s shipping and financial sectors must be closed. And when we discover that foreign banks have helped Kim Jong-un skirt sanctions—as those in China have repeatedly done—we must give those banks and businesses a stark choice: do business with Kim Jong-un or the U.S.,” said Smith.

     CNN has reported that since the month of February the North Korean regime has launched 17 missiles, including its first successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with the range to strike the lower 48 states, with more tests likely to come soon. The sanctions in this bill will help cut off the funds used to design and build these missiles.

###

Read More

<span class="kicker">Smith Op-Ed on Sudan Sanctions</span>A necessary delay for easing of Sudan sanctions

2017/07/25

Image result for washington times

A necessary delay for easing of Sudan sanctions

Obama-era benchmarks for human rights progress are still missing

Sudan Corruption Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

By Chris Smith - - Monday, July 24, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The announcement last week by the Trump administration that it is delaying the Obama administration’s order to ease sanctions on Sudan was a welcome decision. The three-month delay is not long enough to give the Sudanese the impression that we are not serious about this matter, but will be long enough to complete the needed and ongoing review of that government’s adherence to the requirements of sanctions-easing.

When the previous administration announced the plan to ease sanctions last year, it came without prior consultation with Congress, a body that has played a key role in U.S.-Sudan relations for more than three decades. In 1996, I co-chaired a hearing with Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on slavery in Mauritania and Sudan. We both lamented that at that late date we were still examining the existence of slavery, an action that should have been relegated to the dustbin of history long ago. Then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs William Twadell described an appalling attempt by the government in Khartoum to “subjugate opposition wherever it is found” — including the taking of slaves by the army of Sudan or forces under its control. A few years later, the Sudan government and its forces were no longer enslaving Sudanese citizens, but continued to terrorize them.

Our government, led by Congress, has continued to play a role in supporting diplomatic efforts to end the long North-South civil war and set the stage for independence for South Sudan in 2011. Over the years, Congress has discussed with various administrations the prospect of easing sanctions as a reward for proven democratic progress by the Republic of Sudan.

 

Unfortunately, that government has met these efforts not with cooperation but with further provocations. For example, the Sudanese government facilitated attacks on the people of Darfur by the Janjaweed militias; the attacks were declared genocide by our government in 2004. Subsequent attacks on people in the Abyei area by Misseryia Arabs drove thousands to flee as refugees. Repeated bombings in the Nuba Mountains have prevented normal life for people there, and intimidation reportedly continues with overflights, if not actual bombing.

The Obama administration set five conditions for easing sanctions that would allow American companies to engage in commerce freely in Sudan: 1) rebuilding counterterrorism cooperation; 2) countering the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army; 3) ending “negative involvement” in South Sudan’s conflict; 4) sustaining a unilateral cessation of hostilities in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile Provinces; and 5) improving humanitarian access throughout Sudan.

The major missing point is the defense of human rights. The current Department of State human rights report describes Sudan as “a republic with power concentrated in the hands of authoritarian President Omar Hassan al-Bashir and his inner circle.” The report went on to state that in the period before the April 2015 national elections, “security forces arrested many supporters, members and leaders of boycotting parties and confiscated numerous newspapers,” conditions creating a repressive environment not conducive to free and fair elections.

 

The State Department report further cited the National Intelligence and Security Service of perpetrating “a pattern of widespread disregard for rule of law, committing major abuses, such as extrajudicial and other unlawful killings; torture, beatings, rape and other cruel or inhuman treatment or punishment; arbitrary arrest and detention by security forces; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; incommunicado detention; prolonged pretrial detention; obstruction of humanitarian assistance; restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, religion and movement and intimidation and closure of human rights and nongovernmental organizations.”

Former Secretary of State John Kerry has been a proponent of easing sanctions on Sudan since his days as a U.S. senator. Yet few observers are certain that the conditions he saw being met by the Sudan government have indeed fully been implemented. The current administration’s delay allows for further investigation and, hopefully, benchmarks for progress. This will benefit both the U.S. and Sudanese governments as both sides can quantify the status of progress.

Providing incentives for Sudan to make democratic progress is reasonable, but only if there is a framework to certify that Sudan is indeed making the promised reforms and that both sides can transparently track any progress being made. Otherwise, we are left with a vague process that will disappoint both governments, but most of all, the people of Sudan.

• Chris Smith is a Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New Jersey.

This originally appeared in the 7/25/2017 edition of the Washington Times. The original can be viewed here: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jul/24/sudan-sanctions-need-to-be-eased/ Read More

Smith Co-Sponsors, Votes Yes on Medicare Improvement

2017/07/25

Today, Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chair of the House panel on global health, applauded the passage of legislation he co-sponsored, the “Medicare Part B Improvement Act” (H.R. 3178). The legislation, authored by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), will now move to the Senate for further action.

     “Last Congress we passed the 21st Century Cures Act, which expanded Medicare coverage to include home infusion therapy,” said Smith, who has supported expanded coverage of home infusion therapy in numerous congressional sessions. “This bill builds upon and strengthens those provisions. Infusion therapy is very demanding, with the course of treatment often lasting several hours per day over a six-to-eight week period. For those receiving treatment—who are often gravely ill—commuting on a daily basis to receive treatment can be incredibly cumbersome. Coverage of in-home service will ensure that Medicare best serves the needs of its beneficiaries and avoids unnecessary costs associated with institutional settings.”

     H.R. 3178 has four main provisions. The legislation will:

·         Improve provisions of home infusion therapy, closing a donut hole in coverage from 2017 to 2021 that may appear due to earlier changes;

·         Improve patient access to dialysis services, specifically allowing access to an outside agency to participate in dialysis—a program currently available for most Medicare services;

·         Improve application of Stark Rules, physician self-referral laws meant to prevent financial interests from interfering with clinical decisions;

·         Ensure Medicare beneficiaries have access to medically necessary prosthetics and orthotics.

     Smith has a long history of fighting for Medicare improvements. In 2004 Smith successfully pressed to include three N.J. counties in the New York City Metropolitan Statistical Area, increasing funding by more than $110 million. More recently, in 2015, Smith’s HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act was introduced to provide Medicare coverage for a care planning session for patients newly-diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and their families. Much of Smith’s legislation was adopted by Medicare.

###

Read More

<span class ="kicker">Two River Times Article on Flounder</span>'Summer Flounder Season Saved By Feds'

2017/07/21

By Jay Cook -

Go ahead and enjoy that sigh of relief, New Jersey fishermen.

After months of back and forth over what regulations would be placed on New Jersey summer flounder fishing, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross approved New Jersey’s self-designed regulations.

That means the summer flounder season will stay open after fears arose last month of a federal shutdown.

“We are very pleased that NOAA worked with us to understand our position that sound science and good long-term planning must drive decisions about the management of summer flounder, one of the state’s most important recreational and commercial fish species,” New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Commissioner Bob Martin said in a press release.

'The decision to not institute a fishing moratorium, and instead accept New Jersey’s more balanced and reasonable summer catch standards, will sustain New Jersey’s summer flounder industries'
- Rep. Smith 

The decision means recreational fishing regulations New Jersey adopted just before the start of the summer flounder season – spanning from May 25 through Sept. 5 – will continue. Albeit a more shortened season than fishermen have come to know, the minimum fish sizes are the real kicker.

The minimum size remains at 18” for the majority of coastal waters, from the ocean to creeks and estuaries. There is a three-fish bag limit for those waters.

In the Delaware Bay, there is a 17” fish size minimum with a three-fish bag limit. For anglers who fish off the coast of Island Beach State Park, the numbers differ a bit more. A 16” fish size minimum is set there, with a bag limit of two fish.

The nearly half-year fight to keep the summer flounder season open began in February, when the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) – a federally regulated authority that oversees fishing management for 15 states along the East Coast – decided to bump up regulations for New Jersey.

Their guidelines came from concerns that the summer flounder stock was experiencing overfishing, yet not completely overfished.

ASMFC proposed a 19” size minimum with a three- fish bag limit for most state waters; an 18” minimum and three-fish bag limit in the Delaware Bay; and a 17” size minimum with a two-fish limit off Island Beach State Park. The season would have stayed open for 128 days, compared to the current 104- day season.

In June, ASMFC found New Jersey “out of compliance” over the state’s disregard to align with the federal mandates. A notice was sent to Secretary Ross’ office to make a final decision – to approve or deny New Jersey’s counter proposal.

If Ross found New Jersey out of compliance, a federal moratorium on summer flounder fishing would have been instituted, essentially shutting the season down.

Between both recreational and commercial fishing, the industry generates about $2.5 billion of economic activity each year, NJDEP has said.

Politicians from both sides of the aisle pleaded with Ross to keep the summer flounder season open for New Jersey recreational fishermen.

“The Commerce Secretary and NOAA made the right decision by affirming New Jersey’s innovative summer flounder management plan,” U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) said in a statement.

“The decision to not institute a fishing moratorium, and instead accept New Jersey’s more balanced and reasonable summer catch standards, will sustain New Jersey’s summer flounder industries while upholding conservation standards,” said U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), also in a statement.

For Jersey Shore anglers, the decision’s impact was evident. A full lot of cars packed the Atlantic Highlands municipal harbor on Wednesday afternoon, the first full day after the announcement.

“We dodged a bullet,” said Tom Buban, captain of the Atlantic Star head boat, after a morning on the water.

While the decision floated through government agencies, Buban said he tried not to worry about a federal moratorium on his industry. He just kept fishing.

“The only ones that fought were New Jersey,” Buban said. “So I guess for once, we can thank the state.”

Just down a few slips, Walt Wietrzykowski exited the Dorothy B. with his grandson Liam.

Despite only a single keeper from the morning trip, the Linden native was relieved to know the season isn’t over.

“It’s good because we see all the people that like to get on the water and enjoy the day,” he said. “It gets to keep these guys in business.”

The state’s main arguing point with ASMFC’s standards was regarding high mortality rates over throwbacks, believing it would become significantly more common if a higher size minimum was instituted.

Now with an affirmation, NJDEP and its Division of Fish and Wildlife are looking to increase public outreach and education about how to safely fish the summer flounder stock.

NJDEP said 20,000 free larger-sized hooks will be given out to fishing shops around the state. The bigger hooks are designed for bigger fish, reducing the chance of a discard.

It will also implement publication of printed and electronic brochures to the thousands of registered saltwater fishermen in New Jersey, as well as utilizing public service announcements and newspaper advertisements for awareness.

“New Jersey is fully committed to employing science and public education to conserve a species that is critical to the fishing culture and economy of the state,” Martin said.

 

 
This article was posted online on July 21, 2017 and first published in the July 13-20, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times. It can be found online at:
http://tworivertimes.com/summer-flounder-season-saved-by-feds/

 


Read More

Global Food Security Act: Building Resiliency and Self-Sufficiency

2017/07/18

Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Chairman of the House panel on Africa and global health, today held a hearing to assess the benefits of the Global Food Security Act (GFSA), which was signed into law in July of last year. The objective of the GFSA is to enhance U.S. national security interests by enhancing food security around the world, helping countries achieve food self-sufficiency so as to reduce their dependency on U.S. foreign aid. 

       At the hearing, Smith also announced that he was working on reauthorization legislation, and called upon witnesses to explain what worked well and what needs improving, so that Congress could enhance our existing food security strategy.

     “While GFSA was only signed into law in 2016, it codified a policy that had a far longer history,” said Smith, who authored the House version of the food security legislation. “Like the landmark PEPFAR program, it bridges multiple Administrations. It was President Bush who, beginning in 2002, started to elevate the importance of food security in U.S. foreign policy, especially in Africa, via the Initiative to End Hunger in Africa.”

    “Today, we see President Trump and his administration continuing to implement the GFSA. But we need to ask ourselves, are we truly firing on all cylinders? Are we achieving the best possible results in terms of nutrition and stunting reduction, or are we failing to maximize our investments?Click Here for Smith’s Full Statement.

     Chronic hunger affects more than 800 million people around the planet. The GFSA coordinates the efforts of 11 government agencies in improving basic nutrition and reducing hunger in 19 priority countries, helping ensure that they become less dependent on foreign aid.

     Among its many key provisions, the GFSA helps ensure nutrition in the first 1,000 days, from conception to around the 2nd birthday—a decisive period of time when brain and cognitive as well as physical functions develop. Inadequate nutrition during this time leads to numerous health problems, including life-long stunting.

     Beth Dunford, Assistant to the Administrator at Bureau for Food Security at U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), said “The old adage holds true: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  By investing in long-term solutions to food security today, we can reduce the need for costly food aid in the future, and help entire countries move away from aid dependency to self-sufficiency.Click Here for Dunford’s Full Statement.

     C.D. Glin, President and CEO of U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF), said, “USADF foreign assistance provides underserved communities across Africa a voice and a choice in their economic development priorities and puts them on a self-sustaining pathway to prosperity.Click Here for Glin’s Full Statement.

     Ted Lyng, Acting Special Representative for Global Food Security at the U.S. Department of State, said, “We are diplomatically engaging foreign governments bilaterally and through international fora to promote policies to improve global food security and nutrition, which ultimately leads to global security – including U.S. security interests.Click Here for Lyng’s Full Statement.

    Advance video below to the 2:37 p.m. mark or click here.

###

 

Read More

<span class="kicker">Hearing on Global Food Security Act set for July 18</span>Global Food Security Act Topic of House Hearing

2017/07/17

The reauthorization of the Global Food Security Act (P.L. 114-195), a critical law that defines the United States’ global food strategy, will be the topic of a hearing held by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman of the House panel on global health. The hearing will feature expert testimony from several government officials representing the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. African Development Foundation.

     “As Congress looks to reauthorize the Global Food Security Act—a stand-out bipartisan accomplishment codifying U.S. food security strategy that had its origins in the Bush Administration, was enhanced in the Obama Administration and now is being implemented by the Trump Administration –it is important that Congress takes stock of the progress that has been made in making nations of the world more food-secure and in reducing stunting,” said Smith. “We also need to assess where efforts have fallen short and ask why. This hearing will convene a panel of government witnesses tasked with implementing the Global Food Security Act who will give the American taxpayers an accounting of results. The lessons learned at this hearing will help guide Congress’ reauthorization efforts, as we jettison or fix what does not work and enhance what does, such as our nutrition efforts during the critical first 1000 days of life, from conception to the second birthday.” 

Who:              
Chairman Smith (NJ-04), Senior Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations; other members of the Committee

Witness:         
Mr. Theodore Lyng
Acting Special Representative for Global Food Security
U.S. Department of State

Beth Dunford, Ph.D.
Assistant to the Administrator
Bureau for Food Security
U.S. Agency for International Development

Mr. C.D. Glin
President and Chief Executive Officer
U.S. African Development Foundation

What:             
House hearing on the Global Food Security Act

When:            
Tuesday, July 18, 2017 2:00 PM

Where:           
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172 (first floor)

###

Read More

<span class ="kicker">APP News Article on Efforts to Protect Fluke Fishing</span>'NJ's fluke season saved after US secretary approves regulations'

2017/07/15

By Dan Radel, APP Staff Writer -

There will be no moratorium on New Jersey fluke's season after U.S. commerce secretary sided with the state on its fluke regulation battle with a regional fishery commission.  

As the news made the rounds on the docks and VHF radios there was a sigh of relief from boat captains.

"There was a concern, yeah, that it might be shut down. I hoped not," said Captain Bob Bogan, of the Gambler party boat in Point Pleasant Beach. 

The Gambler fishes daily for fluke, also known as summer flounder.

'The decision to not institute a fishing moratorium, and instead accept New Jersey’s more balanced and reasonable summer catch standards, will sustain New Jersey’s summer flounder industries while upholding conservation standards.'- US Rep. Smith

State Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced Tuesday that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration affirmed New Jersey’s summer flounder fishing size, bag limits and season,

That means the fluke rules adopted by the New Jersey Bureau of Marine Fisheries in May will remain in effect through early September, according to the DEP. 

The DEP said the decision was approved by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, who found New Jersey in compliance for management of summer flounder.

How we got here: N.J.'s fluke defiance could force federal shutdown of popular pastime and tourist draw

It followed weeks of information-sharing between the DEP and NOAA about the expected impacts on New Jersey’s fluke fishery imposed by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission earlier this year.

“We are very pleased that NOAA worked with us to understand our position that sound science and good long-term planning must drive decisions about the management of summer flounder, one of the state’s most important recreational and commercial fish species,” said Martin. 

The decision means that the recreational fluke season, that began May 25 and runs through Sept. 5, remains unchanged. The minimum size remains 18 inches for fluke for most coastal waters, including the ocean, estuaries and creeks. Anglers in these areas may keep three legally sized fish per day.

Fishermen rally against flounder catch limits
A rally against the proposed cuts to the summer flounder harvest brought commercial and recreational fishermen together in Point Pleasant Beach. THOMAS P. COSTELLO

The size limit for Delaware Bay is 17 inches, with a three-fish per day limit. At Island Beach State Park the size limit for shore fishing is 16 inches, with a daily two-fish limit.

The fluke debate

On Feb. 2 the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission approved a 30-percent coastwide reduction of the fluke fishery and a 19-inch size limit for N.J.

NJ adopted its own summer flounder rules in May with a smaller 18-inch fish. In June the ASMFC made a recommendation to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to find New Jersey out of compliance with those rules.

READ: Commission rejects New Jersey's fluke compromise 

MORE: Commission votes to slash summer flounder harvest

MORE: State assures fishermen they can fish for fluke

MORE: Party boat captains irate over summer flounder cuts

Biologists with the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife then provided NOAA information demonstrating that an 18-inch size limit would result in far fewer discard mortalities than the 19-inch limit. 

The data also showed that few fish in New Jersey reach 19 inches due to the species’ biological needs and distribution pattern and the overwhelming majority of fish that would meet that “keeper” size limit would be reproductive females.

Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance called N.J.'s regulations "common-sense" management of fluke because it will result in less mortality and keep people fishing. 

"Let me say a big thank you to the commissioner of the DEP, Gov. Christie and their team, and big thank you to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. This is the first time in history I think the secretary has ruled against the ASMFC," Donofrio said.

Bogan said the 19-inch fish limit would have also hurt the party and charter boat businesses.

"It's a harder fish to catch. If people can't bring home something to eat they're not going to come out," said Bogan.  

New Jersey's Legislatures speak

Several of N.J. lawmakers spoke in favor of Ross' decision. 

"The Commerce Secretary and NOAA made the right decision by affirming New Jersey’s innovative summer flounder management plan.” said Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.  called the management plan " balanced and reasonable," and said it will achieve the conservation standards.

“The decision to not institute a fishing moratorium, and instead accept New Jersey’s more balanced and reasonable summer catch standards, will sustain New Jersey’s summer flounder industries while upholding conservation standards.”

Posted July 15, 2017. This article original was published by the Asbury Park Press on July 11, 2017 and can be found at:
http://www.app.com/story/sports/outdoors/fishing/hook-line-and-sinker/2017/07/11/new-jerseys-fluke-regulations-upheld-noaa/470369001/

Read More

<span class ="kicker">AP News Article on Smith Hearing; Smith Nominated Liu for Nobel Prize in 2010</span>'US Congress holds hearing on Liu Xiaobo’s life'

2017/07/14

By Associated Press -  July 14 at 11:29 AM

BEIJING — The Latest on the death of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (all times local):

10:30 p.m.

Members of the U.S. Congress have held a hearing on the life of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo following his death in Chinese custody.

Rep. Christopher Smith, chairman of the House panel on global human rights, said Liu’s death Thursday from liver cancer was a catastrophic loss for China and the entire world, and that his contributions to human rights should never be forgotten.

Liu, China’s most prominent political prisoner, was serving an 11-year sentence on charges of inciting subversion of state power.

Participants hold photos of Liu Xiaobo, right, and his wife Liu Xia during a vigil honoring Liu Xiaobo’s legacy and to protest continued human rights abuses in China, Thursday, July 13, 2017, in New York. China’s most prominent political prisoner died Thursday of liver cancer at 61. (Mary Altaffer/Associated Press)

Smith said Friday that Liu’s imprisonment amounted to a death sentence and the blame lies squarely with the Chinese government.

He said the government tried to curtail Liu’s ideas, yet they live on in the hearts of millions of Chinese people. He also urged China to release Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, from house arrest.

___

7 p.m.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman says Germany will continue to push for a “humanitarian solution” for the widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Liu, China’s most prominent political prisoner, died Thursday of liver cancer. A German and an American doctor visited him last weekend, and Berlin had urged Beijing to allow him to leave for treatment abroad — possibly in Germany.

After Liu’s death, Germany’s foreign minister pressed China to allow his wife, Liu Xia, to leave for Germany or another country of her choice.

Merkel spokesman Steffen Seibert said Friday that Germany has supported a “humanitarian solution” for the couple “and that will not end from one day to the next with the very regrettable death of Liu Xiaobo.” He didn’t elaborate.

___

12:15 a.m.

Japan’s government says it will continue to pay close attention to human rights in China after the death of its most famous political prisoner.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga offered condolences for Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo and said he had devoted his life to the pursuit of freedom and democracy.

Suga said respect for human rights and the rule of law are universal values and are important for all countries to guarantee.

Liu, who died Thursday of liver cancer, was awarded the 2010 Nobel while he was imprisoned for inciting subversion. His widow remains under house arrest.

___

11:30 a.m.

A newspaper published by China’s ruling Communist Party is dismissing late Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo as a political pawn of the West whose legacy will fade.

The rare mention of Liu in Chinese-language media comes as international tributes flow in for the political prisoner. He died Thursday of liver cancer.

The Global Times said in Friday’s editorial that Liu lived a “tragic life” because he sought to confront Chinese mainstream society with outside support.

Liu, a prolific essayist and literary critic, was serving an 11-year sentence for incitement to subversion. He was in prison when he was awarded the 2010 Nobel for advocating democratic reforms and human rights in China.

World leaders have praised Liu and called on China to release his widow, Liu Xia, from house arrest.

___

6 a.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump was deeply saddened to learn of the death of Chinese political prisoner Liu Xiaobo.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer says in a brief statement, “The President’s heartfelt condolences go out to Liu Xiaobo’s wife, Liu Xia, and his family and friends. “

The United States had called on China’s government to let the Nobel Peace Prize laureate and democracy activist seek medical care at a location of his choosing. But China considered such requests to be interference in its own affairs and considered Liu a criminal.

The White House statement does not offer any criticism of China or of Liu’s case.

Liu’s wife remains under house arrest.

___

2:30 a.m.

China has rejected foreign criticism of Beijing’s handling of the illness from which imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo died Thursday.

The Foreign Ministry in Beijing, in an early morning statement Friday, says China made “all-out efforts” to treat Liu after he was diagnosed with liver cancer while in prison.

The statement says foreign countries “are in no position to make improper remarks” over the handling of Liu’s case, which Beijing sees as a domestic affair.

Liu’s death has triggered a flurry of calls from Western governments and officials for Beijing to let his wife leave China as she wishes.

Human rights groups and some governments had earlier urged Beijing to release Liu so that he could seek treatment abroad, but China rebuffed such suggestions, saying he was already getting the best care possible.

___

2 a.m.

The United Nations says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was “deeply saddened” to learn of the death of imprisoned Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiabo.

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Thursday that the U.N. chief sent his condolences to Liu’s family and friends. But he had no comment when asked whether Guterres had a view on whether Liu, China’s most prominent political prisoner, should have been allowed to travel abroad for treatment or about his wife.

Guterres’ tepid reaction was a sharp contrast to that of U.N. human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, who called Liu “China’s iconic peace and democracy figure” and urged Chinese authorities to guarantee his wife, Liu Xia, “freedom of movement, and allow her to travel abroad should she wish so.”

Zeid said Liu “devoted his life to defending and promoting human rights, peacefully and consistently,” and “was the definition of civic courage and human dignity — a poet and intellectual who wanted, and strove for, a better future for his country.”

“Despite all he suffered, (he) continued to espouse the politics of peace,” the U.N. high commissioner for human rights said. “He was and will continue to be an inspiration and an example for all human rights defenders.”

___

12:30 a.m.

Germany’s foreign minister is urging the Chinese government to let Liu Xiaobo’s wife and brother leave the country following the death of the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

Berlin had urged Beijing in recent days to let Liu leave China for treatment abroad, possibly in Germany. Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Thursday he “deeply regrets” that China didn’t let Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, travel to Germany.

He urged China to lift restrictions on Liu Xia’s movements and communications and added, “She and her brother, Liu Hui, should immediately be allowed to leave for Germany or another country of their choice if they wish to.”

Gabriel also urged China to look in a “credible and transparent way” into whether Liu Xiaobo’s illness could and should have been detected earlier.

Liu was transferred to a hospital after being diagnosed with advanced liver cancer in prison in May but remained under police custody.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

This article was published in numerous places, including:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/the-latest-japan-attentive-to-human-rights-in-china/2017/07/14/3f29aadc-6855-11e7-94ab-5b1f0ff459df_story.html?utm_term=.f809f57f9c30

Read More

<span class="kicker">Wife Liu Xia still fighting for release; Smith nominated Liu Xiaobo for Nobel Prize in 2010</span>Liu Xiaobo’s Work Will Never Be Forgotten

2017/07/14

At a hearing held today by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Chairman of the House panel on global human rights, the life and works of the great Chinese human rights activist and Nobel Laureate, Liu Xiaobo, were examined and the plight of his wife, who is still trapped in China, was emphasized.

     “Liu Xiaobo’s premature death was a jarring shock to everyone who admired this champion of freedom and democracy,” said Smith, who is also co-Chair of the Congressional Executive Commission on China (CECC). “We mourn his loss because it is a loss for his wife, family and friends, a catastrophic loss for China and the entire world. We owe Liu Xiaobo a debt of gratitude because he demonstrated that the ideas of democracy and due process, liberty and the rule of law are not foreign ideas in China.” Click Here to read Smith’s full statement.

     Smith noted that last month, after the severity of his cancer diagnosis was made widely known, the Chinese government released Liu from prison—however he was not freed. Liu was denied adequate levels of care, being unable to seek medical attention in other countries and being forced to look to his captors for treatment. Liu passed away yesterday.

     Liu is survived by his wife, Liu Xia, who has spent years under house arrest. She is also seeking medical attention abroad, but like her husband, has been denied the ability to travel. On June 29, the Smith-authored H. Con Res. 67 passed the House of Representatives. The resolution calls on the People’s Republic of China to unconditionally release Liu Xia, allow her to freely meet with family and seek medical treatment overseas if necessary. The resolution is now in the Senate. After Liu’s death, Smith, along with CECC Chair, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-F.L), urged the Administration to assist in the release of Liu Xia.

     “Liu Xiaobo will sadly never see a free China,” said Smith. “I believe that someday China will be free. Someday, the people of China will be able to enjoy all of their God-given rights. And a nation of free Chinese men and women will honor and celebrate Liu Xiaobo as a hero. He will be honored along with all others like him who have sacrificed so much, and so long, for freedom.”

     Yang Jianli, President of Initiatives for China, said, “I strongly believe that the Chinese regime deliberately chose not to treat Liu Xiaobo’s cancer earlier. As early as 2010, Liu Xiaobo was suspected of suffering from hepatitis B. The denial of medical care lead to Liu Xiaobo’s advanced liver cancer, and was at its core a disguised death sentence.” Click Here to read Jianli’s full statement.

     Perry Link, Chancellorial Chair at the University of California, said, “there can be no doubt about the reasoning of his captors: their concerns had little to do with medical care and much to do with preventing Liu Xiaobo from speaking his mind one last time.” Click Here to read Link’s full statement.

     Jared Genser, Founder of Freedom Now, said, “We don’t know anything – anything at all – about how Liu Xiaobo has been treated in prison. The last time he said anything that was reported publicly was when he was sentenced to prison in December 2009. All we know is that he was held in extended solitary confinement throughout this time, which constitutes torture under international law, we know that Liu Xia was able to visit him monthly, and we know that the Chinese government, with all of its resources so neglected his medical care that it had no idea he had liver cancer until it had reached Stage 4 and was terminal.” Click Here to read Genser’s full statement.

.

###

Read More

<span class ="kicker">Trenton Times Editorial on Anti-Semitism</span>'We must act to stem rise in anti-Semitism'

2017/07/14

By Times of Trenton Editorial Board -
In 2004, acknowledging an alarming increase in activities targeting Jews worldwide, the U.S. Congress passed the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act. U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th Dist.) co-wrote the bill. In addition to reviewing acts of anti-Semitism, and the response by governments, the measure also established a State Department office to monitor and combat these acts, to be headed by a special envoy. Since the administration of President George W. Bush, the position has served to put the world on notice that the United States would not countenance the type of hateful bigotry that puts Jews in danger wherever they live. Now, three lawmakers from New Jersey have joined a group of more than 60 Jewish state legislators from 25 states who are pleading with President Donald Trump not to abandon those efforts. In a bipartisan move, Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen), Senate Democratic Conference Leader Bob Gordon (D-Bergen and Passaic) and Sen. Bob Singer (R-Monmouth and Ocean) signed on to a letter protesting the apparent decision by the White House not to fill the current vacancy in the envoy’s post. A similarly bipartisan appeal went out from 116 members of the House of Representatives, including Smith, Donald Norcross (D-1st Dist.) and Leonard Lance (R-7th Dist.).
There may come a day when the need for heightened vigilance in the face of anti-Semitism is no longer needed. This is not that day.
The July 6 letter urged Trump “to maintain staff in the Offce to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, which is crucial to ensuring U.S. efforts ... match the scale and severity of threats to Jewish communities on the ground.” Recent history affrms that the lawmakers’ appeals are grounded in a sober reality. Data from the Anti-Defamation League released in April showed that anti-Semitic acts in the United States soared more than one-third in 2016, and jumped 86 percent in the first quarter of this year. In the first three months of this year alone, the organization recorded 161 bomb threats to Jewish community centers and schools, 155 vandalism incidents and six physical assaults. The blog Think Progress notes that “2016 was a horrible year for anti-Semitic hate crimes. 2017 is much worse.” There may come a day when the need for heightened vigilance in the face of anti-Semitism is no longer needed. This is not that day. In their letter, the state legislators point out that over the years, the special envoy has tackled specific problems in France, Argentina, Hungary, Ukraine, Greece and Egypt that might not have otherwise been addressed. One man, or one woman, acting alone cannot undo centuries of contempt directed against an entire people. But the absence of such a powerful figure speaks volumes about the United States’ priorities, and the vacancy Trump has allowed to happen under his watch is dismaying. Our gratitude to the lawmakers for making their case.

Read More

Loading legislation ... one moment please
Loading votes ... one moment please

Smith pushes bill to sanction Iran, Russia, and North Korea

2017-07-25 19:29:05


Child Abduction is Child Abuse: Rep. Smith calls for real enforcement of the Goldman Act

2017-04-06 18:04:12


Rep. Chris Smith opens a hearing on Africa's Quiet Famine

2017-03-28 20:47:13


Rep. Chris Smith chairs hearing on Anti-Semitism Across Borders

2017-03-22 16:13:14


Chris Smith: Stop Coercing States to Fund Planned Parenthood

2017-02-17 14:33:10


Chris Smith Speaks on the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

2017-01-24 20:52:17


Rep. Chris Smith: Support Working Group on Tick-borne Disease

2016-12-01 16:10:17


Rep. Chris Smith: Iran Sanctions Extension Act is a Must Pass

2016-11-16 19:29:03


Update by Rep. Smith: We expect passage on Kevin and Avonte's Law

2016-10-03 17:21:59


Rep. Chris Smith on Obama Veto: Don't choose Saudi King over 9/11 Victims

2016-09-28 20:29:35


Rep. Smith urges support for our 'Jersey Girls' and other 9/11 families

2016-09-09 18:26:34


House Passes Smith's Bill to Give Gold Star Families a Voice

2016-09-06 20:44:55


Rep. Smith opening statement on the Goldman Report

2016-07-14 20:23:01


Rep. Chris Smith: Brazil a textbook case for sanctions

2016-07-14 19:30:46


Rep. Chris Smith: Bindu Philips' Kids Should Come Home

2016-07-14 19:03:31


Rep. Smith on the Conscience Protection Act

2016-07-13 17:35:57


President Obama's epic failure of diplomacy in Vietnam

2016-06-22 19:20:17


Less than 1% of Iraqis & Syrians resettled in US are Christian

2016-06-22 18:20:53


Religious Freedom deserves protection everywhere for everyone- no exceptions

2016-06-17 21:25:35


Rep. Chris Smith on Jobs for Individuals with Autism and Special Needs

2016-05-19 21:48:57


Contact Information

2373 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-3765
Fax 202-225-7768
chrissmith.house.gov

Elected in 1980, Rep. Chris Smith (R-Robbinsville, N.J.) is currently in his 17th term in the U.S. House of Representatives, and serves residents in the Fourth Congressional District of New Jersey. Smith, 60, currently serves as a senior member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, and is chairman of its Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organization Subcommittee. In 2011-2012 he chaired both the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He also serves as “Special Representative” on Human Trafficking for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, and as an executive member of the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. Previously, he served as Chairman of the Veterans Committee (two terms) and Chairman of the Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Operations and the Subcommittee on Africa.

Smith has long chaired a number of bipartisan congressional caucuses (working groups) including the Pro-life (31 years), Autism (15 years), Alzheimer’s (13 years), Lyme Disease (nineyears), Spina Bifida (nine years), Human Trafficking (nine years), Refugees (nine years), and Combating Anti-Semitism caucuses, and serves on caucuses on Bosnia, Uganda and Vietnam.

According to the independent watchdog organization Govtrack, as of January 2014 Smith ranks fourth among all 435 Members of the House over the last two decades in the number of laws authored.

He is the author of America’s three landmark anti-human trafficking laws including The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, a comprehensive law designed to prevent modern-day slavery, protect victims, and enhance civil and criminal penalties against traffickers, as well as more than a dozen veterans health, education and homeless benefits laws, and laws to boost embassy security, promote democracy, religious freedom, and health care.

Smith is the author of the $265 million Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 which established a nationwide program for ethical research and treatment using umbilical cord blood and bone marrow cells. That landmark law was reauthorized in September 2010 for another five years.
In October 2011, Smith’s bill, HR 2005, the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act (CARA) of 2011, was signed into law (Public Law PL112-32), a follow-up to his Autism Statistics, Surveillance, Research, and Epidemiology Act (ASSURE) of 2000.

A lifelong New Jerseyan, Congressman Smith graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in business administration. Prior to being elected to Congress, he helped run a small business– his family’s wholesale sporting goods corporation. He is also the former Executive Director of the New Jersey Right to Life Committee.

The congressman is married to his wife of 35 years, Marie, and they have four grown children.


Serving With

Frank LoBiondo

NEW JERSEY's 2nd DISTRICT

Tom MacArthur

NEW JERSEY's 3rd DISTRICT

Leonard Lance

NEW JERSEY's 7th DISTRICT

Rodney Frelinghuysen

NEW JERSEY's 11th DISTRICT

Recent Videos