This page is for updates on the efforts to bring Mei Mei home. Please check back to this page regularly for new information. Updates appear in reverse chronological order.
President Clinton Urged to Raise Mei Mei's Case During
Upcoming Summit with President Jiang Zemin of China
June 17, 1998: As the White House prepares for President Clinton's historic visit to the People's Republic of China on June 24, 1998, the U.S. President was urged to bring Mei Mei's case to the attention of Chinese President Jiang Zemin and to request that the Chinese government facilitate her return to the U.S. For more details, see the next entry and the Press Release of June 17, 1998.
Senators DeWine, Allard, Dodd, Jeffords and Gorton
and Representative Sanders Renew Their Requests
That President Clinton Ask President Jiang To
Facilitate Mei Mei's Return to the U.S.
May and June, 1998: Senators Mike DeWine (R-Oh.) and Wayne Allard (R-Col.) renewed their request to President Clinton to intervene on Mei Mei's behalf with President Jiang Zemin of China. Senators DeWine, and Allard were among the 21 U.S. Senators who jointly requested President Clinton's intervention in a letter dated October 28, 1997. (See below.) Senators Christopher Dodd (D-Ct), James Jeffords (R-Vt.), and Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) and Representative Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), all of whom have previously written to administration officials on Mei Mei's behalf, also wrote the President seeking his intervention with the Chinese President. All of the recent letters were timed so as to arrive while the White House is setting its agenda for the summit meeting with President Jiang Zemin on June 24, 1998.
President Clinton Responds to Mei Mei's Supporters;
Directs National Security Council to Meet with Laura Hong
May 8-13, 1998: In response to the requests of Mei Mei's supporters, President Clinton agreed to have his staff look into Mei Mei's case before the summit with President Jiang Zemin beginning June 24, 1998. One of Mei Mei's supporters who recently had the opportunity to speak to the President about her case reports that he was visibly moved by Mei Mei's story and the photos he was shown.
On May 8, 1998, Laura Hong and Senator Mike DeWine's Legislative Director, Robert Hoffman, met with Scott Busby, Director of the National Security Council's Office of Democracy, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Affairs. The meeting was held at the direction of President Clinton. From the time of that meeting and to the present day, the National Security Council has been establishing the agenda for the June 1998 summit between President Clinton and President Jiang Zemin of China.
Though Mr. Busby indicated an appreciation and concern for Mei Mei's plight, he stated that Senior Director Eric Schwartz would have to be convinced that Mei Mei's case is sufficiently important to warrant the President's involvement during the summit. Mr. Busby requested a memorandum explaining why the President should request Mei Mei's return. The arguments for involving President Clinton were marshalled in the requested memorandum, portions of which are reproduced below:
21 Senators Urge President Clinton to Ask President
Jiang To Facilitate Mei Mei's Return to the U.S.
October 28, 1997: In a letter dated October 20, 1997, 21 U.S. Senators jointly requested that President Clinton alert President Jiang of Mei Mei's situation during the summit and requested President Clinton's assistance in returning Mei Mei home. In that bipartisan letter, the Senators wrote, "In order to facilitate Mei Mei's return to the United States, the Chinese government must intervene to have this United States citizen returned to the U.S. and we would appreciate you bringing this to President Jiang Zemin's attention during the October Summit." The letter brings the total number of Senators who have requested Mei Mei's return to 35.
The letter is signed by:
President Jiang Zemin Urged to Return Mei Mei
October 27, 1997: On the occasion of his historic visit to the United States, new Chinese President Jiang Zemin was urged to facilitate Mei Mei's return to the United States. For the most recent update of the original October 27 press release, see the Press Release of June 17, 1998.
Requests for Action from Sen. Wellstone and Rep. Mink
October 10, 1997: Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN) has joined the numerous congressional leaders who have requested Mei Mei's return home. On September 25, 1997, Sen. Wellstone wrote Secretary of State Albright "...I urge the US State Department to do everything in its power to expedite Mei Mei's safe return home." Sen. Wellstone also wrote the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S., Li Dayou: "...I respectfully request that the Chinese Embassy, to the extent of its abilities, aid in my effort to seek the safe and prompt return of Mei Mei to her legal custodians."
October 2, 1997: Congresswoman Patsy Mink (D-HI), whose efforts have been ongoing, again wrote to Secretary Albright. "...I am aware of the legal and diplomatic constraints facing the Department affecting the child's return," wrote Rep. Mink. "However, I request that the State Department take the further step of encouraging Chinese authorities to cooperate in returning Rhonda home to America.... This child is in danger. I appeal to you for a creative, diplomatic solution."
Requests for Action from Sens. Gorton and McCain, FBA
September 29, 1997: We have recently been advised that in early August, 1997, Senator Slade Gorton (R-WA) wrote the Department of State on Mei Mei's behalf, and on September 23, 1997, we were advised that Senator John McCain (R-AZ) wrote the Department of State on Mei Mei's behalf.
September 18, 1997: The Honorable Dana McDonald, President of the Federal Bar Association, wrote President Clinton, Secretary Albright and Attorney General Reno on Mei Mei's behalf. Though the letters are similar to the August, 1997 letters from then-President of the American Bar Association, N. Lee Cooper, they were written after the recent letter from Senators DeWine and Allard to Secretary Albright. As such, the letters from the Office of the President of the Federal Bar Association incorporate the requests of these two Senators that the Department of State make every effort to bring about Mei Mei's prompt return and to advise the Chinese government that Mei Mei has been abducted.
Congressional Leaders Request Action
A growing number of Senators and Representatives have taken an interest in bringing Mei Mei home to the United States. This group is both ideologically and geographically diverse. We thank them for their efforts on Mei Mei's behalf to date and are confident that they will bring Mei Mei home and will persuade President Clinton to assist them in doing so.
CONTACT INFORMATION: LAURA HONG TOM KOVACH LAURA HONG Home: (216) 932-8934 (216) 932-8934 4900 Key Tower Or: (216) 397-9596 (216) 397-9596 127 Public Square Work: (216) 479-8554 (216) 479-8714 Cleveland, Ohio 44114-1304 Page: (216) 948-7035 (216) 506-7528 Mobile: (216) 973-2935 firstname.lastname@example.org
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This page was last revised on June 17, 1998.