The US House of Representatives urged China on Tuesday to use its influence and economic leverage to stop what US President George W. Bush has called the genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.
The lawmakers charged that China, which buys much of Sudan's oil, has stood in the way of halting bloodshed in the western Sudanese region, but stopped short of joining calls to boycott the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing made by some politicians, activists and celebrities.
"China should act consistently with the Olympic standard of preserving human dignity in Darfur, Sudan and around the world," said the resolution passed by the House on a vote of 410-0.
The resolution urged China to stop selling Sudan arms and suspend economic cooperation with Sudan until it "stops its attacks on civilians" in Darfur and engages in negotiations with Darfur rebels to achieve a peace deal.
The House resolution is nonbinding, but expresses the sentiments of lawmakers angry that China has continued its economic dealings with Sudan and defended it against international efforts to impose sanctions over years of strife in Darfur.
"There is no way to sugarcoat this. China is the principal trading partner of a genocidal regime that has thumbed its nose at the international community," Representative Barbara Lee, a California Democrat and sponsor of the resolution, said during the debate.
"This resolution is a wake-up call to the Chinese government: The United States Congress is monitoring China's collaboration with Sudan's repressive regime. And we will not stand idly by,"House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said.
China, which has veto power on the UN Security Council, has urged the international community to show patience with Sudan, saying the sanctions will hurt efforts for peace in Darfur.
Beijing opposes sending UN peacekeepers to Darfur -- where the UN estimates that fighting by government-linked militias and rebel groups has killed 200,000 people and forced 2 million more to flee their homes -- without Khartoum's consent.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International said yesterday it was using satellite technology to monitor Darfur in a bid to prevent future attacks on civilians.
Amnesty is inviting people worldwide to help protect 12 villages considered at risk of attacks by the Janjaweed militia by monitoring images on the project's Web site at www.eyesondarfur.org.
Larry Cox, executive director of Amnesty USA, said the group wanted to send a message to Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir that the world was watching.
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