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On May 23, 1993, when President Clinton signed Presidential Executive Order No. 12850, he renewed China's most favored nation ("MFN") trade status with the United States for an additional year. The Order placed mandatory conditions on the further renewal of MFN status by requiring China to end prison-labor exports to the United States and to make "overall, significant progress" in the area of human rights by June 1994. Twelve months later, however, President Clinton renewed China's MFN status with virtually no conditions even though he acknowledged that China had failed to meet the requirements embodied in the 1993 Order. More significantly, the President stated that he was abandoning efforts to link China's MFN status to improvements in its human rights performance, a policy stance that had precipitated annual battles between Congress and the President since the Tiananmen Square Massacre in 1989.

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