The Clinton Administration may be torn between supporting more trade with China or pressing for the protection of the human rights of dissidents and prison laborers.  But Andrew Young, a veteran of human rights struggles around the world, is not caught on the horns of this dilemma.

Speaking at a luncheon this week held by the Law Companies Group, Inc. of which Mr. Young is vice chairman, he vigorously supported the Group’s plans to participate in a new project in Tianjin.  “This is not just another job,” the former ambassador to the U.N. said of the two-year study of industrial waste water in China’s third largest city.  “This is the beginning of a commitment to Asia.”

When questioned about shaky trade and diplomatic relations with China, he stressed the importance of developing a supportive social and economic infrastructure for the Chinese people. “I think of the contributions made by the TVA and the rural electrification projects in the South,” he said.  “Servicing human needs and providing the right to eat is every bit as important as the right to vote or freedom of speech.”

Law Companies acquisition in 1989 of Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners Limited, now a subsidiary called the Gibb Group, has been involved in Asian engineering projects for 70 years.  Most recently, it has been developing the Rangoon port in Burma, and has been involved with projects in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore.  It also has offices in Beijing and Shanghai.

But R.K. Sehgal, Law’s chairman and chief executive officer, said that the $1.1 million Tianjin contract, which will be jointly funded by the governments of China and the U.K., represented “an important breakthrough for Law’s expansion in Asia.”  Although through the Gibb Group the company has been involved in China, the new project should represent the beginning of a greater commitment by the Group as a whole, a spokesperson explained.

Ching Wu, the project manager, said that the Tianjin project would go beyond technical issues of reducing water consumption and improving the quality of effluent discharges.  It would also provide the ability of local financial institutions to undertake economic and financial evaluations of loan applications for industrial pollution control.

For more information, Anne R. Ockene may be reached by telephone at (404) 396-8000 or by fax at (404) 391-0291.