Opponents of normal trade relations with China failed to pick up ground this year as the House solidly backed President Clinton's policy of seeking to change Chinese government behavior by dealing with Beijing.

Lawmakers voted 264-166 Wednesday to reject an effort to overturn the president's decision to give China normal trade status for another year. Last year the vote was 259-173.In a statement, Clinton said the vote "reflects my conviction that active engagement with China . . . isthe most effective way to advance our interests and our values."

Since China's violent suppression of the democracy movement in 1989, Congress has made yearly attempts to revoke what's been known as China's "most-favored-nation" trade status. They have pointed to China's human rights violations, alleged unfair trade practices and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.