'US Concerned about Human Rights Situation in China'

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

DHARAMSHALA: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has told top Chinese officials that the US government continue to be concerned about the human rights situation in China.

In her opening remarks at the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington, DC on Tuesday,  Secretary Clinton said, “We see reports of people, including public interest lawyers, writers, artists, and others, who are detained or disappeared.”

“We know over the long arch of history that societies that work toward respecting human rights are going to be more prosperous, stable, and successful,'' she told Chinese officials. 

The Chinese delegation at the meeting is led by Vice Premier Wang Qishan and State Councilor Dai Bingguo.

“That has certainly been proven time and time again, but most particularly in the last months.”

Secretary Clinton said both US and China discuss their differences on the human rights issue “honestly and forthrightly.” 

“We will be continuing the discussion of the recent US-China Human Rights Dialogue just held in Beijing,” she added.

The United States and China held extensive talks on human rights developments in China during their bilateral human rights dialogue held in Beijing from 27 – 28 April.

The discussions focussed on the recent negative trend of forced disappearances, extralegal detentions, and arrests and convictions, as well as rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, labor rights, minority rights and other human rights issues of concern. 

Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner, who led the talks in Beijing, said, “I think one concrete outcome is that we had extensive discussions about the issues of religious freedom and Tibet and the Uighurs and issues relating to arrests of lawyers and journalists and so forth. We had more time to go into more detail and express our concerns.”

“Our discussions focused on the lawyers, bloggers, artists, NGO activists, journalists, representatives of minority religious communities and others who were asserting their rights and calling for reform,” Mr Posner said.

“Here [China] and elsewhere we believe strongly that change occurs from within a society, so discussions about human rights are not about us, but about how Chinese citizens determine their own political future. Societies need to give their own people an opportunity to voice and pursue their aspirations,” he said.

He also said the presidents of the two countries during their meeting in January had agreed to convene a Legal Experts Dialogue sometime in June this year.

The bilateral human rights dialogue began against the backdrop of Chinese government's crackdown on Kirti Monastery in Ngaba in northeastern Tibet's Amdo Province.

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