Sat, Aug 15, 2015 - Page 1 News List

US voices alarm over human rights situation in China

AFP and NY Times News Service, WASHINGTON

A US official has signaled increasing alarm over deterioration of human rights in China, saying the topic is to be central to an upcoming visit by the Chinese president to Washington.

Delegations of the two nations met on Thursday and yesterday in Washington for their annual “Human Rights Dialogue.”

“The dialogue gave us a chance to convey in advance of that visit the growing sense of alarm in the United States about human rights developments in China and to stress the importance of making specific improvements in keeping with China’s own laws and international commitments,” US Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski said on Thursday, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) visit next month.

He said the dialogue was a chance to hash out tough issues and not “simply agree to disagree.”

“The recent deterioration of the human rights situation and the Chinese government’s increasing emphasis in its rhetoric and its laws on fighting what it calls, quote, ‘cultural infiltration and Western influence’ raises serious questions about whether China remains on a long-term path towards greater openness and integration with the world or has begun to turn inward,” he said.

Human rights are to be “very prominently addressed” during Xi’s visit to the White House, he said.

“Our ability to have a very positive summit of the sort that the Chinese government and the US government wants will certainly be affected by the extent to which things get better or worse in the interim,” Malinowski said.

He said the Chinese diplomats raised concerns about recent police shootings in the US.

“The Ferguson case was raised briefly,” he said, “and I actually thought this was quite interesting because they said, ‘We all saw that on TV,’ and my response, without in any way diminishing the seriousness of the problem that we are facing in the United States, was, ‘Exactly, you saw it on TV.’”

Reporters in China are not free to report on similar episodes of violence, and victims, their family members and lawyers are not able to petition for redress without fear of retribution, he said he told his Chinese counterparts.

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