China pledged yesterday to advance and protect human rights and fundamental liberties in a joint statement issued with France following a summit meeting between the two nations' presidents.
"It is a due necessity of nations to advance and protect all human rights and fundamental liberties," said the joint communique signed by French President Jacques Chirac and Chinese President Hu Jintao (
"China and France underscore the necessity of advancing and protecting human rights in accordance with the goals and principles of the UN Charter," it read.
Upon arriving in Beijing on Wednesday, Chirac singled out China's attitude on human rights as a particular area of concern for the country's leaders as they look ahead to hosting the 2008 Olympics.
He said the Beijing Games would lead to both "economic and social repercussions" for China's rulers as the city becomes the focus of world attention: "China will have to come to terms with these realities, particularly the problems related to human rights."
Chirac told reporters that the two nations had agreed to advance human rights dialogue.
In one of the latest high profile cases to darken China's rights record, a young Tibetan nun was killed last month when Chinese guards opened fire on a group of people trying to cross from Tibet to Nepal.