Obama Expected To Press Chinese President On Human Rights
When President Hu Jintao of China visits the White House this week, it is expected that President Obama will press him on the issue of human rights. Obama has the ability to use technology unavailable in the past, and has sought advice from human rights advocates and Chinese dissidents.
Already, Obama is set to achieve the distinction of being the first U.S. president to host a head of state who is currently holding a Nobel Peace laureate in prison.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton began to set the tone on China with a speech Friday at the State Department.
“America will continue to speak out and press China when it censors bloggers and imprisons activists, when religious believers, particularly those in unregistered groups, are denied full freedom of worship, when lawyers and legal advocates are sent to prison simply for representing clients who challenge the government’s positions,” Clinton said.
“Many in China resent or reject our advocacy of human rights as an intrusion on their sovereignty,” she said in a broad address outlining her views on the future of U.S.-China relations. “But as a founding member of the United Nations, China has committed to respecting the rights of all its citizens.”
The press will have the opportunity to question Hu at a joint news conference, something the White House insisted upon before agreeing to a state visit.
In the five weeks since Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in absentia, the Chinese government’s crackdown on dissidents and human rights lawyers appears to have eased – although Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, remains under apparent house arrest and barred from any outside communication.
“We’re not getting any indication right now that a release will take place before President Hu goes to Washington,” said John Kamm, a human rights advocate and executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation, who is seeking Xue’s release. “But I can’t think of anything that would be more conducive to creating the right atmosphere for a successful summit than the release of Xue Feng.”Click here for reuse options!
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