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US-China Rights Talks End With Commitment to Continue Dialogue


Pro-democracy protesters carry portraits of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Hong Kong, April 10, 2011

Pro-democracy protesters carry portraits of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Hong Kong, April 10, 2011

Chinese officials say two days of talks with the United States on human rights issues have ended with the sides committed to continuing dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

But foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said China is against the United States using human rights as a pretext for interfering in its internal affairs. The U.S. delegates to the talks scheduled a news conference for later Thursday to give their own account of the meetings.

The countries have held three previous human rights dialogues since 2002, but this year's session came amid strains over a Chinese crackdown which has seen dozens of lawyers and dissidents arrested in recent weeks. The United States said before the talks that it would press Beijing on what it called a "negative trend of forced disappearances, extralegal detention, and arrests and convictions."

China adopted a defiant tone in an editorial Thursday in the Communist Party-controlled newspaper Global Times. It said most Chinese are disgusted by outside pressure on human rights and that there would be no progress in the talks if the United States tried to assert such pressure.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hong was more conciliatory at a briefing this week, where he said the delegates would discuss new developments in their countries, as well as cooperation on human rights issues at the United Nations.

The U.S. delegation in Beijing was led by Michael Posner, the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor. The Chinese side is led by Chen Xu, the foreign ministry's director-general of international organizations and conferences.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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