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US First Lady in China Hosts Discussion on Education

  • VOA News

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama reacts after she gave a speech at Stanford Center in the Peking University in Beijing, China, March 22, 2014.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama reacts after she gave a speech at Stanford Center in the Peking University in Beijing, China, March 22, 2014.

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama says she would not have accomplished what she has if it were not for her parents' investment in her education.

Mrs. Obama, who is a Harvard-educated lawyer, made her comments in Beijing Sunday where she hosted a discussion on education.

"I wouldn't be where I am today without my parents investing and pushing me to get a good education. And my parents were not educated themselves, but one of the things they understood was that my brother and I needed that foundation. So the President and I have made education a key focus of our work over the coming years, because we want to make sure that as many young people in the United States, and around the world, quite frankly, have access to education."

Mrs. Obama held the discussion at the American embassy in the Chinese capital on the third day of her visit to the country.

The U.S. first lady is also scheduled to visit the Great Wall and have lunch with her daughters and her mother at a restaurant in a former school near a section of the wall.

On the second day of her trip, Mrs. Obama told American and other students that freedom of expression and worship, and having open access to information are universal rights.

The first lady stopped short Saturday of calling on China's ruling Communist Party to loosen constraints on those very rights.

China is among the most repressive nations in the world concerning free speech, cracking down on dissent, blocking many news and online sites, and censoring Internet news that Beijing considers objectionable.

White House officials have said Mrs. Obama's trip will focus on education and will steer clear of more contentious issues between the United States and China, such as human rights and trade.
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