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April 12, 2013

Rights Groups Urge Kerry to Address China's Human Rights Record

by VOA News

Human rights groups are urging U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to raise the treatment of dissidents and other rights concerns during his upcoming visit to China, expected to be dominated by talks on North Korea.

Several groups, including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders, said in a letter to Kerry this week that they fear human rights concerns have been sacrificed, as Washington pursues economic opportunities in China and seeks Beijing's support on North Korea other international concerns.

The letter said that as much as China resists outside pressure to improve its rights record, Beijing does appear to respond to such pressure.

It accused the Chinese government of increasing the persecution of domestic critics, pursuing abusive policies in Tibet and Xinjiang and imposing restrictions on civil society, freedom of expression and the Internet.

The letter said Kerry's visit was a "crucial moment to signal to China that the quality of U.S.-China relations will depend in part on whether it lives by universally accepted human rights norms in its domestic and foreign policies."