News / Asia

Biden Meets Chinese Human Rights Activists

Vice President Joe Biden speaking at the Ohio Newspaper Association convention, Feb. 9, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio.
Vice President Joe Biden speaking at the Ohio Newspaper Association convention, Feb. 9, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio.
Kent Klein

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden has met with activists about what the White House calls a “deterioration” in China’s human rights situation. The issue is likely to be discussed when the Chinese vice president visits Washington next week.

Administration officials say Vice President Biden met with four human rights figures Wednesday, before he hosts his counterpart, Xi Jinping, who is expected to be China’s next leader.

A White House statement said Biden and the activists “discussed the deterioration of China’s human rights situation, prospects for reform, and recommendations for U.S. policy.”

According to the statement, the vice president repeated his view that “greater openness and protection of universal rights is the best way to promote innovation, prosperity, and stability in all countries, including China.”

The White House said Biden met Wednesday with Xiaorong Li, of the group Human Rights in China, and Benjamin Liebman, a Columbia University expert on China’s legal system.  Also in the meeting were Jianying Zha, an expert on Chinese media and popular culture, and Kenneth Roth, the Human Rights Watch executive director.

Roth wrote a letter in January urging President Barack Obama to publicly and privately challenge Vice President Xi to improve China’s record on human rights.

China expert Bonnie Glaser, with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, agrees that human rights in China have worsened recently.

“Recent incidents that we have seen, such as in Tibet and the self-immolations - these are a problem," said Glaser. "We would like to see China deal more constructively with the problems that it has with its people.  And so I think that this will be a broad but very direct and frank conversation.”

Glaser does not expect the two vice presidents to discuss individual cases of alleged human rights abuses.  She says Vice President Xi cannot change his government’s policies until he becomes president.

However, Glaser says Biden will almost certainly stress the U.S. view of the importance of improved human rights in China, as he has in past meetings.

“That it is part of the fabric of who we are as a people, and we believe that this is a universal issue," she said. "It is not just an issue that is an internal problem that other countries should leave up to China and not comment on.”

President Obama held a similar meeting with human rights activists before last year’s state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

American activists criticized the Obama administration in its early days for downplaying human rights concerns while seeking cooperation with Beijing.

China usually objects to U.S. criticism as interference in its internal affairs.  

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs