News / USA

In China, Michelle Obama Praises US Progress on Civil, Religious Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) sits in for an English class with students at Chengdu No. 7 High School during her visit in Chengdu, Sichuan province, March 25, 2014.
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama (L) sits in for an English class with students at Chengdu No. 7 High School during her visit in Chengdu, Sichuan province, March 25, 2014.
VOA News
U.S. first lady Michelle Obama touted America's progress on ethnic equality, civil rights and religious freedom as she continued her tour of China.

Obama made the comments Tuesday during a speech to Chinese students at a prestigious high school in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

She said that in America, hard-working people can succeed "no matter where you live or how much your parents have...or what race, religion, or ethnicity you are."

The first lady has largely avoided controversial political issues during her week-long trip, instead focusing on topics such as education.

One exception was Saturday, when she told a group of Chinese and American students that freedom of religion and access to information were "universal human 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.

The U.S. also routinely criticizes China for its treatment of Tibetans and Uighur Muslims, who complain of government persecution and restrictions on their religious practices.

Obama, who is traveling with her two daughters and mother, last week met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. She has also visited popular tourists sites, such as the Great Wall of China and the former Imperial Palace.

She is set to depart for Washington on Wednesday.
 
  • U.S. first lady Michelle Obama practices tai chi with students at Chengdu No.7 High School in Chengdu in southwest China's Sichuan province, March 25, 2014.
  • U.S. first lady Michelle Obama looks at a terracotta warrior as she visits Qinshihuang Terracotta Warriors and Horses Museum with her daughters, Malia and Sasha, and her mother, Marian Shields Robinson, in Xi'an, March 24, 2014.
  • U.S. first lady Michelle Obama walks with her daughters Malia and Sasha as they visit the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China, March 23, 2014.
  • U.S. first lady Michelle Obama speaks next to U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus as they attend a round table discussion on education at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, March 23, 2014.
  • U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, followed by her daughters Malia and Sasha, is greeted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan at the Diaoyutai State guest house in Beijing, March 21, 2014.
  • Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, shows U.S. first lady Michelle Obama how to hold a writing brush as they visit a Chinese traditional calligraphy class at the Beijing Normal School, March 21, 2014.
  • U.S. first lady Michelle Obama plays table tennis at the Beijing Normal School, a school that prepares students to attend colleges overseas, March 21, 2014.
  • U.S. first lady Michelle Obama, her daughters Sasha and Malia and her mother Marian Robinson pose with Peng Liyuan, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, as they visit Forbidden City in Beijing, March 21, 2014.

You May Like

FIFA Indictments Put Gold Cup Tournament Under Cloud

Experts say US indictments could lead to charges of other world soccer officials, and lead to major shakeup in sport's governance More

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

At a recent even in Seoul, border communities promoted benefits of increased cooperation and North Korean defectors shared stories of life since the war More

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jacob from: India
March 25, 2014 1:14 PM
I was truly amazed to see the headline that America is making progress in religious rights. I am rather certain that if you did a survey of frequent church goers, you would find that they profoundly disagree with this. Rather, there is a constant erosion of freedom of religion under Obama such as never has happened in American history. If she is speaking what she truly believes, she is very profoundly misinformed or not very widely read. Religious Americans are shocked at what is happening under this government as it goes beyond anything they could have previously imagined.
In Response

by: Derek from: NYC
March 26, 2014 10:03 AM
Jacob's comment doesn't seem founded in reality. He cites no specific examples of violations of freedom of religion in the USA. The US is not just a Christian nation anymore, it's a multi-faith nation. We need to respect all religious beliefs and we need to uphold civil rights of minorities. I have my own strong disagreements w/ Obama but freedom of religion is not one of them. The real religious freedom violations are occurring in China and Chinese-occupied Tibet and East Turkestan.
In Response

by: JeryD from: NYC
March 25, 2014 6:46 PM
Jacob - religious rights is more than Christian rights. It is the right for anyone to believe in what they believe - Muslim whatever - after 9/11 it was almost embarassing to be called Muslim - this is changing slowly for the better - this is also part of the progress. Greater acceptance of others to be free to practice a religion that is different from the masses. In many part of the world Christians are a minotity and also should be given that respect irrespective of what the wider population is practicing.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs