News / USA

    Tensions High as US, China Open Talks on Human Rights

    China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei gestures for questions at a press briefing in Beijing, Nov. 30, 2010 (FILE).
    China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Hong Lei gestures for questions at a press briefing in Beijing, Nov. 30, 2010 (FILE).

    The United States and China have begun two days of talks on human rights in Beijing amid differing opinions about China’s ongoing crackdown on dissent.  

    Human rights is one area in which the U.S. and Chinese governments tend to disagree more than they agree.

    The U.S. State Department’s annual human-rights report
    , issued earlier this month, singles out China for criticism.  It says Beijing has stepped up restrictions on critics, tightened control on civil society and disrupted free speech and Internet access.

    Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei has responded by urging Washington to stop being, in his words, a preacher of human rights.

    Hong urges the United States to examine its own human-rights record and to stop using its human-rights report to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.

    China criticized the United States for things like homelessness, violent crime and the high number of people in jail.

    Beijing also accused Western countries of engaging in an anti-China conspiracy when jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace prize last year.  Shortly afterwards, Chinese authorities began rounding up dozens of lawyers and activists around the country, apparently unnerved by calls for Chinese demonstrations like those that are rocking the Middle East.

    The highest-profile detainee is well-known artist Ai Weiwei, who disappeared into police custody earlier this month.  Western governments have called for his release.

    It is under this kind of atmosphere that officials from both countries sat down in Beijing to talk about human rights.

    Some human-rights activists have questioned the effectiveness of the talks, and say they could marginalize the issue.

    But Mao Yushi, a liberal economist in Beijing who advocates democratic reform, says attention to China’s human-rights record from outside of the country is essential.

    Mao says that in China’s current political environment, the government suppresses forces within the country calling for human rights.  He says foreign criticism is extremely important for the progress of human rights in China.  

    The annual Sino-American human rights dialogue has suffered, in the past, from disagreements between Washington and Beijing.  The talks were suspended between 2004 and 2008 because Beijing was angry at Washington for sponsoring a resolution criticizing China at the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

    The current round of talks is to end Thursday.

    You May Like

    UN Observes International Day of Peacekeepers

    The U.N. honors 3,400 peacekeepers killed since first mission in 1948

    Video Rolling Thunder Tribute to US Military Turns into a Trump Rally

    Half-million motorcycles are expected to rumble Sunday afternoon from Pentagon to Vietnam War Memorial for rally in event group calls Ride for Freedom

    The Struggle With Painkillers: Treating Pain Without Feeding Addiction

    'Wonder drug' pain medications have turned out to be major problem: not only do they run high risk of addicting the user, but they can actually make patients' chronic pain worse, US CDC says

    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.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora