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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid