News / Asia

US, China Begin Human Rights Dialogue

Kunming, Yunnan province, China
Kunming, Yunnan province, China
VOA News
U.S. and Chinese officials discuss the sensitive topic of human rights during talks beginning Tuesday in southwest China.

Washington and Beijing agreed earlier this month to hold the two-day U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue in Kunming, the capital of China's Yunnan province.

The U.S. State Department says the U.S. side will bring up the rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, labor rights, and the rights of ethnic minorities in China.

The Chinese foreign ministry says the talks will include "candid and in-depth exchanges on the basis of equality and mutual respect in order to promote human rights development in both countries."

The two countries have held regular human rights dialogues since 1990. China suspended the talks from 2002 to 2008 in response to U.S. criticism of its rights record at the United Nations.

Some human rights groups have questioned the effectiveness of the dialogues, arguing they have become routine exercises in diplomacy and have achieved few results.

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday urged Washington to use the latest talks to insist on benchmarks to ensure that Beijing follows through on its commitments to protect human rights.

The group also encouraged U.S. officials to be more outspoken about the topics covered during the meetings. It said such details have been lacking following recent talks.

The U.S. and China recently have held a series of high-level talks. President Barack Obama hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping for an informal summit in June. In July, the two sides held an annual strategic and economic dialogue.

Tuesday's meeting marks the first formal human rights discussion since Mr. Xi took over the top spot in China's Communist Party at a leadership transition that began late last year.

Since the new leadership came to power, Human Rights Watch says there has been "little discernable or significant improvement" in China's human rights record.

Beijing has recently arrested activists who have called for government officials to publicly disclose their assets. Rights groups also say it is pursuing repressive policies toward Uighur and Tibetan minorities, as well as tightly restricting the free flow of information.

China claims it has made progress in protecting its citizens' human rights, and rejects foreign criticism as meddling in its internal affairs.

Following the strategic dialogue earlier this month, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi said he hopes the U.S. can "view China's economic and social development in an objective way." He also said he hopes the U.S. will improve its own human rights situation.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
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.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid