News / Asia

    US Lawmakers, Activists Press China to Improve Human Rights

    Protesters outside the White House during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit, Jan 19 2011
    Protesters outside the White House during Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit, Jan 19 2011

    U.S. lawmakers and activists called on China Wednesday to dramatically improve its human rights record as Chinese President Hu Jintao had his first state visit with President Barack Obama.

    Protesters rallied outside the White House Wednesday as President Obama met with Chinese leader Hu Jintao and prepared to treat him to China's first state dinner in more than a decade.

    Some cried for more rights for minority groups such as Tibetans and China's Muslim Uighurs and freedom of religion, others denounced the country's human rights record and enforcement of its one child policy through the practice of forced abortions.

    Tenzin Dolkar of the group Students for a Free Tibet says the abuses that China commits against its own  people show that it remains a repressive and authoritative state.

    She says China's oppression of the Tibetan people in the wake of the 2008 protests continues.

    "China has launched a full scale attack against Tibetan writers, intellectuals, musicians and even artists and even just regular Tibetan people who dare to challenge China's failed policy inside Tibet, so the situation has just been suffering, said Dolkar.

    Elnigar Iltebir, is with the group Uighur Americans in the United States.

    "If China wants to be a strong international power it cannot continue oppressing its own people, said Iltebir.

    On Capitol Hill, lawmakers, activists and experts raised questions about China's behavior in a wide range of areas from security to trade and human rights.

    China's behavior in international affairs and at home is also raising concerns.

    Chairwoman of the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Florida Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen:

    "Would a responsible stakeholder refer to the Nobel committee as a bunch of clowns for awarding an honor to a distinguished Chinese human rights advocate? Would a responsible stakeholder arrest the wife of a Nobel Peace prize winner as further retaliation for speaking the truth about the gross human rights violations in China, asked Ros-Lehtinen.

    Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in December. He is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for his advocacy of human rights and democracy in China. His wife has been detained since shortly after Liu was awarded the prize in October and her whereabouts remain unknown.

    Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican Congressman from the state of California voiced his strong opposition to treating China to a state dinner. He thanked the committee for holding the hearing just as President Obama was meeting with Mr. Hu.

    "We have to understand that as we speak our country is officially welcoming President Hu as if he had the same stature and acceptability here as a democratic leader, said Rohrabacher. “We welcome him the same as we do countries that are democratic that respect human rights. This is wrong!"

    The exact number of individuals in China who are being held as prisoners of conscience is unknown.  

    Former Tiananmen activist Yang Jianli, says that what is clear is that Chinese officials at the local and central level continue to use direct violence, house arrest and disappearances to silence dissent.

    "I also urge you to pay attention to the disappearance of Chinese citizens as a result of the government's unwarranted actions,” said Yang Jianli. “The most notorious case is Gao Zhisheng. He has not been heard from ever since last April. After being repeatedly detained and severely tortured."

    Geng He, the wife of Gao Zhisheng a human rights lawyer, attended the hearing Wednesday and spoke out about her husband at a separate press conference.

    "So many times, we've had sleepless nights as we worry about his safety,” she said. “So many times, when we think about the torture that he is going through our hearts break. So many times, we have wept as we wonder where he is."

    Geng He added her voice to a growing chorus of others who are calling on the U.S. to press China to improve human rights and urged President Obama to help her children get their father back.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    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.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.