News / Asia

US Says China Backsliding on Human Rights

Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner Michael Posner speaks during a press conference at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, April 28, 2011
Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner Michael Posner speaks during a press conference at the U.S. embassy in Beijing, China, April 28, 2011
Stephanie Ho

A senior U.S. official says Washington is concerned about new human rights problems in China. His comments came at the end of two days of human rights talks with Chinese officials in Beijing.

Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner says the talks were expansive and in depth, and that his delegation expressed rising U.S. concerns. He said Thursday the talks also included issues such as Internet freedom, religious freedom, Tibet, and Xinjiang

"In recent months, we've seen a serious backsliding on human rights, and a discussion of these negative trends dominated the human rights dialogue these past two days," said Posner.  "We have been and are very concerned over recent months by reports that dozens of people, including public interest lawyers, writers, artists like Ai Weiwei, and others, have been arrested, detained, or in some cases, disappeared, with no regard to legal measures."

He says the U.S. raised many individual cases, including jailed Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and his wife, Liu Xia, who has been detained even though she has not been charged with committing a crime.

Posner said Washington is especially concerned about the lawyers who have disappeared into police custody.  They include Teng Biao, Cheng Guangcheng and Gao Zhisheng.

He also asked about well known artist and activist Ai Weiwei, who was taken into police custody earlier this month.  

"What I would say is that on that case, we certainly did not get an answer that satisfied," added Posner.  "There was no sense of comfort from the response, or the lack of response."

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei gave few details of the talks, but acknowledged that they were "candid and in depth." He repeated China's position that it will engage in such dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

He adds that at the same time, his government opposes the United States' use of the human rights issue as an excuse to interfere in China's internal affairs.

Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific director Sam says he thinks the talks demonstrate that the United States and other governments should continue to push human rights with China.

"I think the important thing at the moment is to understand that these talks really should be part of a process, and that having the talks in and of themselves doesn't just tick the box on human rights, and [then] you can have the US-China relationship just move along," said Zarifi.

He says Amnesty hopes that the human rights issue is not just limited to the annual discussions, but becomes part of a larger engagement process.

Rights will be on the agenda at high-level U.S.-China strategic and economic talks next month in Washington, although at that meeting, it will just be one among many other issues.

In recent months, China has ramped up efforts to contain dissent, and to block access to information about protests in other countries. Scores of government critics and rights activists have been detained, foreign journalists have faced new restrictions on their work, and access to hundreds of Internet news sites has been restricted.

Many rights activists and Asia political experts say the clampdown appears to be aimed at making sure the so-called Jasmine Revolution, which has brought political change and uprisings in the Middle East, does not take root in China.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid