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

Turkish Public Fears Jihadists More Than Kurds

Turkey facing twin threats of terrorism by Islamic State and PKK Kurdish separatists, says President Erdogan’s ruling AK Party More

Video One Year After Massacre, Iraq’s Yazidis a Broken People

Minority community still recovering from devastating assault by IS militants which spurred massive outrage More

‘Malvertisements’ Undermine Internet Trust

Hackers increasingly prey on users' trust of major websites to delivery malicious software 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.
Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Communityi
X
Sharon Behn
August 03, 2015 2:23 PM
A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs