By Ariel Lin
Impunity Watch Reporter, Asia
BEIJING, China – China said it would resume a human rights dialogue with the United States after a five-year halt, taking a step to prevent rights advocates from boycotting Beijing’s Olympic Games in August.
After a close talk with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made the announcement that Chinese government is willing to resume the human rights dialogue. He said that the Chinese people enjoy the full extent of human rights and religious freedom, and are willing to exchange and interact with the United States and other countries on human rights on a basis of mutual respect, equality and noninterference in internal affairs.
China suspended the regular U.S.-China human rights dialogue in 2004, after the U.S. State Department cited the execution of a Tibetan and the arrests of pro-democracy activists as ‘troubling incidents’ that showed China was ‘backsliding’ on human rights issues in a resolution at the 60th session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. Even without the formal dialogue, U.S. officials have made human rights a routine topic in discussions with Chinese government.
During the talk, Rice reminds Yang that human rights are ‘near and dear’ to the United States and raised three specific cases of particular interest to the Bush administration. She also called on China to use its influence to persuade North Korea to speed the dismantling of its nuclear weapons program.
Recently, many western human rights groups are increasingly accusing China of being unfit to host the Olympics because the rights abuses. In addition, some human rights activities and American celebrities have mounted a campaign against China as host of the Game because of Darfur. Yang’s declaration appeared designed as a response to these criticisms.
For more information, please see:
Bloomberg – China Willing to Resume Human Rights Talks With U.S. – 26 February 2008
New York Times – China Says It Will Resume Human Rights Talks – 27 February 2008
Washington Post – China Set to Resume Human Rights Dialogue – 27 February 2008