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Human Rights Should Be Part of the Dialogue with Hu Jintao

In a four-nation tour, China's President Hu Jintao has visited three countries so far where he was greeted by officials of the state and human rights protestors.
( [email protected] ) Nov 15, 2005 12:48 AM EST

In a four-nation tour, China's President Hu Jintao has visited three countries so far where he was greeted by officials of the state and human rights protestors.

Even though Christian and human rights organizations from Britain and Germany urged their governments to address human rights, the issue played a small part in talks that surrounded trade, social and economic developments, and improving bilateral relations.

Arriving on Sunday in Madrid, Spain, Hu was met by Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos who said that their talks would progress human rights by "fostering a dialogue."

"Only by forging mutual confidence can we exercise effective influence on issues such as protection of human rights," he told AFP in response to the criticisms made by the protestors.

On Mon., Hu met with Spanish Prime Minster Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero to discuss trade and other issues. A BBC correspondent in Madrid said that Zapatero is convinced that Hu's visit shows the turning point in relations between the two countries.

In the U.S., Christians along with the USCIRF and the State Department, who has designated China as a "country of particular concern" for another year, are also echoing their concerns, urging President Bush to bring up human rights when he visits Beijing after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders' Meeting (APEC) in Busan, Republic of Korea.

According to Washington officials, religious freedom is on the agenda, AFP reported on Saturday. The officials added that the President wants to attend Sunday services in China to fellowship with local Christians.

With disagreements on Taiwan to human rights, former Vice Premier of China Qian Qichen has expressed to Xinhua that he wants China to work with the United States.

Addressing a symposium on U.S.-China relations Mon. in Beijing, Qian said according to Xinhua that both sides should cooperate in a dialogue for democracy and human rights that are based on "equality and mutual respect" for bilateral relations.

Qian concluded that the U.S. and China could set an example for other countries by "peacefully" seeking for a common development.

Despite protests on human rights in Britain, Germany, and Spain, China's president has consistently stressed the importance of improving relations and "peaceful developments" within all the countries that he visited. Next he will visit North Korea before attending the APEC and then meet Bush on Nov. 19.