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Little Progress on Human Rights in China-U.S. Talks

Little progress has shown in the China-U.S. talks at the White House yesterday, especially in terms of human rights, despite protestors’ strong demonstration.
( [email protected] ) Apr 21, 2006 10:38 AM EDT

Little progress has shown in the China-U.S. talks at the White House yesterday, especially in terms of human rights, despite protestors’ strong and active demonstration.

During the news conference on Thursday morning at the south lawn of the White House, US President George W. Bush has not specifically raised questions concerning China’s poor human rights records, although he has promised to continue discuss with China the importance of respecting human rights.

Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao opened their dialogues by delivering opening statements. Bush emphasized the two countries’ mutual interest in some international issues, such as Iran, North Korea and Sudan.

Hu, in response, said that "China is willing to work together with the United States and other countries in the world in joint effort to build a harmonious world featuring enduring peace and shared prosperity," according to the Associated Press (AP).

As one of the reporters asked about the pace of democratic reform in China, Hu has strongly defended, "what do you mean by a democracy? What I can tell you is that we've always believed in China that if there is no democracy, there will be no modernization."

"Ever since China's reform and opening up in the late 1970s, China, on the one hand, has vigorously promoted economic reform, and on the other, China has also been actively, properly and appropriately moving forward the political restructuring process, and we have always been expanding the democracy and freedoms for the Chinese citizens," he continued.

Dennis Wilder, the National Security Council's acting senior director for Asian affairs commented, "That is a very interesting statement, because I don't think I have seen a Chinese leader quite so distinctly make a link between the modernization program and democracy."

Wilder added that he did not expect to see "rapid change," but there were "glimmers" that the message of a linkage between stability and freedoms was beginning to sink in, according to Crosswalk Christian news.

Prior to the meeting between Bush and Hu, human rights watchdogs have highlighted the abuse of China on basic human rights, particularly in terms of religious freedom.

Four rights and church institutions- the Texas-based China Aid Association (CAA), Institute of Religion and Public Policy, Jubilee Campaign, USA and Midland Ministerial Alliance- have released Monday a 2005 report on torture and abuse against independent Chinese House church members and leaders, which recounts detailed testimonies of 19 victims from five provinces.

Stephen Hadley, the president's national security adviser, told CNN television that Bush had presented Hu a list of "about six people who are in detention in China that he hoped would be released" as the two presidents met for an hour and had lunch after the news conference.

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), Hadley said that the Chinese leader had only agreed to work on three things out of the six things that the U.S. has requested them to do. Hadley refused to give further information.