The US President George W. Bush is urged to push China to respect human rights as he will hold the high-profile talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao today.
Over the last two days since Hu’s arrival in the U.S. on Monday, Hu spent time with American business leaders such as the CEO of Microsoft Bill Gates in Washington State. On Thursday, he will move on meeting Bush at the White House. In addition to trade, Bush is expected to raise a number of other issues concerned by international community and China's human rights record will be a spotlight.
Members of Congress have repeatedly wanted Bush to insist on human rights issues prior to the meeting. A House hearing called by the subcommittee of Global Human Rights was held Wednesday as an effort to highlight China’s grim human rights record.
Subcommittee chairman Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said on the hearing, Chinese "citizens practicing a faith other than officially sanctioned religions are often subjected to torture, imprisonment and death, at which time prisoners' organs are often harvested to meet demand," according to the Associated Press (AP).
"Hope remains eternal the president will raise this issue robustly," said Smith, adding that "it's America's moral duty to stand with the oppressed, not with the oppressor."
The White House says President Bush will make the effort anew in his talks with Hu on Thursday, yet members of Congress are very skeptical much will be accomplished, report says.
Other U.S.-based non-governmental organizations have also made their last-minute call to Bush. The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) warned that it is now the time for reform in China "before the list of abuses gets even longer."
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.
This is the first time Hu is visiting the Washington as China's leader. When Bush visited Beijing in November 2005, he urged China's leaders should not fear a free society and to allow the right "to worship without state control."