20 March 2018
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • » 05/17/2010, 00.00


    China and US to discuss human rights as Beijing cracks down on jailed dissidents

    Wives and close relatives of imprisoned dissidents are denied visitation rights. Activists are afraid that Washington might give in to Beijing on rights to make gains on political issues. Yet, Washington is planning to fund a group tied to Falun Gong, a movement that is persecuted in China.
    Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Sino-US human rights talks resumed last week in Washington after a two-year hiatus following US criticism over China’s crackdown in Tibet in March 2008 and the deterioration of Beijing's record on legal protection, free speech and civil society.

    The worsening human rights situation is best illustrated by the authorities’ decision to deny dissidents’ families the right to visit them. For instance, the wife of dissident writer Liu Xiaobo has been unable to see him since he lost his appeal three months ago.

    The situation of activist Hu Jia, sentenced to three and half years “for inciting subversion” in 2008, is even worse. His wife Zeng Jinyan (pictured) has been unable to see him despite the fact that he might be suffering from lives cancer. She is afraid that he might not be getting proper care.

    Former university professor Guo Quan, who was jailed for 10 years for setting up an online pro-democracy group, has also been deprived of visits.

    Anti-abortion activist Mao Hengfeng was sentenced to 18 months of "re-education-through-labour" in March, and her husband Wu Xuewei does not even know her whereabouts.

    In the past, Beijing tended to be more respectful of human rights when it held human rights talks with other countries. It was not the case this time. Chinese authorities are well aware that the United States wants their cooperation on the nuclear issue in Iran and North Korea as well as on climate change and other delicate issues.

    Some experts suggest that in exchange for support on such issues, Beijing might get the Washington to tone down its criticism of China’s treatment of human rights activists, pro-democracy dissidents and religious groups as well as its censorship of the Internet.

    Still, China slammed US President Barack Obama for a US$ 6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan and his meeting with the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader.

    This may explain why both sides are interested in avoiding failure this time.

    On 9 May, a US State Department spokesperson said this week's talks were a chance for a conversation "about what the rule of law means in the 21st century".

    Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu said in Beijing on Thursday, "dialogue is better than confrontation". However, an English-language, state-run newspaper, the Global Times, told the US not to lecture Beijing like a "schoolchild".

    "China and the US should learn from each other as equals, instead of giving each other lectures, or criticising one another," its editorial said.

    By contrast, activists have said that human rights abuses have become worse in China following arrests and heavy sentences imposed on known dissidents (like Charter 08 author Liu Xiaobo, and advocates for Sichuan quake victims Hunag Qi and Tan Zuoren). They accuse the Obama administration of playing down human rights issues whilst seeking Beijing's co-operation on economic matters amid one of America's worst economic crises.

    However, the picture is more complex. Shiyu Zhou, of the Global Internet Freedom Consortium (GIFC), said that US State Department offered his group US$ 1.5 million last week to buy equipment and material to bypass Chinese Internet censorship.

    The GIFC is run by Falun Gong, a spiritual movement that is banned in China.

    Chinese Internet censorship is one of the most egregious examples of China’s human rights violations.

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    23/06/2006 UNITED STATES - CHINA
    USA: Charges "frozen" against woman who interrupted Hu Jintao at White House

    Dr Wang Wenyi has reached an agreement with the prosecution: charges against her have been blocked until next April, at which point they will dropped if her conduct is satisfactory. The woman had protested during the Chinese president's speech.

    03/02/2010 CHINA - UNITED STATES
    Barack Obama will meet with the Dalai Lama. Beijing threatens diplomatic crisis
    U.S. President will receive the Tibetan spiritual leader mid-month, during his trip to the United States. The Chinese government warns that the decision could "undermine even further" Sino-American relations. At risk UN sanctions on Iran and North Korea nuclear and agreements on climate and trade.

    20/02/2009 TIBET - CHINA - UNITED STATES
    Tibetans ask Clinton for pressure on Beijing to prevent massacre
    There is serious concern about the harsh repression taking place, with persecution of any form of dissent, and sentences to years in prison. Pro-Tibet groups are appealing to Clinton to intervene with government of China, where she is visiting today, and to push for a change in policy.

    03/05/2006 UNITED STATES - CHINA
    Washington: Christians demonstrating for Wang Wenyi arrested

    The three members of the Christian Defense Coalition were released in the evening. Support has also come from China for the doctor who interrupted Hu Jintao during his official US visit, and who now risks imprisonment.

    10/04/2006 CHINA – UNITED STATES
    Growing expectations for Hu Jintao's visit to the United States
    Trade and world affairs are on the table. U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meets tomorrow.

    Editor's choices

    Syrian Trappist nuns say Western powers and factional media fuel war propaganda

    In a written appeal, the religious systematically take apart the version of the conflict touted by governments, NGOs and international news organizations. In Ghouta east, jihadists attack the capital and use civilians as human shields. The Syrian government and people have a duty to defend themselves from external attacks. The conflict alone has undermined the coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country.

    Xinjiang, crosses, domes, statues destroyed: the new 'Sinicized' Cultural Revolution

    Bernardo Cervellera

    Crosses removed from the domes and the tympanum of Yining Church as well as external decorations and crosses, and the Way of the Cross within the church. The same happened at the churches of Manas and Hutubi. The Cross represents "a foreign religious infiltration ". Prayer services forbidden even in private houses under the threat of arrests and re-education. Children and young people forbidden to enter churches. Religious revival frightens the Party.


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSSRSS channel 


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®