05/28/2009, 00.00
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Nancy Pelosi disappoints: dialogue on climate, not human rights

Chinese demonstrators ask her not to forget human rights. Beijing leaders want a relationship with the US based on “harmony in diversity”. 3 protesters arrested.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Nancy Pelosi, once known as the “tiger” in defence of human rights, leaves Beijing today after a 4 day visit to the Chinese capital where she sought China’s collaboration on climate change and energy issues.

Speaking at the U.S.-China Clean Energy Forum, the Speaker of the House told her counterparts that collaboration on climate change “is an opportunity we cannot miss".

The Chinese President Hu Jintao told Pelosi that “China is willing, along with the United States, to forge a positive, co-operative and comprehensive relationship” and premier Wen Jiabao asked the US to set the relationship on a footing of “harmony in diversity”.

Pelosi’s accommodating behaviour during the visit has shocked many.  In past years she was one of the liveliest critics of human rights violations.  In 1991, Pelosi unfurled a banner in Tiananmen Square to honour those who died for democracy in China. She opposed normal trade relations with China in the 1990s, and last year urged President George W. Bush to consider boycotting the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, after the bloody rioting in Tibet.  She also met the Dalai Lama and called on the world to pressure China.

Pelosi clarified that issues linked to climate change are also part of human rights.  But this has disappointed many in Beijing who had taken advantage of her presence to ask her to bring up the issue of human rights.  Yesterday some of the protesters succeeded in spray-painting red slogans on the main gate of the State Council Information Office reading "Pelosi we love you," "Warmly welcome Pelosi, pay attention to human rights" and "Down with corruption”.  Police dispersed the crowd that had gathered outside the offices and arrested three demonstrators.   

The current economic crisis is forcing the US and European Union to put aside its controversies surrounding Human Rights to focus on how to resolve the global financial meltdown, by seeking help from China and its gigantic deposits in foreign currency.



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