Friday, April 22, 2011

China to Hold Human Rights Talks Next Week


The New York Times

April 21, 2011

China to Hold Human Rights Talks Next Week


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and China will hold talks on human rights in Beijing next week, including discussions on detentions, arrests and freedom of religion, the State Department said on Thursday.

"Discussions will focus on human rights developments, including the recent negative trend of forced disappearances, extralegal detention, and arrests and convictions, as well as rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, labor rights, minority rights and other human rights issues of concern," the State Department said in a statement.

The talks will take place on April 27 and 28 with Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner leading an interagency delegation to the talks, the statement said.

China recently has extended a crackdown on dissidents, human rights lawyers and protesters challenging Communist Party controls, in a clampdown that has brought an outcry from Washington and other Western capitals.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said earlier this month that she was "deeply concerned" about China's clampdown and cited "negative trends" including the detention of Chinese artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei.

Ai, 53, was detained on April 3 as he was about to board a flight to Hong Kong from Beijing. Chinese police said Ai, a critic of China's ruling Communist Party, was under investigation for "suspected economic crimes."

China has said it was willing to discuss its differences on human rights "with mutual respect" with the United States after rejecting a critical official report from Washington as interference in its internal affairs.

The State Department said the talks next week would be an important channel for in-depth discussions on human rights issues between U.S. and Chinese experts.

(Reporting by JoAnne Allen; Editing by Sandra Maler)

© 2011 The New York Times Company

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