Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yang Jiechi's Statement to Press on Resuming Human Rights Dialogue with U.S.

Today's Washington Post has a report of a statement by the Chinese Foreign Minister on resuming human rights dialogue with the USA (

Here is an excerpt from it:
"China declared Tuesday that it is willing to resume a long-stalled human rights dialogue with the United States, apparently seeking to improve its image before this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing.
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi made the announcement at the close of talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who passed through Beijing after attending the inauguration of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak in Seoul on Monday.
Yang, a former ambassador to Washington, appeared to direct his announcement to U.S. reporters accompanying Rice.
"We are willing to resume the human rights dialogue," he said, reading from notes. "The Chinese people enjoy the full extent of human rights and religious freedom. We are willing to have exchanges and interactions with the United States and other countries on human rights on a basis of mutual respect, equality and noninterference in internal affairs."
Rice, in a later briefing, welcomed the Chinese gesture and said U.S. diplomats would seek to pin down a date for restarting the dialogue as soon as possible. "That is something we've been trying to do for some time," she added.
China suspended participation in the regular U.S.-China human rights dialogue in 2004 after the United States sponsored a resolution at the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Commission urging condemnation of China's record. Chinese officials construed that move as interference in their country's affairs and a display of hostility that made further formal dialogue impossible.
President Hu Jintao indicated to President Bush during a visit to Washington two years later that he was willing in principle to resume the dialogue, according to U.S. reports. But in practice, Chinese officials evaded U.S. attempts to get the discussions started again."

Comment: Based on my study of the bilateral dialogues that China has had with various countries, the observation that "Chinese officials evaded U.S. attempts to get the discussions started again" is well-based. This is because the USA is not prepared to go along with the Chinese agenda to use the human rights dialogues as a foreign policy initiative whose purpose is to counter Western attempts to make the Chinese Party-State accountable for its failure to comply with China's commitments to the UN to extend the universal entitlement to human rights to Chinese citizens. Yang's assertion that "the Chinese people enjoy the full extent of human rights and religious freedom," does not bode well for any meaningful dialogue because this statement is so blatantly absurd. This lack of sincere intention to genuinely address China's human rights issues is regrettably confirmed in that there has been no mention of the Chinese Government request to resume the human rights dialogue with the US in any of the reports of Secretary of State Rice's visit to China in any of the Mainland Chinese TV news or newspaper reports that I have seen so far.

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