Bush Meets 5 Dissidents From China Before Games

From New York Times:

President Bush held private talks with five prominent Chinese dissidents on Tuesday, and urged China’s foreign minister to relax restrictions on human rights, as part of an intensifying White House effort to put pressure on Beijing before Mr. Bush travels there in a little over a week for the summer Olympic Games.

Mr. Bush received the dissidents — Harry Wu, Wei Jingsheng, Rebiya Kadeer, Sasha Gong and Bob Fu — in the White House residence, where he “assured them that he will carry the message of freedom as he travels to Beijing,” said his press secretary, Dana Perino. Earlier, Mr. Bush dropped in on a meeting between his national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, and China’s foreign minister, Yang Jiechi.

The back-to-back meetings came a week before Mr. Bush leaves for an Asia trip that will include the Olympics. The president has faced criticism from human rights advocates and members of Congress for his decision to attend. But his meetings on Tuesday drew praise from some of those critics.