U.S. Diplomat Sharply Criticizes China on Rights

In an unusual move, U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman was openly critical of China’s lack of respect for human rights. From NYTimes:

Using a high-profile annual lecture on Chinese-American relations to make his final public address as ambassador, Mr. Huntsman said bluntly that prominent Chinese activists had been unfairly detained or jailed, naming Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for “subversion,” and Ai Weiwei, the Beijing artist who was taken into custody on Sunday.

Mr. Huntsman also accused China of wrongly imprisoning Xue Feng, an American geologist who was gathering information on the oil industry and accused of stealing state secrets.

“The United States will never stop supporting human rights because we believe in the fundamental struggle for human dignity and justice wherever it may occur,” said Mr. Huntsman, who leaves his diplomatic post this month amid speculation he may seek the Republican nomination for president.

In his speech, Mr. Huntsman seemed to hint at the recent clampdown by saying, “Cutting off dialogue and suppressing the news media do not help.” He later added, “We cannot move forward if, when differences emerge, only one of us is fully engaged.”

April 6, 2011 7:22 PM
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