Rights Issue Looms as Bush Heads to China

From Washington Post:

With President Bush set to leave next week for the Olympics in Beijing, the White House is coming under increased pressure from lawmakers and advocacy groups to make a public statement of concern about the crackdown on human rights and freedom in China.

White House aides said it is likely that Bush, who has focused considerable attention to the cause of Chinese religious freedom, will worship at a church in Beijing during his trip, but they say the rest of his schedule remains in flux. What the president will do or say in Beijing is the subject of considerable debate within the administration, several officials said, but they expressed doubt that Bush would do much to embarrass the Chinese leadership during an event it considers something of a coming-out party for China as a world power.

Bush has repeatedly made clear his view that he is going to China as a sports fan and does not see the Olympics as a good opportunity to make political points. He is likely to spend much of his four days in Beijing attending various sporting events — as well as the opening ceremonies Aug. 8 — although he plans to meet with President Hu Jintao and other senior leaders, according to White House officials.


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