US, China Begin Human Rights Talks

The human rights dialogue between the U.S. and China is restarting today after a two-year hiatus. From AP:

Disagreements over human rights have for years been irritants in U.S.-China relations. This week’s talks come as the countries try to repair ties after a rough period. President Barack Obama infuriated China by recently announcing a $6.4 billion arms sale to Taiwan, the self-ruled island claimed by Beijing as its own, and by meeting with the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader China calls a separatist.

At the head of the U.S. delegation is Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights. He said in an interview ahead of the talks that the United States would not shy away from raising difficult issues.

“The challenge is to find a way to communicate those differences respectfully but directly,” Posner said.

He said human rights could not “just be isolated to a few days of discussion every other year, every year; it’s part of the broader relationship.”

The United States regularly criticizes China for abusing its dissidents, the lawyers who try to defend them and average citizens looking for free access to information. In response, China has shot back that the United States is rife with crime, poverty, homelessness and racial discrimination.

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