For Immediate Release: January 14, 2011
Washington, DC – Following today’s inaugural Richard C. Holbrooke Annual Lecture delivered by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the future of U.S.-China relations, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino issued the following statement:
“Secretary Clinton’s call today for China to live up to its responsibilities to uphold universal human rights comes at a critical time in U.S.-China relations. Despite China’s impressive economic growth, its poor human rights record is an obstacle to realizing its full potential. While we had hoped Secretary Clinton would publicly say what everyone knows—that the human rights situation in China is not only poor, but worsening—we welcomed her citation of specific examples of China’s failure to respect human rights—including its persecution of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and others who peacefully advocate change, its repression of minorities in Tibet, its censorship of bloggers, its crackdown on people seeking to practice their faiths, and its jailing of lawyers who seek recourse for injustice.
“As next week’s summit commences, we urge President Obama to reaffirm Secretary Clinton’s call for China to release political prisoners, end its persecution of human rights defenders and the lawyers who represent them, respect the rights of the Chinese people to freely express themselves, including on the Internet, and allow all people to worship freely. As today’s speech made clear, China’s society and economy – as well as its international standing and influence – will only achieve its full potential when its policies are rooted in respect for human rights and the rule of law. We agree with Secretary Clinton that the success of the U.S.-China relationship must be judged on the outcomes that relationship produces for people on the ground. In light of the deteriorating situation, it is clear that there is much work to do.”
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