Obama sends out gentle message to China on rights and free information flow

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Shanghai, Nov.16 (ANI): Visiting US President Barack Obama has sent out a gentle message to China to facilitate the free flow of information and to guarantee equality for ethnic and religious minorities.

Addressing a gathering of local university students here Monday,and using a rare, live-streamed, unfiltered internet broadcast, Obama raised questions about Chinese government repression thrice, always in the context of explaining why the United States will not shy away from promoting equal rights for women and ethnic minorities around the world, and why he believes censorship only serves to weaken a society.

"That is why America will always speak out for those core principles around the world. We do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation. But we also don't believe that the principles that we stand for are unique to our nation. These freedoms of expression and worship and access to information and political participation, we believe are universal rights. They should be available to all people, including religious and ethnic minorties, whether they are in the United States, China, or any nation," the Washington Times quoted Obama, as saying.

Obama's interaction with 500 university students here was closely scrutinized by the Chinese Government for how he would address the most delicate issue dividing the U.S. and China, human rights.

He did so by explaining how and why those rights have grown to be so deeply valued in the United States, through the battles over slavery, the effort to gain women the right to vote, and the ability of immigrants to be welcomed into American society.

He also made a full-throated pitch for a free and unfiltered web use as a valueable check on the powerful.

"I am a big believer in technology and I am a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information. I believe that the more freely information flows, the stronger a society becomes," he said. (ANI)

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