US-China human rights talks to begin today in Washington

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New Delhi, May 14 (ANI): The two-day human rights dialogue between China and US will commence today in Washington.

Thus far the US approach to China's reported disregard for human rights has been characterized by frequent raps on the knuckles in the form of lecturing, imposing sanctions, proposing bills to condemn China at UN human rights conferences and linking human rights with trade, the China Daily reports. This approach has not met with much success.

Though critics are unconvinced about the effectiveness of the talks, they are probably the most productive way both governments can address human rights' issues confronting China.

"Dialogue is better than resistance," the paper quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu as having said on Thursday.

"China would like to talk to the US on the basis of equality and mutual respect and I hope this opportunity will increase the understanding of the two nations," he added.

The talks are being led by Michael Posner, the US assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, and Chen Xu, China's Foreign Affairs Ministry director general for international organizations, the paper reports.

With the coming of the Obama administration, there has been a significant shift in sentiment regarding China, he favours the "principled pragmatism" approach. The Chinese side has reciprocated this positivity.

Liang Shuying, an international law professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, said the talks suggest China is ready and willing to show the US how it has specified human rights protection in the Constitution and protected human rights through administrative litigation - although problems still exist in Chinese society.

The talks were scheduled for February, but were postponed due to US arms sales to Taiwan and Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama early this year.

Since 1990, the two governments have held 14 rounds of dialogue on human rights, the last in May 2008.

Such talks were suspended for six years from 2002 to 2008 after the US criticized China at a UN human rights conference. (ANI)

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