US would continue to press China on rights violations: Clinton

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jan 14 (PTI) The US today underlined theneed for China to address Washington''s concerns on humanrights violations in the country, ahead of a key visit ofChinese President when the issue is expected to come up fordiscussions.

The United States would continue to and voice itsconcerns on the human rights violations in China, saidSecretary of State Hillary Clinton, days ahead of the visit ofthe Chinese President Hu Jintao to Washington.

�On the human rights, a matter that remains at theheart of American diplomacy, America will continue to speakout and to press China when it censors bloggers and imprisonsactivists, when religious believers, particularly those inunregistered groups, are denied full freedom of worship," shesaid while delivering the first Holbrooke Memorial lecture.

She said US will remain concerned when lawyers andlegal advocates are sent to prison simply for representingclients who challenge the government''s positions, and whensome, like Chen Guangcheng, are persecuted even after they arereleased.

As a founding member of the United Nations, "Chinahas committed to respecting the rights of all its citizens,Clinton said, as 39 Tibetan associations and support groups inthe US today urged President Barack Obama to raise the issueof Tibet, in particular human rights condition there, with hisChinese counterpart at the White House next week.

Clinton said US has reiterate its call for therelease of Liu Xiaobo and the many other political prisonersin China, including those under house arrest and thoseenduring enforced disappearances, such as Gao Xhiasheng.

"We urge China to protect the rights of minorities inTibet and Xinjiang, the rights of all people to expressthemselves and worship freely, and the rights of civil societyand religious organizations to advocate their positions withina framework of the rule of law," the top US diplomatunderlined.

She reminded the Chinese leadership that a vibrantcivil society would help address some of China''s most pressingissues from food safety to pollution to education to healthcare.

"The longer China represses freedom, the longer itwill miss out on these opportunities and the longer that NobelPrize winners'' empty chairs in Oslo will remain a symbol of agreat nation''s unrealized potential and unfulfilled promise,"Clinton said.

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