U.S.-China APEC Meeting Should Include Focus on Human Rights

Washington, DC – This weekend President Barack Obama will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao during the 19th Asia-Pacific Economic Corporation (APEC) Informal Leadership Meeting. In anticipation of their discussion, Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino issued the following statement: “Economic issues are at the heart of this weekend’s APEC meeting, but it would be a mistake to give China a free pass on answering for its costly human rights abuses. As President Obama and President Hu Jintao meet in Hawaii, Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and blind human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng remain imprisoned. China’s citizens are forced to endure widespread internet censorship, repression of free speech, and infringements on freedom of religion. If President Obama fails to state publicly the United States’ opposition to these abuses, he gives currency to China’s approach and breaks faith with those brave Chinese citizens who are sacrificing their freedom to press peacefully for change. President Obama should make clear in his meeting with President Hu that China’s failure to respect universal human rights standards is unacceptable and remains a barrier to a strong bilateral relationship. In this uncertain global economy, China can be expected to throw its weight around. But in the marketplace of ideas, its record on human rights is abysmal and must be challenged.”


Published on November 11, 2011


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