DHARAMSHALA, August 5: China has rejected US claim that human rights situation in China is deteriorating. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Friday that the Chinese are enjoying unprecedented rights but added the rights must be exercised within China's law. The two countries met on July 30 and 31 in Kunming in Yunnan province for the 18th US – China human rights talks.
The US side led by Uzra Zeya, the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, has said the overall human rights situation in China is deteriorating. The US has also asked China to engage in substantive dialogue with the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama or his representatives without any preconditions.
In some cases, we were able to receive some information," Zeya said, but "overall, it fell short of our expectations."
“We also expressed deep concern about China’s stepped-up attempts to silence dissent and tighten controls over Tibetans and Uighurs, emphasizing that policies ostensibly designed to maintain stability are counterproductive when they deny Chinese citizens their universal human rights and fundamental freedoms."
Since 2009, as many as 120 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet calling for freedom in Tibet and return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile.
The US – China human rights talks is the first since the new Chinese leaders, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang, assumed power. The two nations started the annual human rights dialogue in the wake of China’s 1989 clampdown on demonstrations in Tiananmen Square though China refused to talk from 2002 till 2008.
Earlier, the Human Rights Watch has said the US must demand concrete public commitments to change policies and practices that violate human rights. “The US government should press the Chinese government to adopt concrete and clear benchmarks, and evaluate the progress in subsequent dialogues,” HRW said. “Without these benchmarks, the human rights dialogue risks serving as a perfunctory diplomatic exercise, rather than a genuinely useful advocacy tool.”
On Friday, a Chinese journalist, Xiaoshu, was forcibly arrested for his public support of Xu Zhiyong, the Chinese activist who champions building a stronger civil society through his New Citizens Movement.