Growing sense of alarm in U.S. about human rights developments in China

The New York Times reports: A top State Department official said Thursday that there was a “growing sense of alarm in the United States about human rights developments in China,” vowing that the issue would feature prominently in summit talks between President Xi Jinping of China and President Obama in Washington next month.

The official, Tom Malinowski, the assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, cited concerns about a proposed law in China that would severely restrict civil society and nongovernmental organizations, as well as recent roundups of lawyers and activists.

“Our ability to have a very positive summit of the sort that the Chinese government and the U.S. government wants will certainly be affected by the extent to which things get better or worse in the interim,” Mr. Malinowski said, addressing reporters after the close of the 19th U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue, in which diplomats from the two countries criticized each other’s record on human rights.

The Chinese diplomats raised concerns about recent police shootings in the United States. “The Ferguson case was raised briefly,” Mr. Malinowski said, “and I actually thought this was quite interesting because they said, ‘We all saw that on TV,’ and my response, without in any way diminishing the seriousness of the problem that we are facing in the United States, was, ‘Exactly, you saw it on TV.’ ”

Reporters in China are not free to report on similar episodes of violence, and victims, their family members and lawyers are not able to petition for redress without fear of retribution from the government, Mr. Malinowski said he told his Chinese counterparts, who did not participate in the news briefing. [Continue reading…]

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