Gaps remain in China-US human rights talks

10:42, April 28, 2011      

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Seemingly perennially opposed on human rights, China and the US met for a dialogue on the issue on Wednesday, in the first face-to-face exchange to occur since a round of finger-pointing earlier this month.

However, the long-standing chasm remained as Beijing opted to try and reduce misunderstandings while Washington stuck to its demands for immediate reform, analysts said, turning the debate into a mere posturing session, showing off different ideologies, values and national interests.

The US criticized China's human rights record in its 2010 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices published on April 8, which China responded to with a similar human rights critique of the US the next day.

Director-General of the Foreign Ministry's International Department Chen Xu headed the Chinese delegation on Wednesday to the two-day 16th China-US Human Rights Dialogue, for discussions with the US delegation headed by Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.
Details of progress at the dialogue were not immediately available.

Last week, the US State Department strongly announced that they would raise concerns at the dialogue over China's "negative trend of forced disappearances, extralegal detentions, and arrests and convictions."

The US has criticized China for what it views as an escalated detention wave of dissidents since some online calls organized silent protests on streets of some Chinese cities.

The Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi denied this social tension in March.

Ni Feng, director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times that the wave of unrest in North Africa and Middle East may have pushed the US into taking a bolder stance.

Zhu Feng, a professor at Peking University's School of International Studies, said, "The significance of the dialogue is not whether substantive progress or compromise can be made, but in its meaning as an indicator of stable and improving mutual ties."

Wang Fan, from the China Foreign Affairs University, said Beijing's hopes of the dialogue becoming an effective channel for cooperation have repeatedly been dashed.

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Source: Global Times
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