Saturday, June 02, 2007

US tells China human rights record could compromise Olympics

Printer-Friendly version Comments...

I wonder what Bobby Fletcher's reaction is about this 'frank warning'?

Sudan Tribune: June 1, 2007 (WASHINGTON) — Washington on Friday issued an unusually frank warning to China that its hosting of the Olympics could be marred by its poor human rights record, and notably its failure to acknowledge the Tiananmen massacre of pro-democracy activists 18 years ago.

Bush speaks about the injustices present in the Darfur region of Sudan at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington April 18, 2007 (Reuters)

The US State Department has marked next Monday’s 18th anniversary of the massacre by complaining that "the international community and ordinary Chinese citizens still do not know how many people were killed or injured".

"The fullest possible accounting by the Chinese Government of those killed, detained, or missing is long overdue," department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said.

"Many in China and elsewhere are unaware that thousands of Chinese citizens were arrested and sentenced without trial in 1989 and an estimated 100 to 200 still languish in prison for Tiananmen-related activities.

"As the 2008 Olympic Games approach, the international community will place China under greater scrutiny.

"We urge the Chinese Government to move forward with a re-examination of Tiananmen, to release all Tiananmen-era prisoners and to cease harassment of the families of victims of Tiananmen."

The unusually open US criticism has come shortly after the State Department’s top east Asia official, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, returned from a visit to Beijing for talks on a series of bilateral disputes.

During the trip, the Chinese expressed frustration over US policy on a range of issues, including the North Korean nuclear stand-off and US demands for sanctions against Sudan over the Darfur crisis, a senior US official said.

The State Department reference to next year’s summer Olympic Games in Beijing is particularly pointed, given China’s strongly-voiced concern over calls for a boycott of the event by US and international human rights activists due to China’s reticence to pressure Sudan, a key Beijing ally, to accept a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur.

Beijing has repeatedly dismissed suggestions that hundreds or thousands of people were killed in the Tiananmen crackdown, insisting that its handling of the protest was necessary to ensure China’s economic growth and stability.

Friday’s statement contrasts with recent US efforts to highlight increased cooperation between Washington and Beijing on a range of matters, including multilateral negotiations to curb North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs.

But US officials say Beijing has begun voicing frustration over Washington’s handling of a banking dispute with Pyongyang, which has held up implementation of a February agreement under which North Korea agreed to give up its nuclear weapons program.

China also voiced displeasure over a US decision this week to impose unilateral sanctions on Sudan for its refusal to allow a major UN-led peacekeeping force into war-torn Darfur.

China is the biggest buyer of Sudanese oil.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

No comments: