US hold ‘tough discussions’ with China on serious rights issues

Tibetan Review,  30 April 2011

The United States said Apr 28 that it raised a number of serious human concerns with China during their two-day, annual rights dialogue in Beijing and that the two sides had “a tough set of discussions”. Reports cited Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner as saying the talks were expansive and in depth, and also included issues such as Internet freedom, religious freedom, Tibet, and Xinjiang.

“In recent months, we’ve seen a serious backsliding on human rights, and a discussion of these negative trends dominated the human rights dialogue these past two days,” voanews.com Apr 28 quoted Posner as saying.  “We have been and are very concerned over recent months by reports that dozens of people, including public interest lawyers, writers, artists like Ai Weiwei, and others, have been arrested, detained, or in some cases, disappeared, with no regard to legal measures.”

On the recent detention and disappearance of well known artist and activist Ai Weiwei, Mr Posner was quoted as saying, “What I would say is that on that case, we certainly did not get an answer that satisfied. … There was no sense of comfort from the response, or the lack of response.”

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Monks, Chinese Forces in Uneasy Peace

Radio Free Asia, 29 April 2011

Armed Chinese police have pulled back from a besieged monastery but wait nearby in camouflaged vehicles.

Photo sent by a listener in Tibet

Kirti Monastery in an undated photo.

Tibetan monks remaining at a restive Buddhist monastery in China’s Sichuan province are being forced to undergo a “grueling” routine of political re-education by Chinese authorities after 300 of their number were forcibly removed by Chinese security forces, sources said.

The detained monks from Kirti monastery in the Ngaba prefecture were taken away in buses on the night of April 21 by Chinese armed police who also brutally attacked a crowd of mostly elderly Tibetans outside the monastery, killing two.

Following the monks’ removal, “there have been no reports of additional detentions or arrests,” said Kanyag Tsering, a monk at Kirti monastery’s branch monastery in exile in Dharamsala, India, citing sources in the region.

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WUC Announcement: International Conference on the Future of Uyghurs – Second UPDATE

Press Release – For immediate release
29 April 2011
Contact:  World Uyghur Congress www.uyghurcongress.org
0049 (0) 89 5432 1999 or contact@uyghurcongress.org

From May 2-8, 2011 the international conference The Future of Uyghur People in East Turkestan co-sponsored by Freedom House, World Uyghur Congress (WUC), Uyghur American Association (UAA) and the International Uyghur Human Rights and Democracy Foundation (IUHRDF), will take place in Washington, D.C.

The World Uyghur Congress is pleased to announce that the opening ceremony of the conference will be held at:

Congressional Meeting Room South of the U.S. Capitol Building

The opening ceremony will commence on May 2, 2011 at 10.00h with a speech by WUC President and longstanding Uyghur human rights activist Rebiya Kadeer, and will include a number of distinguished speakers.

Scheduled guest speakers are:

Hon. Frank R. Wolf (U.S. Congressman)
Hon. Jim McGovern (U.S. Congressman)
Hon. James Moran (U.S. Congressman)
Hon. Chris Smith (U.S. Congressman, tbc)
Hon. David Wu (U.S. Congressman, tbc)
Hon. Keith Ellison (U.S. Congressman)
Mr. Carl Gershman (President, National Endowment for Democracy)
Dr. Gunawardena-Vaughn (Director of the International Religious Freedom Consortium and the Southeast Asia Program, Freedom House)
Ms. Louisa Coan Greve (Vice President, National Endowment for Democracy)
Mr. Randall Shriver (Former Assistant Secretary of State)
T. Kumar (Advocacy Director for Asia and the Pacific, Amnesty International USA)
Dr. Sophie Richardson (Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch, Asia Division, tbc)
Dr. Dru Gladney, Professor at Pomona College at Claremont, CA
Dr. Sean Roberts, Professor at George Washington University

This conference is an internal conference for the Uyghur Diaspora community and its main goal is to provide a constructive forum for Uyghur leaders from around the world to discuss the ongoing violations of civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights suffered by the Uyghur people in East Turkestan.  The delegates will also discuss the situation of Uyghur refugees around the world in order to find effective solutions to provide legal and moral assistance and support.

Delegates from all over the world will explore common strategies, effective political platforms, and future steps. Delegates will include members of the WUC and non-WUC affiliated Uyghur community leaders and intellectuals. Around 200 Uyghur delegates from more than 20 countries from around the world are expected to participate in the conference.

The WUC warmly welcomes international media to attend the Opening Ceremony at the U.S. Capitol Building in the morning of May 2 and cover the historic conference. The WUC will do its best to assist the international media to cover the conference and create convenient conditions for their work.

For questions and media inquiries, please contact:

US:
Omer Kanat okanat@iuhrdf.org
Alim Seytoff aseytoff@uyghuramerican.org
Phone: +1 202 4781920 ext. 106
Fax: +1 202 4781910

Germany:
Dolkun Isa dolkun@gmail.com
Phone: +49 89 54321999
Fax: +49 89 54349789

 

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U.S. and China miles apart on human rights

USA Today, 29 April 2011
By Calum MacLeod

BEIJING — U.S. officials brought multiple questions to human rights talks this week in China, where the worst crackdown on dissent in years has seen scores of people detained in recent months. They’ll leave with precious few answers.

“Our disagreements are profound,” Michael Posner, assistant secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, said at the close of the two-day U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue on Thursday. China’s “serious backsliding on human rights” dominated what Posner called “a tough set of discussions.”

Concerning Ai Weiwei, a prominent artist and activist detained April 3, “we certainly did not get an answer that satisfies,” Posner said. On Teng Biao, a leading human rights lawyer detained without charge since February 19, “I continue to have real concerns,” said Posner, who also revealed the U.S. was no nearer making any contact with Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest in Beijing ever since her husband, jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo, won the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize in October.

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U.S. Envoy Sees ‘Backsliding’ of Human Rights in China

New York Times, 28 April 2011
By MICHAEL WINES

BEIJING — The chief United States representative to human rights discussions with China offered a cheerless portrait of those talks after their conclusion on Thursday, saying the United States was worried by “a serious backsliding” of freedoms in China and at loggerheads with Beijing officials over many aspects of the issue.

“Our disagreements are profound,” the envoy, Assistant Secretary of State Michael H. Posner, said at a news conference at the United States Embassy here in Beijing, even as he expressed optimism that China’s rights situation would improve over time.

In the two days of talks this week, however, Mr. Posner indicated that Chinese officials offered few if any concrete responses to American queries about the conditions of the human rights and legal activists who have been seized or imprisoned by Chinese authorities. And he said that the talks, while “respectful in tone,” were colored with new seriousness on both sides by the perception that disagreements between the nations had widened.

“I don’t think anybody stood up and said, ‘Oh yeah, things have gotten worse,’ except me,” he said. But, he added, “there’s no question that the atmosphere is different, because the facts are different.”

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U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF): 2011 Annual Report

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, 28 April 2011

USCIRF — The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2011 Annual Report and recommended that the Secretary of State name the following nations “countries of particular concern” or CPCs:  Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. CPCs are nations whose conduct marks them as the world’s worst religious freedom violators and human rights abusers.

The 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) requires that the United States designate annually as CPCs countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic and egregious violations of the universal right to freedom of religion or belief.  USCIRF’s Annual Report assesses conditions in these and other nations and provides policy prescriptions tailored to each CPC.

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Dalai Lama’s Political Successor Elected

Academic beats two other candidates to become new prime minister in exile.
 
 

RFA , Lobsang Sangay, April 27, 2011

 

Originally published by RFA, 27 Apr 2011

 

Harvard law scholar Lobsang Sangay was elected the new prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile on Wednesday and immediately vowed to play an effective role when he takes over political leadership from the Dalai Lama.

Sangay, 43, garnered 55 percent of the votes cast, beating two other candidates, in the final round of polling held on March 20, according to a statement by the Central Tibetan Administration based in India’s hill town of Dharamsala, the seat of the exile government.

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U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue: Soft Power Gone Hard?

Originally published by Wall Street Journal, April 27 2011

By Kin Cheung/Associated Press

 

 
 
 
Pro-democracy protesters and artists hold a banner of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and Chinese writing “Undaunted Art, Innocent Truth” during a demonstration in Hong Kong Saturday, April 23, 2011 as they demand release of Ai. U.S. diplomats planned to discuss recent disappearances and detentions of Chinese dissidents during human rights talks in Beijing this week, the U.S. State Department said.
 
With Beijing in the midst of unyielding crackdown on dissidents, how much can the latest round of U.S.-China human rights discussions, currently underway in Beijing, possibly hope to accomplish?

The prospect of Chinese and U.S. officials holding constructive talks on human rights didn’t seem so absurd in back in January. At the time, China was in the midst of an elaborate “soft power” push, rolling out an glossy national image ad on Times Square just as Chinese president Hu Jintao was making his way to the White House for a summit with Barack Obama.

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