US, China to hold human rights talks

 Published: 4/21/2011 10:54:01 PM GMT
Original Cached

BEIJING (AFP) – China and the United States will hold human rights talks in Beijing next week, the State Department announced, amid a Chinese crackdown on government critics that has drawn US condemnation.

The "discussions will focus on human rights developments, including the recent negative trend of forced disappearances, extralegal detentions, and arrests and convictions," the State Department said in a statement on Friday.

Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Michael Posner will head an inter-agency delegation to Beijing on April 27-28 for the recurring US-China Human Rights Dialogue, the statement said.

China has launched its toughest crackdown on dissent in years, hauling away scores of activists and rights lawyers since anonymous online appeals emerged in February calling for "Jasmine" protests each Sunday around the country.

The online campaign aims to encourage public calls for government reform similar to the "Jasmine" revolutions that have rocked the Arab world, but no public demonstrations have been reported in China so far.

The "rule of law, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, labour and minority rights, and other human rights issues" will also be discussed during next week's talks in Beijing, according to the statement.

The US State Department has criticised the clampdown and called for the release of detainees, including prominent artist Ai Weiwei, an outspoken critic of the country's ruling Communist Party.

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