Archive for the ‘human rights’ Category

Clinton pushes for stronger China role

March 27, 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has moved aggressively and quickly to secure a stronger role in what she has called the world’s most important relationship: U.S. dealings with China. But military and economic tensions between the two powers keep getting in her way.

By Foster Klug
Associated Press

As the international financial crisis worsens, the two colossal economies have bickered over their intertwined interests. China is nervous about its position as Washington’s biggest foreign creditor, holding an estimated $1 trillion in U.S. government debt.

Beijing and Washington also have sparred over military matters, including a confrontation between American and Chinese vessels in the South China Sea and harsh words over Pentagon claims that China’s rapidly growing military strength could allow it to win short, intense conflicts against high-tech adversaries.

These issues will demand high-level attention from the Treasury and Defense departments. Clinton is pushing, however, to ensure that her diplomatic corps is not marginalized as the United States engages a country the Obama administration needs as a partner in efforts to solve the world’s major problems.

Clinton began staking out her claim on China early. A week after President Barack Obama’s Jan. 20 inauguration she signaled her determination not to stand on the sidelines in her first comments to reporters at the State Department.

“The strategic dialogue that was begun in the Bush administration turned into an economic dialogue,” Clinton said. “That’s a very important aspect of our relationship with China, but it’s not the only aspect of our relationship.”

In Beijing last month, on her first foreign trip as secretary, Clinton said she and new Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner “will both be fully engaged” in discussions with China. Clinton then pleasantly surprised China by saying the Obama administration would not let its human rights concerns interfere with cooperation with Beijing.

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Obama Uses Company That Refuses to Stand Up To China for On Line Town Hall

March 26, 2009

Nobody in the United States can probably ever again stand up to China: now that the Chinese virtually own America and the Obama Administration will add to what China owns and the money U.S. taxpayers give to China in debt and interest payments….

So today President Obama Himself added to Google’s world wide luster by using Google’s “Moderator” for his Internet on line town hall meeting.

Google should be ashamed, though, of how it has knuckled under to Chinese pressure and how Google refuses to admit that it is aiding and abetting China’s miserable and barbaric acts of human rights abuses….

Google CEO Eric Schmidt is an Obama buddy….

So the President of the United States can use Google to get his message out and when Tibetan protesters put a video on Google’s YouTube to get their message out and China blocks YouTube: the American media is silent….

Seems like America’s talk about human rights is just that: talk.

Obama shakes hands with Google's CEO Eric Schmidt.

Barack Obama and Google CEO Eric Schmidt shake hands.
Photo: AP

Google Moderator is White House Choice:

Google and Obama:


China boosts military, cyberwarfare capabilities

Chinese find opportunity in U.S. real-estate slump

 Pentagon: China Weapons Development Threatens Taiwan

 Most American Media Ignore Reasons Behind China-YouTube Debacle — BBC Has Stones

China Shuts Down YouTube After Video Shows China Police Killing Protester — Google Clueless

 U.S. Ability to Speak Out On Human Rights in China — Tougher Every Day

Inside China’s Fight Against Internet Addiction

China says Internet crackdown to be “long-lasting”

China Extends War on Free Speech Hidden by Fight Against Porn into Cell Phones

Chinese censor parts of Obama speech dealing with dissent, communism

 Internet Limits on Sex, Porn Used to Mask Limits on Freedom, Human Rights?

 Internet: Do You Really Believe China Cares About Porn, Public Morality?
“Unafraid” of Internet, China appears to block YouTube

Most American Media Ignore Reasons Behind China-YouTube Debacle — BBC Has Stones

March 25, 2009

China pulled the plug on YouTube: cutting off 300 million Chinese viewers.

The issue is one of free speech and international access.

But it is also about censorship and control.  A video of Chinese police beating a Tibetan protester to death is at the heart of China’s new action.

Most U.S. media have only reported that China pulled the YouTube plug.  Nothing more.

That is a crime on top of a crime — so as not to rile China we suspect.

This allows China to restrict freedom of speech and to violate norms of human rights everywhere else….



China’s move to block YouTube has been criticised by a leading advocacy group that promotes constitutional liberties in the digital age.

The Centre for Democracy and Technology told the BBC: “China’s actions fail to live up to international norms.”

The video sharing site has been off limits in China since Monday.

“China’s apparent blocking of YouTube is at odds with the rule of law and the right to freedom of expression,” said CDT president Leslie Harris.

“Anytime a country limits or takes down content online , it must be forthright and specific about its actions and do so only in narrowly defined circumstances consistent with international human rights and the rule of law,” stated Ms Harris.

Google, which owns YouTube, told the BBC that it had no idea why the Chinese government had taken this action.

“We don’t know the reason for the block and are working to restore access to users in China as quickly as possible,” said spokesperson Scott Rubin.


Earlier in the week, the BBC reported from Beijing that China cut off access to the website because it carried a video showing soldiers beating monks and other Tibetans.

The graphic video was released by Tibetan exiles and showed hundreds of uniformed Chinese troops swarming through a Tibetan monastery. It included footage of a group of troops beating a man with batons.

Read the rest:

China Shuts Down YouTube After Video Shows China Police Killing Protester — Google Clueless

March 24, 2009

A video that appears to show police fatally beating a Tibetan protester was a fake concocted by supporters of the Dalai Lama, China said Tuesday — the same day the video-sharing network YouTube said its service had been blocked in China.


The video has been posted on YouTube in recent days.

A spokesman for Google, which owns YouTube, said he couldn’t comment on the Chinese government‘s reason for the block.

“We are looking into it and working to ensure that the service is restored as soon as possible,” spokesman Scott Rubin said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Read the entire report:

Here’s part of the New York Times’ report:
“The instant speculation is that YouTube is being blocked because the Tibetan government in exile released a particular video,” said Xiao Qiang, adjunct professor of journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and editor of China Digital Times, a news Web site that chronicles political and economic changes in China.

Mr. Xiao said that the blocking of YouTube fits in with an apparent effort by China to step up its censorship of the Internet in recent months. Mr. Xiao said he was not surprised that YouTube, which also hosts videos about the Tiananmen Square protests, whose 20th anniversary is coming up, and many other subjects that Chinese authorities find objectionable, is being targeted.

New York Times:

 U.S. Ability to Speak Out On Human Rights in China — Tougher Every Day

Inside China’s Fight Against Internet Addiction

China says Internet crackdown to be “long-lasting”

China Extends War on Free Speech Hidden by Fight Against Porn into Cell Phones

Chinese censor parts of Obama speech dealing with dissent, communism

 Internet Limits on Sex, Porn Used to Mask Limits on Freedom, Human Rights?

 Internet: Do You Really Believe China Cares About Porn, Public Morality?
“Unafraid” of Internet, China appears to block YouTube

In this Tuesday March 10, 2009, file photo, Tibetan spiritual ... 
In this Tuesday March 10, 2009, file photo, Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, speaks to the media on the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule that sent him into exile, in Dharmsala, India. The South African government said Tuesday, March 24, 2009, that the Dalai Lama is not welcome until after the 2010 football World Cup, for fear tensions over Tibet would overshadow all other issues. Organizers said earlier that a peace conference scheduled in Johannesburg on Friday has been indefinitely postponed because the government had barred attendance by the Tibetan leader, who has clashed with China. Tibet’s government-in-exile said South Africa was acting under pressure from China, but South Africa’s government denied it. South Africa is China’s largest African trading partner.(AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia/file)

U.S. Ability to Speak Out On Human Rights in China — Tougher Every Day

March 24, 2009

China holds more U.S. debt that any other country — and will soon own more based upon the voracious borrowing of the United States.

This makes it increasingly more difficult for the Obama Administration or anyone else to get what they want from China.

When Hillary Clinton’s State Department admonishes China for any kind of human rights wrongdoing; the Chinese just laugh.

So today China said again it had no idea what restrictions were on the Internet inside China.

Yet YouTube seemed to be blocked.

China’s Foreign Ministry said it was “unafraid” of the Internet — despite a mountain of evidence that China controls the internet more than any other nation. 

U.S. companies like “Google” usually go along with anything China says: the fear of losing 1.3 billion customers is a big incentive to obey China….

The fact is, that China fears the Internet very much.  And this year China has between 20 and 40 million unemployed: an economic situation many fear could spark social unrest.  Add to that many anniversaries in China this year, including one for the uprising in Tiananmen in 1989.  So China is controlling the Internet more than ever this year….

And the West can’t do a thing about that….

Tiananmen Square in 1989.

See Michelle Malkin

 Inside China’s Fight Against Internet Addiction

China says Internet crackdown to be “long-lasting”

China Extends War on Free Speech Hidden by Fight Against Porn into Cell Phones

Chinese censor parts of Obama speech dealing with dissent, communism

 Internet Limits on Sex, Porn Used to Mask Limits on Freedom, Human Rights?

 Internet: Do You Really Believe China Cares About Porn, Public Morality?
“Unafraid” of Internet, China appears to block YouTube


Obama Backs-Off On Human Rights Issues: Economy is That Important

March 13, 2009

Despite the economic crisis, President Obama says he will not budge on anything in his ambitious agenda.

Anything, that is, except human rights.

Obama intends to plow ahead in his efforts to reform education, health care, America’s energy situation and the environment.

But on human rights, Obama has apparently agreed to bend….


By Steven R. Hurst
Associated Press

Advocates fear the Obama administration may be putting the human rights issue on the back burner to focus instead on coping with the global economic crisis and national security.

President Barack Obama sought the moral high ground on human rights with his early order to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and declaration that the United States would never again torture prisoners.

Those moves — which won nearly unanimous international praise — were made soon after Obama took office. He sought to repair the U.S. image abroad, correcting what he believed were mistaken Bush administration policies that had left the United States on the diplomatic outs with much of the world, even with some traditional allies.

But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton dulled the luster, rights advocates say, when she said during a trip to Asia that the administration — while still deeply concerned about human rights in China — could not let that interfere with cooperation with Beijing on the worldwide economic crisis and the fight to ease global climate change.

“We fear she may be setting this tone as a signal to the rest of the world that human rights are not going to be one of the main issues for the administration,” said T. Kumar, Amnesty International advocacy director for Asia. “Trade and security should not be promoted at the expense of human rights.”

Clinton pushed back Thursday after a Washington meeting with China‘s foreign minister, noting she and Yang Jiechi had a significant engagement on human rights and the situation in Tibet.

Human rights is part of our comprehensive dialogue” with China, she said. “It doesn’t take a front seat, a back seat or a middle seat. It is part of the broad range of issues that we are discussing.”

Beyond China, however, there is a considerable list of Obama positions that have raised doubts about how far the new president will shift from the policies of his predecessor.

_The administration has filed a legal brief that echoed Bush in maintaining that detainees in Afghanistan have no constitutional rights and arguing that enemy combatants held at Bagram Airfield cannot use U.S. courts to challenge their detention.

_Government lawyers continued to invoke the state secrets law in a federal court case that involves the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, in which U.S. operatives seized foreign suspects and handed them over to other countries for questioning. The law blocks the release of evidence the government deems secret and potentially harmful to U.S. security.

_The administration is feeling out Uzbekistan, which has one of the worst human rights records among the former Soviet republics, about using an air base to provide supplies and troops to Afghanistan. The move became necessary after neighboring Kyrgyzstan declared it was canceling the U.S. lease for a base in that Central Asian country.

_Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently greatly scaled back expectations in Afghanistan, declaring the United States was not going to be able to leave behind anything close to a western-style democracy. The U.S. rationale for its seven-year engagement in the country rested partly on having driven the Taliban from power. The Islamic fundamentalists ran a brutal regime that was particularly harsh in its treatment of women. The administration has recently said it was ready to reach out to Taliban members who are willing to work with the U.S.-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

Those and other human rights issues trouble advocates, but they emphasize Clinton’s very public remarks regarding China.

“Part of her challenge diplomatically is going to be able to work on many fronts,” said Amnesty International’s Curt Goering. “The United States cannot be credible on any issue unless it remains credible on human rights.”

He said Amnesty does not deny the need for pragmatism, but insists the United States must at the same time “signal it is serious about human rights.”

Kumar, likewise, acknowledged the pragmatism argument but said Clinton could have delivered her message in closed-door meetings with the Chinese. He said her public comments on human rights were bound to inspire serious questions about U.S. intentions under Obama.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked this week about comments by the Dalai Lama, the revered leader of Tibetan Buddhists who fled to exile as Tibet‘s 1959 uprising against Chinese rule collapsed. The Dalai Lama said Tibetans were living in “hell on earth” because of Chinese repression.

“The United States respects the territorial integrity of China and considers Tibet to be part of China,” Gibbs said. “At the same time, we’re concerned about the human rights situation in Tibet.”

Gibbs noted that Washington believes the Chinese government increased cultural and religious repression in Tibetan areas last year, and urged Beijing to engage in further negotiations with the exiled leader.

“We believe that substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama’s representatives that makes progress and brings about solutions to long standing issues is the best way to achieve true and lasting stability in Tibet,” Gibbs said, in a muted response to the perennial and fundamental human rights sore point.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood also rebutted the criticism in response to a Washington Post editorial that said Clinton “continues to devalue and undermine the U.S. diplomatic tradition of human rights advocacy.”

Wood said: “She realizes you have to sit down with, for example, her Chinese counterpart and make these points on human rights. But she also knows that’s not necessarily going to get you what you want at the end of the day, so you’ve got to find new and creative ways to influence the human rights situation in China and that’s what she’s trying to do.”

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Official: 4 Guantanamo Prisoners Transferred to Iraq

February 9, 2009

A senior Iraqi security official says that four prisoners have been transferred from the U.S. military detention center in Guantanamo Bay to Iraqi custody.

The security official says the men, Iraqis who were arrested in Afghanistan, have been interrogated by Iraqi authorities.

The official, who spoke Monday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, added that one Iraqi remained in Guantanamo.

The family of one of the prisoners, Hassan Abdul Hadi al-Jawhar, says the International Red Cross confirmed to them their son had been released.

Neda Abdul Hadi, Hassan’s sister, said her brother disappeared in 1999 while doing military service and later they received a letter from him in 2004 saying he was in Guantanamo.

–Associated Press

China faces unprecedented UN human rights scrutiny

February 9, 2009

China will face unprecedented scrutiny of its human rights record Monday in a key test of Beijing’s readiness to answer international criticism over its treatment of political opponents.

Beijing has sent a large, high-level delegation to Geneva to defend China’s human rights performance in the face of questioning from members of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“This is an important test both for China and for the United Nations,” says Nicholas Bequelin, a China expert with Human Rights Watch.

By Peter Ford
ChristianScience Monitor

Some observers doubt that the formal and generally nonconfrontational UN body will actually put China on the spot for the wide-ranging human rights violations of which its authoritarian government stands accused.

The United States declined to join the council when it was formed in 2006, saying the body was toothless. President Obama has said he will reconsider that decision.

Monday’s meeting “will be a kabuki dance, a farce,” argues Brett Schaefer, an analyst with the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, unless China takes foreign criticism more seriously than it has done until now.

Human rights activists here and abroad, however, express hopes that Monday’s meeting will indeed help speed China’s efforts to improve its rights record.

“International pressure is very helpful and very, very necessary to improve the human rights situation here,” says Li Heping, a well-known human rights lawyer who has himself been kidnapped and beaten up for his work.

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China hammers dissent despite looming UN review

February 6, 2009
Days before China‘s human rights record comes under scrutiny before a key U.N. panel, the government’s grip on dissent seems as firm as ever.

By AUDRA ANG, Associated Press Writer

A petitioner holds a paper with a Chinese character 'Injustice' ... 
A petitioner holds a paper with a Chinese character ‘Injustice’ as she with a group of about 30 people from around the country stage a protest in front of the State Council Information Office in Beijing Friday, Feb. 6, 2009. Police have taken away at least eight citizens trying to air their grievances in front a government building, days ahead of a key review of China’s human rights record by the United Nations.(AP Photo/Audra Ang)

Government critics have been rounded up and some imprisoned on vaguely defined state security charges. Corruption whistle blowers have been bundled away, while discussion of sensitive political and social topics on the Internet remains tightly policed.


On Friday, officers stationed outside a government building in Beijing took away at least eight people — members of a loosely organized group of 30 who had traveled to Beijing from around the country, seeking redress for a variety of problems, almost all centered around local corruption.

One member of the group, Li Fengxian, a gray-haired woman from the central province of Henan, held up a sign with the character for “injustice” painted on it.

Li, 65, said she has spent years fighting officials in her village who she claimed give away a poverty allowance allotted to her family to other officials.

The police response underscores the government’s determination to keep control over a fast-changing society — even in the face of a U.N. meeting to examine China’s human rights record.

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Cheney: Obama Could Easily Risk “catastrophic nuclear or biological attack”

February 4, 2009

Former Vice President Dick Cheney warned that there is a “high probability” that terrorists will attempt a catastrophic nuclear or biological attack in coming years, and said he fears the Obama administration’s policies will make it more likely the attempt will succeed. 

By Jim VandeHei, John F. Harris, Mike Allen

Google Maps has a clear satellite view of the US vice president's ... 
Dick Cheney.(AFP/File/Mandel Ngan)

In an interview Tuesday with Politico, Cheney unyieldingly defended the Bush administration’s support for the Guantanamo Bay prison and coercive interrogation of terrorism suspects. 

And he asserted that President Obama will either backtrack on his stated intentions to end those policies or put the country at risk in ways more severe than most Americans—and, he charged, many members of Obama’s own team—understand. 

“When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to an Al Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans, then I worry,” Cheney said. 

Protecting the country’s security is “a tough, mean, dirty, nasty business,” he said. “These are evil people. And we’re not going to win this fight by turning the other cheek.” 

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