Nov 11, 2009

Tibet: Obama to Raise Human Rights with China's Hu

Active ImagePresident Barack Obama will directly raise human rights with Chinese President Hu Jintao next week, after being criticized for not meeting Tibet's spiritual leader Dalai Lama before visiting Beijing.
Below is an article published by AFP:

Obama, who leaves the United States for his debut Asian tour as president on Thursday, [12 November 2009] will talk about religious freedom, the plight of Tibet, and other human rights issues with Hu, a senior US official said.

"The president will raise human rights concerns directly with President Hu in his meetings," Jeffrey Bader, Obama's senior director for Asian Affairs on the National Security Council.

"The kind of issues that are on our minds are issues of freedom of expression, access to information, freedom of religion, rule of law," Bader said.

"I have every reason to expect that the issue of Tibet will come up on the trip," Bader said, adding that Obama was ready to meet the Dalai Lama "at the appropriate time."

The Dalai Lama -- who fled Chinese rule in Tibet more than 50 years ago -- spent a week in Washington last month on his first visit in 18 years that did not include a meeting with the US president.

Obama was heavily criticized by human rights advocates for not welcoming the Dalai Lama personally to the White House, with critics claiming that he was downplaying Tibet and human rights issues to avoid antagonizing China.

The White House said Obama would meet the exiled spiritual leader later this year but only after he pays his first presidential visit to China, with which the administration has been building warm relations.

Obama is due to have dinner with Hu on Monday, November 16, before formal talks the next day and a state banquet with the Chinese leader, officials said.

He will have previously visited Shanghai, on a trip that also includes stops in Japan, Singapore and South Korea.