DHARAMSHALA: Several US lawmakers have written a letter to President Obama urging him to raise the issue of deteriorating human rights situation in Chine with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the latter’s upcoming visit to the US in September this year. (Click here)
The US lawmakers who wrote the letter include Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, along with Senators Pat Leahy (D-VT), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Susan Collins (R-ME), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and John Cornyn (R-TX).
In the letter, the Senators wrote: “We understand that there are many important issues in the U.S.-China bilateral relationship—we expect that China’s recent actions in the East and South China Seas, economic and trade issues, climate change, as well as the recent cyberattacks, will figure prominently in your discussions. While these issues deserve a full and robust exchange of views, so too do human rights…Mr. President, we recognize that managing the U.S.-China relationship is an enormous and complex task. We firmly believe that a full and frank discussion of our concerns regarding human rights and civil society in China would serve to strengthen our relationship.”
The senators also urged President Obama to raise the issue of Chinese interference in selecting the reincarnation of Tibetan Buddhist Lamas.
They wrote: “In particular, we hope that you will emphasize to President Xi that China should respect the basic and universally recognized right of religious freedom, to include refraining from persecution of Falun Gong practitioners and from interference in the centuries-old system of recognizing reincarnate Tibetan Buddhist lamas.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping is making his first official state visit to the US in September this year amidst a growing crescendo of protests from Chinese human rights activists calling on the US to cancel the meeting.
Activists have earlier written a petition to US President Barack Obama to cancel the upcoming visit of the Chinese President Xi Jinping, after more than 145 human rights lawyers and campaigners were detained in China as part of a rapidly intensifying campaign against civil society.
“Since Xi Jinping came to power, China’s human rights record has kept worsening.
“Xi’s state visit to the US scheduled for September this year should be cancelled, and all official exchanges with the Chinese government should be suspended until this matter is resolved,” the petition sent to the White House said.