News & Current Affairs

August 7, 2008

Bush chides Beijing over rights

Bush chides Beijing over rights

US President George W Bush has expressed “deep concerns” over China’s human rights record in a speech on the eve of the Beijing Olympics.

“The US believes the people of China deserve the fundamental liberty that is the natural right of all human beings,” he said in the Thai capital Bangkok.

He praised China’s economy but said only respect for human rights would let it realise its full potential.

Mr Bush has been criticised by some campaigners for going to the Games.

He was due to fly to Beijing following the speech in Bangkok, a stop on his final trip to Asia before he leaves office in January.

The wide-ranging address, which included criticism of the regime in Burma, was more nuanced than Mr Bush’s past speeches on China.

It is unlikely to cause much offence in China, our correspondent says, and many people will see it more as a valedictory speech for Mr Bush’s record in Asia rather than an outline of future US policy.

‘Firm opposition’

President Bush said he was optimistic about China’s future and said change in China would arrive “on its own terms”.

Young people who grow up with the freedom to trade goods will ultimately demand the freedom to trade ideas…
George W Bush
US president

But his criticisms of China’s human rights record were clear.

“America stands in firm opposition to China’s detention of political dissidents, human rights advocates and religious activists,” he said.

When it was controversially awarded the games in 2001 by the International Olympic Committee, Beijing promised to make improvements in human rights, media freedoms and the provision of health and education.

But campaigners, such as Amnesty International, say Chinese activists have been jailed, people made homeless, journalists detained and websites blocked, while there has been increased use of labour camps and prison beatings.

In March, China suppressed violent anti-government protests in Tibet. Beijing said rioters killed at least 19 people, but Tibetan exiles said security forces killed dozens of protesters in the worst unrest in Tibet for 20 years.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled Buddhist leader, rejected Beijing’s claims he was behind the riots and said he expressed good wishes for the success of Games.

On Thursday, at least 1,500 Buddhists were holding a protest in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu against what they called China’s violation of religious freedom in Tibet. Correspondents say there have been scuffles with police.

In Beijing, police dragged away three US Christians who tried to demonstrate on Tiananmen Square in support of religious freedom.

Four pro-Tibet activists from Britain and the US were arrested and held briefly in the city on Wednesday after a protest close to the Olympic stadium.

Burma refugees

In his address, Mr Bush said the US recognised that the growth sparked by China’s free market reforms was “good for the Chinese people” and the country’s’ purchasing power was “good for the world”.

On foreign policy, he commended China’s “critical leadership role” in the negotiations to end North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme, and the “constructive relationship” between Beijing and Washington over Taiwan.

He also called for an end to what he described as tyranny in Thailand’s neighbour, Burma.

Friday’s Olympic opening ceremony coincides with the 20th anniversary of a democracy uprising in Burma, which was crushed by the military.

First lady Laura Bush flew to the Thai-Burmese border to spend the day at the Mae La refugee camp where about 35,000 refugees live, having fled their homes.

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1 Comment »

  1. “Free press” Bush means the press can be bought and manipulated to serve the corporate agenda because the Chinese press are controlled by the government. I do see the difference however bush thinks there is; well you can try and pull the wool over the eyes of someone else. This is a united effort by the corporations of the west to bombard the Chinese with negative marketing which is really blackmail at this crucial time in Chinese history. Their aim is for China to allow the western corporation’s access to the 1 Billion + untapped consumers so they can sell them their products and services.

    There are many intelligence services agents under the guise of journalist in China spinning webs of subversion. Why the need ? well let’s call it economics the western corporations want access to the Chinese population and all the nationalised sectors to be in private hands. They are doing their utmost to undermine and humiliate China while billions of us watch they are turning this prestigious sporting event by politicising it.

    What happened to the Sydney Olympics and the aborigines being unrecognised, mistreated, ghettoised and ignored of their rightful ancestral lands ? i will tell you it’s because western corporations own Australia just like South Africa only white might is right so shut up and don’t fight for your rights ! Expect more serious trauma to be inflicted on the Chinese because these corporations will not stop until they get what they want. All these rich kids making protest have the time and the money to make themselves a name these egomaniacs while the rest of us work 9 to 5 and 7 days a week.

    The Chinese are the workhorse of the world and they can make almost anything so why would they allow money to go to western banks when they can provide all the needs of their consumers, pick up anything and read the reverse text “made in ?” yes CHINA ! Western corporations know the Chinese are modernising and developing at a fast rate and they see this as a threat because they don’t want the Chinese making and selling all the things their countrymen want because they feel this is against DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM, how absurd. Bush didn’t create FREEDOM neither has he a monopoly of this inalienable right go read your CONSTITUTION bush.

    Comment by Phillip Moiller — August 7, 2008 @ 11:27 pm


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