The United States and China have begun an annual two day human rights dialogue. The issues discussed include repression of Tibet and exiled Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng. Human rights groups have also urged the US to hold China accountable for numerous crackdowns on human rights lawyers and activists.
Though human rights have been an ongoing discussion between China and the US, American power to promote human rights has been diminished as Chinas has grown.
The talk is being led on the US side by Assistant Secretary Michael Posner. State Department spokeswoman Victora Nuland has stated:
“We are always, whether it’s at the presidential level, the secretarial level, or at this working group level, raising not only individual cases, but our concerns about rule of law, justice for individuals, equality, Tibet.”
In regards to the harassment of activist Guangcheng, Nuland has also offered: “We always raise the situation with regard to his family members and supporters and call for appropriate handling and no reprisals.”
Guangcheng has summarized his position saying: “There are laws that could protect my nephew — including laws against torture — but some Chinese officials routinely flout the law with impunity. . . . China does not lack laws, but the rule of law.”
The US also reportedly seeks China’s help on numerous international issues such as the civil war in Syria and the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea.
Though there is tension, Nuland says the international relationship is maturing.