, WASHINGTON, November 7 – The White House expressed “deep concern” Thursday about the treatment of human rights advocates in China, just days before President Barack Obama visits Beijing.
National Security Advisor Susan Rice made the comments as she met American and Chinese rights advocates, a White House statement said, noting “they discussed the deterioration of China’s human rights situation.”
Earlier this week, top American diplomat John Kerry said the relationship between the United States and China, the world’s top two economies, was the “most consequential” in the world today, warning it needed to be “carefully managed.”
But the two major powers have clashed repeatedly in recent times, with Beijing last month warning Washington to keep its nose out of the democracy protests that roiled Hong Kong for weeks.
Rice and the rights advocates discussed “prospects for reform, and recommendations on how the United States can constructively encourage improvements in human rights conditions in China,” said the White House statement, released just as Kerry flew into China.
“National Security Advisor Rice expressed the administration’s deep concern regarding the treatment of human rights defenders.
“Ambassador Rice emphasized the United States view that the advancement of human rights and the rule of law supports stability and prosperity in all countries, including China.”
Obama visits Beijing from November 10 to 12 for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and is expected to hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines.
Last month, Secretary of State Kerry and a top Chinese official had “candid exchanges” over several contentious issues dogging relations between Washington and Beijing, including human rights.