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The 13th US-Sino human rights dialogue resumes in Beijing

US Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Craner

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[December 16, 2002, Beijing] After the last human rights dialogue was suspended in October 2001, Washington and Beijing resumed their discussions on this sensitive topic today in Beijing. The US delegation is headed by Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Craner, who will meet with his counterpart, Mr. Li Baodong, head of the International Bureau of China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.

Among the issues to be discussed, the issue of Xinjiang, a predominantly Muslim region, will be a new subject. Other expected topics include the persecution of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, suppression of other religious and spiritual groups, and the illegal detainment of democracy activists. China has the worst human rights record as a member state of the U.N., human rights groups claim. Beijing has recently stepped up its effort to tighten its grip on the flow of information over the Internet as well as censorship in its domestic media outlets.

Few people anticipate much success from such human rights dialogues. Some rights groups have stated that China tries to cover up its notorious human rights record by holding private talks with Western countries instead of debating the issue in public, and that such human rights dialogues are not meant to genuinely change Beijing’s policy of suppression toward the people in China.

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