Obama adviser criticizes human rights abuses in China, Russia
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[December 05, 2013]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) — President Barack Obama's national security adviser, in a sweeping review of global
human rights practices, singled out China and Russia for criticism on
Wednesday over how they treat their citizens.
The adviser, Susan Rice, specifically cited the detention in China
of Xu Zhiyong, a legal scholar and rights defender, and Liu Xiaobo,
the Nobel Peace Prize recipient who was jailed in 2009 for 11 years
on subversion charges for organizing a petition urging the overthrow
of one-party rule.
"The Chinese people are facing increasing restrictions on their
freedoms of expression, assembly and association. This is
short-sighted," Rice said in remarks to the "Human Rights First
"When courts imprison political dissidents who merely urge respect
for China's own laws, no one in China, including Americans doing
business there, can feel secure," she said.
Rice's speech came as Vice President Joe Biden was on a visit to
China that has been dominated by U.S. and Japanese concerns about
Beijing's declaration of an air defense zone around disputed islands
in the East China Sea.
Rice also had strong words for Russia, with whom the United States
has had strained relations in recent months over Moscow's decision
to grant temporary asylum to former U.S. spy agency contractor
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Russia has engaged in "systematic efforts to curtail the actions of
Russian civil society," has stigmatized the lesbian and gay
community in Russia and coerced neighbors like Ukraine, said Rice.
"We deplore selective justice and the prosecution of those who
protest the corruption and cronyism that is sapping Russia's
economic future and limits its potential to play its full role on
the world stage," she said.
The United States still engages in active diplomacy with both China
and Russia and other governments that have rights practices at odds
Rice acknowledged the United States sometimes must strike a
"We make tough choices," she said. "When rights are violated, we
continue to advocate for their protection. But we cannot, and I will
not, pretend that some short-term tradeoffs do not exist."
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Jackie Frank)