The issue of 'detained and disappeared' people in China as raised by the United States as well as the 'enormous progress' on human rights a Chinese official said was taking place were mentioned among broader economic talks between the U.S. and China on Monday.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday said in Washington that the United States and China are like friends when it comes to discussing differences honestly and forthrightly as she voiced U.S. concerns about China's human rights. The comments came at the start of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo urged Americans to learn firsthand about China's progress in that area.
Vice President Joe Biden Also Cited 'vigorous differences' between the U.S. and China on the issue.
Now, like any two great nations - in fact, I would argue like any two people - we have our differences. And like friends, we discuss those differences honestly and forthrightly. We will be continuing the discussion of the recent U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue just held in Beijing, Clinton said.
We have made very clear, publicly and privately, our concern about human rights. We worry about the impact on our domestic politics and on the politics and the stability in China and the region. We see reports of people, including public interest lawyers, writers, artists, and others, who are detained or disappeared, she added.
And we know over the long arch of history that societies that work toward respecting human rights are going to be more prosperous, stable, and successful. That has certainly been proven time and time again, but most particularly in the last months.
Dear friends, the people of China and the United States live in the same global village - you on the West side, we on the East, Bingguo said.
I welcome more American friends to visit China, to see and feel for yourselves the friendship of the Chinese people and the importance of China-U.S. relations. You may also learn firsthand the enormous progress China has made in various fronts, including in human rights, and get to know what is a real China.
As I've said earlier, it's important to be straightforward with one another. There is one area where we have vigorous disagreement. And I know and I understand that disagreement, when we voice it, is upsetting or rankles -- I don't know how that translates into Chinese -- but how it concerns some of our friends in China. We have vigorous disagreement in the area of human rights, Biden said.
We've noted our concerns about the recent crackdown in China, including attacks, arrests and the disappearance of journalists, lawyers, bloggers and artists. And again, no relationship that's real can be built on a false foundation. Where we disagree, it's important to state it. We'll continue to express our views in these issues, as we did in the Human Rights Dialogue in Beijing two weeks ago, he added.
Now, look, as I said, I recognize that some in China see our advocacy as -- human rights as an intrusion and Lord only knows what else. But President Obama and I believe strongly, as does the Secretary, that protecting fundamental rights and freedoms such as those enshrined in China's international commitments, as well as in China's own constitution, is the best way to promote long-term stability and prosperity of any society, he said.