The United States and China opened two days of talks on human rights here Monday, with Washington set to raise numerous issues including Tibet and the case of dissident Chen Guangcheng.
The talks, an annual event, were being led on the US side by Assistant Secretary Michael Posner, and on the Chinese side by top officials from Beijing’s foreign ministry.
“We consider that this is an integral part of all of the work we do to try to build a strong partnership and cooperation across the board with China,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.
“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.”
Chen’s case and reported harassment of his family would also be among the topics discussed, she said.
Chen was sentenced to more than four years in prison in 2006 after exposing abuses in China’s one-child policy and then placed under house arrest in the village of Shandong upon his release in September 2010.
The 40-year-old activist escaped from house arrest in April just as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was visiting the Communist country sparking a major diplomatic incident.
Chen was eventually allowed to leave for New York with his wife and two children arriving in the city on May 19, but has accused Chinese officials of making life hard for some of his family left behind.
“We always raise the situation with regard to his family members and supporters and call for appropriate handling and no reprisals,” Nuland said.
She added that being able to talk forthrightly about human rights in all of its aspects” showed that the US relationship with China was “maturing.”