Amnesty criticizes Clinton for not forcing China's hand on human rights

Beijing, Feb. 21: Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has sharply criticized US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for not forcing China's hand on issues like the global economic crisis, climate change and security threats such as North Korea's nuclear program.

Clinton's remarks that everyone knew what China would and would not say on key issues of global importance didn't go down well with Amnesty, which insisted that Washington must seek have China address the problem of human rights on a priority basis.

Clinton's view that there was a need to continue to press them on those issues, without stopping the dialogue on other crucial topics, elicited sharp condemnation from Amnesty International.

The organization accused Clinton of saying "that human rights will not be a priority in her diplomatic engagement with China" and urged her to "publicly declare that human rights are central to U.S.-China relations before she leaves Beijing."

The Obama administration has high hopes of winning China's cooperation on reducing harmful greenhouse gases, in part through public-private partnerships.

Clinton, who is ending her weeklong trip with two days in Beijing, is scheduled to visit a thermal power plant Saturday that was developed with General Electric technology.

Accompanying her on the trip is Todd Stern, the administration's special envoy for climate change.

Administration officials also want to press China to use its close ties with North Korea to prod the reclusive nation to return to talks on its nuclear program and refrain from testing a long-range missile.

On the economic crisis, Clinton wants to coordinate policies in advance of the Group of 20 Summit on the global financial crisis in April.

Clinton is also bringing proposals to elevate a high-level economic dialogue, currently managed by the Treasury Secretary, to a more comprehensive conversation that could be handled by her or even the vice president.

Copyright Asian News International/