Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner (File photo)
DHARAMSHALA, July 26: The United States said Wednesday it will continue to raise “deep concern” over the ongoing wave of self-immolations inside Tibet with China.
Assistant Secretary of State Michael Posner, briefing reporters after the annual U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue in Washington, said discussion on a “range of concerns” about the self-immolations and Tibet’s cultural and religious rights were held.
“We’ve raised and will continue to raise our deep concern about more than 40 self-immolations in Tibetan parts of China,” Posner said in a statement.
Later, responding to a question, Posner said US raised concerns about broader issues that apply both to the Uighur and Tibetan community relating to “discrimination in terms of language rights, ability to practice their religion freely, discrimination employment – a range of issues involving their cultural rights, their religious freedom, et cetera.”
Painting a grim prospect for China’s rights record, the US State Department said human rights situation in the world’s most populous country is deteriorating.
"The overall human rights situation in China continues to deteriorate," Posner said.
"Our message to the Chinese government is you've made progress on the economic front, this is the moment to open up the space to allow people to dissent."
Chinese people needed to be able to voice legitimate grievances and play a "meaningful role in the political development of their own society," he added.
The closed-door annual U.S.-China human rights meeting was held in Washington from July 23-24.
According the State Department, this year US focused on charges that Beijing is restricting freedom of expression and Internet freedom, curbing the rights of religious and ethnic minorities and failing to implement internationally recognised labor rights.
Posner, whose portfolio covers democracy, human rights and labor issues, said the US raised with the Chinese dozens of individual cases of those persecuted that included lawyers, bloggers, nongovernment group activists, journalists and religious leaders.
He declined to elaborate on China's responses.
The Chinese delegation released a statement saying the talks were "candid, open and constructive" and helped "improve mutual understanding and reduce misunderstanding".
Although the annual dialogues have become a fixture on the diplomatic calendar, skeptics have questioned the effectiveness of the exercise.
Due to its failure to yield much concrete results, observers believe that China is misusing the dialogues to help fend off critics without taking action.