President Obama put a sharper point on critiques of China’s human rights record when he mentioned Tibet while standing alongside Chinese President Hu Jintao Tuesday.
“We did note that while we recognize that Tibet is part of the People's Republic of China,” Mr. Obama said at a Joint Statement with President Hu in Beijing, “the United States supports the early resumption of dialogue between the Chinese government and representatives of the Dalai Lama to resolve any concerns and differences that the two sides may have.”
Just as previous presidents have done, the President brought with him to China the continuing concerns over the country’s stance on human rights. But the President himself has been criticized for not meeting with one of the world’s most famous symbols of that issue, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, when he was in the US last month.
The President also conspicuously avoided mentioning the Dalai Lama and Tibet by name when he held a town hall with university students in Shanghai Monday, instead choosing to bring it up in meetings with President Hu and again before live TV cameras in Beijing.
In an attempt to convey a sense of unity on one of the most fundamental international concerns over Chinese policy, the two countries released a joint statement after their meeting.
“Both sides recognized that the United States and China have differences on the issue of human rights,” it read. “Addressing these differences in the spirit of equality and mutual respect, as well as promoting and protecting human rights consistent with international human rights instruments, the two sides agreed to hold the next round of the official human rights dialogue in Washington D.C. by the end of February 2010. “