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Obama Discusses Rights In China

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On his first trip to China, President Barack Obama held a town hall meeting with Chinese students in Shanghai. The President stressed the universal nature of human rights to China's future leaders.

"We do not seek to impose any system of government on any nation, but we also don’t believe that the principles that we stand for are unique to our nation. These freedoms of expression and worship –- of access to information and political participation –- we believe are universal rights. They should be available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities –- whether they are in the United States, China, or any nation."

President Obama announced that the United States and China would move the discussion of human rights forward through dialogue early next year. The President called upon the Chinese Government to resume dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama while recognizing that Tibet is part of China.

The U.S. believes that it is in China's best interests to strengthen protections of human rights as it assumes greater leadership in the community of nations. Strong human rights protections create the foundation for stability and prosperity.

The President stressed that the United States was founded on certain "bedrock beliefs" -- that all men and women are created equal, and possess certain fundamental rights; that government should reflect the will of the people; and that laws should guarantee the administration of justice.

It is respect for universal rights that defines America, he said. And in speaking up for the human rights of people everywhere, the President pledged that the United States would never waver.