International attorney, international human rights attorneyAs reported by the U.S. Mission in Geneva, Michael Posner, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor., issued a statement last week concerning on-going human rights challenges faced in China.

Following the 17th U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue, Secretary Posner reaffirmed U.S. support for a “strong, stable, prosperous China” but spoke of the human rights challenges still facing China.

The dialogue, which took place in Washington, brought together American and Chinese delegations for two days of talks about human rights issues in both countries.

A variety of  topics were discussed at the dialogue. Some of the topics touched on legal reforms, restrictions on free expression and Internet freedom, the treatment of ethnic and religious minorities and the rights of Chinese laborers.

Posner stated that the dialogue drew on many recent cases in which lawyers, nongovernmental organization activists, journalists, bloggers and religious leaders calling for peaceful reform have faced detention.

While Posner acknowledged that the Chinese people are concerned about economic opportunity and jobs, he emphasized that they also want to have a “meaningful role in the political development of their own society:”

“In China, as elsewhere, we strongly believe that change occurs from within a society. These discussions, then, are ultimately about Chinese citizens’ aspirations and how the Chinese themselves are navigating their own future. In every society, we believe it’s incumbent on government to give its own people an opportunity to voice their concerns and pursue their aspirations.”

The dialogue revolves around the application of universal human rights standards, Posner said, and it’s increasingly clear that millions of ordinary Chinese are becoming concerned about human rights violations in their country.