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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

China's Hu in human rights pledge

December 13, 2008

BEIJING (AFP) — President Hu Jintao has vowed that China will work with the international community in promoting human rights, state media said Friday, but the promise follows recent arrests of leading activists.
 
Hu said China would "base its human rights development on the basic situation of the country," Xinhua news agency said, a caveat used by China to apply its own human rights standards.
 
Hu's comments came in a letter to the China Society for Human Rights Studies to mark Wednesday's 60th anniversary of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
 
Several Chinese dissidents have been detained in the lead-up to the anniversary, including prominent dissident writer Liu Xiaobo, a leading figure in the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests.
 
The detentions drew criticism from the United States on Thursday, with the State Department expressing "deep concern."
 
Hu's letter said China would "strengthen international cooperation, as it has always done, in the human rights field," Xinhua said.
 
However, he indicated China would prioritise raising living standards for its people.
 
Faced with criticism over its human rights record, China typically replies that lifting people out of poverty through economic development is its key human rights priority.
 
Police on Friday continued to refuse comment about Liu's detention.
 
"We don't have any information about him," a staff member in the spokesman's office of the Beijing police told AFP by phone.
 
Liu, 53, a doctor of literature from Beijing Normal University, served 20 months in prison over the Tiananmen protests and has been under police surveillance, in labour camps or house arrest for much of the time since.
 
He was taken from his home on Monday after he and more than 300 other dissidents, intellectuals and journalists signed a charter calling for greater protection of human rights, free elections and an end to the Communist Party's dominance of the military, courts and government.
 
Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama welcomed Hu's pledge, calling it a "laudable initiative" but urged China to release "prisoners of conscience" who have been detained for exercising freedom of expression.
 
"I would like to urge the Chinese leadership to consider making efforts to bring about unity and stability in a civilised way," the Buddhist monk said in a statement.
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