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Obama May Raise Tibet, Rights Issues Directly With Hu

November 11, 2009

By Edwin Chen
Bloomberg
November 10, 2009

President Barack Obama intends to discuss freedom of expression, rule
of law and Tibet with Chinese President Hu Jintao during their
meeting in Beijing next week, a senior White House official said.

The president will raise human rights concerns "directly with
President Hu," Jeffrey Bader, National Security Council senior
director for East Asian affairs, said yesterday.

Human rights campaigners have criticized Obama for declining to meet
with the Dalai Lama when the Tibetan spiritual leader was in
Washington in October to receive a congressional human rights award.
White House adviser Valerie Jarrett in September said Obama would
meet with the Dalai Lama after the president's trip this month to
Asia, a commitment Bader reiterated.

Obama's eight days in Asia include stops in Tokyo, Singapore,
Shanghai and Seoul, as well as Beijing, where he is to have dinner
with Hu on Nov. 16 and meet with him the next day. The Chinese plan
to hold a state dinner for Obama Nov. 17.

"I wouldn't want to forecast exactly what he would say at this stage,
but the kinds of issues that are on our minds are issues of freedom
of expression, access to information, freedom of religion, rule of
law, and certainly Tibet," Bader said.

Bader made the comments during a telephone conference call yesterday
with reporters about Obama's first trip to Asia as president, which
begins Nov. 12.

Currency Issues

Obama yesterday said he will also bring up currency issues when he
meets with Hu and Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing.

"Currency, along with a host of other issues, will come up, and I'm
confident that both the United States and China can arrive at a broad
set of policies that encourages trade that benefits both countries,
that allows onsoing economic growth," Obama said in an interview with Reuters.

The president also rejected criticism that he is giving short shrift
to human rights.

"I don't find the critics credible," he told Reuters. "If you look at
my statements, they have been entirely consistent. We believe in the
values of freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion,
that are not just core American values but we believe are universal values."

China has criticized states that allow visits by the Dalai Lama, who
the Beijing government regards as a separatist.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edwin Chen in Washington at
EChen32@bloomberg.net
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