February 21, 2009 / 7:20 AM / 11 years ago

FACTBOX: Clinton's track record on China human rights

(Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a long-time critic of China’s human rights record, made clear on Saturday that working with Beijing to promote economic recovery was Washington’s top priority.

Prior to her appointment as secretary of state, Clinton had irked China by criticizing the country’s human rights record.

Clinton said the Obama Administration would press China on human rights but said this would not “interfere” with their work on the financial crisis, climate change and security.

Following is a list of some of her past comments:

* Clinton criticized Chinese policy in 1995 at a U.N. conference in Beijing without citing China by name.

“(Freedom) means not taking citizens away from their loved ones and jailing them, mistreating them, or denying them their freedom or dignity because of the peaceful expression of their ideas and opinions,” she said.

“It is a violation of human rights when women are denied the right to plan their own families, and that includes being forced to have abortions or being sterilized against their will,” she said. Under Chinese law, most couples are restricted to one child.

* Clinton angered China last year with calls for a strong U.S. stance on religious freedom in Tibet after protests against Chinese rule there escalated into riots.

“I think we should be speaking out through our administration now in a much more forceful way and, you know, supporting people in Tibet who are trying to preserve their culture and their religion from tremendous pressure by the Chinese,” she said.

* Clinton urged President George W. Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics unless China improved human rights. She cited violent clashes in Tibet and the lack of pressure by China on Sudan to stop “the genocide in Darfur.”

* Clinton said she would not shy away from human rights issues during her trip this week.

She said in a speech that Washington should work to create a world that respects human rights and where “all Chinese people can enjoy religious freedom without fear of prosecution.”

International rights groups urged Clinton to speak out about suspected torture in police custody, censorship and abuses of human rights defenders.

Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie and Jeremy Laurence

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