U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in China on Wednesday to be greeted by his Chinese counterpart with a lavish and personal tour of Beijing’s imperial palaces, as the human rights community called on his administration to put pressure on the ruling Chinese Communist Party over its treatment of peaceful dissidents and activists.
As Chinese President Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan took the Trumps on an informal tour of Beijing’s Forbidden City, where the emperors once held sway over the Middle Kingdom, prominent dissidents were calling for action on human rights.
Liu Xia, widow of late Nobel peace laureate and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo, has been a focus of the campaign ahead of Trump’s visit, according to Beijing activist Hu Jia.
“Actually, one of the easiest issues to solve is the case of Liu Xia … and her brother, because they are very keen to go overseas to improve their health and seek medical treatment,” Hu said. “This shouldn’t take too much in the way of diplomatic pressure from Trump and the U.S. government.”
“The U.S. was deeply involved in this case back in June and July, to the extent that China promised to discuss it again after the 19th party congress [in October], which is now,” he said.
He also called on the U.S. to put pressure on Beijing for the early release of jailed Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti.
“Chinese policy is Xinjiang is very hard line, but handing down such a heavy sentence to this moderate intellectual leaves the Uyghur people with no hope,” Hu said. “It leaves them with no options other than the most extreme measures.”
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Reported by Gao Shan and Qiao Long for RFA’s Mandarin Service, and by Wong Lok-to for the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.
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