Subject: Human Rights In China
The State Department said that a New York Times report Monday suggesting a breakthrough on U.S. efforts to win the release of political prisoners in China was not imminent.
"Human rights is always at the top of our agenda. I don't believe the story that appeared in the New York Times was accurate. We received no indication the kind of major breakthrough as described in the New York Times is imminent," Spokesman Nicholas Burns said upon the arrival of Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Beijing.
The Times reported that after seven months of secret diplomacy, Albright would be trying to "nudge" the Chinese toward agreeing "to sign two key United Nations covenants on human rights, release a representative group of up to eight political prisoners and restart talks with the International Committee of the Red Cross aimed at establishing a program of prison visits to determine the status of the thousands of prisoners of conscience in China."
The Beijing-datelined story says the Chinese would expect in return an end to the annual confrontation in Geneva over human rights at the United Nations Human Rights Commission.
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