A human rights reference

There’s a steady stream of complaints from human rights advocates that this administration, perhaps in reaction to Bush’s perceived exploitation of human rights concerns, ignores them.

A bit of a departure, though, in a China speech today:

"Just as we respect China’s ancient culture and remarkable achievements, we also strongly believe that the religion and culture of all peoples must be respected and protected, and that all people should be free to speak their minds," Obama said. "That includes ethnic and religious minorities in China, as surely as it includes minorities within the United States."

Pointing to the United States as a successful example of cultural integration, Obama said critical rights in his country include "the freedom to speak your mind, to worship your God and to choose your leaders."

He ended on a softer note, though, emphasizing simply that these values are cherished in the United States: "These are not things we wish to impose. This is who we are."


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