President Obama’s remarks at a Shanghai town hall meeting Monday were unlikely to please either the power brokers in Beijing or the hawks on the home front. Obama said China and the U.S. were not adversaries, but he also spoke of “universal rights,” which he said should extend to “all people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether they are in the United States, China or any nation.”
That reference to “ethnic and religious minorities” comes at a sensitive time for China, which recently executed eight Uighur prisoners on charges related to ethnic riots in Xinjiang.
Although he covered controversial territory, Obama took pains not to offend, saying, “We do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation … .” Wait a second, haven’t we been doing that for years? —PZS
“We do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation, but we also don’t believe that the principles we stand for are unique to our nation,” he said.
“These freedoms of expression and worship, of access to information and political participation—we believe are universal rights.”
Mr Obama added: “They should be available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities, whether they are in the United States, China or any nation.”