Less than two weeks after the U.S. partnered with China and Russia on a nuclear pact with Iran, White House National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice criticized both nations’ records on human-rights abuses Wednesday.
In a speech at a human-rights summit in Washington, Ms. Rice said Chinese citizens “are facing increasing restrictions on their freedoms of expression, assembly and association.”
“When people in China cannot hold public officials to account for corruption, environmental abuses, worker and consumer safety, or public health crises, problems that affect China as well as the world go unaddressed,” she said. “This is short-sighted.”
Her comments came as Vice President Joseph R. Biden was holding high-level talks in Beijing aimed at reducing tensions over China’s unilateral declaration of an air defense zone in a territory disputed with Japan.
Ms. Rice said the Chinese leadership represses political dissent.
“When courts imprison political dissidents who merely urge respect for China’s own laws, no one in China, including Americans doing business there, can feel secure,” she said. “When ethnic and religious minorities — such as Tibetans and Uighurs — are denied their fundamental freedoms, the trust that holds diverse societies together is undermined. Such abuses diminish China’s potential from the inside.”
“We deplore selective justice and the prosecution of those who protest the corruption and cronyism that is sapping Russia’s economic future and limiting its potential to play its full role on the world stage,” Ms. Rice said.
She added, “We often can cooperate with Russia on nonproliferation, arms control, counterterrorism and other vital interests. But, as we meet these mutual challenges, we don’t remain silent about the Russian government’s systematic efforts to curtail the actions of Russian civil society, to stigmatize the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community, to coerce neighbors like Ukraine who seek closer integration with Europe, or to stifle human rights in the North Caucasus.”