Truth To Power: Bloomberg Reporter Challenges Chinese Premier On Human Rights


At today’s press conference, Bloomberg TV White House correspondent Hans Nichols persistently pressed China’s Hu Jintao to answer his question concerning human rights in his country. Hu said that, initially, he did not hear questions about human rights “because of the technical translation and interpretation problem,” but, now that he’d heard the question, he was “certainly in a position to answer it.” Encouraging!

Hu then described how he and President Barack Obama had met eight times to discuss issues of “shared interest” candidly, human rights being among those issues. He continued, saying, as his translator put it:

“China is always committed to the protection and promotion of human rights. And in the course of human rights, China has also made enormous progress recognized widely in the world. China recognizes – and also respects – the universality of human rights. And at the same time, we do believe that we also need to take into account the different national circumstances when it comes to the universal value of human rights. China is a developing with a huge population, and also a developing country in a crucial stage of reform. In this context, China still faces many challenges in economic and social development, and a lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights.

We will continue our efforts to improve the lives of the Chinese people, and we will continue our efforts to improve democracy under the rule of law in our country. At the same time, we are also willing to continue to have exchanges and dialogue with other countries in terms of human rights and we are also willing to learn from each other in terms of the good practices.

As President Obama rightly put it just now, though there are disagreements between China and United States on the issue of human rights, China is willing to engage in dialogue and exchanges with the United States on the basis of mutual respect and the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs. In this way, we will be able to further increase our mutual understanding, reduce our disagreements, and expand our common ground.”

Watch video of Premier Hu and President Obama’s joint press conference:

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