Chinese President

Published: Wednesday, 09/14/2005 12:00 am EDT

Human rights was discussed in a frank and direct manner with visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao, Prime Minister Paul Martin told reporters at a news conference with Mr. Hu on Sept. 9. Taiwan, Tibet, trade and BSE were also touched on as the political leaders chatted during Mr. Hu's first official visit to Canada last week. Mr. Martin says he told Mr. Hu that Canada advocated "greater liberty of expression, association, religion and spiritual beliefs" for Chinese citizens. "Given the different national conditions of China and Canada," said Mr. Hu, "and given our different histories and cultural traditions, it quite normal for our two countries to have different views of our human rights." Mr. Martin says he raised the issue of Taiwan and Canada's support of the one China policy, and stressed to Mr. Hu that the use of force or unilateral efforts to change Taiwan's status was "unacceptable." Mr. Hu said he hopes that recent "discordant noises on the question of Taiwan coming from within Canada" can be "appropriately addressed so as not to undermine the political foundation of China-Canada relations." As for Tibet, Mr. Martin said he was "encouraged by recent dialogue between China and representatives of the Dalai Lama and look forward to future dialogue," while Mr. Hu stated that the China-Tibet disagreement was purely political, not religious, ethnic or about human rights, and that the "Dalai Lama must thoroughly renounce his Tibetan independence proposition, stop all separatist activities and recognize Tibet as part of China." Mr. Martin also said that some progress was made, but that technical negotiations were still needed to allow Canadian beef live cattle back into the Chinese market, which closed after the BSE scare.

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