Barack Obama has underlined the need for China to accept what he called “universal rights”.
The US president was speaking during a question and answer session with students in Shanghai. He told them individual expression was not an American ideal but a universal right that should be available to all. Later he met China’s President Hu Jintao in Beijing, saying: “I think the world recognises the importance of the US China relationship, not only for the prosperity and security of our two countries but also because so many of the world’s challenges cannot be solved unless the United States and China work together.” During his visit to China’s financial hub Obama alluded to the country’s tight internet access controls saying “the more freely information flows the stronger a society becomes” because, he said “citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable”. One closely watched test of the line Obama is taking on China will be how he addresses human rights, including religious freedoms in the officially athiest nation. He is scheduled to raise several human rights issues privately with Chinese leaders including President Hu.