Pelosi: No human rights improvement in China

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said human rights in China and Tibet remains a “relentless” pursuit of hers, adding she did not see any improvement on the issue during a recent trip to China.

Pelosi also defended herself from suggestions in the media that she downplayed human rights while in China. She said she raised the issues directly with that country’s leaders, who invited her to their country.

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“If we do not speak out on human rights in China and Tibet, we lose moral authority,” Pelosi said during comments Friday at the Brookings Institution.

“This is a relentless pursuit of mine.”

Pelosi said she disagreed with press accounts suggesting she downplayed human rights. While she did not unfurl banners in Tiananmen Square criticizing the crackdown on pro-democracy activists 20 years ago, she said she expressed her views clearly to Chinese leaders. This was the appropriate way to register his opinion as Speaker during a head-of-state trip, she said.

In her comments at Brookings, she also criticized China for using economic reform to suppress political reform.

The main subject of Pelosi’s trip to China was climate change. The Speaker said China is working hard to limit its carbon emissions, but that government leaders made it clear they would put their country’s development ahead of lower emissions. China’s leaders also indicated the country would be a net-gain emitter of carbon emissions.

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