Members of Congress today met with China President Hu Jintao one day after the foreign leader tried to duck questions yesterday from the press on the nation’s poor human rights record.
After getting a letter from one congresswoman, Hu denied China has a forced-abortion policy that enforces its one-child family planning program.
Hu met with a bipartisan group of lawmakers today in what was described as a “very cordial but very direct” exchange, according to Democratic Rep. Howard Berman of California. he met privately with House members and followed that up with a meeting including several senators.
In the morning meeting with House members, Berman said Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi engaged Hu on China’s human rights record and pressed him on the continued incarceration of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo but did not address the one-child policy that has resulted in forced abortions and sterilizations.
But pro-life Speaker John Boehner did bring up the controversial family planning policy.
“We raised our strong, ongoing concerns with reports of human rights violations in China, including the denial of religious freedom, and the use of coercive abortion as a consequence of the ‘one child’ policy,’ Boehner said in a statement LifeNews.com received. “When it comes to guaranteeing the freedom and dignity of all her citizens, including and especially the unborn, Chinese leaders have a responsibility to do better, and the United States has a responsibility to hold them to account.”
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a pro-life Republican from Florida, also brought up the forced abortion issue. The chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee gave Hu a copy of a letter she sent to Obama highlighting “grave concerns” over various issues, including abortion.
“Out of all the issues I raise, the only one which received a response from Mr.Hu was my statement urging the end of China’s forced abortion policy. I was astonished when he insisted that such a policy does not exist,” she told the Associated Press.
Yesterday, Hu appeared at a joint press conference today with President Barack Obama and did his best to ignore questions about human rights from American reporters.
The press conferencewas carried live on most networks such as CNN, which indicated today on Twitter that Chinese officials in mainland China blocked its feed of the proceedings as Hu and Obama discussed issues of the day.
The big question for the Chinese leader is China’s terrible track record on human rights — including massive forced abortions, sterilizations and other abuses coming as a result of its one-child policy as well as female infanticide that has produced a staggeringly lopsided gender ratio with many more boys than girls.
Hu originally appeared uninterested in answering any questions from the American press but eventually agreed to four questions.
When Hu finally did answer, according to Daily Caller reporter Jon Ward, he claimed China had made “enormous progress” on human rights that had been “widely recognized in the world.” He said China’s status as a “developing country with a huge population” made it have “many challenges in economic and social development.”
“A lot still needs to be done in China,” Hu admitted, according to The DC. “We will continue our efforts to improve the lives of the Chinese people.”
Earlier Wednesday, a two-time Nobel Prize nominee, Chai Ling of All Girls Allowed, lobbied both Obama and Hu on human rights issues, including forced abortions and infanticide.
On Tuesday, pro-life Congressman Chris Smith delivered moving remarks about the forced abortions women in China are forced to endure if the violate the one-child family planning policy.