China urged to improve human rights
Washington - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday urged China to release dissidents including Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo, saying that human rights problems showed Beijing's "unfulfilled promise".
In a wide-ranging speech ahead of President Hu Jintao's state visit to the United States next week, Clinton was unusually forthright in her calls for China to improve human rights, which she called "universal."
"A vibrant civil society would help address some of China's most pressing issues, from food safety to pollution to education to health care," Clinton said.
"The longer China represses freedoms, the longer it will miss out on these opportunities and the longer that Liu Xiaobo's empty chair in Oslo will remain a symbol of a great nation's unrealised potential and unfulfilled promise."
Liu, a writer, is serving an 11-year prison term for co-authoring a bold petition on political reform. China bristled when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was represented by an empty chair at the Oslo ceremony.