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May 14, 2010

US, China set 2011 rights meeting in “candid” talks

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. and Chinese officials agreed after two days of talks on human rights to start exchanges of legal experts and hold another rights dialogue in China next year, a State Department official said on Friday.

While Assistant Secretary Mike Posner said he valued the “candid and constructive” tone of the talks and raised specific cases of jailed lawyers and democracy activists, he indicated the meetings did not win the release of Chinese political or religious prisoners, as sought by the human rights community.

May 14, 2010

U.S. Chamber chief blasts trade pact delays, China

WASHINGTON, May 14 (Reuters) – China’s theft of
intellectual property and a troubling new industrial policy
harm U.S. business, but America is also hurting its own workers
by failing to complete key free trade agreements, the head of
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said on Friday.

Chamber President and Chief Executive Thomas Donohue said
he would visit China next week and discuss currency,
counterfeiting and the “indigenous innovation strategy” with
Chinese leaders.

May 13, 2010

U.S., China resume human rights talks

WASHINGTON, May 13 (Reuters) – The United States and China
resumed a formal dialogue on human rights on Thursday after a
two-year hiatus in which the countries have worked to keep ties
stable amid disputes over Tibet, Taiwan, Internet freedom and
the value of the yuan currency.

Although the first such talks under the Obama
administration follow ethnic unrest in Xinjiang and Tibet and
an overall deterioration in conditions in China, the Asian
nation’s growing economic power and international clout make it
easier for it to shrug off critics, human rights experts said.

May 13, 2010

U.S., China set for human rights talks resumption

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States and China will resume a formal dialogue on human rights on Thursday after a two-year hiatus during which the countries have worked to keep ties stable amid disputes over Tibet, Taiwan, Internet freedom and the value of the yuan currency.

Although the first such talks under the Obama administration follow ethnic unrest in Xinjiang and Tibet and an overall deterioration in conditions in China, the Asian nation’s growing economic power and international clout make it easier for it to shrug off critics, human rights experts said.

May 10, 2010

Friction to rise as China favors home firms: author

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Chinese policies aimed at elbowing out multinationals and reserving large parts of China’s market for domestic firms could cause confrontation with the United States and other Western countries, a U.S. political risk expert warned on Monday.

Eurasia Group President Ian Bremmer said the global financial meltdown has made the United States and other Western economies seem “less indispensable” as China pursues its main priority of political stability through economic growth.

Apr 29, 2010

Global press freedom eroded in 2009: survey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Global press freedom deteriorated last year as political turmoil or drug violence engulfed emerging democracies like Thailand and Mexico and authoritarian China and Russia tightened controls, a U.S. annual survey said on Thursday.

Freedom House, which has been conducting such polls since 1980, said 2009 marked the eighth-straight year of deterioration of media freedom, with setbacks in nearly every region creating a situation in which only one of six people in the world live in countries with a free press.

Apr 29, 2010

Global press freedom eroded in 2009 – U.S. survey

WASHINGTON, April 29 (Reuters) – Global press freedom deteriorated last year as political turmoil or drug violence engulfed emerging democracies like Thailand and Mexico and authoritarian China and Russia tightened controls, a U.S. annual survey said on Thursday.

Freedom House, which has been conducting such polls since 1980, said 2009 marked the eighth-straight year of deterioration of media freedom, with setbacks in nearly every region creating a situation in which only one of six people in the world live in countries with a free press.

"While there were some positive developments, particularly in South Asia, significant declines were recorded in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East," said Freedom House, a watchdog group funded by private and Western government donations.

Behind the declines, the worst since 1996, was strife in a number of countries that threatened independent reporting, including drug wars in Mexico; political coups in Honduras, Guinea and Niger; and political strife in Thailand, it said.

With China, Russia and Venezuela boosting already strong controls on media, Freedom House said "the year was notable for intensified efforts by authoritarian regimes to place restrictions on all conduits for news and information."

"The Chinese regime has become a world leader in the development of new and more sophisticated methods of information control," said the report, compiled before the U.S. search engine Google Corp quit the China market in a dispute over censorship.

BLEAKEST IN AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST

Russia’s situation faltered, the report said, "as legal protections are routinely ignored, the judicial system grows more subservient to the executive branch, reporters face severe repercussions for reporting on sensitive issues, most attacks on journalists go unpunished, and media ownership is brought firmly under the control of the state."

Freedom House also warned of "globalization of censorship" because some methods of control have crossed borders.

Beijing pressed overseas film festivals and book fairs to ban appearances or works by China’s critics and Islamic nations have united to try to restrict speech by including antiblasphemy codes in international human rights law, it said.

In a practice it called "libel tourism," foreign business and political figures used Britain’s expansive libel laws to quash critical research or commentary by journalists and scholars, the report said.

Of the 196 countries and territories assessed in 2009, 69 were rated Free, 64 were rated Partly Free, and 63 were rated Not Free.

By country, the "worst of the worst" in 2009, with minimal or nonexistent media freedom were Belarus, Burma, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, the survey said.

The bleakest region for media freedom was North Africa and the Middle East, followed by Sub-Saharan Africa and the non-Baltic nations of the former Soviet Union, it said.

Although North America and Western Europe contained the greatest concentration of countries with free media, Freedom House rapped Britain for expansive libel laws used to stifle criticism and said the United States lacked federal protection-of-sources legislation, while media diversity was threatened by the news industry’s economic troubles.

Italy was rated only "partly free" as a result of government interference with state broadcasters’ editorial policies and Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s clash with media outlets over coverage of his personal life, the watchdog group said.

(Editing by Philip Barbara)



Apr 27, 2010

India sees broad recovery, but inflation building

WASHINGTON, April 26 (Reuters) – Rising prices for food,
fuel and wages are contributing to inflationary pressure that
is a worry in India’s otherwise good post-crisis economic
prospects, the country’s central bank governor said on Monday.

“The big picture is that growth is consolidating and
getting broad-based, supply-side inflation pressures are
abating but only gradual, and meanwhile demand-side inflation
pressures are building up,” Reserve Bank of India Governor
Duvvuri Subbarao said in a speech in Washington.

Apr 25, 2010

China currency move a matter for medium-term: IMF

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – China recognizes the need to let its currency appreciate for the good of its domestic economy but the move will only come in the “medium term”, the International Monetary Fund’s Asia director said on Saturday.

IMF Asia Director Anoop Singh told Reuters that China and other export-focused Asian countries have been compelled by the stalling of growth in Western economies to seek a new model of sustained growth.

Apr 22, 2010

China forex bill has high US Senate support-author

WASHINGTON, April 22 (Reuters) – U.S. legislation aimed at
stopping China from “manipulating” its currency by imposing
duties on Chinese products would get overwhelming support in
the U.S. Senate, co-author Senator Lindsey Graham said on
Thursday.

“We’d get 80 or 90 votes if we could ever get this sucker
to the floor,” the South Carolina Republican lawmaker told a
U.S. Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy hearing.