After meetings with Chinese officials in Beijing, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters that the January execution of Lobsang Dhondup was among recent “setbacks” in the U.S.-China human rights dialogue, according to a February 24 BBC report.

On his brief trip to China, Secretary Powell met with Communist Party chief Hu Jintao and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan as well as President Jiang Zemin in order to seek cooperation on North Korea and Iraq and raise human rights issues.

BBC reported that despite Powell’s positive assessment of China’s role in the North Korea crisis, he was less positive in his assessment of Beijing’s human rights record.

“We’re a little concerned that after a year of promising steps in this area – we had a very productive U.S.-China human rights dialogue last December – we have seen some setbacks,” Secretary Powell told reporters in Beijing.

According to the BBC report, Secretary Powell referred to the execution of Lobsang Dhondup as one of these setbacks.

Secretary Powell’s meeting with Foreign Minister Tang was their fourth meeting in the past month.

In earlier meetings, Secretary Powell raised concerns about Tibetan political prisoners and the cases of popular Buddhist leader Tenzin Delek Rinpoche and Lobsang Dhondup, who were sentenced to death following an April 2002 bomb blast in Chengdu, Sichuan.

Lobsang Dhondup was executed on January 26, 2003.

The State Department is preparing its annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices and planning its course of action at the upcoming session of the UN Commission on Human Rights.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Wednesday, February 19, that, “With China, obviously the issues of human rights and some broader questions of international cooperation always arise.”