US Secretary of State Colin Powell said on October 25, 2004 that China has agreed to begin talks on resuming its human rights dialogue with the United States. Powell was addressing the media in Beijing following his meetings with Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao.

Powell said he had “a good, open, and candid discussion” with Chinese leaders. He said, “with respect to human rights, for example, and I am pleased to report that as a result of our conversations today that we have agreed that we will start talks about resuming our human rights dialogue.”

China suspended the bilateral human rights dialogue with the United States in March 2004 after the US decided introduce a resolution against China at the UN Commission on Human Rights. The United States had said on March 22, 2004 that it was introducing a resolution against China because “The United States has been disappointed by China’s failure to meet the commitments made at the U.S.-China Human Rights Dialogue in December 2002 as well as its failure to follow through on its stated intention to expand cooperation on human rights in 2003. We are also concerned about backsliding on key human rights issues that has occurred in a variety of areas since that time.”

A draft resolution subsequently introduced on April 8, 2004 expressed “concern about continuing reports of severe restrictions on freedom of assembly, association, expression, conscience and religion, legal processes that continue to fall short of international norms of due process and transparency, and, arrests and other severe sentences for those seeking to exercise their fundamental rights, including those in Tibet and Xinjiang.”

Commenting the US-China relations, Powell said in Beijing on October 25, 2004, “The range and scope of the issues we discussed today reflect the increasingly global nature of interaction between China and the United States, on a whole host of issues of importance to our nations and to the world, from security threats to bilateral matters. We are showing that we can move forward together. When we disagree, we do so candidly, openly, and in the spirit of trying to find a solution to the disagreements. But, we agreed in so many more areas than that in which we disagree.”

Secretary Powell was in China as part of his tour of Japan, China, and South Korea to discuss “bilateral matters, regional security and stability, and issues such as the global war on terrorism, Iraq, North Korea and the Six Party Talks.” He returns to Washington, D.C. on October 26, 2004