The US administration supports the right of people in China and other countries to participate in peaceful protests, Washington wants to discuss the topic of civil liberties in Beijing. This was announced on Sunday by the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, on CNN.
“Yes, of course,” he said when asked by a reporter whether the US administration supported the protesters in China. “We support the right of people everywhere, whether in China, in Iran, wherever else, to protest peacefully, to express their opinion, to express dissatisfaction. And if in any country it’s suppressed in one way or another, then we speak out against it, we oppose it, we take action against it,” the secretary of state continued. He recalled that Washington had previously imposed sanctions on Iranian officials in connection with protests in the Islamic Republic.
“We have spoken out against the suppression of protests everywhere, including in China. But it’s not really about us, it’s about the fact that in both countries people are trying to express their opinions, achieve the satisfaction of their aspirations and the reaction of the authorities about it,” Blinken said.
The secretary was also asked what he would “tell [Chinese President] Xi Jinping about the protests” during his upcoming visit to China. “We’re going to say what we always say, what [US President Joe] Biden told Xi Jinping. Human rights and basic civil liberties for us Americans are at the core of who we are. And no American government, no American president, will be silent about that,” Blinken replied.
“But this visit early next year will be a follow-up to the President’s conversation with Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the recent G20 summit in Indonesia. It is very important to speak directly and clearly with China. We want to make sure that there are no misunderstandings, misunderstandings to have a basis for our relationship,” he added. “We want to have active channels of communication. That’s the best way to avoid misunderstandings,” Blinken said.
“At the same time, we have strong competition with China,” the secretary said. “We want to make sure that this competition does not turn into a conflict,” he added. “We’ll be talking about it early next year,” Blinken noted. According to him, other US administration officials “will be talking to their counterparts in China.” “The world expects us to do that. The world expects us to manage those relationships in a responsible way. And by the way, if we can find areas of cooperation, for example on climate and global health, we will do that too, because that’s in the interest of our people and the inhabitants of the entire world,” concluded Blinken.
On October 27, a number of cities in China held demonstrations against the country’s anti-COVID measures. In particular, at least several hundred people participated in protests in Beijing’s Chaoyang district. The participants in them asked the authorities to ease the preventive restrictions, which started to give results in some places.