Bush Calls for Greater Freedoms in China

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President Bush delivered some strong words for China ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games.

He called for greater political and spiritual freedoms for the Chinese to tap their full potential.

Click play to hear more on China's human rights situation from Walter Lohman, director of the Heritage Foundation's Asian Studies Center.

And China's government had a strong response: Mind your own business.

Anticipation is growing as the clock counts down to the start of the Summer Olympic Games.

And with police already cracking down on human rights demonstrations throughout Beijing, President Bush cautiously but sternly added fuel to the fire.

"The United States believe the people of China deserve the fundamental liberty that is the natural right of all human beings," President Bush said.

Just hours before landing in China, President Bush said America stands firmly opposed to the Chinese government detaining political dissidents, human rights advocates, and religious activists - and he called on the Communist regime to end the repression.

"We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly and labor rights, not to antagonize China's leaders, but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential," the President said.

The President also issued a rebuke on authoritarian regimes in North Korea and Myanmar also known as Burma. But the majority of his speech was reserved for China.

U.S.-Chinese relations are complex. China is the world's most populous nation with over a billion people and has the second largest economy.

It's also a huge trading partner with the U.S. and a key ally in nuclear non-proliferation talks with Iran and North Korea.

The President gave the speech walking a fine line between voicing the concern of China's many critics with respect to the host of this year's games.

On Thursday, China responded saying outsiders should not interfere with the country's internal affairs.

Ending on a positive tone, Bush assured change will come but on China's own terms.

"It'll be clear for all to see that those who aspire to speak their conscience and worship their God are no threat to the people of China."

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CBN News
John Jessup

John Jessup

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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