US Ambassador Slams China on Rights
Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke used his final speech in office Wednesday to urge Beijing to strengthen its rule of law and provide greater freedom of expression.
Speaking to a group of Chinese university students in Beijing, Locke said in many cases China would need only to adhere to its existing laws in order to protect fundamental human rights.
The 63-year-old Locke leaves Beijing Saturday. He has served as ambassador since 2011, filling one of America's most complicated diplomatic posts at a time of increased tension with Beijing.
Many of Locke's comments Wednesday focused on U.S. concerns over China's intensifying crackdown on those who criticize the Communist Party.
He also urged Beijing to provide "better and more equitable treatment" of foreign journalists, many of whom complain of interference or official retribution as result of their coverage.
China has not responded to the comments, but usually dismisses such concerns as inappropriate interference in its internal affairs and says Washington should not be pushing its so-called Western style of governance on other countries.
Hong Kong Editor Stabbed; in Critical Condition
A former newspaper editor in Hong Kong, whose recent removal prompted anti-Beijing protests, is fighting for his life after being stabbed by unknown attackers.
Hong Kong police say Kevin Lau was walking to his car early Wednesday in the Sai Wan Ho neighborhood when he was attacked by assailants who escaped on a motorcycle. He is in critical condition.
Lau was fired last month as the editor of the Ming Pao newspaper, which is known for its investigative journalism and hard-hitting coverage of Chinese politics. He was replaced by a pro-Beijing editor.
The removal, along with several similar cases, have raised fresh concerns over deteriorating press freedom and mainland China's rising influence in the semi-autonomous territory.
The Hong Kong Journalists Association condemned the attack on Lau "in the strongest terms" and urged authorities to bring the attackers to justice "as quickly as possible to allay public fears."