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Clinton's remarks sends "wrong message" to Beijing

A top human rights watchdog has criticised Hillary Clinton's reported remarks that it might better for Washington and Beijing to 'agree to disagree' on contentious issues like human rights, saying it sends "wrong message" to the Chinese government.

world Updated: Feb 21, 2009 09:35 IST

A top human rights watchdog has criticised US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's reported remarks that it might better for Washington and Beijing to 'agree to disagree' on contentious issues like human rights, saying it sends "wrong message" to the Chinese government.

Clinton had said that human rights cannot interfere with resolution of the global crises caused by market meltdown and climate change and it might better for Washington and Beijing to agree to disagree on such issues.

Such remarks send "wrong message" to the Chinese government, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

Disagreeing with Clinton, HRW stressed that progress in each of these key areas is inseparable from securing progress in human rights.

"Freedom for the press, whistleblowers, and critics is essential to preventing environmental damage and defective products that threaten China and the world," It added.

"Secretary Clinton's remarks point to a diplomatic strategy that has worked well for the Chinese government – segregating human rights issues into a dead-end 'dialogue of the deaf,'" said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

"A new approach is needed, one in which the US engages China on the critical importance of human rights to a wide range of mutual security interests."