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Obama calls on China to improve human rights as activist’s fate debated

• http://www.washingtonpost.com, By Steven Mufson
 A confidant of Chen’s said U.S. diplomats have met with officials at the Chinese Foreign Ministry to try to hammer out an agreement on what to do about Chen before Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner arrive Wednesday morning. Chen escaped from house arrest in China last week and is reportedly in U.S. custody now.
 
During an appearance at the White House Monday afternoon with Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, Obama said he was not going to make a statement on Chen, but did say human rights comes up “every time we meet with China.”

“We want China to be strong, and we want it to prosperous,” Obama said. “And we’re very pleased with all the areas of cooperation that we’ve been able to engage in. But we also believe that that relationship will be that much stronger and China will be that much more prosperous and strong as you see improvements on human rights issues in that country.”

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