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U.S. Decries Chinese Television's Editing of Powell

July 31, 2001|ANUJ GUPTA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — The State Department voiced its strong displeasure Monday with Chinese state television's decision to edit out comments on Taiwan and human rights from an interview with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell it broadcast over the weekend.

The U.S. Embassy in China had an agreement with Chinese Central Television that Saturday's interview would be aired in its entirety, department officials said.

Department spokesman Charles Hunter called the selective deletion of Powell's remarks "unwise" and "counterproductive."

"We have strongly protested that deletion in Beijing, and we'll do so today in Washington," Hunter said.

China's human rights policies and the status of Taiwan remain two of the most contentious issues in Sino-U.S. relations. But that is no excuse for the Chinese to have censored Powell's comments, Hunter said.

"We know that the Chinese authorities' views on Taiwan and human rights differ from ours," he said. "But we believe the Chinese people are mature and sophisticated enough to hear both their own government's views and those of others who may disagree."

In his interview with the CCTV program "The World," Powell referred repeatedly to a need for China to adhere to "international standards" on human rights.

In a section that was deleted, Powell said, "In accordance with international standards, [China] should continue to move forward with respect to the treatment of people with different religious beliefs or different ways of practicing their faith.

"We don't want to point the finger at China and say, 'You must do it our way,' " Powell added in remarks that were also not aired. "We think there are international standards that would benefit China to adhere to."

Powell addressed the issue of Taiwan only briefly during the interview. He affirmed the Bush administration's commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act, a 1979 law establishing unofficial relations with the island's government and authorizing the U.S. to sell weapons to Taiwan for self-defense.

Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province that is part of Chinese territory.

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