Bush: 'Deep Concerns' on Rights in China

President lands in Beijing for opening ceremonies
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 7, 2008 8:19 AM CDT
President Bush delivers a speech at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok, Thailand Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008.    (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – President Bush landed in Beijing today for the Olympics’ opening ceremony, but not before outlining his “deep concerns” about human rights in the Chinese regime. “America stands in firm opposition to China's detention of political dissidents, human-rights advocates, and religious activists,” Bush said in a speech in Bangkok hours before boarding the plane.

He spoke out, he said, "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.'' A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry decried the interference. "We resolutely oppose any words or actions which interfere in the internal affairs of another country in the name of issues such as human rights and religion." More than 40 Olympians signed an open letter to the Chinese government urging respect for human rights and freedom of religion, the Guardian reports.