Washington: Political reforms in China have not kept pace with its economic advances, a senior Obama Administration official has said, expressing concern over the spate in self immolations in Tibet and increase in human rights violations in the country.

Acknowledging that China's "extraordinary" record of economic growth has helped scores of its citizens come out of poverty, Michael Posner, Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour, however held that political reforms there have "not kept pace" with the economic advances.

"Like people everywhere, Chinese people want to be treated with dignity. This means they seek economic opportunity and jobs; at the same time, they seek a lawful way to voice legitimate grievances and have a meaningful role in the political development of their own  society," Posner said in a briefing after the 17th US-China Human Rights Dialogue here.

During the two day dialogue, China also raised its concerns about human rights in the US, he acknowledged.

"As always, there's back and forth, both about issues in China and the US. There were some questions and discussions raised about issues, for example, of discrimination, prison conditions, and the like, which we discussed openly," he said, adding that US prominently raised issues of Tibet and Uighur.

He said both the countries held discussions over issues related to the Uighurs in Xinjiang, and Washington also expressed "concern" over self immolations in Tibet.

Discussion also took place on range of "broader" issues like "discrimination in terms of language rights, ability to practice religion freely and discrimination in employment" that apply both to the Uighur and Tibetan community, he said.

"There is a growing frustration, I think, among many Chinese people that they don't have the ability to express their differences in a peaceful way," he said.
Posner appealed to China to "allow people to dissent, to question government actions, and to do so without fear of retribution" at a time when the country was making economic advances.


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