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23august2011-bidenDharamshala, India: - In his keynote address to hundreds of students and members of faculty at Sichuan University in Chengdu on last Sunday (21 August), US Vice President Joe Biden said greater openness and protection of human rights and freedom in China would ensure stability and prosperity in the long run.

"I recognize that many of you in this auditorium see our advocacy of human rights as at best an intrusion, and at worst an assault on your sovereignty. I want to tell you directly that this is not our intention. Yes, for Americans there is a significant moral component to our advocacy," Mr Biden said.

"But President Obama and I see protecting human rights and freedoms, we see it in a larger context, as well. Protecting freedoms such as those enshrined in China's international commitments and in China's own constitution -- we see them as a key aspect of China's successful emergence and the key continued growth and prosperity. I know that some in China believe that greater freedom could threaten economic progress by undermining social stability.

I do not pretend to have the answer, but I believe history has shown the opposite to be true, that in the long run, greater openness is a source of stability and a sign of strength, that prosperity peaks when governments foster both free enterprise and free exchange of ideas, that liberty unlocks a people's full potential. And in its absence, unrest festers.

"Openness, free exchange of ideas, free enterprise and liberty are among the reasons why the United States, in my view, is at this moment the wealthiest nation in the history of the world.

It's why our workers are among the most productive, why our inventors and entrepreneurs hold more patents than any other country in the world, why we are reinvesting in the fundamental sources of our strength -- education, infrastructure, innovation, and why President Obama and I are so confident that America will weather the current economic storm and emerge even stronger, just as we always have in past economic crises, and why there's no reason why China cannot tap into the same source of strength," Mr Biden said.

The US vice president was in China from 17 - 21 August as part of his Asia tour, which also took him to Mongolia and Japan.

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