Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said that the United States spoke out about the treatment of Tibetans and Uighurs as the two countries held wide-ranging annual talks, the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, which was held in Washington from 10-11 July.
"During the course of the dialogue, we also expressed our ongoing concerns about human rights in China, particularly recent instability in Tibetan and Uighur areas of China," Burns said.
"The goal of this conversation was to emphasize the importance of human rights to our bilateral relationship," he said at the joint press appearance.
"We firmly believe that respect for universal rights and fundamental freedoms will make China more peaceful, more prosperous and ultimately more secure," he said.
Burns was filling in for Secretary of State John Kerry, who officials said raised human rights among other issues during the first day of talks before he returned to Boston where his wife has been hospitalized.
According to media reports, Burns was filling in for Secretary of State John Kerry, who officials said raised human rights among other issues during the first day of talks before he returned to Boston where his wife has been hospitalized.
During his talks with China's Special Representatives to the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Vice Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi, President Barack Obama the United States would continue to speak out in support of international norms such as the protection of universal human rights.
The US State Department in its annual human rights report has stated that Tibetans in Tibet faced severe religious repression and societal discrimination.
China said Thursday [July 11] that its Tibetan and Uighur minorities enjoyed happiness and "unprecedented" freedom as it hit back at US criticism by urging Washington to examine its own record.
"China has made important progress on human rights. People in various regions in China including Xinjiang and Tibet are enjoying happier lives and they are enjoying unprecedented freedoms," State Councilor Yang Jiechi said in a joint press appearance after two days of US-China talks.
"We hope the United States will improve its own human rights situation on the basis of mutual respect and non-intervention in each other's internal affairs," he said.
Since 2009, over 119 Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest against the continued occupation and repression of Tibet. The self-immolators have called for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans.