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10november20094US President Barack Obama is set to address human rights issues during his visit to Chinese capital Beijing. Speaking at a telephone press briefing yesterday, Jeffrey Bader of the US National Security Council told reporters that Mr Obama will raise human rights "directly" with Chinese President Hu Jintao.

"I wouldn't want to forecast exactly what he would say at this stage," said Mr Bader, "but the kinds of issues that are on our minds are freedom of expression, access to information, freedom of religion, rule of law, and certainly Tibet".

Human rights campaigners criticised Mr Obama for declining to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington in October - a decision widely viewed as an attempt to avoid friction with Beijing prior to the President's visit to China. White House advisor Valerie Jarrett in September said Mr Obama would meet with the Dalai Lama after his Asia trip.

Yesterday, when news agency Reuters put to Mr Obama criticism that he is "softer on China on human rights" than his predecessor, George W Bush, he replied, "You know, I don't find the critics credible, because if you look at my statements, they have been entirely consistent.

"We believe, in the values of freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of religion, that are not just core American values, but we believe are universal values," he said. "And there has not been a meeting with the Chinese delegation in which we didn't bring these issues up. That will continue."

Mr Obama's visit to Asia begins on November 12, and will include stops in Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai and Seoul. He is scheduled to have dinner with President Hu in Beijing on November 16 and to meet with him the next day.

Obama's Promises on Human Rights?

PolitiFact has compiled more than 500 promises that Barack Obama's team made during their election campaign. Here is a selection of featured quotes.

"As president, Barack Obama will renew America's leadership by making the United States a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; the first human rights treaty approved by the UN in the 21st century and a vital foundation for respecting the rights of people with disabilities worldwide He will urge the U.S. Senate to ratify the Convention expeditiously."

"From both a moral standpoint and a practical standpoint, torture is wrong. Barack Obama will end the use torture without exception. He also will eliminate the practice of extreme rendition, where we outsource our torture to other countries."

"Press China to Live Up to Human Rights Standards: From Tibet to cracking down on democracy and religious freedom activists, China has failed to live up to international standards of human rights. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe the United States has to be frank with the Chinese about such failings and will press them to respect human rights."

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