National Press Club

Amnesty Int'l Official Urges Action on Human Rights

November 13, 2009 | By Tejinder Singh |

Amnesty International's Asia expert challenged journalists to pose human rights questions to President Obama at his press conference with Chinese President Hu on Nov. 17 in Beijing.

At a Newsmaker Nov. 12, T. Kumar warned Obama to be ready to face protests if he fails to address the issue of human rights publicly in China.

Kumar threatened to hold protests in front of the White House, petition members of Congress and conduct demonstrations during future visits of Chinese officials, including Hu.

Kumar asked: “Why Obama is reluctant to speak publicly?"

“Human rights is not an American issue but a global issue, Obama said during the campaign and now (for) 9 months did not do anything. No meaningful statement on Tibet or anything,” said Kumar.

Kumar pointed that China did not even release “some prisoners as a gesture,” warning, “If President Obama fails to speak up, then no one can.”

He said Obama could speak out when he talks to students in Shanghai and at the press conference with Hu.

“If Obama does not speak," Kuman said, "he will become the first US president not to speak about human rights to China in recent past,” adding that it is presidents' “moral obligation and duty to speak up in public, considering that more than half a million (are) in (Chinese) labor camps.”