Posted by: mulrickillion | February 23, 2012

Chinese blocked visit by U.S. religious freedom envoy, advocates say

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The United States gets its first hard look at the future leader of China as Vice President Xi Jinping visits the White House.

By William Wan and Michelle Boorstein, Feb 14, 2012 — Chinese officials denied a visa to a top State Department envoy and refused to meet with her to discuss issues of religious freedom days before this week’s high-profile visit to Washington by China’s vice president, according to rights advocates and others.

Suzan Johnson Cook, the U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, was scheduled to travel to China on Feb. 8, according to several rights advocates who were invited to brief her ahead of the visit. But as the date drew near, Chinese leaders refused to grant her meetings with government officials.

They then cited her lack of scheduled meetings as a reason for denying her visa application, according to the advocates and a congressional aide, who were briefed on the situation.

2-21-2012 11-56-13 PM

President Obama says good ties between the United States and China are essential and help the rest of the world. Obama welcomed Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping. (Feb. 14).

The disclosure comes one day into the diplomatically sensitive visit by Xi Jinping — China’s presumptive next president — during a week that the Obama administration hopes will help ease tense U.S.-China relations.

Rights advocates working with Cook’s office say that she and her staff were told by superiors in the Obama administration to avoid talking publicly about her canceled trip in the days before Xi’s visit.

The State Department declined to comment about the matter Tuesday. . . .

Chinese blocked visit by U.S. religious freedom envoy, advocates say – The Washington Post

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