Activists slam Trump for praising Chinese president and ignoring dissident's death

Trump said nothing of Xiaobo, whom news reports announced shortly before had died while in the custody of China's security services.
By James Smith | Jul 18, 2017
President Trump heaped praise upon Chinese President Xi Jinping during a press conference Thursday in Paris, drawing fierce rebukes from Chinese human-rights activists who pointed out that Trump's comments came about mere hours after news had emerged of the death in captivity of Lu Xiaobo, a Nobel Prize-winning Chinese dissident.
"President Xi is a terrific guy. I like being with him a lot, and he's a very special person," Trump said while sharing a stage with French President Emmanuel Macron. "I think he's a very good man. He loves China, I can tell you... He wants to do what's right for China."
Trump said nothing of Xiaobo, whom news reports announced shortly before had died while in the custody of China's security services. Friends of the late dissident said that he was a high-profile casualty of Xinping's crackdowns on dissident voicesand they are not pleased that Trump made no mention of this.
Hu Jia, a veteran activist, said: "I feel so disappointed. Trump has shown so little interest in human rights since he came to power, and sometimes he even shows contempt for human rights issues."
China has a long history of suppressing dissent, but activists say that Xinping has been going after dissidents with more brutality than China has witnessed in decades. Teng Biao, a human rights lawyer whom Xinping had forced into exile, criticized Trump in particular and the West as a whole for not doing more to stand up to Beijing's treatment of its people.
"And it is especially shameful that Donald Trump praised Xi Jinping at the moment when Liu Xiaobo was dying," Teng said. "Xi Jinping is so brutal Xi Jinping is not a respectable leader. He is a brutal dictator."
Activists weren't the only ones who expressed outrage over Xiaobo's death. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), albeit without mentioning Trump, condemned China's "shameful treatment of this peaceful hero," while Terry Brandstad, the U.S. ambassador to China, called on the Chinese government to "to release all prisoners of conscience and to respect the fundamental freedoms of all."

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