Human rights critic to head US delegation
THE Clinton administration is understood to have chosen a harsh critic of China's human rights record, Mr Richard Schifter, to head the American delegation to next week's annual meeting of the United Nations' Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
Mr Schifter, who was the assistant secretary of state for human rights under former president Mr George Bush, delivered a strong attack on China's human rights behaviour at last year's meeting, which was embroiled in controversy.
The row arose from the reluctance by the Bush administration to support a resolution that criticised China's behaviour in Tibet.
American officials, apparently not wanting to anger Beijing, argued that the situation in Tibet - which the US recognises as part of China - should be raised during the overall discussion on China rather than separately. Human rights groups slammed the US position, but the Tibet resolution was not taken up during the meeting.
Mr Schifter, who did not head last year's US delegation, went to Geneva in his capacity as the top American human rights official and delivered a speech critical of China. He later left the Bush administration, a move some observers said was spurred partly by a belief that Mr Bush was not firm enough on China's human rights record.