The White House released to the media today the speech that President Bush will be giving in Thailand tomorrow (the time difference means it could be happening not far from now). Much of the press focused on the parts he will talk about China and human rights so here’s the excerpt:

…… I have spoken clearly, candidly, and consistently with China’s leaders about our deep concerns over religious freedom and human rights. And I have met repeatedly with Chinese dissidents and religious believers. The United States believes the people of China deserve the fundamental liberty that is the natural right of all human beings. So America stands in firm opposition to China’s detention of political dissidents, human rights advocates, and religious activists. We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly, and labor rights not to antagonize China’s leaders, but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential. And we press for openness and justice not to impose our beliefs, but to allow the Chinese people to express theirs. As Chinese scientist Xu Liangying has said: “Human nature is universal and needs to pursue freedom and equality.”

Ultimately, only China can decide what course it will follow. America and our partners are realistic, and we are prepared for any possibility. I am optimistic about China’s future. Young people who grow up with the freedom to trade goods will ultimately demand the freedom to trade ideas, especially on an unrestricted Internet. Change in China will arrive on its own terms and in keeping with its own history and traditions. Yet change will arrive. And it will be clear for all to see that those who aspire to speak their conscience and worship their God are no threat to the future of China. They are the people who will make China a great nation in the 21st century.

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