New U.S. Ambassador to China Should Meet with Civil Society
In response to the United States Senate’s confirmation of Terry Branstad as U.S. Ambassador to China on May 22, 2017, Freedom House issued the following statement:
“We congratulate Ambassador Branstad on his appointment to one of the United States’ most important yet challenging diplomatic positions and look forward to working together to incorporate support for human rights into U.S. policies on China," said Michael J. Abramowitz, Freedom House president. "In advance of his departure for Beijing, Ambassador Branstad should meet with Chinese civil society representatives in the United States, victims of persecution, and family members of current political prisoners, meetings that will allow him to learn more about the darker sides of China’s authoritarian system. The ambassador's conversations with civil society will also alert Beijing that human rights matter in its relationship with the United States.”
The U.S. Senate confirmed Terry Branstad, former Governor of Iowa, by a vote of 82 to 13. As governor, Branstad developed a close relationship with Chinese officials, including the Chinese president Xi Jinping, who visited Iowa in the 1980s as a low-level official, and again in 2012 in his capacity as then-Vice President of China. During his confirmation hearing Branstad said: “If confirmed, as Ambassador, I will work every day to represent American values to the leadership of China and the Chinese people at large; values that include upholding human rights for all."
Freedom House is an independent watchdog organization that supports democratic change, monitors the status of freedom around the world, and advocates for democracy and human rights.