Clinton attends Beijing church service

Other News Materials 22 February 2009 10:22 (UTC +04:00)

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton attended a church service in Beijing on Sunday morning, on her penultimate public engagement before ending a week-long diplomatic tour of four Asian nations, dpa reported.

Clinton visited the modern Haidian Church in a western suburb of Beijing, following meetings with top Chinese leaders on Saturday.

She was scheduled to meet a group of Chinese women and "civil society leaders" later on Sunday before leaving China.

Among the women reportedly invited to meet her were AIDS activist Goa Yaojie and magazine editor Hu Shuli.

Clinton and Chinese leaders on Saturday agreed to hold high-level strategic dialogues on economic, environmental, political and security issues, and vowed to cooperate in helping the world to recover from financial turmoil.

"We have every reason to believe that the United States and China will recover and that together we will help to lead the world recovery," Clinton said on Saturday.

In a later meeting with President Hu Jintao on Saturday, Clinton said she saw a "new era" in cooperation with China.

Despite the feel-good diplomacy, Amnesty International and other rights groups said they were "shocked" by Clinton apparently giving a low priority to concerns over China's human rights record.

A leading Chinese dissident, who was placed under house arrest on Saturday, also urged Clinton not to allow greater cooperation on economic and other issues to reduce the pressure on China to improve human rights.

"The progress of human rights in China needs efforts from both inside and outside (the country)," Zeng Jinyan told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The China Human Rights Defenders said police placed several other well-known dissidents under house arrest or tighter surveillance before Clinton's visit.

Clinton also visited South Korea, Japan and Indonesia on her Asian tour.