Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. China News .

Michelle Obama touts equality, religious rights in China
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 25, 2014

US First Lady Michelle Obama promoted ethnic equality, the civil rights movement and religious freedom in China on Tuesday, raising the sensitive issues on a tour meant to avoid politics.

"In America, we believe that no matter where you live or how much money your parents have -- or what race or religion or ethnicity you are -- if you work hard and believe in yourself, then you should have a chance to succeed," she told hundreds of students at a high school in Chengdu, the capital of the southwestern Sichuan province.

"We also believe that everyone is equal, and that we all have the right to say what we think and worship as we choose," she said.

"Now of course, living up to these ideals isn't always easy," she added.

Sichuan and other provinces neighbouring Tibet are home to a minority of Tibetans, an ethnic group that rights activists say faces religious and cultural repression, underscored by more than 120 self-immolation protests by Tibetans in recent years.

China rejects such criticism and blames the acts on separatist forces led by the Tibetan spiritual leader-in-exile and Nobel peace laureate, the Dalai Lama.

Obama, who is travelling with her mother and daughters, is scheduled on Wednesday to eat at a Tibetan restaurant in Chengdu, according to a White House itinerary.

The first lady cited herself and President Obama as beneficiaries of the civil rights movement -- a sensitive issue in China, which quashes popular protest.

"Over time, ordinary citizens decided that those laws were unfair," she said of the 1960s movement to denounce racial segregation in the United States and demand equal rights for African Americans.

"So they held peaceful protests and marches. They called on government officials to change those laws, and they voted to elect new officials who shared their views.

"And slowly but surely, America changed," she said. "We got rid of those unjust laws. And today, just 50 years later, my husband and I are president and first lady of the United States."

- 'More than words and numbers' -

While answering questions from students, Obama encouraged them to focus not only on exam scores -- which are central to China's education system -- but also on having "experiences" that would help them "grow up to be well-rounded people".

"Education is about more than learning words and numbers, and memorising things, and taking tests and getting good scores. It's also about the experiences that you have," she said.

When asked about her impressions of Chengdu, she admitted to being partial to her third and final stop in the country.

"I don't know if this is politically correct, but Chengdu is probably the kind of city that I would choose to live in if I were to come to China," she said.

Since arriving in Beijing on Thursday night for a weeklong trip, the first lady has met with her counterpart Peng Liyuan, visited popular tourist sites such as the Great Wall, and spoken to Chinese students and educators.

US officials have cast the trip as focused on "soft" issues such as education.


Related Links
China News from

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Thousands mourn Shanghai's 'underground' bishop
Shanghai (AFP) March 22, 2014
Thousands of mourners packed a Shanghai square Saturday to bid farewell to "underground" Catholic Bishop Joseph Fan Zhongliang whose faith, they said, led him to endure decades of suffering at the hands of China's ruling Communist Party. Fan, who was imprisoned for much of the last two decades and spent his final years under house arrest, died last Sunday at the age of 97 after several days ... read more

US moves to push global trade deal on green goods

Taiwan protesters call for surrounding of ruling party offices

Taiwan MPs stage fast to protest at China trade pact

Jan-Feb foreign direct investment in China rises 10.4%

Stanford professor maps by-catch as unintended consequence of global fisheries

Ancient clam gardens nurture food security

Research reveals true value of cover crops to farmers, environment

Study examines pesticide poisoning of Africa's wildlife

Chinese nationals held in Nigeria for illegal fishing

Peacekeepers seize large weapons cache in C. Africa

French kill jihadist commander in Mali

What sculpted Africa's margin?

Volvo Cars returns to profit on China sales, cost cuts

Polluted Paris forces half cars off the road

Gold-plated car shines at Geneva Motor Show

Is the time right for new energy vehicles

US, Japan in historic plutonium return deal

Shale could be long-term home for problematic nuclear waste

AREVA and Novinium to Provide Cable Rejuvenation Services to the Nuclear Industry

Greenpeace stages audacious protest at France's oldest nuclear plant

Quantum physics secures new cryptography scheme

Robot Snowden promises more US spying revelations

NSA can retrieve, replay phone calls: report

NATO websites targeted in attack claimed by Ukrainian hackers

India says report on '62 war with China to stay classified

Human Rights Watch chief praises Merkel 'rethink' on Russia

US commander emphasises Philippine alliance, amid China row

Submit or leave: Kiev's soldiers under siege in Crimea

Australian wind energy industry growing up

Wind farms can provide society a surplus of reliable clean energy

Wind farms can provide society a surplus of reliable clean energy, Stanford study finds

A new algorithm improves the efficiency of small wind turbines

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.