BEIJING, Feb 24 (AFP) - US Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday the United States was concerned about "setbacks" in China's human rights record, including the recent execution of a Tibetan man.
"We're a little concerned that after a year of promising steps in this area -- we had a very productive US-China human rights dialogue last December -- we have seen some setbacks on human rights that threaten to undercut the progress that we have previously made," Powell told reporters during a visit here.
"Since the December dialogue, we have been deeply concerned by the execution of a prominent Tibetan and the detention of more than a dozen democracy activists and the continuation of the pattern of inconsistent and irregular legal and judicial procedures."
Powell said he discussed with Chinese officials Monday human rights and religious freedom, which he said were "key" areas of the bilateral relationship.
"Our goal is to turn human rights into a positive element in our relationship and I look forward to further dialogue and sending more delegations from the United States to China and vice versa to continue efforts to improve the human rights situation, the human rights dialogue and a better understanding of each other's position," Powell said.
He added: "We believe building an open and creative society is part of fighting terrorism and enhancing China's cooperation with the world."
Powell was speaking at a briefing after meeting with Vice President Hu Jintao and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan on a flying visit aimed at gaining Beijing's backing on Washington's agenda for Iraq and North Korea.
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