The First Lady will travel to China from March 19-26, 2014. She will be visiting Beijing from March 20-23, Xi’an on March 24, and Chengdu from March 25-26. During her trip, the First Lady will meet with Madame Peng, the spouse of China’s President Xi Jinping.
After two and half exciting and fulfilling years in Beijing as the U.S. Ambassador to China, the time has come for me to leave my posting here and return to the United States. While I am happy to be returning to my home and my family, my wife and I will dearly miss our many Chinese friends and acquaintances, both new and old. You are the ones who have made this experience so fascinating and so fulfilling.
Mona and I have always enjoyed speaking to young people, whether in America or China, because the young people have such great energy and creativity and really represent the future of our great society. As China’s next generation of leaders in business, in government, science, academia and the arts, you are all going to play a very vital role in China’s future and in the direction of U.S.-China relations for generations to come.
In light of the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change and its worsening impacts, and the related issue of air pollution from burning fossil fuels, the United States and China recognize the urgent need for action to meet these twin challenges. Both sides reaffirm their commitment to contribute significantly to successful 2015 global efforts to meet this challenge.
On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I am delighted to extend best wishes to the many people around the world who celebrate the arrival of the Lunar New Year on January 31. In this festive time, we should all take a moment to pause and reflect on the shared humanity that ties us together – not just here in America, but around the world.
The United States is deeply concerned that foreign journalists in China continue to face restrictions that impede their ability to do their jobs, including extended delays in processing journalist visas, restrictions on travel to certain locations deemed “sensitive” by Chinese authorities and, in some cases, violence at the hands of local authorities. These restrictions and treatment are not consistent with freedom of the press—and stand in stark contrast with U.S. treatment of Chinese and other foreign journalists.
President Obama delivered his fifth State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress on January 28.
The United States is deeply disappointed by reports that a Chinese court has convicted prominent Chinese legal scholar and rights advocate Xu Zhiyong on charges of “gathering a crowd to disturb order in a public place” and sentenced him to four years in prison.
I am deeply concerned that the January 22 trial of Chinese legal scholar Xu Zhiyong and the prosecution of other good-governance advocates are retribution for their public campaigns to expose official corruption and for the peaceful expression of their views.
President and First Lady, Vice President Biden, Cabinet Secretaries, Senior Administration Officials Honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
To honor the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. National Day of Service and Dr. King’s life and legacy, the President and Mrs. Obama, the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries, and other senior administration officials participated in community service projects and events. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service is an opportunity for all Americans to come together to help meet the needs of their communities and make an ongoing commitment to service throughout the year.
Before leaving China, I want to say a few words about a couple of topics of particular importance to me and China: the importance of rule of law and freedom of expression to the formation of a progressive and stable society.
We are deeply concerned by reports that Beijing police have taken into custody prominent economics professor Ilham Tohti on January 15, together with at least six of his students. The detention of Mr. Tohti, who has been outspoken in support of human rights for China’s ethnic Uighur citizens, appears to be part of a disturbing pattern of arrests and detentions of public interest lawyers, Internet activists, journalists, religious leaders and others who peacefully challenge official Chinese policies and actions.
Today, America embraces people of all faiths and of no faith. We are Christians and Jews, Muslims and Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs, atheists and agnostics. Our religious diversity enriches our cultural fabric and reminds us that what binds us as one is not the tenets of our faiths, the colors of our skin, or the origins of our names.
The United States commends the Government of the People’s Republic of China for destroying more than five tons of ivory, in Guangdong Province today. Destroying illegal wildlife products demonstrates a strong commitment to ending wildlife trafficking, a global challenge with conservation, economic, health and security dimensions that affects all nations.
With the bipartisan confirmation of Janet Yellen as the next Chair of the Federal Reserve, the American people will have a fierce champion who understands that the ultimate goal of economic and financial policymaking is to improve the lives, jobs and standard of living of American workers and their families.
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