Sharansky ignores advice, urges China to boost rights

Sharansky, who asked the Foreign Ministry for details about the state of human rights in China before the meeting, was advised by the ministry not to broach the subject, as the Chinese are extremely sensitive about the matter. He was told only the Americans have done so.

But Sharansky decided to ignore the advice. He told Chen that as a former human rights activist he could not keep silent "when I know that thousands of human rights activists are imprisoned in China."

Sharansky was imprisoned in a Soviet gulag jail in the 1980s and became a symbol of the Soviet Jewish refusenik movement.