Roger L. Simon

Taking the bad with good....

Bush urged China on human rights today, but was anybody listening?

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice expressed disappointment about China’s response to a U.S. request in September for action on specific human rights cases.

“We’ve certainly not seen the progress that we would expect and I think we will have to keep working on it,” she told reporters. “But obviously this is a long conversation and a long haul.”

Rice also expressed concern about a crackdown on dissidents ahead of Bush’s arrival. She said the U.S. side would raise the issue “quite vociferously with the Chinese government to both get a clarification and to make clear that we believe open societies allow people to express themselves.”

China’s massive trade surplus is a political headache for Bush. As the president opened his visit, U.S. officials spread word that Beijing was buying 70 of Chicago-based Boeing Co.’s 737 planes.

UPDATE: As covered by the People’s Daily. More here. The LAT reports the story as “mostly business.”