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Republicans demand tougher stance on Chinese human rights

MATTHEW PENNINGTON

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Republican lawmakers say the Trump administration must criticize China's human rights record.

The call comes after the U.S. wouldn't join other countries in criticizing China for alleged torture of lawyers.

Sen. Marco Rubio says the abstention sent a "disturbing message to democracy advocates." He says the U.S. must highlight "brutal repression against Chinese human rights lawyers and activists."

Britain, Germany, Canada and eight others signed a letter raising the concerns and urging China to investigate claims that lawyer Xie Yang and others were tortured.

Some activists saw the U.S. abstention as evidence the Trump administration is de-emphasizing human rights promotion.

Rep. Chris Smith, a longtime critic of Beijing, says he expects President Donald Trump to raise China's "abysmal record" with President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago next month.