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US lawyers in China say last week’s turmoil in Charlottesville and President Donald Trump’s subsequent refusal to condemn racism and hatred is making their work in China and their efforts to promote the rule of law more difficult.

“Trump’s defiance and moral ambiguity – to put it nicely – is not only embarrassing, but makes it difficult for lawyers on the ground in China that are proud to talk about the durability of American values, institutions, and commitment to the rule of law,” said James Zimmerman, managing partner of Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton’s Beijing office.

On the same day that Trump described those attending the rally in Charlottesville as “fine people” on ”both sides,” the US State Department released its annual International Religious Freedom Report for 2016 - a document that labelled China a “country of particular concern” over policies that restrict religious practice of Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists.

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