Human Rights and China

Human Rights and China

In his 1997 inauguration speech President Bill Clinton said: “Our hopes, our hearts, our hands are with those on every continent who are build- ing democracy and freedom. Their cause is America’s cause.” That, unfortunately, is not true. The despots who rule the world’s most populous nation have found, in the Clinton administration and the American business community, powerful allies in their effort to suppress human rights.

What accounts for the Clinton administra- tion’s appeasement of China? Is it based on a belief that our relations with China should not, as Madeleine Albright recently said, be held “hostage to one issue, whether it be human rights or trade”? Is it because the administration fears the economic consequences of angering China’s oligarchy, which considers human rights an in- ternal affair? Is it the influence of “experts,” who all seem to stress the importance of “construc- tive engagement” with China (by which they seem to mean that we should maximize our in- volvement with China and express our concerns
about human rights there, but never back them up with sanctions)?

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Lima