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Feb 25

Hillary Clinton’s Successful First Visit to China as Secretary of State

Written by Allen on Wednesday, February 25th, 2009 at 10:01 pm
Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis, News, politics | Tags:, , ,
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Judging by reactions from the Chinese government, Secretary of State Clinton’s state visit to China last weekend has been a great success.

This trip is foremost about realism.

On this trip, Clinton stressed on the importance of Sino-U.S. relations and the need for China and U.S. to work together – as leaders of the world – on a host of issues: from battling climate change to helping the world get out of the current recession to maintaining a robust security frameworks for the 21st century.

Clinton also tried her hand at several Chinese proverbs – spilling out euphemistic quotes such as “tongzhou gongji,” which means roughly “when on a common boat, cross the river peacefully together.”

And instead of demonizing the Chinese for holding American government debt and sensationalizing such holdings as threats to American national security, Clinton actually went out of her way to court the Chinese government to further “invest” in future U.S. treasure bills.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Clinton avoided rhetorical admonishment of the Chinese government over issues of “human rights.”

According to this article in the Washingtonpost,

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s blunt and unadorned style of diplomacy has been evident throughout her first trip as secretary of state the past week in Asia.

U.S. officials generally do not say their sanctions have failed, or speculate about the future government of another country, or suggest that a carefully watched human rights dialogue is largely a farce.

Before her meetings in Beijing, for instance, Clinton said she would raise human rights issues with Chinese officials, “but we pretty much know what they’re going to say.”

Clinton’s comments have stirred outrage in the human rights community, where she was viewed as a hero for having confronted the Chinese government in 1995 over its record. Activists say that without public, sustained international pressure on human rights issues, nothing will change in China.

“I think that to worry about something which is so self-evident is an impediment to clear thinking,” Clinton told reporters traveling with her. “And I don’t think it should be viewed as particularly extraordinary that someone in my position would say what’s obvious.”

In foreign policy circles, Clinton’s remarks on human rights have stirred consternation that she is giving up possible leverage with China before any dialogue has begun. Others say that she is inviting criticism from Capitol Hill and human rights groups that undermines her ability as a diplomat.

But some experts have defended her, saying she should be commended for speaking frankly. The Bush administration was frequently criticized for having a hypocritical approach to human rights, claiming to promote freedom but treating differently friends and foes with similarly poor human rights records.

“I think she clearly feels it’s necessary to induce realism and perspective to expectations and performance, and to tell the Chinese that Obama knows that we all need to work together, so she is determined not to let less centrally vital issues handicap that,” said Chris Nelson, who writes an influential newsletter on Asian policy.

He added: “Honesty is as good in diplomacy as in life — it’s just a question of when and how one frames their candor.”

Former U.N. ambassador John R. Bolton, who was known for his bluntness, said he thinks “our diplomacy should be more candid, with less doublespeak, so if she really meant to say what she said, I don’t mind at all. When the Democrats endorse candor in diplomacy, I’ll be a happy man.”

Others think Clinton is making needless trouble for herself.

“She is correct in the sense that no U.S. president since Nixon has let human rights stop necessary cooperation with China on critical strategic issues. On the other hand, the Obama administration’s China policy is going to run into a buzz saw on Capitol Hill if people think that human rights are now being de-emphasized,” said Michael J. Green, the top White House adviser on Asia under President George W. Bush. “The administration has to clarify quickly that it intends to build a cooperative relationship with China and continue pressing hard for improvements in human rights and on issues like Tibet.”

“Is Hillary Clinton going to not mention women’s rights to the Saudis because they already know what we think?” he said.

Mann, in particular, was struck by the contrast with her husband, who as president a decade ago gave strong speeches on behalf of political freedom in China.

“Bill Clinton told the leader of China he was on ‘the wrong side of history,’ ” Mann noted. “Now, Hillary seems to be giving them the reverse message: that China is on the right side of history.”

In some ways – I welcome U.S.’s less ideological and rhetorical approach to engaging China.

After all – what percentage of Chinese in China do you think welcome American government’s lecturing their own government about governance of China’s domestic affairs?  Probably less than 2%, if that at all.

But only time will tell whether the U.S. is going to treat China as a legitimate, real partner.  And only time will tell whether the U.S. has truly accepted that the issues of “human rights” in China must be left to the Chinese people alone.

Here is a little humor for everyone.  This cartoon shows a little animation featuring a stern-looking Madame Clinton of today kicking off the stage a colorfully dressed First Lady Clinton of the 1990′s, then babbling about some human rights atrocity she had read regarding China….

As far as I can see … it’s about time!

What are people’s reactions toward Clinton’s visit last weekend?


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33 Responses to “Hillary Clinton’s Successful First Visit to China as Secretary of State”

  1. Bob Says:

    I wouldn’t read too much into the superficial pleasantry exchanged on a single trip. You see one of today’s headlines on Google news basically reads: “U.S. (Hillary’ State Department): China’s Human Rights worsened.” But then again, maybe we shouldn’t read too much into that, either. It’s part of the standard procedure and political rhetorics aimed to appease certain audiences.

  2. TonyP4 Says:

    Human right is a misinterpreted subject as a developing country’s yardstick is quite different from a developed country’s. Economy should be the first issue to discuss. We need to fix the global recession together. Would Hu fall into her trap to buy more junk treasure bills by her ‘personality/beauty’?

    I posted the following here and in some sites that I got good responses. Chinese apostles do not mean much to me but a lot of other Canadians at one site agreed with me to some extend.

    ===========

    China, the human right lover

    * Contrary to popular belief, it is a fact.
    30 years ago, many Chinese died of starvation, did not have a roof over their heads…
    Not any more now.
    Are these the basic human rights?

    * Why you’re lied to.
    The media wants to create controversy to sell their stuffs.
    The politician wants to establish a common enemy, so you ignore more important problems that they cannot fix.
    The offense companies have more reason to expand.
    They all assume you are stupid and cannot analyze.

    * Why US is human right violator.
    How many we killed and how many Chinese killed abroad last year?
    How many innocent people we have to kill in Iraq before we stop?
    How many national guards are sent to the killing field against their will??
    Should we destroy another country accusing them to have ‘mass destruction weapons’?
    Why it is OK for us to own nuclear weapons that can destroy the entire world with a push of a button?
    How many citizens die of obesity as we encourage “good” food?
    How many poor remain to be poor for generations due to our generous welfare system?
    How many our children are killed every year due to our lack of gun control law?
    Gun control is not even an issue for both political parties.
    How many teenage mothers we encourage starting from the top politicians?
    How many native Indians stay in their reservation forever and got drunk by not providing them with jobs?
    How we use up the world’s oil and blame China who uses less than ¼ of ours per capita?
    In addition, a good portion of China’s oil is used to manufacture our stuffs that we do not really need.
    How we blame China for military expenditure while ours is 10 times theirs?
    How we encourage our citizens to spend on credit and buy houses we cannot afford until the entire financial system collapses?
    When special interest groups donate millions to politicians, how can they make unbiased decisions for us?

    The list is endless.

    China has its own problems and we have our own. Let each work on her problems and we’ll have a better world.

    Your yardstick is good for your country but not mine, and China’s yardstick is comparing China 30 years ago. It is laughable to use the yardstick of a developed country (US) to measure a developing country (China), and vice versa. Depending on which yardstick you’re using, China could be a human right lover and US a violator – that could sound funny!

  3. FOARP Says:

    “Success” is rather a strong word don’t you think? What would “failure” look like? I am rather inclined to think that the success or failure of such a meeting will only become apparent within the next few months.

  4. Allen Says:

    @FOARP – after Geithner accused China of “manipulating” its currency earlier this year – and after Obama’s inaugural speech referencing “communism” and vague references to authoritarianism – the responses were pretty swift.

    Judging by the responses thus far, the trip definitely has been a successful.

    But you are right – whether the relationship between China and U.S. can be further advanced than it is currently – we’ll have to wait to see.

  5. Wukailong Says:

    @TonyP4: The list of the US ills are impressive, but it’s also very much confined to the US… and I don’t buy into this “generous welfare system” thing. I have to admit I’ve only been 4 months in the country in total, but from what I’ve seen there’s definitely more visible poverty and less welfare than what I grew up with. You can have too much welfare, but it’s hard for me to see that Americans do (unless we’re talking about subsidized farmers, but they aren’t exactly poor!).

    So to the US: Yeah, lower this and change that. Abolish the death penalty, while you’re at it. Leave Iraq. Eat better. Control gun sales. I’m all for it.

  6. pug_ster Says:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29391177/

    Just when you think the rhetoric from Hillary’s Clinton’s State Dept toward China would stop, it has not. Too bad those guys who works for the CFL aren’t on the same page.

  7. Wukailong Says:

    @pug_ster: This report have probably been some months in the making, so Hillary wasn’t directly involved. But what do you propose the State Department to do with it? Should they remove parts about China, refuse to comment on the country, or just write a nicer, white-washed version where they describe the need to be nice to the government of this particular country?

  8. Steve Says:

    @ pug_ster #6: I wouldn’t read too much into the occasional human rights complaint. After all, the Obama administration is Democratic and they have a “human rights” constituency to mollify. The Republicans had an “anti-Communist” constituency but their business constituency was far more powerful, hence the lack of human rights complaints regarding China.

    All politics is local. The CPC also does what it has to in order to keep its constituencies mollified. That’s just politics. Both sides know it and both sides play the “game”. Right now the only thing that matters to any major political leader is the economy. Revamping the economy will keep them in power and failure will cause them to lose power. We can talk all we want to on this blog about China’s leadership but when 20,000,000 people IN CHINA lose their jobs, that’s 20,000,000 unhappy people IN CHINA that the government has to worry about. That’s where the CPC will turn their attention, getting those 20,000,000 people back to work. And well they should, just as the Obama administration’s focus will be in getting the US economy back on track.

    I think too often, and it’s so easy to do these days with the internet, people from one country will read the news from another and feel like they are practically under attack. I know when I lived in China and read the papers there, it seemed like China was about to go to war with the US every other week about something or other. It was all for domestic consumption, and once I realized that it didn’t bother me so much. In every country, getting people to look outward keeps them too busy to look inward, so it’s just another way to deflect attention from actual government performance.

  9. pug_ster Says:

    I made a mistake that I should’ve said CFR (council of foreign relations) and not CFL..

    #7 Wukailong,

    I agree that this stuff is mostly written from the last Administration. Maybe the US turned over a new leaf, maybe. I guess that US and China have other things to worry about instead of useless rhetoric.

    #8 Steve

    Personally, I think the US is just too optimistic, saying that they are the greatest nation in the world while putting down other nations. While 20 million people lost their jobs, they are not as bad compared to other export nations like South Korea and Japan. I do think that China will probably lead the economic recovery because they have the money to spend and there’s alot of money that needs spending in.

  10. Raj Says:

    Delete please.

  11. TonyP4 Says:

    @Wukailong #5
    I’ve been in US many, many months longer than you. I had the same opinions exactly like yours for the first few years. When I learn more, I believe the welfare system is just too generous that it does not encourage folks to work. Why I should work if my free medical benefits and/or housing subsidy would be reduced?

    You may see a lot of homeless folks when you’re here. Few years ago, the majority are drunks, drug addicts, or mentally retarded that are released too early by the state to save money. The bad recession changes all that though.

    @pug_ster #20.
    In 50s and 60s, US was the greatest nation on earth to me. Probably it is due to the huge natural resources/farm land per capita and the hard working of the immigrants. Through out history, when the country is rich, she becomes permissible and declines. US is declining, but still can fix her problems and be strong and rich again.

    If we think China can catch up US in living standard, our dumb nationalism just takes over our mind. China’s natural resources per capita just cannot support that kind of living standard.

  12. pug_ster Says:

    #12 TonyP4

    I agree that China doesn’t have the resources and other countries like Russia and Brazil has much much more natural resources than China. But they have problems of their own. Which is why China is befriending those African Nations to secure for the natural resources they need.

    The change of tone from the US is not just about buying up their treasuries, but the US also want China to buy wind turbines from the US.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/ge-sending-441-wind-turbines-to-china-in-next-two-years-2009-2

  13. Raj Says:

    @ 2

    Tony, I’ve seen that list before in one form or another. Although there are some valid points in it, overall it is a very weak attempt to try to deflect attention away from China’s human rights problems by saying “USA worse! USA worse!”

    Who is “worse” is irrelevant, because there are things that the Chinese government can do to improve the situation in China by changing the laws and regulations it brings in. Why, for example, does the judiciary HAVE to be under the thumb of local government? Why can’t it have an annual, centrally provided budget? What do courts HAVE to be closed to public access when “controversial” people are being tried? I’m sure someone could write an “endless” list too for that.

    Also, if China really was so bad 30 years ago, whose fault is that? It’s not like the CCP only came to power in 1979.

    The person who wrote that list seems to have a very insular attitude. Why do we have to focus on problems just within our borders – what’s wrong with commenting on things that happen elsewhere? If we are just to focus on our own countries, why stop there? Why not just focus on our own regions, districts, or towns? Does it come down to the point where we never do something for or care about anyone other than ourselves?

  14. TonyP4 Says:

    @Raj #13.

    I wrote the list but it is not original. I just gathered the ideas and put them together. You may miss my conclusion: the yardstick to measure human rights is different from a developed country and a developing country.

    Mao’s era contributed a lot of Chinese suffering.

    Guilty as charged if you feel I have a very insular attitude. :)

    @pug_ster #12
    China is one of the top 3 countries in most alternate energy. GE is selling wind turbines to China and one Mass. company is licensing the conductivity technology to China to transport electricity generated by wind in inner Mongolia.

  15. TonyP4 Says:

    congrat. on nomination of the second ABC to the cabinet. Locke will face unions and protectionists. The importance of China trade should outnumber the oppositions.

    Chu is a surprise as most scientists esp. Nobel winners cannot be great for management of this scale lacking experience and college training in management. Hopefully he is not a victim of Peter’s Principle.

    Hope Obama will listen to his cabinet and treat them as consultants instead of puppets like Bush’s circus court.

    Joke of the day. http://tonyp4joke.blogspot.com/2009/02/lady-missing-flight.html

  16. Raj Says:

    Tony, 14.

    Sorry, I thought you were re-posting someone else’s work.

    No, I do understand the argument that there is a different yardstick in measuring human rights – I just don’t accept it, at least how many people construct it.

    So, if I understand your views correctly that people should only focus on what happens in their own countries, why do you think it’s appropriate for someone in Harbin to care/complain about what happens in Guiyang, but it isn’t for someone in Toronto to care about what happens in New York? The latter pair are much closer than the former pair. Surely humans should care about all humans if they care at all.

    To put it another way, if you came across two people who were injured would you help the Chinese person first, or whoever you felt needed help the most? I’m sure you would give the second answer. So why doesn’t that apply more widely to campaigning for human rights?

  17. Allen Says:

    @Raj,

    Of course people as people should care about other people as fellow human beings.

    But when one person’s show of affection is considered so repellent by the one being shown the care, isn’t it time for the person showing the caring to re-evaluate what caring means?

  18. Raj Says:

    But when one person’s show of affection is considered so repellent by the one being shown the care, isn’t it time for the person showing the caring to re-evaluate what caring means?

    Allen, to be fair human rights campaigners normally care about people who actually are oppressed. Although they may make general statements about a country like China, they focus on specific situations and the like. They don’t care about people who are well off or otherwise have little to worry about that relates to human rights.

    Do you think that, for example, the citizens of Taishi considered signs of non-Chinese affection for their plight to be “repellent”? When those foreign journalists get mobbed in Beijing by petitioners, are they shouting “go away – we don’t need foreign help” or are they trying to get attention?

    The fact a large number of angry Chinese internet users may express that sort of sentiment is irrelevant, because almost all of them (or possibly, all of them) will themselves not have regular problems regarding civil rights et al. Their complaints would be a bit like white Americans complaining about Europeans campaigning for black American civil rights.

  19. TonyP4 Says:

    Raj #16.

    The post you read could be the post I posted in FM – search all my posts in FM. I remember Steve read it and made a comment that he agreed with everything except the drunk Indians that I corrected it with some other minor changes to the original post. Steve, would you verify it if you still remember.

    However, as I said before (read #14 again), I just copied others’ ideas and put them in my list and nothing creative. The beginning and the end of the post are more creative than the body. Do you think I gain anything from posting other folk’s post?

    My POV is different from yours, so I do not argue with you. My POV: China being a developing country has a lot of problems she has to deal with herself and does not have all the resources to fight human rights/freedom for her trade partners (in Africa for example).

    My point is China should use the yardstick to compare China 30 years ago. Are the basic human rights of having a roof, food to eat and clothes met compared to 30 years ago? Even the most biased person with the twisted arguments would agree, don’t you?

  20. Steve Says:

    @ TonyP4: I vaguely remember that post but don’t remember much about the rest of it, sorry. It seemed like it was awhile ago. Us old guys have shaky memories. :P

    I do agree with you that if a country is improving slowly but surely, I cut them some slack since they’re moving in the right direction. My friends in China all said that things are much better than before. Many of the highly educated ones told me their original intention was to emigrate out of China for a better life, but now they feel they can have a good life at home. I think China is too big and too old with too much history to be changed by outside influences.

    It’s like religion; do you respond better to the person who comes to your door and tries to shove his/her religious beliefs down your throat, or to the person who treats others kindly, always seems happy and finds the joy in life so you voluntarily ask them what their secret is and then they mention their religious beliefs? Which is more effective?

    China’s system will fit China; it won’t be something for export since there is no other country even remotely like China. So I think some nations just need to ‘back off’ and let China develop on her own, using positive values, education and development to influence the changes but not instigate them.

  21. Allen Says:

    @Steve, should Clinton fail, I nominate you as our next Secretary of State!

  22. TonyP4 Says:

    Thanks Steve. Always insightful.

    Allen, do you agree Steve is better looking than Hillary. :)

    The tide is reversed for China’s brain drain I hope. After Tiananmen incident, Chinese students can stay with green cards in US. It could be the most serious brain drain for China. Good for the students but bad for China.

    India’s educated are not – we still have a lot of H1 visa holders from India and most if not all want to stay.

  23. TonyP4 Says:

    Admin, duplicate for no reason.

  24. Raj Says:

    Tony, 19

    So do you endorse the items on the list or not? If so, which ones? Perhaps we could be clear on that, thanks.

    China being a developing country has a lot of problems she has to deal with herself and does not have all the resources to fight human rights/freedom for her trade partners

    But why do we have to all deal with our problems by ourselves? Surely this is part of the point, if we all co-operate we become stronger than the sum of our parts. So today I help you, Steve and Allen, on another day you all help me, etc. Dividing ourselves makes us weaker.

    Even the most biased person with the twisted arguments would agree, don’t you?

    I wouldn’t know, they’d probably try to deny it. But I wouldn’t. I wasn’t in China 30 years ago, but from all reports yes there overall standard of living has improved a lot. It is a real achievement.

    However, one of the things I raised in post # 13 was that the Chinese government chooses to do certain things or not change certain things that it could. It doesn’t cost anything to make the judiciary independent, nor to stop arresting people for challenging the government. So why aren’t such things changed? Because the CCP likes power and it doesn’t want to sacrifice it. There is no reason why China can only have better living standards or better rule of law/civil rights. It can have both. The reason it only gets one is because the government wants it that way.

  25. TonyP4 Says:

    @Raj. #24

    Every one I included in the list, I endorse it. Why should any one do so otherwise?

    A lot of ideas are great on theory but are not practical. End of my argument on this topic.

    Last week, the same post was on cbs Canada and it was the most recommended (not too surprised as there are a high % of Chinese apostles) – over 80 good recommendations. However, there were several other Canadians agreed with me to some extend and I hope several views had been changed to the better. That’s my purpose to better the image of China – I do not get paid for but very happy in doing so.

  26. Wukailong Says:

    @TonyP4: “I’ve been in US many, many months longer than you. I had the same opinions exactly like yours for the first few years.”

    That was my point – I might change my mind, but I want to make sure exactly what your position is first. Still, I have experience from a country with a more generous welfare system, and that is what makes me suspicious to claims about “welfare queens” and the like. I mean, if only welfare was the problem, we ought to see exactly the same problem in many European countries, only worse. And there ought to be no beggars or homeless people in China, because there’s very little welfare here.

    “You may see a lot of homeless folks when you’re here. Few years ago, the majority are drunks, drug addicts, or mentally retarded that are released too early by the state to save money. The bad recession changes all that though.”

    If the state doesn’t have money to fix these people, then clearly there’s too little “welfare” in a sense!

    If you’re just saying that welfare handouts without any requirements are wrong, then I agree with you. If you’re saying, though, that the state just ought to cut taxes and do less spending regardless, then I don’t agree. I see a lot of problems in not having universal health insurance, for example. I guess it depends a lot on how we define welfare.

  27. Raj Says:

    A lot of ideas are great on theory but are not practical. End of my argument on this topic.

    Tony, no offence, mate, but that’s a bit of a cop-out. If you want to say some of the things I raised are not practical, please explain why.

  28. TonyP4 Says:

    Hi Wukailong,

    To me, welfare is a temporary fix and a safety net. In US, we have three generations of teenage mothers. When the system is too generous, people tend to be lazy (I believe laziness is human nature – leave it for another topic some day) and take advantage of. A lot of abuses. Our local newspapers and friends always point out these abuses.

    My friend told me there were a gang of young folks playing the motor cycles the entire day. I knew some but not all are collecting ‘disability insurance from the government.’

    The newspaper reported last month that a ‘disabled’ fireman participated in a body builder contest. We had one incident almost every month.

    The aliens (most illegal) know how to take advantage of our welfare system which is not connected to immigration system. Steve mentioned some in his previous post. There are books teaching folks in Taiwan how to have a rich life in US without spending their own saving.

    As I said before, China and US are extremes. I do not see many homeless in China as folks there take care of themselves and depend on themselves more as they do not have a safety net like US. That’s a good thing. I bet every beggar in Beijing has a sad story behind.

    US becomes a permissible society with the riches. I’m pro sharing the riches of the society and that’s what the high taxes are for. But, the generous welfare could discourage folks to work hard. As in my last post, who wants to work when your total benefits would be reduced when you work? Same for saving. If you have over 1,000 in a bank account, you’re not eligible for the $800 monthly social security supplement.

    Sorry the state is confusing to folks outside US. The entitlements come in two parts: federal government and the state (like California or Mass.). The state like Mass. tries to balance the budget by releasing mental retards from the hospitals earlier than necessary. The drunks are addicts are the products of permissible society to me. They have to help themselves first and the state has to take some action to solve their root problems. Giving them money is not a solution but help them to buy the next drug or liquor. With the generous housing subsidy, free medical help, food stamps…, I wonder why these folks cannot survive in US.

    I’m not in social science but just use my common sense. It is over-simplified for discussion via my observation. I see government wasted a lot of money in the welfare projects that did not fare well. Examples abundant: dismantle the housing for the poor due to no security police, best equipment to schools with students who do not want to learn… Not OK when we do not learn from past mistakes.

  29. TonyP4 Says:

    Universal health care is good and bad as most systems are. Usually Canadians adopt what works in US, but not this time. Some die because the system does not allow them certain treatments or they’re in the waiting list too long.

    US has a lot of holes in the current system. When you go to emergency, you’re automatically covered in most states, even you’re illegal aliens. Not so as a regular doctor’s visit for the same health problem. The poor in Mass is pretty much covered except dental for adults.

    My proposal, ideal but not practical or too many politicians/purists twisting my arm… A safety net for basic treatment for all. The better coverage is paid for by individual. My point is to encourage folks to work hard, make more money and pay their own health coverage. Nothing special, noble – just common sense.

    The Federal government did have a work program requiring the able poor to work, but it fails miserably. If it is not enforced, it is only good for politicians to get votes.

  30. TonyP4 Says:

    @Raj #27

    I am not here for bad debate but for entertainment as Cheung said.

    Here is a very funny joke

    http://tonyp4joke.blogspot.com/2009/02/lady-missing-flight.html

    that could be your best 3 minutes of your day if not your life (not sex as it lasts more than 3 minutes to most). Plus I have a lot of funny comments on this video to make folks laugh. To me it is all creative, but you may find the same jokes some where else I bet. Instead of arguing its originality or who is #1, just sit back and enjoy it.

  31. Raj Says:

    I am not here for bad debate but for entertainment as Cheung said.

    Why is it a bad debate for you to back up your own comments so that I can better understand your views? The only “bad” thing is if you don’t expand, as I (and possibly others) will think that there is no substance behind them.

  32. Wukailong Says:

    @Tony: Thanks for the response! I agree with some of your points, notably that welfare payments shouldn’t just be handed out – though the point I wanted to make was that if only welfare itself, in terms of government payments, were wrong, we should find even more problems in countries that are even more extreme in welfare payments. I think it depends a lot on how the system is implemented.

    And universal health care – we seem to be in basic agreement.

  33. uln Says:

    @ OP – “As far as I can see … it’s about time!”

    I don’t think I can agree with this. Well, actually it depends on what you mean.

    If you mean: “it’s about time that we stop mixing all the problems together and confusing the public by speaking of human rights when our real objective is to get a better negotiating position in some other business” then yes, I agree.

    If you mean: “It’s about time we stop asking the Chinese government (and every other government) to respect human rights in their country, because it is their internal affairs and we have no business there.” Then no. I absolutely don’t agree.

    @ Tony: Yes, US is violating human rights, or at least it has been recently. Still I don’t get your point. US already gets in the world more criticism than China, and that is, in my opinion a good thing. But I just don’t see how this relieves the US government from their duty to push for human rights worldwide.

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