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The Rosett Report

Misreading China: The Harm of Ignoring Human Rights

March 17th, 2014 - 6:35 pm

The Chinese are not fools. Both the people and the government know how this system works. Plenty of them know that it is wrong. That is precisely why Beijing crushes dissent, and tries to paper over these violations on the world stage. Ignoring the Chinese government’s abuses of its own people might make for a more pleasant chat over tea with China’s first lady. But it will not inspire China’s government to treat America with respect, nor will it deepen Chinese-American ties.

Rather, it will underscore the perception that America is a shrinking power — less and less willing to stand up for its own values, and ever more willing to ignore profoundly troubling realities in hope of gaining favor. What plays as politeness over tea will be read as weakness in the global theater. It is just such messages that helped embolden Russia’s Vladimir Putin to move into Ukraine. He has evidently calculated he can defy America and get away with it. And while an American first lady is not an official maker of policy, her manner of visiting China does send a message. To whatever extent it affects U.S.-China ties, it also goes some distance toward defining the terms on which those ties evolve.

China’s rulers do not make their geostrategic decisions based on pleasantries over tea. They weigh the real, massive, concrete costs and benefits of dealing with America. And while they might like the idea of an America unconcerned with human rights, they will quite likely also read into that the message that America is growing weak, and increasingly deferential — and that, too, will affect their political math. They are well aware that the global rules of the game are shifting as America retreats. They are surely contemplating the terms on which they wish to deal with the U.S. — and part of that calculation involves what they, like Putin, might be able to get away with — not only at home, but abroad. For America’s first lady to bring human rights into the equation would be an important move — showing both strength on the part of America, and far more respect for the people of China than any agenda of ignoring human rights in the improbable hope of doing no harm.

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All Comments   (15)
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for all those that think that this is a breach of etiquette, how could you possibly think that when B.O. tells us he is so good at foreign relations because he grew up in Indonesia.

For those that don't get it, sorry for the attempt at satire, and this is a vacation for moochelle and a sign of weakness.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
wow another vacation for moochelle, with the kiddies, on our dime, doing nothing to help, and as the article mentions, showing a weakness that allows her and children to visit.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hope they only feed her non-healthy foods.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Michelle's Charm Offensive? Oh, the withering irony. Sounds like it's vacation time again. Hubby's in it up to his neck again, so it's time to get out of town. I wonder if she'll be taking an entourage of thousands. She'll certainly feel at home in the land of Tz'u Hsi.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Again, bad political judgement from the White House. To send a bunch of rather uneducated women to the still patriarchial China, well not serious. It may lead to the usual muddle in the media that happens when celebrities arrive but it may be seen as a breach of etiquette. However, it may not improve much with Barry added to the bunch.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
It is a breach of etiquette to send Michelle by herself?
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Matriarchal societies have failed throughout history. The prime example in modern day is the USA.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Matriarchal societies tend to be tribal societies that are not seriously jostled by other tribes.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
I would argue with you but America has moved from Leave it to Beaver nuclear family to The Life of Julia, where single women bravely support their broods with government $$.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's obvious what has happened here. Moochelle thinks that "China" is something you eat from, as in "Don't put the good China in the dishwasher Barry - you know nothing community organizer."

She, her Mom and the girls think they are going shopping for table ware. As Moochelle was saying only last week, why else would the friggin' country be named after cups and saucers?

What could possibly go wrong?

31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
An old book but relevant. One thing not only are most Asians racist but they are proud of it and most also regard women ......
http://www.amazon.com/The-Asian-Mind-Game-Westerners/dp/0892563524
It is often said that Russia's mind set is more Asian than Western.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yep. We judge the Chinese by our standards at our peril. They do NOT think like we do.

They want war with the U.S. On their own timetable and conditions, to be sure, but they DO want war. Or, more precisely, they want VICTORY.

They WILL kill tens of millions to assuage their pride. No, it's not about money. It's not even really about power.

It's all about pride.

Few Westerners can wrap their brains around that.

31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
How should she actually bring human rights into the equation? Name some people who are in prison and ask to meet with them? I'm asking for specifics because this administration might need to hear specifics to have a clue what to do.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
This administration does not do bad things because it lacks a clue.

It does bad things because it is bad.



31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
A nice excursion for the three that helps prep the girls for future political careers.
31 weeks ago
31 weeks ago Link To Comment
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