Protestors in China beaten and arrested during pro-Tibet demonstration.
Image: Associated Press
Clinton today tells reporters that human rights in China will not be a concern for Obama's State Department, citing the economic crisis as paramount.
From the Washington Post:
But human rights groups say those goals do not negate the gravity of the abuse allegations they have lodged against Beijing in the past year. Among them: branding those who believe the western region of Xinjiang should be independent as terrorists, as an excuse to detain and silence them; introducing repressive martial law-type curfews, military patrols and questioning in Tibet; and trying to bully or buy off parents angry about the shoddy schools that led to the deaths of thousands of children during last year's earthquake in Sichuan Province.
Over the past two months, Chinese police have been aggressively questioning several hundred of the more than 8000 people who have signed a pro-democracy manifesto called Charter 08 that has been circulated on the Internet. At least one man who is thought to have helped write the document--Liu Xiaobo--has been detained, prompting an international cry for his release.
This shouldn't come as much of a surprise considering that Clinton's husband pushed for China's entry into the World Trade Organization despite their atrocious human rights abuses throughout the 1990s. Their now favored status as our primary source of lead flavored children's toys and poison dog food (available now at Wal-Mart) has allowed this "acceptable" totalitarian regime to become an economic powerhouse. Now that China holds our economic future by the short and curlies -- owning $1 out of every $10 in US public debt -- they're not taking orders from anyone.
Ironically, this month marks the 37th anniversary of the US economic embargo against Cuba. It will be amusing to watch the State Department claim that Cuba's human rights record is the reason they won't lift the sanctions.
Also see: Human Rights Watch profiles Liu Xiaobo and many of the other heroic defenders of liberty in China.