What’s happening to human rights?- Grieboski on Pelosi’s trip to ChinaMay 26, 2009 # 10:39 pm # Foreign Policy, Human Rights # 3 Comments
My friend Joseph Grieboski, Founder and President of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, commented today on Nancy Pelosi’s trip to China. He notes:
Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is visiting China on what is touted as a tour to improve US-China relations on climate change issues.
A fierce and frequent critic of China’s human rights conditions, the Speaker has chosen to follow in the footsteps of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and take a position of “engagement” rather than “criticism” on Chinese human rights.
Once again, I must remind my colleagues who serve in government that “engagement” and “criticism” are not mutually exclusive. In fact, real engagement means open dialogue and communications on all issues and in all areas. For real “engagement” to be successful, it must be critical engagement, a process of open communication and cooperation.
By not speaking outright about human rights in China – she made oblique references to justice and transparency but never outright mentioned human rights concerns – the Speaker has allowed China to once again get away with murder, literally.
The longer we remain quiet and “soft” on human rights in China, the more the situation deteriorates for common Chinese citizens who deserve far better.
Where is the concept of multilateral engagement on human rights in China? The Bonn Process simply isn’t an effective mechanism for keeping China’s feet to the fire.
Let’s hope that State will have a human rights assistant secretary and religious freedom ambassador sooner rather than later so that these issues will once again get the attention and resources they require.
I agree. I am troubled that Pelosi is following Clinton’s lead on this. We are clearly sending the wrong signal about human rights. And I worry if this continues, it will be very hard to walk it back. (By the way, Joe Grieboski would be an outstanding religious freedom ambassador.)