Thursday, August 14, 2008

New China report

From the liberal think tank Center for American Progress:
China’s human rights record remains poor. China’s economic liberalization has lifted millions out of poverty, but progress toward political openness and pluralistic reform is incomplete, and in some ways regressing. Electoral reform at the local level seems stalled, and organized political dissent not tolerated. In other pockets, though, there is progress—the Chinese government is imposing more accountability on officials and providing more societal input into policy decisions.

Political and social change in China will largely need to come from within, but the United States can infl uence those developments. China’s desire to be treated as a respected member of the international community is a principal point of leverage for political change, as are China’s own governance needs and the aspirations of the Chinese people. What is required is a persistent but respectful witnessing to the universality of human rights, and encouraging other nations and groups of nations to reinforce concerns about China’s human rights, including labor rights practices.

The new administration should work with mechanisms that bring together international opinion to pressure China on human rights. The United States should enhance bilateral U.S.-China and EU-China human rights dialogue, and encourage China to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The new president should pledge that the United States will join, and thus strengthen, the UN Human Rights Council at which China’s record can be reviewed consistently, and support Chinese civil society and rule of law programs and China’s engagement with the International Labor Organization.

America must work to increase its leverage in the human rights arena by reclaiming our moral authority and leadership in the world. Chastising U.S. businesses or the Chinese government will achieve nothing if the United States doesn’t live up to its own principles. The next administration must work to re-establish U.S. moral authority and leadership, which has always been one of the strongest and most efficacious tools in the American foreign policy toolbox. Leading by example is a powerful avenue America can take. Without American leadership and authority, convincing China to change will be all the more difficult.

I don't have time to read the entire report right now, but plan to finish it at some point.

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