Sunday, March 13, 2005

Human rights off China agenda

Our stupid news of the day comes to us via Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer. What a fitting name.
"If you try to get into a trade negotiation ... if you make human rights issues conditions of trade negotiations that will be rejected with China, or for that matter with any other country," he said on ABC radio.

"You're not going to succeed in getting the human rights agenda mixed with the trade agenda.

"You won't get the free trade agreement and you won't get any improvements in human rights.

"So it's a symbolic thing to do, but it would be utterly fruitless."

Sorry for the pun: It seems like he's a real Downer.

So what other leverage does the world have over China or any other country than its right to free trade? China has been a Communist country for many years. They bank on thier ability to produce goods for other countries. If we can get the international backing to cut of trade, start an embargo, restrict trade, etc. then China will have no choice but to deal with their problems.

Another unregistered factor is their new president is the closest thing they've had to a democratic model of a president in recent history, and quite possibly ever. President Hu has been the young upstart in the Chinese government that seems to have the silver tongue that everyone listens to. If you can get him to understand that his country will suffer if they keep up with their bad human rights record then maybe the country will follow.

Of course, you can always just be a Downer and think with your pocketbook.

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