The View from America
Since the 1989 Tiananmen Incident when the U.S. imposed economic sanctions on China for its violation of human rights, American presidents have often put pressure on China by supporting the occasional U.N. resolution condemning China’s human rights abuses, and by pressing for the release of individual dissidents. Human rights advocates charge, however, that ever since September 11, 2001, the Bush administration has all but stopped pressuring China on human rights as the U.S. has sought China’s help in the war on terror.
Human rights advocates charge, however, that ever since human rights will continue to be a sensitive and volatile issue for China. The media’s treatment of this issue usually reflects the split approach of civil and political rights versus economic and social rights. Yet, the two sets of rights are inextricably linked as they are both included in the UDHR. Perhaps the public would be better served if the media could avoid the simplistic frames through which such complex issues are usually viewed, and begin a discussion instead on how the full set of rights can be achieved for all nations, East and West.