* For the last several decades, U.S. policy toward the People's Republic of China (PRC) has consistently subordinated human rights concerns to geopolitical or economic interests.
* The human rights situation in China has deteriorated significantly over the last two years.
* Both a new U.S. administration and China's bid to host the 2008 Olympics offer opportunities to influence human rights in China.
During the 1970s and 1980s, U.S. officials viewed China as an important counterweight to the power and influence of the Soviet Union. The primary U.S. objective--to contain the Soviet threat--took precedence over any concerns about repression or human rights violations in China. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, however, Washington policymakers have struggled to …