The Relative Property of China's Human Rights Abuses

Article excerpt

The Feb. 10 Washington Times contained a column, citing the Weekly Standard, that criticized a proposal I made to establish a United States-China commission to create an open dialogue between our two countries on the important issue of human rights (Inside Politics, "Feinstein's Award"). Perhaps the Weekly Standard misunderstood my proposal or the reference I made to Kent State and Tiananmen Square.

One thing is clear: The U.S. predilection for lecturing or threatening as a means of influencing China on human rights has failed. A bilateral commission that engages our two countries in an honest dialogue on this issue - on a level playing field without the U.S. diatribes - can only help encourage human rights reform in China. A commission such as this is not the only tool but is certainly worth exploring.

An honest discussion on human rights in both countries would necessarily be a two-way street and would include China's perspective on U.S. human rights "failures" such as the lynching of black Americans and beating of peaceful civil rights marchers in our not-too-distant past, the government's forced internment of Japanese Americans during the war, the police beatings of Rodney King or, yes, the National Guard killing of students at Kent State. …