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Fickle Politics Aside

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One very interesting development paralleling the events unfolding in China has been the outcry from both sides of the aisle in the United States. It’s great to see that, although we have differences on many things, we are quite united in our thoughts on human rights.

'1984'" by surfstyle.

Used under a Creative Commons License. "George Orwell: '1984'" by surfstyle.

One great example of this is the outcry from Marty Kaplan, writing at the Huffington Post. He calls these the “Orwell Olympics.” First, quick update to the status quo:

Now that every dissident within a hundred miles of Beijing has been intimidated, jailed or internally exiled; now that the Chinese communist party has shut down formerly legal means of citizen redress, like petitioning the government; now that free assembly has been banned, unsightly small businesses have been bulldozed, hotel computers have been bugged, and the foreign press has been bamboozled […].

Now, policies appear to be changing.

[…] the president is finally saying in public, in Thailand, what he says he has been saying in private: “America stands in firm opposition to China’s detention of political dissidents, human rights advocates and religious activists. We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly and labor rights — not to antagonize China’s leaders, but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential.”

It’s about time, cowboy.


Our president never let the bully of Baghdad crimp his freedom-agenda rhetoric. Why did it take him so long to send some public pro-democracy love to the Big Brothers of Beijing?

I agree with Kaplan. Prior to his ending line, he speculates that our ties to China as a trade partner have made it difficult for Bush, but now with its visibility, it is more difficult to maintain “quiet diplomacy.”

Too bad that following the Olympics this will not focus us, as a country, anew towards maintaining (and increasing) liberty in our homeland. We have it really good, but there’s always room to improve systems and continue to be on the cutting edge


Written by walonline

August 6, 2008 at 9:18 pm

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