Clinton avoids Tibet and human rights on first China visit

Clinton avoids Tibet and human rights on first China visit
China National News
Monday 23rd February, 2009

Wanting China to continue to fund US debt, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton avoided any public assertion over of Tibet and human rights during her first two-day visit to China which ended Sunday.

At a time when the US economy is at breaking point, stepping on the toes of the largest holder of US government debt is so obviously counter-productive that Clinton had no choice but to sidestep the two issues. Although it can be fairly argued that being the single biggest buyer of Chinese goods gives the US leverage on political and diplomatic issues, what likely prevented Clinton from using that leverage is that Washington wants Beijing to continue to buy US treasury instruments.

The US government owes China $696.6 billion as of last year, the single largest debt. With the Obama administration just having announced a $787 billion stimulus package to arrest a rapid slide of the economy, Clinton was in no position to raise issues that China disapproves of.

'The global community is counting on China and the United States to collaborate, to pursue security, peace and prosperity for all,' Clinton said. She then said something that should tell all Tibet supporters not to expect any support whatsoever from the Obama administration in the near future.

'By continuing to support American treasury instruments, the Chinese are recognising our interconnection. We are truly going to rise or fall together,' she said even while urging China to continue to buy US treasury bonds.

Before she arrived in Beijing, she had already said that human rights 'cannot interfere' with America's economic decisions. At the end of the visit Clinton maintained that she had raised the issue of human rights during her talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi. However, from all accounts it was not an important part of the meeting.

If there was any hope in the Tibetan community in India in general and their leader the Dalai Lama in particular that Washington under Barack Obama could change its strategy vis-a-vis China, it has been belied with the Clinton visit. Perhaps in better economic times the Obama-Clinton combine might have found it worthwhile to push the case of Tibet but it is more than likely that during the first half of the presidential term no attempts would be made to upset the status quo.

Clinton's approach while in Beijing was in sharp contrast to what she said during a speech at the Asia Society in New York recently. 'As part of our dialogues, we will hold ourselves and others accountable as we work to expand human rights and create a world that respects those rights, one where Tibetans and all Chinese people can enjoy religious freedom without fear of prosecution,' she said.

With the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising in Tibet approaching on March 10, there are reports of China already cracking down on protesters in the region. Beijing has not forgotten the frenzied protests that occurred last March in the run-up to the Olympics and catapulted Tibet to international headlines at the least opportune time.

The dramatic weakening of the US economy is possibly being seen as useful for China which is sitting on $1.95 trillion in currency reserves, representing 29 percent of the world's total. It will continue to fund US debt for the foreseeable future because there are not too many markets where it can park some of its currency reserves safely. Notwithstanding the current meltdown, in the long-term the US is still regarded as a safe bet by China which also sees an opportunity to push its own ideological agenda behind the debt purchase.

Yang, who is scheduled to visit the US on March 9, threw in a carrot when he said that the Chinese government's $585 billion stimulus plan presented an opportunity for international companies to get involved in building infrastructure. Without being specific he seemed to tell Clinton that American companies also stood to gain from the stimulus plan.

The overall message of the first major interaction between the Obama administration and the Chinese government seemed to be one of pragmatic utilitarianism.
By Anonymous, 02-23-09, 06:15 AM Clinton avoids Tibet and human rights on first China visit

It is not that Clinton does not want to bring up the tibet issues. She just cannot get any facts on the claim by so called human right groups. She know damn well there is no serious issues on human right in China and claimed of police brutality happened even in the US. It looks stupid to confront chinese leadership who are well aware of wild claim that cannot be substantiated. As I say, bring specific issues to confront the chinese leadersship if there is one, instead of shooting at their back all these while.

Similar Threads

China respect human rights.
by aeon | Apr 28th, 2006
no new posts