On the Need and Nature of Foreign Opposition to Human Rights Abuses in China

Photo Credit: Reuters / TPG
Why you need to know

There are worrying parallels between contemporary Beijing and1930s Berlin.

Listen
powerd by Cyberon

By Jerome Cohen

The essay by Rian Thum and Jeffrey Wasserstrom, The Dark Side of the Chinese Dream, deserves the widest attention. The problem of how to alert the world to gross violations of human rights while coping with the broader political actions of the perpetrating state is not a new one, of course, in regard to China and other dictatorships. We have long faced a similar challenge regarding North Korea.

It also reminds me of the late 1930s when growing international concern over the foreign political actions of Hitler helped to obscure the domestic horrors he was increasingly committing and to diminish the foreign reactions to those horrors that might have otherwise been expected.

With respect to China’s continuing atrocities, it is time to consider how to heighten the awareness and willingness to protest of the foreign governments and businesses that interact with Beijing. Much greater pressure has to be applied to the national politicians who influence the actions of their governments.

Social protests and boycotts against the multinational corporations that court the PRC and yield to its demands may be necessary to get their attention. Popular condemnations even at athletic events may be desirable. Of course, it behooves the United States Government and the American people to cure our own human rights abuses. “Do as I say, not as I do” is never an attractive or effective posture.

This article was first published on the blog of Jerome A. Cohen here, which covers recent developments on the rule of law in Asia and China. The News Lens has been authorized to republish this article.

Looking for More?
More『Voices』Articles More『World』Articles More『Jerome Alan Cohen』Articles
Loader