February 23, 2009

Human rights activists upset by Hillary Clinton comments

Posted: 10:01 AM ET

Hillary Rodham Clinton's blunt and unadorned style of diplomacy has been evident throughout her first trip as secretary of state the past week in Asia. She questioned the efficacy of sanctions against the repressive junta in Burma, spoke openly about a possible succession crisis inNorth Korea and admitted that she expected to make little progress on human rights in China.

To a certain extent, these comments crossed taboo lines in international diplomacy. U.S. officials generally do not say their sanctions have failed, or speculate about the future government of another country, or suggest that a carefully watched human rights dialogue is largely a farce.

Clinton's willingness to speak frankly - combined with an extensive effort to get beyond ministerial meetings in order to hold town hall meetings and conduct local television interviews in the countries she visits - suggests she will put a distinctive personal stamp on the Obama administration's foreign policy. What is emerging is something less rigid, less cautious and more open.

Before her meetings in Beijing, for instance, Clinton said she would raise human rights issues with Chinese officials, "but we pretty much know what they're going to say."

Clinton's comments have stirred outrage in the human rights community, where she was viewed as a hero for having confronted the Chinese government in 1995 over its record. Activists say that without public, sustained international pressure on human rights issues, nothing will change in China.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton

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Lynn   February 23rd, 2009 11:07 am ET

Why didn't Tarahji, Viola or Queen Latifah get an award?
Why wasn't Will Smith even nominated?
Oh yeah, they'e Black.

Those award are only for white people. All of them.
They are going to give the award to who they want to have it.
A white person!

sean brizendine   February 23rd, 2009 11:28 am ET

larry the fact is we are in a very bad predicament now and its not the proper forum to address the human rights issues at this time because frankly if things don't get better human rights issues will be a problem for us personally not just china and the third world.
"sean in santa rosa"

John Hanley   February 23rd, 2009 11:32 am ET

So human rights activists are unhappy with Hillary Clinton's lack of agressiveness on their issue. Sad as it may be, the facts are that all people in all nations don't necessarily march to our drum. But, we still have to live and coexist with them. Maybe the carrot behind the scenes will have better effect than the direct stick on the head approach. It's time we face reality and understand that the rest of the world does not always ask our permission before doing things we may not agree with.

As for why the Oscars didn't award any black actors or actresses. The Oscars are there for the purpose of all those people who play pretend for a living to pat each other on the back and reassure each other how great they are. I didn't and don't watch the Oscars or any other of the award shows because they are all a set up and we, the audience, have no say in who wins what.

Christina Highland   February 23rd, 2009 12:02 pm ET

Activists often do not know much. Usually, repressive regimes are not supported by a vocal minority who keep things "public" and/or "sustained". Such governments have a base of popular support for much of what they do, even if that support does not specifically go to human rights issues, as such issues may be perceived in the US or other places outside the repressive state in question.
My experience living and working in such places showed me firsthand that sovreign peoples often view pressure from various outside groups, even in the arena of human rights considerations, as meddling at best, and usually as an unbridled misinformed arrogance. Sustained pressure about human rights, in such cases, will lead only to a more rigid and cohesive party line in the inhumane regime.
"Activists" like those who oppose Clinton's remarks do more harm than good both to fine leaders lke Clinton, and to people struggling abroad in horrific circumstances. They also undermine a delicately constructed foreign policy that takes more into consideration than an "activst'" view of the world.
Her recent critics in this area of her expertise owe Secretary Clinton and millions of people everywhere an apology. Such nane critics should shut their mouths, still their pens, and close their keyboards until they conduct appropriate research in a variety of areas, making them knowledgeable enough to be credible to anyone.


Christina Highland

gg   February 23rd, 2009 3:52 pm ET

after gitmo the usa cannot talk about hummanrights

Alan Schaefer   February 23rd, 2009 9:59 pm ET


You may need an 'honest, good' economist to explain the root cause of our economic meltdown. It is INDEED the unbalanced trade agreements.

Looks like the US is in 'denial' that the trade agreements in place are unfair and causing the problems with our economy. How could we expect to write checks overseas of 60 Trillion per month MORE than we are selling. Check the trade deficit ticker available via google or yahoo search. Currently stands at 94 Trillion for 2009 at this time of writing. That means we spent 94 Trillion more than we sold of US product, and money that we spend overseas does NOT come back. Each month we have the same staggering trade deficit. Balance Our Trade !!!!!

Dodie from Irvine CA   February 23rd, 2009 11:22 pm ET

I have lived in China and their class system is very similar to ours. There is the very wealthy, now a large middle class and still a large poor class. In some ways, they are better off than us as everyone has access to free medical care. If you work for and retire as a government employee, you are taken better care of than our government does for out employees! It is truly a socialist country in which the government owns all the land. You get a 70 year lease on the land and Hawaii is much the same way. I have not witnessed any child labor abuse and education is required for all children. The biggest problem is the air pollution.

If you travel to China only be careful when crossing a street as Cars have the right away and the car industry has exploded in China. I have seldom if ever seen anyone riding a bicycle. They have traffic, grid lock, etc. Just like us. Everyone has a cell phone regardless of class. China is also developing an electric car that can go over 100 miles for every charge. It should be out within months. And where are we with alternate energy. Also all headed water is solar. So they are already a head of us in many ways.

dewayne   February 23rd, 2009 11:55 pm ET

dodie, half the congress, and the hollywood rich snobs should pack and move to China.

ed,vancouver canada   February 24th, 2009 4:46 am ET

How many of the engineers,architects,andthe like were educated at MIT and other american universities?
Those cheap products that get exported from china are a benefit of your tax dollars.
Education is not a business,but a right for the countries citizens.
Now you get to compete with them.
Since they get free medical,they already have 500 a month made before you start.
Slave labor has to stop.

ed,vancouver canada   February 24th, 2009 4:50 am ET

How to do stop outsourcing when the company is owned by foreigners?
selling fish is one thing,but you guys sold the boat.
Reversible?not quite.

disgusted   February 24th, 2009 8:29 am ET

Human rights, people. grow up

We give and give and give, and some countries will never change. enough PC baloney. we are fighting to survive

The other countries need to solve their own issues and if you are so upset about human rights, what have you done for PALESTINE LATELY???

NOTHING.................. You are so two faced. whoops, I forgot, your human rights leader must be an Israeli lobby person.... That answers it.
Get a real job and grow up
Hil did a great job, too bad she is not our President
it is called TOUGH LOVE

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