Republicans, Democrats, and China

Politics and policy.
June 13 1998 3:30 AM

Republicans, Democrats, and China

On human rights, both parties talk the talk but don't wok the wok.

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The Chinese need not have worried. Whether it is a process of being captured by the China hands at the State Department or the sobering effects of real power, no American president since Nixon has dared to lean hard on China. In 1996, Robert Dole, a longtime supporter of MFN renewal, predictably accused Clinton of "weakness and indecision, double-talk and incoherence" in his approach to Beijing. But had Dole won the election, our policy would almost certainly have remained the same. This is worth bearing in mind during the president's upcoming trip to China. In politics, the yang predominates. In power, the yin reasserts itself.

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