The Washington Post's editorial page, the world's leading authority on how the United States can
at an appearance with China's President Hu Jintao yesterday. When the subject of human rights came up, the Post editorial fumes, the American president merely provided
excuses for Beijing's record: "There has been an evolution in China over the last 30 years. My expectation is that 30 years from now we will have seen further evolution." He concluded with the assurance that the United States and China cooperate on many issues, and that the issue of human rights "doesn't prevent" such cooperation. The president made no mention of [detained lawyer Gao Zhisheng], who has not been seen or heard from since last April, or [Liu Xiaobo], who succeeded Mr. Obama as the Nobel Peace Prize winner. Their families could only conclude that China will pay no price for its persecution of the two men in its relations with the United States.
Obama's performance was so pathetic, the Post writes, that Hu came out sounding more committed to reform than his American counterpart:
[Hu] said "China recognizes and also respects the universality of human rights," before conceding that it had more to do. "We will continue our efforts to promote democracy and the rule of law," he said, adding that China was prepared to reopen a dialogue with the United States on human rights issues....Mr. Hu at least formally recognized the need to move toward democracy. Mr. Obama's failure to do the same made him look more tolerant of dictatorship than the president of China.
This is the considered opinion of the Washington Post, the leading American newspaper of politics. Yes, Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State of the Obama Administration, spoke out about human rights before Hu's trip to Washington. Yet now, the president himself was failing to repeat the statements that his own administration had just made. Nothing could account for that, except hypocrisy and weakness.
How could it be that after a private session between the two presidents, the leader of the more repressive country would be the one to step forward and make the stronger public statement about democracy? Why didn't Obama stand up in front of the cameras and tell Hu, to his face, that he was a bloodstained tyrant and that America would not tolerate the Communist Party's rule any longer? Why did he talk about "cooperation" with China and "evolution," instead of demanding regime change and democracy now? Just imagine how much more eager Hu would have been to talk about human rights after that. Seriously, imagine it.