April 21, 2019

Who says the Chinese government isn’t susceptible to pressure?

Drafting my section of the Genocide Olympics campaign, I am dealing with two competing views summarized beautifully in this NYT op ed today by HRW’s Phelim Kine.

Kine writes:

” . . . China’s move to at least temporarily shelve its Green Dam plans demonstrates that broad pressure by foreign governments, trade organizations and private industry has the power to influence Beijing on matters involving clearly-defined international principles.”

Defenders of the Genocide Olympics approach to publicly shaming China over it’s ‘non-interference’ policy on Darfur argue that the pressure they, in combination with the Olympics corporate sponsors, put on China led to shifts away from the non-interference policy that wouldn’t have occurred through purely behind-the-scenes dealings.

Kine argues that:

“For far too long, foreign governments – particularly the United States and the European Union – have surrendered robust, direct engagement with the Chinese government on important human rights issues in favor of toothless human rights “dialogues.”

Summing up what has also been the position of the Genocide Olympics campaign approach, she writes:

“These dialogues are the product of a school of thought according to which direct pressure is at best unhelpful and at worst counterproductive and culturally inappropriate. The net result has been to let Beijing off the hook in producing substantive responses to concerns about serious and ongoing human rights abuses.”

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