Chen Guangcheng is the blind civil rights advocate from rural China who escaped house arrest in April 2012 and fled to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton negotiated his temporary stay in the U.S. to study law at NYU. I interviewed him recently.
At a time of crisis in Tibet, instead of seeking to understand this gentle symbolism, the armed military response in Kyegu to placing scarves around a flower demonstrated a deeper truth -- that the Chinese leadership appears to have no other strategy on Tibet beyond oppression.
Factories built on land appropriated below legitimate market rates -- like those employing workers denied the right to organize, or those despoiling the environment due to a lack of oversight -- enjoy significant cost advantages, undermining the competitiveness of U.S. exporters.
Two years ago today, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the imprisoned Chinese intellectual and democracy activist Dr. Liu Xiaobo. As we mark this anniversary, the international community must address the ongoing repression of rights in China.
For all of the attention paid to the Bo Xilai scandal and circumstances involving government critics Ai Weiwei and Chen Guangcheng, one largely unnoticed case may serve as a barometer for China's future in this area.
Even as Chinese dissidents like Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and artist Ai Weiwei suffer physical imprisonment, hundreds of millions of their fellow Chinese citizens are suffering a form of mental imprisonment thanks to their nation's system of internet censorship.
Overall, the Obama Administration has shown a lack of enthusiasm to engage human rights issues around the world and has a mixed, if not poor, record of supporting pro-democracy dissidents such as Chen.
The whole thing is very odd. It all highlights what a conundrum that leaders from Washington to California face in dealing with the challenges and opportunities presented by a clearly ascending and not very well understood China.