Home > Opinion > Posner, purveyor of ‘human rights,’ needs to remember he is not the customer

Posner, purveyor of ‘human rights,’ needs to remember he is not the customer

I was just reading this New York Times article, “Bleak Outlook for U.S.-China Talks on Human Rights,” and the reporter whines about lack of progress. Why can’t it keep it short, like the way this China Daily article does it? Honestly I don’t have anything constructive to say about the NYT version. Posner surely must know China is the customer in this case. If Posner could sweeten the deal with a billion USD or two, the customer might show more interest. The worst part of being a sales man is to have to make a pitch knowing the prospect has already decided not to buy.

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  1. pug_ster
    April 27th, 2011 at 19:17 | #1

    US human rights records makes China’s human right record look saintly. It just makes me laugh when these short sighted Americans lash out at China’s human rights record.

  2. April 27th, 2011 at 23:06 | #2

    The way I like to look at it this time is from a realist perspective. Is the U.S. discussing human rights with China in the interest of the U.S. or China? I am skeptical that the U.S. is discussing in the interest of China. If it were so interested in transferring knowhow in how to govern a nation, why is it so not interested in transferring technical knowhow so useful in developing a nation economically – in lifting people out of poverty?

    So the U.S. is probably doing it for the interest of the U.S. Is it in the interest of the U.S. for China to do well? I would argue yes. A prosperous China will shed technological, economic, as well as political benefits for the U.S. But I think – at this juncture in history – the U.S. is more fearful than beneficent. So I think what the U.S. think it is doing is to do something beneficial to itself, irrespective whether it’s beneficial to others.

    Now it’s definitely possible that what is in the interest of U.S. is also – wink wink – in the interest of China. But even if the U.S. is right with respect to human rights, holding the discussing smacks of colonialism. Colonialism is after all about one ruling another – presumptively for the benefit of the ruled, even if it’s really for the benefit of the ruler. That’s what the human rights discussion is about, Americans going out of their way to do something presumptively for the benefit of the Chinese people, even if we all know it’s really for the benefit – in America’s estimate – of America.

  3. raventhorn2000
    April 28th, 2011 at 05:48 | #3

    It’s a political game, talking for the sake of talking, so that politicians can get credit for talking.

    But it is also a game to silence the critics in US.

    I have a law school friend who works in the US Commission for Human Rights in China, and the scoop is that the Commission (among other US human rights organizations in the federal government) is designed to hire in the ex-lobbyists, pay them more money (not disclosed to the public), and keep them around so that at least they are not criticizing the US government.

    It’s job security for these guys. They don’t do much, other than gather some bylines from other lobbyists, and make some “reports”.

    They all know they can’t possibly convince China into doing anything, but they go about their motion as if their “reports” actually mean anything to anyone.

    Like most things in the US federal government, it’s a scam. Shove paperwork to make look like busy, get paid, and threaten to expose the government’s dirty secrets (especially when they themselves made the dirty secrets) if they tried to fire you.

  4. raventhorn2000
    April 28th, 2011 at 05:58 | #4

    As China develops, there is less and less incentive for China to do what US wants it to do.

    As such, China will act more and more out of its own national interests, rather than cater to external interests for the sake of long term “cooperations”, when such cooperations did not yield much incentives in the past.

    Frankly, I can see China’s tired of cooperating.

    Every time China cooperates a little bit with US, it was always characterized as “not enough”. China was always getting worse in human rights (and other things), according to US.

    China has its own priorities, it will do what is in-line with those priorities, it has no need to adjust its priorities according to US’s interests, since its cooperations in the past does not appear to reasonably lead to any benefits from US’s side.

  5. Charles Liu
    April 28th, 2011 at 12:52 | #5

    Its all about putting pressure on the chinese government, why does the NED line pockets of every chinese dissident it can find? And its obvious its not to benefit china, just ask what would happen if the chinese does crumble soviet style and US-backed groups like FLG, 64 dissidents/jasmine revolutionaries, Free Tibet goes in and take over? Seriousely what would happen to 1.3 billion people? I for one am not willing to find out.

  6. April 28th, 2011 at 14:25 | #6

    If we put on a ‘human rights’ crusader’s hats on, I’d bet this is there thinking:

    1. Liu Xiaobo was a home run. That attests to the NED’s success.
    2. Shut down programs like the Voice of America (in Chinese language), because trying to reach the Chinese public has yielded nothing.
    3. A constant stream of Liu Xiabo, Ai Weiwei, and other personalities makes for a more interesting story for the U.S./Western media to demonize the Chinese government.

    VoA is faceless and offers no human face for any type of drama. People like Ai Weiwei have sound bites, ugly nude asses and the likes to help U.S. media keep readers infinitely more interested.

    What this all means is that organizations like the NED are going to constantly fund the future Liu Xiaobo’s. The U.S. and other Western media will always be building momentum behind the Ai Weiwei type drama queens.

    At the same time, this will build up more indignation within the Chinese public against the West. The Western media will attempt to dismiss this Chinese reaction as ‘nationalistic’ and ‘irrational.’

    If China is clever, she might want to fake some Liu Xiaobo’s and siphon money from NED. Take the money and turn around to build schools in poor parts of China or something.

  7. April 28th, 2011 at 14:43 | #7

    I am the new Liu Xiaobo. I am smarter, better looking, and harder working than the old Liu Xiaobo. So please wire money to my account. Contact my people, they will get back to yours with instructions.

  8. Charles Liu
    April 28th, 2011 at 15:43 | #8

    And look at Posner’s latetest religious persecution charge. Check Google and Baidu for “Shouwang House Church‏” and see the differences in reporting.

    The fact is our media is acting as Echo Chamber for yet another NED-funded group, China Aid. It’s founder, Bob Fu, came to US under the guise of religious persecution, was quickly embraced by the Southern Baptist Confierence as the poster child of religious persecution in China.

    But look closely, Bob Fu is linked to the 2005 bloody cult war between Three Grade of Servant (who’s leader Xu Shuanfu self-proclaimed as the Messiah reborn) and Eastern Lighting (who believe Jesus returned to Earth as an invisible Chinese woman) in northeast China:

    [Google “Three Grade Servant Eastern Lighting”, both ESWN and cult registry apologeticsindex.org wrote about this]

    While the real story with Shouwang House Church is the restaurant they were holding sunday services didn’t want them using the banquet anymore, and they made a scene in public. Yes the police did detain them (and released them within hours), but these people violated public disturbance ordinance:


    Also look for a 2010 China Daily article titled “House Churches Thrive in Beijing” by Wu Yiyao. Shouwang House Church was featured in the article, demonstrating house churches are de factoly tolerated.

    Thou it is true China has anti-proselytizing law, it is hardly unique. Many US friendly regimes, such as Saudies and Israel both have laws sanctioning proselytization, but they are seldom criticized for doing the same thing.

  9. April 29th, 2011 at 00:30 | #9

    So much garbage in the Western media about China over this ‘human rights’ thing. Decided I needed sanity. Always able to find some in good music:

  10. Charles Liu
    April 29th, 2011 at 07:44 | #10

    British government arrested dissidents prior to the royal weeding, where’s the human rights outrage?


  11. April 29th, 2011 at 16:43 | #11

    That’s a good point, Charles.

    The Western public may have this kind of irrelevant smoke about China fan up their butt while the Chinese public can remain healthier without such for the West. Society is hard to understand as is. Better remain focused.

  12. April 29th, 2011 at 18:07 | #12

    This reminds me of all the news report about “security” in the lead up to the 2008 Olympics – the “no fun” Olympics. Well, there is always “security” in preparation for big events – whether it’s Olympics, weddings, or funerals. It is what responsible governments do. I was in D.C. for the Reagan procession in 2004. Talk about security. There was security out very publicly in force…

  13. SilentChinese
    May 2nd, 2011 at 10:18 | #13

    Charles Liu :
    Thou it is true China has anti-proselytizing law, it is hardly unique. Many US friendly regimes, such as Saudies and Israel both have laws sanctioning proselytization, but they are seldom criticized for doing the same thing.

    may be because Chinese government is Officially Atheist…and communist.
    Don not believe in religion is worse than believe in different religion I guess.
    There goes the “seperation of church and state” BS, again…

  14. May 2nd, 2011 at 11:52 | #14

    UK’s spending on their celebrations are far more corrupt.

    $20 Million pounds spent on the royal wedding alone, more for the 2012 Olympics.

    All the while the austerity measures are being pushed through.

    Irony of the UK Democracy, Rolls-Royce that carried Kate Middleton (now Duchess of Cambridge) to the Church, was damaged during the London student protests, and now recently restored to perfect shiny condition for her wedding. (on the British Tax dollar).

    Hmm…. Isn’t that the biggest imaginable F* you statement?

    And nothing against the Middleton family, but Kate Middleton is about as “commoner” as I am royalty.

    Her family is rich. Her family OR the Royal family could easily have paid for the Wedding. They chose instead to let the taxpayers of UK pay for it all.

    Makes me feel sorry for the Brits.

    They have no idea what a hole they are in.

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