Clinton’s human rights remarks against diplomatic etiquetteJules Hirst
Analysts on Thursday criticized US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s remarks on human rights in China as “totally improper and impolite” for a diplomat.
“The comments made by Clinton go against “diplomatic etiquette,” Zhang Shengjun, a professor of international politics at Beijing Normal University told the Global Times.
Clinton claimed in an interview with the Atlantic Monthly published Tuesday, the second day of the third round of China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), that China had “a deplorable human rights record” and feared the political upheaval in the Middle East and North Africa might spread.
“They’re worried, and they are trying to stop history, which is a fool’s errand,” she told the magazine.
James Palmer, a British history scholar living in Beijing, told the Global Times that “Fool’s errand” are harsh words, which are very unusual for diplomats to use.
“It’s wrong for Clinton to compare the situation in the Middle East to that of China because the issues China is faced with are totally different than those in other regions,” Ni Feng, director of the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times yesterday.
Washington has recently stepped up its rhetoric on China’s human rights, as Chinese analysts say the Obama administration is catering to public pressure within the US by using the issue to press China during the S&ED.
“The US has no economic and strategic choices to press China so human rights is naturally the only thing it could use at the moment,” Yuan Peng, director of the Institute for American Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.
China Tuesday dismissed the accusations by the US, stating that no country is perfect on human rights and China is ready to continue to engage in dialogue, enhance understanding, reduce differences and expand common ground on the basis of equality and mutual respect.
China said on Thursday that tolerance and communication are vital for a harmonious Sino-US relationship that not only serves the fundamental interests of both sides, but is also conducive to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.
“The Asia-Pacific is one region where the two countries’ interests are most interlaced. As countries with a major influence in the area, their harmonious co-existence and favorable interactions will be conducive to regional peace, development and prosperity,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.
The two countries share more common interests and responsibilities than disputes and conflicts within the Asia-Pacific region, and the mutually beneficial co-existence of China and the US depends on confidence and trust, she added.
The statements came a day after the end of the S&ED, during which the two sides have agreed to establish a mechanism of consultations on Asia-Pacific affairs.