Human rights may top agenda in US-China talks

The curious case of Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng could bump economics right off the top of the to-do-list at the upcoming US-China Economic and Strategic Dialogue, says Brookings Institute Senior Fellow Ken Lieberthal.

While Lieberthal views the situation as a potential positive, other analysts see the failed talks over Guangcheng’s future as a sign of defeat for American diplomacy.

Forbes columnist Paul Roderick Gregory contends it is a day “of shame” for American foreign policy.

“If this account is true, the United States should be ashamed. We have sacrificed a fundamental moral issue for commercial and political gain. We should have welcomed Chen in the embassy as we did Fang Lizhi and demanded that Chen’s wife and son be delivered to the safety of the U.S. Embassy, after which negotiations on Chen could begin,” Gregory writes.

Whether it is an opportunity or an embarrassment, human rights surely will dominate and complicate the future relationship between the world’s economic and political powers.

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