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Fight the Good Fight

Author: Jerome A. Cohen, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia Studies
February 17, 2010
South China Morning Post

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US President Barack Obama's meeting scheduled for tomorrow with the Dalai Lama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's recent speech condemning China's internet censorship have added to the complications plaguing Sino-American relations, rekindling debate over the role of human rights in US policy towards China.

Last week's commentary in The Wall Street Journal by the distinguished American expert on Chinese law, Stanley Lubman, helps crystallise the arguments. Lubman criticises Clinton's attack on internet censorship as unnecessarily damaging because such foreign rebukes are unlikely to modify China's policies. "Sino-American relations", he writes, "would be less roiled if the Obama administration muted its disapproval of conduct within China that foreigners cannot change."

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