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China's Olympic Dilemma: Backsliding on Human Rights

The Beijing Olympics are less than a year away, and China hopes to showcase its growing economy and expanding international influence. China is a fascinating and vibrant nation, a world apart from the Maoist house of horror of 30 and 40 years ago. But though the People's Republic has gone far, it still has far to go. As I detail in a new article on the American Spectator online, Beijing is backsliding on human rights. Although the PRC promised to improve its record when it pursued the Olympics, those pledges have been tossed aside as the authorities attempt to stifle protest before the Games. There's nothing the West can do to forcibly improve the human rights situation in China. A threat to boycott the Olympics would be particularly counterproductive, angering average Chinese citizens as well as officials. Indeed, that kind of pressure would be more likely to cause the PRC to intensify its crackdown. Nevertheless, people should speak out. Write the Chinese embassy, protest PRC misbehavior, talk to Chinese scholars and businessmen, support human rights groups. China is likely to become a great power again. Let it also be a great nation, a good society admired rather than feared by other peoples.