Rumsfeld slams China on human rights — ironically?

Donald “See-no-evil-in-Abu-Ghraib” Rumsfeld started his tour of Asia today with a strong condemnation of China’s human rights policies, which he contrasted with those of the world’s second-most populous nation.

SINGAPORE-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, arriving here today for a conference on Asian security, drew a sharp distinction between two of the region’s major powers, predicting that ties with India would strengthen while urging China to let political freedom grow there along with its economy.

“It would be a shame for the people of China if their government did not provide the opportunities that freer economic and political systems permit,” he said, describing a tension “between the nature of their political system and the nature of their economic system.”


In a brief survey of the region before landing here, Mr. Rumsfeld said the United States has “an excellent relationship with India,” but noted that China is a major purchaser of weapons on the international arms market, in particular from Russia.

I remember a time when we could condemn China’s human rights record with a straight face. Not anymore. For sure, the US is nowhere close to China in this regard, but with the news today about Gitmo and with new Abu Ghraib photos (which supposedly make the earlier ones look like a picnic) about to be released, we’re hardly in a position to take the moral high ground. What a tragedy.

Update: Funny, how in the wake of the new revelations announced by the US Army that our soldiers at Gitmo did indeed abuse Korans and splash them with urine, there’s not a single world about it over at Charles Johnson’s or Michelle Maglalang’s respective cesspools. They are the two who more than any others fomented the jihad against Newsweek for its retracted quote about the Koran being flushed down toilets. Now it turns out Newsweek was pretty much on target, certianly not a crew of lying liberals out to villify our soldiers. So why the silence? Selective blogging by warbloggers who want us to think all Moselms are evil and all Americans are good?

The Discussion: 28 Comments

See, now this would be one of those examples where Country B’s misdeeds are relevant in a discussion of Country A’s.

Rumsfeld has no credibility in this area. Of the many misdeeds of the Bush administration, the effect on other countries of Bush’s lowering the bar on human rights is surely one of the most tragic. We’ve given a green light to the worst kinds of behavior through our own misdeeds.

June 3, 2005 @ 7:18 pm | Comment

I hope my pro-CCP friends get your point, Lisa. We aren’t out to bash China – we will “bash” any nation that gives the finger to human rights, and we will be harsher on our own government than any other.

June 3, 2005 @ 7:25 pm | Comment


That’s why I support Amnesty International. They’ve come out and bashed Gitmo and called on China to release everyone still being held for the events of 16 years ago in Beijing.

As for the US relationship with India being excellent *snicker*, perhaps Condi didn’t tell the rest of the Cabinet exactly the responses she got on her last trip to India. Or perhaps Rumsfeld is referring to the willingness of his Military-Industrial Complex buddies to profit by selling fighter aircraft to both India and Pakistan, instead of listening to the Indian PM and stop selling them to both sides.

Peace, not war. Love, not hate.

June 3, 2005 @ 7:36 pm | Comment

HA! Even I have to laugh at this.

Why would you use a military leader (from any country) to lecture another nation on Human Rights?

Why not use Jeffery Dahmer to advertise “pork: the other white meat”.

June 3, 2005 @ 8:17 pm | Comment

Do we have pro-CCP here? Sorry I didn’t notice and have yet to find out. I thought they were endangered.

June 3, 2005 @ 8:48 pm | Comment


I thought that you were a pary member?

June 3, 2005 @ 9:06 pm | Comment

Did I say that before?

June 3, 2005 @ 9:07 pm | Comment

Whe you get down to things, America has always been like this. It might be good for America, but if somebody else tries it ……

America’s war on terror has done a lot to harm the human rigts cause, and so has its mantra that it just so long as your doing it to ‘bad people’ then it is not a bad thing to do.

We have seen a lot of this thoughout recent US history, ranging from the internment of ethnic Japanese civilians on US soil and the US of cluster bombs and land mines on the battlefield, to detention without trial and the keeping of secret hitlists.

If America wants to be the world’s policeman, then it will have to play fair and to play clean.

When the ‘good guy’ comits even a small abuse, it sends a big signal to the other guys.

June 3, 2005 @ 9:11 pm | Comment

For me one problem with organisations like Amnesty International is they not only help victims but sometimes bad guys, in which case their accountability will not match the result of their misjudgement.

I doubt if they care about why their victims fell victim in the first place. They probably don’t care or don’t have the means to find out.

June 3, 2005 @ 9:29 pm | Comment

Johnson did comment


June 3, 2005 @ 10:51 pm | Comment

Thanks for that, Gl;enzo. Here’s Johnson’s only comment: “Consider, if you will, the untold amounts of money wasted on this utterly inconsequential, excruciatingly trivial story.” Funny, how when the onus was on Newsweek (or at least seemed to be) he was charging full speed ahead, posting like there was no tomorrow, stuff like “Newsweek lied, people died.” Now, when it turns out Newsweek’s story has some merit, the whole things is dismissed by Johnson as “excruciatingly trivial.”

June 3, 2005 @ 11:10 pm | Comment

From an AP story today:

In other confirmed incidents, a guard’s urine came through an air vent and splashed on a detainee and his Quran…

Wow, the guard’s urine magically “came through an air vent and splashed a detainee and his Quran,” as though the guard himself did not participate! Just his urine.

June 3, 2005 @ 11:46 pm | Comment

there is a big difference between pro-CCP and pro-reunification-between-taiwan-mainland, i am afraid some of you don’t really understand it

June 3, 2005 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

I still don’t see how mistreatment of terrorists is equal to the mistreatment of people who’s crime is to want freedom. Do you really want to live in the world where the perfect is the enemy of the good? Yes, the US mistreated some prisoners. Oooh, they pissed on a Koran! So now Saudi Arabia is morally superior? Where no one can legally own a Bible? Do you know what US soldiers did in WW2 to Japanese and German prisoners? A lot of murders. Does that make WW2 wrong? Was the media blasting US soldiers for murdering Japanese and Germans? Hitler or Stalin today would be saying, “How can America criticize our executions of criminals, when they execute innocent POWs?” Give me a break. You’re right to criticize the US, but your buying the CCP argument that what the US does equal what China does. It’s the same thing with the Koran: the psycho Muslims will go nuts, so we better not make them go nuts. We better treat psycho Muslims that want to kill us and kill other Muslims as well really nice. China is amoral, so we better be perfect, because if we’re 5% bad then we can’t compain about them being 40% bad. That’s total crap. Stop giving cred to scumbags because it suits your complaints about Bush. Americans all agree that mistreatment of prisoners is wrong, they just disagree about how to cover it during a war. Our soldiers get put in jail for breaking the law. Other countries just keep on doing it and hiding it as much as they can.

June 4, 2005 @ 4:13 am | Comment

“For me one problem with organisations like Amnesty International is they not only help victims but sometimes bad guys, in which case their accountability will not match the result of their misjudgement.”

Please carry on bing, you have my full attention mate…….

June 4, 2005 @ 4:25 am | Comment

ACB – on your comments on coming clean and transparency in the U.S. actions – hear! hear! I totally agree.

Bing – Very very interested to hear about Amnesty supporting bad guys.

June 4, 2005 @ 4:51 am | Comment


All of us make mistakes, do we?

But not all the mistakes have the same effect as those made by influential persons or groups.

organisations like Amnesty International are not police, not court of justice, not elected/nonelected government. They don’t have the powers and means of all those institutions but do have a huge influence. They take cases from anybody anywhere and speak in one voice.

If they are right, everything could be great. Otherwise, they are not accountable for or capable of cleaning the mess.

I better stop short of giving examples, which may grow into another lengthy debate.

June 4, 2005 @ 4:58 am | Comment

Amnesty International has a duty and a right to lament the sorry state of US policies BUT using the word “gulag” is an affront to anyone who knows the history of the Soviet Union.
No one has ever given a damn about what the US has said about human rights. Are any of you old enough to remember President Jimmy Carter? His crusade for human rights was a joke, which by the way he violated himself in regards to Afghanistan.
Bill Clinton and Rwanda? go to and see their excellent timeline of what transpired in Rwanda and what Bill Clinton didn’t do to help those unfortunate souls. Does he and Jimmy get a pass because they were democrats?

June 4, 2005 @ 10:32 am | Comment

RMH, please don’t put words in anyone’s mouth. Who said we’re giving the Dems a free pass? The issue is — and if you can’t see this distinction there’s no hope — the torture, cruelty and murder in Rwanda and Afghanistan (and today in Darfur) was committed by Rwandans and Afghans. The torture of Abu Ghraib and the Koran desecration at Gitmo was committed by Americans. No one blames Bush for the genocide in Sudan, though we wish he and the UN and the Europeans would do more. Just as we felt about Clinton and Rwanda. But the hard fact is that under Carter and Clinton, I never heard of anyone arrested and held incommunicado for years and years and tortured. Maybe you can correct the record if I’m wrong. More than 100 of our political prisoners have died in custody, mostly of “heart attacks,” which is so absurd it’s painful.

Matt, you’re forgetting one inconvenient fact: Not one of these unfortunate victims was proven to be a terrorist. Many of those originally arrested and tortured were then released when it was discovered they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Who are you to calkl them all “terrorists” when we haven’t found any of them guilty of terrorism? You’re so off base it’s astonishing. It flies in the face of all the principles that make (made) America “the land of the free.”

To comments above about Amnesty International. I, too, feel they went too far in calling our prisons a “gulag.” But their track record over the years has been good, and whenever Bush wanted to condemn Saddam on human rights grounds he cited AI data. They also do an excellent job tracking torture and unjust imprisonment in Uzbekistan and China and Cuba — they go after countries on the right and the left and can’t be accused on being a “liberal” organization. The world is much better off with them than without them, even if they went too far this week.

June 4, 2005 @ 11:23 am | Comment

Maglalang just posted about this story, ranting about how some detainees desecrated their own copies of the Koran — as though that justifies the behavior of their captors. It’s the same old crap about how Abu Ghraib was okay because terrorists murdered Nick Berg. There is no logic here. I repeat: We are Americans, and we were supposed to conduct our “war on terror” on a moral high ground, as the good guys. Once we let the terrorists set the standards for our behavior, we are no longer credible.

June 4, 2005 @ 12:09 pm | Comment

I’m not going to reiterate the arguments that Richard has already made, but consider that if the US has any chance at all of success in Iraq, it will depend on the old “hearts & minds” strategy. Framing this war in religious terms and mistreating prisoners, regardless of their guilt or innocence, has got to be about the worst thing we could be doing.

And holding low-level soldiers responsible while giving those up the chain of command who set the tone and the policies a free pass – that’s inexcusable.

While the “gulag” characterization may be an overstatement, there is something very frightening and I would say “un-American” about this system of “extraordinary renditions” and Guantanamo, where detainees disappear, at times having no official status, no one able to track what has happened to them, not convicted of any crimes, into a limbo of foreign prisons and outsourced torture. This is just wrong. It goes against what this country was built on, which was a system of laws and checks and balances that protects the individual from abuse by the powerful. And it really doesn’t matter if the people we’re doing this to are guilty.

As for the famous “ticking bomb” scenario – “what if terrorists have hidden a nuke in LA, would you torture then?” there are already legal standards that cover such situations. I believe it’s called a defense of necessity. Sometimes you have to do shitty things in the real world. Fine. But what you don’t do is make it a part of official policy so that you can torture with impunity.

With the riots that resulted from the allegations of Quran desecration, what upset me was not the burning of the American flag. But when protesters burned the US Constitution, that was a blow to my heart. As far as I’m concerned, the Constitution is a sacred symbol. It is an expression of our highest principles. The flag is just a piece of cloth.

June 4, 2005 @ 1:14 pm | Comment

I think in the war on terror, what ultimately decides the outcome would be which side would be able to win over the Muslim world. As the leader of the so-called Free World, the US must show it self to be leading an united alliance whose ideals are found upon the 4 freedoms, civil liberties and humanitarianism, which the Al-Qaeda is incapable of doing it with all its violence, hatred and vengence.

However what Bush did was exactly the opposite. With Guantanamo and Abu Gharib, he is trying to outdo Osama as to who is more ruthless, who is more illiberal and who is more cruel, lurching the US on a journey of no-return. The essence of the war is show who is the one who eventually appeals to the Muslim population. What Bush did so far is he showed that “democracies” have better firepower and more efficient as a killing machine. Remember how the US is trying to do the same thing in Vietnam? Uncle Ho was fighting a political war while the US only emphasize on firepower, evetually politics overwhelms the military war. Osama is probably emulating Uncle Ho in this new “jihad” of his.
I can imagine that Bush’s succesors would have to repeat the face-saving statement “peace and honour” if the US continues with Cheney and Rumsfeld’s strategy of the war in Iraq.

June 5, 2005 @ 8:25 am | Comment


To hear Rumsfeld criticzing other nations for human rights abuses is a bit too hilarious for me. Of course the CCP regime is ruthless. But for the man who shook Saddam’s hand in 1978 to be a champion of human rights? Or the main architect of a war based on fraud and lies which took the lives of thousands of innocent Iraqis and American soldiers to perform a sermon on human rights? I think you have look up two words in the Webster dictionary: Hypocrisy and deceit.

I only know Rumsfeld as a war-thirsty lunatic who is obssessed with turning Iraqi neighbourhoods into a huge Guernica for testing his deadly smart bombs, a total antithesis of a human rights champion.

June 5, 2005 @ 8:37 am | Comment

SP, that may be going just a little far. He’s an ass and a hypocite. He’s not the devil incarnate.

June 5, 2005 @ 1:16 pm | Comment

Inmates in underwear and defiled Korans are in the same league as having roving execution vans how exactly?

Someone call me when the US has the roving execution vans, please, and until then everyone who thinks that any US abuses are in the same league as China can stuff it, IMNSHO.

Ta ta,


June 5, 2005 @ 2:11 pm | Comment

David, I’m with you. I just think we lost the moral high ground and no longer have credibility when we preach to others about human rights. We lost it last year, the day the pictures came out, and it’s only gotten worse.

June 5, 2005 @ 2:49 pm | Comment

First, who really, ever, has listened to the United States when we lecture them on human rghts?
The world is full of hyocrites and we are no exception.
As far as being “hated”..this is nothing new. Too many will believe the worst canard about us with no regard for the objective truth.
Of course it is appalling what has happened at Gitmo and AG. Those miscreant recreational sadists need the harshest censure and the higher up the chain of command we go , the better.
You don’t rape children to elicit information.
Many years ago, way before 9/11, on PBS, there was a panel discussion on torture. This august panel had lawyers, religious figures, human rights activists who, as you would expect, abhorred the idea of torture. Morally and legally it is WRONG..and yet, the one dissenting voice was a Vietnam vet, a Captain and an amputee.
He said, basically, when the lives of his men are at stake he would do ANYTHING, including torture to PROTECT his men…He was the only one that actually had been in combat…
By the way, Richard, nice dig……”then there is no hope…”.You have used that before …
I confess I do not possess your mental acuity. I am just a little old Jewish man making his way in a hostile world and sometimes I just don’t understand,,,Oi Vey!!!!!!

June 5, 2005 @ 3:11 pm | Comment

Well, RMH, if that guy said it was okay to torture people, I must have it all wrong.

Torture has been proven to be ineffective, and the worst part is we’ve tortured and killed people who were utterly innocent. This is something you never address — the key point I made that these people are suspects only, innocent of having coimmitted crimes until proven otherwise.

Sorry, but the US did have a much more powerful voice on human rights in the past, and we were recognized as a leader in this area, not by everyone, but certainly we in America believed it. Not now. And if you don’t see that our reputation has deteriorated under the present administration compared to what it was under the universally beloved Bill Clinton, then all i can say (and it’s not a dig, I am completely sincere) is there’s no hope — you’re in denial.

June 5, 2005 @ 3:19 pm | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.