Yang Jianli

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Burma opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, fourth from left, arrives at Beijing Capital International Airport on June 10. (Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press)

During her visit to China this week, Aung San Suu Kyi has both an important opportunity and a compelling obligation. Because she embodies the triumph of a courageous individual in the face of oppression, she can remind China’s rulers that even dictators can sometimes find that a gesture of leniency and liberty is in their own interest.

Aung San Suu Kyi is uniquely positioned to do this. During her many years of house arrest in Burma, she received worldwide support, including the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize that helped to make her the world’s most famous prisoner of conscience. President Obama personally advocated for her release, as well as the release of other political prisoners, during the 2009 U.S.-ASEAN…  Seguir leyendo »

While it is debatable whether the United States should intervene in criminal cases in China, such as that of the recently executed street vendor Xia Junfeng, it is unacceptable for Washington to ignore China’s human rights record when it can raise the issue without being accused of “interfering in internal affairs.” Washington will have such an opportunity when the U.N. General Assembly chooses new members of its Human Rights Council this month.

China, after a year of leave, is seeking a three-year term on the council. It is critical for the United States to show Beijing’s new leaders that their horrific treatment of citizens matters.…  Seguir leyendo »

I have a suggestion for Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao: Invite Chen Guangcheng to voice his concerns about your government and its treatment of him.

The blind Chinese civil rights attorney turned activist endured a year and a half of “soft detention” — constant surveillance under floodlights; a variety of threats; beatings, among them attacks on his wife — before escaping from his house in Dongshigu last weekend.

Chen’s escape was heroically assisted by our fellow activists He “Pearl” Peirong and Guo Yushan. Chen feigned inactivity by lying in bed for long periods. After evading the local goon squad surrounding his home, Chen was able to find He and Guo at a nearby meeting place and was driven to a safe house in Beijing.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dear Mr. President:

I understand that when you meet Chinese President Hu Jintao this week, you will engage on some of the most complex international matters facing our two countries. Trade, currency exchange, peace on the Korean Peninsula, and arms sales to and relations with Taiwan are but a few of the urgent issues.

I want to respectfully point you toward an even more fundamental complexity in the relationship that must be addressed. Assuming it is the goal of both countries to improve and expand on the political and economic foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship, this issue simply will not go away.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dear President Hu Jintao,

Hope dims that you will join peace-loving governments around the world by allowing Liu Xia to travel to Oslo this week to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of her husband, Liu Xiaobo. Instead, for some unfathomable reason, your government, even under the clear gaze of the world, appears to cling to the myths and denials that can only further alienate it from the people of China and the community of nations.

There is still time, however, for you to seize this opportunity. A seat on the ceremony stage Friday will be reserved for Liu Xia.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Post asked foreign policy experts if Obama's trip was a success or an embarrassment. Below are contributions from Michael Auslin, Michael Green, Victor Cha, Danielle Pletka, Douglas E. Schoen, Richard C. Bush, Elizabeth C. Economy, David Shambaugh and Yang Jianli.

The optics of the president's trip fulfilled his stated intention of announcing that the United States was "back" in Asia, but the lack of tangible policy results suggest it was a success of style over substance.

Meeting with the leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and a statement that the United States will "engage" with the free-trade Trans Pacific Partnership does not substitute for a full trade policy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Frequently the past few months, I have been asked about the wisdom of using the Olympics as an opportunity to push China to improve its human rights record. Underlying these questions is a sense that international pressure may have played into the hands of the Chinese Communist Party by triggering nationalist emotions and rallying indignant Chinese people behind the regime.

This concern is understandable. It is critical, however, that people distinguish among the four types of nationalism in China today to determine how best to pressure the regime to make improvements.

First there is pragmatic nationalism. In everything but name, communism is dead in China.…  Seguir leyendo »

In the early hours of June 4, 1989, I was on Chang'an Street, just west of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, when I saw Chinese soldiers open fire and kill many of my fellow protesters. I barely escaped the same fate. The horror of that day is seared in my mind like it was yesterday.

In recent days, my memories of Tiananmen have come rushing back as I have watched the mass demonstrations in Burma and the junta's bloody crackdown. After decades of military dictatorship, hundreds of thousands of the people of Burma -- a diverse outpouring of Buddhist monks, democracy activists and ordinary civilians -- are standing up to confront the country's brutal regime.…  Seguir leyendo »