China's Global War on Human Rights

Liu Xiaobo, who was recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence in China.

"Wherever human rights are massively abused today, China is the main protector of the abusing government," writes Asia Society Executive Vice President Jamie F. Metzl.

Metzl outlines his personal views in an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal today, ahead of the awarding in absentia of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo.

By actively supporting brutal regimes in Sudan, Burma, and North Korea with trade and weapons supplies, Metzl argues, and by blocking international efforts to protect human rights in those countries, China is undermining a set of norms and practices developed over the second half of the 20th century.

Because, says Metzl, "China helps protect these regimes—and often benefits commercially, in the form of deals for natural resources—international efforts to protect human rights generally have no net effect on the abusing regime's actions. States must choose to stand up for human rights standards—with minimal prospects for success and often to their own strategic detriment—or not. That the latter option is increasingly chosen implicitly confirms that the state-enforced international human rights system is dead."

Read the entire op-ed - Wall Street. Journal website, December 9, 2010