Friday, November 12, 2010

Cameron and Obama: two approaches to human rights

by Stefan Simanowitz


November 11, 2010

“The rise in economic freedom in China has been hugely beneficial to China and to the world. I hope in time this will lead to a greater political opening because I am convinced that the best guarantor of prosperity and stability is for economic and political progress to go in step together.” So said David Cameron in a speech yesterday to students in Beijing.

Contrast Cameron’s determination to challenge China on its human rights record with President Obama’s failure to raise human rights issues on his trip to Indonesia. Just a day before Mr Cameron’s speech in Beijing, the American president made a comparable speech at the University of Indonesia. But instead of focusing on bilateral relations between the US and Indonesia, Obama used this stage in the world’s most populous Muslim nation to set out his vision for rebuilding ties with the Muslim world.