The views expressed in any article published in this blog are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Joseph Foster or Bob Lupoli.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Saudi Arabia & China: Democracy & Freedom?

Joe: with democracy flowering (I hope) in the Middle-East I’m hopeful that someday Saudi Arabia & China will seek democracy as well. On a whim I Goggled both countries and I read an article by W. Mann from the A.P., here’s the link. Both countries are named violators of religious freedom by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).  I wonder if people on this commission are paid? There have to be plenty of organizations that would write this kind of report for free. I don’t think they would write it as long as this one is – 382 pages! I looked at the USCIRF 2010 Annual Report for the recommendations, since Mann wrote that, “Its job (the CIRF) is to recommend U.S. government policies to improve conditions.” Here are the lame recommendations to see if anything beyond words was suggested by the USCIRF. Below are the actual recommendations. You’ll note that the suggestions seem more numerous for China and very light for Saudi Arabia. Both the suggestions for both countries are bureaucratic garbage – for China they suggest negotiating rights agreements and for S.A. they should reform textbooks. This commission is giving them softballs. I can’t believe the US taxpayers are paying for this garbage.

 Among its numerous policy recommendations, USCIRF recommends that the Secretary of State impose a new sanction targeting officials who perpetuate religious freedom abuses or provinces where religious freedom conditions are most egregious. In addition, USCIRF recommends that the United States raise religious freedom concerns in multilateral forums where the United States and China are members, coordinate potential sources of leverage within the U.S. government and with allies to build a consistent human rights diplomacy with China, develop and distribute proven technologies to counter internet censorship and protect Chinese activists from arrest and harassment, and raise religious freedom and negotiate binding human rights agreements at the U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue.

Saudi Arabia
… Because of these conditions, USCIRF urges the United States to lift the indefinite waiver of action, or at a minimum extend a limited 180-day waiver, during which time the Saudi government should complete reforms on textbooks and rein in the Commission to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice (CPVPV). 

As always the spark for real change comes about by the people not bureaucrats or tepid governmentr reports.  -Bob

Bob: your comments about the USCIRF is correct and appropriate.

Both the regimes in China and Saudi Arabia violate human rights, as to Saudi women they have no rights, they are not even allowed to drive an automobile, also it is against Saudi Government policy for its citizens to peacefully demonstrate. -Joe

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