Just as I sat down to comment on President Obama and human rights, I glanced today's (November 19, 2009) The New York Times and found several opinion essays-careful in fact, thoughtful in tone, reasonable in argument-critical of Obama's approach during his recent visit to China toward Chinese human rights violations (mainly concerning Tibet but including also imprisoned lawyers, internet censorship, and persecution of Falun Gong.) The essayists considered various tactics for exerting American pressure on China regarding human rights. Common to all of them was a tone of rueful admiration for the political and diplomatic skill with which China fended off human rights criticism; indeed, such measures have been more or less successfully applied to a range of countries. For one example, this year Chinese pressure had some success regarding the composition of the program (which had China as its focus) of Germany's annual Frankfurt Book Fair.

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