Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sshh! Mustn't offend the Chinese

truthdig.com reports in a piece "The High Price of Diplomacy with China" on an intriguing court case underway in the US and the Bush Administration doing its darnedest to stop it going forward lest it upset Chinese-American relations:

"The Bush administration is trying to scuttle a federal human rights lawsuit that threatens to embarrass one of China’s top political leaders. The administration says the case could jeopardize trade and “has already had a chilling effect on U.S.-China relations,” documents show.

The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. district court, accuses Bo Xilai—a member of China’s elite Politburo and until recently the country’s trade minister—of controlling and directing forced labor camps where inmates were beaten, suffocated and killed.

The abuses occurred while Bo was governor of Liaoning province between 2001 and 2004, before he was named China’s minister of commerce, according to the complaint.

If the lawsuit goes forward, the Bush administration argues it could create a “diplomatically undesirable inquiry”—into Bo’s—“responsibility for alleged torture and extrajudicial killing,” according to court filings. These “difficult and sensitive questions,” the administration said, “need not be confronted at this time.”

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