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Hu Jintao

Human rights must be at the center of U.S.-China policy

President Barack Obama's China policy combines deterrence and engagement, but it gives insufficient attention to human rights. Since early 2009, when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton noted that human rights "can't interfere" with other aspects of Sino-American relations, the administration has tried to avoid public discussion of the issue.

Over the past year, the Obama administration has increased attention and resources devoted to East Asia. Expanded military cooperation with Australia and the Philippines, a robust Japanese-American defense relationship, and enhanced naval and air forces in the region illustrate Washington's efforts to counter China's growing...