October 24, 2021

Did Biden just endorse ‘human rights with Chinese characteristics’?

Did Biden just endorse ‘human rights with Chinese characteristics’?

Did Biden just endorse ‘human rights with Chinese characteristics’?

BY AARON RHODES AND JUDITH BERGMAN
20 February 2021

President Joe Biden recently made the same cultural relativism argument that has been used by authoritarians and dictators to defend themselves against the concept of universal human rights since World War II.

Speaking at a town hall meeting hosted by CNN in Milwaukee, Biden reflected on his recent phone conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He said that “the central principle of Xi Jinping is that there must be a united, tightly controlled China. And he uses his rationale for the things he does based on that. I point out to him, no American president can be sustained as a president if he doesn’t reflect the values of the United States,” Biden said. “And so the idea I’m not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uighurs in western mountains of China, and Taiwan, trying to end the ‘One China’ policy by making it forceful, I said — by the way, he said he gets it. Culturally, there are different norms that each country and their leaders are expected to follow.”

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