Obama administration to China: Sorry about that racist AZ law; Update: How China treated Mexicans last year

posted at 12:15 pm on May 17, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The Obama administration continued its Apology Tour into a second year, this time taking it by surrogate to Beijing.  As my friend and NARN colleague John Hinderaker notes at Power Line, the notion that the US owes China any sort of apology on human rights is “unfreakingbelievable.”  It’s especially mystifying when it comes to enforcement of immigration law, as the White House expressed diplomatic regret over Arizona’s new provision to enforce existing law in the absence of a federal effort:

Michael Posner, the assistant secretary of state, told reporters that another round will happen some time next year in Beijing. The countries also plan to hold talks on legal matters soon and he said he will participate in a high-profile economic and security summit in Beijing this month.

“In two days, we’re not going to change major policies or major points of view, but we laid a foundation to continue,” Posner said. “The tone of the discussions was very much, `We’re two powerful, great countries. We have a range of issues that we are engaged on. Human rights is part of that discussion, and it will remain so.'”

What was part of that discussion?  Maybe China’s totalitarian one-child, forced-abortion policies?  Its censorship, especially regarding access to the Internet?  Not exactly:

Posner said in addition to talks on freedom of religion and expression, labor rights and rule of law, officials also discussed Chinese complaints about problems with U.S. human rights, which have included crime, poverty, homelessness and racial discrimination.

He said U.S. officials did not whitewash the American record and in fact raised on its own a new immigration law in Arizona that requires police to ask about a person’s immigration status if there is suspicion the person is in the country illegally.

John also points to Posner’s press briefing, in which he equated the new Arizona law to discrimination:

QUESTION: Was there any areas in which China sort of turned the tables and raised its own complaints or concerns about U.S. practices around the globe or at home? Can you give some examples there –

ASSISTANT SECRETARY POSNER: Sure. You know, I think – again, this goes back to Ambassador Huntsman’s comment. Part of a mature relationship is that you have an open discussion where you not only raise the other guy’s problems, but you raise your own, and you have a discussion about it. We did plenty of that. We had experts from the U.S. side, for example, yesterday, talking about treatment of Muslim Americans in an immigration context. We had a discussion of racial discrimination. We had a back-and-forth about how each of our societies are dealing with those sorts of questions. …

QUESTION: Did the recently passed Arizona immigration law come up? And, if so, did they bring it up or did you bring it up?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY POSNER: We brought it up early and often. It was mentioned in the first session, and as a troubling trend in our society and an indication that we have to deal with issues of discrimination or potential discrimination, and that these are issues very much being debated in our own society.

In other words, China didn’t even mention it — the Obama administration did.  They managed to apologize for a law that, technically and practically speaking, the Department of Justice hasn’t even yet reviewed.  Eric Holder hasn’t read the sixteen-page bill after a month of criticizing it, and it seems highly doubtful that Posner has even “glanced” at it.  Besides, the same law has existed in California for years — and the White House hasn’t so much as breathed a word about California’s penal code.

It doesn’t make the Obama administration sound “mature” to call Arizona racist for tasking its law enforcement agencies with enforcing the law.  It makes them look illiterate, closed-minded, and weak.  Maybe Posner should focus on China’s long record of oppression, slave labor, political executions, and heavy-handed censorship — and join Arizona in demanding that the federal government start enforcing the laws that have existed for decades on immigration.

Update: Say, maybe the Obama administration might want to mention this as well, from almost exactly a year ago:

Following the discovery of the infected Mexican man, authorities quarantined 70 Mexicans who arrived in China over the May 1 holiday weekend, most on different flights from the infected man. They include an official at Mexico’s consulate in Guangzhou who was returning on a flight from Southeast Asia. Except for the initial case, none of the 70 has shown symptoms of the disease, says a spokesperson from the embassy. Now concerns are being raised that Mexicans are being isolated solely because of their nationality.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister, Patricia Espinosa, called the treatment of the Mexicans in China discriminatory and said some of the quarantined travelers were being held in “unacceptable conditions.” On May 3, Mexico’s ambassador to China, Jorge Guajardo, attempted to visit 10 Mexicans who are in quarantine at Guomen Hotel in suburban Beijing, but he was denied access. As of Monday morning, he still hadn’t been able to gain access to the group. Over the Mexican government’s objections, China has decided to halt all AeroMexico flights coming into China. On Monday evening, the Chinese Foreign Ministry posted a brief announcement on its website saying that China and Mexico had planned for charter flights to return stranded nationals from the two countries, but no details were provided.

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu denied that Mexicans were being singled out. “These measures are not aimed at Mexican citizens, and are not discriminating in nature. The issue is purely a matter of public health and quarantine inspection,” Ma said in a statement on the ministry’s website. “China understands Mexico’s concern for its citizens in China, but we hope Mexico could focus on the bigger picture of fighting against the epidemic … and deal with the issue in an objective and calm way.”

And we’re apologizing for profiling to the same country that did this?  Those travelers entered China legally.

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Not from LOTUS (Laptop Of The United States) But TwOTUS (Twitter Of The United States)

“AZ’s pro-border security law invokes apology to China(w/its human rights violations)by U.S. State Dept;Surely Ambassador Huntsman disagrees?”


gary4205 on May 17, 2010 at 6:08 PM

the notion that the US owes China any sort of apology on human rights is “unfreakingbelievable.”

Only Nixon can go to China.

The Soviet Union was on the brink of launching a nuclear attack against China in 1969 and only backed down after the US told Moscow such a move would start World War Three, according to a Chinese historian

The extraordinary assertion, made in a publication sanctioned by China’s ruling Communist Party

BDU-33 on May 17, 2010 at 6:09 PM

2012 seems like thousands of years away.

Daggett on May 17, 2010 at 7:11 PM

I am in China as I type (here on business for a month and a half). The following is the notice that all visitors receive when entering China – it is on the back of the standard issue departure card that all visitors must fill out in order to depart China without a major hassle:

1. Aliens who do not lodge at hotels, guesthouses or inns shall, within 24 hours (72 hours in rural areas) of entry, go through accomodation registration at local police station.

2. Aliens holding visas Z, X or J-1 shall, within 30 days of entry, apply for Residence Permits to the exit-entry department of the public security bureau of the city where applicant resides.

3. Aliens shall not be employed in China whithout permission of the competent authorities of the CHinese Government

4. Aliens who reside or stay in China shall carry with themselves their passports or Resident Permits for possible examination.

5. In case of emergency, dial 110 to seek help from police.

For what it’s worth: I’ve never had a problem here, enjoy my stays very much, I’m very fond of the Chinese people, I’m blown away by the explosion of economic activity and night life, find the employees who work in retail to be horribly bored and indifferent about their work and finally….always enjoy coming home to the States to a saner life.


rickyricardo on May 17, 2010 at 7:16 PM

How do you say “hypocrite” in Chinese?

Bigfoot on May 17, 2010 at 7:20 PM


rickyricardo on May 17, 2010 at 7:16 PM

Hmm just like the USA even before the AZ law.

CWforFreedom on May 17, 2010 at 7:41 PM

The Bowbama apology tour continues.

Philly on May 17, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Can anyone use Photoshop to turn Obama around 180 in the photos where he is bowing? Because that is the actual result of his policies…

shorebird on May 17, 2010 at 10:34 PM

Obama does something stupid every single day.

I almost have to stop paying attention just to keep my sanity in tact.

scotash on May 17, 2010 at 11:26 PM

I hear people say that Obama is intentionally destroying America to make way for his Socialist makeover. That seems be true as the assault on our economic and personal freedoms demonstrate, but even if that is the case, his administration is so publicly inept and he is so incompetent that it is hurting his change mantra. I can’t believe that the AG and the DHS head would go in front of congress after severely criticizing the AZ illegal immigration law and admit they had not read it. Maybe this is misdirection, but boy it is an embarrassingly stupid attempt to do so.

amr on May 18, 2010 at 7:24 AM

Maybe this is misdirection

Hm… is Misdirection one of Alinksy’s Rules?

Otherwise no, they’re too stupid to come up with something that sophisticated themselves.

Yephora on May 18, 2010 at 2:35 PM