While the Olympics are being played out in Sochi Russia, it is against a backdrop of harshness and instability. The Putin government that is a revolving door for him and his cronies may be an “improvement” over the old Russia, but the new one fails by humanitarian standards as expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Russia remains at odds with the US and western allies, where the sticking point is about the role of government in society and the protection of individual human rights with equality for all people.
Not to say that America is perfect because our own history of ethnic cleansing against Native Americans, perpetual discrimination against African Americans, gender bias, Islamophobia, and the rest continues.
However, on the scale of abuse to humanity, North Korea, Syria, and almost any Middle Eastern country, and many African nations stretch the limits of unacceptability.
Where does China fit in this spectrum? Is China stuck on inhumanity, or is it emerging away from that? Hope is that it is trending toward human rights and away from its tortured past.
Watching how China treats its neighbor North Korea will be a telling moment. If China clamps down on North Korean abuse, that would be an indicator. Don’t bank on it; just watch it. Also, China can chose to align more with the US and less with Russia. Why should it? Because we are better trading partners. Just watch it.
“North Korea human rights abuses resemble those of the Nazis, says UN inquiry
Inquiry chairman Michael Kirby writes to Kim Jong-un warning he could face trial at The Hague for crimes against humanity
UN's dossier on North Korea's rights abuses – the main points
Sketches of prison abuse submitted to UN”