As China has advanced economically and socially during the last twenty years, it has not taken commensurate steps to open up its political system. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that will have to change if China is to meet its full potential:
"We believe that China must eventually embrace some form of open, genuinely representative government if it is to fully reap the benefits and meet the challenges of its changing role in the world."
At the moment, the Chinese government continues to commit serious human rights abuses. Among other things, it mistreats prisoners, detaining them incommunicado without due process. The Chinese government is also cracking down on unregistered religious groups in some parts of the country. And the Chinese government strictly controls the media. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, China is the "world's leading jailer of journalists," with forty-three reporters known to be imprisoned.
China has also employed an estimated thirty-thousand technical experts in an effort to control the information disseminated on the Internet. Of the sixty-nine people throughout the world listed by Reporters Without Borders as being in jail for using the Internet, sixty-one are in China.
The U.S. will continue to support those who have the courage to speak and write the truth in China and elsewhere -- and who want democratic change. As Secretary of State Rice said, "The free flow of ideas is the lifeline of liberty."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.