"But the most surprising fact about the debate’s discussion of China—and the one that tells us the most about the new relationship taking shape the world’s two greatest powers—was that neither candidate in uttered the words, “human rights” in relation to the People’s Republic. That used to be a standard feature… The absence of a discussion of human rights will not go over well in the American human-rights community or with Tibetan groups. For the moment, however, in Beijing it is being greeted with pleasure. China takes careful note of vocabulary—the Foreign Ministry keeps track of the mentions of specific words—and the erosion of human rights from the candidates’ priorities will be taken as a sign, as foreign-affairs specialist Zhu Feng put it, that economic issues are “something they really care more about now than human rights or security."
— Evan Osnos on China, trade, and human rights in last night’s Presidential debate. Read more.