A Glitch in the Engagement Narrative

Wednesday, January 22, 2014
This week, Human Rights Watch released its 2014 World Report.

The following two headlines grabbed our attention, as we'd been told by "experts" that the China and Vietnam models of U.S. engagement and economic "reforms" inevitably lead to political reforms. 

Except the opposite is happening.

Here are the headlines:

Vietnam: Communist Party Tightens Grip

Activists were increasingly targeted by the Vietnamese authorities in 2013, worsening a trend of politically motivated convictions against peaceful critics.

China: New Leaders Fail to Embrace Genuine Reforms

The Chinese Communist Party reinforced its monopoly on power in 2013 through tough new measures and hardline rhetoric, dashing hopes that the country’s new leadership would engage in deep systemic reforms to improve human rights and strengthen the rule of law.