Right-wing bloggers and Rush Limbaugh are pushing an absurd distortion of an AP report on a meeting on human rights to claim that the U.S. "apologized" to China over the Arizona immigration law. In fact, nothing in the reports indicates that the U.S. "apologized" to China.
Here's what the AP wrote:
[Assistant Secretary of State Michael] 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.
Power Line Blog -- subsequently echoed by a number of other blogs -- went off on Posner for "apologizing for Arizona." Power Line called Posner's statements "unfreakingbelievable" and branded him an "idiot."
But neither the AP article nor transcript of the press conference Posner gave about the dialogue indicate that the U.S. apologized. Instead, Posner says he told reporters that the U.S. raised concerns about possible human rights violations in China before responding to the following question:
Q 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 --
MR. POSNER: Sure. You know, I think, again, this goes back to Ambassador Huntsman's comment. Part of a mature relationship is, do 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 discussion of racial discrimination. We had a back-and-forth about how each of our societies are dealing with those sorts of questions.
So I think the tone of the discussions was very much not we've got all the answers, we're telling the Chinese how to behave. It was framed in an international context, international standards.We're both obligated, and let's talk about things that we're both dealing with and try to figure out, can we help each other? And where we have differences, how do we mitigate those differences?
Q Did the recently passed Arizona immigration law come up? And if so, did they bring it up? Or did you bring it up?
MR. 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 these are issues very much being debated in our own society.