Twisting Off the Hook

Clinton seems headed for one of those compromises with China that have little effect but annoy everybody

They called it a big deal. A U.S. delegation went to Beijing over the weekend to discuss letting Chinese listeners hear Voice of America programs now drowned out by China's own broadcasting on the same frequencies. But Beijing had pledged months ago to negotiate; welcoming the delegation was hardly a new or a large concession.

But a senior State Department official chose to pretend that it was, hoping to endow this minor action with some real, if dubious, importance in helping satisfy U.S. demands for "significant progress" in China's human-rights record. His reaction was one of a number of clues that...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!