Since taking office, U.S. President Donald Trump has managed to repeatedly steer the national conversation in all sorts of directions, from the merits of NFL protests to still-unproven allegations that his presidential campaign was wiretapped by the FBI. The national dialogue often lurches from one subject to another, which means that certain key issues are often more or less ignored.
Last month, Human Rights Watch, the leading U.S.-based human rights advocacy organization, released a comprehensive 96-page report on efforts by the Chinese government to manipulate and undercut key United Nations human rights mechanisms, both to shield itself from rights criticism and to protect its friends and allies. (Disclosure: I worked for Human Rights Watch over a decade ago as a researcher and remain a fan of its work.) The report, The Costs of International Advocacy: China’s Interference in United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms, failed to garner much attention, perhaps in part because it was competing against a White House noise machine that is louder than any other in American history.