Pelosi Says Role as Leader Changes Tack on China

Posted June 5, 2009 at 3:47pm

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday continued to try to bolster her image as a human rights leader, weighing in on her evolving approach to confronting China on its human rights record.“It isn’t that my view has changed so much as my role has changed. I’m Speaker of the House, and we have to deal with these issues in a different way than if you are an advocate,— Pelosi said during remarks at a Brookings Institution event.Pelosi said she will “never lose her advocacy, but as leader, you have to make certain other decisions.—The Speaker faced scrutiny for not making human rights a bigger priority during her trip to China last week, which focused on climate change negotiations. Even the appearance of Pelosi taking a more diplomatic approach to U.S.-China relations stands in sharp contrast to her reputation as, in Pelosi’s words, “the most hated person in China,— a title she earned last year for her comments when she visited the Dalai Lama in India.“I don’t know that I really saw that much of an improvement in human rights in China when we were there,— Pelosi said. “I wish that that picture were better. … I know that just our advocacy didn’t accomplish any more freedom in China.—Still, the Speaker said she complimented the Chinese government for lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.