A little personal embarrassment and arm twisting from one leader to another can go a long way. From Susan Crabtree at realclearwire.com:
During meetings with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev or other top Soviet Union officials, President Reagan often pulled out a card from his pocket and recited the names of the country’s jailed dissidents and pressed for their freedom.
The practice became such an annoyance to Soviet officials, human rights activists recall, that they often complained to Secretary of State George Schultz that Reagan’s constant focus on their government’s human rights abuses were impeding other areas where the two countries could make diplomatic progress.
Bob Fu, a prominent religious freedom activist and China critic who immigrated to the United States from China in 1996, said several Reagan aides told him about those tense exchanges as a testament to the power of directly challenging authoritarian regimes’ human rights abuses to spur international condemnation.
“I hope our president and vice president, whatever party is in the White House, would do the same as Reagan when they are meeting with China virtually or in person,” Fu told a House Foreign Affairs Committee subcommittee hearing on Thursday. “That way [Chinese officials] can be reminded that this is serious, this is important.”
Sadly, Fu said, neither the current administration or any other since Reagan have prioritized and elevated human rights abuses in such a powerful way. Instead, when it comes to China, most of Washington has spent three decades pointedly looking the other way.