With regard to the comments of my distinguished colleague below (Towards Beacon-ism), I think we can all agree that China has human rights problems. Even Wen Jiabao has admitted "shortcomings" in this capacity. And we know something has to be done about it. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the Chinese people to change their own lot. But the question is what can we do to help things move in the right direction.
As I argued earlier, the Olympics are a chance for the government here to prove themselves, to put themselves in the international spotlight. Anton argues that a place on the Human Rights Commission is the same kind of opportunity, but I disagree, because where do we draw the line? I contend that NOT having a place on the Commission would be more effective, because in an ideal world, every country would be on such a commission, and therefore to not be on it should be an embarrassment. The motivation should be, let’s improve our record so that we can get a place on the Commission. Instead, I predict China will tout its position as a symbol of world support for its human rights record. Time will tell.