Freedom House's Arch Puddington thinks the world is giving China a free pass when it comes to human rights abuses:
More than anything else, it is this calibrated economic integration, and the opportunities it represents, that has allowed China’s government to evade international opprobrium for its acts of repression. To be sure, the regime’s crimes are not entirely ignored. Human rights organizations regularly denounce the jailing of dissidents, the mistreatment of minorities, and the lack of anything resembling the rule of law. Occasionally, foreign governments are compelled to speak out, as when Beijing launched a campaign against the Nobel committee after jailed democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo was given the peace prize. But in an age when Hungary, Ukraine, and Turkey are rightly chastised for breaches of democratic standards, China usually gets a pass for policies that have brought pain and misery to millions. The separate category that China has carved out for itself goes beyond the usual double standard that has historically been applied to “progressive” dictatorships—to Cuba, or Nicaragua under the Sandinistas, for example. Instead there is a kind of stand-alone China Exception, under which repression and autocracy are quietly acknowledged but actual objections are seldom voiced.This is no mystery: China is a powerful country and countries have to tread more carefully when criticizing it than they do with smaller, less powerful states. It's also not clear that publicly scolding China will accomplish anything because, again, China has gotten itself into a position where it doesn't really need to listen to anyone.
Puddington will have none of it:
The one-child policy and the persecution of the Uighurs are but two in a long roster of odious practices that, taken together with the world’s indifference, make up the China Exception. This indifference is a choice, often by people who hope for economic gain, or fear economic losses.
The fear of economic loss might strike Puddington as no reason to tread cautiously with respect to China's internal governance, but it's a perfectly legitimate concern. Any government has a primary obligation to the welfare of their own citizens. Putting that welfare at risk to deliver moral lectures to China about how China behaves internally would be an abdication of that responsibility.
And it's unlikely to even work. When some (democratic, human rights-abiding) European capitals objected to the U.S. push for a war with Iraq, the American response wasn't measured self-reflection and changed behavior but adolescent petulance and "Freedom Fries." Is China really going to behave differently?