Monday, May 12, 2008

How to blame it all on China, a guide

As an intelligent and conscientious man, I offer my service of finding ways to blame on China.

The most followed international news of recent days is cyclone disaster and relief effort in Myanmar. Amid the politics of food aid, it's not surprising that someone will soon find China to be blamed, proclaiming China has Burmese blood on its hands. The fact that China is among the first and largest unconditional aid provider while the U.S., whose aid comes with conditions - as usual, is still all talk be damned.

It's kind getting old though. The term along with the logic has already been used by groups pressuring for the Darfur issue. Some media genius even coined up genocide Olympics, as if calling the Beijing Game this outrageous term would make common Chinese people more sympathetic to their cause and help resolve the situation. The Chinese government, for their part, is sticking with the long standing no-interference policy. So what if China reverses its policy and get hard on Junta? There is a strong possibility that the so-called warm relationship would cool off, and the aids would be denied. sort of the situation the U.S. is in? And then the people would suffer more. There is no easy black and write when it comes to international policies. But I'm afraid the blame-it-on-China crowd would have a hard time understand that.

Nor am I here to defend Chinese policy. The post is to help find creative ways to blame it on China.

One of the most creative activist group is Dream For Darfur, which is solely focused on pressuring China, using upcoming Olympics as the leverage. According to their website, one of the cardinal sin of the Chinese as complicit was threatening the use of veto power unless some language to be modified, upon which the U.S. and France completely give up the motion. You would think, given the same logic and given the organization is based in the U.S., the U.S. and France should be pressured to force the vote first, not to give up over some language. By their inaction, does it make the Americans and French complicit too? But no, China would be a much easier target.

I don't pretend to know all the politics involved around Darfur issue, all the ins and outs, but I do know the focus on pressuring the government side encouraged the rebel leaders in Europe refuse to return to the peace talk. And I do know the most prominent NGO advocate groups' focuses are all, coincidently, gasp, in perfect alignment with the U.S. foreign policy. The current Sudan government is Islamic. Do you know of any well-known Save Somalia groups or groups focused on pressuring Ethiopia, which is sponsored by the U.S. in its invasion of Somalia and caused humanitarian crisis by using some of the same tactics accused of in Darfur?

However, let's not dwell on that. Let me focus on helping. I don't question the passion of folks at Dream for Darfur. I'd like to offer some help at math calculation. For the Chinese government, on one hand it has the Olympics, which will go on, successful or embarrassing; on the other hand it has oil trade that is increasing important to the energy starved China and their long standing non-interference principle. Do the calculation. Now, do you believe the government would cave in because some foreign group want to purposely link the Olympics with an affair as complex as Darfur? From a practical perspective, the donations you folk gather would have provided some relief to the suffering people in Darfur. In stead, they are wasted on garnering media attention, jetting protesters around the globe on the torch rout, flying Mia Farrow to Hong Kong, and possibly even buying some tickets to Olympics events.

However, while we are at blaming it on China, I have a bolder proposal for you. Since many Chinese would like to bring up the war in Iraq in conversation of Durfar - two wrongs don't add up to one right, I agree - why not blame that on China also? It would work. See, the U.S. invasion of Iraq has a $3 trillion price tag, which would not made possible without the Chinese willingly run a huge trade surplus and pump that money back into the American treasury. The American consumers wouldn't be able to continue enjoy their prosperity and cheap Chinese goods with the war going on, which would have increased the pressure to stop the war. China Finances Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq! That would be some catchy headline.

I could have provided more tips on how to blame it on China. (e.g. Blame Hilary's loss on China, her husband's administration has been soft on China, and she has taken on a harder line than Obama's campaign. China contributed to her loss.) But on the second thought I would save them for now and let you exercise on your own.

Peace to the world.


  • Perhaps the difference in attitude towards activist and non-interference is rooted more deeply than people realize. Christian religions has a notion that the whole world is under God and needs to be saved(see missionaries, crusades); while Chinese philosophy is more pragmatic and inward looking(see Confucius).

  • Advocate groups vs sovereign nations, or disintegrated international politics, has been an increasing trend in international politics. In a sense, AQ falls into this category too. While it's always remarkable to help advance humanitarian courses, it will be interesting to see how this trend effects national relationships.

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