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China Letter-News and Human Rights

China human rights news with focus on the Uygur of Xinjiang, Tibetans and Tibet, Chinese mining workers, religion, corruption and censorship.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Welcome Madam Ambassador

China Australian TradePresenting credentials to the Australian government recently was the newly appointed Ambassador from China Ms Fu Ying a 51 year old career diplomat originally from Inner Mongolia and coming via various postings in Romania,Indonesia, Cambodia and the Philippines.

In a Sydney Morning Herald article Fu is quoted as preaching the now de rigueur Chinese diplomatic line of "Peaceful rise"

"There is a fear about the future orientation of Chinese foreign policy. It's not surprising, because in world history many big powers rose and caused earthquakes. But I think China is going to be different, because the world has changed. It's not like in the past when powers had to expand territorially in order to get markets ..."

Then the veiled, if not threat then at least subtle warning:

"I think China is reliable, but will Australia convince the Chinese Government that it is reliable?" asks Fu. "When you (Australia)had this kind of relationship with Japan you were from the same side of the fence. No ideological barriers whatsoever. With China it is different. Do you understand China that well? And does China understand Australia that well?"

"Ideological barriers"? Is this a euphemism for differing perceptions of Human Rights? Is she saying "hey here is the carrot but get out of line here also is the stick"? The carrot being your place at the "trough", the stick being the reverse.

What other "ideological barriers' can she be alluding too? Surely not democracy versus communism? I think the world has gotten over that particular barrier as it concerns China.

No. What she is saying is do not meddle in our internal affairs concerning human rights,the Uygurs, Tibet Taiwan, Falun Gong, et al and we will get a long just fine and you will benefit from your association as a result of your acquiescence.

It is a cockiness that I have mentioned before in China Letter posts. A growing arrogance deriving from China's maturing economic importance in the global economy.

Premier Wen Jiabao exhibited the same "cockiness" in speeches and news conferences on his recent trip to Europe including his talks with the European Union.

The Sydney Morning Herald writer, Paul Sheehan, seems to think that a new ambassador provides an opportunity for Australia to:
"do with less America and more China in its international relations, if the right details can be negotiated.

In his words he sees a real "prize" in substantially abandoning our historical relations with the United States

"If Fu accurately represents the will of Beijing, then there is a real prize to be gained here, a genuine strategic alliance with the country reshaping world trade and thus world diplomacy. How ironic, and satisfying, it would be if Australia, having always aligned itself with great white powers as insurance against the Asian peril, can, and should, end up with powerful alliances with both Japan and the giant we have feared for a hundred years."
How ironic and how satisfying what? That we end up in an "alliance" with a country with the despicable human rights record of China whilst forsaking our alliances with our traditional allies. Alliances that have been tested in fire. Allies that despite momentarily lapses have proven over many years to be paragons of freedom liberty and democracy as compared to China.

What would motivate us to do this Mr Sheehan? Twelve pieces of silver?

Do not be too quick Mr Sheehan to jump naked into the rose petal covered bed that appears so inviting. Part of what Ambassador Fu said that you find so alluring was "It's not like in the past when powers had to expand territorially in order to get markets" when asking us to trust China's peaceful rise and she is correct, things in that respect have changed with globalisation. But what has not been proven to have changed is what countries do when the are starved of resources. Getting "markets" is but one part of the economic process, another is production and production requires resources and China is quickly running out of these.

It is a little too early talking as Mr Sheehan has, perhaps another 50 years in which time China can prove her bona fides a little more than she has done to date especially as it concerns human rights.

To Madam Ambassador welcome and I hope your stay here is a hell of a lot of hard work because if it is not then it will have meant that we, as a nation, have abandoned all our princoples and have sold out for "12 pieces of silver".

Link: Additional Information Read Rating:

China better seen as an ally, not as a threat - Paul Sheehan - www.smh.com.au