Andrew J. Nathan, a political scientist at Columbia University who has been studying China for four decades, said he was struck by how many Chinese friends and associates, even those living the United States, had accepted the government’s contention that Mr. Liu was seeking to push China into chaos through writings that called for free elections and an end to single-party rule. “The Chinese people I speak to have quite readily absorbed the government’s point of view that this guy is a criminal nurtured by the West,” he said.Indeed, China has been hard at work in its counter propaganda offensive and it has worked partially among some of its neighbors that are now in a position to be blackmailed.
China, emboldened by its rising economic might, appears to be more determined than many other authoritarian countries to confront the West’s notion that Western values are universal and to mobilize China’s citizens against what it views as an assault on its political system.Cold comfort if you ask me because after its success in removing Tibet from the agenda and getting its most wanted Olympic games, courtesy of the infamous role of IOC chair countlet Jacques Rogge of the suitable last name, China is going to get more and more assertive if we, in the West, do not stop taking their crap.
“Awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo once again reflects the strong attempts of Western countries to intervene in the political process in China,” said a commentary that ran this month in the official newspaper People’s Daily. “It is a well-planned event, premeditated and long organized by Western countries, and is part of a series of actions by the U.S. and its allies and companies to undermine China.”
So far, it appears that Beijing’s diplomatic campaign has been only marginally successful. A handful of countries, among them Russia, Iraq, Cuba and Kazakhstan, have acceded to China’s plea for a boycott. But 36 other countries have said they will send ambassadors to a rump prize ceremony.
Admittedly confronting China is going to be more difficult than past cases of Human Rights abuse. In a globalized economy boycott is nearly impossible since almost any electronic component has some chip or part made in China. I personally have tried since Tien An Men to avoid anything made in China even if significantly cheaper. But when I came to Venezuela this became impossible to do because Chinese trinkets dominate here, there is in general no option. Thus I have resorted to buy non Chinese brands even if assembled in China (my latest computer was NOT a Lenovo) as a token gesture.
Boycotting Chinese restaurant is really not for me because I am not too fond of Chinese cuisine to begin with. Short of calling the manager of a Chinese restaurant, AFTER your meal when you pay the bill and ask him his position over Mr. Liu (probable getting a blank stare in Venezuela) and letting know that you shall not patronize his establishment anymore as long as he supports the jail for Liu, there is little else I can do in Venezuela.
However there are associations and suddenly for the first time in years I feel the urge to support associations that defend Chinese dissidents, that confront everywhere Chinese leaders and more importantly that confront lobbyist for China. Suggestions from readers are welcome, and I will add them at the end of this post if you send them with your own explanation on why it is worthy to support group X on its China freedom fight.
Because make no mistake, the current China political system must be confronted. It has now the muscle to support bastard regimes like Venezuela if it wants (though the messy chavismo is fortunately a repellent for the more organized Chinese, the more so that Venezuela has become a narco country and since the Opium War in China, you know...). If Al Qaeda is a terror based system, it has little potential in "converting" folks to its views in the West, and not that much in Arab countries actually except for the lunatics that can come from a London suburbia as well as from a Cairo slum. But Chinese culture is a basically arrogant one, for all of its past brilliance (hit the history books if you do not believe me). That it is now channeled through unscrupulous, corrupt, power abuse Commie leftovers makes it the more dangerous as even some Chinese in the West succumb to the defense of the regime, confusing culture and heritage with human rights and politics.
The paradox of China culture is that the Mao years have stunted a cultural aggiornamento that all other successful cultures have experienced. For example, the West went through a wrenching XVIII century that ended in the blood bath of the French revolution and Napoleonic wars. But after that slavery was out, Jews were in and democracy flourished to prove itself with all of its faults the system that gave a maximum of felicity to a maximum of people. Not perfect, as colonialism and 2 world wars showed, but at least the West was on track. Japan went through such a process too. It started with the Meiji era and ended at Hiroshima. But it yielded a very reasonable democracy which became for many decades the second economic power of the world. Latin America is going through such a milder aggiornamento these years and the most advanced countries in the process are unsurprisingly those who are performing best.
But the Arab world and China are nowhere close even though one can have high hopes for China once the extreme-capitalistocommies are out. And thus our role, our need to support any group that helps China wake up to what are universal rights, no matter how much people in Beijing or in Caracas try to deny it. Democracy and liberty is an everyday struggle and even if I must confront daily chavismo I must understand that I need to confront the current China regime.
To end this rant one last excerpt from the Times piece, to drive the point home:
According to the Nobel Web site, the last time no one was present to accept the peace medal was in 1936, when the German journalist and pacifist Carl von Ossietzky was not allowed to leave Nazi Germany.You are free to draw your own analogies.
Mr. Ossietzky had been held in Nazi concentration camps in the 1930s and, although the German Propaganda Ministry publicly declared that he was free to go to Norway, “secret police documents indicate that Ossietzky was refused a passport,” according to the Nobel Web site. Ill with tuberculosis, he was later sent to a hospital in Berlin, where he was kept under constant surveillance until his death in May 1938.
One petition you can sign, for starters, from Milonga