Tuesday, July 28, 2009

US and China talks "unparalleled"

This news item gives me pause for thought:

"US and China talks "unparalleled"
July 28, 2009 Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US and China have agreed to cooperate on difficult foreign policy problems such as North Korea and Iran's nuclear programmes as well as counter-terror and climate change.
Mrs Clinton described as unparalleled the range of issues discussed between US officials and Chinese envoys during two days of high-level talks this week.
She also conceded that on human rights both sides had candid and respectful exchanges"

There have been some indications in recent months that China is edging away from supporting the incompetent régimes it is allied to in Burma and North Korea in favour of Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma and less ideological political factions in North Korea that could prove to be more responsible in conforming to international norms of governance and international relations. Now it appears that China and the U.S. have just completed their most frank, productive, and collaborative consultations on bilateral and multilateral relations since China and the U.S. established diplomatic relations in 1979. I feel a sense of cautious optimism as to how this will develop in the months and years ahead. That being said my cautious optimism with regard to Chinese Communist Government intentions has been proven misplaced many times before. But nevertheless I remain realistically hopeful. Best to be neither naive nor the intractable cynic.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New U.S. Ambassador to China on HR Dialogue in Senate Hearing

Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman spoke to U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committeeon Thursday. At the hearing he indicated:
"I look forward to a robust engagement with China on human rights," said Huntsman, who was a Mormon missionary in China in his youth and speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese.
He said human rights has been "an on-again, off-again discussion" between the U.S. and China. He said he'd like to "regularize and systematize" human rights talks "so that it isn't a once a year discussion where the talking points are pulled out and then dispensed with.
After the hearing, Huntsman was mobbed by Chinese news media. He answered their questions in Mandarin."


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pidgin Uyghur Highway Signs and Tragedy of Han Ignorance

I strongly recommend these two articles on Xinjiang:

1. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/07/09/how_china_wins_and_loses_xinjiang

2. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/11/world/asia/11xinjiang.html

While I don't see any simple solution to the problem of incompatible competing ethnic nationalisms, it seems to me that the Government in Beijing could do much better in extending Uyghurs genuine respect and dignity.  This could ease the anger and resentment that many Uyghurs feel.  The current bungling heavy handed and ignorant Chinese Government policies in Xinjiang clearly only exacerbate deeply held sensitivities on both sides.  I thank God that in Canada our major ethnic cleavage between anglophones and francophones is managed by Governments in such a way that today we see little violent expression of historical resentments.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Fragment from Report on Arrests of Rio Tinto Execs in China

"Chinese authorities on Sunday arrested four Rio Tinto employees, including the group's top iron ore salesman in China, Australian Stern Hu, alleging they were involved in stealing state secrets. The affair has cast a shadow over Australia-China relations.
Australian papers were critical of Rudd on Friday, with most calling it a crisis for his center-left government and pointing to a serious deterioration in Canberra's relationship with its second largest export market.
"There is an air of contempt in the way the Chinese authorities have failed to respond to Australian government requests for information and for consular access to Mr Hu until today," wrote the Australian newspaper's foreign editor, Greg Sheridan.
"What does the much touted Australia-China relationship add up to if Beijing treats Canberra with such conspicuous discourtesy and indifference?" Sheridan wrote.
Rudd said Australian diplomats had made "strong" representations to Chinese officials and diplomats from the Beijing embassy were expected to gain consular access to Hu later on Friday."


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tragedy in Xinjiang

Similar to the situation in Tibet, the source of the ongoing conflict in Xinjiang is that the Han and the Uyghurs have incompatible interpretations of the history of the same territory.  The Han are passionate that Xinjiang is an integral part of their sacred Chinese Motherland.  The Uyghurs with equal passion see their East Turkestan homeland as illegitimately colonized by a foreign power.  This is a question of recognition of identity, the stuff of men's souls.  People are irrationally ready to sacrifice their lives for genuine recognition of their religious and cultural ethnicity and to assert the political destiny of their national identity.

China's policy has been to engender economic development in Xinjiang as a means to bring the Uyghurs into the great project of China's Han-led rise.  But exactly contrary to the Chinese Communist Party's expectations, the more Uyghurs achieve middle class standards of living, the more Uyghur nationalistic they are likely to become.

In the meantime the level of anger reaches a fever pitch and violence ensues and there is terribly bloody death and destruction.