The meetings this week between President Xi Jinping and British leaders came with a clear instruction from the Communist regime: do not raise the issue of human rights. The Chinese told British diplomats that any questioning about the regime’s continued denial of basic human rights would be viewed as a hostile act. As always, the Chinese just want to talk about business and not people. What is most striking is that many countries have become so dependent on China that they follow such outrageous dictates.
China’s ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming warned that Britain risked good relations with China if it mentioned human rights and could prevent what the Chinese promised as “a golden era for the relationship.” In other words, if you just ignore that China is denying a billion people the most basic freedoms, you can benefit from cheap Chinese goods.
The Chinese clearly do not want their leader’s visit to be spoiled by mention of the fact that he is the head of an authoritarian and hypocritical regime. Why spoil a perfectly good visit with references to the systemic denial of political and religious rights?
Liu had a truly impressive convoluted spin: “We don’t shy away from talking about human rights. What we are against is to use human rights to interfere with other countries’ internal affairs and to try to impose your own system on to others.” Hmmm, that I thought Yogi Berra just died but it appears Liu is challenging for his place in internally-conflicting sentences. In other words, we are happy to talk about human rights so long as we do not talk about it.
Various British leaders and groups are refusing to sell out on human rights, but the British government appears eager to avoid a confrontation. David Cameron is under fire for business deals and his effort to woe the Chinese. The British government appear to have limited references to the issue and it was Britain’s opposition leader that most forcibly raised the issue.
In an almost comical understatement, Xi Jinping has said that his country has “room for improvement” on human rights. The “improvement” would likely start by recognizing and allowing human rights. It is like saying that Death Valley could benefit from some more water.