Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Digging a Hole (to China)

When I was a kid, somebody told me that if I dug a hole in the ground deep enough, eventually I would dig all the way to China on the other side of the Earth! I thought about it, but it seemed like it would be an awful lot of work. So instead, I tried to dig a hole big enough for my sister to fall into.

These days it seems like China is doing some digging... digging themselves into an embarrassing hole.

Today Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially met the Dalai Lama, the exiled leader of Tibet. Good for him, and I hope they had a nice chat. The Dalai Lama is a Nobel Peace laureate, was recently awarded the United States Congressional Gold Medal of Honor, is an honorary Citizen of Canada, and has met with countless world religious leaders and heads of state. He has tirelessly campaigned for peace and maintained a pacifist position in the face of brutal political, cultural and religions repression of Tibet by the Chinese government.

China has protested rather loudly. But the world has changed... even in the last decade. It's somehow gotten smaller as people have connected through ever-improving information technology. Information on global issues is now so much more readily accessible. Yet somehow China seems to think we still live in a world where people can be duped by rhetoric. Their officials continue to tout the Party line, protesting and threatening and carrying on like a bunch of autocrats trotting out an old straw horse. It would be funny if it weren't so sad. In the Information Age you can't get away with this and not look pretty silly.

Canada's behaviour disgusting, says Beijing

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Liu Jianchao said the Prime Minister's reception of the Dalai Lama was "gross interference in China's internal affairs", calling the meeting "disgusting conduct" that has "seriously hurt" relations between Canada and China.

I feel embarrassed for Mr Liu. I'm glad I don't have his job... obligated to embarrass myself and country.

Chinese 'childish' for opposing visit

I think the headline from the Toronto Sun accurately sums up the general opinion of the informed Canadian public and most of the rest of the world. Here, for example, are a few comments from the CTV.ca article today:
"Hmmm. let me see, Canada imports 5 times more than they export to China and 95% of it is cheap crap. China needs the natural resources that it imports from Canada to continue making their cheap crap. I don't think China has a really good bargaining position here. Who are they to tell us who we can or can't talk to?" - M.

"We are a free country and we won't let Communists tell us what to do. This is what a democratic country looks like, China. Watch and learn." - N.T.

"China wants all countries to be silent and to silence those who speak on behalf of freedom. They are still a communist country and anybody who does business with China are finding out the practice of free speech is against the law." - S.

"Canada should warn China that dumping toxic fish in Canadian supermarkets [See latest W-Five episode] "could harm relations" as well." - N.

My sister did not fall into the hole that I dug. I wouldn't really have wanted her to fall in a hole, anyway. All in all, the digging was pretty much a waste of time.

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