China: Darfur, a reason to say No?

Mr. Spielberg might have piqued a large group of people, including not only the authority, but many common Chinese as well.

Following his statement that he would drop out as an artistic advisor of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, because he felt China has not done enough to pressure the Sudan government to relieve the humanitarian crisis on Darfur, Beijing soon expressed its regret over the director’s decision. Though the saying that “the consciousness will not allow me to continue with business as usual” is quite touching, Beijing snapped back no less reasonably.

“The Darfur issue is neither an internal issue of China nor is it caused by China”, said firstly the Chinese Embassy in Washington, pulling away ourselves from the issue. But in the next statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the response of the spokesman Liu Jianchao showed another way to deal with the criticisms.

Firstly, he urged the human right advocates not to link Olympics to political issues.

It is understandable if they are made out of ignorance of China’s policy, but if they are made due to political motives, we won’t accept that. (In New York Times version, “political” was replaced by “ulterior”. Or the authority changed it on the script publicized.)

He emphasized it was not wise to politicize the Olympics. Furthermore, Beijing’s stance on Darfur issue was reaffirmed.

China paid a lot of attention to the Daufur issue, and has been playing a constructive and positive role on resolving the problem.

And some measures to help improve the situation were numerated.

Presently, China has provided Darfur region with an 80-million material aid, and another $1.8-million aid to African Union. 315 engineers will be sent there, and now 140 have arrived.

Also, he said Chinese companies have helped the natives build 18 power stations and more than $50-million will be put to the construction of the water supply system. He concluded:

On this issue, simply relying on slogans and banners won’t help solve the humanitarian crisis. What should be the most important is to aid the peace by constructive and practical actions… we hope people can do something down-to-earth to really help the natives.

An article in 2007, Why China Won’t Save Darfur in Foreign Policy has stated that “activists are merely helping Western governments evade responsibility for a humanitarian crisis that they could do far more to stop.” And China itself, demonstrated by its open information about Darfur issue, defined the havoc in Sudan as a struggle for resources rather than a planned genocide. The subtext is that China might not be able to stop the crisis as easily as the western world predicted.

What about the common people?

In people left over 1500 comments after the report of Spielberg's withdrawal..

斯皮尔的行为是不成熟的,也是不明智的,他非要把自己和强权政治联系起来,做一些有悖于奥运精神的事,是可笑的。也请私屁儿勃格先生不要头脑发热,充当某 利益集团的工具。
Spielberg’s behavior is immature, and unwise. He linked himself to a power (U.S), and did something against Olympic spirits. Ridiculous it is. Please, Mr. Spielberg, don’t be so hotheaded to act as a tool of some interest group.


Fine, just drop out, nothing big.


How much dose Spielberg value? Does he really think America attacked Iraq to liberate Iraqis? For oil only! Only allowing itself to play the game but keeping all others out is typically a Hegemonism.


Oil in Sudan is so important to China, and U.S has been slavering over it. This time the director tried to pressure Beijing to give up China’s benefit there. We have to be alarmed with those trying to damage our construction.


U.S committed killings in Iraq and Afghanistan, while at least China didn’t go to Iraq and Darfur to plunder about. Americans had better take care of themselves first—withdraw from the two countries, then make compensation to the victims, and finally come to talk about Darfur issue.


那另个国家最爱管这事,结果是不是越管越乱, 是个人都看到眼里. 非洲动乱的多了, 为什么只盯着这个苏丹, 难道就因为苏丹的石油大部分是运往中国,而不是美国跟欧盟?
The country(U.S) enjoyed taking care of this kind of things, but it has always made matter worse. Why does it just put the attention over Darfur? Is it because most of oil in Sudan was shipped to China instead of U.S & EU?

On the internet, most of opinions were pointed to America, criticizing that the power itself as a major nation exporting weapons exceeds China greatly in advocating violence. A netizen left only one word: dual-standard. And someone questioned why didn’t Spielberg resign as an American.

A netizen concluded:

After robbing the world for centuries, western countries spoke: “this is wrong, and you shouldn’t do it anymore.”

But the Darfur issue is far more complicated. Searching across information on both English world and Chinese sphere, one can easily find that the descriptions about, realizations of, measures to be taken over and even the basic logics of the issue are quite different.

It’s believed by many western countries that China is making an immoral deal with the Sudan government, which is chiefly responsible for the staggering massacre in Darfur. China sold weapons for the rich reservation of oil there, an action blamed for as indirectly aiding the killing. Thus many people, including Spielberg, appealed Beijing to cut off the “evil” tie.

But this argumentation holds no water in the eyes of both the authority and many netizens. Presently, China inclined to believe that there is no strictly genocide in Darfur, but pieces of war crimes and killings, according to the UN report. It is in nature a struggle for resources. Moreover, opposite to the idea held by some western countries, China thinks the most efficient way to eradicate the conflict shouldn’t be an economic sanction against the Sudan government. Actually, what is needed is exactly a stable government to maintain the peace.

The opinion of 黄金体验安魂曲 in showed the point:

Economic sanction will do no help to the solution of the problem. I would say again that Iraq has proved that this measure would only punish the common people instead of the rulers. There are 2 million refugees suffering in tents, and you are going to play sanction? Where is your consciousness? Poverty brought conflict, and now you are going to make the country poorer. It could help solve the controversy between tribes?

And it’s also believed that as the truce has been admitted, the measures to guarantee its implementation should come the first. China’s action to push the Sudan government to accept the hybrid peacekeeping force won applause among Chinese netizens. But why do the two world’s opinions still divert so much?

A netizen Heavy200t concluded:

西方人的思路: 存在种族屠杀->是苏丹政府刻意制造的->需要制裁苏丹政府->中国没有制裁->所以是中国的问题 中国人的思路: 存在种族屠杀->由于无政府状态导致的混乱->需要稳定的政府才能解决危机->制裁只能加速局势恶化
The logic of western people: There exists racial massacre->caused purposedly by Sudan government->sanction is needed->but China didn’t do it->it’s the problem of China

While the logic of Chinese goes: There exists racial massacre->it’s caused by anarchy->a stable government is needed->sanction just makes everything worse

It might be an innate controversy. And no matter what point was put forth by the other side, more evidence could be found to indicate just the opposite. And the methods to solve the problem of course differ by countries, a very normal phenomenon, as we even differ on how to build out countries— socialism or capitalism. Criticisms against one country can always find their counterparts in another world, which are pointed back. The following ideas showed exactly the story.

Almost all western companies withdrew from Sudan and refused to keep relationship with the government because of humanitarianism causes. But Chinese companies were deaf to this, and they not only added to the investment there, but also sold Sudan tanks, mines, piats, AK-47, and even built two arm-shops to produce weapons. PetroChina saw the oil field in Sudan as its life line. In 2000, 2/3 of oil exploited abroad by PetroChina came from Sudan, because no one competed with it. More than $0.6 billion was earned from there.

But another interpretation of the facts followed:

These years as oil was found on Darfur, the western came to be interested. The Sudan government also wish to control the oil resources in order to rid of poverty, and China took an advantage on the competition. And some western powers, after the failure on competition, used the conflict to incite the splittism. Sudan authority cracked down that, so the western yelled the human rights were violated.

In a student net forum cuus, I Am Majia’s suggestion goes the contrary:

I don’t wish China to follow the way of America. I don’t want China to adopt the dual standard as America did. The world has been full of chaos, the voice of truth is going weaker… we are sure to have one world, but it’s doubtful that we have one dream. If Olympics brings China merely more medals, foreign investment, arrogance and sneer to criticisms, I think the Game is meaningless to China.

While Fu Hua in Tianya said:

中国政府与苏丹政府进行商业贸易,包括武器贸易,或许不是最“伟大”“无私”“善良”的做法,但也并不算“无耻”,中国近 期也在苏丹问题上尽了许多努力,西方国家的很多指责,明明白白是没有抢到石油资源之后耍的招数而已,而大多数西方人民,在西方媒体的指引下,自然也以为中 国这个“异教徒”真的是妖魔,其实,这些西方人中,有几个知道北京在中国的哪里?有几个人能像中国普通人民热心理解学习西方一样去理解中国?
The business between China and Sudan, including the trade of weapons, might not be “great”,” selfless” or “kind”, but it also has nothing to do with “shameless”. China has recently done much on the Sudan issue, and many condemnations of the western countries are simply intrigues they played after losing the oil. And many western people, under the guidance of media, involuntarily believe China, a heretic, is a demon. But actually, how many misguided western people really know where Beijing is in China? How many people would learn about China as passionately as Chinese learned about them?

Where is the truth? What is the reality? Which version are you going to believe in? Most Chinese do as this comment reads:


We are Chinese. We should have our own position, our own sense of “yes” and “no”, our standard to judge. The age of following the western world, as I believe, will go further away from China.

But the subtext, as another comment said, is that “there is no absolute right or wrong. What really hide behind the subtle and intricate international relations are just the interests of different countries.”

Remember that written in Chinese students’ Politics textbooks? —-The National Interest Plays the Decisive Role.

A truth, and very naked.


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