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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.

“如果这是对中国政策不了解尚可以理解,但若是出于政治目的,我们不会接受。”
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.

中方十分重视达尔富尔问题,并一直为妥善解决这一问题发挥着积极的、建设性作用
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.

目前,中方已向达区提供了8000万元人民币的物资援助,向非盟提供了180万美元的捐助。中方将派遣315人的多功能工兵连,其中140人已经抵达达区.
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:

“在这一问题上,光靠打标语、喊口号解决不了达区的人道主义问题,最重要的是要以切实的建设性实际行动推动达区和平进程,缓解这一地区的人道主义危机。我们也希望有关人士客观公正看待中国在达尔富尔问题上的立场,脚踏实地地为达区人民做一些实实在在的事情。”
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 163.com 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.

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放弃就放弃,没什么了不起!!!
Fine, just drop out, nothing big.

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斯皮尔伯格算个毛,他还真以为他美国打伊拉克就是为了解放伊拉克人民啊?还不是盯着石油,只准自己做,不准别人做,典型的霸权主义.
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.

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苏丹的石油对中国很重要,美国一直虎视眈眈,这次这个导演给北京施压,要中国放弃在苏丹的利益。对于这些破坏中国建设的人来说,我们要提高警惕!
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.

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美国在伊拉克和阿富汗侵略杀人,中国至少没有去伊拉克和达尔富尔杀人放火,美国先管好自己,从伊拉克和阿富汗撤兵,然后赔偿损失,再来管达尔富尔问题吧!!!
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.

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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:

西方国家抢劫了这个世界多少世纪以后,说:这是不对的.你们不要来抢了
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 Tianya.com showed the point:

经济制裁对解决问题根本没有帮助,我再重复一次伊拉克已经证明经济制裁只能惩罚平民而不是统治者。200万难民缩在帐篷里你还大力搞经济制裁?你的良心让狗吃了?本来就是贫困问题造成的冲突你让苏丹更加贫困,这有助于解决部落间的矛盾?
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.

几乎所有的西方大公司,基于人道主义缘由,都撤出了苏丹并拒绝与苏丹政府打交道。迫于舆论压力,基本上所有的西方石油公司都离开了苏丹。但是我国公司对此充耳不闻,不但在苏丹增加投资,还卖给苏丹坦克、地雷、反坦克炮、AK-47,甚至还在苏丹遭了两个兵工厂,专门给苏丹生产武器。中石油更是把苏丹的油田看成命脉。2000年,中石油在海外开采的三分之二的石油都来自苏丹。自从1999年9月,中石油已经在苏丹赚了6亿美元(没人和它竞争么)。
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:

近些年南部达尔富尔发现石油,西方就兴趣打开,苏丹政府为了摆脱贫穷也想控制当地石油资源,对外超标,中国占了优势,西方某些势力在竞争失利后利用当地矛盾挑唆分离运动,苏丹政府采取镇压行动,西方就大喊当地人权受到侵犯,炒得沸沸扬扬。
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:

我不希望看到中国走美国的路。不希望中国对国际事物采取和美国一样的双重标准,说一套做一套。这个世界已经混乱不堪,真理的声音变得越发微弱……同一个世界是一定的,但是是否憧憬着同一个梦想却值得怀疑。如果奥运会带给中国的仅仅是更多的金牌,外资以及傲慢自大和对批评的不屑一顾那这样的奥运对于中国毫无意义。
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:

我们中国人,应该有我们中国人的立场,我们的是非观,我们的判断标准,唯西方是从的年代,我相信会渐渐远离中国。

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.

16 comments

  • […] Minister Gordon Brown’s grilling by senior MPs on the Commons liaison committee. (31 clicks) China: Darfur,a reason to say No?Mr. Spielberg might have piqued a large group of people, including … V-Day: The Vagina Monologues.Hilarious, disturbing, horribly sad, disgusting, raunchy, beautiful, […]

  • It really is incredible the gall and extreme hypocrisy of people who cry crocodile tears for Darfur. If they are really concerned about stopping the violence in Darfur they would discuss all the factors contributing to it. As an American, Steven Spielberg should
    discussing the role of the Untied States in fueling the violence in Darfur. Learn more about it from these two articles.
    One is written by Keith Harmon Snow

    http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=447&Itemid=1

    the other is written by F William Engdahl

    http://www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/Geopolitics___Eurasia/Oil_in_Africa/oil_in_africa.html

  • It’s amazing how little the people of Darfur are actually discussed or thought about in all of this.

  • RandallJones, thank you for sharing the articles that help reveal the gaming under the table.
    And I think that such regions rich on oil could have been better, as Saudi Arabia is. But even though there is so much sneaky stuff, many humanitarian groups are really doing good there, though easily carried away by political floods.

  • Randal, as usual, stirring up the conspiracies and overshadowing the suffering of Darfurians who went (and still do) go through hell thanks primarily to Khartoum and the Khartoum-backed janjaweed.

    Bob, as much as I respect the Chinese as a people and their great culture and history, I’d like to say that this whole talk of oil only makes people neglect the suffering of Darfurians.

    Regardless of whether or not there are American conspiracies to steal Sudan’s oil, the plight of Darfur’s people cannot and must not be ignored. The suffering is real and the killings horrific.

  • SudaneseDrima and Mwangi,

    You want to discuss the suffering of the people of Darfur as if though this isn’t already being done. The plight of the people of Darfur is the most publicized and sympathetically portrayed cause in the media, especially when compared to how other war torn regions are portrayed, such as the Congo, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Many celebrities have taken up the cause of the Darfur people.

    Now that we know what is happening in Darfur, the next step is to discuss and address all factors that are fueling the violence. As long as people ignore this issue, the violence will continue to occur in Darfur.

  • […] media and those calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics this week with blog posts revealing a wide variety of Chinese opinions both independent from and more nuanced than that of the Chinese government on its relationship with […]

  • […] Interesting points of view. […]

  • […] media and those calling for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics this week with blog posts revealing a wide variety of Chinese opinions both independent from and more nuanced than that of the Chinese government on its relationship with […]

  • I come back sheepishly to say Randall you are actually right. My bad!

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