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China: Spielberg, the Olympics, and oil

Global Voices Olympics Chinese bloggers shocked world 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 Sudanese counterparts. Further surprise came when those posts were translated into English:

But the country's citizens feel no shame, and they will not engage in self-examination; rather, this affair will launch a patriotic movement to condemn Spielberg while proudly claiming that the Beijing Olympics will go on just the same with or without him. They'll even complain about the foreign ministry's few words on the subject—they're only increasing his visibility! Why should our grand nation of China care one whit for the comings and goings of a lowly artist? Scram, spiel-bork.

A small addition to the excellent round-ups linked to above is a researched post from the highly-read independent blogger He Caitou on February 16, ‘Spielberg, the Olympics, and oil‘, in which he takes it upon himself to explain the basics of the situation to his readers, something the Chinese government, Chinese media, Steven Spielberg and the Save Darfur Coalition have apparently all been unable to do:

斯大叔突然宣布不再掺和2008年北京奥运,外交部还专门做了回应,真是莫名其妙的事情。斯大叔给出的理由是什么“达尔富尔”,听都没听说过的名词,更是不明所以的事情。世界著名导演在世界人口最多的国家举办的奥运会上突然临阵脱逃,为的是一个非洲的什么地方,这事可闹得真够“全球化”的。

达尔富尔是怎么一回事?和中国有什么关系?和2008奥运又有什么关系?媒体上语焉不详,不谈这个问题。可能觉得不好谈,不方便谈,但是我觉得谈谈也无妨。反正周末无事,权且当作评书来听好了。

话说非洲,非洲这个地方很热。它的北部大家伙都知道,乃是一片黄沙,唤作撒哈拉沙漠。我国台湾女作家三毛曾经在那里工作、学习和生活过。南部还不错,比如南非,电视新闻里就从来没出现过骆驼。很多人坚持收看《动物世界》的观众也注意到,非洲还有草原和森林,动物们在赵忠祥老师浑厚的嗓音中追逐、嬉戏以及交配。中国人说起“非洲人”三个字,自然联想起面如黑檀木、头发打卷的黑人兄弟来。这种认识不错,但不能说是全对。

Uncle Spielberg announced he would no longer be participating in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs went out of its way to respond, all really odd. The reason Uncle Spielberg gave was something about “Darfur”, which doesn't really sound familiar, and definitely doesn't explain anything. A world-famous director gets up at the last minute and runs off from the world's most populous country just as it's about to host the Olympics, and because of some place in Africa? That's some “globalization” for you.

So what's up with Darfur? What does it have to do with China? Or with the 2008 Olympics? The media haven't been clear on the what and why, they don't talk about this issue. They might think it wise not to, or inconvenient, but I think I at least might as well. Anyway, I've got nothing better to do this weekend, so I'll try and tell the story so you better listen up.

Back to Africa, we all know where Africa is. And everyone knows that the north part is one long stretch of yellow sand. The Chinese Taiwan writer San Mao once worked, studied and lived there. The south part isn't bad either, like South Africa, which as we've learned from TV news, has no camels. A lot of people insist that those who have watched Animal World will have noticed that Africa also has veldt, forest and animals who frolic and copulate as Teacher Zhao Zhongxiang chases them with his booming voice. When Chinese people say the word “African”, they naturally think of their black brothers with faces like ebony and curly hair. Knowing that much is a good start, but it's not all there is.

看过《阿拉伯的劳伦斯》的影迷应该记得,非洲也有白皮肤的人。在非洲北部,那里是阿拉伯人的天下,骑骆驼骑马,住帐篷,是游牧民族。在南部,那里是黑人的土地,他们种地为生,是耕地的农民。苏丹是位于非洲的一个国家,达尔富尔是苏丹的一个地方。北部是阿拉伯游牧民,南部是非洲黑人农民。大家本来井水不犯河水,你玩你的沙子,我弄我的泥巴。

但是,从上世纪80年代开始,全球气候变暖。这种相安无事的情况随着气候的变更而发生了改变。气候变暖的结果是达尔富尔变得更加干旱,游牧的阿拉伯人立即受到了影响。他们的牧群需要水草,在骆驼和羊的眼中,农田里长满了饲料。于是,非洲黑人和阿拉伯人的友善关系被破坏了。阿拉伯人不可能改变游牧的生活习惯,而身为农民的非洲黑人绝对不允许任何人染指自己的田地。1987年,渴得冒了烟的阿拉伯人发表声明:阿拉伯人在人种上更优秀。然后集结成部队,开始抢夺黑人的土地。冲突全面爆发,两年之后才签署和平协议,代价是3000条人命和数百个村庄被毁。【1】

Fans of Lawrence of Arabia ought to remember that Africa also has white-skinned people. The north of Africa is ruled by arabs, who ride camels and horses, live in tents, and are nomads. In the south, that's black people's land, where they live off the land, farming arable land. Sudan is a country situated in Africa, and Darfur is a place in Sudan. In the north are arab nomads, and in the south are African black farmers. Used to be that everyone just kept to themselves; you keep your sand and I'll keep my mud.

But then, starting in the 1980s, global warming began. With the weather, the peaceful co-existence situation also began to change. The result of global warming was increased drought in Darfur, and the nomad arabs were the first to feel the impact. Their herds need pasture, and what the camels and sheep saw, was farmland covered in feed. This is what destroyed the friendly relationship between the African blacks and the arabs. Arabs were not able to change their nomadic lifestyles, and the historically farming African blacks were absolutely not going to let anyone take away from their farmland. In 1987, the parched thirsty arabs issued a declaration, that arabs were racially superior. Then they built up an army, and began pillaging land from the blacks. Conflict fully erupted, and only two years later was a peace agreement signed, the price of which had been 3,000 lives and hundreds of destroyed villages. [1]

国内的人们彼此大打出手,苏丹政府又是怎么做的呢?苏丹政府倾向于阿拉伯兄弟,没事还发点武器弹药什么的,支持他们搞一搞。国际社会对这种苏丹内乱的判断是:种族冲突,是黑人和阿拉伯人两种不同种族之间的对立。但是,有学者指出,达尔富尔的冲突更多的是没有土地的牧民和有土地的农民之间的冲突,而不是什么种族冲突。一个明显的例证是2003年的苏丹的叛乱中,双方都以种族为口号,召集各自的兄弟。但是,那些拥有自己土地的阿拉伯人并没有参与到政府一边。所以,说苏丹是种族冲突是要打问号的。

在上世纪90年代,无论是说种族冲突也好,还是争夺土地资源的牧民农民战争也好,反正双方搞来搞去,搞了接近20年时间。2005年,平地一声雷,苏丹达尔富尔南部发现了石油!而且储量还不小,估计全面开采以后每天能产出20万桶原油。在这之前的二十年时间,根本没有中国什么事,但是打从这以后,苏丹、达尔富尔这两个词就和中国挂在了一起。

从1949年以后,中国和非洲就建立的良好的关系。现在怎么想我不知道,但是当时真是没把非洲兄弟当外人看。你们帮我们进联合国,我们就帮你们搞建设。中国在非洲有大量的合作项目,和非洲大部分国家的关系都很不错。那时候根本没想什么利益不利益的事情,工程队去援建,那是真的下苦力,做好事。医疗队过去做卫生服务,那真是活人无数。苏丹是中国的非洲兄弟之一,等打出了石油,老一辈无产阶级革命家心怀非洲兄弟的情谊现在就算结出了现实的果实:

As the people in the country were fighting each other, what did the Sudanese government then do? The Sudanese government leaned over to its arab brothers: ‘why don't you give us some weapons and ammo and whatnot, give us a hand in this thing.’ The international community's view on Sudan's internal strife was: ethnic conflict, opposition between the two races, black and arab. But, some academics pointed out, the Darfur conflict is more of a conflict between haves (farmers with land) and have-nots (herders with none), than it is a clash between races. One obvious case in point to this was Sudan's uprising in 2003, where both sides gathered with their own brothers under slogans of race. But, those arabs with land of their own did not standing with the government in this. So, saying Sudan was in a ethnic conflict still has to end with a question mark.

Throughout the 1990s, whether you say it was an ethnic conflict or a battle over land resources between herders and farmers, both sides just kept on going at each other, and have been going for nearly twenty years now. Thunder boomed across the land in 2005 when oil was discovered in Darfur's southern region. And large reserves; after extraction got underway, 200,000 barrels a day by some estimates. The 20 years prior to this had absolutely nothing to do with China, but from that point on, the words Sudan and Darfur got stuck right next to China.

Since 1949, China and Africa had established positive relations. What the deal is now, I don't know. But at the time, the African brothers were definitely not treated as outsiders. You help get us into the United Nations, and we'll help you with infrastructure. China had large numbers of cooperative projects in Africa, and relations with most African countries were pretty good. There was no thought of benefits or advantages to this at the time; The engineering teams who went to aid in construction, now that was menial work, trying to do good. Medical teams went to provide health services, and saved countless lives. Sudan was one of China's African brothers, and now that oil has been discovered, the sense of brotherhood towards Africa that the old generation of proletarian revolutionaries carry is finally being realized.

中国是苏丹最大的贸易伙伴,苏丹出口中国的最重要物资就是石油。2007年,中国在苏丹的石油投资达到了150亿美金。始于1997年的中国苏丹石油合作,在十年的时间内已形成原油勘探开发、输油管线、炼油、石化等上下游一体的石油工业体系,苏丹石油合作项目是中石油公司在海外最大的合作项目,涉及苏丹一、二、三、四、六、七等区块项目及喀土穆炼油厂项目和聚丙稀厂项目。【2】

现在有点意思了吧?美国有沙特阿拉伯、伊拉克、科威特、尼日利亚等等石油大国做朋友(伊拉克本来不想做,萨达姆被吊死,现在做了。伊朗也不想,估计也挺不长),掌控了全球的石油生产和生意。但是,中国人冷不丁地在苏丹搞到了石油,一天20万桶,相当于尼日利亚的20%。卧榻之旁,中国人打起了小鼾,那还了得?【3】

正好,前面提到了2003年达尔富尔叛乱。这是怎么一回事呢?达尔富尔的黑人兄弟在2003年组织起来,成立了“苏丹人民解放军”等反政府武装力量,谋求自制。而阿拉伯人组织了军事组织金戈威德,和苏解对挑。造成了1万人死亡,100万人沦为难民。和1987年一样,苏丹政府支持阿拉伯人的金戈威德,提供武器弹药。小布什敏锐地抓住了这一点,宣称苏丹政府必须达尔富尔的危机负全部责任。并且,美国和它的盟友纷纷发话:喂,中国,说你呢!你的小兄弟搞出来那么大的事,你不去说一声?看中国不搭理,埋头运石油,于是大家一起喊:街坊邻居们都来看啊,小黑人被杀,完全是因为中国暗中支持苏丹政府啊!

就这样,中国和苏丹、达尔富尔的关系在最近几年剪不断,理还乱,倍受指责。

China is Sudan's largest trade partner, and Sudan's main export to China is oil. In 2007, China's oil investments in Sudan reached 150 billion USD. China-Sudan oil cooperation, which began in 1997, has in less than ten years come to include crude oil exploration and development, shipping oil pipelines, oil refining, petrochemicals, and all the other oil industry system integration in between. The Sudan oil cooperation project is PetroChina's largest overseas cooperation project, and involves projects in Sudan Blocks 1/2/3/4/6/7, Khartoum refineries and polypropylene plants. [2]

Quite something, eh? America is friends with several big oil countries: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Nigeria (Iraq actually wasn't much into oil, but then Saddam was hung, and now it is. Iran doesn't either. Like that'll last long.), which control the world's oil production business. But, China has suddenly struck oil in Sudan, 200,000 barrels a day, 20% of what Nigeria produces, in its own backyard, and this is somehow outrageous? [3]

By chance, there's the 2003 Darfur uprising mentioned above. How did that happen? Darfur's black brothers organized themselves in 2003, and formed the “Sudanese Liberation Army”, among other armed anti-government forces, striving for self-governance. Then the arabs organized the Janjawid militia and challenged the SLA. Resulting in 10,000 deaths and a million refugees. As with in 1987, the Sudanese government supported the arab Janjawid, supplying weapons and ammunition. Little George Bush shrewdly grasped onto this, declaring the Sudanese government wholly responsible for the Darfur Crisis. What's more, America and its allies one-by-one spoke out: ‘Hey, China, yeah you! Your little brother's gone and made such a mess, why aren't you saying anything?’ Seeing China unresponsive, and continuing to ship oil, everybody started screaming at once: ‘everyone come look! The little black people are being killed, and it's all because China secretly supports the Sudanese government!’

And that's how, over the past few years, the connection between China, Sudan and Darfur couldn't be cut, with inconsistent reasoning and widespread criticism.

问题在于,站在中国的角度上看,谴责苏丹政府?那么中国还要不要石油的?中国已经转变为完全依赖石油进口的国家,每年烧掉的汽油柴油从哪里来?大庆,还是克拉玛依?当然,达尔富尔的黑人被攻击,被屠杀是个问题。那么,中国道路上汽车的油箱和车主的钱包也是个问题。本着人道主义的精神,应该谴责苏丹政府。但是,谴责完了以后,我们烧什么呢?说谴责苏丹政府,声援达尔富尔人民,估计人人都举手。但是,说为了达尔富尔人民,我们宁愿不要汽油,或者宁愿忍受高价燃料,忍受物价全面上涨,还会人人举手么?牵涉到切身利益,那么看待问题时的想法可能会完全不一样了。我们可以做到“宁可经济滞后三年,不让苏丹再死一人”么?

我不清楚对于这个问题的答案是什么。网上的聪明人多,有车的也不少,我想听听大家的意见。

The problem, looking at this from China's point of view, is ‘do we denounce the Sudanese government?’ Well, does China still want the oil? China is a country which has already transitioned to full reliance on oil imports, and where does the gasoline and diesel we burn up every year come from—Daqing, or Karamay? Of course it's a problem that the blacks in Darfur are being attacked, being massacred. Well, the gas tanks of the cars and wallets of car owners on China's roads are problems as well. With any humanitarian spirit, the Sudanese government should be denounced. But, once the denunciation is done, what are we gonna burn then? Denouncing the Sudanese government, supporting the people of Darfur, I imagine everybody would raise their hand for both. But, to say that for the people of Darfur, we would rather go without gasoline, or endure much higher fuel prices and overall hikes in commodity prices, would anybody still raise their hand for that? When it involves vital interests, we might see things differently as we consider the problem. Would you choose three years of a lagging economy if it meant not another person in Darfur would have to die?

I'm not sure what the answer to this question is. There's lots of smart people out there on the internet, and a lot of them own cars, so I'd like to hear what everybody thinks.

回过头来,再说说斯大叔的事情。斯大叔是犹太人,拍了著了名的《辛德勒的名单》。现在,斯大叔来中国协助搞奥运会,于是有人问他:那你不是变相支持苏丹政府么?为什么纳粹杀你们犹太人你拍电影,而苏丹政府在灭小黑人,你却要帮助苏丹政府的朋友呢?莫非你们犹太人才是人,黑人就不是人了?斯大叔不能回答,只好宣布退出。其实,斯大叔并不是第一面对这类问题的美国名人。巴菲特去年被迫卖掉中石油的股票,也是基于相同的原因。毕竟,人家还要在美国混,必须得顾及这一层关系。不过,现在走掉一个股神,一个名导,都是社会贤达,还不至于说像冷战时候一样西方国家联手拒绝参加苏联举办的奥运会,说起来中国还算幸运。

最后,对于心理有了阴影的各位车主,我想对大家多说两句。美国是自由民主的象征,这句话需要一个定语:在国内。而在国与国之间的关系上,可能并没有可贵的自由和甜美的民主,到今天为止,人类世界在国际关系上还是比谁的腿粗。美国人直言不讳地承认:最大限度地维护美国的利益。那么,除非美国的利益就是世界各国的利益,否则这中间总要冲突,总要有人死于自由民主的美国。今天,美国关怀达尔富尔,那么卢旺达大屠杀的时候美国人呢?再看索马里,美国军队死掉了几个人,于是就撤离了,把那里交付给上帝。而伊拉克呢?美国人在伊拉克死亡的军人是索马里的多少倍?为什么美国人不撤离呢?上帝真是不公平,没有赐予卢旺达、索马里、朝鲜人民以石油,否则他们也能得到美国军队的帮助,不至于被遗忘,任其自生自灭。

Back to Uncle Spielberg. Uncle Spielberg is Jewish, and he filmed the famous “Schindler's List“. Now, Uncle Spielberg has come to China to assist in planning the Olympic Games, and somebody has asked him: ‘so are you supporting the Sudanese government now? Nazis killed you jews and you made a movie out of it, but when the Sudanese government exterminates the little black people, you go and help the Sudanese government's friends? Is it that only you jews are people, but blacks aren't people?’ Uncle Spielberg was unable to answer, and so he announced his withdrawal. Only, Uncle Spielberg isn't the first famous American to face these kinds of questions. Last year, Warren Buffet was forced to sell his stock in Sinopec, for similar reasons. They are still stuck in America, after all, and must take that into consideration. Though, with one stock wizard gone now and one celebrity director, players in society though they are, it's still nowhere near like during the Cold War when Western countries joined hands and refused to take part in the Olympic Games hosted by the Soviet Union; with that in mind, China seems lucky.

Finally, for those car owners with guilty consciences, I just want to say two things. America is the symbol of freedom and democracy, but this clause needs a modifier: domestically. But when it comes to relations with other countries, there just doesn't seem to be that same dear freedom and sweet democracy. To this day, there isn't anything that has more bearing on international relations than ‘the real world’, and Americans admit it straight up: ‘to protect American interests to the greatest extent.’ So then, aside from American interests, there's still every country in the world's interests, or else there would always be conflicts, and people dying for this free and democratic America. America today is caring over Darfur. Well, what about the America during the Rwanda massacre? Or Somalia, where after a few American soldiers died, it evacuated, and turned the place over to God. And Iraq? How many times more American soldiers have died in Iraq than in Somalia? So why haven't the Americans evacuated? God sure isn't fair, failing to bless the people of Rwanda, Somalia and Korea with oil, or else they've have gotten help from the American army, and not just have been forgotten about, left to fend for themselves.

现在,美国说我们支持苏丹政府不对。那么,屠杀库尔德人的萨达姆政府是谁支持的?鱼肉印度尼西亚的苏哈托政府是谁支持的?韩国的5.18事件中,韩国大学生和市民要求民主自由,又是被谁支持的军政府残酷扑灭?顺便说一句,伊拉克和印度尼西亚也都产石油。世界的真相是:

1、美国国内人民的确享受民有、民治、民享的生活,这是真的。
2、这种生活的代价是全力维护美国的利益,包括让愚蠢的沙特王室继续统治这个富裕的国家,让苏哈托、诺列加、萨达姆这样的暴君存在,为美国效力充当前驱。这也是真的。
3、当没有美国利益存在的时候,美国以外的任何地方死掉一百万人,可以当作根本不存在。这还是真的。

我们生活在一个和5000年前一样残酷的世界上。在这个世界上国与国的关系视乎核弹头和经济总量的多少来确定彼此的位次。美国让美国公民过上美好生活值得诸国效仿,但是,这种国内原则并不能扩充到国际关系上去。如果你的确觉得对达尔富尔黑人心存愧疚,这种情怀值得赞扬,更加值得赞扬的是你放弃了自己的汽车,改骑自行车。如果你承认自己是自私的,需要廉价汽油甚于几万里以外的一群人的生命,那么也大可不必觉得惭愧。因为,世界就是这么无情,没有必要让自己去面对这种艰难的局面。相比之下,斯皮尔伯格只是做了一个最容易的选择。

Now, America says we're wrong for supporting the Sudanese government. Well, who supported the Saddam government in slaughtering Kurds? Who supported the Suharto government in oppressing Indonesia? During the May 18 incident in Korea, Korean university students and city residents demanded freedom and democracy, and who was it who supported the military government in cruelly stamping that out? Since we're on the topic, both Iraq and Indonesia are oil producers. The truth of the world is:

1. The American people enjoy a life of ‘of the people, by the people, for the people,’ this is true.
2. The price of this kind of life is all efforts necessary to maintain American interests, including letting the silly House of Saud rule over that prosperous nation, and keeping despots like Suharto, Noriega and Saddam who serve America in place, this is also true.
3. When American interests no longer exist, any million people who die somewhere that isn't America, might as well have never existed. This is still true.

We live in a world that's just as cruel now as it was 5,000 years ago. In this world it seems numbers of nuclear warheads and supply and demand determine rank between nations. How America lets Americans live such wonderful lives is an example set for all countries to follow, but, this kind of domestic policy isn't allowed to extend to international relations. If you honestly feel so guilty about the blacks of Darfur, that's commendable, but what's even more commendable is if you were to give up your own cars, and started riding bicycles. If you admit that you're selfish, and that cheap gas depends on the lives of a group of people tens of thousands of miles away, well then there's no need at all to feel ashamed. Because, that's just how pitiless the world is, and there's no obligation to put yourself in such a difficult situation. Spielberg, in contrast, only made one of the easiest choices there is.

资料来源:
【1】《达尔富尔问题的真正根源》
【2】《富尔达尔危机是怎么回事?》
【3】《达尔富尔:我的名字叫石油》

References:
[1] “The root causes of the Darfur problem”
[2] “How did the Darfur Crisis come to be?”
[3] “Darfur: My name is oil”

44 comments

  • Let’s clarify this, it is not America that is pressuring Spielberg it is “Americans”. Americans who have individually been protesting Darfur whike participating in activism regarding the situation their for some time on an individual level.

    Americans who despise much of what their government has done over the last years, but whose government as yet has not trampled to a large extent on their human rights.

    I have no doubt that if we needed Darfur’s oil as badly as China needs it we too might be ignoring a Genocide and possibly arming those who are murdering the citizens of Darfur.

    Spielberg made the only choice possible, the right choice.

  • […] 作者:和菜头 翻译:冯三七 来源:全球之声在线 […]

  • I understand why the Chinese bloggers would feel angered how the Beijing Olympics is being brought into the Darfur situation. China did not cause the Darfur conflict but they have an important role in helping the movement towards peace. The UN and many countries have been trying to help the Sudanese government with Darfur but it seems that the Sudanese government does not want peace to occur. China is the only voice Sudan will really listen because China is an important economic partner. I don’t believe people should target the Olympics as the “genoicde olympics” because that defeats the whole purpose of the Olympics. But I believe the Chinese people really do not know the extent of the disaster and deaths in Darfur.

  • […] Feng37 Original Chinese source:  http://www.hecaitou.net/?p=2566 Original English source:  http://www.globalvoicesonline.org/2008/02/18/china-spielberg-the-olympics-and-oil/ Source of this article:  […]

  • chinese buddhist

    Thanks for He Caitou’s excellent analysis.

  • francis

    Interesting article, but I wondered how long it would take before the moral equivalence with the US would be brought onto what was already a weak (although entertaining) line of argument. Like the previous reply said, Spielberg is American, not America. Arguing that no humanitarian crisis should be addressed until all humanitarian crises are addressed is the argument of the naive.

  • […] China: Spielberg, the Olympics, and oil […]

  • Thanks for a wise comment Christina.

  • Jay

    Most Chinese citizens don’t know what is behind the whole Spielberg, Darfur Olympics matter because, unlike in the US, they don’t have access to all sides f the story. They only get the read their governments’ official line on news. In many cases the spin the Chinese gov’t gives the news is not factual nor comprehensive. Chinese don’t have the ability to organize their own humanitarian movement – even if they knew the real truth.

  • Charles Liu

    Does anyone still remember the root cause of Darfur? There are plenty of blame to go around, starting with CIA’s support of the SPLA and John Garang 10 years ago – promptly after oil was discovered in Sudan:

    http://www.google.com/search?q=Darfur+CIA+early+involvement

    After so many years of inaction and indifference by the West, we suddenly want to blame Darfur on China?

    At any rate the original Darfur mess we started has since been replaced with inter-tribal conflict and herdsmen fighting for territory. Neither Khartoum nor Beijing has much influence over that.

    China is simply a scapegoat. And Mia Farrow is out of her mind.

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