The visit by Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir – a fugitive from the International Criminal Court since being charged in 2009 with crimes against humanity and war crimes in his country's western Darfur region – to China this week is proving to be a controversial one, at least online.
Discussions about this visit have gone a bit zenga zenga across the Chinese Internet, and have turned out far more critical than official media are allowed to let on. Even a microblog post from the United Nations’ official Weibo account generated a few pages of critical comments.
Here's a quick run-through of a few of the many threads which have surfaced on Weibo over the past few days, starting with a simple question from lesser-known microblogger, Bo Shalin8, who asks [zh] of the June 29 photo below, in which Bashir is seen shaking hands with Wu Bangguo, the second-highest ranked member of China's Communist Party, “What's the deal?”
Responses to Bo's question include:
爱到疯癫2012 标题应该是 吴不搞抓住了巴希尔！
– This is one of the reasons why people around the world look down upon Chinese.
– It doesn't matter if people look up or down upon the Chinese; the fact is that Wu has been a source of frustration and heartache for the civilized world for half a century.
– National interest comes before everything; Without Sudan's oil, China would be untouchable.
– The American president should be sentenced for slaughtering non-Americans.
– The headline should read, “Wu arrests Bashir!”
– The one on the left is a wanted criminal, the one on the right is his accomplice.
– Tsinghua or Peking University should hold a study session on Bashir Thought……
“Who is this Bashir?,” asks [zh] Weibo user Jin Bocheng, noting that ethnic cleansing is listed among the crimes for which Bashir is wanted internationally. Comments include:
– Our friends aren't dictators, they're autocrats.
– What kind of crappy friend to China is this?
– You can tell what kind of person someone is from the friends they keep.
– So what, ICC rulings are always correct? Sentencing Milosevic split up the Republic of Yugoslavia. China can't meet with the Sudanese government out of concern for its own national interests? Does the ICC represent the interests of all 1.3 billion of us? Why should we pay it any attention? Was anyone sentenced after the British Battle of Midway? Or Russian invasions? Has anyone from BP been sentenced for polluting the ocean?
“Recently we seem to be stepping up diplomatic relations with countries like Kazakhstan, North Korea and Cuba,” writes [zh] Weibo user Wang Xiaoyu. “Are we trying to learn from their advanced experience or what?” In response:
– Yeah, but the number of our buddies keeps decreasing, we need to stick together to keep warm.
– The socialist camp…..
– In a world without any sort of world police, what kind of people would there be living beyond the reach of the law? If you look at it like that, who's really afraid of the world police?
– Well that depends on what it is the world police do. Do they uphold justice and order, or do they bully around weak countries for their strong state masters?
– Then you also have to point out that those acting as the world police live outside the law themselves! Nobody's afraid of any world police, but weaker countries do get bullied around and can't defend themselves, unable to fend off those acting as the world's police.
Noting that Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei recently spoke on China's official stance to solemnly support the ICC warrant out on Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, Weibo user Liu Zhirong questions [zh] China's double standards when it comes to the ICC.
Among the many comments Liu received on his several updates regarding the nature of Bashir's visit, one reader retorted: China hasn't even officially joined the ICC, so why on earth are they supporting its decision?’ ‘Bashir's not here for us to learn from him, I hope,’ wrote another. More comments include:
– Which country doesn't have double standards of its own? You sound like a bookworm the way you ask this question.
– The damn celestial court has no sense of right or wrong.
– China needs allies of its own! But then do you see any Chinese sitting on the ICC?
– Actually there is a Chinese judge on the ICC, the third so far. [[[Is that true?]]]
– Friends, the law cannot be used as a shield. Do you still not get it?
– We're just so used to it. If the American imperialists were against us eating shit, the older generation would actually have started eating shit, just to spite them.
China only cares about fulfilling its energy needs. It has absolutely no interest in anything else, and therefore establishing good relations is important to China, even if these relations are with a tyron and a dictator who has killed thousands of people.