“Who are you to criticise China?”

Yesterday, the article ‘Beware, the Beijing Consensus’ is a sinister one’ was published in The Telegraph, highlighting the forthcoming UK visit of the Chinese Communist Party Vice-Premier and 100 business leaders from China. The author of the piece warned that China’s foreign policy should not be overlooked, drawing on the example of China’s relationship with Sudan; “…business is business…” was their response when faced with the moral issue of Genocide in Darfur. Not surprising, given they are currently committing several of their own within their borders.

But this is not the focus here. Below the article were a variety of reader responses. A common theme could be seen in some;“Who are you to criticise China?” This question is backed up with key human rights abuses and questionable foreign policies that the West are involved with, therefore arguing that because Western governments are doing wrong, people living in the West are not free to question problems in other countries. A valid argument?

Transmission 6-10 thinks not, and encourages you to use this blog as a response when you see this argument in the future.

China and the CCP are separate entities, as are any country from it’s government/ regime. Being critical of the actions of the CCP is not criticising China.

Open a newspaper. If you live in the West, you will be guaranteed to find an article being critical of an action or decision made by your government. This is one of the main roles of media; to act as a watchdog. Yet this editorial standpoint is very rarely interpreted as the journalist attacking the general public in your country. On the contrary, it is seen as defending you by making the government uphold it’s correct role.

In China, media is state-controlled. It is propaganda, and can rarely express critical views towards the ruling regime. Therefore, there is no internal media to defend the Chinese people. This vital role has to fall on media outside China. Western media don’t always stand up to hold this torch, as in the case of the persecution of Falun Gong, explained fully in the article ‘Out of the Media Spotlight’ by Leeshai Lemish. However, media should actually be freely and openly critical of anything wrong in the world, as long as it is an informed opinion.

Turning the page of your newspaper, you see an article criticising the Sudanese government on Genocide in Darfur. It is unlikely your reaction would be, “who are you to criticise them?” Why is your reaction to the Chinese regime different? As Transmission 6-10’s interviewee Jonathan Mirsky described, this is because of ‘China Magic‘, or perhaps more appropriately now, ‘CCP Magic‘. Economic relationships. The Beijing Olympics. Bailing out countries drowning in recession. Slowly it creates a perception that if we criticise them, we risk our relationship with them, and that the CCP is on an even-footing with us in terms of the way it governs or treats it’s people.  (The West’s relationship with China, in light of the persecution of Falun Gong, is discussed in the Phase 2 Transmission ‘T610: 10-25 ‘The West’ released on 25th October 2011). Perhaps this change in perception is actually the CCP’s intention, so it can commit these abuses more? “Who are you to criticise?” is also actually the CCP’s common direct response when questions are raised about their human rights abuses.

It is actually all of our responsibility to condemn human rights abuses or amoral behaviour perpetrated by anyone, in any country, including China.

Who are you to NOT criticise the Chinese Communist Party?

Transmission 6-10 leaves you with an article from the Wall Street Journal.

Teng Biao: ‘A hole to bury you.’ A first-hand account of how China’s police treats the citizens it’s supposed to serve and protect.