Internal Affairs – 放屁

cacnflg.jpgNot sure if you folks have been following this stuff about the coldhot treatment that Stephen Harper (he'd be Canada's Prime Minister, for all the non-Canucks that read) has been receiving by China at the APEC conference in Vietnam this week, but it's just stupid.

My buddy Dezza has a great post about it over at his Mask of China blog, which I suggest you all check out.

Basically Hu's people initially tried to arrange a meeting, Harper's posse agreed, Hu's backed out. At this, Harper was rumored to have drank a bottle of Nep Moi and told his wife China sucks. Hearing that he hurt Harper's feelings, Hu ordered his people to immediately send over a basket of fruit and get the meeting going, BUT:

"We always hold that we should maintain dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect to expand common ground and narrow differences, but we firmly oppose other nation's using China's human rights and other problems to make irresponsible remarks on China's internal affairs." – Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu.

If I was more learned about such things, I'd say, "typical Chinese diplomacy." Get everything on the offensive. Get everyone feeling that at any second you might just walk out and screw up the cost of sneakers across the True North Strong And Free.

The bit that bugs me, and always does as it comes up a lot, is the "internal affairs" bit. China has a habit of referring to everything that involves it's massive national claims as "internal affairs". This is a bit like an abusive father saying "hey, mind your own fuckin' business – I'll raise my kids any damn well way I want." It also has just as much maturity.

It all just seems to reek of: "We'll take your cash, you can teach us English, we'll make your damn stuff … but bugger off and let us do what we want to our own… or are they yours?" And when a country, or companies, start to say "hey, maybe you should sort your shit out before we give our cash" China goes silent for a moment and then sobers everything up by referring to its 1.3 billion customers (900,000,000 of which could never afford anything other than their annual bottle of Coke for Spring Festival celebrations).

Living abroad often makes me proud of being a Canadian, and often makes me blind to all the crap I rallied against when I lived there… and this is a point in case. PS: Mr. Harper – kudos for sticking it to Vietnam, and I can't wait to see if they've grown big enough for you to stick it to you know Hu. 

6 Responses

  1. I always see that “internal affairs” or “respect for sovereignty” line as two cop outs for the price of one:

    First, it’s a general piss off, as you said, to anybody who wants to tell China that it might want to play a bit nicer with human rights, press freedom, etc.

    Second–and this is at least equally alarming, I think–is that it’s a way of squirming out of any responsibility to do the same. Considering the amount of money China is now throwing at Africa and Southeast Asia, it could have major sway over the countries it invests in, namely Sudan, Zimbabwe and Myanmar. Instead, it pulls this whole “internal affairs” routine and says, “It’s none of our business what you do with yours, just like it’s none of your business what we do with ours.”

    Tip o’ the hat to Harper, indeed.

  2. I’ve heard this “mind your own business, it’s our internal affairs’ Chinese excuse a million times, but I always wondered, hey isn’t what another country prints in its textbooks internal affairs also? not to condone what japan has done but i don’t hear japan using that internal affairs excuse…?

  3. @Spring: Huh? The breaking wind (放屁) thing? Really? You MUST be a new reader of my blog if you think that's offensive. And if you didn't like that… you're going to hate this:

    春, 滚去找一个真正的英文名字! 如果你要说废话到别的地方.

    Now of course I don't mean that to all Chinese who wish to comment here. I am happy to have Chinese people, or indeed any "people", comment on this blog – but I warn you, us folks from the world beyond China's borders tend to not take it kindly when people like "Spring" tell us what we 'must' and 'must not' say. We've been known to act in an "uncivilized" manner.

  4. @Marco: Haha, possibly. Ironically the post is about the Chinese government repeating the well-worn line about outsiders keeping their noses out of domestic business, and then ‘Spring’ comes on MY site and tells me what I should and shouldn’t say… baby, if it’s on this site (on/in my domain), it’s domestic… she SHOULD take her hypocritical ethics to some other blog… she be not welcome here.

    Marco, you however, usually have more to say than “Laowai, don’t say bad words, it’s uncivilized.” So please don’t let my quick-to-piss-offedness scare ya away. I value your comments.

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