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Tuesday, November 08, 2005


Just been watching Kirsty Wark on Newsnight spending most of the programme on China (& a bit on France). In the normal impartial Beeb way they put both sides - either China is a dreadful foreign country we must openly be rude about at all times or China is a dreadful foreign country with a vulgar amount of cash we must be quietly rude about at all times. This included a talking head section with a dissident & a silly woman to put the former view & a Chinese businessman & a government minister to put the latter. Speakers to put the suggestion that China is actually doing rather well, better indeed than us, has a higher level of crime-free personal safety than us, a greater respect for the rule of international law & an infinitely better level of respect for human rights than our Nazi leaders responsible for genocide in Krajina & Bosnia & the killing of possibly 100,000 in Iraq were not present.

Kirsty, of course, while keen to mention Chinese dissidents being (formerly) imprisoned never mentions our imprisonment of Fikret Abdic for not supporting al Quaeda when we did. There were also, of course, mentions of the alleged desire of the Tibetans, those living in Tibet that is, for independence & the restoration of the Dalai Lama's feudal rule that these cute native people so enjoyed. The truth is more complicated but, for some reason, not one our "free media" report.

So to (slightly) balance the censorship of the BBC I am reprinting a letter I had in Spiked recently:
The corollary of China having grown by exporting to us is the degree to which, over the last decade, its price competitiveness has suppressed world inflation, which has saved us from having to do it (China: threat or opportunity?, 13 October).

As regards environmentalism, there's no moral or legal duty for China to be subject to our Luddite fantasies. As regards human rights, I don't think even the most rabid Westerner could claim that the people of Krajina have been treated a thousandth as well by NATO as the Tibetans have been treated by China. This being the case, no Westerner can honestly claim moral superiority. As regards the military threat, while a growing economy automatically produces military power, it's undeniable that China has shown infinitely more respect for the rule of international law and the rights of other nations than have the NATO states.

Indeed, it could well be argued that the growth of a country which has respect for international law is an absolute necessity. Even China's growth wouldn't be a threat to us, if we decided to match it. Ireland, the Baltic states and Russia have proven over the past decade that it's perfectly possible to achieve growth close to China's level, if you just practice a relatively unregulated pro-growth policy. That we choose to hobble ourselves means that it's our governments, not that of China, which are a threat to the West.

Neil Craig, A Place to Stand, UK

I was in China for one year in the late 1980s and for one year in the early 1990s, and I recently spent a month in Shanghai (China: threat or opportunity?, 13 October).

The main reason why the country has achieved so much in those 17 years is the people and their culture of hard work and self-sacrifice, not the politicians. That said, I find it odd that the role of the Chinese Communist Party is always viewed negatively in the West. The communist dictatorship, resented though it is by many, has helped China in at least four ways. First, provision of basic universal education, ensuring high literacy and a focus on technology. Second, creation of a modern Chinese identity. Third, eradication of big landowning and other vested interests, that have obstructed or distorted development in other countries and have hogged power and resources. The party is, of course, guilty of this itself, but is genuinely interested in national progress for its own survival. Fourth, the ability to force through comprehensive development plans into the long term, something that - democracy with its four- or five-yearly regime changes - doesn't encourage.

I still say that the people should take most of the credit for what's been achieved, but these are four other reasons why China has done a lot better than India and the Philippines, the two longest-established Asian democracies. It wasn't a coincidence that Taiwan, South Korea and arguably Japan did their economic heavy lifting under enduring one-party rule.

Ian Channing, UK

The original article is here.

"our Nazi leaders responsible for genocide in Krajina & Bosnia": our?

Our leaders, with little opposition, supported diplomatically, financially & militarily, people in Croatia & Bosnia (& Kosovo) who were, at the time, publicly committed to genocide. We assisted in the birth of racist etnically cleansed Catholic & Moslem statelets, in breach of all international law & our most solemn treaty obligations (Helsinki Treaty) & in the case of Major, knowing that we were starting a genocidal war in Bosnia. I believe genocide is the worst crime a human being can commit & we cannot escape our responsibility.

You will find considerable, in some people's opinion excessive, evidence of this throughout my archives.
"I believe genocide is the worst crime a human being can commit": what, it would be worse to wipe out an ethnos of 100 people than murder, say, a million of various races? Daft idea. I confess that I took a dim view of our government's prohibiting arms sales to Bosnia, but that still doesn't make them genociders - that falls to the murderous bastards who ordered and committed the crime. And I don't like the way we bombed Serb grannies in aid of murderous ethnic-Albanian terrorists who intended ethnic cleansing of Serbs, gysies etc from Kosovo - but I somehow infer that you may not be complaining about that?
You infer wrongly.
We are actually in agreement. If you check previous posts you will see I have repeatedly pointed out that NATO's attack on Yugoslavia to help our KLA employees was an aggressive war & thus a war crime. Indeed if you check the 13th Nov '04 entry you will see I was largely responsible for getting the Scottish Liberal Democrats to unanimously pass a motion calling for the leaders of countries that helped the KLA, while the US recognised them as terrorists, to be brought to trial (this certainly includes Clinton & Kohl). The fact that no Lib politician has publicly mentioned it does not prevent me being rather proud of that.

As regards the definition of genocide may I point out that, under NATO rule & with NATO police uniforms our KLA agents have been allowed to exterminate or cleanse not only Serbs but also Gypsies, Jews, Macedonians, "Bosniaks", Croats, Gorani (Moslem Serbs), Greeks, Vlachs (Romanians), Turks & Egyptians as well as Christian & anti-Nazi Albanians from Kosovo, all of whom were living freely under the Yugoslav regime.

I have never suggested that because more than one nationality was attacked this makes either the KLA or the NATO leaders who set them up, including Bliar's entire cabinet, not guilty of genocide.
I apologise for my erroneous inference. Your proposal of a trial for Clinton and Kohl is a happy notion. Can we add Toni Blair?
P.S. Given these views, what on earth are you doing in the Lib Dems?
Who else would have an argumentative sod like me?

Seriously - nobody who thinks about it is going to agree with any party line on many issues. However politics is the art of getting on together. It is right to choose the party with which you generally agree & help it (& help it get closer to your ideal). By history, temperament & several important issues I am Lib Dem rather than Tory or SNP.

On the other hand I wasn't politically active during Ashdown's leadership & have no hesitation in saying that he, like Blair could properly face trial.

As you would know if you had actually read the article you are commenting on.

Ever heard of Krajina?
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