Wednesday, 12 August 2009

What a surprise ...

In a move that no-one could possibly have predicted, the PRC has decided condemning Burma for sentencing Aung San Suu Kyi to a further 18 months detention, is not justified:
The world should respect Myanmar's judicial sovereignty following the sentencing of Aung San Suu Kyi to 18 months in detention, China said on Wednesday, suggesting Beijing would not back U.N. action against the country.

-snip-

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu repeated a call for all sides in Myanmar to talk to each other, but requested non-interference from the outside world.

"As a neighbor of Myanmar's, China hopes all sides in Myanmar can push ethnic reconciliation through talks, and gradually realize stability, democracy and development," Jiang said in a brief statement faxed to Reuters.

"This not only accords with Myanmar's interests, it is also beneficial to regional stability," she added, in China's first official comment following the sentencing.

"As for the related domestic case, international society should fully respect Myanmar's judicial sovereignty," Jiang said, referring to the Suu Kyi case. (1)

Given the PRC's recent crackdowns on the Uighurs (2), and its long history of crushing opposition and jailing activists, the PRC is understandably keen to make sure that a norm is established, where a nations right to deal with its internal affairs as it sees fit is repected - especially when those internal affairs relate to the pesky issues of internal dissent, ethnic tension, human rights and protest.

(Though not the right of Australia to screen films (3). Apparently, that sovereign right is not one worthy of respect. Though perhaps the PRC is just following Australia's own lead here, as that country showed little heed to Iraq's sovereign right not to be invaded by a massive international army in 2003.)

The regimes in the PRC and in Burma are similar in many regards.

Both have apalling records on democracy.

Both use brutal tactics to crush dissent.

Both use detention to silence opposition.

And both, of course, are New Zealand's valued trading partners (4).
1 - "Respect Myanmar sovereignty, China says after trial," unattributed Reuters article, published 12th of August, 2009. (http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE57B0O020090812)
2 - As described previosuly on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/search/label/Uighurs
3 - As described previosuly on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2009/07/chinese-hack-aussie-film-festival.html
4 - As described previously on lefthandpalm: http://lefthandpalm.blogspot.com/2008/08/is-is-most-unfair.html

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