Ma Zhaoxu: Very Thought-Provoking Question

“Asking”*) foreign governments and organizations not to do something that it perceives to be against its interests doesn’t amount to a violation of the principle of non-interference into others’ internal affairs, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu (马朝旭) is quoted by the BBC’s Beijing correspondent Michael Bristow. The BBC report refers to brawls about the Melbourne International Film Festival in July and August, the Frankfurt Book Fair in September / October, and World Uyghur Congress chairwoman Rebiya Kadeer‘s visit to Japan in July.

Richard Moore, the Melbourne Film Festival’s executive director, received a phone call from a Chinese consular official, and that “it came down to [the consular official] saying we need to justify our decision to include the film in the programme”.

On October 23, foreign ministry spokesman Ma took two questions (the second being a follow-up) concerning Beijing’s protests against Rebiya Kadeer’s Japan visit in July.

Q: On Tuesday you urged Japan not to issue visa to Rebiya Kadeer. Isn’t that against China’s principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries?

A: I hope you do not listen to a lopsided statement when assessing the issue.
We all know what kind of person Rebiya is. Some forces in Japan attempt to facilitate her visit to Japan for engagement in anti-China activities. We should absolutely express our strong dissatisfaction. Standing resolute in fighting against national separatism and upholding national unity, we believe that any scheme of Rebiya and her kind to split China is doomed to failure.

Four questions later, it was the same reporter’s turn again, and still lopsided himself, he dwelled on the issue:

Q: I don’t think you have answered my question just now. I am aware of the Chinese Government’s position on Rebiya Kadeer’s visit to Japan. My question is about the principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs. If China really does not interfere in other country’s internal affairs, then why did it pay no regard to the principle under some circumstances, such as demanding the Japanese Government not to issue visa to Rebiya?

A: First, I think I have already answered your question clearly. Second, I suggest that you look into the meaning of the principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs. Third, I believe what China has done is precisely to uphold the principle, not on the contrary.

Five days later, on another press conference, the question of non-interference was back in a more courtly style (the published Foreign Ministry press conference records don’t mention the reporters and media who ask the questions).

Q: I have two questions on the APEC meeting to be held next month. Many people are concerned over China’s growing influence in regional and international affairs, and some people criticize China for ambitiously seeking dominance in these affairs. How do you respond to the criticism? What kind of world leader will China become? The second question bears on the principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs upheld by China all along. There is a growing chorus of voices calling for China to play an even more positive role [emphasis added – JR] in the international arena. To what extent can China adhere to the principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs?

A: You have raised a very thought-provoking question which is also of common interest of all. It is even a strategic question from a broader perspective. I appreciate that. The question deserves in-depth discussion at academic seminars, and I am afraid that it would be difficult for me to answer your question in one or two words on this occasion. However, I am still willing to share with you my opinions. First, concerning China’s role in international affairs, China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, remains committed to a path of peaceful development and plays a positive and constructive role in international affairs. It is our goal to work with other countries towards a harmonious world.
The principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs is universally recognized by the international community. It is also one of the basic ingredients of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the very foundation of China’s foreign policy. China unswervingly upholds the principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs. In the meantime, given the rapid development of globalization and multi-polarization as well as increasingly complicated international situation, China, as a responsible country, will continue to play its due role as a positive and constructive party in the international arena.

____________

*) Asking is apparently the wording the BBC chose to describe the CCP’s interference abroad.

____________

Related:
“World Media Summit”, Be More Xinhua, October 10, 2009
“Protest isn’t the Only Patriotic Way”, August 15, 2009

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4 Responses to “Ma Zhaoxu: Very Thought-Provoking Question”

  1. Comrade Ma must be speaking of “the principle of non-interference into others’ internal affairs”, the Chinese version of which translates as “we do as we please, and you do not interfere”. Sweet. There can be only one answer, and Ai Wei Wei put it best:

    Who am I to argue, or worry about hurt feelings.

    Like

  2. Comrade Neddy, I think you’ll need to do a lot of work on the improvement of your attitude before you’ll get real instructive answers like “You have raised a very thought-provoking question which is also of common interest of all. It is even a strategic question from a broader perspective. I appreciate that. The question deserves in-depth discussion at academic seminars, and I am afraid that it would be difficult for me to answer your question in one or two words on this occasion. However, I am still willing to share with you my opinions. First, concerning China’s role in international affairs, China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace, remains committed to a path of peaceful development and plays a positive and constructive role in international affairs. It is our goal to work with other countries towards a harmonious world.
    The principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs is universally recognized by the international community. It is also one of the basic ingredients of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the very foundation of China’s foreign policy. China unswervingly upholds the principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs. In the meantime, given the rapid development of globalization and multi-polarization as well as increasingly complicated international situation, China, as a responsible country, will continue to play its due role as a positive and constructive party in the international arena.”
    Otherwise, you’ll always be an unharmonious dumbass. Sorry, Comrade.

    Like

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