Old Friends: No you Can’t, Yes we Can

1. You can’t invite that (alleged) War Criminal, can you?

Granted, there were a number of good reasons to stay away from the CCP’s military parade, and the falsification of history that marched among the ranks – after all, it was the Republic of the two Chinas that won the war -, was one of them. But then, Japan, too, cooks history books, and that would deserve more attention, too – I haven’t heard of any Western leader recently who’d cancel a meeting with Japanese prime ministers because of such issues. Maybe it is because history as a science isn’t considered to push economic growth, and therefore deemed useless. But then, history probably wasn’t a main driver of disharmony anyway.

Rather, what seems to have bugged a number of world leaders was Beijing’s guest list, which included Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan’s president. A scandal?

Not if you ask Hua Chunying (华春莹), spokeswoman at China’s foreign ministry. Some Q&A from the ministry’s regular press conference on Tuesday:

Q: Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir will attend the September 3 activities. President Xi Jinping will also meet with him. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes. Is there a contradiction that China invites him to attend activities marking the victory of World War II?


A: African people, including Sudanese people, made important contributions to the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War. It is reasonable and justified for China to invite President Bashir to attend the commemorative activities. China will accord him with due treatment during his stay in China.


Being not a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, China will deal with relevant issue on the basis of the basic principles of international law.


Now, one might ask why China is no signatory to the Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court. That would go to the heart of the matter, while the spokesperson’s statement remains at the surface. The underlying answer may well be that to Beijing, Omar al-Bashir is primarily the president of Sudan, and only secondly, Beijing’s son of a bitch old friend. That al-Bashir’s immunity is, to Beijing, a matter of state sovereignty, not of personal responsibility or guilt. That aside, the attitude is best compatible with China’s interests in Africa – and maybe, there’s still a bit of a fear among China’s elites that they could, in a worst-case scenario, become targets of the ICC.

In a case like al-Bashir’s, Beijing’s critics are wrong, and Beijing is near-absolutely right. There can be no justice if leaders of small countries can be taken to court, and leaders of great powers remain immune. Peace may be “a journey” and “a never-ending process”, because dialogue is a voluntary choice. But when it comes to justice, tougher standards need to be applied. Unequal justice is an oxymoron.

Hua Chunying’s reference to the Rome Statute is also an elegant swipe against U.S. critics in particular: Washington has signed the Statute, but never ratified it.

2. You can’t Invite Shen Lyushun, can you?

Yes, we can, says Washington D.C., and so it happened on Wednesday. Taiwan’s English-language paper,  The China Post:

In a highly symbolic move, Taiwan’s representative to the United States attended an event in Washington D.C. Wednesday to commemorate the Allied Forces victory in the Pacific and the end of World War II.

Shen Lyushun’s (沈呂巡) attendance was the first time Taiwan’s top diplomat had been invited to attend similar events in the United States.

Now, guess what – Beijing reportedly didn’t like the guest list:

China’s ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai did not attend the event even though he had been invited. Chinese officials have protested the inclusion of Taiwan’s presence at the event.

Which is fine. Dialogue remains a voluntary choice.



» Failure to Arrest, The Guardian, June 24, 2015
» CIA & Hundesöhne, Tagesanzeiger, Feb 7, 2013
» Not a party to treaty, John Bolton, May 6, 2002


16 Comments to “Old Friends: No you Can’t, Yes we Can”

  1. “There can be no justice if leaders of small countries can be taken to court, and leaders of great powers remain immune. Peace may be “a journey” and “a never-ending process”, because dialogue is a voluntary choice. But when it comes to justice, tougher standards need to be applied. Unequal justice is an oxymoron.”

    Very well said. Very well said indeed!


  2. Its time to teach the renegades a lesson.


  3. Its time to teach the renegades a lesson.

    Umm …


  4. The big and small conundrum. That’s (and I know I’ve been harping on about this for years) why I want that Class A war criminal Kissinger hauled before the ICC. And, if possible, I would also disinter Richard Milhous Nixon’s mangy corpse and have it in the dock alongside Kissinger.

    As for more recent players, I would include that lunatic Blair and also throw in that mongrel Netanyahu, plus most of his cabinet.


  5. Tell you what, KT: Israel, too, is a small country. Yes, Israel is pushing Palestine around. And before Syria itself came to the receiving end of imperialism, it was pushing Lebanon around, in cooperation with some obscure priests in Tehran who deliver sermons about “justice” on every Friday.

    If you want to see all the evildoers of the world in the dock, small countries and small people will bear the brunt of that crusade – because the higher the pressure from outside a country to see that concept through, the more the potentates will cling to power – and the more easily they will. That foreigners-want-you-to-do-depose-me-so-resist-them thing is as alive as nationalism in general. It can mobilize support for basically any bugger.

    An uncompromising will to see “justice being done” is frequently at conflict with reason. If you want a thirty-year war about that topic alone, go and support the idea, KT. But I doubt that your motivation is wise. For now, I prefer the Westfalian model. Why? Because with the current political class, I see no room for improvement when they adopt “justice” as their goal. That will only open the door for more manipulation.

    “Your terrorist is my freedom fighter.” And vice versa. Be careful what you wish for.

    Advice from the sanitational department: dead corpses in the dock can be very unhealthy.


  6. Jaa, jaa, JR. Lets build a prison again that teaches the bad guys a lesson.

    Bürger lasst das Glotzen sein,

    kommtma mit und Stein auf Stein!


    Und noch ein Stein, und noch ein Stein. Wo gehts hier zur Steinigung?


  7. Scheiße, Ypsilanti fehlt. Aber jetzt.


  8. Aw JR. Syria, Iran and Lebanon. Don’t disagree. Simply making a limited point about the criminality of the Israeli, since it presents itself to the world as a bastion of democracy in a Middle East populated by particularly nasty governments.


  9. Spend a bit of time reading Haaretz JR and you will see that my views re Netanyahu are not so minority after all.

    Sooner or later and within the lifetime of your blog, the ICC will issue a writ for his arrest for his treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.ie extreme asymmetrical warfare. He may wear a suit and tie and speak with an American accent, but he is no different from the rest of his ilk in that bad neighbourhood.


  10. >>Syria, Iran and Lebanon.<<

    Which Syria? The Abbott/Cameron/Erdogan sponsored *IS liberated Syria*, or the legal state existing until a few years ago?


  11. JR, remember the Brits used to have balls? The SAS was behind enemy lines in the 1990s. The muscular liberalism now in power in London prefers to prop up islamofascists and cry out when their proxies come home to roost. (After unleshing their explosive belts, of course.)


  12. Shall this blogger offer his moderation skills to the esteemed parties, or is it the gentlemens’ desire to represent the Battle of Pearl Harbor?


  13. I loathed Monty Python in the early 70s … all those long haired dope smoking, middle class uni students….You JR and Taide obviously picked up on Cleese and co at the beginning of this century……2,000 plus.

    Really totally pathetic.

    As far as I can ascertain, German comedy types bring the house down when they make fart jokes.

    Sorry guys, you are about as funny as Russian comedians.

    If you want to display your knowledge of Anglophone culture and humour , you have some serious homework in front of you.


  14. Two of these Gentlemen would have agreed with you, KT:


  15. Okay guys. Enough of the imported comedy, since this is a China blog.

    And I’m a bit OT.

    Now, you can safely bet (your family farm, wives, various gfs/bfs, mistresses and the domestic cat) that there won’t be any mention in Chinese media of Japans (yes, The Blossoms) totally stunning defeat of the South African rugby union team, so soon after the Japanese Diet passed legislation allowing its armed forces to participate in situations beyond its territorial boundaries.

    You know all about the latter, and it would be hard to miss the historic dimensions of this sporting achievement in the world of social media this morning.

    I fully expect the PLA to go onto DEFCOM 4 and the Politburo move into its nuclear shelter


  16. I fully expect the PLA to go onto DEFCOM 4 and the Politburo move into its nuclear shelter

    Not at all, KT. The chairman is on his way to enemy land #1 to show off his courage to the world. But I expect the Chinese Olympic Committee to be moving into their nuclear shelter. Not that rugby were an Olympic discipline, but the Japanese global conspiracy will do its best to get it there.

    This is the word of the chairman for you:

    To understand today’s China, one needs to fully appreciate the Chinese nation’s deep suffering since modern times and the profound impact of such suffering on the Chinese minds.

    I guess this didn’t refer to the siege of Changchun, did he?


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