During British prime minister David Cameron‘s trip to China in November, John Humphrys, host of the BBC‘s Today program, asked Wu Jianmin (吴建民), former president of the China Foreign Affairs University, a rather simple question about Liu Xiaobo:
What did he do? What did that Nobel Peace Prize winner do ?
Wu Jianmin’s reply:
I’m not a jurist. I don’t know – maybe you can talk to some Chinese who are informed about that. I’m not informed about his case. I didn’t look at his case.
At first glance, Wu looks ill-prepared for the question. If a former China Foreign Affairs University president isn’t informed about a case which creates a lot of international (and not only ‘”Western”) attention, what is he informed about at all? At what of kinds of cases would he look at in his spare time?
But the fact is that Wu didn’t need to look for a better answer to questions like Humprhys’. In cases that involve “national security”, no Chinese jurist needs to look for better answers either, unless he’s a defender. And even if a defender does have better answers, it won’t matter, if the CCP wants to see a defendant in jail.
National security was reportedly cited as a reason to bar Mo Shaoping (莫少平), Liu Xiaobo’s defender before he was reportedly disqualified, from travelling to Britain in November, apparently on the day or one day after Wu Jianmin referred the BBC to more informed Chinese sources than himself. The Telegraph:
The heavy-handed response confirmed the worst fears of diplomats that the prime minister’s trade visit to China would be derailed by concerns over China’s human rights record.
Some delegates [there were 43 business leaders travelling with Cameron, according to the BBC] have privately voiced their fears that the visit, which is the first by a Western leader since Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel prize in October, could end in disaster at a time when the British government is desperately trying to improve trade relations with China.
There was no reason to worry. Business comes first.
The BBC’s interview with Wu centered around business conflicts, and business conflicts only. You’ll need to listen to “communists” these days – outside China – to be provided with a different view.
While South Africa’s governing ANC emphasizes the need for good relations with Beijing, the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ (COSATU) take is that an injury to one is an injury to all.
Business is legitimate – but there needs to be the primacy of politics when dealing with other countries which put politics first themselves. If you want real win-win situations, don’t rely on business people from your country.
Too many of them only become principled about judicial miscarriages when they affect them, rather than Chinese people.
Business Dispute: Just a little Bit Longer, June 16, 2010
The Primacy of Politics, June 13, 2010
German Presidency: Politician wanted, May 31, 2010
“Reluctant to Face a Stronger China”, July 29, 2009