Friday, November 5, 2010

So Much for Human Rights

President Sarkozy's statement marking Chinese president Hu's visit:

“China should not be seen as a risk but an opportunity,” Mr. Sarkozy said before Mr. Hu landed in France. “It’s not by reproaching people for things that you make progress.” Mr. Hu opted for a written statement: “China and France share broad common interests and huge potential for cooperation.” 

Yes, OK, I favor engagement rather than ostracism in dealing with China, but a little diplomatic subtlety might help to sweeten the bill. "Reproaching people for things" strikes me as an awfully crude way to dismiss the mistreatment of millions of people. When Sarkozy was riding the human rights horse, he found other words to describe their plight. Now, with 16 billion € of contracts to be signed, they are a nuisance, as were the demonstrators who were shunted out of the Chinese leader's sight.

Sarkozy expects to use his upcoming presidency of the G20 to rebound in the polls. He needs Chinese support to do this, particularly since his "proposal" (so far empty of content) to renew the world's financial system will likely encounter opposition from the US. So he's courting Hu heavily, but the latter is not likely to succumb as easily as Carla Bruni did.

3 comments:

the fly in the web said...

No, I don't see Hu as a grande horizontale somehow...

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid that I could only think of Sarkozy when I read the NYT's piece suggesting that the Chinese government is trying to convince European governments to boycott the Nobel ceremony. Absolutely delusional on the part of the Chinese government, one wants to think. Or hope. Or pray.

Anonymous said...

maybe not. Chinese play tough. I would not hold it past Hu Jintao to make a veiled threat of the sort: boycott Nobel ceremony and/or Dalai Lama or we will throw the personnel of your multinationals based in China in jail. Violating human rights is a policy option for the Chinese government.

Chris P.