| Where is China headed in 2018? President Xi Jinping promised "world peace" for the new year - but his 2017 track record suggests otherwise. Remember the singular stain of the July death of 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, surrounded by state security? Many condemned China's conduct, but such interventions are fewer and further between these days. Increasingly, abusive Chinese authorities are garnering international support for their principles and policies. Find the latest China news, photos, videos and featured stories on Shine News. SHINE provides trusted national and world news as well as local and regional perspectives. |
In a single December week, the Chinese Communist Party hosted an international political forum in Beijing attended by representatives of political parties from democracies including New Zealand and the United States, seemingly unbothered that their hosts run an authoritarian, one-party state. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Council Information Office held an international symposium in Beijing on human rights - attended by United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, a UN body that, unlike two dozen other UN agencies, is systematically denied the ability to operate in China.
And China held another global information technology summit on connectivity - attended by Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, who in the US argues hard for privacy rights but in China lauds Beijing's plans for a "common future in cyberspace" despite rampant censorship and electronic surveillance. The term "normalising" is in heavy use these days, typically to mean the implicit or explicit acceptance of problematic behaviour. In diplomacy, it means two countries establishing formal diplomatic relations.But it's now also a perverse hybrid in contemporary international politics: individuals and institutions from parts of the world where human rights are generally protected aren't just cosying up to, but also increasingly publicly praising, their Chinese counterparts - while failing to defend the principles and institutions that underpin their very existence.
In doing so, they enable a whitewash of an abusive regime, one with global aspirations to change and set the rules of modern political life. While it's true that many people across different realms - academia, business, politics - have, over the years, pushed the Chinese government to adopt international human rights standards and end its persecution of peaceful critics, few now stand against Beijing's intransigence. Many now choose to engage on Beijing's terms, even when doing so is perverse and even harmful to their interests. Will Apple still thrive if China's vision of state control of all sources of information and the use of artificial intelligence to monitor all citizens' behaviour becomes a reality?