China warns on U.N. right of intervention

Posted by Martyn

China reacted angrily to a new United Nations agreement on Monday which approved the principle that the international community has a responsibility to protect civilians threatened by genocide, war crimes or ethnic cleansing and includes the right to intervene if necessary. The agreement aims to prevent further massacres such as those seen in Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo during the 1990s.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxiang insisted in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly that the authorization of the Security Council was required for any action to prevent a large-scale humanitarian crisis:

“We are against any willful intervention on the ground of rash conclusion that a nation is unable or unwilling to protect its own citizens,” Li said.

China, a veto-bearing permanent member of the Security Council, has been the major power most reluctant to allow U.N. intervention to protect civilians in Sudan’s Darfur region or censure of the human rights record of Zimbabwe. It also opposed the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

One of the main principles of Chinaโ€™s foreign policy is not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. Indeed, China regularly roars its disapproval every time the West cites hum@n r1ghts abuses, the Taiwan issue, internal fre3d0ms and the like. Chinaโ€™s critics have called this policy very convenient as China counts such pariah states such as North Korea, Burma, Zimbabwe, Sudan and Uzbekistan among its international friends. China, however, argues that it simply respects the internal affairs of other sovereign nations.

This principle of non-interference, for good or for ill, does suit Chinaโ€™s purposes very well. This also explains why China consistently resists any further U.N. moves to increase its powers regarding international intervention. Is China sticking to its principles or simply avoiding the risk that one day the U.N. might possibly turn its attention towards China?

The Discussion: 39 Comments

I think the Chinese foreign policy apparatus should go down to the DVD market and buy the complete series of Star Trek and ST: The Next Generation. They pretty much covered the inherent contradictions of a non-interference policy.

So military intervention is interference, ok. But isn’t investment, trade, immigration and alliances? These things influence the development of a nation as well.

How’s this for a counter-example: China had a civil war. Are they saying that the Comintern should never have helped the CCP?

September 19, 2005 @ 6:05 pm | Comment

China’s non-interference policy is the equivalent of living next door to a known child-abuser, and not only not doing anything yourself, but actively trying to prevent other people bringing the offender to justice.

September 19, 2005 @ 6:21 pm | Comment

Where is the non-interference principal when Chinese are talking about internal Japanese affairs, such as school textbook selection?

September 19, 2005 @ 9:23 pm | Comment

LOL @ davesgonechina.

I thought I was the only one who had ever associated China with the Prime Directive. Unfortunately, China cannot handle the contradictions as Kirk and Picard. And China is no United Federation of Planets. ๐Ÿ™ Although they might want you to think so with the Shenzhou rockets.

September 19, 2005 @ 11:12 pm | Comment

Heh, that’s a good one davesgonechina. It’s funny, I haven’t ever seen the Star Trek series here on pirated dvd. I wish I did, I’d snap up all the sets.

Seriously though, your point about the Cominterm is a good one. Having just finished Jung Chang’s Mao book, I appreciate just how much help, advice, and most impotantly, cash, the then Soviet Union handed over to Mao’s communists.

In fact, Mao’s eager acceptance of this cash was one of the ways he climbed up the ranks of the ccp. Otherwise, he was a very unremarkable man. Most of his “myths” are just that…and ususally self-perpetuated.

September 20, 2005 @ 2:15 am | Comment

My God, I agree with the Chinese government twice in one day. Unbelievable! I don’t think that the UN should ever be permitted to act wothout Security Council authorization. It’s like adult supervison for Jr. High School students. Otherwise, you’ll have the same clowns that put Zimbabwe and Libaya on the Human rights Commission deciding when to send in troops. How long beofre the “Zionism-is-racism” crowd order an invasion of Israel, content in the knowledge that their countie’s troops will never have to act,

September 20, 2005 @ 3:07 am | Comment

It’s true enough that China certainly does interfere in the shrine visits by Japanese politicians. From the Chinese perpective, however, the outrage at the visits far outweighs any qualms regarding the internal non-interference principle.

Also, this principle does not seem to apply to countries that border China. I wonder what China would do if Vietnam, for example, started delevoping nuclear weapons with US approval or gave assent for US bases in the country?

The non-interferance policy may well have started with good intentions but now it’s simply a tool:

A tool for China to dodge awkward questions about why it is best friends with some of the world’s most brutal regimes like North Korea, Burma and Zimbabwe.

A tool so that China can take advantage of the isolation rightly accorded to pariah states and pull the rug from under the feet of the US and her allies by exploiting the needs of those nations for international friends and business partners.

A tool so that China can claim moral outrage whenever the eyes of the world focus on it and dare demand that Chinese citizens are accorded basic freedoms, social justice and respect.

It means nothing. As China proves everytime it whinges about the shrine visits of Japanese politicians.

September 20, 2005 @ 6:30 am | Comment

I for one wonder how do we resolve the hypocrisy in lamenting the Chinese about Tibet, while our boots are squarely on top of the Native Americans and Hawaiians?

What about the anti-secession law? Do you know we have one too?

September 20, 2005 @ 4:23 pm | Comment

Yet I see no serious movement for independence by either aboriginal Americans or Hawaiians. Certainly the Navajo could carve out a fairly large and economically viable chunk of territory. Yet no widespread sentiment for independence exists there, nor do they have large communities of exiles living in neighboring countries. Could it be that the paradigm doesn’t match that of China’s presence in Tibet?

September 20, 2005 @ 8:30 pm | Comment


You could also add the fact that the US does not have to garrison parts of it’s own country with troops – even the most far flung parts of America such as Hawaii and Alaska.

The same cannot be said for T1bet and X1nji1ang. The two regions are peppered with PLA garrisons.

September 20, 2005 @ 8:45 pm | Comment

It’s so irritating when people take surface-level similarities between a liberal democracy and a dictatorship and draw deep moral equivalency between these, ignoring the complex realities and very real differences between a democracy and a dictatorship.

Ah, well…at least it’s nothing new. Western pacifists did it with Nazi Germany (thank GOd for Orwell)…

The only question is, who is today’s Orwell to point out the reality and the gravity of differences between democracies and dictatorships? Maybe Martyn…

September 20, 2005 @ 9:08 pm | Comment

I’m with Johnny here, there are alot of differences and I’m sick of these “you do the same thing” overgeneralized comparisons. The devils in the details, son.

I’d like to point out, as I have a couple of other times on PKD, that Clinton signed the Hawaii Apology Act in which the U.S. Federal Government stated in law that, yes, we conquered Hawaii, violating its sovereign rights and otherwise were total pricks. It’s called admitting you made a mistake and its the first step in a long and difficult process. The last time the CCP admitted making a mistake about territorial or colonial issues were… help me out, Bobby.

Oh, and Hawaiians can and do have organizations pushing for independence – and whaddya know, they can organize, raise money and exercise power as a voting block to send a native Hawaiian senator to Congress who is currently pushing for even more autonomy.

And here’s the head slapper: they don’t get arrested, detained, imprisoned, exiled, condemned unanimously by a state-monopolized press or otherwise “cracked down” on for doing these things!

We also grant Native Americans alot more autonomy – a federal agent can’t walk into a reservation with impunity. I’d like to see a PSB agent have to get permission from an entirely Uyghur government to enter Kashgar prefecture. I’d park a lawn chair at the goddamn border crossing to watch the whole thing, whooping and hollering and cheering…

September 20, 2005 @ 10:08 pm | Comment

Thanks Dave. That comment made my day. I eagerly await bobby’s detailed rebuttal.

September 20, 2005 @ 10:10 pm | Comment

Hey Conrad, I don’t know if you have to use the Security Council to do that in every instance (though I agree its like junior high school over on the East River).

For example, you could do the Human Rights Commission simply through procedure since the declaration of human rights is unalterable – create a human rights performance index and say you have to score in the 80th percentile to be eligible to be on the commission. Create the index through the reports of an international coalition of NGOs.

September 20, 2005 @ 10:14 pm | Comment

Richard, what can I say, I enjoy doing the weeding on this here lil’ garden.

September 20, 2005 @ 10:17 pm | Comment

Dave can join Martyn on the Orwell anti-moral-equivalency Squad

September 20, 2005 @ 10:47 pm | Comment

Glad to see you guys don’t dispute the fact we hold on to our conquered people with whatever it takes.

So how are we *that* different than the Chinese? Maybe they should do what we did, genocidally kill’em all, then put the few that refused to die in tiny god forsakened land called “reservation”. Wait a couple hundred years, voila, exact same thing we have.

Dave, it’s not “you do the same thing” – I’m an American, and I said “we do the same thing”.

September 21, 2005 @ 12:51 am | Comment

Bobby said:

Glad to see you guys don’t dispute the fact we hold on to our conquered people with whatever it takes.

Uh, no, actually, I believe that was what I was disputing. Besides my first sentence, you haven’t acknowledged anything else I wrote. Or what Martyn wrote. Or what Lirelou wrote. Or what Johnny K wrote. You ask “So how are we *that* different from the Chinese?”

I believe we just told you how we think the U.S. is different.

September 21, 2005 @ 1:02 am | Comment

So you are saying the Native Americans and Hawiians are not conquered people?

News to me.

September 21, 2005 @ 1:17 am | Comment

Martyn, we used to hunt down the Native Americans like animals, garrisoned troops all over what used to be their land.

Oh, and we passed anti-secession laws to take away their guns, and made sure no foreign country armed them to weaken our established sovereignty.

That’s why we don’t have to pepper garrisons all over now – not anymore thanks to other nation’s non-interrference policy.

September 21, 2005 @ 1:26 am | Comment

Hey Kenny, are you saying if China is democratic, they can do what we did to the Native Americans and Hawiians?

I see what your moral equilance really means.

September 21, 2005 @ 1:29 am | Comment

Sigh… no, Bobby… it’s called “reading”, look into it.

I thought we were being fairly clear that we dispute how the U.S. holds on to their conquered peoples in comparison to China. China intimidates, beats and imprisons them for handing out pamphlets or speaking to foreign reporters or uttering a single bit of non-doctrinal history. The U.S. lets them have their own legal jurisdiction, has begun the process of coming to terms with its past and gives them alot more freedom. None of us are saying the U.S. is perfect but I am certainly saying that I dispute the U.S. does “whatever it takes” to hang on to Hawaii. I haven’t seen the U.S. shutdown any of those websites for Hawaiian separatism. As Lirelou pointed out, the U.S. doesn’t have all of their dissenting dispossessed primarily based abroad, mainly because we at least have the decency of letting them disagree with us while staying here.

Oh, and one last thing before bed, Bobby:

What does your charge of hypocrisy have to do with China’s non-interference policy? In fact, that brings up another rebuttal: I’m not aware of any hypocrisy here. I criticize flaws in both China and the U.S. In fact, anyone who says “this is screwed up in China” is not necessarily implying “as opposed to the U.S.”. Your claim of hypocrisy is baseless, and the non-interference policy shows this on an international level.

When people criticize the U.S. human rights record, we have groups within the country that support and refute these charges. The government includes people from both sides of the debate. We allow foreigners to reside in our country to provide aid and openly criticize our system. In other words, we can take it as much as we dish it out.

China uses their principle of “non-interference” as a shield whenever the U.S. or the U.N. or anyone else criticizes them. Any criticism of China from outside is met by “do not interfere in the internal affairs of China!” Now the U.S. may often ignore overseas opinions, but usually we don’t get all defensive and yell “it’s none of your business!”

The fact is that people are going to criticize other peoples country, both on individual and political levels. It ain’t gonna stop. The non-interference policy, when invoked to defend China from international scrutiny, as if China can stop people from saying bad things about it. That’s just childish, and I can’t think of an example of a Western nation saying “you cannot speak about our shortcomings!”

The real hypocrisy is that China claims Tibet and Xinjiang are internal matters… if so, then why do they drive all the peaceful oppositions to other countries? I don’t see any Hawaiians launching independence movements from Tonga… maybe cuz we don’t drive them into exile?

September 21, 2005 @ 1:30 am | Comment

Well, Johnney, our free and independent media certainly won’t be educating you on the fact it is us who are invading people on false WMD pretext, dropping depleted uranium dirty bombs – not them.

Is that the difference you had in mind? It’s ironic you also mentioned Orwell.

September 21, 2005 @ 1:37 am | Comment

Dave, I feel our interference policy is hypocritical. And it’s not even really about the “poor Tibetans” is it? Our aim is based on preceived self-interest in weakening China’s sovereignty. Be honest.

What if China decided to arm the Native Americans in their struggle for statehood, at the detriment of our established sovereignty? Would that be a righteous cause, or sinister plot to weaken our sovereignty?

BTW, Dave, you need a history refersher. Everything you accuse the Chinese of doing, we’ve done them before (and more, that’s why our conquered people are more subdued than theirs now.)

September 21, 2005 @ 1:56 am | Comment

Okay, Dave, here’s one thing I noticed when I read your post.

You used “separatism” to describe Hawiian independence. Why?

September 21, 2005 @ 2:07 am | Comment

bobby fletcher, you’re ceaseless propagandizing and taunting tone are becoming tedious. You’re also an ass.

Well, Johnney, our free and independent media certainly won’t be educating you on the fact it is us who are invading people on false WMD pretext, dropping depleted uranium dirty bombs – not them.

Obviously you aren’t reading the columns by Frank Rich, Maureen Dowd, Paul Krugman, Anne Applebaum, E.J. Dionne and countless others making exactly the charges you bring up. And the Cindy Sheehan story was all about the “phony war” and got huge coverage. I don’t know what your game is, but you remind me of Math, a former commenter who reacted to every comment with the first dumb thing that popped into his head, always insulting the US and making the point (unsucessfully) that it’s as bad as or worse than China. I’m watching your comments carefully.

September 21, 2005 @ 3:20 am | Comment

Why do Chinese people like bobby always point to the Americans’ massacre of the Indians of more than 150 years ago whenever discussing China’s misdeeds? We’ve had this discussion a million times here. All countries and people’s have done awful things throughout history. A free press and pluralism have allowed societies to advance and grow, admit their sins, offer some formor reparation and apologize. That’s maturity, that’s progress. Has China followed this course in regard to its malfeasances, “bobby”?”

September 21, 2005 @ 3:27 am | Comment

Richard, I’m not Chinese. Are you propagandizing this “alien DNA nationalistic response” thing? Come on, it’s beneath you; I’m critiquing my own country.

I’m just calling a spade a spade. Don’t you think it’s a bit dishonest to point out today’s condition without considering the historical events that led to it?

BTW, Richard, it’s not 150 years ago. Genocide of Native American continued until recently; NA population didn’t recover until 1970’s. Some even say our oppression of Native Americans continues today.

September 21, 2005 @ 11:18 am | Comment

Gee Dave, I hope your human rights performance index includes indicators like:

– tonnage of munition (conventional or Depleted Uranium “enhanced”) spent in military conflicts;

– number of civilian “collateral damage” inflicted in military conflicts

– number of countries invaded/occupied

Stuff that would give a more accurate picture of ourselves, you know? Surely you are not proposing this index should be used as tool for finger pointing?

September 21, 2005 @ 11:32 am | Comment

Dave, what do you think would happen if some Hawaiian independence group decided to violate our anit-secession law and arm themselves? Getting said arms from foreign country, who’s agenda is to weaken our established sovereignty?

Would we not deal with it the same way the Chinese would? How would you feel if they fled to China to avoid prosecution, and the Chinese help them to set up government-in-exile?

September 21, 2005 @ 11:44 am | Comment

Do you realise that you are using the same arguments as the ccp? Do you call that rational thought? Is it comfortable to sound like a pre-programmed mainlander Chinese who is simply not allowed to know enough information to come to a conclusion by themselves?

Mainland Chinese are fed pre-ccp propaganda all throught their life but especially when they are young – independent thought just does not come into it. That’s how you sound.

Are you not embarrassed?

September 21, 2005 @ 2:26 pm | Comment

Daniel, I’m not Chinese. Ain’t never been programed by the CCP.

As an American, I came to these conclusion on my own free will, independently. Heck I’m probably as white as you are.

I hope this little fact doesn’t ruin your image of the CCP’s amazing ability to telepathically program the Chinese DNA with nationalism on a global basis. Jiang and Hu must be rogue Falun Gong masters using their power for evil, eh?

September 21, 2005 @ 3:40 pm | Comment

I am just saying, if I heard myself sprouting the same arguments as the communist party of china, then I would quickly check myself because something would worry me. I respect your opinions, we are all equal here, but I am surprised that your opinions almost all parrot the ccp. In china, the ccp makes sure everyone toes the party line, so what’s your excuse? You really believe this stuff you’re saying or are you playing devil’s advocate?

September 21, 2005 @ 5:05 pm | Comment

Bobby, you may be an American on paper, but there is no doubt you are a playing some sort of game. You have commented here as Luke, bobby fletcher and as anonymous. You spout out the usual half-baked talking points used by infamous troll “really” and by Math — the same old bullshit about Hawaii and American Indians and the civil war, always with the intent of showing America is as bad as or worse than China, and never dealing with the fact that milions of Chinese would give all they have to get to the US, while precious few Americans are storming the Chinese embassy to get entrance to live in Chengdu.

I appreciate other opinions. Jing and bingfeng can tell you, I have never deleted their comments when they disagreed with me on China, which they do all the time. But if you play this game and just pop up like a troll to make snide, very superficial “observations” based on CCP talking points, I will block you. I’m trying to be nice; I encourage difference and dialogue. But I won’t tolerate game playing. You’re warned.

September 21, 2005 @ 7:52 pm | Comment

BTW, Dave, you need a history refersher. Everything you accuse the Chinese of doing, we’ve done them before (and more, that’s why our conquered people are more subdued than theirs now.)
Posted by: bobby fletcher at September 21, 2005 01:56 AM

Oh, you’re so right, Bobby! The U.S. did bad things so that makes it a-ok for everybody else! Yaaaaaayyy!!!!!

That’s like saying your neighbor beat his wife 5 years ago so it’s hunky dory for you to beat your wife today and he can’t tell you what learned from spending 36 months in prison and counseling.

You’ve bored everyone half to death by constantly responding with the “I know you are but what am I?” tactic (more precisely, “I know the U.S. is but what is China?”). We were originally talking about China’s foreign policy, not a comparison of the black marks on China’s and the US’s records. You asked your question about hypocrisy and you got plenty of answers, which you decided to respond to with glib dismissals as opposed to trying to understand our points.

In essence, you don’t play well with others. Work on that, will you?

September 21, 2005 @ 8:01 pm | Comment

Well, I don’t know who those other people are, but I’m glad I’m not the only one feeling this way, and I’m sure I’m not the only one reaching this conclusion independently.

Not saying China isn’t perfect, far from it, their problem is probably *as complicated*, if not more, than ours.

A little introspection is all I ask.

September 22, 2005 @ 12:28 am | Comment

Yeah, all you ask for is some introspection. Bullshit. All you want to do is slam America and make the CCP look good, and then ignore it when others point out the specific contradictions and inanities in your arguments.

September 22, 2005 @ 12:39 am | Comment

If there is one place in the world where introspection is almost non-existent, it is China.

September 22, 2005 @ 3:11 am | Comment

Introspection is definitely valuable in some ways, and as far as I can tell most people here agree with your point that the U.S. has actually done things wrong too.

But you seem to be encouraging self-criticism for the sake of self-criticism, Bobby. You’re not suggesting anything constructive out of the counterpoints you’re making. All you say is “yeah, well, we should remember the U.S. can suck too”. Fine! OK! Sometimes we suck! No one is arguing with that! But that wasn’t the topic!

What do you draw, specifically, Bobby, from harping on about the weaknesses of the U.S.? You haven’t had anyone respond to you by saying the U.S. is perfect and how dare you criticize it (a reaction that, if you’ve been there, you know the Mainland is rife with re: the PRC).

And you still haven’t responded to my point, as well as others, about what I draw from the weaknesses of the U.S. For starters, why should anyone else repeat our mistakes and horrors? Why should our screw ups be a carte blanche for others? What, in fact, does one have to do with the other, other than my recognizing my own country has faults for my own edification?

What about my assertion that one lesson to draw from the U.S. past mistakes is how we deal with them in the present? Again, if you have any general experience with the Mainland’s approach to history, then you know it’s completely whitewashed. Ours is only about 75% whitewashed. The U.S. government apologized, in law, in writing, to offer an apology to Native Hawaiians on behalf of the United States for the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii.

The CCP has never, ever issued anything even remotely close to anyone. Not the Vietnamese, the Mongolians, the Tibetans, the Uighurs, and certainly not to their own people. Maybe the U.S. hasn’t exactly made everything better with the Hawaiians, but that’s a damn good step in the right direction. If you want to see what the CCP says about their own history of violence towards minorities… well, you can’t, because they utterly deny it.

September 22, 2005 @ 12:02 pm | Comment

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