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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    China can’t take all the blame

    The story: On Thursday, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu announced that a controversial shipment of arms to Zimbabwe would be recalled.

    The response: The decision to recall the An Yue Jiang shipment of arms to Zimbabwe comes after days of protesting by unionists and church leaders at South African docks. Critics assert that arms will give Mugabe and his thuggish regime ammunition to violently suppress opposition amidst the political turmoil that followed the March 29 elections. The furor over the arms shipment, however, reveals a tendency in Western media to scapegoat China for any and every global quagmire.

    Many newspapers ran headlines that insinuated a subversive Chinese motive. The Week ( “”China tries to arm Zimbabwe””), The Scotsman (“”Chinese ship flees with arms for Mugabe””) and an editorial in The Washington Post (“”Action on Zimbabwe – Africans reject a Chinese arms shipment for Robert Mugabe””), for example, all focused on the African protests as causing the change rather than a Chinese decision to recall the arms. While the distinction is subtle, Western newspapers have frequently, of late, stooped to pinning the blame on China for many global problems (see Mick Hume’s article in the London Times).

    The lead-tainted toy controversy last semester revealed the deep-seated racial prejudice many Americans hold against our great rival in the East. This growing anxiety, frustration and outright imperial racism has evinced itself in debates over climate change, Darfur, human rights and nuclear control. When fears of the recent hunger crisis escalated last week, dozens of papers cited growing demand from China as the principle cause of the shortage. While China’s growing appetite is a factor in food shortages, it is by no means the only culprit. China is changing and so is the world, but that is no reason to resort to mud-slinging and hate-mongering. We are confronting global problems in which we are all complicit agents. Taking a strong but diplomatic stance toward Chinese foreign policy will be integral to maintaining a cooperative peace in the future. Simply blaming China for environmental ills or armed regimes will not make the problems go away.

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