Why condemn Mugabe but hail Hu Jintao?

Robert Mugabe is condemned for his disregard for human rights, and his disdain for democratic processes. Everybody, except Mugabe’s friends, agrees that what Mugabe is doing should be condemned, and he has been condemned numerous times by world leaders.

But we have a man called Hu Jintao who authorises more the same despicable actions as Mugabe does. Yet he’s an honourable man, whom world leaders would do anything to be on his good books. While I disagree with Barack Obama on many issues, I was slightly glad he recognised China’s suppression of certain human rights like free access and distribution of information. But given the fact that China has been messing with Google and other information providers, you have to wonder if President Obama’s concern was genuine or purely based on economics. Was he really trying to put pressure on China to relax their inhumane crackdowns, or was he helping out US companies?

I’m surprised that President Obama and no other president in the world have talked against China’s crackdown on Christians. The Bureau of Religious and Ethnic Affairs alongside the Public Security Bureau (PSB) in China has been persecuting and jailing Christians in China for decades, yet none of the big political heads of the world has noticed. If President Obama was really concerned about human rights violations happening in China, then he could have noticed that there are hundreds of Christians in jail across China for their religious affiliation and he could have spoken against it on his latest visit to China since he’s also Christian.

Every week there are Christians who face persecution in China, here are some of the cases:

  • Eight years ago, China’s Ministry of Justice named Ago Phishing, a brilliant, mostly self-educated man, one of the country’s top ten lawyers. In 2008, Ago received a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize for his human-rights advocacy work. Then, less than a year later, Ago disappeared when security police spirited him away.


  • ·         On June 10, a Chinese court sentenced Christian bookstore owner, 38 year-old, Shi Weihan, to three years in prison for “illegal business operations,” and fined him US$21,975 , according to China Aid Association. Shi Weihan operated a legal bookstore and only sold books with the government’s approval. His Holy Spirit Trading Company printed Bibles and Christian literature and distributed then freely to local house churches. Weihan was arrested in November 2007 for printing and distributing Bibles and other Christian literature. He was released in January 2008 due to insufficient evidence, but was arrested again in March and held indefinitely. China Aid reported his sentence will run from November 2007 to November 2010. Believers hope that Weihan will be allowed to appeal his sentence because of medical reasons. While in prison his diabetic condition has worsened.
  • ·         On July 23, Public Security Bureau (PSB) and Religious Affairs Bureau (RAF) officials raided a Christian youth camp in Nanyang city, Henan province. PSB and RAF officers took away all 20 students attending the camp for further investigation . The students, each under 18 years old, were released to their families that afternoon. Two instructors, 40 year-old Cheng Ping, and 30 year-old Miao Miao, were arrested and sent to the Yongan Lu Detention Center in Nanyang city. They were reportedly sentenced to administrative detention.
  • ·         On Oct. 20, Chen Le, a high school student, was expelled from Xinjiang High School for refusing to denounce his faith, according to China Aid Association. The High School Division of the Huashan Middle School expelled Chen after he signed a document confirming he was a Christian. On Oct. 28, the Party Secretary of the High School Division and several other party members and instructors from the Huashan Middle School visited Chen Le at his home and politely invited him to return to his studies. The Party Secretary was reportedly deeply concerned by international pressure caused by the expulsion.


Let’s face it; every president in the world is fully aware of China’s human rights violations. Even though they speak out against Robert Mugabe, they can’t be expected to speak out against Hu Jintao. Unlike Robert Mugabe who is governing a collapsed economy with cash shortages, China is the super-economic hub of the world. In Sep 2009, China held just under $800b in US Treasury securities, so do you expect a US president to speak out against his biggest creditor? (for full figures: http://www.treas.gov/tic/mfh.txt). I know what anybody would do if their vulnerable debtor is talking rubbish against them – they’ll remind the debtor of the debt and that would be enough to keep him quite for a foreseeable future. So no I don’t expect the US president to call China to order on human right violations, which is why I’m not surprised He hasn’t, yet. (This is not forgetting that the US president did ask China to relax their information laws).

Can my country, South Africa, speak out against China’s human rights violations? Considering we don’t even speak out against Robert Mugabe, when we have nothing to lose, then we can be expected to worship China, which is what the ANC government does. The fact that ANC has some very good relations with Chinese Communist Party, makes it clear that the South African will always have a blind eye when it comes to China. But then again politics have nothing to do with it; it’s the economics that will make it difficult for a country like South Africa to say anything against China. One bad word against China will cripple South African mining companies like Anglo Plats, Impala, Kumba Iron Ore, etc. And considering some of the shareholders of this companies are ANC members, then you can be sure China will continue to be treated like kings in this part of Africa.

Considering countries like India, Russia, Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries have their own human right violations to deal with, they can be expected to sympathise with China. Can Australia speak out against China’s human rights violations, considering their own Rio Tinto executives have been arrested in China over unprecedented spying charges? Unlikely, as China has leapfrogged Japan as Australia’s biggest trading partner.

If no country can speak out against the Chinese government, then who would? Who would save us from China and their continued trampling of human rights? Thankfully there’s a God who ‘changes times and seasons and sets up presidents and deposes them’. This same God who deposed Roman Empire with all its persecutions, will one day depose political leaders in China who stands for evil.


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