from Peking Duck
Original Article at Huffington Post
This journalist clearly believes they do not.
Let’s stop jacking the Chinese around. We do not care a whit now — nor have we ever cared — about their human rights or any other aspect of their lives as long as they satiate our unbridled appetites. To pretend otherwise is to deny centuries of exploitative history in which the West drugged the Middle Kingdom and plundered it for its resources and cheap labor while obliterating any sign of popular resistance to our imperial sway.
From the Opium Wars to the contemplation of using nuclear weapons to bomb China back to the Stone Age because of our differences with it over Korea and Vietnam, the response of the West has been one of brute intimidation. Never have we been willing to acknowledge that China, for all of its immense contradictions, upheavals, sufferings and errant ways, represents the most complex and impressive example of national history.
Instead we intrude upon China in fitful moments of pique or treat it as a plaything. Who owns China? That was the question that marked the first period of U.S. involvement, when we joined other Western imperialists in carving up China into economic zones. And then came the bitter argument in the U.S. in the late 1940s and the ’50s about “Who lost China?” Now Americans find themselves preoccupied with how best to exploit China’s amazing economic prowess while feigning interest in the well-being of its people.
My problem with the article is the use of the word “We,” as if this lack of interest in human rights in China is monolithic and universal. Is it not possible that many of us care about human rights violations in China? Who is the “We” that doesn’t “care a whit” about the subject? Who are these “Americans” who feel this way? Are they to a large degree strawmen?
I would probably agree that most of the government and the oligarchy of multinational companies don’t care much if at all. But there are many sincere people in the West who do truly care. They are probably the same people who care about human rights in other countries, the kind of people who were appalled at the treatment by the US military of prisoners in Abu Ghraib and who spoke out against atrocities committed in the name of the “war on terror.” Most Western journalists I know in China care deeply about the plight of dissidents in China. I know I do, just as I care about the repression of women in Saudi Arabia, or the arrest and torture and murder of innocents in Syria.
Read more at Peking Duck