A Vast Conspiracy to Defame China + Its Olympics?

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 3/13/2008 06:49:00 PM
I like fanciful stories myself, but they are usually accompanied by the names of "JRR Tolkien," "Stephen King" or someone like those guys. However, given the rising amount of criticism that China is attracting over the so-called "Genocide Olympics" according to Mia Farrow, Spielberg resigning his post as artistic director of Beijing 2008, and George Clooney pressuring Omega/Swatch over China's human rights record, Chinese officials are now touting a vast China bashing conspiracy.

Also, it's an annual ritual, this: the US State Department decries China's human rights record, then China cites Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, etc. All's fair in love and war. From Reuters:

China said the United States is unfit to present itself as a "defender of human rights" and a senior official accused Western critics of conspiring to use the Beijing Olympic Games to subvert Communist Party rule.

The U.S. State Department's latest report on human rights across the globe, issued this week, did not name China among the world's very worst offenders but said its record remained "poor".

But with Beijing due to host the Olympic Games starting August 8, focusing intense international attention on China's often harsh restrictions on dissidents, religious groups and disgruntled citizens, officials hit back on Thursday with sarcasm and their own accusations.

"We humbly suggest that the U.S. desist from posing as a 'defender of human rights' and pay more attention to the United States' own human rights record," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement issued by the official Xinhua news agency.

Tough sparring between Washington and Beijing over human rights have long been a part of the diplomatic landscape, but China's latest angry words suggest deepening official impatience with international protests and criticisms focused on the Games. In the ruling Communist Party's newspaper, the former head of the State Council Information Office -- the public relations arm of the central government -- said he smelt conspiracy.

"Some anti-China forces in the West see the Beijing Olympic Games as a great opportunity to force China into a political transformation, and blackening the Olympics and China has become their habitual method," Zhao Qizheng, now vice chairman of a foreign policy advisory committee, wrote in the overseas edition of the People's Daily.

China's controls on religion and news reporting, its problems with food safety and role in Sudan's Darfur region "have been vastly exaggerated by the foreign media", Zhao wrote in the front-page commentary.

Chinese officials had been too passive in the face of criticism, leaving the country's critics to dominate news coverage, he said, urging a public diplomacy offensive. On Thursday, China also issued its own assessment of human rights in the United States, which it said "shows the United States itself has grave violations of human rights". Spokesman Qin said his government issued the report to "teach the United States an extra lesson".

The report issued by China's State Council Information Office focused on U.S. poverty and racial divisions and called the Washington-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 the "biggest human rights tragedy" and said 660,000 people have died there as a result, nearly all of them civilians.

"This will allow all to ask just what qualifications the United States has to point fingers at other countries," Qin said of the Chinese report, which among sources cites Human Rights Watch, a New York-based organization often critical of Chinese policy. The widely cited observer group Iraq Body Count puts the civilian death toll at 89,300 since 2003 in its latest report.