China so far has offered $100,000 in post-typhoon aid for the Philippines (plus another $100,000 through China’s Red Cross), far less than the $20 million from the US, $10 million from Japan and Australia each with those countries also sending rescue crews and air support. Even global bank HSBC is offering $1 million.
China’s stinginess is of course related to the ongoing dispute with the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal, which Manila has sent on to a UN maritime tribunal.
Reuters points out that lots of popular opinion in China is against offering aid:
Comments on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, overwhelmingly opposed China giving aid to the Philippines. “For God’s sake, give them nothing,” wrote one user. “We’ve given them enough in the past.”
Beijing’s behavior hasn’t gone unnoticed by the international community. And its fairly heartless response (clashing with notions of China the powerful and prosperous) puts China’s schoolyard pettiness on display. The undiplomatic attitude is not limited to China’s neighbors, either.
China is still upset at Norway over the Nobel Prize being awarded to Liu Xiaobo. Britain has only recently exited the Chinese doghouse, too, after PM David Cameron dared meet with the Dalai Lama.
It’s for this reason the Daily Telegraph’s Iain Martin opines:
This latest ethical and practical failure of leadership by China is another illustration of the way in which the country is struggling with its responsibilities as a growing global power. We must hope the situation improves as its economic power grows, and it might. Perhaps the Chinese elite will come to wear its power lightly and modestly; or perhaps not. In the interim, the governments of Western countries should avoid getting too starry eyed about China. Although the UK government should be trying to improve trade with the country, ministers should not be demeaning themselves, behaving like travelling salesmen and pushing deals at any cost. A little scepticism and realism about the limits of China’s modern miracle wouldn’t go amiss.
Australia’s opposition leader (running for prime minister) has gotten flack for describing the Syrian war as baddies vs baddies and being circumspect about any role for Australia. Yet, it’s a reflection of the new realty the west faces, argues Hugh White. Underpinning this realization is the economic reality, of a more powerful set of BRICs nations – that is Brazil, Russia, India, China. If the US and UK saw the Syrian conflict against the backdrop of weak global competitors, calls for action would be more strident. Instead, it is the recognition that the conflict is baddies vs baddies. And two of the biggest countries on the UN Security Council (China, more powerful, Russia, clinging to power) guaranteed to stand up for the interests of Bashar Assad. But as the leaders of China and Russia would certainly agree, sometimes you just have to murder your citizens by the thousands (or going back to the 20th century, tens of millions) just to stay in control. Worth noting also that Germany, which has a larger stake in a secure Syria than the US, has vowed not to get involved. Anyway, this is the new reality, US and UK. Draw up the moat bridges. There are lots of baddies out there. And the US, would be wise to stay out of Syria, as it was wise to stay out of Spain in 1936.
If it’s true the Chinese are giving the British the cold shoulder over Cameron’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, it is an example of coercion. When you hear talk of a rules-based order, it’s to prevent a world where this kind of thing is possible.
Says the Telegraph:
China wants Mr Cameron to apologise for hosting Tibet’s spiritual leader, who disputes Beijing’s territorial claims on the region. The Government insists there is nothing to apologise for.
There are now fears that the frosty diplomatic relations could put at risk Chinese investment in Britain, which was worth £8billion last year.
Chinese sources have made a veiled threat that for investment in the UK “there needs to be a strong relationship”.
From the NYTimes…
The US is explicitly blaming the Chinese military for massive cyber-espionage.
The (US) report, released Monday, described China’s primary goal as stealing industrial technology, but said that many intrusions also seemed aimed at obtaining insights into American policymakers’ thinking. It warned that the same information-gathering could easily be used for “building a picture of U.S. network defense networks, logistics, and related military capabilities that could be exploited during a crisis.”
But this report suggests “cyberweapons have become integral to Chinese military strategy.”
Obviously, the US is reaching for what’s handy on the China cyber espionage issue. China is a huge country with a lot of weight to throw around. And China, modernising in the age of the internet, is using all available tools with little regard for international legal and diplomatic standards.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, the UK is finding out what that can mean.