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Stop the presses: China plays all sides

"China respects the choice of the Libyan people and hopes that the situation there will quickly return to stability and that people's lives can return to normal," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said.

Really? Opportunist China sees the imminent fall of Tripoli and switches sides, would be closer to the truth. China pants for its share of the Libyan oil. China is the observer on the fence in the world's conflicts, a bosom buddy of most dictators, an unprincipled and rapacious nation that cares two hoots about freedom of choice, assembly or speech for its own people.

How about "China respects the choice of the Tibetan people or that of the Uyghur or Kazakh or Kyrgyz people of Xinjiang who want liberation from oppression Chinese style, or that of the people of Sudan, where China has been holding despot Omar al-Bashar in a tight embrace despite his horrendous human rights violations?" How about, "China will stop trading with guys of the ilk of Mugabe of Zimbabwe, men who will let China plunder the resources of their people in exchange for palaces built, arms delivered, support voiced or condemnation withheld in the UN Security Council by Chinese representatives?"

How about, "China respects the protests of the American people who are disgusted with China's brazen industrial espionage and state sponsored cyber bullying, its thievery or attempted thievery of America's military and technological secrets, especially the suspected latest one where sycophant Pakistan allowed copycat Chinese scientists to go snooping around the burned remains of the Chinook helicopter used to get Osama bin Laden?" How about, "China will rein in its currency and market manipulations, its protectionism and its unfair international trade practices, its revanchist regional romps and its obsessive anxiety about America's debt not losing value for China?"

The world is weary of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's platitudes. If Ma Zhaoxu of the Chinese Foreign Ministry had said, "China respects the choice of the Libyan people until the next Libyan dictator rolls around, then China will respect the choices of the dictator," that would have hewed closer to the truth. But China wouldn't recognize truth or justice if it stumbled on either.

Usha Nellore, Bel Air

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