BUSH IN CHINAI have yet to see here a rally, I mean REAL rally like those, say, targeting America and Israel -- not pathetic gatherings of Tibet-activists or members of Falun Gong -- against China's (as DER SPIEGEL so coyly puts it) "repressive policies". All I see is that German companies had no human-rights-qualms about investing more than 8 billion Euro in China, a country former chancellor Schröder used to visit once every year since he took office.
'Hey Pot, It's Kettle'
By Andreas Lorenz in Beijing
Just days before his visit to China this weekend, US President George W. Bush has called on Beijing to pursue democratic reforms and open up the country. There's just one problem: throughout Asia, Bush has a massive credibility gap when it comes to human rights and freedom.
South Korean protestors take part in an anti-US demonstration during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on Nov. 17, 2005. US President George Bush will continue onward to China.
However, ahead of his three-day state visit, the current US president made a point of calling on the Beijing leadership to open up the country by giving Chinese greater political and religious freedom.
"The people of China want more freedom to express themselves, to worship without state control, to print Bibles and other sacred texts without fear of punishment," said Bush in a speech in Kyoto, Japan on Wednesday. He has since moved on to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Busan, South Korea.
But the man known only as "little Bush" in China has a problem. He has very little credibility in Asia on issues such as human rights. Torture scandals in Iraq and elsewhere involving the US military, coupled with what is seen as blatant disregard by the Bush administration for the Geneva Conventions , are making it very difficult for Washington to lecture Beijing or backward countries like Myanmar.
In China, even critics of Beijing's repressive policies find Bush's thoroughly legitimate admonishment tiresome. "Bush may be right about a few things, but we want to solve our problems ourselves," one Chinese economist in Beijing told SPIEGEL.
Of course, the vast majority of Chinese weren't even aware of Bush's call for greater freedom. The government mentioned his speech in Japan in official state media, but left out the more controversial parts. One popular Beijing daily newspaper devoted an entire page to his visit to Kyoto, however, there was nothing about Bush mentioning Taiwan as a democratic and prosperous example for China.
Instead, Chinese people, who don't have access to foreign media via the Internet, had to guess that Bush had said something from the fact that China's foreign minister, Li Zhaoxing, responded the next day with Beijing's official line: "Taiwan is an inseparable part of China."
And I really LOVE the pic of the anti-Bush rally in South Korea! Without all the "Little Bushs" in the past, there is a fair chance that all those now uninhibitedly mouthing dumb broads had been forcedly aborted long ago or were at least confined to some useful sort of work instead of rallying.