Why China is standing by its basket-case allies

Richard Spencer – The Telegraph

Copyright The Telegraph
It was time to admit, a prominent Chinese academic said recently, that Beijing’s ambitions for the Olympics had changed.
The authorities no longer expected them to be the Best Games Ever, he said: it would be enough if they just passed without trouble.
This seemed a sad conclusion to draw. We may expect other Olympics to be more about making hoopla than history, but surely with the glamorous stadiums, the new subways and skyscrapers, all that fawning over China’s rise, this was going to be something special?
It seems it is not to be. Fun has been sacrificed to security. It may have been predictable that Russian prostitutes would be expelled along with free Tibet activists, but it seems absurd that the very people we thought China was trying to impress – tourists, sports fans and businessmen – are finding it hard to get visas.
Now that food lorries are being turned back from the city boundaries for having the wrong licence plates, we can be sure that making life difficult for everyone is considered a small price to pay to prevent the merest glimpse of a Tibetan flag.
With this in mind, we should not be surprised at the vastly more important news that China opposes attempts to bring Sudan’s President Bashir to justice over his government’s crimes in Darfur; nor that its United Nations ambassador is happy to block, block and block again any motion that might hold Robert Mugabe to account for Zimbabwe’s election fiasco.
The Communist Party seems to be doing the least it can to mollify western public opinion precisely when it is supposed to be most concerned with how the world sees it.
But in fact, such policy decisions are all part of the same ruggedly consistent, if misunderstood, thinking on the part of those in Beijing’s halls of power.
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