In 1909, at the beginning of what was to be defined as “the short century”, the Italian Futurists said “We stand on the far promontory of centuries!” Today simultaneity, another futuristic concept, has reached around the world and, in particular, all people in every social class. What is simultaneous influences all our myths, behaviors and values – it is not just a mere economic or financial transaction. In fact, the World Wide Web connects, almost instantly, huge masses of poor and rich people, as well as elites.
Hence, in such a context, which is completely new to the psychological, cultural and anthropological experience of large masses of people, it is perhaps useful to rethink the cultural and religious distinctive factors of the world we have known and of the world we will contribute to build.
It is a fact that Europe is no longer at the center of global cultural routes. Its underlying idea – its foundation myth – has now become the ”idea of technology”, the continuous and repetitive transformation of the universe into a civilization of téchne in which, according to the German philosopher Heidegger, man is ever more surrounded by powers he created that do not follow his will but, on the contrary, adapt man to the will of technology.
Hence technology as Goethe’s Faust, almost a daemon freed from the matter that, although contributing to better learn how and what nature is, does not change or elevate the nature of man, who always remains what the Enlightenment doctors defined homme plante and homme machine. It is the universe of the ordinary man, without roots, who sets himself up as center of the universe with his “material needs”.
The plant-man, the machine-man and finally the mass-man, the One Self becoming the Many Selves, the current forms of oligarchic democracy we know all too well, before having experienced the Self of the Many totalitarianisms.
Life not as destiny, but the human biological survival – strengthened, extended and made dynamic – as a demonstration of the téchne autonomous power.
At geopolitical level, the issue radically changed with the translatio imperii occurred at the end of World War II, when Great Britain assigned its British Empire to the United States with a view to repaying the high debts incurred due to the very long conflict.
Nevertheless, apart from their poor neo-positivistic cultural fabric, the United States had no conceptual framework to manage and provide meaning and symbols to the great economic growth which took place in the “Thirty Glorious Years” (1943-1973), dominated by a system of fixed exchange rates between the major world (Western) currencies.
Hence the sequence of the Cold War culture, focusing on the “free world” myth as against the Soviet and Communist authoritarianism, a surely tough regime which, however, did not qualify itself only with its anti-democratic credentials or with the rejection of “free trade”, at least on the internal market.
Communism was a materialistic religion of the future, a futurism in which the “Marxist science” (the last discovery of the scientist myth of capital) allowed the leap forward to the final stage of development of the bourgeois, the full realization of his material needs.
A global division between East and West in which both sides underlined productivity, technology, the myth of man devoted to the accumulation of ever more complex material goods suitable for leading an easy, cheerful and free life – free from the past and from its heavy legacy of wisdom and knowledge, which could not be wiped out.
Later, after the complex political and cultural evolution of the Soviet (and Chinese) world, the materialistic West has acquired some of the traits that the British economist and philosopher, John Stuart Mill, precisely defined as “Chinese” or hyper-massified, while the East has regained not only its geoeconomic dominance, but also the idea of its own past and identity – the identity which is lost when you are conquered, as is the case with Europe, after having spread your own cultural pattern everywhere.
Also Nietzsche, in his “Posthumous Fragments” of 1887, spoke about the future Spirit as the “soothing balm” which would be poured onto the “Chinese guys” – all alike – of the great mass production.
Today, in terms of knowledge and wisdom (and not of trivial “culture”), the development of cultural and religious balances is crucial also in relation to material values.
According to the CCP, Confucius – really hated by Mao Zedong (who was a Taoist) – was one of the “four old wise men” and, according to the Red Guards loyal to the Great Helmsman, he was also the ideologue of feudalism.
Today, however, Confucius is the philosophical model of China’s “harmonious society” and of its social stability, much loved by the Party, while many contemporary Chinese philosophers readapt Confucianism, which also René Guénon considered to be “Tao’s esotericism”, a universal philosophy which also applied to non-Chinese people.
Hence, while Europe’s Idea is still linked to the repetition of the Enlightenment fake miracle, a theory of the “liberation” from traditions, wisdom and separation between the Idea and téchne – as we can see in the tragic responses provided to the jihad – Asia and China, in particular, are retracing not only the steps of technology, but also the steps of their tradition.
It is precisely that tradition that Europe wants to wipe out, still considering itself as the place of Everything, of the Material Everything while, in the whole Eurasian context and in many Mediterranean areas, there is the evident revival of philosophies and ancient ways of life, as well as the simulacra of the Gods that the Western materialistic myth had dismissed as “false and deceitful”.
While capitalism is changing as perhaps never in the past, thus becoming a world mass phenomenon, we witness the end of the materialistic, positivistic, atheistic and anti-traditional ideology which largely generated it.
It is a paradox.
Currently – and this can also be seen in the organization of the new companies – capitalism is a symbol, a cultural model and a social network, as well as the object and the subject of the local Tradition.
Many contemporary anthropologists remind us of the fact that in the Silk Road there is the return of the pre- and supra-Islamic identities which characterized the shamanic traditions in the same way as, in Ataturk’s old Turkey, the Sunni Islam overlapped with the syncretic and occult philosophy of the various Sufi brotherhoods in which the Quran is “infinite” and it is extended with the link between Tradition and personal mystical illumination.
Also the West had its mystical phase in the 1970s and 1980s, but it was a wisdom of the Heart which aimed at physical wellbeing, as usual.
And to think that the great industrial capitalism was born precisely from the esotericism and occultism of the Frankist Jews, namely passionate Eastern and Western theosophists who founded, for example, the Commercial Bank, or from real magicians such as Walther Rathenau.
It is worth recalling that both in the USSR and in the United States perestroika and glasnost were publicized and developed by a branch of the International Theosophical Society.
The remaining Western Tradition is occult and syncretistic and it covers itself with the poor mantle of vulgar materialism, while the Eastern one is equally divided between the Initiates and the Laymen but, still today, it connects the Unspeakable and the common speech and storytelling with little threads.
“You Westerners would dope yourselves also with mineral water”, as a very poor Imam said to an Italian soldier on a military mission there.
Indeed the West is the place where practice and matter imitate the Spirit.
The jihad, however, is the breaking point not only at military and political level, but also at cultural one.
Well before 2014, the Islamic State’s ideology was born in the 1970s, with the so-called Sawha movement, namely the merger of Salafism, namely the myth of Islam’s origins, with the typical ideas of revolutionary Islamism, often secularized by Western (and materialistic) ideologies.
This leads to takfirism, namely the possibility of excommunicating other Muslims without Imamate’s mediation.
Therefore it is a complex hybridization between various Islamic ideologies and traditions: Wahhabism, born also from a literalist radicalization of the Hanbali legal and interpretative tradition and from the Muslim Brotherhood.
At social and economic level, the massification of Islamic populations – subjected to a rapid ideology of modernization after the end of the protectionist and populist regimes of the 1970s and 1980s – ended the phase of the authoritarian Welfare State.
The Westernist liberalizations also generated huge masses of old and new poor, while the liberalization of trade and local raw materials led to a future shock which has not yet developed all its effects in the Arab world.
The Italian economist and sociologist, Vilfredo Pareto, used to say that “Socialism is a form of protectionism”, but without protecting their raw materials – with the aggravating circumstance of the Welfare forced liberalizations, the Third World countries cannot move forward.
Either they wage war against the West, with the jihad, or they self-destroy in a new non-national Islamic indistinct mass, without traditions other than those of some phony preachers.
Hence the void of secular and traditional nationalism, which no longer pays salaries, has turned into the full of jihad, of the violent and criminal Islam “international” against those who, in its opinion, caused the crisis, namely the Westerners.
At the cultural and geo-religious level, the Silk Road is turning into a ring of regional Islams where the hybridization between the Quran and the local traditions is often encouraged and, in any case, not prohibited by the authority.
In China, Confucianism filled the ideological void caused by the crisis of Marxism-Leninism as propaganda, immediately before globalization while, luckily, the State accounting rules continue to be the traditional ones. In Russia, the crisis of Marxism – a crisis of its materialism rather than of its predictive ability – has brought again to light what had never disappeared.
I am referring to the esotericism of the Third Rome, of Eurasia expanding the Tradition of its Mediterranean and Atlantic peninsula to the Center of the World, the Heartland where, in the early twentieth century, the theosophists and their evil offspring, namely the Nazis, as well as the Initiates of the international Freemasonry, went in search of Occult Wisdom.
The geo-religious myth is always at the origin of strategic choices, not the other way round: today’s Russia embodies the hopes for world stabilization and growth through the domination of the Middle Kingdom, along with China, while Islam – regardless of its being “sword jihad”, “permanent jihad” or “cultural jihad” – is taking the place of the great global revolutionary obsessions which have characterized the last two centuries.
The Sunni jihad is targeted against us Westerners, against the Islamic governments cooperating with us and against the Shiites.
The Shiite insurgency, often with interesting cultural and wisdom novelties emerging in the new centers of the uprising, is an attempt to conquer the Islamic region between Central Asia, the Indian Ocean and the Middle East.
A hybridization eastward, whereas previously the Shia Tradition had mixed with the Western wisdom Traditions, from early Christianity to neo-Platonism even up to the remaining Greek mysteries. It is the other face of the global Sunni insurgency – either jihadist or not – which wants to gather all the new “wretched of the earth” and convert them to Qaran, with a view to employing them in the struggle against the First World, namely the West, and then against the new first World, namely growing Central Asia, which is undergoing a cultural and religious evolution.
The Shia tradition may be different.
Judaism, in its new globalist evolution – focused on Israel and its new internal cultural and religious debate – will bring both the culture and tradition of the New Asia to the West, which is not only téchne, and then transform the Islamist universe, by dividing it in two: a culture of dialogue and wisdom compared to the Tradition of the Books and the subsequent fight against an ever less mass jihad.
With Pope Francis, the first Bishop of Rome belonging to the Society of Jesus, Catholicism will organize its Tradition around the non-Asian peoples marginalized by globalization.
However, considering that the Tradition is invisible to those who should break with it, it will remain the axis of most cultural and even economic evolution of our world.
Hollywood with Chinese Characteristics
Authors: Dr. Abhishek Srivastava and Ms. Shreyasi*
Cinemas are an effective tool to project soft power and influence communities at large. A number of Hollywood production-finance firms in the last decade have seen a major rise in Chinese investments. Some of the biggest Hollywood box office hits are backed by Yuan. To maximize profit off of the Chinese domestic movie consumption market, these movies either have elements of Chinese culture or they self-censor to appease the Chinese censorship authorities. A dominant explanation to this phenomenon is that China pursues a significant influence in the American culture by infiltrating Hollywood. Hollywood itself has, through its movies, exported American values since its inception. Any impact on this industry will consequently reflect on its movie consumers eventually.
China wears the global box office crown worth $7.3 billion and reigns as the biggest movie consumer market in the world. It bounced back from the pandemic slump of 2020 and turned twice the amount of revenue only 26% less than pre-pandemic numbers. During the pandemic movie theatres all over the world were shut down, literally zeroing down the movie theatre business. China due to its regime style, somehow managed to open up theatres to some extent and garner revenues.
China opened its domestic movie market for outside films only in the 1990’s. The ever-growing domestic movie market China has made it a golden spot for foreign language films to get screen time and thereby huge returns. More and more Hollywood movies and especially blockbuster category movies are lining up to get a spot since Chinese authorities allow only 34 films per year quota to foreign language movies. This strategy along with the promise of money has resulted in Hollywood movies altering their plot, stories, scenes etc., to suite the regulations of the Chinese censorship authority. The censorship authority’s aim is to induct Chinese values and promote their ideas through the Hollywood movies. Last 10 years has culminated into an intersection of free market and Chinese censorship. This is an unprecedented path whose outcome is very unpredictable.
Another strategy is the use of China’s economic power to get into the American movie business and then trying to induct a cultural change. Los Angeles has a big presence of Chinese firms and conglomerates who have major or minor shares in big production houses or have co- financed individual movie projects. It is not only limited to production companies but theatre chains, distributing retails and public relations management companies are also being brought by Chinese firms.
Chinese Soft power and public diplomacy through movies
Joseph Nye coined the term soft power and further broadened the area of study to public diplomacy. Much of what he has written on soft power, tools used by the United States to exercise soft power is relevant even today. According to Nye, Hollywood in itself is the biggest soft power influencer of the United States. The power Hollywood movies have had on different countries through generations is incomparable.
According to Stanley Rosen, a professor of political science in University of South California and a specialist on politics in the People’s Republic of China, even after spending $10 billion year in exercising soft power, China has not been able to compete with the U.S. Chinese soft power is much more involved in dealing with the domestic crowd. Much of the soft power is controlled by the state. This does not allow a natural spurt in soft power. Successful American soft power on the other hand has largely grown away from the clutches of the government. And this is what Chinese authorities are trying to bank on.
China in Hollywood
As explained before, the Chinese production house and firms exert control by buying up screen spaces. But movies themselves self-censor to appease the censorship board of China. The aim is to make it to the list of 34 movies which is allowed screen time in the domestic movie landscape. Chinese real-estate and entertainment conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group Co. has signed a deal for a majority stake in Legendary Entertainment that would value the U.S. film and television company at nearly $4 billion. Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings bought 10% of Skydance Media, the Hollywood company behind movie Terminator. The valuation of the deal of the production company is at approximately $1.5 billion. As part of the arrangement, Tencent and Skydance will co-finance movies, TV shows and video game projects too.
Apart from the Chinese values, an instance which shows the Chinese government’s good governance, foresight, China’s technology boom, good standard of living are expected to be shown in the movie by the producers themselves. The production houses of these movies often have Chinese co-financiers who work to make the Chinese authority happy. Any image which shows the country in a bad light is frowned upon. In the disaster movie, 2012, humanity is saved because the Chinese government had the foresight to build the life-saving arcs. In Gravity, Sandra Bullock survives by getting herself to the Chinese Space Station which was shown to be the most advanced one.
The 2006 released book titled World War Z, a zombie apocalyptic horror novel written by American author Max Brooks was adapted in a 2013 movie of the same name by the Paramount pictures production. The original plot of the book is about a global pandemic in which people infected with the virus turns into a zombie. The virus origins or the patient zero as mentioned in the book is found in China but the movie adaptation refers to the source of the virus to be in Taiwan. This allowed the release of the movie in Chinese theatres.
In 2014, hacked Sony e-mails revealed that the original script of the movie PIXELS, which was released in 2015, called for blowing up of the Great Wall of China but finally in the movie, Taj Mahal of Agra is seen being blown up. This change was done with the hope that the movie could gain access to the Chinese theatre market. Blowing up of a national heritage site was not something the audience or the national film agencies of China would have appreciated. This incident is a classic example of American movie self- censoring themselves to gain access to a huge market, thereby ensuring a decent profit margin.
Understanding how important movies are in constructing imagery, the Chinese authorities make sure the country is represented in the fairest and best way possible. This includes hand picking visuals of the country in movies, curating dialogues, altering plots, storylines and characters, changing the way the people are represented in the movies. The censorship is so strong and rigid that certain words and cases are not allowed in the movies. Issues of homosexuality, democratic values and free spirit, rejection of authority, liberty and equal rights are certain areas which are a significant part of the Western cultural discourse. Nuances regarding these issues are often put up in public discourse through movies. But when such movies are presented to the Chinese censorship for approval, scenes representing these issues are straight away omitted. This is an attempt by the authority to isolate the local population from western cultural values. A prime example is the 2018 hit, Oscar awarded movie The Bohemian Rhapsody. The movie represented the life and times of Freddie Mercury, lead singer of the British music band The Queen and a well-known member of the LGBT community who died of AIDS. The movie’s cut which was shown in Chinese theatres lacked certain sections of the cinema which talked about the lead singer’s life as a homo sexual. This takes us again to Stanley Rosen’s argument that a bigger chunk of Chinese soft power strategy is within its border for its own public. The country keeps her media in check by regulating movies, especially foreign ones.
The 1997 movie, Seven years in Tibet starring Brad Pitt, depicts China’s controversial takeover of Tibet and the harsh Chinese rule in the country. Director Jean-Jacques Annaud and stars Brad Pitt and David Thewlis were allegedly banned from even entering China.
In the May month of 2021, actor John Cena apologised publicly on Chinese social media platform for referring Taiwan as a country. The production house of the movie, Universal pictures has a long-term co-financing deal with a Chinese entertainment company called the Perfect World Pictures. The movie is backed by Chinese money which made it mandatory for the actor to publicly apologise.
The sensitivity regarding Taiwan is so much that even public acknowledgement of the island nation as a country sparks outrage and objection by China. Tibet, Taiwan, Tiannamen square, Uighur province etc. are certain sensitive issues for the Chinese. The authority does not want any incident, in real life or in movies, to happen that could legitimise their existence, both amongst the domestic and the international audience.
China’s sensitivity to Tibet could be seen in the 2016 hit movie Doctor Strange, part of the popular Marvel Cinematic Universe of the Marvel production house. The ethnicity of a major character was changed completely. In the original comic books, the Ancient one is a Tibetan character, and the studio that was making Doctor Strange changed it to a Celtic character. The movie went on to earn around $109 million in the country. Eliminating a Tibetan character is an attempt to remove the issue of Tibet from the minds of any average movie watcher.
One of the top three highest grossing films in the box office of 2022 is the movie Top Gun: Maverick, a sequel to the 1986 movie Top Gun. In the original 1986 movie, the central character of Tom Cruise’s wears a jacket which went on to become a national rage in Northern America and consequently in more English language movie watching countries. The jacket on its back had a flag patch of US, Japan and Taiwan. In the trailer for the sequel released around two years back, Taiwan’s flag, which the island country has used since 1949, was seen being replaced with an ambiguous patch. This self-censoring by the movie makers was somewhat expected by audience since the movie’s co –producer, Paramount Pictures signed on Tencent, a Chinese tech firm to co-finance the movie. The Shenzhen-based conglomerate hoped to act as an “investor and co-marketer” of the film. But things turned out to be a different when the movie was released.
How receptive is the American movie industry and consumer?
The reaction of the American audience to the trailer, specifically to the changes made in the original jacket in the movie was extremely fierce. The aware audience has somehow grown a resentment towards artistic changes and additions made to American movies, done solely to appease the Chinese authorities. The makers of the movie sensed it and reverted to the original jacket which had the flag patch of Taiwan.
The case of Chinese authorities curating American movies is seen by Hollywood stakeholders as an attempt at altering culture and value system of the nation as well as the larger audience who are American movie watchers. Another matter of concern is the literal buying up of domestic movie production and distribution houses of America by big Chinese firms and conglomerates. A law has been introduced to the US Congress, that would regulate funding of these big American production house by foreign companies. In April 2020, Republican Ted Cruz introduced a bill titled “The Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, Protecting Talkies Act” that the Texas Senator described as “cutting off Hollywood studios from assistance they receive from the Department of Defence if those studios censor their films for screening in China.” The legislation, called the SCRIPT Act, was introduced in May and referred to the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. 2020 was also the time when tensions between the U. S. and China were at its peak and a probable trade war between the two countries was looming large.
Soft power is a long-term strategy which reaps benefit only in future. It’s arduous, laborious and results might not be visible instantly, unlike hard power which yields outcomes almost as soon as it is used. But when it does, it is the most profitable and significant investment a country could make in terms of both time and money. China realised this way back in the 1970s, when it mended relations with the U.S. The country has come a long way since the days when Bruce Lee’s movies were dubbed and rationalized to suit American and world audience. It is amazing to see how the world’s most powerful movie industry plays tune to China’s censorship authority’s pipe.
However, Beijing’s strategy of using money to implement soft power tactics has been unveiled. For a very long time this phenomenon was under wraps. Chinese firms pumping money in Hollywood production houses rose only post-2010 but it was done aggressively around 2015. When it comes to allowing foreign language movies to open in China, a limit of 34 movies have been posed. But these movies happen to be the biggest blockbusters of Hollywood, watched by a huge audience across globe. The impression these movies make is simply unimaginable. By censoring and planting favourable plot lines in movies, Chinese authorities intend to artificially manufacture of opinions. Off course, these opinions work in favour of the Chinese regime. This allows them to present to the world a narrative on issues close to Beijing’s heart.
*Ms. Shreyasi Post graduate Student, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi
The U.N. as a collective security says no to politicalized agenda
Since the United Nations was founded at the end of the WWII, it has played a seminal role in preserving the world peace and international justice from time to time. Based on the U.N. Charter which champions the no-use of force and collective security, the U.N. is seen as a relatively efficient global organization of sovereign states since then. There is no question that the U.N. has historically promoted the decolonization and changes in the composition of the international community when the U.N. General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples in 1960. Since then, it is fair to say that the new states have come to end the dominance of the West which then commanded a majority of the seats in the General Assembly.
From the very beginning, a world public opinion is seen as the most potent of all forces for peace. Nowadays, it has been since more strongly developing throughout the world. In particular, the U.N. General Assembly is declared to be “the open conscience of the world as Hans Morgenthau used to argue. China has consistently and persistently championed the legitimate rights of the all states in general and the small/weak countries in particular. As Chinese government has reiterated that as the world’s largest developing country, China will continue to stand with all developing States, who are no longer the silent majority in international and multilateral processes.
Also as one of Five Permanent Members of the U.N. Security Council, China should and also must stand up to defend the sacredness of the United Nation as it is a permanent forum in which countries could come together to deliberate and attempt to resolve disagreements rather than sowing the seeds of hatred among them. In reality, the U.N. has been used properly but is also misused and even abused by some governments for the purposes of politicalizing the issues and demonizing its rivals with no moral criteria or any bottom lines. Given this, this essay argues for the necessity of preserving the sacredness and purity of the U.N. for the original goal of acting a collective security rather than unilateral tool abused by any small bloc.
Recently, China allies itself with the statement made by Eritrea on behalf of a group of like-minded countries. Chinese ambassador Geng Shuang made it clear that remedy and reparation is an important way to deliver justice, offer consolation and promote reconstruction after wars and conflicts. Deeply victimized by numerous foreign wars against China in the modern history, China has endured immense losses. Accordingly, the Chinese people and the elite empathize with the heartbreaks of war victims, and sympathize with their misery. Meanwhile, China opines that any remedy and reparation should be achieved through correct political means and legal proceedings in line with international will, fairness and justice, and the humanitarian spirit. The U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly should and can play the role as expected by the international community.
Regarding the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, China has reiterated its sincere concerns with the current situation in Ukraine and the four points about what must be done in the wake of the outbreak of the crisis and the four things the international community must do together later. It is self-evident that given a global, composite crisis in Ukraine, it is important to give serious thought to the following: first, conflicts and wars produce no winner; second, there is no simple solution to a complex issue; and third, confrontation between major countries must be avoided. China has and will continue to look forward to a resumption of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. At the same time, it is imperative that the U.S. and its allies of the NATO and the EU should hold direct dialogues with Russia. This is the nature of classic diplomacy championing negotiation, persuasion and mutual compromises rather than driving a decisive victory in the battlefield.
Due to the discussion of China’s stances on the international issues and the role of the UN in the crises management, it is quite easy to perceive China’s refusal of the draft resolution on remedy and reparation submitted for actions of the Emergency Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly on November 16 since it has obvious flaws and loopholes and does not conform to China’s position and proposition. However, Chinese Ambassador Geng Shuang presented three points to verify the general principles and practices of the UN as a collective security forum.
First, legally speaking, China believes that the draft resolution intends to address the issue of international legal responsibility directly through the General Assembly, thereby overstepping GA’s authority. As it is well-noted that the UN Charter clearly stipulates the mandates of the principal organs of the UN and the General Assembly is not an international judicial body. Thus, it has no legal power to define and hold accountable for internationally wrongful acts. As a matter of fact, the resolutions previously adopted by the 11th Emergency Special Session of the GA do not constitute solid legal basis for remedy and reparation.
It is clear that the draft resolution aims to invoke the Articles on the Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts to pursue accountability, yet, doing so lacks legal basis in a professional way. The aforementioned Articles are research products of the International Law Commission which is an expert body. It is not an inter-governmental treaty and not legally binding. From a perspective of international law, neither do the Articles provide legal norms to define an internationally wrongful act or determine whether such an act exists. Hence, it is not appropriate to cite the Articles to make legal determination and pursue accountability.
Second, given the fact the draft resolution intends to bless the creation, by some countries, of a mechanism for reparation and a register of damage outside the UN framework, thus it deviates from the normal practice. The above mentioned mechanisms proposed by some countries are not in the framework of the UN, not overseen by the UN, and do not report to the UN. Nevertheless, the General Assembly is requested to adopt a resolution specifically for their creation. This approach makes no sense and has no precedent in practice.
It deserves noting that the issue of remedy and reparation is of great dimensions and far reaching implications. It concerns peace and security on the one hand, justice and conscience on the other. Moreover, it concerns not only the sacredness of the United Nations, but also the justice of international rule of law. Thus, the issue of remedy and reparation needs to be presented in a legal and procedural way. Historically, countries in the world victimized by internationally wrongful acts such as colonialism, external interference, unilateral sanctions and economic blockade have the right to seek remedy and reparation. The action taken by the General Assembly today should help to provide correct guidance for the settlement of possible future claims of relevant countries for remedy and reparation. Yet, the red-line is that it should help to maintain the impartial image of the UN that treats all member states equally. It should help to ensure various UN bodies can work in concert according to their respective mandates. Regrettably, the sponsor states did not organize consultations in earnest, did not substantively respond to the concerns of member states, and instead insisted on pushing the General Assembly to take a hasty action which is totally unconstructive.
As it is well-known that the Ukrainian crisis has been ongoing nearly nine months. It has sent shockwaves throughout the world and brought more uncertainty and instability to the world. Since the crisis serves no parties’ interests including Ukraine and Russia, China has appealed to all parties concerned to return to dialogue and negotiation as soon as possible. In so doing, the international community, including the General Assembly, should work actively to this end, instead of intensifying tensions, provoking confrontation and aggravating divides. In fact, China’s position on the Ukraine issue is clear and consistent. That is to say that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries must be respected and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter must be fully observed. However, the legitimate security concerns of all countries must be also taken seriously. Accordingly, China endorses the tireless work with the international community to play a constructive role in promoting the early realization of ceasefire and cessation of hostilities.
To sum up, China has no bias against any parties concerned in the Ukrainian crisis. Yet, the key is that China must act a responsible power to upload the authority of the UN Charter and the credibility of the General Assembly. Given this, China decided to vote against the draft resolution along with more than ten other countries, though they were a minority. For the end of safeguarding true multilateralism and maintaining the international rule of law and fairness and justice, China has done as it should do as always.
Silence on Uyghurs and Kashmir: A tacit quid-pro-quo between India and China
On the 7th of October, India abstained from voting on a resolution for “holding a debate” on China’s alleged atrocities on Uyghur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. Although, on previous occasions, India had called for the human rights of Uyghurs to be respected, and had taken note of a UN Human Rights report finding human rights violations by China; When presented with an option to finalise and consolidate its stance on the matter, India chose to abstain from voting.
In this post I argue that, India’s choice to abstain from voting against China’s alleged human rights violation in the Xinjiang province, is part of a tacit quid pro quo between the two states to remain silent on each other’s human rights violations.
Uyghurs, a Muslim ethnic community in the Xinjiang region of China, have been, and continue to be subjected to severe human rights abuses by the Chinese state. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has established centres which the international media has come to refer to as, “re-education centres”. At these centres the CCP works towards preventing citizens from being influenced by extremist thoughts, and to “nip terrorist activities in the bud.”
In the context of Uyghurs, a plethora of allegations have been levelled against China. These range from forced labour, illegal detention, to genocide, and may even extend to crimes against humanity. However, as discussed previously on this forum, even though the corpus of evidence on China’s violations of Human Rights against Uyghurs continue to grow, the same must be protected, and finally utilised to prove the role of the State in these human rights violations.
The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention), to which China is a signatory, defines genocide to include, five acts. Evidence suggests, China has violated every single clause of this article. These include, (i) killing members of a group, (ii) causing serious bodily, or mental harm, (iii) deliberately inflicting conditions of life to bring about the physical destruction of the group, (iv) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and (iv) Forcefully transferring children of the group to another group. (For a consolidated list of human rights violations by China in Xinjiang, see this report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights)
It is therefore, shocking to see that although India continues to stand for respecting the human rights of Uyghurs, India chooses to abstain from voting on China’s alleged atrocities on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province.
However, a closer study of India’s abstention on the Uyghur vote speaks volumes. India itself faces numerous accusations of Human Rights violations in the erstwhile state (and now Union Territory) of Jammu, and Kashmir. These range from civilian killings, to restrictions on freedom of expression, and many other forms of human rights violations. (A consolidated list of human rights violations by India in Indian-administered Kashmir can be found in this report)
Therefore, in light of this, India’s abstention can in many ways be seen as a quid pro quo between India, and China. China’s absolute silence on Human Rights violations by India in J&K, even in the face of growing evidence for the same, must be seen in tandem with India’s abstention at the UNHRC. Alternatively, India’s move to abstain from voting could also be a move to mollify, the ever-increasing Chinese aggression, and expansionist policies in the Indo-pacific.
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