A man holds the Syrian flag as people take to the streets after voting on a new constitution that could end the Baath Party’s five-decade rule in Damascus Sunday. Photo: AFP
Syrians voted Sunday on a draft constitution that calls for multi-party rule and parliamentary elections, and puts in place a presidential limit of two seven-year terms. The result of the vote will be announced today. The opposition, with the West's support, has resisted the vote.
The West is wrong to reject any reform undertaken by Syria and demand President Bashar al-Assad step down in order to end the crisis. This will bring about a civil war and lead to more deaths. What the West wants from Syria is not democracy but the overthrow of the regime so as to eliminate Iran's influence over Syria.
China should stand by Russia and support the vote.
In a globalized world, it's difficult for a regime to be unaffected by outside influences.
The West's political pressure on Assad's regime seems invincible, but it's unknown what will happen in the long run. The "Friends of Syria" meeting was nowhere near as effective as last year's "Friends of Libya." The Assad regime is not as isolated as that of Muammar Gaddafi. So far, there has been no obvious trend of officials jumping ship, and the opposition is far from united.
China and Russia should support and urge Assad's regime to reform in accordance with the Syrian people's will. At the same time, they should help resist outside interference. Only Syria's people can determine its future. If the reform wins the support of the majority, the regime is likely to live on.
Syria has become a place where countries in the Middle East as well as the world's great powers demonstrate their political ambition and place the bet. China, which has become involved in this issue, can pull out at any time, but will have to pay the price.
In the past, China has developed while abiding by a world order dominated by the West. But in the past few years, the world order has shown the tendency to limit China's development. It's unavoidable that China now sees the need to confront it. The Syrian issue can be seen as an unintentional confrontation point.
China favors a path that hurts the Syrian people least, not necessarily a path that benefits the West most. If the West accepts what China does, an element for the new world order will be formed. It will be a different case if China quits.
Whatever China does in the Syrian issue, the West will take note.
China's veto this time is just like water that has been poured. Many of the world's strategic changes originate with China. Now it's time for China to face them seriously.
Global Time report
Syria holds referendum
Syrian authorities are set to announce the result of a national referendum Monday for the country's new draft constitution that could end the Baath Party's five-decade rule, though the opposition and the West have labeled the vote as cosmetic.
Global Times Feature