Osborne’s Xinjiang trip shows pragmatism

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-9-25 0:03:13

UK Chancellor George Osborne is paying a visit to China and his trip to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is particularly high-profile. He is the first Western official in recent years who has stressed more the region's business potential instead of finding fault over the human rights issue. At the Shanghai Stock Exchange, he frequently expressed confidence about the Chinese economy. However, he has been criticized by Western opinion, which considers his Xinjiang visit as a "political coup" for China.

What characterizes Osborne is perhaps his pragmatism regarding his China policy. It should be diplomatic etiquette for foreign leaders not to confront China by raising the human rights issue. As a foreign finance minister who comes to China to seek business opportunities, he should keep a modest manner. Some Westerners believe their officials should behave like a master of human rights to show their superiority over China and the East.

Looking back in history, the West had offered some help in China's human rights issue. However in recent years, when the West imposes pressure on China over the issue, they seem to have adopted a paranoid approach. Many of their demands have gone too far from China's reality.

China is such a complex country that society has been looking for appropriate ways to address its problems and balance the interests between individuals and the State. In this aspect, the Western community has no right to comment. China has adopted some Western experiences, yet others are too risky for Chinese society to copy. Western society should be able to understand this.

Some Western figures would like to point their fingers at China's human rights issue with arrogance. Osborne has behaved as a top official from a civilized country should, making us believe that his country respects etiquette. China does not aim to promote anything by using Osborne's Xinjiang visit. If the Western media hadn't criticized him, Chinese people wouldn't even have noticed what he did in Xinjiang.

Osborne may have displayed the vision of European politicians of a new generation. He is behind the UK's decision to take the lead in the Western world to join the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. He advocates that the UK should develop trade with China. From his China policy, some people believe that the UK is building a Sino-British relationship at the strategic level and that the UK aims to consolidate its big power status by leading Europe's relations with China.

China-UK relations will not pose any threat to the existing international relations framework, as Osborne's China visit shows naturalness rather than being ideology-driven.

Generally, European opinion still puts ideology as a priority when dealing with China. Some Western officials are more realistic, as they know their countries need the Chinese market.

Posted in: Editorial

blog comments powered by Disqus