The Scandal of British Ambassador to China
-- Wei Jingsheng
Caroline Wilson (Wu Ruolan), the newly-appointed British ambassador to China, met with Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to the UK, and posed for ceremonial photos before taking office. The two separately posted their photos on the Internet. The photographs of the Chinese ambassador were solemn and lively, highlighting the dignity of the Chinese Communist Party and suppressing the British flag. The photo posted by the British ambassador was an intimate photo similar to a pat on the back for Xi Jinping, with the two ambassadors smiling and posing together with a copy of Xi Jinping's book held jointly in their hands. It caused wide-ranging public discussion for a while.
When the British Foreign Minister was asked by a reporter about it, the Foreign Minister actually replied that Great Britain's policy towards China was to continue the policy of dialogue. That is, to continue what has been widely regarded as a failed policy of dialogue, or to be precise, on human rights issues, naively to fire one shot and run, in order to curry favor with the Communist Party's policy of advancing business interests. A few days later, the same Foreign Minister in the United States told U.S. leaders to work with its allies to resist the Communist Party's anti-human rights and aggressive internal and external policies. So what the hell is going on here?
If you have lived in the West a bit longer, this is no surprise. It's no surprise that politicians faced with competing interests often equivocate. But, as a veteran British diplomat I've known since the days of Democracy Wall put it, the ambassador's actions are unheard of, inconsistent with the traditions of British diplomats, and out of line. Another British academic said: It's shameful. In other words, even if you're just greedy for money, your manners needn't be so ugly.
What forces or induces politicians to have such bad manners? At least two problems have been exposed. The first is that the Chinese Communist Party's money corruption and spy infiltration are more serious than people think, enough to distort human nature, corrupt morality and ignore shame. The second is that western democracies have a problem. This problem is that while in the face of the Soviet Union's spy war they were still able to resist and finally to achieve victory, facing the corrosive nature of CCP espionage and money politics, as well as its enormous pressure on business interests, their resistance is obviously insufficient.
We witnessed a more serious betrayal than that twenty years ago. Granting permanent Most-Favored-Nation trade status to the CCP and allowing the PRC to enter the World Trade Organization has proven to be a huge mistake. Not only did it undermine normal trade rules, but it also fattened the Communist Party, enabling it increasingly to weaken the West's economies, challenge its democracies and threaten international security. It is also an important cause of disasters all over the world, endangering all Chinese, including ethnic minorities, as well as Hong Kong and Taiwan.
In fact, two decades ago, in the face of the biggest controversy of the century, U.S. opinion polls showed that more than two-thirds of Americans rejected the Clinton administration's proposal to cancel the annual review of the CCP's human rights record and did not agree to permanent unconditional MFN status. But more than half of politicians backed Clinton and the CCP in supporting what is now officially recognized by the White House as America's biggest mistake of the last century.
Are politicians less professionally qualified than ordinary people? Of course not, under the competitive system of democratic politics, politicians' political professionalism is not only higher than that of ordinary people, but also far higher than that of inbred authoritarian systems. So why are they fooled by the low-quality Communist Party? Like the British ambassador and Foreign Minister, it is not a matter of professionalism. The drunkman's intention is not in the alcohol, and the pressure and allure behind their backs can exceed the binding force of voter supervision, sometimes huge pressure that is enough to cause shameless behavior.
A reporter asked me how to solve these shortcomings in democracy. In fact, westerners have long seen this problem, but the various coping measures seem to have little effect. The point is that the key to solving the problem is in the hands of politicians, but it is hard for them to constrain their own interests and power. Perhaps we Chinese when we build democracy don't have so many burdens, so we can let go and solve the problems others have not solved. Absorb the lessons of our predecessors' successes and failures and avoid mistakes that have been made by others. This is also the only way to achieve human progress.