Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Decision time for Beijing

With the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing fast approaching and its international presence fast expanding, China is going to have to make a decision about what kind of contribution it wants to make to world affairs. Beijing weighed in Tuesday with "grave concern" over the genocide charge leveled against Sudan's president by International Criminal Court, but not in the way you'd think. China's "misgivings" are not about the 35,000 killed by Sudanese forces or the 2.5 million forced to flee their homes in the Darfur region but are about being called on by Western nations to temper support for Sudan President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. China is a top investor in Sudan's oil industry and is the country's largest arms provider. An arrest warrant for al-Bashir is expected to be issued shortly, obligating China or any other country to arrest him if he visits. The Chinese do not want to have to do this to such a good customer, and have been fighting the imposition of more severe sanctions against Sudan. But stopping genocide is the very essence of international diplomacy, and China must join the civilized world in doing so. China recently used its veto power on the United Nations Security Council to join Russia in blocking sanctions against the murderous and illegal Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe. But China is no longer a rogue regime -- it is becoming a superpower, and it's time it started acting like one. If China wants respect on the international stage befitting a world power, it will have to do a lot more than provide a venue for sporting events.

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