Chinese diplomat defends China’s Xinjiang policy with old-fashioned racism

Politics & Current Affairs

Lijian Zhao 赵立坚 is the deputy chief of mission of the Chinese embassy in Islamabad. He is also a prolific Twitterer, with 190,000 followers, probably taking advantage of the fact that Twitter isn’t blocked in Pakistan like it is in his home country.

Here is a series of tweets he fired off just a few hours ago:

OK. We can talk about what those 37 countries have in common, and why they wouldn’t have a problem with China’s ghastly Xinjiang policy — Beijing has gone so far in the name of “anti-terrorism” that even Bush advisers might blanch — but at least Zhao is sticking to the facts so far.

Zhao isn’t the first person to notice that Muslim countries won’t publicly condemn China, but the reasons are pretty clear: the Chinese government wields a lot of power, including the power to retaliate in ways that matter more to other governments, and many Muslim countries don’t exactly have a sterling human rights track record, either. It’s almost as if the interests of a government don’t always align with the interests of the people. I wouldn’t expect a career diplomat like Zhao to get that though, so let’s move on.

Wait, what?

He followed up with this clarification, in case anyone was tempted to call him out on his sense of geography or doubt his understanding of acronyms:

I will never understand why anyone would argue that injustice in one place is justification for similar injustice elsewhere. But Zhao isn’t even saying that. What he’s saying — what diplomats like him always say — is: Stop picking at our problems, because you’re too far removed from them, because they don’t concern you, because you are not the ones unfortunate enough to be imprisoned in detention camps enduring brain-melting propaganda. Why can’t you be preoccupied with your society’s racism, racial stratification, etc? Aren’t those issues enough to keep you busy?

It truly is a special way to see the world, requiring a form of willful small-mindedness that intelligent human beings should be ashamed of. Just like China’s Xinjiang policy. Zhao, I’m guessing, is ashamed of neither.