A political prisoner in Sweden
Poor Rebiya Kadeer, when she was convicted and sentenced in China for “leaking state secrets”, the indignant people accused China of prosecuting people for political crimes and “suppression”. Now, we learn of yet another poor old Uighur, this time a 62-year-old man named Babur Mehsut, who has been arrested and jailed for “unlawful acquisition and distribution of information relating to individuals for the benefit of a foreign power.”
In Sweden. The arrest was made by Säpo, that country’s secret service.
So what is the point here? Well, when we call somebody charged with a crime a political prisoner or dissident, we inadvertently make a political statement. To me, Rebiya Kadeer and Babur Mehsut are no different at all, except one is liked by Uighur separatists and one is not, and so they ratted out Mr. Mehsut and fêted Mrs. Kadeer. At the end of the day, the question is simply, which side are you on? China has her own core and necessarily selfish interests — stability and order, territorial integrity and sovereignty, obtaining benefits for its own people — that any country worthy of existence would and do pursue. On those core interests, you are either with China or against China. You are not a friend of China, just because you gave notice ahead of time that you will screw her out of her core interests, or attempt to use other elaborate ruses such as human rights to screw her. Chinese are not stupid.
To observant people not prejudiced by Western propaganda and Cold War rhetoric, it is clear that China is not a categorically different beast in the world. It is but one of hundreds of imperfect countries trying to make its place in the world. It is well known that China has serious problems endemic to developing societies, the lack of accountability and incomplete legal system being chief among them. However, these are not ideological problems, except to those who want to make them ideological problems. When China is viewed with a normal lens uncolored by ethnocentrism and elite prejudice, its problems become normal ones that are universal to much of the world, especially outside the Western world, and the country becomes that much more accessible to real understanding.
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