On Saturday, just ahead of the scheduled meeting with President Obama, China accused the United States of “prejudice” after the U.S. State Department renewed a call for Beijing to fully account for its bloody crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators in June 1989.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in an English-language statement released on the official Xinhua news agency, that the Unites States should:
…immediately rectify its wrongdoings and stop interfering in China’s internal affairs so as not to sabotage China-U.S. relations.
China has already reached a “clear conclusion” about the events of 1989, Hong said.
The U.S. State Department, released on its website a statement that said China should:
…end harassment of those who participated in the protests and fully account for those killed, detained, or missing.
In the spring of 1989 a student-led demonstration coalesced on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, and the Communist Party sent troops to violently crush the protests on the night of June 3-4, killing hundreds.
China labeled the protests as “counter-revolutionary”. The topic remains taboo in China and the leadership has rejected all calls to overturn its verdict.
Human rights remains a thorny topic between China and the United States. Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama are due to meet in California next week for an informal summit where the issue of human rights could be raised.
Commentary from the Blogger
This completely underscores just how ignorant the Obama administration is to the Chinese culture, pragmatism, and general worldview held in Zhongguo. The administration was clearly testing the new leadership in the PRC, which has since seen a change of the guard.
However, this was foolish for several reasons, a few of which, I will discuss right now. Firstly, the new leadership is still a bit in the credibility strengthening stage. The PRC regime has remained credible with the people of China in large part for taking a strong stance against the United States.
Right or wrong, this was simply the wrong time to test the waters so to speak with Xi Jinping. This is a display of inexperience and ignorance – plain and simple.
Secondly, perhaps the most important consideration is that Obama is absolutely horrible with creating, cultivating, and nurturing relationships with other leaders inside and outside the United States. This is devastating to the relations of a country who replace a legal system with a system of relationships.
It is known as “guanxi” and the Obama administration should take the time to school themselves in its ways, just as Richard Nixon did. In the past few weeks, Obama has been compared to President Nixon many times, but none of them in a good way that highlights President Nixon’s unique leadership characteristics and personality traits that made him so successful at his foreign policy ventures.
President Obama has zero of these qualities, and certainly does not make up for it with a wealth of education in Asian affairs. With all of the cyber-attacks and disputes over the South-China Sea this is only heading toward one terrible conclusion.
The Liberal Internationalist theory of international relations has never been more dangerous as it is has been with U.S.-Sino relations. It may fit neatly into the idealistic American foreign policy mentality, but in the real-world, we are trying to fit a square through a circle. It’s not going to happen.