I don’t want this blog to become political, but I can’t let this pass. I’ve been watching the media storm about Steven Speilberg withdrawing from the Beijing Olypmics opening ceremony preparations because he’s not happy at the Chinese involvement with what’s happening in Darfur.
Image Source: Beijing 4th Olympic Cultural Festival Closing Ceremony
I’m now awaiting his announcement that he will no longer make movies in the US, because of:
- the waterboard technique the CIA uses (okay because London was bombed)
- the illegal imprisonment of inmates at Guantanamo bay (okay because it’s not actually in the US)
- the huge number of civilians which have died in Iraq since the invasion (okay because Sadam wasn’t a nice man)
I’m not trying to turn this into a pro-China / anti-US thing. There’s no doubt that China does have issues – some big ones – but so does every country.
I’m Australian and our government has only recently said sorry for taking tens of thousands of Aboriginal children from their families, up to the early 1970s, to be raised in white families!
My point is that Western countries are very good at criticising China, whilst ignoring their own problems. If the 2008 Olympics were in the US, would people be talking about boycotting the Olympics?
Before I lived in China, I believed most of what the Western media said about China. Some of it’s true – maybe most of it’s true – but it’s often one sided and ignores the problems that Western nations have.
It’s very unlikely that Steven Speilberg’s action will have any effect. If anything it’s like to have a negative, rather than postive, effect.
I’ve learnt that trying to force the Chinese to do something with direct action very rarely works. Threaten if necessary, but not in public! They’ll then be obliged to defy you. If you make them lose face, they are less likely to do what you want, not more likely.
It’s better to find subtle ways of doing things which can avoid any loss of face. I’m talking in stereotypes here, which is never good, but there’s a definite element of truth to what I’m saying.
Steven Speilberg could have found much better ways to use his influence. Of course, the West has never really tried to understand China and the West’s preferred diplomatic strategy is often akin to bullying.
Anyway, end of rant. Much has been written on this elsewhere, so I won’t say any more.