The Chinese Communists don’t like having their oppressive regime called out for human rights abuses, and they let U.S. climate envoy John Kerry know that in no uncertain terms.
Kerry was in the northern city of Tianjin to discuss a climate deal with the Chinese. and they expressed their dismay that the U.S. would object to slave labor, religious oppression, and the regimentation of Chinese society. Beijing was threatening to withhold cooperation in reducing its gigantic carbon footprint unless the United States minded its own business.
“My response to them was, ‘Hey look, climate is not ideological. It’s not partisan, it’s not a geostrategic weapon or tool, and it’s certainly not day-to-day politics. It’s a global, not bilateral, challenge,’” he said on a call with reporters.
And, Mr. Kerry said, when it comes to tackling climate change, “We think China can do more.”
Be that as it may, Kerry said he would pass on the Chinese government’s concerns.
“I will certainly pass on … the full nature of the message that I received from Chinese leaders,” Kerry told reporters. “On the one hand, we’re saying to them, ‘You have to do more to help deal with the climate.’ And on the other hand, their solar panels are being sanctioned, which makes it harder for them to sell them.”
The reason their solar panels are being sanctioned is that the Communists are engaging in unfair trading practices by deliberately selling the products at a loss to undercut the viability of the U.S. solar panel industry. The Chinese were also using slave labor to produce the panels.
It’s harder to sell those solar panels because the Chinese are cheating and got caught. Should we lift the restrictions because of human rights abuses in the name of fighting climate change?
“The United States believes that state-sponsored forced labor in Xinjiang is both an affront to human dignity and an example of the PRC’s unfair economic practices,” Biden’s team said in June. “The systematic abuses go beyond forced labor to include sexual violence and large-scale forced detentions, and the PRC continues to commit genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang.”
In fact, “China already has its own plans and road map for achieving its climate goals,” the South China Morning Post quoted a source familiar with the conversations as saying. China’s “cooperation” is always conditional, in that it’s based on what’s best for the party and not necessarily what might facilitate global or bilateral cooperation.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi wants the U.S. to shut up about things that don’t concern it.
“The U.S. side wants the climate change cooperation to be an ‘oasis’ of China-U.S. relations,” he told Kerry, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry summary . “However, if the oasis is all surrounded by deserts, then sooner or later, the ‘oasis’ will be desertified. China-U.S. cooperation on climate change cannot be divorced from the overall situation of China-U.S. relations.”
Wang elaborated on that complaint, citing “two lists” that Chinese officials drafted for Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, including the “List of U.S. Wrongdoings that Must Stop” and “three bottom lines” that China has drawn. Those “bottom lines” include a demand that the United States stop condemning Beijing’s policies toward the Uyghur Muslims, which U.S. officials have identified as genocide but that Chinese Communist leaders insist is a matter of sovereignty and internal affairs.
You have to love it when China plays the obtuse, mysterious Oriental sage teaching the rest of the world how to behave. It’s a tired script and might have worked 150 years ago with gullible imperialists in Europe, but it is hardly relevant now.
China will cooperate only as much as is absolutely needed to fulfill the Communist Party’s goals and objectives and no more. It’s not surprising that someone like John Kerry would be snookered by Beijing’s threats. He’s been playing the Communists’ fool for more than 40 years.
The rest of us should have learned our lesson by now.