tirsdag 18. desember 2018

Of kings and concentration camps: Xinjiang and Norway

The visit to China by King Harald and Queen Sonja of Norway in October 2018 revealed the increasingly painful hypocrisy of European countries pretending to uphold a ‘human rights dialogue’ with the Chinese authorities. They claim to help improve China, even as the Chinese superpower – increasingly powerful both economically and militarily – aggressively works to undermine the very idea of human rights and its central place in international affairs.

The ongoing mass atrocities in Xinjiang are a dramatic watershed here, and in this light, the incident above all exposed the widespread hypocrisy in failing to speak to those responsible. Instead, there is a ritualised, compartmentalised side-show of ‘human rights’ involving lower ranking figures, which looks increasingly like a PR cover for European politicians who are ever more beholden to China economically, but trying to appear firmly principled both in the mirror, and to a wider audience, including the pretence that they still hold on to democracy and respect for human dignity as basic values.