Tuesday, January 12, 2010

It takes an East German to stand up to authoritarianism

I read an interesting article at Time magazine about German Chancellor Angela Merkel. While it is impressive that she was the first East German, first woman, and the youngest German Chancellor, it's also rather impressive that she, unlike some other European powers, has been rather supportive of the United States and our efforts in Afghanistan.

I was impressed But I was surprised at her speech to Congress back in November:
"This is why the ability to show tolerance is so important. While, for us, our way of life is the best possible way, others do not nec­essarily feel that way. There are different ways to create peaceful coexistence. Tolerance means showing respect for other people’s history, traditions, religion and cultural identity.

But let there be no misunderstanding: Tolerance does not mean “anything goes.” There must be zero tolerance towards all those who show no respect for the inalienable rights of the individual and who violate human rights. Zero tolerance must also be shown if, for example, weapons of mass destruction fall into the hands of Iran and possibly threaten our security!"

I did not realize that she had met with the Dalai Lama ahead of meeting with the Chinese and pissed them off royally...

Now why couldn't our President Obama do that? Oh, right, because we owe the Chinese too much money...

It's a disgrace that we have become so beholden to a regime as draconian and callous to human rights as the Communist Chinese government. Placating an authoritarian government like the Chinese is not what I expected from Barack Obama, who has touted the importance of recognizing human rights.

Just before the new year the Chinese government executed a British man for drug smuggling. The man was said to have mental health issues and had contended that he was duped into smuggling the drugs into the country. Does the Chinese government take such circumstances into consideration. Not really... And do they care about offending the West, in this case Britain? Nope.

Here are two articles (BBC News; Time magazine) about China's illegal "Black Prisons".

And what is our government doing about any of this? Not nearly enough...

[UPDATE: At least Google may finally be doing something about the censorship of the Chinese government. ]

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