02 September 2009

When Will China Learn to Grow Up?

(From RealClearWorld)

When in doubt, throw a temper tantrum.

It matters not that China has the world's third largest economy, perhaps the second-most powerful military and is the only potential global rival to the hegemon that is the United States. You can still count on China acting like a third-rate despot with all the delicacies of a bull in a, well, china shop.

So the Dalai Lama decided to visit Taiwan, in an oh-so transparent political maneuver designed to poke and get a rise out of China. Did China take the bait?

At first, Beijing acted only irritated, which was a good move and showed considerable restraint. It absolved Taiwan's beleaguered President Ma Ying-jeou and laid the blame entirely on the opposition and independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

That would've been fine. It'd be better had China just acted like the Dalai Lama didn't exist and ignored the visit entirely. Why give the Tibetan spiritual leader and the DPP the satisfaction?

But after thinking it over, Communist China's mandarins couldn't help themselves. They sunk their teeth in it. Hook, line and sinker.

Never mind that Ma's Kuomintang (KMT) had just sent a kowtow party to Beijing last week to explain themselves. Ostensibly, they told the Chinese that given Ma's weakened political state, they couldn't afford another big brouhaha.

Brushing the KMT aside,

China has canceled or postponed at least two planned visits to Taiwan, and nixed ceremonies meant to mark the expansion of direct air service, said KMT spokeswoman Chen Shu-rong. China had already said its delegation would not join Saturday's opening ceremony for the Deaf Olympics in Taipei.

That last move was so classically clever, it sure would resolve to win over the hearts and minds of the skeptical Taiwanese. In a rare opportunity to host an international athletic event, Taiwan now will get snubbed by its cross-Strait brethren. These deaf Chinese athletes, instead of being celebrated as goodwill emissaries for vastly improving relations between the mainland and Taiwan, are now mere ventilators in the latest Chinese temper tantrum.

But what did you expect from a regime, despite its power and size, that has the diplomatic maturity of a 3-year-old?

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