Archive for June, 2012


Local News, Local Idiots

Nothing much happens in Denmark. The Danish news, which, on TV, run an agonizing length, are sometimes so desperate they end up mentioning things that happen everywhere but don’t usually attract media attention: more people become unemployed, the new reform reduces taxes for the rich  and increases them for the poor, and psychiatric patients are overdosed to death.

These days, however, with Chinese president Hu Jintao visiting the country, the Danish media is in a monomaniacal frenzy: and, together with the endless descriptions of galas, dresses and idle nobility, have come two more irritating pieces, which those Readers who are acquainted with the local language can read directly:

To the idiotic minister’s partial justification, it must be said that she doesn’t just believe that Danish respect for human rights (with the partial exception, mind, of those of the unemployed, the poor and the mentally ill) will just soak through Hu’s skin: she has apparently talked to “members of the Chinese delegation” about the one-child policy and, well, they didn’t change subject. Or hit her.

Even assuming the Chinese members weren’t just smiling politely and staring at Auken’s often-prominently-displayed cleavage, how relevant is the one-child policy to the issue of human rights in China? The answer is, hardly at all. Hu himself violates the policy (he has two children), as does premier Wen Jiabao, along with the majority of the Politburo Standing Committee. The decision of not supporting more than one child per family is no worse a human right “violation” than not supporting any, which most African countries do, or not supporting indigent adults, which Denmark does more and more. Yes, local administrators in China have sometimes committed excesses in enforcing the policy. But, at least, the one-child policy is meant to save China from overpopulation; Denmark, funnelling more and more of the state budget into supporting and promoting motherhood is moving the opposite direction, and could really learn, for once, something from it.

In any case, no: chatting with a Chinese courtier about how one likes children will not stop people filing petitions from being thrown in a basement in Beijing. It will not free Tibet. It will not stop organ harvesting of prisoners. It will not stop the People’s Liberation Army from being called to act upon anyone talking about labour or environment issues. It will not take down the Great Firewall of China. It will do nothing but prove once again that European socialist parties can’t do anything but chat, and then brag about having chatted: if it weren’t sad, it would still be abysmally embarrassing.

Update (25/6/2012): we now have an artist’s impression of Hu Jintao upon hearing Auken’s opinion about human rights in China