By Rick Ruffin
Poor China. It just ― as Rodney Dangerfield would have said ― ``don't get no respect."
The litany of complaints is endless. The air is dirty, the water is dirty, the government is corrupt, there is no free speech, it supports brutal regimes throughout the world, its products are tainted with lead, it's consuming all the world's oil, it wants to conquer the world, etc, etc.
Indeed, if the media is any indication, the world hates China.
The Beijing Olympic Games, into which China has proudly invested huge amounts of time and huge sums of money, have been tainted by scandal after scandal.
Fake fireworks at the opening ceremony, government oppression of Tibetans in Chinese-occupied Tibet, repression of Uighurs in western China, air too dirty for the world's aerobic elite, and now the latest: accusations that China's teenage gymnastic sensation, He Kexin, is not the 16 years of age required of Olympic athletes.
China is wrong for remaining in occupied Tibet, but let's remember that nobody invited the U.S. into Iraq, either. The U.S. invited itself. The U.S. will have been there for eight years by the time the troops leave ― if indeed they do leave ― in 2011.
Then again, if Sen. John McCain becomes president of the United States, I'm sure he'll find a way to prolong the illegal and immoral occupation. Let's also keep in mind that the U.S. has more than 700 military bases ― more than it has embassies ― around the world.
And just how did the U.S. acquire Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah, and Colorado more than 150 years ago? They did it by invading Mexico and never leaving, that's how. That's just what China has done in Tibet.
China is wrong for repressing Muslims in western China, but let's remember the U.S. represses Muslims not just in one place, but all over the world. U.S. jails, whether they be in Cuba, Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere, are full of Muslims. This is simply China's ``war on terror,'' similar, in many ways, to the U.S. war on terror.
China is wrong for polluting the world, but let's remember that it was the U.S., the Leader of the Free World, that has dragged its feet for so long on the global warming issue, and refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol until the very last minute.
When people blast China (and India) for diplomatic intransigence, they would best look at the United States, for it is the U.S. that sets the pace. Or used to, anyway.
China is wrong for exporting its lead-tainted toys to children around the world, but let's not forget the U.S. is the largest arms supplier in the world.
Let's not forget that Mexican drug gangs kill each other, and Mexican policemen, with guns manufactured and smuggled out of the U.S. Let's not forget when countries are asked to sign treaties banning land mines, many do, but it is the U.S. that refuses to do so.
Let's not forget that China has a huge prison population, and regularly executes its people, but isn't it the U.S. with the world's largest prison population? And doesn't the U.S. execute people, too?
When we remember that China sends arms and support to a repressive regime in the Sudan, that is waging a war of genocide against its own people (ironically, this time China is supporting the Muslims), let's remember that the U.S. has supported repressive regimes in Iraq, Iran, Nicaragua, Egypt, El Salvador, Honduras, Haiti, Cuba, Chile and Argentina, just to name a few places.
How did the Iraq War get swept so quickly under the table? Because China bashing has taken its place.
The fact of the matter is the media doesn't represent the masses. Go to the reader boards of the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Los Angles Times.
History has dealt China a dirty hand. It had famine, it had Mongol invasions, it had British colonization and the Opium War. It had Japanese invasion and the Nanjing Massacre. It is no stranger to atrocity. And it never had enough land. Not good land, anyhow. Fate dealt it the Gobi Desert.
In spite of these limitations, Mao Tse-tung managed to consolidate the country, to kick out the European and Japanese colonizers, to instill a one child policy (which India has yet to do), and to embark on the Great Leap Forward. And what a leap it has been.
The writer, a graduate of University of Texas, Austin, now writes from Gangneung, Gangwon Province. He can be reached at email@example.com. The views expressed in the above article are those of the author and do not reflect the editorial policy of The Korea Times.