Chinese will rally to defend the nation

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 26 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 26 April, 2008, 12:00am


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Western politicians and the media are beginning to realise their grave mistake in supporting the Tibetan independence mob, distorting reporting and analysis, and using protests to bully the Chinese government. Beijing has not budged on its principles on Tibet, despite having agreed to meet with the Dalai Lama's private representative in the coming days.

The big surprise is that this unreasonable bullying and blackmailing has served to anger Chinese worldwide. Overseas Chinese everywhere have put aside their differences and rallied behind the Chinese government. Some western media still claimed that these people have been 'brainwashed' by Chinese official propaganda, whereas everybody knows they watch CNN and the BBC rather than CCTV.

In Hong Kong, where there is a strong China-bashing tradition, a recent poll indicated that more than 90 per cent of citizens are solidly behind the Chinese government.

You can infuriate a government and it still has to act rationally, and according to international law and etiquette, but if you infuriate its people, the results are highly unpredictable. For any sovereign country, territorial integrity is far more important than a public relations show like the Olympic Games.

At the moment, the Chinese government is squeezed between violent mobs in Tibet and on the route of the international torch relay, as well as by angered Chinese inside and outside the country. Being too hard or too soft will be equally troublesome.

For the past 170 years, the country has developed a tradition that, when the government is seen to be weak and incapable of dealing with western aggression, the people organise themselves to defend its dignity and territory. Now, the people have taken it upon themselves to organise a media counter-attack and confront the violent protesters face to face in the torch relay, in each and every city. So far, the overseas Chinese have been quite restrained, but physical clashes could happen at any moment. The western media is poised to take photos of these Chinese beating protesters as proof that Chinese are villains.

More provocation will make the Chinese people more furious, and more difficult for Beijing to control. It is imperative that the Chinese government is seen to be actively defending the country's dignity. It will be very difficult to explain to the Chinese people that the most patriotic position is to be calm, rally round the government, and let their adversaries fully expose their sham.

After so much fanfare, what has the western world got - public humiliation of China and its people, at least in western countries? If this was the objective, then I will admit they have succeeded. They have, however, demonstrated to the rest of the world, and to the Chinese people in particular, that their politicians and media can very efficiently brainwash their people into believing untruths and supporting a fabricated cause. western nations have, therefore, humiliated themselves in front of the rest of the world, and shattered whatever myths and delusions they have about their values and their media. With such blatant disinformation and blackmail, after this episode, the western moral high ground has gone forever. By trying to trample the dignity of China, they have, instead, ended up with theirs in tatters.

Meanwhile, Tibet will still be a part of China, and the Olympic Games will take place in Beijing this summer, with or without the blessing of the western media and politicians. I am glad the next Games will take place in London, where the BBC has its headquarters. It will be most interesting to see what happens there, just four years down the road, and what the western media will have to say about it. Lau Nai-keung is a member of the Basic Law Committee of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, and also a member of the Commission on Strategic Development