• Thu
  • Aug 28, 2014
  • Updated: 9:29pm
Column
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 April, 2014, 4:26pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 April, 2014, 4:51am

China proves a rising power takes care of its own

Frank Ching says Beijing's commitment to look after the interests of its citizens abroad befits China's role today as a rising global power

Over the years, as China has turned into the world's second-largest economy and largest trading nation, it has often been reluctant to assume the responsibilities of a great power, preferring to focus on its own development while letting the US carry the main burden of dealing with international crises.

However, in at least one respect, it is acting like a superpower. Its reaction to the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 shows it will go to great lengths to look after the welfare of its citizens around the globe, no matter where they are.

To determine the whereabouts of the missing plane, which was carrying 239 people, of whom 154 were from China, Beijing has deployed tremendous resources, including 21 satellites and more than a dozen ships, while its planes have flown numerous sorties on search and rescue missions.

Chinese officials have said that "as long as there is a glimmer of hope", they will continue their efforts.

China's opening up 35 years ago has resulted in Chinese now travelling all over the world to work, to look for business opportunities or simply to sightsee. Inevitably, this has exposed them to danger and the Chinese government has now assumed the formidable task of protecting its citizens and looking after their interests.

Three years ago, during the Libya crisis, China successfully evacuated 36,000 of its nationals from the country in a smooth operation conducted with military precision.

More often, however, the government is called upon to help individuals in danger. Last week, for example, a 29-year-old woman from Shanghai, Gao Huayun, was kidnapped along with a hotel employee in a seemingly peaceful scuba diving resort in Sabah, reportedly by Philippine gunmen.

According to the Chinese foreign ministry, its consulate general in Kuching "immediately activated the emergency response mechanism, sent staff to the scene and asked local police to go all out for rescue while ensuring the safety of the Chinese citizen and take effective measures to protect Chinese tourists there".

The effort to protect Chinese around the world has also extended to ensuring that the remains of some of those who died abroad are returned home, like falling leaves returning to the roots of a tree, as the Chinese saying goes.

Last month, the remains of 437 Chinese soldiers killed during the Korean war were returned by South Korea to China, more than 60 years after the war ended. The remains were escorted to Shenyang by a guard of honour and each casket was draped with the Chinese flag.

This is very much in line with the American practice of seeking out and returning remains of soldiers killed in wars overseas.

In safeguarding the interests of Chinese citizens around the world, China is behaving like a responsible superpower. Next, it needs to protect the rights of all individuals within the country, which of course is even more important.

Frank Ching is a Hong Kong-based writer and commentator. frank.ching@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FrankChing1

Share

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive
 
 

 

12

This article is now closed to comments

jiawang@adb.org
"Kidnappers demand US$11.2 million for return of Chinese tourist snatched in Malaysia"
pslhk
The sight seems to have cleared up a bit
probably some kind of phacoemulsification
or, as they put it, money opens ghosts’ eyes
-
but the mind is still muddled
to conceive the Chinese repatriation of the bodies of dead soldiers
as “very much in line with the American practice”
-
I can assure you that the ways
people in the barely 200 odd years old USA
eat, sit, sleep, s…, etc
are very much in line with Chinese practice
-
Learn to respect the dignity of Korean and Chinese parties
in the solemnity of the occasion that revived tragic memories
-
How can any one write clear analyses
with such a Hollywood template in the coconut?
chaz_hen
Yeah, but your PRC is only 64 yrs old now isn't it?
pslhk
Thanks, Chaz-hen
-
Repatriation of bodies of war dead
so deeply human a practice
is historical and universal
with myriad significance
say, the morphology of habeas corpus
much used in english propaganda
or Yoshitaka Shindo’s attempt
to make repatriation of WW2 dead
a “state responsibility”
the Japanese “effort is to strengthen diplomatic ties with other nations”
an “initiative” to “improve our relations and face up to China together”
-
IMHO, one must be shallow and ignorant of the Korean War history
to see that the repatriation of Chinese war dead from Korea
“is in line with American practice”
chaz_hen
Why only now has this noble tradition become imperative for the CCP? Why not 10 years ago? 20? Even 50?
A propaganda ploy by Mr Xi to further bolster his military "cred" and show the CMC boys that he runs the show as well as preparing the privates and line grunts that when they die for the glory of the motherland over some little rocks in the West Philippines Sea, that their bodies will go home to mom and dad in Changsha?
Were all previous CCP supremos so unpatriotic, weak and indifferent to those fodder Mao used in his 30% of mistakes, that they would have just preferred to forget the Chinese boys that died in a foreign land?
Maybe there should be discussion of these questions amongst the general population? But I suppose it would be suppressed and censored by the guardians of the net and media....
dunndavid
Great insights here!. China looks after its 100 or so citizens who died so publicly and mysteriously in the Indian Ocean, whereas China completely mucks up it's environment allowing MILLIONS to die every year due to the consequences of pollution. Just to look at air pollution alone 1.5 Million are said to die of the consequences of air pollution. The vast majority of these deaths are avoidable if China would just implement the same anti-pollution measures in use in all of the industrial OECD countries. Latest analysis by the British Medical Journal shows that China's bad air in Beijing alone will reduce young people lives by 15 years, and Beijing is not even one of the top 10 most polluted cities in China. Some super power looking out for its citizens.
TigerJ
You find a better way to pull 500 million people out of poverty, without any impact on the environment, and we are all ears... Otherwise, you are just repeating the same old lines.
dead2k1
That's the same old line if I've heard one.......all is fair for progress. Anything that would slow down progress like respecting people's right to health or even life should be put on hold for the elusive greater good...
raymondspchu
The hens and **** of the world, when enjoying tacitly the advantage of a stronger motherland China, take every opportunity to defame and undermine it. Shame!
XYZ
In the matter of MH370, I wouldn't say China is acting like a superpower, because it isn't, but I would say that it is acting like a responsible country, and that is to be welcomed.

Pages

 
 
 
 
 

Login

SCMP.com Account

or