Governments the world over wasted no time condemning Myanmar's junta for sentencing democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to a further 18 months of house arrest. The politicised nature of the trial, and the lack of transparency and fairness in the way it was conducted, was obvious. A trumped-up case had been made to ensure that the Nobel Peace Prize winner would be unable to play a part in elections next year. But not China. A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said the international community should respect Myanmar's judicial sovereignty - a standard response that in this case flies in the face of global sentiment, the facts of the 'trial', and China's own national interests. China is Myanmar's staunchest ally and biggest trading partner. A UN Security Council resolution opposing the junta's actions and calling for the release of Ms Suu Kyi and more than 2,000 other political prisoners was held up by China, Vietnam and other authoritarian members. But the matter is not one of interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign country, as Beijing claims; the selfish, power-hungry military dictatorship there have created an ever-worsening social and humanitarian disaster by denying the country's people the most basic rights. More than one million Myanmese have fled the country. They have been persecuted for ethnic, political and religious reasons. Poverty, hunger and disease are widespread. The country is ruled by fear. Defending such an indefensible regime, and its unjust justice system, tars China's image, even as its growing economic might gives it an increasingly prominent place on the international stage. Beijing's leaders are eager that their voices be heard and the nation's role expanded. They want to be treated as an equal partner. Beijing's backing of the junta undermines its desire to be taken as a responsible global player. International standards and expectations have been made plain by the UN's conventions and treaties. China could and should join the world in condemning this egregious miscarriage of justice and making clear that it stands with the global community.