Source: Global Times
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern File photo: Xinhua
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Tuesday that her government has raised concerns with Chinese authorities over the cartoon posted by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson on his personal Twitter account.
Ardern said it was “an unfactual post” and the cartoon was “not factually correct.” However, the satirical cartoon was illustrated based on the inquiry report released by the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force.
Australia has been criticized domestically and internationally due to its elite troops’ murder of 39 innocent Afghans during the Afghan war. The consecutive moves of Canberra and Wellington to describe the cartoon as “false” or “unfactual” are actually trying to shift people’s attention away from Australian troops’ brutality against Afghan civilians.
Ironic absurdist cartoons are very common in the West, which claims to protect the freedom of speech with unfettered publishing and creativity. The actual scene represented by the satirical cartoon was much crueler than what people can see from the illustration.
Given the exceptionally close relations between Canberra and Wellington, it is quite normal that New Zealand has expressed concerns over this incident. If Kiwis hadn’t voiced support for Aussies, that would be some news.
New Zealand has emphasized that it is an independent country with independent foreign policies. But based on history and the current relationship between Canberra and Wellington, the latter still needs the former in many affairs in the South Pacific and surrounding regions. Therefore, if Kiwis don’t do something in time to show their solidarity with Aussies, then New Zealand-Australia relations might be affected – and this is not favorable to Wellington. From this perspective, Ardern’s statement has nothing to do with being wise or unwise; it is something she has to say.
As New Zealand has generally maintained a sound relationship with China, its government didn’t use very harsh words against China but has “registered” concerns with Chinese authorities directly. On the whole, Ardern’s statement was restrained, having taken into account the overall situation of New Zealand-China relations.
Nonetheless, by saying “we will stick to our independent foreign policy, but that doesn’t stop us observing what is happening with others,” Ardern has demonstrated that New Zealand will not stop playing double standard tricks the West uses so often. This is also part of the so-called Western values — the freedom to be hypocrites. As a member of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance, New Zealand has to stick to such values.
The satirical cartoon created by Wuheqilin was based on information released following an Australian defense department’s inquiry into Australia’s special forces in Afghanistan. BBC covered the report after it was unveiled, and even claimed “elite troops killed Afghan civilians” in its headline. But after Zhao’s tweet, BBC called the artwork a “fake image.”
The self-contradictory behavior reflects the mentality of Western media and politicians – they do not accept the idea that other races are on equal footing with them. They believe that the West must always be in an advantageous status and position. In this case, the West must grasp total control over the discourse of power.
This is a long-term double standard of Western politicians and Western media outlets. When it comes to things that are unfavorable to the Western countries, they either remain silent, or completely reverse their rhetoric, so as to defend themselves. This has been the old trick used by Western media outlets. And they are convinced that they have the right to speak with whatever is held in their own hands.
Quite a few Westerners are living in their own world. They believe that people from other parts of the globe are merely bystanders. They feel uncomfortable when bystanders ask them to do certain things. They will not consider whether such a demand is reasonable or not. They may admit their mistakes on their own, but they won’t allow others to point out their mistakes.
They will always stick to such attitudes of superiority, even if the West is declining with decreasing influence.
However, those Westerners need wake up to the fact that developing countries, represented by China, can no longer tolerate their double standards, remain silent or do nothing. The West should take the latest incident as an alarm bell – when they smear other countries with baseless accusations, why can’t other countries criticize the West or make well-intentioned suggestions for their misdeeds?
The article is compiled by Global Times reporter Xu Hailin based on an interview with Wang Shiming, professor with School of Advanced International and Area Studies of East China Normal University. [email protected]