“Economically, we depend much more on China than they do on us,” French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said on Wednesday. “It is an essential partner for pretty much every country in the world.
“When you conduct foreign relations with countries as important as China, obviously when you take economic decisions, sometimes it’s at the expense of human rights,” he told France’s BFM television.
Reuters goes on to illustrate how the US’s housing crisis and slowing economy affects overall US-China relations:
The anti-government protests in Tibet come at a particularly delicate time, as Washington battles a credit crunch and a falling dollar, and looks to China to bail it out.
China has about $1.5 trillion of foreign exchange reserves, a large proportion of which are in dollar-denominated bonds. If China stopped buying, the dollar would likely fall sharply.
China’s new investment fund pumped $5 billion into Morgan Stanley in December after the U.S. investment bank posted $9.4 billion of losses in subprime mortgages and other assets.
Meanwhile, as Chinese state media has reported that 100 protesters have turned themselves in, the BBC looks to tell tale signs of the possibility that the protest is still spreading:
The news came as video emerged from nearby Gansu province showing Tibetans tear down a Chinese flag and replacing it with a Tibetan flag on Tuesday.
Hundreds of protesters can be seen on foot and horseback in the incident at a school near Hezuo, captured on camera by a Canadian film crew.
The demonstrators attempted to march on a government building before security forces used tear gas to stop them, reports from the scene said.
BBC correspondents have described seeing military convoys heading into Tibet from neighbouring regions.
On Wednesday, the BBC’s Dan Griffiths in western China reported seeing more than 400 military vehicles heading to Tibet, the largest he had seen so far.
Some were carrying soldiers armed with automatic rifles and bayonets, others held troops wearing helmets and riot shields.
An eyewitness has told the BBC there has been a military build-up in the city of Aba, which has seen large-scale protests in recent days. The witness said it was in a “curfew-like” situation.
In the opinion of your humble diarist, until we recognize as a society that our economic policy is interconnected with our foreign policy and our energy policy we will continue to undermine the ability of our government to stand up for those univeral human rights so eloquently stated in our Declaration of Independence. Every action has consequences, and unfettered, unregulated free markets and trade agreements that place the value of corporations over individuals may force us to find common cause with the strangest and more ethically challenged of bedfellows.
In other words, before we can play moral policeman to the world we need to get our own house in better order.
Please keep all sides of this conflict in your thoughts, prayers and meditations, and remember that sometimes big change abroad starts with small change at home.