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Lip Service

posted Dec 15, 2013, 6:55 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Dec 15, 2013, 7:02 PM ]
By the Economist (December 7, 2013)

Lip Service: China seems to be winning its arguments with the West over Tibet and human rights

HYPOCRISY does not make you wrong, but it hands your critics a convenient weapon. When David Cameron, Britain’s prime minister, visited Sri Lanka for the recent Commonwealth summit, he was right to insist loudly and publicly on the need for a proper investigation into the carnage at the end of its civil war in 2009. But this week, on his next trip to Asia, that robust riling of his hosts laid him open to charges of double standards, as he indulged in three days of conciliatory schmoozing in China.

Neither Sri Lanka’s nor China’s government would be surprised that the passion for truth and justice aired so volubly in Colombo was buried far deeper in Mr Cameron’s luggage in Beijing. Neither accepts that Western “meddling” in their internal affairs on issues such as human rights flows from a genuine belief in universal principles. Rather, they see it as a self-serving diplomatic optional extra, to be discarded as soon as it jeopardises other interests. And China, unlike Sri Lanka, is powerful enough to make Western leaders hold their tongues.

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