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China’s Syrian Folly

NOTTINGHAM – In vetoing the United Nations Security Council’s draft resolution on Syria, China claims that it has acted in the interests of the Syrian people, a position articulated in the People’s Daily, the newspaper of the Communist Party’s Central Committee, in a commentary appearing under the penname Zhong Sheng. The characters for “Zhong Sheng” mean the sound of a bell, but they are phonetically the same as “the voice of China.” The word play was no accident: the voice of China on this issue is as clear as a bell.

The commentary’s main points are that it is wrong for the great powers to use the UN as an instrument of regime change in Syria, and it is better for the country’s multi-faceted and highly complex problems to be resolved by political means and internal negotiations. If China (and Russia) had not used their veto, a re-run of Libya would have occurred, with European powers, supported by the United States, going beyond the UN mandate and using local “rebels” to oust Syria’s government.