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China: No interference in Syria's internal affairs

By Zhong Sheng (People's Daily)

16:14, October 13, 2011

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

China and Russia vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria on Oct. 5, which immediately sparked heated discussion among media at home and abroad. Some media outlets praised China for its sense of justice, while some doubted the necessity of supporting a country far away. Some people believe that China has taken a step forward in the right direction and made its stance clear by vetoing the Security Council resolution.

The decision to veto a resolution is never easy to make. The Charter of the United Nations grants the five permanent Security Council member states a veto power, which is not just a privilege but also a heavy responsibility. Since the People's Republic of China was restored to its rightful seat in the United Nations in 1971, it has used the veto power only seven times, fewer than any other permanent member of the Security Council, which fully demonstrates China's prudence and restraint toward the power. China vetoed the resolution on Syria not because of impulse but because of its adherence to justice and serious considerations of the present situation.

First, China upholds the U.N. Charter and the principle of non-interference in other countries' internal affairs. The charter established the principles of sovereign equality, dispute settlement through peaceful means, and no threat or use of armed force except in self-defense, which have become the basic norms governing international relations after the end of the Second World War. The first duty of the Security Council is to maintain world and regional peace and stability.

In other words, the council may not intervene unless a country's situation threatens world and regional peace and stability. The Syria issue is in essence a matter of the country's internal affairs, and should be resolved by the Syrian people themselves through dialogue and other means. Both Syria and Libya used to suffer heavily from colonization, and both the governments and opposition groups of the two countries are opposed to foreign intervention and occupation.

For the same reason, the United Kingdom and the United States themselves bear primary responsibility for maintaining public order and social stability after the London riots and the "Occupy Wall Street" protests occurred. The principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states is not outdated, and still has great guiding significance.

The second is to preserve peace and stability in the Middle East. Located in a strategically important area in the Middle East, Syria is adjacent to Iraq in the east, to Israel and Lebanon in the west, to Jordan in the south and Turkey in the north and serves as a hub in dealing with the complicated relations between Israel and countries such as Palestine, Lebanon and Iran.

Historically, Syria played significant roles in all Middle East wars, affecting the overall situation of the wars. Preserving peace and stability in Syria is in the interests of both the countries in the region and the international community. Currently, Syria needs no "the stick" or threats but tolerable political dialogues between the Syrian government and the opposition forces. The Syrian government should renounce the use of force, push forward reforms and seriously respond to public appeals. The opposition forces should also show the sincerity and courage to "stay at the table to negotiate." Arbitrarily resorting to sanctions or threatening with sanctions will not only fail to address the issue but they will likely lead to the deterioration of the situation.

The third is to oppose the imitation of the "pattern of Libya." In terms of the issue of Libya, Western countries have used force to overthrow the Libyan regime under the cover of protecting civilians by establishing a "no-fly zone." The abstentions from the U.N. Security Council votes by countries including China, Russia, India and Brazil have failed to make Western countries protect Liberian civilians like they promised but rather brought about more civilian casualties and greater humanitarian disasters.

NATO's bombing campaign has destroyed not only Libya's military facilities but also the international community's trust in Western countries. Then, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said that it is necessary to think about not only the "responsibility to protect" but also the "responsibility in the protection." When considering the U.N. resolution on the sanctions against Syria, people cannot help thinking over whether this will simply copy the "pattern of Libya." Will the West's next move be the use of force against Syria under the cover of the "responsibility to protect?" Is the U.N. Security Council a tool of world powers or a peacekeeper? This series of questions are worth pondering carefully.

A plough made of a sword and a pistol with a curled barrel are the two statues standing in front of the United Nations Building. They are reminding people that peace is always the most valuable thing. It is 21st century now, and every country should show a little more tolerance, a little less censure, a little more cooperation and a little less confrontation while dealing with its relations with other countries.

The Cold War mentality of easily using sanctions on others or even using military force to threat others is already unpopular and goes against the current mainstream of pursuing peace, seeking development and promoting cooperation. Solving disputes and divergence by dialogues and negotiations and respecting the development road independently chosen by the people of a country and respecting other people's right to solve their domestic problems independently are rational choices. Calling for more countries to return to this rationality is the significance of this veto used by China.


Leave your comment4 comments

  1. Name

Huaren at 2011-10-27220.255.1.*
Libya, Syria, Myanmar, N Korea... are but side shows of Western agendas. China is the real target. With organisations like the BBC, Fox etc continually trying their best to distablise China and interferring with China's internal affairs and other Western players with their awards and prizes (e.g. Nobel peace prize, etc, China must never lower her guard. Most importantly, China must never be shy to state that she needs a super capable PLA to defend her integrity. (The west seem only to respect power.) Parts of China like Taiwan and Tibet are always temptations for the west to stir up / instigate or even to covertly organise 'protests' to provide them with opportunities to íntervene' in China. Be alert. To have peace, please prepare for war.
kennethchew at 2011-10-14203.127.232.*
I fully agreed to what the editor wrote. The West has its own agenda as always. Syria must quickly implement reforms to better benefit all its citizens otherwise the West will find other excuses to interfere/invade by devious means the soverignty of Syria.KC.
Canada at 2011-10-1470.36.49.*
I agree completely. The responsibility to protect doctrine peddled by the right and the misguided left is a smokescreen for regime change, installation of a Western puppet government, military occupation, and in Libya’s case, control of Libya’s oil, gas and gold. The people voting in favour of military intervention either don’t understand, or don’t care, about the utter destruction bombs raining down on a country cause, the depleted uranium left behind causing thousands of cancer related deaths, and horrible birth defects, the psychological terrorizing of the population, the large numbers of civilian deaths, and the large number of people maimed for life. If the bombs were raining down on the U.S., Britain, France or Canada, no one would vote in favour of war. Western leaders pursuit of war for the purposes of world hegemony is criminal, arrogant, undemocratic, and makes a mockery of their professed freedom of belief.
wende at 2011-10-1371.125.80.*
China can gain much prestige if China can bring the protagonists to the table.

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