Amidst all the bluster and assertiveness coming from the Chinese Foreign Ministry these days, we sometime forget to appreciate their sense of humor. At least the unintentional kind.
It has become custom for some state and local officials to declare March 10 as “Tibet Day” to commemorate this important anniversary. This year was no exception, with proclamations or resolutions being approved by the Wisconsin State Assembly, the Governor of Wisconsin, and the Cities of St. Paul, Minneapolis and Portland, Ore. (there may be more – let us know).
But there’s nothing like a little exercise in home-town democracy and free speech to help a Chinese consular official justify his paycheck. Tibetan-American friends in each of these locations have reported that Chinese diplomats deployed swiftly to intervene in the internal affairs of each of these jurisdictions to insist that the “Tibet Day” declarations be shelved, citing harm to U.S.-China relations.
Here’s the punch line:
In a letter to one of these jurisdictions, Ping Huang, the Consul General based in Chicago, argued that “Tibet Day” constituted meddling in his country’s internal affairs:
“China is resolutely opposed to the interference in China’s internal affairs by any country in any form. As such, the passing [of the declaration] is quite unfortunate and unacceptable to the Chinese side.”
Not sure what the best aphorism is here. Do as we say, not as we do? Fight fire with fire (while opposing fire as a universal principle)? In any case, one figures that the Consul General is smart enough to recognize the hypocrisy in his appointed task. Maybe even humorous enough to laugh at it.
IMAGE: A copy of the Proclamation signed by the Mayor of Minneapolis declaring March 10, 2010 to be Tibet Day.