Recently two high profile international events took place which created two very different responses from other nations. These responses provide an interesting glimpse into China’s unique status in the world today.
Jamal bin Ahmad Khashoggi was a Saudi Arabian journalist, author, and a former general manager and editor-in-chief of Al-Arab News Channel. He was also a critic of some aspects of the Saudi leadership. Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October 2018, but did not leave the building. After many theories and statements which were all followed and largely dismissed by the press, on 25 October, Saudi Arabia's attorney general stated that the murder was premeditated. (Wikipedia)
Meng Hongwei is a Chinese politician who was the president of Interpol in France from 2016 to 2018. Almost at the same time as Mr Khashoggi’s death took place, Mr Meng went missing after traveling to China. A full week after his disappearance China said Meng had been detained and was being investigated over bribery allegations. That same day Interpol also said it had received and accepted Meng’s resignation, with no further details. Meng’s wife, Grace, told the BBC that she was “not sure he’s alive.” She added that she had also been threatened on the phone by Chinese sources.
The difference in these two unusual events is that Mr Khashoggi’s murder caused banner headlines in newspapers day after day. However after a brief burst of information which was largely focused on his wife because he had disappeared and was nowhere to be found in China, Mr Meng’s case simply was dropped by the media - even though his wife said he might not be alive.
"It's the Chinese Communist Party really showing both China and the world that it sees its rules as dominant. There's no sense they have to explain themselves or their decisions to anyone outside the system.” (Isaac Stone Fish, senior fellow at the Asia Society's Center on US-China Relations.)
China felt no need to inform Interpol, which is the highest level of international accredited police organisations, that it had arrested Mr Meng, or indeed what it has done with him. Normal protocol would suggest some form of communication concerning a very highly placed international official.
But of more concern is the reaction of other countries to China’s action. Russia, the USA, Britain, France and many other nations weighed in on Mr Khashoggi’s case, some even cancelling their participation at a hugely important summit hosted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman to promote his reform agenda. But almost none of these countries had any significant statement concerning Mr Meng.
If indeed China has “no sense they have to explain themselves or their decisions to anyone outside the system”, is that not because other nations, since they want involvement in China’s “One Belt One Road” project, or other financial help from China, simply do not want to offend her? It is hard to blame China for taking advantage of the opportunity to see “its rules as dominant”. It is the fault of other nations, revealing a deep sickness in their values.
Pray for Meng Hongwei and his family (assuming he is still alive) that God would use this pressure to bring them to Jesus. Pray also for Mr Khashoggi’s family and his fiancée.
Pray for God’s sovereignty over China and its leadership in this unusual period of their history.
Pray for the nations outside of “The Middle Kingdom” that they would look first at themselves and then to China to review their values and their morality.
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