Euro­pean Par­lia­ment should stop point­ing ac­cus­ing fin­ger at China

Global Times US Edition - - FORUM - By Mao Xiao­hong Page Ed­i­tor: li­[email protected]­al­

The new Euro­pean Par­lia­ment paid ex­ces­sive at­ten­tion to Hong Kong in its first de­bate on Thurs­day morn­ing and passed a motion sup­port­ing the on­go­ing protests in the city. This is in­ter­fer­ence in China’s do­mes­tic af­fairs. The Chi­nese For­eign Min­istry slammed the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment for turn­ing a blind eye to facts and for con­fus­ing right and wrong. It is as­ton­ish­ing that mem­bers of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment (MEPS) are so ar­ro­gant and ig­no­rant to make in­dis­creet re­marks about China’s pol­icy.

It’s no ac­ci­dent that the new Euro­pean Par­lia­ment passed the motion.

First, it is in­flu­enced by Europe’s long-term cul­tural colo­nial­ism and cul­tural im­pe­ri­al­ism. Europe al­ways at­taches great im­por­tance to the so-called hu­man rights is­sue, and it is used to point­ing fin­gers at is­sues in other re­gions with a con­de­scend­ing at­ti­tude. Take the Hong Kong is­sue as an ex­am­ple. In fact, many MEPS have never been to the city be­fore. They don’t know much about the sit­u­a­tion in Hong Kong, let alone have an in­sight into it.

Sec­ond, there have been new changes in the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate of Europe over the past two years, as shown by the Euro­pean Green Party’s (EGP) rise in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions in May this year. The EGP doesn’t just fo­cus on cli­mate and en­vi­ron­men­tal protection. It used to express public sup­port for sep­a­ratist forces in China’s Tibet Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion and called for the boy­cott of Bei­jing Olympic Games in 2008. It’s very likely that this motion was able to pass due to the EGP’S in­cite­ment. Tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal elites in Europe are in­creas­ingly vig­i­lant against China and they define the coun­try as a sys­temic ri­val. In­flu­enced by th­ese fac­tors, po­lit­i­cal forces in Europe tend to con­tin­u­ously stir up troubles on China-re­lated is­sues.

Third, with the pro­lif­er­a­tion of pop­ulism and the rapid de­vel­op­ment of so­cial me­dia, Europe has en­tered a post­truth era. This gives some rad­i­cal politi­cians the op­por­tu­nity to use the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia to express extreme po­lit­i­cal views in or­der to at­tract at­ten­tion and gain sup­port. Th­ese peo­ple have deep ide­o­log­i­cal prej­u­dices against China. Although there are only a small num­ber of th­ese peo­ple in Europe, they have in­flu­enced quite a few Euro­peans.

Fi­nally, the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment is try­ing to di­vert public at­ten­tion with non-euro­pean is­sues. It also wants to show­case its own in­ter­na­tional po­lit­i­cal influence in an at­tempt to val­i­date its sig­nif­i­cance. The EU is fac­ing un­prece­dented chal­lenges. Brexit has run into a dilemma, and it is not yet known what kind of im­pact it will have on the bloc. Con­fronted with pop­ulism and the rise of right-wing forces, the EU has not been able to re­spond ef­fec­tively. Ter­ror­ist at­tacks, refugee crises and debt crises have emerged one af­ter another, leaving the bloc busy with its own problems while wors­en­ing con­tra­dic­tions within the EU. Dur­ing the first meet­ing of the new Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, when MEPS pointed fin­gers at Hong Kong, they avoided in­ter­nal bick­er­ing.

Ur­sula von der Leyen, the new pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, does not have out­stand­ing achieve­ments. For a long pe­riod of time be­fore she was elected, marathon talks among EU lead­ers in Brussels have failed more than once to reach agree­ment on a can­di­date to re­place for­mer Euro­pean Com­mis­sion pres­i­dent Jean-claude Juncker. The in­ef­fi­ciency of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment is for all to see.

The Euro­pean Par­lia­ment should mind its own busi­ness and re­spond to the real con­cerns of Euro­peans. The au­thor is a vice direc­tor at the in­sti­tute of Sino-ger­man Peo­ple-to-peo­ple Ex­change Cen­ter, Shang­hai In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies Uni­ver­sity. opin­[email protected]­al­

Il­lus­tra­tion: Liu RUI/GT

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