In the hand of China

Off the fence
Is Ireland and the world in China’s hand?

Off the fence
Anton McNulty

WHEN the Dalai Lama visited Ireland last April for the first time in 20 years the public could not get enough of him with his messages of forgiveness and tolerance to others. Crowds flocked to wherever the exiled Tibetan leader spoke and he greeted the Irish people by being ‘happy to be here once more’ and that he always ‘felt a connection with Ireland’.
The reason the Dalai Lama has been unable to return to his home in Tibet since 1959 is because of a failed uprising against Chinese rule which led to a crack-down on the Dalai Lama’s supporters by the Chinese regime.
China has been heavily cricitised for human rights abuses in Tibet which brought thousands onto the streets of London four years ago when the Olympic flame was on its world tour before the Beiiing games.
What the Dalai Lama now makes of his connection with Ireland after last week’s three day visit of the Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinpings visit to the country. The government pulled out all the stops to ensure the visit past off without a hitch and words like ‘Human Rights’ and ‘Tibet’ were an after thought to ensure we did not make the Vice-President uneasy.
What the business community and the government wanted was nice cuddly images of the VP patting new born calves on the head and hitting a sliotar around Croke Park. Mr Xi mustn’t be fond of the black stuff because it is a wonder he wasn’t pictured pulling a pint behind some bar.
When the country is on its needs we need all the help we can get and if that means fawning at the feet of a country which has one of the worst human rights abusers then so be it. Money Talks and if we want Chinese money we will have to keep schtum whether we like it or not.
With the American economy still on shaky ground and Obama urging awards for US companies to keep their jobs at home, Ireland has to look at new markets and where they are looking now is the east. But is it morally right to see nothing wrong with signing trade agreements with a country like China because it waves some cash in our faces.
There is no doubt that China is the new power broker in world affairs and after abandoning communism they have taken to capitalism like a duck to water.
Working conditions are so poor in some factories which manufacture components for i-phones and i-pads that anti-suicide nets have been erected to stop workers from jumping to their deaths.
China has already stolen a march on Europe and the US in terms of expanding economic ties with several African countries to meet its growing demand for natural resources while in Australia they are developing their own mining operations. One of Nostradamus’ prophecy is supposed to have said that ‘the yellow race will inherit the earth’. The way things are going he may be right.