Fresh off the triumph of their humiliation of President Obama during his Asian trip, this week the Chinese decided to stomp on America's Hat. I am, of course, referring to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's public dressing down of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper during their joint appearance in Beijing today. Wen apparently stunned diplomatic and media onlookers with his uncharacteristic (for him) rudeness toward the Canadian leader, who was making his first visit to China since taking office in 2006. The apparent source of Chinese unhappiness was a distinct failure by the barbarians to come calling at court in a timely fashion.
Perhaps more disturbing, but unsurprising, has been the reaction of Harper's political opposition and various other Canadian commentators. Rather than take umbrage at Wen's slight, they have attacked Harper for not doing enough to kowtow to Beijing for the past four years. Sheesh.
In other naughty panda news, the Washington Post reported today that a North Korean arms shipment bound for Iran that was seized in the UAE in July had spent some quality time in China. According to the Post:
The route chosen by North Korea to deliver the rocket components eventually seized by the UAE was hard to track. According to shipping records, the 10 large cargo containers left the North Korean port of Nampo on May 30 on a North Korean vessel, and two days later they were transferred to a Chinese ship in the port city of Dalian, in northern China.
From there, the containers were ferried to Shanghai, where on June 13 they were moved to a third ship, the ANL Australia, a Bahamian-flagged freighter owned by a French consortium. Spokesmen for the freighter's owner and operator say they received sealed cargo containers along with manifests that listed the contents as oil-well equipment.
By mid-June, the cargo had left Shanghai on the ANL Australia, which followed a meandering course through East and Southeast Asia, pausing in mid-July in Dubai, one of the world's largest seaports. Then it left on the final leg of its journey, to Shahid Rajai, on the shores of Iran's Strait of Hormuz.
So why, exactly, does the US need to spend so much time trying to explain to the Chinese that the Iranians and the North Koreans are up to no good? It seems pretty self-evident that the Chinese are fully aware of what is going on and either a) don't care; or b) find it useful to their own foreign policy objectives that the Iranians and North Koreans continue doing what they are doing.
And then there's this: the Financial Times has reported that the United Nations -- that incorruptible bastion of moral authority -- has suspended some Chinese projects from its
carbon trading Ponzi scheme Clean Development Mechanism for **gasp** cheating. The UN's CDM was established under the Kyoto protocol to allow developing countries to sell carbon credits to developed countries trying to lower their emissions totals. In return for millions of dollars paid in actual cash from the developed countries, China apparently was creating many of these "credits" by building a bunch of wind farms. The problem is that China was planning to build those wind farms anyway, so really wasn't doing anything additional to help lower the world's carbon output.
Since this "additionality" requirement was a key element of the whole CDM scheme, the UN was apparently forced to suspend at least 50 projects. Oopsie. And it apparently gets worse the more you look into it: Chinese climate scientists who helped design the system and who continue to work for the UN in managing it are also getting paid as consultants by applicants to the program. The Chinese are by far the largest recipients of the CDM's funds. According to an FT analysis, China has earned more than a billion dollars -- nearly half of the total issued by the CDM in the past five years -- from creating carbon credits to sell to rich industrial companies. What elevates this particular scandal above the usual banal UN waste, fraud and abuse boondoggles? That would be the embarrassing fact that this information has come out the same week that the world's climate poohbahs are gathering in Copenhagen to save the planet. Could it be that someone in the UN actually wanted to blow the whistle on China's actual behavior, as opposed to the "Green China" hype peddled by New York Times columnist/Obama BFF Tom Friedman?
Last week, when they announced their plan to reduce "carbon intensity" by 40-45 percent, the Chinese simultaneously demanded that developed countries commit from 0.5 to 1 percent of their annual gross domestic product to help poorer nations make reductions, presumably through such wealth transfer mechanisms as an expanded CDM. Does anyone know the Mandarin for "chutzpah"? Maybe Friedman can help them figure it out.