Excerpted from Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: The difference between Iran and China (go read the whole post):
Beyond their horrendous record of human rights abuses and a complete suppression of democracy, China has weapons of mass destruction - lots and lots of them. And they routinely threaten their neighbors, particularly a free and democratic Taiwan, one of our closest allies. This is the kind of thing they have been saying for years:The Taiwan leaders have before them two roads: one is to pull back immediately from their dangerous lurch towards independence ... The other is to keep following their separatist agenda to cut Taiwan from the rest of China, and in the end, meet their own destruction by playing with fire....So what accounts for the fundamentally different treatment we give to China and Iran -- two countries which themselves have a fairly close relationship, tolerate little dissent, offer little democratic freedom or liberty to their citizens, and issue threats of militarism and aggression against some of their neighbors? If anything, one could make a quite reasonable argument that an Iranian citizen has more liberty and more democratic participation in their government than does a Chinese citizen -- supposedly one of the primary, if not the primary, criteria for how we measure the threat-level posed by another country.
So why are we heaping praise on China and developing increasingly productive relations with them, while threatening Iran with invasion and even preemptive nuclear attack? One obvious answer -- that China has nuclear weapons and Iran does not -- surely cannot be the explanation, since to embrace that framework is to send the most dangerous and counterproductive message possible to the nations of the world: obtain nuclear weapons and we will treat you with great respect and civility; fail to obtain such weapons and we will threaten you with invasion and attack you at will.
UPDATE: There's more:
Usually watching CNN with one eye as we blog from our undisclosed location doesn't give us much new fodder, except for the occasional "stuck landing gear" crisis. But today we are aghast at the coverage of Chinese President Hu Jintao at the White House.
At an outdoor ceremony, Bush told Hu:
China has become successful because the Chinese people are experience the freedom to buy, and to sell, and to produce -- and China can grow even more successful by allowing the Chinese people the freedom to assemble, to speak freely, and to worship.
Seconds later, one of the people assembled on the White House south lawn actually tried to speak freely right here in America -- about both the lack of free speech and religious freedom in China.
That free-speaking woman was promptly hauled off and arrested:
She shouted in heavily accented English, "President Bush: Stop him from killing" and, "President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong."
Bush, standing next to Hu, leaned over and whispered a comment to the Chinese leader, who paused briefly when the shouting began and then resumed his remarks.
The protester was waving a banner with the red and yellow colors used by Falun Gong, a banned religious movement in China. She kept shouting for several minutes before Secret Service uniformed agents were able to make their way to her position at the top of the camera stand. They dragged her off the stand.