Along with and her cabinet members, German Chancellor Angela Merkel appears to be filling a void left by the Obama administration in speaking frankly to China on environmental and human rights issues. Apparently being somewhat less in debt to China, or, perhaps, possessing the postwar German penchant for speaking truth to power, adds to the conservative democrat’s ability to do speak with a moral voice.
Without speculating that Germany is simply nervous about losing its status as the top global exporter to China, two stories from Berlin argue for moral strength:
1.Environment Minister Condemns US and China, and
2. Merkel Slams China for Jailing Dissident
In the meantime, Danwei.org provides some essential reading from the British press about the Chinese role in sabotaging the Copenhagen negotiations, via John Kennedy at the Global Voices Online.
I should add that Liu Xiaobo has been a favorite in the German press for many years now and a fixture on the Beijing circuit for German reporters. I recall in particular in spring 2008, during the Tibetan uprising/aufstand, that Liu commented extensively on the events via an interview with Der Spiegel, the unparalleled Hamburg weekly newsmagazine. Perhaps if the Tibetans and the human rights activists paint themselves as advocates of a solidly green future, all the movements which appeal so heavily to the German consciousness could be tapped.
In closing, a few images from Tibet from the first German exhibition to that plateau in 1938-1939. Yes, this book was published under the auspices of the SS, but the text isn’t, to my brief reading this afternoon, terribly ideological. And perhaps all that really is going to matter in the end is, how much snow has left these peaks in the past 70 years? If you want to know how many Europeans were left in Tibet in 1950, you can get that original Chinese data translated into English on your behalf on this blog, or you can get your tuckus over to the Foreign Ministry Archives in Beijing with a couple of letters of introduction.
O Mensch! Gib acht!
Umweltfreudliche Bewegungen, unterstutzen wir mussen/ aus Haken oder Sorgen, die Zukunft uns da rufen/Streben alle nach Gluck, oder Freiheit/welch’ im schwölle Sacke Regierungen mit etwas schwache werfen hat//Sag’ mit anders, heldenhaft ist es doch über Liebe zu reden/lieber Linien, gelb, grün, die sussen Atmen von noch nichtgeborene Kinder zu riechen? oder im Daseins leben, jetzt, im peinliche Selbstbewußtseins, zwischen angriffenden Kohlewerke und die niederwaschende, hohstimmende, schwebeneaugenen, unglaubliche Masse.
O Mensch! Gib acht!