News / Asia

China Tries to Remain on Syria Crisis Sidelines

A father comforts his son who has just undergone surgery for a bullet wound in his left shoulder in Maraat al Numan, Syria, November 18, 2012.
A father comforts his son who has just undergone surgery for a bullet wound in his left shoulder in Maraat al Numan, Syria, November 18, 2012.
Shannon Sant
China and Russia have been heavily criticized for their refusal to support United Nations sanctions against the Syrian government. Now that some Western countries have begun officially supporting the Syrian opposition, pressure is building on Chinese officials to get involved.
 
Fighting continued to rage in Syria this week as Britain joined France in recognizing a newly formed opposition bloc of Syrian rebels.  Other countries including the United States have not recognized the group, but have repeatedly called for sanctions against Syrian President Bashir al-Assad's government.

Despite mounting pressure for China to help push for Assad's overthrow, Beijing's position remains unchanged.
 
When asked about Britain’s support for the Syrian opposition, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Ying Chun said Beijing believes that political resolution is the only right way out for the Syrian issue.  She said any action by the international community should be conducive to ending all violence, promoting the political resolution process of the Syrian issue, and upholding peace and stability in the Middle East region.
 
China has twice vetoed U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for sanctions on the Assad government.  Some analysts say pressure on China to take a firm position on international crises like the situation in Syria will only grow as Beijing's global economic power and influence increases. 
 
“Holding a diplomatic position it had when it was a pretty small, developing economy, several decades ago, this seems rather strange," says Kerry Brown, Executive Director of the China Studies Center at the University of Sydney. "So I think it’s going to be forced to take positions on issues in the past it wanted to keep well away from.”
 
Familiar quandary

China faced a similar quandary in Libya on whether to support rebels there or the Chinese government’s longtime ally, Muammar Gadhafi.  Russia and China abstained from voting on a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing a NATO air campaign over Libya.  That resolution led to NATO intervention in the country and the toppling of Qaddafi’s regime.
 
China had large economic interests in Libya, with, according to Chinese media, $18 billion invested in construction projects.  Libya was also home to 35,000 Chinese migrant workers, whom China had to evacuate when war broke out.
 
China’s interests in Syria, however, are very different. 
 
“I think the thing ultimately is that in Syria Beijing is facing a lose lose situation," says Sarah Raine, a fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, "because on the one hand Beijing has no love for Assad, no major assets, resource-wise in the country, and not even a particularly sizable Chinese presence to worry about.”
 
Earlier this month China did put forward a four-point peace proposal for Syria, calling for a cease-fire and committee that will negotiate a political resolution to the conflict.  

Although some analysts say the plan is a step towards China becoming a responsible international stakeholder, others say the proposal does nothing to resolve the crisis.

Beijing may prefer to remain largely on the sidelines of the conflict for now, but Kerry Brown says its growing economic power means that China may have to take a larger diplomatic role.
 
“Can we see a world in which China will start to be involved in issues of governance and issues of delivery of humanitarian relief, and interventions in other areas that don’t directly effect it?" ponders Brown.  "Will we, the western powers in particular, the U.S., Europe and Australia, will we be happy to see that?  On the one hand they may be willing, but on the other hand will we say this is China becoming too prominent?” 
 
With the bloodshed in Syria continuing, international pressure is expected to increase on China to support Syria’s rebels.   Members of the Friends of Syria group, which supports the Syrian opposition, meet in Tokyo on November 30.

You May Like

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Anonymous
November 25, 2012 1:28 PM
Once the war is over. I hope the people of Syria cut all business ties with China for their lack of ending this Assad civillian killer.

In Response

by: zhang nan from: wuhan
November 26, 2012 12:10 AM
i hope Syrian people win the war against Bashar al-Assad dictatorship regime which is brutal and evil.dictator and dictatorship system all over the world should be killed !
Allah bless Syrian people!


by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
November 24, 2012 12:53 PM
funny, since when Gadhafi became long time ally of China? Its Gadhafi who has close relation with Taiwan and was warned many times by China. Also it was Gadhafi called China neo-imperialism in Africa.
Yes China has business in Libya but only business, clearly nothing more, like China has business everywhere around the world, does that mean China has allies all around the world?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid