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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid