Attacks … and Western Cultural Insensitivity (Huanqiu, China)
It's quite a pickle for the Chinese government: While it staunchly opposes press freedom and political satire as a threat to 'stability', aka/the Communist Party, it also opposes terrorism, Islamist or otherwise, as a threat to the same. So how can the regime thread the needle on the terrorist attack on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo? This editorial from the state-run Huanqiu, while opposing all terrorist attacks and castigating the West for not doing the same when it comes to what Beijing considers terrorist attacks by ethnic Uyghurs and Tibetans, sees fault in the cultural insensitivity inherent in political satire - which is an attitude Beijing clearly shares with the perpetrators of these horrifying attacks.
Governments have almost unanimously condemned the bloody
terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris. However, in some non-Western
societies, particularly Islamic societies, the reactions may be far more
complex. Although we recognize that values are diverse, we believe that at this
moment, condemnation of this terrorist attack must be unconditional. Given such
a major issue of principal, any other choice would not be in keeping with the common
interests of humanity.
After past terrorist attacks in China, the Western public
has often shown a distinct lack of firmness. Even after China officially
determines their terrorist nature, Western mainstream media puts quotation
marks around the world "terrorist" when describing these bloody
assaults, saying that this is a "claim" of the Chinese government.
This tends to make Chinese people extremely angry. [This refers to Uyghurs, Tibetans
and other ethnic minorities Beijing is in a virtual cultural war against. Many in the West see Chinese policy as a form of
Conversely, now that the West has suffered a terrorist
attack, Chinese society has to make a choice: Should we behave like the West
with its "eye for an eye," or should we reject double standards and
resolutely join in the global condemnation? Mainstream Chinese society chooses the
latter, as we have done on each and every occasion before.
Eliminating terrorism depends on a high degree of solidarity
among the international community. After these sudden terrorist attacks on
Western society, public statements from the rest of the world are always the
same. However, when Russia and other countries are similarly attacked, Western
media are often evasive. We strongly hope that this firm attitude taken by
Russia and China has an impact on the West and curtails Western
use of terrorist attacks as a geopolitical lever to get us to "change."
From the perspective of the east, what Charlie Hebdo publishes is not completely
defendable. That some Muslims feel hurt by the cartoons is understandable. However,
that cannot be a justification for these terrorist attacks. The attacks on Charlie Hebdo
go beyond the civil boundaries of any society. If one surveys the world of terrorism,
all these attacks have their own "underlying causes," but out attitude
toward them should be unwavering: resolute confrontation and opposition.
Of course, countering and combating terrorism is about
strategy. We note that many Western leaders and mainstream media outlets have highlighted
their support for press freedom when commenting on the Charlie Hebdo attack. We think this is debatable.
Press freedom is part of the West's political and social
system and is one of the core values of Western society. But in the era of
globalization, when a contradiction emerges between Western practices and the
core values of other societies, the West should have awareness and show a
willingness to ease the conflict rather than heightening it in accordance with
its own values as if it were a zero-sum game.
Posted By Worldmeets.US
As the West holds an absolute advantage in the field of global
opinion, the Western/non-Western dialogue tends to follow Western dictates.
When non-Western societies have views that differ from the West, they have
almost no capacity to disseminate them to the world.
Western comics and literary works do indeed create friction
with the Islamic world and create a sense of harm in the latter. Even if the
West thinks it correct to uphold press freedom, respect for the feelings of
others should not be ignored. If the West considers globalization to be synonymous
with an absolute expansion of and victory for its own values, then it can
expect endless conflict.
All that being said, we in no way condone the terrorist
attacks in Paris, and we strongly oppose the use of violence to address cultural
contradictions. Terrorist attacks in all cases are inexcusable. However, the
rage felt against the Paris terrorist attacks need not necessarily be expressed
through support for the controversial cartoons. It is encouraging that mainstream
global opinion has come out in support of Paris. If the West could moderate its
reactions to these cultural divergences and take more account of the feelings
of the non-Western world, it would reap some dignified returns.