U.N. Official Honors Chinese Military Leader of 1989 Tiananmen Crackdown
Posted by Author on November 1, 2010
By JOE LAURIA, Via Wall Street Journal, Nov. 1, 2010 –
A United Nations official who has courted controversy in the past has presented an award to the military leader of the 1989 crackdown on Tiananmen Square protests ahead of an official visit to China by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Sha Zukang, a Chinese national who is U.N. Undersecretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, gave the award last week to Gen. Chi Haotian, a former Chinese defense minister. Gen. Chi was chief of staff of the People’s Liberation Army when he ordered the attack on the pro-democracy demonstrators.
U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said the secretary-general’s office first heard about the award presentation late last week in a report on the Internet. “I don’t think I have any further comment for now on that story,” he said. The award was given by a group called the World Harmony Foundation for what it said was Gen. Chi’s contribution to improving relations between China and the world, the China News Service reported.
Mr. Sha has a reputation for being somewhat of a loose canon. In September, he delivered blunt remarks to Mr. Ban during a retreat for senior U.N. officials, according to some of those officials who were present.
“I know you never liked me, Mr. Secretary-General,” Mr. Sha was quoted as saying. “Well, I never liked you either,” he said. He also said he didn’t like Americans. Mr. Sha also shouted from the podium of a 2009 U.N. conference that he chaired in Sharm El Sheikh. “I know I’m offending everyone, which I do not care,” he yelled.
Mr. Ban is on a four-day official visit to China and met with President Hu Jintao on Monday. The secretary-general has courted some controversy of his own by declining to bring up the case of Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Chinese dissident who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last month.
“The secretary-general did not raise the question of human rights in his discussions with President Hu,” Mr. Nesirky told reporters. Asked why he hadn’t, Mr. Nesirky pointed to a U.N. statement released when the Nobel Prize was awarded, in which Mr. Ban avoided criticism of China.
In the statement, he said, “China has achieved remarkable economic advances, lifted millions out of poverty, broadened political participation and steadily joined the international mainstream in its adherence to recognized human rights instruments and practices.” He said he hoped that “any differences on this decision will not detract from advancement of the human rights agenda globally or the high prestige and inspirational power of the award.”
Human Rights Watch said before Mr. Ban’s visit to China that he should speak out in defense of Mr. Liu and human rights.
The secretary-general is facing re-election for a second five-year term at the end of 2011. China is one of five permanent Security Council members that can veto a second term.
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This entry was posted on November 1, 2010 at 9:30 pm and is filed under China, Human Rights, military, News, Official, People, Politics, Social, World. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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