Thursday, February 01, 2007

China's President Visits Liberia

Today thousands of people lined the streets to welcome China’s President Hu Jintao to Liberia. There was not one protestor in sight, though my activist self had considered holding up a sign asking Hu to end human rights abuses in Tibet and free the Panchen Lama.

Despite the heat, the energy was high and the celebrations were genuine: President Hu’s visit was seen as yet another sign that Liberia is becoming a respectable nation once more, after 25 years of murder and mayhem.

From the comments overheard, it sounded like people were most impressed that Hu is President of the most populated nation on earth. I, for one, was happy for the promise of new schools and hospitals, and the cancellation of Liberia’s $10 million dollar debt. But I was also stunned by how easily we shift alliances. During Charles Taylor’s days we danced for Taiwan, who helped us when no one else would. But when the Chinese came bearing bigger gifts, Liberians simply turned to them with a wider grin and a more frenzied dance.

I hope it wasn’t actually that easy. I like to imagine that choosing to support the One-China Policy was an act done with gritted teeth for the good of the Liberian people who have absolutely no clue about China’s darker side.

I wonder what Liberians would do if they did know the facts. But I already know the answer: most of us would dance just the same.


Kamina said...

I found your blog today while cruising the web. My husband and I are starting the process to adopt from Liberia. I wanted to let you know that your posts will be so helpful to me!

Anonymous said...

I am a Liberian living in CA. I've found your blog very interesting and I think our leaders should also consider who we (they on our behave) establish friendship with and those people motive of wanting to partake in this relationship. With the comment about the Liberian citizens, I really don't hold them responsible for dancing for the Chinese President because majority of us (Liberian in Liberia) can't read or write and can't even follow the media to understand the things that are emerging daily.

Anonymous said...

Yes we should be careful who we estalish a relationship with.