Western democracy is the root of Europe’s refugee crisis—Chinese state media

A need for stability.
A need for stability.
Image: Reuters/Marko Djurica
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Western democracy is the root of the refugee crisis hitting Europe—the worst since World War Two—and the US and Europe are now paying for their own evildoing. So argues a column in the People’s Daily newspaper, the leading mouthpiece of China’s Communist Party.

The column (link in Chinese), published on Sept. 7 on the front page of the paper’s overseas edition, is written by guest commentator Tian Wenlin, a researcher of a government-backed study center on international relations. The refugee disaster, he argues, originates from the Arab Spring, which was triggered mostly because the US and Europe intended to overthrow the Syrian and Libyan regimes, for their benefit.

Tian Wenlin’s column in People’s Daily overseas edition on Sept. 7.
Tian Wenlin’s column in People’s Daily overseas edition on Sept. 7.

The US had been funding the Syrian opposition and communicating with it through “working groups” set up in the area long before the Arab uprising broke out, Tian writes. “The Syrian crisis is a struggle between the government and the opposition on the surface, but the situation has long been manipulated by external forces,” Tian argues.

Europe, for its part, led the way in going to war in Libya, but in the resulting chaos ended up losing energy supplies and inviting a flood of refugees from North Africa, Tian writes. The US and Europe also gave rise to ISIL when they provoked the Syrian regime, he adds.

So why did they deploy such “horrible and stupid” foreign policies? Tian attributes it to Western democracy:

It’s worth pondering the fact that the US and Europe have always treated “democracy” as a universal value and have sold it everywhere in the world. Why are their elected national leaders becoming more and more short-sighted, particularly in foreign policies? Frankly speaking, this is precisely the product of Western democracy. In the political atmosphere where money reigns supreme and populism prevails, it’s impossible to elect a politician who is far-sighted and represents the trend of the history.

Tian then cites a Chinese proverb resembling the golden rule—”What you would not like to be done to you, do not do to others”—as something Western countries should learn from the refugee crisis. And he argues that political stability should be foremost in their minds when they shape their foreign policy toward China.

In regards to developing countries, including China, [the US and Europe] should fully understand the profound meaning of “stability overrides everything” and the basic principle that ”Only when the country is strong can individuals be happy.”