Is it possible to show respect for a country that does not take its citizen's political instincts seriously?

The debate on what you can demand in terms of human rights in China is on since Wen Jiabao is visiting Europe. David Cameron and Guido Westerwelle thinks it is possible to discuss difficult questions at the same time as you trade with each other. I agree fully!

It must be considered difficult to show China respect when treating its citizens in the present way. Wen Jiabao thinks we should show China respect and tolerance. Tolerance OK but treating grown up people like naughty children is not something that is impressive.

The Chinese often brings up their long history. I guess it is a favorite when comparing themself with the US. However, what happened during the last 2-300 years is far more interesting. Also, I have problems with the Mao era where people were severely mistreated during especially The Great Leap Forward and the Culture Revolution. It is what China does now with its new found power that potentially is going to be treated with respect. Will they continue with the first modern dictatorship or invent something new?

Gideon Rachman on FT.com is displeased with David Camerons capabilities in his column today. He thinks you have to treat China as a power and not only as a market. Speaking truth to power does not seem to be a discriminator between Britain and Germany though, even if standing up for freedom in Libya was. The final judgment on Libya will come at the death toll when the debacle is over, though.

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