Following the article in The Independent, a report in today’s Guardian reinforces the argument that it was China that torpedoed the Copenhagen summit. Not only would they not agree to anything but the Chinese premier, Wen Jinbao, brought shame to the Chinese people by not bothering to turn up for the final negotiations with around 50 other world leaders including Gordon Brown, secretary-general of the UN Ban Ki-moon and Barak Obama. Negotiations had to be carried out with some Chinese minion who continually had to telephone Wen Jinbao who was presumably “saving face” by hiding in his room.
Wen Jinbao had thought he’d lost face earlier when Obama mentioned targets in public but one really has to question the seriousness, not to say sanity, of a man who would put the whole climate negotiations at risk because he felt put out.
As I have said already, in a previous article, Chinese watchers tell us that China is culturally very prickly and this may be so but I believe this prickliness is not entirely cultural. Rather I suspect it has more in common with other authoritarian leaders who are used to getting their own way and refuse to tolerate opposition. Recall Hitler’s tantrums and Kruschev banging his shoe on the desk at the UN? This is not cultural difference but arrogant and dangerous narcism.
Wen Jinbao may have thought he got one over on Barak Obama and Gordon Brown by this idiocy but to my mind Obama and Brown came out well. They did what they had to. They swallowed their pride and continued negotiating in difficult circumstances.
Wen Jinbao, on the other hand, behaved like a spoilt child. China has had a one child policy for decades now and I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that this has led to a nation of spoilt brats. However, if they’re interested in face then they should not think about facing down Obama and Brown but in providing a safe future for the world’s children.. Put in that context Wen Jimbao lost face big time.
Grow up Wen Jimbao!