China’s small movements

As pressure continues to build over China’s involvement with Sudan, and activists continue to paint the upcoming Olympics as a genocide event, Beijing seems to be showing the first signs of potential movement.

China, in response, has denounced these efforts to link the games with its foreign policy, saying such a campaign runs counter to the Olympic spirit.

“There are a handful of people who are trying to politicize the Olympic Games,” Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told reporters, stressing that the Games are a time to celebrate friendly ties between nations. “This is against the spirit of the Games. It also runs counter to the aspirations of all the people in the world.”

But protestations aside, it seems someone in Beijing is listening. Shortly after Farrow’s op-ed appeared, China appointed a special envoy to Darfur and reportedly stepped up efforts to persuade Khartoum to accept international peacekeepers in Darfur.

Pressure over the Olympics could help cause a shift from China’s noninterference policy, says Reeves. “To date, what we’ve seen are largely cosmetic efforts, trying to ‘respond to Darfur’ on the cheap … but as shame and dismay intensify, as the pain grows, we’ll see a good deal more than cosmetics.”

It’s unlikely that China will pull its investments from Sudan, especially considering the amount of money they have tied to the oil industry, but perhaps they can push Khartoum in the direction the United Nations needs in order to quell the violence.

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