It’s DAY THREE of Wikileaks and with more and more cables coming down the line, there’s more and more potentially embarrassing stuff being revealed about what key (and not so key) diplomatic figures think. China is not exempt! But before we try and summarize the various new plots and blunders revealed by Julian Assange, a few things to note: Chinese people should NOT do their own Shanzhai version of Wikileaks – they don’t understand the dangers and aren’t prepared, like Assange is.
In an upcoming interview with Forbes, he blasts the proposed Chinese version of Wikileaks with “the kind of vitriol often reserved for him by critics of his document dumps,” according to Gady Epstein.
When asked what he thinks about a Chinese Wikileaks, he argues:
There have been a few over time, and they’ve been very dangerous. It’s not something that’s easy to do right. That’s the problem. Recently we saw a Chinese WikiLeaks. We encouraged them to come to us to work with us. It would be nice to have more Chinese speakers working with us in a dedicated way. But what they’d set up had no meaningful security. They have no reputation you can trust. It’s very easy and very dangerous to do it wrong. [Emphasis Shanghaiists’]
About as dangerous as telling Pyongyang that their only friend in the world would be totally cool with them assimilating into South Korea?
Speaking of the good ol’ DPRK, despite what the cables might contend, there’s very little chance that Kim’s government will collapse or that China will pull away from them anytime soon. B-but the cables clearly say, you protest… well, it turns out that diplomats musing about global-political affairs are the equivalent of water cooler talk at your office. And when’s the last time water cooler talk turned out to be exactly where your company was heading?
Richard Spencer at The Telegraph explains:
This is the big flaw in the Wikileaks exercise, and not, as some of my colleagues have said, that it only confirms what we always suspected. We shouldn’t be surprised that there are no big state secrets in the revelations. These are diplomatic cables, and countries are not in the habit of giving away their most treasured secrets to each other at embassy drinks parties. When they do share secrets, they do it with a much higher security classification…
There are hundreds of such snippets in the documents – all adding to the sum of human knowledge. On the other hand, these documents are all – and I don’t know how to say this without offending my diplomat friends – the work of diplomats. Diplomats are clever and better resourced than journalists, but they are only human. They make mistakes…
Moreover, diplomats are duty bound to pass on everything they hear – and sometimes let the analysis and assessment come later. Half of what we are reading is first impressions and gossip…
It is above all true in China, and so when a South Korean diplomat passes on the opinion of a Chinese diplomat that “younger Chinese officials” would not be averse to a unified Korea, it doesn’t quite mean the same thing as if a British foreign secretary were laying out a view to parliament.
Well that takes the fun out of it, doesn’t it? Actually, not really – though He Yafei, he who called North Korea a “spoiled child,” doesn’t have much pull with the actual politburo, it’s still pretty hilarious. Now that you know you should take everything in Wikileaks’ cables with a grain of salt and a heaping of context, you can consider it a global real life version of The Think of It – blustering diplomats sure are funny!
Some picks about China Wikileaks news below:
- A Chinese diplomat got so flustered by accusations that it would provide Kyrgyzstan a $3 billion financial package in return for closing the Manas Air Base, that he “temporarily lost the ability to speak Russian.”
- Singapore’s ex-Prime Minister Lee Kwan Yew gives a rating of all of China’s current leaders. Xi Jinping: Totally Hot.
- China is “scared to death” of a visit from Nancy Pelosi, because she loves to talk about human rights and they rejected her request to visit Tibet. So China is Republican then?
- Somebody reported that Premier Wen could have possibly been given a 10,000RMB bribe for a mining contract in North Korea. HA! That would be the equivalent to throwing change at the Premier and asking him to kiss your shoes as he picked it up. Now you know: some U.S. diplomats are complete idiots.
- Thomas Friedman imagines what it’d be like if we read a Chinese Wikileak. Apparently it will be about how much America is tearing itself apart and sucks sooo hard compared to China. Friedman, your China boner is showing again.
- Much better parody: The NMA animation of Cablegate