This week sees a state visit, the first in ten years, by a Chinese leader. You can read about what lies in store for President Xi and his “first lady” over the next few days here. As you can see, they are getting the full treatment, state banquet, the Mall decked with flags and so on.
Naturally, there will be protests, and there has already been this eloquent protest in the pages of the Guardian, no less, which is well worth reading. And there is also this protest, in the same newspaper. In fact, come to think of it, it is hard to think of anyone standing up for China’s human rights record at present – because to do so would be impossible. China’s domestic policy is indefensible. They know it of course, but do they care?
As the Catholic Herald has constantly stressed, China continues to persecute Christians, and there is evidence that this persecution is getting worse. How ironic, then, that the Supreme Governor of the Church of England is having Xi, who presides over this persecution and approves it, to stay in Buckingham Palace. Indeed, ironic is the wrong word, for it is beyond irony. How farcical that Prince Charles, who has long spoken about religious toleration and wanting to be the “defender of faith”, will be meeting Xi.
Actually, members of the royal family are not to blame for this, for they have to do what the government tells them to do, though I suppose, like us, they do have the right to refuse to do anything they think is sinful. Our real anger should be directed at the British government for inviting the Chinese delegation, and arranging all this official fawning over a dictator.
If you are tempted to go and demonstrate against Xi, please give way to that temptation. But demonstrate too against the British government for inviting him in the first place. Demonstrate against the huge hypocrisy of the British government, which smiles at the brutal Xi and licks his boots, but then primly tells us that it is committed to regime change in Syria on moral grounds. At least the British government is consistent about one thing: it refuses to lift a finger to help persecuted Christians in any land, whether it be the Middle East or China.