Tuesday, January 18, 2005


The Washington Post headline says that the death of Zhao Ziyang has put the Chinese government in a "quandary". Last night I was watching the BBC news report about Zhao and I saw all the Irish flags around Tiananmen Square. The Taoiseach is leading a trade mission to China. What an odd situation and not a word about the quandary of poor Bertie Ahern in the Washington Post.

What torture for the pragmatic politician to be put in such an awkward situation. All he wants to do is secure a big financial return from China. Now he finds himself in China at a time when a message of support for democracy & human rights activists is called for and he's the EU's man on the spot.

If Ahern speaks out, he risks the success of the trade mission (as well as probably incurring the wrath of the French and, possibly, other EU members). If he fails to speak out, what does that say about Ireland's commitment to those who struggle for freedom and dignity. What to do?