The Chinese delegation disrupted the opening ceremony of the Kimberly Process, an initiative to stop conflict diamonds, in Perth, Australia on Monday. According to attendees, the Chinese delegation “hijacked the microphone” during a traditional Aboriginal welcoming ceremony, as a Kimberly Process Chair Robert Owens-Jones was introducing Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. They demanded to know whether Taiwan was officially invited to attend the four-day conference and insisted that the meeting be suspended until the matter was resolved.
“It was disgusting,” one high-level Australian attendee told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It was extraordinary, so uncalled for and so inappropriate, and so disrespectful.”
Though not an official member, Taiwan has participated in the Kimberly Process as the Rough Diamond Trading Entity of Chinese Taipei, which meets the minimum requirements of the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, since 2007. Taiwan was invited as a “guest of the Chair” this year. The Taiwanese delegation was eventually forced to leave the conference for it to continue.
Ever since President Tsai Ing-wen and her government refuse to confirm the so-called “1992 Consensus”, which China insists is the foundation for friendly cross-strait relationship, several incidents have happened to show us what happens when Taiwan stops going along with the “One China” principle. Tour groups from China have decreased, and China has been more aggressive in reducing Taiwan’s international participation. China could do that because it is a major international power and has a large and lucrative consumer market foreign companies want access to. Like most rich and powerful bullies, it can afford to bully Taiwan and get away with it, and certainly is not apologizing for any of it.
Here are just some of the more recent incidents that major international media don’t really report, and I am sure more will come:
On April 19, a 5-member Taiwanese delegation was ejected from a OECD steel committee meeting held in Brussels, Belgium. China claimed that Taiwan did not send officials with high enough rankings. Taiwan has been participating in the meeting since 1998 as an observer. Continue reading “Here and There”