In addition to its widespread disregard for human rights at home, China has now become the main supporter of some of the world’s most loathed dictators. The governments of Zimbabwe, Sudan, Iran, North-Korea, Burma and many others regularly receive Chinese support in many different ways:
- China uses its veto power in the U.N. Security Council to block the liberal West’s efforts to impose sanctions.
- It offers other means of diplomatic support.
- It gives unconditional economic aid.
- It sells arms.
- It invests.
- It trades.
To some extent, it does all this with its narrow economic and political self-interest in mind:
- It needs the resources that these dictatorships can provide.
- It profits from trade with these countries.
- It profits from banding together with these countries and forming strategic alliances against the U.S.
But there is more to it: resisting the tide of freedom abroad helps to stem it at home.
China of course isn’t the only nation with bad friends. The U.S. has long supported dictatorships in South-America for instance, and continues to sell arms to Saudi-Arabia and others in the Middle East.