Thursday, June 04, 2009

Sinophobia gets a natural break - on SBS

As I sit here, family asleep, flicking through my blogroll, the most blatant and frankly spurious attempt to link a bit of nationalistic business (?) lobbying to the horrific Tiananmen Square massacre just bleated out on the telly. The massacre is a good reason for opposing the Rio Tinto takeover?

This makes no sense. There is no rational link between control of Australian resource companies and human rights abuse. That is not to say human rights abuse should not be vigorously taken up with perpetrator governments, more so than at present. But this is not the context.

This ad appears to be driven by either extreme nationalism, outright anti-Asian racism, or plain business interest. After all, who stands to benefit if the deal fails? I do not know, the tangled web of relevant interests is not in front of me, but it sure isn't the human rights lobby.

The ad just got a second placement as I've been typing. SBS have no doubt sold those placements for healthy consideration, being bang in the middle of the World News and just minutes after a story going over the miseries of the massacre.

But I find that fact, the implicit sell-out of values and the unanswered questions about who would seek or fund such an ad positively creepy. Is it linked to the ad featuring Barny and Xenophobe? Or have we moved further into the catacombs of deep national phobia than even those fruitbats would care to enter?

Postcript: The deal is now off, anyway. As I noted in comments, my tone in this post probably needs a touch of context:

"It came across a bid reds under beds, not as nuanced human rights discourse, but then again let's acknowledge here that I was well into my second shiraz and getting pretty sleepy too, so the post was written in about 4 off-the-cuff minutes..."

2 comments:

TimT said...

I haven't seen the ad, but the argument it makes, as related second hand through ye olde blog, don't seem too extravagant: after all, it is the same organisation (the Chinese Government) that committed the Tianamen Square massacre that wants to take over Rio Tinto. So isn't that the rational link? That either the same people who made the decision to commit the massacre are going may end up controlling Rio Tinto? People don't hesitate to condemn multinational corporations for the immoral actions of some of their employees - shouldn't the same argument be equally valid here?

I normally don't care about foreign takeovers or foreign ownership, but the fact that the foreign owner of Rio Tinto would be a government, and a rather nasty and authoritarian one at that, gives me some pause for thought.

Armagnac Esq. said...

I'd say check the ad out but it probably won't run any more now! Deal is off.

It came across a bid reds under beds, not as nuanced human rights discourse, but then again let's acknowledge here that I was well into my second shiraz and getting pretty sleepy too, so the post was written in about 4 off-the-cuff minutes...