Picture of Chinese ambassador walking on backs of Kiribati locals sparks controversy


Опубликованно 19.08.2020 11:09

Picture of Chinese ambassador walking on backs of Kiribati locals sparks controversy

The picture, shared widely on social media, shows Chinese ambassador Tang Songgen visiting the island of Marakei earlier this month.

He can be seen stepping along the backs of a row of people lying on the ground while holding the hands of two women either side of him.

It comes after Kiribati suddenly switched its diplomatic alliance from Taipei in Taiwan to Beijing last September and has sparked debate given rising Chinese influence in the region.

Striking picture from Kiribati showing new Chinese Ambassador Tang Songgen welcomed off a plane. Children lying face down on the ground & ambassador is walking across them. Kiribati national anthem is "Teirake Kaini Kiribati" - “Stand up, Kiribati” pic.twitter.com/IyvAwG9Fg7— Michael Field (@MichaelFieldNZ) August 16, 2020

KIRIBATI - Event in which Chinese Ambassador Tang Songgen walked on backs of children as part of a welcome took place Friday/Saturday at Marakei, 80 km northeast of Tarawa, Kiribati pic.twitter.com/TDsfhrStmO— Michael Field (@MichaelFieldNZ) August 16, 2020

Kiribati: Striking picture from Kiribati showing new Chinese Ambassador Tang Songgen ??? welcomed off plane. Children lying face down on ground & ambassador is walking across them. Kiribati national anthem is "Teirake Kaini Kiribati" - “Stand up, Kiribati h/t @MichaelFieldNZ pic.twitter.com/ubomau95DN— Geoff Wade (@geoff_p_wade) August 17, 2020

The United States’ defence attache to five Pacific Islands including Kiribati, Commander Constantine Panayiotou, said on Twitter: “I simply cannot imagine any scenario in which walking on the backs of children is acceptable behaviour by an ambassador of any country (or any adult for that matter!) Yet here we are thanks to China’s ambassador to Kiribati.”

I simply cannot imagine any scenario in which walking on the backs of children is acceptable behavior by an ambassador of any country (or any adult for that matter!) Yet here we are thanks to #China’s ambassador to Kiribati. https://t.co/HcJqfbaKzg— Constantine Panayiotou (@DAOSuva) August 16, 2020

But others have defended the picture, saying it is a cultural tradition that should not be misinterpreted.

Dr Katerina Teaiwa, who is associate professor at the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific, said the people are showing a sense of honour and hospitality by lying down.

“The Marakei people can welcome dignitaries any way they like, it’s well known they follow many of the customs of their land. Everyone should be less hysterical about this and more respectful towards the diversity of Pacific ways, islanders should have cultural self-determination,” she toldThe Guardian.

“Pacific peoples can work out themselves which customs need to be kept or reshaped for our times and which should be changed if violent, discriminatory, etc. I’m always impressed with how I-Kiribati continue to respect the spirits of abara – our lands – in spite of colonial rule.”

This is mainly seen at weddings but not all islands. Usually it’s bride & groom walking. Yes, the symbolism is potent & one could talk about child labour, colonisation, aid marriage & divorce but Marakei was probably trying something extra customary to show honour & hospitality.— Katerina Teaiwa ??



Категория: Авто Приколы