Barroso and China and Russia

Easily the most interesting part. On Russia, he mocked the notion that the EU could have done more to prevent the South Ossetia incident (“What did they want us to do, invade Russia?”) and insisted that he brought up human rights issues every time he meets with Putin or Medvedev, specifically mentioning the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. Similarly, he not only said that he mentions human rights whenever meeting with Hu Jintao or Wen Jiabao, but that they are much more receptive than the Chinese representatives he dealt with in the ’90s, as Portugal’s foreign minister, when he was negotiating the transfer of Macao from his country to China. In the ’90s, Barraso claims, the Chinese (presumably Jiang Zemin and allies) silenced any mention of human rights as meddling in China’s internal affairs, whereas Jintao and Jiabao at least make an effort to bullshit and sound concerned (“but we have local elections!”). Barraso views this as progress, which it may well be, but the crowd was decidedly skeptical, laughing audibly at the mention of local elections.

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