Two-faced Demands


In March 2012, China’s dominance of the global supply of rare earths, critical to the manufacture of downstream products such as computers, came under intense scrutiny from the West, and US President Barack Obama announced that the US, Europe and Japan were bringing a case to the World Trade Organization contesting China’s export controls on rare earths. China countered allegations that it was using rare earths as a global bargaining chip by insisting that curbs on exports were really about environmental protection and public safety. In this cartoon, posted by artist Will Luo (罗杰) to his comic space at QQ.com and appearing in the March 16 edition of China Daily, a Chinese official sits, calmly perplexed, as a scowling two-headed Westerner wearing a pair of black top hats leans over the fence and screams: 1. “You should protect the environment more!” and 2. “You should develop and export more rare earths!” The Chinese official thinks to himself: “Now, which is the real one?”

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