Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Chinese Government Goes Ad Hominem

The Chinese government March 23, 2008, responded to criticisms of it's handling of the March 2008 riots in Tibet made by Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi:
" 'Human rights police' like Pelosi are habitually bad tempered and ungenerous when it comes to China, refusing to check their facts and find out the truth of the case ... Her views are like so many other politicians and western media. Beneath the double standards lies their intention to serve the interest groups behind them, who want to contain or smear China." (China blasts Dalai Lama, Pelosi on Tibet, AP, Mar 23, 2008)
The Chinese government is trying to dismiss Pelosi's criticisms on two grounds:
  1. that she has bad intentions toward China
  2. that she hypocritically employs double standards
But both of these arguments are ad hominem. Even if Pelosi does have malicious intentions toward China, that doesn't prove that her criticisms are unfounded. And, even if Pelosi is hypocritically holding China to a standard that she doesn't hold other countries to, that doesn't mean that the standard she is currently holding China to is an unreasonable one.

Ad hominem arguments - whether they appeal to allegations of bad intentions or to hypocrisy - are flawed arguments, and they aren't sufficient to refute Pelosi's criticisms.

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