China: How not to handle pirates

This morning the Shanghai Daily reported: “Somali pirates: Ransom is ours

A HELICOPTER dropped a US$4 million ransom payment yesterday onto the deck of a Chinese coal ship hijacked by Somali pirates in mid-October, a pirate source on board the vessel said.

The ship was owned by Chinese State Owned Enterprise China Ocean Shipping – COSCO (中国远洋). The Shanghai Daily doesn’t state whether the ransom was funded by COSCO or directly from gov’t funds. Regardless, this is a state owned enterprise – this is gov’t money. Democracies have a rule: Do Not Negotiate with Terrorists.

The argument against negotiating with terrorists is simple: Democracies must never give in to violence, and terrorists must never be rewarded for using it. Negotiations give legitimacy to terrorists and their methods and undermine actors who have pursued political change through peaceful means. Talks can destabilize the negotiating governments’ political systems, undercut international efforts to outlaw terrorism, and set a dangerous precedent.

Worse, the somali pirates aren’t ideological revolutionaries seeking the resolution to a conflict of values. These guys are thugs. Street gangs that have taken to the ocean. Paying the $4MM USD to these guys just advertises: “Open Season on Chinese Shipping”.

Weren’t you guys watching when the US handled a similar incident? We negotiated with bullets. And the result, the next hostage was Chinese. Keep this up and there are going to be a lot of Chinese hostages around the world.

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