Shen Dingli is a man who really knows the value of a fish.

Shen Dingli has become my favorite poster child for showing just what a bunch of maleficent assholes run China today, and in the aftermath of the Yeonpyeong shelling, he does not disappoint:

Shen Dingli, a security expert at Fudan University in Shanghai, was more direct in laying the blame on Seoul. “South Korea provoked the Yeonpyeong conflict first,” he said. “The area where this incident happened is South Korean territory from a ‘South Korean perspective’. But it is a disputed area from the ‘North Korean perspective’. North Korea warned South Korea to stop the drills, but South Korea went ahead. And then the incident happened.

girl.JPG“It’s South Korean provocation and North Korean over-reaction. South Korea’s artillery killed fish. North Korean artillery killed civilians. If China should blame the party at fault, it should criticize both Koreas,” Shen said.

People, fish, same-same! I wonder if the stultified rags that Shen reads reported that the North Korean artillery almost hit an elementary school.

You remember Shen, of course. He’s the one who was flashing the green light just before North Korea’s first nuclear test. Remember that when you read Wikileaks cables, or characterizations of Wikileaks cables, reporting that Chinese officials say the North shouldn’t have nuclear weapons, or that this time North Korea went too far, or that one day at the end of a receding horizon, the Koreas should eventually reunify. Hell, I’m sure they say a lot of things to our diplomats. I’m sure they say a lot of things to North Korean diplomats, too. I’m willing to bet those are very different things. I’d also bet that they’re said by different people, who may even hold slightly different views. But as a barometer of China’s actual behavior — as opposed to its cocktail conversation or what its editorials may offer tea-leaf-readers abroad — you can’t do better than Shen Dingli.