Sunday, March 16, 2008

Crushing Tibet

Tibet and the Tibetans are in the news again because of a massive protest against their Chinese overlords. The protest comes on the anniversary of a 1959 Tibetan revolt against the Chinese occupation , and just a few weeks before the Olympic Summer Games in Bei-Jing.

As in Tien-An-Min square, the Chinese government used armed troops and riot police against what were essentially peaceful, unarmed protesters.

At least 80 to 100 people have been killed by Chinese troops, although the real numbers are difficult to know because of the nature of the Chinese regime and the restrictions on journalists in the region.It could just as easily be 1,000, or 10,000 for that matter.

Aside from a few desultory, diplomatic statements from people like US Secretary of State Condi Rice, the Chinese government has pretty much gotten a free pass over this...which is frankly disgraceful.

For those of you who don't know, Tibet was an independent country for centuries, until the Communist Chinese regime invaded and occupied them in 1950. The Dalai Lama was forced to flee the country, along with thousands of other Tibetans,many of whom settled in neighboring India and Nepal. The ones who stayed were subjected to harsh rule which was concentrated on dispersing the Tibetans, destroying their national and religious culture and subjecting them to what amounted to ethnic cleansing. Tibetans were forcibly removed from their homeland and settled in neighboring provinces while ethnic Chinese were brought in to settle in Tibet.

Due to the nature of Mao Tse-Tung's regime,the Tibetan's Buddhist religion was singled out for special repression. Something like 6,000 monasteries, nunneries and temples, and their contents were partially or fully destroyed from the period of the Chinese invasion and during the Cultural Revolution, and literally thousands of Buddhist monks were killed or driven out of the country.Human rights groups have confirmed the identities of over 700 Tibetan political prisoners in Tibet, although there are likely to be hundreds more whose names simply aren't known or confirmed. It's quite common for such people to be detained without charge or trial for up to four years through Chinese regulations calling for "re-education through labor".

It's interesting to compare the attention paid to the Tibetans, a truly oppressed and occupied people with the attention paid to the Palestinians, who are neither.

No one is going to condemn the Chinese for what they are doing and have done to the Tibetans, and when the Tibetans are inevitably crushed again by China's military,no one is going to complain about a `disproportionate response' and the news stories will die away after a few days.

There's a lesson in this for Israel, if they have the intelligence to realize it.

Any country including the US who claim to care about human rights,freedom and human dignity should boycott the Bei-jing games without a second thought. That won't happen of course, because of the economic importance of China, but it should.

As for China, there's a quick way to refocus the world media and get this back under the radar in plenty of time for the Olympics. All they have to do is call for a special emergency session of the UN Security Council and a meeting of the UN Human Rights Commission on the so-called plight of the Palestinians. The measures and resolutions condemning Israel will be passed in record time and should do the job nicely.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for supporting Tibetan people and writing this clear and truthful piece about what has happened to Tibet. Tibetans are not Chinese and we Tibetans want Chinese to leave Tibet. Our people and identity will survive only if China leave Tibet. Right now China is implementing a policy to systematically destroy our people, culture, religion and way of life. Already there are now more Chinese in Tibet than Tibetans. Tibetans are forbidden to learn tibetan language in the schools. We need help from all the consciencious citizens of the free world.