I was originally going to write a long article about the American economy today especially considering that Bear Stearns is in such big trouble however after watching a short snippet about the Tibetan situation on CNN, my mind was drastically changed. I am very angry because of the simple revelation that since the 1950’s, China has been encouraging the majority Han to move to Tibet so that the native people (Uyghur’s and Tibetans) there are now the minority. This is an insidious plan on the part of the Chinese government to literally gain control of a region by simple numbers of their own loyalists.
The Han Chinese are currently the majority in Tibet which ensures that the local people find themselves in a dangerous situation when they want to protest their political situation. Though it wasn’t until 1950 that Chairman Mao’s troops actually invaded, China regards Tibet to have been a part of its land since the Mongol dynasty extended into the Himalayan region some 700 years ago. This was formalized in the 18th and 19th centuries when Tibet was made a protectorate of China. Tibet achieved autonomy of sorts when it unilaterally declared independence in 1913. This independence was short lived as China reclaimed their territory soon after by invading Eastern Tibet. A year later, the two countries signed the “Seventeen Point Agreement” guaranteeing Tibetan autonomy and freedom to practice Buddhism, but agreeing to the establishment of Chinese civil and military headquarters in the capital, Lhasa.
The greatest sadness of the Tibetan crisis happened in 1959 when thousands were killed during a full scale rebellion where the Dalai Lama was exiled to India. I have never met the Dalai Lama but he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his efforts to seek independence for Tibet. The situation at the moment is such that the Dalai Lama does not even want independence anymore but mere cultural autonomy, I understand this decision because it is a compromise that can ensures that neither side loses too much. What I find regrettable is that such a compromise had to be made because of the antiquated “One China” policy. The Dalai Lama made a policy decision to save the lives of his people at the expense of indepedence for Tibet however I firmly believe that he still desires indepedence for Tibet which hopefully China will allow in decades to come.
Tibet has been in the news recently because they are protesting once more for independence and once more the Chinese government is not dealing with these protests in the best way as demonstrated by the picture below:
Look at all these policeman required to restrain a single monk (a man of peace) who has no body armor or a single weapon? How do these policemen justify these actions? It irks me to such an extent that I do not even want to write anymore about the issue but throw my 19′ monitor out the window. I will continue to write about this though because I feel that this issue warrants attention especially because no one in the West is doing anything about it. Governments in the West should do more than wrap China over the knuckles and support the people of Tibet in their struggle for independence.
BBC has a great article on their website with some comments from people who were actually there during the protests:
“I was in Tibet from the 6th to the 12th of March, and was also witness to the monks fleeing from Sera Monastery and being beaten by police. Our group was denied access to the monastery, and we were told that all the tourist access has been cut off. We were told not to take any photos by our Chinese guide, and there were police staring at us as we waited in our bus watching the monks trying to get out of the monastery.” - Leslie, Canadian Visitor
The whole crisis is even more appalling because China has told News organizations around the world that they cannot go into Tibet to show us what is really going on. We have to rely on photographs and second hand accounts of the whole situation, what do the Chinese government have to hide? I think a lot…
So what can be done about the situation, realistically? Western governments need to stop bowing to Chinese pressure and do something about the plight of the people in Tibet. This action can involve economic pressure or at the least stronger rhetoric than what has been said already. If anyone has heard my last global political podcast, I mentioned how India stopped people from marching to Tibet in protest of China’s occupation. This was another questionable gesture by India as a democratic government to appease the will of the Chinese government, I don’t understand why they do it since they are of equal economic and military power so where is the need to get down on one knee?
I will say this much… I know alot of people love the Olympics and Beijing has put significant effort into the whole show but I will not be watching a single minute of the Olympics because the Chinese government has gone down the path of no return. They believe that their economic power gives them the right to do as they please which is true given the past week’s events but I will not be someone who sits by and encourages this ignorance of China’s wrong doings by supporting the Olympics.
I feel really strongly about this and I hope some of my Friends will do the same. The final photo was taken by Reuters and show’s the carnage over the past week: