The violence against Tibetans must stop. The Chinese are perpetrating these acts prior to the Olympic Games as if they are certain the world will do nothing. It is a slap in the face to all who care about human rights. In Lhasa, at least 80 people have been killed so far. They are not limiting themselves to Tibet, they are also attacking Tibetans living in Chinese cities.
From The New York Times:
For now, Beijing’s line on Tibet is likely to harden. Military police officers are pouring in to stifle new protests. Nor are the demonstrations winning much public sympathy in a nation where Tibetans are a tiny minority. The state media has tightly controlled its coverage to focus on Tibetans burning Chinese businesses or attacking and killing Chinese merchants. No mention is made of Tibetan grievances or reports that 80 or more Tibetans have died.
Less than five months before the opening of the Olympics, Beijing is acutely worried about an international reaction and is arguing that its response to the protests has been reasonable. Qiangba Puncog, the taciturn chairman of Tibet’s government, said during a hurriedly convened news conference on Monday that the military police and other officers were not carrying lethal weapons and had not fired a single shot — despite multiple witnesses reporting gunshots.
They’ve not fired a single shot, eh? What killed all those people? Slingshots? They think they can control the information that gets out, keep the truth a secret. Maybe that worked pretty well fifty years ago, not now.
The Tibetans are a peaceful people. They simply want the freedom to practice their religion and live in peace.
Asked why his fellow Tibetans were protesting now, Aron lowered his head, pondering the wisdom of a frank answer. The silence of the monastery, a warren of brightly painted temples straggling up a dusty hillside, was broken only by the cooing of pigeons and the musical tones of wind chimes fluttering from temple eaves.
He looked up, clearly resolved to speak from the heart. “Because we want freedom,” he replied.
By that, he said, he meant both political independence for Tibet, which Chinese troops occupied in 1951, and religious freedom for Buddhist monks, who complain of restrictions by Chinese authorities.
“We want our culture to survive and to pass it on,” said a fellow monk, who also asked not to be identified. “But we don’t want to use violence; we want to solve this problem in a peaceful way.
As if that weren’t enough reason to boycott the Olympics, how about this? China is supporting the Burmese regime by buying up great quantities of jade and other gemstones to use in trinkets to sell at the Games.
According to Human Right’s Watch (HRW), Burma’s junta owns a majority stake in each of the country’s mines – many of them sitting on land confiscated from local communities – sanctioning both unsafe working conditions and forced and child labor. The European Union passed rules in November banning imports of Burmese rubies and jade, and Canada and the US Senate followed suit in December.
And then there’s the Chinese presence in Sudan.
But the Chinese [oil] operations were marked “from the beginning,” by a “deep complicity in gross human rights violations, scorched-earth clearances of the indigenous population,” says Sudan activist Eric Reeves, a professor at Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Giving expert testimony before the congressionally mandated US-China Economic and Security Review Commission last August, Mr. Reeves claimed the Chinese gave direct assistance to Khartoum’s military forces which, in turn, burned villages, chased locals away from their homes, and harmed the environment while prospecting for oil.
Brad Phillips, director of Persecution International, an aid group working in South Sudan, has seen the destruction firsthand. “The Chinese are equal partners with Khartoum when it comes to exploiting resources and locals here,” he says. “Their only interest here is their own.” He would love to see the Chinese sponsor a school here, he says, or a clinic, or an agricultural program, or “anything for the people.” But there is nothing like that in sight. Just miles of desolate land.
“The Chinese simply do not care about us,” says Martin Buywomo, Paloich’s mayor. “They have no contact. They never even came to my tent to pay respects. They think we are lesser people.” A member of the Shilluk tribe who attended British mission schools, Mr. Buywomo puts down the worn copy of George Eliot’s 19th-century classic “Silas Marner” he is reading and continues sadly. “We see them in their trucks but they overlook us. If they saw us dying on the road, they would overlook us.”
China cares only about money. The only way to make them listen is through the pocketbook.
And the Olympics? They are not what they once were. The Games are all about money nowadays. I remember the excitement of watching the Olympics when I was a kid. That excitement is gone. Who can sit through the hours of over-produced, schmaltzy life stories and ten thousand ads and believe all that has anything to do with amateur athletics? The realness is gone. The sports are an aside—athletes are being used and we shouldn’t buy it.
Why should China make piles of money off of sports lovers when their government is committing grave human rights abuses? And, Linda reports, “Ironically this week the US removed China from its list of human rights abusers.” What? Great timing.
Boycott the Olympics. Write to your members of Congress.
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I want to be clear here that when I say China and the Chinese, I mean the government. Just as it is not fair to assume that all Americans support our government and its actions, neither is it fair to blame all Chinese for their government’s actions.