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Freedom for Tibet

by Sunny on 8th November, 2005 at 3:57 pm    

The Chinese President Hu Jintao received a loud reception today from pro-democracy supporters and people calling for the independence of Tibet. Though it is unlikely that Tony Blair or the Queen will raise either of those topics when they meet him.

While the USA and Britain keep pointing fingers at Iran and the Middle East for human-rights abuses (quite rightly), we must ask why they don’t do the same for China. Is the repression of the Tibetan people or their constant threats against Taiwanese independence not important enough?

Rohin wrote about this previously, asking:

Both Falun Gong and the Free Tibet movement are, unsurprisingly, banned in China. But why the hell do we have to pander to their dictatorial oppression of free speech by doing their bidding and stifling legitimate protestors?

Heck, it’s not just old eager-to-please Tony; German officials prevented any Tibetan flags being unfurled at a recent Germany-China football match. Why? Because the Chinese asked.

The BBC at least has good coverage of the protests greeting the President.

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  1. Mirax — on 8th November, 2005 at 4:14 pm  

    When it is money versus human rights, the so called champions of human rights and democracy, the US and Europe, know exactly what to do: shaft the victims and kiss China’s ass.

    Just ask yahoo.

  2. raz — on 8th November, 2005 at 4:29 pm  

    Mind you, as South Asians, we can hardly point fingers ourselves. The leaders of Pakistan and India have been warmly recieved on official visits to the UK , despite the fact that both countries have appalling human rights records.

  3. ContraryMary — on 8th November, 2005 at 5:03 pm  

    Mirax - I couldn’t have been put better myself. China’s firmly being welcomed into the West.

    Look at it being awarded the 2008 Olympics despite its awful record on athletes taking drugs (and human rights).

    China’s ensconced in the bosom of the west, thanks to its embracing capitalism and opening up new territories where 1% share of the market is an awful lot of people ($) to multinational companies. We’ve all heard of the new super power Chindia. By 2020, Time magazine reckons India, China and America will be the world superpowers.

    Raz - just coz Blair shirks his responsibility with the leaders of Pakistan and India doesn’t mean he should do the same with China. He should have pulled all of them up on human rights abuses.

  4. coruja — on 8th November, 2005 at 5:30 pm  

    Human rights abuse is every countrys dirty linen. You don’t have took very far to find instances of abuse against their nationals and of others.

    No country should dare to feel smug about it and no one should really be surprised that when it comes to business, it is the last thing on most peoples minds - most of Britains arms money comes from selling weapons to countries busy exterminating one group or another.

    Business is business! Do you think countries and individuals get rich by being really nice?

  5. Siddharth — on 8th November, 2005 at 5:38 pm  

    I’m looking forward to seeing televised film-footage of Richard Gere kicking Blair in the nuts and monkey-slapping Hu Jintao before reposing like a crouching tiger and whispering the mantra: ‘Boycott Chinese Products’

  6. Soultrain — on 8th November, 2005 at 6:12 pm  

    China does get away with a lot in terms of human rights abuses, simply because of its increasing force as a whopping economic superpower. Tibet is totally forgotten, and indeed it satisfies many western leaders to gloss over the repression of Tibet, not even at the least to mention it. And if China was in a position to launch an invasion of Taiwan, I do wonder whether the international community, including the USA will just turn a blind eye.

    And I think it should be pointed out that western politicians primarily act the way they do because their electorates at large demand them too. They will be the first ones to kick you out of power if their economy is going down the drain, so politicians need to encourage an environment where their native country can trade and make money with the biggest economic markets in the world. China is one massive market, and to miss out on that, would be missing out at the expense of another country that is always willing to ignore China’s record in order to trade, and hence develop their economies further. And when the job losses, unemployment rises and slowdown in economic growth kick in, then the electorates out there force pressure on you as to why we don’t trade with China.

    If only the whole international community could speak with one persistent voice; then we wouldn’t have this situation where the countries that dare speak out nobley, then pay the price compared to those that don’t. And it doesn’t help that China has the permanent power of veto at the UN Security Council, which stifles humans right debate even further.

    Regarding the Olympics…I firmly believe that Beijing should hold the Olympics despite of this. I don’t see the Olympics as being a massive PR propaganda exercise for the Chinese government, which no doubt there will be an element of that. I see the holding of the Olympics there, as a chance for the Chinese to be able to showcase themselves, their main city, their whole country and culture to the whole world. There hasn’t been anything like this in my lifetime, and surely China, which is one of the most populous country in the world rich in culture, deserves that opportunity…the Olympics is a very special and massive event, and the billion people that live in China should not have to pay the price of being excluded from hosting this important sporting event because their government may be involved in human rights abuses. I think there are several countries with a far worse human rights record than China also. I see the holding of the Olympics as being much more good than harm.

  7. Robert — on 8th November, 2005 at 6:36 pm  

    One of the criticisms levelled at the G8 protests here in Edinburgh, and the Stop The War Coalition marches that have been organised at regular intervals for the past four years, is that there is no parallel indignant protest when someone as important as Hu Jintao comes to visit.

    Granted, there are some protesters on the streets, but its hardly overwhelming… Indymedia.co.uk are conspicuously silent on the visit. This is a shame, because this tyoe of inconsistency is a major reason why our legitimate protests against, say, the Iraq war, are dismissed by the Paleo-Left.

    Consistency makes our case stronger.

  8. Robert — on 8th November, 2005 at 6:38 pm  

    … although the protest against Al-Qaeda is a good start.

  9. harry008 — on 8th November, 2005 at 8:46 pm  

    now i know the tibetan issue is a serious one, but man the chick with the gagged mouth and big sign saying ‘free’, is making me think bad thoughts….

  10. Kulvinder — on 8th November, 2005 at 9:04 pm  

    Id agree with Robert, regardless of which side of the political spectrum you are from, if you value human rights and democracy or protest against other injustices you should at the very least hold a consistant point of view with regards to the rest of the world.

  11. Sunny — on 8th November, 2005 at 11:29 pm  

    Indymedia’s stance really is bizarre. They have Gate Gourmet on there, anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-ID cards and all the rest, but nothing on China. That is disappointing. A big rally against the Chinese president would have been excellent.

    And harry, you can barely see her face! :|

  12. Bikhair — on 9th November, 2005 at 3:37 am  

    I want there to be a big anti-Egypt protest. I dont know why, just because.

  13. coruja — on 9th November, 2005 at 1:19 pm  

    Recently China completed a direct train link to Tibet to improve their lot:

    At this rate the Tibetan Gov in exile in India will be the only cultural outpost of an entire group of people, as they will be actively ‘assimilated’ in the name of development.

    A while ago I read an article by someone who wrote very eloquently about the evils of racism and specifically of trying to wipe out a specific group of people. He wrote about how every civilisation and every distinct group contributed to the common ‘fabric of humanity’ - that each group perceives the world in a different way (their culture being a reflection of that) and this is the key to finding out the whole truth about ourselves and our place in the scheme of things. To annihilate a particular group would be like pulling out a thread from that fabric and we run the risk of permanent ignorance.

    Similarly an argument runs that by destroying our eco-system - particularly the massive rain forests - we run the risk of destroying many cures from fauna and flora that haven’t been even ‘discovered’.

    By destroying an entire culture we might run the risk of losing a perception/idea which might save the lot of us in the future.

  14. coruja — on 9th November, 2005 at 1:42 pm  

    and Martin Rowson is surely the best …

  15. made in America — on 10th November, 2005 at 3:20 am  

    Robert, your people don’t protest dictators and communists because you pretty much agree with them. The anti-globalists are one of the biggest jokes on the planet.

  16. made in America — on 10th November, 2005 at 3:33 am  

    Help me out here… America consistently speaks out agianst China. America has pretty much said she will protect Taiwan militarily if china invades. Any UN resolution with teeth would be vetoed by russia definitely, and probably france. So what do you suggest the west do? Answer carefully…. You’re the same people who whined about sanctions on iraq and opposed the iraq war. So what’s the difference? Is it because iraq is an arab nation? I’m a little confused. You’re howling about human rights and lamenting the wests inaction when it comes to tibet, but you oppose any action against the genocidal maniac that was saddam…. Lets just be real. Tibet provides a cute little mantra for the malcontents on the left. It’s the cool thing to protest. But the real target is the evil US. Bet your ass that if the US said okay, we’re going to invade China and free tibet, these same asswipes would be bashing America. The left is so full of shit and phoney it makes my head explode.

  17. Sunny — on 10th November, 2005 at 4:40 am  

    America consistently speaks out agianst China
    Really? Want to provide some examples?

    America has pretty much said she will protect Taiwan militarily if china invades
    No it hasn’t, and it doesn’t guarantee Taiwanese independence either. The country cannot declare freedom from China because then it will invade.

    Any UN resolution with teeth would be vetoed by russia definitely, and probably france.
    why exactly?

    You’re howling about human rights and lamenting the wests inaction when it comes to tibet, but you oppose any action against the genocidal maniac that was saddam

    Let’s be consistent, yes. I opposed the war in Iraq because it was on false pretences, and because it would be used by Jihadis (when they see dead innocent Iraqis) as a way to recruit more people.

    You also gotta ask why the west helped Saddam for so long. I want consistency. I want the USA (and Britain) west to say that if it opposes human rights abuses in IRaq, then it also does so for China, and do soemthing about that.

  18. Kulvinder — on 10th November, 2005 at 5:44 am  

    You’re the same people who whined about sanctions on iraq and opposed the iraq war.

    I opposed the sanctions because they did not harm the Iraqi executive, i strongly disagreed with Clinton’s handling of the Iraq issue during his time, I was against the war because its reasoning hadn’t been clarified. Not because i was against de-throning Saddam Hussien.

    In what manner do you think the ‘right’ (in whatever way you’re taking that word) is less hypocritical in this aspect, and that of politics in general?

  19. coruja — on 10th November, 2005 at 11:29 am  

    made in america - No country has colonised China and no country its right mind will invade China - so that argument is not really worthwhile.

    And that genocidal maniac Saddam was also “made in america” - he was ever so useful against Iran, but kinda got outta control? He might be a bastard but he’s our bastard” policy of US foreign policy might have had it’s day.

    People were against the war for various reasons, which were obviously lost on you. There has never been an occasion where democracy was imposed militarily, people have always made themselves free (Spain and Portugal are good examples) - but the Arabs are not proper people I suppose (and never have been seen as since the days of Napoleon). One of the problems with the military solution was seen in Iraq when people were not voting for the people the self-appointed liberators wanted.

    It is sad to see your posts denigrating Europe and European thought and philosophies, the very roots of your culture – democracy and human rights for example. But your thoughts are interesting and hilarious and I for one thank you for sharing them with us.

    On another note, it would be interesting to see what happens with the US & China and India in the next 20/30 years. China is vilified because of its human rights abuses but it will also be for its growth, its demand for oil and natural resources and its pollution. I wonder with a growing power that cannot be contained militarily or politically what Europe & the US will resort to.

  20. Robert — on 10th November, 2005 at 5:34 pm  

    Dear Mr Made In America - This entire discussion is made up of people from the left complaining about China, as human-right-abuser par excellance, so your complaints that the left agrees with dictators and communists is laughable waste of typing. If you want to complain about inconsistency, do as I did and complain against Indymedia.

    I repeat, consistency makes our case - fuck it, everyone’s case - stronger. The US policy in Iraq is pretty goddamned inconsistent with its policy towards everywhere else, that’s why I’m against it. The US policy towards the UN differs depending on who is being sanctioned (the palindromic resolutions 242 and 1441 being stark examples).

    What you seem to be ignoring is the fact that it is possible to be against some US actions, and not others! Guantanamo Bay is a hypocritical nightmare. Down with the Evil USA! Burn the Stars and Stripes! The protection of Taiwan, on the other hand, is truly fantastic. God Bless America!

    Why do we waste more breath on the USA than anyone else? Because, Made In America (if that is your real name :-) … we think we can make a difference with you guys. We use the same language, and we think people listen. If we can ensure that our protective big brother, the mighty USA, always has the moral high-ground, then we can support it with a clear conscience when it takes on the mighty Chinese Dragon, a radioactive Iran, or any of the other tin-pot dictators (Mugabe, oh please God, Mugabe).

    I don’t hate the USA. I just think we can make it better. By protesting against America’s ill-conceived foreign policy, I am a being true Patriot. You, on the other hand, are a simplistic, unpatriotic fool who would blindly follow his inconsistent, hypocritical President into the quagmire, dragging everything that makes Western civilisation great down with you. You will choke long before your head explodes.

  21. Sunny — on 12th November, 2005 at 2:52 am  

    I am a being true Patriot. You, on the other hand, are a simplistic, unpatriotic fool who would blindly follow his inconsistent, hypocritical President into the quagmire, dragging everything that makes Western civilisation great down with you.

    Well said Robert!

  22. Chris Stiles — on 13th November, 2005 at 9:11 pm  

    The Taiwan case is more complicated than it first appears anyway. For a long time both Taiwan and China officially had a ‘One China’ Policy - differing only on who the lawful government actual was. Taiwan has never formally voted for independence - and seemingly places less weight on its ability to defend itself than in the days of the cold war, with military spending down sharply.

    The US policy towards Taiwan has always been equivocal - tending to discourage it from any formal movement to independence. No party there has ever claimed as part of its official policy that of defending democracy where ever it exists - and LBJ stated exactly the opposite anyway.

    For an example of US inconsistency closer to home just take a look at Turkey.

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