1 April 2008

Of China-bashing, Tibet and the Olympics...

I am not enthused by the China-bashing.

For years now, I made a decision to avoid television as much as possible.
Current affairs programmes, in particular, irritate me. Sensationalism makes me angry, unfair media representations make me angry, juxtaposition of out of context photos with mindless voice overs makes me angry...

I used to sit in front of the box many years ago. My silent viewing was punctuated by loud, intermittent, "bullshits".
"Bullshit!" I would cry out like an old man.
One day it hit me.
I was becoming my Dad!! That's exactly what he does...
The discovery sparked some hysterical laughter. I switched off the television and walked away.

I have a name for television. I call it the fear mongering, advertising tool. That's all it is. Occasionally I watch comedy shows but since I've discovered that there are plenty of Gad Elmaleh YouTube videos, I no longer need television. So we haven't bothered replacing the CRT box. That's right: I shun the plasma. It's not a stylish commodity for me. My ideal house is devoid of television.

So about China... and Tibet...

No country is innocent.
Every country makes mistakes. Every country makes a strategic decision to endorse beliefs that aligns with its nationalistic interests.

I leave the question as to whether China could claim sovereignty over Tibet during the Ming dynasty (i.e. the last Han Chinese dynasty) to other historians. All I can say is that during that period, given they had much to benefit from it, Tibetans were only too happy to pay tribute to the Chinese emperors. But the question of whether this tributary relationship established Tibet as a subservient vassal of China or whether China saw Tibet as an independent kingdom is still under debate. There are many opposing views.

What do the words "Free Tibet" mean?
I'm not really sure.

For Chinese nationalists, "Free Tibet" means splitting their country. They take offense at this because, they say, it recalls the Divide and Rule policy of foreign imperialist powers. To "Free Tibet" means to set a precedent for the other 56 ethnic groups in China who may also desire to be free...a possibility, especially in Yunnan.
But when you have 56 ethnic minorities, the results could be disastrous. Chaos.
Can you imagine 56 ETAs in Spain?

The phrase "Free Tibet" also provokes defensiveness in the Chinese, and rightly so, because it implies that Tibetans are currently slaves and that since the toppling of the feudalistic monk regime, the Tibetans have suffered more. This is a myth.

Michael Parenti looks at the Tibet myth here.

I really like this article because it dispels the spiritual shroud that clouds popular perceptions of Tibetan monks. Michael Parenti examines Tibet's old feudal practices. He looks at how people were treated by the monks before egalitarian ideals were introduced by the communists. He acknowledges the wrongs suffered by Tibet during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) but he also notes, what is all too easily ignored by foreigners, that China, as a whole, was impacted and often suffered during the Cultural Revolution. Finally, Parenti outlines the economic, infrastructure, educational and health benefits that communism has brought to Tibet. These can not be ignored.

Let me leave you on that note: at the Sydney Olympics, the last thing Australians would have wanted is to have the international community demonstrating with banners to "Free Arnhem Land!!"

And to put it in Wired terms, China-bashing is so Tired.

3 comments:

Eric said...
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Anonymous said...
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Laura said...

Hello,

In answer to your question,
Michael Parenti's point of view is what I would call a well researched, different point of view. It is tempting to say that he is 'biased' when it contradicts your viewpoint. I like to remain open.

By the way, my post was not directed against the Dalai Lama. You misunderstood.

In answer to your other question, I would say not many governments acknowledge their mistakes.

And about my "pro-Chinese sympathetic crap"...
You are off the mark. I am actually pro-humanity. I believe individuals, such as the Chinese for example, should not be judged by their governments' actions.

Am I pro-Chinese? That is complicated. Let's see, I am half Lebanese, a quarter Vietnamese and the other quarter is French. I was born and lived many years in West Africa.
If you think my posts are pro-Chinese and feel injured by them, then do not read them.

And your last rhetorical questions are not worth an answer. I'm sure you've already made your own judgement.