March 15, 2008

In Re People's Republic of China and Human Rights

Typical for the PRC.

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese officials have declared a "people's war" of security and propaganda against support for the Dalai Lama in Tibet after riots racked the regional capital Lhasa, and some sources claimed the turmoil killed dozens.

Residents of the remote city high in the Himalayas said on Sunday that anti-riot troops controlled the streets and were closely checking Tibetan homes after protests and looting shook the heavily Buddhist region.

Two days ago Tibetan protesters, some in Buddhist monks' robes and some yelling pro-independence slogans, trashed shops, attacked banks and government offices and wielded stones and knives against police.

China has said at least 10 "innocent civilians" died, mostly in fires lit by rioters.

But an outside Tibetan source with close ties in Lhasa said that number was far too low. He cited a contact who claimed to have counted many more corpses of people killed in the riots or subsequent crackdown.

"He said there were 67 bodies in one morgue alone," the source told Reuters. "He saw it with his own eyes."

The self-proclaimed Tibetan government-in-exile in northern India has said some 30 people were killed in clashes with Chinese authorities. Beijing bans foreign reporters from freely reporting in Tibet, so the conflicting claims cannot be easily checked.

The convulsion of Tibetan anger at the Chinese presence in the region came after days of peaceful protests by monks and was a sharp blow to Beijing's preparations for the Olympic Games in August, when China wants to showcase prosperity and unity.{...}

Chinese authorities have now signaled a sweeping campaign to redouble security in the region and attack public support for the Dalai Lama, who fled into exile in 1959 after that year's failed uprising.

"This grave incident of fighting, wrecking, looting and burning was meticulously planned by reactionary separatist forces here and abroad, and its goal was Tibetan independence," a Saturday meeting of senior regional and security officials announced, according to the official Tibet Daily on Sunday.

"Fight a people's war to oppose separatism and protect stability ... expose and condemn the malicious actions of these forces and expose the hideous face of the Dalai clique to broad daylight."

The meeting was attended by Tibet's hardline Communist Party boss, Zhang Qingli, and senior central government security officials, and it strengthens signs that China has no patience with international calls for a lenient response to the riots.

Authorities have already set an ultimatum to rioters, urging them to hand themselves in to police by Monday midnight and gain possible clemency, or face harsh punishment.

The government has mobilized officially favored Buddhist monks to denounce the protests and the Dalai Lama, the Tibet Daily reported.

"The Party's policies on religious freedom have been very well observed," one said, according to the paper.

"But monks in a few monasteries don't study the scriptures well ... and coordinate from afar with the Dalai clique." {...}

The PRC invaded Tibet in 1950. They have taken over the practice of Bhuddism there, even going so far as to put a fake Panchen Lama on the throne, much like they put "state approved" Catholic Bishops in place in Beijing. There is no freedom of the press ANYWHERE in China, let alone in Tibet, where, currently, the death count is unknowable because they won't let the information out, or the reporters in.

When is the West going to stop pretending that these are people we want to do business with? They invaded Tibet, and if the US Navy wasn't currently patrolling the Taiwanese Strait, they'd invade Taiwan, too. Make no doubts about it, ideology rules in the People's Republic, and no matter how many skyscrapers they build in Shanghai or Beijing, or how many deals they cut with companies desperate to reduce their manufacturing costs, they are still the party of Mao. They are still the party of Li Peng, who murdered God only knows how many in Tianemen Square. their ideology demands repression of anyone who rejects it.

Et tu, Google? Et tu, Yahoo? Et tu, IBM? Et tu, Mattel?

I could go on, but I think you get the gist. They are murdering people right now in Tibet. The sad thing is that this situation is hardly unique in the PRC's history: they apparently enjoy murdering people. The PRC's higher ups think no one's going to mind a little enforced repression dressed up as a "People's War." They want to portray this as an "internal matter" so the west won't get their panties in a bunch over it, and the summer olympics will go off without a hitch. They're counting on our western greed, because they believe we're more interested in money than a few dead Bhuddist monks. Just how many of them have to die before we'll realize that we don't want access to the Chinese market so badly that they think they have carte blanche to commit murder?

The only decent thing Jimmy Carter did during his administration was to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics to protest the USSR's invasion of Afghanistan. It was wholesale slaughter in Kabul and elsewhere in that country that got him to act. And despite the fact that many hopes and dreams were slashed by bringing foreign policy into the Olympics, it was, morally speaking, the right call. The Moscow Olympics were a failure without western money to prop it up, and the USSR suffered as a result. I'm sick of rewarding the PRC with business when they repress a billion people on a daily basis. I'm sick of Google's investment and development in Baidu despite its "Don't be Evil" campaign. I hate that the CEO of Mattel had to go and publicly grovel in front of a PRC flack after criticizing Chinese production standards last summer. He had to do it, otherwise Barbies would cost considerably more than they already do. I hate that western companies that wouldn't exist without the free market in western society nonetheless, have to appease the stockholders and expand into the Chinese market, with nary a thought about how they're propping up a repressive dictatorship in their rush to make a buck. They think they can get away with this and it drives me nuts that we let them, time and again. It's time for this shit to stop.

And the only way is to teach them a lesson only the deprivation of western money and attention can provide. Boycott the Beijing Olympics. Screw 'em. They want us to think they've created a new modern, progressive, prosperous China? Well, they wouldn't be so damn prosperous if it wasn't for western money. Deny them that and they might straighten up and fly right. I don't think communism is going anywhere in China, but it's time for them to stop thinking they consistently have us bent over a barrel. They've got to learn that we can push back.

The question is, however, does anyone want to teach them that lesson, or are cheap Barbies and DVD players really more important than someone's life? Sadly, I would suspect that the answer is 'yes.'

I really wish someone would prove me wrong, though.

Posted by Kathy at March 15, 2008 11:31 PM | TrackBack

What the hell do they even want from Tibet, bauxite or something?

Posted by: Dave M at March 17, 2008 02:15 PM