The Tibetan Freedom Rant
China's back at it again. Killing, oppressing, repressing, subjugating and enslaving, all the while attempting to crush the spirit of the Tibetan people. You've really got to wonder why they can't just get their army of occupation the f*ck out of Tibet and leave the Tibetan people to live peacefully on their own - forever!
Why is it, anyway, that the Chinese thought they had the right to live free of Japanese colonial occupation, yet the Tibetans are supposed to accept Chinese colonial control? A bit strange isn't it?
The Chinese government line is that the Chinese army actually liberated Tibet. (From whom is not always clear, but "from themselves" would seem to be the most likely candidate). Incidentally, the "we're invading to liberate you" rationale is the exact same line Japan used when it invaded and enslaved almost all of Eastern Asia back in the '30s and '40s.
China's claim to Tibet, for those who don't know, is that China and Tibet were simultaneously occupied for centuries, first by the Mongols and then by the Manchurians. By this logic France could claim to be the rightful colonial master of Poland since they were both subjected to German occupation back in the 1940's. And Egypt could occupy Libya, Algeria and Morocco, since they were all once under Ottoman Empire control. And Argentina could take over Uruguay and Paraguay. Hell, even Chile if they wanted. And Ukraine gets Belarus. And...
But, more to the point, even if you had oppressed a people for a really long time, that certainly wouldn't give you the right to continue oppressing them eternally. The Russians ran Mongolia as a puppet fiefdom for 70 years and ruled over the Poles for centuries, but does that really give them some sort of eternal right to keep the Poles and Mongolians under their colonial boot? Or the Chechens, for that matter? Hell no! And, likewise, it's bloody well time for the Chinese army to get the hell out of Tibet and let the Tibetans be free once and for all. It's really a no-brainer, if you ask me. Hey guys, they really don't want you there, don't you get it? Leave!! Perhaps you're thinking that maybe deep down they actually want you to stay? Well, give them a referendum then and see what kind of results you end up with.
Here's what I know for sure, when my wife and I were in Tibet a few years back none of our friends there wanted to live under Chinese rule and, in safe private settings, they made that well known. Everyone also voiced great admiration for the Dalai Lama, though in doing so they were risking arrest and imprisonment in "re-education" camps (i.e. labor camps).
Of course the Chinese government propaganda machine is running at full steam right now and all this trouble, according to them, is the fault of the Dalai Lama and his running dogs, who are all, you guessed it, evil splittists who want to destroy the glorious motherland, blah, blah, blah.... This "Dalai clique", according to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, "wanted to incite the sabotage of the Olympic Games in order to achieve their unspeakable goal". This "unspeakable goal", of course, being freedom from foreign rule. Actually, all the Dalai Lama wants is autonomy, not full independence, but if I were the leader of this sinister "Dalai clique" you better bet I'd be demanding full independence.
However, I should point out that if, as the Chinese state media is claiming, any Chinese were killed in Lhasa by angry Tibetan mobs that would be terrible since the Chinese settlers in Lhasa are simply not to blame for any of this. The fact of the matter is they are just pawns in the government's game, pawns who've been lured to Lhasa with incentives such as double pay. Of course the government's motives are clear: Slowly fill up Tibet with Han Chinese so that the Tibetans are eventually a minority in their own homeland. This is exactly what they're also doing in their far-Western colony of Xinjiang, or East Turkistan.
This isn't about the Chinese people. It's about their f*cked-up sick-ass repressive government. Almost all the Chinese people we met in Tibet were, like most Chinese people we met throughout China, warm, friendly and very hospitable, obviously excluding that asshole Chinese cop I had to wrestle with to get out of the police station that one time in Lhasa (read more here).
I'm not going to go into the last 60 years of Tibetan subjugation at the hands of the Chinese government, but it's been, by all accounts, extremely brutal and horrific. Recently things have been much less heavy-handed, but that's only because the control has been so all-encompassing and the people's fear so absolute. Or so it seemed until this past week. They may have thought they'd broken the Tibetans' spirit, but, as the protests these past few days have shown, that isn't quite the case.
But, hey, to be a little more even-handed here, you've really got to hand it to the Chinese government. If there's one thing they're really good at it's repression. And not just of Tibetans, they're great at oppressing ALL the people throughout China and its colonies, though the Tibetans have always warranted a little extra attention. So, come on everybody, let's hear it for The People's Government and for The Chinese Communist Party: Almost 60 years now of keeping the people down... and still going strong! Now that's some kind of achievement!
Mike Cowie (Oredakedo)
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
P.S. Speaking of independence from foreign rule, Canada finally officially recognized Kosovo today. Great news! It's just too bad it took us so many weeks.
Check out my piece on Kosovo's independence here: The Throwin' Off The Shackles Rave: First Kosovo, Now The World
And read more about China here: China The Coddler and The Tyrannical Three: The Burma, North Korea and Sudan Rant
And to read a Travel piece about Tibet click here: Lhasa, Tibet #1: The World Basketball Tour at 3,650 meters