It's not bad enough that China has Disneyfied Lhasa and turned an ancient people and religion into a tourist attraction. No the Chinese government has been Hanifying Tibet as well. The Han, China's powerful ethnic elite, have a long history of heavy-handed regional adventurism. In Tibet's case, that has meant the exile of tens of thousands (govt. in exile) and importing thousands of ethnic Han to cleanse the country of its indigenous influences and authority. It is, therefore, an insidious form of government-sponsored ethnic cleansing. Now, they're shooting citizens, and gassing monks and nuns. No wonder there's local resentment and unrest. The Chinese government's answer? Mobilize hundreds of thousands of troops, fill Tibet and surrounding provinces where ethnic Tibetans reside with troops and police, clamp down on Monasteries, and imprison monks, nuns and average Tibetans suspected of speaking out. Read Mark's comprehensive post on Boing Boing about the riots.
The foreign press has been rounded up and moved away from the action. The Internet has been comprehensively filtered, and the Chinese government is denying any culpability - instead falling-back on their long-time practice of blaming and demonizing the Dalai Lama. Yea, uh huh. Like I'm buying that. Like anybody's buying that. This is brutal repression, pure and simple. The massive denial of basic rights and respect to an entire people and their religion. Though I've been known to condemn the antics of wingnuts and fundamentalists of all strips, the actions of the Chinese authorities in the case of Tibet are over-the-top. There are several petitions making their way around the progressive blogosphere, and The Author has signed all he's seen. I hope my readers will consider doing the same, and taking whatever other actions that may be available to let the Chinese government know that this is not acceptable behavior.
It would not be proper for me to offer such advice and direction without acknowledging the human rights violations of the US in Iraq and Guantanamo. I have posted about my revulsion regarding our current president and foreign policy on many occasions. That is just the point. I can voice my opinion in any forum without fear of sanctioned, state retribution. Unlike the Tibetans, who are being summarily shot and imprisoned for being frustrated and protesting. Now that's dictatorship. It will be a very unfortunate endorsement of this kind of repression if the leaders of the FREE world attend the Beijing Summer Olympics 2008 "Opening Ceremony." Free Tibet Now!