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Tibet = China???

 
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Mats
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PostPosted: Tue 15 Apr, 2008 11:29 am    Post subject: Tibet = China??? Reply with quote

In reading coverage of the current protests over China's rule over Tibet, the protestants seem very clear in their message that Tibet is a sovereign nation that has been "captured" by China and should be set "free". As I'm largely ignorant of Tibet's history, I decided to read the Wikipaedia entry :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibet
Beginning around 500 A.D. and leading up to the present, this history is anything but clear! I would be hard pressed to join the "Free Tibet" movement without a great deal more education! Anyone here more clear??


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Lawless in Lotusland
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Apr, 2008 12:10 am    Post subject: Re: Tibet = China??? Reply with quote

MEF wrote:
Anyone here more clear??


I haven't read the wikipedia entry. However, you don't need become an expert on Tibet or focus on the truth of whether Tibet is really a sovereign state that should be "free." This is a matter of controversy among many. I understand that even in Tibet the issue is contested. I understand that even the Dalai Lama has not been demanding state sovereignty-- he suggests more autonomy within China.

What is not contested, however, is that China is a major violator of the most fundamental human rights including in Tibet. See http://www.amnesty.ca/themes/china_overview.php for a credible overview based facts and international human rights law.

One can easily advocate to China that its government begin to respect international human rights law, including that they stop persecuting people for expressing their religious and political views.

If you're thinking of joining something, consider Amnesty International or other credible international human rights organization.

And you don't need to boycott the Olympics if you are not sure. There are plenty of people doing that, and it's been very useful in focusing attention and pressure on China. Instead, you can usefully advocate for engagement with China on the subject of its respect for international human rights. For my time and money as an ordinary person, I'd advocate with corporations that are sponsors of the Olympic Games, going in through their corporate websites and asking them what they are doing to engage the government of China concerning its human rights performance in many parts of the world including Tibet, Darfur, Myanmar and other parts of the world where they are supporting governments with poor human rights records. Those wanting to spend an hour writing a short note to corporations can visit http://en.beijing2008.cn/bocog/sponsors/sponsors/ (click through), or easier still http://www.miafarrow.org/sponsors_genocide_olympics.html (which focuses on Darfur, but the links/addresses can easily be used on any other issue regarding China).

I did this last week, and have already received some fascinating responses from several corporations. Most are less interested in serious and knowledgeable engagement in serious dialogue with and about China than they are in looking good while continuing their lucrative business as usual and trying to pacify letter writers with bafflegab. Some of them have divisions devoted to corporate social responsibility (or the ilk) who clearly have very knowledgeable people primarily devoted to spin. I have responded to the evasive responses with more questions, and am awaiting more serious replies for which I will probably wait a good deal longer. However, it's good that they be bothered with the mail. This is the only way they will recognize that investors and customers do care, and that it will be good business to change their priorities.

I know this is long.

Yours,
Lawless


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Mats
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Apr, 2008 12:56 pm    Post subject: Tibet Reply with quote

Lawless, thank you for your clarification. The protest are not about changing the political status of Tibet, but, rather about changing the human rights abuses of the Chinese government - not only in Tibet but all of China. That makes a lot more sense. I hope that's made clear to all joining protest marches.


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Lawless in Lotusland
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PostPosted: Wed 16 Apr, 2008 8:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Tibet Reply with quote

MEF wrote:
Lawless, thank you for your clarification. The protest are not about changing the political status of Tibet, but, rather about changing the human rights abuses of the Chinese government - not only in Tibet but all of China. That makes a lot more sense. I hope that's made clear to all joining protest marches.


Some of the protests in Tibet are about an independent Tibet. I don't have an strong opinion about it -- that's for the majority of Tibetans to decide. But nowadays, if there are any Tibetans who feel that way, then they should be able to speak out about it. In Canada, there is an active separatist movement! If Canada started wrongfully persecuting these people, I would be protesting -- not for Quebec separatism but for the rights of people to speak about it and even their right to assembly to organize people to peacefully advocate separatism.


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Mats
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Apr, 2008 1:54 pm    Post subject: Canada Reply with quote

Not to blow our own horn too loudly, but not only do we tolerate dissent, we have both federal and provincial parties that have separation as their main platform.


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Lawless in Lotusland
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Apr, 2008 11:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Canada Reply with quote

MEF wrote:
Not to blow our own horn too loudly, but not only do we tolerate dissent, we have both federal and provincial parties that have separation as their main platform.


Yes, and not only that, but a reasonable level of toleration of peaceful dissent is part of international human rights law. (Canada has a reasonably good record on freedom of expression and freedom of religion, but our record on some other things is not as good -- I will refrain from boring with details, but you can look things up at http://www.bayefsky.com/docs.php/area/conclobs/state/31 (links to the UN reports about CAnada's compliance with the listed human rights treaties -- look up the acronyms).

China and other countries do not tolerate dissent. They put people in jail and worse for expressing political or religious views contrary to the party line. There is really no doubt about this at all.

China's treatment of Tibet's dissidents is one example. China's treatment of the Falung Gong (a religion to which I do not subscribe at all) is a really chilling example: http://organharvestinvestigation.net/ ("parents strongly cautioned.") China's record on torture is absolutely appalling.

(Of course China is not alone. But the Olympics are there this summer -- which personally I think it a great thing. If not for that fact, we probably wouldn't be having this e-discussion.)

Hey MEF -- you were the one that got me started....

Yours Lawlessly


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