Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Petitioning the Chinese on Tibet

I just signed an urgent petition calling on the Chinese government to respect human rights in Tibet and engage in meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama. This is really important, and I hope you will join me by signing the petition here.

After nearly 50 years of Chinese rule, the Tibetans are sending out a global cry for change. But violence is spreading across Tibet and neighbouring regions, and the Chinese regime is right now considering a choice between increasing brutality or dialogue, that could determine the future of Tibet and China.

Maybe we can affect this historic choice. China does care about its international reputation. Its economy is totally dependent on "Made in China" exports that we all buy, and it is keen to make the Olympics in Beijing this summer a celebration of a new China that is a respected world power.

President Hu needs to hear that 'Brand China' and the Olympics can succeed only if he makes the right choice. But it will take an avalanche of global people power to get his attention. Click on the link and sign the petition to President Hu calling for restraint in Tibet and dialogue with the Dalai Lama. Please tell absolutely everyone you can to consider doing the same.

The petition is aiming to reach 1 million signatures to deliver directly to Chinese officials.


conrad said...

I'm sure brand China will succeed no matter what. That's what suppression of the media does (I imagine closing that province down completely shouldn't be too much bother). Incidentally, there are numerous minority groups that are potentially worse off in China than the Tibetans -- its just that white people don't love them because they are not from religions they like. If you really want to be logical about human rights, then perhaps you should start with them.

hc said...

Conrad, No I disagree. Oppression elsewhere (and your comment in a separate thread about European treatment of indigenous people) in no way justifies the oppression of people in Tibet.

Tibet was an independent, if fairly backward country, until 'liberated' (read 'invaded') by Chairman Mao.

Can you imagine a worse fate than being 'liberated' by the barbarian Chinese communists?

Eventually tyranny is defeated - it won't occur overnight in China. It is difficult when a nation of a billion peasants have lived with no rights and virtually no education.

Coupled with Chinese xenophobia and ignorance of decent behaviour it inevitably will be a slow process.

conrad said...

So says the man who supported destroying Iraq (was Vietnam worth it too?), and no doubt when all the refugees want to come to the countries that destroyed theirs, they'll face fierce resistance from exactly the same people (just look at the comments section of any mainstream newspaper to see how bad it is likely to get). At least the US realizes the current hypocrasy, and has taken China off its nasty country list (although methinks it really should put itself on and not remove China).

Of course, some people are going to argue that destroying other people's countries is not the same as repressing people in your own. The only people that care about that argument are those that destroy other people's counties.

In addition, I didn't say Tibet doesn't have problems. It does, but other groups in China no-one gives a toss about do as well -- probably worse problems. We just don't love them because they're Muslims and not Buddhists.

You should also consider what timelines mean culturally. The fact that Australia happens to have become a human rights moralizing country in the past few decades despite its own appalling records in recent history needs to be considered in terms of timelines. Many Chinese still look back to what white people (and others) did to them in the last hundred years or two (recent history), and when you think of timelines like this, of course it makes no sense for them to care about what a few born-again preaching countries tell them.