Watching today the angry protestors in London, I thought that after stopping globalization, the activist left has found a new raison d’être: bashing China. It would be funny though to see the faces of these uncompromising idealists when someone tells them that this China-bashing sport was actually invented and funded in US by their beloved neoconservatives and hardcore Republicans that want to see the growing superpower China facing as many problems as possible.
In regards to Tibet, here are some facts for the angry boys and girls that I am certain they never came across before:
• The recent riots in Lasha were nothing less than a planned pogrom against the wealthiest Han minority in the region. As this piece in The (not-especially-friendly-to-China) Economist describes,
"The destruction was systematic. Shops owned by Tibetans were marked as such with traditional white scarves tied through their shutter-handles. They were spared destruction. Almost every other one was wrecked."
To get a picture, remember the pogrom against the Greek community in Istanbul in the 1960’s.
• The reported (13?) dead that were presented in the western media as if they were rioters, were all ethnic Hans that were killed, most of them burnt alive, by Tibetans.
• In this pogrom, the Chinese police was totally absent in the beginning and showed up only after few days, when the destruction of the Han property by the Tibetans was almost complete. Even then, the only victims of violence were the police and ethnic Hans. As the Tibetan head of Tibet's regional government said:
"Chinese police did not fire their guns or use anti-personnel weapons against the Tibetan protesters, even though the Tibetans wounded 61 police officers, including six in serious condition"
In other words, the Chinese police in Lasha was as “brutal” and “threatening” as the Greek police is in riots and looting in Athens.
• The big picture now, China is not your typical oppressor. China consists of 56 nations and minorities tend to have more rights than the majority of Hans -for example, the one-child policy does NOT apply to the minorities. Personally, I find this a bit weird behavior for an oppressor.
• At the same time, Tibet enjoys a very high degree of autonomy in China, it has its own local government and increased legislative rights. Btw. it also has one of the highest economic growth rates in the country, due to deliberate infrastructure development from the central government.
• Historically, Tibet was almost always part of China. Given that China is multicultural with several regions (sthg like Canada), it will be impossible for any Chinese administration to allow the full independence of the biggest region, Tibet.
Now, China is far from a saint country and has a lot to answer when it comes to political liberties, environmental issues etc. But in this specific issue, don't believe the hype -give China a break