Same Old China
By: Leigh Patrick Sullivan
The Chinese crackdown in Tibet, the mobilization of Chinese troops against the independence-loving Tibetan people, cannot be categorized as shocking. We have known since the Dali Lama fled in exile some 50 years ago that this was inevitable.
Even with the Western mediaâ€™s recent love-in with China, where we have been told that the stoic Chinese government was slowly opening up to outside influences and moving towards a more pro-peopleâ€™s rights policy, the Tibet issue gave us more than enough reason to doubt the claims of a â€˜new Chinaâ€™.
From the American military plane taken hostage a few years back to the series of communist government crackdowns against various groups inside its own borders, including their internationally controversial move against followers of the peaceful Falun Gong religion, there has been more than enough reason for the West to look upon China with a critical eye.
For many of us, the memory of the student-led, pro-democracy Tiananmen Square protest of 1989 is still very fresh and vivid. It served as an indication that, no matter how tightly China tries to restrict the flow of information and ideas from outside their influence, they canâ€™t control everything (keep in mind â€“ 1989 happened before the internet revolution). It also served as a reminder that the Chinese communist regime was still as lethal and cold as ever. They are still the people who supported and fought with the Korean and Vietnamese communists against American forces.
China will be hosting the Summer Olympic Games this year. From August 8-14, Beijing will be the center of the international communities focus, and the Chinese government has long planned on using this event as a turning point in their history. China intended to use the opportunity of having the worldâ€™s attention to show us all how they have become a modern, vibrant society.
Tibet has thrown a huge wrench into the works. Instead of the triathlon and the javelin, we think of monks being arrested and freedom being taken away from an independent nation.
Instead of Olympic glory, the race for Gold, and new world records, we think of the old Chinese ghost â€“ human rights violations. Perhaps it isnâ€™t too late to send a strong message in response to their illegal act against the Tibetan people. Surely, if the Soviet Unionâ€™s invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 was reason enough to boycott the Moscow Games of 1980, the invasion of Chinese forces against the Tibetan people constitutes enough reason to threaten China with similar action.
With Chinaâ€™s current attempt to redefine its international image, their move against the Tibetan protesters couldnâ€™t have come at a worse time. At least it takes the focus off the influx of dangerous, lead-soaked products they are exporting to our children.
The Moderate Separatist