22 April 2008

Free Tibet or free China?

As usual, I prefer, dear readers, to comment on things after they have happened. Some people could call this a lazy habit, but I call it a safer one.

So here are some simple, proven facts:
- China is going to host the Olympics this year (whose boycott I support, just like I support Chiquita banana or Monsanto products boycott).
- At the occasion of the anniversary of China's invasion of Tibet, Tibetan demonstrations in Lhasa (and other regions) turned to violent anti-Han riots.
- These riots were suppressed violently and a ban on foreign press was imposed in Tibet.
- No free/critical information (even non political) can be published without dire consequences inside the Great Firewall of China.
- No free/critical information published outside the Firewall can be accessed from inside (such as this blog, for instance)
- The People's Republic of China is neither a Republic nor democratic. It is the uncontested rule of the Communist Party clique over the multitude.
- China is not a communist country, it is an oligarchy (and a very corrupt one).
- China does not tolerate any separatism, not even autonomy of peripheral regions.
- China does not tolerate freedom of religion.
- Many Tibetans are asking for independence, though the Dalai Lama (the head of their exiled government) is only asking for total religious freedom and an autonomy which would maintain its cultural and ethnic identity.
- Pro-Tibetan groups and free press activists have used the Olympic Torch relay to demonstrate against Chinese position.
- The Chinese government had promised some substantial Human Rights improvements to the Olympic Committee, ahead of the Games and in exchange for being allowed to organize them.
- None of these promises have been hold. Actually in some areas, the situation has become worse, arguably because of the Games.
- Chinese netjects (a neologism, contraction of "net" and "subjects", that I just created to replace the term "netizen" in places where citizenship is not obvious) have massively used the internet and messenger services to show their unconditional support to their government.
- Such netjects have shown no ability to hold an argumentative and rational conversation, using rather pre-digested babble and nationalistic rethorics.

My conclusion: if you want to make everyone happy (and that includes Taiwan, Macao and Hong-Kong), don't free Tibet, free China!


Hayley said...

With many Chinese living in other countries, surely there must be a flow of information (political or otherwise) back to China, even by word of mouth. But is this indeed the case? Or are the consequences so dire that Chinese expats wouldn't even dream of saying anything. Dare I ask, are the Chinese citizens then perpetuating their own oppression?

Jean-Baptiste Perrin said...

I suspect there is a bit of both. I know that many people living in dictatures perpetuate their fear even when they live abroad. They are wary that by talking to strangers or even to relatives, some secret police people might be listening. It is even worse when they come back, because then they are mostly right. Oppressive regimes are very concerned about anything coming from the outside and especially their own nationals who represent a kind of "revolutionary danger". I would add that in the case of China, both fears are totally substantiated by facts: it is a well known issue that Chinese secret services are extremely active in Western countries, either through active agents or just people passing information on a temp basis; it is also very clear that people bringing information back home in China which could be seen as "subversive" are repressed mercilessly.