A Blog devoted to progressive politics, environmental issues, LGBT issues, social justice, workers' rights, womens' rights, and, most importantly, Cats.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

China, The Olympics, and Tibet

Photo from Tibet Travelogue

Disclaimer: We are strongly pro-China in most things. For us, China is the Peoples' Republic. We admit that abuses have occurred throughout China's post-Revolutionary history, but when weighed against the benefits brought about by the Revolution of 1949, and the long history of pre-revolutionary abuses, they are relatively minor.

That does not change the fact that China is currently at a pivotal point in her history. The issue of Tibet has long been a thorny and difficult one. China has throughout history considered Tibet part of her empire, but the days of empire are past, are they not? Tibet has a distinctive and ancient culture that is not the culture of the dominant Han Chinese. The Tibetan people do not consider themselves Chinese.

The Revolution brought benefits to Tibet, such as education, sanitation, health care, and the destruction of a rigid hierarchical priest-ridden social order. On the other hand, it attempted to eradicate much that the Tibetans value about their culture, including their religion. Now the always difficult situation has exploded, right around the time of the Olympics.

There is a great deal to be said about China's long and complex history and her finally rejoining the community of nations, as symbolized through the hosting of the Olympics. However, this is not the time and place to say it. The PRC government is distressed because the Tibetans have chosen this moment to bring the spotlight of the world to bear on their quest for greater autonomy. But given that most of the world ignores what is going on in its own backyard day after day, what better time to raise their issues? Otherwise, just like Darfur, and Burma, and Irian Jaya, and Comoros, and Iraq, all these issues are simply ignored.

At any rate, if you would like to join with the many people who are calling for a boycott of the Olympics over the issue of Tibetan autonomy, here is a petition that you might care to sign.

If you prefer to leave the matter of Tibet to the PRC government, reasoning that America, and every other country in the world, has human rights abuses occurring within their own borders that they should be attending to before lecturing anyone else, you might want to address the PRC government on the issue of animal rights instead.

The PRC government is rounding up and killing cats all over Beijing. Please help put a stop to this cruelty by signing this petition.

Concerned animal lovers are also pressuring the PRC government to crack down on the slaughter of dogs for food. Having our own dietary quirks, we prefer not to lecture others about their choice of food (as our Esteemed Parent once said to us, what's the difference between a cow and a dog? A question we couldn't answer, to our great embarrassment, without invoking our own quixotic notions of what constitutes acceptable eats). However, the cruelty with which animals are stolen from their owners and then killed, is simply unacceptable to the terminally tender-hearted of La Casa de Los Gatos. So we urge you to wander over to this site and sign the petition there.

You might also wish to put pressure on your purveyors of food and other necessities to boycott PRC products until the little matter of food contamination and oversight has been resolved.

La Casa de Los Gatos thanks you for your assistance. Incidentally, if you are fond of animals, you might not want to read the attachments to the petitions. They are graphic and highly disturbing. Psychoactive medication and Drugs of Choice are recommended. Also, not eating for a while &mdash maybe a day or more.

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At 11:42 PM, Blogger The Barefoot Bum said...

We admit that abuses have occurred throughout China's post-Revolutionary history, but when weighed against the benefits brought about by the Revolution of 1949, and the long history of pre-revolutionary abuses, they are relatively minor.

I have to disagree. I think the term "relatively minor" is weaselly, and you are rarely weaselly.

Both the pre- and post-revolutionary abuses are egregious and merit severe criticism. The apt comparison is always to our best ideals of humanism and decency.

That being said, I do agree that the Communist government of China has as much legitimacy as any modern government. They should not be shielded from criticism, but they deserve their autonomy and sovereignty.

At 4:38 AM, Blogger Jestin Joy said...

Its true something is going bad in China's backyard. Connecting tibet issue with Olympics is really absurd.Its a blackmailing from US and European countries

At 3:03 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Barefoot Bum: OK, busted. I was searching for a phrase that would express how much better China was post-revolution compared to pre-Revolution. "Relatively minor" doesn't cut it.

Between 1800 and 1900, there were, on average, two or more peasant uprisings per decade, as well as famines, harsh taxation, and brutal repression. From 1895 through 1947, wars wracked the nation. The years after 1949 must have seemed somewhat less horrible, despite the Great Leaps Forward, the "sending down to the country" of the intellectuals, and the Cultural Revolution. But I stand corrected. Less horrible does not equal relatively minor.

At 3:07 PM, Blogger ThePoliticalCat said...

Jestin joy, I don't think Tibetans like to be thought of as "China's backyard." That said, the PRC government needs to address the issue of Tibet without trying to demonize the Dalai Lama or the Tibetans.

It's true that religion has been a powerful, and retrograde force in Tibet, but people cannot be forced away from their culture at gunpoint. They must be educated. Also the PRC policy of settling Han Chinese in Tibet is not appropriate.

No matter how much we respect the PRC government for the progress they have made, we can &mdash and must &mdash still criticize them when they err.

At 9:49 PM, Blogger J. R. Miller said...

I recently blogged on this myself and I hope something can be done to bring change... Too many people / nations are interested in profit over people.


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