14 April 2008

Tibet, China, and the Olympics

Is a boycott of the Olympic Games by athletes a good thing?

It would certainly be a slap in the face for China and perhaps a wake up call but would it help the Tibetans? Probably not, and probably not even a little bit. Simply, the Chinese would be smarting from the perceived embarrassment of the whole thing. So, access to Tibet would likely become increasingly difficult and with the Chinese sure to blame the Tibetans for any boycott, then conditions in Tibet are likely to deteriorate even further.

Okay then what about a boycott by world leaders of the opening and closing ceremonies, is this a good thing? The answer to this question is also a resounding no! If you're are going to boycott then it needs to be the real deal and countries keep their athletes home and not their leaders.

There are serious problems in Tibet and these are not just human rights violations against the Tibetans. Although it is the human rights problems which might serve as the best means of engagement with the Chinese. However, indigenous Tibetans are a quickly becoming a minority in their own territory with the rapid movement of Chinese citizens from other regions into Tibet. This program of transmigration is not something unique to China. Indonesia also has a pretty comprehensive transmigration program that has often been considered to be a public policy aimed at Javanizing the archipelago in order to make governance easier.

The world needs to engage China in constructive dialogue and highlight the mutual benefits of improved human rights in an increasingly inter-dependent global market! The Dalai Lama is on record as saying that his struggle is not one for an independent Tibet but a Tibet that has fully functioning autonomy within a greater China. But the Dalai Lama does call for better treatment, more respect for the human rights of Tibetans, and the need for dialogue.

Perhaps this is now as good an opportunity as any to engage China in this dialogue.


M said...

remember the santa cruz massacre in east timor? it did change something.

Rob Baiton said...

Yes...Is this Tibet's Santa Cruz moment? Probably not!

Tibet has been an "issue" for a very long time, particularly when you consider that it will be 20 years since the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

I would be interested to read more on how Santa Cruz changed East Timor / Timor Leste? Or more specifically about the change to which you refer :)

Perhaps you could write about it on your blog...or just a really long comment here!

Enjoy your week! By the way what are you doing putting comments on my blog anyway at 01.29 in the morning? :)

M said...

did i? haha, but i don't think so. i'm above the arctic circle geographically. so not sure which time zone is that.

in the middle of my thesis. blog walking is an activity i give my self in between to wake me up (like now-7.33 o'clock here). however sometimes it keeps me awake for too long. LOL

ur blog is good. new info, you update it a lot (gee, what are you? professional blogger?) and you reply fast. but i like the most that it's not so many people debating or making comments. hehe.

maybe i'll visit you more often (or not). i finish with lab work and will just write, from this week :p

ah about Santa Cruz..yea, i took a political science class last year and wrote on East Timor topic. i thought it would be easy as i can use Indonesian source. But it turned out making me crazy to realize how Indonesian government had totally fooled me saying all info from one point of view only. in the end, i got a C :( . So not sure if i will write that well.. :D

oigal said...

"But the Dalai Lama does call for better treatment, more respect for the human rights of Tibetans, and the need for dialogue."

and this would be different from the gazillion other Dalai's (ain't they supposed to be the same guy anyway ..) who used the religion to keep the population as bunch of "serf" for thousands of years..or did I miss something pre 1949 when Tibet was the apex of human rights and democracy.

Not saying I am agin giving China a bit of caning over human rights but the ol Dali has feet of clay as well.

GJ said...

Trust the traffic is moving north!!

Keep up the great posts.

I will try and send picture of my foot as suggested by Tree so we could catch up.

No corn beef in Kemang this week will keep you posted


Rob Baiton said...

Oigal...as always finding an interesting angle for debate yet again!

Gotta say we do not see much in the press about Tibet and human rights prior to the Chinese occupation which started in 1950 and culminated in the Dalai Lama fleeing to India on 10 March 1959...

Perhaps the belief is that Buddhist culture is humanist and peaceful and therefore human rights violations are not an issue...

This link suggests that Tibet was not such a happy-go-lucky place pre-1950


Rob Baiton said...

Traffic was static and is now falling since I posted the weird and bizarre sex stuff!

M said...

haha..this daddy club is funny. can't hold smirking at your comment on the sex stuff :D .
suppose at the peak of Olimpia event, the Tibetians make a huge demonstration and it creates anger from Chinise government. Meanwhile more journalists sneak in to Tibet. All of a sudden thousand of demonstrants clash with the Chinese military. Hundreds of people died, the massacre accidentally filmed by the sneaked in journalist.

Filmed screen played during Olympic games on tv around the world. EU force UN to take serious decision.

Till here it's almost the same like East Timor. But China has veto power. so guess you are right, time to talk with China.

Rob Baiton said...

It is an interesting point but I think the images are already available and will continue to become available.

A massacre or some other form of brutal repression caught on camera or an act of heroism such as a lone protester standing in front of a tank might promote further debate but will it lead to sanctions? Probably not (veto power aside)!

The Chinese have been lobbied continuously to use their influence in Darfur but the Chinese have been dragging their feet on this. So, I really do not see them being too pro-active on the human rights front at "home".