March 14, 2008

On Tibet

Several years ago I watched Seven Years in Tibet and my interest in the welfare of Tibet was piqued. I did some research and the more I read, the more infuriated I became with the Chinese government and the world's lack of intervention.

This week on the 49th anniversary of China's overtaking Tibet, many monks and nuns have taken part in protests against the Chinese government. You can see some of the news stories below:

Tibet in Turmoil as Riots Grip Capital
Tibet: A Tinderbox of Tensions
Tibet poses dilemma for Beijing

The whole situation is disconcerting and ridiculous, but the fact that this was done almost 50 years ago and China is allowed to continually treat Tibetans (and their own citizens and other regions they control) with such contempt and put little to no value on human life.

And then there is the lack of attention that the world gives to this crisis (although more attention is being paid to this story. I can't help but think it's because of the Olympics this summer.). Whenever I try to think of a way to explain how the U.S. (and other countries) treat China, all I can think of is Dr. House. As in, the television show.

For those who haven't seen the show, Dr. House (more commonly called House) is a brilliant doctor who can figure out what is wrong with his patients even though their ailment is completely bizarre. They'll take most of the show trying to figure out what is wrong with the patient and doing all these tests, then the patient almost dies but just before they kick the bucket, House has an epiphany and figures out that there's a toothpick in the kid's intestine and that's why he's dying.

Sounds simple enough, right? Except House is a jerk. A very, very big jerk. Notice my prowess with the adjectives to describe just how much of a jerk he is: very, very big. He's mean to everyone, especially the patients. He's addicted to painkillers and did I mention he's mean? But since he's brilliant, everybody puts up with him. Sort of like China. Except instead of being brilliant, China has cheap labor and lots of people to perform this cheap labor. So we let them get away with murdering their own citizens and being very, very big jerks.

I understand there is a lot more to this issue, but the fact remains that they treat their own citizens, and the citizens of the countries they take over, brutally. They oppress people and we let them get away with it because we like to buy cheap electronics and Elmo dolls. And there are dozens of other countries with horrible governments and with riots and thousands who die from violence. Tibet is merely the tip of a massive iceberg. But we do business with China. Our companies move their manufacturing to China. And we turn a blind eye to the atrocities that go on in this country.

My hope is that all of this unrest will wake the world up. Perhaps the summer Olympics will open up doors for change as others speak out against China.

Free Tibet
International Campaign for Tibet

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