Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Too Late For Tibet?

The Chinese authorities have been cracking down on protests in Tibet that began a little over two weeks ago.

China will not recognize the independence of Tibet.

The Dalai Lama has been for years urging China to remain as the ultimate political and military authority in Tibet, but to agree to let Tibetans have religious freedom and local authority.

China, true to its nature, does not see that as a path.

Since followers of the Dalai Lama are taught peaceful resistance to injustice, they can easily become very sympathetic figures, even symbols in this conflict.

But recently Chinese authorities have scored in the court of public opinion by obtaining video of more violent (or at least violent-appearing) protests in Tibet.

It doesn't matter if the protestors are really Tibetans, or followers of the Dalai Lama, it just matters that video shows people there throwing stones and lighting fires.

For China, this is a huge gift, as it helps them in their attempt to not be seen as trampling on peaceful demonstrators, but rather quieting riots and bringing order to the conflict.

That allows them to get away with a lot more:

More arrests,
More defiance of international opinion,
More censorship,
More imprisonment of anyone opposed to their rules.

Now, the Chinese authorities have come up with a brilliant plan, which is just the next logical step, one that anyone in their position and with their political leanings would soon arrive at:

Simply plant guns and explosives where protestors have been in the past, bring media when you go "expose your find" to the world, and accuse the protestors of planning "suicide attacks" against the innocent citizens and government of Tibet.

Once you show the weapons to the media, you can say whatever you want about plans you claim your spies overheard.

This strikes at the heart of so many in the West, who are afraid of more suicide attacks by the few extremist Islamic radicals out there.

This can create an equivalence in the mind of many Westerners between the Tibetan protestors and the extremist radicals of the Middle East.

This gives China cover to do what they want to the protestors, because we in the West will simply shake our heads, and say that China will just do what has to be done to keep their people safe, to maintain security... no matter the cost.

(Sounds like what we have said about our own government eavesdropping, Guantanamo, Abu Gharib, Iraq...)

At least that is what the Chinese government believes will happen.

And if they steamroller the protestors again, and continue to force Tibetans to bend to their every whim and will, and we all look on, almost sympathetic to the Chinese Communist Government... again... we will let other innocent people and ourselves down... again.

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