Monday, April 28, 2008

What is wrong with Demon China?

Those of you that have read my blog or writing in the past, know about my stance on China's treatment of Tibet, and while we do have to fight to make sure that Tibet gains independence, I think it's time to examine how this problem pans out from the Chinese perspective.

One of the key complaints of the coverage of the Olympic Relay from the Chinese end is that western media is often quick to cast China as the villain in the piece, and for once, I agree with them.

It's very easy for western media to think of themselves as the fourth estate in civilized liberal democracies while casting China as an oppressive force, totally opposed to lofty ideals such as 'independence', 'free-will and 'capitalism'.

China sees western media coverage of the Olympic relay as bordering on the racist, and it's not hard to see why.

Take the Paris leg of the relay for instance. While new agencies reported violence from pro-Tibetan supporters, the full extent was not reported. For example, the story of Paralympian Jin Jing highlights the disgusting conduct of the pro-Tibetan crowd.

To put it bluntly, she was abused from all sides from pro-Tibetan supporters, who didn't seem to care that she was disabled. These scenes of violence had been reported, but the extent of it wasn't. The irony being that the while the Chinese had been accused of shocking violence and the absolution of human rights, it was the pro-Tibetan supporters beating down on a disabled woman.

The problem is, that this type of biased reporting validates the notion that 'the west are against us' in China's eyes.

When the call goes out for China to take a more active role in the international community, it's easy to see why they would decline. They have western democracies telling them what to do, how to act, where to invest and capitalist companies greedily eying up its citizens as a market.

All of a sudden, you have western democracies trying to overturn centuries of tradition and thinking to get China on 'their side'. No wonder the Chinese are wary.

Respect, is paramount in Chinese culture (I know this from talking to international students), and when governments at first chastise them heavily, then western media casts them in a negative light, it points to a lack of respect for China and their policies.

Now, I am pro-Tibetan, but some of the conduct from protesters go against the teachings of the Dalai Lama. Indeed, he's threatened to step down if violence in the region does not stop. This puts pressure on China, and Tibetans to force a diplomatic solution to this crisis.

It seems that while pro-Tibetan supporters have lost their way and resorted to violence, the leader of the exiled government is one to see reason in this quandary. I wouldn't expect anything less.

Listen, China does do a lot wrong, and I'm the first one to point that out. China is fueling conflict in Darfur, silencing media outlets in China and oppressing the Tibetan people, but violence is not the answer.

China is a proud nation, and it is not through violent acts that it will heal itself. It is not through casting China as the villain that will make steps toward peace in Tibet. It is not through directives that China will change.

It is through accepting China as an equal and through dialogue on equal terms that will effect change.

Yet, heavy handed pro-Tibetan supporters seem to think that the negative attention directed toward China will change the country. It may, but for the Olympics only. Once all the tourists go home, it will be business as usual in China.

What we need is a long lasting peace, not an angry band aid.

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