|Chinese soldiers patrolling Occupied Tibet|
|Chinese crack troops 'dealing' with Tibetan protester|
“More than a million Tibetans have died as a direct result of the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet. Today, it is hard to come across a Tibetan family that has not had at least one member imprisoned or killed by the Chinese regime.”
|Tibetans who dare demand their rights are systematically |
persecuted, jailed, tortured and even executed.
According to Amnesty International, the Chinese authorities blatantly repress the 'Tibetan ethnic minority'. The Tibetans did not respond with suicide bombings; but since March 2011, more than 120 people are known to have set themselves on fire inside Tibet in protest against the repressive Chinese occupation. Amnesty International concludes:
“The Chinese government must put an end to repressive policies that infringe on the fundamental freedoms of ethnic Tibetans. The Chinese authorities have not heeded the demands of Tibetans, but have instead resorted to heavy-handed tactics that can only deepen and further fuel resentments. They must respect the right of Tibetans to practice their religion and to enjoy their culture.”
|Tibetans don't suicide bomb anyone. |
But they do protest by self-immolating...
“The continued population transfer of Chinese to Tibet in recent years has seen the Tibetans become a minority in their own land. Today the six million Tibetans are vastly outnumbered by Chinese immigrants, who are given preferential treatment in education, jobs and private enterprises. Tibetans, on the other hand, are treated as second-class citizens in their own country”.
According to Dalai Lama:
“The new Chinese settlers have created an alternate society: a Chinese apartheid which, denying Tibetans equal social and economic status in our own land, threatens to finally overwhelm and absorb us.”
Chinese policies have generated severe tensions, leading to periodic outbursts of violence. In one such outburst, which erupted in 2008 between Tibetan population and Han settlers, eyewitnesses quoted by BBC reported:
“The street is pretty much in flames. I saw a huge amount of military in the town. It went crazy all of a sudden. All the Chinese shops were put on fire by Tibetans. Tanks in the street. Tear gas. I saw people being carried away on stretchers and ordinary Tibetans going crazy. […] As the monks ran down, suddenly people, policemen just appeared almost as if out of nowhere and started beating, pulling and kicking them as they streamed down towards the main entrance of the temple.”
|Chinese police beating Tibetans in the capital Lhasa|
The central Chinese authorities are well aware of the human rights situation in Tibet. To try and hide it from international scrutiny, they have restricted movement of people and information. Foreign nationals need a special permit to visit Tibet – and such permits are very often refused (see official advice by UK Foreign Office). No such permits are necessary to visit other areas in China. Mentioning Tibet as destination on a Chinese visa application typically results in the applicant being denied visa. Possession of Western literature concerning Tibet has resulted in foreigners being refused entry to China, even when they were in possession of a valid visa. Access to Internet information on Tibet is blocked throughout China.
Negotiations between the Chinese government and Dalai Lama/Tibetan Government in Exile have failed to produce any progress. Each side has accused the other of lack of desire to achieve a peaceful solution.
All this did not prevent UK Prime Minister David Cameron to conduct an official visit to China, heading what is officially called "the largest British trade mission ever to go to China". Mr. Cameron will not take this opportunity to visit Occupied Tibet. UK Prime Minister’s approach to dealing with China is nothing if not enthusiastic:
"Some in Europe and elsewhere see the world changing and want to shut China off behind a bamboo curtain of trade barriers. Britain wants to tear those barriers down."
"No country in Europe is more open to Chinese investment than the United Kingdom."
"I will champion an EU-China trade deal with as much determination as I am championing an EU-US trade deal."
And actions certainly follow words, in this case: no less than 10 Sino-UK cooperation agreements have already been signed. Now, I am not surprised by Mr. Cameron’s eagerness to cooperate with China: I have always claimed that most politicians are driven by perceptions of interest (national, at best, political or personal, at worst) – and to hell with ethics.
But there is a cohort of activists who claim to be driven entirely by ethical considerations. They say they seek ‘justice’ and vociferously call for boycotting Israel for sins like ‘occupation of Palestinian land’, ‘illegal settlements’, ‘oppression of Palestinians’, etc. They want to boycott Israeli companies, Israeli products, Israeli academics, Israeli dance groups, Israeli theatre troops, etc. etc. etc. They even call for boycotts against companies doing business in Israel and demand from famous singers not to perform in Israel. All this because, they say, what Israel is doing is not just immoral, but also contrary to ‘international law’.
|BDS'ers protested vociferously when the UEFA |
Under-21 Football Championship was hosted by
Israel. Not a peep about the Olympics in China, though.
Of course, boycotting China is more difficult than boycotting tiny Israel. But surely this should not be a deterrent to people animated by such lofty ideals; ethics, after all, is about ‘speaking truth to power’, not ‘ganging up against the weak’. Innit??
BDS’ers have some explaining to do: in which way are Palestinian Arabs more worthy of ‘justice‘ than Tibetans? Why should Israel be boycotted for allowing Jews to ‘settle’ in Jerusalem, while no such calls are made against China, which settled millions of Han Chinese in Tibet? Why the campaign against Israeli tomatoes and avocados, but complete indifference towards massive imports of Chinese goods? Why the berserk ‘protests’ against everything remotely connected to democratic Israel, but not a peep against Tibet-occupying, autocratic, massive human rights-abusing China?
I am eagerly looking forward to receiving their cogent explanation. And promise to thoroughly analyse it :-)!