Sunday, March 16, 2008

So what is happening in Tibet?

Undoubtedly the Chinese government is tackling dissent with its usual ruthlessness. David Farrar notes pointedly how Helen Clark is treating both the Chinese government and Tibetan protestors with moral equivalency:
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The Government is concerned at the reports of violence and is trying to obtain more accurate information. It calls on all sides to exercise restraint.”- Prime Minister Helen Clark
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It could have come from China's official Xinhua news agency commenting on any foreign trouble.
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However, it is important to note that the protesters are not angels. Some are targeting any Han Chinese they see. James Miles of the Economist is the only foreign correspondent legally allowed to be in Lhasa reports he saw:
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crowds hurling chunks of concrete at the numerous small shops run by ethnic Chinese lining the streets of the city’s old Tibetan quarter. They threw them too at those Chinese caught on the streets—a boy on a bicycle, taxis (whose drivers are often Chinese) and even a bus.
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As your correspondent spoke to a monk in the backroom of a monastery, a teenage boy rushed in and prostrated himself before him. He was a member of China’s ethnic-Han majority, terrified of the mobs outside. The monk helped him to hide.
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However, it is NOT an orchestrated foreign conspiracy that is "anti-Chinese", despite the hysterical claims of the Chinese government. Tibetans deserve freedom of speech. Until they have this, China has no moral authority. Without the right to criticise government and hold it to account, it is simply fascism.
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However, the condemnations from the New Zealand government, the one that so claimed the moral highground on disarmament and Iraq - are so absent.

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