Jonathan C.W. Kwok (Hong Kong, AC 09-11)
Since induction period, the voices regarding Tibetan issues or saying “You don’t regard Tibet as a country!?” at AC had been driven out despite some ongoing activities. Apparently, the international pressure heading China had also been declining at the same time recently.
In the Chinese Communist party, they tend to create many terminologies that do not actually make any sense. For example, Socialist with Chinese characteristics i.e. explaining all capitalist system with communist wordings; “Not forming any allies but co-operate tightly with other countries” i.e. the military drill of Shanghai Co-operation Association; Great development in varies aspect including human rights since the liberation under the principal of unity i.e. a national flag standing beside the cross in the biggest church of Beijing. But this time, “American President Barack Obama should be especially sympathetic to China’s opposition to the Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence, as a black president who lauded Abraham Lincoln for helping abolish slavery” can be regarded as one of the few sensible official argument.
As a Hongkong-born Chinese who witness the human rights development in the mainland, enjoy the economic success and miss almost every tragedy, I cannot actually find a reason to convince myself that Tibet should gain her “independence”. It is somehow quite objective but you have to know that it is the reality, not a single country is willing take the risk of supporting Tibet independence. In addition, the term “national self-determination” will and had never been applied in the country with fifty-six races. Nevertheless, I have to say that Tibetans are enjoying a lot more freedom than any other races in mainland Chinese, and Han (the majority) in particular.
Moreover, I am not trying to use those weird arguments that the communist party would use to persuade anything nor proving how impossible the solutions Dalai Lama suggests are but desperately want you to put your attention on the entire human rights situation in China. In fact, many problems aroused by Dalai Lama and western media are the problem of the whole China. For example, the problem of “disappearing culture” is a problem of the entire country, all races. The Cultural Revolution that last for 10 years in the 1970s destroyed almost every antique, temples, churches thus the few hundred years-old attractions that you can now visit are all “repaired” infrastructure. Furthermore, educated people, landlords, priests and many power-holding leaders were condemned as anti-revolutionist. Some “criticism convention” that involve condemning how capitalist they are, forcing them to knee on broken glass, admitting their “fault” were held. Very often, their own sons or daughters would be in one of the crowds as well. Thus, the tradition Confucianist values, which emphasis respect, politeness, love and etc, are being damaged. Together with the “invasion” of foreign culture in major cities of each province, there are not much people left in upholding the traditional values. The tradition costumes of Han, Machu, Mongolian, Tibetans and other races would only appear in dramas or shows. Many recipes and medications were lost. Moral values are being lowered continuously that the central government need to issues some “civilized guidelines” to uphold some Confucian values. However, the young generation still cannot realize the importance of preserving their tradition and culture.
The problem of religion is also severe. As mentioned above, you can see a national flag standing besides the cross in the largest church in Beijing. The catholic bishops are selected by the communist party instead of Vatican. Discuss religion issues with people under 18 including your own children or in public is forbidden. “Non-registered civilians” cannot be a leader of any religious activities. All religions are under the “assistant” of National Religion Bureau. Furthermore, each “religion” would have one single association for coordination, i.e. “Roman Catholic”, “Protestant Christian”, “Buddhist”, “Tibetan Buddhist”, “Muslim”, with their head office in Beijing.
Freedom of speech and Legal independence are the two other aspects that we should pay attention to. Artists who wanted to spread their message via some workshops or conferences instead of their artwork alone are being suppressed, no matter how famous or well-known they are. Hu Jintao, the army-party-country head, wrote an “instruction” to the “Juristic Bureau”, a part of the party, asking for putting both party and people interest as the first propriety and enabling all places as court if there is a “qualified judge”. Compare with some past events with a dictated superpower, what is more important?
What can we do then? Forming pressure groups, writing letters to the high rank officials, travelling and demonstrating in the mainland China? Somehow these measures works really well in your country, but certainly not in China as most people, even those who being suppressed, believe that democracy would not work in this country, a country which believe in authority for more than two thousand years. We have to admit that it is almost impossible for us to deal with power-holding officials. Simply talk to the mainland Chinese near you, show them how important freedom is, how practical it is, how it can make a more beautiful world.
Meanwhile, I hope and pray that Obama would also remember the non-economic issues in China apart from sympathizing the Chinese opposition before he left for the values he believe in, for the potential benefits that it would bring. Basic human rights, which is all the entire country need.
-United World College Student Magazine-