Pelosi Speaks Out On Tibet; Class Conflict A Cause of Protest
by grannyhelen, Fri Mar 21, 2008 at 05:02:18 AM EDT
Speaking in Dharamsala, seat of Tibet's government-in-exile, Ms Pelosi said: "We call upon the international community to have an independent outside investigation on accusations made by the Chinese government that His Holiness [the Dalai Lama] was the instigator of violence in Tibet."
She added: "The situation in Tibet is a challenge to the conscience of the world.
"If freedom-loving people throughout the world do not speak out against China and the Chinese in Tibet, we have lost all moral authority to speak out on human rights."
Pelosi's meeting with the Dalai Lama and subsequent call for an investigation of China's claims that he is responsible for the violence in Tibet occurs against the backdrop of events like this:
Then the gate of the debating compound opened and this stream of maroon humanity poured out, several hundred monks. It was impossible to count but I think there were at least 300.
We thought it was part of the tradition but when you looked at the expression on their faces, it was a very serious business. They were pumping their hands in the air as they ran out of the temple.
The minute that happened we saw the police - two or three who were inside the compound - suddenly speaking into their radios.
They started going after the monks, and plain-clothes police - I don't know this for sure but that's what I think they were - started to emerged from nowhere.
There were four or five in uniform but another 10 or 15 in regular clothing. They were grabbing monks, kicking and beating them.
One monk was kicked in the stomach right in front of us and then beaten on the ground.
The monks were not attacking the soldiers, there was no melee. They were heading out in a stream, it was a very clear path, and the police were attacking them at the sides. It was gratuitous violence.
The New York Times has an excellent analysis of one of the underlying causes of this conflict: class. Yes, in Communist China it appears that poverty and economic injustice are fueling this popular uprising:
There is no legalized ethnic discrimination in China, but privilege and power are overwhelmingly the preserve of the Han, while Tibetans live largely confined to segregated urban ghettos and poor villages in their own ancestral lands.
"The relationship between Han and Tibetan is irreconcilable," said Yuan Qinghai, a Lhasa taxi driver, in an interview. "We don't have a good impression of them, as they are lazy and they hate us, for, as they say, taking away what belongs to them. In their mind showering once or twice in their life is sacred, but to Han it is filthy and unacceptable.
"We believe in working hard and making money to support one's family, but they might think we're greedy and have no faith."
link (please read the whole article - it is eye opening): http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/20/world/ asia/20tibet.html
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw the conflicts of the world as a result of the Triple Evils of racism, poverty and war. A disciple of nonviolence, King also understood why these conflicts escalate toward violence when he said, "Violence is the language of the unheard."
Chinese Communism appears not to have been able to rid itself of these problems. Indeed, the government's handling of this conflict - including the use of massive force to quell protests and banning journalists from going to the places where the unrest is occurring - is only serving to highlight a conflict fueled by the economic disparity between two ethnic groups in the region: the Han Chinese and the native Tibetans.
None of these problems are easy. No "quick fix" ever makes them go away. But acknowledging the problems exists is the first step on the road to recovery. Until the authorities in China admit these problems are there and are prepared to deal with them honestly and forthrightly they will continue to fester, and show themselves at the most inconvenient of times.
Please keep all sides of this conflict in your thoughts, prayers and meditations.