Alright, here’s my final (I promise) thoughts on the whole Tibet-Olympics-China controversy.
Like I said previously, the reasons behind the protests are legitimate–I do not deny that. China has had a less-than-stellar human rights record, and anyone who honestly gives a damn about human rights have a more than legitimate reason to protest.
Having said that, I see a potential danger in these protests: that is, the protesters have a tendency to equate the Chinese GOVERNMENT with the Chinese NATION.
I just want to say that those two are not one and the same. I love China the NATION, but not the GOVERNMENT that rules it.
So from that perspective, I feel very bad that the games are now tainted for the Chinese people, who really don’t care (or can’t do anything about) the Chinese government. Why should ordinary Chinese people have to suffer the consequences? After all, they were not personally responsible for the oppression in Tibet. They weren’t the ones in tanks running over students at Tiananmen Square. And they damn sure did not jail journalists and bloggers personally.
So again I ask: why should ordinary Chinese citizens suffer the consequences? They are not identical with the government. And they really can’t do all that much about the government, since lest anyone forget, the Chinese government is an authoritarian one.
I mean, how would you feel if people from other countries took a shit all over an event of national pride, and all for something which you were not personally responsible for and could do nothing about? How the fuck would YOU feel about that?
But you might say: that may be true, but that is the price that must be paid, and that price is paying for a better and freer China. Oh yeah? How the fuck so? Do you honestly think that boycotting the opening ceremonies will really pressure China into loosening its grip on Tibet, or force the Chinese government to completely divest in Sudan?
Sure, Gordon Brown and George Bush might score political points back home for grand-standing, for supposedly “standing up” for human rights and democracy and liberty, all the while granting China most favored nation status, including it in the WTO, and happily trading with China.
To me, if the West is really serious about pressuring China into reforming its human rights records, it should put its money where its fucking mouth is: strip China of most favored nation status, exclude it from the WTO, and stop importing from China.
But answer me this honestly: can you ever see that happening? Hell fucking no.
Because at the end of the day, after the political grand-standing is over, nothing will have really changed: Tibet fades from the 24 hours news cycle, the Chinese government continues to rule with an iron fist, the West continues to do business with China, and all those smug/complacent protesters in San Francisco will continue to not know where Tibet is on a fucking map!!
So while everyone else wins, who’s the real loser? That’s right–ordinary Chinese people; ordinary Chinese people who have to live year after year in an authoritarian government.
I mean, we talk about “liberating” the oppressed; well, why not free China?
I guess I’m so riled up (more so than I have been for a while) precisely because amidst all the political rhetoric, the protests and the violence, the grand-standing for human rights, no one ever thinks about what the ordinary Chinese citizen might be affected.
A nation is not only an abstract concept, not the same as its government, but rather, a nation is A PEOPLE, and right now, the Chinese people are the loser in this chest-puffing exercise. And as a Chinese person, that really pisses me the fuck off.