May 21

“Shift from feudalism no easy leap”

Written by Buxi on Wednesday, May 21st, 2008 at 6:39 pm
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Insightful editorial from the Sydney Morning Herald, discussing the issue of Tibet, China, and the Olympics.

The recent demonstrations in support of Tibetan independence have been a carefully co-ordinated boutique public relations operation rather than an outbreak of mass demonstrations.

Video records of demonstrations in Tibet show an ugly, racist side to the unrest as ethnic Tibetans (but not monks) kicked, beat and stabbed Han Chinese, along with the ransacking and looting of Han-owned businesses. The Government had no choice but to intervene with force.

China has a long history of civil war. For more than a millennium, it has lived under a sequence of dictatorships, absolute monarchies and uncompromising feudalism. To move so vast a culture so quickly has required the Government to retain a firm grip on the centrifugal forces that could tear the country asunder.

The idea that China can simply jump from ingrained feudalism to a plural democracy in a single generation cannot coexist with the real world.

It also includes details on past Olympic boycotts I wasn’t aware of.

Few Australians even know that the 1956 Games in Melbourne was boycotted by Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland over the Soviet invasion of Hungary, and by Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Cambodia over the occupation of the Suez Canal by Britain and France. In 1976, 21 African nations boycotted the Montreal Olympics because New Zealand had not been banned for playing rugby union against South Africa. In 1980 the United States and some allies boycotted the Moscow Games over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1984 the Soviet bloc boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in retaliation for the 1980 boycott.

None was effective. None achieved more than transient symbolism. To throw the 2008 Olympics into chaos over Tibet would thus be overkill, disproportionate and counterproductive, in support of a dubious moral argument.

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3 Responses to ““Shift from feudalism no easy leap””

  1. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I don’t think anyone is remotely considering an athlete boycott of the Games itself. THe only thing that accomplishes is to punish athletes who have dedicated their lives for that one moment. The Opening Ceremonies, however, might be a different story.

  2. miu Says:

    Hello! I am a Tibet supporter from Japan.
    Please read this letter written by Dr. Robert Thurman that includes a great idea to make ” Dialogue between the Dalai Lama and Hu Jintao” happen at the G8 Summit this July in Japan.
    Sign this letter and send it to your country’s leader immediately!
    Let’s make this happen!

    the detail is here.


  3. Buxi Says:


    The Dalai Lama is a friend of China, its people, and its leadership.

    The Dalai Lama can not simply declare himself a friend of China. It is China, or at least the Chinese people, who should have the right to decide whether the Dalai Lama has been acting like our friend.

    So far, in my opinion, he has not acted like a friend of the Chinese people. I do not deny he has tried to reach out to the Chinese community occasionally, but far more often, his actions insult our ideals and goals. We will have more discussions on this issue in the near future.

    As far as a meeting between Hu Jintao and the Dalai Lama… I think even the Dalai Lama recognizes the problem right now is not that the two sides do not talk, and that the two sides have not shaken hands. The problem right now is that the two sides do not agree on very fundamental questions.

    If the Dalai Lama makes true on some of the concessions he has talked about hope… then a meeting will be due and welcome. But until that agreement exists, there’s nothing to be gained from your campaign.

    See here:

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