Latest on Tibet-China

Latest on Tibet-China March 25, 2008

Rev. Danny Fisher has been doing a fantastic job of posting the many developments and reports on the Tibet situation, so here I will basically just summarize those and add some of my thoughts. We’ll start actually with a different blog’s round-up of stories, that of Christopher Kelley at the Columbia University Center for Buddhist Studies. There he has several stories along with a recent edition of Charlie Rose, featuring several prominent guests.

Charlie Rose Interview (available here along with several other pre-March 21 stories):

“What do you fear most?” was perhaps the most poignant question that Charlie Rose asked Tashi Rabgey, Director of Tibetan Studies at The University of Virginia.

Her answer was the gulf of perception, between what is happening in Tibet now and the global discourse and understanding of it. “What we need is for all parties to find a way into a shared understanding… I don’t think we’ve done enough to get across what people are thinking.”

On Saturday the 22nd, Danny has a link to an excellent commentary by NPR’s Scott Simon. I agree with Danny that at just 2 minutes 41 seconds, it is a must-listen. Regarding current American attitudes toward China, Simon aptly states:

More Americans are worried about buying toxic Chinese toys for their children than the brutal treatment of the people who produce them, many of them also children.

Concerning the upcoming Olympics, Simon is the second that I have heard (I blogged about the first here) to raise the analogy of the 1936 Olympics in Berlin under the Nazis, remarking:

I have never believed that China hosting the 2008 Olympic Games would nudge the country toward free speech, tolerance, and liberty any more than Berlin hosting the 1936 Olympics loosened up the Nazis. But 2008 is not 1936. There are more dissidents and ordinary disaffected citizens spread across China today who are willing to take risks for freedom than the number of Germans who opposed Adolf Hitler in 1936.


Danny also posts a recent CNN video with scenes from the protests and the ensuing Chinese crackdown. It concludes with a Tibetan monk stating that his people are scared, but the protests would go on. There is also this urgent action you can take now – a petition to the Chinese Government (yes, I’m a bit skeptical too, but it only takes 15 seconds).

Today chaplain Danny’s excellent coverage continues with three equally worthy reads.
  1. Amnesty International’s campaign to end human rights abuse in Tibet, complete with a visually rich (and potentially disturbing) poster.
  2. A notice about two articles by renowned Buddhist Scholar José Cabezón, describing and analyzing the recent events.
  3. And finally, a piece regarding Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s efforts to bring China to its senses about the Dalai Lama.
There is really so much more out there – so many angles to approach this from: political history, religious ethics, poverty and oppression/human rights, Western misconceptions, and on and on. I wish I had the time to do that full time, but for now this will have to do. If you can do nothing else, talk to people about this, learn what they are saying, encourage them to learn more and do something.

And my question for you: what in the news about this really struck you recently? For me it was the Scott Simon piece noted above. I love his commentaries in general, and this one, like many, really cut to the bone.

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