Thursday, 18 October 2007
Dalai and the White House farce
It is that hunting time again, a China-bashing season with a new twist. An elder Buddhist monk was dragged out of his fox cell to be put up stage with US politicians, whose eagerness to not be beaten in showing some sense of humanity, often seriously lacking, are for everyone to see. This is, however, a farce in its true form, since the murmuring elder is none other than Dalai, a veteran Tibetan politician savvy in misleading western media. After nearly two decades after he received that controversial Nobel Peace Prize, why this seemingly belated and irrelevant US honour to the same guy who has since done little to advance his cause and almost lost his political argument and followings in the west? Again, it is the China-bashing season, and American politicians feel they have had enough of good news in China and bad news in Iraq and elsewhere with an American presence. They have fallen into a deep hole their extraordinary leader Bush dug for them, and have sensed the strong international resentment toward their bully tactics outside the US. It is time to climb on a moral high ground and start lecturing again.
That the monk is set up as prop is not new; what is new is the sentiment and advocacy of a complete overhaul of recent Tibetan past in the so-called China friendly country of Australia. The leading newspaper of Melbourne, The Age, issued a stinging editorial on the photo op of Dalai. The author tried to bluntly call Tibet an independent nation in the recent past, disregarding the facts of the collapsing of Chinese empire, revolutions, and foreign aggressions. This is unacceptable for a seemingly educated writer, whose tone resembles Tibetan separatists and is obviously showing signs of brain washing by those exile activists. With some justifiable fury from the author on human rights and racial equality in general, the editorial simply misses the point of the whole process, which goes back to repeated attempts by separatists to gain footholds in China with the backing of foreign forces, Australia included. Dalai is not the issue; the issue is unpredictable consequences of territorial disputes and border disturbances by outside fundamentalist radicals while the economy is growing. Any such fools rushing in drags China back a bit and satisfies those expecting a collapse any time soon. It is for this reason that the Chinese stance has not changed, with talks on and restrictions on as well. In comparison with national development and reform, Tibet is not a major issue, and Dalai accordingly is put at a back burner.
The editorial author lauds Dalai of peace intent and non-violence preaching. Indeed, those are preachings, especially to westerners, while his rule in Tibet did not shrink cruelty or halt armed rising supported by the CIA, nor his preachings discourage violence by mobs against civilian rule in Tibet today, those actions in effect leading to government responses in force. Here is the irony or display of hypocrisy in the west: why Dalai or the author not preach peaceful solution and non-violence to the person who handed the medal to Dalai? That person has caused the most human suffering and carnage in the 21st century than anyone else, including Chinese leaders. Where are your courage, fury, insight, or just common sense when you watch the head of a nation which invaded other countries for no reason to bestow some medal to another person who has done little for his people rather than PR shows around the world? Your harsh criticisms seem always reserved for those in developing countries, rather than for those in a western super power. By following this writing tradition, you have lost objectivity, no matter how strenuously you deny it. It is not that Australian politicians are spineless in front of China, as you imply, but many Australian journalist are simply spineless when they face the choice of harsh criticising the wrong judgements their leaders made, in regard to other countries. This spinelessness comes from the deep fear of losing moral high ground among readers (O', I kowtowed!") and losing favours from politicians, even when those same politicians are routinely ignorant of what are happening outside their constituencies.
The US has staged a show for salvaging their bankrupt morality; they have the right and acute reasons to do that, but why a loud call came from Australia which took the stand higher than the Americans'? Some people must be seriously blinded by certain sentiment or ideology.