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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Opnion: Tibetan Emancipation Now

February 13, 2010

By Maura Moynihan
February 12, 2010

I recently attended a performance of the
Hungarian National Ballet in New York City. The
opening number portrayed life in Hungary under
the Soviet Occupation, with two male dancers, one
in a police uniform, the other his prisoner. The
prisoner puts up a fight, but the policeman
eventually breaks him with torture and hard
labor, rendering him an obedient slave. At the
end, a huge iron head of Lenin was rolled onto
the stage and pummeled by freed prisoners.

I reflected on the Cold War, when we were told of
the savagery of the Soviet state, and sadly of
how propaganda conflated the subject peoples of
the USSR with their government. We were taught to
hate the Russian people, as if all were agents of
the Politburo, a prejudice that was shattered
with the defection of ballet stars from the
Bolshoi: Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Barishnikov,
the great historian of the Gulag, Aleksandr
Solzhenitsyn and the poet Yengeny Yetushenko, all
of whom became beloved American citizens and artists.

I also reflected upon the alarming truth, that
since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, western
governments have displayed no compunction about
doing business with a totalitarian dictatorship
built on the precepts of the old Soviet Empire:
the People’s Republic of China. James Mann,
author of "The China Fantasy" describes the
west’s "Lexicon of Dismissal" a campaign to
ignore the communist governments abuse of its
citizens, to keep the American firms investing in
China, through the channels of the Chinese
Communist Party, which has helped preserve one party rule for 60 years.

Today, western governments find themselves in a
bind for having entwined their economies -- and
more -- with a China that has exploded as a
capitalist engine, steered by a Politburo that is
clinging to the old Stalinist playbook with
alarming tenacity. Now the west must face the
grim reality that our China policy has made a
rich and powerful totalitarian state, built on
the apparatus of the old Soviet State we were
taught to abhor, with a Politboro, secret police,
labor camps, psychiatric "hospitals" for dissidents.

The European Union states that it is "re-thinking
its relationship with China." President Obama
will soon meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama in
Washington. But the vast China lobby still
propels the spin that China is the new
superpower, as American analysts and
think-tankers promote China’s mighty ascension,
and no one asks why they seem so keen on it, as
if such an outcome serves the west’s interests, or anyone’s?

The west has bought the line, strenuously
promoted by the party bosses, that the Chinese
people are not ready for democracy and only
one-party rule will keep China stable and
prosperous. It is astonishing to think how many
businesses rushed to work with the Chinese
Communist Party, with little heed to exactly who
they were doing business with. Now that the
Google affair has exposed the rules, permission
to enter the China market is granted when
companies self-censor, ignore the persecution of
Tibetans and Uyghers, and profit from the obscene
exploitation of Chinese laborers.

The Chinese manufacturing economy is comparable
to the antebellum plantations of the American
South, where workers were granted no rights or
protection under their overseers, were frequently
abused and worked to death. And like the old
South, the profits are vast, thus the power elite
feels no incentive to change course. So how can
subjects of a totalitarian state, such as the
Chinese people, the Uyghers and Tibetans, triumph
over a totalitarian oppressor, the Chinese Communist Party?

For the people of Tibet, a first step is
declaring the truth: that Tibet is a captive
nation. And recall the legacy of the great 19th
century American abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison.

At age 25, Garrison joined the American
Colonization Society, which sought to resettle
free blacks in present- day Liberia on the west
coast of Africa. There were members who
encouraged the manumission - granting of freedom
- to slaves, but Garrison soon discovered that
this view was held by a minority: most members
had no wish to free slaves, their goal was only
to reduce the population of free blacks in
America to preserve the institution of slavery.

Garrison broke with the Colonization Society, was
a founder of the Anti-Slavery Society and
published a newspaper entitled "The Liberator”
calling for the immediate emancipation of all
slaves. He burned the US Constitution in a public
square for permitting the institution of slavery.
He was frequently attacked and nearly killed, but
when the Civil War ended and Lincoln signed the
Emancipation Proclamation, Garrison closed "The
Liberator," declaring his mission completed.

In the case of Tibet, claiming Tibet’s
sovereignty as a historic truth and a right, is
declaring a truth, and the right of emancipation.
And now that the west is “re-thinking” its
relationship with the Chinese Communist Party, it
is vital to remind our legislators of the
resolution passed by the United States Senate in
1994, that Tibet is an occupied country lashed by
sadistic overseers who will torture and kill a
Tibetan for so much as uttering the word Rangzen
or declaring their allegiance to the Dalai Lama.

On this Losar eve, let us declare the truth of
Tibet’s right to independence, and honor the
Hungarian Uprising of 1956, a citizen’s revolt
against the Stalinist occupation. I offer two
quotes from William Lloyd Garrison for Tibet
activists everywhere:" and "Enslave the liberty
of but one human being and the liberties of the
world are put in peril" and "The success of any
great moral enterprise does not depend upon numbers."

Free Tibet Now.
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