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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

What kind of "free" Tibet?

April 9, 2008

San Francisco Chronicle, USA
April 8, 2008

Two Sunday's ago, as part of a 'Readers' Platform' segment on China and
the Olympics protests, contributor Neil Robertson of El Cerrito warned
against romanticizing the Tibet cause. "The myth of their enlightened
society," he wrote, was mostly an exercise in despotic feudalism. Are
champions of a "free Tibet" seeking a return "to the lies of a
Shangri-La that never was?" he asked.

Below is an e-mail I received from Tim Hansken of Occidental (Sonoma
County, CA.), responding to Mr. Robertson.
Demonstrating for Tibet, in Paris today

Neil Robertson repeated an argument I first heard over 30 years ago from
seasoned travelers (who had never been to Tibet or China.) They used
this argument as a weapon even as Mao's cultural revolution was stacking
up dead bodies to the tune of over 25 millions citizens.

Then I was young and didn't have a comeback.

So Tibet used to be a cruel and despotic theocratic state. That
statement is supposed to make the listener feel that if the Chinese left
tomorrow the Tibetans would reinstall the Dalai Lama, rip up the roads,
tear down the hospitals and schools and Tibetans would voluntarily
return to serfdom.

Following that reasoning, if the so-called communist party gave up power
tomorrow would the people of China re-institute footbinding, regrow
their queues and turn to opium dens?
No society can return to the past even if it tries. The Taliban tried to
return to what they imagined the year 700 A.D.was like and the people of
Afghanistan didn't much like that. Last week the King of Bhutan, an
absolute monarch, ordered his subjects to vote and embrace democracy.
They obeyed.

We should hope that no worse might befall Tibet.
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