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Anti-China Torch Protests Had Merit

Can I just say to the anti-China demonstrators in London, in Paris and in San Francisco during last week’s Olympic torch protests: Well done.

As far as I’m concerned, no actions on behalf of a free and independent Tibet can go too far — excluding terrorism, of course. Some commentators said the torch ceremonies were a farce — and you can’t argue with that. They were. But the Olympics themselves are a farce — always have been — and these Olympics supporters miss the much larger point.

The protesters were making an issue of China’s appalling human rights abuses, their ever-present threats against Taiwan, and their militant actions in Tibet.

The Dalai Lama may think the pro-Tibet movement has gone too far in whipping up anti-China sentiment, but the Chinese had it coming. This is anger against a brutal regime bubbling to the surface, having welled up over many years. The Chinese are far too arrogant to take any notice of the strident protests, but that doesn’t mean that they should not have occurred. This was an important exercise in free speech and a clear expression of the belief that all people have a right to freedom and liberty.

The “free Tibet” movement is nothing new. I remember a pro-Tibet candle-lighting ceremony in Harvard Square in 1994. I took part in it. I supported the Tibetans then; I support them now.

Anytime a people want to be free, I’m behind them. I’m for a united Ireland — an impossible situation, but theoretically it would be wonderful (I hate the IRA, but, like them, I dream of a united Eire). I’m all for Kevin Rudd’s Australia breaking with the British Commonwealth. I’m for an independent Kosovo. I’m for an independent Taiwan, an independent Quebec, an independent Faroe Islands and even an independent Scotland, should they decide the United Kingdom no longer serves them.

I even support an independent Palestinian state, but not at Israel’s expense. For this to be possible, the Palestinian authorities must completely reject terrorism, bar Hamas as a political entity, and formally recognize Israel in its current form.

The only instance in which I would have been against a breakaway republic — had I been alive back then — would be the during the American Civil War. Lincoln had the right idea to quash the Dixie rebellion and bring the southern states back into the fold. Why? Because the Confederacy was based largely on an evil premise: slavery supported their economy. It’s the same reason we would boycott or protest against a country today.

But I really cannot think of another instance, past or present, in which I do not or would not back a people wanting to go their own way. As long as they shun terrorism, they have earned their right as a people to make their own rules.

The torch ceremonies were a great way to make the point that we are not happy with China. It was a great way to very publicly embrace the “Free Tibet” movement. And it was a great way to give China the middle finger, regardless of whether they care to acknowledge it or not.

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  • Alwz

    Why don’t you think central government of China no longer tolerated the slavery (serfdom, >95%) of old autonomic Tibet 50 years ago. It emancipated 95% of population of Tibet. His Holiness fighted with less than 5% against rest 95%, violently until CIA withdrew the fund late 1970s to support through NGOs lobbying? Why can Tibet issue garner so many supports even Tibetans in Tibet disgust it? Tibetans have their regular life. The frusration comes from exiles and China happens to be a country labelled as communist. Nobody cares when His Holiness excuted violent religious cleansing in his exile community within 10 years. Those oppressed live very hard life in India. They feel they were betrayed by His Holiless, and His Holiness is Living God, they are not permitted to hate him, neither to worship Tibetan Buddhism except what His Hiliness personally favored. The exiles daydreamed their old Tibet like Confederacy to old South. It is not the style you thought to follow.

  • bill

    Just a comment to what happened recently:
    to support free Tibet, people lies and write supporting article based on these fictions. Are they really support Free Tibet or just make the exile Tibet goverment look terrible? telling lies with so much emotions and good words is just disgusting. When Chinese people point out this lies, most responses are “these people are brain washed”. Is this fair?

  • Yao

    Bill,

    A person who demonized others as the brainwashed, must have been brainwashed in the first place. This simple logic is too hard for them to realize.

  • TonyP2

    The ancestors of the French and British protesters killed Chinese and forced them to buy Opium not too long ago.

    Is it their standard of human right? Suddenly they’re the good guys. Study a little history.

  • Angry_chinese

    We Chinese will one day rule the world at which time you and your ignorant friends in the media will be taught manners in the traditional Chinese way. Before that day comes, you can bark all you want and we simply will not listen.

  • Clavos

    As usual, if “China” Is in the article title, the PRC Chinabots gather like flies on honey…

  • The Gibbernator

    “We Chinese will one day rule the world at which time you and your ignorant friends in the media will be taught manners in the traditional Chinese way”.

    How will that be?

    Feed us some crispy-skin duck that hasn’t been cooked properly, or poke us in the eye with a chopstick?

  • peace

    First, 1.3 billion middle fingers back to you. You are happy to China or not, who cares?

    Second, what else can you do? facts and real history are not important to people like you. So no need to talk about. What can ideologism do to China?

    By insulting Chinese people, you will never get what you want, that is for sure.

  • bliffle

    I think the historical trend is against Chinese growth. It is too big to govern, except with the most draconian and militaristic policies, even in the size it is now.

    China will start breaking up into smaller independent units as people educate and start exercising political power. Like all people, the excesses of remote centralized power will become so odious that local control will become stronger until China itself will be some kind of federal conglomeration, perhaps like Europe.

    The breakups and separations will be along political and economic lines rather than traditional military and race lines.

  • peace

    To #9:
    What is the basis of your theory?

    America is the most advanced country in the world, it is big, American people are highly educated, can definitely excise their political power, if sb say because of these, America will be breaking up, what does that sound like? Daytime dream?

  • Justin_VA

    Well, this is an interesting article but there’s nothing new here. All I read from is something called China-bashing or anti-China or China-exclusion which has been going on for hundreds of years. What made you guys hate the Chinese and China this much? Is it because you lost the Korean war to us, or because we score higher in math than you? Or because you think your race is simply superior than ours? Come on, let’s respect each other. Tibet is a part of China – this is a fact which is recognized by all of the governments and international organizations in the world, United States and UN included. China never made an issue out of Texas or New Mexico or Northern Ireland, because we respect your governments, your people and your history. Next time, try tell your neighbor that a tree in his backyard actually belonged to someone else 30 years ago and all his household is so evil because of that. (Are you good at fist fights?)

  • http://www.goog.com jdower

    Hi Mark,

    Good work, to use your own language, This is a great way to give a idiot like you the middle finger!! Please keep writing, you will certainly get more since you have no shame at all!!

  • STM at the arse-hole end of the world

    “If so say because of these, America will be breaking up, what does that sound like? Daytime dream?”

    America is already a genuine federation of states, with much self-governing power invested in state governments outside of Washington’s control.

    And not in the way that local committees administer certain parts of Chinese life.

    This is where, if you live in a commuinist country, it’s hard to see how different Western democracy really is.

    It’s not perfect, but most western democracies do aim to favour and foster personal freedoms over those of the state – to a point.

    Rule of law also means there is no fear on the part of the government that freedom given to citizens will result in the overthrow of the state or in ungovernable political instability.

    Rule of law writes in the possibility of citizens “overthrowing” their governments at the ballot box if they don’t like them.

    This is where we differ Peace, and it’s a major difference.

    (And no, I’m not American.)

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Well said, Stan.

    But I think you can go back to being plain old ‘STM’ now. What d’yer reckon?

  • Dan Miller

    We Chinese will one day rule the world at which time you and your ignorant friends in the media will be taught manners in the traditional Chinese way. Before that day comes, you can bark all you want and we simply will not listen.

    Now there is some “China bashing” for you, apparently right from the mouth of the dragon itself, if the stated authorship of the comment is to be credited.

    Dan

  • Zhong Yi Jia

    I’m Chinese, and of course I strongly against this article. Mark, you have to do more research on the Tibet issue and China history. I don’t know whether you have been to Tibet, if you haven’t, please go and see the people there. They are living stably there. The central government are doing more good things for the Tibetants and other people who is now comparatively poor. The great railway has built from central China to Tibet. Tibetants’ lives are going to be better off. So, Mark, please, keep your middle finger back. There’s no use to do this, only to show your vulgar and ignorance.

    About the appalling human right thing…ur, what I can say is that you’re mistaken. We Chinese are living in China, peacefully and pleasantly. Don’t got misled easily and more importantly don’t mislead others.

    and the China’s economic growth and the US’decline is not the China’s fault. please don’t pass the hatred against China to every aspects – political, economical etc. It seems that in your mind Chinese are not deserve to live on the world. Shame on you.

    and I do not prefer what “Angry_Chinese” said. China is not going to rule the world. Never ever. our children are always taught at school about peace and being friendly to anyone around the world. we don’t have the least thought to be the ruler of the world.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    China is a particularly wonderful place to live when the government pays you to defend their interests by posting on the internet.

    Dave

  • peace

    To STM:

    Well said, especially the part :” It is not perfect”. Nobody, no system is perfect. We also know the difference you mentioned, we know there are some good things China needs to learn from western countries. But you also should know that in this lead, we are not talking about the system difference. No Chinese here is defending communist system. And I do not think any of us like it (although we all love motherland where we grew up), even paid government agents as in the imagination haunting Dave and Clavos’s narrow-mind all the time. (Dave, if we have to be “agents” in your definition, we are not paid agents, we are volunteer agents, and 99% Chinese who can use internet and know English would be volunteer agents just like you guys:).

    Be clear, we are not defending government system. We can talk a lot more advantage and disadvantage of different systems. But not in this lead.

  • Justin_VA

    Dave,

    With regard to your statement – “..the government pays you to defend their interests by posting on the internet” -

    This kind of accusation is, again, groundless.
    I get paid by my company for which I worked for 10 plus years.

    Don’t make generalized accusations (like Nancy Pelosi and Jack Cafferty did). Let’s just focus on the specifics.

    Okay?

  • Jue

    He’s bullshiting!!!Tibet will never be free in Dalai Lama’s hand and Tibet belong to China since 1279!Come to China and see the truth, anyone been to China knows Chinese people are friendly and kind and lives a happy life!!

  • bc

    learn to leave each other alone.
    china look up to usa “united we stand” china don’t want to be like ussr, so broken and poor