Saturday, April 12, 2008


The Dalai Lama says that Tibet rightfully belongs to him and the monks and the religious order they represent. He and they want a country separated from China and ruled by their religious order. And large parts of the Western World seem to agree with them that they should have this.
But wait a minute. As I will soon be eighty years old I was living in the times of the Chinese revolution. I remember the Chinese revolution. It started happening just before, during, and right after the Second World War. China then was in pitiful shape. Had been for a very long time. There was no middle class in China during those years to speak of and no heavy industry, or much industry of any kind. Aside from the war lords, noble upper classes, and pirates, nobody had any money. Couldn’t read or write, either. Peasant share croppers they were, only the landlords took more than their share leaving the peasants hungry. Famine was rampant. Women especially bore the burden of abject poverty. They worked in the fields, bore children, were beaten, and if destined for harlotry, had their feet bound that crippled them for life.
And then this revolution started happening. Land lords and upper classes were told to share the wealth and foreign religious orders were kicked out of the country. Everybody was given a chance to reform but if the pirates couldn’t sop pirating they were executed. Suddenly people were learning to read and write, including women and girls. Jobs were opening up in the cities, again for women, too. Female foot binding became a shameful thing of the past. Farming began on a communal basis. Some peasants were taught to be para- medics (only they were called bare foot doctors) and go out and doctor people in the country side. Even though the US and Europe in general boycotted China for having the audacity to have a revolution, China struggled through and gradually built schools, hospitals, fostered art and dance and became the powerful nation it is today.
Is China full of faults? I’m sure. But they seem to keep the country relatively free from corruption and one thing they are hell bent on is keeping Tibet in China. Just like Canada wants to keep it’s Artic claims for Canada. Like Canada resists the notion of Quebec separating. Like people everywhere resists the notion of a country being bound by a certain religion, any religion, like some orders of the Sikhs, Al Qaeda, and Kurds, to name a few who want to overthrow secular states or parts of secular states and impose religious beliefs as government.
In short, I am not opposing the Olympics because I think the Dalai Lama and the monks should lead Tibet into succeeding from China. Tibet now has schools where girls attend as well as boys; people have jobs, health care, and a modern railroad into the rest of China. The Chinese people themselves know this and from all reports are not sympathetic to the Dalai Lama and the monk’s attempts to fracture China.
I oppose the Olympics because they are evil in and of themselves, where they occur they displace people and homes, fracture the local economy, leave an area heavily in debt and take land they shouldn’t as in Campbell’s Olympics here in BC, the taking of Aboriginal land. Yes. They are taking Aboriginal land. This is the main issue.


  1. Hi Betty

    Thanks for posting this. While I don't agree entirely with the view that the separation of Tibet from China is wrong, I do think the situation is a little more complicated than Big Bad China oppressing Poor Little Tibet.

    Just as "Vive le Quebec libre!" didn't entirely describe the Quebec situation in Canada.

    As for the Olympics, don't even get me started, I'm with you there!

  2. It is plain and simple genocide. The Chinese have killed 1.4 million Tibetans since the 1950s and have every intention of taking all of Tibet's resources. It is doing this by encouraging emigration of its Han population into Tibet until it becomes the majority. The railway to Lhasa was built not to help Tibetans, but to destroy Tibet as a culture and take its resources for all of China. Betty's analysis is incorrect on many details from historical, cultural and human rights perspectives. Tibetans who support the Dalai Lama are not asking for independence, nor for a return to a government run by monks, they are asking to have some say in their own "autonomous" region only. Meanwhile, Tibetan culture is being destroyed by China, much as the Native culture was almost obliterated here for hundreds of years by the British and Spanish.