Friday, March 14, 2008

Welcome to the Olympics!

As Tibetan protests turned violent, the US embassy is warning US citizens to stay away from Lhasa. Not many details are known, but it seems that the protest has lasted several days and is the largest since 1989. The frustration of the Tibetan people has escalated to burning shops and cars. Many protesters have been arrested and tear gas has been fired to disperse the crowd by the Chinese police. That was while wishing to keep the facade of a unified, peaceful nation for the Olympic games. But China's knee jerk reaction to protest is to smother it, and old habits die hard.

But without addressing the frustrations and concerns of the Tibetan people, these incidents will continue. Trying to muffle someone's shouting will only make them shout louder. And so it is that so many people were hurt and even died in their struggle with the Chinese police. And while the international community focuses on the appearance of improvement within China because of more prosperity for the middle class, these slight cracks in the facade are ignored. As long as our citizens don't see ugliness when they visit, then ugliness doesn't exist-despite the evidence to the contrary.

But as long as China continues to be an economic powerhouse and feed into our consumer frenzy, it seems our objections will never be too loud.

BBC World News Report
NY Times Report

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