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The Forum > Article Comments > What to do about Tibet? > Comments

What to do about Tibet? : Comments

By Graeme Mills, published 4/4/2008

The Beijing Olympics are an opportunity for the West to positively engage with China. Boycotts and ill-informed, empty rhetoric will destroy that opportunity.

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Graeme,

This is a well-articulated and polite article which emphasises the need for a pace of slow (even snail's pace) reform. However the concluding remarks, including the statement "do not ask for the impossible: accept that Tibet is a part of China" is ill-considered at best. The only people who can legitimately decide that Tibet is part of China is the Tibetans themselves. On that matter they haven't had much choice.

In which case the only moral cause is to support Tibetan self-determination; not Tibetan independence, not Tibetan integration - but self-determination.
Posted by Lev, Friday, 4 April 2008 9:56:53 AM
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I think that self-determination will work for Tibet if it also will work for the original peoples of Australia. That is, if Australians are willing to give up one-quarter of the landmass of Australia, at the very least, to the Aboriginal peoples, to govern autonomously and without interference from the national government, then Australia will be on good grounds to demand that China do the same.

Canada has done so with Nunavut. Australians might do well to follow suit.
Posted by What's the Deal, Friday, 4 April 2008 11:24:21 AM
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Lev,

What is the point of self determination if China simply sends enough migrant Han Chinese to Tibet to ensure that any vote would be in Chinas favour.

Do you think itís reasonable in that circumstance to say that Tibet has really chosen is own future?

Or do you think Tibet should be for the Tibetans?

Best regards
Posted by Paul.L, Friday, 4 April 2008 1:21:06 PM
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Hi Paul,

The right of self-determination means the right of nations to determine what state they live under, not necessarily merely the population of a particular region.

For example the Kurds are a nation, but they do not have a state. The Kurds too also should have the right to establish their own state if they desire.

I find it ironic, and not in a good way, that the supposedly Marxist-Lenninist government of China completely and utterly ignores Lenin's own comments on this matter ("[It] would be wrong to interpret the right to self-determination as meaning anything but the right to existence as a separate state").
Posted by Lev, Friday, 4 April 2008 2:12:00 PM
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You stress the need for polite and respectful engagement with China over the Tibet question. I am interested in your thoughts about how to move to a mutually respectful dialogue between the Chinese and the Tibetans.

At the moment it strikes me that the Chinese government feels no need to treat the Tibetans - or their principal representative, the Dalai Lama - politely and respectfully. The Chinese attitude seems to be very much that the Tibetans are "lower" and so do not deserve respect. We have heard much about how the Chinese have brought the backward Tibetans the gift of their superior civilization and culture for which they have shown only ingratitude.

Within Chinese culture is there an effective means for telling those with this attitude that they are out of line?
Posted by billk, Friday, 4 April 2008 3:25:28 PM
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Graeme

I am not quite sure what respect Mao showed the Tibetans when he sent the PLA in.

How do you show respect to a dictatorship whose rule is perpetuated through fear and repression?

I think as Lenin said nations have the right to self-determination. Tibet is a nation, despite your comments to the contrary, and should have that right.

The Olympics have a long history of supporting dictatorships or bolstering imperialism. From Paris to London to Nazi Germany to Mexico to Moscow and Los Angeles (for example) and now to Beijing.

Show me how to reason with a dictatorship, a dictatorship bent on the cultural genocide of the Tibetans. If the choice is between a Tibetan monk fighting against the PLA or the PLA, I'm with the Tibetan monk.
Posted by Passy, Friday, 4 April 2008 8:51:26 PM
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