As an American, my opinion is strange, unusual, and different. By that I mean to say China is doing its best to handle what it largely considers to be a domestic issue. Remember, we are talking about the most populous nation in the world that is facing unprecedented economic and social challenges with unprecedented rates of development. China is also new to the international ball game. Cut China some slack and don’t forget to look at the big picture.
What I see lately from foreign news agencies is a lot of bad press and publicity about China and human rights and wars of the past and so on. What I don’t see or hear much about is that maybe China is doing the best it can and that the critics are not such righteous people themselves.
The US has publicly condemned the violence in Tibet, at the highest levels. How can we do this when 5 years ago we completely dismissed international opinion and invaded Iraq?! We dismissed the entire planet to invade Iraq for reasons we now know to be false and inaccurate but were at the time questionable. 5 years later, we are criticizing China and condemning violence. Only in America!
My position in class, as out of class, has always been the same. I am not averse to talking about human rights because my position is not flammable or disruptive: I think that the US should first address its own human rights violations before it attempts to accuse and criticize others. At best, the US could take the opportunity to improve its track record and then set an example for the entire world, but instead we have opted to generate our own human rights abuses and then point our finger at others. It’s hypocritical and poor behavior from the world’s most developed country. Shame on us. We have the ability to do much better. We have all the resources available to do better and I believe it is our obligation as global citizens and the world’s economic powerhouse to do better.
I know I’m going to lose some of you with this and make the rest of you angry, but let’s take a look at the improvements China has made. China has always been hierarchical and respecting of authority, as are many in Asia. This is one of the reasons why the people have survived for as long as they have; their culture serves them well and the US could do more to understand how that influences their communication and interaction with each other. So China does not have the knowledge or experience to deal with public demonstrations as we in the west see fit; I see this as an opportunity lost for the US because we could train and assist China to learn about such matters. The Internet is a stronghold of government control yet the Chinese have not blocked any of the foreign press websites that I visit. That alone speaks volumes of Beijing’s attempt to do the “right thing” and observe international standards. That says a lot about their deep commitment to international cooperation. OK, so Beijing isn’t becoming an enlightened Utopia in the few years leading up to the Summer Games, but how much is really possible?! Social change in a country this size takes time and there will be awful growing pains. Every developed nation went through this. Welcome to reality.
Beijing wants to show a good face to the world, not because she is a lier with a hidden agenda but because China knows there is much to love about China. Beijing wants to welcome the world in friendly Chinese style, not because there is some dark secret to hide but because Chinese people are genuinely friendly and peace loving people. On behalf of my hypocritical American friends and family who judge China so quickly and lazily, I’m sorry. I believe we could do more to improve our understanding of each other. We could do more preventive work and less corrective work.
So here comes the hatemail from my American friends!
Look, I am American and I love my country, and that’s why I am here working in this amazing place. What affects China affects the world. That’s just a modern day reality. So here I am, an unimportant person with an unusual opinion that must be expressed because there seems to be a great deal of bias and judgment right now. No balance.
Sometimes I wonder why there is such a fuss about China. Why do so many people in the world care so much about China’s human rights and territories and national interests, etc.?! I think that maybe it has something to do with an idea from LaoZi. LaoZi was the guy who used to work for Buddha but then started his own thing and called it Taoism. He invented the yin and yang and that crazy circle thing with the swirling black and white madras looking shapes. Each of those 2 shapes has a piece of the other and swirl endlessly counter clockwise. Taoist ideas say that there is a balance to everything in life. There are opposite forces of nature that work endlessly in harmony with each other, even interdependent on one another. This understanding supposedly leads to a peace and acceptance of the world and therefore a generally happy, contented disposition.
Taoism claims that these 2 natural forces of yin and yang are revealed in the femininity and masculinity of humankind. The inward calm rational female yin and the outward aggressive dominant male yang. Considering this, I think that the world sees the East (Asia) as the yin of the world. The West has always been more yang! The West is more aggressive and seeks dominance of nature, not harmony with it. The East is the beautiful, mysterious yet fascinating woman of the planet.
This East–this woman, like all women of the developed world, is held to a higher standard. Whether for scientific (anthropologic) reasons and the fact that the millions of reproductive cells carried by a man compared to the single egg of a woman carries more instinctive importance, or for the more traditional ideas relating to the philosophic and religious importance of women, women are held to a higher standard. Take for a modern-day example, when a man has many girlfriends, he is often considered virile and sexy and suave and cool and a real ladies’ man. It actually adds to his appeal and validity as a man. On the other hand, if a woman has many boyfriends she is given names that are typically vulgar and her social status is lowered. China, like women in the West, is that woman held to a higher standard. She is a beautiful and fascinating mystery to us. She is a “beauty beyond compare” when charmed, and “Hell hath no fury” as when she is angered. The West may behave poorly, but this is the behavior of the expendable male of the species. Taking chances with this gender is statistically favorable. The East, however, cannot behave in this way. She cannot do the wrongs typically expected from the boys of the bunch.
This is a simple comparison, I know, but it’s my blog. 🙂
Contrary to some other current opinion, China is not the world’s evil aggressor. China, like everyone else on this planet, is frail and human and just as perfect as all of us, and it has also hurt. Where in the current media frenzy are the reports of China’s repeated sufferings throughout history?! China has many times in its thousands-year history been the victim of shocking crimes against humanity. You never hear about that, for reasons that are an integrated part of this ancient culture. The US must work very very hard to try to understand this ancient culture. We’ll be better positioned to improve current global situations and cohabitate more successfully.
I need not look further than my own country to see problems and identify areas for improvement. There are places in New York and Los Angeles and elsewhere in America where I would get beat and/or killed simply because I am white, male, or unknown. Public schools have metal detectors to search students for guns and weapons. Where is the shock and awe for this? I hear nothing but business as usual for the violence we accept as an inevitable part of life. The USA is extraordinary in history in that it developed quickly and achieved great things in a very short time, but let’s not forget that the USA achieved greatness in a very short time because we treated everyone humanely?! Yes, of course we did. And I hate my mother’s cooking. And I’m selling ocean front in Arizona. And pigs fly. And shut up.
Beijing will host the Summer Games so the world is watching China with a magnifying glass, but how we behave towards China is also important. There is still much to be done, and as an American I want to be honest about who needs to do that work. I often say that China’s problems are no longer China’s alone. As one of many international neighbors, China is not in this alone and we could collectively do more to work internationally to improve the situation in China and elsewhere in the world. All over the world horrendous acts of violation and genocide are occurring, yet the world (and particularly the US) does nothing. Instead we focus our drunken attention on criticizing someone else’s problems. It’s just a whole lot easier to do that. It’s easy to talk; it’s difficult to do. But we must change that habit because, like the swirling opposites of LaoZi, we are actually interdependent, and that fact is becoming increasingly discomforting to those who are comfortable with their isolated pockets of wealth and privilege.
Come on (USA in particular), we can do better. Try listening to the Chinese for once. What you’ll here is: “同一个梦想， 同一个世界。“
No one’s actually surprised about what’s happening around the Torch Relay and the Summer Games, but lots of foreign press are acting like they are and that it’s the most horrific crisis in the world. When the Summer Games arrive, let’s make sure to recognize the tremendous, mind-boggling challenges China has faced and overcome to welcome the world to its ancient land. Cut China some slack and don’t forget to look at the big picture.
3 thoughts on “human rights, china, tibet, and other red flags”
Hmmm, perhaps you’re right–there is a good deal of historical precedent for justification of what China is doing. It is far more important that expansion and acceptance on the world stage be achieved than to criticize the “domestic issue” of Tibet, once a sovereign nation of its own.
For example, it was very important in the latter part of the first third of the last century that the war-torn nations of Europe should be stood back up on their feet after a brutal World War One had torn them asunder. It took enigmatic, forceful leadership to solve the nations economic problems, and put the population back to work. After all, the way to the future was what was most important. The “domestic issue” of the day that stood in the way of this all-important progress was how to fund the expansion. One such enigmatic leader was able to address this in a very robust fashion. By annexing neighboring countries and tapping the wealth of their citizens too, the empire building began in earnest. The prosperous and resourceful Jewish population was asked to sacrifice further, and when resistance to such sacrifice was intensified, the “domestic issue” became the “Jewish problem.” Then, just for good measure, this problem was extended to cover disabled men, gays, Jehova’s Witnesses, and a sprinkling of other groups.
Anyway, by taking the land, wealth and resources of the groups that made up this little “problem,” the more important work of the building of the empire was accomplished, plus, all the people who comprised the groups’ “problem” were used to do much of the work at no cost to the government. It was, after all, the government and order that was the overarching priority, not the will, wealth, or freedom of the people. It was all for the good of the government, um, empire, right?
Well, the really interesting thing is, this enigmatic leader was able to suceed in duping, um, charming the rest of the world into even letting him and his empire host the Olympic Games. How civilized! Let’s all rush to lay laurels at his feet and sign treaties! Unfortunatly, that pesky little “Jewish problem” wouldn’t go away. It was a good thing for him that he had people who recognized what the priorites were and they crafted a “Final Solution” to their “domestic issue” that was certainly never to be forgotten, or so it was said.
I marvel at the intellectual ignorance of the argument put forth here. It not only is baseless in pure logic, it lacks an appauling amount of acknowledgement that man is created free, and that freedom is not granted by governments, it is a basic right and should be protected by governments. The argument that we started a fire someplace else (which is patently false, too), so we shouldn’t criticize how our neighbors burn is not only intellectually vapid, it is downright ignorant.
Government should be at the consent of the people.
I certainly do not forget that China was horribly abused by the Japanese in WWII and that the USA destroyed many native cultures to become the land mass that it is today. My family farms hunting grounds that were frequented by several tribes.
My church is involeved in caring for some of the Lost Boys and other Sudanese. The African genocide goes on and on.
But I think one of the “deals” that makes the Tibet thing get so much attention is I don’t know anyone from my age–old–down to my son’s age who wouldn’t like to go there and, because of that, wants to preserve its uniqueness and culture for the world. And worries that the current events will end that culture either quickly or over time.
Sometimes, What kinds of Media report regarding one issue depend on what’s kinds of Journal’s political and commercial purpose and what Positions the news reporters are standing on!
The public’s Thinkings and attitudes always are controled or affected by various Medias.
Is there any really objective reports
on some sensitive issues? The Domestic or foreign? The public should hold the skepticism, maybe what you heard or see from the media is not the truth? right?
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