Being the political junkie that I am, I'm going to discuss the pro-Tibet/pro-China issue. I've already talked about the limitations on having a rational discussion about the situation in Tibet: no reliable information. But what's really surprised me are the pro-China protesters in the U.S. Granted, it seems like many of them are from China (the interviews have lots of foreign students, but I think that's just of function of it being San Fran). However, I can't help feeling a touch of sadness over the fact that they still believe the PRC line, despite massive evidence to the contrary. For example:
The Olympics shouldn't be political. Please - they've always been political. If they weren't political, then China shouldn't be using it to showcase its global emergence. The entire route was specifically designed TO BE political, like stamping PRC sovereignty over Tibet and Xinjiang.
Support for the PRC. I can certainly understand that people want to support their culture, etc. But, the pro-Chinese demonstrators go further. They support the PRC government. At least with many of the Arabs I know, they are proud of coming from a long culture, but recognize and denounce the human rights abuses, corruption, and general venality of political leaders in the Middle East. The pro-Chinese protestors don't display any of this self-reflection. Granted, some of this is probably just reaction to a perceived outsider critique of China. But honestly, this quote from a student? "The Chinese people are very peaceful. They wouldn’t do what they are accused of.” Come on, man. The Chinese have been doing that to others and to each other for thousands of years. Where's the rational perspective?
China has been helping Tibet. Similar to the last point. Fine, China invests a lot in Tibet. But looking at this purely from an economic perspective is idiotic. It's about politics and power: who gets the money, can Tibetans practice their religious beliefs, what about the side effects of a depressed economy for a certain group of people and second class status in their own territory (like drug use)? I understand that people in China don't get the information to acknowledge these issues. But pro-Chinese in the U.S.? In the wake of the riots, it's impossible to believe that they were carried out by a small "clique" of individuals. Those were massive, widespread, and expressed great frustration with the economic and especially cultural degradation by the PRC. At the least, there needs to be some sense of humility about this, that economic investment hasn't been particularly successful, and that Beijing has given something of a raw deal to minorities.Ah, that was cathartic. Now, if only the pro-China protestors would read this.