Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Cathay, the Central Nation - part 1

I'm currently in my first week of my remedial in paediatrics. So far it hasn't been too strenuous. Most of the time I follow the morning ward rounds and we have a total of thirteen bedside teachings & clinics to attend during the next six weeks. Since this week the Year 4's are having their end of clerkship examination, they have closed off the wards to other students including myself. For today and tomorrow, I'm back at my flat studying and being very bored.


In recent times, China (or I should state 'the People's Republic of China' to avoid any political confusion or offense) has been in the limelight. The troubles in Tibet and the protests occurring during the Olympic torch relay have brought the nation's role in the world to the forefront.

I have had many heated discussions (a nicer way of saying 'arguments') with my father, who backs China all the way. I would like to say first hand it was wrong for the Buddhist monks in Tibet to riot and kill people whatever the motives or agenda were. The taking of life is never a good way to further your agenda. Yet I question the validity of this information since it originates from the Chinese news agency. Any news reported by 'the state news agency' is always liable to be under scrutiny for propaganda and bias. The news is always suppose to be impartial and unbiased, whatever the Chinese government thinks about the view of Western media towards China.

Yet it is wrong for China also to react in such a violent manner towards the people who want autonomy and freedom for themselves. It is also wrong for China to be in Tibet in the first place, having marched in with their army back in 1950. This piece of information has been neglected in the history books taught in local schools, so my parents are rather ignorant on this matter. All the Dalai Lama wants is autonomy, not independence. My dad rightly said that Tibet couldn't sustain itself economically if broke off from China. What my dad said is true but the whole point of independence is not of economic factors but of self-determination, the right to be governed by one's own people. This is the basis of the two world wars we had in the last century. The Kosovans didn't break off from Serbia for monetary reasons but for the right to rule itself.

The trouble in Tibet led to the protests at the Olympic torch relay in London, Paris and San Francisco. I have to admit the protesters were wrong in disrupting the torch relay. The whole point of the Olympic movement is supposed to be non-political, to further the quality of the human race. The protests reflect badly on 'Free Tibet' movement, with other people maybe seeing the cause as violent in nature. The disruptions also cause havoc for those who want to see the torch relay.

I can see why the dissidents use this method to publicize their cause. Peaceful protests only work if the opposite side (in this case the Chinese government) also play by the rules, which they don't. The Chinese government don't want to engage in dialogue with the Dalai Lama and are rather stubborn on Tibet (as well as Taiwan and other matters). Nelson Mandela knew this when engaging the South African government in the early days of apartheid. Greenpeace knows this when encountering the Japanese whaling fleet in the Antarctic waters.

There is a question I want to raise about the Olympics - hasn't there always been some political issues surrounding the Olympic movement. We have the most prominent examples in 1980 and 1984, when the Western countries boycotted the Moscow games due to the invasion of Afghanistan whilst the Soviet bloc retaliated at the Los Angeles games. Yet people tend to forget that even the Olympic torch relay itself was instituted due to political reasons. Even though the Olympic flame was reintroduced at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic games, the torch relay was introduced by the Third Reich for the 1936 Berlin Olympic games to promote the Aryan race. In fact the whole point of the Olympics is political. The whole Olympic games is just nation bashing, a substitute for war in the modern age where we want to exert up superiority over other nations.

It would be wrong for nations to boycott the Olympic games because of the Tibetan incident. There are other methods to make China wake up...

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