a completely superficial look at politics

Everyone knows that China is in trouble over Tibet with the international community. Except possibly China herself. As the up and coming superpower, it treats its sovereignty, rightly, as sovereign. And hence once Tibet is labelled as a national sovereignty issue, that’s it, case closed. The international community can disagree but hey, that’s their problem.

And there you have the whole Olympic torch route thing being changed and Chinese youths who are angry that their country has been treated so badly. They are mad that the one event they’ve been preparing for since the time it was announced 4 years ago is in jeopardy by this Tibet issue. They’ve been cleaning up the streets, building new spanking buildings, all spruced up for the Olympics and now at the eve of the event, there’s international disagreement as to the stance that China should take about Tibet. So the Chinese youths rant and rile on the forums online except that internationally, the impact is softened because the forums are in Chinese and only the Chinese understands.

Firstly, I think it’s strangely funny that the amount of Chinese national rage has been understated internationally due to the unfamiliarity with the Chinese language. But it’s understandable. Chinese is one of the hardest languages to learn and the youths in Singapore will attest to that fact. Especially if they hail from ACS and like-minded schools. But that’s an aside.

The real issue is that China, in its national interests, should have taken a more diplomatic stance than to keep reiterating that it’s an ‘internal / national issue’. The problem is also that the Dalai Lama, being the Dalai Lama, has moral authority on his side. It may not be actual moral authority, but such authority is assumed. He appears on television with his kindly smile and mild mannered nature, donned in his religious robes, a perfect picture of conciliatory discussion. On the other hand, you have a Chinese official, decked out in his military outfit as he speaks to the reporters, a picture of austerity and high handedness. It’s not difficult to understand why the entire world did not even bother trying to see this story from China’s point of view. It became the big bully naturally. And no one questions why. The United States of America, in my humble opinion, should keep quiet(er) about it. Before one points out a speck in her brother’s eye, one should take out the plank in its own eye. Iraq is US plank. So it should shut up about it.

I may be trivialising the issue here. In fact, I know I am. The key point is that a healthy dose of diplomacy never did any country any harm. China should be seen to want to compromise on the issue of Tibet, even if it is not. Although that is form without substance, at least there will be a form. With that form, people can then address complaints and constructive criticisms will bring about the impetus needed for creating substance behind that form. First form, then substance. And no crowds will run amok.


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