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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Olympics, China and Tibet

What is wrong with Olympics and China?

The Chinese deciding to win a certificate from the world for their good conduct using Olympics seems to be the only problem. They have had a dream run so far, suddenly the Tibetan protests have thrown spanner in their PR works. Too many Tibetan sympathizers across the world is not because of any political propaganda of the Dalai Lama or the Tibetans as much as the total number of people who have benefited from the Tibetan leader's preaching of peace and love to the world. The Tibetans have repeatedly held their own, by sticking to non-violent means that are true to their faith and convictions.

I believe that today if anyone struggle across the world is represented by non-violence, it is that of Tibet. Perhaps there are random violent actions that are not not in sync with the overall movement itself, perhaps there is a large amount of support from many Western nations. But, how many western nations understand non-violent struggle and can participate in it is a question to be considered seriously.

We in India need to understand and sympathize with the Tibaten struggle. Our own bungling of the Kashmir issue is a weak justification for the Chinese position. We more than anyone else have the right to talk for Tibet as we have housed them and provided for a nursery to their culture so that at a future date it could be transplanted back to their nation. We understand their culture because we have accommodated and lived with them in peace for 50 years. Today we talk for the people of Tibet, China for the land that is Tibet. The people of Tibet are the holders of the culture, language, faith, arts, traditions that penetrate daily life in a million small ways. Yes, it has a lot to do with the land in which they live, once uprooted it could have been destroyed, we nurtured it so that it sustains its life and today flourish to benefit the world. But, the people, the culture are not fully home here, they belong to Tibet. They need to necessarily leave the transplanted location and we need to utilize every opportunity to articulate this.

But, the Indian government does not seem to realize its responsibility and right on the Tibetan issue. While Global leaders who did not have to manage a lakh Tibetans in their land come openly in support of their cause in the current opportunity when the global spotlight is on China, Indian government has pushed itself on the back-foot for reasons best known only to itself and its communist allies. Communists in India as an ideology is great and as a political formulation is the next best thing to seasonal circus that visits every town in this country. They perform during the season and are mostly part-time activists, part time critics and mostly global worshippers of the last strong communist bastion whether it be soviet union or cuba or venezuela or china, they don't care. They have nothing to proudly showcase as a 'pure communist' success in India itself, despite Kerala being in their hands 50% of its existence and W.Bengal for maybe 50 years(?).

Indian Government behaves as though China is its new Lord. The statements coming out of the Indian Government in recent times on the Tibetan issue gives its real interpretation of the 'look east' policy. Looking east does not mean submit to everything Chinese. But, that is what the government wants to do. Read the following statement from Suresh Kalmadi, the man most famous for re-enacting Dandi with Rajiv Gandhi in track suit and fancy shoes. He is our olympic committee chairman for too long.

"We consider it a matter of pride."

Kalmadi said Sachin Tendulkar, Anju Bobby George, Milkha Singh, P T Usha, Aslam Sher Khan, Zafar Iqbal, Gurbhajan Singh Randhawa and former athletes and sportspersons in action are taking part in the relay.

"About 50 sportspersons will take part. So it is going to be good. I have no doubt that the torch relay in India will be a grand success."

And in the meanwhile, the Chinese themselves are getting jittery with all the negative propaganda...this morning news of Mme. Clinton asking her President to not attend the inaugural programme at Beijing is an indication of the mood in the western world, the German Chencellor has already decided not to attend in protest and the French President has kept his decision suspended.

A nervous China slams the door
Wednesday, April 09, 2008 11:57 [IST]

Acountry that is preparing to host a spectacular Olympics in August should be throwing open doors, rolling out the red carpet, and lining up brass-bands for visitors from overseas, right? Well, China is doing exactly the opposite.

Evidently unnerved by the uprising in Tibet, and the protests that have marred the relay of the Olympics torch, China has tightened visa procedures and imposed entry restrictions that, taken together, have the effect of slamming a door on visitors’ face ahead of the upcoming sporting spectacle. For over a week now, China has stopped issuing fresh multiple-entry visas and suspended the short-stay visa-on-arrival facility

Almost unaware of the all these developments, the International Olympic Committee seems to celebrate a symbol that as far as I know, no one knows the significance of (I certainly didn't find anyone talking of this symbol anywhere).

"I am saddened that such a beautiful symbol of the torch, which unites people of different religions, different ethnic origin, different political systems, cultures and languages, has been attacked," Rogge said of the disruptions.

Meanwhile, in Tibet it seems to be business as the following quote from the gentleman controlling Tibet.

Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Tibet Autonomous Region government, told a news conference in Beijing that anyone who tried to disrupt the torch's journey through Tibet would face heavy punishment.

"If someone dares to sabotage the torch relay in Tibet and its scaling of the Mount Everest, we will seriously punish him and will not be soft-handed," said Qiangba Puncog.

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