Oppression in Tibet--Do We Care Enough To Help?
February 21, 2000
Since the 1950s, the Asian nation of Tibet has been under the brutal thumb of Communist dictatorship. Few Americans seem to be aware of the situation; I wasn't until recently.
In 1950, Red China invaded the peaceful, religious country of Tibet, which borders China and a few other nations such as Bhutan and Nepal. Red China insists that Tibet is part of their territory, hence their justification of their occupation of this country.
Ever since the Communist occupation, native Tibetans have been beaten and imprisoned, and Tibetan women have had forced abortions and sterilizations. In addition, Red China has been moving low-income native Chinese into Tibet in an effort to gradually replace the native population.
Tibetans have been forbidden to practice their religion (Buddhism), and have been imprisoned simply for displaying a picture of their religious and national leader, the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959; he resides in India where he is with the rest of the Tibetan government in exile, hoping one day to return to a free Tibet. In the meantime he and other expatriate Tibetans work for the freedom of their country.
Their cause has been adopted by many on the Left, notably those of the New Age movement. However, this is a cause that conservatives should also be able to support. Tibetans are suffering under the yoke of Communism, and as anti-Communists, that is a cause any conservative should be able to support.
The Tibetans, being largely pacifists, are a peaceful people, committed to non-violence. Their specific form of Buddhism forbids them from bearing arms, or even eating meat. They are to practice reverence for all life. They wish no harm to the people of mainland China, and only wish to live in peace and security.
There are currently almost a thousand political prisoners in Tibet. There is, right now, no freedom of religion, speech or the press in Tibet, due to the Communist occupation.
China has also done severe violence to Tibet's environment, another source of pain to native Tibetans, who believe in respecting the earth. The Communists have engaged in deforestation in Tibet and dumping of nuclear waste from their own country. Tibet's holiest lake, Yamdrok Tso, is now being drained by the Communists to use for a hydroelectric power facility.
What can you do? What will you do? There is much you can do for the Tibetan people! Write to your legislators, and urge them to remove China's MFN (most favored nation) status, due to human rights abuses in Tibet and elsewhere. Urge them to speak out in support of Tibet whenever possible. Political and economic sanctions against Red China may be the only way we as the free world can pressure them to allow the people of Tibet to live in peace.
With the help of those of us in the free world, maybe one day, the people of Tibet can return to the peaceful lives they had before the Communist occupation. Let's pray that that may soon happen!