[The Korea Times, South Korea]



The Korea Times, South Korea

America's 'Strange'

Silence Over China's

Crackdown in Tibet


"Perhaps the Bush Administration thought there wasn't be much to be gained from a strong denunciation of Beijing, a giant embroiled in conflict with a far smaller adversary, similar to the U.S. war in Iraq."




March 17, 2008


South Korea - The Korea Time - Original Article (English)

With the Chinese police tightening their grip on Lhasa, the Tibetan capital seems to have regained a relative calm. Few would doubt, however, that this will be the calm before another storm - one far more violent - unless fundamental problems are addressed.


Amid a virtual blockade of the foreign press and with Beijing and Tibet's government in exile give conflicting accounts, what triggered last week's violent clash and the number of people who were killed and injured are as yet uncertain. What is certain is that in view of China's half-century policy to nearly obliterate the autonomous region's religion and culture, the turmoil was bound to break out some time or another. And if it had to happen - the run-up to the Beijing Olympic Games must have seemed like a good time for the Tibetan separatists.


Chinese adherence to Tibet is understandable - if not agreeable - in view of the region's military and economic importance. If Beijing let Lhasa out of its iron grip, it could lead to a domino-like splitting of 55 minority peoples away from the People's Republic of China.


Nevertheless, what China is now doing to Tibet calls to mind what imperialist Japan did to Korea and China in the first half of the 20th century. Moreover, China's "southwestern project'' to assimilate ancient Tibetan history into its own is an unwelcome reminder of its "northeastern project,'' which has angered so many Koreans. For Seoul in the context of both history and current affairs, this can hardly be a "fire on the other side of the river."


[Editor's Note: China's "Northeastern Project" is a Beijing-funded research project conducted by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, which sought to establish that Korea's Balhae Kingdom (698-926) was a vassal state of China .]


A moment of anguish for Nobel Peace Prize winner and Tibet's spiritual and political leader, The Dalai Lama.

Instead of further antagonizing him, Beijing is advised to take heed of the words of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader. The 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate has called for more autonomy and a non-violent solution to the ongoing trouble - stopping far short of independence or separation. If Chinese leaders push ahead with the colonization of Tibet as it has over the past few years, the region will likely remain a perennial ticking time bomb - and one as big as a quarter of its territory.


Beijing's seeming leniency of the past few days must not be simply to provide an excuse for even harsher crackdowns to come. Otherwise, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, already marred by food safety and environmental problems, may recieve a crippling blow over human rights issues, as some European leaders have already hinted at.


In contrast, Washington's relatively subdued response is rather odd. Perhaps the Bush Administration thought there wasn't much to be gained from a strong denunciation of Beijing, a giant embroiled in conflict with a far smaller adversary, similar to the U.S. war in Iraq.


Far harder to understand - but not at all surprising - is Seoul's utter silence and its continued refusal to allow the Dalai Lama to visit. This is in apparent deference to its largest trading partner and the coordinator of Korean denuclearization.





















































[Posted by WORLDMEETS.US March 17, 6:38am]




A demonstrator at a rally outside China's embassy in Rome, March 16.

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Tibet Violence Spreads, Mar. 16, 00:01:35RealVideo

—BBC NEWS VIDEO: Interview with Dalai Lama, Mar. 16, 00:01:32RealVideo

RealVideo[LATEST NEWS PHOTOS: Chinese Crackdown on Tibet].

—FRANCE 3 TV Documentary: Tibet: The Story Of A Tragedy, 00:55:43RealVideo

Demonstrators outside the Chinese Embassy in Paris, March 16.

Marchers in Rome.

Monks and protestors rally on a street in Amdo Labrang, northeast Tibet, March 14. They are all carrying the outlawed Tibetan flag.

A Tibetan shouts 'Free Tibet' in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, Mar. 16.