April 16, 2008

Tibet, China, Olympics Torch and Future - I want to say something

These days we all have been reading a great deal about Olympic Torch and Tibet's protest against Chinese oppression. Western world definitely seem to be more and more sympathetic to Tibetians and side with them in their voice against China and human rights violations in Tibet by Chinese government machinery. Media both print and digital including internet is filled with views, events and analysis if and how these will impact Chinese rulers in anyway.
Let's start with hot topic of torch relay disruptions in western world. Media has been reporting that Tibetans had lot of support from French and even some of the French politicians were vocal about their support to Tibetans. Media was mute about state support for the Tibetian in US and UK and for that matter many other countries. Though media and blog have been reporting wide support from human rights groups in most of these countries. Now there has been lot of patriotic and nationalistic[Choose your words] whip in China against these western countries and calls to boycott French products as a tit for tat. Let look at it deeply. I find two forces at play :-
[1] Human Right is a topic close to heart in developed world and obviously that includes western countries. It comes naturally to humans once your basic needs are met and you are better off and you are moving up the value chain. So society there has lot of support for human rights. I think Japan may not be faring as well as other western countries probably because it is surrounded by third world and developing economies.
[2] Money or trade and economic sense is at play when it comes to state support. Compared to other countries France does not have as deep trade relationship with China as US, UK and other countries where Tibetian protest had some or other form of state patronage. Look at the blow links and table on the right hand side.
For Chinese economy France does not appear as top export destination or import origination.
Similarly for French economy China does find a place in top export destination of origination of import.
Now for US economy China a 3rd top export and top import origin and for UK economy 5th top import origination is China.
[3] Chinese response especially from youth brigade again is a very common human psychological reaction. For any country which is economically growing on a scorching pace nationalistic/patriotic feelings run high during these years. Anyway these will die away once the fuel stoking the fire get exhausted which in this case seems to be Olympic games and media to some extent.
I have something for my Tibetian friends as well. I will suggest them to look at Australian and HongKong's history. Both of these were associated with British rule for long long time. Now what I want to take from here is this :- Chinese economy has been developing very fast few years. Chinese government is investing significantly in Tibet region as well. For now it may feel that locals are not benefiting from these but only native Chinese are reaping the benefits. It's all a question of time. Economic prosperity fruit will have to reach you and your entire region. I guess 15 yrs to 20 yrs maximum. There after Tibetians will not have to protest against Chinese as it is being done today. It might become more and more of dialogs and no human right violation. Tibetians may start thinking that it's better to remain integrated with greater China for economic gains and have more and more of autonomy from political, social and religious point of view. 15 to 20 yrs down the line with more economic prosperity these autonomy would come lot more easily but I think not without the economic development of the region. Look how easy was Hong Kong hand over to China by UK or how easily Australia deals with UK monarchy. Think of it - would it have been so easy for Australia and Hong Kong 40 years ago. I feel what Hong Kong and Australia achieved on 40 years Tibet with mighty China will achieve in 15 years.

No comments: