Since President Nixon's 1972 visit to Beijing, the creation of an open market with China/communist (Chicoms) industry and government has been a free enterprise mother lode. Now we're seeing (again) their rattlesnakes in the gold mine.
The media has reported on the product venom that has affected us (tainted dog food, toys with lead paint, what's to come?). The Chicoms, like all dictatorships, bank on us forgetting history and their terrible treatment of human beings. Tiananmen Square in 1989 comes to mind. Do you remember the cause? There are many millions of Chinese citizens who do not like communist rule! I bet many will not remember because it happened nearly 20 years ago, and does not affect Americans today. We have too many troubles in our own backyard to worry about our neighbors on the other side of the planet. Take Tibet, for instance. This 40-year brutal and barbaric land grab atrocity is still happening it isn't much different than Tiananmen except for size, history, maybe a sticker on your car, and hope.
How does Tibet relate to Chinese toxins? A brief history: 1945 to 1950 Chairman Mao Tse Tung's armies fought for communist country dominance against Chiang Kai Shek's National Party, which was forced to flee to Taiwan Island as their base of operations. Taiwan is still considered a rebel state. Shortly after this conquest, Mao set his gun sights on Tibet.
This highland (primarily above 13,000 feet in elevation), pacifistic country north of Nepal flew its own flag as a sovereign nation with the Dalai Lama as its king. Then came China's military invasion and first political poison inoculation (1950 to 1960). A million of the Dalai Lama's countrymen and women were gunned down, exported to China as slave labor, or imprisoned in country. In years to come, His Holiness a teenager fought a mostly diplomatic losing war. Why no United Nations intervention? The U.N. thought Tibet was a pseudo part of China, the U.S.A. was involved in the Korean War, and the British were still engaged in India and Pakistan. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th reincarnation, and many of his paisanos finally fled across the Himalaya Mountains in 1959 to Northern India as refugees.
Modern Communist Cathay and their Red Guard pillaged, raped, and destroyed much of Tibet. The Tibetan nomadic lifestyle was stopped. Think about what happened when the American government and army in the late 1800s banned the Apaches from roaming the Southwest and put them on a reservation. Religious icons and structures, culture, and society that took thousands of years to develop were destroyed in a decade. The first great truth of Buddhism: Life is suffering. Their sorrow came on like monsoon rains. Of nearly 4,000 Buddhist shrines, less than 15 were left standing (Galen Rowell, Heinrich Harrer). Atheistic communism and Buddhism don't mix. Ask modern Chinese Falun Gong practitioners (15 million) who are criminalized. No different in Tibet.
However fierce the Marxist invasion, the democratic world saw a different picture. The Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. "It is my heartfelt prayer that Tibet's plight may be resolved ... and once again my country, the Roof of the World, may serve as a sanctuary of peace and a resource of spiritual inspiration ..." (excerpt from the Great Kundun's speech). The Chinese countered with economic sanction rhetoric with Norway. Nobel Committee Chairman Egil Aarvik, in characteristic Norsk fashion, told the Chicoms in a blizzard of epithets where to stick their threats.
In a 1998 speech delivered at the Dalai Lama's national in exile headquarters in Dharamsala, Northern India, the Living Buddha said, "Beijing is carrying out what amounts to a deliberate policy of cultural genocide in Tibet. The infamous 'strike hard' campaign against Tibetan religion and nationalism has intensified with each passing year."
China's Shih Tzu or Pekingese Lion Dogs at the entrance of the palace (there are copies at Cheng Park, SLO, on the corner of Marsh and Santa Rosa streets) only guard the world's largest viperous regime that preys upon humans whose natural right to freedom would win over might, given the chance. We cannot forget this fact. This truth is what we must take to our moral, ethical, and spiritual bank. It is better to invest in liberating people and their country.
Can we rescue Tibet from the poisonous fangs of the serpent? Do more than wear a chic T-shirt or watch the Tibetan Freedom concerts. The Free Tibet web page is a good source of current information. The international Campaign for Tibet is also good. Galen Rowell's book on the Dalai Lama, My Tibet, is a good introduction to this topic. Also Heinrich Harrer's two books, Seven Years in Tibet and Return to Tibet, are excellent. If you can find the diary/book by Alexandra David-Neel from her 1920-1955 exploits in Tibet, you will be most rewarded. Ama Adhe's account of being imprisoned, The Voice, will perhaps stir the fire in your belly, if you are a chosen one to be involved.
To close, there is no better antivenin than the Lama-King, from the same 1998 speech: "Through our nonviolent freedom struggles we are also setting an example and thus contributing to the promotion of a global political culture of non-violence and dialogue."
David Sweetland lives in San Luis Obispo. Send comments to the editor at email@example.com.