I have focused only on Zephyr’s tours in this blog. Rightly so, too, since that is the blog’s purpose and why readers spend time reading it. At this point, however, I feel I need to speak out in support of Tibetans against the crackdown that is happening in that country.
And “country” it should be, although at the moment it is a militarily-controlled part of China. Most people who can at least place Tibet on the map probably have a vague idea that China occupied the country some years ago. That is true – and more.
I love the Chinese. I have visited China half a dozen times and love both the country and the people. Since I first started visiting China about ten years ago, the economy has visibly rocketed and people have become more open and less fearful of being themselves, although we still limit our tour group conversations about topics such as Tiananmen Square to the privacy of our tour bus. One thing I do find, however, is that the Chinese people – even those who are well educated – have a pretty strong bias in favor of China’s world policies relating to Tibet, Taiwan, Darfur, etc.
That means that on the one hand, the Chinese themselves are still under a yoke without a true ability to express themselves publicly, vote in real elections, or advocate for change. On the other hand, they have been fed enough propaganda they they support their country’s purchase of Sudanese oil, the military threat against Taiwan, and the military occupation of Tibet.
Because military occupation it is – Tibet was invaded by Chinese troops in 1950 and has been occupied ever since. And what is my impression of the Tibetan people? Having been to Tibet about an equal number of times, I have invariably found them warm, loving, and peaceful. After reading this blog post, take the time to read my other posts on Tibet and you’ll begin to get an idea about that country.
The Tibetans are protesting now, in sometimes violent ways, because they are desperate. The Chinese have occupied their country for 48 years; they are not allowed to mention or have a photo of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama; and perhaps most insidious their culture and language is being slowly marginalized as the Chinese government promotes Chinese immigration into Tibet. This is all true – and all vehemently denied by China.
This is a world tragedy and world governments do essentially nothing while it happens. How can we the people have elected representatives who know about this injustice and still do nothing? The truth is, China is powerful, no one wants to offend them, and “realpolitek” leads our elected leaders to ignore the issue.
That is simply unacceptable and we, the people of the world, should do something about this. We have the power, too. China cares badly about its image and protesting in front of Chinese embassies around the world would help. We won’t do that, though, since each of us has too many other things to worry about in life. What WILL work and IS doable is to boycott Chinese products and demand that US companies do the same. It worked in South Africa and it can work in China.
Here is what I suggest you do.
1. Spend one hour to get on the internet and learn about the tragedy of Tibet. Educate yourself.
2. Go to www.BoycottMadeInChina.org, click on Join the Campaign, and sign the Pledge form. Pledge to yourself that before you purchase any material goods between now and the end of the Olympics, you will look for the “made in” tag and not purchase it if it is made in China.
3. Send an email to your friends and ask them to go to the boycott site or, better yet, to this page for the background material first.
I sponsor a young Tibetan woman for whom I pay school tuition so she can have a good life. I have an excellent friend in Lhasa, our Tibetan guide, whose father and brother were killed by the Chinese in past protests. I am afraid for their safety.
It is a world shame that the Tibet people are losing their homeland and the rest of us do nothing.