If you haven’t heard already, several young men and women climbed the Golden Gate Bridge this morning to protest against the Olympic Torch run through San Francisco in two days. After scaling the Bridge, they unveiled two banners, one of which reads: “Free Tibet ’08”.
I am not unsympathetic towards their cause of ending human rights violation. However, I have issues with people who chant the “Free Tibet” slogan, especially those who have little or no background in Chinese history. Tibet has always been part of China the way New York has always been part of the United States. Furthermore, Tibetans are considered one of the five Chinese cultural tribes and are prominently recorded as so in Chinese history (you probably won’t find the detailed recording in translated English text, I don’t think…at least I haven’t been able to find it). It is true that Tibet proclaimed its independence from China at the fall of the Qing dynasty, but the independence was never officially recognized by China. The proclamation came during a time when China itself was in chaos and was in no position to fight the proclamation.
Except for the proclamation of independence, Tibet is no more or less a part of China than California is a part of United States. Sure there are cultural and political differences, but the last I checked, California doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with the current federal government either. If California were to declare independence today because of these differences, Washington would almost certainly send troops into California to halt the movement. Does it mean the rest of the world should chant, “Free California”? Is it even any of their business what Washington decides to do with a state that is a part of its Union?
Originally, I wasn’t going to post this due to its controversial nature. But ultimately, I decided since I already talk to others about this issue, why not post it on my blog? Any and all comments are welcome as long as they are not ill-natured or vulgar in nature.