Friday, March 21, 2008

Repression in Tibet: The World Must Speak Up

Response Letters to the editor for “China Terrorizes Tibet” (editorial, March 18)in New York Times:

Why isn’t the International Olympic Committee making clear that building stadiums and cleaning up the air — not maltreating people — are the way to prepare for the Olympics?

The Games in China have become a pretext for the arrest and detention of democracy advocates; the intimidation of human rights lawyers; the shunting away from the capital of petitioners from the rural areas; the cracking down on Falun Gong followers; the forcible return of North Korean refugees; and now the terrorizing of Tibet.

While it is true that the Olympics also offer an opportunity to those who would embarrass China, its politicization of an international sports event should be deemed unacceptable.

No government should be allowed to make repression of its population part of its preparations for the Olympics.

Roberta Cohen
Washington, March 18, 2008

To the Editor:

Re “Tibetans in India Enraged by Details of Crackdown” (news article, March 18):

The physical and cultural violence that the Chinese government has directed toward the Tibetan people for the past half century is threatening to undermine the nonviolent and compassionate traditions that have been such a vital part of Tibetan Buddhism, and also a rare gift to a world that is so lacking in its practice of these qualities.

But as China retains its unyielding attitude and raises the level of persecution, it pushes some of the young people of Tibet toward a more radical position that could eventually include greater violence. The Dalai Lama’s nonviolent “middle way” offered hope for a workable solution, but that hope seems to be fading.

It is hard to imagine a light at the end of the tunnel for the Tibetan people without a much stronger response from the rest of the world.

Tibet can seem like a remote place, but freedom from fear, and freedom to practice one’s religion, are fundamental human rights that know no borders or geographical distances.

John N. Corbin
Pleasantville, N.Y., March 18, 2008

To the Editor:

Re “Tibetans Clash With Chinese Police in Second City” (news article, March 16):

According to the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, boycotting the Olympics would be “penalizing innocent athletes.” Really? What about innocent Tibetans?

I’ve lived in Lhasa, Tibet, and mainland China, and I know what life is like under a brutally repressive regime.

I remember a teenager who spent three years in a Lhasa prison because, in an angry impulse, he posted a letter denouncing the Communist Party. And a teacher who was arrested for telling his pupils traditional Tibetan stories. I remember constant fear and anxiety.

Politicians claim that economic development is pushing China toward greater freedom and justice. As far as I know, Tibetans have not benefited from China’s economic boom; the Chinese justice system serves the powerful and rich; corruption is rampant, and whoever speaks up is silenced.

Yes, some middle-class Chinese now have the illusion of freedom because they wear Nike sneakers and chat on China’s strictly censored Internet.

The Beijing Olympics aren’t an international celebration of brotherhood and athletics; they are the Communist Party thumbing its nose at anyone who cares about human rights.

If we don’t speak up, we are cowards and accomplices.

Judith Hertog
Hanover, N.H., March 18, 2008

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