Have not written here for a long time. Partly, again, it has been an issue of time but more importantly, its been the lack of involvement in anything happening around the world. Not emotionally. But from a standpoint of following issues to opine intelligently.
A lot has happened in the world. Tibet comes to mind. The disruption of the Olympic flame in London, Paris, San Fransisco and New Delhi. An uprising that soon turned violent. And then predictably, a brutal repression of the Chinese state.
The repercussions were widely felt. From both sides, on all forums. Even on Facebook now – where the ethnically Chinese have banded together to form groups like One China.
I cannot but help having mixed feeling. Ultimately, every nation state defends territorial integrity with all its might – as it should – unless we don’t want to have concepts of nation states anymore. Which both from a macro-economic and social standpoint wouldn’t make much sense. However, what makes it complicated is how much right does a nation have to repress its people to protect “nationhood”.
I come from India – and we have our share of discontent within our boundaries – and not without reason. Institutional neglect, exploitation and corruption kicked it off; local political ambitions and the benevolence of our neighbours kept it going. However, even in a democracy like India – there have been many instances of ham-fisted response by the state that has even further alienated the fringe in our society. Was protecting our territorial integrity justified? Absolutely. Did it justify the steps the government took. Absolutely not.
So I understand the Chinese outrage. What I don’t have an appreciation for- is when the very overseas Chinese who wont go back home because of the lack of political and other freedoms are the first to band with the government when that same freedom is denied to a people who are fundamentally peaceful and ethnically very diverse from the Han Chinese.
In India for e.g. – by and large – there is a consensus within the think tank that Kashmir and the Northeast – where our major insurgent problems currently exist – have not a little to do with Indian government policies. And by and large, Indians are open to ensuring that these wrongs are righted – in an Indian democratic framework.
In China however, there seems to be a mass acceptance to the official version that the Dalai Lama is a devil who is responsible for all the unrest – a virtual ignorance of the fact that the demographics and economics of Tibet has radically changed by a huge influx of Han Chinese – and that is primarily the cause of discontent.
Moot point is, can any large and diverse nation – be that India or China sustainably survive without any regard to the aspirations of the populace – my gut says no. I wish hosting the Olympics made any nation great. Or producing all of Walmart’s huge product portfolio. Ultimately, citizens have to feel vested in the nation for a nation to be great. And China, in the long term, doesn’t seem to be seeing that point.
My two cents in the matter.