Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Tibet's independence protests.

Tibet's protests should elicit action, outcry

Regarding your March 17 editorial, "Tibet's nonviolent path": You are right to call for moderation from both sides, but really the onus of responsibility lies with the Chinese.

What is needed now are boycotts of the Beijing Olympics. The United States boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics in protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. How much more horrendous is half a century of suppression of, and violence against, the Tibetan people? How much more horrendous is the constant suppression of other minorities in China, and the suppression under which the Han Chinese have lived since Mao's revolution?

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It is well beyond time that the people of the world stand up to say, "no more." It is time that our government showed the courage of its convictions regarding freedom and democracy.

We have given His Holiness the Dalai Lama our highest civilian award. It is a well-deserved honor. Now it is time to back that up with real action. We like to think of this nation as the protector of democracy, but we fail to act when the most consistent horrific assaults on democracy and freedom are taking place. We reward the Chinese perpetrators with more economic support, our silence, and our inaction.

Augusta Alexander
Portland, Ore.

Regarding your recent editorial on Tibet's independence protests: I greatly sympathize with the Tibetan people's plight as they are struggling against the cruelty of an oppressive, authoritarian state.

China's repressive actions in Tibet illustrate that Beijing cares only for its power and image. Their leaders readily resort to force to quell any opposition to their iron will. Beijing also lacks respect for fundamental human rights, especially the right of self-determination and freedom of expression. This point is further illustrated in their belligerent treatment of Taiwan.

China currently has 1,300 missiles targeting Taiwan in an attempt to bully the people of Taiwan into submission. China even passed an antisecession law to give it legal grounds to use force should Taiwan dare to choose her own path rather than agree with Beijing's mandates.

Unlike China, Taiwan will hold its free and democratic presidential elections on March 22, showing that it is the Taiwanese people, not Beijing, who have the final say. Much like the courageous Tibetans, the people of Taiwan will continue to struggle against the authoritarian dictates of Beijing for the right to have their voices heard on the world stage.

Jason Yuan
Boston

Senior press officer, Information Division

Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Boston

Regarding your recent editorial, "Tibet's nonviolent path," which paints the picture of an oppressive and aggressive Chinese government cracking down on the peaceful Tibetans: You mentioned "police violence." What "police violence?" The police shamelessly deserted the streets, failing the people that they are supposed to protect. Because police presence was almost nonexistent, the Tibetan mobs, joined by some dubious "monks," violently attacked Han and Hui Chinese citizens, smashed stores, and set cars on fire. It was a riot. Any violent riot happening anywhere needs to be cracked down upon hard.

Regarding the statement, "Without a return to nonviolent means, Tibet could someday go the way of Kosovo, with violence leading to some sort of Western intervention": China is no Serbia, definitely not as weak as Serbia. We will never allow you Westerners to come and tear us apart the way you tore Serbia apart.

Whatever happens in China happens; you Westerners just stay out.

Fan Xiao
Beijing, China

Regarding your recent editorial on Tibet's independence protests: I congratulate the Dalai Lama for his "peaceful" condemnation of China's communist government and its efforts to suppress religious autonomy.

China's Marxist government falsely presents itself as the authentic spokesman for the hopes and aspirations of the people, and claims to be able, although by recourse to violent means, to bring about the radical changes that will put an end to the oppression and misery of the people.

In truth, atheism and the denial of the human person, his liberty, and his rights, are at the core of Marxist belief, which requires a total subordination of the person to the collectivity. Marxism ultimately subsumes the autonomous nature of all spheres of existence: religious, ethical, institutional, and cultural.

James Madison recognized religious freedom as a fundamental right that precedes the state and which cannot be severely curtailed or denied by it. The two spheres of church and state are distinct, yet always interrelated in order to stimulate greater insight into the authentic requirements of justice – to build a just social and civil order.

Paul Kokoski
Hamilton, Ontario

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