While we've been arguing about which Democrat would be the best person to propose and pass more or less the same batch of policies, East Asia has been dealing with some real divisions.
CNN.com is reporting that Chinese papers are calling for Tibetan demonstrations (which have turned violent in many cases) to be "crushed." The Dali Lama has been calling for the demonstrators to adopt a non-violent approach but they have not been listening. The Chinese response has been to send in the military.
Meanwhile, Taiwan had an election and the Kuomintang candidate, Ma Ying-jeou, was expected to win and did (in a landslide). The Kuomintang is the old mainland Nationalist party of Chiang Kai Shek. Ironically, it is the Kuomintang that is most in favor of eventual reunification with the mainland. But since the Communists on the mainland have abandoned Marxism in favor of a more nationalist approach to government and political economy, the Kuomintang may not see much difference anymore between them and their old nemesis. Mr. Ma has criticised Beijing for their conduct in Tibet but has pledged not to "push things too far."
Chinese nationalists (on the mainland) will try to justify nearly any action they take in Tibet by saying that Tibet is a natural part of China and that Tibet has never really been independent. But of course this is a disingenuous argument. Prior to 1949 China as we know it was not organized as a state the way we think of it now. Prior to that date, China was either ruled by regional warlords or as a feudal empire in which Tibet was at times included and at times not. In any case, even when Tibet was nominally under the suzerainty of the Chinese empire of the time, it was so distant from the centers of power that it was usually functionally independent. Only since 1949 has a central Chinese government been able to impose its authority on Tibet with any consistency.
The problem in Tibet seems to be that after the military conquest of Tibet in the 1940s, the Chinese government first divided some regions of Tibet and attached them to neighboring provinces (like Sechuan). Reports are that anti-government demonstrations have spread to the ethnic Tibetans in these regions. The next thing the Chinese did was to heavily subsidize settlement in Tibet by Chinese from the dominant Han ethnic group from coastal China. This settlement program has resulted in a new local elite in Tibet comprised mainly of non-Tibetans. These measures have caused some resentment among ethnic Tibetans.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Posted by Raised By Republicans at 5:26 AM