As Tibet Burns

I‘LL WAGER that you weren’t informed of it by the media, but it happens that yesterday was the Global Day of Action undertaken by the International Campaign for Tibet. I was on Parliament Hill in Ottawa when a large crowd assembled and marched down Elgin Street in a desperate effort to raise awareness here in Canada of China’s official policy of slow-motion genocide.

It’s a filthy mark of vanity and shame upon Canada’s parochial media and political class that today’s top story concerns a prospective Auditor General who — the horror! — doesn’t speak French. The attitude here in Canada appears to be Tibet, and public awareness, be damned. Only in a slow news week could the present hype over a non-story of a unilingual bureaucrat be pardoned. Yet as the 2011 annual report of the United States’ Congressional-Executive Commission on China today made known, in a House Committee on Foreign Affairs hearing, “this year saw one of the harshest crackdowns on dissidents in recent memory”:

China’s leaders have grown more aggressive in their violation of rights, disregarding the very laws and international standards that they claim to uphold and tightening their grip on Chinese society.” The report also found that Chinese officials were increasingly willing to “disregard the law when it suits them, particularly to silence dissent” within this past reporting year. Witnesses will discuss recent trends in human rights and the rule of law in China.

I submit to you, dear reader, that both this report and the recent immolations of Buddhist monks, today eleven in number, far surpass in significance the shambolic indignation of the Honourable has-been, Mr. Bob Rae. Now that religious freedom is a prominent trope of the Harper Government, Canadians should want to know what exactly the leadership of Canada proposes to do about the current and escalating oppression of the Tibetan religion, culture, language, and people by the rebarbative Communist regime of China.

The rope-end practice of self-immolation, whose modern-day arch stretches from Thich Quang Duc on a dusty Saigon street to Mohammed Bouazizi’s Sidi Bouzi grocer’s cart, rests upon the assumptions that one’s friends have empathy and one’s enemies conscience. In the case of protests against China, the first assumption is dubious and the second is without foundation. This especially horrid and terrifying form of political protest derives its presumptive force from the idea that no one can fail to take notice of a living human being set wilfully on fire and given to a sudden and unspeakably brutal death. How sad, but also predictable, that the law of diminishing returns has here asserted itself, with the result that very few on this side of the world are paying attention either to the protestors or the objects of protest. The necessary empathy fails to materialize, to the great advantage of the Chinese government.

One day it will be shown that the world’s present shilly-shallying and hand-sitting yielded to China, at a critical moment, an implicit endorsement of Middle Kingdom Lebensraum. China’s is a wicked and lawless regime, deploying its resources in every field against human dignity and freedom. What future do you suppose our grandchildren will have when it occurs that governments everywhere, including Canada and Europe and the United States, put trade and commerce above human rights, assisting this rogue empire and future global superpower in its vile works of colonization, oppression, brutality, and genocide?

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