The Tibet Question

Speaker Pelosi presented the first Lantos Huma...
Speaker Pelosi presented the first Lantos Human Rights Prize to His Holiness the Dalai Lama this morning in the Capitol Visitor Center. Named for the late Congressman and human rights activist Tom Lantos, the Lantos Human Rights Prize is intended to raise awareness about human rights violations and honor the brave individuals who are committed to fighting for human rights throughout the world. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Not even the Dalai Lama is asking for Tibet to become an independent country. I am not going to exceed him in my expectations for Tibet. When the Dalai Lama was in Tibet one person was the religious leader of the Tibetan people, and the same person was also the political leader. How do I feel about that? How do I feel about bullock carts compared to bullet trains? The same person being the religious and political leader by birth is a political bullock cart. It is not a modern concept. And there is no ancient boundary I am beholden to. This is the age of globalization, internet and trans-continental trains. National boundaries matter less and less. What matters is trade.

But then human rights are religion to me. Free speech is religion to me. Religious freedom is religion to me. Political reform is in Beijing's best interests. It is not true the Chinese economy is too mature to attempt double digit growth rates. But the only way China goes back to double digit growth rates now is if it engages in fundamental political reform.

But then that does not mean copying the American system. If America were to get more democratic, it would bring about fundamental campaign finance reform. If America were to become better at respecting human rights, the American police would not brutalize African Americans, and the American criminal justice would not be so skewed against them. So, just like China, America itself is a work in progress.

China moving towards political pluralism and free speech takes it to cutting edges of technology. China going federal integrates it with Taiwan.

Tibet has seen progress in the physical sphere. You see shiny trains. But its cultural heritage remains sacrosanct. And I never have never will approve of the police brutalization of peacefully protesting Tibetan protesters in Kathmandu.


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