Take the opportunity to help human rights by helping Tibet

Ever since Tibet was taken over by the People’s Liberation Army in 1949, it has been at the forefront of human rights activism all over the world, and rightfully so. Chinese oppression has not only affected the political and environmental structure of Tibet, but it has severely disturbed one of the world’s most fascinating cultures. This beautiful region deserves its independence, and it is finally the right time to do something about it. For centuries, Tibet was an isolated area with rich culture and traditions. Consisting of mostly farmers, monks, and nomads, Tibet was deeply rooted in its primary religion, Buddhism. Shortly after Mao rose to power, China invaded Tibet, and subsequently took over the nation. After a failed revolt in 1959, the Dalai Lama, Tibetan and global spiritual leader, was forced to flee Tibet. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Tibetans were forced to reject previous traditions, especially their religion, as a means to modernize China. While it is discouraged by the Chinese government, Tibetans remain very spiritual people, and the Dalai Lama is still working for the rights of his followers in Tibet. In years past, there has been substantial support for Tibet’s cause in the U.S., but hardly anything has sparked a serious change in our government’s policies toward China and the Tibet region. While this is a disappointment, it is not necessarily surprising. As a nation that allows torture and capital punishment, the U.S. is not exactly the poster child for upholding universal human rights. Actually, the U.S. appears to treat human rights as a largely subjective endeavor, as does China. The U.S. also owes a very large portion of it’s almost $9.4 trillion debt to China. Both of these issues leave the U.S. with hardly any room for leverage regarding matters in Tibet. With the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, the possibility for real progress in Tibet has finally presented itself. As the Olympic torch makes its journey around the world, it has recently been greeted by protesters in many cities. Protests for the Tibetan cause in Paris, London, Sydney, and San Francisco have all made headlines. All of the protests have been met with heavy media coverage and support, but the question is whether it will affect government policy. The U.S. should view this situation as a way to find some solutions to this issue by pressuring China to take more responsibility for the problems in Tibet. Some politicians have mentioned the option of boycotting the Olympics, which is a drastic measure that isn’t really necessary, considering that the threat alone could be enough. The influence the U.S. has over China at this crucial time might be able to persuade the Chinese government to give Tibet its long overdue freedom. Although most U.S. citizens cannot really control how the government acts in the next few months concerning Tibet, keeping the cause in the media spotlight is a way anyone can help. Also, the U.S. and China are such close trade partners that citizens can take a stand by boycotting Chinese goods and pushing the government to impose trade sanctions on China. It is uncertain what might come from these 2008 Olympic games in Beijing, but The Web feels that for the future of human rights in Tibet and the world, this great opportunity cannot be wasted. Action must be taken to help Tibet -Editorial composed by Meredith Anselman on behalf of The WEB’s editorial board.