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China & Tibet – A Geopolitical Bully at Work

Scott on March 20, 2008 at 10:30 am

The news coming out of Tibet this week is sad. China is cracking down and cracking down in a MAJOR way. It is really getting ugly. People are talking about all sorts of responses – boycotting the Olympics (or at least boycotting the opening ceremonies), asking for U.N. sanctions, the E.U. pulling investments out of the area, etc.

I don’t know what can stop such a geopolitical juggernaut from continuing its complete oppression of a people. It is frightening to hear the interviews of people who have been first hand witnesses to what the Chinese government and the People’s Liberation Army have done to Tibet. My prayers seem so insignificant in comparison to what is going on.

Once again I am reminded of something I mentioned two years ago when it came to light that Google was partnering with the Chinese government to provide services to the country, services that included filtering out any internet references to things like freedom, democracy, faith, protest, etc. As an English teacher, I have always tried to expose my students to the bigger world and all that goes on “out there,” including dissident poetry from around the world. A favorite poem of mine is called “Answers” by a poet named Bei Dao (whose real name is Zhao Zhenkai).

If you’ve never read his words, then you’ve missed out. Reading his poetry is illegal in China and, of course, Tibet as well. I’m thinking that now more than ever his words are ringing true. Here is my favorite Bei Dao poem:

ANSWERS by Bei Dao

Cruelty is the ID pass of the cruel,
honesty the grave stone of the honest.
Look, in the sky plated gold,
crooked reflections of all the dead float around.

The glacial epoch is over,
so why is there ice everywhere?
Good Hope was rounded a long time ago,
so where are these thousands of boats racing on the Dead Sea?

I came into this world
with only blank pages, rope and my fingers;
therefore, before final judgements are given,
I need to speak in all the voices of the defendants.

Just let me say, world,
If a thousand challengers are under your feet
count me as challenger one-thousand-and-one.

I don’t believe the sky is always blue;
I don’t believe it was thunder echoing;
I don’t believe all dreaming is false;
I don’t believe the dead cannot bring judgement.

If the sea is doomed someday to break its levees
my heart must flood with all the bitter waters.
If the land is destined to form the hills again,
let real human beings learn to choose the higher ground.

The latest, favorable turnings, the twinkling stars
studding the naked sky,
are pictographs five-thousand years old.
They are the eyes of the future staring at us now.

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Category: Foreign Affairs |

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