Sunday, March 17, 2013

These Walls Run With The Blood Of Tibet (2)

Reproduction of my post at the Facebook page of the local newspaper, the Chronicle and Echo, shared here just in case they remove it. There goes the degree.

The exhibition at Northampton University this March and April of artworks by the Naxi people of China will undoubtedly be fascinating, but it raises ethical problems about engagement with countries whose human rights record has been condemned persisten...tly and comprehensively by international monitors. This is especially so in the case of the present exhibition because representatives of the Chi......nese government have been invited to attend. More than a hundred people have self-immolated in Tibet in recent years to protest the Chinese occupation of their country, in addition to the hundreds of thousands who have perished in uprisings in the six decades since China's invasion. Reports of forced sterilisation of Tibetan women also persist. It is true that His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile pursue a policy of constructive engagement with China, desiring only autonomy under Chinese rule, and consequently they probably wouldn't have a problem with the exhibition; but they are by no means reflective of the entire body of public opinion among the Tibetan people. The Tibetan Youth Congress and National Congress both want nothing less than full independence for their country, and many campaign groups call for a complete boycott of Chinese goods, businesses and cultural exchange. Whether this is or isn't reasonable depends on what a famous British politician once called your "moral compass" but I believe it's something that should be widely known at the very least. At the moment we only hear the voices of the coloniser and not the colonised. Perhaps the university, which has an exceptional postcolonial module for English students, will host an exhibition of Tibetan art or a human rights conference in the near future to redress the balance somewhat for this long-suffering, gentle people.


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