Helen Zia, Chinese American journalist and open lesbian, will be tasked with passing the Olympic torch here in San Francisco tomorrow, and wrote an Op-Ed about her feelings on China in the SF Chronicle today.
She is basically making the argument that American anti-Chinese sentiment is fraught with oversimplification of the Tibetan crisis and residual cold war fears. She postures herself as a noble voice of authority in that she claims to have done substantial cultural research in China as a reporter, more recently attending the Women's World Conference in Beijing in 1995. She claims that:
Up until I left China just before the uprisings in Tibet, the Chinese government was heavily promoting the Olympic spirit and teaching Olympic values of friendship, understanding and fair play in the schools.
She concludes with:
...the calls to boycott the Olympics and to label everything about China as evil can only serve to isolate China and the United States from each other. China is not a monolith, and blanket condemnations of China and its people are as simplistic as blaming all Americans for the U.S. human-rights violations at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.
But China's government is a monolith! As a reporter of international affairs, I wonder how she can reconcile her own Western freedoms with the oppressive, censorship-loving propaganda arm of the Chinese government. A propaganda machine that's done everything in its power to make the Tibetans look like the oppressors and aggressors.
When we boycott Chinese products and condemn their lack of labor standards, they tend to not try to poison us as much. So, hopefully, when we boycott and condemn their country for attempting to symbolize this peace-loving, civil world power while supporting the Sudanese military in its genocide and violently oppressing a non-violent religious community at home, whose borders are deemed meaningless in their quest for domination, they will have to, at least, address the issue in some way or another.
This brings me to my snap of the day. Here is my favorite comment to Ms. Zia's article:
Ms. Zia, I disagree completely that the only result from protests now can be to drive China and the West (US) apart and into a cold war stance. It is China which is choosing to take this position by flooding Tibet with a military crackdown on peaceful protesters. This is not at all what we were promised 20 years ago regarding "engagement" nor what the Chinese promised in order to host the Games. The world is nearly universal in its appeal now to China for better treatment of Tibetans and to have a real discussion about meaningful autonomy for Tibetans. As a so-called "human rights activist" how does it feel to be on the wrong side of an important international issue and a Chinese apologist at this defining moment?Oh snap!