Saturday, March 22, 2008

China, Tibet and Culturism

China is reasserting its control over Tibet with its usual disdain for the right to peacefully assemble and freedom of the press. China "liberated" Tibet from its traditional way of life, and sent the Dalai Lama into exile, in 1959. They noted that Tibet had the highest percentage of priestly class living off the peasants ever recorded (25%). Han Chinese were then told that they could escape the one child per family rule if they moved to the Tibetan region of China.

Culturism holds that majority cultures have the right to define, protect and promote themselves. Culturism does not buy into the universal human rights regime. It would seem culturism gives carte blanch approval to the Chinese actions. The tough question for culturists is "does the majority in China have right to do whatever it wills to minorities within its population?"

Tibetans still comprise the majority culture in Tibet. Despite China's discrimination for its own people and attempt to take Tibet over demographically, Tibet's environment is so harsh that ethnic Chinese are still under 10 % of the population. Since Tibet has long had sovereignty and a distinct culture, and has a chance to regain said status, culturist principles condemn China's actions. Within Tibet's old borders, tibetans should have sovereignty.

But from here on culturism takes its usual hard realist stance. Not all cultures believe in Western values. China is a race-based nation which does not prize democracy or free speech. That is China's right. Culturism would never condemn China for following its historic cultural principles internally. China, like Islamic nations, is free to look at our debt, crime, racial issues, rates of out-of-wedlock childbirth, as well as our educational failure and conclude that our ways are not to be desired. Culturism wants to protect our way of life for us, but respects the fact that a diversity of international principles exists.

What can we do about Tibet? Not much. Our military is already spread thin trying to make the Islamic Middle East Western. To conduct a war against China over Tibet, we would have to borrow money from them. As it is, if we complain officially or boycott the Chinese olympics they could retaliate by damaging our economy. Our not knowing where the Western world ends, poor economy and moral behavior have weakened Western power. Before we worry about others' sovereignty we must worry about our own. If you wish to help Tibet, work hard, buy American goods, be moral and get out of debt.
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