Monday, April 21, 2008

Last week pro-Tibetan forces were able to draw worldwide attention to protest China's deplorable history of violating human right and their brutal occupation of Tibet by launching massive protests along the Olympic torch route in London, Paris and San Francisco. The protesters in London actually snatched the torch briefly, in Paris the run had to be suspended and in San Francisco a huge banner could be seen flying from the Golden Gate Bridge.

I believe that these public displays only served to outrage Chinese officials rather than raise awareness for the pro-Tibetan cause and while it probably was a source of embarassment for the local Chinese diplomats in those countries, I doubt that the Chinese and Tibetans were even aware of the world outcry (if you could call it that).

A week after these protests, there is not a single mention of these groups in the U.S. news that would help raise awareness or share their message with a broader audience. So I'm left wondering if all the organization and protests had the effect groups were hoping for? Perhaps the situation is different in Europe. It seems to me that Europeans do tend to focus more on international news than in the United States so perhaps the protests were not in vain. However, I think a more effective way to express outrage with the Chinese government's occupation of Tibet and blatant disregard for human rights is to encourage US and European firms to stop investing in China and educate their citizens so they can purchase products that are made in other nations. All of southeast Asia is hungry for economic investment as is much of the developing world (e.g. Middle East, South and Central America). Flexing our collective economic muscle will have more of an impact on the Chinese government than raising fists on the street in protest. I think I'm just getting old and grumpy - once upon a time I probably would have been rushing out into the street to join those Tibetan protesters.

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