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China, Tibet + the Olympics

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The Phoenix this week devotes a special issue to the Beijing games. Here are some of the highlights:

Peter Kadzis talks with Buddhist scholar Robert Thurman.

Not everyone who is critical of China is an unqualified supporter of the Dalai Lama. Some say that he represents a feudal tradition that has seen its day.
Tibet started to work out of its own feudalism in the 17th century. But then, so did a lot of other countries. Russia, after all, did not get rid of its serfs until the 19th century. Feudalism, as understood by Marx and as used in leftist propaganda, is highly inappropriate relating to Tibet. The fundamental reason being that your Tibetan peasant was a freeholder with a land title. His obligation on his land was a tax obligation. It is very similar to the mortgage I pay to my bank and the taxes I pay to my town.

A field guide to oppression in the home of the 2008 summer games.

As it does with other minority areas, Beijing ostensibly treats Xinjiang as an autonomous region. Uighurs can worship in state-approved Mosques and become Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members. But when Uighurs second-guess Beijing, they are quickly reprimanded. Rebiya Kadeer, a former high-ranking party member who questioned the income disparity between Uighurs and Hans, was charged with sharing state secrets for mailing newspaper clips to her exiled husband in the United States. After serving six years, Kadeer was allowed — as a condition of Condoleezza Rice’s 2005 state visit to China — to join her husband in Washington, DC. After her release, however, Beijing locked up two of Kadeer’s sons on trumped-up charges. They are hardly alone. In 2004, Uighur journalist Nurmuhemmet Yasin received a 10-year prison sentence for inciting separatism. His transgression? Writing a short story about a caged bird that yearns for freedom.

Plus, more.

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