Tag Archives: China

how does one stand up to evil?

On Christmas night I watched the movie 10 Questions for the Dalai Lama. The movie’s director appropriately called the Dalai Lama a “rock star for peace”. Nice.

One of the questions the Dalai Lama was asked was how does one continue to practice non-violence when faced with evil. A monk who was arrested and tortured by the Chinese told the director that when he was let out of jail he hated the Chinese. He said he told the Dalai Lama that his message of peace and non-violence is outdated, it does not work, and that the Tibetans must take up arms against the Chinese government. He said that after talking with His Holiness for two hours the monk was a changed man, that he returned to his Buddhist convictions of peace and ahimsa.

Unless you’re a jazz fan, you might not know who Oscar Peterson was. This jazz great died just the other day. He had this to say about peace:

…My vision of peace encompasses an awareness of the rights of our fellow man irrespective of race, color or creed. Words spoken and repeated many times on many occasions, political or otherwise, and by many individuals; but so often only used to fill spaces on paper. I believe that if mankind could honestly embrace the true embodiment of those misused words, the world would be much farther along the road to good health….

Pictures of the Dalai Lama are not allowed in Tibet. If I visited Tibet and wore my pendant containing the Dalai Lama’s likeness, any number of things could happen to me — if a Chinese guard or soldier saw it, it would be taken from me and that would be the easiest thing I would have to endure. Would my American passport protect me from a government that shoots Tibetans in the back when they try to cross the Himalayas into India?

When the Chinese army marched into Tibet, the Dalai Lama, then a young man, asked the US for help. The American government did nothing because there was nothing to be gained by helping a country that has no oil.

and so the genocide continues.

Where is the outrage over Tibet?

Why there’s blood on the Olympic rings

Boycott 2008 Olympics : Free Tibet & Darfur
http://lads.myspace.com/videos/vplayer.swf

why there’s blood on the Olympic rings

The Nangpa La Shootings

From Wikipedia:

“On September 30, 2006 75 Tibetan refugees, among them many young children, and their 2 guides were trying to enter Nepal illegally via the Himalayan Nangpa La pass (5,700m). Chinese Border Security soldiers opened fire on the group and killed Kelsang Namtso, a 17 year old nun, just before the pass. Kunsang Namgyal, a 23 year old man, was hit in the leg twice, then taken away by the Chinese borderpolice and is believed to have died later. The Chinese claimed that their soldiers fired in self defence. Only 41 survivors reached the Tibetan Refugee Transit Center in Kathmandu, Nepal. Two weeks later they arrived at their destination in Dharamsala, India….

The following list of people were part of the original group and have been missing since the shooting. It is believed they are held by Chinese authorities. The names were forwarded by Students For A Free Tibet.

* Tenwang, age 7
* Lhakpa Tsering, age 8
* Dhondup Lhamo, age 9
* Dechen Dolma, age 10
* Wangchen, age 11
* Tsedon, age 12
* Sonam Wangdue, age 12
* Ming Shomo, age 13
* Lodoe Nyima, age 15
* Jamyang Tsetan, age 16
* Karma Tsetan, age 16
* Lodoe Namkha, age 16
* Karma, age 19
* Samten, age 19
* Sonam Palzom, age 20
* Dhondup Palden, age 21
* Kusang, age 22
* Lobsang Paljor, age 35″

Chinese officials have yet to release information about the detainees’ whereabouts or well-being.

Look at the ages of these prisoners and think about what it would be like if your child was detained by soldiers after witnessing a woman being shot in the back.

And this is what happens when you try to do the right thing.

“Luis Benitez, who had grown increasingly disturbed by the silence, broke the news via an e-mail sent to an expedition news Web site. Luis, a mountain guide working for the commercial outfit Himalayan Experience, had watched the chilling event unfold days before. His began his e-mail with “The story not being told here in Tibet,” and went on to describe the killing. Understandably, he asked his name not be used….

Benitez confided to fellow guide Paul Rogers that he was the one who broke the news. Rogers immediately informed their boss Russell Brice, owner of Himalayan Experience, of what Benitez had done.

Benitez claims Brice, Rogers and Henry Todd, a guide from another commercial outfit, angrily confronted him at base camp. Todd went so far as to make mafia-style threats….

Confronted with the choice of protecting business verses reporting human rights violations, they’ve chosen money. Ironically, the clients of these companies, who are generally very sympathetic to the culture of Tibet, are now unknowingly helping to destroy it.

In contrast, Benitez put his career on the line instead of selling his silence for blood money. Even if Benitez is allowed back into China, he’s likely to be blacklisted by guiding companies, many of whom operate around the world. He has made some powerful enemies while trying to do the right thing.”

The world was outraged over the events in Burma. Where is the outrage over Tibet?

aung san who?

Did you know that a Nobel Peace Prize winner has been held under house arrest for 11 years by her government? Did you know this woman is considered a modern day Gandhi? Did you know that Burma (also known as Myanmar), a country where the population is primarily Theravadan Buddhist, is ruled by a military regime?

Or is the only thing you know about Burma is that “The Bridge on the River Kwai” was built there?

Aung San Suu Kyi is the Asian Nelson Mandela. She has become an international symbol of heroic and peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.

Yeah, that’s Jim Carrey in the video, the guy from the movie “Dumb and Dumber” talking about political conditions in Burma, a country on the other side of the world from the USA. He doesn’t sound too dumb.

Why am I telling you about Aung San Suu Kyi? Because I believe that we as Americans need to be reminded more than occasionally about what goes on in the rest of the world — and be outraged by it. Like about what’s happening in Tibet and has been happening there since the Chinese marched in. Or about the only Nobel Peace Prize recipient who is imprisoned by her government. Or to be reminded that some of the athletic clothes you buy for your children are made by another mother’s child working a 15 hour shift. Think about your own child working in a sweatshop next time you buy the latest Nikes.

Soon we’ll be seeing clothes with the 2008 Olympics logo and people will be snapping those up right and left. From the CleanClothes.org website: “…the Yue Wong Cheong company’s Shenzen (China) facility, where 50 different items are produced under license for the 2008 Olympics, included paying workers 50% of the minimum wage, 13 hour days, health and safety problems, and using fake salary slips to hide violations from auditors sent to inspect conditions.”


Have we become so insular that we are afraid to look beyond our own comfortable backyards? We get our news in nightly soundbites from the talking heads and then move on to the next thing that captures our monkey minds for three seconds.

Or are we afraid that if we really investigated and examined what happens in the rest of the world on a daily basis it would be too horrible for us to comprehend?

This is a beggar girl and her pup that I ran into in Pondicherry, India. She’s holding the rupees that I gave her. I told her to also feed the pup, but I’m reasonably sure the pup is dead by now, and the girl is still living on the street. It’s just the way it is. Every day. I would rather be poor in America than anywhere else in the world.

To change the world we must first change ourselves.

Be the change that you want to see in the world.
Mohandas Gandhi

obama’s response about China

Some time ago after I watched a debate between the Democratic presidential candidates where they discussed the situation in Darfur, I wrote letters to my US Senators, Dick Durbin and Barack Obama. The debate angered me because all the candidates were sanctimoniously decrying China’s human rights abuses, how China was somehow linked to the conflict in Sudan, and because of that, the US should boycott the Olympics. Of course, none of the candidates came out too strongly about the last point, just gave it passing lipservice, and moved on to the next talking point.

It made me angry because while what is happening in Sudan is a tragedy, no politician that I know of EVER mentions the cultural and human genocide that has been going on in Tibet since the 1950s.

So I wrote to Durbin and Obama via their websites, reminding them of the situation in Tibet and that I believe the US should boycott the 2008 Olympics. Below is the email response I received from Obama.

Dear Linda:

Thank you for contacting me with your concerns about human rights in the People’s Republic of China. I appreciate your perspective on this issue.

As the world’s most populous nation, China’s influence and power has been growing steadily over the past several decades. This is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and presents America with challenges and opportunities to seek change.

In particular, China’s treatment of ethnic and religious minorities and political dissidents, as well as its relationships with Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Tibet are very troubling. Despite progress over the last few decades, China must do much more to comply with modern human rights norms. I look forward to working with my colleagues on these difficult issues and am deeply committed to promoting human rights in China and other countries.

As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and the East Asian Subcommittee, I will keep your thoughts in mind as the discussion on this subject continues.

Thank you again for contacting me. I hope you will continue to keep in touch on this or any other subject of importance to you.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama
United States Senator

hmmmmmm…why don’t I believe him?

I am not naive enough to believe that this came from Obama directly. I know this came from a staffer who merely filled in the blanks. But at least this is a better response than the one I got from Durbin’s office. Durbin’s “personal” email response was a fill-in-the-blank, stock response to a constituent’s concern about Darfur, I kid you not. Whoever responds to the emails sent through Durbin’s website did not even bother to read my letter but sent me a canned response about Darfur. There was not one mention of Tibet, it was all about Sudan. My tax dollars at work. Needless to say I swiftly sent a scathing response — which I doubt anyone read.

Sorry if I sound jaded and cynical, but Obama’s (staffer’s) response to me doesn’t mean very much. Frankly, I think it’s a joke. He’s too busy running for president to give 2 rupees about Tibet. Do any of these candidates even know where Tibet is?

Don’t get me wrong, I think Obama is a great guy and he’s been a good senator for my state. But the actions of this government never fail to disappoint and disgust me. You can read one example here in Vanessa’s blog. I know a few die-hard conservatives who truly believe that this government has slipped dangerously close to Fascism — and these are died-in-the-wool-life-long-registered-Republicans talking.

In India people feel free to talk to me about US politics and this country’s actions around the world. I love this country, but sometimes all I can do is shake my head.

boycotting Chinese products

As if we needed another reason to boycott Chinese products — tainted toothpaste, pet food, and toys with lead paint just weren’t enough…

From the Tibetan news website:

Latest threat from China: Toxic Clothes?

Here’s a good reason to wash new clothes before putting them on infants and children: A New Zealand television station is reporting that “scientists found formaldehyde in woolen and cotton clothes at 500 times higher than is safe.”

UK trading standards are on alert after Chinese-made clothes in New Zealand were discovered to have up to 900 times the safe level of formaldehyde in them. Formaldehyde is used to protect clothes that have to be shipped great distances against mildew. However, long-term exposure to high levels can be harmful, causing problems ranging from minor skin rashes to some types of cancer.

The latest safety alert over cheap Chinese goods was sounded in New Zealand. It has been passed on to trading standards officials in Britain.

“Any consumer worried about harm caused by clothes they have bought should contact the retailer or report their concerns to trading standards,” a spokesman for the Government’s new department for business, enterprise and regulatory reform said.

For more information you can visit the No More Made in China website

http://www.nomoremadeinchina.com/xn_resources/widgets/photo/slideshowplayer/slideshowplayer.swf
Find more photos like this on No More Made in China

and

Not China Made.net has a list of China-free shopping:

* American Apparel
* American Plastics Toys
* Blessed Nest
* Born Free Baby Products
* Buy American.com
* Corelle (Kitchen-ware)
* Crayola Crayons
* Holgatetoy
* ImagiPlay
* Justice Clothing
* Made In USA Products
* Maple and Mark
* Shop for America
* Still Made In USA .com
* Story Board Toys
* Toys Made In America
* Uncle Goose Toys
* US Made Toys
* Whittle Shortline Railroad
* Zebulon USA
* Zebulon USA- Toys

My reason for boycotting Chinese products is purely political — I support a free Tibet. Mommy Zabs, who started Not China Made.net, says, “Not everyone may feel led to ban or boycott China. But I am asking you to be aware, read labels, pay attention to just how much we as parents buy from China. It’s alarming.” I don’t have children, but do it for yours.

I have always said, BE AWARE, READ LABELS, LIVE MINDFULLY. If you think one person can not affect change, you are wrong, and I will write about that at a later date.

So, yes, it IS possible not to buy products made in China if one shops mindfully and not automatically. Don’t mindlessly hop over to Wal-Mart — #3 on the Top Ten Corporate Villians of the Planet list — just because it’s “easy” or “cheap.”

i’m not the only one

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I try not to buy things made in China as a one-person protest of China’s occupation of Tibet. I’ve also written about Mindful Shopping (what a concept!) here and about how difficult it is to find things that are not made in China.

So it did my heart good today to read this story in the Chicago Tribune about another woman who tried to stop buying things made in China — for a different reason, but it is her protest just the same. I thought I was the only one who diligently read labels!

A family tries 12 months without ‘Made in China’

Strike China from the shopping list? Good luck. One experiment highlights how much U.S. consumers rely on those imports.

By Mary Ellen Podmolik | Special to the Tribune
August 19, 2007

Is it possible to live without Chinese-made goods?

That’s what Sara Bongiorni wanted to know, and after a year of a self-imposed embargo, she said she’s thankful her telephone didn’t break because she fears she might have broken down herself and bought a replacement made in China.

The Baton Rouge, La., mom and her family did make do, however, without a coffeepot, a blender, birthday candles and a lot of toys.

“We knew it would be difficult but until we did this, we really didn’t know how much we rely on imports for everyday things,” Bongiorni said….

The story gives tips on boycotting Chinese goods:

– Don’t expect friends and family to join in.

– Be prepared to go without convenience items, like an inexpensive coffeemaker.

– Get out your magnifying glass to look at tiny print on boxes and labels.

– When ordering from catalogs and Web sites, be prepared to make phone calls asking for the item’s country of origin.

– Dig deeper. Some toys from Danish firm Lego, for example, are made in China.

– Brush up on geography. You’ll have to decide whether Hong Kong and Macau are part of the boycott.

On the Students for a Free Tibet website it says that “in December 2002, a worldwide coalition of Tibetan and Chinese organizations and human rights and labor advocates launched an international Boycott Made in China campaign designed to level economic pressure on the Chinese government to end its occupation of Tibet. In a coordinated effort to urge people to stop buying goods made in China, activists throughout Canada, the United States, New Zealand, Europe and India, are educating consumers about what their money is supporting when they buy ‘Made in China.’

The Boycott Made in China campaign, representing a worldwide coalition of Tibetan and Chinese organizations and human rights and labour advocates, plans to put the brakes on China’s crimes through the power of the individual consumer. Campaign organizers believe that, more than any other force that could be bought to bear against China, the latent power of the free, informed and responsible consumer can pressure the world’s last surviving giant Communist dictatorship to allow the Tibetan nation and the Chinese people the freedom they have been long denied.”

Tucked away comfortably in our small towns or suburban subdivisions, ALL of us are a part of the bigger global picture. Our choices DO affect change, one person at a time.

Sorry if this sounds judgmental, but THINK, PEOPLE! Mindfulness is a life practice. Mindfulness is a choice. THINK about where your food comes from. THINK about where your clothes come from — are they made by companies in foreign sweatshops that employ child labor? The three biggest corporate villains for clothing are Wal-Mart, Sam’s Club, and Dilliards. THINK about whether the cosmetics you buy are tested on animals. The biggest corporate villains for cosmetics insofar as animal testing and using known carcinogens are Maybelline, L’Oreal, Almay, and Revlon.

Think outside the box. Think mindfulness. Be mindfulness. Be aware.

JUST THINK.