By John Kusumi
The United States has confirmed that President Barack Obama will meet with Tibet’s exiled leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama XIV, this coming Thursday in Washington, DC.
The meeting will occur over the objections of the Chinese government, which invaded, occupied, and colonized Tibet after the Chinese Communist Party won the Chinese civil war in 1949.
China claims the right to govern Tibet, while history (since 1391) has included fourteen incarnations of the Dalai Lama who traditionally rules Tibet as a theocracy of Tibetan Buddhism.
The current Dalai Lama fled into exile in India at age 23 (in 1959) and has been responsible for the Central Tibetan Administration, a government-in-exile based in Dharamsala, India.
Meanwhile in Tibet itself, the Chinese government rules with an iron fist, imposing crackdown after crackdown and a human rights environment characterized by killing, brutality, and oppression.
Abortive uprisings have been followed by additional crackdowns, the latest in 2008. As seen in a video documentary about the 2008 uprising, the China Support Network responded to that crackdown by demanding that China “Stop the killing, release the prisoners, and talk to the Dalai Lama.”
Since then, the Chinese government has held a series of insincere negotiations with representatives of the Dalai Lama. The most recent talks broke down on February 1, 2010.
The Chinese government has objected strenuously to this Obama meeting with the Dalai Lama, threatening that this will “damage Sino-U.S. relations.” However, the same step was taken by the previous President, George W. Bush, so it should not surprise Beijing that U.S. Presidents continue their tradition of meeting with the Dalai Lama.
The protests by the Chinese government can therefore be seen as rote, routine, and ritualized, following the traditional script from their tired old canons of propaganda.
The Dalai Lama is actually one of the strongest pro-Chinese democracy figures on earth, and enjoys warm relations with many Chinese dissidents. He understands that the success of the Chinese democracy movement would spell relief for Tibet.
The issues of freedom, democracy, and human rights will be squarely in the hands of U.S. President Barack Obama in this upcoming meeting. We can only hope that Obama does not fumble the ball or punt on first down, as he did in 2009.
Chinese Dissidents Target Yahoo!
The China Democracy Party World Union (CDPWU), based in Flushing, New York, is contemplating a class action lawsuit against Internet giant Yahoo!, and is seeking out those with complaints against Yahoo to prospectively join in the class of plaintiffs.
Yahoo! has some history as a whipping boy of the Chinese democracy movement. They were roundly criticized when the Chinese government imprisoned journalist Shi Tao, based on personally identifiable information that was rendered by Yahoo! to the Chinese government upon request.
The dissident writer Liu Xiaobo then wrote an open letter to Yahoo! founder Jerry Yang, with lengthy and articulate excoriation that amounted to a slow roast and a public shaming of Yang. Yahoo! was also criticized in Congressional hearings about how Internet giants are providing technology to assist repression in China.
In a gesture of atonement, Yahoo! provided funding for the Laogai Museum, a facility that opened in November 2008 under the hand of Chinese dissident Harry Wu, who is also responsible for the Laogai Research Foundation.
–However, we can note that while the Laogai slave labor camps are one human rights issue, it is a separate and distinct issue from that of technological repression and Internet censorship — another human rights abuse from the same government of Communist China.
Chinese dissidents continue to worry about technological repression and Internet censorship, since this human rights abuse is ongoing.
China Democracy Journal, a publication of CDPWU, is usually published entirely in Chinese. But in their latest issue, they took the unusual step of providing an English translation of their lead article on the front page: “Yahoo.com Represents China Communist Government to Do Spying Around the Globe.”
Based on their journalistic sources, the article speculates on a possible “secret deal” made between Yahoo! and the Chinese government. The perceived deal includes (a.) more rendering of personally identifiable information from the accounts of Yahoo customers and clients; and (b.) Yahoo support for a Chinese government initiative against anonymity on the internet.
The article continues, “In addition, the spying deal also prescribes that China Communist Government will transfer the Chinese market left behind by Google.com to Yahoo.com, as rewards to Yahoo.com for representing spying for them.”
In January, 2010, Google raised awareness of cyber attacks believed to be from the Chinese government. Those attacks specifically targeted the GMail accounts of human rights activists. Google suggested that it may leave the Chinese market.
In China Democracy Journal, the article says, “Some readers implied that their Yahoo email boxes are supervised and stolen, possibly guilty deeds of Yahoo.com.” That is to say that human rights activists are finding that their Yahoo email accounts may be compromised.
Based on its history with Yahoo! and the fact that journalist Shi Tao continues to sit in prison right now, suffering the consequences of Yahoo!’s indiscretion, it is understandable that the Chinese democracy movement would be suspicious and distrustful of Yahoo!.
China Democracy Journal invites readers to “combine with many cyber victims to accuse Yahoo.com of criminal behaviors and ask compensation from Yahoo.com.” It concludes, “We warmly welcome people to call our office to register so that we can hand in the case together and bring the criminal to the court.” Their contact information is at http://cdjweb.org.