Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tibetan Olympic Team

For many years, I have admired the philosophies taught by Tibetan Bhuddist monks. I have admired the endurance of the refugees, and known for a long while the atrocities they suffered at the hand of the Chinese. They are not the only ones to suffer this ruthless intolerance of cultural and religious diversity, instead forcing cultural unification and homogeniety at the point of a gun.

To mark the games, I have procured a Tibetan Flag, and plan to hang it out in the front of my home during the games, along with an American flag to show my support fo our athletes and my support for all those ground under the boot by China and similar governments.  Those of you who know personally, have seen my Free Tibet sticker on my old car for many years. Yet, it is not as if a sticker really amounts to much more than than visual clutter, unless people ask questions about the sticker.

Also, I wanted to remind folks that we enjoy the presence of a real Tibetan Monastery here in Atlanta, the Drepung-Loseling Institute.  They have established, over the past few years a strong relationship with Emory University. I invite people to visit on Tuesday's for the public teachings, which are discussions of philosophy and relate to human development and "Right Action". You will not bump into radical protesters waving flags and hopping about. If you do want to hang a Tibetan flag, they have some in the book shop. Just remember to take your shoes off when you enter the sanctuary!

It greatly pleases me to see the exposure of their plight to the world. It is my hope that with this exposure, the Chinese government to find better ways to deal with it's citizens and the world at large, ways beyond using brutal force, torture, censorship, and misinformation. (The China-Dalai Lama Dialogue: Prospects for Progress)

It is a hard question, whether to boycott Chinese products, as if that were actually possible since we no longer produce anything for the retail consumer, or whether to pursue the Dalia Lama's approach of Active Engagement, striving to raise awareness within Chinese leadership that they are connected with everyone, and that both our ends and their ends share, and therefore there is no victor, but simply, we all progress and move forward humanity in an enlightened and peaceful manner.

I tend towards the boycott side, but I simply have not found the faith within me to go along with the better approach of Active Engagement. I agree with the idea, but simply must mature enough to support this approach by my own actions.

The US infrastructure is failing. I simply see that every dollar I spend on Chinese goods build their schools, their roads, and their high speed rail.  Our money supports their military and puts their citizens further under the boot of a ravenous central government that Orwell envisioned. Our funds prop up a government that really is one of the most powerful and oppressive the Earth has known since World War II. We are just lucky they halted their militarily aggressive foreign policy with Tibet. Now,China's strategy seems to be, "Rope up the commodities and supply routes, and then command the terms of engagement", as they are now doing.

China is rising to super power and economic status largely thanks to our purchasing habits and failure to enforce productions standards on their producers. Shirking these same  business legal standards would land you in jail here in the United States. Somehow, it is OK for our retailers to source products from a market where human rights, labor laws, the rule of law, environmental standards, and living standards are all ignored, at least as demonstrated by their actions, by the Chinese central government, as well as local and regional officials. You want proof? 320 million Chinese have cancers that are directly attributable to environmental hazards such as cadmium and lead in the water. The entire problem with pet food from last year stemmed from this cause, and killed thousands of pets. (Geopolitics, China, and poisoned pet food)

So raise your awareness towards the idea of the world economic agenda, and therefore geopolitical security (Engaging China: The Political Economy and Geopolitical Approaches of the United States, Japan and the European Union) , being largely influenced, if not dictated, by a China empowered with our own consumptive inability to establish a true free market economic environment here or abroad.

Instead, the world trading community has invited a player to our game of open markets and allowed this player several trump cards the others are not allowed to use. How could China fail to rise to prominence, taking the entire pot of winnings?  The trump cards - human rights, labor laws, the rule of law, environmental standards, living standards, and unilateral pricing of the Yuan - all give any business an strong incentive to ignore moral issues, and source production in China. Since "everyone is doing it", it would be suicide not to follow suit.

Please urge your politicians during this election cycle to take a good hard stand on trade imbalances. We are as a nation, unwittingly or not, supporting a communist regime that fundamentally contradicts our constitution and what America, under the Bill of Rights, is founded upon. Call upon the politicians to wake up to this fact and take significant action.

Thanks for your interest and enjoy supporting your nation's games in the upcoming Olympics!

Warm Regards,

Bryan Grant

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