Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Progressives for theocracy?

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-04-24

Secular government good, theocratic government bad.

That’s the usual mantra of progressives, so how come so many self-labelled progressives are currently arguing against a secular government and in favor of a theocracy.

Himalayan exceptionalism?

I’ll admit I’m unhappy about the rate of ethnic change in Tibet with Chinese-sponsored Han migration, just as I’m unhappy about migration of Javanese into West Papua.

Actually, the Chinese government has a much greater justification for their actions than the Indonesian, given the racial similarities between Tibetans and Han – both are asian.

Also, China has a greater historical claim to political control over Tibet than England has to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Chinese claims of sovereignty over Tibet are not that much different to claims over Taiwan.

Chinese TV has been showing a range of fairly ancient documents that detail Chinese government edicts that had effect in Tibet, and Tibetan rulers acknowledging the sovereignty of Chinese rulers.  I’m unsure of the substance of the Tibetan documents however – they may have been merely in the language used when grovelling to superpowers ("Oh supreme Emperor, … Eternally, your faithful servant, …", etc, etc), but they do give us something to consider.

The ruckus from non-Tibetan pro-Tibetan protesters seems disproportionate given history and acceptance of similar "colonialism" in other parts of the world.  (Israeli expansion into the West Bank is probably more dangerous).

If people must protest at Chinese government actions, it would be much more rational to protest at the obscene numbers of executions, and the worrying way Chinese carbon intensity (emissions per rise in GDP) has tripled over the past few years.

See Also:

  • Update: "Hear no evil, see no evil" (New Matilda, 2008-04-25) which highlights Timor, Papua, among other nastiness:

    After covering conflicts all over the world , I am stunned to witness the hysteria and viciousness with which the world press is attacking China for “oppressing independence movements in Tibet”. This is not to defend Chinese actions. It is only to attempt to bring the issue back where it belongs: in the context of the 21st century.
    Forgive me, but I do not believe our intentions are genuine when it comes to Tibet.  No matter how inhumane, how horrible the social system in India or Indonesia; we in the West have to make sure that we portray China’s as much worse.

  • "Contrarian view of the Dalai Lama" (2008-06-20).

3 Responses to “Progressives for theocracy?”

  1. Raf said

    Human rights are the same wherever you are but in the political construct that’s irrelevant. China is an easy whipping boy and who can say a bad word against the Dalai Lama?

    The authoritarian approach of the Chinese “justice system” is what we should focus on. As the Dalai Lama says himself, Tibet just wants some autonomy not to be separate.

    The Human Rights Defender should not be concerned where abuses happen only that they do.

  2. Dave Bath said

    Yep. I suspect execution rates in Tibet are lower than other areas under Chinese control.

    Perhaps the line “More Confucius, less Li Si” might get more traction with Chinese leaders, by putting it into their own terms.

  3. […] arguments.Time for a quick Olympic Torch Relay round up – from Jeremy to Jim Belshaw to gandhi to Dave Bath to John Quiggin and back to Jeremy again. The result – a nil-all propaganda draw between The West […]

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