Remember the “Two Chinas” policy – no, not the one signed today between Beijing and Taipei re economic cooperation – but the historic one that purportedly simultaneously recognised both the Beijing and Taipei regimes as the legitimate Chinese government?
Well, it seems the New Zealand Labour Party has its own current version – but with respect to Tibet.
Here’s Labour MP Raymond Huo:
The problem Dr Norman has – as argued by the Chinese community here in New Zealand – is that he wanted to teach the visiting Chinese leader a lesson but without understanding the history of the region.
Dr Norman may believe that his supporters don’t care about history. It is true that for too long many Kiwis were exposed to only one side of the story.
And sometimes it is painful to see that some of Dr Norman’s supporters have just enjoyed sticking to the one sided story and could not be bothered to look at the other side. Indeed it is sometimes difficult to even initiate a quality debate on sensitive issues such as that of Tibet.
But here’s his fellow Labour MP Phil Twyford:
Raymond, I don’t share your assumption that New Zealanders, and those who raise the issue of human rights in Tibet, are ignorant of Tibetan history. You seem intent on listing a litany of brutalities committed by the Tibetans prior to the Chinese takeover. Well mate, others can play that game. The Chinese human rights record will make a compelling list. And we could make a similar list for most countries if we go back over a century or so.
You may not like it but the Dalai Lama is as far as I can tell the legitimate and widely recognised leader of Tibetans both in China and outside. He has become a symbol of their aspirations to self-determination, and a lightning rod for international concern about breaches of human rights by the Chinese government.
I’m with Phil Twyford on this one. Raymond Huo’s analysis is a bit like saying the apartheid regime imposed by the Boers in South Africa was justified on the basis of the past “lawlessness” and “inferiority” of the indigenous people.
Raymond, I acknowledge that things were not that flash for indigenous Tibetans before the Chinese occupation.
But times move on, and people, including the Dalai Lama, learn. And indigenous people have a right to self-determination.
I seriously doubt that the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan leaders would ever consider reverting to the pre-occupation practices you rightly despise, Raymond, (which, actually, are little if any worse than the post-occupation practices of the Beijing regime).
Anyway, good that MPs of the same political party are prepared to debate issues they disagree on openly. Well done Phil and Raymond.