Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tibet Crisis: a letter from Hong Kong

A Jotman reader who is visitor to Hong Kong has been asking some "friends here in HK about the Tibet situation." He writes:
My overall impression was most of the Hongkongers don't care about the Tibet cause (if there is any) - although considerable media attention was given to it. The economic and cultural difference is too great. Hongkongers are modern urban folks that enjoy German cars, Italian fashion and fine food from all over the world. Pretty good living... why worry about some hillbillies? Tibetans are as far for them as the Martians.

Perhaps the reason for indifference was lack of any economic involvement with Tibet - but even if it was there, HK people would rather be pro-Chinese seeing in Beijing protection of their investments in Tibet. Overall, they seem to live by Coolidge's maxim "The business of Hong Kong is to do business"... Those very few that seemed somewhat sympathetic to Tibetans, appear to believe that Tibetans have rather done worse for themselves.
He describes a conversation with a young Hong Kong woman. She said the
Chinese government seemed to be much more lenient than she expected and by that it has probably gained more goodwill out of the situation than the rebels who resorted to violence. She also commented on disputable legitimacy of any religious form of rule and that the neighbouring theocratic states (Nepal, Bhutan) although enjoying independence are at a much lower stage of development than even Tibet under Chinese rule.
Finally, a businessman said he spoke with said, "the Beijing authorities have got a lot smarter since Tiananmen and now seem to have learned to use Western media to channel their own agendas." The reader concluded, "Overall, little sympathy for Tibetans... I saw much more friendliness towards Taiwan though, even among some Mainland Chinese."

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