Monday, October 5, 2009

"Tibet will be free" Made in China

Did you ever contemplate that the economic growth of China might be a blessing-in-disguise for Tibetans? Think for a while, and then scroll down to my next paragraph.

If you think so, my thoughts below might not be new to you. If you don’t think China’s economy has relevance, then I hope this piece will give you a new understanding. I am neither a gifted writer nor a socio-political analyst. However, I am pressed to write this article because of an incident that happened to me, giving me a sense of political triumph over the economic strength (or weakness) of the People’s Republic of China. This is the irony that I am going to share with you.

Whenever there is a discussion on economy, it is hard to escape the word “globalisation”. Some even use the words “economy” and “globalisation” synonymously. Globalisation has both pros and cons in the development of a nation. We have been experiencing one such “con” in the past several months all over the world. The collapse of the US mortgage industry damaged the American economy, which in turn pushed it into recession, and the ripples of this spread throughout the world. China was not spared from this effect.

With the recession hitting hard in China, changes came throughout the Chinese population. Many Chinese workers lost jobs due to the closing of manufacturing units, or to being laid off. It is rightfully said that people cannot sleep with an empty stomach. When Chinese workers lost their jobs, they started to express their anger and frustration with the injustice and unfair treatment handed down by their employer or company. These collapsed companies were in no better position either. Since they don’t have enough strength and resources to comfort their laid-off employees, most of them ran off to other safer places. This selfish act by the owners left workers with no other recourse than to approach the local authorities demanding justice.

So, many Chinese workers are now feeling the impact of this global economic recession, and this is where it matters most to us. The common Chinese people are forced to come out and confront the regime by not only expressing their concerns and sufferings but also demanding justice for wrongdoings. The ordinary Chinese have tasted the freedom of speech and the importance of justice, which are excellent signals for Tibetans who wish for imminent positive changes within communist China.

Moreover, developments in the name of economic growth have caused many upheavals in affected areas, such as houses being razed to the ground to make way for construction. Chinese people have started to come out and speak in front of the camera to share their perspectives of injustice, hardship, and helplessness. The many documentaries on YouTube are among the several evidences to underline the growing voices of dissatisfaction against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its members.

The most successful weapon to clamp down on the Communist party apparatus has been the people’s grievances. This has proven effective in the past in many communist-ruled countries. Right now, people in Tibet and Xinjiang (East Turkistan) have been brave enough to confront the CCP directly in order to vent their long-suppressed grievances of more than five decades due to the injustice and ill policies with which they suffered. However, the time is not far ahead when the larger Chinese population will rise up against the CCP for a variety of reasons that would come along with the economic growth (or downturn) of China. Even though the CCP can control the Internet with the best firewalls and limit direct reporting by international journalists, by doing so they put restrictions on the free flow of information that is necessary to be part of the global economy. This is where my glorifying incident comes into the picture.

I was recently browsing the Internet for a good deal on laptops. Finally, with much research and comparison, I settled upon an Apple MacBook, which has an attractive students’ deal — when I buy the laptop, I not only get a $100 discount, but also a free iPod touch. I straightaway ordered it online. There was an offer of two lines of free engraving on the back of the iPod touch. For the first line, I chose my name, and for the second, I thought for a moment on what to engrave. I could have gone with my address or e-mail in case of loss, but I decided on “TIBET WILL BE FREE”. At that moment, the line came out of my passion for our country Tibet. I had no idea what would come next, that would spring surprises as well as a sense of elation and triumph.

The next day, I tracked my order online and, to my surprise, I found that my iPod touch was being engraved and shipped from Shanghai, China, via Kunshan, China. I am sure you have realised the implication of this phenomenon: My second line of free engraving, “TIBET WILL BE FREE” was in fact engraved in China. For sure, a Chinese person engraved it. I have been able to send a message deep into China, right under the watchful eyes of Chinese authorities, using their own system. A message, which is clear to all of us, and taboo within Tibet and China, that Tibet will be free!

*Published 30 September 2009 on

Denzi Yishey’s iPod touch engraved in China with the line TIBET WILL BE FREE.

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