If the Chinese government is having trouble justifying their heavy-handed opposition to the Dalai Lama, a recent comment by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang is unlikely to help.
In a painfully blatant misrepresentation of history, Quin equated China’s stance on Tibet to that of Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War.
“Lincoln played an incomparable role in protecting the national unity and territorial integrity of the United States,” stated Qin. He went on to add that Barack Obama, as a black president, “understands the slavery abolition movement and Lincoln’s major significance for that movement.”
The comparison could not be less accurate, as the Chinese government continues to violently crack down on the Tibetan autonomy movement. Last month, four were executed on charges of involvement in a spring 2008 protest in the Tibetan capital.
Amnesty International released a statement today calling for the Chineese government to “release immediately and unconditionally those detained solely for engaging in peaceful protest, including support for the Dalai Lama, the independence of Tibet, or greater autonomy for Tibet.”
Executive director of Human Rights Watch Kenneth Roth is pressing for Obama to address these issues along with numerous other human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese government. So far Obama has not shown a willingness to take China to task on these issues, instead refusing to meet with the Dalai Lama for fear that it might upset Tibet’s neighbor to the North.
UPDATE: Obama addressed human rights in China, but left Tibet out of the discussion.