Many people believe Tibet should be independent. China annexed the country in 1950 to expand their communistic empire. They say that the people of Tibet are not free. The Chinese took away the Tibetans right for self-determination. China absorbed the tiny country into its greater whole. All of this happened almost seventy years ago. Nevertheless, there is still an organisation called ”Free Tibet” active and requesting donations to support their cause. After 70 years people are still drawing attention to the issue. The Dalai Lama still talks about Tibetan freedom.
People were raging for decades. How dare China conquer this land?
And rightly so.
There are many other independence movements in the world. Think of Scotland, that had a referendum on the topic and only had a slight majority vote against it. Or take Catalonia, where protests and violence broke out; a struggle against the domination from Madrid. Look at Kosovo, a further break-down of former Yugoslavia. All these cases are supported worldwide. People believe the peoples should have a right to rule themselves, instead of being ruled by others.
The European Union
But now look at the European Union. Germany and France dominate the EU; and primarily Germany. The Germans have the money. And whoever has the money, makes the rules. Smaller countries have no real say in the EU. Yet how do people talk about this project?
They say the EU is great, because it allows Europe to form one strong block. We hear that it is better to have a little voice in a structure that has a big voice, than to have a little voice that nobody listens to. We are stronger together, and therefore we must stick together. Talk of independence is treated as talk of treason. The Han-Chinese view Tibetan independence as treason as well.
What’s the difference?
When it comes to Brexit, people are keen to highlight the benefits of trade the Union brings. When it comes to Tibet, people will talk about justice and the right for a people to rule themselves. But really, what’s the difference between the two? Of course there is a difference in severity, but not in essence.
The British were never asked to what extent they wanted to give the EU power. Power expanded step by step, until there was no way back. The same goes for all other European countries. Most were not asked if they wanted to join the EU to begin with. Nobody asked Tibet if they wanted to join China, they simply surrendered. But, when it comes to the people, what difference does it make whether your politicians surrender to a foreign force, or submit to political influencing? The end result; the loss of sovereignty, is the same for both cases.
Scotland united with England after a royal marriage. After already having the same head of state for a century, they decided to officially become one. Still, we do not frown at the Scots for considering to reverse this decision. Should we frown at Tibetans to seek independence? Or should we object to the Britons desire to retake their sovereignty? Is it not normal for all European countries to seek independence, rather than to form a federal United States of Europe?
Independence and Sovereignty
Independence and sovereignty are at the heart of why nations exist. The belief that a cultural group of people, united by their ideas, customs, and beliefs. That group will select a certain kind of government, that passes a certain kind of laws, and these laws will fit that certain group of people.
If this wasn’t the case, and it would be impossible to distinguish cultures across the globe, then there would be no need of nation-states. Some people believe that’s the case, they believe everyone’s the same, or at least they believe Europeans have no culture worth preserving. Those people could not be more wrong. Anyone with common sense can tell that Japanese culture is different from German culture. In fact, this fact is so acknowledged that research is frequently done to measure the differences.
Independence should never be framed as an immoral option. Yet somehow, in some cases people do, while in others they don’t. George Orwell described having two simultaneously contradicting ideas yet seeing absolutely no problem with this as ‘doublethink’. We need to break away from this doublethink, and regain common sense.