Quote: Originally Posted by tracy
This is why I wouldn't go. I made the decision a couple of years ago that I couldn't go to a country if I REALLY disagreed with their politics. It meant no job in Saudi Arabia and no vacation to Myanmar. I took a job in the US and went to Thailand on vacation instead. Say all you want about getting to know the people, a good portion of your money goes to the government so you're supporting them. I would think it would be unlikely you'd have many candid interactions with the locals anyways. Not my idea of a nice trip, but good luck if you go.
Actualy, I disagree with the idea of refusing to go to a country based on its politics. We never agree 100% with the politics of any country, so does that mean we should just stay at home for ever?
When I'd travelled to China in spite of the political system, I still had a chance to get to know the locals. I'd had many candid conversations with many people, and learnt things about them that I could not have by just staying in Canada, along with their perspective of their government, etc.
These interactions not only helped me better understand them, but also helped them better understand me. It does go both ways. And I was surprised to find that though the PRC is by no means a democracy, that it is strongly influenced by public opinion none-the-less. Anti-government demonstrations do occur and are generally tolerated if peaceful (I'd witnessed some myself) and if challenging a policy and not the government itself. As far as religious freedoms are concerned, as it turns out, most Chinese are not religious and, owing to their history (Opium Wars), they still tend to be very wary of religion today. In this respect, though we may not agree with their religious restrictions, the government's policies are not so radically different from the opinion of the common Chinese. In fact, many Chinese support some kind of restriction on religions. I disagree, but at lest I can understand their apprehension, not to mention that religious freedom is growing slowly and gradually.
Before we criticise China for its relgious policies, let's look at Ontario's preferential treatment of Catholics in its public school policies, and defended in the Canadian Constitution. Also, though China has much improvement to do as far as respect for its minority groups is concerned, its protection of minority cultures would put Canada to shame as far as our treatment of the First Nations are concerned.
We can look at Tibet and criticize China for their colonization of the area. Bear in mind though that Tibet still has its own Tibetan-medium schools. The government helped create an alphabet for other minority languages, and created schools for them too. It also gave them various autonomous regions, etc.
Sure Canada has created Nunavut and sure there are schools for Canada's First nations, but nothing like China's minority groups. There are Korean-medium schools in Changchun (Korean Chinese that is, not Korean nationals), Russian schools in Xinjiang (again, nothing to do with Russia, but a minority ethnic group), Urumqi's streets are full of Arabic script and many women there wear burqas, and mosques abound. I've seen all of this with my own eyes. I'd visited a few mosques and churches and temples out of curiosity, and they're very active.
Sure China has its ethnic tensions, but it's a much more complex society than you give it credit for. It's politics are but a small, minute part of that country. For us to boycott a people because of their government is to deprive that people of meaningful contact with the outside. Sure the government gets some money out of it, but then again, the Canadian gets money too which it uses in various corrupt ways too. So let's not be too judgemental.
I've met many chinese who, though they might not agree with the CPC on every front, still defend it on the grounds that they see it as a source of unity in the country. Most Chinese also view Tibet as part of China whether we agree with it or not, just as we see all of Canada's indigenous peoples as part of Canada even if some of them refuse to call themselves Canadians but call themselves an occupied people too, as some still do.
No country is purely evel and no country is purely angelic. To boycott a country because of its politics is the epitome of hypocricy.