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SATURDAY, September 23, 2023

Appalling euphemism for China’s slaughter in Tibet 

Appalling euphemism for China’s slaughter in Tibet 
WEDNESDAY, March 13, 2019

Re: “Tibet never a sovereign state – unlike the countries ransacked by Britain”, Have Your Say, March 6.

It is surely immaterial whether or not Tibet was an independent state when considering the appalling death and destruction carried out there by the Communist Chinese authorities. Prasan Stianrapapongs describes the damaging or total destruction of nearly all of Tibet’s 6,000 Buddhist temples and the slaughter or imprisonment of thousands of monks and nuns as part of a concerted effort to eliminate traditional Tibetan culture and beliefs as “modern reorganisation”. This must surely rank as a strong contender for the euphemism of the century. Would he cast such a tolerant eye on similar policies here in Thailand? I hardly think so.
I don’t know who claimed that the Bengal famine of 1943 was “the worst genocide in history engineered for profit”, but whoever it was has no grasp of reality. The famine wasn’t genocide because it wasn’t a deliberate effort by the colonial authorities to kill millions of Bengalis. There was incompetence, and a lack of concern on their part, but grain supplies were diverted to the war effort because the conflict in Burma had reached a critical point, with the Allies forces battling to push back the invading Japanese. There was profiteering, not by the British, but by local landowners who had been evicting millions of peasants from their holdings, and by merchants hoarding grain to benefit from higher prices. A population explosion over several preceding years was also a contributory factor.
We British are used to being vilified, either by individuals seeking to gain attention or by politicians in former colonial possessions wanting to divert attention from their own incompetence and corruption. We shouldn’t be troubled though; our massive contributions in so many fields to the advance of civilisation far outweigh our failings. For example, there have been 129 British Nobel laureates, the second highest after the US, and only eight born in what became the People’s Republic of China, or maybe nine, if Mr Stianrapongs wants to include the Dalai Lama.
Robin Grant