Goodbye China!

After the Brit Hume thing, Marcus from Marcus’ Journal wrote:

If you joined the letter-writing campaign to Fox News, if you condemned them on your blog or even just left a comment on a blog elsewhere, now consider doing at least double the amount of writing in the case of Buddhists who are being imprisoned and tortured on a near daily basis. Read the links below, find out what’s been going on, and write a letter condemning the use of torture and unfair trials in China against Buddhists. Post it up on your blog as a model for others to copy, and then sign it and send it. I’ll be doing the same.”

Well, I didn’t write Fox News. I didn’t write them because I knew it would only make Rupert Murdoch and the powers that be at Fox “News” smile. They would probably get a kick out of all the letters. I can imagine them printing each angry letter on rolls of toilet paper with which Bill O’liely would then wipe his ass with. I didn’t want any part of that. I felt like the biggest impact I could make was to do what I’ve always done with Fox News, not watch it. Not watch it on TV (which I don’t have) and not watch it on the web. I then blogged about my reaction to the mess, but didn’t link to any videos because I didn’t want to promote Fox anymore. I think that was about the biggest contribution that I as an individual with no real influence or power in the world could make.

I attempt to make similar choices when I buy food. I try to buy local and organic (but sometimes I’m broke so Kellog’s it is). It’s my way of “voting” about what products and practices I want to succeed. Well, I’m going to do the same with China. Their list of human rights violations is getting longer than Ron Jeremy at a Victoria’s Secret by the minute. Their record on the enviroment is just as glamorous. So, I’m not going to follow Marcus’ sample letter. Instead, I’ve created my own. It might be more abrasive, and it might be just as easily dismissed as any of the other letters that may or may not make their way to someone who may or may not care; but I’m going to follow through on the action. I’m boycotting products made in China as well as other countries with serious human rights issues (to the best of my financial ability).

On a side note, it appears that Google is also contemplating pulling out of China for similar reasons. Check it out here.

I find that this approach might have more of an effect than just a letter. Or maybe not. Either way, I’m doing a small thing that may lessen the suffering of others, and that’s the point. And I think this approach will “hit ’em where it hurts”. Here is a copy of my letter:

Dear Ambassador Mr Zhou Wenzhoung,

          It has come to my attention that your government has sentenced Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche and Dhondup Wangchen on trumped-up charges and without legal counsel. China’s continued violations of basic human rights has left me with one choice: a boycott. I will not buy any more products that were constructed, assembled, or otherwise “made” in your country. I will encourage my family, friends, and those that read my blog to do the same. I cannot in good conscious support a country that does not support even the most basic of human rights, and acts with such reckless regard to the enviroment. Until China decides to release Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche and Dhondup Wangchen as well as any other prisoners who’s rights have been clearly violated, until your country takes a progressive stance on worker’s rights, until you reverse your blatant disregard for the enviroment, I refuse to support your government financially. The opportunity is yours to lead the world, yet you do nothing but hinder peace, progress, and liberty for your people and the world. It’s time for a change China.

Sincerely,

               Adam L. Johnson

 

To:
President Hu Jintao
Guojia Zhuxi
Beijing
People’s Republic of China

Premier Wen Jiabao
Guowuyuan
No. 9 Xihuang-chenggen Beijie
Beijingshi 100032
People’s Republic of China

Wu Aiying
Minister of Justice
No. 10 Chaoyangmen Nandajie
Chaoyangqu
Beijingshi 100020
People’s Republic of China
TEL: (86) 10 6520 6706
TEL: (86) 10 8313 9065
Email: pfmaster@legalinfo.gov.ch
Email: minister@legalinfo.gov.cn

UK
Madame Fu-Ying
The Chinese Embassy
49-51 Portland Place
London, W1B 1JL
TEL: 020 72994049

US
Ambassador Mr Zhou Wenzhoung
The Chinese Embassy
3505 International Place, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008
Tel Operator: +1-202-4952000
E-mail: chinaembassy_us@fmprc.gov.cn

 

gān bēi (cheers).

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8 Comments

Filed under Buddhism, Political

8 responses to “Goodbye China!

  1. Fabulous, fabulous post. And you know what, I’ve been thinking about this boycott thing for a while. You are right. And I’m going to try (to the best of my ability) to join you on that.

    Thank you.

  2. Thanks Marcus. The boycott of Chinese goods is something I’ve been thinking about for some time. My real concern will be when it comes to baby/child products. It’s damn near impossible to find toys and other products that aren’t made in China and also don’t require financing.

  3. Dan

    Human rights abuses are, obviously, bad but I wonder if the human rights abuses of Tibetans are worse, from a moral point of view, than, say, the human rights abuses suffered by Uyghurs. Should Buddhists in America or Europe worry more about Tibetans than about others, simply in virtue of the fact that they share the same religious affiliation? I don’t know what the answer is but I’m interested in the question. And this isn’t, of course, to suggest that the suffering of the Tibetans doesn’t matter, or matters less. On the same note, if we think that human rights abuses committed against Buddhists do count, in some way, for more, when Buddhists (or the governments of predominately Buddhist countries) commit human rights abuses themselves doesn’t that count for more?

  4. “Should Buddhists in America or Europe worry more about Tibetans than about others, simply in virtue of the fact that they share the same religious affiliation?”

    This is a good question. Something I’ve been thinking about today actually. There are so many issues that need attention in the world. Global warming, the multitude of human rights issues including genocide, slavery, sex trade, religous persecution, global health issues, the recent earthquake in Hati…… the list goes on and on. I can’t tackle them all or do something about them all.

    I don’t have the time or the desire to champion every cause that is out there. This one in particular is close to me, and is something I’m willing to speak up about. I could support every cancer awareness charity out there, but I chose to support Movember, because it was close to me and something that I could contribute to. But I’m glad that there are people out there speaking up about all of those issues that are important to them.

    “On the same note, if we think that human rights abuses committed against Buddhists do count, in some way, for more, when Buddhists (or the governments of predominately Buddhist countries) commit human rights abuses themselves doesn’t that count for more?”

    I don’t want to quantify who suffers more or less or which cause is worth fighting for and which isn’t. Marcus hit a nerve/spoke to me in that post he made as well as in some of the other comments he left around the buddhist blogosphere, and I felt like what he said had merit. I half agreed with his statements and sentiments and half disagreed. Which is why I approached things a little differently.

    Also, I’ve been contemplating the China boycott before this, I suppose this was the straw on the camel’s back or catalyst or whatever.

    These are great questions, thank you for asking them, and thanks for stopping by Dan.

    Cheers.

  5. I have been aware for a long time of the plight of Chinese Christians as well as Tibetans – but for some reason in my social justice oriented mind I never put 2 and 2 together.

    I have been incredibly moving towards “buy local” for environmental reasons – but this is icing on the cake (excuse the understated metaphor).

    I think a lot of people in their comments are thinking of people in terms of groups – “Buddhists, Tibetan, Christian, Chinese, American, etc.” But I think we can all agree that human beings are human beings – regardless of race, color, or creed. The suffering of any human being is an issue worth taking up regardless of WHO they are.

    I often feel like my blog is a waste of time that never accomplishes its objective (to educate, raise awareness, and force readers to question) – but I can assure you that today you really made me think.

    Of course thinking is not enough. Perhaps as human beings with a mind toward social justice we could think of practical ways to make change (like the boycott you suggest). Except, I don’t know how to buy things not made in China since it seems like everything is made there.

    Let us know how your progress goes.

  6. “The suffering of any human being is an issue worth taking up regardless of WHO they are.” Yes! Very true. However, I realize that it is crazy to think that I can lessen everyone’s suffering around the world. So I’ll focus on what I can with the limited resources and abilities I have.

    “Except, I don’t know how to buy things not made in China since it seems like everything is made there.” Yeah, very very true. It will be difficult, and I’m sure I’ll fail at times due to my limited financial resources. But I’m going to try.

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Cheers!

  7. You’re right, Adam. It will be difficult. I’ve been trying this for a while myself with mixed results. I have consciously cut back on some purchasing, knowing that I really can do without a new this or that for the time being; and I’ve become incredibly aware of where things come from – yea, mostly China – but I have had some slips. Keep trying though, I tell myself. And I hope you do too.

    • Thanks for the encouragement. Like I said above, I think the hardest part will be when it comes to buying baby/toddler stuff for my son.