The Globe and Mail reports that the Canadian government has levied the harshest criticism of China’s human rights abuses and violent crackdown in Tibet thus far:
The Canadian government yesterday called China’s recent repression of the protest movement in Tibet a “military crackdown” and took the Dalai Lama’s side in some of the strongest criticism any Western government has levelled at China so far.
Peter Van Loan, Government House Leader and Minister of Democratic Reform, expressed concern yesterday that human rights are still being violated in Tibet.
“We’ve shown our support for the Dalai Lama, for the people of Tibet. We want to see human rights respected there. And we will continue to do that,” Mr. Van Loan said.
“Right now the priority has to be to see a return to peace in Tibet and an end to the military crackdown that has taken place there and a genuine respect for human rights.”
When asked whether his government believes the Chinese authorities have made the necessary efforts to “genuinely respect human rights” in Tibet, Mr. Van Loan’s response was categorical.
“Obviously we are concerned that it is not happening right now and we want to see a return to that,” the minister said.
While senior figures in Western governments have urged restraint and warned China to respect human rights, they have generally avoided terms like “military crackdown” to describe China’s response to protests that turned into violent confrontation on March 14.
Good on Canada. I’d like to see more of this candor and principle from the world’s governments. And then I’d like to see these statements of clear principle backed up by action: withdraw from the opening ceremonies at the Olympics, withdraw from the Olympic Games in Beijing, demand that China allow foreign journalists unfettered access to Tibet, author resolutions at the United Nations condemning China’s military crackdown in Tibet. All you have to do is meet principle with action and the world will change for the better.