Friday, October 2, 2009

The Chinese Empire...State Building?!

60 years ago yesterday, Chairman Mao chased Chiang Kaishek off the Middle Kingdom, surveyed his fiefdom of Long March survivors, youthful yet-to-be-disillusioned Communists and a war-weary people, and proclaimed the People's Republic of China. After that, Mao and his Army proceeded to invade and occupy Tibet, East Turkestan, Inner Mongolia. That wasn't all. He also launched a drastic social and agricultural experiment called the Great Leap Forward which caused large-scale famine across China (and of course across Tibet and the other occupied territories) and killed tens of millions of people. Then of course he jump started the Cultural Revolution - not for ideological reasons as some people may like to think but because of petty power struggles with his comrades Liu Shaoqi and others in the Politburo. Now Mao is dead but his totalitarian regime lives marching on. 

Yesterday, in an astoundingly stupid move, the owners and managers of the Empire State Building in New York -W and H Properties- lit the building red and yellow in celebration of the 60 Year Anniversary of the founding of the PRC. What were they thinking? Not only is it immoral and shameful to honor a government and a state that jails, tortures and kills people for expressing dissent, but it's unbelievably bad public relations. 

Of course we came out to protest. And of course, in today's papers, every mention of the Empire State Building's cloaking itself in red bloody light emphasized the protests and the Tibetan reaction. 

So really- for us? Win-win. The Empire State Building selling its soul gave the Tibetans a platform to protest the anniversary of the Politburo's Republik of China. 

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