The recent crisis over the Olympic torch and Tibet represent an epic clash: not just between Tibetans and Beijing, but between a self-congratulatory Western worldview and the very different vision of a billion-plus Chinese. Until Western leaders start trying to understand the Chinese perspective, friction is likely to grow, and the victims will include the Tibetans themselves—the very people Western leaders say they want to protect.
According to the current U.S. and European narrative, the popular protests in Tibet and elsewhere were entirely justified. The demonstrators pushed a moral cause: to free the poor Tibetans from an oppressive communist government. And the European leaders who decided to boycott the Olympics’ opening ceremonies, like Germany’s Angela Merkel, deserved nothing but praise for their courageous stance.
Read also China’s View of Tibet by Kishore Mahbubani.