March 29, 2008

The Indian-Tibetan connection

Ex-prof links oppression of Tibet, IndiansDuring his trips, Heidenreich began to see similarities between the way the Chinese have treated Tibetans the past 50 years and the way the U.S. government treated American Indians into the first part of the 20th century.

The Chinese government has encouraged ethic Chinese to move into Tibet and start businesses, just as the U.S. government encouraged white settlers to move into Indian territory, Heidenreich said.

Because the Communist Chinese government views religion as "antique," it thinks that people today don't need religion. That reminds Heidenreich of the way the U.S. government in the past tried to prevent American Indians from practicing their religion.

Most of the tourists he saw in Tibet were Chinese who, because of China's economic boom, have money to travel and are curious about the traditional culture of Tibet.

Those visiting Chinese reminded Heidenreich of tourists coming to reservations in the United States.

Pressures for Tibetans to assimilate into the Chinese culture and learn Chinese are similar to the way American Indian language and culture was discouraged, he said.

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