I saw a part of this interview on Chinese TV, but just found it now on the CBC website. The CBC has a Special Features page and one of their features is the Road to Beijing. The Dashan interview is available on their site as a Windows Media File. I profiled a bit about Dashan, also known as Mark Roswell, in a previous post. However, this interview not only touches upon his role as the Canadian Olympic Team’s cultural attaché, but upon some of his views about the violence in Tibet and Chinese human rights.
Dashan is definitely diplomatic and well-spoken, but, as with my own experience in China, you have to be when talking about Chinese politics. Dashan manages to bridge his Western views and the Chinese viewpoint of recent events surrounding Tibet and the Olympic Torch. He resonates some of my own views about how waving a Tibetan flag or voicing strong condemnation during the Olympics is only going to anger and hurt the Chinese more. It´s not going to contribute positively to opening minds to the Western viewpoint. Yes, the Tibetan protesters do have some reason to be protesting. It is part of the Western worldview to stand up for people groups that are suppressed. I greatly admire this stance. However, just embarrasing the Chinese government will only lead to embarrrasing the Chinese people. Embarassing the Chinese people will lead to further entrenchment in their viewpoint and close the dialogue.
Dashan does take the middle of the road, moderate approach. Change will not happen overnight in China. If such overnight change did take place, there would be many deaths in its wake. Change will happen one person at a time in China. In a country of 1.3 billion people, that´s will be a long time. We should continue an open dialogue where we in the West must be open to the Chinese viewpoint as much as we want the Chinese to be open to our viewpoint.