Reporters Without Borders (RWB), one of the most reputable NGOs which receives a budget of nearly 3.8 billion Euros claims to defend journalists and press freedom around the globe. Present in all five continents with its headquarters based in Paris, RWB is headed by Robert Menard. RWB receives enormous support from the European Union, United States, French companies and government, and also the French public who believes that through their support, they are defending press freedom. However, little do they realize that RWB have also been getting their hands dirty in politics. A year before the concerted effort to disrupt the Olympic torch relay in Paris, RWB Head Robert Menard was invited to China by the Chinese government as a distinguished guest.
While RWB receives European Commission grants to support the work of anti-government Chinese bloggers, Robert Menard visited China with the intent to strike a deal with the Chinese which he claimed they committed to but did not follow through. Instead, to avoid bad press, RWB wished the Chinese great success for hosting the Olympics despite RWB’s 6-year campaign to prevent it from being held in China!
In the heat of the argument between France and China for the Olympics being hosted in Beijing, the Dalai Lama, though he did not publicly call for a boycott, sparked a nationwide boycott led by Menard. But what does Tibet have anything to do with the Olympics? Even France, a large supporter of Tibetans-in-exile does not recognize Tibet as a country. Tibet is not even invited nor qualified to participate in the Olympics as a nation of its own; and yet, they made such a big fuss about hosting the games in China. Why?
The French had obviously been misled by the Dalai Lama and his supporters. While on the one hand, Paris defends human rights around the world, on the other, they awarded the Dalai Lama as an ‘honorary citizen’ of the city of Paris. Upon closer inspection, anyone who knows of the current politics within the Tibetan diaspora will know how hypocritical and contradictory this is. The Dalai Lama, the largest oppressor of religious freedom in the Buddhist world gets an award as an exemplary person from a city that defends human rights – conflicting, indeed! Does France know just how Dorje Shugden practitioners within the Tibetan Buddhist community are being ostracized because of the ban imposed by the Dalai Lama against this Buddhist Protector Deity? And how much his government in exile, the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), are perpetuating this ban and supporting discrimination against Shugden practitioners? It is highly contradictory that they would give him such high accolades when in reality, the Dalai Lama supports something that is so strongly against human rights.
There is so much evidence of the CTA oppressing Dorje Shugden practitioners in the news and even on websites and video-sharing portals such as YouTube. Does that mean a great nation like France is so ignorant about what’s happening to these practitioners, or are they just choosing to ignore the cries and pleas of Dorje Shugden practitioners? Is depriving 4 million people of their religious freedom not important enough to be seen as an issue to be concerned of? Where are Dorje Shugden practitioners’ religious rights? If France is truly concerned about global human rights issues instead of using it just to look good globally, then they should show and prove to us that any form of discrimination by anyone is not acceptable. If not, then perhaps it’s time to show the world that France’s declaration as an advocate of human rights is just a false and empty one.
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