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Consumers Have The Power

May 31st, 2008 · No Comments

Consumers Have The Power
THE history of China’s oppression of it’s own population is well known.

The massacre in Tiananmen Square and against the students’ revolts in the beginning of the 1990s are such cases.

The same goes for China’s policy on Tibet.

Once again, people all over the world have shown their solidarity when they protested against the Oly­mpic Games taking place this year in Beijing.

The protests highlighted the illegal occupation of Tibet by China and the consequences this has for the Tibetan people.

These protesters wish to see China stop the illegal occupation and withdraw from Tibet, letting the Dalai Lama come back home from exile.

They wish China would respond to these protests in a positive way.

By trying to extinguish the Olympic flame, they want the world to be made aware of the situation in Tibet and therefore they hope through pressure of the international community – the Chinese government will stop its illegal occupation.

But just like the South African regime counted its last days only because the international sanctions finally took a hold at the end of the 1980s, this will be same with Tibet.

Besides the military and diplomatic front not looking too bright, South Africa literally was bankrupt and in high deficit at the end of the 1980s.

The oppression of the people of South Africa and Namibia was just too costly and economically the regime had nothing more to offer.

Negotiated political transformation was the only reasonable option left, leading to freedom day on April 27 1994.

So, taking into account that the economy matters, what is there to do about Tibet and its liberation? Considering that China’s economy is actually getting stronger and stronger, because the whole world – American, European, African and other governments – chooses to cooperate and trade with them, the chance to stop the illegal oppression of Tibet and human right abuses all over China by putting pressure on the Chinese economy is fairly small.

Nevertheless, we ordinary people do have a say in this matter.

We are consumers, right? We are supportive or non-supportive by our consumer behaviour.

Do we buy items in a Chinese shop? Do we contract Chinese building companies to build our homes? Can we not show our governments through the ballot box that we disagree with them on their China policy? Furthermore, have we ever looked at the sponsors of the Olympic Games? These are world brands like Coca-Cola, VISA and Adidas, advertising and selling right here in the middle of Windhoek.

What would the boardroom of the Coca-Cola company do if no one buys their products anymore, just because they sponsor the Games in Beijing? Yes, exactly, they would try to persuade the various governments to put pressure on China, because its behaviour in Tibet and in China itself is ruining Coca-Cola’s business.

Maybe, in the end, the various companies would pull out, leaving behind a China which lost millions of US$ while preparing for the Olympic Games and hoping to make a fortune with the sponsors, investors and tourists coming to watch the Games.

We the consumers do matter.

Not as individuals, but as a group which has buying power.

Stop buying products from those supporting oppressive regimes.

Don’t buy Coca-Cola.

Don’t buy Adidas and products of other companies sponsoring the Games.

Bear in mind, it’s the economy that matters, stupid! Have A Heart, Via e-mail Note: Name and address provided – Ed

Tags: Tibet

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