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April 29, 2017

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Freedom of debate could lead to solutions for China's issues

U.S. President Barack Obama met Friday with the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet. The White House meeting was greeted by the usual protests in China, claiming the visit was a gross violation of China's internal affairs.

China should rethink its stance on Tibet. Denying there is a problem is a big problem for the Chinese government and the media, both of which have come a long way over the last few decades of modernization but still have a rigid stance on issues such as constitutionalism and minority rights.

If they make no sincere efforts to address ethnic tensions, hatred will continue to fester, further poisoning the stability and welfare of people's livelihoods. Xinjiang and Tibet both have their own grievances against Beijing, which has insisted on an ossified dogma of national unity in answer to longstanding complaints.

The inadequacy of China's current minority policies stems from tensions that arise from its firm adherence to nationalism. Their nationalistic exhortations need to be examined for their dangerous lack of tolerance for dissent. A moral black hole grows from limitless amplification of an overarching dogma.

Using an equitable moral standard, the interaction between parties with different positions and sometimes conflicting interests needs to be resolved by correctly assigning responsibilities and duties, as well as by recognizing the mitigating and exacerbating issues in designating blame.

In China, nationalism has become the biggest obstacle to both its governance of minority areas and cross-strait relations. In this column, we pointed out on Feb. 16 that if Taiwan's National Unification Guidelines were followed strictly to the letter, it would have been much more difficult for Taipei and Beijing to improve relations to the current standard. The primary step of recognizing each other's international standing is yet to be fulfilled, whereas direct links in transportation, mail and trade have become a reality.

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