Lost © Robert Sommers 2023

Monday, July 6, 2020

Shear horror

EZBraid, straight from a Chinese Prison camp to you!
You know those cool hair extensions you bought, have you happened to check where they originally came from?

Would it bother you if you knew they were shorn from the tresses of Chinese political prisoners being held in prison camps? There is a good chance that they did.

Last week, Federal officials seized thirteen tons of hair products suspected to have been harvested in Western Chinese internment camps. This is the second such seizure this year.

As I have written about previously, the Chinese government has been holding approximately one million ethnic Uighur and Kazakh minorities in Xianjiang prisons for the last four years. And word is, they have been cutting the prisoners' hair like they were penned farm animals.

This is obviously despicable, as is so much of their behavior these days. Don't support them by buying purloined hair. It is very bad karma.

It is the Dalai Lama's birthday today, he is eighty five. Happy Birthday. The spiritual leader is from Tibet, a sovereign territory brutally seized by Beijing in 1951 following the Battle of Chamdo and incorporated into the People's Republic. Tibet had been a unified sovereign land since 605 but that meant nothing to the Chinese aggressors. They suppressed the people's language, religion and culture in their predacious expansionism. Somewhere between two hundred thousand and a million native Tibetans died in the horribly named Great leap forward.

The Chinese have never stopped their predatory behavior. In 1962 they fought a brief war with India over the Arachanal Pradesh and Aksai Chin regions near Southern Tibet. Their expansionism never ceases.

Unfortunately China is still engaging in this sort of behavior, both in the border with India and in the South China Sea where they now regularly bully Vietnam, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia.

The people in Hong Kong were giddy when they secured their release from Britain in 1997. China had agreed to institute a "one country, two systems" arrangement and protect the freedoms and independence the people of Hong Kong enjoyed. We now know that was false. They were sold a bill of goods. The Chinese are instituting the same totalitarian heavy fist and oppression that the people in Communist China have been brutally subject to since the Communists took over.
Under the Xi government, Chinese officials have purged political opposition; bloggers, activists and lawyers have been unjustly prosecuted; stringent controls have been imposed to censor not only media, but universities, businesses and non-governmental organizations; citizens and corporations have been targeted with surveillance; and people perceived as dissidents have been subjected to arbitrary detention, torture and abuse.
Anyone who protests the regime is arrested and disappears without a trace. In an incredible irony, many Hong Kong residents are fleeing to the mortal enemy of the regime, Taiwan. Some are making it to Britain. This will not end well.

There are many legitimate complaints about our own government here in the United States. But at least we Americans can engage in open dissent and point out the failures of our system and leaders without being whisked off to a prison camp and tortured. Try that in China. You could lose more than your hair.


Scrota Voce said...

My next door neighbor was an ex-Life photographer and had photographed every Northern New Mexico Pueblo, producing many books on the subject. She was also great buds with the Dalai Lama, photographing him here and in India, fortuitously producing a bestselling book on him just before he received the Nobel Prize. My neighbor and her husband also owned a four story home on the banks of the Hudson, directly across from the Empire State building in Weehawken, a sight I witnessed as the moon rose up behind it framed by their bay window one night at dinner in 1989.

Knowing Peter Max they were invited to a showing of his recent paintings, in the 1990s, of the Dalai Lama. Surprise, surprise to walk in and find that Max had copied at least half the images in her book, blown up on canvas and PeterMaxed out with paint squiggles. No credit, no thank you, no 'can I borrow your photos'. Nothing.

And never a check.

Blue Heron said...

Remind me to tell you my Peter Max story one day. Not pleasant either. I once knew a girl who was part of his factory, the ten people that actually created his stuff. But my story is about meeting him at a party at the psychedelic solution and what an absolute dick he was.

Ken Seals said...

China is certainly doing despicable things. During our China and Hong Kong visit in 2013, being in Hong Kong was like a breath of fresh air after 9 days in China. One could feel the higher level of freedom in the air. It was really encouraging to hear the Hong Kongers (?) speak about changing China to the Hong Kong way. Sadly, that will never happen.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the Dalai Lama can use the hair extensions?