Link Trade with China to Human Rights and a Free Tibet

LINKING trade with China to human rights and a free Tibet, might sound like mutton cloth, but it could save South Africa’s textile and clothing industry. Hemmed in literally by the World Trade Organisation’s rules that determine how each nation conducts trade, South Africa is being swamped by cheap imports of fabric and clothing from abroad, in particular China.

Skirting around this issue may seem impossible in today’s globalised world, however there is nothing stopping our parliament from enacting trade sanctions that link imports to the development of human rights and even a Free Tibet. China, a nation still without a real democracy, occupied Tibet, a soveriegn nation during the fifties. Once home to a thriving Buddhist community, Tibetans along with the Dalai Lama were forced to flee their homeland.

When will South African’s cotton on, that such aggression is not only a travesty of justice but trade with China means sacrificing human rights — an issue measured not just in clothing, but in local unemployment that is ravishing the textile sector in the Western Cape. Time then to say Lhasa and to link the development of human rights in China, and democracy before trade?


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