A point was hit home to me in a conversation with a friend the other day. Whether you love or hate the Chinese Communist Party (or fall somewhere in between), over the past 30 years, it has accomplished something absolutely amazing. The number of people who lived in poverty, many in absolutely disparate conditions, and no longer do thanks to the government's "reform and opening up" is larger than any society in human history has been able to accomplish. That figure has went from 250 million in 1978 to around 20 million today. Let me repeat that, in 1978 the figure was 250 million, today it is around 20 million (possibly even less). From 1997 to 2003, China went from 50 million people living below the poverty line to 25 million below the poverty line. These statistics are amazing and even when broken down to a percentage of the population, they are still unmatched.
Within that huge figure, there are a large number of Tibetans and other minorities included, something that is lost on many of the people currently protesting. China, because of its Communist government, is under a microscope where its many accomplishments ignored and its mistakes broadcast and bolded all over the world.
Things need to be kept in perspective.