What should we call the Dalai Lama? It might seem like a silly enough question… but if you look deeper, there lies a more substantial issue of basic respect and mutual understanding. On Davidpeng’s blog (in an article linking to one of our entries)… an interesting discussion has developed (原贴) on that exact topic.
One commenter (Flatfish, a frequent Tibetan visitor) reacted to part of the original discussion when the term “the Dalai” was used:
In reference to the proper name for the Dalai Lama, let me talk about a few related things that have touched me deeply.
After the end of the Second World War, a court sentenced Mr. Hideki Tojo to death by hanging. Mr. Tojo immediately stood, and with perfect manners bowed deeply to the judges; he didn’t say another word. When the Tibetan uprising (in 1959) expanded, quite a few Tibetans were executed. Before they were shot, they politely said “T’oo-Je-Che” (Tibetan term of thanks). Later, when the families of the executed were charged expenses of 200-500 RMB, they again said “T’oo-Je-Che”, and nothing else.
For the Dalai Lama, the respectful way of referring to him in English is: His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In Tibetan, the respectful way of referring to him is Jiawa Renbuqie (嘉瓦仁布切，Gyalwa Rinpoche), Kundun (昆顿), or Yixi Loubu (益西罗布, Yeshe Norbu). Tibetans would never use the name Dalai Lama, because that’s actually equivalent to a title, and not a name.
My point is, if any group or government investigates and finds the Dalai Lama guilty of a crime, then all of these details could be revealed to the public, and they could proceed to trial and conviction. And if anyone, including Han, have doubts or criticisms of him, that’s also not a problem. And for those who are not Buddhists and not Tibetan Buddhists don’t necessarily have to refer to him by his courtesy title. But all should respect basic human rights, and do not casually shorten the title Dalai Lama to just “the Dalai”.
Please remember: calling the Dalai Lama the Dalai Lama is his most basic name, and not a respected title.
Sigh. The Han used to be the nation of etiquette, and perhaps that is how it used to be in ancient times. But in modern China, look what’s happened. Now, I have to patiently teach basic courtesy as if I’m speaking to an ignorant child. Sigh. Using this blog, I’m very angrily explaining this to the Han here. I hope these Han will respect themselves, and do not act in a demeaning way!
Although I am not a Tibetan Buddhist, but any group of people that refer to the Dalai Lama as “the Dalai”, I will never join their ranks. Any country that refers to the Dalai Lama as “the Dalai”, I will never enter it.
In addition, Communist China has declared the Dalai Lama to be the people’s enemy, and “Dalai” has become Communist terminology, a derogatory label for the Dalai Lama. This insult causes extreme hostility from Tibetans. The label of “the Dalai” didn’t exist before this, and now only mainland Han use this it, all because of the Communist Party. This immediately stokes flames of fury in Tibetans. I’ve also exchanged fire with numerous Han on this issue. When I think about the simple title of Dalai, it immediately leads to thoughts of the Communist Party colonizing Tibet, making Tibet the way it is today, it’s hard to hold back my temper.
Obviously, Flatfish became very emotional on this issue. If you read through his other comments in previous entries, you would see that he’s a China-raised Tibetan now overseas, who has written insightfully about Tibetan and Han relations. Although his political leanings are obvious from some of his criticisms, he has also tried to put this aside in the spirit of communication and explanation. He’s also not religious, he’s shown himself to be open-minded, and does not see the Dalai Lama in a religious way. He rarely loses his temper.
Why is this such an issue? How should we respond to an order barked like this? For that matter, how would a Tibetan respond to a barked order about how they should see China, or refer to the Chinese, or refer to the Han? In most Internet discussions, this is the point where communication breaks down. This is the point where we call each other names, and repeat stereotypes we’ve seen or heard, and bring up old debts that have never been repaid.
On Davidpeng’s blog, the conversation fortunately didn’t go in that direction. Instead, the other Chinese posters patiently asked for an explanation, while pointing out no insult was intended. Davidpeng also pointed out that at least one recent Xinhua statement does use the title “Dalai Lama” in full.
Flatfish fortunately was able to put down his temper, and respond with more details:
The meaning of Jiawa is “respected one”, similar to the Hanyu word Xiansheng (Mister). In the Tibetan language environment, this is reserved to very influential, very cultivated monks. Renbuqie is Sanskrit, and means “pearl”. Because of both the value system and emotional leanings, many Tibetans feel extreme affection for their spiritual leader, and that’s why the term “pearl” is used.
The meaning of Kunlun is equivalent to “Your Majesty”. Yixi Loubu also has the meaning of “pearl”. All three of these terms in Tibetan are reserved exclusively for referring to the Dalai Lama.
If non-believers and non-Tibetans were to call him Jiawa Renbuqie, that’s similar to calling him Mister, and I believe it’s very appropriate. If a Tibetan heard the title, it would lead the impression that the speaker is very civilized, well educated.
Tibetans don’t call him directly by the title of Dalai Lama, because this is his title, a formal way of referring to him. For Tibetans to refer to him this way, it feels too distant. Secondly, it’s equivalent to calling him by his direct name, which to Tibetans, is impolite.
So when Tibetans here him referred to as the Dalai Lama, Tibetans are already unhappy. If this is shortened to “Dalai”, then no Tibetan will appreciate it.
From this explanation, the conversation again returned to a very interesting, and productive path, about the future of Beijing/TGIE negotiations.
Is there a lesson here ? I have a few thoughts. First, it’s remarkable how important respect is. At the end of the day, we’re all emotional creatures. When we perceive insult and offense, our animal instincts often take over. These instincts make even the *discussion* of a compromise basically impossible. Regardless of how we feel about the Dalai Lama and the political situation in Tibet, if as Chinese we truly respect the goal of a multi-ethnic China, then we must offer basic respect to all of the people who make up this multi-ethnic China. If our purpose goes beyond throwing out insults, if our purpose is to forward discussion between communities with a deep divide, then we have to start simply.
We have to start with respect. At the very least, the Chinese government should stop referring to him as “the Dalai”. It serves no real purpose, but will immediately lead to anger amongst many of the Tibetans in China. Although I am not sure I can trust the Dalai Lama politically, I have no animosity towards him. And on this blog at least, while I’m not going to set any rules for anyone else, I will always be careful to refer to him in full as “the Dalai Lama”. (And if it wasn’t too awkward or obscure… I’d even refer to him as Jiawa Renbuqie.)
I hope Flatfish (and he probably has/will post on this blog) and everyone else will also return the favor. We are all human, with animal instincts. We all respond emotionally to simple statements, simple labels, because they often suggest so much more. My temperature goes up a few degrees when I see the word “genocide” used in relation to Tibet, for example.
For anyone that is interested in constructive discussion, then let’s behave in a civilized way, let’s respect ourselves and each other. If an earlier article was about not indulging our race complex, then let this article be a reminder to stop provoking the race complex of others.
Before I let Flatfish get a reputation as an unreasonable Tibetan nationalist, let me also translate one of his other comments (in response to one of David’s comments, that the Dalai Lama and the TGIE’s contradictory statements made negotiations more difficult):
This actually came up at a talk by a Tibetan once and he did point this out when the audience asked a question referring to “Dalai”. I have no problems referring to him as the Dalai Lama, or any other name, as long as it faciliates discussion. But we do need a name that is known and the Dalai Lama is how he is known in English. I’m averse to adding “His Holiness” though if we’re not talking about religion, but if there’s an alternative that corresponds to “Mr.”, I’m fine with that.
Great post Buxi. Appreciate the lesson. Very interesting. Although I’m not sure if I’d be able to remember the other titles correctly, I’ll refer him as The Dalai Lama.
And, um, I have a bit problem with Flatfish on the comment implying Han isn’t civilized because we don’t refer The Dalai Lama properly. We wouldn’t know about that. So next time, it will be appreciated if he could spare some forgiveness for those of us not so educated with Tibetan culture. =)
Good post. Very insightful.
like I’ve said few times in couple of threads, some people and the government do need show respect to Dalai Lama who is been seen as the living God of most Tibetans.
Regarding Flatfish, I don’t buy his/her story of “200-500 RMB bullets in 1959”. There was just no practical of that policy in a war time and 200-500RMB was a fortune for most of people those days.
I went through all Flatfish’s comments and obviously he/she was educated in China and knowledgeable and polite who is very different with militant Tibetan nationalist we often see on the overseas internet. Flatfish has his/her own views as a Tibetan and I understand. I don’t see him/her as a unreasonable Tibetan nationalist. sorry,Buxi.
I don’t see him that way either! I said above before I let him get that reputation… let me post something he’s said that’s more than reasonable.
Yes, he is just kind of more refined extreme ***. Regarding the title issue, I respect the guy as a human being, but not as any god-king. I hate people using religion as an excuse to shove nonesense down my throat.
my apologize, Buxi. I mis read your words.
no matter we think it’s right or not to see a human as a god-king, we have to face the reality which can not be changed overnight if millions refer a person as a god-king and we have to accept that reality then have better communication with those people.
Charles Liu says
Oh please, people like FF laugh it up when Fox refers to the Chinese government with less-than-curtious terms like “regime”, “goons and thugs”.
the fact of some people don’t show respect of Chinese is not a excuse of not showing respect of others
Buxi, I REALLY appreciate what you are doing here. However we disagree politically and differ emotionally, like you said, we have to start with respect. Let’s have a dialogue not attacks.
I think it’s more of a linguistic habit rather than showing disrespect. People tend to shorten the words, sentences, especially online. Calling him DL is just like calling Chinese Communist Party CCP or ZG. We also Call Kangxi Emperor Kangxi instead of his personal name Aixin-Jueluo.Xuanye. What’s the big deal here?
I know what you mean, and I don’t pretend to understand or share the concern. But I tend to believe Flatfish when he says that, for at least some Tibetans, that this is a real issue. Considering that Flatfish is a China-educated Tibetan who at least is willing to consider the Han his compatriots, I think we should take his warning seriously.
If he’s wrong, I’m sure we will hear it over time from other Tibetans, or other Han Chinese with long experience in Tibet.
I guess the big deal is human beings are different(I am not saying right or wrong). for some ,a shorten name might be OK no big deal but for others calling one with a shorten name might be very big deal. It is the fact.
we now call Kangxi but then he was called 圣上
I’ve been a lurker here for a while, and have nothing but admiration for your efforts at initiating a meaningful discussion on some of the issues that go to the core of China’s identity. More power to you.
Having said that… 🙂
You say: “We have to start with respect. At the very least, the Chinese government should stop referring to him as “the Dalai”.”
No, Buxi, the starting point comes much earlier. At the very least, the Chinese government should stop referring to him as “a wolf in monk’s robes” or a “jackal with a human face”.
Same point. I’ll believe that it’s just a “linguistic habit rather than showing disrepect” if the CCP was given to calling Emperor Kangxi “a hyaena” or “a wolf”. It is a big deal, when you see everything else that goes with this “linguistic habit”.
Thanks for your compliment, but your comment just confirmed why we really play a role here.
I talked about this in an earlier blog entry. Despite the constant Western media references, the Chinese state media simply doesn’t use the “wolf im monk’s robes” comment. The only reference I found at the time was from March 20th, in a quote from the TAR party secretary (who I think is a crude, heavy-handed incompetent who should be removed) published in the Xinjiang Daily. If the Dalai Lama gets to deflect blame over to the TYC as being the hotheads (ever see what they’ve called the Chinese government?), then the central government can do the same too. So, let’s get that clear.
In contrast, calling the Dalai Lama, “the Dalai” is something that happens regularly in the state press. And that’s about it in terms of personal insults from Beijing.
Ma Bole says
Bear with me, please. Posts such as these set my mind to racing.
In the July 9th edition of ‘The New Republic’ (available online) features an essay by Professor Andrew Nathan of Columbia University. The essay is entitled “Medals and Rights: What the Olympics reveal, and conceal, about China”. The essay itself is very interesting, and highly provocative. The following passage, however, seems germane to the current thread:
Young monks carried out peaceful demonstrations in Lhasa starting on March 10, which was the anniversary of the uprising against Chinese occupation in 1959. When the demonstrations spread and turned violent, Zhang Qingli rushed home from a meeting in Beijing to convene a Party and government conference on restoring order. He told those assembled that “the Dalai [Chinese officials don’t grant their enemies the honorific “lama”] is a wolf in a monk’s robe, a monster with a human face but the heart of a beast; we are in a fierce battle of blood and fire with the Dalai clique, a life and death battle between us and the enemy.”
(point of information: Zhang Qingli is the CCP official who was recently criticized by the IOC for politicizing the Olympics (http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2008/06/china-says-anti-dalai-lama-rant-not-politicising-games/).)
It seems to me that most mainland Chinese have grown so accustomed to referring to the Dalai Lama as simply “Dalai” that the omission is now essentially a question of habit, not intent. On the other hand, it is just as clear to me that the CCP and the Ministry of Propaganda have made the use of “Dalai” in the Chinese MEDIA a matter of POLICY. It is this policy, I believe, and not the Chinese predilection for shortening or abbreviating names which is largely responsible for the phenomenon.
Why do I believe this? Because the situation here in Taiwan is somewhat different. Although the Taiwanese generally feel that Tibet is a part of China, there is far more sympathy and respect for the Dalai Lama here than in the mainland (e.g. one can find “Free Tibet” t-shirts here). To be sure, the recent protests in Tibet were an issue of considerable interest, but the Taiwanese media generally took time to contextualize them. That is, the most recent protests in March, in which many Han and Hui were the targets of Tibetan violence, were seen as just the latest in a long, sad history of protests in which ethnic Tibetans were frequently the targets of violence, not the perpetrators. In short, in Taiwan, the Dalai Lama is not regarded with the same kind of distain that he is in China. Though one certainly still often hears him referred to as Dalai, it is just as common to hear him referred to as the Dalai Lama.
Perhaps this difference in attitude can be partly attributed to Dalai Lama’s status as a revered religious leader and the popularity of religion in Taiwan. For those of you who are not familiar with Taiwan, it might come as some surprise to you that the Taiwanese are a very religious people – particularly compared to mainland Chinese. There are Christian churches (mostly evangelical, as in Korea) everywhere – three within 10 minutes walking distance of my apartment in Taipei. There are also many Buddhist and Daoist temples, lecture halls, and specialty bookstores. (The front door of my apartment is right behind a 7-11 convenience store and directly between a Catholic elementary school and a Buddhist lecture hall filled with bald nuns.) The Falungong is also quite active here, though you generally only see them in relatively large, open spaces where they have room to exercise. (There has been some talk recently about what to do about the Falungong when increasing numbers of mainland tourists begin to visit Taiwan in the not-too-distant future. The general consensus appears to be to do nothing. It will be good for the mainlanders, Taiwanese say, to see democracy in action. In other words, tolerance of the Falungong is viewed as symbolic of one of Taiwan’s defining characteristics – democracy. Very interesting. Political culture IS culture.)
However, it seems to me that dropping the honorific Lama is far better than referring to him as “a wolf in a monk’s robe, a monster with a human face but the heart of a beast”. I know which one I’d prefer.
In parting, I have a recommendation to the CCP. Sit down with the Dalai Lama and negotiate with him in good faith. Be respectful. After all, he is a beloved figure, a Nobel laureate, and a MODERATE. Provided that he renounces political autonomy for Tibet, and provided that all he wants is religious and cultural autonomy for ethnic Tibetans, then the CCP should show some flexibility, magnanimity, and leadership. If the Dalai Lama dies before a deal is made, things could get much worse.
Dalai is a neutral word with any leaning whatsoever, however wolf is obviously a pejorative word. So whether Dalai is disrespectful or not should be judged within the context. Of course it’s not the same me calling him Dalai for shortening purposes as CCP calling him Dalai, which actually means Dalai Clique.
On the other hand, there is no political correctness in China, so it’s hard to oblige everything to use the same term. I personally think that it’s up to the person to decide which term to use. As long as people don’t really use nasty word, any word is appropriate. Being respectful is a plus (Should RESPECT be earned, not be taken for granted?), but being just normal is not bad at all.
Bottom line is it’s people’s preferences of choosing the word they use.
Charles Liu says
Just as a comparison, here’s a simple query on how often does the US government use the pejorative term “regime” in reference to the Chinese government:
Now, was the “wof” stuff in reaction to the vioent riot where Han and Tibetan were killed by rioters? Or is this somewhat habitual like what we Americans do to the Chinese?
Context is important, let’s take a look to see if we do any better. The American military-industrial-media-complext have basically ignored the undercurrent between older Tibetean exiles and TYC, the uprising manifesto, and continued undue foreign influence in relation to the riot. We just stuck with the Richard Gere party line didn’t we?
Same thing with the Darfur mess. While we in the west instigated the conflict 10 years ago with John Garang, and have repeatedly failed Darfur over the years – when the Olympics came around we blamed Darfur on China.
Just saw PBS Frontline World tonight, the scientists are now saying Darfur’s continued conflict over dwindling resources is due to global warming… WTF? Where’s any of this call for respect y’all are talking about earlier when everybody was jumpping on the China-bashing bandwagon?
Thank you Buxi for letting us Tibetan know what we can or cannot do or what we are capable of. Apparently you are not aware of the vibrant Tibetan democracy and administration in exile in India.
Of course Chinese will not like it when Tibetans assert their Tibetaness and donot want to work for the Beijing rulers.
Someone here compared TYC and the Dalai Lama to TAR government and Beijing Central government. Let me clarify. TYC is not under the Dalai Lama. They are an NGO who has their own political stand and demands. Unless you forget, TYC is asking of independence or separation of Tibet from China. The Dalai Lama and his exile administration is willing to be a part of China.
my two cents.
Interesting post Buxi and I don’t see any harm in being polite and if honorifics are not politically accetable, the CCP should just refer the DL by his given name that he was borned with as in Mr. X.
Maybe I misread things, but I don’t see anybody here comparing the TYC and the DL to the TAR. As for there not being any connections between the TYC and the DL, that is so funny, who are you trying to kid (oops, sorry, obviously Richard Gere and Sharon Stone et al.). There are the obvious legal non-connections and the less obvious personal connections, I mean the Overseas Tibetan community is not that big relatively speaking.
Besides Batasuna supposedly had no connection with ETA just as Sinn Fein presumably had no connection with the IRA, but did the Spanish and UK government and the population believed them? Not a chance.
Welcome to the blog, and I mean that. I hope you will be around to provide a balance to what I, we, and other Chinese say. I hope other posters will remain respectful, and give you the room to make a point.
However, I do not believe this is an accurate or honest interpretation of what I have said in the message above.
Yes, the Dalai Lama has made that point many times as well. I think most Chinese are now aware of the legal distinction. But I’d like to explain why many Chinese aren’t satisfied with a simple explanation that the TYC is “not under the Dalai Lama”.
– the first aim/objective of the TYC is: To dedicate oneself to the task of serving one’s country and people under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the Spiritual and Temporal Ruler of Tibet.
As the spiritual and temporal ruler of Tibet, we would expect his words to have much weight with the TYC. For example, he has made the weight of his spiritual authority very clear in the case of Shugden. Why can he not use his authority just as clearly in restraining the TYC?
– second, according to one statistic I saw, more than half (or even 3/4?) of the Tibet government-in-exile, of the CTA are former members of the Tibet Youth Congress.
– third, Lodi Gyari, the Dalai Lama’s envoy to Washington DC and one of his representatives to negotiations with the central government, was one of the former members of the Tibet Youth Congress.
These are all observations. I recognize that this is not proof that the Dalai Lama wants independence, but for many Chinese including myself, this is an issue of real concern. It’s one more thing that slows negotiations between Beijing and the Dalai Lama. It’s as if there was a “Communist NGO” in Beijing that consistently called for elimination of the Tibetan language. Wouldn’t that concern you as well?
@Oli – The IRA may have been connected to Sinn Fein, but it was not connected to the SDLP. Not everyone who supports a political goal supports using violent methods to acheive it.
I sincerely hope you can join this blog and give us your thought. There is rarely a chance to have a conversation with an overseas Tibetan, while I have talked to people in Tibet face to face many times. Cultural barrier is never easy to overcome, many Tibetan customs are still unknown to many Han Chinese, for example, the manner to drink butter tea, how to point to the holy mount, etc. If any unrespectful manner showed up on you, please just ignore them.
The government of PRC is often accused by the Western media at the urge of you Tibetans-in-exile for waging a “cultural genocide” against Tibetan-Chinese. Don’t you think you guys have in fact committed a massive “cultural suicide” by instituting a “vibrant democracy,” among other things not in-line with Tibetan traditions, in the first place?
Interesting point. I don’t want to jump on the bandwagon and throw accusations at Tenzin… but I’d be curious in hearing how Tibetans in exile balance “cultural preservation” with the fact that English is the standard language of education in that community, and used in just about every context. And I’d also be interested in hearing, if Tenzin or any of the other exiles have any plans to learn Chinese.
Take your time to answer these issues Tenzin. If you stay around, you will have time to answer them all.
Great post. There is no benefit to calling him the Dalai as all that does is instantly piss people off. On the flip side though, I have always found it strange and even a bit disconcerting with how the press will refer to the Dalai Lama AND the Pope as “His Holiness.” My view on that is that as I am neither a Tibetan Buddhist nor a Catholic, I will not call either of them “His Holiness” because I would not give that honorific to either of them, or to anyone else for that matter.
From a Westerners point of view, the Dalai Lama is a persecuted victim of the other ‘evil empire’. Besides the conspiracy theories that the Dalai Lama has indirectly been on the CIA payroll from the beginning, the Dalai Lama is very respected by Western countries. I understand that the Tibetans consider him a God but not all people who are considered a God are treated and respected the same. Not to be offensive, but David Koresh comes to mind – he wasn’t popular with anybody. The first reaction to this statement would be that you can’t compare a holy leader of a persecuted people to a cult leader, but using a Daoist perspective I see that the respect the leader enjoys depends on the target group. To Chinese, the Dalai Lama is a cult leader, just like Li Hong Zhi (FLG).
I lived in Li Hong Zhi’s home city and studied Qi-gong with one of his past friends. When you compare the attitudes of my Qi-gong teacher with other Chinese people, they were like night and day. In this situation I cannot judge and decide if a person is good/bad based on other peoples opinions. The decision as to whether one is good or bad depends on personal experience, background and opinion.
Another example I can use is from Mormonism – they consider their founding leader Joseph Smith to be a God but most Americans, past and present, consider him a polygamous lying scoundrel. Mormons weep with emotion if you mention their beloved founder and current leaders (also considered Gods) but if you mention it to anyone familiar with actual historical knowledge; you will get a very different reaction.
Going back to the Dalai Lama, I respect him as a peace loving Buddhist, but I still have to consider how Chinese people feel. From a Chinese Gov perspective, the Dalai Lama in China is to what Bin Laden is in America. This is a very radical statement and I do not wish to offend but I must point out that Chinese people’s opinions also matter, even if they are offensive. Both individuals mentioned can be considered leaders of cult like groups which undermine state sovereignty and social harmony. If you ask any citizen of a certain Middle Eastern country which has been invaded and occupied by Americans and family has been murdered by American soldiers how they feel about America I think they wouldn’t be very happy with us. If you ask any average media-brainwashed-American Idol loving American how they feel about that certain Middle Eastern country, they probably won’t feel any pity or anything at all.
While most Western people will vehemently disagree with this I only point out the Daoist saying ‘是是非非谁能分得清’? (Who can decide what is right/wrong & good/bad).
The problem is that the Tibetans have their evangelistic attitudes towards things and thinks that Han Chinese or the Hui Chinese for that matter as inferior beings. The Dalai Lama is a wolf in Sheep’s clothing because he wants the practice peace while never actually did it. I mean he can’t even treat their own Tibetans who preaches the Dorje Shujuden with respect because they want the Tibetans to preach him instead. Seriously, if the Dalai Lama start teaching his fellow Tibetans freedom of religion and tolerance towards other people who are not the same as you, maybe China will start having a sympathetic ear.
Welcome to the blog!
My only advice to you is: people tend to you tune you out when you describe vast groups of people in one way. My impression is: there are Tibetans who have superior attitudes towards the Han, and there are also Han who hold superior attitudes towards the Tibetans. And then there are also Tibetans and Han who don’t do either. So, try to be specific with who you are criticizing.
The Dalai Lama is definitely not a great man; he’s just a man. Tibetan Buddhism isn’t a great religion; it’s just a religion. But they are what they are, and both he and the religion still have support amongst some inside China. So, now, we have to figure out what we’re going to do about it… and believe it or not, I suggest respect. Respect is not the same thing as compromising our own political position, however.
Respect, yes, to anybody, also Osama, but no kowtow.
I wonder how much of the current Chinese government’s deep-rooted suspicion of the Dalai Lama and their branding of him as a cult-leader stems from their personal experience of Mao’s personality cult ? Most were either the generation that suffered by being removed from their position and sent to the country, or were part of the brainwashed generation waving the little red books. It took a lot of struggle for the Chinese to wrestle control back over their country after that period, and though many urban educated Chinese I know talk of him as a “terrible man”, the cult still lives on out in the rural regions. Hence symbolic diplomatic gestures such as Mao’s portrait still hanging over Tian’anmen, his face still on the banknotes. Keep the pro-Mao section of the populace happy – while reversing his economic legacy – until demographics makes the pro-Mao lobby small enough to allow China to put Mao’s ghost to rest. My guess is that until the Dalai Lama shows willingness to distance himself from the propaganda machine and celebrity personality cult that has grown up around him, there will be no real progress with China. That he has personality cult is not necessarily his fault…in any society some people will always want to put other people on a pedestal…but his readiness to court the cult and nurture it may be a political mistake.
The Trapped! says
“And I’d also be interested in hearing, if Tenzin or any of the other exiles have any plans to learn Chinese.” I heard that Chinese is already a compulsory subject in most of exile schools. I heard that that started since Beijing/TGIE relationship improved sometime in 2004. Better check it out yurselves, because finding out by yourself will be more convincing than pointing by someone who you look at suspiciously.
And concerning the topic of this blog, I also heard that TGIE has made rule that all news papers in Tibetan language must use “Chok” before the name of Chinese leaders when they refer to them. “Chok” in Tibetan means “Excellency ” or “Respected” or “Mr/Sir”. In the media as well government document, they must use Zhongguo rather Gya-nak. Before new China, Gya-nak is name for China in Tibetan language. However, that does not include Tibet in it. So, when new China was born, using Gya-nak has the ability of undermining Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. So, Tibetan language has adopted this Chinese term to refer to PRC because there is no other appropriate words in Tibetan language for this context. That’s a new concept. Same thing goes to Zhonghua. TGIE continued using original Tibetan terms for China until recent time. Then to give reduce confusion and suspicion, they started using Zhongguo.
These may not be important, but good to know. And about Tibetan people’s feeling, using bad words to the DL, no Tibetan would like that. Even non-religious Tibetans won’t like that.
The Trapped! says
In exile, basically all the vocabularies that Beijing does not like have been removed.
I’m very interested in learning more about this. If you have any information in Chinese or English about the Tibetan Children’s Village, I would be very interested in seeing it… the only information I have found so far is in English, and before 2004.
Your discussion of various terms and how they’ve changed is also intriguing. Can you talk about the Tibetan terms that the PRC uses for “Tibetan”, “zhonghua minzu”, “zhongguo”, “Tibet”? And how these compare to the exile Tibetan versions?
Very interesting indeed. I think there has been some kind of shift recently as well. The Dalai Lama actually spoke one-on-one to a Chinese student studying at — what was it — Columbia (?) a month or so ago. It’s an interesting transcript, and there he also used zhongguo.
Forgive my suspicion, but I think the DL is playing a sophisticated double game here to the extent that he may be getting help/advice from Western government (US psyops maybe) and NGOS. Despite the DL’s protestation and rapprochement with the Chinese government and the Chinese people, lest we forget the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje is doing the rounds in the West even if the DL does actually return to China.
The problem with the Dalai Lama and the other Tibetan NGO’s is that he is supported by the US government. Although there are Chinese who are sympathetic towards the Tibetans, but there are probably less doing that. During the protests at March, what the Chinese are watching are the violent Tibetans looting, killing and burning shops owned by the Hans and the Huis. However the western Media tells of Human Rights abuses, while not being specific. The ‘peaceful’ Dalai Lama claims that the Chinese is wrong while ignoring what the Chinese is watching on TV. The western Nations always complains the China is the bad guy and ask China to talk to the Dalai Lama. If the Dalai Lama can start by apologizing about the March Lhasa incident and take steps to stop it, maybe China can have a sympathetic ear.
I read about the so-called compulsary Chinese class in a report by a Hong Kong traveller more than five years ago, so it should have been there for some time. The problem was that the Chinese class teachers cannot speak Chinese themselves. There has been reports that recent young Dharamsala returnees can speak excellent English, but no Chinese, and have become a serious social problem for the TAR authorities.
So you think the Dalai Lama has to apologise? Is this the Chinese justice system where the defendent has to apolgise whether he/she is guilty or not? Remember, Wen Jiabo, even though he claimed in front of the international media about having proof of the Dalai Lama’s involvement in the March revolt has failed to show anything. So what exactly should he apologise for? For his country being colonised by CHina?
I’ve been an occasional lurker here but felt moved to comment and thank you for this post on learning how to show appropriate respect (instead of inadvertent disrespect) when attempting to have a dialogue with those who may not agree with you.
Thank you for your post which reminds people how the sacred symbols of believers may be regarded as meaningless, weird, or even offensive by others. The possibilities of unintentionally giving and receiving offense to one another in this situation are endless.
As a non-Mormon, I may hold a certain historical view of Joseph Smith, but I do not feel compelled to state this view to my Mormon friends when we are together, or to ridicule their faith. Am I lying or being untruthful or dishonest? Well….actually I don’t think so. I just think that offending them with my views (when they could be in error anyway – I’m no expert on Mormonism) is not paramount for our relationship. In other words, I put our relationship above “my understanding of the truth about Joseph Smith.” I don’t try to convince them that they are misguided for following this religion, or spending lots of their time and resources on these activities. I keep my views to myself because I value our relationship. I hope to stay friends with them, and I do not want our differences in religion to needlessly cause offense. In this sense, I completely agree with your statement ‘是是非非谁能分得清’? (Who can decide what is right/wrong & good/bad?). Thank you for reminding us (with very topical examples) that it is possible for reasonable people to hold extremely different views on things without being either ignorant or immoral.
With all respect to you positions, in my humble view, it may not be the ideal way to continue this dialogue for demands for apologies. Apologies should be freely given and not demanded or coerced.
I for one would prefer that the dialogue here continue without calls (or refusals) for apologies by anyone. Asking for apologies is easily interpreted by the target as another way of finding fault, and I think Buxi’s objective here is to keep the dialogue going on the theme of how to use the right terminology to show respect so that dialogue can continue, instead of getting sidetracked needlessly over unintentionally offensive language.
I hope to learn more from this thread.
Thank you all again for your contributions.
The Dalai Lama doesn’t have to apologize, but I wish he would make an effort to clear up Western misconception about what happened in March. This is how it always happens, of course… inaccurate, critical news (much of it unfortunately coming from Dharmasala) is on the front pages of Western newspapers. Three months later, an update on what actually happened in Lhasa is left behind.
Many in the West still believe that on March 14th, the Chinese military killed hundreds of Tibetans for peacefully protesting. And in the hearts of many Chinese, this leaves a very uncomfortable knot. It would be amazing if the Dalai Lama could make an effort to explain the real situation. He can still talk about why Tibetans were angry enough to protest in the first place… but having him clear the record would make many Chinese very happy.
But I’m realistic enough to know that is unlikely, and I definitely won’t demand that it *has* to happen in order for a solution to the Tibet problem.
Do you mean confess to being the leader of a ‘clique’ that incited a handful of ‘independence extremists’ to run riot in Lhasa and many other cities ‘entirely without provocation’?
The Dalai Lama probably doesn’t need to apologize, however, China still holds all the cards in Tibet. The Lhasa riots are seen in TV where the Tibetan Rioters are the bad guys, yet the Western Nations are condemning China for it. This has caused Nationalistic furor for the Chinese, and now Dalai Lama wants talks with China? Is China going to give in to Dalai Lama’s demands due to the recent incidents? Probably not.
The Trapped! says
“but I wish he would make an effort to clear up Western misconception about what happened in March”
If there is any misconception to be cleared up, that won’t be only ‘Western misconception’ ‘coming from Dharamsala’, but Chinese misconception coming from Beijing-mouth CCTV as well. If you put issue this way, then it would look more fair.
The problem arises when you want to discuss things with an assumption that it was the Dalai Lama that incited the protests across Tibet. And by suspecting every word or move by the Dalai Lama and the exile government. I guess what we need is perspective here. Go to Tibetan Government in exile’s website (tibet.net)and the Dalai Lama’s website (dalailama.com)and check what they said in March, April and what they are saying even now. Don’t base you analysis just on CCTV clippings or CNN or fox news.
After the revolt in Tibet this year, just compare the soundbites that came out of Beijing, Wen, Xinhua, CCTV, People’s Daily and the publications and soundbites from Dharamsala. You might notice that Beijing was trying to put a spin on it and in a very, very shrill way.
The Tibet issue is not a issue of this March. The issue started when PLA first marched into Tibet, ostensibly to liberate Tibet.
pug_ster you really need to calm down here. If you sincerely believe that CHina holds all the card, then stop bothering about Tibet. Enjoy your ignorance.
Whether CHina agrees or remain in denial, there is widespread resentment in Tibet and not just “Tibetans rioters”. If you want to call everyone who dont agree with your viewpoint as extremist then so be it. It is also true that there is a lot of disparity amongst CHinese in the mainland too.
So justify it any way you like, but I sincerely dont think it helps when zhang Qingli starts calling him “devil with a human face” or when he starts equating communism as the real buddha of Tibetans. Or when Wen Jiabo claims that he he has proof of Dalai Lama’s involvement in the recent unrest in Tibet to the international media.
One of the reason that led to mass protest all over Tibet that still continues is the mindless law passed by the Beijing authorities a while back demanding their approval for trulkus to reborn and forbidding anyone to be reborn outside “the motherland”. Many Tibetans saw this as a direct assault to Tibetan way of life. And no one had any doubt that thetarget of this new law was the next Dalai Lama.
Yes, Dalai Lama holds sway over much of the Tibetan world, inside or outside Tibet. One only has to remember what happened after he said he felt ashamed that Tibetans wear fur at a prayer session in south India in the january of 2006. Tibetans started burning furs en masse and are refusing to buy anymore. Yet you also have to keep in mind that there is a generation of Tibetans growing up with modern education who are making decisions on their own. They have utmost respect for His Holiness yet they will make their own decision when it comes to what they believe is right for Tibet.
With regard to TYC’s first aim/objective, I can only guess (I am not a member of TYC but have many close friend who are) that this is their way to affirm their loyalty to the Dalai Lama. I would like to add here that for Tibetans, the Dalai Lama or Yeshe Norbu – the wish fulfilling jewel is not just a single person. One has to be aware that Tibetans truly believe that he is the 14th physical manifestation of all the previous Dalai Lamas and for Tibetans he embodies what every Tibetans hopes someday he/she will reach.
I have no qualms against Chinese believing that the communist government is the best for them. But we Tibetans absolutely believe that they are not good for us.
Did you just equate democracy, rule of law and giving rights to common folks to genocide?
You can’t manipulate facts like that. If you want to show Dalai Lama’s influence in inside Tibetan, you can say, after Dalai Lama denounced fur usage, all Tibetan followed him; If you want to defy the possiblity of Dalai Lam inciting the riots those Tibetans are modern educated and decided things by themselves.
I, myself, don’t believe Dalai Lama’s direct link to those violences. However I do think somebodies in TGIE actively were involved. You can refer to Buxi’s reference above about the personal link between the five orginazation and TGID. Things happened in 3.14 was another replica of what happened 49 years ago. When I saw the advertisement video of “Tibetan Peoples’ Uprising Movement”, I recalled what “People’s Assembly” did in 1959. I am sure the video is quite popular in inside Tibet before March 10. Beijing is just not alert enough about the development.
Yes, I don’t have concrete proof on that. That’s very very reasonable. Not only Chinese thought that way, lots of foreign observers believed in that. I thought you are quite familiar with the international media around that time that I even need not to give a reference.
IMHO, the deny of the link simply will hurt inside Tibetan again. They stood out to show the loyalty to Dalai Lama and TGIE. And they just were told by their HH Dalai Lama, they fighted for their own, and were suppressed for their own sake. How cruel the world is!
The longer-term side of 3.14 riots, is another story. I agree with you. The long accumulated inapproriate minority policy turned Tibet a field full of dry firewood. You are wisely pointing out the similiar case in inland China. The riot happened when someone put a match on it.
Frankly to say, Dalai Lama is not a good leader for Tibetan. He just too indulged the modeling role injecting by Westerners. He is too weak (kind) to do anything substantial.
I’m just being realistic as in that China holds all the cards in regarding the situation in Tibet. Chinese government still runs Tibet. The tibetan protests concerning the olympics has been largely contained. Trying to shame China thru protests and violence became counterproductive. As bad as the Chinese government are, they have little incentive to change its stance. Since the Dalai Lama is the figurehead of the Tibetan autonomy movement, he has to take the heat, whether he likes it or not in order to start having peace talks with China.
Chinese government still runs China. So there is no hope for common chinese to try and improve their life.
It seems to me many common Chinese have improved their lives. Your conclusion isn’t believable.
Are you going to claim that this story, published from Dharmasala on March 14th, isn’t spin, shrill, and false?
Chinese armed police have killed around 100 Tibetans and injured many others for taking part in peaceful demonstrations, according to unconfirmed sources. These protests have spread from Lhasa to all over Tibet both in intensity and scale.
The situation in the Tibetan capital has intensified because Chinese authorities have rolled out a large number of armoured vehicles including tanks in the Bharkor square and have started shooting into the protesting crowds.
In order to provoke the protesting crowds, Chinese policemen dressed in monks attire are reported to have lashed out at the peaceful demonstrators, which incited the crowd into burning police vehicles. According to other reports, from 10,000-20,000 Tibetans have joined the demonstration in the Tibetan capital.
I’m not going to defend what Zhang Qingli has said, I think he has an extremist opinion in China, just like the TYC represents an extremist opinion. Zhang Qingli isn’t participating in these negotiations, and whatever the central government decides will happen. So, let’s talk about what the central government is doing and saying.
And in terms of shrill propaganda… well, respect us enough to admit that Dharamasala has pumped out a huge volume of inaccurate, misleading, completely false accusations about what happened on 3/14.
You’re right, that is a fair request. We have to accept that both governments have been pumping out propaganda for their own political purposes, and this inevitably angers people who see the other side of that propaganda.
So it all boils down to the same question, what’s the purpose of the political propaganda? I think I know what the Chinese government wants, and it isn’t to genocide or destroy Tibetan culture and religion. What is it that the Dalai Lama wants ultimately? What is the fundamental conflict, and what’s going to be done about it?
Charles Liu says
To Tenzin @50, there’s “no hope for common chinese to try and improve their life”? Many of us know people in China who have made it, either in news or in person.
My cousin, who was penniless and working in Shenzhen illegally 10 years ago now drives a nicer car than me. His home near Sun Moon Bay Golf Club is twice as big as my home in US.
Exactly my point Charles Liu. You should tell pugs_ter that there is hope for everyone. Just because the Beijing rulers holds all control in CHina doesn’t mean that things cant get better. As Buddhist say, nothing is permanent.
What should be the correct name for the “People’s Republic of China”? After all, it’s not a republic and “the people” certainly don’t play a very important role in affairs of state. What should the Communist Party of China be called? It’s closer to fascism than communism after all. These are more interesting topics.
The CCP’s propaganda on the DL is, as usual, hypocritical and not worthy of deep reflection.
I also think there is hope. The problem with the Dalai Lama is that he still relies on the support of the Western Nations to prove its legitimatimacy while those ‘Free Tibet’ websites tone up the rhetorics against China. Thus this propaganda spin from both sides has to stop if Tibet wants to start having constructive talks.
Let’s take Taiwan situation for example, the situation between the Mainland and Taiwan has been going bad for years because of US intervention. Only when the US left and Taiwan started having direct talks with China, things has gotten better.
Charles Liu says
Pug, all of us should find a reservation in US and have a look for ourselves. Not trying to justify one wrong with another, just pointing out each’s “complicated history”, “established statehood”, “current states”.
As an American I am ashamed of Richard Gere’s hypocrisy. I don’t see anyone in US being serious about decimating our own sovereignty to do the right thing in restoring Native American Independence.
What right do we have to demand the Chinese?
Reasonable opinion piece from the IHT : http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/07/02/opinion/edtibet.php
Let the Dalai Lama come home
China’s leaders would be making a mistake if they treat this week’s talks with envoys of the Dalai Lama merely as a public relations ploy to avoid trouble before the August Olympic Games in Beijing….
Reasonable but not quite accurate. Of course the Dalai Lama is invited home, but as he’s said repeatedly, he will not do so unless there’s a political solution in place that he can accept. It takes two hands to clap, there’s a legitimate political conflict here, not simply a government choosing to be “difficult”.
As far as Sarkozy… frankly, in my wildest dreams, the Dalai Lama and Beijing will be able to come to an agreement before August 8th, and then Sarkozy’s visa to attend the Beijing Olympics is rejected. He can stay home with his wife.
Unfortunately the Native Americans are the minority in the States and they have little say of how the country should be run anyways. Just like the Tibetans are the minority in China as they comprise less than 1% of Chinese population, so minority to tell the majority how to run the country.
I think China could care less if Sarkozy come to the olympics opening or not as many Chinese doesn’t like France anyways. So if the Western Media will use Sarkozy to come to the olympics as ‘carrot on a stick’ for China to comply, I would not put my hopes up.
Buxi, As a Tibetan, I am so obliged to you for posting this article. I sincerely wish that Han Chinese and Tibetans could communicate with each other more effectively and frequently. I am also glad that many overseas Chinese being very reasonable and objective.
I’m glad you saw this, I was surprised that you left David Peng’s blog… I hope you’ll continue to make an effort to reach out to more Han Chinese, because there are unfortunately not many Tibetans doing that. I hope you aren’t offended when I say the type of posts on Woeser’s blog are really disappointing to me; I believe they have given up on the Chinese community, and are writing only for themselves, or perhaps foreign supporters.
Do you know anything about what was said earlier in this thread, about hanyu being taught in exile schools? Someone mentioned that above, but didn’t provide any confirmation. Many of us would be interested in that, because it would show a real commitment to a shared Chinese nation.
I offered “The Trapped!” (someone claiming to be Tibetan from Chengdu) the opportunity to write a blog post here. He hasn’t accepted yet, any chance you’d be interested? Our goal is to reflect the voices of the Chinese… and you’re Chinese in my eyes, so I would love to hear your input. I’d love to hear, from your point of view as a Tibetan willing to accept me as a compatriot: for those of us who want the best for China, how should we think of and see the Tibet situation?
I really admire everything you’ve done for “blogging for China”, and I am honored to join your group, in order to make acquaintance with you and learn more different and interesting perspectives on China and Tibet.
The reason why I quitted David Peng’s blog, is that I am trying to forget my Chinese. I have used Chinese so frequently and I am so good at it, I even speak this language in my dreams, instead of speaking my mother tongue Tibetan! Anyway, I have enjoyed communicating with these commentators on Peng’s blog, they are really nice and profound intellectuals, and I think most of them are Chinese North Americans at their middle age. I specially appreciate their interest in Tibet.
I’ll contact my Tibetan friends in India soon, to find out that if Chinese is taught in the Tibetan communities in India and Nepal. However, every Tibetan from those 2 countries I know doesn’t speak Chinese at all, or speak quite little Chinese. I remember that when I was in Tibet, we always laughed at those Tibetan’Chinese, poor and funny. In Tibetan, verb always comes after the object, so they always make this kind of errors when they speak Chinese, such as they say “I you hate” instead of I hate you,”I you love” instead of I love you. The Tibetan grammar system is quite similar with that of Japanese, so they make similar errors like the Japanese do, such as “花姑娘大大的好，or 你什么的干活”.
By the way, I’d like to discuss more about “what does it mean to be Chinese”. For example, As a matter of fact, I can’t deny I am your compatriot, simply because I was born in China and my Chinese is very good, although I am Tibetan and I speak Tibetan at the same time; but if you could have the chance to make acquaintance with those Tibetans from India or Nepal, you may only communicate with them in English. I think most of them will appear to be spiritual and flexible, they are totally different from any Chinese.
Tibet has the most profound religious culture on earth, and the Tibetan value system could contribute more significantly to our world, if the Tibetan way of life could be preserved from the current government policy. Tibetans value wisdom and compassion, which may lead to harmony among human beings, harmony between human beings and the nature. Personly, I am glad that Tibet is part of China and we are able to live with the han Chinese in a same family, but I will like China more if diversity could be respested. Anyway, the governance in China has to be improved for so many people, who want the best for China.
I like the idea of introducing more minority culture/history/language education in ALL schools. In China, we see minorities dancing and singing on TV, or dressed in costumes for the National People’s Congress… in some ways, that’s better than what exists in the West… but at a far deeper level, I think its true most Han Chinese are deeply ignorant.
However, this probably will not be possible without comprehensive education reform which makes gaokao less important first…
You probably know that the latest meeting between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and Beijing officials already completed. On the Beijing side, the Chinese media is talking about a change from “three stops” (三个停止) to “four no supports” (四个不支持). Maybe I am too naive, but isn’t that some kind of progress?
Isn’t this a more specific request than what existed before? Shouldn’t it be easier for the Dalai Lama to show that he is not supporting these four things? But it looks like the Dalai Lama’s representatives are unhappy, and insist that Beijing isn’t giving them anything.
What’s your analysis on this?
Buxi, I am interested in knowing why you are so obsessed with whether Tibetans learn or are taught Chinese. What good will learning Chinese do for Tibetans?
So Woeser’s posts disappoints you? Thats good to know. Looks like you basically dont like anyone who challenge the official line on Tibet.
And you don’t trust the Dalai Lama and feign shock that after the recent rounds of “talks” his envoys are disappointed. Why shouldn’t they? Xinhua quoted some officials saying the talks are about the personal future of the Dalai Lama and not the aspirations of the Tibetans. You call the “three stops” and “four no supports” progress? What are these? They are the same old accusations against the Dalai Lama. If tomorrow I accuse you of beating your wife/girlfriend/child/neighbour and then demand you stop beating, even though you dont have a wife/gf/child/neighbour, will you call it progress?
What good will learning Chinese do for Tibetans ?
a similar question is “what good will learning English do for Chinese?”
Han chinese bring business into Tibet, do you want to hire a guy who you cant even communte with ?
You are out-numbered on this thread. At least two other Tibetans were interested in discussing the topic of Chinese being taught to the Tibetan community in exile, and understand precisely why we’re interested in that question.
But I will be happy to explain to you why I care about that issue. We’re all trying to figure out if the Dalai Lama wants the same things we do: preserving Tibetan culture/religion in a united, multi-ethnic China with its current borders. If he has started teaching Chinese in exile, then I am more likely to believe that’s what he wants; it won’t hurt Tibetan culture/religion, but it will help preserve unity in China.
If he hasn’t done that… well, that’s just one more piece of evidence that he has a political purpose in mind that I oppose.
I couldn’t care less about whether I am outnumbered or not. That is one thing China can always claim with more than a billion people. Quality and not quantity, elementary, Sherlock might say.
The onus, as I see it, is not on the Dalai Lama to prove anything. He talks the talk and walks the walk, unless you have CCTV blinders on you. Like I said before, the Dalai Lama does not have to prove that he doesn’t beat his wife. Why? He is not married.
I read your article on the Weng’an affair. Why are you cynical of official median with regard to Weng’an issue and completely trust them for Tibet issue?
The better question is: why do you assume I “completely trust” the official media on the Tibet issue, when I read it with a critical mind at other times?
My answer is: I don’t at all trust the official media. I’ve read about the Tibet issue from every angle I could get my hands on. I read WTN; I read Phayul; I used to be a subscriber to the TIN in its prior form; I’ve read all of the major Western books (Grunfeld, Shakya, Goldstein) on Tibet. I don’t pretend to know everything, but I have a pretty good idea of the issues involved.
And my position is still what it is.
As far as the Dalai Lama having to prove anything… well, he doesn’t have to do anything. If he doesn’t care that most Chinese believe he secretly still wants Tibetan independence, then he doesn’t have to prove anything to us. If he doesn’t care that most Chinese oppose any kind of an agreement with him, then he can continue to “talk the talk” and “walk the walk” the way he has been over the past 20 years.
He has a choice here. Either convince us and work with us on a compromise solution, or ignore us and fight against us.
I thought you were here to discuss and share ideas and not stick to your guns, if I may. YOu might have read WTN, phayul, TIN, for all I care, when you proudly claim, “my position is still what it is,” I don’t have to add anything.
By the way I would love to know where you exactly stand on the relationship between Tibet and China.
You might think that the issue of Tibet is about the Dalai Lama trying to convince the Beijing rulers. I would like to point out that it maybe the other way round. Tibetans protest and continue to protest inside and outside because even after 50 years of total control, Beijing has not been able to convince Tibetans that they are better off as a part of PRC. You may try to spin it any way you like, but people rise up because they are not happy and discontentment towards the rulers. To think that Tibetans are controlled by outside forces is a very narrow minded and racist insult to Tibetan intelligence.
Do you really think the barbarian Tibetans dont know what is best of us?
Please don’t upset, my friend. There will be no winner if solving problem with violence, I think both of us agree with this and that’s why we are here. I don’t want to argue with you on Tibet issue because my English is not good enough, however I’d like to offer my personal analysis on current situation.
In the past, thanks to the low credibility of CCP propaganda, there was no counterpart to the voice of TIEG. Consequently, TIEG is the only and unchallengeable information source about Tibet in western society. But things change recently, the voice of overseas Chinese is getting stronger. You can tell from the debates all around the world early this year. I don’t want to say any side is right or wrong, as it may be totally opposite from different view. In my opinion, these voices do have an impact on the political influence of Dalai Lama, which can be positive or negative, depends on how he deals with it.
According my understanding, the majority of overseas Chinese don’t fancy CCP at all, perhaps overall score on CCP is half good half bad (or 30% positive and 70% negative?), not to mention being brainwashed by it. If Dalai Lama is really seeking “freedom in Tibet” not independence, many of these people will be his ally when negotiating with Beijing government. But only nice speech is not good enough to gain their support. For you, Dalai Lama is His Holiness who has all your faith; meanwhile, for many overseas Chinese including me, he is a politician whose credibility isn’t automatically granted and needs to do something to earn it.
If he chooses to ignore these people as your suggestion, I am afraid that’s not a good idea. Given that happens, the middle way will be treated as a cover for the independent Tibet campaign by these people. Moreover, these overseas Chinese can be huge resistance to the middle way and turn to the side of Beijing government as no better choice available. I just can’t understand why a smart person like Dalai Lama pushes potential supporter away to stand with the opponent.
To sum up, I can understand your feeling when some people ask for proving from your H.H. But if you have read the Xinhua reports in 1940s, you may understand why nice speeches are not very convincing to us. After all, it is Dalai Lama’s choice to get our support or not.
I think chorasmian has already laid out a very intelligent response.
I just want to add by explaining that when I say I have read those things… I don’t mean to suggest I’m “done” learning/discussing. I am still interested in what you or others have to say. I am only trying to counter your suggestion that I “trust” the state media. I might share the state media’s opinion on a few things, but my knowledge of the world comes from other sources. And I’m open to hearing new ideas/sources.
As far as Tibet… my personal feeling is that regardless of the very complicated history, China is what it is today. It has survived two centuries of upheaval, and we are all trying to define how the modern Chinese nation will be going forward.
Over the last thousand years, the Han have rarely been dominant in China… Han culture has itself been significantly influenced by Manchu/Mongol (and through them Tibetan) culture. I think we should continue with that trend. A China that respects all cultures.I would like to see a China that lives up to the government’s promises of a multi-ethnic/mult-cultural country, that reflects the fact we’ve been living on this same area of the earth, invading/learning/marrying with and from each other for two thousand years.
I would also like to see a China that is strong and united, because although the world has evolved, it is still a competitive environment. For our own selfish interests, I think we should work past our differences, and find a way to be united.
The argument about the Dalai Lama needing to work with the Chinese government and Chinese people might sound intelligent. Yet there is one fundamental flaw in that. Assuming that the problem that China faces in Tibet is due to him. Why did the Tibetans protested in the first place? Does it make sense for any govt to ignore the underlying issues and start blaming “the outside forces”? This is what I meant by saying you trust the official stand more with regard to Tibet.
Give Tibetans some say over what they want in Tibet, truly involve them in decisions about their way of life, respect their culture and you don’t need to care about what the Dalai Lama says. He will be redundant.
Well, you’ll probably disagree with me, but I think a lot of that is already happening. There is definitely room for improvement, but I think the majority of government policies in Tibet are designed the right way. There is plenty of respect for culture, there is substantial education in Tibetan language, and there is extensive affirmative action.
But you’re certainly right there are things that can improve. Appointing a Tibetan party secretary to the TAR would at least be symbolically good. Changing the current system in which non-Tibetan officials are given high-pay to rotate in for 3 years would also be good… that policy means you constantly have insensitive/inexperienced officials who are in Tibet to make money.
But, and this is a very important but, many of these policies are being perverted in practice precisely because of the on-going conflict with the Dalai Lama-“inspired” independence movement. Because of the on-going conflict, officials are spending their time focused on fighting separatism instead of refining the system.
It’s a chicken and the egg problem. If the Dalai Lama wasn’t in exile, Chinese government policies in Tibet would be better. But if Chinese government policies in Tibet were better, perhaps the Dalai Lama wouldn’t need to be in exile, right? It’s a real dilemma. How do we solve this problem? The win-win solution is the Dalai Lama returns, swears off any sort of independence talk (with the same passion he feels towards the Shugden issue), but insists on improvements on language/culture protection and improvements in government.
If the Dalai Lama can win over the people in the West, I don’t see why he can’t do the same in China… if only he tried. Many have talked about “Tibet fever” in China over the last 3-5 years… middle class Chinese are very interested in Tibetan culture. If the political problem could be solved, if the Dalai Lama + successors trusted the Chinese people + nation, then there is plenty of room for fundamental improvements in policy in Tibet.
Thanks for your respond. There are two points in your comment I can’t agree with.
Firstly, you said “give ……….He will be redundant”. I am afraid it is not the case. Cultural unawareness is much more significant than we thought. You can tell from the history, the Beijing government even has trouble getting feedback from its Han citizens, which is not uncommon in authoritarian system. I don’t expect it can spontaneously know the demand of Tibetan, a different culture. For the interest of Tibetan, Dalai Lama is the best candidate and has the responsibility to represent Tibetan people to negotiate with Beijing government. Most importantly, the middle way he claims, and I support, is the only possible solution to Tibet problem. Yes, Dalai Lama can retire after a working system established. However, the building of this system isn’t started yet and the whole construction procedure needs his contribution. Hopefully, we can talk about if he is redundant 10 years later.
Secondly, I don’t really know what “the outside forces” mean. Surely Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan, is not an outsider. The US congress? Dalai Lama has already declared that the connection with CIA was stopped 30+ years ago. The funding from NED to TYC is a bit concern to me, though my knowledge on this issue is not enough to draw any conclusion. I will keep an eye on it in the future.
I agree with you that the opinion “assuming that the problem that China faces in Tibet is due to him (Dalai Lama)” is ridiculous. The problem is basically people from two (perhaps I should say many, as Hui, Qiang, Naxi and many other ethnics are included in this area) cultures try to find a way to live together peacefully. If there is any one needed to be responsible to this tragedy, it can only be Beijing government, because it is its responsibility to make the majority happy. Though I think the government does respect Tibetan culture, but they fail to make some Tibetan people believe it. Even worse, they are actually ruining their reputation in Tibet area because making policy according their self-feedback understanding.
Moreover, I can explain why I only mention the “pre-condition” on Dalai Lama, though I clearly know negotiation is an interaction between both sides, and Beijing government need to work with Dalai Lama and Tibetan people as well. Generally, that’s because I am Han Chinese and I am pretty sure many overseas Chinese will agree with me. Meanwhile, because I don’t know what exactly Tibetan people want, I can’t assume anything. If you don’t mind my ignorance, in my opinion, at the very least, Beijing government should do the following to gain its credibility in Dalai Lama side. 1. Stop describing Dalai Lama as separatist. 2. Stop banning religion worship to Dalai Lama. 3. Welcome Dalai Lama home. I know you must have many different ideas. Can you tell me what should Beijing government do to make you believe they are really going to work with middle way? At least you can give me a clue whether Beijing is that stupid.
BTW, may I ask you a question? Given that CCP was overthrown and ROC (or Manchu, or even Tibetan) united China including Tibet, will you happy to stay in China? Because of the complicacy of Tibet problem, I don’t really know what your target is. CCP? Han Chinese? Anyone live in China outside of Tibet? Or just don’t want to be part of the family?
Buxi, you are just talking at me. So, i dont see the use of continuing my discussion with you. The Central government is doing great in China. There is no problem. Everything is due to western hostile forces and the biased western media and the dalai clique. Be happy.
chorasmian: I think the central government does not have to learn Tibetan culture or tradition. I believe that they truly know where it lies. That is why the monasteries, monks, nuns and educated tibetans have been targeted after march this year.
You say that you think the middle way policy is the most practical and the only solution to the Tibet issue. Only time can tell. The way I see it is it seems to be stuck somewhere. And I know many Tibetans are getting exasperated due to that. I have friends who are from TYC and I have defended the Dalai Lama’s middle way policy. We have had animated discussions and we agree to disagree. Yet ultimately I guess the Tibetans in Tibet will decide what they truly want for thier future.
I read in the news today that the foreign misntry spokesperson said that the Dalai lama is not qualified to talk about the future of Tibet. So I dont think there is any sort of negotiation happening with the Tibetans in exile and the Chinese govt.
Anyway, to answer your question, what exactly is the family you talk about? I am just another tibetan who is worried about my culture and tradition being marginalised and I deeply care about that.
I am a little tired today so I will keep this short.
I think you have overestimated the intelligence of CCP; they are not that group of elites in 1940s anymore. Yes, they target the monasteries, but that’s only a very low level instant reaction, and the only reason is they think monks are troublemaker. I know exactly what the reeducation program is as I had the experience in 1989. It is just like a scared kid needs someone to say “it’s OK, you are safe”. I can assure you that they can only upset Tibetans and cause more trouble to CCP themselves, nothing more nothing less. It is well known that photo of Dalai Lama is banned in Tibet, but almost every Tibetan I met in Tibet have it and show to me without hesitation. You may argue that they are so brave that dare to challenge the evil communist ruler. But if the majority of people are brave enough to cross the line, I think a more reasonable explanation is this policy isn’t systemically executed at all. Furthermore, I don’t think they have the intention to destroy Tibetan culture. For example, they could do that in around 1980 but didn’t.
Regarding middle way policy, I still think it is the only way, or more precisely the only good way. Because any violent measure, either from CCP or Tibetan, can’t be a solution but a tragedy. Given the unlikely happened, Tibet problem became violent conflict between Tibetan and Han, or even the worst, a war, then Tibetan will be destroyed and Han will be half dead (not mean to offend you, it’s true if think about population and resource scale). As I said there will be no winner. It is said that some Tibetan hard liners claim “if Han feel the pain, they will let go”. That’s totally wrong. There is one thing very similar in Tibetan and Han culture, the more hurts we feel, the stronger we bounce back. So I sincerely hope Beijing government can stop hurting feeling of Tibetans, and Tibetans don’t go through violence.
To some extent, I agree with you that the middle way policy stuck some where, and I guess I know where it is. For Beijing, they don’t believe Dalai Lama is really working on it. It is understandable. Even I, a middle way supporter, don’t think Dalai Lama has proven himself enough. How can a tough negotiator like Beijing government trust him? On the other hand, Beijing doesn’t want to give up its direct control on that area. It is normal for an authoritarian administration. Only pressure can make it happens. The problem is where the pressure from? From violent threatening? As I said, it won’t work. From western public voice? They can survive even worse situation in 1989. I think the best way to strengthen the influence of Dalai Lama to Beijing government is getting as much support as possible from ordinary Chinese people.
The family I mentioned means China; I don’t know if you are comfortable with the way I put it. Anyway, a united China is my bottom line. I don’t care who is running this country if he can do it well. PRC, ROC, or Qing sounds no differences to me; even change the name China to Tibet is OK for me (though I don’t know how many Chinese can accept this). That’s why I say no to “free Tibet” campaign.
Regarding marginalization, in this globalized world, Tibetan culture is so popular that I am afraid you are over worried.
I am very happy to have this chance to discuss with you. Hopefully, it can continue as far as my English level can afford.
very well said on your #74L!!
Because they are just exactly what I’ve been thinking and want to say. I never care which party CCP,KMT,DPP or Dalai Lama as the government of China as long as they are able to lead country . But as far I only thought Dalai Lama could be the state leader or spirit leader for all Buddhism in China and never thought about the name of Tibet. It’s not a bad idea. the name of “China” was chosen by foreigners. We never call ourself anything sounds close to that(maybe Qin).
also regarding the reeducation, I happened to be reeducated in 89 as well. the reeducation did not achieve anything and would not achieve anything.
if I have a look at between Han culture and Tibetan culture. our Han culture has already been genocide. of course, culture revolution has destroyed a lot but I think mostly caused by Modernization and Globalization happens everywhere in the world.
There was a window of opportunity this year to find a middle solution, but that window may already be closed or closing very fast.
There was this year at moment where confluence of opportunity and right persons could have achieved much to at least improve the situation in TB and also the image of CH, but it seems another option has been chosen.
The Dalai Lama (or the Dalai, or Mr X, or whatever you want to call him) is old and will die soon, when he is gone the exasperation will grow even greater, and the last chance to find a good solution for both sides will be lost, and the image of CH will be further tarnished.
The Dalai Lama is a very respected figure in many countries, not only in the west, have you asked yourself why? Have you ever considered the advantages it could mean to have reached a “meaningful” dialog about the issues that concern both CH and the Tibetans? Have you ever for a moment considered the deep impact that a positive dialog would have for the image of CH abroad? With just a little, much could have been achieved.
I am not a TB fan neither a Dalai Lama fan. I am not religious person, I just report what I see with open eyes and no prejudices. Take my report or leave it as you wish.
You should open your eyes and try to see beyond your own prejudices.
I’ll just echo my complete support for BMY and chorasmian’s comments. From what I have seen from talking to many Chinese, this is a very common position.
It’s amusing to me when people compare China to Nazi Germany. Back during those days, you could point to a large group of people who were fanatically loyal to Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party. In the year 2008, who in China is fanatically loyal to the Communist Party or even the People’s Republic of China? There are some (maybe members of the military), but they are a tiny minority. There are instead many, many proud Chinese who are loyal to China… however we finally define it. And this year is more proof of that.
Perhaps I am guilty of “talking at you”, but I was trying to respond to your comments by giving my most complete description of what I want to see for the future of China. I don’t expect that everyone on this planet (or even in China) will support my vision of China, but if you expect me to change my position from that bottom line… well, you will be disappointed.
I think under this description of China, there is a lot of room for accommodation and compromise of Tibetan concerns. But if you insist that there is no compromise possible under this bottom line, then that’s fine… we just won’t compromise.
Improving the “image of China” is a secondary goal to pursue; Chinese interests have to come first. Would your home country, or would the United States, change fundamental policies just to improve its image in the world view?
I think China has made its bottom line very clear on the Tibet issue. I’m concerned about the exact definition of “high degree of autonomy”, and I’m highly skeptical about the Dalai Lama’s implicit acceptance of those who reject his Middle Way. And as long as those concerns remain, I’m not going to blame the Chinese government for refusing to compromise.
Well, first of all… I would have a hard time supporting any government that put “image” ahead of real interests. And second of all, I doubt the image of China can be further tarnished on this issue. Frankly, I don’t think we have anything to lose.
It’s a common threat that without the Dalai Lama, the situation will become worse. That might be true, but I think it’s more accurate to describe it as a lose-lose scenario. But even as bad as that scenario is, I will not support a Chinese government that gives in on these fundamental issues, because I find that scenario even more unacceptable.
I agree with you about a country defending its interest, no argument with that.
But I think I perceive the present opportunity of the situation quite differently from you.
I am not advocating an independent TB, nor major changes in internal territorial distribution.
I deeply believe that if the situation were( or still… “is” ) managed correctly by both sides, no interest of CH will be damaged in the least (national integrity being main reason I think), and on the other hand the impact on improvement of CH world image would be so great, that I consider such an improvement of image of utmost importance to CH’s interests.
Sound paradoxical, ins´t it?
I think on both sides, TB and CH, and in this moment, the right persons are in place. Even if no agreement is reached, just establishing a truthful dialog, even for a limited time, would even have a positive effect, even in case of failure.
I think CH is unknowingly letting an “Olympic” opportunity sleep through its hands.
I am afraid CH’s side is letting its own indecision, fear or prejudices getting too much in its way… against its very own interest!!
Think over it a little.
@Buxi – I have met more than a few people who were as committed to communism (as they were taught to understand it) as any god-fearing Christian is committed to the teachings of the bible. They were young to be sure, but at 20 or 21 they were firm in believing that what they thought was communism (or what they thought was communism) was the true path, and all else was heresy.
There are more than you think, many more. Perhaps as a foreigner I brought it out in people, but that is something in itself.
I have read what the spokesmen said in the press releases on 15th and 17th of July, though I can’t find the news you mention, but he said there will be another talk in this OCT. Can you give me the link? I guess that if there can be any agreement between Beijing and Dalai Lama, it can only be an under table one at the first stage, as both parties are hijacked by the hard liner on their own side. I hope they can work it out.
I realize that my comment on #76 is a bit unfair to Dalai Lama and Tibetans. I’d like to emphasize here that CCP did and do hurt the feeling of Tibetan. When traveling in Tibet, I heard the propaganda broadcast there, which is heard by local people everyday. I can understand their feeling when their beloved Kundun is described as a devil (obviously, Beijing government doesn’t understand). It is really hard to ask them not to show out any anger. I don’t blame those people who burned National flag, even those who burned the shops, but I condemn those people who fanned it up. I would like to offer my sincerely sympathy to all my Tibetan brothers/sisters for their suffering.
According my understanding, what the Cultural Revolution destroyed is only the superficial symbol. Actually, Cultural Revolution is the dark side of our traditional culture. If you take off the ideological concepts, you might find that what Mao wanted is a typical Confucian society, of course he is the emperor. Putting the blame on one person is handy, but it won’t help preventing another tragedy. Borrow a sentence from Kung Fu panda, there is no accident.
I agree that respecting Dalai Lama comply with the interest of CCP themselves, but seems that CCP just don’t understand this. That’s why I always say CCP are stupid when dealing with people. However, I think Olympics is not an opportunity, but a trouble activator. Personally, I started boycotting Olympics since 1988; this year won’t be an exemption.
China is too diverse to have only one opinion on any topic. Only CCP dare to claim representing all Chinese. How much communism supporters are there in China? I am afraid nobody can tell. I just want to give you my advice, because of the education system in China, never trust their political stance when they are younger than 30.
“because of the education system in China, never trust their political stance when they are younger than 30.”
I couldn’t agree more. (This is true in many parts of the world, though, but in my case it was more that I believed strongly in my parents’ worldview rather than what the educational system tried to put in my head)
“… as both parties are hijacked by the hard liner on their own side. ”
Hhhmmm……. Time to be hard with the hardliners maybe? 😉
Not being a hardliner does not meant not to be hard… sometimes ( with them!). Specially if the opportunity to catch is a good one
Not a few problems could have been solved/avoided in the past by bending some… “stiff necks”.
I totally agree with you “Putting the blame on one person is handy, but it won’t help preventing another tragedy. Borrow a sentence from Kung Fu panda, there is no accident”
But I don’t think only superficial symbol was destroyed. the believing and acknowledgments were deeply destroyed. of course the destruction was not only caused by culture revolution. the never ending wars since late Qing also destroyed people’s abilities to carry on culture from one generation to next generation.
I would like to know better your defination of “hardliners” on both side. Who are the moderate ones in the CCP and where do they stand?
http://tibet.ca/en/newsroom/wtn/3199 Here is the link to the statement I was referring to earlier. You can make up your mind after that. So if the talk is just about the future of the Dalai Lama, i don’t see any use of it for common Tibetans like me.
I understand what you mean when you said that first few times it might have to be under the table deal. Yet this contact has been happening since 2002 and I am still waiting for any under the table deal. The Dalai Lama and the exile Tibetan administration declared the Middle Way approach in 1989. So this is not somethign that started this year.
You are right about not blaming just Mao for all the debacles and sufferings in CHina and Tibet. After all the present rulers are continuation of Mao’s line and they too are to be blamed for it.
I think you need to study more on cultural revolution. It wasn’t just a superficial destruction aimed at tradition. During that period we saw relentless destruction of religion in Tibet and countless religious artifacts and monasteries. Unfortunately with regard to Tibet, the Communist authority’s approach has not changed a little. In 1996 the “Strike Hard” campaign was initiated, specifically targeting Tibetan Buddhism. This campaign has been vehemently pursued in recent years.
The CCP passed a new law in 2007 requiring lamas to get permission to be reborn and no one is allowed to be reborn outside China/Tibet. Everyone in the Tibetan world has no doubt for whom this law is target for, the next Dalai Lama. Does this show ignorance or just willful ignoring and efforts at manipulating Tibetan way of life.
Rulers and times have changed but Tibet and China has lived as neighbours for thousands of years. Sometimes Tibet was controlled by China and CHina by Tibet where each of our armies marched up to the capitals. At other times we were both controlled by others like the Mongols. Yet until the CCP occupation of there has not been a direct animosity between Chinese and Tibetan people. Of course we had differences and many wars between us. But there was generally a respect and tolerance between Tibetans and Chinese.
Today the policies initiated by the CCP for the past 60 years is creating some sort of hatred between the two people. And that is what worries me. CCP to divert any complaints to its rule is nurturing, through control of information and manipulation of media a pseudo-nationalism or jingoism. This will never help anyone.
Its been a pleasure discussing things with you chorasmian. I am here neither to convince anyone nor to defend anyone else. I am here to share my own thoughts and learn and hear thought from Chinese people. I couldn’t care less about the official stand of the Beijing rulers with regard to Tibet and the Dalai Lama. I can go to XInhua or the CHina DAily. Or watch CCTV International. Rulers and times will change. Nothing is permanent. Yet Tibetans and CHinese have to live as neighbours. It depends on us whether we want to live as friendly neighbours for all the future to come.
It seems that our conversation is going to cover all aspects of Han-Tibetan relationship. 🙂
For me, the “hardliner” from Beijing side are those people who refuse to make any compromise with Dalai Lama because they believe in force and Dalai Lama has no cards in hand. Obviously, the guy in the news you mention is one, or a messenger, of them. What on earth can give him the right to decide who can represent Tibetan? Basically, they are those think with adrenaline instead of brain. The counterpart from the other side is those people like TYC struggle for independence of great Tibet. From my point of view, that’s impractical and selfish. In the past 20 years, I can see many interactions between both sides on negotiation. Yet no breakthrough happened is because of the hardliners on both sides and the influence from outer world. How can they negotiate smoothly under such a spotlight?
Because the way CCP runs their administration, I don’t know who the particular moderate one currently is. But in the past, I think Hu Yao Bang could be count as one, as what he wanted was generally based on 17 points agreement which is not very far from middle way policy. If there is any one in CCP who plan to take this way now or in the future, he needs to be free from the risk of letting Tibet separated, and needs the positive feedbacks from Dalai Lama and Tibetan people; otherwise they can’t prove they have better way than hardliners in CCP. There are always arguments inside CCP, though these arguments (or power competition if you want to put it that way) are little known in detail to the public. For example, if Wen Jiabao didn’t become prime minister, not many people notice he was that guy stood behind Zhao Ziyang in 1989.
I can understand your concern about the future of Tibetan culture. I guess you don’t trust any offer from CCP at all, neither from the soft-liners nor hardliner. That’s why I ask Beijing do the right thing to show their respect to Tibetan culture instead of that silly “reeducation program”. But saying approach of Beijing to Tibet change little in post-Mao era is unfair. It differed from time to time. In early 1980s, basically all monasteries were destroyed in cultural revolution, if Beijing mean to destroy Tibetan culture, why did they bother to rebuild them? If they did as western government, say Australia, did recently to aboriginals, claiming that we had been very wrong in history, we had committed a severe crime blah blah…but refuse funding any rebuild project. They had a million excuses to do that given the economic situation then. What situation it could be today? Every one in the world is satisfied except people live there. Forgive me for mentioning this evil plan, thank god it did happen.
The new law in 2007 is just another prove for their ignorance. The target is so clear that it can fool nobody except themselves. It actually will, opposite to their will, destroy the legitimacy of the Beijing pointed 15th Dalai Lama, even bring negative impact on the Beijing pointed 11th Panchen whose legitimacy is already controversial. They can get better outcome by using golden urn without this ridiculous law. Just imagine if CCP had pointed Ma Ying Jiu to be president of ROC before this May, could he win the election? If they had done that to ROC, you will call it ignorance as well. Again, this can only upset Tibetan people and get more resistance from them. The “strike hard” campaign in 1996 I think is mainly an overreaction to the conflict of 11th Panchen selection.
To avoid the worst, when the soft-liners in Beijing have the chance to make policy, I hope Tibetan people can be a bit more patient, give some positive feedback and use them as agency to fight with the hardliners. Moreover, because the tradition in Han is largely destroyed, Tibetan culture is very attractive to Han Chinese. When communicate with them, please forgive their mindless insult, like calling “Dalai”, pointing holly mountain with improper manner, etc, and show them the beauty of Tibetan culture. Your culture is more viable than you thought.
I’m happy that a Tibetan has visited this blog to share his concerns… Keep up the good work!
We have had posts from several other Tibetans on this blog. Including:
The Trapped!, who says he is in Chengdu.
phoenox in this very thread. He is also ‘flatfish’, the author of the article that I translated here.