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Opinion: Dear Mr. Dalai Lama … please tear down this wall!

January 24th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

On January 19, 2009, Tibetan legislators endorsed unanimously a bill designating March 28 as Serfs Emancipation Day, a day designated officially to mark the freeing of 1 million serfs from serfdom 50 years ago.

For many ethnic Tibetans, this day represents a celebration of freedom (from cast and class based oppression), economic empowerment, and social and political liberation that has been a long time coming.  The day has been held hostage for so long partly because the government, in hopes of trying to convince the Dalai Lama to return back to China, had not wanted to mark the occasion while the Dalai Lama was still in exile.  But one cannot hold back a celebration of freedom forever, and fifty years has been a long time…

Many Tibetans in exile – under the leadership of the Dalai Lama – have expressed outrage at the holiday.  They see this as an underhanded way for the Chinese government to celebrate the flight of the Dalai Lama into exile.

However, Mr. Dalai Lama, if you are the religious and cultural, non-political leader you claim to be, allow yourself to see that the celebration of the end of an institution as oppressive as serfdom is inherently a celebration of freedom and empowerment – a celebration of humanity itself.

You have been known for euphemizing serfdom and the condition of the common people in old Tibet in the past.   You have pronounced while in exile, for example, that “[i]n the past, we Tibetans lived in peace and contentment under the Buddhist light shinning over our snow land. … Our serf system is different from any other serf system, because Tibet is sparsely populated, and Buddhism, which is for the happiness and benefit of the people, advises people to love each other.”

In reality, however, serfdom – including the Tibetan form – is a form of slavery and is a despicable human enterprise no matter how one views it.

In old Tibet, serfs accounted for more than 90 percent of the population and were treated as private property by their owners (mostly aristocrats, monasteries and government officials). Landowners were entitled to legally insult, punish, buy and sell, give away, whip and even kill their serfs.

Serfs were classified into three categories in accordance with their possessions — Tralpa, Duchung and Nangsan, with the last confined to live lives in the most miserable of conditions. The brutality of landowners have been well documented, including in photographs showing instances where slaves’ eyes have been gouged out, fingers chopped off, noses cut and the tendons of their feet removed.

As late as the late 1940’s, in celebration of one of your birthdays, local government officials had ordered human skulls, blood, skin and guts to be prepared in your honor.

Over the last 50 years, you have tried to build a wall of fear, distrust, and hate between ethnic Tibetans and their Chinese brethren. I wonder if you still remember yourself famously pronouncing once that ethnic Tibetans and their Chinese brethren must always work and live together as one people?  Do you remember the decade or so in which you had worked tirelessly with the government of the People’s Republic of China in implementing reform for the benefit of the common people? Do you remember that you yourself (and in fact, all  Dalai Lamas dating back to great Fifth Dalai Lama) had obtained your (their) legitimacy of title and status from the Chinese central government?

If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Tibet Autonomous Region and the greater Chinese nation, if you seek continued reform, empowerment and liberalization for one fifth of humanity, including the Tibetan people: Come here to this gate! Open (or re-open as the case may be) the gate of unity and collaboration! Tear down this wall of fear, hate, and distrust!

Join us in a celebration of life and freedom. And if you can … work to return … so we can build a more open, tolerant, peaceful and harmonious society in modern Tibet – together…

  1. January 24th, 2009 at 03:40 | #1

    Uh… rhetorically, that’s clever enough. A little like saying, “Mr. Hu, we will be celebrating Japan’s freeing of the Chinese from warlord barbarism day. If you indeed are for stability, surely you will join us in this celebration and set old feelings aside.” Or, “Mr. Abbas, I hope you will join Israel in celebrating ‘Settlement Day.’ Settlers are against Palestinian terrorists and you yourself have said that terrorism is wrong on several occasions, so won’t you join us?” Or, “Native Americans, we are today celebrating the end of your [insert bygone, obscure brutal practice] at the hands of white missionaries and the cavalry, won’t you join us?”

    I don’t mean that Japanese rule over China and Israeli rule in Palestine or U.S. rule over Native Americans and the current rule in Tibet are all the same… just that all the above pronouncements, including your own, are clearly meant to be provocative, not to accomplish anything more or less. People don’t like to be lectured about the glorious deeds of those that have vanquished them—a point you yourself have made in so many words at times in regards to China. And you are simplifying the history of Tibet to the point of absurdity.

    On a side note, I suppose those “Tibetan legislators” who somehow unanimously approved the holiday are representative, in their complete consensus, of all Tibetans? If not, then how could they possibly be unanimous? Or was it just a fluke and they usually have lively debates, with a full range of opinions on display?

    I really shouldn’t get into this… I just get angry and incoherent and these Tibet threads go back and forth forever. Forgive me if I don’t follow up for a bit.

  2. January 24th, 2009 at 03:44 | #2

    Please note that the “if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity” line is a line borrowed from Reagan to Gorbachev regarding the Berlin Wall.

    General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

  3. January 24th, 2009 at 03:52 | #3

    Sorry, I’ll break what I just said and respond right away. Reagan was the absolute master of making condescending statements to defeated peoples. He went on about celebrating liberty to Central Americans as he supported a terrorist organization (the Contras) in Nicaragua and a brutal dictatorship in El Salvador. Maybe if he’d been constitutionally allowed to serve more terms—or if the Republicans had thought of it—we would have a “celebrate the liberation of Latin America” day. Quoting him does, truly, seem fitting for the your polemic above. No arguments there.

    Of course, you might argue that H.H. the Dalai Lama is a hypocrite, too. Fine. But that’s all a post like this will accomplish: initiate a round of name-calling.

  4. HongKonger
    January 24th, 2009 at 04:25 | #4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDvBXPswAcs

    Celebrate good times , com’on!

    Allen

    “Mr. Dalai Lama, if you are the religious and cultural, non-political leader you claim to be, allow yourself to see that the celebration of the end of an institution as oppressive as serfdom is inherently a celebration of empowerment and freedom – a celebration of humanity itself.”

  5. HongKonger
    January 24th, 2009 at 04:26 | #5

    Oh, there it is!

    LOL…very clever article, Allen.

  6. January 24th, 2009 at 04:48 | #6

    @ Hong Konger,

    The military music in the video you posted is appropriate. As is your call to “com’on,” which I take to mean you want to kick start some sort of long back and forth, with points to be scored by each side and thumbs to be pointed up or down.

    But screw this… there’s nothing that’s going to be said in this thread that hasn’t been said before by both “sides.” The whole “sides” thing is half the problem.

    Allen will put something up that’s meant be provocative. I or someone else will take the bait and go on a rant, eventually saying things we only partially meant to say. You’ll find some video with military music and accusations about naiive foreigners and corrupt lamas.

    And… it’s fine for letting off steam, for pretending that the world is one long contest, but that’s it.

  7. HongKonger
    January 24th, 2009 at 04:54 | #7

    “But that’s all a post like this will accomplish: initiate a round of name-calling.”

    Self fulfilling prophesy ?

    I was going to say “I agree with most what OTR said above.” Well, I still do.

    Ok, boys & girls, speak your mind, let off steam, but hold the name-calling please.

  8. January 24th, 2009 at 05:10 | #8

    Haha. Fair enough. That was a bit of a self-fulfilling prophesy. Maybe I’m not cut out for debates about Tibet—I get a bit carried away. 🙂

  9. S.K. Cheung
    January 24th, 2009 at 05:35 | #9

    To OTR #1:
    well said indeed. I actually think Allen showed some restraint, as rhetoric goes. “For many ethnic Tibetans…” – I think some in these parts would’ve gone with “most”, and some probably with “all”. So he’s at least tacitly acknowledging the possibility that some TIbetans may not share his enthusiasms.

    One of the things that has befuddled me is that, if people are so convinced of the good China has bestowed upon Tibetans, then why not just ask them? The usual retort is that TIbetans have as many (or as few, depending on your POV) political rights as all other Chinese, and there is no reason to give them special treatment by having a referendum or something of the sort. That’s great, but how many regions are autonomous; how many other ethnic minorities have been the principles in 50 years-worth of negotiations; how many other minorities have been the subject of discussion and debate as that of the Tibetans? I’d say they’ve declared themselves as a unique situation. Often, unique situations are well-served by unique solutions.

  10. Steve
    January 24th, 2009 at 05:40 | #10

    I have a question for the group: What is different in an “autonomous” region in China? Are the laws different? Is the government setup different? Are the rights of the people living there different? Different in what ways? I’ve never understood what “autonomous” really means in those areas.

    There are five autonomous regions in China. Are they all governed in the same way?

  11. HongKonger
    January 24th, 2009 at 05:57 | #11

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoxOHPzg9b8&feature=related

    I kinda like his circle and square analogy. I think good people like FOARP for example have made it plain many times that just because he has much to complain about certain things in a certain country doesn’t mean he hates that country’s people and their culture. So let’s have a little faith in each other – afterall, fools are designated to mive mountains, not smartasses.

    I really hope the above video does not offend anyone. Well, that’s not a realistic expectation. Ok, if it does, take a deep breath, think again, and then if you just couldn’t hold it, dump a kickass (no vitriolics please) comment either here or on youtube, and please then enjoy the rest of this fine day. Cheers.

  12. S.K. Cheung
    January 24th, 2009 at 06:13 | #12

    To HKer:
    cute video. Dig the circles and squares. Some of the other stuff, maybe not so much. But like you say, it’s a beautiful day, and tomorrow will bring another (hopefully).

  13. January 24th, 2009 at 06:27 | #13

    @HongKonger #4,

    Thanks for that video. It’s not a bad video – though the maker of the video was probably not the most careful or meticulous of documentary makers … since in a map about 1:02 into the video, he accidentally left Taiwan out of the map of China.

    Taiwan was in a completely different color!

    That’s NOT excusable in my opinion.

    I understand how Westerners might misplace Tibet on the world map, but to have a Chinese (I presume he is Chinese) misplace Taiwan from the map of China – that’s COMPLETELY … TOTALLY … inexcusable.

    So – if anyone knows this guy’s number, let me know, I’ll give him a call and shape him up a little…

  14. Steve
    January 24th, 2009 at 06:28 | #14

    HKer: How did you find this video?? Are you a YouTube junkie or just have a lot of friends emailing you? 😀

    I completely agree with your main point. Just because someone doesn’t like one position of the Chinese government, American government, Hu, Obama, Bush, DL, KMT, DDP, etc. doesn’t mean they are for or against every other position. There are a lot of discussions that take place where I hear both sides but have no idea what the actual reality is. Tibet is a good example; I hear from both sides but neither has really convinced me because I never seem to hear from any Tibetans living in Tibet. I have a pretty good idea of what most Han Chinese think. I have a pretty good idea of what most Tibetan exiles think. If I could take a trip to Tibet and wander around for a few weeks, I think I’d have a pretty good handle on what people were thinking. My guess is that there would be elements of both sides and some new ideas thrown in, but only going there would really let me know.

    Do you know if this Serf Emancipation Day is a local or national holiday? I had just assumed it was national but from some of the comments, now I’m beginning to think it is local. That changes a lot, in my mind. If it were a national holiday, it’d make more sense to me but as a local holiday, it seems more propagandistic. Comparing it to MLK’s birthday, he strove to bring equality to African Americans, yet we all celebrate his life and efforts. If Serf Emancipation Day brought relief to one segment of Chinese society, I would think it’d be celebrated by all.

  15. Steve
    January 24th, 2009 at 06:29 | #15

    @ Allen #13: He must have got that map off the cover of an old Lonely Planet China guidebook. 😛

  16. HongKonger
    January 24th, 2009 at 07:00 | #16

    #14 Steve: Me, a youtube junkie? You’re one of those friends who got me started, (Remember your China’s underground music post?) ::LOL::

    According to China Economic Net: “They will submit a motion for this establishment on Friday at the second annual session of the regional People’s Congress, the regional legislature, which runs from January 14 to 19. If approved, it would help the whole Chinese nation, including Tibetans, remember history, according to Legqog, director of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Regional People’s Congress. http://en.ce.cn/National/Politics/200901/16/t20090116_17978182.shtml

    Sounds like a National holiday to me.

    While we are at it, here’s more very interesting video-infos on China by other white folks:

    (1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xsoc4-QnplY&eurl=http://www.youtube.com/user/speakercn

    (2) http://www.monarex.com/chinacol.htm

  17. HongKonger
    January 24th, 2009 at 07:19 | #17

    Here’s something about the veteran film-maker and producer who made the above videos:

    Chris D. Nebe — Tearing Down the Walls…..

    CHRIS D. NEBE, President of MONAREX HOLLYWOOD CORPORATION, founded in 1978, has many years of experience in the international entertaininent industry as producer & distributor. As distributor in Germany he successfully released 150 motion pictures by critically acclaimed directors, among them Ron Howard, Roger Corman, Paul Bartel, Kaneto Shindo & Jonathan Demme. One of his greatest box-office hits was CANNONBALL.

    Among the movies Mr. Nebe produced are HEARTBREAKER, REBELS, THE NAKED CAGE, ATTACK AT DAWN & THE INHERITORS, which was an Official Selection of the Cannes Film Festival and amomig other international awards received the Jury Award of the Montreal Film Festival.

  18. January 24th, 2009 at 07:34 | #18

    @Steve #15,

    You wrote:

    He must have got that map off the cover of an old Lonely Planet China guidebook.

    Though you probably meant to write:

    He must have got that map off the cover of an outdated Lonely Planet China guidebook.

  19. HongKonger
    January 24th, 2009 at 07:53 | #19

    @Allen, on my screen the dat /time stamp, “January 24th, 2009 at 7:34 am ” I assume it’s GMT? Which means it’s around 11:34pm in California, no?

  20. January 24th, 2009 at 07:59 | #20

    @Steve #14,

    On a more serious note, I have been wandering about your comment about what the Tibetans want….

    For a lot of people, that concept jives. Just hold a referendum or something – and the issue is settled once and for all.

    For me – the issue is not that simple, and the approach is good only to a certain extent.

    In a nondemocratic country like China, the “people’s voice” is an important factor to consider, because it could help the gov’t craft good policies, but it should not be forced to be the dispositive voice.

    I don’t always believe in democracy because just as sending farmers to man nuclear plants might not be the best way to run a nuclear plant, so similarly getting input from uneducated people on complex government policies might not be the best way to run a country.

    Also – just because a majority of people in Confederate South wanted to have the right to own slaves should have been allowed in the South after the Civil War.

    Anyways – I guess all I’m saying is that I think I agree with you that what is missing in our discussion is solid knowledge on what the Tibetans throughout Tibet (it may also be important to look at local variations – such as variations by counties, township, villages – closely if they turn out to be important) really want – and that that should be an important input in the gov’t’s crafting of policies. I however would disagree with crafting gov’t policy to toe the line with what some 51% or more of Tibetans in Tibet or in some township seem to want.

    P.S. I am going to write a post (maybe next month, it’s been on my mind for at least half a year now) on when focusing on the democratic process makes sense and when doing so might not…

  21. January 24th, 2009 at 08:05 | #21

    @HongKonger – as of right now, local California time is 12:04 a.m. January 24, 2009.

  22. S.K. Cheung
    January 24th, 2009 at 08:47 | #22

    To Allen:
    let’s not kid ourselves. If the CCP truly honestly deep-down felt confident that the majority of Tibetans were happy with their lot (your caveats notwithstanding), they would’ve held a referendum yesterday. How much better of a PR win can China ask for above and beyond “majority of Tibetans choose status quo”? That the CCP hasn’t done so speaks at least to their lack of such confidence.

    If a referendum is “good only to a certain extent”, then I’d say start with that, and do something more besides in order to further understand public opinion. I wouldn’t say “then let’s do nothing”, at least in terms of garnering such understanding.

    The “uneducated people” bit has been said before, notably by Buxi. But I found it paternalistic then, and it’s no different now. No one’s asking these same people to run government. Asking someone if they’re happy with their current circumstance, perhaps with some specifics, with questions structured in a way to elicit a sense of priorities, shouldn’t overly tax most people who can walk and chew gum simultaneously. And a simple “yes/no” of “do they want to stay within China”…gosh, my 6 year old can tackle most questions with dichotomous choices.

    If China doesn’t want to hold a referendum because China doesn’t want to hold a referendum, then that’s the answer. But trying to explain or justify that answer may be hazardous to your mental health.

  23. January 24th, 2009 at 10:30 | #23

    SKC… really? A referendum in China? What sort of insanity would grip the CCP to open that Pandora’s box. (I’m dying to work in a reference to Stockwell (aka Doris) Day in here somewhere…)

    Putting forth the idea of a referendum about/for/whatever Tibet is either insincere or naive. Knowing you to be a veteran of these inane Tibet debates, I tend to wavier more to insincere end of the spectrum when considering your motives.

    Unless, of course, you consider democracy (which flavor, so many to choose from) to be the balm to cure all political ills. Just slap it on, wait out the side effects of the power adjustment (warning: may cause civil war), and see what sort of thing steps out of the dust, once it settles, if it settles. Buying that snake oil tips the scales over to the more naive end of the spectrum.

    But, we’ve had this debate back in June.
    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2008/06/07/briefs-on-tibet-action-and-reaction/

    You just can’t slap a referendum on a problem and call it fixed. Nor can you point fingers at the CCP not having one as evidence of anything nefarious.

  24. Raj
    January 24th, 2009 at 11:31 | #24

    If you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Tibet Autonomous Region and the greater Chinese nation, if you seek continued reform, empowerment and liberalization for one fifth of humanity: Come here to this gate! Open (or re-open as the case may be) the gate of unity and collaboration! Tear down this wall of fear, hate, and distrust!

    1. The Dalai Lama’s responsibility is to the Tibetan people, not the Chinese nation. He wants autonomy, not to become China’s spiritual leader.

    2. Sadly you’re talking to the wrong person. The fear, hate and distrust comes from the Chinese government towards the Dalai Lama and Tibetan people. Only they can tear down the walls because they set them up in the first place.

  25. January 24th, 2009 at 13:01 | #25

    “But one cannot hold back a celebration of freedom forever, and fifty years has been a long time…”

    Either this is the most dead-pan-est irony in the world, or you seriously have gone off the deep end! Isn’t a far more logical explanation simply that they did not want to celebrate this day? In what way was the government ‘holding back’ such celebrations? Care to give us some examples?

    The Berlin wall was built to keep people IN and ideas OUT – we have seen from the incidents at the border what the attitude of the Chinese authorities is towards those who wish to leave, and we know from the behaviour of the Chinese authorities in Tibet what their attitude is towards outside influence. The Dalai Lama has no such wall, but Communist China does.

    So Mr. Hu, tear down this wall!

  26. Tu Quoque
    January 24th, 2009 at 13:12 | #26

    We don’t need no education
    We dont need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the classroom
    Teachers leave them kids alone
    Hey! Teachers! Leave them kids alone!
    All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.
    All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.

    “Wrong, Do it again!”
    “If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you
    have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”
    “You! Yes, you behind the bikesheds, stand still laddy!”

    Tear down the wall – Cast off Your superstitution
    Tear down the wall – We all have but one life, and thereafter – nothing
    Tear down the wall – Show some balls
    Tear down the wall, Tear down the wall – Mr. Dalai Lama

  27. Steve
    January 24th, 2009 at 15:42 | #27

    @ Allen #18: Yes, that’s EXACTLY what I meant to write. My problem is, I never throw out old guidebooks. At least Chinese immigration never checked my daypack or they would have forced me to tear off the front cover. 🙂

    @ Allen & MutantJedi: I agree with both of you; I don’t see instant democracy as a panacea but just as a tool to be manipulated by self serving groups. I didn’t think democracy was good for China in 1989 because there were no underpinnings of democracy, and I don’t think China is ready at this time for a national democracy. I certainly think democracy is a good idea on a local level. But the more important focus should be on cleaning up the courts and giving them independence from local politicians and party leaders.

    I’m also not wishing for a referendum, just an idea of how people feel. I could get that by wandering around for a couple of weeks. I’ve been able to do that all over the world; it’s easy for me to talk to people and ask questions. Referendums can also be easily manipulated by the phrasing of the question. We see it all the time on California ballot propositions and polling data taken by individual political parties or specific constituencies.

    The contradiction in China is that before democracy, they really need a free press. But in an authoritarian government system, as soon as a free press writes something negative about the authorities, they immediately clamp down on the press and it’s no longer free. In fact, China’s government strikes me as being insecure, so afraid of any negative press both at home and overseas.

    Allen, I disagree with your take on uneducated people giving input on complex government policies. Who said they would do such a thing? We’re not discussing complex government policies here, we’re talking about whether Tibetans prefer Chinese rule and want to celebrate “Serf Emancipation Day”. You don’t have to be educated to have an opinion about that. Just because someone isn’t educated doesn’t mean they are stupid. Their innate intelligence is as high as anyone else’s.

    “Also – just because a majority of people in Confederate South wanted to have the right to own slaves should have been allowed in the South after the Civil War.”

    Be careful about comparing historical situations. Southerners = Han Chinese & Tibetans = African Americans? Are you a closet DL supporter????? 😛

    Right now, no one really knows the thinking behind policies the government crafts. They are certainly in the interest of the central government but whether they are in the interest of local people is up for speculation, since the locals have no input. Yes, the government wants to be treated like a father and have the Tibetans feel they are the children. I’ve run across this same attitude in Taiwan and Singapore. I think it’s ridiculous, to be honest. “I’m A-bian, think of me as your all-knowing father, trust me”… that sort of thing.

    @ Tu Quogue #26: I don’t know if I’d use that particular song reference. It’s about kids revolting against authority and ‘brainwashing propaganda’ in school and the last time I checked, the CCP was the authority figure in Tibet in charge of education. 😀

  28. ChinkTalk
    January 24th, 2009 at 15:50 | #28

    FOARP #25 “The Dalai Lama has no such wall, but Communist China does.”

    Of all the nutty ideas, this one takes the cake. Of course, it is all COMMUNIST CHINA’s fault.

  29. January 24th, 2009 at 18:49 | #29

    @Chinktalk – Well, the PRC governs the area, are you saying it does not bear overwhelming responsibility for what goes on in its own territory? Are you saying that what happens there is not overwhelmingly due to the policies of the PRC? Are you saying that the Dalai Lama’s influence in Tibet is greater than that of the government which has 100% control over freely available media in Tibet? Which has complete control over who enters and exits that territory?

    The Dalai Lama at the moment has no massed battalions of soldiers, no secret policemen, no temporal power and little religious influence in the territory. All he has are ideas, and even these the PRC government attempts to exclude, and despite that, some Tibetans continue to listen to him. Blaming the Dalai Lama for the situation in Tibet is the kind of logic where a bully blames his victims for hurting his fist on their faces.

    The most ridiculous thing about this article is that Allen seems to be suggesting that there is some grand concession that the Dalai Lama could make which would end the current situation – for the life of me I cannot think what that might be. Since he does not publicly support violence, since he does not publicly support independence, since he does not publicly oppose continued CCP rule – what possible concessions could he make? The CCP has made it plain that there can be no suggestion of power sharing of any kind, by his mere existence as a religious leader outside of the CCP, the Dalai Lama challenges this. Conceding on this would be the same as if the Pope were to concede to the CCP selecting catholic bishops – it would negate his very role, the entire purpose of his position. It would require the Dalai Lama to write himself out of existence.

  30. Raj
    January 24th, 2009 at 19:14 | #30

    what possible concessions could he make

    Perhaps Hu Jintao wants a blowjob?

  31. January 24th, 2009 at 19:33 | #31

    Raj, that’s not called for, or funny.

  32. Raj
    January 24th, 2009 at 19:47 | #32

    Raj, that’s not called for, or funny.

    I never said I thought I was being funny. The comment expressed by exasperation at the ridiculous position China takes – the Dalai Lama has compromised a lot over time yet they pretend he has made no concessions.

  33. January 24th, 2009 at 21:29 | #33

    @Raj and @FOARP,

    You both have expressed exasperation that the DL has given up so much but the CCP hasn’t.

    This sound kind of absurd.

    We can look at several points of views on this. From the realist view, the negotiations between DL and CCP will have to depend upon the relative strength between the two parties. This is not a thread to discuss the history of the negotiations between the DL and CCP (that’d probably make for an interesting thread) – but suffice it to say that the DL missed many good opportunities for settlement.

    My personal perspective is that it really doesn’t matter how much or how little the CCP or DL gives up. There is no norm that says when two parties are far apart, both sides must move toward the middle. If there were, then people would simply keep posturing, in the hopes of getting most of what one wants simply by striking out on the most preposterous of positions – which in my view is what the DL has done.

  34. January 24th, 2009 at 21:30 | #34

    @Raj #24,

    You wrote:

    The Dalai Lama’s responsibility is to the Tibetan people, not the Chinese nation. He wants autonomy, not to become China’s spiritual leader.

    This type of attitude is precisely the “wall” I was writing about… except the DL’s approach is even more narrow. Everything for him is about Tibetans vs. Han Chinese. For 10 or so years after the PRC was formed – during which time he closely collaborated with the Chinese gov’t in bringing reforms to Tibet … it wasn’t like this. The DL came to this way only after land reform that started in the rest of China finally came to Tibet and threatened his material well-being.

  35. January 24th, 2009 at 21:32 | #35

    @FOARP #29,

    You wrote:

    The most ridiculous thing about this article is that Allen seems to be suggesting that there is some grand concession that the Dalai Lama could make which would end the current situation – for the life of me I cannot think what that might be.

    To me the answer is simple: it’s simply to follow to the letter what the DL means when he says he wants to be a spiritual or religious, but not political leader.

    You also wrote:

    Conceding on this would be the same as if the Pope were to concede to the CCP selecting catholic bishops – it would negate his very role, the entire purpose of his position. It would require the Dalai Lama to write himself out of existence.

    I suppose the “it” refers to DL’s political role? I am not sure what you mean…

  36. JL
    January 24th, 2009 at 21:34 | #36

    It’s a great thing that the institution of serfdom has ended. But ‘Serf’s Emancipation Day’ is silly, backward-looking and negatively focused, and as such I can’t imagine it having much positive impact on Tibet.

    Compare it to 3.8 ‘Women’s Day’. Ok, I know 3.8 is a bit of a joke too these days, but more because of a perceived irrelevance, rather than simmering bitter conflict between those who have different understandings of how to treat women. The GMD and CCP did great things for China’s women, but how often is that day marked by reminding ourselves of the ‘evil Han custom of foot binding’? How would you feel if it were? It’s natural for people to want to want to feel proud of their history, heritage and traditions; so being constantly lectured about all the horrible things is not going to be as conducive of positive thinking than simple (if idealized) celebrations. Why not have a Tibetan Culture Day, and leave serfdom to history classes?

    (Though I can’t help thinking that China’s minority regions already have more holidays than the rest of the country, what with the minority holidays as well as the others. When are they going to do any work? Maybe we could get rid of one of the ones that are less relevant to Tibetans, like Spring Festival? (or that October Day holiday :))

  37. January 24th, 2009 at 21:41 | #37

    @Steve #27,

    You wrote:

    Allen, I disagree with your take on uneducated people giving input on complex government policies. Who said they would do such a thing? We’re not discussing complex government policies here, we’re talking about whether Tibetans prefer Chinese rule and want to celebrate “Serf Emancipation Day”. You don’t have to be educated to have an opinion about that. Just because someone isn’t educated doesn’t mean they are stupid. Their innate intelligence is as high as anyone else’s.

    Sorry – my fault. From your original post in #14, I thought you were suggesting dispositively settling the DL-CCP dispute based on opinions on the ground. If your post was limited to finding out more about perspectives of Tibetans on the ground at this moment in time – I agree with you. That’d be interesting to find out.

    But in the same breath, I want to voice my opinion that we shouldn’t dismiss the unanimous endorsement by the Tibetan legislators simply because of our opinions about the CCP.

    All Tibetans today can participate fully in governance of Tibet through participation in the CCP in the Tibetan local government. The voice of the Tibetan legislature carries significant weight, regardless of Western disdain for the Chinese form of governance.

    The CCP is the channel through which people participate in governance everywhere in China today. To say somehow that this is not legitimate but that we must have Western “open” elections (I don’t think the U.S. process is that open; the choices we get are already predetermined by special interests – but that’s another topic for another thread) is something I would not agree with.

  38. January 24th, 2009 at 21:43 | #38

    @JL #36,

    You wrote about “evil Han custom of foot binding” – when in fact, the custom was Manchu not Han…

  39. January 24th, 2009 at 21:55 | #39

    @Steve, if no one answers your question on what autonomous region means, I will do some research and respond. I have some knowledge, but I want to do a little more research to be sure.

    One thing I want to note is that in some sense, it doesn’t really matter.

    In the U.S., the boundary and balance of power between Federal and State power has changed dramatically over the course of the last century simply on account of interpretations of the Supreme Court on a couple of phrases in the Constitution (the most important one being the commerce clause) in view of “modern” circumstances.

    So – from a legal perspective at least – whatever the initial reason for autonomous regions, the balance and boundary of power between the central gov’t and the autonomous local gov’t can always be shifted (by rhetoric from a lawyer like me) in view of “modern” conditions.

  40. Steve
    January 24th, 2009 at 22:26 | #40

    @ Allen: I’ve read about the history of footbinding from several different sources over the years and every treatise said it was started during the Song dynasty. I also believe footbinding was always voluntary and never mandatory. I guess you could compare it with tattoos and piercings of today; a way to enhance beauty… well, at least for some people. 🙂

    Your second conclusion was correct; I was just interested in opinions on the ground. I wasn’t suggesting a referendum. I wasn’t pushing open elections or independence. I wasn’t disputing the holiday either; as far as I’m concerned it’s already a done deal so now it’s just seeing what the reaction will be.

    People may talk about democracy, autocratic government, dictatorships, etc. but regardless of what system is in place, people will support whatever government can deliver goods and services. The Weimar Republic could not but the Nazi’s did. Even during the first couple of years in WWII, Hitler made sure that domestic goods kept flowing. When the war turned against the Third Reich, the people continued to support the government only because their cities were being bombed and civilians killed.

    The ROC was unable to deliver the goods to very many Chinese, so they supported the CCP during the revolution. My Chinese friends are not enamored with the CCP but they feel that as long as they continue to deliver “the goods”, they will support the government. Feelings changed during the run up to the Olympics because the Chinese people felt they were being unfairly put upon by other governments and the press, so nationalism was stronger than normal, but now that the Olympics are over and were a success, those feelings will subside.

    Tibet will be the same; if the Tibetans feel the CCP is delivering the goods they desire, they’ll be supportive. Our Han Chinese bloggers feel this has been happening so the support will be there. Our Tibetan exiles feel the support is not there. If goods are reaching the normal Tibetan people and not just the Han Chinese living in the TAR, then the holiday should be popular. If not, then I’d expect a negative reaction. I think all the rest is just ‘fluff’.

    If the “autonomous” regions have changed in the last 50 years, I’d still be curious to know what was different when they were created. I was hoping Wahaha would know since he vacationed there in the 80s, but I’d welcome anyone who has an idea to share it.

  41. January 24th, 2009 at 22:37 | #41

    @Steve #40,

    Hmmm interesting bit about footbinding that I did not know. Part of KMT propaganda?

    I was taught in school in Taiwan that footbinding was a relic of the Imperial tradition – which in many contexts meant Manchu tradition – so I had always thought footbinding was Manchu not Han…

    A precursory google search just now turned out several articles that clearly states otherwise. Thanks for calling attention to my error…

  42. January 24th, 2009 at 22:37 | #42

    @Allen –

    “To me the answer is simple: it’s simply to follow to the letter what the DL means when he says he wants to be a spiritual or religious, but not political leader.

    This is not clear at all, the CCP insists on placing controls on religion which stretch beyond the political field. This is the entire reason behind the long-running dispute with the catholic church. You have not actually suggested any field in which he might change his policy.

    “I suppose the “it” refers to DL’s political role? I am not sure what you mean…”

    Allen, you seem to have a very expansive idea of what politics is. Religion is meaningless if it does not impact your conduct in daily life, religious instruction is central to organised religion, religious leadership is necessary for instruction. The Dalai Lama is the leader of Tibetan Lamaist Buddhism, to fulfill this role he needs to be able to say what he thinks about, for example, the status of morality within the area in which his religion is practiced. If he cannot do this, he cannot fulfill his role. So to say that affairs in Tibet are of a strictly temporal nature which the DL cannot comment on so as to direct his flock, is to negate his role. This is exactly the same problem that the Roman Catholics and Protestants have in China, the CCP insists on retaining cotrol of these churches to prevent their monopoly on power being broken.

    “but suffice it to say that the DL missed many good opportunities for settlement.”

    I’m sorry, but this does not ‘suffice’ to say anything. A clear example of a reasonable settlement which the DL has walked away from is needed, and if you cannot think of one, I would suggest that it is usually unwise to use broad sweeping comments to cover up a lack of knowledge. All the information I have seen shows that the basic CCP position has not changed in decades. His current position – that of asking for the same level of autonomy as granted to Hong Kong within the TAR – seems very reasonable indeed.

    “But in the same breath, I want to voice my opinion that we shouldn’t dismiss the unanimous endorsement by the Tibetan legislators simply because of our opinions about the CCP.

    Why? Because the CCP has allowed dissent on sensitive issues in the past? A unanimous vote in a rubber stamp parliament is meaningless, and therefore is incapable of representing anything.

    “The CCP is the channel through which people participate in governance everywhere in China today.”

    Untrue, the CCP is the channel through which higher-level party members participate, non-party members have no say. There are eight other legal parties, but they are mere puppet organisations.

    @Steve – As far as I understand, the main difference between autonomous areas and others is that the central government can set different policies in these areas. The most commonly raised example is the different number of children that minorities are allowed to have. Otherwise, there is no difference between the TAR government and those of other provinces.

  43. January 24th, 2009 at 22:57 | #43

    @FOARP #42,

    Regarding missed opportunities: this article has a lot of details. I have a paper copy, but cannot find an electronic copy to send you…

    I had though this topic (missed opportunities) was pretty common knowledge – but instead of me reinventing the wheel and write a new thread, here is an entry from another blog I found by googling. I don’t necessarily agree every point the article makes, but it does contain a lot of material that I would have used were I to write a new thread on this topic.

    In recent years the Dalai Lama has made several political misjudgements. His handling of the selection of the new Panchen Rinpoche led to an alternative candidate being put up by Beijing, and to a religious crackdown in Tibet. His reaction to conciliatory overtures from the Chinese government during the early 1980s, when Deng Xiaoping invited Tibetan refugees to return from exile, was shortsighted. The Dalai Lama was offered a symbolic post in Beijing, the right to visit Tibet when he wanted, and freedom to speak to the press. By the standards of the time, this was a remarkable offer to come from Mao’s lineal successor. Instead of seizing it and entering into direct negotiations, the Dalai Lama sent numerous fact-finding missions to China and Tibet, and delegates who demanded trivial concessions, such as the right to meet with two ageing Tibetan quislings who had lost political influence many years before. The historian Tsering Shakya has written that the exiled government in Dharamsala “badly misjudged” the situation at this time: “Beijing’s commitment had underlined the involvement of Deng Xiaoping, China’s paramount leader, and of Hu Yaobang, the most senior Party official. Once the Chinese leaders lost interest in the issue … any possibility of reaching a compromise was effectively ended.”

    In 1989, the Dalai Lama refused an invitation to take part in the Panchen Rinpoche’s funerary ceremonies in Beijing, despite being told it would be an opportunity for high-level discussions. His advisers in Dharamsala, conscious of protocol and precedent (would the Dalai Lama still qualify as a refugee after being allowed back into China?) and mindful of the rapid growth in popular support for Tibet in the richer countries of the world, advised him to turn down the offer. The writer Tom Grunfeld has suggested that the Dalai Lama’s failure to go to Beijing in 1989 was “probably the gravest error of his political life.”

    Since then, the prospects of accommodation have receded. As external support for the Tibetan cause has increased, and political ties between the exiled government and its foreign patrons have grown, China has hardened its position against the Dalai Lama. The Chinese government is unlikely to cut a deal with him, except on terms of total surrender, meaning abandonment of dreams of a greater Tibet, and of a democratic, demilitarised autonomous state within China. The Dalai Lama has come to represent too much; his return to Tibet, with the world’s media travelling in his wake, hoovering up the biggest story of its kind since Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, would be profoundly destabilising to Communist rule.

    There were moments, seeing things from inside China, when it appeared that foreign lobbying had only appeared to tighten repression and promote false hopes among Tibetans. Around the mid 1980s, the Dalai Lama turned for guidance to a number of Western lobbyists, lawyers, levitators and Sinophobes, most of whom had minimal understanding of Chinese history or politics. A variation on the cho–yon or priest–patron relationship developed. The Dalai Lama became what Newsweek called “a lama to the globe,” and Tibetans gained apparent political backing, and ceaseless advice of varying utility. In the words of the essayist Jamyang Norbu, sympathetic foreign advisers were soon “battening themselves on the Dalai Lama’s court with the tact and sensitivity of lampreys.”

    These well-wishers suggested that the Dalai Lama might raise his political profile in the West, and push hard for democratic self-government for Tibet within the People’s Republic of China. It was the sort of approach that might have worked well had China been a secure democracy, rather than a xenophobic dictatorship. In practice, it turned out to be a disaster, simultaneously aggravating Beijing and fracturing the exile community, which had built its identity around the optimistic notion of “Po Cholkha Sum,” a free homeland comprising the historic regions of ethnic Tibet.

    The Dalai Lama presented a “Five Point Peace Proposal” to the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus in September 1987, and another version nine months later at the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He spoke of zones of peace and of the protection of the environment, catching the mood of the time. The location of the speeches might as well have been calculated to outrage the Chinese government, playing on all its old, unreconstructed fears, stretching back to the nineteenth century, about foreign interference and designs on China’s national integrity. The Strasbourg proposal was followed by an ill-judged attempt by the exiles to bounce Beijing into negotiations. When they announced that they intended to include a Dutch lawyer on their team—an act of astonishing miscalculation, internationalising the issue still further—it was inevitable that China would refuse to cooperate.

    Three days after the Dalai Lama’s speech on Capitol Hill, a pair of Tibetan prisoners were publicly executed in Lhasa. This was widely viewed by Tibetans inside Tibet as a political statement, and it exacerbated existing social and religious tension. Three days after the executions, demonstrations and riots broke out in Lhasa which lasted, on and off, until March 1989, when martial law was declared. The protests during these eighteen months were brutally suppressed by paramilitary police, with hundreds of Tibetans being killed and injured, and others being tortured, sometimes to death, in prison.

  44. January 24th, 2009 at 23:03 | #44

    @FOARP #42,

    An interesting point you brought up I think is what is the boundary between politics and religion. Despite the many rhetoric about separation of church and state, I think it is actually a murky boundary. In both the U.S. and Europe, it is far from settled what is the proper line.

    In old Tibet, the separation between religion and politics is murky – and one of the problems between the DL and CCP is where to draw the line in a modern context.

    What specific aspects about Tibetan religious practices do you think should be considered religious and not political – i.e. clearly in the realm of the DL and hot the CCP? I think it’d help me answer some of your questions in #42 if you can point some of those out to me.

    In anticipation I’ll venture one thing: for me, secession issues are clearly political – and for the DL to think about handpicking a successor – and to abolish traditional practices involved in handpicking subsequent DL’s – is to clearly step out of his religious / cultural role.

  45. January 24th, 2009 at 23:22 | #45

    @Allen – I don’t believe the Dalai Lama is currently advocating Tibetan independence. Obviously practices within Tibetan Buddhism, such as the selection of the Dalai Lama, are strictly a matter for the adherents of that religion. It is somewhat ridiculous for an atheistic party to say that it must have the power to select religious leaders. As for your examples of ‘walking away’, not one of them represented a deal or platform in the way that the current Dalai Lama platform does, and if the CCP position has not changed at all since 1989, then this is hardly a flexible approach.

    You are not convincing me that the Dalai Lama has anything in the way of a ‘wall’ to tear down.

  46. January 24th, 2009 at 23:33 | #46

    @FOARP #45,

    I don’t find anything inherently inflexible about not changing position since 1989.

    If you read up on the events of the last 50 years, that is the start of the DL really pushing hard for internalizing the “Tibetan issue,” distorting history, and demonizing Chinese sovereignty in terms of colonizations, genocide, among other hot botton rhetoric.

    This is the point when the DL lost the support the vast majority of Chinese – whether on Mainland, Taiwan, or abroad throughout the world…

    Until the DL stop this in a genuine way, there is nothing wrong for the CCP to change any of its positions. In fact, were the CCP to change now – it would lose the support of most Chinese.

  47. January 24th, 2009 at 23:43 | #47

    So you mean “When he started drawing attention”? And not changing a position in 20 years is very inflexible, as for the rest – it seems you are objecting to the Dalai Lama making the CCP look bad. This is a question of style, not substance.

  48. Tu Quoque
    January 25th, 2009 at 00:20 | #48

    # 27

    Steve,

    Another brick in the Wall is but a small piece from Pink Floyd’s concept album ‘ Wall, ‘ It is actually not about politics. It is about the fictional rock star Pink created by Roger Waters, who was beginning to be disillusioned with stardom and the godlike status that fans grant to simple rock stars. Drawing on these feelings of adult alienation as well as those springing from the loss of his own father during World War II, Waters began to flesh out the fictional character of Pink. The band’s first frontman, Syd Barret, and the wild stories surrounding his drugged-out escapades and subsequent withdrawal from the world provided Waters with further inspiration for the moody rock-star Pink, a contemporary anti-hero, a modern everyman struggling to find, or arguably lose, self and meaning in a century fragmented by war.

    DL is first of all a Homo Sapien, a human being. It was the twisted medievael monastic feudal serf system that had thrived for far too long that had systematically molded him into a Tibetan buddhist leader and political head in one to perpetuate this archaic barbarization. Good heavens, imagine the width and height of his wall of deception, which he alone can tear from the inside! Unfortunately, he can’t tear this wall down -because 太多人跟他吃饭 , namely the whole ruling class parasites won’t allow it, the imperial vultures that finance them won’t let him live honestly either. And to all those misguided Free-Tibet idiots, he claims to be god-incarnate, in exile. Him and his wealthy gang of vermins are hell-bent on ressurrect ingtheocracy in an atheistic world…and you’re rooting for him?

    # 40 I think all the rest is just ‘fluff’. Amen to that , Steve.

  49. Raj
    January 25th, 2009 at 00:25 | #49

    Allen

    but suffice it to say that the DL missed many good opportunities for settlement

    What settlement opportunities were these? With all respect you’re not privy to secret discussions between the Dalai Lama’s representatives and the CCP, nor within the CCP. Just because someone says “this might have been a good time to talk” doesn’t mean the Dalai Lama had been offered anything he could accept.

    Everything for him is about Tibetans vs. Han Chinese.

    It’s not as simple as that. It’s primarily about how his people, the Tibetans, are being treated by the Chinese State. Of course he also cares about the potential for violence between Tibetan and Chinese civilians.

    If there were, then people would simply keep posturing, in the hopes of getting most of what one wants simply by striking out on the most preposterous of positions – which in my view is what the DL has done.

    That’s a very one-sided view, Allen and goes against logic. It is normal for any leader to start off from a point of independence in a situation like this. That’s certainly no more unreasonable than China demanding the Dalai Lama submit to the situation at the time and be quiet.

    Since then the Dalai Lama has offered a lot. Would China give up its independence as readily as he has? I’m sure most people would say they would fight to the last before accepting being a part of any other organisation, even if China were as Tibet is now. Why should only Chinese feel proud about their homes to such a degree? Do you think that Tibetans were any less proud of their independence or believed that they really were part of China? Come off it.

    Just because most Chinese think Tibetans should be part of China and accept it doesn’t mean the Dalai Lama and all other pro-Tibetan groups have to sacrifice all their positions and accept whatever the CCP demands. Besides the CCP has shot itself in the foot in that respect. It started off by saying the Dalai Lama had to give up a claim to independence. When he did, it said he wasn’t sincere and could only “prove” he was by giving up his claim for autonomy.

    So what will happen if he does that? Doubtless China will demand he not ask for political reforms. Then maybe it will be that he not ask that the CCP have no influence in religious appointments, etc. Where does it stop? When does China say “ok, you’re sincere”? Because a lot of people will say that China’s behaviour shows it can’t be trusted. When it’s given what it originally asked for, it will shift the goalposts and ask for more.

    This is why most Taiwanese would not accept Beijing’s current demands in respect of a political/diplomatic settlement – it is asks for far too much up front. It’s all very well saying that Taiwan has to agree to unification, but if it doesn’t say what sort of “unification” it would be willing to offer why would anyone agree to such a demand?

    For 10 or so years after the PRC was formed – during which time he closely collaborated with the Chinese gov’t in bringing reforms to Tibet … it wasn’t like this. The DL came to this way only after land reform that started in the rest of China finally came to Tibet and threatened his material well-being.

    Or perhaps he only objected after Chinese started trying to turn his country upside down without his consent. Regardless of whether something is the “right” choice, often it’s better to let people do it at their own pace. There are many examples in history about hasty “reform” being imposed from the outside and going wrong. Chinese frequently complain that they will bring in democracy when it’s “right” for them. Is it so surprising that the Dalai Lama might think the same way? Given what happened subsequently to Tibet he could argue he was right.

  50. January 25th, 2009 at 00:31 | #50

    @Allen #38

    The foot-binding did not become very popular until Qing dynasty, although Manchu women were forbidden to bind their feet ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Footbinding ).

  51. January 25th, 2009 at 00:39 | #51

    @Raj – Dude, is it you who is going up and down the list voting down up/down people’s arguments? This is exactly why I don’t like the whole voting thing.

  52. Flags of the republic
    January 25th, 2009 at 00:57 | #52

    @FOARP #51

    I notice the same thing too. Should ask admin how the votes are checked.

    They had something like this in the SF Chronicle where people found a “work around” where they can vote on the same comment multiple times to kinda artificially inflate the “values” of certain comments.

  53. Raj
    January 25th, 2009 at 01:12 | #53

    Dude, is it you who is going up and down the list voting down up/down people’s arguments?

    Huh, I’m suddenly banned from giving comments a thumbs up or down?

    My internet is very unstable, sometimes showing comments that I had marked as having no change, then if I try to vote again it jumps by two points up or down. Don’t know why that’s happening – something wrong with the blog?

    This is exactly why I don’t like the whole voting thing.

    Hey, I never asked that it be introduced. When it was mentioned once I think I even queried whether it was a good idea.

  54. Leo
    January 25th, 2009 at 01:54 | #54

    About the state-church relationships in China

    Chinese government does not allow a foreign power to enfluence its religious organizations, so it asks the Chinese catholics to elect their own bishops. Although the vatican does not like the election thing, it does accept a lot of elected bishops, for example the new Beijing bishop, who the Vatican says is a very good choice. Some elected bishops, even not accepted by the Vatican, don’t like the atheist communists.

    The same can be said about the Chinese protestant churches.

    Regarding the selection of tulkus, or so-called living buddhas, it is not so sanctual and untouchable as some Tibetan exiles would like you to believe. In the old practice, if you paid enough money, influential tulkus and lamas would create you as a tulku. The Chinese souvereinty began to get involved in the selection of Dalai and Panchan since the reign of the 6th Dalai Lama. During the ROC era, although Chinese government lost the actual control of Tibet, its government went on deciding the selection of tulkus in Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, and Gansu. The Legislative Yuan issued a law regulating the selection and ordination of tulkus and management of lamaseries. The CCP government, despite its atheist belief, just carries on this tradition. A very good example was the late 10th Panchan Lama, who actually had been a candidate rejected by the 14th Dalai Lama, who has chosen his own 10th Panchan. The “true” 10the Panchan Lama’s final recognization was singly based on the blessing of the CCP.

  55. S.K. Cheung
    January 25th, 2009 at 05:52 | #55

    To Allen #37:
    “The CCP is the channel through which people participate in governance everywhere in China today.” Not that the US form of democracy has necessarily been inspiring in the last 8 years, but if/when you exercised your right to vote last November, in California at least, you also had the opportunity to be heard regarding Proposition 8. I’m assuming there were also Props 1-7, but obviously #8 got the most press outside the state. So in your democracy, there was room to elect representatives to be your voice, but there was also room to voice your opinion directly on certain issues. So, regardless of how “democratic” you find the system in China/Tibet today, is there no room for some additional direct representation? Or is her system already so advanced so as to render the latter obsolete?

    “All Tibetans today can participate fully in governance of Tibet through participation in the CCP in the Tibetan local government.” – that’s like Henry Ford saying you can have your Model T any colour you want, as long as it’s black.

  56. S.K. Cheung
    January 25th, 2009 at 06:02 | #56

    To MJ #23:
    If asking the subjects of governance on their opinion regarding said governance is somehow insincere or naive to you, then I am guilty as charged, and more than happy to be so.

    Coming from a guy who’s availed himself to the benefits of democracy, then railing against democracy, is a bit rich. Sadly, you’re not the only one with such proclivities in these parts.

    I don’t intend to say that a referendum is the entire “fix” for “the problem”. But without one, can you even define the latter from a Tibetan perspective? I hope you’ll at least agree that you can’t fix a problem until you know what the problem is, but who knows, maybe you can. More power to you.

  57. S.K. Cheung
    January 25th, 2009 at 06:12 | #57

    To Allen #44:
    “secession issues are clearly political – and for the DL to think about handpicking a successor” – how is “succession” political in his case? Unless you mean like choosing a pope…which is more “office politics” than anything else.

  58. Flags of the republic
    January 25th, 2009 at 06:45 | #58

    @S.K.C # 57

    Oh, come on. How is succession not a political issue with HHDL? I wouldn’t think you to be so naive. Unless you are just baiting.

  59. S.K. Cheung
    January 25th, 2009 at 06:54 | #59

    To Flags:
    “Unless you are just baiting.” – no, maybe I’m just being ignorant. I think this succession thing was brought up in another thread, and I asked a similar question there. If the whole point is that the Dalai Lama’s role should be strictly religious and cultural, then isn’t determination and selection of his successor a part of that role? On the other hand, how does a political entity (ie the CCP) having an influence in who becomes the next Dalai Lama help to make that next Dalai Lama apolitical?

  60. January 25th, 2009 at 08:00 | #60

    I really must visit 西藏 one day to see if I can answer the question of how such a little tail can wag such a big dog.

    SKC (56), I am not railing against democracy per se but rather the view that it can be applied to any situation blindly.

    There was a survey done in one of the inner provinces (四川 maybe) not that long ago. It was found that the participants were being helped on how to answer the questions appropriately. I’m not sure if the helpers were either out to defraud the survey or if they were just trying to make sure that people gave the right answers. Of course the survey results are useless. It isn’t that the people are naive or stupid. The “right” answer can depend on more things than what you might consider elsewhere.

    So, you’d want a referendum. Find out what the people “really” think, eh? Quebec had a hard enough time coming up with the right question – it would be many many times harder to define the Tibetan question. And even once you have a question, the results would be questionable. Did the people answer the question as you, a Westerner (or even a Beijinger), would have them answer? Not likely. They will have interpreted and answer the question from their own context, and perhaps with some help from some helpers.

    Costly and useless. And divisive.

    Yes. Diagnosing a problem is the first step in fixing it. I have 25 years of software development experience. That may have little relevance to Tibet but it does provide with some general debugging heuristics. I have found too that our own biases can prevent us from properly identifying a problem as well as the solution.

    I doubt if we would agree on what exactly is the problem in Tibet. 🙂

  61. January 25th, 2009 at 09:15 | #61

    @FOARP #45,

    That’s an interesting post – for me at least – because I think I can see an inikling of where you are coming from.

    If the DL is truly a religious figure … why should the gov’t be involved in the choosing of subsequent DL? Why can’t we treat the DL like the Pope and have the DL choose his successors like the Pope – free from any “political” inteference?

    I suppose one answer is the DL is not the Pope; the DL institution was an indigenous institution created in China, by the Chinese central gov’t at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama; there has been a long tradition of how DL had always been picked… Gov’t participation in the reincarnation process has always been the norm…

    Also, since the DL (in whatever modified form) would probably still carry some status of political power for some in Tibet … the DL cannot be treated as a religious figure … he cannot be treated so until it is proven he is purely a religious figure.

    Also, related to the above point, there is the general issue pertaining to the division between religion and state / politics in China here. Even if the DL were purely a religious figure – the CCP still holds the right to regulate activities pertaining to DL’s succession as it does in other religious activities in a way it deems important for state security.

    In China – the line between religion and state / politics is drawn differently than in the West – it’s nothing against the DL per se – it’s how it is done in China.

    I understand if you don’t like / understand how this line is drawn in China – but our disagreement would be on the larger issue of what is the proper division between religion and state in China – an emotionally charged issue that is hardly resolved just in China, nor in regions throughout the world… including Europe and the U.S.

  62. January 25th, 2009 at 09:20 | #62

    @FOARP #47,

    No … the fact that the DL’s seeking international pressure on achieving domestic objectives in China is important (and actually “pisses” off many Chinese) is not just a matter of formality, but an issue to do with sovereignty that many Chinese treats seriously in light of the Chinese people’s collective historical experience.

    But yes – I think I will agree with you – had the DL sought many of his political goals (assuming they are merely related to preserving / enhancing Tibetan culture) through domestic channels, he would have been much more successful and garnered the support of many Chinese like me.

  63. January 25th, 2009 at 09:27 | #63

    @SKC #55,

    Sarcasm aside … the CCP is a party open to Chinese of all ethnicities willing to devote themselves to gov’t service – to join – to rise through the gov’t – and to lead if they prove capable. As long as the CCP does not discriminate and lock out people by ethnicity / nationality, class, gender, the CCP presents a legitimate channel for people throughout China to participate in governance in China today.

  64. S.K. Cheung
    January 25th, 2009 at 09:54 | #64

    To MJ #60:
    “I doubt if we would agree on what exactly is the problem in Tibet” – can’t speak for you, but I doubt I can properly define what the problem is to begin with, which is why, as I’ve said all along, I’d love to hear it from the horses’ mouth.

    I don’t deny there are logistical challenges to a referendum. But as I said many times in the thread you linked to back in June, one has to come to grips with the concept first. If one were to actually stipulate to the concept, then you can start tackling the nuts and bolts, like how to ask the question, how to eliminate “helpers” (as good a euphemism for something sinister as I’ve ever heard), etc. But to avoid the question altogether because it might be challenging? I’m going to have to go JFK on you:” do it not because it is easy, but because it is hard…” Besides, where’s your Chinese can-do gusto? Costly? Probably. Useless? I’d beg to differ. Divisive? Depends. But compared to the status quo? I wouldn’t think so.

  65. January 25th, 2009 at 09:56 | #65

    @Allen – “by the Chinese central gov’t at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama; there has been a long tradition of how DL had always been picked… ”

    Allen, don’t you see the blindingly obvious contradiction in saying that the Chinese government has always picked the Dalai Lama since the 5th Dalai Lama? It would seem that the Dalai Lama is picked as a matter of convention, and that this convention has changed several times, and since the convention was changed when the current Dalai Lama was selected, a new convention is in place – one not directed by central government. The ‘central government’ you refer to was the Mongols, are you suggesting that Ulan Bator should select the next Dalai Lama?

    “In China – the line between religion and state / politics is drawn differently than in the West – it’s nothing against the DL per se – it’s how it is done in China.

    Allen, this is not cultural – if there is something I tire immensely of is this assumption that China’s political system is entirely a product of its culture, when it is much more the product of dictatorship asserted against that culture. The ROC government, for example, makes no effort to select religious leaders, but in the UK the Queen remains ‘supreme governor’ of the national churches, and there is a constitutional convention based on royal prerogative powers whereby the Archbishop of Canterbury (leader of the English Church) is selected under political influence. This is a by-product of the religious struggles of the reformation and of the Church of England’s role as the state religion of England, however, should the convention change (and conventions are changed by simply not following them) then a different method would arise. Nor does the government insist on having a hand in selecting the leaders of religions other than the state one, but should you be tempted to say “well other folks do it . . .”, remember that this is a by-product of a monarchical era, that it has never worked well, and that it has been continuously objected to by both political and religious leaders.

    It is the insistence by atheists who do not believe in Tibetan buddhism on selecting the leader of that religion – and all other organised religions – that is objected to.

  66. S.K. Cheung
    January 25th, 2009 at 10:01 | #66

    To Allen #63:
    yeah, laid it on a bit thick in #55. Can’t help myself sometimes…sorta like a reflex.

    “the CCP presents a legitimate channel for people throughout China to participate in governance in China today” – part of the problem to me is that it’s not just “a legitimate channel”; it’s the only legitimate channel. And not just for today; it’ll be for tomorrow, and a bunch of tomorrows after that. Sigh. I wish Model T’s also came in British Racing Green, Metallic Blue, or Smoky Granite. That’ll be the day.

  67. S.K. Cheung
    January 25th, 2009 at 10:13 | #67

    To Allen #61:
    “since the DL (in whatever modified form) would probably still carry some status of political power for some in Tibet … the DL cannot be treated as a religious figure … he cannot be treated so until it is proven he is purely a religious figure.”
    Now you’ve lost me. You often make the point that you don’t trust the Dalai Lama because he has shown to you a habit of harbouring ulterior political motives. So to earn your trust, the Dalai Lama has to free himself of all political entanglements, and return to a purely religious and cultural status. But now you’re saying that he can’t achieve this “higher” state by himself. Not only must he disavow politics, but people in Tibet must also rid their consciousness of the concept of him as a political figure. Well, you’ve just made his task impossible. That’s a level of mind control I wouldn’t even dream of giving the CCP credit for. You might as well say you won’t trust him until cows jump over the moon and pigs take flight.

    And if the CCP’s idea of “regulating” Tibetan buddhism is to choose their next leader for them, again, how is that not politicizing a position that you insist must be apolitical? It’s heads you win; tails they lose…that’s quite a convenient coin you’re minting.

  68. Tu Quoque
    January 25th, 2009 at 10:14 | #68

    # 60 – 63

    MutantJedi & Allen,

    Very good posts,

    H A P P Y N E W Y E A R

    O F T H E O X , y’all. Thank you.

  69. Raj
    January 25th, 2009 at 11:03 | #69

    #61

    the DL institution was an indigenous institution created in China, by the Chinese central gov’t at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama; there has been a long tradition of how DL had always been picked… Gov’t participation in the reincarnation process has always been the norm…

    Allen, what I think you mean is that the Chinese government has claimed it had the right. It doesn’t mean that it was actually able to make choices throughout all the centuries. It’s like a monarch in a constitutional monarchy. That they officially choose the Prime Minister doesn’t mean that they are actually making a choice.

    In any case, historically the Chinese (imperial) government served a very important religious function. Today it is officially atheist. When that happened it lost any right it may have had to pronounce on religious affairs.

    #62

    he would have been much more successful and garnered the support of many Chinese like me

    With all respect, what influence can Chinese like yourself bring on the Chinese government? I don’t think it’s that much. The CCP has its Tibetan policy because it is paranoid and wants control – not because many Chinese hate the Dalai Lama.

  70. dan
    January 25th, 2009 at 17:22 | #70

    Happy Ox year to all.

    In the previous post on the Hakka, there seemed to be an effort to dissect further the definition of Han or the sub-group of Han. So now we have northern Han, southern Han, central Han (Hakka?), western Han and what not. Then there are the Mien, the Yue, the Dong, the Bai…Maybe I am all wrong due to my laziness and ignorance, but somehow, whenever you mention Tibet, I get the impression that you are saying ‘Tibetan’ is one homogeneous group of people. Who then are the Dengs, the Moinbas, the Sherpas and the Lohbas within Tibet? Just as the five major groups of people in China are collectively called ‘Chinese‘, so are these four groups of people collectively referred to as Tibetans? Do we call them Tibetans with no more differences than we call a Kentuckian, an Alabamian, or a Californian – American? Or the difference among these four groups are diverted enough as a German from a French from an Italian, yet each is also referred to as European?

    And who among the four ethnics is the alpha group that decides what is best for the other three?

  71. Steve
    January 25th, 2009 at 18:08 | #71

    @ Tu Quogue #48: Hey, you’re a PF fan! I saw ‘em once in 1971 and twice in 1973, sitting within 10 meters of the stage for all three concerts. They were my favourite band once I heard Ummagumma for the first time as a kid. Plus, any band that names their first album from a chapter in The Wind in the Willows (the strangest, most interesting chapter in the book, btw) has gotta be great.

    A friend of mine saw Roger Waters in Shanghai about a year ago and was raving about the ballerinas they had on stage. I told him they used a choir, orchestra and ballerinas for the Atom Heart Mother Suite back in ’71, so it was something from the past. In that concert at the old Madison Square Garden, they came up through the floor; very cool. This same friend recently recommended I listen to some Boomtown Rats and I told him whenever I think of the Boomtown Rats, I always think of “Pink”, since Bob Geldof played “Pink” in the movie. 😛

    If you haven’t seen it yet, try to find the old movie “Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii”. It was filmed in 1971 and can give you an idea of the earlier incarnation of the band. I’ve always been more of an early PF fan than a later one. Here’s a clip from the film of the song Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun.

    I agree with everything you said about the movie, but my point was that Waters uses this song to portray the “thought control” and initial alienation he felt at elementary school, and how he rebelled against authority. Waters was never too keen on government authority, especially during the Thatcher years.

    Losing your dad at such a young age is rough for any kid. Waters lost his father at Anzio. Al Stewart (Year of the Cat) also lost his dad during the war, causing him and his mother to move from Scotland to Bournemouth when he was very young. Stewart bought his first guitar from Andy Summers of the Police back when they were both teens, shared a boarding house with Paul Simon and palled around with Yoko Ono before she met John Lennon. Small world…

    Apparently, Syd Barrett was fine until he started dropping acid. After that he started to get paranoid. I was always impressed that the rest of the guys made sure he was ok and gave his mother money to take care of him. They were consistent with this even after the breakup and subsequent animosity.

    As far as the DL is concerned, who said I was rooting for him? I’m not a Tibetan Buddhist and really have no interest in the religion, but I can’t understand how an avowed atheistic government can have any moral authority to pick religious leaders for people who have a strong belief in that religion. If you were Tibetan Buddhist, would you follow a new DL picked by an atheistic government or one picked by the former DL? And if the DL continues to “perpetuate this archaic barbarization”, then how can the CCP declare a new DL when this one dies? Wouldn’t that make them complicit in perpetuating that same archaic barbarization? You can’t force people to change their religious beliefs; they have to do so on their own volition.

  72. blahblah
    January 25th, 2009 at 19:25 | #72

    Another website with overseas chinese and westerners discussing Tibet, while they don’t know anything about Tibet, how amusing…

  73. Otto Kerner
    January 25th, 2009 at 19:35 | #73

    @everybody,

    Can we please, in the future, make the distinction between secession and succession?

    Secede: to withdraw from an organization

    Succeed: to come next after another in office or position or in possession of an estate

  74. Lobsang
    January 25th, 2009 at 19:37 | #74

    Dalai Lama’s New Year message to Chinese people
    TibetNet[Sunday, January 25, 2009 11:08]
    His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s message to the Chinese people
    on the occasion of the Chinese New Year

    On the occasion of the Chinese New Year, or the Spring Festival, I extend my affectionate greetings to all our Chinese brothers and sisters across the globe, including those living in Mainland China.

    The past year witnessed many developments throughout the world and particularly in China, at times worrying us while at other times filling our hearts with happiness. Besides having to bear the brunt of natural disasters and other problems that hit the country, China also had the proud moments like hosting the world’s greatest sporting event, the Olympic Games. The year that ended is, therefore, marked with great changes taking place everywhere.

    These days, due to the global economic meltdown, the people of the world in general, and of the developing countries in particular, are plunged into an abyss of anxiety and suffering. To pray for the end of all sufferings of humanity, as well as for their happiness and well-being, is a responsibility that rests on all believers.

    Besides having a long history of over 5000 years and a splendidly rich cultural heritage, China is also the most populous nation in the world. Moreover, it is emerging as a super power in terms of political, economic and military might. However, China cannot perform the responsibility of a super power in this modern and progressive world if there is no freedom, rule of law and transparency in the country.

    President Hu Jintao’s policy of creating a harmonious society is indeed laudable. Such a policy is indispensable for China as well, if it were to make a mark globally. Harmonious society should, however, come about through mutual trust, friendship and justice. It cannot be brought about by brute force and autocracy.

    Not only should the Chinese citizens have economic facilities, but they should also enjoy the freedom of conscience, education and to know what is actually happening around the world. These freedoms are indispensable for human societies. If – in this fast-changing modern world – one does not keep abreast of the daily happenings

    around the globe, then it goes without saying that one will be naturally left behind. In China today, popular news outlets such as television, radio and Internet – including the international news services like the BBC and CNN are blocked – thus preventing its people from knowing the true information about the world’s events. I am immensely disappointed by such negative actions of the Chinese government, which greatly hamper the fundamental rights as well as the short and long-term benefits of the Chinese people.

    The 21st century is regarded as a century of information revolution. And yet some countries of the world, which includes China, impose restrictions on the free flow of information. Such actions are anachronistic and hence there is no way that these can be sustained in the long run. Therefore, I believe that China too will soon become more liberal in terms of disseminating and sharing information.

    Last year, many Chinese intellectuals came out with a number of articles and other campaign activities, calling for freedom, democracy, justice, equality and human rights in China. Particularly in a recent development, we saw an increasing number of people from all walks of life signing up to an important document called the Charter ’08. This is indicative of the fact that the Chinese people, including the intellectuals, are beginning to demonstrate their deep yearnings for more openness and freedom in their country. It is, therefore, a matter for all of us to take pride in.

    While once again extending my warm greetings to the Chinese people, I hope and pray that in the coming year the People’s Republic of China will be able to create a meaningful harmonious society by ensuring equality, justice and friendship among all its nationalities.

    The Dalai Lama
    25 January 2009

  75. Lobsang
    January 25th, 2009 at 19:39 | #75

    Will surrender privileges, if Tibet becomes free: Dalai Lama

    http://www.indianexpress.com/news/will-surrender-privileges-if-tibet-becomes-f…/413553/

    Agencies Posted: Jan 21, 2009 at 1718 hrs IST
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    Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets journalists during a press conference in Chennai.Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets journalists during a press conference in Chennai.

    Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets journalists during a press conference in Chennai.
    Related Stories: It’s better if I retire and get out of Tibet movement: DalaiTibetans decide to stick to Dalai Lama’s ‘Middle Way’
    Chennai : Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on Wednesday asserted it was only a ‘matter of time’ before Tibet got ‘autonomy’ from China, and said that he would surrender the privileges attached with his spiritual leadership if Tibet becomes free.

    “Yes.. I am sure we will achieve autonomy… it’s only a matter of time before that will happen,” the Dalai Lama, here on a visit to address the students of Madras University, told reporters in Chennai.

    “While the spirit and determination of the present generation of Tibetans is stronger than the previous ones, there is more global awareness about our struggle,” he said, adding that their movement had even struck a chord with a section of the people of China.

    “Our March 2008 protests had 300 supportive articles from Chinese intelligentsia, such as students, teachers and other intellectuals… the Chinese Government must look at our struggle logically and realistically,” he said.

    He said that in the event of Tibet becoming free, he would ‘surrender the privileges’ attached with his spiritual leadership.

    “They (an elected government) know better than me… I cannot be a ruler,” he said, adding that he was only a spokesperson of the Tibetans.

    The Dalai Lama called for an immediate end to the use of force against the Tibetan people by China, saying stability cannot be created by force, but rather by trust.

    “The trust should come out of mutual respect and therefore the people and government of China must deal with the issue realistically and logically,” he said.

    Stating that he wanted the modernisation and development of Tibet, he asserted that the people would seldom take to violent ways of struggle. This was the best lesson he drew from India (and its Independence struggle).

    To a query, he said India’s foreign policy towards Tibet and China was ‘over cautious’, but complemented it for offering the ‘best facilities’ to Tibetan refugees.

    “No country in the world offers as good educational and other facilities like India does to Tibetan refugees,” he said.

  76. Otto Kerner
    January 25th, 2009 at 19:45 | #76

    @ FOARP #65, “Allen, don’t you see the blindingly obvious contradiction in saying that the Chinese government has always picked the Dalai Lama since the 5th Dalai Lama?”

    I assume that Allen meant that the central government has selected the Dalai Lama ever since he became a political power. This is also quite incorrect. The 5th Dalai Lama took power by winning a civil war with the help of Khoshud Mongols, who were obviously not part of the Ming or Qing state apparatus. He later accepted the Qing emperor as overlord.

  77. Otto Kerner
    January 25th, 2009 at 19:54 | #77

    @ Leo #54,

    Political involvement in the selection of religious leaders is a good example of a relic of the feudal era. I thought the CCP was interested in modernising China? Apparently, some feudal practices are more equal than others.

    “During the ROC era, although Chinese government lost the actual control of Tibet, its government went on deciding the selection of tulkus in Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan, Inner Mongolia, Manchuria, and Gansu. The Legislative Yuan issued a law regulating the selection and ordination of tulkus and management of lamaseries.”

    Can you suggest a source for this? I’m interested in the politics of the Tibetan areas outside of the Lhasa state, but it seems very difficult to get much information about it in English.

  78. January 25th, 2009 at 20:07 | #78

    “No … the fact that the DL’s seeking international pressure on achieving domestic objectives in China is important (and actually “pisses” off many Chinese) is not just a matter of formality, but an issue to do with sovereignty that many Chinese treats seriously in light of the Chinese people’s collective historical experience.”

    Allen, no it isn’t, it can’t possibly be, if it is, then when any Chinese person of any stripe anywhere criticises the CCP in any respect to a foreign NGO, then these will automatically become ‘matters of sovereignty’. This is a recipe for spending the next hundred years at war with the rest of the world, and I do not think you really mean it. Instead, I think you are, without realising it, following the same line as those who accuse the Dalai Lama of fomenting revolt against the PRC government – this, and only this, would be a matter of ‘sovereignty’, although it is for others to decide how worthy of respect that sovereignty is, especially given the willingness of the CCP in the past to foment revolt in other countries.

  79. January 25th, 2009 at 22:20 | #79

    @blahblah – So are you going to enlighten us with your magnificence oh wise one?

  80. Charles Liu
    January 25th, 2009 at 23:57 | #80

    Steve, Allan @ 10, 39, 40, 43

    I think the fact ABSOLUTELY NO ONE has given a straight answer on China’s autonomous regions is yet another demonstration we (yours truley included) haven’t a clue about it.

    Now is THIS a a solid foundation for enlightened discussion? I don’t think so.

  81. January 26th, 2009 at 03:01 | #81

    Well. we may discuss China’s autonomous regions, starting with China’s constitution.

    http://english.people.com.cn/constitution/constitution.html

    SECTION 6. THE ORGANS OF SELF-GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL AUTONOMOUS AREAS

    Article 112. The organs of self-government of national autonomous areas are the people’s congresses and people’s governments of autonomous regions, autonomous prefectures and autonomous counties.

    Article 113. In the people’s congress of an autonomous region, prefecture or county, in addition to the deputies of the nationality or nationalities exercising regional autonomy in the administrative area, the other nationalities inhabiting the area are also entitled to appropriate representation. The chairmanship and vice- chairmenships of the standing committee of the people’s congress of an autonomous region, prefecture or county shall include a citizen or citizens of the nationality or nationalities exercising regional autonomy in the area concerned.

    Article 114. The administrative head of an autonomous region, prefecture or county shall be a citizen of the nationality, or of one of the nationalities, exercising regional autonomy in the area concerned.

    Article 115. The organs of self-government of autonomous regions, prefectures and counties exercise the functions and powers of local organs of state as specified in Section V of Chapter Three of the Constitution. At the same time, they exercise the right of autonomy within the limits of their authority as prescribed by the Constitution, the law of regional national autonomy and other laws, and implement the laws and policies of the state in the light of the existing local situation.

    Article 116. People’s congresses of national autonomous areas have the power to enact autonomy regulations and specific regulations in the light of the political, economic and cultural characteristics of the nationality or nationalities in the areas concerned. The autonomy regulations and specific regulations of autonomous regions shall be submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for approval before they go into effect. Those of autonomous prefectures and counties shall be submitted to the standing committees of the people’s congresses of provinces or autonomous regions for approval before they go into effect, and they shall be reported to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress for the record.

    Article 117. The organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas have the power of autonomy in administering the finances of their areas. All revenues accruing to the national autonomous areas under the financial system of the state shall be managed and used independently by the organs of self- government of those areas.

    Article 118. The organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas independently arrange for and administer local economic development under the guidance of state plans. In developing natural resources and building enterprises in the national autonomous areas, the state shall give due consideration to the interests of those areas.

    Article 119. The organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas independently administer educational, scientific, cultural, public health and physical culture affairs in their respective areas, sort out and protect the cultural legacy of the nationalities and work for the development and prosperity of their cultures.

    Article 120. The organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas may, in accordance with the military system of the state and concrete local needs and with the approval of the State Council, organize local public security forces for the maintenance of public order.

    Article 121. In performing their functions, the organs of self-government of the national autonomous areas, in accordance with the autonomy regulations of the respective areas, employ the spoken and written language or languages in common use in the locality.

    Article 122. The state gives financial, material and technical assistance to the minority nationalities to accelerate their economic and cultural development. The state helps the national autonomous areas train large numbers of cadres at different levels and specialized personnel and skilled workers of different professions and trades from among the nationality or nationalities in those areas.

  82. Tu Quoque
    January 26th, 2009 at 03:12 | #82

    # 70 Dan,

    You have one positive vote from me there.

    There, you are saying what I have said, we are all Chinese.

    # 71 Steve, Another positive vote for you.

    Pink Floyd is, IMHO, the best art rock group EVER. I love YES too, but the problem is, I don’t understand their lyrics half the time.

    I got the point you made previously. What I was trying to say with my response was that I was talking about the DL as a human being who, like most of us are imprisoned with the walls of man-made BS. We all understand that he can’t tear down the wall without dire consequences, even though he is the only one who could do it. It is a lonely place at the top as they say, and thousands, if not millions, are dependant on him, be it in sustaining power, wealth and/or religious faith.

    I had not implied that you, Steve, was rooting for DL., I odf course knew you know better than that. If you thought I did, I blame it entirely on my bad writing — together herewith — my sincere apology.

    As to the point that one can’t change another’s religion, I absolutely agree. The fact remains that no one has yet had the ability to disolve all superstition, which, but time and scientific progress alone will gradually illuminate the infinite dark corners of ignorance. So for the same reason America and the Allies spared the Emperor of Japan, who inspired the long atrocious South East Asian war, any trail for his key role in the infinite crime against humanity, the CCP , the current legitimate interantionally recognized government body of China, have had to show similar restrain, patience and diplomacy with regards to two of its outsed ex-regimes of of China – one of which is the ROC. This is in order that the benefits of our recent rapid human social progress which China is an integral part of may gradually diminish the influence of the remnants of obsolete feudalistic polity and superstition within its sovereignty.

    Just as it takes time and ongoing efforts for any so called developed nations to solve their own social ills, unsavory racial tension, demographic mis-management and un-even distribution of opportunity, wealth and power, China being a few decades behind these developed nations is doing beyond expectations for what she deems are appropriate for her own people among these united ethnic groups of China – everyone of her 56 ethnic groups a CHINESE.

  83. S.K. Cheung
    January 26th, 2009 at 04:45 | #83

    To Tu Quoque #82:
    though I may disagree with some of the stuff you’ve said in the past, this was very well-said.

  84. S.K. Cheung
    January 26th, 2009 at 04:52 | #84

    To Admin #81:
    thanks for that.

    Given Article 114, is the “administrative head” of the TAR currently a Tibetan? And is the admin head the head honcho of the regional government (sorta like the governor), or is there someone between him/her and the central government?

    As for Article 121, is Tibetan one of the official languages of government in the TAR presently?

    From what I recall from previous Tibet threads (and there’ve been many so I may be recalling incorrectly), both of these seemed to remain as outstanding issues despite being espoused by a 26 year old constitution.

  85. January 26th, 2009 at 06:31 | #85

    @Charles Liu – Speak for yourself. Like I said, (if you had bothered reading what I wrote), autonomous regions essentially allow central government to set different policies in them, and otherwise function in the same way as the provinces. There is no ‘autonomy’ in the sense of self-rule.

  86. Steve
    January 26th, 2009 at 07:40 | #86

    @ admin #81: Thanks for that. I hadn’t seen it before and must admit it’ll take me awhile to wade through the legalese but it gives me a much better idea of the meaning of “autonomous” and allows the discussion to become clearer or all of us.

    @ Tu Quogue #82: I certainly agree with SK on your post, very nice indeed! It was clearly and thoughtfully expressed.

    Early YES lyrics were written not to make any sense, but for the flow and rhythm of the words. For something newer where you won’t have any problem understanding the words, check out If Only You Knew from The Ladder CD. Jon Anderson wrote it about his wife. Sorry about the lame video but the song is good.

    For something very modern but in the same vein as PF or Yes, I’d recommend England’s Porcupine Tree. This is a live version of Lazarus from their Deadwing CD. I saw this particular tour at the House of Blues in San Diego. There were probably 400 people in the audience and of those, less than five were women, including my wife. It reminded me of those early PF concerts before DSOTM. I consider Porcupine Tree the best prog rock band right now.

  87. January 26th, 2009 at 07:48 | #87

    There seem to be a lot of questions (and misinterpretations) regarding what I meant when I wrote:

    Do you remember that you yourself (and in fact, all Dalai Lamas dating back to great Fifth Dalai Lama) had obtained your (their) legitimacy of title and status from the Chinese central government?

    What I meant was that the institution of the Dalai Lama as “politico-religious supremo” – i.e. an institution bestowing the Dalai Lama with political and religious title and status – as we understand it to be today – was created by the central Chinese gov’t in the 17th century and bestowed first to the great Fifth Dalai Lama.

    I don’t remember specifically the source where I learned that from (did a lot of research while in law school … using (sorry to my Mainland compatriots) primarily English sources … most of which involving books from the library and not books that I bought and kept).

    Fortunately, a Google search reminded of this reference from the Hindu (for a more pinpoint cite, just search for paragraph that starts with “Historical records show that the institution…”).

  88. tenzin
    January 26th, 2009 at 09:53 | #88

    Allen, the Hindu article you point to is written by N Ram and is an opinion piece and he is not a historian.

    The Fifth Dalai Lama, or teh Great Fifth as we call him, was born in 1617 in Lhoka, south of Lhasa. In 1642, Gushir Khan, the chief of the Qoshot Mongols enthroned the Dalai Lama in Shigatse as both the spiritual and political leader of Tibet.

    In 1649, Sunzhi, the Manchu emperor, invited the Dalai Lama to Peking. When he reached the Chinese province of Ningxia, he was greeted by the emperor’s minister and military commander who came with three thousand cavalry to escort the Tibetan leader. The emperor himself traveled from Peking and greeted him at a place called Kothor. In the Chinese capital, the Dalai Lama stayed at the Yellow Palace, built for him by the emperor. When the emperor officially met the Dalai Lama, the two of then exchanged titles. In 1653, the Dalai Lama returned to Tibet.

    Here is a copy of a letter of request from Emperor Shunzhi to the Fifth Dalai Lama. It says:

    “Shunzhi’s decree.

    “His Majesty the Emperor sends this decree to the Dalai Lama, the Supreme Dispenser of the greatest of Buddhist Benevolence in all the western lands, the All-Knowing,
    Vajradhara [Dorje Chang] Dalai Lama.

    “By the grace of the gods in Heaven, we are keeping well. I felt extremely glad to learn that you, the All-Knowing Dalai Lama, are in good health. Despite such a great distance that separates us, I have been unceasing in my desire to honour you. In view of this, I have, at this time, dispatched Lama Sherab and Gelong Samten to extend
    my greetings to you.

    Shunzhi.
    The 24th day of the final (6th) month of summer of the 14th year of Shunzhi (1657).

    Doesnt sound like the Manchu Emperor, in issuing this this letter, had any sovereign power over Tibet. One of the major challenge that CCp historians have faced is to prove exactly when Tibet “historically” became a part of China. There was a time when official writings from China would point to the marriage of Princess Wang chen to the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo as a point in history when Tibet became a part of the the Middle Kingdom. Then there is the flimsy Qing/Yuan period. Yet I dont think that the PRC historians have ever been able to prove it. On the contrary there are so many documents to prove Tibet’s independence. The latest one you can look it up here http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?article=Tibet-Mongol+Treaty+of+1913%2C+a+proof+of+Tibet%E2%80%99s+independence%3A+Interview&id=23205

    Just because titles were given to the Dalai Lamas by the Chinese emperors it doesnt prove anything. The present Dalai Lama was given Nobel Peace prize and the Congressional Gold medal. So is Tibet now a part of Norway or the US?

    Many Tibetans think that the present Dalai Lama made a mistake by asking for autonomy and not the rightful independence or ‘Rangzen’. And here I see the Chinese accusing him of building walls.

    Someone here asked about monbas and other smaller communities in Tibet and said who really represents Tibet. Let me add, there are Tibetan muslims and Tibetan christians too. You will be surprised if you ask them whether they feel more Chinese or Tibetan. Tibetan muslims though they dont share the same faith look at the Dalai Lamas as their political leader. One of the first independent newspaper in Tibetan language was started by a Tiebtan christain named Babu Tharchin and it was called Bhodmi rangwang “Tibetan Freedom”.

    Happy Chinese New Year to all. Forget about the “Serf Emancipation crap” Tibetans inside Tibet are asking whether we have anything to celebrate http://www.highpeakspureearth.com/2009/01/more-from-tibetan-bloggers-about.html

  89. Tu Quoque
    January 26th, 2009 at 15:10 | #89

    Thank you SKC and Steve for your gracious responses – — one sand if not one pebble at a time.

    Being that today is the the first day of the year of the Ox, I thought I’d spend the day with my mother and siblings for a bit of Mahjong. It was fun. But then in the middle of it, from listening to their conversation, I came to learn to my horror — after having not seeing them for like six months —that both my eldest sister and my second brother, due to the diligence of my sister-in-law, have gotten religious. Jesus H. Christ!
    And by that, I mean literally. My elder sister and sister -in-lwa who were not playing mahjong were discussing at the dinning table about the chosen people of God, the holy land, the holy city of Jerusalem and trying to make sense of the eternal sibling rivalries between the descendants of the two Abrahamic bloodlines. I couldn’t believe my ears! Religion is politics. Mammon is power. I wanted to shout, but it was already too late. They’ve bought into the self absording diversion — The whole sin, the threat of hell, the provision of personal redemption aka salvation and the promise heaven, Nirvana, whatever, package.

    Since it is Chinese New Year, I kept my lips tight. I wanted to tell them it was all for its geopolitical and military strategic importance. That piece of holy land of three major religions of the world is the power center of global trades, plus, since post Atomic age, the added incentive of having the control of the super rich minerals which the Dead sea holds blah blah blah. Furthernore, the real irony was, here I was, a few hours earlier, slamming superstition and doing my anti-religious spiel and all. Ha ha.

    Well, ok, I give up. Since it is afterall the year of the OX, why not let us roll out the golden cow, and let us all genuflect before it and offer minds to it. Good health and propserity to all here who are gathered at the foothill of the Fool’s Mountain. 🙂

  90. Wahaha
    January 26th, 2009 at 15:23 | #90

    Happy Chinese New Year to all. Forget about the “Serf Emancipation crap” Tibetans inside Tibet are asking whether we have anything to celebrate http://www.highpeakspureearth.com/2009/01/more-from-tibetan-bloggers-about.html

    ______________________________________

    Will you give us a picture of happy Tibetan people under the control of those monks ?

  91. Wahaha
    January 26th, 2009 at 15:26 | #91

    SKC,

    to your post on the other thread :

    Without good intention, it is not criticism.

  92. Wahaha
    January 26th, 2009 at 15:37 | #92

    With all respect, what influence can Chinese like yourself bring on the Chinese government? I don’t think it’s that much. The CCP has its Tibetan policy because it is paranoid and wants control – not because many Chinese hate the Dalai Lama.

    Raj,

    Then, what influence do you have on your government, may I ask ?

    BTW, CCP has 60+ million members, and it has recruited millions of middle class who are the major force of democracy.

    Do you know how Hu JingTao took over Shanghai clique in 2002 ?

  93. Tu Quoque
    January 26th, 2009 at 15:46 | #93

    Sun, 08/24/2008 – 12:24 — D Mindock
    Good article on an extremely important topic. I read all the comments posted so far. Two facts that were new to me: 1. When DU is in the form of extremely small particles, it becomes extremely dangerous and causes DNA to breakdown. No wonder that cancer rates are zooming in Iraqis and within our troops who have fought in the mid-East. Also, severe birth defects are rising too. 2. Coal fired power plants emit fine particles of DU in huge quantities. In addition, these plants emit mercury, cadmium, etc. Thus, we need to begin to phase these plants out very quickly as they are WMDs. BTW, cement kilns emit toxic particles like mercury.

    Huh? what’s this all about?

    Check it out:

    http://www.truthout.org/article/the-depleted-uranium-threat

    The Depleted Uranium Threat by: Thomas D. Williams,

    “The DoD, the nation’s biggest polluter, is now cleaning up 29,500 currently or formerly contaminated sites in every state and territory. California alone has 3,912 contaminated sites on 441 current and former DoD installations. …..”The Defense Department is refusing to comply with orders or sign contracts to clean up 11 hazardous waste sites, including one in Hawaii, and has asked the White House and Justice Department to intervene on its behalf.” – The Associated Press….

  94. Wahaha
    January 26th, 2009 at 15:47 | #94

    ….this, and only this, would be a matter of ’sovereignty’, although it is for others to decide how worthy of respect that sovereignty is, …

    FOARP,

    How about some of chinese wrap themselves with Irish flags during London Olympic in 2012 ? will it be OK for you ?

  95. January 26th, 2009 at 15:52 | #95

    @Whaha – Unless the party includes the majority of the population in its ranks, instead of 4%, then it cannot be called democratic – not without rendering that word meaningless. Battles between cliques within the party only highlights how detached they are from the people.

    As for what influence I, as a British citizen, have, here goes:

    1) I can join any of the main parties and help select their leaders

    2) I can vote in local, national, and European elections for any candidate I wish on an open list. So, for example, last year I was one of 1.1 million Londoners who voted to put Boris Johnson in power, over Ken Livingstone, whose plans for London transport I dislike, as well as his shady deals with Venezuela. In 2005 I was one of 8.8 million British people who voted for the Conservative party, helping to cut the Labour party’s majority in parliament and resulting in the government defeats we have seen in the past four years on issues like ID cards and detention without trial.

    3) I have free access to my democratic representatives – all I need do is make an appointment and I can meet them. Have you ever even seen your county-level governor in the flesh?

    4) I have free access to the Houses of Parliament and can watch debate in both houses and in committee.

    5) I can set up my own political party and run for office.

    6) I can turn on the television and radio at any time of the day and hear people of all parties and opinions discussing the issues of the day, many of which will read out emails and take calls from viewers

    7) Every week I can watch our Prime Minister answering questions from potentially any of the members of parliament, many of which have to do with issues raised by constituents.

    8 ) I can attend trials, and may be chosen to sit on juries.

    9) I can challenge for access to secret government documents, as long as I can give good reason to be allowed access, access will be granted, if not a judicial review may be ordered if access has been denied improperly.

    10) I am free to canvas support for any political cause I like in public, and to attend demonstrations and form organisations to promote those causes.

    As well as many others. This is what democracy is.

    As for your other point, I thought that you were trying to claim that PRC rule is better than that before, or are you now saying it is just as bad?

  96. Wahaha
    January 26th, 2009 at 16:06 | #96

    Foarp,

    A couple decided to buy a TV, they went to Best buy and found a TV they liked. The price tag was $999 with 10% discount. The hushand wanted to buy it as he had never seen the brand for less than 900 dollars. The wife argued that it was only 10% off, she wouldnt buy it unless it was at least 20% off.

    A month later, the wife went to circuit city, and found the same brand of TV. This time, the price tag was $1,299 with 30% discount. The wife decided to buy it, CUZ the 30% discount made her feel very good.

  97. January 26th, 2009 at 16:15 | #97

    @Wahaha –

    “How about some of chinese wrap themselves with Irish flags during London Olympic in 2012 ? will it be OK for you ?”

    As I have said many times – yes. Bring Welsh, Scottish, English, Cornish and Ulster flags with you as well, nobody in London will give a damn what you do – not least because almost nobody in the UK thinks that the Republic of Ireland should be part of the UK! In a couple of months time it will be St. Patricks day again, and the streets of London will be filled with students (both UK and overseas) painted in the colours of the Irish national flag. I suggest you actually learn a bit of history before posting again on the subject of Ireland.

    @Tu Quoque – I thought we were supposed to be discussing Tibet? Or has this become a DU thread?

  98. Wahaha
    January 26th, 2009 at 16:20 | #98

    FOARP,

    You didnt get my point.

    A chinese protests on the street of London ? who the F@#$ does he think he is ?

    Let us some chinese talk about your business, talk about how you should handle the island near Argentina, talk about how British felt when their beloved princess, the mother of future king was gonna marry an india businessman.

    You dont mind, do you ?

    See my point ?

  99. January 26th, 2009 at 16:29 | #99

    @Whahaha – I did get your point, I’m just saying that nobody would care. And if people did get angry, would that reaction be reasonable?

    Anyway, you weren’t where I was sitting earlier today. Our lecture theatre has been taken over by people from a pro-Palestinian group who say that they are going to ‘symbolically occupy’ the lecture hall until the university ‘condemns the Israeli occupation of the Gaza strip’. Of course, the university is never going to give in to their demands as it is an a-political public institution, but as long as the occupation is ‘symbolic’ (by which they seem to mean that they will just cover the walls of the hall with Palestinian flags and posters and sleep in the back of the theatre whilst the lectures go on) the university really couldn’t care less. Most of the students find it really annoying to have to put up with all these political signs and flags in a lecture hall, but as long as the protest is peaceful nobody wants to stop them.

    Anyway, didn’t we see a perfect example of how people are allowed to protest in the UK last year, even if they are foreign citizens and are disagreeing with the UK government’s official position?

  100. Tu Quoque
    January 26th, 2009 at 16:30 | #100

    I am just throwing in sth I wish to share with you folks – not necessarily for discussion – do what y’all like with it – it’s not much of a topic for debate anyway. Just bad news that’s all.

    As someone once quoted Bruce Lee’s famous words here: “Be water, my friend.”

  101. Wahaha
    January 26th, 2009 at 16:39 | #101

    I’m just saying that nobody would care.

    ________________________________

    You want me to believe this ?

    Who was that british idiot calling out the chinese who were protecting torch relay in London?

    Oh, I forgot, he is a “$ir.” but to me, he is @$$hole.

  102. January 26th, 2009 at 16:42 | #102

    @Whahah – Egyptian, Dodi Fayed was Egyptian, and no, you still don’t get the picture. London has protests practically every week by foreign groups, many of which are critical of British institutions. For example, there was a protest by Palestinian groups outside the BBC building in Glasgow today over their decision not to broadcast the appeal from the Disaster Relief Committee for Gaza on the grounds that it would infringe their neutrality – and nobody was very bothered.

  103. Steve
    January 26th, 2009 at 16:55 | #103

    @ Wahaha & FOARP: I understand where both of you are coming from. Wahaha, you are correct in that there are always people who are bothered by any demonstration they disagree with and will use their animosity to get TV time and publicity. But FOARP is also correct in that the vast, vast majority of Brits don’t care whether anyone protests, as long as they keep in nonviolent. It’s the same here; most Americans don’t care about protests as long as they keep it civil.

    I think there are two different objectives that protests can harbor; action or awareness. Small protests try to create awareness among the general public about a particular situation. Large protests try to create change for a known situation. They have different goals and different ways to judge their success or failure.

  104. January 26th, 2009 at 16:58 | #104

    @Whahaha – Steve Cram was criticising the heavy-handedness of the PSP goons, he wasn’t criticising the Chinese protesters. Like I said, you can come to London and wave your flags all you like, nobody will stop you, they might disagree with you, but that is a different thing.

    Now, I’m not getting on my high horse and claiming that British folk are somehow naturally better than Chinese folk, what I am saying is that normally people don’t get ultra angry over minor stuff like exiled leaders giving talks, it’s only when it suits the interest of an over-bearing government that it will whip people into the kind of nationalistic hysteria of which there are several examples on this thread.

  105. Brad
    January 26th, 2009 at 17:26 | #105

    @FOARP, Wahaha:

    FOARP’s point: since British or the west do it this way, so China must also do it this way.

    Wahaha’s point: The west is not the standard. Things that are normal and acceptable in the west can be viewed very offensive in China.

    My point: you must respect others. Do not force your value onto others. Only then, we will all live in peace. Have to say, the west has been very bad at respecting others. Iraq is but one fresh example of western arrogance and brutality.

  106. Ted
    January 26th, 2009 at 17:34 | #106

    Wahaha: If FOARP says British “won’t care” if Chinese protest he’s simply talking about the act of people protesting. It doesn’t mean others won’t react to the protest and it doesn’t mean that people will agree with the position of protesters.

    “Who was that british idiot calling out the chinese who were protecting torch relay in London?..Oh, I forgot, he is a “$ir.” but to me, he is @$$hole.”

    Then set up a website called “Down with $ir @$$hole” and protest his remarks.

  107. January 26th, 2009 at 17:53 | #107

    @Brad –

    “Things that are normal and acceptable in the west can be viewed very offensive in China. “

    So I guess all those Chinese last year were wrong to protest in your view? Shouldn’t they have followed the Chinese way and not protested? Shouldn’t the nationalists in 2005 also not have protested against the Japanese? This argument is illogical.

    Anyway, you cannot pretend that dictatorship is somehow a product of Chinese culture, many countries have been ruled by dictatorships, and they have all behaved in pretty much the same way – no matter whether they were in the west or in the east. And no, I have no respect for dictatorships.

    Go on repeating the phrase ‘arrogance’ all you like, and sure, pull Iraq out of your hat if you like too, it all looks rather like whistling past the graveyard. Dude, I’m surprised you don’t just put “Western arrogance and bullying infringing womenguojiade sovereignty!” on a macro so you can post your comments with a single button-press, it’d save you a lot of time!

    For your reference, Iraq was the product of the post-9/11 world, one which is no longer with us, and is anyway unrelated to the subject at hand, any more than say, China’s invasion of Vietnam, or its supporting of Che Guevara’s exploits in Bolivia and the Congo, or Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, or the communists in Laos or South Vietnam, or Malaysia, or North Korea, or FRELIMO in Mozambique, or the Shining Path in Peru. I guess China had a hard time respecting the sovereignty of those countries as well, huh?

    Anyway, none of you have actually come up with a good explanation of why you believe that the Dalai Lama criticising the CCP before a foreign audience infringes China’s sovereignty. Surely he is allowed to speak his mind on this subject? The fact that it makes you angry that people listen to him does not mean that he or his audience is infringing Chinese sovereignty. Now, if you could show us actual evidence that the Dalai Lama is currently actively engaged in supplying and enabling uprisings in China you might have a point, but I don’t see that any of you have shown this, or even claimed it. ‘Sovereignty’ is not a prop for bruised egos, at least not in any kind of reasonable discussion.

  108. January 26th, 2009 at 20:04 | #108

    @tenzin #88,

    First of all – Happy Lunisolar New Year – and thanks for leaving a comment.

    Rather than trying to dig all the way back to history, let me focus on just one narrow issue.

    What did you intend to “prove” by the link to the Mongolian-Tibetan Treat of 1913?

    Do you intend to prove that Tibet has always been independent?

    Tibet gained independence only after the fall of the Qing?

    Or that Tibet gained its independence after the fall of the Qing, and that this act was ratified under International Law because of Mongolia’s involvement – even though no Chinese government ever did?

    Or perhaps simply that Tibet should be independent today since Mongolia was able to gain its independence?

    Also – I have a question about your view of Losar? Is it a Tibetan holiday or not? Are netizens you quoted merely protesting the celebration of Losar in Tibet without the Dalai Lama or are they not happy that Losar is derived from the Chinese lunisolar calendar?

    What is your view on this?

    For me, the answer will give me some insight whether we are having a “cultural” dispute or a mere “political” dispute.

  109. January 26th, 2009 at 20:13 | #109

    @FOARP … I want to follow up on our discussion in #45 and #61 on the relevance of the model of the Holy See for the future roles of Dalai Lama in China.

    In your view, is the Pope a religious and nonpolitical figure?

    To me the Pope is definitely not a non-political figure. Not only does the pope have formal diplomatic relations with many nations, the pope also takes many politically charged positions on social, cultural, and international issues spanning the world – and tries to exert political influence on many, many occasions.

    If we are truly serious about looking for a model of someone who is a spiritual leader but not a political one – perhaps Mother Theresa would be a better model than the Pope?

  110. Wahaha
    January 26th, 2009 at 20:25 | #110

    FOARP,

    Wow, Tibet issue is minor issue for chinese ?

    You may not like it, but Chinese think Tibet issue is our own business.

    Give us an example of issue that British consider as their own business and they dont mind that foreigners in London protest against.

    In Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii native aboriginal people wont have chance finding good job unless they can speak English, have you ever seen chinese bashing those government for that ? No, Why ? cuz we consider them as Canadian, New Zealanders, Australians and Americans

    Do you consider those tibetans are chinese ? How many westerners here on this board consider Tibetans are chinese ? Oh, I guess SKC will come up the question “why not ask Tibetans?”, the answer is simple : “why not ask those native in his own country ?”

    Now assume you dont consider Tibetans are chinese, as least you have to show us how you care about them. What have West done for Tibetan people, except sending money to those anti-china monks ?

    So please give us a reason why we, as chinese, think you care about tibetan people, not try to divide China ? Human right ? BS !!!! Saddam’s brutal tyranny enjoyed full support from France and Germany. So why did those politicians put on some disgusting show that deserved Oscar like they really care about human right ? Are Westerners so stupid that they failed to notice how Saddam Hussin was treated by France and Germany ?

  111. bt
    January 26th, 2009 at 20:36 | #111

    @ Wahaha

    Really, France and Germany supported Saddam?
    Can you please tell me why this idea is coming in your brain?

  112. Wahaha
    January 26th, 2009 at 20:42 | #112

    bt,

    Where did Saddam get those weapons to kill his own people ?

    Did you see France and Germany bashed saddam’s government ? I guess Saddam didnt kill enough people yet for diplomatic action.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/oct/10/france.iraq

    http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=2556

    http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/51/040.html

  113. January 26th, 2009 at 21:02 | #113

    @Allen – He is a religious leader, religion guides people’s lives. Even Mother Theresa took stances on issues like abortion and contraception, and obviously religious leaders instruct their followers on issues like war, poverty, slavery etc. It is only for governments which insist that their voices reach into every nook and cranny and that they must have a monopoly on instruction that this becomes a problem. If you are looking for religious leaders who are so ineffectual as to never speak against the government, then you will not find them.

    This is, I feel, similar to our discussion on warfare. Von Clausewitz saw war as an extension of politics, whereas other theorists see it as a field separate from politics, in which military goals are achieved with the aim of bringing about victory – otherwise you find yourself in the situation where the weapons of war may be used to bring about any desired political result, and this is surely a morally bankrupt approach. Likewise, the fact that the law may restrain or enable the government does not make the judges and police political figures, they merely apply the law to achieve a legal outcome. Once again, this must be so otherwise the law becomes a play thing of politics, and politically motivated law will be the result.

    Certainly the law, the military, religion – these all have touching points with politics, but the central role of those involved is restricted to their professions. Religious figures can say whether something is correct within a specific structure delineated by their religion, and they may oppose or support a government based on these teachings, and advise their followers to do the same – but the impulse is still religious, and the goal is a religious one.

    However, in a dictatorship, the power wielded by religious leaders, if not subverted, threatens the dictatorship’s monopoly on power. Far from being a question of historical president – in which the CCP poses, bizarrely, as a defender of ancient Tibetan custom – the question of who will be the next Dalai Lama simply boils down to an attempt by the communist party to subvert the Tibetan Buddhist faith by imposing a puppet Dalai Lama who will toe the line. This Dalai Lama would still make rulings of a temporal nature, but these would serve the CCP, not the Tibetan faith – in fact they would render the post more political, not less.

    The Holy See as a model for the Dalai Lama? Well, this is an interesting one. The Vatican State has its origins in the Italian wars of reunification, when the forces of the Papal State which ruled Rome were defeated by the Piedmontese (i.e., the Kingdom which went on to form a united Italy in much the same way as Prussia formed a united Germany) in 1870, and his lands annexed to the Italian state as the capital of the newly unified Italy. The Piedmontese had planned to make the Pope a citizen of Italy, albeit with powers to receive ambassadors, but the Popes refused this, claiming that the full territory of the papal state should be returned to them, and that they should be independent of Italian jurisdiction. To give you an idea of how seriously they took this, this meant that for 69 years no pope left the Vatican even once, as this might have shown a degree of acceptance of the position of the pope as an Italian citizen. Not until the resolution of the problem with the 1929 treaty granting rule over the Vatican as a separate state did a serving pope leave the Vatican.

    What lessons are there in this for China? Well, firstly it is wrong to expect a quick resolution if one side shows a lack of flexibility, and that religious adherents take their faiths and roles very seriously – and are hence unlikely to be flexible. Secondly, that the Holy See insists that it remains a sovereign state as the pope is seen by his followers as a conduit linking them to god (hence the name ‘Pope’, meaning ‘bridge’), I don’t know if the Dalai Lama serves this role in the Tibetan faith, but he has not shown himself unwilling to take PRC citizenship. Perhaps something like the Italian solution might work – a private citizen, albeit one with special powers? Or something like the ‘defender of the faith’ role we discussed a while back? Thirdly, I doubt that the Vatican solution is suitable for Tibet, the Potala palace is not ready to become a sovereign state, and since the Tibetan faith does not extend much beyond Tibet, no need for international representation of the type currently enjoyed by the Vatican. The Dalai Lama’s flock is in Tibet, let him see them and them see him, and I doubt that anyone would be very sorry if he never left Tibet again.

  114. January 26th, 2009 at 21:31 | #114

    @Wahaha – To be honest, enough Chinese don’t refer to them as Chinese, except when talking about foreign matters. What I usually heard was 我们汉人 and 他们西藏人 or just 藏人, and when people spoke about Chinese culture, they did not include Tibetan culture within this, which is perfectly logical as Tibetans only make up 0.5% of the PRC population. In the UK we have people who call themselves Scottish, English, Welsh, Northern Irish, Pakistani, Indian, and Chinese. If you look in their passports they will all say ‘UK citizen’, and some will say they are British – but not all. I would certainly say ‘British’ to describe them, but this tells you their citizenship, not their identity To know how they see themselves, you’ll just have to ask them.

    I am not the kind of person to shout “you are Chinese!” at someone who claims to be Tibetan, or “you are Tibetan!” at someone of Tibetan origin who claims to be Chinese. Even if I wasn’t perfectly used to this kind of thing from living in the UK, life in Taiwan would have introduced me to it. Some people there accept the term 华人 (sorry, can’t do trad. characters), but don’t accept the term 中国人. Some call themselves Chinese and are solidly pro-KMT, but when talking with their friends will refer to themselves as ‘台客’. Others will flat-out insist that they are Taiwanese and always will be. Others simply reject all such terms. Am I going to tell these people that they are wrong?

    I have only met two Tibetans in my life, one was a lady I met whilst working in a hospital during my university holidays back when I was 20, she didn’t speak much, but said she was from Tibet and described herself as Tibetan. One was a guy I knew in Nanjing, he described himself as being from Tibet, and never called himself Chinese. Is that enough for me to make my mind up? No, and even if it was, I’d still call them what they called themselves.

    As for how much I care or don’t care about Tibet, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it over and over – I don’t support or oppose Tibetan independence. Anyone with half an eye on the news knows that the independent states of the Himalayas are not stable, an independent Tibet could easily be just another Kashmir or Nepal. However, I think that’s for them to decide. I care about human rights, something which people in the PRC don’t have much of, and people in Tibet have less. I see people occasionally speak about how much they care about Tibetans, but I don’t see much evidence of this. Pro-Tibet people seem to be the average student crusaders – all talk. Folk on the Chinese side of things seem far more interested in denying that anything bad ever happened there. The Dalai Lama spends most of his times swanning around the globe – is he doing anything helpful for the Tibetan people? I really couldn’t say.

  115. Wahaha
    January 26th, 2009 at 22:38 | #115

    @FOARP,

    We han chinese call Tibetan 藏人 just as Americans call native americans Indians, we consider them as citizens of PRC, while westerners consider Tibetans as citizens of Tibet.

    _______________________________________________

    I may sound very rude, but this tibet issue has become really annoying.

    I dont know if you have noticed that I always called out west politicians, not american people, british people, etc. What I have been saying is that West politicians try to use Tibet issue to make trouble for China, and if possible, divide China. THIS, IN MY OPINION, IS UNDENIABLE.

    Did those West politicians do the right things ? YES, cuz they dont work for China, they work for their countries. Making China weak and dividing China are good ways for the interests and welfare of their countries and people.

    Then what is so annoying ?

    1) They pretend they care Tibetan people, or pretend they are on morally high ground. How did they do that ? they convinced westerners that anyone who stands with chinese government on Tibet issue is morally retarded, even there are over 1 billion chinese who support the chinese government on Tibetan issue. (which they HID it from West people for long time till 3.14 riot.)

    2) Why do most Westerners buy their theory SO EASILY that they are willing to COMPLETELY ignore that Han chinese have tried very hard to improve material lives of Tibetan people ? I think the answer is quite obvious ….. and they KEEP questioning our conscience and sense of morality.

    Dont you think it is annoying if a selfish person keeps trying to convince you that you are morally retarded ?

    YOU CAN NOT ASSUME YOURSELF ON MORALLY HIGH GROUND WHEN YOU ASK OTHERS TO DO SOMETHING THAT IS GREAT FOR YOUR OWN INTEREST, WHETHER YOU KNOW IT OR NOT.

  116. Tu Quoque
    January 26th, 2009 at 22:43 | #116

    # 113 & 114 – FOARP, you get a vote from me for each post. Well said. Thanks.

  117. Think Ming!
    January 26th, 2009 at 22:55 | #117

    @ Steve

    I don’t think it is fair to say footbinding was always voluntary and never mandatory. It was surely voluntary when it first began as a fad for minor foot modification among adult palace females. However, over time the practice became progressively more extreme (i.e. involving increasingly major modification to the foot’s natural state) and more mainstream (i.e. evolving from an outlandish palace fad to a badge of wealth, breeding and ethnicity). By the late Qing it had become socially expected that Han females born into a certain level of society would undergo major foot mutilation.

    Given that the extreme Qing form of footbinding required the process to begin as a child, there was hardly a question of it being ‘voluntary’.

  118. January 26th, 2009 at 23:05 | #118

    @Whahaha – Seriously man, if you weren’t so all-out sure of things you don’t actually have the evidence to prove, then this discussion would be a lot easier. Firstly, 1 billion Chinese have never expressed their opinion on the matter, if you want to use internet opinion as a proxy, fine, but only 19% of people in China have access to the internet. Surely the far more important figure is the number of Tibetans who are grateful, the number of Tibetans who think PRC rule is beneficial, the number of Tibetans who want it to continue. Once you see that this conflict is BETWEEN TIBETANS AND HAN CHINESE, then you might start getting closer to some kind of answer. Castigating the west might make people feel good, but it won’t change anything.

    That there are differences between Han and Tibetans is undeniable, there are also differences between Tibetans and other minorities. These differences result from the conquest of Tibet in 1950, and the crushing of the uprisings in 1959, 1989, and 2008. You can’t simply blame this on the west, or even our politicians. If you think that people will risk life and liberty by protesting just because they may have heard third-hand that PRC rule in Tibet is disapproved of in the west, then you seriously are in need of a reality check. The Tibetans who looted and burned last year were angry because monks had been arrested and beaten by the authorities. The people who rioted in 1989 did so because two Tibetans had been executed for political crimes – you don’t see the clear connection here between political repression and Tibetan violence? Wasn’t the exact same thing seen in other eras in other parts of China?

    You talked about economic development in the region – once again, the question is not whether it is recognised in the west (please tell me, why is this important?) but that it is recognised as such by Tibetans. Once again – if Tibetans don’t recognise economic development, it is not because western politicians have told them not to, but because they either think that it is not worth the rights they have given up to receive these benefits, or it is because they think that they do not benefit from them. It doesn’t take much of anything except common sense to see these things.

    Moral high ground is easy to stand on when people allow themselves to be filmed shooting unarmed civilians and latter claim that it was done in ‘self defence’, moral high ground is easy to stand on when others use Orwellian language to excuse a news blackout. If the PRC government were to stop doing these things, others wouldn’t find it so easy to stand on the moral high ground.

  119. January 26th, 2009 at 23:14 | #119

    @FOARP #118,

    Seriously … if I have to make a wager, I would bet that there is a Chinese voice when it comes to issues of Tibet. And that voice would sound closer to Wahaha’s than yours above.

    More importantly though, to demand 100% of the people to actually express their voice for their voice to count is tantamount to demanding all elections in the West to be null and reheld since rarely has 100% of the eligible electorate ever participated in a vote. And many elections are considered legitimate when less than 19% of the eligible people vote!

  120. miaka9383
    January 26th, 2009 at 23:16 | #120

    @Wahaha

    Can you point me to a credible source from recent history that the west tried to divide China by “supporting” Tibet? Has any western government openly support Tibet? Meeting with the DL does not count, only because they view him as a Religious leader(no matter how you disagree but that is how the government official to meet them)

    I am equally as annoyed on the issue of Tibet because intelligent individual such as yourself repeat the same things that I have seen over and over in Tian Yia and other websites. Not that I agree that Tibet should be autonomous or independent but I am tired of the rhetoric that West is evil and East is good which is not the case at all.

    It is not fair to say that West is Selfish/full of selfish people, when I see Chinese Government participate in corruption and for personal gains take short cuts in producing inferior products such as poisoned dumplings, medicines and milk. Of course when news like that breaks out we question that government.
    And I know you are going to point out the Mad Cow disease and Japan’s mistakes in producing products, but their quality control have improved, has China thought more about quality control improvement? Economic, social issues are much more important than Tibet. Improve the standard of living of your people and the dissidents will eventually come around. Getting rid of corruption in the government is definitely more important than if Tibet becomes independent or not. So the DL is making China losing face? so what? as long as he is not publicly inciting riot (such as Osama bin Laden) is, I really don’t see him as a threat. If there is proof that he is inciting riot I would like to see it…To me (an average American College Student and citizen) he is just a religious leader

  121. January 26th, 2009 at 23:26 | #121

    @miaka9383,

    You asked “Can you point me to a credible source from recent history that the west tried to divide China by “supporting” Tibet?”

    For me, the answer is pretty simple. I’d say that the DL is running a secessionist movement. Any support by a foreign entity – symbolic, financial, or otherwise – would be considered as an attempt to divide China – especially in light of the Chinese government very clear message to this effect.

    As an aside, I wonder whether CIA support would count or whether that would be considered not recent enough?

  122. January 26th, 2009 at 23:28 | #122

    @miaka9383,

    If really think the DL is just a religious leader – what do you think the conflict between the Chinese gov’t and the DL is? Why do you think so many Chinese people – including this Western educated one who also grew up hating the communists – are so embroiled about the depiction of the DL as a purely religious figure?

    The dispute between the DL and Chinese gov’t is mostly about the political status of Tibet, not the practice of religion in Tibet (unless you want to equate religion with politics).

  123. miaka9383
    January 26th, 2009 at 23:32 | #123

    Allen,
    Something overwhelming, like a picture of DL touching the hand of director of CIA. or a bank account ties them two together…

    Something more recent than that… something since Nixon………
    I am trying to convince myself the Chinse Government is correct in this situation and I am having a very hard time doing it. And Wahaha’s arguments are not convincing and I am trying to find evidence to support his argument and I can’t. I want to believe in Chinese Government, because I am chinese, I am supposed to support my homeland and I can’t convince myself that in this case the Chinese Government is correct. Even blaming the West doesn’t do it….

  124. Leo
    January 26th, 2009 at 23:39 | #124

    @Otto Kerner,

    The Chinese souvereign, whether Chinese emperors, Chiang Kai-shek, or present Chinese government, did not and do not choose Dalai or Panchan. Their privilege is to oversee a procedure called Golden Urn Lottery, and decide it to be due or not. The procedure is completely conducted by the lamas, and the Chinese souvereign’s representatives will issue a golden book and a golden chop at the end of the procedure to confirm what they saw.

    Regarding the ROC laws regulating tulku ordination and lamasery, I just know their existence. It is an interesting subject I will look into next time.

  125. Steve
    January 26th, 2009 at 23:41 | #125

    @ Think Ming! #117: In the context of your definition, I completely agree with you. The parents are the ones that start the footbinding process at a young age so the young girl has no say in whether she wants this to happen. Though less extreme, a mother getting her very young daughter’s ears pierced is similar, or someone tattooing a child would fall into the same category. I also think about those Burmese girls from that one tribe with the brass rings around their elongated necks.

    What I meant by “mandatory” was that the choice wasn’t the government’s but within the family. Yes, peer pressure was involved, just as it is involved when young adults get multiple tattoos these days. In the case of footbinding, that society had created a value that equated footbinding with beauty and most want to appear beautiful within their own culture. But in Hakka families, no footbinding was practiced so it wasn’t obligatory within the entire culture.

    In the France of Louis XIV and beyond, women valued tiny waists so highly that they wore incredibly tight corsets at a young age to achieve waist sizes of 16″-18″ (40-45 cm). That was also a deformity for the sake of beauty. Even in the late 1800s, Elisebeth of Bavaria (Sisi of Hapsburg fame) had a 20″ (50 cm) waist.

    If you think all of this is gross, I’m with you 100%! 🙂

  126. January 26th, 2009 at 23:42 | #126

    @miaka9383,

    I am not sure how I can help you since I don’t understand what you are looking for.

    If the picture of DL touching the hand of director of CIA exists – I’ll try to find you one after it’s declassified.

    In any case – perhaps this might help – you don’t need to support the Chinese gov’t only when there is proof of direct link of foreign meddling. You support the Chinese gov’t because it is trying to preserve unity.

    Now if you really don’t think unity is at stake – and if you truly feel that Tibetan religious beliefs are being suppressed in Tibet (I don’t think they are; only the DL is being banned, and he is being banned only to the extent he is thrusting himself into the political arena) – then you should as a conscientious human being support the DL and not the CCP.

    If you have done your research and arrive at the conclusion that the political spat between the DL and CCP is not political, but religious in nature, that China’s unity is not at stake and that the DL is merely a suppressed beloved religious figure – I would actually exalt you to support the DL in his fight to bring freedom, justice, and liberty back to China.

  127. Leo
    January 26th, 2009 at 23:48 | #127

    @Allen 126,

    Well said!

  128. miaka9383
    January 27th, 2009 at 00:00 | #128

    @Allen
    At this point in time, I cannot equate the Tibetan issue to the Taiwanese Independent issue. I cannot say DL’s involvement in anything (to me) puts China’s unity at risk. I haven’t decided if his motives are apolitical or not.. because from the looks of things (from the things that he had said publicly) I don’t think he is a threat or being too political to be a religious leader. I sincerely believe that he is just a religious leader.
    As for the Tibetan religion being suppressed… I think all religion is a bit too controlled in China, but I don’t know if they are being suppressed….Doesn’t look like it so far.. but why are these Tibetan Youngs wanting independence? What is their drive? Why would they say… “We will not follow the middle way like the DL” ? What is the cause of their unhappiness? There are so many questions here to make a solid conclusion and a support of some kind…

  129. January 27th, 2009 at 00:12 | #129

    @miaka9383,

    Yes – it’s a good question why there are Tibetan exiles who call for “independence”? What is the cause of their unhappiness?

    I don’t know…

    What is the root of nationalism anyways? Why are certain Taiwanese people so fervent about Taiwanese nationalism while others like me so fervent about Chinese nationalism?

    I also don’t know…

    Back to Tibet, if the issue for the exiles is only of Chinese nationalism vs. Tibetan nationalism – I know which side I stand and am not ashamed to pronounce so without further justification.

    On the other hand, if there are legitimate grievances for the Tibetans besides the exiles just saying we want a nation or we don’t want Han Chinese in Tibet – then I would wholeheartedly be sympathetic to helping them address their grievances through appropriate channels within China.

    Some people say that the Chinese gov’t is corrupt and ineffective – that any reform must be carried out abroad. These people feel genuine reforms in China can come about only through external pressure.

    I completely disagree with this, and in fact will say this is the basis of many of what I see as attacks on Chinese sovereignty.

    MLK worked within the U.S. system and did not go to the Soviets to get the civil rights movement started – despite the many shortcomings of the U.S. sys.

    The Chinese have a system too. Legitimate grudges must be handled there – not through arm wrestling from the equivalents of the “Soviets”…

    After all, the Chinese gov’t is the legitimate gov’t of the Chinese people. China is not a failed state…

  130. Tu Quoque
    January 27th, 2009 at 00:30 | #130

    Why all this talks about the west , the East – when all its even been is class struggles?

    Listen to this white american who is speaking sense, telling it as it is.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwwMF6biCJU&NR=1

    And what’s all these nonesense about Democracy?

    Chompsky says, “The Elites (doesn’t say West or East) – hate Democracy.”

    If you are working class, stop fighting each other – get to know who your real enemies are.

  131. Tu Quoque
    January 27th, 2009 at 00:32 | #131

    Admin

    My post has gone AWOL like 100,000 American soldiers have since the Iraqi war! What’s up?

  132. January 27th, 2009 at 00:36 | #132

    @Tu Quoque,

    #130 got caught in spam – which I just approved. Don’t know why … will ask the admin later.

  133. Tu Quoque
    January 27th, 2009 at 00:36 | #133

    Yeah, Allen, I was going to ask you this very question…………”Why are certain Taiwanese people so fervent about Taiwanese nationalism while others like me so fervent about Chinese nationalism?”

    I guess your answer is, “I also don’t know…”

    I am not from the Mainland either, and like you I am pro-China. Why? Because I got tired of hearing guests of China misrepresenting Chinese people day in and day out.

  134. miaka9383
    January 27th, 2009 at 00:38 | #134

    China is not a failed state… yet!
    If China does not reform, I do not foresee reunification of Taiwan…or success of China.
    and she will not gain respect from anyone or any country. What I see from the Olympics is that China is putting on a show to tell everyone She is coming on to the Global Stage. If She has to do that then she has to play by the rules which she hasn’t. To me she is saying “Stay out of our business but we want to be part of the world” How can she be so closed off and defensive and still expect friends? If China cannot handle critiques from other countries/leaders/even people how can she be better?

    The question is Where is the MLK for China? If there is an MLK for China, how can any of us guaranteed that he won’t be arrested because he is critical of the government. If MLK was to lead his march in Bejing instead of Washington D.C would he be arrested right on the spot? If he made his “I have a dream” Speech, would it be censored? Is it possible in the future to have a minority as a Chinese Leader? such as a Tibetan?

    But if there are some PRC Citizens are unhappy, their concerns should be addressed, not crushed.
    Sometimes I equate China now to Andrew Jackson the psycho president of ours. Too paranoid… They need to stand firm and proud to address these dissident opinions and not kill them off like Andrew Jackson with the Native Americans.

  135. Tu Quoque
    January 27th, 2009 at 00:44 | #135

    Re # 130

    # 132 Thanks Allen.

  136. Tu Quoque
    January 27th, 2009 at 00:53 | #136

    Yo, miaka9383, It takes time, Dude. You plant a seed, you wait. The weather may kill it, then you plant another seed. There is a time and season for everything. Mao jumped the gun on Marxism – millions died – China learned its lesson – the HARD way.
    Right now, China don’t need an MLK, it needs peace and unity. Today’s America did not happen in 30 years — MLK would have been lynched, hung from a tree and set on fire before he could utter a syllabal on human rights let alone the rights of black slaves before the Civil Rights movement took groove, dawg.
    And how do you know how CCP will evolve and morf in the next decades? Hell, no one even dreamed of what CCP could do and have done when Mao was at the helm.

  137. miaka9383
    January 27th, 2009 at 00:58 | #137

    Peace and Unity should not come as a cost of basic human rights. Peace and Unity should not be more important than food in people’s stomach or their choice to practice a certain religion or follow the pope…
    Peace and Unity should not come as a cost missiles pointing at an island. Peace and Unity should not come as beating or violence of any form. Just because Blacks have been enslaved and lynched does not mean Tibetans are allowed the same treatment. Yes it did not take 30 years for U.S to reform, but the same time critics that is against slavery aren’t jailed for helping the slaves escape their owner from the south to the north.

  138. January 27th, 2009 at 01:13 | #138

    The Chinese people have suffered over the last century as a result of foreign invasion, social instability, and weak governance.

    Without a strong country, the people have nothing – no matter how talented they are and how hard they work. This is the story of the Chinese nation of the last century.

    For many Chinese like me, the basis of human rights for the Chinese people starts with the building of a strong nation – of a government that can enforce social stability, provide strong governance, provide for the people, and protect China from foreign meddling.

    Miaka9383, I think we both have the same goals for China (an open, prosperous, free, innovative, progressive China) – though we strongly disagree on the means to get there.

  139. Tu Quoque
    January 27th, 2009 at 01:39 | #139

    # 137

    Unfortunately, peace and unity always come with a very heavy price. America fought a civil war for these United States of America. Even then, it took another century after the official emancipation papers were signed before African-Americans and Asian Americans were given quasi-civil rights to jobs and votes.

    In case anyone were asleep during civic class …Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress later called the “Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement”.On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Rosa Parks refused to obey bus driver James Blake’s order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Her action was not the first of its kind: Irene Morgan, in 1946, and Sarah Louise Keys, in 1955, had won rulings before the Supreme Court and the Interstate Commerce Commission respectively in the area of interstate bus travel. But unlike these previous individual actions of civil disobedience, Rosa Parks’ action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

    CCP’s priority is to make sure 1.3 billion of its citizen are fed, housed and schooled.

    MOST Tibetan-Chinese live in harmony with Sichuan-Chinese, Hubei-Chinese, Guangdong Chinese etc. I enjoy eating at their restaurants and they ours from time to time. And if anyone of the 56 ethnic groups of China breaks the law —–He/She when caught will serve time or worse, according to the law of the land just as is anywhere else.

    The times they are a changing. The people of China will write our own history , protect our territories, keep the wolves and vultures out as best we could.

    The president elect has said he will shutter Gitmo and put some of the detainees on trial in American criminal courts or military courts martial (his campaign did not return calls seeking comment.) But the prisoner mess created by Bush with the stroke of a pen in November 2001, and made messier over seven years, will take time and resourcefulness to clean up.

    Here are four reasons the controversial facility will probably still be open for business a year from now.

    Everything takes time….even sth as preposterous and small scale as Gitmo.

  140. Otto Kerner
    January 27th, 2009 at 03:40 | #140

    @ Leo #124,

    You say, “The Chinese souvereign, whether Chinese emperors, Chiang Kai-shek, or present Chinese government, did not and do not choose Dalai or Panchan. Their privilege is to oversee a procedure called Golden Urn Lottery, and decide it to be due or not.” I am aware of such a tradition involving the Qing emperors, beginning in 1792 (which, as you might know, was hundreds of years after the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama lineages began). The Golden Urn has never been used at the request of anyone other than a Qing emperor, unless you count the selection of Gyaincain Norbu as the 10th Panchen Lama in 1995, which was enormously controversial.

    Moreover, you did not respond to my point that Beijing’s involvement in the selection of these lamas is a holdover from the feudal period, i.e. it was the result of a political arrangement which is now defunct. That the use of the Golden Urn had a political motive is obvious in view of the fact that it was promulgated in the immediate aftermath of a major war with Nepal in which the Panchen Lama’s brother was accused of treason; as well as the fact that the emperor’s declaration only applied to the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama, who were the two most politically important persons in Tibet at the time, but not to the Karmapa, who had comparable religious prestige but much less political influence.

    Regarding ROC regulations on tulkus in the period between the wars, I have no doubt that there were regulations. I’m just curious about the details.

  141. Otto Kerner
    January 27th, 2009 at 04:02 | #141

    @ dan #70,

    I’m afraid I don’t fully understand the significance of your post. The large majority of people in the TAR and in most of the Tibetan autonomous prefectures are classified by the governments as 藏族, i.e. ethnic Tibetan. The Monpa and Lhoba peoples are related to the Tibetans but they are classified by the government as separate ethnic groups. They are few in number I think that most of the Monpas and Lhoba actually live in the Indian-controlled part of the TAR, which India calls Arunachal Pradesh. The Sherpas and the Dengs, I believe, are classified by the government as ethnic Tibetans. The Sherpas mostly live in Nepal and India, and I’m not sure about the Dengs. The category of “ethnic Tibetan” is quite a bit like the category of “Han Chinese”, referring to a fairly diverse group of people living in a large land area, with related languages and a few other cultural commonalities that are widely shared, but a lot of diversity at the margins. The most significant division among the Tibetans is between the cultural-political-dialect regions of Ü-Tsang (Lhasa and Shigatse), Kham, and Amdo — there are also subgroups with fairly distinct identities, like the nomadic Gologs of Amdo.

    The above is not very unusual and represents basically, I think, the normal pattern of human cultures and ethnic groups spreading out and variegating over an area. Regarding your question, “And who among the four ethnics is the alpha group that decides what is best for the other three?” I’m not quite sure which four you are referring to. Why does one have to be the alpha?

  142. Otto Kerner
    January 27th, 2009 at 04:05 | #142

    @ everybody,

    Please don’t let’s forget, this Spring Festival season, to always refer to the “Han New Year”, or maybe the “Han-Viet-Korean-old Japanese New Year”, since China is a united multiethnic family and many of its approx. 56 ethnicities celebrate the New Year on some other date. The Tibetan New Year, after all, is not until next month.

  143. Ted
    January 27th, 2009 at 04:36 | #143

    Tu Quoque #139: And how do you view the southern whites who said in 1955, 1945, 1935, 1925,…; “it takes time”, “but look how far things have come”, and “they are much better off now than they were before”. Are your telling me you identify with them? As everyone here has pointed out, the US did not do well for Native Americans or African Americans. When I hear arguments against discussion of the Tibet issue, all I hear are excuses to repeat those actions. That’s largely all I’ve seen here, reasons why we shouldn’t discuss this issue with foreigners (or anyone else).

    If Tibet is not something to be addressed until China is “stable and strong”, then when will that be? Last year it was the Olympics, yes the Olympics, used as a reason to suppress all manner of internal problems! Now its the economic crisis, then we will have the Expo or maybe another natural disaster. There will always be an excuse for China to focus on stability rather than address certain social concerns. The need to feed, house, and school 1.3 billion people… that can be your crutch for all time… (despite the fact that the existing system seems to be doing pretty well for itself).

    What would it take for Chinese to acknowledge the problems in Tibet as a genuine —internal— cultural/ ethnic problem?

  144. Think Ming!
    January 27th, 2009 at 07:06 | #144

    @ Steve 125

    I find the comparison between female children being forced by their parents to undergo footbinding and young adults getting multiple tattoos as a result (presumably) of peer pressure flippant in the extreme.

    I am not denying there are parallels between footbinding and mutilation of children elsewhere in the world (genital mutilation, whether of females or males, is the obvious current parallel – and extreme corsets are a fine historical parallel).

    But please. . .

    Comparing footbinding (something essentially imposed by parents to flaunt family wealth and improve a girl’s marriage prospects) with tattoos (something bored youth get for fun)?

    Either make a sensible comparison or forget it.

  145. Steve
    January 27th, 2009 at 07:21 | #145

    @ Think Ming! #144: Of course it is not comparable. That’s why I said “though less extreme”. However, the changing of natural appearance for the sake of some arbitrary “beauty” standard is in the same vein. It’s also the reason I brought up other examples including the brass neck rings on the Kayan women in Myanmar/Thailand. This also starts at a young age. Is that an extreme enough example?

  146. Tu Quoque
    January 27th, 2009 at 12:21 | #146

    Identify with the American White slave owners, the White Supremacists, the religious biggots, the KKKs, the open and closet racists ? HELLO….lay off the bai jui, dude and sober up will ya?

  147. MutantJedi
    January 27th, 2009 at 12:51 | #147

    Just a thought… Has the Dalai Lama ever apologized for the atrocities committed by his theocracy prior to liberation?

  148. Tu Quoque
    January 27th, 2009 at 13:58 | #148

    If you wanna talk about China around the period of time when white Euro-American Capitalists, land and slave owners commanded the military, when 12 private corporations hoodwinked the US President Wilson & American people with the Federal Reserves Act, then plunged the world into two World Wars, then think of the old Imperial China stupefied enmass in the opium haze of British tactical ingenuity. Think back how her land was divided culminating in massive plunderings, of how the Chinese became slaves in their own land.These were compounded with the eight infernal years of war with mostly losing battles against the marauding imperial Japanese army.

    Then please consider the subsequent great victory and elation of a brand New and hopeful post feudalist China. The sick man of East Asia is once again on his feet. For the first time in Chinese history— the PEASANTS are making policies while learning on the job which entailed learning to read, and then to talk politics. The idealism of the bona fide classless Communist Utopian ideology was red hot. No, it was white hot. The people’s communes made sure starvation was a thing of the past. Oppressive traditions and superstitions had to give way to scientific ways. Troublesome and stubborn war Lords, articulate intellectuals, influential aristocrates and authoritarian religious Lords, (And yes, the Dalai Lamma fitted the profiling) all over New China had to relinguish their strangle hold on the little people who were now given charge over the affairs of a spanking new People’s Republic of China.

    The first US President, George Washington once said to the American people: “It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliance with any portion of the foreign world…. Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalship, interest, humour or caprice.’

    The first President of China, Mao Zhe Dong understood all too well what Washington knew, and did exactly the same for his newly founded anti-Capitalism country.

    Now let’s consider what kind of people (most considered heroes in their respective countries) we are dealing with from historical accounts of recent history:

    The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Committee stated: “The trustees of the Foundation brought up a single question. If it is desirable to alter the life of an entire people, is there any means more efficient than war.” The PEACE committee discussed this question for a year and came up with an answer: “There are no known means more efficient than war, assuming the objective is altering the life of an entire people.” That led them to a question: How to involve the United States in a war? This was five years before WW I broke out.

    Winston Churchill later came to the conclusion that there was indeed a master conspiracy at work in the major events of the world, when he wrote the following in 1920: “From the days of Spartacus—Weishaupt to those of Karl Marx, to those of Trotsky (Russia)… this world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization… has been steadily growing.” (Remember the Peace committe’s conclusion?” “There are no known means more efficient than war, assuming the objective is altering the life of an entire people.”

    Roosevelt is also on record as concluding that there was a conspiracy, at least in the United States. He once wrote to Colonel Edward Mandell House: “The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson, and I am not wholly excepting the administration of W.W. (Woodrow Wilson.) The country is going through a repetition of Jackson’s fight with the Bank of the United States—only on a far bigger and broader basis.”
    The next step in the maneuvering of the United States into the war came when the Cunard Lines, owner of the ocean liner, the Lusitania, turned the ship over to the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill. It now became a ship of the English Navy and was under the control of the English government.

    The ship was sent to New York City where it was loaded with six million rounds of ammunition, owned by J.P. Morgan & Co., to be sold to England and France to aid in their war against Germany.

    It was known that the very wealthy were interested in involving the American government in that war, and Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan was one who made note of this. “As Secretary [Bryan] had anticipated, the large banking interests were deeply interested in the World War because of wide opportunities for large profits. On August 3, 1914, even before the actual clash of arms, the French firm of Rothschild Freres cabled to Morgan and Company in New York suggesting the flotation of a loan of $100,000,000, a substantial part of which was to be left in the United States, to pay for French purchases of American goods.”

    England broke the German war code on December 14, 1914, so that “By the end of January, 1915, [British Intelligence was] able to advise the Admiralty of the departure of each U-boat as it left for patrol….”

    This meant that the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, knew where every U-boat was in the vicinity of the English Channel that separated England and France.

    The ocean liner was set to sail to England already at war with Germany. The German government had placed advertisements in the New York newspapers warning the American people considering whether or not to sail with the ship to England that they would be sailing into a war zone, and that the liner could be sunk.

    Secretary Bryan promised that “he would endeavor to persuade the President (Woodrow Wilson) publicly to warn the Americans not to travel [aboard the Lusitania]. NO SUCH warning was issued by the President, but there can be no doubt that President Wilson was told of the character of the cargo destined for the Lusitania. President Wilson DID NOTHING….

    Even though Wilson proclaimed America’s neutrality in the European War, in accordance with the prior admonitions of George Washington, his government was secretly plotting to involve the American people by having the Lusitania sunk. This was made public in the book The Intimate Papers of Colonel House, written by a supporter of the Colonel, who recorded a conversation between Colonel House and Sir Edward Grey of England, the Foreign Secretary of England:

    Grey: What will America do if the Germans sink an ocean liner with American passengers on board?

    House: I believe that a flame of indignation would sweep the United States and that by itself would be sufficient to carry us into the war. (Sounds familiar? It’s called Flase Flag Operations: Think the Spanish-American war: The surprise explosion of the battleship Maine at Havana, Cuba. 255 of the crew died. The Hearst press accused the Spanish, claiming that the explosion was caused by a remote-controlled mine. The USA declared war on Spain, and conquered Philippines, Guam and Cuba. Subsequent investigations revealed that the explosion originated inside the Maine and that it was either an accident, such as a coal explosion, or some type of time bomb inside the battleship. Divers investigating the shipwreck found that the armour plates of the ship were blown bending outwards, not inwards.
    World war II was Pearl Harbor. The Vietnam war “the Tonkin incident,” which never happened. Desert Storm, War on Drugs, War on Terror, and on and on.)

    On May 7, 1915, the Lusitania was sunk off the coast of County Cork, Ireland by a U-boat after it had slowed to await the arrival of the English escort vessel, the Juno, which was intended to escort it into the English port. The First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, issued orders that the Juno was to return to port, and the Lusitania sat alone in the channel. Because Churchill knew of the presence of three U-boats in the vicinity, it is reasonable to presume that he had planned for the Lusitania to be sunk, and it was. 1201 people lost their lives in the sinking.

    This sinking has been described by Colin Simpson, the author of a book entitled The Lusitania, as “the foulest act of wilful murder ever committed on the seas.”

    But the event was not enough to enable President Wilson to declare war against the German government, and the conspirators changed tactics. They would use other means to get the American people involved in the war, as the “flame of indignation” did not sweep the United States as had been planned.

    Robert Lansing, the Assistant Secretary of State, is on record as stating: “We must educate the public gradually — draw it along to the point where it will be willing to go into the war.”

    After the sinking of the Lusitania, two inquiries were held, one by the English government, in June, 1915, and one by the American government in 1918. Mr. Simpson has written that “Both sets of archives… contain meager information. There are substantial differences of fact in the two sets of papers and in many cases it is difficult to accept that the files relate to the same vessel.”

    But in both inquiries, the conclusions were the same: torpedoes and not exploding ammunition sank the Lusitania, because there was no ammunition aboard. The cover-up was now official.

    The Los Angeles Times reviewed Mr. Simpson’s book and concluded: “The Lusitania proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the British government connived at the sinking of the passenger ship in order to lure America into World War I. The Germans, whose torpedo struck the liner, were the unwitting accomplices or victims of a plot probably concocted by Winston Churchill.”

    I am not saying this is unique to leaders of Christendom. Chinese people know Chinese history, which is filled with stories of great Chinese leaders secretly carrying out despicable conspiracies. It is up to the individuals to choose sides because politics is business – huge business – a game which if ya snooze ya lose. There is no moral rights or wrong – The winner takes it all – He who has the gun and gold makes the rules, period.

  149. FOARP
    January 27th, 2009 at 14:51 | #149

    @Tu Quoque – That’s a lovely line in conspiracy theories you’ve got there tommy-boy, now perhaps we’d better bet back to the real world.

  150. Tu Quoque
    January 27th, 2009 at 15:14 | #150

    I didn’t say it..just quoted them, ain’t no theorey, FOARP -O -boy 🙂
    Anyway, the real world for you is you’re in your college reading books trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not, while I am in the real world toiling hopelessly among waged slaves wishing the year of the castrated bull (Ox) will be the year I will find my bucket of gold and be able to afford holidays in Thailand and Europe. So young lad, let’s not pretend we are so sure of anything.
    Do I believe in Conspiracy theories? I don’t all the time, but I will not discourage others from figuring things out for themselves. This is why folks come on to FM – I believe many are like me, who are here not to convince others but more so to convince ourselves of the others POV through debates. So far, Jerry, Allen, TOR, SKC, Steve have helped – even you, FOARP, to be honest. Oh, even Raj – if not for his bloody annoying “tone of voice,” figuratively speaking of course.

  151. Wahaha
    January 27th, 2009 at 15:26 | #151

    Seriously man, if you weren’t so all-out sure of things you don’t actually have the evidence to prove,….

    Can you point me to a credible source from recent history that the west tried to divide China by “supporting” Tibet?

    ___________________

    FOARP and miaka,

    The proof is “If they dont, why do they do that ?”

    Let me ask you this :

    Chinese government has accused DL and his followers for the brutality of serf system for long time. Why didnt West media and politicians simply ask those monks if it is true or not ? It is a common sense question, isnt it ?

    If accusation by chinese government is true, what do west media and west politicans try to convince their people by NOT telling them the story in Tibet before 1950 ?

    If accusation by chinese govenrment is not true, why dont West media and politicians simply ask DL and those monks to confirm that ?

    Other than “the accusation is true” or “not true”, can you give me a third choice ?

    By hiding the information of pre-CCP Tibet, the media and west politician deliver a clear message to their people : Tibet has been illegally occupied by Chinese, or Tibet is not part of China.

    So please elaborate what they really want on Tibet issue.

  152. miaka9383
    January 27th, 2009 at 17:15 | #152

    @Wahaha
    I am very much aware of the serfdom. But that is not enough. West do have publication of the serfdom. I can walk into a Barnes and Noble and find books on history pre 1950 so don’t worry, the “West” is not limiting its publication.
    Please re read the exchange between Allen and I and you will see that the “liberation” of the serfdom is a great thing, but why are they unhappy?
    Fundamentally, Chinese government have done things and assume people should be grateful, but evidence from recent current events have shown these people are unhappy. I have said before but there is still not a convincing evidence out there to convince me DL is evil, West is evil and China is saint and perfect country that does not need reform, and is moral or the vice versa.
    Whatever you are accusing the “West” of, you do not have clear evidence of. Exception of whatever it is posted on Anti CNN and that is a bit circumstantial. For me…..I need overwhelming evidence…..I am sure everything you say you believe to be true, but I need hard core evidence…..

  153. miaka9383
    January 27th, 2009 at 17:21 | #153

    One more thing…
    I don’t know what they want, but if the monks or whomever is revolting causing harm….it is obvious to me they don’t like or want the current situation.
    Just like….
    Native Americans do not like the reservations and they voice their concerns. U.S government is required to listen to their voices. To me China just silences it.

    BTW… Native Americans do have their own government. They have just as much power as the states. Division of power between Federal Gvoernment and State government allows Native Americans to govern their own “nation” under that umbrella… don’t know you know that…

  154. Leo
    January 27th, 2009 at 17:22 | #154

    @Otto Kerner 140

    My point is that it is an established practice, it is available for option, and it is not unreasonable, considering the animosity between the present Dalai Lama and Chinese sovereign. ROC and Chiang Kai-shek, who was a Christian, also tried their best to get involved in the choosing of the 14th Dalai Lama. If they succeeded, it is another controversy.

    BTW, Gyaincain Norbu is the 11 the Panchan Lama. The 10th is Choekyi Gyaltsen, who was rejected by the 14th Dalai Lama but confirmed by the PRC government. Finally, the 14th Dalai Lama had to accept the choice by the PRC government. Now the 14th Dalai Lama says that the Chinese government has no say in the selection, by which he is slapping into his own face.

  155. Wahaha
    January 27th, 2009 at 17:48 | #155

    miaka,

    I was asking why media and politicians didnt ask DL and those monks what they think of China’s accusation.

    You read some books about pre-CCP Tibet, how many westerners would read those books, 1% or 0.1% ?

    BBC, CNN, Wekipedia all lied to their public about Tibet, WHY ?

    My understanding is that they try to convince Westerners that Tibet is not part of China under the control of an evil government, and they succeeded. (so why did they do that ?)

    If you dont think so, fine, GIVE US YOUR EXPLANATION why BBC, CNN and Wikipedia lied to public about Tibet ?

    BTW, we have been talking about democracy on this board for long time, which can be illustrated by the following story :

    A couple decided to buy a TV, they went to Best buy and found a TV they liked. The price tag was $999 with 10% discount. The hushand wanted to buy it as he had never seen the brand for less than 900 dollars. The wife argued that it was only 10% off, she wouldnt buy it unless there was at least 20% off.

    A month later, the wife went to circuit city, and found the same brand of TV. This time, the price tag was $1,299 with 30% discount. The wife decided to buy it, CUZ the 30% discount made her feel very good.

  156. January 27th, 2009 at 17:52 | #156

    @Allen – Are you, then, going to accept the opinions of Tibetans which appear on the internet as representative of Tibetan opinion? Apart from what we see on the internet (which is overwhelmingly critical of the CCP, even amongst the Tibetans who comment on this website) we have no evidence showing us the opinions of Tibetan people other than what we know from history – and this also shows that they do not approve of PRC rule. There is no evidence to suggest that Tibetans are particularly swayed by foreign opinion, or even that they have much in the way of access to it. Suggesting that they are being stirred up against the PRC authorities by the west is absurd.

    Also, I have to say how depressed I am to see you take the whole “he’s a secessionist even though he says he isn’t” line. It seems a lot like wishful thinking. Likewise, no foreign leaders publicly support Tibetan independence, it is therefore illogical to presume that they are unless you have conclusive evidence. Despite your attempt at striking a reasonable tone, it has not taken long for you to grab on to conspiracy theories in an attempt to justify the position of the CCP.

    For myself, I subscribe to the cock-up theory of history, the vast majority of things happen not because someone planned them, but by accident. Presuming that wars and changes of government happen due to some greater plan is giving human nature rather too much credit – people are frail, and their plans frailer still.

  157. Wahaha
    January 27th, 2009 at 17:58 | #157

    Likewise, no foreign leaders publicly support Tibetan independence, it is therefore illogical to presume that they are unless you have conclusive evidence.

    __________________________

    Did west politicians say they would support the independence of those small countries around Russia ?

  158. bt
    January 27th, 2009 at 18:28 | #158

    @ Wahaha 157

    And? What’s the relationship between Tibet and ‘small countries around Russia’ (which one? is that Ukrainia, Balt countries, Abkhazia?)?
    If you are talking about ‘color revolutions’, these countries were already independant, isn’t it?
    Pushing your ‘repeat after me evil evil west’ agenda is your choice (and this blog never censor, and it’s very good like that), but could you at least do that with solid arguments?

  159. Leo
    January 27th, 2009 at 18:33 | #159

    @FOARP 156,

    Except some Tibetan and Uyghur independence advocators, do you see any Zhuang, Hmong, Inner Mongolian, Korean Chinese, Khazak, Dong, Yi, Buyei, Dai internet opinions? Do you think this is representative of their non-existence? Do you think this is representative of their extreme oppression and mutedness? Do you think they are similarly extremely disapproving of PRC rule?

  160. January 27th, 2009 at 19:03 | #160

    @FOARP #156,

    You wrote:

    @Allen – Are you, then, going to accept the opinions of Tibetans which appear on the internet as representative of Tibetan opinion? Apart from what we see on the internet (which is overwhelmingly critical of the CCP, even amongst the Tibetans who comment on this website) we have no evidence showing us the opinions of Tibetan people other than what we know from history – and this also shows that they do not approve of PRC rule.

    Good point. When I say in #119 I thought Wahaha was closer to the Chinese popular opinion than you might think, I don’t mean to say I trust the opinions of Chinese netizens to represent the Chinese voice. I have a sense Wahaha is closer than you think because of what my Chinese friends here in the U.S. think, when Chinese students all over the world think, of what I see on the editorial pages of local Chinese newspapers here in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Chinese people I talk to when I was on the Mainland just a few months ago, etc.

    But I do agree with you in one thing, most people in China is probably not as worried about geopolitics and foreign policy as Chinese abroad – partly because they feel insulated and protected by the CCP in China – partly because they are closer to the other problems local to them then we Chinese abroad. So yeh – there is a difference between the perspectives of Chinese netizens, Chinese abroad, Chinese in China … the perspectives can probably be further separted by geography, ethnicity, etc. But still, Wahaha’s view is definitely subscribed to by many, many Chinese.

  161. January 27th, 2009 at 19:06 | #161

    @Whahabaha –

    “Did west politicians say they would support the independence of those small countries around Russia ?”

    You mean independent countries like Estonia, Latvia, Norway and Lithuania, which are all members of the EU and NATO? Or to Finland which is an member of the EU but not of NATO? Or are you referring to countries on the waiting list for NATO/EU membership like Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Turkey? Or are you referring to states which have not chosen to join either but which are members of the Council of Europe (as Russia is) such as Azerbaijan and Armenia? Or are you referring to Kosovo, which will probably not become part of either NATO or the EU any time soon due to Spanish opposition? Or are you referring to Belarus which has been suspended from all European organisations due to election rigging? Or are you referring to current and former unrecognised splinter-states like Chechnya, Abkhazia, Ossetia, and Transnistria – some of which are supported and other of which are opposed by the Russian government?

    In case you didn’t watch the news in 1989-1991, many of these states had enjoyed independence from Russia either in the period between the wars, or before the Russian Empire, and independence movements continued during Soviet times, including armed revolts by organisations like that of Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian nationalist, and the peaceful protests organised byt the Orthodox church movement in Latvia. When the Soviet economy entered its final collapse, these movements gained supporters and were seen as a way in which the people of the republics could escape the disastrous rule of the CPSU. Gorbachev tries to keep them in by renegotiating the union, turning the USSR into a looser union of states in which the republics could choose their own forms of government and economic models, but foreign policy and defence would still be the responsibility of central government. The modern-day (and somewhat ineffectual) Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) is the only result of this. Had Gorbachev not been kidnapped during the coup, allowing Yeltsin to come to the fore as a leader of an independent Russia, it is possible that Gorbachev might have succeeded, but I doubt it. By that stage, Soviet rule was so unpopular within the republics that it is unlikely that it might have worked.

    Is there any lesson for China in this? Mainly that as soon as economic development slows, ethnic strife is likely to come to the fore again, and that situations can go beyond the control of any one man or government very quickly, especially where there is no willingness to listen to warnings and all problems are ascribed to foreign enemies.

  162. S.K. Cheung
    January 27th, 2009 at 19:15 | #162

    To Wahaha #96:
    Lessons learned from your example:
    1. Guys should trust their instincts when it comes to TV’s
    2. Best Buy has better deals than Circuit City
    3. What does any of this have to do with anything?

  163. S.K. Cheung
    January 27th, 2009 at 19:21 | #163

    To Wahaha #98:
    “You dont mind, do you ?” – Dude, where have you been for the last 9 months? You could say anything or do anything, and I know I for one would not care one iota. But if your “point” is that, since you don’t avail yourself to the opportunity to express a negative opinion about (insert democratic society here), then we shouldn’t criticize China, then you are clearly barking up the wrong tree. And you are probably living in the wrong country. THe “trees” that pervade your world-view are located in China.

  164. January 27th, 2009 at 19:32 | #164

    @Leo – Is it not possible that, since only the Turks, Mongolians, Manchurians, Taiwanese, and the Tibetans have experience of any kind of nation-state, even if these states were puppet states of larger powers or existed only briefly, that only these people might think that they would want to have such a state again? In the UK, Wales was conquered by England before Taiwan, Tibet, or Manchuria came under Chinese rule, yet the Welsh people have kept their history as an independent state alive, as well as their language and culture. None of this means that Wales, Taiwan, Tibet, or Manchuria must become independent states, but the people in those countries who have deep roots there are more likely to think about it.

    My brother-in-law comes from Cornwall, which has never enjoyed even brief or puppet-like independence within recorded history, at least, if it was independent, it is impossible to say when that independence finished, although there is evidence that is was once regarded as a body separate to that of England. Cornwall has its own language – although almost no-one now speaks it, but despite all this there is a small movement for greater regional autonomy there (at the moment Cornwall is treated as a county of England) , if you visit there, people support the England football team when it is playing, and the Great Britain team in the Olympics, but this does not stop them from flying Cornish flags and referring to tourists as ‘Emmets’. My point is that they do not require any encouragement from foreign powers to do this, nor is there any harm in things being like this. So long as remaining part of the England and the UK remains advantageous to all, it is not likely that they will choose to follow the path to independence. If they do, the people in the rest of the UK only have themselves to blame.

  165. January 27th, 2009 at 19:51 | #165

    @FOARP #164,

    Nice post. I personally tend to agree with you on the big picture. But the devil is in the details.

    The last time China was torn asunder, it was done by foreign powers – although the Chinese do have themselves to blame for getting to be so politically and militarily weak. It is only in the last 50 or so years that the Chinese people are finally getting to building a modern nation on their own terms.

    It will take a while longer – hopefully just few more decades, but as China gets more powerful, as China gets more confident, a lot of political restrictions today (including issues relating to freedom of speech) will be relaxed.

    China may even get to experiment with electoral democracy, if it succeeds in building a society stable enough not to be torn apart by local forces (with the aid of foreign forces, judging by the history of the last 100 or so years).

    If the Chinese nation fails to achieve this stability and the nation does eventually get torn apart through internal forces as a result – well … the Chinese will only have themselves to blame.

    China is still “growing up.” The Chinese people is still forming their nation in the modern context.

    China has been a stable political entity for a long time, and while it is in a transition stage now, I believe it will grow to be very stable entity in the future.

    As you hinted in your post, people’s sense of identity is not that fragile. Just as if UK is not meant to be, UK will not be meant to be – if China is not meant to be, China will not be meant to be.

    Why the rush to usher her demise? Give her a chance…

  166. Wahaha
    January 27th, 2009 at 20:03 | #166

    SKC,

    You didnt learn from the story.

    You keep asking us ” which one do you want, 10% discount or 30% discount ?”

    Our answer is ” stop throwing textbooks on our faces, show us the results.”

    and the result is 999 x 90% is better than 1299 x 70%.

    We dont mind criticism, but that doesnt mean you can critcize us at will, especially moral attack. (what is funny is that you and some others obviously have been mad at my comments.)

    BTW, if you want attacking other’s sense of morality, show us why you think you are on morally high ground, which West media and politicians failed to show to chinese people.

    ______________________________

    bt,

    Please read 36 strategies by Sun Tzu, especially # 33 反間計.

    or

    Try convincing us that your politicians and journalists are as naive as fifth graders.

    Thanks

  167. January 27th, 2009 at 20:57 | #167

    @Allen – The truth is that these invasions were made much easier by the deep unpopularity of China’s governments of the time.

    The British army during the first opium war relied almost entirely on help from local merchants for supply – which was willingly offered, especially by those who hoped to make money trading opium. The Anglo-French army during the second opium war also relied mainly on locals for supply and labour, it was said at the time that, had the populace actively opposed the invaders, it would have been impossible to march so far into the heart of China. In both cases the Han Chinese showed nothing but contempt for their Manchu overlords, and were in the main happy to see them suffer – it didn’t mater at whose hands.

    The Sino-French war was sparked by French expansion into Vietnam, and perhaps this might explain its somewhat differing character in that there seems to have been more popular participation in it, however, despite some small successes on the Chinese side, it ended in defeat.

    The first Sino-Japanese war started with Japanese landings in Korea, but there does not appear to have been any enthusiasm for the war whatsoever on the part of the Chinese populace, and China’s armies and navies performed abysmally. Nowadays it is common to see the phrase ‘sick man of Asia’ applied to that entire peiod of Chinese history, but in fact China was, up until the first Sino-Japanese war, still regarded as the paramount power in Asia by other countries, it was only after this war that the phrase came into vogue.

    The Boxer war started with a rebellion against the Qing government and attacks on foreign missionaries and their converts in the countryside, and it was only after the siege of the Beijing legations and the declaration of war on the countries with diplomatic representation in Beijing that the foreign armies arrived. At any rate, once it became obvious that the Boxers did not have the supernatural powers they claimed to have, people soon became disenchanted with them.

    The Japanese invasions of the thirties coincided with civil war in China, despite early reversals and what appears to have been a genuine patriotic movement amongst the intelligentsia, by the mid-1940’s people seem to have become deeply dissatisfied with the KMT government and by the end of the war millions in China were working for the Japanese, including high-level KMT officials. The Manchurians and Mongolians formed puppet states controlled by the Japanese, and many regional warlords also entered into tacit agreements with the Japanese, or full-fledged collaboration. Even Chiang Kai-Shek threatened at times to come to an understanding with the Japanese, although most people think he was bluffing in an effort to extract more in the way of supplies from the Allies.

    During the war the Communists, whilst not collaborating with the Japanese, often did little to oppose them. Their only major military effort during the war, the “100 Regiments offensive” is now generally regarded as a costly failure. After the war they appear to have ridden the crest of a wave of disgust at the failures of the KMT government, as well as taking advantage of the KMT leadership’s military incompetence compared to the communist’s able use of guerilla warfare and large-scale movement.

    Even the war which you see so often celebrated by certain commentators on these pages, seems to have been touched by dissatisfaction towards the Chinese government. It is impossible to understand the large-scale defection of the Chinese POWs following the Korean war in any other terms, indeed many of them mentioned their dislike for the communists as part of their reason for wishing to join the nationalists on Taiwan, despite the undoubted unpopularity of that government as well.

    The lesson in all this? China has obviously suffered in war from a lack of unity, but dictatorial government can act to increase, not decrease, this disunity, through its very unpopularity and lack of legitimacy. We all know how during the first days of Operation Barbarossa, before it became obvious just how brutal their invasion was, there were large-scale surrenders by the Soviet Army, and how the initial German invaders were treated as liberators by by Byellorussians, Poles, Estonians, Latvians, Cossacks and others who had suffered under Soviet oppression. To them, any government was better than the one they lived under.

    Which brings me to my point, some movements (Manzhouguo for example) were inspired entirely by outside powers, others (the KMT, the CCP) had a national base of support but also draw support from outside, some (the Taiping kingdom, the Boxers) were wholly national movements. Rebellion is much more strongly linked to the popularity of the national government than it is to foreign activity.

  168. Wahaha
    January 27th, 2009 at 21:24 | #168

    …even if these states were puppet states of larger powers or existed only briefly, that only these people might think that they would want to have such a state again? ….

    FOARP,

    Read this :

    http://freepress.org/Backup/UnixBackup/pubhtml/irish/bloodsun.html

    then explain why they protested in US, not in UK. thanks.
    ______________________________

    http://www.irishfreedomcommittee.net/IFC_INFO/EVENTS/2007%20TWIN%20EVENTS%20Bloody%20Sunday.htm

    Let us say Chinese government sends 10 million dollars to irish freedom committee in united states EACH YEAR. Tell us what you would think? how about we give the leader of that committee an award ?

    Ooooh, please dont misunderstand us, we really really care about wellbeing of those oversea irish activitists in exile. We have no intention to cause trouble for British people or divide Britain.

    and oh, yeah, well educated British people like FOARP, are supposed to believe what we said, right ?

    What a wonderful world we are living in !!!

    _____________________________________________

    PLEASE TELL US WHY THOSE FREE IRISH ACTIVITISTS ARE IN UNITED STATES, NOT IN BRITAIN.

  169. Leo
    January 27th, 2009 at 21:54 | #169

    @FOARP 167,

    I originally wanted to respond to your post 164, but I spotted a serioius self-congratulatory tone here that I can’t help dealing with this post first.

    During the first Opium War the British were not popular at all. First the locals in Shanghai thought they were stranded foreign merchants, so they dined and wined the British and held a fanfare for them, which was then a usual practice. But later the British came back, looting the properties, raping the women, and burning down the houses. When the British returned to Shanghai under Nanjing Treaty, the locals turned so hostile that the British diplomats had to fear their life. Through an arrangement with the city mayor, the British moved out of the city, which caused the establishing of Shanghai International Settlement.

    During the latter half of the Qing rule, the majority of Chinese population has already recognized the Manchu legitimacy. During the Republican revolution 1911 the majority of Chinese population were inactive and indifferent towards the fight between the revolutionaries and the Manchus.

    “In both cases the Han Chinese showed nothing but contempt for their Manchu overlords, and were in the main happy to see them suffer – it didn’t mater at whose hands.”

    During the whole history of Qing, Manchus and their Banner troops were an extremely small minority. The majority that dealt with and fought the Britsh were Han Chinese. In an insignificant city like Shanghai of 1839, except the mayor himself there were virtually no other Manchu population in the area.

  170. Brad
    January 27th, 2009 at 21:57 | #170

    @FOARP #167

    “The lesson in all this? China has obviously suffered in war from a lack of unity, but dictatorial government can act to increase, not decrease, this disunity, through its very unpopularity and lack of legitimacy.”

    What has the form of government to do with national unity or legitimacy?

    Iraq under dictator Saddam was more united than under the west installed democracy. Soviet Union enjoyed unity and legitimacy under dictator Stalin, however, the unity crashed as soon as Gorbachev introduced democracy. On the other hand, the US democracy of Bush regime has unity but not legitimacy. In the long history of China, there are plenty of examples of dictatorship that has both unity and legitimacy.

    Democracy is only a form of government. It is a tool, the means to achieve the ends. A tool is only as good as the person who uses it. As long as the collective objectives can be achieved, which ever form of government that works will do. A stable harmonious society and a better personal life should be the objective for all.

    To my mind, China model of government is quite inspirational. It may serve as a viable optional form of government that balances both the efficiency of authoritarian and the political fairness of the democracy.

  171. January 27th, 2009 at 21:58 | #171

    @Whahaha – There have been large protests about the Bloody Sunday massacre in the UK – both in Northern Ireland and on mainland Britain, including a fist-fight during the parliamentary debate on the matter. There has also been two long-running and incredibly expensive investigations into it, interviewing all the people involved. Those guys can say all they like, but the truth is that things in Northern Ireland have moved beyond the point where men of violence have much of a say in the running of the place. Even Sinn Fein recognises this – that’s why they are now part of the government of Northern Ireland. Even Martin McGuiness, a self-confessed former terrorist, has now given up violence and has served as education minister for Northern Ireland.

    This is democracy’s answer to such problems, perhaps you should read up on it?

    Were foreign powers involved in Northern Ireland? Well, the loyalists drew some of their support from overseas, but in truth they didn’t need much as they are the majority in Northern Ireland, and because they had people in the Northern Irish police and Army helping them. The republicans received a bit of support from people in the Republic of Ireland, but the government there has no more time for the Provisional IRA than the British government does, more support came from people of Irish decent in the US during the 70’s , but this dried up as people started to realise the nature of the terrorist campaign, particularly the indiscriminate targeting of civilians by both the republicans and the loyalists. In the eighties the IRA received money, training, and weapons from Libya, it was this, as well as the shooting of a British policewoman from the window of the Libyan embassy, which led to Britain breaking off relations with Libya. After Libya officially agreed to stop supporting terrorism and accepted responsibility for the shooting of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, as well as the Lockerbie bombing which killed 270 people, relations were restored. During the 90’s the IRA received little in the way of outside support, and this is said to be part of the reason why they agreed to a ceasefire. Nowadays there is little violence in the province – although it could always flare up if there is a breakdown in the power-sharing agreement.

  172. January 27th, 2009 at 22:18 | #172

    @Brad – Unity in the Soviet Union practically never existed – instead what you had was a system where one nation (Russia) was large enough to dominate all the others. There was a nationalist movement in the Ukraine from before the Russian civil war, and it never went away. The Baltic states were independent until Stalin annexed them in 1940, and they also had nationalist movements which continued after their annexation. Belarus also had an independence movement, as did many states in the Caucasus – why do you think Stalin had the Chechens and Ingush deported in 1944? This truly is a no-brainer. Hell, why do you think Belarus and Ukraine gained separate membership of the UN in 1945? Who was Stepan Bandera? Why did the Soviets try to conquer Poland in 1920 – because it was part of the Soviet Union? Why did the Soviets invade Georgia in 1920? Because it was part of their country? Just because a country flies the red flag does not mean that it is not an empire.

    Likewise, unity under Saddam also never existed. The communist PKK fought continuously for independence for Kurdistan – why do you think Saddam had the Kurds in Halabja gassed? The differences between the Arab Sunni and Shia were only kept down by the Sunni being top dogs – why do you think things got so bad after Saddam left power?

    You seem to have missed the point of democracy, democracy is not ‘a tool’ which ‘a person’ uses to govern a country, rather, it is a tool whereby the people in a country as a group decide how their country is to be governed. Far from it being a case of any way being good so long as the result is achieved, it is the only way of achieving the result of the majority of the population deciding how it is to be governed.

  173. Min
    January 27th, 2009 at 22:23 | #173

    Jan 26 is Australia Day, a national day celebrated by fireworks, cheers and parties, but Aboriginals insist that it should be called Invasion Day which marks the invasion of British colonies. it is such a contrary view, and apparently hard for either side to accept. So this makes me think of Tibet, and the newly announced Serfs Emancipation Day on March 28, given that Han and Tibetans belong to two ethnic groups, there ought be some difference in views and values, and culture, of course. but if it is in the best (or better) interest for both to remain under one roof, why do people — Dalai and those”Human Rights groups” making such big deal of it???? do people in Czechoslovakia get better life diving their nation? i doubt so. and would Aboriginals, however insist that westerns are the invaders, not call themselves Australians and separate from the Commonwealth? of course not! because they are far better off by remain part of it!

  174. S.K. Cheung
    January 27th, 2009 at 22:25 | #174

    To Wahaha #166:
    Let me start by saying that there is nothing to be learned from your story, or from most of your “stories”, I might add.

    “You keep asking us ” which one do you want, 10% discount or 30% discount ?”

    Our answer is ” stop throwing textbooks on our faces, show us the results.”

    and the result is 999 x 90% is better than 1299 x 70%.”

    Once again….Huh?? If you’re talking in dollars, like in your earlier little story, the former is $10.20 cheaper. “Better”? Guess that’s in the eyes of the beholder.

    If I can’t criticize at will, then can I do so by invitation only? Is mine in the mail, perhaps?

  175. Leo
    January 27th, 2009 at 22:28 | #175

    Still @ FOARP 167,

    Sino-French War was a war fought on the soil of Vietnam. When it was fought, the most Chinese population were more or less unaware of it. The popular support was provided by the Vietnamese who detested the Europeans. Chinese did not at all lose the war. They signed an treaty unfavorable to themselves out of the fear that the French would ask for more trouble.

    The boxers have made it very clear that their slogan was “Help Qing, Destroy the Foreigners” from very early stage. The anti-Manchu voices were very mute and marginal.

    When the Japanese invaded China in 1930s, the civil war has totally ceased, the communists has been on the verge of total disappearance, and the Nanjing national government has won both hands down. The period was called the golden years of ROC.

    Yes, maybe the communists were not actively opposing the Japanese, but the Japanese were actively opposing the communists. They were largely successful in Manchuria, but not so much in rest of China. Their main slogan was to “help China eliminate the redders”.

  176. Wahaha
    January 27th, 2009 at 22:31 | #176

    This is democracy’s answer to such problems, perhaps you should read up on it?

    but this dried up as people started to realise the nature of the terrorist campaign.

    ____________________________________

    Did BBC broadcast the sunday masscre ?

    Can you tell me a newspaper in UK that is pro-free-Irish and their website ?

    Terrorist campaign ? hahaha, no wonder there was widespread lies by west media on 3.14 riot in Lhasa. and they are still lying now about 3.14 !!!

    and you still didnt answer my question :

    What would you think chinese were doing if chinese government sent 10 million dollars each year to free irish committee ?

  177. January 27th, 2009 at 22:33 | #177

    @FOARP #172,

    Yikes – back smugly to democracy is supreme argument…

    Please remember that democracy in many contexts is governance by gridlock…

    Democracy without more can also be nothing more than mob rule – oppression of minority backed up and justified perhaps by an alleged majority…

    Ok – you say, it’s not just democracy, it’s democracy PLUS rule of law…laws which fix everything – including allegedly protecting the interests of the minority…

    Well – even in terms of just the protection of the minority – look at the history of the West – and you can tell me whether rule of law guarantees protection of the minority.

    Now, I won’t argue that the West is not in somewhat of an admirable position today – with its relative social and political stability backed by its hefty economic and military might.

    But please remember – freedom is not a natural condition of all people; freedom flows from social stability and security; freedom is to be secured and fought for and is not some inherent magnanimous trait of superior culture or governance, as so many in the West today falsely believe…

    In the end, governance is governance – it’s a tool to an end. The true purpose for governance is to provide for the people – to help improve the conditions in which peopel find themselves – to empower people to live more dignified and purposeful lives.

    The rest is ideological fluff…

  178. S.K. Cheung
    January 27th, 2009 at 22:35 | #178

    To Allen #109:
    “the pope also takes many politically charged positions on social, cultural, and international issues spanning the world” – but he does so based on the premises of his religion. Are you now trying to take your extremely narrow view of genocide, and applying the principle to religion as well? By your definition, religion should only be practised within the halls of worship, and should be left at the door on one’s way out. That doesn’t seem too realistic, or even desirable, to me.

  179. S.K. Cheung
    January 27th, 2009 at 22:39 | #179

    To Wahaha #110:
    “So please give us a reason why we, as chinese, think you care about tibetan people, not try to divide China ? Human right ? BS !!!!” – well, you’ve got your “reason”. As to whether you agree with it or not, i for one could seriously not care less.

  180. Leo
    January 27th, 2009 at 22:41 | #180

    Still @ FOARP 167,

    Regarding the Korean POWs, many of these POWs were threatened, tortured, and tattooed with anti-communist slogans. They were not at all given opportunity to choose to return. The few who were hardened enough to return had to cut off the tattooed skin during the exchange to show the Chinese side that these tattoos were not their willingness. There is a story in Newsweek about this, but most stories are still largely ignored. The West goes on to talk about Manchurian candidates and Chinese torture methods.

  181. Wahaha
    January 27th, 2009 at 22:43 | #181

    SKC,

    That is really funny, like I was talking about $10.20.

    ____________________________________

    If I can’t criticize at will, then can I do so by invitation only? Is mine in the mail, perhaps?

    SKC

    No, you cant criticize others at will.

    You dont have the right to offend 1 billion people, simple as that. While in your country, it is ok one person pissing off 1 million people, it is not ok in China. Please respect that.

    Please remember, when you question our conscience and sense of morality, you are questioning that of hundreds of millions of chinese people who support the policy of current chinese government. So you better come up with substantial evidence, not some textbooks, to support your arguments.

    ______________________________________

    well, you’ve got your “reason”. As to whether you agree with it or not, i for one could seriously not care less.

    Haha, Bi chi bi chi.

  182. Leo
    January 27th, 2009 at 22:53 | #182

    @Wahaha 181,

    I think it better to put it this way – anybody has the right to offend 1,3 billion people, and anybody out of these 1,3 billion has a good reason to return the favor.

  183. January 27th, 2009 at 23:01 | #183

    @Min –

    “do people in Czechoslovakia get better life diving their nation? i doubt so.”

    Errrr. . . I guess you mean ‘dividing’, and what you ‘think’ doesn’t matter if you haven’t actually bothered to check the statistics to see if it is right. According to the Angus Maddisson collection of GDP stats, Czechoslovak Per Capita GDP in 1990 US dollars grew from 6,658 USD in 1971 to 8,768 in 1989 – or about 1% per year. According to the same statistics, from 1990 until 2003 GDP P/C in Slovakia grew from 7,763 to 9,392 USD and GDP P/C in the Czech Republic from 8,895 USD to 9,905 USD. Of course, given the nature of the disputes between the Czechs and the Slovaks, violence was not entirely impossible, and it was only through the division of the Czechs from the Slovaks that this violence was avoided. Both countries are doing fine, as are the Baltic states, and even the states of the former Yugoslavia.

  184. January 27th, 2009 at 23:08 | #184

    @Leo – It’s been more than 50 years since the Korean war, and none of the ones who went to Taiwan have said anything like what you’ve written. In fact, when interviewed they all say how they were happy not to have had to go through the Cultural Revolution or the Great Leap Forward, although they did miss home. If you want to keep quoting propaganda, go ahead. Just think about this – If they were not allowed to return, then why did more than seven thousand of them do so? I’m not saying that the camps were nice places to be, but your argument is clearly illogical.

  185. neutrino
    January 27th, 2009 at 23:09 | #185

    @FOARP 18

    Once you see that this conflict is BETWEEN TIBETANS AND HAN CHINESE, then you might start getting closer to some kind of answer

    —————————-

    Here is the problem, it has not, and is not, and won’t be for a long time, only a problem between the Han Chinese and tibetans. If there are only Han Chinese and tibetans in the world, nobody would care if tibet is independent or not. The tibet issue became internationalized at the same moment when Young, who happened to be a British, carried out the invasion of Tibet in 1903, for the sake of, of course, the national interest of the British Empire. It’s is also not surprising that Britain was the only country that kept ambiguous stance towards the Tibetan issue til last year. Although now it has abandoned that position officially. The control of tibet was a center piece of the Great Game in Central asia between Britain and Russia. This is a historical legacy and you just can not get around it. The concept of modern nation Soveignity and international borders did not even materialize in China until the gun boats started arriving at Chinese ports (not surprisingly, mostly from Britain). YOu can argue when exactly Tibet ceased to be an independent Nation, and I gurantee that argument will never end. The fact is that the Chinese were taught by the westerns, especially the British, how important it is to define her own Soveignity and borders, and the tibetan plateau is certainly and important part of that equation. YOu can not discuss the tibetan issue as if it appeared from the vaccum after the Communists won the civil war, without looking through the prism of international politics. It’s either deliberately misleading or laughably naive to suggest that the issue only lies with the Han Chinese and Tibetans.

    Many of the western supporters of the Free Tibet movements are right to suggest that many HR abuses exist in Tibet; The unfortunate thing is that they fail to see that they are increasingly viewed as pawns in international geopolitics, rightly or not, by more and more Chinese people. I do think, that this is an issue that can only be solved with combined wisdom of the Tibetans and Han Chinese who reside in China. For whatever intentions the exiles and their western supporters have, and for the benefit of tibet or not, the sad reality is they are probably doing more harm than not. By that I mean, alienating the majority Chinese is not going to benefit the Tibetans. YOu can cast the blame on the CCP, or the Chinese being brain-washed, or whatever you wish. The fact is that this is the policitical reality, and if you cannot recognize it and find a way to work for your benefit, let’s just call all the protests to be some nice physical exercises in the park that have not achieved anything.

  186. January 27th, 2009 at 23:22 | #186

    @Wahaha – As far as I know, all the newspapers in the UK are in favour of Irish freedom, but if you don’t like them, the Irish Independent and other newspapers from the Irish republic are available in most newsagents. RTE (the Irish television channel) is also available on most cable/satellite TV services.

    And yes, the bloody Sunday massacre, as well as many other events in Northern Ireland (ii.e., the terrorist attacks carried out by paramilitary groups on both sides – both loyalist and republican), were all broadcast on the BBC.

    Since you obviously know nothing about the UK, I would suggest that the next time you type something you should check to see whether it is not going to make you look silly, this would save you some embarrassment in future.

    As for funding a political pressure group, well, the information would have to be made public, but I know of no law which would prevent it.

    Happy?

  187. S.K. Cheung
    January 27th, 2009 at 23:45 | #187

    To Wahaha #181:
    “That is really funny, like I was talking about $10.20. ” – when it comes to you, who can really know what exactly you’re talking about at any given time…

    “No, you cant criticize others at will. You dont have the right to offend 1 billion people, simple as that.” – actually, what I choose to do is up to me. So if I wanna criticize, that’s what I’m gonna do. People have the right to take offense to such criticism, and if that’s what they choose, that’s their prerogative. I’m not about to change my view because somebody might or might not be offended.

    “you are questioning that of hundreds of millions of chinese people who support the policy of current chinese government.” – and I might be echoing the other hundreds of millions of Chinese people who don’t support said policy. Oh well, win some, lose some. C’est la vie.

  188. S.K. Cheung
    January 27th, 2009 at 23:50 | #188

    To Wahaha #115:
    affinity for CAPS aside, nice post.

    “Making China weak and dividing China are good ways for the interests and welfare of their countries and people. ” – I suppose this encapsulates our differences. I have no idea how a weak China serves anyone’s interests, especially economically, which is probably priorities #1-10 for most governments these days.

    Your comment earlier equating human rights to BS might also serve to encapsulate our differences…

  189. foobar
    January 27th, 2009 at 23:50 | #189

    #167
    “The British army during the first opium war relied almost entirely on help from local merchants for supply – which was willingly offered, especially by those who hoped to make money trading opium. The Anglo-French army during the second opium war also relied mainly on locals for supply and labour, it was said at the time that, had the populace actively opposed the invaders, it would have been impossible to march so far into the heart of China. In both cases the Han Chinese showed nothing but contempt for their Manchu overlords, and were in the main happy to see them suffer – it didn’t mater at whose hands.”

    That is just super rich, no less coming from a Brit if I can guess.

    Sounds awfully similar to how the Japanese euphemize their invasions of China, Korea, and other SE asian countries at large.

  190. January 27th, 2009 at 23:56 | #190

    @Foobar – Where was the Euphemism? The fact that a lot of Chinese at the time worked for the British, and were happy to do so as it hurt the Manchus is a matter of historical record. Did I say it was anything other than an invasion? Did I say it was justified? Or did I say it was done so as to advance the opium trade? And if you want to know where I am from, click on my name.

  191. S.K. Cheung
    January 27th, 2009 at 23:58 | #191

    To Allen #119:
    There is the right to vote. And then there is deciding to exercise said right. Our societies provide for the former; individuals make their own decisions. I never understand why voter turnout is so low, and apparent apathy so high, but it doesn’t detract from the legitimacy of our elections (hanging chads aside).

    I would love to hear an unvarnished account of CHinese voices, or of Tibetan voices. Unfortunately, the wish for an unvarnished one renders it a pipe-dream in the current environment.

  192. Tu Touque
    January 28th, 2009 at 00:08 | #192

    Positive votes for KNOWing what they are talking about:

    Leo @FOARP 167,

    I originally wanted to respond to your post 164, but I spotted a serioius self-congratulatory tone here that I can’t help dealing with this post first.

    Leo: “The boxers have made it very clear that their slogan was “Help Qing, Destroy the Foreigners” from very early stage.”

    Brad: “A stable harmonious society and a better personal life should be the objective for all.”

    Leo: “Regarding the Korean POWs, many of these POWs were threatened, tortured, and tattooed with anti-communist slogans.”

    Allen @FOARP #172,

    Yikes – back smugly to democracy is supreme argument…
    But please remember – freedom is not a natural condition of all people; freedom flows from social stability and security; freedom is to be secured and fought for and is not some inherent magnanimous trait of superior culture or governance, as so many in the West falsely believes…

  193. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 00:13 | #193

    To Allen #129:
    “MLK worked within the U.S. system and did not go to the Soviets to get the civil rights movement started – despite the many shortcomings of the U.S. sys.” – this is true, but would you characterize the current Chinese system as a peer of the US in the 1960’s? You might, but I wouldn’t. MLK did what he did because you could argue that he felt the US system had the requisite potential for change; is there such potential in the current Chinese system? If you think there is, you have more faith than me.

  194. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 00:17 | #194

    To Otto #142:
    shouldn’t it just be the Lunar New Year- national subset? Then you can insert nationality of your choice.

  195. Tu Touque
    January 28th, 2009 at 00:18 | #195

    Admin

    Please Highlight post # 185

    neutrino Says:

    “YOu can not discuss the tibetan issue as if it appeared from the vaccum after the Communists won the civil war, without looking through the prism of international politics. ”

    “I do think, that this is an issue that can only be solved with combined wisdom of the Tibetans and Han Chinese who reside in China. For whatever intentions the exiles and their western supporters have, and for the benefit of tibet or not, the sad reality is they are probably doing more harm than not. ”

    Excellent! Excellent Excellent!

  196. January 28th, 2009 at 00:23 | #196

    Once again with the “go up the list and vote down everyone I disagree with, vote up everyone I agree with” – the voting system is supposed to be about quality of argument, not agreement, or at least that’s what I was told . . .

  197. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 00:25 | #197

    To Leo #182:
    well said. I’ve been trying to tell Wahaha the same thing for months. Maybe he’ll understand you better.

  198. Tu Touque
    January 28th, 2009 at 00:29 | #198

    If you wanna stick your head out, be prepared for the risk of being shot at.

    Quality is definitely the criteria here…try to work on it then, FROAP-O-Boy…

    I for one will be voting (in fact, have voted for ya) and rooting for ya.

  199. Leo
    January 28th, 2009 at 00:33 | #199

    @ FOARP 184

    It is not me quoting propaganda, it’s you!

    Actually the official Chinese press rarely mentioned the sufferings of the Korean POWs. Most former POWs revealed their terrible experience through some recent interviews, including the one I mentioned in Newsweek. What Melinda Liu, the American journalist who wrote this piece if I remember correctly, could say was just that let’s leave these behind and move forward.

    I have challenged you on several points. You have a completely distorted view about Chinese history.

  200. Otto Kerner
    January 28th, 2009 at 00:47 | #200

    @Leo #154,

    I guess anything that happened in the past could be called an “established practice”, but with the Golden Urn we are talking about a practice that has been used exactly once since 1888. Consider that it was used several times between 1792 and 1888, a period of 96 years, but 0 times between 1888 and 1994, a period of 106 years!

    That said, I don’t really care very much whether this is actually an established practice, since, either way, it’s bad policy and should be curtailed. I can see no justification for continued government interference in the selection process.

    You are quite right that the Dalai Lama extended his recognition to the 10th Panchen Lama only under pressure from the PRC. The Dalai Lama’s people were promoting their own rival candidate. What you have left out is that the PRC’s candidate for 10th Panchen Lama had originally been selected by the 9th Panchen Lama’s cronies, which is how the process is supposed to work. The fact that Lhasa was supporting a rival candidate was itself an example of political interference, so it’s fortunate that the PRC was able to prevail upon them to drop that scheme. This has little to resemblance to the debacle in 1995, in which Gyaincain Norbu was rejected by the abbot and monks of Tashilhünpo.

    Incidentally, the rival candidate for Panchen Lama is still alive, a well-respected Buddhist teacher living in Scotland in relative obscurity.

  201. January 28th, 2009 at 01:01 | #201

    @Otto Kerner,

    I have read with silent amusements your last several posts. I think in your mind you are really out for creating a new institution of the Dalai Lama where the office is purely religious and represent alleged cultural interests of Tibetans and which being nonpolitical should be completely independent of political influence from the central government.

    Not bad thinking.

    It reminds me of a question once asked Gandhi: “What do you think of Western Civilization?”

    To which Gandhi answered “I think it would be a good idea!”

  202. January 28th, 2009 at 01:06 | #202

    @SKC #193,

    Don’t underestimate what courage and determination MLK, Rosa Parks, and other civil rights activists going back to the abolitionist movements had to sacrifice in order to do what they did. They certainly didn’t do it because the system was ripe for change … as you seem to suggest in several posts denigrating the Chinese political system and lauding the U.S. political system.

    To be so flippantly dismissive of the Chinese political process is neither realistic nor helpful…

    Anyways, maybe I do have more “faith” than you … even though I may also have – as you suggest – a narrower conception of the role religions should play in politics than you.

  203. Leo
    January 28th, 2009 at 01:21 | #203

    @Otto Kerner 200

    Are you really sure that the abbot and monks of Tashilhünpo accepted the 10th, who are actually all replaced with Dalai’s cronies after the 9th Panchen fled to Qinghai, or their opinions really count? Anyway, after the debacle Chinese government soon replaced the Golden Boy finding team’s leader with a senior lama loyal to the 10th Panchan Lama, who happily carried out the job and also served as the religious mentor for the 11th Panchen Lama.

    And don’t you find it a huge irony that the 14th Dalai Lama who declared an alternative 10th Panchen 50 years ago declared a second alternative Panchen Lama 50 years later? If the first forced Panchen Lama is legitimate, why not the second? If the second forced Panchen Lama is illegitimate, why the first one?

    As why the Golden Urn was not used between 1888 and 1995, I am not sure about a lot of details, but it seems that the last time it was used on the 9th Panchen Lama. So the ones that the Golden Urn were not used on were just one generaton, namely the 14th Dalai Lama, and the 10th Panchen Lama, which also happened during a turbulent era when the Chinese government could not keep a check on Tibet. After the lapse of one generation, when the Chinese control of Tibet has been recovered, the practice was resumed, so what’s the big issue?

  204. January 28th, 2009 at 01:35 | #204

    @Otto Kerner #142,

    You wrote:

    Please don’t let’s forget, this Spring Festival season, to always refer to the “Han New Year”, or maybe the “Han-Viet-Korean-old Japanese New Year”, since China is a united multiethnic family and many of its approx. 56 ethnicities celebrate the New Year on some other date. The Tibetan New Year, after all, is not until next month.

    You seem to have spectacular ethnic lens through which to view China!

    I have always wondered whether heightened ethnic sensitivities and promotions of ethnic-based politics would help to resolve rather than highlight ethnic tensions.

    In the U.S., ethnic-based politics – culminating in the big cultural fights about affirmative actions – have served to separate rather than unite us for decades.

    Obama signified a change that moves our focus from relentless bickering and bitterness based on our differences to to unity and our common and shared hopes.

    A few passage of Obama’s race speech last Mar may be insightful:

    This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

    This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

    Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

    This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either “too black” or “not black enough.” We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

    And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

    On one end of the spectrum, we’ve heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it’s based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we’ve heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

    But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren’t simply controversial. They weren’t simply a religious leader’s effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

    As such, Reverend Wright’s comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

    The profound mistake of Reverend Wright’s sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It’s that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old — is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know — what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

    For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina – or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

    That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, “Not this time.” This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can’t learn; that those kids who don’t look like us are somebody else’s problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

    This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

    This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn’t look like you might take your job; it’s that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

    This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should’ve been authorized and never should’ve been waged, and we want to talk about how we’ll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

    I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

    It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

    But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.

    Yes – Obama is talking about America. And we are talking here about China.

    But Obama’s message focusing on hope, unity, and our common bond also happen to make up lens through which I prefer to view issues in China than the ethnic based ones you seem to have chosen.

  205. January 28th, 2009 at 01:40 | #205

    Regarding my post in #204, before anyone says China is not America – China can’t change. Just remember what has happened the last 30 years. What can we not achieve in the next 30?

    If you must dismiss China’s political system – fine. But just make sure you’re doing it in good faith.

  206. Leo
    January 28th, 2009 at 01:41 | #206

    Regarding Otto Kerner @ 142

    Except for Han Chinese, a vast majority of other 55 Chinese ethnic groups also celebrete Spring Festival. So It is really a “Chinese” New Year. The ones that use an alternative calender are quite a minority.

  207. Wahaha
    January 28th, 2009 at 03:09 | #207

    FOARP,

    I ask you again :

    Name a newspaper in UK that is pro-free-irish and its website.

    BTW, british and irish shared the power, I will love to know who have more power, british or irish ? (link please) and Tibetan monks dont want to share power with han chinese.

    _______________________________

    SKC,

    You can talk your opinion to the wall, no1 cares. but do you know how we feel about the way you talk to us ?

    It is like everytime I meet you and your son (assume you have a son.), I always point out that your son’s eyes dont look like you, of course I wont say a single word about how his nose, lips, ears are similar to yours.

    Hey, I am free to say what I want, right ?

    So if you think anyone who does that to you is an @——, dont be surprised that we think the same way.

  208. Wahaha
    January 28th, 2009 at 03:26 | #208

    Your comment earlier equating human rights to BS might also serve to encapsulate our differences…

    SKC

    Where did I equate human right to BS ?

    _____________________________________________

    BTW, your favorite quote is “why not ask them ?”

    So let me ask you “why dont you ask native aborignals in Canada ?”

  209. Ted
    January 28th, 2009 at 03:46 | #209

    Neutrino 185 and others:

    “I do think, that this is an issue that can only be solved with combined wisdom of the Tibetans and Han Chinese who reside in China.” Now that people are on the record saying there is an internal issue. Is “Serf Emancipation Day” and the accompanying CCP presentation is the best way to resolve these issues?

    Allen 204:

    You’re putting the cart before the horse. Your comment boils down to “China should just be unified”. Obama’s election and the accompanying boost to ethnic unity could have only happened if the various groups first recognized each other as equals. That required both a struggle to be accepted and a struggle to accept, all directed in part by that PC-ness you dislike so much. “We are different but the same” may sound like a joke to you but I think it is better than “We are unified so let’s stop talking about this.”

  210. patriotic tibetan
    January 28th, 2009 at 03:54 | #210

    The Tibetan people have suffered over the last century as a result of foreign invasion, social instability, and weak governance.

    Without a strong country, the people have nothing – no matter how talented they are and how hard they work. This is the story of the Tibetan nation of the last century.

    For many Tibetans like me, the basis of human rights for the Tibetan people starts with the building of a strong nation – of a government that can enforce social stability, provide strong governance, provide for the people, and protect Tibet from foreign meddling.

  211. Flags of the republic
    January 28th, 2009 at 05:43 | #211

    @ patriotic tibetan #210

    You have that country. And her name is… Yea, you can say it with me.

    Let’s build up that country and “a government that can enforce social stability, provide strong governance, provide for the people, and protect [us all] from foreign meddling”.

  212. neutrino
    January 28th, 2009 at 06:23 | #212

    Ted 209

    Is “Serf Emancipation Day” and the accompanying CCP presentation is the best way to resolve these issues?

    ______________________________

    Of course not. You and I agree on that, I suppose. The establishment of “Serf Emancipation Day”, IMHO, is a silly maneuver that is not necessary. When I said the combined wisdom of both Tibetans and other Chinese, including the Hans and other minorities, the CCP presentations are excluded.

  213. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 06:45 | #213

    To Allen #202:
    I would never underestimate the courage, determination, and vision of people like MLK or Rosa Parks. In fact, even in Canada, I probably get a seat on a bus in some small way due to the barrier-shattering acts of Ms. Parks. And I’m not even necessarily saying that the US system was ripe for change in the 60’s. To say that would suggest that the US system would’ve progressed even in the absence of an MLK or a Rosa Parks, and I won’t go that far. But when faced with a call for change, the US (probably social more than political) system rose to the challenge.

    I think China has also seen some calls for change (the various list of “dissidents” that get dissed in these parts, and more recently, one Charter 08). I’m not seeing a lot of movement or political “opening-up”. Even for grievances brought up by people on your side of the spectrum, I’m not sure there’s been all that much progress. You can argue that those calls for change, unlike those of MLK and Parks, lack traction because of a lack of broad-based appeal. You may have a point. I choose to see it as a systematic flaw in China’s mode of governance. Part of that systematic flaw is that anything that the CCP doesn’t like has no chance of gaining traction because of info suppression. Unless and until that is rectified, I tend to equate a lack of broad-based appeal for change to a lack of broad-based awareness of the possibility of change. You can tack that on to the long (and ever-lengthening) wish list…

    To me, being dismissive of the Chinese political process is absolutely realistic. Helpful? I dunno. But to paraphrase a discussion MutantJedi and I have had (my apologies to him for doing so without permission), you can’t fix a problem until you admit to one being in existence.

  214. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 06:53 | #214

    To Allen #205:
    No quarrel from me about the economic change in China in the last 30 years. I’m not sure you can make a similarly spectacular case for the political system.

  215. Flags of the republic
    January 28th, 2009 at 06:59 | #215

    @SKC

    Here’s something for you with respect to #214. Enjoy!

    http://tinyurl.com/dzlrf6

  216. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 06:59 | #216

    To Wahaha #207:
    “You can talk your opinion to the wall, no1 cares. but do you know how we feel about the way you talk to us ?” – well, you seem to care, and that warms my heart.
    I have no idea how people feel about my opinions. They are not borne of a desire to offend someone. However, I’m not about to change my opinions because of someone’s delicate sensibilities. And if someone is going to venture onto a blog like this, I assume they’re aware of the remote possibility of seeing something with which they disagree.

    “Hey, I am free to say what I want, right ?” – gosh, haven’t you been doing that all this time? Where else have all those colourful examples come from?

    “So if you think anyone who does that to you is an @——, dont be surprised that we think the same way.” – do I strike you as someone who would care?

  217. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 07:07 | #217

    To Wahaha #208:
    “Where did I equate human right to BS ?”
    “Human right ? BS !!!!” (from Wahaha #110, last paragraph). If I misinterpreted you, I apologize.

    ““why dont you ask native aborignals in Canada ?”” – sure. About what? The federal and various provincial governments have concluded a number of land treaties with various bands in the last few years, borne out of consultation and not unilateral action. Does it redress all past wrongs? No. Is it a start? I’d say so. What’s that got to do with Tibetans? Who knows, best to ask Wahaha.

  218. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 07:14 | #218

    #210 and #211 sum up the futile nature of this and probably any Tibet discussion.

    Tibet: Here’s what we need and want.

    China: You’ve got everything you need and everything you could possibly want. So let’s move on already.

    If that’s not a basis for reconciliation, then I’ve never seen one.

  219. Flags of the republic
    January 28th, 2009 at 07:26 | #219

    @SKC

    I seriously think that the only thing that you are interested in is hearing yourself talk.

    Also, I really appreciate you putting words in my mouth. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  220. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 07:28 | #220

    To Flags #215:
    maybe I’m being dense. The Chinese CR database is great. And if you’re saying that the current Chinese political system will not tolerate another CR, then I suppose that is progress, since at one time it did tolerate a CR. Must say though that that wasn’t quite what I had in mind. To borrow from Allen’s “high bar” analogy, this wouldn’t qualify for same.

  221. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 07:30 | #221

    To Flags:
    hey, no problem. Any time.

  222. Flags of the republic
    January 28th, 2009 at 07:34 | #222

    Hey SKC,

    I am not baiting you. But for you to say that there hasn’t been any political change in the past 30 years is tantamount to an open pronouncement of ignorance. To see the difference, you need to see how things were before. Do you want me to tell you what kind of stuff changed in the last 30 years? Just let me know.

  223. Flags of the republic
    January 28th, 2009 at 07:39 | #223

    Truthfully, SKC, I am baiting you. Care to take it?

  224. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 07:42 | #224

    To Flags:
    hey, who’s inserting words into whose mouth now? 🙂

    I said the political change has not been “similarly spectacular” as the economic change of the last 30 years. I didn’t say there “hasn’t been any political change”. And if we’re going to debate degrees of “spectacular-ness”, we could be here a while. And that, I would submit, would truly be a case of listening to ourselves talking.

  225. Flags of the republic
    January 28th, 2009 at 07:45 | #225

    SKC, “Similar Spectacular” is an understatement. The economic change is spurred first, and foremost, by the political changes underwent after the CR. Should I educate you more?

  226. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 07:54 | #226

    To Flags:
    listen, if you think China’s political system has come as far as her economic system, be my guest. If you want to say that the economic “opening-up” is in fact a credit to the political system, hey, whatever floats your boat. To me, not so much. Not sure your form of “education” will have much discernible impact, so I’d suggest you save it for somebody else. But as I said, if you want to amaze me with your ability to debate degrees of “spectacular-ness” (with yourself no less), then please, by all means, fly at’er to your heart’s content.

  227. Flags of the republic
    January 28th, 2009 at 08:06 | #227

    SKC, Perhaps the most important change in the last 30 years is the shift from the ideological emphasis of the Mao era — that almost led the country to a disastrous ruin, to the more realistic economically-oriented modernization approach today. That in itself is tantamount to a paradigm shift in how things were and how things are now.

    I am, first and foremost, a realist, rather an ideologically driven idiot of the Mao era, or more aptly, the more sinister modern incarnation — the “democratic” variety. I, for one, think China should first learn how walk before she tries to run. You and the red guards are cut from the same cloth, except that some of the terms are a slightly different. We don’t need another CR from your ilk, although one that you want to ursher in is in the name of “democracy”. It takes time, dude. Don’t rush it. Learn to walk first — come up with a practical solution that would lead us there. Otherwise, you are just full of rhetoric (hot air) and nothing more than someone who likes to hear himself talk.

    Think about it!

    And take it easy.

    Best
    Kain

  228. S.K. Cheung
    January 28th, 2009 at 08:26 | #228

    To Flags #227:
    “more realistic economically-oriented modernization approach today” – we agree on this. But again, if you say that this is in fact a reflection of CHina’s political system, then more power to you, and happy trails with trying to make that case.
    I’m happy you don’t want another CR. Whew! Dodged one there. But did I ask for one? Is democracy a CR? Again, to each his own.

    But as I said before, you can’t fix a problem until you’ve acknowledged it. And you certainly can’t make progress without planning for it. As the late Professor Randy Pausch said:”failing to plan is planning to fail”. So if the status quo is “walking”, what to you constitutes “running”? Lots of people way smarter than me have come up with a schematic for “taking the next step”. It’s called Charter 08. I’d defer to them.

    Here’s a rhetorical question for you: if you’re walking today, then do sweet jack all about improving yourself for the next 30 years, what will you be doing then? Hint: the answer is in the question.

    And if all you have to say is “let’s just wait and see”, then I’d suggest you do so more succinctly in the future. That is also worth mulling over.

  229. Wahaha
    January 28th, 2009 at 14:27 | #229

    ““why dont you ask native aborignals in Canada ?”” – sure. About what? The federal and various provincial governments have concluded a number of land treaties with various bands in the last few years, borne out of consultation and not unilateral action. Does it redress all past wrongs? No. Is it a start? I’d say so. What’s that got to do with Tibetans? Who knows, best to ask Wahaha.

    SKC,

    Great, let us follow Canada’s way, give the exile government 100 square miles of land somewhere in northwest Tibet.

    _____________________________________

    Nobody ask you to change your opinion. You dont like or even hate CCP, I dont mind and I am even willing to believe you have good reasons to hate CCP.

    But when we talk about something that matters the welfare and interest of hundreds of millions of people, we have to put aside our own agenda, at least temporarily. If it takes 10 years to pull those millions of people out of poverty and misery, then you and I are supposed to wait 10 years; if it takes 50 years, then we are supposed to wait 50 years.

    So when those democratic advocates pushed for the shining idea of freedom, we aboard have the obligation to present to chinese the dark side of freedom, let them know there is no free dinner on earth.

    If China gets on the path of India now, IT WILL BE POINT OF NO RETURN : endless fights among 50 to 100 parties. As all of them want more power, they need financial supports (and intenational supports, or west support), so gradually, all of them are controled by those riches in China , like in India, like other democratic developing countries. Hundreds of millions of people are helpless and forever live in poverty.

    How about Tibet ? well, simple, as we are fighting against each other, no time to worry about Tibet. With such golden opportunity, West will force China to let Tibetan vote, (as those monks have great power over those tibetan people, monks easily take over control ), so chinese government will lose control of Tibet completely; after 2 or 3 years, those monks will vote again : chinese army out of Tibet. Any pro-china Tibetans will be killed or jailed or suppressed, more severe than how they treated shugden society. and of course, those west politicians and media wouldnt say a single word about that (did they say something about brutality in Iraq before gulf war?). and West will send those monks weapon in the name of stablizing the regions or protecting monstary or whatever. So Tibet in reality is under control of West.

    What about China ? well, our water source is under control of west, what can we do ? nothing except being a good puppy.

    Oh, I forgot, how about those Tibetan people? who the F@#$ care ? they will live like europeans in middle age, living in miserable conditions and completely dominated by monks. Will West and monks allow chinese government sending money into Tibet ? no, as that will allow chinese influence into Tibet. Will west help Tibet people ? that is good question, just ask yourself, if they have sent money to help Tibetan infants (Tibetans have extremely high infants mortality).

    This, is the so called human right of Tibetan people West politicians, West media and monks have been trying to sell to Chinese, to Tibetan people, and to Westerners.

    and they accuse us of being morally retarded.

  230. bt
    January 28th, 2009 at 16:11 | #230

    @ Wahaha 229

    I like your last post (the second part). I understand most of your arguments
    Back to Tibet (the holy grail of the hot topics here :)), anyway for obvious geopolitical reasons it’s quite difficult to imagine that any country would let go away a region like Tibet (I would like to stay neutral for the historical reasons or not for Tibet to be part of China, it sounds quite complicated for me).
    Additionaly, it’s not hard to imagine that as soon as the Tibetans are independent, the Uighurs/Mongols/…
    will ask for their share of the cake … that’s opening a Pandora box, and logically you will find few Chinese advocating that.
    Anyway, for the average laobaixing of any country, geopolitics is not what they care the most.

    However, if you look at the facts, it’s 50 years that the current situation is going on, and the least I can say is that I find the results very questionable. Blaming the troubles on the Dalai Lama, on the ‘hostile foreign forces’ (NED/CIA whatever) or saying that foreign news are biased because you don’t like what is written, that won’t solve the problem at all. If I look at the history of my own country, I would even say that it might deteriorate the situation to a no-return point in the long term.
    After, for ‘multi-ethnic’ countries living in separate places, a solution I like is what they did in Spain after the death of Franco. And Spain is still Spain.
    Democracy or not for China, I think it’s another debate. I guess a lot of Chinese would appreciate as a starter a fairer system (justice, control of corruption, …).

  231. ChinkTalk
    January 28th, 2009 at 16:16 | #231

    I have never been to Tibet so I don’t know what it is like there, but I have been to many Native reservations in Canada and if the Western media gives as much scrutiny to the Aboriginal issues in Canada as the Tibetan issues in China; I think we can do a much fairer comparison.

    In the news today, the CTV presents that China incarcerated Tibetans for having “revolutionary music” on their cellphones.

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090128/Tibet_china_090128/20090128?hub=World

    If you visit some of reservations in Canada, you would find that many Natives have no water, never mind a cellphone. The Western media is practicing the most rudimental of brainwashing techniques of repeating over and over again of how sinister China is in abusing the human rights of the Tibetans. Repeat it often enough, the general populace will ignite to equate abusive China when the buzz word “Tibet” is mentioned. The Western media in its transgression into unscruples has lost its credibility with me. While I don’t think China is innocent of abuses; the mere fact that the Western media’s lack of integrity has made its accusations trivialized and leads one to question whether the Chinese abuses are really what the Western media claimed. When I look at the abuses of the Canadian Natives purposely stonewalled by the media leads me to question why is the Western media so interested in the human rights of the Tibetans yet turns a blind eye to the atrocities afforded to the Canadian Natives.

    If the media would report on Native abuses with the same regularity as Tibetan issues; there would not be any room for other news.

    It has gotten to the point that when I see reports on Tibetan abuses by the Chinese in the media, my immediate reaction is “bullshit”. A form of reverse brainwashing in my case. And I think this would blind me to some of the abuses that might be important.

    I have not seen one politician or public figure who grandstands the meeting with the Dalai Lama have the chutzpah to question the Dalai Lama on the Tibetan serf system and the funding by foreign forces. Again, when I see these public figures smiling with the Dalai Lama; I see how ridiculous they look and how little they really know about China and the Tibetan issues. And again, the immediate reaction to me is “bullshit”.

  232. ChinkTalk
    January 28th, 2009 at 18:14 | #232

    Hey Admin,

    I am not really CT, but there’s this glitch that I have been noticing for a while. A lot of times when you open a page at FM. The handle and email address are already filled in. This time is CT’s stuff, other time is other people’s. Could you look into that.

    Hey CT, you should probably change you email address.

  233. Flags of the republic
    January 28th, 2009 at 18:50 | #233

    Hey SKC,

    “But as I said before, you can’t fix a problem until you’ve acknowledged it. And you certainly can’t make progress without planning for it. As the late Professor Randy Pausch said:”failing to plan is planning to fail”. So if the status quo is “walking”, what to you constitutes “running”? Lots of people way smarter than me have come up with a schematic for “taking the next step”. It’s called Charter 08. I’d defer to them.

    Here’s a rhetorical question for you: if you’re walking today, then do sweet jack all about improving yourself for the next 30 years, what will you be doing then? Hint: the answer is in the question.”

    It is good that you think that the Charter 08 people are smarter than you. I have a pretty good gauge of your intellectual capacity then. Take a critical look at the said charter again, then come back and tell me whether or not there’s anything of substance in there. Also, see how well this charter 08 fits your Randy Pausch’s blurt — to a T, I’ll say.

    And what the heck is this crap about “status quo”, don’t you understand the concept of “learning to walk before you run”. How the freak does that equate “walking” as the “status quo”? Then again, I can easily see how one could make such a mistake given your intellectual capacity.

  234. January 28th, 2009 at 19:29 | #234

    @SKC, Flags of the republic, Wahaha,

    Sometimes it is fine to get all worked up (certainly amusing to read some of your back and forth) – but please make sure you don’t get too emotionally invested in some of the arguments here that you get burnt out. The last thing we want happen is to have people leave this blog after being burnt out.

    The good thing about our community here I think is that none of us are really in a position to make or break the issues discussed here. So by any of us “winning” or “losing” arguments on this blog is not going to translate to anything concrete in the real world (unless through nonlinear weird interactions something said here actually causes a political movement).

    So relax… We are here foremost for ourselves.

    Some people like to watch football. Some like to watch ballet.

    Well … some like us like to hang out with friends and acquaintances to discuss issues concerning the world and in our case China in particular. We should feel lucky we have such a community – with members from all stripes of life from around the world willing to articulate various perspectives.

    So please come to discuss, to articulate, to learn, and maybe even to entertain. Yes – getting heated exchanges is part of the deal. But we are not here to tear each others’ head off! 😉

  235. foobar
    January 28th, 2009 at 19:41 | #235

    Serfdom and Mobility: An Examination of the Institution of “Human Lease” in Traditional Tibetan Society, by Melvyn Goldstein

    http://www.case.edu/affil/tibet/booksAndPapers/Human_Lease.pdf

  236. January 28th, 2009 at 20:23 | #236

    #232

    Thanks for notifying me that. It probably has something to do with a cache plugin and I just disabled it. Could you please send me an email if the problem still exists?

  237. Wahaha
    January 28th, 2009 at 21:10 | #237

    bt,

    Thanks for your response to my #229.

    I never bash Dalai Lama, I think he was sort of kidnapped, now he is just a microphone for say something that people around him love to hear…. and just smile to camera. This can be even confimed in Chinese website :

    http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90776/6382633.html

    …..the Dalai Lama he had already voiced support for radical land reforms at home, although the landed aristocracy and religious elite had successfully thwarted implementation……

    Personally, I disagree the way chinese goverment has treated Dalai Lama. Even if he is a seperatist, China should invite him visiting Tibet for religion activities as long as Dalai Lama promises not talking about something like strasbourg proposal in China. If he declines, then invite again, and again. Yes, it may cause lot of troubles, but the earned trust will be worth much more than the troubles.

    ______________________________

    About democracy in China,

    http://greenhornetlk.wordpress.com/2006/06/09/spread-individualism-not-democracy/

    and

    http://www.lacan.com/zizek-inquiry.html

    The liberal idea of a “free choice” – if the subject wants it, s/he can opt for the parochial way of the tradition into which s/he was born, but s/he has to be presented with alternatives and then make a free choice of it – always gets caught in a deadlock: while the Amish adolescents are formally given a free choice, the conditions they found themselves in while they are making the choice make the choice unfree. In order for them to have an effectively free choice, they would have to be properly informed on all the options, educated in them – however, the only way to do this would be to extract them from their embeddedness in the Amish community, …….

    (try replacing Amish by Tibet)

    ___________________________________

    About fairness and corruption,

    Democracy doesnt promise fairness or prevent corruption (economically and politically). If those who have power dont corrupt, it is cuz they are already rich, or they can be legally politically corruptive.

    You can see this by looking at most developing countries under democracy ; couple of dozens billionaires plus millions of hopelss people in poverty.
    _______________________________________________

    The greatest thing about WEST democracy (or in my opinion, more like individualism) is innovation, which is the fatal flaw of authoritraian system. I mentioned to my friends that there will never be Bill Gates in China under the current system, and I dont know if I will see a cartoon like Kungfu Panda made in China.

  238. Leo
    January 29th, 2009 at 00:47 | #238

    @Wahaha 237

    I think you still have a very romantic picture of the Dalai Lama. I think the present Dalai Lama is just like quite a few Chinese commentators here, a diehard nationalist, though of a Tibetan brand, and in a religious cloak. He also has ambitions. One of them is to be a dragon-slaughter. He just can’t stop mocking and teasing CCP. I think Melvyn Goldstein also made the same observation in his books.

  239. Otto Kerner
    January 29th, 2009 at 03:18 | #239

    @ Allen #201,

    Your comment is not appreciated. I have made no secret of my opinion that the Dalai Lama should become a completely religious institution rather than a political office. The current Dalai Lama has said the same.

    Whether the Dalai Lama can represent the “cultural interests of Tibetans” is a bit more complicated.

  240. Tu Touque
    January 29th, 2009 at 03:22 | #240

    ADMIN….

    Thank you for highlighting # 185…

    I think # 231 by Chinktalk is excellent too. Please kindly give it the “Highlight ” it deserves.

    Thank you.

  241. January 29th, 2009 at 03:42 | #241

    @Otto Kerner #239,

    I meant my comment in #201 to be a sympathetic comment actually. I finally saw that you have been very consistent on an ideal for the Dalai Lama that many Chinese like me would actually support – but which we don’t at this time because we see no sign of it in the real world – hence my Gandhi reference.

    Sorry if I offended you.

  242. Otto Kerner
    January 29th, 2009 at 04:42 | #242

    @ Leo #203,

    If the first forced Panchen Lama is legitimate, why not the second?“This is a fair question, which I attempted to answer in my previous comment. The PRC’s preferred candidate for 10th Panchen Lama was legitimate because he was not imposed by force; he was selected by the 9th Panchen Lama’s band of cronies back in the 1930s, before the PRC even existed (he was ratified by the ROC government after the cronies made their decision). In the 1940s, the Tibetan government tried to use its political power to force them to accept a rival candidate.

    The situation is a little more complicated today because the Panchen Lama’s cronies were all rounded up and imprisoned or killed in the early 1960s as a reward for their loyalty to China, so he no longer has a proper band of cronies. The closest thing would be the leadership and monks of the Panchen Lama’s monastery, Tashilhünpo (even though there is very little actual continuity, due to the destruction of Tashilhünpo during the CR). Naturally, there were some government operatives in Tashilhünpo in the early 90s, but most of the rank and file seem to have been apolitical. The abbot at the time, Chadrel Rinpoche, had always been studiously apolitical and was on good terms with the Communist Party.

    At the same time, since there was no proper band of cronies available to find the 11th Panchen Lama, it seems natural to me that the opinions of the other major Gelug lamas would become all the more important, particularly the opinions of the Dalai Lama and the Ganden Tripa. It’s worth noting that there is an enormous difference between the value of the Dalai Lama’s opinion in 1951 vs. his opinion in 1995. In the first case, we are actually talking about the opinions of a group of ministers and government officials in Lhasa. It barely seems fair to talk about the Dalai Lama’s opinion on a controversy that began when he was an infant and ended when he was sixteen. By 1995, however, the Dalai Lama had become a venerable and respected religious teacher who might be expected to have something worthwhile to say.

    It doesn’t really matter who the monks of Tashilhünpo supported in the 1940s, since they were under political compulsion, and the 9th Panchen Lama’s cronies were in exile in Qinghai.

    I’m not sure who the “senior lama loyal to the 10th Panchan Lama” that you refer to is. Sengchen? I’m not sure what makes you think he was loyal to the 10th Panchen Lama.

    The “big issue” with the Golden Urn is that it was a blatant political imposition on a religious process, and it should be not be brought back because modern countries don’t consider that to be acceptable any more. The use of the Golden Urn is not at ancient tradition and it is not required—after all, it’s been used a total of five times (six if you count Gyaincain Norbu) out of 25 total Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas.

  243. S.K. Cheung
    January 29th, 2009 at 08:32 | #243

    To Wahaha #229:
    nice post.
    It should be mentioned that when various levels of the Canadian government engage in land treaties with various native bands, the land that is signed over is within the territory of each band’s traditional occupancy. So it’s not like we round up all the different bands, and say here, you can all share this new territory outside Churchill, Manitoba where there are as many polar bears as there are people, and you can make a go of it where it’s (-)50 celsius (that’s about minus 60 Fahrenheit btw) or colder this time of year. They’re given land where their ancestors once roamed. So if you want to apply a similar principle to Tibet, you’d have to give Tibetans a significant chunk of present day Tibet. They might go for it if you asked.

    As for your second point, though I disagree, i can see where you’re coming from. But as I’ve said before, do you only think of what’s next after you’ve sufficiently pulled society out of poverty, or might it be worthwhile to have a plan in anticipation of same? For instance, I don’t think the Charter 08 folks plan to implement things tomorrow; but it makes sense to have a vision of what to work towards.
    You also often make the point that democratic societies are wrought by social and economic disparities. Those disparities certainly exist. But don’t they exist already in China, between rural and urban peoples? In fact, isn’t the disparity between your average western Chinese farmer and your eastern seaboard socialite at least comparable to that which exists in NYC, for instance? And if similar disparities already exist, then how well does the current political system prevent such an occurrence? And how much worse do you believe things will be in a different political system?
    You also often insinuate that our system is controlled by the few. How well is the average PRC citizen represented by Hu Jintao? How is no representation superior to some representation?

    As for your last few paragraphs about Tibet, unfortunately it’s the usual tune about how westerners are out to get China. As I said before, such a perspective encapsulates our differences.

  244. S.K. Cheung
    January 29th, 2009 at 08:44 | #244

    To Flags #233:
    so, the authors of Charter 08 aren’t very smart. Ok, you’re supposedly much smarter. What ideas have you come up with in your lifetime to address the questions on this thread….still waiting….still nothing….Bueller??….Bueller??……

    I also have a pretty good grasp of your capacity…and it’s not a pretty sight. So next time, before you try to convince yourself of how “smart” you are, consider that it’s requires intelligence to recognize intelligence. And the fact that you lack an appreciation for someone like Professor Pausch already tells me all that I need to know. And when it comes to you, what I need to know is frightfully little. And it’s best to leave it that way, lest I catch whatever it is that afflicts you.

  245. S.K. Cheung
    January 29th, 2009 at 09:09 | #245

    To Flags:
    “So if the status quo is “walking”, what to you constitutes “running”? Lots of people way smarter than me have come up with a schematic for “taking the next step”.” – I didn’t say walking “equates” to the status quo; I was making the supposition. So if we suppose that China’s learned how to walk, how will she “take the next step” and learn to run? That to me would be where the “schematic” comes in. There. Does that clear it up for you? Feel free to chew on it a while. You take as long as you need….

  246. Tu Quoque
    January 29th, 2009 at 10:41 | #246

    SKC, I agree with these sentences. “And you certainly can’t make progress without planning for it. As the late Professor Randy Pausch said:”failing to plan is planning to fail”

    Now, I see you are a prolific commentator on FM, and you seem to have a logical head on ya. Whether I agree with you or not, I have never felt the need to challenge or belittle your convictions. ONly to vote your comments positively.

    Now, on the other hand, there are also folks here who claim to be everything they are is not – logical, well read in history, and objective. The irony of course is, one look at a certain name of acronym for handle tells you immediately of his extreme biases. Then there is that pompous stench with which he leaves behind telling people to get educated, learn a bit of history before engaging him, so on and so forth, which only serves to further reveals his fragility.

    Many times posters have challenged him to provide solid proof to his claims, to which he would simply ignore. And when others expound upon his examples to reveal them to be obsolete or pertinent to his contribution to the ongoing argument, he would pretend to be oblivious to them and over reacts by producing even more wordy historiography. And oh, this is his favorite tactic: Leaving some Short terse sentence or more to negate the premise of someone’s well thought out efforts.

    His M.Os are exactly what the media and certain officials love to use when speaking down to their audiences. Tired and overused branding terms and stigmatic phrases such as ignorance, naive, brainwashed, undemocratic, “illogical,” “unsubstantiated claims,” “Conspiracy theories,” “the real world,” etc. And would then follow up with such ridiculous spiel on the frailty of leadership, that most successes/failures are the result of chance, flukes, human frailties, schematic and systemic failures. Hence, armed with such hubris of certainty take every opportunity to rebuke, sneer and take potshots at anyone who dare venture beyond the media formed scenario and the respective subsequential status quos.

    Yet, when challenged, he would revert to either to aloof stiff upper lip resolution, or worse, go on and on with his whinning and bitching about the personal persecution of FM’s voting practices, and having to endure emotional stress for having to respond to comments he arbitrarily deems as illogical, imature, while he relishes in condescending his challengers with the boy suffix to people’s names.

    Like I’d stated before, just do better adn I will vote and root for ya. Just cut out the pomposity. I have long wanted to praise Wahaha’s unyielding persistency, self-confidence, resilience and stamina in drawing out the likes of these into the open arena, and fight them all like a man. Thank you and bravo, Wahaha!

  247. Tu Quoque
    January 29th, 2009 at 11:54 | #247

    ADMIN …Please highlight # 229 ….what foresights!

    Good one Wahaha.

  248. Leo
    January 29th, 2009 at 12:51 | #248

    @ Otto Kerner 242

    According to what I know, the exile of the 9th Panchen Lama happened in a haste. He only brought with him one or two his own man. His choice of the 10 Panchen Lama was quite helpless and desperate, having to turn to the Nanjing government then to the CCP.

    His enthroning was of course imposed by force. The 14th Dalai Lama would not have accepted him without the gun-pointing of the CCP. The guy now happily living in Scotland would bear the title of the 10th Panchen Lama instead.

    If the decision by the 14th Dalai Lama in 1950 is any different from his in 1995 in nature, the same question can be put on his decision to start a rebellion against the Chinese in 1959 and his present decision to continue tauting and teasing the Chinese government and stifling the situation.

    Even if the institution of Golden Urn was originally blatant political, it helped form the Tibetan Buddhism Gelug we know today. Some people have a good reason to abolish it, other people have a good reason to keep it. One of these good reasons is that, when enthroning his choice of the 17th Karmapa, which misled Chinese government to put considerable trust on him, the 14th Dalai Lama actively asked the help and involvement of Chinese government. As the oppostion party has put it quite right, the Kagyu is completely independent tradition and lineage, and the Dalai Lama as the most senior guru of the Gelug, has absolutely no say in it. But when sabotaging and stealing other people’s tradition and treasure, the 14th Dalai Lama turned to Chinese government!

    The present 14th Dalai Lama has become an extremely omnipotent and abusive institution. He can take part in a gay parade one day, then say homosexuality is harmful to Buddhists another day. He can say women are equal to men one day and say the opposite another day. He can abandon Tibet independence all of sudden, without any consultation and reflection. He can resurrect dead lineages and directly appoint the top gurus. He can make any theological interpretation and nobody dares to question him. I have to say, he beat the Pope both hands down.

  249. Tu Quoque
    January 29th, 2009 at 13:21 | #249

    Once again, I say, Tear Down the Walls Mr. Dalai Lama….

  250. pug_ster
    January 29th, 2009 at 20:25 | #250

    If you want to be on the NSA’s watch list, just get a bunch of people who are against the US and conspire to overthrow or split yourselves from the US government. That being said, I’m sure that any Tibetans in China who tries to overthrow or split themselves from the Chinese government will be monitored and/or arrested. There is such contrast of how Chinese media and Western Media interpret this kind of movement like one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

  251. Tu Quoque
    January 29th, 2009 at 23:22 | #251

    #248

    “I have to say, he beat the Pope both hands down.”

    ::LOL::Good one.

    #250

    Very well said pug_ster

    Thank you

  252. S.K. Cheung
    January 29th, 2009 at 23:44 | #252

    To Tu Quoque #246:
    not sure how much of that was meant for me, but as a fellow aficionado of the late professor, I assume you’ve watched “The Last Lecture” on YouTube. If not, you should check it out. The best hour-long dissertation on VR, headfakes, and giant teddy bears that I’ve ever watched.
    As I said following one of your earlier posts, I may not agree with your opinions either, but i certainly agree with your methods.

  253. S.K. Cheung
    January 29th, 2009 at 23:51 | #253

    To Pugster #250:
    your point is well taken, but it also depends on perspective. The “western media” might find the American to be a terrorist, and the Tibetan to be the freedom fighter. The Chinese media would undoubtedly find the Tibetan to be the terrorist, and might well find the American to be the freedom fighter. I am not sure where the contrast lies, apart from the fact that the opposite perspective would result in opposite characterizations.

  254. Flags of the republic
    January 30th, 2009 at 02:28 | #254

    @ S.K.C #244 & 245

    Got under you skinny!!! Sweet!.

    Yeah, I must be the dumbest Ph.D ever to try to have you examining things critically. As Tu Quoque (246) puts it, I AM very pompous. Can’t be helped — given the caliber of people I am dealing with.

    And by the way, I never said anything bad about Randy Pausch. Don’t know the man. All I said was for you to apply his maxim, ”failing to plan is planning to fail”, to Charter 08.

    And when you are making suppositions make it crystal clear to everyone that they are your supposition and not mine. So, don’t set up straw man arguments to “score” point. Plus, I didn’t say China had learned to walk yet — chew on that!

  255. Otto Kerner
    January 30th, 2009 at 03:51 | #255

    Re: Leo #248,

    Even if the institution of Golden Urn was originally blatant political, it helped form the Tibetan Buddhism Gelug we know today.” Can you elaborate on this? What significant contributions has the use of the Golden Urn made to the development of the Gelugs?

    the Kagyu is completely independent tradition and lineage, and the Dalai Lama as the most senior guru of the Gelug, has absolutely no say in it“. I very much agree, and I have often and publicly criticised the Dalai Lama’s involvement in this matter, which I think has been quite inappropriate. Still, I am forced to wonder whether you actually know or care very much about the Karmapa controversy, or whether you have brought it up because you think it will score rhetorical points against the Dalai Lama. Why wouldn’t the Dalai Lama request that the Chinese government cooperate with Kagyu lamas who went to Tibet to look for the new Karmapa? What’s wrong with that?

  256. S.K. Cheung
    January 30th, 2009 at 04:40 | #256

    To Flags #254:
    well, if you’re a Ph.D, then your thesis defense must not have required much supporting evidence for your hypothesis, since you don’t seem to be in the habit of providing any. And if your thesis defense was not rigorous but still successful, it does lead me to wonder about the caliber of people with whom you associate. I would only say that in order to critically appraise, one needs adequate material for said appraisal. And that seems to be lacking from you thus far.

    I think Charter 08 is a noble plan for moving forward. It’s the realization of that plan that remains elusive. But it’s better than what I could’ve said. And certainly far superior to anything I’ve heard from you.

    I think the only person unclear about who was making the supposition was you. That’s why my statement had the “if”. But “if” you require a neon sign to indicate my future suppositions (please note that I just made another one), do let me know and I will try to oblige.

    “I didn’t say China had learned to walk yet” – why are you so down on China, dude? That seems so unbecoming. But if China is in fact still crawling, then maybe the Charter can help propel her into the era of walking. Then later, she will require even grander plans to make like Usain Bolt.

  257. Flags of the republic
    January 30th, 2009 at 05:39 | #257

    Hey SKC #256,

    I did say that “I must be the dumbest Ph.D ever…“, didn’t I?

    Anyhow, enough jabs about how dumb we think the other is. You seem to grasp the language quite well, but your logic is a bit loose — way loose. It wasn’t my intent to bring any “materials” to this discussion, but rather just point out how weak and ridiculous some arguments can be. You know, the easiest way is to attack their premises — the suppositions as you say. If the premise is faulty, it doesn’t matter how tight the logic is. But you seem to go a bit further. Always trying to draw people into debates with arguments and hypothetical situation that are generally based on loss suppositions (all them if’s). It is useless to bring any meaningful content to the discussion, until the parties involved can think critically and make careful and logical arguments.

    Also, I didn’t say that Charter 08 wasn’t noble. It is just simply the case that I don’t think it is a plan at all. At the most, you can say that it is a set of goals and ideals that some of us may want to reach someday. My contempt is that it is all idealistic without any hint of pragmatism. In fact, I hold similar contempt for all who pontificate about how things should be without any idea of the practical challenges in stored. I am a realist. Show me things that has a semblance of an action plan, and I don’t think Charter 08 is any where close to that.

  258. S.K. Cheung
    January 30th, 2009 at 06:37 | #258

    To Flags:
    well, our little disagreement seems to have started in # 214, when I suggested that China’s economic system has made huge gains while her political system has made little. That’s my opinion; it’s not a premise. It’s not testable. So if you disagree with my opinion, as always, be my guest. But I similarly consider your opinion that China’s political system has taken huge strides to be out there on an orbit more distant than the planet formerly known as Pluto. I’m not going to berate you for it, but neither will I tolerate any lippy-ness.

    I’m here to discuss, and debate if necessary. But mostly, they’re based on opinions. I don’t claim to have the facts about China or Tibet; I’ve said before that those would be nebulous creatures. But if you do, (supposition again), then more power to ya.

    You say that meaningful content is wasted unless logical arguments are on offer. But you also imply that logical arguments are irrelevant without feasible premises. Well that’s just great. I’d love to hear a nice tight premise from you. And if and when you come up with one, i suggest you then go and test it, rather than just talk about it. But that’s just me.

    Your last paragraph is what it is. You have your opinion, and I have mine. I hope you at least agree that we’re both entitled to them.

  259. Leo
    January 30th, 2009 at 14:08 | #259

    @ Otto Kerner 255

    The Golden Urn procedure built the basic legitimacy of several present Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama’s predecessors. Contribution aside, is this not significant enough? Historically and contemporarily the succession of tulkus is wrought with manipulations, plottings, and murders. The Golden Urn procedure at least provides a marginal sense of seriousness and fairness.

    Of course, the essence of Buddhism is quasi atheism. The notion of reincarnation and idolizing of tulkus is total nonesense, which the 14th Dalai and various gurus conceded on several occasions when confronted with serious enough Western visitors. Its significance lies in the blind trust the average Tibetans devote to it and its instrumental and symbolic function to carry on some aspects of Tibetan culture and tradition. In this place the institution of the Golden Urn is very useful. It provides a sense of connectedness with Chinese sovereign, which was orginally the very person of the emperor, later replaced and represented through the presidents of ROC and PRC, who stands for the wholeness of the nation, not a single person or political party. If the 14th Dalai Lama endorses this institution and its symbolism, it helps build up the trust between the Tibetans and rest. If he fears the penetration of the communists into the theological sphere, he can defend his points within the frame of the Golden Urn procedure, which will not sound any weaker in front of the religious as well as non-religious communities. But he chose to deny the whole thing, which can fool quite a few Westerners, but just cause nothing but a sense of exclusion and affront to the general Chinese population.

    Regarding the 17th Karmapa, he didn’t need any help of Chinese govt. The opposition party just came in and smuggled out, as thousands of Tibetan monks, pilgrims, and bored youths do year in year out. When he turned to Chinese govt, he expected certain things, including the official endorsement, the govt.’s propaganda machine to pursuade the average Tibetan to accept this choice, and the govt’s pressure on the Kagyu monks not to make a brahaha.

    The 14th Dalai Lama is not so religiously influential as I earlier expected. The 11th Panchen Lama enjoys considerable acceptance within the Tibetan population (some of them just pay respect to the both choices of the succession). The worship of Dorje Shugden, so far as I saw last year, is going on intact, which he last time sent some agents to sabotage and caused a quite big outcry.

  260. Tu Quoque
    January 30th, 2009 at 14:53 | #260

    # 252, SK, (I assume you’ve watched “The Last Lecture” on YouTube.)

    Oh, yes, I have. And I remember how boring it was too. I had to fast forward a lot. To be fair, Steve, as an engineer might just love it. HOWEVER, the part that I listened to were great – about the mentors in his life, his parents helping Thai girls get the chance for education, and the fulfilment of all his childhood dreams and wanting to achieve theris. Every sucess in life had a cause such as having tangible goals , good planning, help from other people(karma), faith. And oh, getting the boring tedious basics right and the fun will follow, or something like that. Kinda like how China is running its nation — Get the people fed, secure the borders, strengthen the economy, provide job opportunies, yunno, get the basics covered and sustainable , and then the rest will go as planned in time.

    What a guy – I think he was chosen among the top 100 most influential people in 2008 on TIME Mag., wasn’t he?

  261. Tu Quoque
    January 30th, 2009 at 15:01 | #261

    Typo corrections: HOWEVER, the part that I listened to were great – about the mentors in his life, his parents helping Thai girls get a chance for education, and the fulfilment of all his childhood dreams and how he wants to help others achieve theirs.

  262. Wahaha
    January 30th, 2009 at 20:13 | #262

    Tu Quoque,

    I am flattered.

    You can read from my post that I dont know much about politics, all I did is finding logic explanation to what is going on in the world. As I didnt read many books in politics, I dont have existing theories from textbook, that is why I keep people on this board to explain why the reality is different from textbooks. and I have absolutely no interests in idealism or idiolism.

    _______________________________________

    SKC,

    I know you are a deep believer of democracy and voting system. I am not, that doesnt mean I dont want to see democracy in China, rather I want to see a society in which BOTH individual right and public interests are respected. and neither democratic nor authoritarian has both.

    I have hard time to believe in democracy cuz I dont see it can avoid becoming oligarchy and I deeply believe HOW MUCH POWER YOU HAVE IS PROPORTIONAL TO HOW MUCH YOU CONTROL ECONOMY, NOT YOUR VOTE.

    I dislike lot of things about the current system in China, and hate they censored Obama’s speech. But currently, I think it is very hard for you to convince us that an elected government will care more materially than the current government in China. As China is still poor country, I believe 99+% of people still care MORE about their material lives than political lives.

    BTW, have you hear of Yue minjun, the famous chinese modern artist, here is one of his paintings.

    http://www.chine-informations.com/images/upload/Yue-Minjun-Execution.jpg

    He lives comfotably in Beijing, you know what I mean.

    Also, I know a chinese old doctor fought AIDS quietly. Contrary to someone like Hu Jia, she never looked for attention or sought help from West, and she was never jailed or mistreated by chinese government.

  263. S.K. Cheung
    January 31st, 2009 at 01:21 | #263

    To Wahaha:
    “rather I want to see a society in which BOTH individual right and public interests are respected.” – I’m with you all the way on that one. We just differ on how China should go about achieving that.

  264. Leo
    January 31st, 2009 at 22:04 | #264

    There is nothing new coming from Tibet or Daramsalla, then there abruptly comes this piece. Interested readers can compare it with the exchange between Otto Kerner and me.

    What should I call this? An infomercial?

    (The New York Times)
    February 1, 2009
    Can You Choose Your Reincarnated Successor?
    By MICHAEL POWELL

    The search for the present Dalai Lama commenced in earnest in 1935 when the embalmed head of his deceased predecessor is said to have wheeled around and pointed toward northeastern Tibet.

    Then, the story goes, a giant, star-shaped fungus grew overnight on the east side of the tomb. An auspicious cloud bank formed and a regent saw a vision of letters floating in a mystical lake, one of which — Ah — he took to refer to the northeast province of Amdo.

    High lamas set off at a gallop and found a 2-year-old boy in a distant village. This child, they determined after a series of tests, was the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama.

    There is little linear about lama succession in Tibet. And now, as the 14th Dalai Lama journeys into his 74th year, the question of how to pick his successor has come to preoccupy both him and his followers, as Tibet stands at an ever more precarious political pass.

    Late last year, the Chinese government again rejected the Dalai Lama’s proposal for a rapprochement that would yield greater autonomy for Tibet. In recent days, Chinese troops have raided thousands of homes and detained at least 81 activists ahead of the 50th anniversary in March of the failed uprising that forced the Dalai Lama into exile in India. China seems inclined to tighten its grip and wait out the aging leader, insisting, a bit improbably for a government that is officially atheist, that it has the legal right to designate the Dalai Lama’s next reincarnation.

    When Tibetan representatives met last autumn at their Parliament in Dharamsala, in the Indian Himalayas, their worries about the future echoed down the corridors. A few argued for a militant line, insisting on independence. A majority heeded the Dalai Lama’s counsel to find a pacifist middle way. But the unanswered question remains: How much longer will Tibetans be able to rely on their charismatic and learned spiritual leader, whose persona is so entwined with the destiny of Tibet?

    The Dalai Lama has openly speculated about his next life, his reincarnation, musing that he might upend historical and cultural practice and choose his reincarnation before his death, the better to safeguard his exiled people.

    But doubts creep in.

    Can even so highly evolved a Buddhist as the Dalai Lama select his reincarnation? Will upending the old way of searching for the Dalai Lama’s incarnation, in which priests search for omens, portents and meteorological signs, undermine the legitimacy of his successor?

    Since he fled Chinese rule by foot and horseback over the Himalayas in 1959, the Dalai Lama has traveled restlessly and spoken passionately about Tibet. The fruits of his labors are many: The world is spotted with Tibetan centers, and prayer flags flap from Delhi to London to Zurich to Todt Hill in Staten Island. Tibetan culture is celebrated in Hollywood and in popular art. (Exiles number about 130,000; about six million Tibetans live in Tibet and China).

    But a darker vision of Tibet’s future is easily divined. This Dalai Lama dies and his successor is young and inexperienced and holds no sway in the chambers of the powerful. Slowly, ineluctably, the Tibetans become just another of the globe’s landless peoples lost in the shadow of a rising superpower.

    “Definitely when someone as charismatic and popular as the Dalai Lama passes away, the Tibetans will suffer from less outside attention,” says Tenzin Tethong, a fellow in the Tibetan Studies Initiative at Stanford University. “We will lose a strong unifying symbol.”

    The Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, is no theocratic traditionalist. Should his people ever reclaim Tibet, he says an elected parliament and prime minister should rule; the Dalai Lama would occupy a religious station.

    “He is thinking outside the box about Dalai Lama rule,” said Robert Thurman, a professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies at Columbia University and author of “Why the Dalai Lama Matters.” “He’s trying to get it through the Chinese heads that he’s helpful to them. Their waiting for him to die is completely misplaced.”

    Tibetan Buddhists believe in reincarnation, although not in the sense of an irreducible self passing from body to body. They describe a dying candle lighting a new one; one’s essence passes on.

    Typically, when the Dalai Lama dies, the royal court appoints a regent who rules until the next reincarnation comes of age. Over the centuries some regents grew fond of their power and some Dalai Lamas expired prematurely, not to mention suspiciously. The sense of the regency as a time of peril persists.

    It is within this context that the Dalai Lama speculates about how to pull off his next reincarnation. Perhaps the four sects that constitute Tibetan Buddhism might form a Tibetan version of the Roman Catholic College of Cardinals and pick a successor. Perhaps he will return as a girl, or as a non-Tibetan.

    Or perhaps he will pick his future self.

    Professor Thurman offers his own speculation. The Dalai Lama, he says, might declare that a younger lama is the reincarnation of his own long-dead regent. Then the Dalai Lama could die and reincarnate as a new baby, which would be identified after the usual study of portents and signs. “Maybe the one he names as the reincarnation of the regent would transfer the Dalai Lama title back to him when his next reincarnation comes of age,” Mr. Thurman said.

    Who could gainsay that?

    Politics might pose a challenge as great as metaphysics. The Chinese insist that their army freed Tibetans from theocratic slavery and that Tibet is inseparable from China. They are not shy about enforcing their writ. In 1995, the Chinese government rejected the Dalai Lama’s choice of a 6-year-old boy as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, a spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism’s dominant sect, and then appointed its own. The child chosen by the Dalai Lama vanished into Chinese custody.

    “The thinking is a bit odd,” Mr. Thurman said, “as the Chinese Communists don’t believe in former or future lives and it is illegal to propagate religion in China.”

    Still, China’s power grows as the Dalai Lama ages. Han Chinese now crowd out ethnic Tibetans in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital, and exiles are uneasy, some taken again to searching for portents of what’s to come. To find themselves without a transcendent leader at this time is, as D. H. Lawrence once wrote of the Brazilian Indians, to risk being consigned “to the dust where we bury the silent races.”

  265. Otto Kerner
    February 1st, 2009 at 20:06 | #265

    Leo,

    What do you mean by “If he fears the penetration of the communists into the theological sphere, he can defend his points within the frame of the Golden Urn procedure“. How can he defend his points within the framework of the Golden Urn procedure when the Golden Urn procedure is being mandated by the Communists?

  266. February 1st, 2009 at 20:57 | #266

    @Otto Kerner,

    Not to state the obvious, but I am sure you understand the Golden Urn procedure is a neutral procedure that is neither biased against the CCP nor the DL.

  267. Leo
    February 2nd, 2009 at 12:48 | #267

    @Otto Kerner 235,

    Allen has made my point.

  268. Otto Kerner
    February 3rd, 2009 at 01:29 | #268

    Leo and Allen,

    In the 1995 incident, the use of the Golden Urn was demanded by the Party, the ceremony was presided over by Party-appointed officials, and the Party used its security apparatus to require lamas to attend. Neither the Dalai Lama nor the abbot of Tashilhünpo wanted it to be used in this instance, but the Party ignored their objections and proceeded anyway (and the abbot spent six years in prison for trying to avoid this). Arjia Rinpoche, an intimate of the 10th Panchen Lama’s and one of the most respected Gelug lamas in China (he is an ethnic Mongol), was so disgusted with these events that he left the country for exile. Under these circumstances, how can the Dalai Lama defend his points against “the penetration of the communists into the theological sphere” “within the frame of the Golden Urn procedure”? I don’t understand what that means. You’re not suggesting that he should have held his own Golden Urn ceremony in Dharamsala, are you? I think you’ll agree that wouldn’t have helped anybody. If not that, what?

  269. February 3rd, 2009 at 01:55 | #269

    @Otto Kerner,

    To your question: how can the Dalai Lama unilaterally defend his points against “the penetration of the communists into the theological sphere” “within the frame of the Golden Urn procedure”?

    I still think the question has been answered, but in #268 above, are you trying to argue that the DL should control the reincarnation process and define it on his own terms?

    Not only would such an approach be to politicize the reincarnation in favor of the DL, but is also lacking all historical precedence.

    Perhaps this might help things better.

    I don’ think the CCP in the end cares who per se is selected in the reincarnation process – as long as the DL selected accepts sovereignty of the central gov’t – i.e. the reincarnation process is not politicized to challenge that sovereignty.

    Throughout the history this is the underlying motivation for having the Golden urn procedure in the first place anyways.

    Even exiled Tibetan historians seem to understand this basic dynamic.

    Have you read, as an example, p. 444 – 447 of The Dragon in the Land of Snows by Tsering Shakya?

  270. Otto Kerner
    February 3rd, 2009 at 02:08 | #270

    Allen,

    In #268 I was not arguing anything, but asking a question. Leo said that the Dalai Lama can “defend his points within the frame of the Golden Urn procedure, which will not sound any weaker in front of the religious as well as non-religious communities.” I wonder what that means, but it has proven surprisingly difficult to get an answer.

  271. February 3rd, 2009 at 02:22 | #271

    @Otto Kerner,

    Regarding the question how can the Dalai Lama unilaterally defend his points against “the penetration of the communists into the theological sphere” “within the frame of the Golden Urn procedure”?

    My answer (don’t know about Leo’s) is that if the communists do want to penetrate and dictate who is to be selected (as you allege) as the next DL, the communists will have to face the Golden Urn procedure – which would prevent the central gov’t from handpicking a personal favorite as the next DL…as it was designed to do.

  272. S.K. Cheung
    February 3rd, 2009 at 02:33 | #272

    To Allen:
    “to politicize the reincarnation in favor of the DL”- so deferring to a religious leader politicizes the process, while deferring to the governing body in a one-party state doesn’t? How does that work again?

  273. February 3rd, 2009 at 03:13 | #273

    @SKC,

    The DL is calling for complete control of a process that had been jointly carried out throughout history – even to the extent of handpicking his “reincarnate.” That politicizes the process as never before.

    As for whether DL is a religious figure … do you really want to drag me through that again???

  274. Leo
    February 3rd, 2009 at 03:17 | #274

    @ S.K. Cheung,

    Maybe when one day there is a popularly elected central government, then people like you can defer to a multi-party, democratic, state. But before that happens, please defer to our one-party state first.

    No matter if this government is freely elected or not, it has my support on this issue.

  275. Leo
    February 3rd, 2009 at 05:24 | #275

    @ Otto Kerner 268

    You continue trying to distort the picture by implying the role of the Communists. This issue has nothing to do with the communist ideology or personal gains of the party cadres, it has everything to do with a legitimate national government doing its job!

    Yes, the govt officials presides the process. But what they can do is just look on while the lamas conduct the whole procedure. What’s wrong with that?

    Why was the Golden Urn procedure needed? Because the Dalai Lama unilaterally declared someone to be the next Panchen Lama. By doing so he denied the slightest ceremonial involvement by and traditional connectedness with the Chinese nation. The only alternative to this symbolic assertion of the Dalai Lama is turn to an institution independent both of the Dalai Lama and the government.

    You ask me how the Dalai Lama can defend his point against the commies? Just accept the result of the Golden Urn. His predecessors have done it! Then communicate with the new Panchen Lama on the base of a Buddhist to another Buddhist!

  276. Wukailong
    February 3rd, 2009 at 06:13 | #276

    I think it’s great that, as a way of raising the position of religion in the Harmonic Society, the government and party takes a greater lead in important matters like this. The idea of separation between church and state is Western anyway, and not something you can implement in a poor country.

  277. February 3rd, 2009 at 06:40 | #277

    @Wukailong,

    Don’t go too deep into the path that is separation of church and state. I warn you… 😉

    For some, an integral part of religious freedom is to express their religious identity and faith politically.

    For others, religion is just another form of social force that should be subjected to regulations and control as part of routine governance.

  278. February 3rd, 2009 at 07:50 | #278

    “For others . . . . ”

    You mean “For dictators . . . “

  279. S.K. Cheung
    February 3rd, 2009 at 08:10 | #279

    To Leo #274:
    I have no problem deferring to the one-party state…since there’s really not much else to choose from. But it confuses me when an atheist state (be in one-party or thousand-party) wants in on a religious process. It also confuses me how their involvement in the selection process will somehow serve to depoliticize the position…but that’s just me. I would’ve thought that the definition of a “yes-man” would be someone installed by the CCP. I’m not sure how that would serve to preserve and further the religious freedom of Tibetans that people on your side of the aisle claim to support. I would think that a Dalai Lama installed by the CCP would not have much in the way of religious bonafides in the eyes of Tibetans.

  280. S.K. Cheung
    February 3rd, 2009 at 08:14 | #280

    To Allen #273:
    “That politicizes the process as never before.” – perhaps you and I have different definitions for “politicizes”. It’s ironic, because in other spheres like genocide and religion, you go narrow; but here, you seem to wield a pretty big paintbrush.

    “As for whether DL is a religious figure…” – one of our many previously-stipulated disagreements. But how does the CCP choosing the next Dalai Lama make the next Dalai Lama less political, which seems to be what you seek?

  281. S.K. Cheung
    February 3rd, 2009 at 08:23 | #281

    To Allen #277:
    “should be subjected to regulations and control as part of routine governance” – for a mode of governance whose grasp of the rule of law is still a little shaky, she’s certainly advanced when it comes to regulations and control. But it’s one thing to say that religion should be regulated so that religious freedoms do not usurp other rights and freedoms to which citizens can avail themselves; it’s another to say that we’re just there to tell religion who’s their daddy. And with China, we’re talking the latter. I suppose that would qualify it as “religion with Chinese characteristics”.

  282. Wukailong
    February 3rd, 2009 at 09:15 | #282

    I saw a political cartoon once that I can’t find now, but it might shed some light on this:

    A fat, white man is sitting at a table eating. A skinny black child is standing beside the table.
    Child: I’m hungry.
    Man: Don’t talk politics!

  283. Leo
    February 3rd, 2009 at 11:32 | #283

    @ S.K.Cheung 279,

    Chinese government just carry out its duty as a national govt. If it is a government headed by a Christian (someone like Chiang Kai-shek), it has to do it; it is headed by a muslim, it has to do it. With the atheists its all the same.

    The involvement of the national govt. wont depolitize the position. Nobody intends to do so. It was the Dalai Lama who sexed up the issue. There are over 3000 tulkus in today’s China, mostly born and raised in China, then installed by the Chinese govt.. There are no controversies about their identity or the very practice of the Chinese govt.during the process of choosing and installing them.

    On my side of the aisle, I want my national govt. to take a good care of my share of cake, the unity of my country, in the issue, by holding some sway over a religion that has an enormous influence in every aspects of life over an territory that is a quarter of my country. You don’t care, I care!

  284. tenzin
    February 3rd, 2009 at 12:33 | #284

    Allen at 269 – What historical precedence are you referring to?

  285. February 3rd, 2009 at 19:23 | #285

    @tenzin #284,

    In #269 I wrote about the fact that for the DL to demand to control the reincarnation process – to the extent of deciding who the next DL reincarnate is – is not only to politicize the reincarnation process, but is also lacking all historical precedence.

    So by “historical precedence,” I mean the reincarnation process as practiced in the past.

    Now – I understand there is a controversial side to this. I would agree that the CCP presently is probably regulating Tibetan Buddhism to an extent that goes beyond historical norm. But that to me is more a result of the political conflict between the DL and the CCP – and not any inherent impetus to control the cultural and religious aspects of Tibetan Buddhism.

  286. S.K. Cheung
    February 3rd, 2009 at 22:18 | #286

    To Leo #283:
    “The involvement of the national govt. wont depolitize the position. Nobody intends to do so.” – you may wish to confer with those on your side of the aisle on this one. You might want to start with Allen. It seems many pixels have been spent on how the Dalai lama needs to be a religious figure and nothing more. So the CCP can politicize the Dalai Lama, but the Dalai Lama can’t…hmmm, sounds about par for the course for CHina these days.

    I agree the Chinese government has to fulfill its responsibility. The Canadian government has a similar responsibility. We’re just not in the habit of telling a religion who they should install as their religious leader. Therein lies the difference. You’re right about the atheist part…I was a bit gratuitous in using it, just to enhance the irony of it all.

  287. S.K. Cheung
    February 3rd, 2009 at 22:26 | #287

    To Allen #285:
    “not any inherent impetus to control the cultural and religious aspects of Tibetan Buddhism” – and if you really believed that, then all the more reason to get the CCP’s snout out of the selection process. The “political” conflict is with the present Dalai lama, and not the position in general. How better than to separate themselves from the selection of the next Dalai lama, so as to start with a clean slate with no political strings attached?

  288. February 3rd, 2009 at 22:32 | #288

    @SKC #287,

    And allow the DL to control the future successions of DL’s?

    I agree with you though, I’d like to start with a clean slate where DL is purely a religious / cultural figure – devoid from politics, too.

    My hope for the future is that Tibetans in Tibet will decide to keep the DL institution and that soon we’ll have a nonpolitical DL.

  289. tenzin
    February 3rd, 2009 at 22:41 | #289

    Let me rephrase my question. How are you so sure that what you say is historically true? It just sounds like the documents published by CCP. Dalai Lama is Tibetan and a Tibetan institution and is older that PRC. So what historical precedence are you beating your drum about?

    The controversial aspect or side that you refer too is only in the realms of CCP thoughts and reality. For Tiebtans we have absolutely no doubt that the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan religious will decide who the next Dalai Lama will be. Like China cannot decide who the next prime minister of India will be, you will not be able to decide who the next Dalai Lama will be. Give it up!

    Just because Chinese rulers in the past were present at the enthronement of a Dalai Lama and they sent congratulatory letters doesn’t prove that we needed Chinese Emperor’s decree or acceptance.

    Leo, you assume that Golden Urn has always been an integral part of the slection of the Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Lamas. You wouldn’t be wrong if you refer only to CCP publications. But if you refer to any other source you will see that this was a suggestion by Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong, in case of dispute and Tibetans rarely used it. Tibet and Tibetan history is not owned by China and if you think that is so, then you are mistaken.

    I love the way you classify everything that has to do with Tibetan people’s right and their expression of what they want as politics and against China and everything that CCP does as something legitimate and in the grand scheme of things good for Tibet and China.

  290. February 3rd, 2009 at 22:55 | #290

    @tenzin,

    You wrote:

    But if you refer to any other source you will see that this was a suggestion by Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong, in case of dispute and Tibetans rarely used it.

    OK. If we go just by the facts: the golden urn has been used to select the 10th, 11th, and 12th Dalai Lamas. After the installment of the golden urn, the ONLY time the golden urn was not used for the selection of a Dalai Lama in the Qing Dynasty was in the selection of the last of the Qing Dalai Lamas – the 13th Dalai Lama – when the Qing empire was faltering and breaking apart.

    The selection of the 14th Dalai Lama (current Dalai Lama) took place in 1935 during the Republic era. Since the selection was occurring when the Republic was under mortal attack from the Japanese, I personally also do not see the non-use of the golden urn in 1935 as setting a precedence of any sorts.

    Of course it’d be in your purview to argue for the abandonment of the golden urn in the 21st century … just like it’s yours to argue for Tibetan independence. But to say that the golden urn is something that is rarely used … and hence should not be used … I think that smacks of historical revisionism.

  291. S.K. Cheung
    February 4th, 2009 at 00:29 | #291

    To Allen #288:
    “that soon we’ll have a nonpolitical DL.” – then as I said, for the CCP to get the heck out of the way would be a good start.

  292. February 4th, 2009 at 00:43 | #292

    @SKC #291,

    Takes two to tango. When someone is punching you in the mouth, makes no sense to drop your defense, allow yourself to be punched, all in the name of starting over.

  293. Otto Kerner
    February 4th, 2009 at 00:55 | #293

    @Leo #275,

    The main premise of your argument is wrong, since the Dalai Lama did not unilaterally choose Gendün Chökyi Nyima as the 11th Panchen Lama. He made the decision in collaboration with, most importantly, Chadrel Rinpoche, the then-abbot of Tashilhünpo in Shigatse and the head of the search committee appointed by the Chinese government. Had the Dalai Lama chosen his candidate unilaterally, he probably would have selected a child already in exile or else smuggled him out of Tibet before making the announcement — it was the Tashilhünpo leadership that insisted the boy remain in China under their care. If the Dalai Lama had not been collaborating with Chadrel Rinpoche, then Chadrel Rinpoche would not have had to go to prison for six years, would he?

    You continue trying to distort the picture by implying the role of the Communists. This issue has nothing to do with the communist ideology or personal gains of the party cadres, it has everything to do with a legitimate national government doing its job!” I never intended to say that this has anything to do with Communist ideology. I mentioned the Communist Party because they are the rulers of China. I most certainly do not agree that getting involved with the selection of religious leaders is legitimately their job.

    Yes, the govt officials presides the process. But what they can do is just look on while the lamas conduct the whole procedure.” What do you mean by “just look on”? The government decided that they ceremony should occur, and then they forced lamas to attend. They apparently also decided who the potential choices were: if the process was neutral, why was Gendün Chökyi Nyima’s name not even in the hat? And this is assuming that the result was not rigged. The eventual result of the drawing was quite conveniently the son of two party members.

    You ask me how the Dalai Lama can defend his point against the commies? Just accept the result of the Golden Urn. His predecessors have done it!” The use of the Golden Urn in this instance was a decision made completely by the CCP. One cannot protest “the penetration of the communists into the theological sphere” by simply going along with it.

  294. Otto Kerner
    February 4th, 2009 at 01:02 | #294

    @ Wukailong #276,

    The idea of separation between church and state is Western anyway, and not something you can implement in a poor country.

    I think this is the crux of the matter. It has gradually dawned on me that Allen and Leo are people who do not believe in the separation of church and state; at least, not in China, not right now. Neither do you, apparently. On the other hand, I think it’s very important. How can I discuss with them if we begin with a disagreement on something so basic? I don’t like the Golden Urn because it is an imposition by the state into a religious matter. They do like Golden Urn, also because it is an imposition by the state into a religious matter. What more is there to say?

    The only question left to ask is “why?” You say that separation of church and state cannot be implemented in a poor country. Why not? Surely it doesn’t cost any money for the government not get involved in something.

  295. Otto Kerner
    February 4th, 2009 at 01:04 | #295

    @ Allen #288,

    And allow the DL to control the future successions of DL’s?

    Heaven forfend that the Dalai Lama should control the future reincarnations of himself.

    I know, I know. You don’t believe that there’s an actual reincarnation taking place. That’s fine. I just wanted to point out how amusing the position is that you put yourself in when you argue that the Chinese government must regulate something that does not actually exist.

  296. February 4th, 2009 at 01:05 | #296

    @Otto Kerner #293, you have suggested lots of innuendos and conspiracy theories. I would like to present some of mine … but figure it’s probably not worth the effort.

    #294 about the separation of church and state – if you or SKC (or others) actually like to have a real serious discussion on it, I am game. But I don’t think you are ready … at least based on what’s written here … except on a rhetorical level.

  297. February 4th, 2009 at 01:09 | #297

    @Otto Kerner #295,

    You wrote:

    Heaven forfend that the Dalai Lama should control the future reincarnations of himself.

    I know, I know. You don’t believe that there’s an actual reincarnation taking place. That’s fine. I just wanted to point out how amusing the position is that you put yourself in when you argue that the Chinese government must regulate something that does not actually exist.

    Again we are still not communicating. It’s not the reincarnation that is important. It’s the use of cultural artifacts for political end that is.

    As I’ve said many times before. Just as terrorists like to fight behind hospitals and schools, so does the DL like to fight behind rhetoric of culture and religion.

  298. Otto Kerner
    February 4th, 2009 at 01:12 | #298

    Allen,

    I presented 0 conspiracy theories. The facts are what they are. I have no idea whether the selection was rigged or not. Obviously, you don’t, either. You think it is an “innuendo” or a “theory” that Chadrel Rinpoche went to prison? I dare you to meet him and say that to his face. Perhaps the reason for this might have been something unrelated, such as mail fraud or an aggravated count of jaywalking? If I could vote thumbs down on your comment twice, I would.

  299. February 4th, 2009 at 01:18 | #299

    @Otto Kerner #298,

    OK – points well taken. Perhaps the tone of #296 was not written in the most helpful way…

    In any case, I didn’t think it was fair of you to characterize in #294 that I did not want separation of church and state in Tibet / China.

    Far from it. I want the DL to tend to the religious and stop playing politics – and so do … apparently … you.

    But even on something which we do in concept agree, we find it so difficult to agree in its application!

  300. Wukailong
    February 4th, 2009 at 04:53 | #300

    @Otto (#294): Actually, I was being sarcastic. I brought up some common arguments that I don’t agree with and put them together to see the effect (especially the “poor country” thing has been used up to justify just about anything). I guess I shouldn’t have done it because it’s kind of silly, and doesn’t foster good debate.

    Anyway. I think the greatest problem with this discussion is that “politics” is never defined, and the idea that a “religious” leader must never be “political”. Perhaps that would be a better thing to discuss than the separation between church and state, since it’s apparently been an ongoing debate for a long time.

    As far as I see it, a religious leader could be political in three ways:

    1. The religious leader also wields political power.
    2. The religious leader has contacts with and actively influences other politicians.
    3. The religious leader makes political statements.

    Let’s agree that a religious leader should not have political power, and leave out what “political power” is defined as for the time being. Then comes the question: should a religious leader be prohibited to take any political stand, and if so, why? (3 above) What happens if two camps define “politics” differently, which is apparently the case here?

    As to the question whether DL is political in the sense of (2), I would say yes. There too, we have to ask ourselves what the proper boundaries should be. Is it prohibited to be lobbying other politicians or organizations, and if so, why?

    As for number 1, I would say DL has no political power, unless we count the small community in Dharamsala.

    This is an attempt to bring up the political issue and make some order out of it, especially defining “politics” (which we have yet to do).

  301. Wukailong
    February 4th, 2009 at 04:58 | #301

    @Allen: “#294 about the separation of church and state – if you or SKC (or others) actually like to have a real serious discussion on it, I am game. But I don’t think you are ready … at least based on what’s written here … except on a rhetorical level.”

    I think we should try to keep statements about readiness out of the discussion. If you have good arguments, please bring them up. Somebody will listen to them.

    Another thing about readiness that I see is that as long as most Westerners think of the DL as a saint and the Chinese think of him as the devil, it’s going to be difficult to find common ground. I think some people in this thread have at least made an attempt to understand the other side.

  302. S.K. Cheung
    February 4th, 2009 at 05:24 | #302

    To Allen #296:
    now now, no need to get pedantic about it. If you have something worthwhile to say about church and state, then bring it. But I also hope you heed your own advice, and not get all “rhetorical” about it. Besides, “rhetoric” should also fall under the lexicon of your overly-sensationalized words. To simply label something with which you disagree as rhetoric out of reflex is behaviour that befits a grade-schooler, and is certainly beneath you and most of us around here, I would think.

  303. S.K. Cheung
    February 4th, 2009 at 05:40 | #303

    To WKL #300:
    thanks for an excellent post. I actually read #276 to be sarcastic, and got a good chuckle out of it. So thanks for that too.

    I think you’re absolutely right, that before we can truly discuss, we need to define the terms and ground-rules. Otherwise, “religion”, “politics”, and the like, probably mean different things in different scenarios to different people. But realistically, based on the points that have been made here, I suspect people would have a tough time stipulating to definitions of any of those terms.

    Based on what you’ve suggested, I agree #1 is a no-brainer. But even #2 is problematic. How do we define “contact” and “active influence”. Would they need restraining orders? 🙂

    And #3 is also difficult. What would constitute a political statement? When the Pope extols on the sins of abortion, he’s basing it on his religion. But it would be foolish to deny political ramifications from such a statement. Then must religious leaders err to the other extreme, and avoid all topics with even the slightest semblance of political effect? That would seem to greatly diminish the value and relevance of religion to one’s life (and this is coming from a guy who’s agnostic; I wonder how a “religious” person would feel about that).

    I commend you for the effort, and for putting the topic out there. Looking forward to the discussion it engenders.

  304. S.K. Cheung
    February 4th, 2009 at 05:56 | #304

    To Allen #292:
    So let me see if I understand you properly.
    1. You want the Dalai Lama position to be “apolitical”. You wish it could start with the current Dalai Lama, but certainly would want it for the next and presumably subsequent Dalai Lamas.
    2. You want the Dalai Lama to renounce his political role, and assume a strictly cultural and religious position.
    3. You won’t accept that the Dalai Lama is apolitical, however, until the Tibetan people no longer perceive him to possess a political role or function (and I’m hoping you’ll at least stipulate that he has no control over this)
    4. Regardless of where the Dalai Lama is on his path to apolitical-ness, you feel the CCP should be afforded a role in the selection of the next one.
    5. You also maintain that it is the CCP’s job to regulate Tibetan Buddhism, up to and including selection of their religious leader. I’m presuming that you somehow don’t think it will politicize the position, or undermine the position of said selection.
    6. Regardless of what the Dalai Lama says, or what Tibetans feel, your perception is still that you’re being punched in the mouth. I’m not sure how you’re getting cold-cocked, where the aforementioned haymakers are coming from, and why you feel that way. But that’s how you feel, and that’s that.

    And on the basis of #1-6, it’ll be a cold day in you-know-where before you’ll concede anything to the Dalai Lama on any issue, even religious ones. Man, with that type of negotiating position, it’s a small wonder that you haven’t been able to reach an agreement with the guy. Go figure.

  305. February 4th, 2009 at 06:43 | #305

    @Wukailong #301,

    You wrote:

    I think we should try to keep statements about readiness out of the discussion. If you have good arguments, please bring them up. Somebody will listen to them.

    In both Europe and U.S., this topic would certainly bring up interesting Constitutional and legal issues. It would also bring up interesting questions in general about building political environments that would allow multiple religions and multiple cultures (broadly defined) to thrive within the context of one society.

    I’ve been meaning to write a post / start a thread on this topic for a while. In the end though, I don’t think there is a norm we can really appeal to for the exact division of church and state. It just has to do with what (domestic) visions we have for the society we want to live in.

    I wonder if the topic is worth its own thread…

  306. February 4th, 2009 at 07:08 | #306

    @Wukailong #300,

    You wrote:

    1. The religious leader also wields political power.
    2. The religious leader has contacts with and actively influences other politicians.
    3. The religious leader makes political statements.

    For me, I’m not sure if 1-3 are all that distinguishable.

    Isn’t 2 part of 1? Isn’t a religious who have contact with and actively influences other politicians to push forward political agendas the same as one who wield political power himself?

    With respect to 3, if the political statements are made with the intent to push forward political agendas – doesn’t religious leader of type 3 become the religious leader of type 1 …

    You raised many other good and interesting points in #300. Several of us are obviously talking past each other because we don’t agree on what politics and religion are. Before we dive in, I was wondering if you want to write up something slightly more complete so we can start a new thread?

  307. Wukailong
    February 4th, 2009 at 08:05 | #307

    @Allen: Good idea. Give me 1-2 days to think about how I can make these points more distinguishable, and I’ll write something up.

    My only worry is if people find this discussion too abstract? Well, as I said, I’ll think of something (and in the process perhaps make it more concrete 😉 ).

  308. Wukailong
    February 4th, 2009 at 08:16 | #308

    As for the separation between church and state, here’s just a personal reflection.

    When I grew up, personal records of people (a bit like hukou) were stored at the church office of the local parish (called “Pastor’s Office”). Every new citizen was registered as a protestant Christian. Then some time in the 90s it was considered old-fashioned and all those records were transferred to the Tax Bureau. Some years later, with little fanfare, the church separated from the state by law, and now new births are registered only with secular authorities.

    This whole thing played a very small part of my life and I think it did for most people. Back in the 50s and even 60s it might have been a hindrance for religious freedom, but in the late 90s the only remaining positive for the church was the tax gains.

    The reason I mention this is because the separation had been prepared for a long time by making a state church more and more redundant. This might be something to keep in mind when we discuss the relative merits of separating religious and political authority: how large a role does religion really play? Is the problem the political-religious system so much as the content of the predominant religious belief?

  309. Leo
    February 4th, 2009 at 10:41 | #309

    @ Otto Kerner 293,

    Chadrel Rinpoche obviously had the permisson of Chinese govt.’s to contact the Dalai Lama. Chinese govt. did it to return the favor of the Dalai Lama in choosing the 17th Karmapa. Tashilhünpo insisted the child staying in China obviously because they did not expect the Dalai Lama would come forward along with the decision. Chadrel Rinpoche, at this moment, expected the Dalai Lama to respect the role of Chinese govt. in the choosing process.

    The Golden Urn procedure is a divinational process in the form of a lottery in front of a specially holy Buddha statue. It is conducted by lamas. The complete candidate list, as Chadrel Rinpoche presented to the Dalai Lama, was 25 boys. Only 4-5 candidates can participate in the procedure. You cynically pointed out that the parents of the present 11 the Panchen Lama are communists. Have you checked all the other candidates?

    The Golden Urn procedure is a choice Chinese national govt. can opt. The govt. in 1995 did not invent it. When the Dalai Lama declared his choice, Chinese govt, has not yet decided if the procedure was necessary. When the Dalai Lama did it, the only counter measure available for Chinese govt was to employ the procedure.

    How the Dalai Lama can defend his point against the commies? In this issue it is very simple, the wisdom of Buddhism does not and has never laid in reincarnation of tulkus and the question who is the right reincarnation. In a constructive way the Dalai Lama should work more closely with true gurus and masters, instead of exploiting and abusing the gullibilty of the believers, most of whom are actually totally ignorant of any basic Buddhist teachings.

  310. Leo
    February 4th, 2009 at 11:09 | #310

    @ Wukailong 308,

    Regarding separation of state and religion, it reminds me of story by a Xinhua journalist. The guy went to a Tibetan area local government for info, where he found only a lama in charge of the office. He asked why. The lama explained that the party secretary and his cadres were on a field inspection, so the lama came over taking care of the daily business for the moment. So much about separation of state and religion in China.

  311. February 4th, 2009 at 19:42 | #311

    @SKC #302,

    You wrote:

    To simply label something with which you disagree as rhetoric out of reflex is behaviour that befits a grade-schooler, and is certainly beneath you and most of us around here, I would think.

    For me, rhetoric is the use of words, rather than thoughts, to argue.

    I meant what I say … but I agree with you. What seems to me like mere rhetoric may not be to others.

    So, perhaps I just need to work harder to try to understand what others are writing here… 😉

  312. February 4th, 2009 at 19:48 | #312

    @Wukailong,

    I’m glad if you tackle this issue. It will not be the only post, I promise, but I am glad someone brave is going to take a first shot.

    As far as personal reflections are considered, I wonder if there is a difference between religion and spirituality.

    Buddhism as practiced in Taiwan (and throughout most of China, I would presume) is more about philosophy, way of life, and spirituality than religion. What does that mean? It means that Buddhism as I understand provide inner spiritual guidance in a turbulent world. It is something that is practiced and experienced. It’s more about living spiritually than marking a crusade.

    What is religion? Well – it’s more than spirituality. Sometimes it can also be a social movement. A lot of times it’s merely about politics and warfare.

    Anyways – just so people understand where I’m coming from: when people talk about freedom of religion, I connect more with freedom of religious spirituality than freedom of religious politicking…if that makes any sense to people here.

  313. S.K. Cheung
    February 5th, 2009 at 07:09 | #313

    To Allen:
    I’d be happy to argue with your thoughts, but without words, i wouldn’t know what those thoughts were. And without words, I’d have a hard time arguing back. Maybe I need to try a Mac…

    “I connect more with freedom of religious spirituality than freedom of religious politicking” – I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but again it depends on what you mean by “religious politicking”. If religion gives you spiritual guidance in a turbulent world, and you have the misfortune of living in such a world, then at some point that guidance has to interface with how you live your life in it. Otherwise it’s just words on a page. So at what point does that guidance become politicking? For example, to me, if a Cardinal says: “abortion is wrong is the eyes of god”, that’s guidance. If he says you should go vote for such and such a pro-life candidate, that’s politicking. However, you would have to be a doof to not have figured out the second part yourself, based on the first part. So then does that mean the Cardinal should lay off the abortion topic? And if you start going down that road, what’s left that he can still provide you guidance for, without running afoul of your rules? I would think that you can apply the same principles to Tibetan Buddhism.

  314. Malaysian Chinese
    February 5th, 2009 at 11:33 | #314

    The arguments can go on & on forever~I am getting really tired of them already. Bottom line is, Tibet is current firmly in Chinese hands, whether those exiled Tibetans, their western & Indian backers like it or not. Chinese must think of the prospect of a long term solution:if the Tibetans within Tibet can be won over in hearts & minds, all is well. But that is probably entirely not easy & its success cannot be taken for granted. Chinese must be bold & honest enough to contemplate the complete change in the demographic landscape in Tibet never mind about those rumblings from abroad. The west is already a wounded tiger & the much despised Indians are no match for us~they will be in no position to make any meaningful protest.

  315. February 5th, 2009 at 19:15 | #315

    @SKC #313,

    You wrote:

    So at what point does that guidance become politicking? For example, to me, if a Cardinal says: “abortion is wrong is the eyes of god”, that’s guidance. If he says you should go vote for such and such a pro-life candidate, that’s politicking. However, you would have to be a doof to not have figured out the second part yourself, based on the first part. So then does that mean the Cardinal should lay off the abortion topic? And if you start going down that road, what’s left that he can still provide you guidance for, without running afoul of your rules?

    Thanks for pointing out the slippery slope here. On an personal and individual basis, in a country like the U.S., I think one can definitely vote based on one’s religious consciousness. I think that’s ok. But when we talk about the separation of church and state, we are not talking about the individual, but about governance and society on a systemic basis.

    Let me illustrate this way. The cardinal can also say many other things … such as

    • I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery;
    • Do not have any other gods before me.
    • You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.
    • Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
    • You shall not commit adultery.

    But the thing is that … most people will understand these are religious teachings … and that in a secular society (i.e. one with division between church and state), these should be kept private (i.e. religious) and not be pushed public (i.e. politicized).

    Regarding abortion – you are right to identify the issue as a politically hot issue … and that many Christians sympathize with pro-lifers – but the thing is that it is an essentially political / social debate – not a religious debate.

    What gives the pro-life argument legs is not that the Pope (or some religious figures) think abortion is wrong, but because there is a legitimate argument in the secular space that if fetuses are alive and human, we need to respect those lives – and not do what is socially convenient and allow abortions based simply on the needs of those who are already born.

    Yes – in some ways – this is also a cultural (in addition to being a legal and political) battle. And I will admit that what is “cultural” often takes up elements of the religious since religion, in my view, is really a sort of “cultural” phenomenon.

    So no matter how we try – as long as we allow culture to shape politics – we will always get some slippery slope between religion and politics…

    I don’t have a general answer where the division is. I can only say when I think of freedom of religion – I think more of the freedom of the private side of religion (i.e. religious spirituality). The more public side still looks to me to be just politics.

    P.S. The legal / Constitutional issues involving the separation of church and state in the U.S. is different from what I discussed above. They usually involve government actor issues (i.e. are people using political offices to push forward religious agendas; is government promoting certain religions at the expense of others; etc.), with many unresolved issues still in flux.

  316. S.K. Cheung
    February 5th, 2009 at 22:35 | #316

    To Allen:
    nice post.
    “But when we talk about the separation of church and state, we are not talking about the individual, but about governance and society on a systemic basis.” – agreed.

    “in a secular society (i.e. one with division between church and state), these should be kept private (i.e. religious) and not be pushed public (i.e. politicized).” – agreed. Interesting perspective. I hadn’t thought of religion/politics in the domain of private/public, but makes sense.

    “So no matter how we try – as long as we allow culture to shape politics – we will always get some slippery slope between religion and politics” – “spitting out rice” in avid agreement (I apologize if that’s a strictly Cantonese phrase).

    Can’t remember the last time I agreed with you as much as here. Maybe I should put it in a bottle or something. But I think your post would serve as a good reminder for everyone in subsequent discussions about religion v. politics, that the distinction is hard to find, and that any one distinction is as arbitrary as any other.

    But to bring it back to why we got on this topic to begin with, given your recent ideas, what type of public withdrawal does the Dalai Lama need to profess, recognizing that, in order to reach out to the private lives of Tibetans, he needs to do so publicly (ie he can’t be expected to drop into the living rooms of each and every one of his followers individually??

  317. February 7th, 2009 at 02:29 | #317

    @SKC #316,

    I think I have always been fairly consistent in saying that if we don’t define religion carefully, the separation of church and state becomes a mere mirage.

    For example, in #277, I wrote:

    Don’t go too deep into the path that is separation of church and state. I warn you… 😉

    For some, an integral part of religious freedom is to express their religious identity and faith politically.

    For others, religion is just another form of social force that should be subjected to regulations and control as part of routine governance.

    In #305, I wrote:

    In both Europe and U.S., this topic [separation of church and state] would certainly bring up interesting Constitutional and legal issues. It would also bring up interesting questions in general about building political environments that would allow multiple religions and multiple cultures (broadly defined) to thrive within the context of one society.

    I’ve been meaning to write a post / start a thread on this topic for a while. In the end though, I don’t think there is a norm we can really appeal to for the exact division of church and state. It just has to do with what (domestic) visions we have for the society we want to live in.

    The thing is that for most societies (unless you are a pure theocracy), you have some sorts of division between church and state. In U.S., the division may be one way. In Western Europe, it might be drawn in another. In Turkey, it may be drawn in yet another. So would it be in Iran. And so, in China, it would not be surprising if it would be drawn in perhaps yet another way.

    In general, freedom of religion can be applied at the individual level (i.e. private space) or the societal level (i.e. public space). Most of the time when we talk about freedom of religion in the West (or in China), we tend to view freedom of religion at the individual level (see comment #312).

    In some Islamic countries, however, they view freedom of religion at the societal level: that is for them to practice their religion freely, the society in which they live must dictate certain customs and conventions. Their sense of religious freedom requires that the society to their their religious values into social norms.

    So what do we mean when we talk about freedom of religion in Tibet? Do we mean freedom of religion on an individual level or the societal level?

    If we only care about the individual level – I don’t see any problem with the system we have today. What problems we do have can be easily solved.

    If the DL want more control and also to play a political role – then we could have a real problem.

    As for your question what the DL has to do to prove he is a “religious” figure and not a “political” figure?

    Prove with deeds. Stop jetting around the world on diplomatic trips meeting with world leaders on discussing the political status of Tibet. Reign in rhetoric Tibetan nationalism in the exile community. Publicly declare Tibet to be an inseparable, sovereign part of China (not statements on the side that the DL is not seeking independence at this time).

    All of this would surely appear to be political capitulations, but if the DL were truly only a religious figure, what would he have to lose…

    What he has to gain is the goodwill of the entire Chinese nation.

    If he can show his sincerity to drop politics, then most if not all Chinese would welcome back him to the Home Land with wide, open arms.

  318. S.K. Cheung
    February 7th, 2009 at 09:31 | #318

    To Allen:
    “Prove with deeds. Stop jetting around the world on diplomatic trips meeting with world leaders on discussing the political status of Tibet. Reign in rhetoric Tibetan nationalism in the exile community. Publicly declare Tibet to be an inseparable, sovereign part of China (not statements on the side that the DL is not seeking independence at this time).”
    On the surface, that sounds reasonable. Of the three points, #1 is likely most easily stipulated to. However, even there, you have to accept that he is an internationally recognized religious leader, not to mention Nobel-laureate. So if we make a parallel to the Pope, who has audiences with leaders and with millions of people on his world-wide tours, can the Dalai Lama not do the same? Obviously, he should be talking Buddhism, and not politics.
    Point #2 is a political endeavour. I thought you wanted the Dalai lama to be apolitical.
    As for Point #3, he can certainly make such a declaration, but you would have to accept that he make this on his own behalf, since again, he can’t speak for anyone else without making it a political statement.

    “If we only care about the individual level – I don’t see any problem with the system we have today.” – you could, however, let Tibetans openly worship the Dalai lama for starters. Perhaps this is one of your easily solvable problems.

    At the end of the day, if you want the Dalai Lama to be purely religious, then you can’t expect to use him as a tool to curb Tibetan nationalism. You can’t have it both ways.

  319. February 7th, 2009 at 09:43 | #319

    @SKC #318,

    Hmmm … you are right that some of my “demands” were political.

    I guess I was coming from the angle that since the DL WAS a political leader, he should make some political statements first to disavow his past stances before turning religious.

    But that’s a secondary issue. You are right, I can’t really have it both ways…

    I personally would be very happy if the DL only refrains his international politicking and makes a formal statement as a purely religious DL of Chinese sovereignty.

    One thing I DO agree with you: whether the DL does so or not, I’d urge the CCP to allow Tibetans to worship the DL as a religious figure in Tibet … today. I think what the CCP has done – while understandable from my view – causes much more harm than it’ll ever be worth….

    P.S. Don’t go spitting out more rice this time. If you do, I might have to spit out bowls of soup to return the favor! 😉

  320. S.K. Cheung
    February 7th, 2009 at 09:53 | #320

    Hey, I was going to spit out rice in agreement again, but I’ll hold back. It would be bad table-manners. So the phrase does work in Mandarin too…good to know for future reference.

  321. Wukailong
    February 7th, 2009 at 11:06 | #321

    @Allen, SKC: Sorry, I’ve been busy these two days and haven’t yet come up with the posting I promised, but I’m happy to point out that your discussions actually helped me clarify some of my own thoughts!

  322. Otto Kerner
    February 7th, 2009 at 20:43 | #322

    @Allen #317,

    I don’t think the Dalai Lama has ever implied that he is only a religious figure right now. He is the head of state of the Central Tibetan Administration, which is a political pressure group/refugee management agency structured to resemble a government. What he has said is that will become a purely religious figure once “Tibet” is “free”. Skepticism by others toward that is understandable—there’s no way to prove what he would do in the future.

  323. Otto Kerner
    February 7th, 2009 at 21:20 | #323

    @ Wukailong (#300),

    Sorry, I should have known better than to think you were being serious. I guess, in discussing Tibet on the internet, I’ve gotten used to occasionally seeing absurd statements (from either side) said with a straight face.

    I take a more straightforward—some might say legalistic—approach to defining “separation of church and state”. The crucial point, in my opinion, is that the church does not dictate to the state and the state does not dictate to the church. Advice and influence are something different. Maybe the politicians have the ear of the religious leaders, or vice versa; maybe they mouth off about how they think the government or the church should be run. Maybe the political leaders value the opinions of the religious leaders, or vice versa, and will alter policies to suit them; maybe they don’t. But, the point is that, if the political and religious leaders disagree about state matters, then the political leaders will have their way; and, if they disagree about political matters, then the religious people have their way.

    Now, in a sense, no one is really independent of the state, because it is relied upon to enforce laws and such. However, as in secular affairs, the goal here is for the state to enforce laws, contracts, and property rights as impartially as possible. If someone breaks into my house and starts living there, I go to the police and, if necessary, the courts, to evict him. The eventual decision to give me the house and evict him is not a political decision to benefit me at his expense; or, if it is like that, we have a big problem.

    From my perspective, as described above, “separation of church and state” does not require that religious leaders be apolitical any more than it requires that political leaders be atheists. I don’t see any reason, in general, why they can’t express their views on any subject or take part in politics the way an ordinary citizen would. A problem does arise insofar as the religious leader is a fiduciary of an organisation: actively using the material resources of that organisation or saying things like, “To be a good Rastafarian (or whatever) you must oppose net neutrality (or whatever)” is a misappropriation for personal use. That said, even this does no direct harm to the state, which could just ignore them; it’s an issue of mismanagement of the religious organisation.

    Nevertheless, I think it would be a fair compromise for some Tibetan religious leaders to voluntarily limit their political activities and political statements for a while, in return for fundamental freedom to manage their own affairs without political interference. Even then, there are limits to what you can expect a decent person not to say. Suppose “Malaysian Chinese” from comment #314 came to power and started ethnically cleansing Tibet. Could you respect a religious leader who remained silent about that?

  324. Otto Kerner
    February 7th, 2009 at 22:22 | #324

    @ Leo #309,

    You and I seem to have different information about what the facts are. We’re probably not going to settle what the truth is right now, but I wonder what your sources are. My main source is Isabel Hilton, The Search for the Panchen Lama, supplemented by Tsering Shakya’s account of those events, etc. I don’t believe that Hilton is completely reliable—like all Western journalists, she obviously sympathises with the Dalai Lama—and I’ll read anything I can get my hands on about the case, but no other English source goes into as much detail.

    The main thing I’d like to ask about your version of events is, if it’s true that Chadrel Rinpoche “expected the Dalai Lama to respect the role of Chinese govt. in the choosing process”, this means that he was fundamentally supportive of the government’s position. If that’s true, then why did Chadrel Rinpoche and his secretary, Chamba Chung, go to prison?

    A few other comments:

    The complete candidate list, as Chadrel Rinpoche presented to the Dalai Lama, was 25 boys. Only 4-5 candidates can participate in the procedure.” Does this mean that, in your opinion, the Dalai Lama’s role in this process should be so limited that he cannot even suggest one name to be included in the short list? Do you deny that Chadrel Rinpoche and the Dalai Lama both preferred the same candidate? Does this mean that, in your opinion, even the combined suggestion of both the Dalai Lama and the abbot of Tashilhünpo is insufficient to move a candidate’s name onto the short list?

    You cynically pointed out that the parents of the present 11 the Panchen Lama are communists. Have you checked all the other candidates?” I don’t know anything about the other two children whose names were placed in the Golden Urn, or about the 20 or so candidates other than Gyaincain Norbu and Gendün Chökyi Nyima. I’d be quite curious to know more about them, but I haven’t found very much information. That said, I strongly suspect that a random selection of children in Tibet would tend to find only a small number who had even one party member as a parent; this is all the more true if you restrict the selection to children whose parents are active Buddhists. What percentage of the adult population of Tibet do you suppose is party members?

    the only counter measure available for Chinese govt was to employ the procedure.” I understand why they did it. I take this to me that the Golden Urn ceremony was held primarily to make a political point. I also think that the Dalai Lama misplayed his hand and contributed to this result, although he was not dealt a very good hand in this case to begin with.

    I’m not completely sure that I understood your comments under “How the Dalai Lama can defend his point“, but I think you are suggesting that the Dalai Lama should ignore and/or deprecte the institution of tülkus / 活佛s. In fact, I agree. However, neither you nor I are Tibetan Buddhists. On the other hand, the Chinese government hasn’t shown any more interest in deprecating tülkus than the Dalai Lama has; they just want to take over leadership of that institution.

  325. February 7th, 2009 at 22:32 | #325

    @Otto Kerner #322,

    I agree with you that the DL today is a political figure … hence I usually do not think “freedom of religion” is an issue when we talk about Tibet today. But many others (including you) sometimes still tend to think so. That’s why the topic came up in the first place.

    In my eyes, the conflict between the DL the CCP is purely political. To the extent that restraints have been placed in the religious realm, they have occured because of the DL reaching into the political realm.

  326. S.K. Cheung
    February 7th, 2009 at 22:32 | #326

    To Otto #323:
    nice post. Particularly agree with your last 2 paragraphs.

    “From my perspective, as described above, “separation of church and state” does not require that religious leaders be apolitical any more than it requires that political leaders be atheists. I don’t see any reason, in general, why they can’t express their views on any subject or take part in politics the way an ordinary citizen would.” – I agree. For instance, a priest should get to vote. However, things get a little dicey for me when that same priest urges his congregation to vote the same way he did. I imagine that’s the sort of thing of which Allen would disapprove, and I can see his point. Again, I think it all comes down to where you draw the line.

  327. February 7th, 2009 at 23:04 | #327

    @Otto Kerner #323,

    You wrote:

    I take a more straightforward—some might say legalistic—approach to defining “separation of church and state”. The crucial point, in my opinion, is that the church does not dictate to the state and the state does not dictate to the church. Advice and influence are something different. Maybe the politicians have the ear of the religious leaders, or vice versa; maybe they mouth off about how they think the government or the church should be run. Maybe the political leaders value the opinions of the religious leaders, or vice versa, and will alter policies to suit them; maybe they don’t. But, the point is that, if the political and religious leaders disagree about state matters, then the political leaders will have their way; and, if they disagree about political matters, then the religious people have their way.

    Are you saying that as long as there are political and religious offices – and as long as the political and religious offices are separate … – then all is well?

    Well – such boundary can both over as well as under define the threshold of separation.

    Let me explain.

    It under defines in the sense that at least for most Western countries, the separation of church and state does not mean that religious people cannot hold political offices. All the U.S. presidents since I was born have professed to be devout Christians when they ran for presidents – and in fact, that in the U.S. at least, seems to be a huge positive (almost a prerequisite) in running for the presidency.

    It over defines in the sense that even if religious people are holding offices, there are many political (legal, constitutional) constraints on what they can or cannot do. Political officials – even if they are religious figures – are not supposed to make religious proclamations. They are not supposed to craft policies or laws that favor or disfavors one religious group at the expense of another. They are not supposed to dictate a religious agenda.

    Back to our discussion on Tibet, I still believe that seeing the DL-CCP conflict through the eyes of freedom of religion is a red herring. Injecting “human rights” issues into what is otherwise a purely political conflict is, to me, never helpful (see #325 again).

    Nevertheless, I still see the need to carry on this conversation because there will always be people who insist on injecting “freedom of religion” (a la human rights) into the DL-CCP debate – and then (as I am learning here) there are also people like you – who seem to be serious about looking forward (in good faith apparently) and trying to get a sense of what a purely religious DL institution would be like in a modern secular China.

  328. February 7th, 2009 at 23:07 | #328

    @SKC #320,

    Well …. don’t hold me to anything concrete here. We are talking in the abstract here.

    The thing is: if the gov’t is convinced that the DL really is about religion – not politics – the sky is the limit where he wants to take Tibetan Buddhism (or at least his sect of Tibetan Buddhism). 🙂

  329. February 7th, 2009 at 23:22 | #329

    @Wukailong,

    I hope our back and forth does not make your job of your next post too difficult!

    No pressure: the separation of church and state is a favorite topic of books (amazon – over 17,000 books), the U.S. Supreme Court (at least 20 major cases in the last 50-60 years), etc.

    Make sure you get every nuance, every argument, every perspective accurately reflected in your next post! hahaha 🙂

  330. S.K. Cheung
    February 8th, 2009 at 05:18 | #330

    To Allen #327:
    “I still believe that seeing the DL-CCP conflict through the eyes of freedom of religion is a red herring.” – agreed. The conflict is political. But the CCP’s response has been to clamp down on religious freedom, IMO. It’s like they want to restrict the Dalai Lama’s political influence by restricting his religious influence. So while I don’t view the conflict through the prism of freedom of religion, I think it would be disingenuous to suggest that freedom of religion in Tibet hasn’t paid a price for the conflict. And for that, there’s plenty of blame to spread around.

    “Injecting “human rights” issues into what is otherwise a purely political conflict is, to me, never helpful” – arbitrarily “injecting” such issues may not be helpful; but neither should we ignore or minimize human rights issues that arise as a result of the underlying conflict. And IMO, in Tibet, there’ve been some.

  331. Leo
    February 8th, 2009 at 19:22 | #331

    “this means that he was fundamentally supportive of the government’s position…”

    I won’t speculate that. I only see that he put himself in a very awkward position. When the Dalai Lama and Chinese govt. squeezed from both sides, he was the one to take the ire.

    “Does this mean that, in your opinion, even the combined suggestion of both the Dalai Lama and the abbot of Tashilhünpo is insufficient to move a candidate’s name onto the short list?”

    The Dalai Lama never gave a dim thought of the Golden Urn, let alone a short list. If Chadrel Rinpoche ever made anything of the like is another question.

    “That said, I strongly suspect that a random selection of children in Tibet would tend to find only a small number who had even one party member as a parent”

    Actively seeking CCP members’ sons as tulku reincarnates is a widespread tactic by the lamas to reconcile with the govt after the Cultural Revuluation. That was also the rationale of Chadrel Rinpoche who put Qoigyijabu on the list.

    “this is all the more true if you restrict the selection to children whose parents are active Buddhists”

    99% Tibetans are active Buddhists, including CCP members. Even national leaders have to pay respect to the monasteries and offer alms and Buddhist sacrefice when touring Tibet. Buddhism is the de-facto offically -backed state religion in Tibet.

    “How the Dalai Lama can defend his point“

    He could keep quiet, just giving Chadrel Rinpoche his support and blessings. If Chinese govt. really insisted on the Golden Urn, he could keep a close eye on it, pointing out flaws if there were any, for example, that Gêdün Qoigyi Nyima be on the list. If Chadrel Rinpoche was still in the control, this would surely be the case. Who should be chosen, Golden Urn or not, was not the point of Chinese govt.. It was the symbolism, which the Dalai Lama went out of the way to avoid.

  332. Otto Kerner
    February 8th, 2009 at 22:50 | #332

    @ Allen,

    I agree with you that the DL today is a political figure … hence I usually do not think “freedom of religion” is an issue when we talk about Tibet today.” *Bzzt* non sequitur alert! The Dalai Lama is a political figure. That hardly proves that there is no issue of religious freedom in Tibet. The Dalai Lama isn’t even in Tibet right now. His religious freedom is not at issue—he’s in India, so he has plenty of religious freedom.

    In my eyes, the conflict between the DL the CCP is purely political. To the extent that restraints have been placed in the religious realm, they have occured because of the DL reaching into the political realm … I still believe that seeing the DL-CCP conflict through the eyes of freedom of religion is a red herring. Injecting ‘human rights’ issues into what is otherwise a purely political conflict is, to me, never helpful.” I don’t really understand what you mean, so I’m hoping you can clarify. “Political conflict” and “religious freedom” / “human rights” problems are not mutually exclusive. It’s during conflicts that one would expect human rights abuses to occur. I guess you’re talking about how to resolve the problem. In the very long run, I basically agree. What needs to happen is that tensions are reduced on both sides until human rights abuses no longer seem necessary. Still, in order to move toward solving problems, we need to begin by clarifying what the problems are. Human rights abuses and religious freedom / church-and-state problems are among the problems. Has the Chinese government ever accepted that there is a problem? If the political problem were to go away, do we know for sure that they would cease to interfere with Tibetan religious institutions?

  333. S.K. Cheung
    February 8th, 2009 at 23:01 | #333

    To Otto #332:
    agreed. As I’ve said before, you’re never going to solve a problem until you’ve at least acknowledged the existence of one. And even if and when the “political” problem is resolved, Tibetans would be counting on the grace and goodwill of the CCP to return their religious freedoms. That, it seems, might be a leap of faith…

  334. Otto Kerner
    February 8th, 2009 at 23:59 | #334

    @ Allen #327,

    Are you saying that as long as there are political and religious offices – and as long as the political and religious offices are separate … – then all is well?” The offices don’t just need to be separate — also, neither side should be subordinate to the other within its own sphere.

    It under defines in the sense that at least for most Western countries, the separation of church and state does not mean that religious people cannot hold political offices.” I don’t think that there’s any church-and-state problem from simply having persons who are religious holding political office—I mean, “separation of church and state” doesn’t require politicians to be atheists. The important thing is that they are not appointed to political office by the church. In principle, it wouldn’t even be a problem if the Pope were elected to be prime minister of Italy or governor of Bavaria, etc., as long as the selection process is separate (in practice, I think that would put a bit too much strain on the separation, so high-ranking religious officials should usually avoid holding high-ranking political offices).

  335. S.K. Cheung
    February 9th, 2009 at 00:37 | #335

    To Otto:
    “I don’t think that there’s any church-and-state problem from simply having persons who are religious holding political office” – that, to me, would be an issue of conflict of interest. If Benedict were governor of Bavaria, would he serve with the interests of the catholic church at the fore, or the interests of Bavarians? It’d be an untenable position, since he certainly can’t serve two masters equally well.

  336. February 9th, 2009 at 06:25 | #336

    @Otto Kerner #332,

    You wrote:

    Still, in order to move toward solving problems, we need to begin by clarifying what the problems are. Human rights abuses and religious freedom / church-and-state problems are among the problems. Has the Chinese government ever accepted that there is a problem? If the political problem were to go away, do we know for sure that they would cease to interfere with Tibetan religious institutions?

    Since we seem to be going around in circles again … let’s me just cut to chase.

    I’ll take just the main complaint of lack of religious freedom in Tibet – people can’t pray to the DL – as a point of discussion.

    That problem stems from the DL being considered a political figure. As long as DL want to be a political figure, there can be regulation on usage of his likeness, pictures, symbols, etc. when used as a political symbol. This is not interference with freedom with religion.

    If in a country certain people begins to look to Hitler to worship, a certain gov’t can prohibit such activities even if these people wish worship Hitler as a religious figure since Hitler is also an established and despicable political figure.

    A political figure who fights behind the facade of religion and culture is no different than terrorists fighting behind schools and hospitals. There is something non-kosher about someone starting a fight behind the facade of schools and hospitals and then all of a sudden starting to complain about those same schools and hospitals being attacked by their adversaries now, isn’t there…?

  337. February 9th, 2009 at 06:37 | #337

    @Otto Kerner #334,

    Not sure what your point is here. My point of writing about over defining and under defining thresholds is to point out to you that your sense of division of church and state flies against the conventional understanding of church and state defined in Constitutions and laws of all Western nations I have studied.

    But that’s not that important…

    The more important point I think is to you argument that religious leaders should be allowed to have the ears of political leaders … well I’m in general with you. I don’t think religious leaders need to be hermit and avoid meeting with political leaders.

    BUT … when religious leaders actively and continuously seek out the attention of political leaders to forcefully promulgate specific political agendas – they have cross the threshold to become bona fide political leaders leaders. Such leaders need to be treated as political leaders, not mere religious ones. Having stepped into the ring of politics, they cannot simply claim privilege of special immunity on them being religious. If you play politics, you need to play politics full time. Don’t seek out special shelters of religion and culture every time you are in trouble…

    That’s what I have been trying to say all along … although somehow we have somehow still managed not understand each other…!

  338. S.K. Cheung
    February 9th, 2009 at 06:43 | #338

    To Allen:
    “As long as DL want to be a political figure, there can be regulation on usage of his likeness, pictures, symbols, etc. This is not interference with freedom with religion.” – in China, maybe not. But in most other places, like where you and I live, it most certainly would be considered interference with freedom of religion. Just goes to show that China isn’t the US or Canada…but then we knew that already.

    Hitler as a cult figure…to skinheads, maybe. But a religious cult figure? I’ve never heard of Nazism as a religion. Just like communism isn’t a religion. And just so we’re clear, I am in no way even remotely implying that China is anything bearing even the slightest resemblance to Nazi Germany. And the Dalai lama is not a religious cult figure either.

    “A political freedom cannot become non-political and claim freedom of religion by simply also at the same time claiming to be religious.” – actually, you can and should have both political freedom and religious freedom. But in China, not so much.

  339. February 9th, 2009 at 07:45 | #339

    @SKC,

    Let’s talk about political freedom in China in another thread. We already have enough here … and this thread was supposed to be winding down!

    But … before I quit, I want to caution against defining religion “conveniently” to make an argument as you may be doing in #338….

  340. S.K. Cheung
    February 10th, 2009 at 09:19 | #340

    To Allen:
    “Let’s talk about political freedom in China in another thread.” – at this point, my impression is that that would be a fairly short discussion.

    “I want to caution against defining religion “conveniently” “- do you mean in the same way that I would caution against comparing the Dalai Lama to Hitler?

  341. February 10th, 2009 at 19:13 | #341

    @SKC #340,

    About the issue of political freedom in China – I promise you it won’t be a short discussion. Just see how much comments the Charter 08 thread generated.

    As for my cautioning to not to define religion “conveniently” – you missed my point (yet again). I was trying to tell you that Hitler’s idea of aryanism was not just meant to be political in nature. It had many elements of the religious also.

    For a short read, you can check out this section of a wiki entry.

  342. S.K. Cheung
    February 10th, 2009 at 22:42 | #342

    To Allen:
    “About the issue of political freedom in China – I promise you it won’t be a short discussion.” – well, to me, the currently available political freedom in China would be a short discussion. The need for improvement in political freedom in China (a la Charter 08) would be a long one indeed.

    Elements of religion or not, aryanism is not a religion. Just like a Model T has elements of a Bugatti Veyron 16.4 (like a steering wheel, for instance), but that doesn’t make the Model T a 1001 HP machine. And any comparison of Hitler to the Dalai lama is similarly nonsensical.

  343. February 10th, 2009 at 22:54 | #343

    @SKC #342,

    Discussion of political freedom always includes both discussions about the current state of political freedom today as well as future paths for political freedoms. I don’t see what we are bickering about…

    As for Hilter and religion – my comment remains the same as before: how “conveniently” you have chosen to define what is religious and what is not… Perhaps we need to have a thread discussing “what the heck is ‘religion'”?

    Oh – by the way, I am not comparing Hitler to DL here. Of course I could … but I don’t want to here … because that was never the point I was making in the first place…

  344. February 10th, 2009 at 23:42 | #344

    @SKC, by the way – have you actually seen a 1001 HP in person? I didn’t know what it was till I read your post and googled it. Wow…!

  345. S.K. Cheung
    February 11th, 2009 at 00:31 | #345

    To Allen:
    never seen the Bugatti on the road, but saw it in person at the LA Auto Show in 2006. Couldn’t get very close, however; you can imagine with a million dollar vehicle (USD no less), they’d want to keep the great unwashed a safe distance away 🙂

  346. S.K. Cheung
    February 11th, 2009 at 00:37 | #346

    To Allen:
    yes, as alluded to previously, we can’t talk religion until we have some parameters. And when I define it, it will probably be something “convenient” for me; just as when you define it, I’m sure it’ll be something that is convenient for you. And fortunately for me, aryanism does not a religion make.

    I’m happy that you’ve chosen not to compare Hitler to the Dalai lama. I could similarly compare elements of Nazism to another -ism that’s oft discussed in these parts, but I’d rather not, and really have no intent to.

  347. February 11th, 2009 at 00:42 | #347

    @SKC #346,

    Have you ever had a friend who view Hitler affectionately? I have … he is in all other aspects “normal” – but somehow really feels an emotional pull to Hitler’s ideas of Aryan identity (not the killing, genocidal part – for him that was unfortunate; but the sense of Aryan race as a special chosen people, of Ayran history and intellectualism as a purifying and liberating spiritual force).

    Anyways – I certainly didn’t feel what he did – not the least since my ethnicity wouldn’t qualify, but he trusted me well enough to share with me what he and some of his friends felt about Nazism. Not all of it was political, just like not all of Hitler was “pure evil” …

  348. S.K. Cheung
    February 11th, 2009 at 03:35 | #348

    Actually, can’t say anyone I know has expressed any sort of admiration of Hitler. But then again, can’t say I’ve ever asked. Although I think I would find any expression of racial superiority to be fairly distasteful, no matter what race is being deemed superior.

  349. Steve
    February 11th, 2009 at 03:39 | #349

    @ Allen & SKC: You might be interested to know that “Aryan” and “Iran” are basically the same word, and that the actual Aryan race came from northern India. What Hitler meant when talking about the Aryan race was actually the Nordic race, the blonde hair and blue eyes thing. Real Aryans have black hair and darker skin. The Nazis basically made up the entire thing, just as they stole the swastika from Buddhism. There is no actual “Aryan identity”, it’s all a myth.

  350. February 11th, 2009 at 03:48 | #350

    @Steve – they stole the Buddhist symbol of good fortune and wellbeing and flipped it (one “spins” counterclockwise, the other clockwise) – just like they “flipped” the skin/eye color, ideas about science, rationality and progress, and pretty much everything else – I guess…

  351. Leo
    February 11th, 2009 at 09:00 | #351

    @Otto Kerner

    Here is the position of the Dalai Lama’s US representative about the 11th Panchen Lama Gyaincain Norbu on 11.14.2007 by Wikinews reporter David Shankbone.

    ——————————————————

    DS: Do you think Gyancain Norbu, the boy the Chinese government selected as the eleventh Panchen Lama, is a victim as well?

    TW: As a good Tibetan, when he comes to his age of making his own decisions, which he is about that age—18 or 19—he will make the right decisions.

    DS: What would be the right decision?

    TW: I think if he wants to pursue religious leadership, in Tibetan customs we have more than one reincarnation. If he proves himself to be a good practitioner and religious leader, people will treat him as a reincarnation.

    “It’s a religious matter. Reincarnation is purely religious, and it is a very unique tradition in Tibet. If that is allowed to be followed-through, it is the best way of winning the hearts and minds of people. It’s the best diplomacy and a wise way of dealing with things. Now they have screwed it up.” Wangdi on the Chinese government’s selection of the 11th Panchen Lama.

    DS: But if he insists on his status as the Panchen Lama?

    TW: If through his own contact and learning he proves himself to be worthy of being a reincarnation—as I said there is more than one reincarnation in our tradition—then people will treat him as a reincarnation. It’s not a political institution. Panchen Lama is a religious institution. So you can have two reincarnations. I don’t see it as a clash of interests.

    DS: But he has no legitimacy now as the Panchen Lama, where as the one the Dalai Lama selected does have that legitimacy, is that correct?

    TW: Yes, that’s right.

    —————————————————————————
    I am curious how you will interprete this statement.

    BTW, the teacher of the 11th Panchen Lama is Gyayang Gyatso Rinpoche from Labrang instead of Sengchen Lobsang Gyantsen.

  352. Wukailong
    February 12th, 2009 at 01:52 | #352

    @Leo: That’s very interesting! Thanks for bringing it up.

    @Allen: I hate to say this but I’m wavering in writing the stuff I promised, because lately, qualities of postings (and comments) have gone down considerably (with this thread as a noticeable exception). I’ll think about it some time, but I’ve lost inspiration for the time being.

  353. February 12th, 2009 at 01:57 | #353

    @Wukailong,

    No problem. There are never any deadlines here at FM. Whenever you do get inspired about any topic at any time – your thoughts will always be welcomed! 😛

  354. Otto Kerner
    February 12th, 2009 at 02:21 | #354

    Leo,

    I don’t have a high opinion of Tashi Wangdi (incidentally, this is the same guy who seemed to try to justify the violence in Lhasa last year). He’s a political operative and not, to my knowledge, any kind of religious authority. He’s right that Tibetan lamas do, sometimes, have multiple tulkus. For example, the first Jamgon Kongtrul is famous for his numerous reincarnations. This seems like an irrelevant comment, though, since there is no precedent at all for having multiple Dalai Lamas or Panchen Lamas at the same time, and no one other than Tashi Wangdi seems interested in that idea.

  355. Otto Kerner
    February 12th, 2009 at 02:34 | #355

    @S. K. Cheung #335:

    For the record, I meant that there’s nothing wrong with having a religious believer in a political office — like Barack Obama is a Christian, Manmohan Singh is a Sikh, etc. I did come out against having high-ranking religious dignitaries holding high-ranking political offices. Generally, any kind of priest or religious official wouldn’t have any significant political office, because those are both full-time jobs. Some relatively minor political positions are part-time, though.

  356. Otto Kerner
    February 12th, 2009 at 02:58 | #356

    @Allen #336,

    I’ll take just the main complaint of lack of religious freedom in Tibet – people can’t pray to the DL – as a point of discussion.” I don’t think this is the main religious freedom issue in Tibet. The more important issues include government interference in the selection of the Panchen Lama, attempts at thorough regulation of reincarnated lamas, plans to control the selection of the next Dalai Lama, heavyhanded political control over the monasteries, mandatory “political education” for monks, and general refusal by the government to agree that separation of church and state is a desireable goal. I agree that if the Dalai Lama ceases opposing the government, then restrictions on his images and such will go away. What about these other issues?

  357. Otto Kerner
    February 12th, 2009 at 03:04 | #357

    @Allen,

    Regarding your other points, I don’t really know what to say, since I certainly don’t agree that there should be any limitations on “likeness, pictures, symbols, etc.” of political leaders, either. I don’t know what you are referring to when you mention “special shelters of religion and culture”.

  358. foobar
    February 12th, 2009 at 19:31 | #358

    http://www.ansa.it/site/notizie/awnplus/english/news/2009-02-10_110331950.html

    Monks in Lhasa now only numbered ”around 50,” down from 100 a couple of years ago and thousands in 1959, the year the Tibetan people rose up peacefully against China’s invasion ten years before, he (the Dalai Lama) said.

    Is this for real? 50 or 100 sounds awfully small too a number for a religious venue the size of Lhasa.

  359. Bob
    February 12th, 2009 at 21:30 | #359

    “Monks in Lhasa now only numbered ”around 50,” down from 100 a couple of years ago and thousands in 1959, the year the Tibetan people rose up peacefully against China’s invasion ten years before, he (the Dalai Lama) said.”

    That, along with the claim “two million Tibetans were killed in 1959,” is a testament to the trustworthiness of his holy ass.

  360. S.K. Cheung
    February 13th, 2009 at 06:16 | #360

    To Bob:
    you can disagree without being disagreeable. Not sure what being disrespectful accomplishes for you. I don’t think it would amount to much.

  361. Bob
    February 13th, 2009 at 17:08 | #361

    Cheung, I don’t know making outright lies can be seen as being respectful. But that’s just me.

  362. February 14th, 2009 at 00:38 | #362

    @Otto Kerner #356,

    You wrote:

    The more important issues include government interference in the selection of the Panchen Lama, attempts at thorough regulation of reincarnated lamas, plans to control the selection of the next Dalai Lama, heavyhanded political control over the monasteries, mandatory “political education” for monks, and general refusal by the government to agree that separation of church and state is a desireable goal.

    The separation of church and state is always a desirable goal in China. There is no ideology against religion per se today just like there is no ideology against capitalism per se today.

    The “problem in Tibet” is the insistence on the application of the separation of church and state for monasteries that had historically been and are still currently invested in politics. Yes – if we are successful in turning the monasteries into purely religious institutions (as are most of Buddhist organizations in much of the rest of Mainland and Taiwan) – then I believe the reincarnation process should be allowed to be run however way the monks would like to run them. Until then, having the gov’t be involved in the loop is a good (and historically justified) way to make sure the monks do not use their cloak for religious freedom to incite insidious political activities.

    I hope this response also answers the question you asked in #357 – i.e. “I don’t know what you are referring to when you mention “special shelters of religion and culture”.”

  363. February 14th, 2009 at 00:46 | #363

    @foobar,

    Yes the 50 or 100 monks comment is quite puzzling.

    According to an initial NY Times report of the monk protests last March,

    Robert Barnett, a Tibet specialist at Columbia University who has communicated with Tibetan exiles, said the initial incident occurred Monday when about 400 monks left Drepung Loseling Monastery intending to march five miles west to the city center. Police officers stopped the march at the halfway point and arrested 50 or 60 monks.

    So if there are at least 400 monks from just one monastery, in this case Drepung Loseling Monastery, who protested, there must be many more monks in Lhasa – and many, many more in all of Tibet…

    Maybe the DL has a notion of Tibet that is much smaller than we imagined…

    Has the DL called for reporters to investigate whether the CCP has been committing yet more genocide again…?

  364. Otto Kerner
    February 14th, 2009 at 01:53 | #364

    @foobar, Bob, and Allen, re: the ansa.it news story.

    This isn’t even a direct quote. Why are we even talking about it? Journalists often make simple errors like this. Here, they put “about 50” in quotes, so that should mean that the Dalai Lama at least said “about 50”, but the author probably misunderstood what he was referring to as being “about 50”; or he may have simply misspoken, since his English isn’t that good.

    Also, I’d like to point out that the big monasteries—Ganden, Drepung, and Sera—are near the Lhasa urban area, not inside it. I would assume that there are nevertheless a lot more than 50 monks in Lhasa itself; there aren’t necessarily any big groups of monks there, though (not sure how many reside at Ramoche).

  365. Otto Kerner
    February 14th, 2009 at 01:58 | #365

    @Allen #362,

    “The separation of church and state is always a desirable goal in China. There is no ideology against religion per se today just like there is no ideology against capitalism per se today.”

    The second sentence is a non sequitur. Governments which combine church and state are not against religion, they simply want to control it.

  366. February 14th, 2009 at 02:17 | #366

    @Otto Kerner #365,

    Interesting interpretation. If so, I have nothing to add at this time… except to ask you to re-read again what I wrote in #362, keeping in mind this question: why would a gov’t that has no ideology against religion want to control a religion … unless (woe….) it considers the so-called religion a subversive political force…

    It’s truly (TRULY) absurd to keep hypothesizing that an agnostic gov’t would want to keep going around and look at a religion and say – hey let me control that religion … for the sake of controlling the religion … if there is no political reason for doing so.

    (Of course, if there is a political reason for doing so, that religion must be playing politics and should … rightfully … be treated as a political institutions.)

  367. Otto Kerner
    February 14th, 2009 at 02:23 | #367

    @Allen #363,

    The ‘problem in Tibet’ is the insistence on the application of the separation of church and state for monasteries that had historically been and are still currently invested in politics.

    This is simply false. Tashilhünpo has never been involved in politics on the Dalai Lama’s side. Before it was destroyed in the Cultural Revolution, it was allied with the Chinese government against the Dalai Lama. After it was rebuilt, under Chadrel Rinpoche’s leadership, it was strictly apolitical and on good terms with the government. There was a political conflict in the 1990s, but it was between the government and the Dalai Lama; but it was Tashilhünpo that suffered as a result. I’ll bet there are many similar examples.

  368. Steve
    February 14th, 2009 at 02:40 | #368

    @ Allen: Do you feel the Catholic Church is “playing politics” in China and that is why the CCP feels they must control it? The other question I had was that I thought the CCP was atheistic and not agnostic. I thought that atheism was a central tenet of communism. The people I knew in China who were not religious always claimed they were atheists. Was I mistaken?

  369. Otto Kerner
    February 14th, 2009 at 02:41 | #369

    @Allen #366,

    Ah, I see. 不坏又何至于被枪毙呢? Why would the government do something without a good reason?

  370. February 14th, 2009 at 02:42 | #370

    @Otto Kerner #367,

    I don’t know enough of the actual facts of the Tashilhünpo incidents you are talking about. But there are two points I want to respond to.

    The Cultural Revolution was a complicated – and socially and culturally very costly – event in Chinese history. I would be among the first ones to want to condemn the CCP and to feel anguish over the looses and sufferings it caused. However, I don’t think taking examples from the Cultural Revolution to explain today’s situation is helpful.

    Second – I do not dispute with you that the political dispute between the CCP and the Dalai Lama has cause “collateral damages.” The most basic damage is the rights of people who want to worship the Dalai Lama as a purely religious figure; these people now cannot worship him even if all they want to do is to worship him as a religious figure and do not condone the DL’s political activities.

    In addition, I am sure that in the CCP’s urge to win the political conflict with the DL, other forms of expressions involving cultural and religious freedoms have also been curtailed.

    I don’t deny this and in fact will willingly admit to it.

    But I usually do not think it is proper to focus on these symptoms without the cause. Let’s not get confused the horse with the cart. The cause here is the DL-CCP conflict. Let’s settle that, and the rest will follow…

  371. February 14th, 2009 at 02:54 | #371

    @Steve #368,

    I think if you look at communist doctrines and look at the original communist government, people were actively anti-religious. Religion (together with traditional Chinese thoughts such as those taught by Confucius – go figure…) was considered to be a sort of superstition – part of the social forces that enforced the inequitable socioeconomic status quo of the time … that the working class must rise up to overthrow in Revolutionary fervor.

    Today, I am sure you will find some people in the gov’t who are anti-religion (who look down on and want to stamp out religion). Most I would argue are not though.

    By the way – everyone – please have a look at the following two references when you get time. They made for interesting reads the first time I came across them. Maybe we can create a new thread based on the thoughts expressed there…?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/11/opinion/11zizek.html

    http://www.religiousintelligence.com/news/?NewsID=1703

  372. Wukailong
    February 14th, 2009 at 04:21 | #372

    @Allen (#371): You make me more inspired again. 🙂

    On the ground, it certainly doesn’t look like the Party is that positive towards religion. For all this talk of the non-ideological tenets of the CCP, the fact is that most of it is still very much Marxist in the way it interprets affairs not directly related to the economy. The talk about enhancing the role of religion in the harmonious society is, albeit a welcome move, a very new one.

    Back in the 1999 and 2000 when the struggle was fiercest between FLG and CCP, there were a lot of pamphlets and information materials published. I remember one of them stated that the ultimate goal is to remove religion. Later on, though, this has been changed into saying that such a viewpoint isn’t realistic, and that religion, properly guided, will play an important role in Chinese society.

    As for Slavoj’s article, it’s informative in the sense that it clarifies the viewpoints of the Chinese government, though he seems to take its stances a bit too much at face value. I don’t want to go over FLG too much (we all know what kind of people that can attract) but the fact of the matter is that their “political” dealings very much came into existence after they were banned, and that action in itself was hardly because of their dangerous beliefs (does somebody seriously believe you can get mentally ill by meditation?). They had been allowed to exist for a long time, and of course it’s true that the top brass feared the “political” implications, but I would say that the political implications were simply in the form of non-controlled NGO:s. I would say that’s the crux of the matter.

    Another funny thing is that Slavoj seems to say that it doesn’t matter if you persecute someone who hasn’t been democratically elected. But I’ll leave that one as an exercise. 😉

  373. foobar
    February 14th, 2009 at 05:23 | #373

    I have a feeling that arguing over separation of church and state regarding Tibet is simply moot. The state wants control of the church and vice versa. It would be the same even were the DL and/or TGIE to grab power in Tibet tomorrow and the Chinese government apparatus some miraculously collapsed. Because it’s always been that way there, at least for the past thousand years or so.

    You don’t believe that, and you take a look at the TGIE, which claims to be a democratically elected government yet features numerous high priests in the highest offices, including the top job. The DL has attempted to distance himself from holding a political office, but still functions and is officially listed by the TGIE as the head of the ‘Tibetan state’. His immediate family members (some of whom are religious institutions themselves) have always made up a significant portion of the cabinet, and head many of the peripheral organizations. Any similarity you find between the TGIE and a democracy is superficial at best. If a future Tibetan government were to be established based on the TGIE, personally I’d guess it resembles the Iranian system more than any western democracy, or any east Asian democracy for that matter.

    Otto #364,
    If it’s a misquote, all the more reason to clear it up, no?

  374. S.K. Cheung
    February 14th, 2009 at 06:25 | #374

    To Bob #361:
    If you perceive them to be lies, you’re more than free to say so. But being disrespectful reflects more on you than it does on the Dalai Lama (and lemme tell ya, that reflection ain’t pretty).

  375. Steve
    February 14th, 2009 at 06:45 | #375

    @Allen #370 & 371: Thanks for the two articles. I noticed in the second article it said:

    “Despite overtures from SARA, relations between the Vatican and the Chinese government remain frosty. Last month during a trip to Washington Yie Xiaowen and the vice president of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association Anthony Liu Bainian expressed the hope that Pope Benedict XVI might visit China during the Olympics. “The distance between the two sides is getting shorter and shorter,” Ye said.

    However three Catholic bishops have disappeared into the Chinese Laogias, the state’s system of forced labour camps, while the remaining underground bishops are in forced isolation, the official Patriotic bishops are kept under close watch, several bishops have died at the hands of the police and a large number of priests have been jailed. “If we don’t arrive at a decent level of religious freedom, what can the Pope do in Beijing?” a Vatican spokesman told Reuters last week.”

    The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association is not Catholic. To be Catholic, you have to be under the Vatican hierarchy. Now I think we can safely say that the Pope has no temporal power; his office is solely religious, moral and spiritual. I think we can also say that the Pope has no desire to have any temporal power in China. The Catholic Church doesn’t seem to have problems in any other country concerning the authority of the Pope. No one is accusing the Catholic Church of being a cult. What crimes did those bishops and priests commit that resulted in either jail or the death penalty?

    How can a person run the Catholic Church in China who is not Catholic? To be honest, that’s nuts. It also, at least in my mind, negates your argument about the DL’s problem only being the giving up of all temporal power. If that were the case, the Catholic Church would be legal and run like it is everywhere else in the world. So I think it is safe to say that the CCP has no intention of letting any religious organization have any authority over any religious sect in China. Only official CCP control of every sect will be permitted.

    If I’ve missed something here, please let me know. It seems pretty open and shut to me…

  376. February 14th, 2009 at 07:35 | #376

    @Steve #375,

    Great post.

    When we get away from the Dalai Lama and Fa Lun Gong to the Catholic Church, things become more dicey for the CCP – because the Catholic Church does not play politics the same way DL and FLG does.

    But I’d still like to come to the defense of the CCP.

    When I think of freedom of religion, at the most basic, it’s about freedom of spirituality (personal practice of religion). That I think most of us can agree.

    In the West, freedom of religion however also means freedom to congregate and to form religious institutions – but it is only to a certain extent. The moral fiber of the Western society ultimately rest in the laws and Constitutions. When you really think about it, secularism is the “religion” of the West.

    This explains why by freedom of religion in the West, we mean that religious institutions are not supposed to intrude into the legal and political sphere, but we don’t mean that the force of the law cannot reach to regulate religious activities and institutions (there are several prominent recnet cases on polygamy, use of certain drugs, refusal of medicine, etc. in the U.S. ,for example).

    I believe these ideas and thoughts have already been echoed in Zizek’s article.

    In China, the “religion” of Chinese society is on having the gov’t be the moral leader of society. Traditionally – and making a comeback more recently – this has meant the gov’t must act as the ultimate moral authority and take a leading role in creating a harmonious society. Just like Western belief that legalism and Constitutionalism transcends all – same is the belief in China that good moral gov’t leadership transcends all.

    Of course, as in all systems, the implementation is key to how well the system works. Just as legalism and Constitutionalism can be a vehicle to promote justice and change – or in the wrong hands, can be the hand of oppression and status quo – so can party moral leadership be a vehicle for justice and change – or in the wrong hands, be the hand of oppression and status quo.

    So back to your question. When we move away from discussions about the DL or FLG and start discussing about the issues of the Catholic Church in China, we finally get into interesting questions on what is the ultimate social contract – what is the ultimate common bond that bind a society.

    I believe that ultimate common bond of society is different in the West and in China…

  377. February 14th, 2009 at 09:14 | #377

    Steve and Allen,

    We have two previous threads discussing Catholicism and the three-self patriotic Chinese church.

    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2008/06/25/on-china-and-religion/

    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2008/07/12/speaking-about-the-three-self-patriotic-chinese-christian/

  378. February 14th, 2009 at 17:26 | #378

    @Admin,

    Thanks for the links to the previous threads. For me, they were both very, very illuminating. I hope others take the time to read both…

    Where are Oli and snow recently anyways…?

  379. Leo
    February 15th, 2009 at 02:32 | #379

    @ Steve 375

    “The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association is not Catholic. To be Catholic, you have to be under the Vatican hierarchy.”

    1. The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association is not a church, so it can by no means be under the Vatican hierachy. There is a Chinese conferece of bishops not recognized by the Vatican.

    2. The alternative to a Vatican-loyal Catholic church is to be a kind of Anglican church, which also claims to be Catholic. The underground church often accuses the open church of being an Anglican church. Actually, there are several churches around the world claim to be Catholic while rejecting the authority of the Pope.

  380. Wukailong
    February 15th, 2009 at 06:02 | #380

    @Allen (#376): Interesting post.

    On a more general level I think we need to be careful when using descriptions such as culture or social contracts to describe why China (or rather, the PRC) works the way it does today. The CCP isn’t just another dynasty, though it might draw from historical experience to enhance and/or strengthen its rule. What’s more important is the way China has changed from when the imperial system was first overthrown and the reforms were started back in the 80s.

    When we talk about a country’s perceived difference, I think it can help to do two kinds of analyses:

    1. Check how similar this country seems to be with other countries or areas with similar culture (Taiwan, the two Koreas, Japan, Singapore)
    2. Check for similarities with countries that share the same political system (not just the other communist countries, but also the previous Soviet Union)

    In that case, I’m still convinced that the similarities are more due to (2) than to (1). We can discuss whether China should be called communist or not, but the basic structures are still there.

    Sometimes comparisons with the West might be misleading, because it sets one country (China) apart from a group of other countries (mostly European and American) and derives conclusions from this that do not say much. Comparing neighboring countries might be more fruitful, and I think we see from there that religion is handled quite differently even in the greater Sinosphere.

  381. Steve
    February 15th, 2009 at 06:06 | #381

    Hi Leo~

    Thanks for the response. My point to Allen was to say that no matter what the political situation is, the CCP is not going to accept the DL as a spiritual leader in Tibet if they can’t accept the Pope as spiritual leader of the Catholic Church there, since the Pope is totally benign as compared to the DL from a political POV. I wasn’t arguing the situation in Tibet, since I can’t see China ever giving independence to that province, for reasons which I’ve previously stated. I only used the Catholic Church as an example why I think the argument of political vs. religious spheres to be an invalid one.

    As to being Roman Catholic without being under the Vatican, the simple answer is that you are not Roman Catholic. Catholics are not Anglicans, evangelicals, or Baptists. The Catholic Church is completely hierarchal. Maronite Christians in Lebanon use a different rite than the Catholic church, but they are still Catholics and still under the Pope. There are other churches that use different rites but are also still Catholic and still under the Pope. The Anglican church does not claim to be Catholic. There are no such thing as open Catholic Churches.

    The Catholics in China want to be under the Pope, they don’t have the right to do so because the Roman Catholic Church is illegal in China. You can have a Chinese Catholic conference of bishops appointed by the CCP but though you can call those bishops Catholic, it’s a misnomer because they are not. If a church rejects the authority of the Pope, they simply are not Catholic. It’s very cut and dried.

    Incidentally, Catholic layman associations such as Opus Dei are also under the Vatican, as are orders of monks and nuns.

    It’s an interesting situation because if the CCP would allow the Catholic Church in China to be the same as the rest of the world, I’m sure the Vatican would diplomatically recognize China and drop recognition of Taiwan, which is something the CCP desires. I think they are more worried about setting a precedent than they are that the Pope will interfere in their political system. Aren’t Catholic morals the same as Chinese morals?

    BTW, I went to Catholic grammar school, high school and college. It’s not really something to debate as much as discuss. By your reply, I’m not sure you understand Catholicism very well, which is understandable if you aren’t Catholic, just as I know something about Buddhism and Taoism but am certainly no expert in either.

  382. February 15th, 2009 at 08:05 | #382

    @Steve,

    Interesting question about what will really happen if DL ever really becomes purely religious and not political … (to me, that’s like saying 1+1=3 – that is it will never happen), however unlikely it is…

    As you saw in the posts by snow … when talking about religion …. historical context also does matter. So even we do come to philosophically understanding what really is the division between church and state in China – one still should not completely ignore history. The bad faith built up between the CCP and the DL will have repercussions. Hopefully however the repercussion will be limited and that China can develop as if the DL had never “built up this wall…” and not have to be so reactive to the exiles or Western reactions…

    @Wukailong – good thoughts about comparing Mainland China to Taiwan, Koreas, Japan, and Singapore – and Soviet Union. You offered option 1 and 2 to view China. Well … no doubt, both analysis will help. Or … perhaps, neither will.

    We’ll just have to wait and see. The future will not be dull … that for sure! 😉

  383. S.K. Cheung
    February 15th, 2009 at 08:08 | #383

    To Allen #376:
    “In China, the “religion” of Chinese society is on having the gov’t be the moral leader of society.” – I’m not sure you can say that it is the “religion” of Chinese society; perhaps it’s the religion of the CCP. If the entirety of Chinese society were to willingly submit themselves to the moral guidance of the CCP, then there wouldn’t be much demand for religion; but if such demand exists, then it seems that the CCP/gov’t is not the universally-recognized or sought after moral compass that you make them out to be. Besides, how does a government lead a society’s morals? At best, shouldn’t a government simply reflect the morals of said society? And even at that less-lofty level, we can argue (and have done) how effectively the CCP is accomplishing that mission.

    So fundamentally, is the West really as different from China as you make it out to seem, at least in this sphere? Do Chinese people need to be told what their morals are, or should be, by the CCP?

    And even if, hypothetically, we submit that the CCP/government does have a role in shaping the moral fiber of CHinese society, did said society also stipulate that the CCP/government occupy this role exclusively? For unless you stipulate to both those parts, you would have to conclude that the CCP is overstepping its role when it inserts itself as the sole moral guide, to the exclusion of others, like the Pope.

    But if you do stipulate to both those parts, then there is no use maintaining the charade that there is freedom of religion in China. Once again, you can’t have it both ways – in this case, you can’t say that there is freedom of religion, all the while maintaining that the role of any religion must always be superceded by the CCP/government.

    On the other hand, if you are willing to admit that the CCP is overstepping its role wrt the Catholic Church, and should in fact allow it more latitude and freedom, then we can talk about why Tibetan Buddhism should be treated differently than Catholicism. At that point, we would be full circle back to the initial point of this thread.

  384. Leo
    February 15th, 2009 at 13:41 | #384

    @ Steve 381,

    It may be offensive towards a Roman Catholic like you, but the fact is that there are several churches that claim to be “Catholic”. The followers of other denominations are not an undefferentiable lump. Know something beyond Roman catholism and pope cult.

    Regarding if CCP would allow such a spiritual leader like the Dalai Lama in China. There are a lot of comparable examples. For instance, the Theraveda Buddhist Dai people. They were historically independent countries. They were de-facto independent into 1950s. They also incurred serious destruction during the Cultural Revolution. They are as religious as the Tibetans. But they have much fewer problems with CCP. Why? Because there are fewer foreign forces meddling.

    Not to mention that there are tens of millions of Chinese Buddhists and Daoists. Do you have ever hear of their persecution?

    I think the conflict between the Vatican/Dalai Lama and CCP is purely ethnic/political. The Vatican is known for its fingers in HK, the Philipines, Poland, and South America. The Dalai Lama has no other cards other than religion that can be appealing to the West. Self-Determination? Cultural and identity preservation? They all sound so lame during Congress hearings.

  385. S.K. Cheung
    February 15th, 2009 at 18:33 | #385

    To Leo:
    “the fact is that there are several churches that claim to be “Catholic”” – people can “claim” all kinds of things. But there is just one Roman Catholic church. You’re either part of it, or you’re not. It’s not the kind of thing one can dabble in. The Chinese “Catholics” can claim to be anything they want, but let’s not delude ourselves in what they are, and what they aren’t.

    “Not to mention that there are tens of millions of Chinese Buddhists and Daoists. Do you have ever hear of their persecution?” – no, I haven’t. I’m just waiting for the day when the CCP can take that spirit, and apply it to everyone.

    “I think the conflict between the Vatican/Dalai Lama and CCP is purely ethnic/political.” – and it would serve to remember that it takes two to tango. So as you chastise the Vatican/Dalai Lama, don’t forget to save some for the CCP.

  386. Leo
    February 15th, 2009 at 23:34 | #386

    @ S.K. Cheung,

    This is already 21st century. Don’t delude yourself that there is still any magic with the Vatican shamans.

    “no, I haven’t. I’m just waiting for the day when the CCP can take that spirit, and apply it to everyone”
    I only hope you will wait with patience and decency.

    “So as you chastise the Vatican/Dalai Lama, don’t forget to save some for the CCP.”
    Chastise CCP is your expertise. You do it with such a zeal and dedication, I have nothing to add.

  387. S.K. Cheung
    February 16th, 2009 at 01:11 | #387

    To Leo:
    “Don’t delude yourself that there is still any magic with the Vatican shamans.” – HUH? We’re talking Catholicism – the full-on kind, not the half-baked CCP version- and not about witchcraft. I have no idea what you’re talking about…and it sounds like you don’t either.

    “I only hope you will wait with patience and decency.” – hey, if patience and decency includes reminding people of what the CCP have yet to do on a regular basis, then sign me up!

    “I have nothing to add.” – ahhh, finally you’re making sense. Good job, buddy!

  388. Otto Kerner
    February 16th, 2009 at 01:31 | #388

    The word “catholic” means several different things. When I was a child, raised in the Lutheran Church, we said the Nicene Creed, which says that we believe in one “holy, catholic, and apostolic” church. But, we certainly would understand what you meant if you started talking about “the Catholic Church”, which is not what we were, even though we were a church that did claim to be catholic. But “Catholic”, without some other context, implies the Roman Catholic Church, headed by the Pope. That church is illegal in China.

  389. February 16th, 2009 at 15:17 | #389

    Thanks to all who contributed. I think we are at a good point for reflection.

    Steve brought up a good point that if the exiles were to magically cease their political activities, can they be guaranteed that the CCP will allow them to practice their “religion” the way they want to and allow the DL to be the spiritual leader of Tibet?

    Steve pointed that if the Catholic Church had not tried to hold “temporal power” in China and yet has been restricted by the CCP – what weight should exiles really place on the CCP’s promise that freedom of religion will be allowed if they stop their political activities?

    These are good questions, and here are some random thoughts:

    First I want to ask is the Catholic Church really apolitical? With all that wealth and money, it is hard for me personally to imagine that the Catholic Church is truly an apolitical institution.

    We know of Pope John Paul II’s involvement in the solidarity movement and its imputed role in bringing down Communism in Eastern Europe. We know the Catholic Church has also been controversially involved in politics throughout the world over the course of many centuries. (Here is a very interesting book printed in the middle of the 20th century on the Church’s political powers and ambitions.) If we must dig into history, we also know many Christians – including missionaries of the Church – had come to China on the backs of Western cavalries …

    I wonder if based on what Oli said in this post referenced above, that if what is religious and what is not can depend heavily on a society’s cultural, social, and historical context, whether what is political or not can also depend on social, cultural, and historical contexts. That is, could it be that one person’s religion is another’s politics and another’s politics is one’s religion?

    Could it be that the Catholic Church may not appear to be political to Western governments but may legitimately appear to be so to the Chinese government?

    I also wonder if many of the “religious” freedoms we talk about in the West are really greater “political” freedoms that we happen to apply to religious organizations in our discussions. For example, when we talk about freedom of religions to organize – are we talking about the freedom to worship or freedom of speech or assembly?

    It’s interesting to note that freedom of religion in the U.S. is enshrined in the First Amendment, which reads:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    When we talk about freedom of religion as a legal doctrine in the U.S. – we are really talking about freedom of religion and freedom of speech or assembly as one overarching concept – or at the very least three very closely interrelated concepts. To surgically apply notions of freedom of religion (as defined in the West) without notions of freedom of speech or assembly may not be possible.

    Well these are just a few random thoughts. I am sure we’ll have plenty more to discuss in the thread that Wukailong has to promised to write some day! 😛

  390. Steve
    February 16th, 2009 at 18:02 | #390

    Leo, you addressed a couple of comments to me so I ought to reply.

    First of all, what “several churches” are you alluding to? I think getting those names would help me address your point.

    Second, in your last two posts you’ve made comments such as “pope cult” and “magic with the Vatican shamans”. If you want to classify the largest single religious denomination in the world with a 2000 year history as a “cult”, then you pretty much have to classify every religion in the world as a cult. You’re also the first person I’ve ever heard use the words “magic” and “shaman” to describe the Vatican. I don’t know what you have against the Roman Catholic church but it seems your mind’s pretty well made up and not really open to any sort of discussion. If you’re an atheist, that’s fine and maybe to you all spirituality is nonsense. If that’s the case, I can’t see you being very open to Tibetan Buddhism in China, since to you it’s probably just another cult filled with shamans.

    Third, what do foreign forces meddling with Tibetans and the status of the Dai have to do with the Roman Catholic church? Do you think the Roman Catholic church has meddled in Tibet?

    Fourth, aren’t the Chinese Buddhists and Taoists also controlled by the CCP, the same as Catholics in China? Are you saying there is a central leadership that is independent of the CCP government? If so, can you give examples?

    “I think the conflict between the Vatican/Dalai Lama and CCP is purely ethnic/political. The Vatican is known for its fingers in HK, the Philipines, Poland, and South America.”

    Ok, now you’ve given me a specific objection to work with. We’re talking Roman Catholics here, not the DL, so I’ll ignore that part. In what way is the conflict between the CCP and the Vatican “ethnic”?

    You wrote “fingers in HK, the Philippines, Poland and South America”. I know the bishop of HK has spoken out against the CCP controlling the Catholic Church in China, which is to be expected since he’s Catholic. Are you referring to anything else? I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in the Philippines, but politicians there use their Catholicism every single day in their political speeches. Religion is overly infused into their culture, but that’s the way their culture is. Poland was never part of Russia, it was part of the USSR. The Pope at the time was a former bishop of Krakow so it’s understandable that the Polish people looked to him for support. I seriously doubt you need to worry about a Chinese pope in the forseeable future getting involved with Chinese politics. South America is similar to the Philippines; religion is infused into the culturre on all levels. That’s just the way their culture behaves, or you might say they are countries with “South American characteristics”.

    Roman Catholics will never be a majority religion in China, and I doubt will ever be 10% of the population. I don’t think it’s comparable with the countries you mentioned.

    All the Roman Catholic Church is asking for is the ability to appoint their own cardinals, bishops and priests. Religious people are subject to the same laws as everyone else. If a priest of any religion were to break the law, he or she would be arrested so there is no threat to internal security. I can understand Allen’s “precedent” argument, but not the arguments you’ve brought up.

  391. Steve
    February 16th, 2009 at 18:38 | #391

    @ Allen #389: Nice post! A few random thoughts to your random thoughts. 🙂

    I think because the Catholic Church was SO political in the past, it has gone in the other direction and tries to keep to theological matters rather than secular ones. There have been bishops in some countries that have become overly political and have been censored by the Vatican for doing so. But this also brings up a good point: I cannot think of any time in history when a theocracy has been successful. In fact, theocracies tend to be incredibly unsuccessful! I think history has shown that you cannot hold both religious and political power at the same time without becoming corrupt and reactionary. Why is South Korea so Christian? Because at one time, they were ruled by a Buddhist government which became corrupt and reactionary. When the new king overthrew them, he pushed Confucian ideas and not Buddhist. That is why Christianity found a fertile audience when it arrived. It was also “homegrown” with most missionaries being Korean and not foreign.

    The “wealth and money” link you provided was some blogger who googled for five minutes and came up with.. well, nothing. I think it’s pretty safe to say that the Catholic Church, though possessing many buildings and artifacts, isn’t exactly cash rich. The average collection is much, much lower than with most Protestant denominations, especially as compared to evangelical churches who really push the “tithe” or 10% donation. There is no “tithing” in Catholicism. You give what you can.

    There is no doubt that missionaries have come from the west into China, but from what I’ve read the Jesuits, who were the primary Catholic missionaries, were well respected by Chinese emperors and far more respected than the Protestant missionaries, who tended to promote western values while the Jesuits went “native”. So I think the Jesuits get some credit here. Let’s not lump all missionaries together. Buddhism came from India; Christianity came from Europe and the States. Catholicism came almost exclusively from the Jesuits, and well before the western powers sent their cavalries to China.

    The Catholic Church was involved with politics over the centuries because it was a political organization! It controlled the Papal States, which were most of central Italy. For centuries, it conferred legitimacy on kings and queens. Those days ended a long time ago.

    I think Oli’s post was excellent, but I would disagree with him on one point. The CCP does ban the Roman Catholic Church in China. When you remove the Vatican, you remove the church. So there is a “pseudo-Catholic” church in China. The Vatican realizes that many in China truly are Roman Catholics and want to practice their religion, so they try to work with the CCP’s organization to take care of the spiritual needs of the people there. It’s a kind of game. Taiwan isn’t really an issue because all the CCP has to do to have the Vatican change it’s recognition is let them appoint their prelates.

    You wrote, “could it be that one person’s religion is another’s politics and another’s politics is one’s religion?” I believe that goes back to my original point, that if the CCP sees all religious organizations as a potential challenge to their political power, then no religious organization can exist independent of the CCP, which by it’s own charter is atheist, so a complete contradiction in my mind. It reminds me of the story about the emperor’s new clothes.

    If you look at Tibetan Buddhism, the FLG and the Taiping Rebellion, I believe all three had leaders who claim or claimed to be reincarnations of past religious figures. The Pope has never made this claim, so the Catholic church can’t be included in that category.

    In my mind, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are three different freedoms. Freedom of religion means there will be no established national religion, as there was in England at the time. Freedom of speech can be combined with freedom of religion but one does not presuppose the other. Freedom of assembly means I can have a religious gathering at the Washington Monument where I can practice freedom of speech by speaking about my religious ideas to the crowd, and freedom of religion means that no matter how popular my religion becomes, it cannot be established as the official religion of the USA.

    As the humorist Jean Shepherd once said, “In God we trust, all others pay cash.” 😛

  392. February 16th, 2009 at 19:10 | #392

    @Steve –

    How much wealth does the Catholic Church have? Very few people in the world knows. You are right to point that out, and I should’ve been clearer in comment #389.

    It’s possible that Catholic Church does not have much “cash” as you say. Though many like me tend to speculate that there must be quite a lot of cash also; the link I provided echoes that and concedes there is not much disclosure. I should have been clearer about the intent of the link…

    And yes … you are also right that we should not lump all missionaries. The early Jesuits were indeed well respected by the Qing court and did not arrive on the backs of any Western Calvary…

  393. February 16th, 2009 at 19:36 | #393

    @Steve #391,

    You wrote:

    In my mind, freedom of religion, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly are three different freedoms. Freedom of religion means there will be no established national religion, as there was in England at the time. Freedom of speech can be combined with freedom of religion but one does not presuppose the other.

    I still think by freedom of religion people mean a lot more than pure freedom of religion (note: China does not have an established national religion despite the popularity of Buddism or Taoism and many traditional folk based beliefs. So by that standard, China does have freedom of religion.).

    Let me try to explain by looking at the Catholic Church again.

    If I understand you correctly, you said that the Catholic religion is banned in China because China doesn’t allow the appointment of bishops, clerics, etc. who swear allegiance to the pope.

    For myself – can you explain to me why do you consider it an interference with the Catholic religion to say you can teach whatever religious teaching you have but cannot have specific the organization you want?

    You seem to say that the Catholic religion is inherently about a Catholic Organization of people. But aren’t religions more about the spiritual rather than to the material? Must Catholic teachings be taught through a particular structure or institution?

    I don’t think Catholic teaching is banned in China. The only thing banned is the Catholic institution.

    But you argue that the Catholic religion is banned. You seem to argue that the Catholic institution – perhaps for building a structure of loyalty and spiritual / intellectual purity – is an essential component of Catholic religion – not just the Catholic teaching. But by demanding that – for me intuitively at least – you seem to now be requesting in addition to freedom of religion also freedom of speech and perhaps assembly.

    Let’s cut this issue at a slightly different angle.

    If the Catholic teaching is about building a structure of loyalty and spiritual / intellectual purity – and let’s say the CCP (for argument’s sake) is interested also in building a structure of loyalty and moral / intellectual purity of its own (i.e. party moral leadership) – is there a way to respect both Catholic spirituality and Party moral leadership? Or does this go against your sense of freedom of religion since moral leadership should be the concern of religion only and not the state? Or perhaps there is also no such thing as just Catholic spirituality – Catholic religion must involve concurrently the body and the social community as well?

    If so, then theoretically at least, wouldn’t Catholic religion inherently include political activism some time in the future?

  394. Otto Kerner
    February 16th, 2009 at 20:00 | #394

    I would say that “freedom of religion” can be divided into two main parts — “freedom of conscience”, the individual’s right to make up his or her mind about spiritual matters; and “freedom of religious organisation” aka “separation of church and state”, the right of persons to form religious groups which exist and govern themselves independently of the state.

  395. Steve
    February 16th, 2009 at 20:56 | #395

    @ Allen #393: Again, great post! You brought up a lot of good questions that might generate concerns if the CCP gave up control of the Church.

    You wrote, “I still think by freedom of religion people mean a lot more than pure freedom of religion (note: China does not have an established national religion despite the popularity of Buddhism or Taoism and many traditional folk based beliefs. So by that standard, China does have freedom of religion.).”

    That’s a very good point. Freedom of religion not only means no official state religion, but the right to practice your religion within limits. By that I mean if a religion partook of human sacrifice or allowed girls who are 12 to marry, this would not be allowed. So the religion has to conform to the laws of the country but within those laws, no religion is barred. Creating laws that deliberately bar religions from being practiced would be declared unconstitutional, so there are limits to how limiting those laws could be. Of course, that creates a sliding scale that changes from country to country so there has to be a certain leeway involved. For instance, I would not expect China’s laws to be as tolerant as the laws in the States but under freedom of religion, there would be more tolerance than currently allowed.

    The next example you used was perfect for the sake of our discussion, because it brought out exactly why the Catholic Church has lasted so long and is so large. There is consistency within the religion. Let me give you an example in the other direction. The Baptist Church forms, but soon there is a disagreement so there is a First Baptist, Southern Baptist, Missionary Baptist… Wiki has 76 listed. Without a central authority, religions tend to become personality cults where the charisma of the individual preacher is more important than what he or she preaches. So without the structure, the religion undergoes extensive changes and schisms. The early church had to deal with Arians, Donatists, Gnostics, Nestorians and Monophysites.

    The organization teaches the religion, and one key aspect of the religion is that what is taught is correct and consistent. That cannot happen if more than one organization is in control, which history has proven time and time again. The organization isn’t the religion, but it keeps the religion consistent so no matter where I am in the world, when I walk into a Catholic church I’m getting the same message.

    When religion has no structure, at that point it becomes less about the spiritual and more about the temporal and material, in other words, how many adherents can we get, how much money can they give, how much influence can we have socially and politically, etc. Individual churches are like amoebas, they are constantly splitting over one issue or another, and as I said before, can easily turn into personality driven cults. Do you think personality driven cults would be a good thing for China? With the Catholic Church, that is one issue that would never come up. The Pope is the spiritual leader of the church but he is not God, he is not a reincarnation of God, he is only a man. He is appointed to the office by a majority of cardinals from all over the world, so no one country has control of the church.

    You wrote, “If the Catholic teaching is about building a structure of loyalty and spiritual / intellectual purity – and let’s say the CCP (for argument’s sake) is interested also in building a structure of loyalty and moral / intellectual purity of its own (i.e. party moral leadership) – is there a way to respect both Catholic spirituality and Party moral leadership? Or does this go against your sense of freedom of religion since moral leadership should be the concern of religion only and not the state? Or perhaps there is also no such thing as just Catholic spirituality – Catholic religion must involve concurrently the body and the social community as well?”

    Ah, this is a good example. In my time in China, the complaint about the CCP wasn’t economic, it wasn’t even political, it was always moral. Corruption, lack of morals… that’s what upset people about the party and still upsets people about the party. From my experience, the Chinese people trust the party to handle economic issues, and also feel they are competent handling political issues such as foreign affairs. But they get infuriated when the talk turns to corruption, which is inherently immoral.

    Maybe the best way to explain it is to say that Catholicism is concerned with the relationship between you and your God, while a government’s moral authority is legislating against crime, which can also include moral behaviour. The difference is the old “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. It is inherent in the religion to respect and obey the state. But it is also inherent in the nature of most states and right now, the CCP, to have problems with moral issues such as corruption. The CCP is concerned with morality only as it pertains to stability and a harmonious society, which also allows them to maintain their one party rule. So they legislate to maintain a certain relationship between the individual and the state. The Church teaches their members to maintain a certain relationship between the individual and their God.

    As I said before, the Church has disciplined members who have become too politically active. Religion and politics don’t mix well, in either direction. When one gets involved with the other, both tend to get screwed up.

    @ Otto Kerner #388: I believe in that context, Lutherans are using the term “catholic” in its literal meaning, which is “universal”. I would also agree with your definition of “freedom of religion”. It’s much better than mine.

  396. February 16th, 2009 at 21:46 | #396

    @Otto Kerner #394 and Steve #395,

    Thanks for both responses.

    Steve I had not thought that fragmentation of religion (i.e. lack of religious structure) could actually create more cultish and perhaps less responsible stakeholders… Interesting.

    I also appreciate your insight that Chinese people would tolerate most political and economic mistakes the CCP has made (e.g. Great Leap Forward) but do get very mad / frustrated about moral mistakes (e.g. corruptions). In Chinese society, the foundation of good government is moral leadership – a way of governance that I do not think exist in the West (West in modern times relies more on Constitutionalism, balance of power, democracy, etc. for legitimacy; Chinese gov’t rely on their moral leadership with respect to stability and social harmony).

    You also wrote:

    As I said before, the Church has disciplined members who have become too politically active. Religion and politics don’t mix well, in either direction. When one gets involved with the other, both tend to get screwed up.

    Do you mean to imply that we should trust the Church to self regulate themselves? Why rely on self regulation? Can’t the government play an explicit role?

    Otto, you wrote (and Steve seconded):

    I would say that “freedom of religion” can be divided into two main parts — “freedom of conscience”, the individual’s right to make up his or her mind about spiritual matters; and “freedom of religious organisation” aka “separation of church and state”, the right of persons to form religious groups which exist and govern themselves independently of the state.

    For me, the statement ” the right of persons to form religious groups which exist and govern themselves independently of the state” is a fairly broad statement. Without qualification, the “independently” can blur or even destroy any semblance of division of church and state.

    Steve has characterized the self governance you described as regulating affairs “concerned with the relationship between you and your God.” Intuitively I think I understand. But again, God has been evoked to do many political things – both in the past and in the present (in the present esp. in the Islamic countries) as well ….that’s why I can a slight elaboration on this religious, apolitical, independence self-governance could help…

  397. Steve
    February 16th, 2009 at 22:41 | #397

    @ Allen #396: A lack of religious structure and the “one person” theology can lead to, for instance, a religion claiming that their “head” is the reincarnation of Buddha or Jesus Christ’s brother, or try to combine aspects of several religions so people have a point of reference but above it all is some kind of “godlike” human figure. China seems to have had far more of a problem with this in the past than any western religion, and certainly more of a problem than Catholicism. The more a religion is fragmented, the more it becomes personalized.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I see good government in China as a government that is practical, successful and delivers on its promises. I think if daily life continues to improve, the people are satisfied with their government. If daily life suffers, the government loses, as they used the say, the “mandate from heaven” and people want change. In this respect, the Chinese are like everyone else in the world. The wording might be different, but the practical results are the same. So I guess I see it more as “practical leadership” rather than “moral leadership”, though that’s just a feeling so I’d like to know what others think.

    Sure, the church should regulate itself as an organization as long as it isn’t breaking any laws, just as Lenovo regulates itself internally as an organization and the government only worries if it is within the law. The CCP doesn’t tell Lenovo who to appoint to its board of directors, at least I don’t think it does. How can an atheistic government play an explicit role in running a religious organization? I feel you have a point to make here but I’m not sure exactly what it is so I’ll ask you, what explicit role can you see the CCP playing in the Chinese Roman Catholic Church that doesn’t involve the selection of bishops?

    Allen, you said “Without qualification, the “independently” can blur or even destroy any semblance of division of church and state” and that is why religious organizations need to obey the laws of the state. The natural regulation of human and corporate behaviour should cover any religious organization.

    God has been used for many nefarious purposes but almost always when it happened, the religious organization had political power. During the Crusades, the Catholic Church had political power. Iran’s current government is controlled by the clergy. That’s why I said that bad things happen when you mix religious and secular institutions.

  398. February 17th, 2009 at 19:56 | #398

    @ Steve #397,

    Throughout this good conversation, I think there are a lot we do agree on, but also a few important things we do not. These will all form good points of discussion for the future.

    From my perspective, I think we have two specific points of disagreement.

    In Zizek’s article I referenced in #371, Zizek pointed that it’s really important to understand what is “culture.” I still think it’s possible that because of the difference in cultural values between China and the West, what the West sees as the Church asserting “spiritual” leadership may actually be considered “political” interference in a society with different social values. China is fast changing – it’d be interesting to see whether what I say is true.

    What you describe as “precedence” and I as “history” does matter. The historical experiences of the West and China are different with regard to religion. How the West approaches religion and how China approaches religion will necessarily be different.

    I also still think that by religious freedoms we often mean other political freedoms. In China I believe there is freedom of religion. That freedom looks different than that we may be used to in the West (esp. when we apply to the Catholic Church) because in the West, by religious freedom, we also apply freedom of speech and freedom of assembly to religious activities. The Catholic Church can be the Catholic church (i.e. freely form organizations independent of the gov’t) by also relying on freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.

    I like your analogy between corporate organizations and religious organizations. To the extent gov’ts give freedoms to business to operate, gov’t should extent freedoms to religions to operate also.

    I think that logic is right – but the the devil is in the details. For example, when we have gov’t officials in businesses monitoring what’s going on – we don’t mind – but when we have gov’t officials in religious organizations monitoring – many Westerners would raise hell and cry gov’t suppression!

    But you are right to point out that we do allow business organizations to form and crack down only when there are problems – and not categorically reject the organizations of businesses as we do with the Catholic Church.

    That’s a good point. I guess I will then fall back to the points made earlier… Because of history – and perhaps also because of persistent value differences between the West and China – the Catholic Church still look like a political institution to the Chinese gov’t. Or … the interference with the Catholic Church in China has more to do with disagreements about political freedoms (freedom of speech and assembly) than religious freedoms (freedom to pass on religious teachings and no establishment of policies that favors / suppresses one religion over / at the expense of another).

  399. Steve
    February 17th, 2009 at 20:35 | #399

    @ Allen #398: This discussion has been a lot of fun for me and unusual to be so civil when discussing religion. Well, I guess most of what we discuss at FM are religion and politics, ha ha.

    I completely agree with you; we both have brought up valid points and there ARE cultural differences involved. It’s probably a good idea to end it here, at least for now, until another avenue for discussion opens and then we can maybe get more specific.

    By a strange coincidence, I read an article this morning in the NY Times about the death of South Korea’s Cardinal Stephen Kim Sou-hwan. Cardinal Kim was one of the most popular people in the country and instrumental in protecting the rights of ordinary people during the military coups in the late 70s and 80s. Did his moral stance involve politics? You bet. So my guess would be that this example best illustrates your concerns about a possible situation in China. But he was also one of the most beloved figures in the country, not just with Catholics but all Koreans.

    However, to me it also shoots down the “cultural west vs east” argument, since no one would argue that South Korea is a western culture. After all, they’re the Hermit Kingdom.

    Churches can be audited the same as any other corporation. I doubt anyone would scream bloody murder. Personally, I think churches should be financially monitored far more closely than they currently are.

    I still think China’s worry is more about orgainzations such as Falun Gong and not the Catholic Church. I have a feeling that the situation with Catholics is more hereditary than anything else. Back in the early days of the CCP, they were strongly atheistic and freedoms were non-existant. In the last 30 years, some freedoms have been allowed but the hardest thing in the world is to dismantle a bureaucracy and right now this Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association is a bureaucracy that doesn’t want to give up its power.

    The answer is probably somewhere in the middle, but until the CCP allows the church to make its own appointments with I’m sure some oversight from the CCP, no Catholic I’ve ever known would consider the church in China to be Roman Catholic. It could be as simple as having the Church appoint bishops with the CCP having the power to have the choice vetted.

  400. S.K. Cheung
    February 17th, 2009 at 22:06 | #400

    To Allen #398:
    I’ve enjoyed your and Steve’s discussion. However,…

    “For example, when we have gov’t officials in businesses monitoring what’s going on – we don’t mind – but when we have gov’t officials in religious organizations monitoring – many Westerners would raise hell and cry gov’t suppression!” – again, I’d characterize the CCP’s actions wrt religious organizations as a tad more involved than “monitoring”. In fact, if all they did was “monitor”, I think that would be fantastic.

  401. February 17th, 2009 at 22:48 | #401

    @Steve #399 – yes you are right. The answer to issues surrounding the Catholic Church in China may be more reactionary reflexes to history than anything else (i.e. being “more hereditary than anything else”). But for someone like me who does have a “suspicion” of churches – the Church’s history plus its opaque finances all add up to eying it as a legitimate political factor worth contending with.

    Now quickly about S. Korea – whether it is culturally Asian or Western – let me first note that, of course, there are multiple aspects to any set of cultures.

    As far as political culture is concerned, I believe S. Korea and Japan (and Taiwan) – being “satellites” of the U.S. (I don’t mean that to provoke others here; all I mean is to say that these regions have been dependent on the U.S. for both military protection as well as economic developments both over 1/2 a century now) – have developed Western political cultures.

    China is much more diverse than S. Korea, Japan, or Taiwan – that’s why when Wukailong wanted to compare China to these regions (in addition to Singapore) – I personally think these models don’t hold that much relevance.

    Time will tell…

    @SKC – thanks for popping a message. Sorry about the being ready or not business in #296 again. Sometimes it’s much easier to trade rhetoric than getting down to discuss substantively. Will try harder in the future to do the latter! 😉

  402. miaka9383
    February 17th, 2009 at 23:34 | #402

    A random thought, the Vatican it is its own government but does that mean that everyone here in America that belongs to the Catholic church are not Americans? (It seems like that is what the Chinese government is implying with religious monitoring)
    A church that I used to belong to, raised funds to buy bibles to send to China for the underground Christians, and it seemingly popular (from western poitn of view) And rumored that there is such thing as the Chinese fire bible. Now Christians do not mean catholics and I believe should worship whomever and believe whatever they want. Why are there underground christians in China even though the Chinese Ministry of Religion states that everyone is allow to practice religion as long as it doesn’t preach seperation of states.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————

    On a side point,
    I read on the news today that Ughers are going to stage a peaceful protest because they felt that they can’t get jobs based on tje fact that they are Ughers. The government knows this and is adding security force on the streets of Xingjiang, if the Chinese government do not address the concerns of these Ughers getting any form of employment, how do they expect Ughers to assimilate into Han society and become a functional citizen of China?

  403. S.K. Cheung
    February 18th, 2009 at 01:44 | #403

    To Allen #401:
    agree again. Comparing only goes so far unless you’ve got two oranges. And if China were an orange, most other countries would probably be more akin to apples.

    #296 was a long time ago. Had to scroll back to see what you’d said. No worries anyhow.

  404. Wukailong
    February 18th, 2009 at 02:51 | #404

    @Allen: “China is much more diverse than S. Korea, Japan, or Taiwan – that’s why when Wukailong wanted to compare China to these regions (in addition to Singapore) – I personally think these models don’t hold that much relevance.”

    Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve been wondering about this too at times, especially when people say that democracy comes automatically when GDP reaches a certain level, though I think it goes both ways – Chinese political culture has been influenced by the Soviet bloc during the Cold War, and after the reforms began many concepts from Western political culture have made their way into the ideological melting pot (including the rule of law and an amount of constitutionalism). Together with the market economy and other Western constructs, China today is far more “Western” than it used to be, and I think this process is going to continue.

    Singapore is a special example since it’s very much a one-party state by ideology, even though it’s multi-party by constitution. It’s understandable that China is studying their example, but one shouldn’t forget that they got their whole constitution and legal system wholesale from the British. It’s both Western and non-Western, in a sense.

    Also, let us not forget that Western countries also have differing political cultures. In the same vein, I’ve heard that Chinese experts are studying Sweden and Germany, which comes as no surprise. I don’t know about Germany, but Sweden was one of the most successful dominant-party states up to the 70s, and also some time after that. The Chinese leaders are probably not after their system so much as the leading party’s ability to adopt.

    I usually tend to view things in the light of survival of organizations. After a while, organizations want to survive and keep their power no matter what. In some cases this can lead to them getting more open, transparent and democratic. It seems the CCP is heading that way, but it’s of course hard to be certain.

  405. February 18th, 2009 at 02:58 | #405

    @Wukailong,

    You wrote:

    In some cases this can lead to them getting more open, transparent and democratic. It seems the CCP is heading that way, but it’s of course hard to be certain.

    I definitely hope so. Being more open – transparent – and democratic (in the sense of a gov’t for the benefit of the people) – must be the future of China. From a strategic point of view – I don’t see any other way!

  406. Wukailong
    February 18th, 2009 at 03:08 | #406

    @Allen: Have you read this book? It’s on my buying list:

    http://www.amazon.com/Chinas-Communist-Party-Atrophy-Adaptation/dp/0520254929

    “Few issues affect the future of China–and hence all the nations that interact with China–more than the nature of its ruling party and government. In this timely study, David Shambaugh assesses the strengths and weaknesses, durability, adaptability, and potential longevity of China’s Communist Party (CCP). He argues that although the CCP has been in a protracted state of atrophy, it has undertaken a number of adaptive measures aimed at reinventing itself and strengthening its rule. Shambaugh’s investigation draws on a unique set of inner-Party documents and interviews, and he finds that China’s Communist Party is resilient and will continue to retain its grip on power.”

  407. February 18th, 2009 at 03:34 | #407

    @Wukailong,

    No – I haven’t read it – although it does look very interesting and will now also be on my reading list!

    I do want to raise a point when people talk about the CCP as set on holding onto power.

    When people read about such, many get the connotation of an overarching institution bent on holding onto power to the last of its breath – at the expense of the people.

    This is not what I see.

    Yes – I’d lke the CCP to hold onto power. In a country the size of China that is increasingly wealthy – the only way to survive is to adapt. With the CCP holding onto power, it would mean a more smooth, transformative process than one which CCP does not onto power. A collapse of gov’t / regime change will mean chaos, perhaps bloodshed, and definitely a lot of pain for the Chinese people.

    So yes – if what the book says is true – that the CCP is resourceful, durable, and adaptable – that would be great news – to everyone concerned, I would think!

  408. dan
    February 19th, 2009 at 00:54 | #408

    Wow, 407 comments, if we keep going at it, this Wall just might come down…

  409. Wukailong
    February 19th, 2009 at 04:07 | #409

    @dan: If one could highlight a discussion, I would highlight this one. Civil and good arguments on both sides.

  410. Steve
    February 19th, 2009 at 07:12 | #410

    @ Allen #401: I disagree with your statement about political cultures and think a comparison of cultures would be a great topic for another thread, since it seems Dan’s already burned out on this one. 😛

  411. Wukailong
    February 19th, 2009 at 08:32 | #411

    @Steve: I don’t agree with Allen’s statement either (though he has a point), but I think everyone here would agree to such a framework (doing comparisons on both political and “social” cultures). 🙂

    Also, Vietnam is pursuing a similar political framework as China. They could be used for comparison too.

    I don’t think China is unique politically, and I don’t appreciate such ideas because they sound too culturalist to me. The way of opening up economically while keeping an authoritarian system is hardly uncommon, but the new thing is that China has done so from a previously communist system. The way this system has reinvented and -evaluated itself is quite interesting, though I don’t believe the CCP is going to keep its monopoly on power forever and become an alternative sort of government for the world to study. Even so, in many ways I admire the skills of the Chinese leadership in keeping the economic juggernaut on track and making its governing institutions more effective.

  412. dan
    February 19th, 2009 at 16:22 | #412

    I hope the discussion here will find its way into the reading lists of those in power and may contribute to the tearing down of this wall. Brick by brick not liter of blood…

  413. Leo
    February 24th, 2009 at 05:52 | #413

    @ Steve 390,

    ——————————————————————————————————————————–
    First of all, what “several churches” are you alluding to? I think getting those names would help me address your point.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————–

    Both Anglican and various Orthodox churches state that they are catholic, in the sense that they ar in the lineage of the church created by Apostle.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————
    Second, in your last two posts you’ve made comments such as “pope cult” and “magic with the Vatican shamans”.
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————–

    Pope cult refers to the total personal submission to the Pope that Catholic priests often demand from people.

    Regarding Shaman, I think Shamans are as worthy an institution as the Vatican. I respect them. No insult.

    —————————————————————————————————————————-
    Third, what do foreign forces meddling with Tibetans and the status of the Dai have to do with the Roman Catholic church? Do you think the Roman Catholic church has meddled in Tibet?
    —————————————————————————————————————————-

    I am comparing the situations of the Dai and the Tibetans. I never connected them with the Vatican.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————–
    Fourth, aren’t the Chinese Buddhists and Taoists also controlled by the CCP, the same as Catholics in China? Are you saying there is a central leadership that is independent of the CCP government? If so, can you give examples?
    ————————————————————————————————————————————

    Chinese Buddhists and Daoists stand under the official umbrella organizations, which does not mean that they are controlled by the CCP. There are no Buddhists or Daoists complaining about CCP meddling with their religious affairs.

    ———————————————————————————————————————-
    Ok, now you’ve given me a specific objection to work with. We’re talking Roman Catholics here, not the DL, so I’ll ignore that part. In what way is the conflict between the CCP and the Vatican “ethnic”?
    ———————————————————————————————————————-

    Actually I meant to say DL’s problem was ethnic, the Vatican’s political. But in a second thought I think the misunderstanding not totally wrong: the CCP is Chinese, the Vatican foreign.

    —————————————————————————————————————————————-
    I know the bishop of HK has spoken out against the CCP controlling the Catholic Church in China, which is to be expected since he’s Catholic. Are you referring to anything else?
    —————————————————————————————————————————————-

    Actually the former Hong Kong bishop said very little about the religous affairs on the mainland. He has a lot of friends in the Patriotic Catholic Association, trained their priests, and played a vital role in mending the ties between the Patriotic Association and the Vatican. His beef with the central govt. lies in the Hong Kong local politics. On several occasions he used his bishop influence to put pressure on Donald Tsang, who is a Catholic, to have open conflicts with Beijing. In one case he used a threatening to question Tsang “as a good Catholic, how can you work with the Communists?” For God’s sake, Tsang ignored him.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————
    I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in the Philippines, but politicians there use their Catholicism every single day in their political speeches. Religion is overly infused into their culture, but that’s the way their culture is.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————

    Manila bishop’s endorsement on opposions played a considerable role in the toppling of Estrada. He also caused some headaches for Arroyo. His strong opposition to the use of condoms… what should I say?

    ———————————————————————————————————————–
    Poland was never part of Russia, it was part of the USSR.
    ———————————————————————————————————–

    I never said Poland was part of Russia. And it has never been a part of the USSR.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————–
    South America is similar to the Philippines; religion is infused into the culturre on all levels. That’s just the way their culture behaves, or you might say they are countries with “South American characteristics”.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————

    John Paul II suppressed the liberation theology, denounced the left-leaning priests. He also suppressed the anti-war stance of the US catholics and priests during the Reagan era.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    Roman Catholics will never be a majority religion in China, and I doubt will ever be 10% of the population. I don’t think it’s comparable with the countries you mentioned.
    ———————————————————————————————————————————————-

    By denying the Vatican’s authority, China can install cooperative priests and bishops, with the negative point that there will be an undergound church problem. If accepting the Vatican’s authority, the Vatican can dismiss cooperative priests and bishops anytime and replace them with the subversive ones, who on their turns can challenge the CCP on every single domestic policies, then China has more than one problems. Among the two evils, take the lesser, which may sound machiavelian, but is more realistic for the Chinese interest.

  414. S.K. Cheung
    February 24th, 2009 at 06:14 | #414

    To Leo:
    “Both Anglican and various Orthodox churches state that they are catholic” – but they aren’t Roman Catholic, and neither are the catholic associations in China today.

    “Among the two evils, take the lesser, which may sound machiavelian, but is more realistic for the Chinese interest.” – and that’s China’s choice to make. But let’s not try to say that it’s okay for CHina to do that, and still claim freedom of religion (i can’t recall if you did that, but others have).

  415. Leo
    February 24th, 2009 at 06:42 | #415

    @ S.K. Cheung,

    The question is about Catholicness in its widest sense, not about Roman Catholicism.

  416. S.K. Cheung
    February 24th, 2009 at 07:15 | #416

    To Leo:
    I don’t think Roman Catholics would be interested in catholicism in the widest sense; I think they’d be interested in the Roman Catholic sense. And if Chinese catholics don’t understand it in the Roman Catholic sense, then neither are they Roman Catholics.

  417. Steve
    February 24th, 2009 at 19:09 | #417

    @ Leo #413: Leo, thanks for responding to all my questions. I’ll try to answer your responses as best I can.

    “Both Anglican and various Orthodox churches state that they are catholic, in the sense that they are in the lineage of the church created by Apostle.”

    This applies only to the Nicene Creed, in which the word “catholic” with a small “c” means “universal”, which is its literal definition. But Anglican, Orthodox and the Catholic Church are three distinct denominations and neither Orthodox nor Anglican would ever consider themselves Catholic.

    “Pope cult refers to the total personal submission to the Pope that Catholic priests often demand from people.”

    I have no idea where you picked up this idea. Catholic priests don’t demand total personal submission to the Pope. The Pope is not God. You might have picked this up from some fundamentalist Protestant tract. I’ve read a couple of them and they are mostly nonsense; just used as a recruiting tool.

    “Regarding Shaman, I think Shamans are as worthy an institution as the Vatican. I respect them. No insult.”

    None taken. But there is no shamanism practiced in the Catholic Church, no magic involved, no sorcery and it is not a tribal society. The word “shaman” comes from: “1698, “priest of the Ural-Altaic peoples,” probably via Ger. Schamane, from Rus. shaman, from Tungus shaman, which is perhaps from Chinese sha men “Buddhist monk,” from Prakrit samaya-, from Skt. sramana-s “Buddhist ascetic.” It has nothing to do with Christianity.

    “Chinese Buddhists and Daoists stand under the official umbrella organizations, which does not mean that they are controlled by the CCP. There are no Buddhists or Daoists complaining about CCP meddling with their religious affairs.”

    Official umbrella organizations are not controlled by the CCP? Then who controls them? Who appoints them? I think if you look into this, you’ll see that they are definitely controlled by the CCP. You cannot compare Buddhists and Daoists with the Catholic Church, because they are not hierarchal. Daoism is a folk religion as practiced in Taiwan, though I never saw it practiced formally in China. Neither Buddhism nor Daoism in China has any formal organization to speak of, therefore there is no one to complain. The one exception to this is Tibetan Buddhism. I’ll leave it right there since that one’s been beaten to death, but they don’t seem too compliant to me.

    “Actually I meant to say DL’s problem was ethnic, the Vatican’s political. But in a second thought I think the misunderstanding not totally wrong: the CCP is Chinese, the Vatican foreign.”

    Buddhism is practiced in virtually every country in the world. There are Catholics in virtually every country in the world. The Vatican is the central administrative structure for the church, since the time of St. Peter. The Catholic Church is international, it’s not Italian or European. There are priests from virtually every country in the world living in the Vatican at any one time. Are you saying that any church not headquartered in China is unsuitable for the Chinese? Is the CCP so narrow minded in their thinking that control of religion is more important to them than the content of the religions themselves? If true, that’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

    “His beef with the central govt. lies in the Hong Kong local politics. On several occasions he used his bishop influence to put pressure on Donald Tsang, who is a Catholic, to have open conflicts with Beijing. In one case he used a threatening to question Tsang “as a good Catholic, how can you work with the Communists?” For God’s sake, Tsang ignored him.”

    Leo, thanks for this info. Can you give us a few links concerning this topic? I don’t feel I can respond without a deeper understanding of what occurred.

    “Manila bishop’s endorsement on opposions played a considerable role in the toppling of Estrada. He also caused some headaches for Arroyo. His strong opposition to the use of condoms… what should I say?”

    Welcome to Philippines! When candidates run for office, they all seek the support of the church. It’s the antithesis of Chinese political culture. Estrada and Arroyo could not win without church support. Religion is referred to in every daily newspaper. Probably 95% of Filipinos are Catholic. You are correct in that condom use is not officially allowed by the Church at this time, but I hardly see that as relevant. This is just democracy with Filipino characteristics. Yes, it’s as foreign to me as it is to you. I’ve had the opportunity to visit Manila on business three times, and though the people are super friendly and polite, I never really felt comfortable there. Give me China any day!! 🙂

    “I never said Poland was part of Russia. And it has never been a part of the USSR.”

    You’re correct. I should have said “under Soviet control” but never an actual part of the USSR.

    “John Paul II suppressed the liberation theology, denounced the left-leaning priests. He also suppressed the anti-war stance of the US catholics and priests during the Reagan era.”

    He was trying to move the church further from the political arena, which should be a positive as far as the CCP is concerned. “Liberation theology” isn’t a part of Catholic belief. Liberation politics can be practiced by Catholics but it is separate from theology. This is why a central authority is good for the Catholic Church. Without someone above reining in bishops who move beyond their calling, the Church could end up doing precisely what the CCP fears.

    “By denying the Vatican’s authority, China can install cooperative priests and bishops, with the negative point that there will be an undergound church problem. If accepting the Vatican’s authority, the Vatican can dismiss cooperative priests and bishops anytime and replace them with the subversive ones, who on their turns can challenge the CCP on every single domestic policies, then China has more than one problems. Among the two evils, take the lesser, which may sound machiavelian, but is more realistic for the Chinese interest.”

    The above statement perfectly illustrates our differences, at least in my mind. First of all, China isn’t installing priests and bishops, the CCP is. Let’s be clear about that. The CCP’s governing body isn’t looking for knowledgable bishops, they are looking for compliant ones. Since a bishop’s duty is religious, the most important qualification for that office is being ignored. It’d be like the CCP is looking for judges and appoints people who aren’t lawyers, but they are compliant with the CCP. At least with judges, the CCP can see the beneficial nature of appointing lawyers, but because the CCP is officially atheistic, it can see no benefit in appointing qualified Catholic priests or bishops.

    Why would the Vatican appoint subversive priests and bishops? What possible reason would they have for doing so? Subversive in what way? This is illogical. What you are saying is that if the CCP maintains control, good people will be appointed but if they lose control, bad people will be appointed. If that were the case, there wouldn’t be any official corruption in China these days, would there? When a political authority controls a religious function, the probability of bribes and nepotism comes into play. BTW, the Catholic Church doesn’t dismiss priests or bishops unless they profess beliefs that are anti-Catholic.

    Leo, if the Catholic Church in China represented 30% of the population, I could see the need for the CCP to worry about them. Even if they represented just 10% of the population, that is still an immense amount of people in China. But they only account for an estimated 15 to 20 million people, or between 1-2% of the total population. This hardly constitutes a threat in any possible way.

    That’s why I see this problem as purely political rather than ethnic. Since Catholic bishops in China are also Chinese, it isn’t ethnic. Since the numbers are so small, it isn’t a danger. The only danger I can see is in establishing an unwanted precedent.

  418. Leo
    February 24th, 2009 at 21:48 | #418

    @ Steve 417,

    —————————————————————————————————————————
    But Anglican, Orthodox and the Catholic Church are three distinct denominations and neither Orthodox nor Anglican would ever consider themselves Catholic.
    ——————————–

    I’m afraid their catholicness goes a little beyond the mere Nicene Creed. The formal title of the Orthodox church is the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church. This is partly why the Roman Catholics chall themselves “Roman”. The same is also true to “The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East”.

    The thing is bit more complicated with the Anglicans. But their catholicness is also quite beyond the Nicene Creed.

    And there are Old Cathlics.

    ———————————————————————————————————————
    I have no idea where you picked up this idea. Catholic priests don’t demand total personal submission to the Pope. The Pope is not God. You might have picked this up from some fundamentalist Protestant tract. I’ve read a couple of them and they are mostly nonsense; just used as a recruiting tool.
    ———————————————————————————————————-

    I picked that idea from my local priests. I lived a long time in a Catholic community and had certain experience with the Catholic theological education.

    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    The word “shaman” comes from: “1698, “priest of the Ural-Altaic peoples,” probably via Ger. Schamane, from Rus. shaman, from Tungus shaman, which is perhaps from Chinese sha men “Buddhist monk,” from Prakrit samaya-, from Skt. sramana-s “Buddhist ascetic.” It has nothing to do with Christianity.
    —————————————————————————————————————

    The word shaman is of the Tungustic origin, maybe directly from the Manchu.

    —————————————————————————————
    Official umbrella organizations are not controlled by the CCP? Then who controls them? Who appoints them? I think if you look into this, you’ll see that they are definitely controlled by the CCP.
    ——————————————————————————————————

    You dismissed them before you know how they work. If you go to take a serious look at how they work, you will realize they are considerable autonomous, and they have their own agendas, bargains with, and leverages on the CCP. The governing body is a collective of senior abbots and influential laymen (jushi). The former president Zhao Puchu has become a prominent figure among the Chinese Buddhists before 1949.

    —————————————————————————————————-
    You cannot compare Buddhists and Daoists with the Catholic Church, because they are not hierarchal. Daoism is a folk religion as practiced in Taiwan, though I never saw it practiced formally in China. Neither Buddhism nor Daoism in China has any formal organization to speak of, therefore there is no one to complain.
    ————————————————————————————-

    The Chinese Buddhist Association was set up during 1930s in Shanghai. You are right, they are not hierarchical. They are more modelled after the Southern Baptist or the like. They organize seminars, theological conferences, pilgrimages, relief work, charity, and the stuff. During the early 20th century, the Chinese Buddhists were quite impressed by the Christian missionary organizations.

    —————————————————————————————————–
    Buddhism is practiced in virtually every country in the world. There are Catholics in virtually every country in the world. The Vatican is the central administrative structure for the church, since the time of St. Peter. The Catholic Church is international, it’s not Italian or European. There are priests from virtually every country in the world living in the Vatican at any one time.
    ———————————————————————————————-

    I know Catholic church. I know there are people from Asia or Africa in the church. I think every knows that it is a predominantly European institution (may be sounding offensive to you), and it is primarily controlled by the rich, white, ultra-conservative, Europeans. They may elect an Asian or African after the Benny, but it will still take to long way to evolve into something really “catholic”.

    —————————————————————————————————————-
    “His beef with the central govt. lies in the Hong Kong local politics. On several occasions he used his bishop influence to put pressure on Donald Tsang, who is a Catholic, to have open conflicts with Beijing. In one case he used a threatening to question Tsang “as a good Catholic, how can you work with the Communists?” For God’s sake, Tsang ignored him.”

    Leo, thanks for this info. Can you give us a few links concerning this topic? I don’t feel I can respond without a deeper understanding of what occurred.
    ————————————————————————————————————-

    I am looking for the interview in the question.

    ————————————————————————————–
    He was trying to move the church further from the political arena, which should be a positive as far as the CCP is concerned. “Liberation theology” isn’t a part of Catholic belief. Liberation politics can be practiced by Catholics but it is separate from theology. This is why a central authority is good for the Catholic Church. Without someone above reining in bishops who move beyond their calling, the Church could end up doing precisely what the CCP fears.
    ——————————————————————————————–

    The contrast was the Vatican was quite mute when the local churches mixed themselves with the juntas and generals.

    ———————————————————————————————————

    The above statement perfectly illustrates our differences, at least in my mind. First of all, China isn’t installing priests and bishops, the CCP is. Let’s be clear about that.
    ——————————————————————————————————

    On this issue the CCP has my tactical support. A lot of people around me who know something about the church take the same opinion.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————-
    The CCP’s governing body isn’t looking for knowledgable bishops, they are looking for compliant ones. Since a bishop’s duty is religious, the most important qualification for that office is being ignored.
    ————————————————————————————————————–

    The CCP does not directly choose somebody. They ask the local communities to choose. Actually the Vatican openly accepted two thirds of the bishops chosen in this way. The most prominent examples are the new bishops for Beijing and Shanghai. The Vatican even praised the new Beiijing bishop as “a good choice”. Rome rejected the Kunming bishop Ma under the excuse that he lacks the parishment experience. But a more probable explanation is due to his service as a secretary in the Patriotic Association under the former Beijing Bishop Fu. Another bishop ordained on the same date, also rejected, complained later that he was the victim of a collective punishment as he had no fault with the Vatican.

    —————————————————————————————————————————–
    Why would the Vatican appoint subversive priests and bishops? What possible reason would they have for doing so? Subversive in what way? This is illogical.
    —————————————————————————————————————————

    They don’t like an atheist govt.. That’s the logic.

    ———————————————————————————————
    Leo, if the Catholic Church in China represented 30% of the population, I could see the need for the CCP to worry about them. Even if they represented just 10% of the population, that is still an immense amount of people in China. But they only account for an estimated 15 to 20 million people, or between 1-2% of the total population. This hardly constitutes a threat in any possible way.
    ——————————————————————————————————————-

    The tie between the Vatican and Beijing broke up during the Korean War when the Vatican openly sided with the US and the UN Forces and called the Chinese catholics to take actions to resist the Chinese war efforts. It was virtually a call for high treason. If the then Vatican remained a bit cool-headed, the situation of today might be more close to those in Cuba and Vietnam.

    Is the Catholic church a serious problem? No. But it has its causes, beginning, and evolution. Maybe it will be eventually resolved, with Beijing giving back the church authority to the Vatican and the Vatican’s graceful pardoning of the Patriotic Association in return.

    But is the Catholic church a priority of the Chinese policies? Nope, we can wait.

  419. February 24th, 2009 at 22:00 | #419

    @Leo #418,

    Is that right about the Vatican actually siding with the US and UN forces in the Korean War?

    I didn’t know that…

    That does change things a lot for me… how I view the Catholic Church…

  420. Leo
    February 24th, 2009 at 22:50 | #420

    @ Allen 419,

    I read it in the publications by the Chinese Catholic church (the Bejing-loyal one). I won’t expect there will be a candid confirmation from the other side.

    And here I retrieve the remark that the former Bishop of Hong Kong Zen said very little about the religious affairs on the mainland. He went mad recently about the Vatican-recognized Beijing bishop Li. There are rumors that his recent retirement is forced by the Vatican to send a positive signal to Beijing.

  421. S.K. Cheung
    February 25th, 2009 at 05:17 | #421

    To Leo #418 and #420:
    “This is partly why the Roman Catholics chall themselves “Roman”.” – but when the vast majority of people speak of Catholics, they’re not talking about Anglicans. Maybe the Chinese catholic association represents some “small c” version of catholic faith and teaching, but as I said before, the Roman Catholic Church it ain’t.

    “you will realize they are considerable autonomous” – is that like “a little pregnant”?

    “They don’t like an atheist govt.. That’s the logic.” – do you think the Vatican’s goal is to make China a Catholic nation?

    “I read it in the publications by the Chinese Catholic church (the Bejing-loyal one). I won’t expect there will be a candid confirmation from the other side.” – and we can similarly question the veracity of information coming exclusively from Beijing-loyalists.

  422. Steve
    February 25th, 2009 at 21:18 | #422

    @ Leo #418: Before I reply, I wanted to let both you and Allen know that I’ve enjoyed our “give and take”. Though we may have different perspectives, it’s nice to have a civilized discussion. I appreciate your points of view, though it might be different from my own. We’re probably not going to agree on all these items, but that’s the fun of it. Here are my replies and you can have the last word. 🙂

    “I’m afraid their catholicness goes a little beyond the mere Nicene Creed. The formal title of the Orthodox church is the Orthodox, Catholic, Eastern Church. This is partly why the Roman Catholics chall themselves “Roman”. The same is also true to “The Holy Apostolic Catholic Assyrian Church of the East”. The thing is bit more complicated with the Anglicans. But their catholicness is also quite beyond the Nicene Creed. And there are Old Cathlics.”

    The use of “catholic” in all these church titles is literal, using the “universal” meaning. None of them are saying they are a form of Catholicism. I’m using the word “Catholic” as you might use the word “America”, which most would assume is the USA rather than another country in the American continents, though technically they are all in the Americas. I had to look up the Catholic Assyrian Church and hadn’t realized there were still Nestorian Christians out there, so thanks for that reference. You are correct; it goes beyond the Nicene Creed but again, Orthodox, Anglicans and others don’t claim to be Catholic. To be Catholic you have to be under the Vatican umbrella but not necessarily practice the Roman rite. Two that come to mind are the Druze Christians in Lebanon and the Armenian Christian Church. They are both Catholic but neither use the Roman rite. In the end, you have to be under the Vatican umbrella to be considered Catholic with a capital “C”.

    What’s an Old Catholic? Are you talking about Catholics that still use the Latin Mass? If so, they are also Roman Catholics under the Vatican. If not, I’m not sure who you’re referring to.

    Catholic priests don’t demand total submission to the Pope. I think you might have misinterpreted the Catholic belief that the Pope is the supreme authority in all spiritual matters. Total submission would mean in matters even beyond spiritual, which is not true. This allows a worldwide church to be consistent in spiritual matters no matter where you worship. I’ll use your example of the Catholic Assyrian Church, which has a different belief in the nature of Christ’s divinity. Such a difference allows no true commonality with the Catholic Church. Other differences such as married priests are not dogma, so if today’s Pope wanted to allow married priests, he’d just decree it and it’d be allowed.

    “You dismissed them before you know how they work. If you go to take a serious look at how they work, you will realize they are considerable autonomous, and they have their own agendas, bargains with, and leverages on the CPC. The governing body is a collective of senior abbots and influential laymen (jushi). The former president Zhao Puchu has become a prominent figure among the Chinese Buddhists before 1949.”

    The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association was established by the PRC’s Religious Affairs Bureau in 1957 to exercise STATE supervision over Catholic affairs. I don’t know how you can claim they are independent of the CPC, when that is their parent organization. Are you telling me that if the CPC told the CPCA to rule a certain way, they would go in a different direction? I’d say whoever made that decision would be gone from the CPCA the next day and the decision would be reversed in favor of whatever the CPC wanted. To me, what goes on with Chinese Buddhists is irrelevant to the situation with Catholics.

    “I know Catholic church. I know there are people from Asia or Africa in the church. I think every knows that it is a predominantly European institution (may be sounding offensive to you), and it is primarily controlled by the rich, white, ultra-conservative, Europeans. They may elect an Asian or African after the Benny, but it will still take to long way to evolve into something really “catholic”.”

    It’s not offensive to me since I’m not European. 😛 Actually, the majority of growth in recent years has been in Asia, Africa and Latin American countries. The College of Cardinals elects the Pope and as those numbers go up, more and more Cardinals from those areas become electors. The election of the Pope is actually a democratic process. Since the Catholic Church has more members from more countries than any other world religion, I’m not sure how you can say it’s not “catholic” in that sense. And to say it is controlled by “rich, white, ultra-conservative Europeans” is a pretty broad statement. The church is controlled by the Pope, who has been white and European in the past but not always ultra-conservative and certainly not rich. Pope John XXIII was certainly not conservative and his parents were sharecroppers.

    Can you name another religion that is more “catholic”?

    “The contrast was the Vatican was quite mute when the local churches mixed themselves with the juntas and generals.”

    Examples?

    “On this issue the CPC has my tactical support. A lot of people around me who know something about the church take the same opinion.”

    You just told me the CPC didn’t control the CPCA, now you tell me that you support the CPC’s installation of priests and bishops. Huh? You can support that position but to me, it reinforces my point that the church structure cannot be considered Roman Catholic, but some sort of CPC led hybrid. Fortunately, the Pope has supported the actual Catholics in China by allowing them to use those churches, but he has not supported the CPCA’s appointment of priests and bishops without Vatican approval. I’d give the Vatican some credit here; they’ve worked with the CPCA in spite of the situation to try and provide for Chinese believers. The CPCA’s job is to regulate Catholics in China, not to care about their spiritual concerns.

    Are those people around you who support the CPC position Chinese Catholics? If not, how can their opinion or yours reflect the concerns of Chinese Catholics?

    “The CPC does not directly choose somebody. They ask the local communities to choose. Actually the Vatican openly accepted two thirds of the bishops chosen in this way. The most prominent examples are the new bishops for Beijing and Shanghai. The Vatican even praised the new Beijing bishop as “a good choice”. Rome rejected the Kunming bishop Ma under the excuse that he lacks the parishment experience. But a more probable explanation is due to his service as a secretary in the Patriotic Association under the former Beijing Bishop Fu. Another bishop ordained on the same date, also rejected, complained later that he was the victim of a collective punishment as he had no fault with the Vatican.”

    In the Catholic Church, local communities do not choose priests or bishops. That is how most Protestant churches choose their pastors. But are you telling me that if the local community chose a democracy advocate as bishops, the CPC or CPCA would approve? I think not. Are you saying that every parishoner casts a vote for the future priest or bishop? Who exactly represents the “local community”?

    If the new Beijing bishop was a good choice, of course the Vatican would praise him. Did you consider that maybe the new bishop of Kunming actually didn’t have enough experience? Did you consider that maybe he received the appointment from the CPCA because of POLITICAL considerations? That’s exactly why you should never mix church and state. Another bishop who was rejected claimed he was the victim of collective punishment? Then why wasn’t the bishop of Beijing also rejected for the same reasons? Maybe he is crying over spilt milk because he actually wasn’t qualified?

    “They don’t like an atheist govt.. That’s the logic.”

    The Vatican doesn’t particularly care about the government, they care about the needs of Catholics in China. The qualifications for priest or bishop aren’t backgrounds in subversion, they’re theological. This reasoning sounds pretty paranoid, to be honest.

    “The tie between the Vatican and Beijing broke up during the Korean War when the Vatican openly sided with the US and the UN Forces and called the Chinese catholics to take actions to resist the Chinese war efforts. It was virtually a call for high treason. If the then Vatican remained a bit cool-headed, the situation of today might be more close to those in Cuba and Vietnam.”

    This sounds like a convenient “he said/she said” argument to justify an existing policy, but it can’t be proven either way so not really relevant to our discussion. Your last sentence seems like a contradiction to me. If the Vatican had remained “cool-headed” then are you saying that the situation would not require a CPCA? If so, why are there four other associations to control the other four major religions in China? Under this logic, there’d only be one to control the Catholic Church, unless you are also saying that the other four religious organizations also called for virtual high treason.

    “Is the Catholic church a serious problem? No. But it has its causes, beginning, and evolution. Maybe it will be eventually resolved, with Beijing giving back the church authority to the Vatican and the Vatican’s graceful pardoning of the Patriotic Association in return.”

    Then why all the fuss about something that is not a problem? If the CPC gave back the church authority to the Vatican, I’m sure the CPCA would be pardoned. The CPC would get diplomatic recognition, further isolating Taiwan. Chinese Catholics would rejoice being able to be a part of the true Catholic Church instead of the current pseudo-Church. It’d be a win/win situation all around.

    The cold war is over. This predicament is just a remnant of the cold war and the strong atheistic policies of the CPC government in the old days. My feeling is that this will eventually be resolved and I’m hoping that happens within the next ten years. The situation with the Catholic Church may not be a high priority with the CPC, but it will continue to remain a high priority with Catholics in China.

    Leo (and Allen), thanks again for the discussion. It’s been fun~

  423. Leo
    February 26th, 2009 at 04:54 | #423

    @ Steve 422,

    You misread and continues to misread my words.

    —————————————————————————————
    The use of “catholic” in all these church titles is literal, using the “universal” meaning. None of them are saying they are a form of Catholicism.
    —————————————————————————————————–
    The Orthodox et al. certainly consider their churches to be “really” catholic/universal while the Roman one is not.

    ————————————————————————————
    What’s an Old Catholic?
    ——————————————————-
    Old Catholics are a group which rejected the First Vatican Council and split from the Vatican in 1870. Like the Othordox et al., they consider the Vatican to be a wrong church.

    ——————————————————————————————————
    Catholic priests don’t demand total submission to the Pope.
    —————————————————————————————————————–
    They just told us to “love” the Pope and they were able to magically explain away anything the Vatican said or did. Under such circumstances I could not find any ways not to be totally submissive to the Pope.

    —————————————————————————-
    To me, what goes on with Chinese Buddhists is irrelevant to the situation with Catholics.
    ————————————————————————————————————–
    My whole remark is about your arrogant dismissal of Chinese Buddhist Association.

    —————————————————————————————————-
    The election of the Pope is actually a democratic process.
    ———————————————————————————————–
    If the papal election is democratic, then today’s Hong Kong is also democratic. Where comes this fuss about the Hong Kong democracy?

    —————————————————————————————————
    Since the Catholic Church has more members from more countries than any other world religion, I’m not sure how you can say it’s not “catholic” in that sense. Can you name another religion that is more “catholic”?
    ————————————————————————————————–
    Catholic/universal means a bit more than majority or a big number. There are one billion Catholics and there are six to seven billion people in this world.

    ——————————————————————————————————————
    The church is controlled by the Pope, who has been white and European in the past but not always ultra-conservative and certainly not rich.
    ——————————————————————————————————
    The Vatican is poor, hmm…

    ———————————————————————————–
    Pope John XXIII was certainly not conservative and his parents were sharecroppers.
    ————————————————————————————–
    Just feel free to pick one out of 270, and one who has been dead for 30 years.

    ———————————————————————————————————-
    “The contrast was the Vatican was quite mute when the local churches mixed themselves with the juntas and generals.”

    Examples?
    ——————————————————————————————————-
    Like as recent as the bishop of caracas who happily commingled with the figures who illegally overthrew the democratically elected Hugo Chavez.

    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    You just told me the CPC didn’t control the CPCA…
    ———————————————————————————————-
    I never made any remarks about if CPC controls CPCA or not. I find your reaction comes from nowhere.

    .
    ——————————————————————————————————-
    In the Catholic Church, local communities do not choose priests or bishops. That is how most Protestant churches choose their pastors.
    ————————————————————————————–
    A devolution process has happened in many Catholic dioceses. A German theologue told me that Cologne’s bishop was popularly elected and the papal approval was sought afterwards.

    —————————————————————————————————————-
    But are you telling me that if the local community chose a democracy advocate as bishops, the CPC or CPCA would approve? I think not.
    ——————————————————————————————————–
    Yes, quite a few of the official church bishops and priests are critical of the CCP in one aspect or another. Just like a lot of Chinese citizens are critical of the CCP one way or another. So long they don’t ask for open political conflicts with the CCP (as the most Chinese citizens do), I think the CCP cannot care about less. As the official church forbids its clergy to talk anything political, a direct collision with the CCP is quite unlikely.

    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    If the new Beijing bishop was a good choice, of course the Vatican would praise him. Did you consider that maybe the new bishop of Kunming actually didn’t have enough experience? Did you consider that maybe he received the appointment from the CPCA because of POLITICAL considerations?
    ———————————————————————————————————————–
    It’s all Vatican politics. How can I know?

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————-
    Then why wasn’t the bishop of Beijing also rejected for the same reasons? Maybe he is crying over spilt milk because he actually wasn’t qualified?
    —————————————————————————————————————————-
    First, Beijing bishop was ordained several years later, in a time when the Vatican under the new pope sought rapprochement again with Beijing. Two, the Vatican actually favored the other five candidates in the election, who are all educated overseas (thus directly by the Vatican). The later Bishop Li is the only one educated home and the Vatican initially signed a disappointment. But then, the Vatican, which somehow found itself was in a mood to get along with the CCP, changed the mind.

    ——————————————————————————————————————————-
    The Vatican doesn’t particularly care about the government, they care about the needs of Catholics in China. The qualifications for priest or bishop aren’t backgrounds in subversion, they’re theological. This reasoning sounds pretty paranoid, to be honest.
    —————————————————————————————————————–
    The long history of the Vatican tells us otherwise.

    ——————————————————————————————–
    If so, why are there four other associations to control the other four major religions in China? Under this logic, there’d only be one to control the Catholic Church, unless you are also saying that the other four religious organizations also called for virtual high treason.
    ———————————————————————————————————————
    The other four are all very loose organizations, more close to country clubs. In the Buddhist one, there are a three major divisions (Mahayana, Theraveda, Vajrayana/Tibetan), tens of different sects. The association does not really have any concrete say in the business of the respective sects. If getting any issues, the influential monastaries like Shaolin or Kumbum can directly talk with the local or central government officials or ministers. The association is not really useful for them. The same is true to the Muslims and the Protestants. The influence of the CPCA largely thanks to the centrailized structure of the Catholic church itself.

    ———————————————————————————————–
    Then why all the fuss about something that is not a problem?
    ——————————————————————————————————————-
    We want to keep the status quo, it’s the Vatican being the fussy one.

    ————————————————————————————————————————————–
    The CPC would get diplomatic recognition, further isolating Taiwan.
    —————————————————————————————————————–
    No. There is now a diplomatic ceasefire between the mainland and Taiwan. If the Vatican cuts the tie with Taiwan, Taiwan will think it a hostile sign from the mainland. So, the Vatican has to stay with Taiwan in foreseeable future.

  424. S.K. Cheung
    February 26th, 2009 at 05:24 | #424

    To Leo:
    “The Orthodox et al. certainly consider their churches to be “really” catholic/universal while the Roman one is not.”
    “Old Catholics are a group which rejected the First Vatican Council and split from the Vatican in 1870. Like the Othordox et al., they consider the Vatican to be a wrong church.”

    Okay, now you’re just being silly.
    1. so the church with “Catholic” in its name isn’t, and the church without “Catholic” in its name is?
    2. nomenclature aside, the discussion was predicated upon whether Chinese catholics are Roman Catholics. If Roman Catholics aren’t catholic, but Chinese catholics are, then everyone should be happy. But once again, Chinese catholic still aren’t Roman Catholic (and I’ve used big C and small c carefully, and completely intentionally).
    3. I don’t think there’s any controversy that the Vatican is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church. But apparently, it doesn’t hold sway with all small c catholics. If Chinese catholics wish only to be catholic, and not Roman Catholic, then why all the discussions involving the Vatican to begin with. Every mention you’ve made of the Vatican in this discussion would be completely irrelevant. However, if those references to the Vatican are relevant, then the approval of the Vatican would be important to Chinese catholics who are apparently seeking to become Roman Catholics. And one only seeks what one does not yet have.

  425. George
    April 21st, 2009 at 04:49 | #425

    This is not very complicated, 50 years ago China marched in sovereign country to end, what you say, was a backward country.
    Now you had 50 years to change it. Your time is up, just simply LEAVE!

  426. Thupten
    March 9th, 2012 at 15:52 | #426

    “In old Tibet, serfs accounted for more than 90 percent of the population and were treated as private property by their owners (mostly aristocrats, monasteries and government officials). Landowners were entitled to legally insult, punish, buy and sell, give away, whip and even kill their serfs.”

    That was in the 1940s….Year 2012, Today in new Tibet, go try hold a ‘Free Tibet’ sign anywhere in china. 100% that you will disappear from the face of the earth. If the bloggers and commenters of this post are in china, many would face prison for supporting freedom in tibet. 50 years have passed. Tibet would have developed in their own terms with or without china. Look at Bhutan.

  427. raventhorn
    March 9th, 2012 at 17:46 | #427

    @Thupten

    “50 years have passed. Tibet would have developed in their own terms with or without china. ”

    Yes, they developed in “Free Exile” to stone and exile their own kind belonging to the Shugden Sect.

    If that’s “freedom”, that’s BS to me.

    *and I support Prison for “Freedom Counterfeiters”.

  428. March 9th, 2012 at 21:55 | #428

    @Thupten

    Maybe – maybe not. Predicting alternative hypothetical universes is not my strength.

    What I do know is that the Dalai Lama – after signing the 17pt agreement – willingly joined the CCP at a very high level for almost 10 years – he had no concern about “sovereignty” – but ran only when land reform begin to hit the privileged in Tibet.

    This is fact.

    DL did nothing to liberate Tibet: he left Tibet enslaved – and ran when Tibet was being liberated.

    I guess it’s your right to be revisionist and say the slave holder would have freed Tibet in due time? kind of ironic.

    Instead of giving CCP due credit, you want us to dream in an alternative universe where the slave holder who rather run when his pecuniary interests are threatened instead of stay to help free and build Tibet becomes the savior?

  429. March 10th, 2012 at 15:29 | #429

    Oh it’s the dalai coolaid drinkers again…

  430. March 11th, 2012 at 06:02 | #430

    @Hafez
    Calling names doesn’t bring the debate forward but neither do you. Just 2 comments above yours is an assertion with facts. Argue against that if you sincerely wish to participate in this discussion.

  431. January 13th, 2017 at 15:39 | #431

    Remember all the time in 2008 and subsequent years when people called for China to open up, do less censorship, etc.? If Tibet or Xinjinag burn, they burn! The important thing is that freedom is given a chance to ring. When Chinese gov’t characterized certain groups inciting violence and uprising as “terrorists”, they called that oppression and suppression.

    Fast forward 8 years, and now we routinely read op-eds like this from the major newspapers in the West.

    Twitter Must Do More to Block ISIS

    Like many Americans, the two of us have strong reasons to hope that 2017 is better than recent years. On Nov. 13, 2015, Beatriz’s daughter, Nohemi, was killed in the Paris terror attacks by an Islamic State cell operating out of Brussels. On March 22, 2016, Cameron’s husband, Alexander, and her sister-in-law, Sascha, were murdered at the Brussels Airport by terrorists from the same cell. One hundred and fifty-nine others also died in those attacks, and more than 600 people were injured.

    The months since have been anguishing for us, and it is tempting to assign blame — to authorities who failed to heed warnings about suspected terrorists, to government policies that prevented effective surveillance and interdiction of the planners, and of course to the Islamic State terrorists who murdered our loved ones. But our primary motivation in taking action is not to blame others. We want to make it less likely that families will suffer similar anguish in the future.

    It is for this reason that on Jan. 9 we filed a federal civil lawsuit in the Southern District of New York against Twitter for providing support and resources to the Islamic State, leading to the murders of Nohemi, Alexander and Sascha.

    The Islamic State, also known as ISIS, and its supporters have used Twitter for recruiting, planning, issuing threats and taking credit for their attacks. Simply put, the Islamic State uses Twitter as a tool of terrorism. It should be denied access to this weapon.

    Government officials have criticized Twitter for allowing terrorists to access the platform. Congressman Ted Poe, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, nonproliferation and trade, complained in August 2012 about Twitter’s not shutting down terrorist accounts and argued that terrorists using Twitter “is a violation of U.S. law.” In September of that year, Mr. Poe and several other members of Congress wrote to the F.B.I. director asking that he demand that Twitter block accounts of various terrorist groups.

    Twitter has long promoted the importance of free and open discourse. In June 2014, in a CNN report, a co-founder, Biz Stone, said, “If you want to create a platform that allows for freedom of expression for hundreds of millions of people around the world, you really have to take the good with the bad.”

    In November 2014, Mother Jones quoted an unnamed Twitter official saying “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”

    Yet as the Mother Jones article pointed out, Twitter users “may not impersonate others, publish copyrighted material without consent, release private information about others, or issue specific violent threats.”

    In a February 2016 statement, Twitter acknowledged that the terrorist threat was changing and said it was adapting to the changes. The company announced that it had suspended more than 125,000 accounts since mid-2015 “for threatening or promoting terrorist acts” and enlarged the teams that review reports related to terrorism. When pertinent, Twitter also says it cooperates with law-enforcement agencies and works with organizations to combat extremist content online. In August, Twitter said it suspended an additional 235,000 accounts associated with terrorism.

    But we believe that Twitter doesn’t do enough to proactively monitor, identify and remove terrorist-related accounts and hasn’t made an effective or prolonged effort to ensure that the accounts are not re-established. In short, Twitter’s actions are too little, too late.

    I wonder why the author was silent when Tibetan and Yighur radicals lit up Lhasa and Urumqi and killed hundreds of innocent people in 2008, 2009, etc.

    Today Twitter says it will cooperate “when appropriate” – that that only means it will cooperate with Western officials and governments (as if it had a choice!), but in others’ case – i.e. China’s case, it means it will continue to stall.

    This is the “freedom” the world enjoys today. It is no more freer than any other period in history … it means only that the narrative and characterization of today’s period is dominated by a few like no other period before…

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