As reported by the Reuters, Dalai Lama just issued an ominous warning in Frankfurter Rundschau on Friday:
I am very worried. Many Chinese citizens have armed themselves, and they are ready to shoot. It is a very tense situation. At any moment there could be an explosion of violence.
I suppose Dalai Lama was referring specifically to Han and Hui Chinese citizens, who were on the receiving end of indiscriminate violences by Tibetan
mobs freedom fighters a year ago. Leaving aside the plausibility question of Chinese citizens stocking up guns in China, I wonder why they would feel the need to arm themselves nowadays?
[UPDATE] James asked in comment #2 if this could have been a mistranslation. The quoted text below is the original paragraph, in German, followed its translation into English.
[UPDATE 2] The original English translations from the Google language tool are replaced below with ones supplied by sv13en. Thanks very much.
Ja, ich bin in großer Sorge. Am 6. Februar habe ich mich mit einigen Tibetern getroffen. Sie sagten mir: “Die Frustration unter den Tibetern wächst, die Wut auf China wächst, vor allem unter den Jungen.” Auf der chinesischen Seite sieht es genauso aus. Viele chinesische Bürger haben sich Waffen zugelegt, und sie sind bereit zu schießen. Die Lage ist sehr angespannt. Es kann jeden Moment zu einer Gewalt-Explosion kommen.
Yes, I am very concerned. On February 6, I met with some Tibetans. They said to me, “Frustration among Tibetans is growing, the anger against China is growing, particularly among young people.” On the Chinese side the situation looks similar. Many Chinese citizens have acquired weapons, and they are ready to shoot. The situation is very tense. An explosion of violence can happen at any moment.
While going through the Frankfurter Rundschau report, I happened to find, for the first time, Dalai Lama’s version of the March riots last year.
Blicken wir noch mal auf den März vergangenen Jahres zurück: Als die Demonstrationen friedlich waren, berichteten die chinesischen Medien nicht darüber. Dann, am 14. März, wurden plötzlich chinesische Häuser in Brand gesteckt, und einige Tibeter warfen Steine. Aber die chinesische Armee griff zunächst nicht ein, obwohl sie das Viertel umstellt hatte. Wissen Sie, warum? Sie hatten diese Ausschreitungen inszeniert und schickten die Bilder davon dann um die Welt.
Wir haben Berichte von Augenzeugen, die am 12. und 13. März chinesische Lastwagen gesehen haben, auf denen offenbar Tibeter saßen, die aber niemand kannte. Die wurden nach Lhasa gebracht. Wenige Stunden später sah man sie, wie sie Gebäude in Brand setzten. Die Chinesen wollen Krisen, für die sie die Tibeter verantwortlich machen können.
Let’s look back again to March last year: When the demonstrations were peaceful, the Chinese media did not report about them. Suddenly, on March 14, Chinese houses were set on fire and some Tibetans threw stones. But the Chinese army did not intervene at first, even though they had surrounded the quarter. Do you know why? They had staged these riots and sent the pictures of them around the world.
We have reports from eye witnesses. On March 12 and 13, they have seen Chinese trucks transporting people who were apparently Tibetans, but who were unknown to anybody. They were brought to Lhasa. Some hours later they could be seen setting buildings on fire. The Chinese want crises for which they can blame the Tibetans.
I’m sure that Chinese Citizens want to defend themselves against Tibetan mobs… errr freedom fighters.
Is he being serious? Perhaps this was a mistranslation. Otherwise, apparently even the Dalai Lama is not immune from senility.
Otto Kerner says
Can you give an example of anyone other than you referring to the people who committed mob violence in Lhasa in March 2008 as “freedom fighters”?
so how many tibetans are going to die this time?
Does DL have a number yet? maybe he is making up one
S.K. Cheung says
That Dalai Lama interview about last year’s events is interesting. Didn’t know the Dalai lama to be a conspiracy theorist. But when the CCP chooses to create an information vacuum, and vacuums being as they are, it’s hardly surprising that something conspiratorial or otherwise fills that void. And really, the CCP being the upstanding folks that they are, can anyone really say that they didn’t do it? I mean, it’s a stroke of genius. Hurt some Chinese people; blame the Tibetans; crack down on Tibetans; weather the international criticism; then sit back and reap the benefits of an outpouring of Chinese nationalism. Didn’t someone say before that all politics is domestic?
THe arming of Chinese part does seem goofy though. It’s not like the Chinese live in a country that requires a well-armed militia, or has a constitutional amendment that guarantees the right to same. Besides, that’s what the PLA is for.
Re: Can you give an example of anyone other than you referring to the people who committed mob violence in Lhasa in March 2008 as “freedom fighters”?
I was implicitly playing with the saying “one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.” The actual word used in the strike-out, “mobs”, was the result of conscientious restraint on my part.
Come to think of it, I just saw something pretty similar to the effect of calling those rioters freedom fighters. Michael Goldfarb in one of a stream of attack posts on Chas Freeman, described those Tibetans as democracy activists.
Otto Kerner says
DJ, nothing about that passage leads me to believe that Goldfarb is referring to rioters when he says “democracy activists”. I don’t know how firm a grasp he has of the situation — he may or may not be aware that riots took place. On the other hand, I’m also not sure whether Chas Freeman is aware that peaceful protests took place.
If Dalai Lama were not at his age, he would have a very bright future in developing his career in Hollywood. What a waste of talent!
I am inclined to believe your point that Goldfarb wasn’t referring to rioters, because I just can not see how he (or Nancy Pelosi, Frank Wolf and many other vocal so-called champions of human rights and preservation of Tibetan culture for that matter) would ever admit that a large mob of ethnic Tibetans could have been the perpetrators of murder and destruction upon innocent civilians and their homes/properties just because the victims were ethnic Han or Hui Chinese. Oh wait! That would be exactly the definition of a “race riot”, wouldn’t it? And those human rights champions just attacked Chas Freeman because he had the courage to say it was a race riot, didn’t they?
Are you so sure nobody in Dharamsala called them as “freedom fighters” 🙂
HHDL worries too much. It’s not CCP/PLA ‘s interest to allow ethnic violence to happen.
Let me try a slightly more precise translation of the DL’s statements.
Yes, I am very concerned. On February 6, I met with some Tibetans. They said to me, “Frustration among Tibetans is growing, the anger against China is growing, particularly among young people.” On the Chinese side the situation looks similar. Many Chinese citizens have acquired weapons, and they are ready to shoot. The situation is very tense. An explosion of violence can happen at any moment.
Second paragraph (from the interview):
Lets look back again to March last year: When the demonstrations were peaceful, the Chinese media did not report about them. Suddenly, on March 14, Chinese houses were set on fire and some Tibetans threw stones. But the Chinese army did not intervene at first, even though they had surrounded the quarter. Do you know why? They had staged these riots and sent the pictures of them around the world.
We have reports from eye witnesses. On March 12 and 13, they have seen Chinese trucks transporting people who were apparently Tibetans, but who were unknown to anybody. They were brought to Lhasa. Some hours later they could be seen setting buildings on fire. The Chinese want crises for which they can blame the Tibetans.
BTW, there are more texts in German media these days concerning the Tibet situation. The weekly “Die ZEIT” for this weekend has a large article about the situation in the Tibetan exile community in India.
Main points of the text (“Discord in exile”, by Frank Sieren), which portraits a number of ‘heads’ of the exile community:
– Frustration is growing about the seemingly never-ending makeshift situation in exile (increased by the fact that seemingly none of the Tibetans, even their children, can become Indian citizens: they have to renew their residence permits every year)
– Connection between exile community and always-travelling DL is becoming weaker
– Many don’t support the DL’s move to fight for cultural autonomy only, instead of full autonomy
– Many don’t support the nonviolence ideals of the DL, or try to creatively re-define nonviolence
– Others, even representatives of the exile administration acknowledge that not everything is bad in China and that a Tibetan can have a good life in Tibet (right now)
– Even basic religious principles (re-incarnation) are loosing foothold
If new problems are developing in Tibet, then this will add interesting aspects to this year’s political discussions in Germany. This fall the federal parliament is being re-elected, and the current Secretary of State (Steinmeier, Social Democratic Party) is running for Chancellor (German head of government) against the current Chancellor (Merkel, Christian Democratic Union). At the moment, they are in a “grand coalition administration”, but Steinmeier has openly criticized Merkel for her “showy politics” when she officially invited the DL to the Chancellery (thus causing diplomatic relations with China to become quite tense for some time).
DJ, I’m sure you’re aware that China very much does have a problem with illegal guns – check around on the web and you will find stories of whole villages whose main industry is to produce illegal guns. I certainly remember seeing privately owned guns in both Nanjing and Shenzhen, and the word was that it wasn’t hard to get a gun if you wanted one.
Otto Kerner says
DJ, I guess what I’m getting at is that neither side seems to want to admit everything that happened. There was a race riot and there were peaceful protests. Some people want to talk about democracy activism and act as if there were no riots. Then there are guys like Chas Freeman or Hu Jintao who would call the whole thing a race riot. Both descriptions are inadequate.
The following in its entirety is Denvercen’s response to my comment http://tonyp4joke.blogspot.com/2009/02/free-tibet-my-holy-foot.html. I wrote the comment from the mind of a Tibetan, the silent majority. Denvercen has a louder voice than I as he actually lived for part of his childhood in Tibet once.
I completely agree with comment by “TonyP4”, I believe he is an ethnic Tibetan. I am an ethnic Chinese naturalized US citizen. Leave Tibet alone and let them live in peace. Don’t stir up to cause unrest in the area just for political reasons. This is good for China, Tibet and the world peace. The living standard is much better now than before. Chinese have invested too much there not to mention it is strategic and national pride for China. China will not let Tibet go independent. Not too many countries in the world now would let a territory to go independent.
Taiwan’s ex president Chen Shui-bian wanted independent so he can be a “king” and took money from Taiwan and deposited in various foreign banks.
I had lived in Tibet area when I was a child. My father was assigned by then Chinese Kuomingdon government in Chongqing to that area for one year during second world war. There was no much in the area; no good road, just trails and rocky paths, no infrastructure, no government, no toilet facilities, no indoor bathroom, defecation on the street etc. Dead persons would be fed to vultures so they can go to heaven. There no education except at the Lama Temples for the monks.
The local Tibetans were really poor. Of course the “outsiders” weren’t that much better at the same time. Most Tibetan women would toil in the field to provide for the family, frequently with babies on their back. Often, one woman would marry few brothers at the same time and provided for all of them. Most men would go through the Temple for year or two. Others would stay longer because it provided a good life without hard work in the first place.
But the place was beautiful, high mountains, clear skies, fresh and crispy air, cold and clear water, lots of butter from Tibetan Cattle (Yak, called locally “hairy Ox”), Yak milk, transport by riding horses on rocky paths. There was gold glistening in the morning sun in the Golden-Sand River. And you need to pass over the iron-chain wood or bamboo planked bridges swaying left and right. Then there was local roasted barley powder mixed with yak butter as food (Tseng-Ba) when you travel. The horses usually would drink from the creeks first before they were willing to ford the streams. My father often kept a sword handy just in case a mountain cat would come after you. The monks were friendly. But local people usually keep to themselves.
The local people were usually much taller than Han Chinese. I played often at the beautiful Lama Temple near our house, helping the Head Lama hitting the drum so monks will not fall asleep reciting Buddhist Bible When I hit the drum; the recital would get much louder for a short period. There was a missionary family from USA whose young daughter dried sadly when my family moved away back to Chongqing.
I give an example of Israel to compare. Israel was created after WW2. However, they were claiming their ancestor land lost many years ago. Iran said Israel should be eradicated from the earth. But I do not think so. Israel is a well established country with prosperous people and good government. Besides, if I have a choice, I would side with Israel at anytime. I would hate to be ruled under Muslim religion influence. Christian religion nowadays is much more tolerant and nice. I like Christian and Jewish religions even though I am not religious. I hope the Muslin countries would be realistic and make peace with Israel. I don’t think that Israel would ever to be defeated.
Lastly, I don’t understand why Dalai Lama got a Nobel Peace prize for? If this is not politics, what is it? If Dalai was really for the Tibetan people, he should have stayed to promote more rights for local people. Dalai and ruling class in India are history now. The wheel of the history would never turn back just like the Mao Zedong’s cultural revolution which is also history. Just image letting those upper class serf owners to again rule over the Tibet people through religious leaders like in Iran?
Nobel Peace prize. How about give a posthumous Nobel peace prize to the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping. His policy brought a quarter of the mankind out of poverty and into some form prosperity. He was the one who said outright that only market economy will triumph over centralized and planned economy.
Of course it is to the US interest to have China into many pieces; the independence of Tibet, Taiwan, northwest Xinjiang, northeast Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Hongkong and Macau etc. Various countries tried in the past but failed. Chaos in China may affect the world. I quote ( forgot who said it): You can start a war as you want, but you cannot stop a war as you please. I estimate that China will not attain a super power status in 80 years as compared to USA and Russian. And look back in history, is China a country who had invaded many other countries?
Comment by denvercen – February 13, 2009 at 11:43 pm
Otto Kerner says
Ha! Good one, TonyP4 — that guy really thought you were a Tibetan!
Ok, so there is always the master plan of the chinese government, like every time when there is a problem, always blame the Chinese and the Chinese government.
There is always a master plan make by the Chinese government that is reason behind.
Go ahead, blame them and make them the scapgoat for everything.
Yeah, that’s right, I mean, it’s not like the Chinese government is in total control of the police, army, local government, courts, education, internal and external borders etc. I mean, what say does the CCP really have in what happens in Tibet?
I would have told him that I wrote as a Tibetan representing the silent majority, not a real one though spiritually I’m. 🙂
I usually do not check the reply if it is not within an hour or so otherwise I’ll tell him so. The comments are done in a mas production via cut and paste – the same comment for a lot of discussion on the same topic. Via Google yesterday, I found out several comments on my Tibet comment (some good and some bad) and some one quoted my FM comments on universal health care and generous welfare in ChinaDaily forum. The internet world is getting smaller and smaller.
S.K. Cheung says
agreed. If the CHinese government wants to control all those things, then they are responsible for the effects of their control, good and bad.
I’m not sure what Wei is referring to when he/she says “every time when there is a problem” or “make them the scapgoat for everything.” But if there are problems in TIbet, surely the CCP has some burden of responsibility, since she’s running the place.
It is interesting to see the reactions of some people here whenever Tibet/Dalai Lama issue arises here. Sooo respectful with Tibetans a the Dalai Lama. Wonder what the reactions of this very same people would be if the same treatment were applied to them.
My opinion, China has literally blocked all its strategic options in Tibet, there was an option to find a solution satisfying enough for both sides.
Demonizing your opponent just shows the weakness of your arguments and block the roads to rational solutions.
What I see now are just ad hominem argumentes.. ad nauseam.
Way to further conflicts is open. More troops, more clamp downs…. and of course more biashed western media and westerners prohibited to visit Tibet, who wants them any way.
The probably result of all this. The Tibetan culture would be finally destroyed. The only place to see what would be left will be in some Disney like showcase for … beloved minorities
“Ad nauseam arguments are logical fallacies that rely upon the repetition of a single argument while ignoring other valid arguments. This tactic relies on the use of intentional obfuscation, in which other logic and rationality is intentionally ignored in favor of preconceived and, ultimately, subjective modes of reasoning and rationality.”
Courtesy from WIkipedia.
“The probably result of all this. The Tibetan culture would be finally destroyed. The only place to see what would be left will be in some Disney like showcase for … beloved minorities”
Nonsense. Millions of true Tibetan Chinese are living well in their own culture now. Whatelse you need in order to demonstrate a good future.
The dilemma of Tibet issue is that 14th DL is primary a political figure, he is not a simple monk only interested in religion or Tibet culture like you would like to believe.
As long as 14th DL insists on a political solution, there will be no good outcome. How much trouble a few monks can make, no matter how diehard they are towards 14th DL.
China’s Tibet problem has its root in old western colonism. In the 50’s and 60’s, it was a creation of US CIA. You may check out this link
“The United States, Tibet, and the Cold War”
By Melvyn C. Goldstein
“This article examines U.S. policy toward Tibet from the end of the 1940s to the end of the 1980s, especially the 1950s and 1960s. U.S. policy during this period operated on two levels. At the strategic level, the United States consistently supported China’s claim of sovereignty over Tibet. But at the tactical level, U.S. policy varied a great deal over time, ranging from the provision of military and financial aid to Tibetan guerrilla forces in the 1950s and 1960s to the almost complete lack of official attention to Tibet in the 1970s and early 1980s. The article explains why the U.S. government has never accepted Tibet’s claim to independence and why the question of Tibet, after falling into obscurity in the 1970s, reemerged on the U.S. agenda in the mid- to late 1980s. The article highlights the cynicism that has often characterized tactical shifts in U.S. policy.”
Inside Story of CIA’s Black Hands in Tibet
“CIA’s involvement in Tibet during the cold war was well known to knowledgable readers in this group, although the inside stories were scarce. Since Dalai Lama started so-called “non-violent” approach, he and his followers don’t want people to know their dirty laundry. However, those who were involved started to talk, for variuos reasons. Following story tells us the deep involvement of CIA and cooperation between Taiwan, India, and Tibetans. Now, “non-violent” approach has got them to nowhere, except a Nobel Peace Prize that fell on Dalai Lama’s lap and two Hollywood box-office bombs, they are longing once again for those good old violence. Well, could Hollywood + violence achieve what CIA + violence couldn’t achieve? ”
“The U.S. wanted the Dalai Lama to lead his country’s resistance against the Chinese. A secret
cable from 1951 reveals that Washington encouraged the Dalai Lama to “remain
in (a) country near Tibet for purpose of mounting resistance to Chinese
Communists within Tibet.'”
@Shane9219 – Even if we accept your argument in toto it explains precisely nothing as to the current situation. It does not explain why there was an uprising in 1989, it does not explain why there was an uprising last year, it does not explain the continued desire for independence amongst a significant proportion of the Tibetan population. If you wish to argue that Tibetan independence is entirely an artificial construct, you need to explain why Tibetans have not seen it as such, not now, not in the recent past, and not in the distant past. In short, you need to explain the complete disconnect between arguing that the troubles in Tibet are entirely a foreign creation, and the fact that the CCP has complete control of the region but is unable to control the minds and opinions of the Tibetans – despite its best efforts.
“The message Acheson referred to in his cable confirmed America’s standing
offer to the Dalai Lama: “our original position — full aid and assistance to
you when you come out.” Acheson wanted U.S. aid conditioned on the Dalai
Lama’s agreement to leave Tibet. The Dalai Lama was told that while American
planes couldn’t fly into Lhasa to take him into exile, the U.S. would do all
it could to aid him in fleeing Tibet. “
My intention is to show a portion of the original history associated with Tibet issue. That is enough to show what kind of “noble” causes that some people in the west have been taking on, what are their true motives.
Tibet issues have been an irritating one year after year since 14th DL’s exile. 14th DL never gives up his effort to return Tibet under his rule, as simple as that. He has been smart on using different strategies and tactics in different period of time.
So do not put up those “noble” causes, that is just disgusting.
Since 80s’, there have been great improvement in Tibet in terms of roads and telecom infrastructure. Restrictions to travel to Tibet-in-exile community in India were relaxed, some Tibetan families were even allow to send their kids to attend Tibet-in-exile schools in India. All those good intention was clearly back-fired on China, as last year’s event indicated. It also showed DL never gives up his effort to return Tibet under his rule,
It is hard to win 100% Tibet population’s hearts and minds. But so long the majority of Tibetan Chinese continue to live their lives normally on their land, things will be okay.
Fighting separatism movement is common issue to many nations, you saw similar thing in Canada, US, France etc.
S.K. Cheung says
talking about Tibet circa 1950 is what Wahaha likes to do. As FOARP points out, that has nothing to do with today (of course acknowledging that everything today is built on everything that came before today yada yada).
And if the Dalai Lama is not your cup of tea, then why not suggest someone else with whom to negotiate. Of course it seems ridiculous for the CCP to negotiate with someone they appoint as the Tibetan spokesperson. So you’d first have to let Tibetans choose their representative. And if you’re going to allow that, then why not simply give TIbetans a say in a whole range of issues that might concern them? Of course you and the CCP would never go for that. I think it’s always good to acknowledge that it takes two to come to an impasse.
“Fighting separatism movement is common issue to many nations, you saw similar thing in Canada” – of course in our case, Quebecers were given a referendum. And currently, a political party whose express raison d’etre is Quebec independence has the third most seats in our national Parliament. I’m guessing there’s no such parallel in China vis-a-vis Tibet.
“Tibetan Chinese continue to live their lives normally on their land, things will be okay.” – from who’s perspective will that be determined?
“takes two to come to an impasse.”
I agree totally. A bad situation can only get improved when time is right (or stars are lined up). I don’t see that is happening.
China has been calling 14th DL to demonstrate his good intention. But 14th DL has been insisting on a political solution, while telling everyone outside China that his purpose of “meaningful autonomy” is for culture and religion reasons.
A referendum was impossible to Taiwan, let alone Tibet.
“Tibetan Chinese continue to live their lives normally on their land, things will be okay.” – from who’s perspective will that be determined?
Certainly for Tibetan Chinese. Those people soaked with western ideology are not part of that 🙂
I found a news article written in February of 1999, by Peter Hessler that shares an enlightening point of view into Tibet. He describes both points of view and offers his own opinion. This came from the Atlantic Online. Feel free to read it, maybe it can give you guys some insight into the current problems in Tibet.
I surely have learned something.
And here is some information on Peter Hesseler: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Hessler
@Shane – Do you really think that regular readers of this website have not seen these things before? Perhaps you should first review the discussions we had last year. As for ‘western lies’ – please, do you really want to go back over that one? Especially when you are relying on western sources to back up your arguments? This is pure silliness, a monumental changing of the subject – somehow China remains spotless in your arguments, free of even the slightest blame – does this seem realistic to you?
Why do you assume that the government which has controlled Tibet for almost 60 years has no responsibility for the situation there? Why do you think that a CIA project from the late 50’s has a greater impact than current CCP policies towards Tibetans? The CCP has total control over exit and entry in Tibet, as well as significant restrictions on movement within the region, as well as total editorial control of the media available within Tibet – yet somehow you assume that ‘the west’ and the ‘dalai clique’ can spread evil messages which are more powerful that what people see on television, hear on the radio, and read in the newspapers. If life is happy for the Tibetans, if they are enjoying the fruits of progress, then why doesn’t a significant proportion of the Tibetan population see things your way?
S.K. Cheung says
“If life is happy for the Tibetans, if they are enjoying the fruits of progress, then why doesn’t a significant proportion of the Tibetan population see things your way?” – agreed, although I’m still at the point of simply wanting to know how a significant portion of the Tibetan population see things. To borrow from Shane, I don’t see that happening anytime soon either.
You kept changing topics, so I have to try hard to catch up your argument.
No, I never said that Tibet’s current situation is a completely happy one, and China’s policy in Tibet has been spotless and perfect. Just to be fair, for example, I mentioned previously that the policy during 70s’ was disastrous, but people need to know that entire China was affected that time and cultural demage was serously. Now things have changed greatly and time moves on …
Bias do exist in a great deal of Western media. You saw that clearly last year. There were reporters said that they were under pressure from their bosses to say those negative things. In this year, there are some encougraging changes in tones as well as the balance of their coverage. That improvement is the result of a year of hard fight on rhetoric, public opinion and diplomacy.
When coming to the subject of China, there is a tendency in western media to be negative to the point of neck-picking. They seem have no real clue about China.
Let’s put aside the complicated Tibet issue for a moment, for examples, they like to play up extensively on migrant worker issue, and usually with negative coverage — low wages and bad working condition etc … Sure, but migrant workers in China are seasonal farmers with a piece of land and shelter in their hometown. There were given training opporrtunities when not working, many cities provide free education to their children and there is pending policy to give more social welfare.
Migrating popluation is a normal part of industrialization and urbanization. China, as a developing country with a huge farming population, has been handling such issue much better than those many old industrial countries such as GB, as well as other large developing countries such India and Mexico. Even in US, you could also see lots of day labors fearful of police presecution.
@ miaka #32: I read the article you linked to and noticed that many of the Chinese justifications for their being in Tibet are classic “White Man’s Burden” arguments. The Brits used infrastructure improvements, educational improvements, the ending of slavery, elimination of human sacrifice, civilizing the ‘primitive culture’, etc. as justifications for being in India. Those arguments never appeased the native population, as shown by history. I think it’s best that China sticks to historical and geopolitical reasons.
That’s why I think the CPC is so keen on immigration into those provinces and the TGIE is so much against it. As the two cultures intermix, they’ll blend into each other and eventually it’ll become their own unique culture. That seems to be the plan for the CPC to solve the “Tibet question”.
@ Shane: Your CIA argument is irrelevant. The CIA got involved in Tibet in 1950 because China sent 780,000 troops into Korea to attack American and UN forces. Remember that part? Since the rapprochement of China and the USA, there has been no reason for the CIA to be involved in Tibet, just to gather intelligence like China gathers intelligence in the USA. That argument’s been invalid for about 40 years now, and has no bearing on the present situation. China has obvious internal issues in Tibet that need to be solved.
The Tibetans never chose communism, it was thrust upon them. China chose communism, and has had to live with the ups and down of it over the last 60 years. Because of it, Tibetans had to put up with the disaster of farm collectivization and the CR, circumstances that were not of their own doing and completely under control of Han Chinese. Is it any surprise they still harbor resentment?
Virtually every society in the world lives better than they did in 1950, so Tibetans can look upon their internal situation and think, “We would no only have advanced, but advanced at a more rapid rate than with China because so many years were wasted”. I don’t personally think that’s accurate but it’s hard to convince someone a theoretical possibility would not have occurred. They feel they are not the captain of their own ship, but serve under another, though China tries:
“To seek another’s profit
And work another’s gain.”
but in the end, all they receive is:
“The blame of those ye better
The hate of those ye guard–”
That’s the crux of the problem; not foreign interference, not Hollywood, not the ‘western’ media, not even the DL. Until China can win the hearts and minds of the Tibetans under the Chinese governing system, this problem will continue to fester. Justification does not equal acceptance or a feeling of belonging.
hmmm, this just looks likes an attempt to get media attention and nothing more.
As for DL’s interpretation of the events, I’m aware he made those wild accusations early on, but were those remarks made recently?
This particular interview was published two days ago.
S.K. Cheung says
To Shane #35:
“migrant workers in China are seasonal farmers with a piece of land and shelter in their hometown. There were given training opporrtunities when not working, many cities provide free education to their children and there is pending policy to give more social welfare.”
That may be the case for some. I’ve read anecdotes (yes, in the blasted “western media”) of people who sold their farms and moved to the city, who then lost their jobs and have nothing to return to. And examples of businessman starting soup kitchens and feeding people once a day, since these people had absolutely no money.
I suspect on average, the situation is likely not as rosy as you suggest; and I very much hope that it’s not as bleak as what I read. And again, thanks to the CCP, it’s tough to really know what the situation is like, on average.
I don’t think you get the point, that is, 14th DL’s true intention is not so much on culture and Tibet religion as he claimed, he wants Tibet to return under his rule, not part of China. He can try any method that makes sense, even quite violent ones.
“Virtually every society in the world lives better than they did in 1950”
I don’t agree. Look at the country south to US border, Mexico tried to be a western style democracy for a long time, now is running by drug lords. You can also look at many countries in South America and Africa continent.
Without any direct experience living in China, people outside China do not understand and can not image how challenging and mammoth a task it is to move a country with huge population buried deep in their old culture and tradition. It was the case in early 20th century when Qing Dynasty was declining, still was the case in the middle of 20th century, and still a case now. Building a nation is not as simple as a game, let alone with billions of population. Even Tibet has a population and land size larger than many small countries. The good thing is that Chinese have been courageous, and keep looking her own way to move ahead and never give up, even with obstacle and hardship imposed by others.
There is no place on Earth called “heaven” 🙂
William Huang says
I take a grin of salt at anything Dalai Lama has to say about China or Chinese. This kind of conspiracy theory can only fool a kindergarten kid. Not long after Olympic was over last year, TGIE had to retract a statement he made in a different interview that 140 Tibetans were killed.
Upon his effort to research so called “A million Tibetans killed”, Patrick French (a former director of “Free-Tibet” in London) found that the collection of so called evidences by TGIE’s are not only questionable but some are just ridiculous. There is no evidence at all to support the number even close to claim.
It also happens in The FM blog sometimes. Some of so called evidence or data are so far fetched; the word “sloppy” will be an understatement. Sometimes people are too eager to believe what they like to believe, a slight relevance would validate their conviction. December 16, 2008 article on FM by Arctosia is a case in point. His so-called “exact citation” is close to a practical joke for all intended purpose and fooled some people. I am afraid that this kind of discussion is much ado about nothing.
S.K. Cheung says
“This kind of conspiracy theory can only fool a kindergarten kid.” – well, call me a kindergartner. Of course, before I’d believe the Dalai Lama on his theory, he would need to pass a substantial burden of proof. However, do you have anything that allows you to disprove his theory out of hand, other than your own convictions?
That such a theory even merits mention (ie. CCP purposely harming Chinese as part of an elaborate PR exercise at the expense of Tibetans) is thanks to the admirable prior track record of the CCP. And it’s the CCP’s own refusal to allow independent observers that prevents them from being vindicated, or convicted, depending on your proclivities.
sorry, didn’t understand the reference to “heaven”.
“The good thing is that Chinese have been courageous, and keep looking her own way to move ahead and never give up, even with obstacle and hardship imposed by others.” – I hope some outside criticism isn’t seen as an insurmountable obstacle. Just as I hope the odd “hurt feeling” doesn’t hamper progress.
It takes a lot of struggle and trials to improve people’s life on a large scale. In some cases, certain part of a population has to go through a somewhat painful process. So it means there is no “heaven” on Earth.
“As the two cultures intermix, they’ll blend into each other and eventually it’ll become their own unique culture. ”
Do we see the same cases in US? As long as it happens in a natural way, why it is a problem. I somehow heard that interracial marriage is quite fashionable nowadays in US.
@Shane (#40): “I don’t agree. Look at the country south to US border, Mexico tried to be a western style democracy for a long time, now is running by drug lords. You can also look at many countries in South America and Africa continent.”
Since the question was whether most countries are better off as compared to 1950, you might be correct in your assessment of a large swaths of African countries since they have barely have any development at all; whereas in Mexico, GDP per capita has doubled several times in that time frame, from $2085.00 in 1950 to $12400.00 in 2007:
Mexico is considered the 11th largest economy in the world in terms of GDP by several institutions:
Of course GDP isn’t everything, but it’s quite easy to forget the large leap other countries made just by looking at the present. The corruption in Mexico is ugly, but simply denying their development by saying they are “running by drug lords” seems to be a bit too much of a stretch for me. Also, what has this to do with “western democracy”? It keeps coming up all the time in discussions like this, even when it’s not warranted.
William Huang says
@ S.K. Cheung #43
To be honest, I thought you were being sarcastic. You sounded like if there is a void, people can make up stories. I have no intention of calling anyone a kindergartener. If there is a misunderstanding, I apologize.
As for disprove of his theory, no, I don’t. If someone claims that he was adopted by UFO and lived with Aliens for 3 days without any proof, it doesn’t exist as far as I am concerned. As for fact that CCP won’t let people to access to cause DL to speculate, your timing is off. As a matter of fact there was an open access before the government declared the martial law during the March 2008 riot and DL was referring to that event. If I follow your line of logic, China would have to close the access before the riot then got the whole scheme rolling. Since they didn’t, then your theory only supports the likelihood that there was no conspiracy.
Speaking of allocating the blame on CCP for causing the theory to exist in the first place, it’s an individual’s call depending on your judgment and character. We are all hold accountable for our own actions that include yours, mine, CCP’s, DL’s, media’s and readers’ of this blog. Besides, China has been blamed for a lot of things and I am sure you know more than I do. So this is really a small peanut. In this sense we, Chinese however overly sensitive may be, are willing to take responsibilities for whatever happened in China, good and bad.
1) “You saw that clearly last year.”
No, I didn’t.
2) “There were reporters said that they were under pressure from their bosses to say those negative things.”
Name one western journalist who said that he or she came under pressure to say negative things.
3) “When coming to the subject of China, there is a tendency in western media to be negative to the point of neck-picking. They seem have no real clue about China.”
I guess you mean ‘nit-picking’, and I have only seen grave negativity when it comes to the government, the media is usually bullish about the Chinese economy, and about cultural and social developments there.
4) “has been handling such issue much better than those many old industrial countries such as GB”
By what standard? By the “It’s okay to have naked mad-men squatting on the street in their own filth for months on end in front of a police station, to have workers organise their own strikes because they lack any real representation, to have extreme levels of pollution, to have prostitution and crime on a massive scale ” standard? It seems you have never been outside the check points in Shenzhen – because I saw all these things and more there. Or does doing better than the UK did when its average GDP was the same as China’s is now (which, by the way, was around 1860) mean that the CCP must be doing a good job?
@SKC – “I’ve read anecdotes (yes, in the blasted “western media”) of people who sold their farms and moved to the city, who then lost their jobs and have nothing to return to.”
Problem is, to sell your farm, you have to own it in the first place. No farmer does.
@William Hung – There has never been ‘open access’ to Tibet for foreign journalists, and now even foreign tourists are banned – so what are you talking about?
@ Shane #40: Out of curiosity, how can you know what the Dalai Lama’s true intention is? Aren’t you guessing like anyone else? Reminds me of the old Woody Allen line, “I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam; I looked into the soul of the boy sitting next to me.” 🙂
Isn’t it pretty obvious that the CPC isn’t going to deal with the DL, not now, not ever? How can he try anything if he can’t even get into the country? Why would anyone listen to him if life there has improved so much? I keep hearing this contradiction: “life in Tibet is so much better than before” and “the Tibetans aren’t grateful for all the money and extra privileges they have over normal Chinese”. If all this is true, why aren’t they grateful? Why is there a lockdown in Tibet right now? I’m not “pro” or “anti” Tibet and I don’t ever expect Tibet to become independent. But I’ve seen absolutely no indication that the people there are satisfied with CPC rule. It’s not like Inuits in Canada, it’s not like American Indian reservations, it’s not like India, etc. It’s a very unique situation.
“I don’t agree. Look at the country south to US border, Mexico tried to be a western style democracy for a long time, now is running by drug lords. You can also look at many countries in South America and Africa continent.”
Have you spent much time in Mexico or know it’s political history? Until relatively recently, it was a one-party government (PRI) with a token voting system that was rigged to favor the ruling party. It was incredibly corrupt. The economy was terrible. That party finally screwed up the country so badly in the mid 1990s that the opposition party (PAN) was able to break the lock and take over the country. Since then the economy has boomed, as Wukailong has also pointed out. I’ve gone down there occasionally for many years and seen the changes firsthand. Since the ’50s, economies in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, South America, Australia & New Zealand, SE Asia and yes, even Africa have all improved. The only countries that have gone backwards are ones that had corrupt authoritarian governments, civil wars and massive corruption, and normally a combination of all three.
Can you tell me which “drug lord” is running Mexico? Can you tell me which South American countries have gone backwards since the 1950s? Can you name countries in Africa not wracked by civil wars or authoritarian dictators (such as Zimbabwe) that are worse off than back in 1950? Zimbabwe didn’t even exist in 1950, it was Rhodesia until around 1980 and run by the English. If you disagree with the term “virtually every” you’ll have to give numerous examples and they’ll have to be factually correct. So far you’ve given one and it was incorrect.
“Without any direct experience living in China, people outside China do not understand and can not image how challenging and mammoth a task it is to move a country with huge population buried deep in their old culture and tradition.”
Shane, I lived in China, I lived in Taiwan, my wife is Hakka, our kids are out of college and we’ve been married since before interracial marriage became fashionable. When I was in China, I didn’t hang around in expat bars, I worked exclusively with Chinese, I traveled the country extensively and worked with some of the brightest minds in the country, from the best universities. I know the culture better than you might expect. In fact, a lot of the regular non-Chinese contributors on this blog have lived or are living in China. Quite frankly, I’ve seen more of the old culture and tradition in Taiwan and Hong Kong. A lot of cultural change was forced on the people during the Mao years. The CPC claims to have shattered the “Old China” and created the “New China” with socialist characteristics. Don’t you buy the party line?
“The good thing is that Chinese have been courageous, and keep looking her own way to move ahead and never give up, even with obstacle and hardship imposed by others.”
Most of the hardships and obstacles in the last 60 years were imposed on China by the CPC. Foreigners didn’t impose the GLF or the CR. Foreigners didn’t force collectivization. Foreigners didn’t create the hukou system. Foreigners didn’t encourage large families that created huge overpopulation problems. Some would say the Chinese people have managed to overcome the obstacles and hardships imposed by the CPC during the first 30 years of its rule.
“Do we see the same cases in US? As long as it happens in a natural way, why it is a problem. I somehow heard that interracial marriage is quite fashionable nowadays in US.”
I’ve seen enough interracial marriages to know that when people marry for fashionable reasons, those marriages fail. I married before anyone ever heard of “yellow fever” and my wife is the first Asian women I ever dated, in fact, the first I ever really knew. Her being Chinese was irrelevant to me.
From what I’ve heard in China from people with firsthand experience in China, in both Tibet and Xinjiang (I’ve never been to either one), the Han Chinese usually live separate from the locals. I’ve heard more personal experiences from Xinjiang where the two cultures don’t integrate at all, so it is not happening in a natural way there. The friends I’ve known who’ve been to Tibet only went there on holiday and never lived there, while I’ve known several Han Chinese friends who actually lived in Xinjiang, usually in Urumqi. In Urumqi, it’s a stratified society with Uyghurs facing discrimination, and that’s straight from the Han Chinese who lived there. One guy in Shanghai who had lived several years in Urumqi told me directly that “those people aren’t Chinese”.
So same cases in USA? Yes, I’d say the same as the USA in 1950. Can it change? If the USA can change, I don’t see why Xinjiang can’t change. I lived through those times and saw the progression from minorities being totally segregated and considered as second class citizens to today’s world where race is pretty irrelevant to the vast majority of people. But I also believe that until it happens, until the Uyghurs and Tibetans feel as much Chinese as the Han people who live near them, there will be no peace in either province, just like it was in the USA.
@ William Huang #42: All very good points. As SKC wrote and I agree, we both take all pronounciations about Tibet with a pretty large grain of salt. How can the TGIE be so sure of its facts when they’re located in India? What happens if their Tibetan sources exaggerate or make things up? And how can I believe anything the official Chinese media reports when I know that the media’s prime purpose is to serve the interests of the state? When I lived there, every article in a Chinese newspaper was an editorial espousing the munificence of the party. Great cure for insomnia…
“There were reporters said that they were under pressure from their bosses to say those negative things.”
One case involved a reportor in Germany, who was suspended when simply defend China with a few good words. There were reporters who resigned in disgust. You can dig out some old reports last year.
“Tibet for foreign journalists, and now even foreign tourists are banned”
Those sanction against foreign reporters are entirely justified since last year’s event. Stability is above all the most important thing. I have been saying that since 80s’, China has been loosening travel restriction in Tibet area to foreigners, as well as allow more free-flow of people, goods and information between TIE in India and Tibet region. Those efforts aim to improve life in TIE community as well as for confidence building. Those efforts have pros and cons. Certainly, 14th DL and TIE used those channels to strength their influcence in Tibet. As the result, it did back-fired on China.
“running by drug lords”
It is so by fact. Do you know how many thousands people were executed in gang style last year. How many policemen were killed or forced to quit to pretect their own life? Do you dare to travel and drive around in Mexico?
“Out of curiosity, how can you know what the Dalai Lama’s true intention is? Aren’t you guessing like anyone else?”
No, Steve, DL’s actions speak for himself.
Sigh…. People are waxing philosophical about Tibet vs. China when this article is about:
“I am very worried. Many Chinese citizens have armed themselves, and they are ready to shoot. It is a very tense situation. At any moment there could be an explosion of violence.”
And where did these Chinese get these guns????? All you folks who believe this comment by DL has ANY credibility, you want to tell me where these guns came from?
It’s illegal for private citizens to own guns. Period. (please don’t try to argue this point).
Lies Lies Outright Lies. I once admired the DL (before i knew much about him – hollywood reached me before anything else), but the more I find out about him and is cause, the more he really turns out to be a sly devil.
But the chinese gov’t is nothing if not patient and clever. DL will be dead soon enough, and I can only see bad things for the TGIE once that happens.
Mike Fish says
Otto Kerner is right. Both sides of this are in complete denial. The government side is in denial that Tibetans have ever been surpressed and that they are being made a “minority” in their homeland and therefore might have some real reasons to be angry and violent. The Tibet side is in denial that their people could be angry and violent and actually kill innocent civilians.
Regardless of one’s “side”, how many of the pundits, players, and writers on this issue have actually been to these places, spent time with people from either side, actually talked and listened. Communication is he problem. Most ethnic Han people, no matter how often they’ve driven their jeeps from Chengdu or Xining to Lhasa, have no way to ever really communicate with Tibetans. It’s almost like rich city Americans driving out West to the Indian reservations and attempting to have meaningful communications with poor Apaches living in trailers while on their week long vacation. But the rift in Tibet is really much deeper and harder to span.
The China+DL+Tibet has been making me scratching my head for long time. I just see the problems from an engineering point of view. Find the best solution with available resources and current situation.
The best person to get a deal in the TB versus CH issue which would comply with Chinese imperative of territorial integrity, with clout enough over Tibetan people to set through difficult compromises to its countrymen and with enough international recognition to receive significant support (plus a PR coup for China) is the DL himself.
But Chinese side has demonized him to the extreme. By doing so they have literally deleted any strategic options in the negotiation. Like some one who has painted himself into a corner of a room. Very difficult to do an U turn now.
The current strategy seems to be, just wait for the old man to die. It will be easier to clamp the TB people afterwards….. or may be not.
A very shortsighted strategy IMHO. With much less effort much more could have been achieved for the greater benefit of both sides.
A very inefficient and potentially dangerous way to solve conflicts.
As engineer I have a great distaste for inefficiencies (also aware of the dangers of extreme efficiency). You can consider it is a professional bias from my side
Mike Fish says
Shan91219… saying all of Mexico is controlled by drug lords, just based on the drug wars happening in mostly northern Mexico, might not be so well informed. Not to down play the severity and potential for ruining Mexico, it is a large country and the vast majoirty of the drug violence has been in certain states. Though an imperfect analogy, it would be like assuming all of China is unstable just because of Tibet and Xinjing being restive.
S.K. Cheung says
To William #46:
“You sounded like if there is a void, people can make up stories.” – I believe we understand each other, but just to be clear, I don’t advocate making up stories as news. But if there is an info void, I do believe that substandard info (like the single-source stuff) will get reported in the absence of more rigorous and verifiable information.
“China would have to close the access before the riot then got the whole scheme rolling. Since they didn’t, then your theory only supports the likelihood that there was no conspiracy.” – that’s a good point. If independent observers were in fact in Lhasa before the riots started, and didn’t see anything to corroborate this conspiracy theory, then it does decrease the likelihood of the conspiracy’s existence…though not to the point of excluding it entirely. To meet that threshold, you’d had to have conducted some sort of investigation after the fact.
I agree with your last paragraph.
“Problem is, to sell your farm, you have to own it in the first place. No farmer does.” – I thought that was true in the past, but didn’t think it was still true today. The dastardly western media has messed up again, those darn blokes.
To Steve #48:
well said once again, as “almost always” 🙂
To Colin #51:
“It’s illegal for private citizens to own guns.” – and private citizens in China would never do anything illegal now, would they?
“Can you tell me which “drug lord” is running Mexico?”
Wake and smell the cociane.. er.. coffee
Let’s take this in context. This is the country that borders the frickin US. These guys should be the defacto number 2 economic power in the world given their natural and geopolitical resources. How many countless government officials and police have been killed by the cartels? No… Mexico is NO Xinjiang.
“Quite frankly, I’ve seen more of the old culture and tradition in Taiwan and Hong Kong. ”
Taiwan and HK had massive support and investment from western entities.
“Shane, I lived in China, I lived in Taiwan, my wife is Hakka, our kids are out of college and we’ve been married since before interracial marriage became fashionable. When I was in China, I didn’t hang around in expat bars, I worked exclusively with Chinese, I traveled the country extensively and worked with some of the brightest minds in the country, from the best universities. I know the culture better than you might expect.’
Strikes me as very superficial. Just like you can’t understand what it means to be black in the US, you can’t understand what it’s like to be chinese, even if you have a chinese wife.
“Most of the hardships and obstacles in the last 60 years were imposed on China by the CPC. Foreigners didn’t impose the GLF or the CR. Foreigners didn’t force collectivization. Foreigners didn’t create the hukou system. Foreigners didn’t encourage large families that created huge overpopulation problems. Some would say the Chinese people have managed to overcome the obstacles and hardships imposed by the CPC during the first 30 years of its rule. ”
Nope, you definitely don’t understand the chinese.
“I married before anyone ever heard of “yellow fever” and my wife is the first Asian”
You would have more credibility if you never mentioned your asian wife. Sounds like the typical interracial guy using his significant other to prove how much he loves or knows about XYZ country.
“in both Tibet and Xinjiang (I’ve never been to either one), the Han Chinese usually live separate from the locals.”
Everyone is a stranger until they are part of the family, so to say. What exactly is Han chinese? Do you think one tiny little tribe in china somehow populated all of the current Han from their seeds to create the now “uniform” Han? It was the superiority of the original Han culture that assimilated everyone who is now Han. (No bigoted tones here about “superiority” here, just the fact that it took over china completely). Think about how different Cantonese people are from Beijing people. It will happen with the Uigyers and Tibetans eventually. And as a result, “Han” will change slightly to incorporate their features. But implying that Uigyers and Tibetans will not assimilate goes against the historical trends. And they are only more resistant because outside forces are pushing them away from China.
“But I also believe that until it happens, until the Uyghurs and Tibetans feel as much Chinese as the Han people who live near them, there will be no peace in either province, just like it was in the USA. ”
“No peace in either province”? A bit dramatic, no? We westerners see Tibet and Xinjiang as such a problem because they are purposely trumpeted as propaganda to show how evil china is. People will gripe and complain, but as long as they have food to eat and a chance at a “normal” life, they’re not going to jeopardize those same things. Western style “human rights” are highly overrated to the average folk, anywhere in the world. I’m sure more than a few americans facing foreclosure will gladly give up their constitutional rights in return for keeping their homes.
“And how can I believe anything the official Chinese media reports when I know that the media’s prime purpose is to serve the interests of the state?”
So everything they say is a lie… interesting logic.
[Personal insults removed. Please, let’s keep the tone civil here. DJ]
“But Chinese side has demonized him to the extreme. By doing so they have literally deleted any strategic options in the negotiation.”
I think that’s the point. They WILL NOT be negotiating with the TGIE. The chinese are quite happy with the current situation in Tibet and Xinjiang. A few incidents here and there, but nothing of much significance. The issue of Tibet is ONLY important in that it is a point of leverage in diplomacy between the West (mostly US) and China. And the chinese know this.
If push come to shove, the US WILL GIVE UP TAIWAN, to say nothing of Tibet.
One thing about Mexico
If you were given the choice to choose between China or Mexico to live the last 60 year, what would you choose?
I choose Mexico hands down!! 🙂
¡Que viva Mexico!
“Nope, you definitely don’t understand the chinese.”
Ah, yes… The mysterious and inscrutable land of China and its people….
I agree with your opinion. There will be no negotiations with TGIE or DL. The situation as it is now can be easily controlled and if needed the land can be effectively sealed from the outside world.
Only if it really explodes something different could be possible be done in different direction from repression, but then it could be too late to do any good.
Whatever you think, I do not consider the current strategy a wise one. It needs energy and resources to maintain it and it is a potential danger in case of crisis.
Greater benefits could be achieved with different strategy, but as said, the Chinese side is now psychologically unable to do it.
Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United State.
Poor Tibet so close to the sky but so close to China.
“If you were given the choice to choose between China or Mexico to live the last 60 year, what would you choose?’
What does the last 60 years have to do with this? Mexico is descending into an orgy of drug cartel violence. Police and government offices shot daily. All else being equal, I’d rather take a vacation to Xinjiang than Mexico right now.
“Ah, yes… The mysterious and inscrutable land of China and its people….”
I’m tempted with one of my now famous curses here, but I’ll refrain. Your comment is condescending and insulting. And quite ignorantly typical.
Here’s an article about illegal guns in China:
Doesn’t seem like it’s a very serious problem from this report, so I would be surprised if all and sundry in Tibet have armed themselves… though the problem certainly exists. And I know several persons here who’ve seen people carrying guns.
Just my 50 cent of mental farting.
“What does the last 60 years have to do with this?”
Quite a bit IMHO
” Mexico is descending into an orgy of drug cartel violence. Police and government offices shot daily”
You are overreacting. Is there a Chinese media bias against Mexico?
” All else being equal, I’d rather take a vacation to Xinjiang than Mexico right now.”
If find China touristically interesting but given the choice to go to Acapulco, Cancun, Baja California or Maya seaside…… hhhmmm. Hard choice… hard choice to say the least.
“I’m tempted with one of my now famous curses here, but I’ll refrain.”
I am deeply grateful by you kindness.
” Your comment is condescending and insulting. And quite ignorantly typical.”
The comment was not condescending or insulting, It was ironic. And directed to you. If you can not recognize irony when you see it….well… there is nothing I can do to help you.
“Here’s an article about illegal guns in China:”
I’ve learned my lesson. Never make a statement without checking google for some shred of far off information that might prove the statement otherwise. 🙂
Seriously though, the government takes illegal guns VERY seriously. Why, because they are terrified of protests against their power, to say nothing about ARMED protests against them. Anybody caught making or distributed guns will be shot (no exaggeration). Who would take this risk making guns, and who would take the risk owning guns? Would there be enough of these people to really make any significance on any issue in china? Having a gun is no laughing matter in China.
Lots of tangential arguments and info hear. Let’s get back to the topic. Does anyone believe tibetans in china are threatened by han carrying guns?
“but given the choice to go to Acapulco, Cancun, Baja California or Maya seaside…… ”
Ooops… Oh my! I forgot Teotihuacan!
Have you seen the recent news?
I heard over the radio how the gangs are toying with the police. They announced over the police radio the specific names of 2 polices officers they were going to kill, and later carried out the act. Law enforcement is non-existent as far as I’m concerned. Also, one of the top stories in CNN this weekend was the violence in mexico, repeated over and over. They were interviewing locals, vacationers, spring break college kids… maybe for dramatic effect?
Either it’s true, or it’s “western media bias”. 🙂
This, my friend, is irony.
Here’s an interesting question though. With the global economy going down the toilet, what will be illegal drug’s role in this crisis? Will the drug and violence problem get worse, and if so, how much worse vis-a-vis the economic downturn?
““but given the choice to go to Acapulco, Cancun, Baja California or Maya seaside…… ”
Ooops… Oh my! I forgot Teotihuacan!
Again, you’re going on a tangent. Nobody is disputing the beauty of mexico. I’d love to see Teotihuacan. Just read an article in NatGeo about it in fact. But the point is this:
I DON’T WANT TO GET SHOT IN GANG RELATED CROSSFIRE OR KIDNAPPED FOR RANSOM!
I just did some more reading on Mexico, and damn, it’s worse than I even imagined:
“More than 1,000 people have been killed in Mexico in drug-related violence this year. In 2008, the toll doubled from the previous year to 6,290. Both the U.S. and Canada have warned that murders related to drug activity in certain parts of Mexico, particularly along the border with the U.S., have raised the level of risk in visiting the country.”
Have 1000 people even died in IRAQ THIS YEAR?! Holy smokes!
China is no USA. Citizens do not carry guns. Guns are manufactured for export or military use. Any violator of crimes that are petite to the west could receive death penalty – very effective but not ‘civilized’ to the west. Unless CCP approves citizens in Tibet to own gun, I do not visualize them to do so.
Mexico has nice and terrible places like most other countries. Cancun is very beautiful (the best Mexican city I have been to) and was created for tourists. But, when you go downtown, you see a different city even it is better than most Mexican cities.
If I have a choice, I would select China over Mexico for my background and language. Living in Beijing and SH is quite different in the ghost towns in S. China. It is quite hard to generalize a big country like China.
You can see the increase of crimes in the ghost towns of S. China. These towns were originally created/improved for wealth via building factories to manufacture goods for export. They are quite different for a normal city. Their crime rates were not good before and now they could be the highest for China. The local governors can only control them by death penalty with their limited resources.
I just saw an Ad on a paper about tomorrow making a 50th Anniversary Tibetan National Uprising Day. There’s going to be a usual protest in NYC going from Brooklyn, to the UN, to the Chinese Embassy, and then to Union Square. That’s going to be fun.
@Shane – “One case involved a reportor in Germany, who was suspended when simply defend China with a few good words. There were reporters who resigned in disgust.”
So no actual examples of journalists saying they were under pressure to produce negative stories then – only the highly dubious case surrounding Deutche Welle, where we could just as easily say that the reporter in question would have been much happier working for CCTV. And who were these other reporters?
“Those sanction against foreign reporters are entirely justified since last year’s event. Stability is above all the most important thing”
Here’s a strange one, foreign journalists are apparently a threat to stability, yet are allowed access to the majority of China proper. Your argument makes no sense. You are trying to argue that the Tibetan problem is caused by foreigners, yet the same foreigners have access to other parts of China but do not cause trouble there. Isn’t the real reason that journalists would report on the actual situation in Tibet and show the degree to which the CCP lies about the situation there? If China’s troubles are caused by outside plotting, and the people of Tibet are as much Chinese as the Han majority, then why is it that of the PRC’s possessions, only the Tibetans and the Uighur have shown a significant desire to secede? Are the Han somehow invulnerable to western propaganda (which the majority of them have never heard)? Why is it that you believe that the Dalai Lama is brainwashing the people of Tibet when he has no way of reaching people there unless they first collude in allowing him to?
Historically, large swaths of the territory currently governed by the PRC have been dominated by foreign powers, the Shandong peninsula, for example, was a German colony in all but name before the first world war, Manchuria was turned into a puppet colony by the Japanese, and before that was governed in a similar fashion by the Russians, the border region in the south was overawed by the French, and the British established themselves at Weihai. In contrast, Tibet was invaded briefly in 1905, and otherwise had little or no contact with the outside world for hundreds of years before 1949 – so why are you blaming foreign powers for the PRC’s problems there?
To add to FOARP’s point, foreigners were actually the ones who dispelled a lot of the disinformation coming from TGIE. (kadfly, the journalist from the economist, foreign tourist etc.)
Let me get this straight, you live and grew up in the US? When was the last time you were in the PRC? Have you ever worked there? Studied? Can you read Chinese? Why do you assume that men know nothing of their wives – would you be saying the same thing if a Han Chinese person who was married to a Tibetan came here to explain how his relationship has given him a deeper understanding of his wife’s culture? It seems to me that you are well placed to tell us how it is to be Chinese in the US, but not in China – perhaps you’d be better off not lecturing in this fashion.
“Let me get this straight, you live and grew up in the US?”
“When was the last time you were in the PRC?”
A couple of years ago
“Have you ever worked there? Studied?Can you read Chinese?”
Yes, Yes, Yes
“Why do you assume that men know nothing of their wives”
Same analogy applies. If you married a black or whatever person, sure, you know your wife well, but does that make you know what being black is about? If I marred a black person, I wouldn’t presume that I would ever fully understand their world view, and I certainly wouldn’t trumpet my black wife on an internet blog as proof that I understand the predicaments and essence of being black. This is would be superficial and shallow.
There is a profound essence and understanding that can be only appreciated if you are that type of individual and have truly gone through the trials of those people. Being an expat in China, no matter how close you get with the locals, you can’t make that leap. Having a chinese wife won’t make that leap either, and should not be trumpeted as a reason for understanding a people.
@Colin – Are you really going to tell us that you have ‘gone through the trials’ of those who have suffered at the hands of the CCP? Do you think that Chinese blood alone means that you understand China more than any non-ethnic Chinese ever could? This is mystic nonsense. Many Chinese that I know who actually fully agree with what Steve said – I guess they don’t understand the Chinese either?
“Are you really going to tell us that you have ‘gone through the trials’ of those who have suffered at the hands of the CCP? Do you think that Chinese blood alone means that you understand China more than any non-ethnic Chinese ever could? This is mystic nonsense. Many Chinese that I know who actually fully agree with what Steve said – I guess they don’t understand the Chinese either?”
I never made any of these statements. I’m trying to rationalize their world view and thinking. I will say that at least I am considering the rationales of the other side rather than blind condemnation of them.
I don’t think Peter Hessler’s article provided by miaka in #32 provided anything insight at all beyond the same tired and misunderstood arguments.
As for White Man’s Burden argument … that’s another classic misunderstanding of the Chinese argument that someone can easily get from Hesller’s article.
If you are interested, please revisit this comment to get more insight.
@ Allen #80: I agree with you about there being no comparison to imperialism. I wasn’t trying to imply that China didn’t have sovereinty over Tibet so there’s no misunderstanding. My point was that China is using the “White Man’s Burden” argument as proof to show she is fulfilling her responsibility to govern properly.
Back in 1960, the US government said they were fulfilling their responsibilities to the African American community by using the same “White Man’s Burden” argument but the African American community didn’t agree. Today it’s a different story. The only answer that really counts is that made by the community itself.
Today China is saying that Tibetans are being governed responsibly and use the “White Man’s Burden” argument as their evidence. Until the Tibetans agree, the argument is no better than the one the US Government made back then. I can personally remember the riots in the ’60s over civil rights. Today there aren’t any civil rights riots and no major protests.
As we speak, Tibet is in a martial law lockdown, no different than the curfews imposed in some downtown American cities back then but covering a far wider geographical area. Do you think the two situations are comparable?
Remember, I believe that China has valid historical and geopolitical reasons for being in Tibet. I’m not advocating independence. The Chinese Constitution as you so kindly posted allows a certain amount of autonomy in Tibet, so I’m also not advocating complete autonomy but something that would by law fit within the current Constitutional structure. I’ve said before that some of the DL’s positions are ludicrious and non-starters. Is this a 0%/100% situation or is there somewhere in between that would be acceptable to the Chinese government along with the vast majority of Tibetans? Some compromise that would negate the martial lockdown of entire provinces? Whatever happened to the “middle way”?
To say there is no “middle way” implies that Tibetans are not Chinese, that they have nothing in common with other Chinese and there is no room for adjustment or compromise. I simply don’t believe this.
I think what # 18 and # 20 said about my post is full of ****, that you need to stop viewing other people as scapgoat in your own little world.
@ Wei #82: Feel free to state your opinions and take issue with others who dispute them, but please hold the profanity.
The DL said, “But the Chinese army did not intervene at first, even though they had surrounded the quarter.” I think that’s because the Chinese police wanted to make sure adequate footages of the violent rioters were caught on tape – this is an excellent way to root out the separatists. If your brain is at least half the size of an ape, this is what you would do on the China side.
For the DL to accuse the Chinese government of staging this violence, it really shows that he is a retard. Why would China stage the violence in the year of the Olympics to draw these unwanted attention to an area that has been developing rather nicely? Actually, it goes to show he lacks morals, because he knows full well what he says is not the case.
@FOARP, Steve, et al,
The key issue for me is, between any group of people, you can always have issue. Between Black and Whites in the USA. Between even men and women anywhere on this planet. Yes, between Han Chinese and other Chinese minority. For whatever reason, things are the way they are. If you continue to promote division between any group of people, they soon will hate each other enough to want to kill each other. That is human nature I believe.
Once the killing starts, the cycle of violence is incredibly difficult to stop.
This is the technique the European colonialists did to Africa in order to control them.
Back to the issue – I firmly believe the TGIE is loosing control of the so-called “pro” Tibet groups in U.S. and U.K.. These groups are true separatists. They really are not after harmoney between Tibetan Chinese and the rest of the Chinese population.
Perhaps you can prove me wrong. Until otherwise, I think China must take the position it takes against these elements. They are only interested in prevailing cycle of violence.
Officially, U.K., U.S., and German governments are not doing anything along these lines. Fine, I understand the CIA project during the Cold War. It was natural they did such things back then.
Finally, you will argue from the “human rights” angle that people do genuinely care about the well being of every Chinese – including the Tibetans. Well, my personal position is that you have to give China time. Every country has a right to self determination and advance the way they see fit. Chinese people thinks the “human rights” activists are too arrogant to lecture. That sentiment should be plenty clear in this forum.
Actually, for people who are genuine and sincere in their views on human rights, China does consult them. These people do not resort to scoundrelism.
Maybe 50-100 years from now, it will be China’s turn to lecture other countries on not having good enough “human rights”. What do you want China to do at that time?
Should rich Chinese then donate money and help, say, Hawaiians fight for their independence? I certainly hope not.
I would expect China to let in foreigners to study in China and get advise on how to better develop. This is the type of privilege the U.S., U.K., and German governments officially allow Chinese nationals to do today.
William Huang says
@ Steve #81
“Today China is saying that Tibetans are being governed responsibly and use the “White Man’s Burden” argument as their evidence. Until the Tibetans agree, the argument is no better than the one the US Government made back then. I can personally remember the riots in the ’60s over civil rights. Today there aren’t any civil rights riots and no major protests.”
There are some significant differences between the Tibetans in China today and Black-Americans during the ’60. First is the legalized racial discrimination in the South at various levels against Black-Americans. The second is the social and economical disadvantages blacks suffered due to the legalized discrimination. The third is the government policy and program towards the blacks. Tibetans in China today have none of these issues. In some Han Chinese’s eye, not only Tibetans have the equal rights for the rest of Chinese people but they received special treatment (generally speaking, nobody complains). Some of these attitudes are justified. For example, single-child policy does not apply in Tibet.
The riots in Tibet have always been about independence and lead by Lamas. For the unique position Tibetan Lamas have had in the political landscape in Tibet, These riots are not really “civil rights” movement per se as in ’60s but a more geopolitical movement.
Mark Anthony Jones says
My assessment of the Tibet situation can be summarised as follows::
1. Human rights abuses have and continue to occur in Tibet, but the extent of these abuses has been and continues to be greatly exaggerated by the Tibetan Government in Exile and by its Western supporters in the so-called “pro-Tibet lobby”.
2. The human rights conditions and overall living standards of the majority of Tibetans has been and continues to improve under Chinese rule, and this has been the case since the Deng reforms were first introduced.
3. Most ill-feelings towards the Han Chinese and towards Chinese rule reflect the collective memory of the Cultural Revolution experience. The strength of these feelings is now beginning to fade as more and more Tibetans are drawn into the middle class, and their lives made more comfortable. Tibetans are thus becoming increasingly divided on their attitudes towards Chinese rule, and their feelings more complex and open to flux.
4. Tibetan culture is not, contrary to the propaganda of the pro-Tibet lobby, in any danger of disappearing. Quite the opposite in fact – Tibet, over the past few decades, has been and continues to experience a cultural renaissance, spurred on partly by financial grants and encouragement from Beijing, and partly through the initiative of ethnic Tibetans themselves, as they seize on the opportunities that increasing tourism brings to share their cultural life in newly commodified forms.
5. Rather than being “Sinicised” urban Tibet is being Westernised. Tibet’s transition from feudalism to modernity has been a painful one, but one that many Tibetans are now embracing as they see the benefits filtering through. Young Tibetans are thus becoming increasingly less interested in religious and independence issues as they discover and embrace more de-sublimated forms of pleasure through shopping, the internet, discos, kareoke bars, and, for the smaller but growing number of wealthier bougeois individuals among them (most of whom are drawn, not surprisingly, from the families of religious tulkas) the joys of both domestic and international travel and study.
6. The traditional political activities of organised Tibetan religious intitutions throughout the TAR have been restrained, and continue to be restrained (often brutally) under Chinese governance, but generally speaking lamaism is thriving – not only throughout the TAR, but also throughout greater China (even in Beijing) and internationally too for that matter. Considerable religious freedom then, despite claims to the contrary, exists in Tibet.
7. The Tibetan Government in Exile mislead the world about the true nature of the majority of those Tibetans who journey to Dharmasala each year – most are not refugees, but religious pilgrims. The Tibetan Government in Exile has both financial and political incentives to do so.
8. The Tibetan Government in Exile and its Western supporters in the pro-Tibet lobby are funded mostly by those whose economic and political interests view China’s rise as a threat. The U.S. State Department is the major contributor of funds to both the Government in Exile and to the Tibet lobby. Considerable funds are also raised through commercial activities, like international Dalai Lama lecture tours, and through the sale of Buddhist kitsch to Western New Age consumers.
9. Pro-Tibetan lobby groups essentially parade as “non-profit” human rights organisations, registering themselves as charities to encourage businesses and individuals to make tax-deductible donations – which essentially means that they are a drain on the public purse. They also have a vested interest in grossly exaggerating their claims in order to excite the sympathies of the public so that they can attract public donations and political support.
10. That by failing to present a fair and more realistic picture of what is happening in Tibet, both the self-proclaimed Tibetan Government in Exile and their supporters actually cause far more harm than good to the plight of the Tibetan people, especially for those living within the TAR. Their propaganda and support encourages hardliners within the ethnic Tibetan community living within the TAR to promote resistance and separatism, which in turn adds to the anxieties and security concerns of those hardliners within the Chinese ruling elite, who then in turn respond by introducing and enforcing more strictly those public security laws that restrict politico-religious activities – which as I said earlier, often do in fact result in brutal punishments by over-zealous enforcers. Such instances, not surprisingly then, tend to occur in waves, rather than on a regular day to day basis.
11. The main long-term political goal of the former ruling theocratic elite, now based in Dharmasala, is to regain their political control of Tibet. Their international campaign against China therefore, rather ironically, does more harm to their own cause than good, and only decreases their likelihood of ever being able to cut a deal with Beijing. The watered down goal of the Dalai Lama now, is the establishment of self-government for the TAR whilst remaining a part of China – in the same way that Hong Kong operates. Ironically, this is EXACTLY what China originally offered the Tibetan ruling elite, but by rejecting the offer in favour of supporting a separatist movement for full independence, they have now lost out completely. Easily the single biggest political mistake of the Dalai Lama’s career – as A. Tom Grunfeld has convincingly pointed out.
12. The Dalai Lama is a political chameleon.
In short: my charge against the so-called “pro-Tibet lobby” is that they push an essentially masturbatory discourse that festishises a virtual Tibet as its object of desire, whilst projecting oedipal fears onto a rival Han who are consequently demonised in waves of hyperbolic spasms.
@86 Mark Anthony Jones
Very nicely written. I hope someone will highlight this.
@ pug_ster #87: I completely agree with you and highlighted Mark’s post.
@ huaren #84: Ditto with the above, very nice post and a well reasoned argument.
@ huaren #84: I was very impressed with your argument but I did notice one thing you mentioned that I’ve been meaning to explain for awhile. I think it’s something that is misunderstood by many of our Chinese bloggers or persons of Chinese ancestry living in other countries. I believe most if not all of the non-Chinese would agree with me on this and it might help you to understand where we are coming from when we make certain critiques.
The comment has been expressed many times on this blog that “westerners” don’t respect the Chinese people because they criticize the government while being much quieter when other governments lack human rights or mistreat their own citizens. There is a reason for this…
I’ve heard Chinese talk about how their country is very important these days, one of the more powerful countries in the world that should enjoy respect with other nations. I’ve also heard the argument, when it is convenient, that China is a poor, developing country so other nations should cut it a break and not complain when it acts in a way that more developed nations do not.
And that’s the crux of the disagreement. When who you call ‘westerners’ criticize the government, by that criticism they are respecting China’s increased status. No one expects Rwanda or Myanmar to behave responsibly because they are poorly governed, lack education, have virtually no industry and in short, are not respected by the rest of the world. Thirty years ago, China was put in their same category. These days, China is very respected in the world and by that respect, is also open for criticism. So what do you want? Do you want to be respected or do you want to be in the same category as Rwanda?
When I was in China, I was really impressed by the class of my colleagues. They were civilized, cultured, intelligent and had excellent manners. Are all Chinese like that? No, of course not, but neither are all people in any country in the world. There are always different classes of behaviour in any culture. I naturally think of Chinese as a cultured people. I expect cultured behaviour not only from the people I know but also from their government.
So huaren, is it arrogance or defensiveness? Does China really need to wait 50-100 years before she modifies her behaviour? If at that time another country mistreated their citizens, I would hope that China uses her influence to protest such behaviour.
“Yes, between Han Chinese and other Chinese minority. For whatever reason, things are the way they are. If you continue to promote division between any group of people, they soon will hate each other enough to want to kill each other. That is human nature I believe.”
You are exactly correct. If you continue to promote division between any group of people, they soon will hate each other. That’s what happened in the former Yugoslavia when neighbors of different faiths who had lived side by side for generations were convinced they needed to hate and even kill each other. My contention is that locking down several provinces militarily is promoting division. Is this behaviour in the best interests of China? You might think it is but I would say it is not. That’s where we have two different opinions formed from shared facts. Who knows who is correct? Only the future can tell. But I certainly respect your argument since the basis that forms it is respectful to your fellow countrymen.
Otto Kerner says
@Mark Anthony Jones #86,
What I see here is an excellent summary of what I suppose Chinese people hope is true about Tibet. A lot of it probably is true to some extent. I don’t see a lot here that I want to argue with although (I apologise for being blunt here) that’s partly because this is heavy on assertion and light on evidence. I do wonder what you mean by, “Ironically, this is EXACTLY what China originally offered the Tibetan ruling elite, but by rejecting the offer in favour of supporting a separatist movement for full independence”. Are you talking about the political situation in 1950s, i.e. before the Cultural Revolution? This means that we know for a 100% certain that this offer would never have actually been honored, doesn’t it? It’s this kind of thing that makes me dubious about accepting your factual claims at face value, I’m afraid.
@ Mark Anthony Jones #86: As I wrote earlier, I thought your post was excellent and you brought up many credible points. I was wondering if I could have you expand on a few things…
5. How do you feel Tibetan culture is being “westernized”? That’s the first time I’ve heard anyone use that term about Tibet and was wondering what information you base it on. I hope you don’t consider karaoke bars to be “western”. 😉
6. I agree with your general comment, but I was wondering how you feel about the monks having to take “re-education” courses. These seem to be a major bone of contention and the cause of much unrest. Do you feel they are worth the trouble they cause?
8. Could you go into more detail about the US State Department funding the TGIE? I could not find evidence of this but that doesn’t mean I disagree with you.
10. How does TGIE propaganda get into Tibet as you suggest? I would think the Chinese government clamp down would be pretty effective since it is one of their top priorities but you feel it is not effective at all. I’m wondering what means they use to get around the government prohibitions.
11. You said China once offered them what the TGIE is asking for now. What do you think are the reasons China won’t again offer what they originally could accept?
That last paragraph made me laugh! Since the rest of your post was so good, I’ll take it as blowing off some steam. 😛
Mark Anthony Jones says
I’m at work right now, but will address all of the responses to my comment later this evening, Sydney time.
Thanks for your patience!
@Mark Anthony Jones
Forgive me if this is a mix up, but are you the guy who had that great debate on a PBS forum on Tibet a while back? By the way, great points.
@ William Huang #85: Thanks for the reply. I think we might have our time frames crossed so I’ll give my version and see if you agree.
“There are some significant differences between the Tibetans in China today and Black-Americans during the ’60. First is the legalized racial discrimination in the South at various levels against Black-Americans.”
That was before the 1960s. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there was no longer legalized discrimination, even in the south.
“The second is the social and economical disadvantages blacks suffered due to the legalized discrimination. The third is the government policy and program towards the blacks.”
That was also pre-1964. Programs were started after that legislation that favored black Americans to try to even out the discriminatory past, such as school busing (which actually started in the 1950s), affirmative action, welfare, food stamps, greater access to the military officer corps, etc.
“Tibetans in China today have none of these issues. In some Han Chinese’s eye, not only Tibetans have the equal rights for the rest of Chinese people but they received special treatment (generally speaking, nobody complains). Some of these attitudes are justified. For example, single-child policy does not apply in Tibet.”
The riots in the USA were actually worse after the passage of the Civil Rights Act because behaviour takes awhile to catch up to legislation, even with the “special treatment” that African Americans received. So I see a lot of the same issues. I see things getting worse in Tibet before they get better, I see situations like today where the military lockdown is far worse than anything experienced in the 1960s during the riots.
In the 1960s, the US government was the leader in ending discrimination as it fought the States to enforce the new laws. Black Americans felt like the national government was on their side in fighting local prejudice, especially in the American south. From what I’ve read and seen, the Tibetans don’t seem to feel the Chinese government is on their side but seem to have major issues with government policy. As it’s been said many times before, no one can verify if this is no longer true because reporters aren’t allowed into the area. Even most of the CPC supporters here have questioned the effectiveness of this policy.
“The riots in Tibet have always been about independence and lead by Lamas. For the unique position Tibetan Lamas have had in the political landscape in Tibet, These riots are not really “civil rights” movement per se as in ’60s but a more geopolitical movement.”
William, I read that the initial riot was an angry reaction caused by the monks being forced to take re-education classes. Do you know if that is true? All I know is what I read in the papers.
Now the Dalai Lama blasts ‘brutal crackdown’ in Tibet. Looks like he is wrong about the ‘looming violence’ prediction because of the increased security. Darn, I guess the Dalai Lama is disappointed that there won’t be much of the killing, burning and looting as last year in Lhasa.
It’s just like clockwork. Mr. Dalai Lama has impeccable timing if nothing else. He is right on time for the scheduled violence/genocide accusation and world tour. I think even I’ve got the script memorized now.
S.K. Cheung says
To Mark Anthony Jones #86:
nice post, and extremely well written. I think points #1-5 would be extremely compelling, if one could have reasonable confidence that it represented something approaching your average TIbetan perspective. If not, then they would only represent a good theory for now.
For instance, in point 1, I would ask “greatly exaggerated” according to whom.
Point #2 seems reasonable to me. Tibetans might even concur. But if you acknowledge that some TIbetans remain unhappy, and further allow that they have good reason for feeling that way, then #2 in its current form is clearly still insufficient.
Point #3 is a valid opinion, but would be more persuasive if it was a Tibetan opinion.
Point #4 starts getting dicey. Can a non-Tibetan not living in Tibet know better than a Tibetan living in Tibet what the status of Tibetan culture is, and what the trajectory of its evolution would be?
Points 6-11, however, start reading like the CCP playbook. But you’re certainly entitled to your opinion, and you’re not alone around here in having a like-minded opinion. So let’s say we stipulate that points 6-11 are all true in their entirety. Then what? With that “knowledge”, how will China modify her approach in the quest for some sort of solution in the Dalai Lama’s lifetime? Will China even bother? Do CHinese people care if the status quo prevails? Do Chinese people care what Tibetans would think about that? If the answer to the last question is in the affirmative, they’ve certainly got a curious way of showing it.
Your last paragraph is cute, if only for your ability to fit in so many glossy phrases. But I don’t think the Oedipus reference works. I imagine at least some Tibetans would happily see their rulers go the way of the Old Man in your Greek tragedy. It is heart-warming, though, to see that you felt the need to gratify yourself at the Tibetans’ expense.
S.K. Cheung says
To Huaren #84:
“Finally, you will argue from the “human rights” angle that people do genuinely care about the well being of every Chinese – including the Tibetans. Well, my personal position is that you have to give China time. Every country has a right to self determination and advance the way they see fit. Chinese people thinks the “human rights” activists are too arrogant to lecture. That sentiment should be plenty clear in this forum.” – I agree. I don’t think there’s an expectation that the CCP will be seeing the light and smelling the coffee tomorrow. If the CCP wants to take her sweet time, that’s what the CCP’s gonna do. THe irony, though, is that, while most on your side seem to acknowledge that, in some futuristic time, it might be appropriate for PRC citizens to have rights and freedoms, you seem to have a huge problem with people who, while living in countries that allow such barbaric behaviour, happen to exercise those rights and freedoms in the form of open criticism today.
To Steve at 81 You said, “I’ve said before that some of the DL’s positions are ludicrious and non-starters.” Could you expand on this for me?
S.K. Cheung @97,
You mistook MA Jones’ last paragraph. It is not to poke fun at the Tibetan people. Its point is that the Tibet lobby has made a caricature out of Tibet and the Tibetan people to advance their self interested agenda, i.e. they are using the Tibetan people for their own selfish causes.
Indeed, the image most people in the US, Europe and Australia have of Tibet is probably that of a dark dark place, with Tibetan monks being rounded up all the time. I can only speak of my own experience of traveling to the border between Tibet and Yunnan. I thought it was one of the most beautiful and serene places on earth. I went to a monastery, it was well maintained. In the town center, they were at the time building a large prayer wheel. I also remember the many many prayer shrines and colorful prayer flags hanging over the shrines. Our Tibetan guide was well mannered, considerate and cute 🙂 I decided against putting his picture up on flickr documenting my travels because I worried that if by any chance his picture is seen by the more radical elements of the Tibet independence movement, they may harm him for associating with Han Chinese people.
Lastly, I agree with MA Jones that the DL and his followers are hurting the lives of the average Tibetans. Their actions will only strengthen the position of the hardliners within the Chinese government.
I agree with Otto (90). Mark’s post is light on evidence and high on what can be seen as wishful-thinking. It is, for the most part, the CCP’s view of Tibet.
Dalai Lama Says Tibet ‘Hell on Earth’
Mark Anthony Jones says
Thank you to all those who have responded to my earlier post of today. I shall now address the concerns raised.
1. Otto, you began the ball rolling by asking what I meant when I said that “The watered down goal of the Dalai Lama now, is the establishment of self-government for the TAR whilst remaining a part of China – in the same way that Hong Kong operates. Ironically, this is EXACTLY what China originally offered the Tibetan ruling elite, but by rejecting the offer in favour of supporting a separatist movement for full independence, they have now lost out completely.”
I was referring to the Seventeen-Point Agreement of 1951, which, in the words of the Tibetan-born historian, Tsering Shakya, represented an effort by Beijing to work in alliance with Tibet’s traditional ruling class by establishing a “one country, two systems” arrangement, with autonomous rule by the Dalai Lama’s government. The Dalai Lama was initially keen to work with Beijing, and formed a good relationship with Mao Zedong. In fact, the Dalai Lama continues to talk very highly of Mao Zedong to this very day, though he disliked Zhou Enlai, who he didn’t trust. The big mistake that the Chinese made, was that they made Eastern Tibet (situated in present day Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu and Qinghai – Amdo and Kham) subject to the same reforms and political campaigns as the rest of China. The Tibetan theocratic elite in these areas not surprisingly rebelled, in 1956, which was not subdued until 1960. Hundreds of refugees poured into central Tibet, “turning it into a theatre of anti-Chinese resistance”. The Dalai Lama was swept up by this movement, eventually taking his chances by allying himself with the resistance – his biggest ever political blunder to date, as the Canadian historian, A. Tom Grunfeld has concluded.
2. S.K Cheung and Raj – you both raise various concerns. Rather than taking up a huge amount of space here, can I simply refer you to a lengthy debate I had a few years ago over this whole Tibetan Issue on the American Public Broadcasting Service discussion forum, set up in response to the television series, “China from the Inside”. The web address is as follows: http://discussions.pbs.org/viewtopic.pbs?t=68073&sid=b0bbde99b68f89505c1687a3a9845128
Raj, you will discover, if you read through the above-mentioned debate, that my views are empirically-based, and are not, contrary to what you think, based on only “light” evidence. If you read through all of the available existing academic studies on today’s Tibet (some of which I refer to in the PBS discussion) you will soon discover that my views are generally in line with the majority – even the world’s most widely recognised leading historian of modern Tibet, himself an ethnic Tibetan, Tsering Shakya, holds views that in most areas converge with mine. In fact, my views are largely shaped through the process of synthasising a large number of academic studies, both critical and supportive of the Dalai Lama’s positioning. My analysis is also shaped by my own experiences of having travelled through parts of Eastern Tibet, some of which I detail in my travel narrative, “Flowing Waters Never Stale”, published by Zeus last year (go to http://www.flowingwatersneverstale.com for details).
I have since read a large number of additional studies, all of which lend further support to my overall arguments, as laid out in the PBS discussion. For further evidence of the fact that Tibet is experiencing a cultural renaissance rather than genocide, see for example the very detailed study by the anthropologists Ashild Kolas and Monica P. Thowsen, titled “On the Margins of Tibet:
Cultural Survival on the Sino-Tibetan Frontier”, (University of
Washington Press), 2005. Even Tibetan-born historian Tsering Shakya, widely considered to be one of the world’s leading historians of modern Tibet, criticises the Dalai Lama and the pro-Tibet lobby for making such false claims. Last year, in an interview he gave for the New Left Review (Volume 51, May-June, 2008) Tsering had this to say on the cultural atmosphere in Tibet over the past decade: “The government’s policy seemed to be that, as long as you did not talk about independence everything was permissible. Many more magazines and newspapers started up, and the government allowed a lot of local, indigenous NGOs to emerge, which have been very effective in campaigning against poverty….Culturally, there have been two separate kinds of development. On the one hand, there has been a revival of traditional Tibetan culture and arts and crafts. On the other, a new practice is emerging of modern, figurative painting by Tibetan artists….there is nothing immediately Tibetan about their work; conservative elements in fact see it as somehow a rejection of Tibet, an immitation of the West…There is something new and vital in Tibet, produced by a younger generation whose outlook is very different from that of conservative elements in our society…For me, the emergence of modern Tibetan literature – novels, short stories and poetry, from 1980 onwards – is a very exciting development, expressing much more of what is happening in Tibet, the desires of ordinary people and the region’s possible future direction.”
Tsering goes on to provide much more detail about such cultural developments, and again, his claims support those of Thowsen and Kolas, as well as those of other leading Tibetan specialists, like Melvyn C. Goldstein and Barry Sautman – most academic researchers of today’s Tibet agree that Tibet, since the 1980s, has experienced a cultural renaissance – both traditional and contemporary culture is flourishing. When fellow Sydney-sider James West, a radio journalist with Triple J, visited Tibet a few years ago, he discovered for himself the generation gap. As he wrote in his travel narrative, “Beijing Blur” (published by Penguin, 2008) his Tibetan guide, Thuptan, was “himself a fan of Chinese modernisation. He wore a spectrum-blue t-shirt emblazoned with ‘Nirvana’ – the band, not the destination – Michael Jordon-era hightops, and walked like a breakdancer.” (p.211)
Rather than seeing modernisation as a culture-destroying force, i would argue that today’s Tibetans appropriate the foreign in ways that are culturally-specific, as do all other Chinese ethnicities. For a more detailed discussion of the various ways that both Han and Tibetans have, and continue to appropriate the foreign in ways that are culturally-specific, see my essay on globalisation, posted on my China Discourse site, at http://www.chinadiscourse.net
I travelled to parts of Tibet back in 2004, mainly throughout the Kham region in Yunnan and Sichuan, and my strong impression was that a cultural revival had, and was, taking place.
The independence movement, as Tsering himself admits, is organised through the monasteries, by the more conservative traditionalists. Again, allow me to quote Tsering from his New Left Review interview: “In general, those educated in the monastic community or through the traditional system were much more conservative than those who went to universities and colleges. These students did not join in the protests at all. Even now, many college-educated people tend to think the 80s protests were unnecessary – that the reforms were taking Tibet in the right direction, and the demonstrations did great damage in altering that course.”
These comments of Tsering’s, published only last year in the May-June volume of New Left Review, very much mirror my own analysis. A travelogue that I wrote back in 2007 after visiting parts of Kham in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces I had published last June as part of my book, “Flowing Waters Never Stale”. Allow me to quote from pages 141-142:
Before the Chinese occupation, or ‘liberation’ as Xiaojing prefers to call it, Litang County had twenty-seven monasteries. Now there are well over thirty. Despite constant monitoring by the Religious Affairs Bureau, which places restrictions on the number of monks allowed in monasteries, most lamas and monks here appear to be able to conduct their religious duties with considerable freedom.
This contrasts with the situation in the neighbouring Tibetan
Autonomous Region, where religious freedoms are said to be more tightly curtailed, thanks largely to the number of vocal separatists there, who use their position within monasteries to mobilise support and to organise occasional protests for independence. The more conservative lamas, being the traditionalists that they are, despise the secular developments that the new economy has helped to bring about – their distaste for consumerism, with its more liberal attitude towards sex, is often echoed by the Dalai Lama, who condemns both premarital sex and homosexuality. In an interview he gave for The Telegraph of London back in 2006, he made it very clear that as far as he was concerned, sex is for the purpose of reproduction only, adding that any use of ‘the other two holes is wrong.’ The problem with Westerners, he argued, is that they have too many material possessions, which has ‘spoilt’ them, making their lives too easy.
Unhappy with the thought that Buddhism must now compete with liberal ideology, many within the Tibetan lamasery, like their spiritual leader himself, are now crying foul, identifying the shift in values and lifestyles brought about by Chinese Han investment as a force that is diluting traditional culture. Tibet’s economy has been growing at a rate of more than twelve percent a year over the past six years, and with incomes rising even faster, the demand for consumer goods and services has grown dramatically, with older Tibetans often left bewildered as their teenage sons and daughters keenly embrace a life that revolves around the use of mobile phones, iPods, karaoke bars, discos and shopping. Premarital sex among young Tibetans is now on the rise, which alarms traditionalists, and even a flourishing gay community has emerged in Lhasa, with young Tibetan homosexuals now able to introduce themselves to one another online, or in gay bars like the Blue Sky, known to the locals by its Mandarin name, the Lanse Tian Kong.
Of course, not all young Tibetans are able to find decent paying jobs in the larger cities like Lhasa and Shigatse, despite the booming economy. Lacking in literacy skills, the more poorly educated immigrants from the countryside often arrive to find themselves ill-equipped to survive the rigours of a market economy. Prostitution provides many young women with a means to consume, but for the waves of illiterate young men, becoming a monk is all too often their only viable option in life. Once in the monasteries though, they are easily exploited, for their feelings of jealousy, anger and resentment make them
receptive to those who are keen to push the separatist agenda – people who blame the Han for all of Tibet’s social ills, both imagined and real. Their gripe then, not surprisingly, is usually articulated along ethnic lines, often chauvinistically, their anti-Han sentiments sometimes spilling over into racial violence on the streets.
Such activities merely bolster the authority of the hardliners within local government, of those who prefer the practice of a zero tolerance policy in their approach to maintaining law and order, and as the Canadian historian A. Tom Grunfeld has observed, separatist activities in Tibet have merely ‘fostered increased repression’, which in turn has created even deeper and more widespread resentments. According to the political prisoner database cited by the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China 2007 Annual Report, there were approximately one hundred Tibetan political prisoners as of September 2007, of whom at least sixty-four were either monks or nuns – most had been charged and convicted of ‘splittism’, the average length of sentence being ten years and four months.
But if what I see here in Litang is anything to go by, the new
economy, despite its increasing social mobility and secularism, is actually helping to revive many aspects of traditional culture just as much as it may be in some ways helping to dilute it. Many Tibetans are clearly keen to benefit from the money that the sharply increasing number of tourists bring, producing and selling all kinds of traditional handicrafts, and as the researchers Ashild Kolas and Monica P. Thowsen have pointed out, some of these cultural products on sale to tourists have also become popular with the Tibetans themselves, which is why cultural production, now linked to tourism, is ‘a very important factor in the revitalisation of Tibetan culture.’
O.K. Two more things here: firstly, notice the figures I quote from the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China 2007 Annual Report. Hard empirically-verifiable qualitative evidence, that shows that back in September of 2007, there were ONLY around one hundred Tibetan political prisoners, their average length of sentence only being ten years and four months. This is a far cry from the “many thousands” of Tibetan political prisoners supposedly rotting behind bars at any one time, as claimed by the pro-Tibet lobby groups.
Secondly, the fact that there is a flourishing new Tibetan language literature indicates a rise in literacy, yet the Dalai Lama continually claims that the Tibetan language is a dying one. As Tsering Shakya warns however, “it would be a serious mistake to think that it is disappearing,” noting too that there is also “a vibrant television programming in Tibetan…” I spent some time, back in 2007, teaching English as a volunteer in a small Tibetan primary school in Zhongdian, Yunnan Province, in the Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Again, allow me to quote from my book, “Flowing Waters Never Stale”:
The principal wanders in, the lesson now over, and makes the point that being able to speak English could help these students to find jobs in the future. New hotels are now under construction, the road from Lijiang is being upgraded, and many of the local villages in this area have only just received power and water facilities for the very first time. No doubt both the local government and tour operators are viewing the nearby monastery as a destination worth promoting, seeing it as the main attraction perhaps, of their new Shangri-la.
‘The principal says that back in 2003, government investment in the prefecture was 1.7 billion yuan,’ says Xiaojing, ‘which was more than the previous thirty years of state investment combined. He says that when these kids become adults they will be able to find jobs as tour guides or as hotel or restaurant staff, provided they can speak good Mandarin or English. Tourism and poverty relief are one and the same thing, he says.’
‘Can you ask him whether or not the students here are taught any of their subjects in the Tibetan language?’
Xiaojing passes on my question, and the principal replies.
‘He says that at this school most of the subjects are taught in Mandarin, because Tibetans make up only about thirty percent of the population here. Out of the nine hundred and eighty-four schools in the prefecture, only thirty are bilingual. There are many more bilingual schools in neighbouring Ganzi prefecture, where Tibetans make up nearly eighty percent of the population, and he says that sixty-eight percent of all the schools in Ganzi are bilingual, and that in some of those schools, nearly every subject is taught in the Tibetan language.’
The principal is full of information, and shows us a few of the Tibetan-language textbooks. The Five Provinces is the name of the series, which covers all of the major subjects, each one a translation of the standard Chinese text used throughout the whole of China. There is also a textbook in the series used to teach the Tibetan language, which uses mostly Tibetan subject matter.
‘He says that these same textbooks are used in primary schools in all the five Tibetan areas – the Tibetan Autonomous Region, Gansu, Qinghai, Sichuan and here in Yunnan. But is it not easy for some Tibetan children to learn how to read and write in Tibetan.’
‘Why is that?’
‘He says that most Tibetan children speak only their local dialect at home, which is southern Kham dialect, but at school they have to learn written Tibetan, which is a little different, because it’s based on the Lhasa dialect. He says they differ phonologically.’
‘So these kids have to learn three languages really – the Lhasa dialect, Mandarin and now English.’
‘Yes, that’s right. In the past, before liberation, most Tibetans could only speak their local dialect, and were unable to read and write. Usually only the wealthy religious leaders knew how to read and write. You foreigners shouldn’t believe everything that nasty man in Dharamsala says. He always tells many lies, saying that China is destroying Tibetan culture and language. Not true. Tibetan is now a computerised language, with Tibetan fonts, and so there are now many Tibetan-language newspapers and magazines and novels, and even literary journals in the Tibetan language, like Light Rain and Tibetan Literature and Art journal. There is even a Tibetan-language television station, which broadcasts in Tibetan language twenty-four hours a day. In fact, more Tibetans can read and write the Tibetan language now than at any time in their history.’
The sun begins to set over Shangri-la, painting the sky with a splash of pink. We thank the principal for his hospitality, and leave a little enlightened.
Again, my discoveries on that trip mirror what ethnic Tibetan-born historians like Tsering Shakya themselves are saying.
There is a generation gap, as well as a class gap, with grievances often articulated along ethnic lines. Hui Muslims living in Tibet are also often targeted, their shops and mosques attacked and vandalised. This is what was really at the heart of last year’s riots. Again, to quote Tsering Shakya, although the demonstrations were partly to do with economic disparities, they were principally about “questions of national identity.” In other words, they were race riots.
Mark Anthony Jones says
One more thing I forgot to add: the principal of the primary school I taught at in Zhongdian who I quoted in my book, as reprinted in my comment posted above, was himself an ethnic Tibetan.
@Mark Anthony Jones.
Excellent post as most agree. It would represent POV of China’s CCP, most Han Chinese inside/outside China, and hopefully most Tibetans in China – but not Tibet exile and their running dogs. Why you got more negative votes is beyond me. Must be a lot of pro-Tibet exile among us, haha. We need expert opinion from time to time to educate us. Thanks!
DL does not want independent and I hope CCP and DL will resolve their differences. I saw Tibetan cultures everywhere in China first hand as recently as 2007. Hence when the exile argue about their culture being oppressed, they are correct only referring to CR when all cultures in China were hurt.
The west always look for common enemy and blame on all their troubles. China fits the bill pretty well.
Mark Anthony Jones says
Steve – I shall now address the questions you raised.
Q1: How do you feel Tibetan culture is being “westernized”?
A: I don’t. Traditionalists within the Buddhist elite think this way, as I explained in my rather lengthy response to S.K.Cheung and Raj above. Traditionalists, like the Dalai Lama himself, blame westernisation on Han economic and social policy, which is why he claims that the Han are carrying out a policy of cultural genocide. Most serious observers reject the Dalai Lama’s claim, norting that since the 1980s Tibet has been experiencing a cultural renaissance. Westernisation is occuring of course, to some extent, in that a globalised consumer culture is now flourishing in many of the larger Tibetan towns and cities. But what people overlook is the fact that globalisation is also helping to revive traditional Tibetan culture – especially the growth of tourism industry – and also the fact that Tibetans, like everyone else in the world, appropriate what is foreign in ways that are culturally-specific. I have written about this in detail in an essay I wrote for my website, at http://www.chinadiscourse.net See the page titled “China’s Globalisation”.
Q2: How do you feel about the re-education courses?
A: The re-education courses are, as you say, a major bone of contention. This policy is, however, a reponse by hardliners within government to the use of monasteries as recruiting grounds for separatists. We’re looking here at a symptom of the problem, rather than the cause. This is the view of many leading Tibetan specialists, like A. Tom Grunfeld, Melvyn Goldstein and Barry Sautman.
In Kham, at the time that I was there at least, this policy was typically not strongly enforced, and that’s because the separatist issue wasn’t as big of a problem as it is in the TAR. I mention this in my above response to S.K. Cheung and Raj, when I quoted the following passage from my book:
Despite constant monitoring by the Religious Affairs Bureau, which places restrictions on the number of monks allowed in monasteries, most lamas and monks here appear to be able to conduct their religious duties with considerable freedom.
This contrasts with the situation in the neighbouring Tibetan
Autonomous Region, where religious freedoms are said to be more tightly curtailed, thanks largely to the number of vocal separatists there, who use their position within monasteries to mobilise support and to organise occasional protests for independence.
Q3: Could you go into more detail about the US State Department funding the TGIE?
A: Tibetan exile groups in India, as Tsering Shakya says in the interview he gave for New left Review (Volume 51, May-June 2008), receive funding through the US National Endownment for Democracy, which is funded largely with cash grants from Congress. The NED also, of course, has close connections with the State Department. Many Tibet lobby groups, including the International Campaign for Tibet, Tibet Voice Project and Tibet Information Network, also all recieve funding from the US State Department, via funds allocated to the NED. The Centre for Research on Globalisation website has all the details if you’re interested. Go to: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=6530
Q4: How does TGIE propaganda get into Tibet as you suggest?
A: Again, see the above article. The Voice of America is important in this respect, for example, and is funded by the NED. Tsering Shakya agrees. “The main outside influence on Tibetans,” he says, “is the Tibetan language broadcasting on Voice of America since 1991, and radio Free Asia since 1996…..Both stations report on the Dalai Lama’s trips abroad, and on the exiles in India, giving Tibetans quite international and politicised coverage…The Chinese try to jam the signal, but people somehow manage to listen to them.”
All the best,
India wants to be on good term with China. Trade is more important than the buffer zone I guess.
What is your opinion on the pressure from China on India?
Do you think the exile will go to the west and US eventually?
Mark, I’ll pick up on your earlier post (86) because that’s what I was considering. By the way, I would appreciate it if you did not cut-and-paste massive chunks of text and/or write mini-dissertations. A link and reference is enough, thanks.
By the way, when I was talking about your post being light on evidence, I was not claiming that you are making it up. I was indicating that people will believe it because they want to, despite the fact you hadn’t supplied anything to back it up when you posted.
1. So how great are the human rights abuses in Tibet and what are they? Exaggeration does not invalidate the criticism of them taking place itself.
2. What are “human rights conditions” and how have they increased? Do you mean that China has simply suppressed Tibet less? If an abusive parent only hits their child once a day, instead of once an hour, should they be congratulated for the reduction of amount of abuse, or condemned for still handing out abuse?
Given China’s economy has grown so fast, it would be inconceivable for Tibetans to have not benefited economically in past decades. Yet it also claimed that Chinese in Tibet are the main beneficiaries of economic growth, not Tibetans.
3. That is a matter of opinion. It can be argued that whilst the peak of anti-Chinese sentiment may have occured in past years, the are still causes of it and it will not go away. Even for those Tibetans who can live with Chinese residents, there is nothing to suggest that a majority will accept or appreciate Chinese rule.
4. Tibetan culture will not disappear in all forms. The issue is how it will survive. Is it remaining an important part of Tibetan life in a way that gives them a specific identity which Beijing has no control over, or is it being turned into a Disney-style attraction for tourists? You say in point number 5 that Tibet is being “Westernised”, yet such a process would still lead to Tibetan culture becoming the latter rather than the former. You can’t have your cake and eat it.
5. These days “Sinification” need not be different from “Westernisation”. Modern Chinese culture is not especially different from that in North America, Europe or Japan/South Korea/Taiwan. It is not a clone, but it is similar enough. The process that is often described by pro-Tibet commentators is one where Tibetan culture is trivialised/reduced and replaced by a way-of-life that is easier for Beijing to control.
Of course that is not to say that anything “modern” is bad. Tibetans will want to explore different things out of their own choice. But it should be their choice rather than a process encouraged by China to make Tibet easier to control through a homogenised culture.
6. Even assuming that lamaism, in an independent form that is not manipulated by Chinese authorities, is alive and well in Tibet, is that due to or in spite of Chinese regulations? It is easy to claim that religious freedom exists in China simply by pointing to numbers, but how and why religious groups exist is more important. If one merely looked at the numbers of Christians in China (up-up-up) one might believe there was religious freedom for them as well. But if you look at what restrictions are actually in place, who gets to appoint priests, what priests are allowed to say during service, etc then the picture changes.
7. How would China know who returns in comparison to the number that leave, especially if they attempt to visit without going through usual border controls (like the Tibetans shot by the Chinese guards)?
8. Contrary to the view of paranoid, anti-American people, the US State Department is probably the most pro-China organisation in the entire US government. During the entire Bush administration it aided China on issues like Taiwan, by holding up, blocking and talking down arms sales to the island, issuing strong rebukes toward its president for proposing democratic initiatives and even trying to discontinue a committee whose budget had already been reduced to a trivial amount by the opposition-controlled legislative. In contrast when China did something aggressive or otherwise upset the fragile balance in the Taiwanese Strait, the reaction was far more mute.
It also helped stop Japan from obtaining the F-22, which Beijing certainly did not want to see the JASDF armed with.
Clinton’s recent comments seem to suggest that the State Department will continue to be friendly towards China.
9. All lobby groups want people to donate. To criticise them for existing or registering as charities is absurd. If they cheat on the national regulations regarding charities, then they can be reported and would be banned. But they can operate otherwise. I don’t like charities who collect money for certain political causes, but it’s not for me to condemn them for existing and people giving their money to them, especially if they support peaceful objectives.
10. Trying to blame pro-Tibetan groups for Chinese oppression is simply non-sensical. People do not resist Chinese rule because they’re told it’s bad, they resist because they feel oppressed or know people who are oppressed.
Moreover, the Chinese government are not robots pre-programmed to operate out of fear. They are human beings with self-control and independent thought. If they do something it is their responsibility. If they relaxed controls things would be much easier – any expert would tell you that, I’m sure. So why are they the only people not getting the message?
11. If China was invaded and occupied by another power, would it be unreasonable for Chinese leaders to refuse autonomy and try to regain official independence? I don’t see why the case should be any different for Tibet just because there were varying levels of Chinese influence there in its history.
Even if an earlier deal was rejected, if it now is acceptable to the Tibetan exile government then why say “too late”? If the intent is to reach a settlement then surely the fact there is some consensus is a good thing. China certainly has not helped matters by laying on the propaganda and anti-Dalai Lama rhetoric, insisting that Tibet has autonomy and freedom, etc. By trying to maintain in public for so long that everything is/was hunky-dory in Tibet, it just damaged any possible trust the exile government had of China in private negotiations. If the Chinese government had been more honest about Tibet then the Dalai Lama would have probably accepted autonomy a lot earlier.
12. All politicians are chameleons. Even if the Dalai Lama is one politically speaking, it doesn’t mean that he isn’t right to call for actual rather than sham autonomy.
Apologies for the long reply, but it was the only way to respond to your earlier comment.
Mark Anthony Jones says
TonyP4 – sorry, I’m really not familiar enough with China-India relations to be able to speculate on the future of the TGIE’s continuing presence in India. It’s an interesting question though.
I dont know why you people still waste time with people like Raj and SKC.
They want to remove CCP !!!! Ok ? That is all that matters !!!
Cuz we are defending our views about Tibet, which is somewhat similar to the policy held by CCP, we become pro-CCP, therefore they will never listen to us. get it ? I presented to them how native aboriginals have been treated in Canada, didnt you see those british and Canadian still come here to point their finger at our noses ?
Even if 1 billion chinese sign a letter to the Queen of greeeeeeeeeeeeat britain, they will still blah, blah, blah … with straight faces.
So before your posting a LONG reply, please make sure that the person you reply to has no agenda. and from the experience I have had, most Americans have less agenda when they talk about China, even they hate CCP.
Dont, I repeat, dont spend much time with British, Canadians and Australians.
Dont be a fool trying to move a mountain of fools ….. on internet, cuz they are not trying to ‘move’ China, they are trying to ‘move’ CCP !!!
You had absolutely nothing BASED ON WHICH you could question the excellent post by Mark, (and of course, not surprisely, your view was wholeheartly agreed by Raj.)
Remember that !!!!
BTW, there was an explosion in QingHai caused by self-made bomb, I dont think Han chinese taught them that, so the bomb must be made by some “free Tibet” activitists.
According to the rule set by British, those ‘free Tibet” organizations are terrorist groups, like Irish republic army.
I believe the following will give you some headache :
and how do you know the protest was peaceful ? YOU HAVE NOTHING TO PROVE THAT !!!
Remember that too !!!
Tell us what you can figure out in the following picture, please, be honest as a man and show your guts, :
If you dont know what that means, let me tell you : IT IS ABOUT SUICIDAL ATTACK.
and, is this also a lie ?
I am wondering when 次旺仁增 will win Nobel Prize.
and Otto, do you believe this ?
I guess that is what we ‘hope’,…. or Tibetans in India and Nepal are dreaming for and knowing they will never get.
It’s incredible how every time the Dalai warns of looming violence, violence actually happens…
“Many Chinese citizens have armed themselves, and they are ready to shoot.”
Haha, this reminds me of the Dalai claim that 1.2 million Tibetans died from 50’s – 60’s at the hands of the CCP, a claim which would leave zero Tibetans on earth today. But seriously, does he know how difficult it is to obtain a gun in China before he spew out this lie?
William Huang says
@ Steve #94
Thanks for the reply.
“That was before the 1960s. With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there was no longer legalized discrimination, even in the south.”
Steve, not to be argumentative but I won’t count 1960, 61, 62, and 63 as before 1960s.
“In the 1960s, the US government was the leader in ending discrimination as it fought the States to enforce the new laws. Black Americans felt like the national government was on their side in fighting local prejudice, especially in the American south. From what I’ve read and seen, the Tibetans don’t seem to feel the Chinese government is on their side but seem to have major issues with government policy. As it’s been said many times before, no one can verify if this is no longer true because reporters aren’t allowed into the area. Even most of the CPC supporters here have questioned the effectiveness of this policy.”
First, MLK and African-Americans were not asking for independence and self-rule. They were asking for equal rights as the rest of citizens in the country. No more, no less. Otherwise, I don’t think federal government would have supported them.
The independence has always been the real issue for Tibet riots. Every other issue is just a side track to force the real intention. If Tibetan independence is never the issue, then the only thing left to address Tibetan human right issue is if there are discriminations against them. If not, a Tibetan human right issue is nothing more than a Chinese human rights issue.
Second, there is no foreign government support like the way TGIE and Dalai Lama are getting. NED (National Endowment for Democracy), a US congress controlled organization finance TGIE millions of dollars each year. Image MLK was financially backed by Soviet Union. Kennedy actually asked MLK personally if he was a communist otherwise wouldn’t support.
“I read that the initial riot was an angry reaction caused by the monks being forced to take re-education classes. Do you know if that is true? All I know is what I read in the papers.”
The whole thing started with protest on March 10th, the 49th anniversary of Tibet upraising in1959 led by the monks (I won’t call it a human rights protest). As far as I know there was no arrest for that protest. From that point on, the rest is history.
Also, most of riots during the ‘60s in US were civil disobedience, not really violence that leads to killing and civilians (whites) were not targeted. The March 2008 riot targeted specific ethnic group. Such thing in US, or many other countries is called hate-crime not protest.
Oh man, I just saw a really bad interview on NBC, it’s the one with Ann Curry and the Dalai Lama, I suggest people should go to MSNBC.com and check it out and make up your own mind. My favorite line was “some people call what china is doing cultural genocide, do you call it that?”
She intentionally steered the interview so he could get in his talking points! It’s just disappointing, you expect this kind of stuff on cable news, not prime time.
And this just illustrates how there isn’t any real discussion happening when news agencies cover the issue. For example, when they talk about Tibet, I want to hear from experts and not Richard Gere.
Otto Kerner says
Mark Anthony Jones,
Thanks for your detailed and interesting response. I hope you’ll continue to frequent this site in the future so we can discuss some of these issues more thoroughly. At the moment, I want to continue to focus on your point #11 above. In comment #103, you clarified that you were referring to the Seventeen Point Agreement earlier when you said that the Tibetan elite was offered real autonomy and lost out by rejecting it in favour of an independence movement. To expand on my previous question: assuming for sake of argument that the Dalai Lama and/or his ministers could have chosen to keep the Seventeen Point Agreement in effect, isn’t it clear via 20/20 hindsight that this deal would never have lasted beyond the mid-1960s? After all, the Panchen Lama and his circle were enthusiastic supporters of the CCP, but they still ended up dead or in jail and with their monastery destroyed. Nothing good was going to happen to anybody in Tibet during the Cultural Revolution, and no promises made beforehand were worth much. The Dalai Lama was wise to escape to India with his life.
Mark Anthony Jones says
Otto – thanks for your question. I’ll answer it late this evening, Sydney time, as I’m at work right now.
Raj – thanks too, for your detailed response. I agree with some of your points (my own position is far more nuanced than you realise), however, I think that my arguments still hold weight, and so I shall respond in detail to your concerns late this evening, sometime around the midnight hour, Sydney time. There is no need for you to apologise for responding at length – I understand and appreciate the fact that it is often very necessary to go into lengthy detail in order to articulate convincingly a particular line of reasoning.
As for copying and pasting and mini-disserations – you’re being too picky, to be frank. If I want to copy and paste passages from my own texts, or from the texts of others, in order to provide evidence to support my claims, then I will. What’s the point in providing mere claims, without supporting them with detailed discussions of the evidence? I’ll only end up being accused of being “light on evidence”. The beauty of the internet is that it does enable one to take such shortcuts – to copy and paste passages from huge wealth of online sources. It saves enormous time! And my time happens to be precious to me. Thank you then, for your understanding and tolerance! 🙂
I’m sure the Dalai Lama saw the coming of the cultural revolution clearly in his crystal ball when he decided to flee. Or rather, the ‘oracle’ must have told him that. Incidentally, many claim that the oracle he consulted for that decision was Dorje Shugden, a deity of Tibetan Buddhism from which the 14th Dalai started to distance himself beginning in the 1970’s. If the Dalai Lama really felt he owed his life to Shugden, I doubt he would have shunned from it, or have officially disavowed it and banned his followers from Shugden worshipping in 1996.
On the other hand, maybe Dorje Shugden got in the way of his religious/political agenda, even saving his life wasn’t worth much.
William Huang says
@ Mark Anthony Jones
Thank you for your excellent posts. I wonder if you care to share some thoughts on the future of Dalai Lama and Tibetan Government in Exile.
Mark Anthony Jones – it’s a pleasure for you to join us in this thread. I definitely hope you will join us more often. I hope we will have ample opportunities in the future to flip various ideas from human rights to democracy to cultural development to economic development to rise of China.
@MAJ: I agree with the other posters, your posts are great and bring facts to the debate. It’s people like you who raise the quality of the comment section. I haven’t read much by Tsering Shakya but he’s definitely on my reading list from now on.
Interesting article about how the ‘cultural genocide’ seems to be happening in Dharmsala too.
Mark it is a great pleasure to have you here in discussion. Finally some one who has the credential and did extensive research speak up and refute the usual stereotype of “Brainwashing” and “Commie plot”
great article, actually, it coincides with what Mark is saying as well in regards to the generation gap among tibetans.
S.K. Cheung says
To Wahaha #110:
“Cuz we are defending our views about Tibet, which is somewhat similar to the policy held by CCP” – awww, don’t be so modest. I’d say you in particular are far beyond “somewhat”.
Though your points about aboriginals in Canada are well-taken, it has no bearing on the matter of the condition of Tibetans in China. You really can’t say that enough times.
I’ve long given up moving mountains with you. You represent my “other reason” for frequenting these parts.
S.K. Cheung says
To MAJ #103:
another excellent post. Thanks again for your detailed and extensive personal perspective. Look forward to your future insights and responses.
Charles Liu says
Here’s Wahaha’s quote in 113 for those who don’t read Chinese:
“….In recent years Tibet has some new scenery attracting attention. Groups of Tibetan style homes have sprung along the roads and fields, even high on the mountain side. This is the result of “homestead building”, where Tibet SAR made possible with herder’s collective wealth. Government grants from 12,000 to 25,000 Yuan, for rural housing improvement, settlement of migrant herders, resettlement for destitute families, had greatly stimulated home building and ownership. Dalai group has tried to stop this building effort since 2007, by declaring “black years” are bad luck for home building. Not withstanding Tibetans continued to apply for housing subsidy, resulting in more homes built then previous years. Right now there are 200,000 new, safe, housing for a million herders. In the near future, Tibetan herders’ housing situation should fundamentally improve…”
Also, as a compare/contrast, recently two soilders and a policeman were killed by the IRA in Northern Ireland. I take no pleasure in this news, only wish to point out the stark difference in reporting between these three death, and the policemen killed by Tibetan rioters.
@Charles Liu – I knew you’d make this – frankly, stupid – comparison. Northern Ireland has a power sharing deal between the Republicans and the Unionists, a democratically elected assembly, a local police force, the killings were condemned by all sides – only dissident republicans have supported these attacks. Tibet has no peace deal, no representative assembly, no local control over the police, and no voices are allowed to be expressed either for or against the attacks on police in Tibet independent of government control. Sorry, Charlie-boy, but no sale!
Would that also mean that any comparison of these recent deaths in Northern Ireland with the deaths there pre-1998 (or pre-2000) would be, frankly, stupid?
#74 FOARP “In contrast, Tibet was invaded briefly in 1905, and otherwise had little or no contact with the outside world for hundreds of years before 1949 – so why are you blaming foreign powers for the PRC’s problems there?”
This is not exactly a challenge to FOARP. It is just what FOARP wrote at the end of #74 seems to be quite an prevailing view. But I have a different opinion. Sorry if my loooong post get into people’s discussion with Mark Anthony Jones. I am also eager to hear what MAJ has to say. But here it goes:
Was Tibet isolated before 1949?
Before 1949, there was a vibrant trading community in Tibet and it was quite “international” and “multi-ethnic/cultural” in character. Besides the ethnic Tibetan traders, there were also traders from Nepal, India, and China (from Yunnan, Sichuan, Gansu, and Qinghai provinces, even a few in the Barkor from Beijing) doing business in Tibet. Among the Muslim traders, some of them are Chinese Hui and a few came from Kashmir and Ladakh. Contrary to the view that Tibet was isolated, I’d say in its economy Tibet was well situated in the commercial networks with its neighbors.
In the cultural realm, Lhasa is THE center of Tibetan Buddhism, emanating its religious influences to the neighboring communities. [Speaking of it, I always wondered whether the use of political force in the conversion (or to be exact, re-conversion) of the Mongolian population to Tibetan Buddhism since the late 16th century can be described under the modern term “cultural imperialism”. Tibet was certainly a “colonizing” force for its neighboring communities in the cultural realm.] The Qing emperors (esp. Qianlong Emperor) tried to build an alternative center of worship to impress its Tibetan Buddhist Mongolian princes in Bejing and the Chengde Summer Villa承德避暑山庄, with some success.
In the Republican period, Tibetan Buddhism attracted a large Han Chinese following. Prominent Tibetan Buddhist lamas such as the 9th Panchen Lama (then in exile in China), 白普仁喇嘛 Pai Puren Lama (Mongolian), 多杰觉拔格西 Dorje Chopa Geshe, 诺那呼图克图 Norlha Qutughtu, 贡噶呼图克图, and喜饶嘉措大师Sherap Gyatso offered Buddhist teachings and performed religious rituals in major cities of China (e.g., Shanghai, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Chongqing, etc.). Tibetan Buddhism provided much-needed comfort and assurance for the war-weary Chinese. A few Chinese even became Tibetan Buddhist monks. Chinese monks like大勇法师Master Dayong, 法尊法师Master Fazun, 能海法师Nenghai Lama, and the most influential 太虚大师Master Taixu studied Tibetan Buddhism, spread its teachings, and opened schools for the training of Tibetan Buddhist monks among the Chinese. In the cultural realm, Tibet is quite expansionist (or to use nicer terms if you will: assertive, influential).
The Tibetan terrain may be inaccessible and inhospitable to the outsiders, but the idea of its strategic/political importance was certainly kept live and well in the mind and (in Emperor Qianlong’s case) heart of its neighboring Mongolian and Manchu rulers. And in the recent history Tibet was a valued piece on the imagined imperial chess board of the competing powers in Asia. I found what 青木文教Aoki Bunkyo said in “西藏问题Tibet Problem” apt in describing the situation. “西藏问题Tibet Problem” was a report commissioned by外务省Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan during the Sino-Japanese War. In the report, 青木文教Aoki Bunkyo said (in Chinese translation):
(My translation)Tibet was a land of conflicts among the British, the Chinese, and the Russians and it will not lose this characteristic in the future. Now the Japanese empire has joined the contest. Tibet will become a place where Britain, China, Russia, and Japan compete for power. This is where the importance of our Tibet policy lies.”
In defense of China, I’d add that the British, the Russians and the Japanese’s claim on Tibet seemed to be one that reached too far out of their own turf. China’s interest in Tibet was born out of a need for survival and to defend her backyard from those who extended their arms too long. There is perhaps no better annotation to how we (the Chinese) perceived the situation than quoting from someone who was actually there. 丁宝桢Ding Baozhen, then governor of Sichuan (1877-86), wrote in a report submitted to the Qing court:
(My translation) It was twenty years since Britain invaded China from the sea. Britain has established its interest in the Southeastern provinces. Only those inland provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Hunan, Guangxi, Gansu, Shanxi, Shanxi, and Henan are left untouched. Then, Britain changed its tactics and tried to break through from the Southwest, entering Tibet from Indian and from Tibet to Sichuan. If Britain reaches Sichuan, he can grab Yunnan, Guizhou and other provinces as easily as putting things in a bag.”
Governor Ding wrote at a time when China saw two humiliating Opium Wars with the British and the British and French armies torched and looted the royal palace in Beijing. No wonder the Governor was extremely suspicious of the British’s motives and behavior. Two things seem to be clear in his message: 1) China regarded Tibet as strategically important for her survival and security and 2) it was exactly the British’s behavior (and may I add the Russians, the Japanese, the Germans, and the French) in China made her aware of the strategic importance of Tibet (and her other frontier regions).
Let me recap, I have tried to show that economically, culturally and politically/strategically, Tibet before 1949 was not as isolated as people usually think. What’s more, on the societal level, segments of the population (i.e., the ruling elites and businessman), to use a Chinese term, 是见过些世面的have seen the world.
The story between Sir Charles Bell and the 13th Dalai Lama is well-known. What is less known is that the 9th Panchen Lama and Sir Frederick O’Connor formed a similar bond. O’Connor was then a British trade agent in Gyantse and he kept a correspondence with the Panchen Lama for years after he left Tibet. In 1905, it was O’Connor and another British Sikkim officer invited the 9th Panchen Lama to visit India and introduced the lama as the official representative of Tibet to the visiting Prince and Princess of Wales. (Of course, the Panchen Lama also had extensive travels in his 13 years’ exile in China. But however this experience influenced his outlook, he did not seem to have much say in the events happening inside of Tibet by then.)
The 13th Dalai Lama was certainly better traveled (though forced) than some of his predecessors in Tibet (and probably even some of the Qing emperors). Fleeing the invading army, he spent 8 years out of 9 between the age of 28 and 37 away from Lhasa, staying at varying lengths in Ulan Bator, various places in China (Xining, Beijing, Wutai Mountain, etc.), and Darjeeling, Calcutta. I always wondered if and how these travels made the man Goldstein described as “fiercely independent”.
Among the foreigners who came to close contact with the 13th DL, Sir Charles Bell and the Russian monk Aghvan Dorjiev were well known. Since the late 19th century, some Japanese also worked their way into Tibet (e.g., 能海宽Nomi Kan, 河口慧海Ekai Kawaguchi, 成田安辉Narita Yasuteru, 野元甚藏, 木村肥佐生Kimura Hisao, and 西川一三Nishikawa Kazumi) and a few even into the heart and mind and the service of the 13th Dalai Lama (e.g., 寺本婉雅Teramoto Enga, 矢岛保治郎Yajima Yasujiro, 青木文教Aoki Bunkyo, 多田等观Tokan Tada). Some of these Japanese visitors of Tibet are explorers, some are cultural/religious pilgrims, and some worked for the Japanese government that had its own imperialist ambition in Tibet.
With these travels and contacts, I’d say two of the most important ruling lamas in Tibet were probably not insular in their outlook.
Eric Teichman台克满 had an interesting description of the Tibetan officials in his memoir. When the Sino-Tibetan conflict broke up in Kham between 1917-18, Eric Teichman台克满, then the assistant to the British Minister to Beijing Sir John Jordan朱尔典, was sent as a special commissioner to mediate a peace between the two sides. When Teichman台克满 met the Tibetan officials, he found them “most civilized”. He was very impressed by the Tibetan officials’ knowledge of the West and their visits to India. Teichman also discovered these Tibetan officials carried Kodak cameras and field glasses similar to his own. Provincial and less sophisticated, the Sichuan officials in the Chinese camp were dwarfed by comparison.
Some of the Tibetan ruling elites can be quite sophisticated and open-minded. The last story also shows it is a question of isolation compared with whom. This time the Sichuan officials proved no match to the Tibetans (at least in the British eyes). Lastly, there is also the question of isolation from whom. Perhaps Tibet before 1949 was not as isolated as people commonly think, not to people of its neighboring communities. Rather, it was some outsiders like the British who were ignorant.
Mark Anthony Jones says
I shall be writing up my response to Raj later this evening, and posting it around midnight, Sydney time I expect.
For now though, two things:
1. I’d like to thank William Huang, S.K. Cheung, Allen, George_01, Wukailong and Yo, for extending to me such a warm welcome to this site, and for their generosity in offering up such encouraging comments.
2. I very much agree with May’s comment above – the Tibetans certainly were nowhere near as insulated from the world prior to 1949 as so many people claim. Tibet was no hermit kingdom. As I wrote in my essay on China’s globalisation, at http://www.chinadiscourse.net
…Tibet is often romanticised as having been a land once shrouded in mystery, a hermit kingdom that until recently was able to remain hidden above the clouds, but in reality the people of this region also have a long history of engaging in foreign trade and of embracing foreign ideas and goods into their lives. When the Italian missionary Francesco della Penna visited Tibet in the 1730s for example, he found a flourishing mining industry: gold, silver, copper, lead, sulphur, cobalt and mercury. Tibet’s theocratic government, headed by the lamasery, generated large revenues by taxing the profits from mining and trade. In 1899, the value of Tibet’s trade with India alone was recorded as having been worth a quarter of a million pounds sterling, which was huge money back then. Tibetans imported mirrors, umbrellas, soap, kerosene, clocks and watches – just about everything you can think of in fact, although the main product they imported from India was woollen cloth. They bought horses, saddlery and leather from Mongolia, and silks, carpets and tea-bricks from the eastern parts of China…
Tibetan traders, of course, wandered far afield – throughout India especially.
MAJ, I like your little excerpt here. I only talked about the traders. It’s good to know what were actually traded there in Tibet. Thanks! 🙂
@Charlies Liu. #128.
Does the Translate on the right hand side of the web page work? Just curious why you need to translate if it does.
7. The Tibetan Government in Exile mislead the world about the true nature of the majority of those Tibetans who journey to Dharmasala each year – most are not refugees, but religious pilgrims. The Tibetan Government in Exile has both financial and political incentives to do so.
7. How would China know who returns in comparison to the number that leave, especially if they attempt to visit without going through usual border controls (like the Tibetans shot by the Chinese guards)?
On the composition of Tibetan refugees and why they left Tibet
It seems an article 李江琳Ms. Li Jianglin wrote may help us clear things up a bit. The Taiwanese researcher published this article on her blog last year. She wanted to find out why the Tibetans went into exile. She went to India and visited three major Tibetan refugee settlements including Dharamsala to find an answer. She focused on the group of refugees who left Tibet in 1991 and onward. Here are some of the points in her article I find interesting and I also include my own comments.
1. According to the data provided by the UN, 75% of the Tibetan refugees are from Amdo and Kham. Li’s interviewees were also mostly from Sichuan and Qinghai. According to Li, the Tibetan population outside of the TAR accounts for about 50% of the total Tibetan population. So proportionally, Tibetans refugees coming outside of the TAR are significantly more than those from the TAR. Li said the reason for this is the central government’s huge financial subsidies every year are only given to the TAR and benefit only those inside of the TAR. As a result, almost half of the Tibetan population outside of TAR do not benefit from these subsidies.
I have a slight problem with Li’s data on Tibetan population inside and outside of the TAR. In another source compiled by a Tibetan in response to the Dalai Lama’s call for a special conference to discuss the future of Tibet last year, these are the numbers: 2.77 million (35%) inside of the TAR and 5.11 million (65%) outside of the TAR. According to this estimation, the difference in the proportion of refugees from outside and inside of the TAR seems less pronounced.
2. Li also provided information on the composition of the Tibetan refugees in her article. Note that these numbers do not include Tibetan pilgrims who have passports and use the official channel to travel. So we still don’t know how large is the refugee population compared to the pilgrims and the composition of these pilgrims.
Table 1: Tibetan refugee received by the Tibetan refugee Center in Nepal 1993-2002 (source: UN)
牧民Nomads 1382 6.2%
尼姑Nuns 863 3.9%
喇嘛Lamas 9075 40.9%
农民Farmers 4725 21.3%
失业者Unemployed 222 1%
学生Students 2765 12.4%
失学儿童 Children with no schooling 1902 8.6%
其他Other 1269 5.7%
总数Total 22203 100%
Li noted that in the ten years between 1993 and 2002, two biggest groups of people who became refugees are the nuns/lamas (44.8%) and students/children without schooling (21%).
Table 2: Tibetan refugee received by the Tibetan refugee Center in Nepal 2003-2006 (source: UN)
宗教人士clergy 5013 45%
儿童/学生children/students 3342 30%
农民farmers 2228 20%
牧民/失业者nomads/unemployed 557 5%
总数Total 11140 100%
Li noted that in the 4 years between 2003 and 2006, the number of refugees almost account for a half of the refugees in the last decade. She did not want to speculate the reasons without enough information. But the trend stayed the same: nuns/lamas and students/children are the largest groups who left Tibet.
MAJ may not be accurate in describing all those who came to India as religious pilgrims. But religion is definitely a big reason for those who decided to leave Tibet. Besides the nuns and the lamas, I suspect many of those children/students also came to Indian to seek a traditional Buddhist education.
Tsering Shakya’s article in the Far East Economic Review last year provided some clues why Dharmasala has become such an important center of religious teaching and leadership.
1) Since the late 90s, senior lamas inside Tibet either passed away or went into exile in India. This almost created a religious vacuum in Tibet with no one to continue the religious teaching.
2) When the senior lamas came to India, the place is regarded as the legitimate place of religious leadership and learning.
3) Tibetan Buddhism emphasizes face to face initiation and education with one’s lama. It is very important to hear the words from one’s lama.
Mark Anthony Jones says
Raj – before I address some of the concerns that you raised in response to my initial comment on this thread, allow me to remark very briefly on your introductory point, that “people will believe” what “they want to” regardless of what the existing available evidence indicates.
I agree with you. How most people choose to interpret a particular event or situation does often depend on their ideological and or emotional allegiances. I have often, in the past, been accused of being a CCP “stooge” and at times labelled a “panda-licker.” Such claims are always launched with the aim of discrediting me and my views. My analysis appears to converge in many places with that of Chinese officialdom, so therefore, so the accusations go, I must be a mouthpiece for the CCP. I was once even accused of being in Beijing’s employment!
I have no political, emotional or ideological affiliations with the CCP. Let me make that clear from the start. My views are the product of synthesis. I absorb a whole range of views and studies, weigh up the evidence presented, and draw my conclusions from the empirically-verifiable evidence presented. While I do pay important attention to qualitative evidence, I privilege quantitative data in the interests of gaining a realistic idea of the size and scope of a particular problem. I would urge you, if you have the time, to read my essay on China’s current human rights situation, which I have published on my China Discourse site. My conclusion, that China’s human rights problems are largely exaggerated, reflects not some ideological bias, but rather, what the available existing empirically-verifiable quantitative evidence suggest to me is the case. In other words, I really do try my very best to draw conclusions that faithfully reflect what is empirically-verifiable.
That is not to say, of course, that I am not influenced by the discourse of others, but I do employ a broad epistemological approach when analysing issues like the Tibetan one, and so once again, I would urge you, if you have the time to spare, to read the Introduction to my China Discourse site, as this will provide you with a very detailed but clear understanding of just exactly where I am coming from – read it before you read the essay on China’s human rights situation, as the latter will make more sense to you that way, as will my views and approach to the Tibetan Issue.
I’m not sure, however, where you are coming from, though I get the impression so far that you are an Enlightenment fundamentalist of the liberal variety. Your views, from what I know of them, seem to suggest this. While I deeply respect such Enlightenment views, I do regard such a positioning as having a number of serious shortcomings – as I have outlined in the Introduction to my website.
In case you have neither the time nor the inclination to read my Introduction, let me state here then that I am not a liberal, but a value-pluralist. My entire approach to understanding not only China, but also the entire world around me, reflects this very philosophical positioning.
Let us now proceed then, to some of your concerns. I shall address only your first five questions this evening, and perhaps, if I have the time, I will tackle the others tomorrow night.
Q1: How great are the human rights abuses in Tibet and what are they?
A: Alleged human rights abuses in Tibet, as with the rest of China, fall into three basic categories: cultural rights, political (or civil) rights and personal integrity rights. I will deal with cultural rights when responding to your fourth and fifth questions.
In terms of personal integrity rights, the accusation most commonly made by the pro-Tibetan independence lobby and the Dalai Lama’s self-proclaimed Tibetan Government in Exile, generally reads as follows: that thousands of Tibetan political activists are at any one time subject to torture and imprisonment, usually also having been denied the right to a fair trial. In fact, many such critics of China go much further than this, claiming that Tibet is a country in which execution, political murders, disappearances, brutality and torture are a common part of life. The Dalai Lama has even accused Beijing of having implemented a policy of genocide, not only culturally, but literally – of willing a colonial-style policy of demographic annihilation.
Let us now examine the plausibility of these claims.
I’ll begin by looking at the issue of personal integrity rights violations, since the charges of demographic annihilation have already, long ago, been totally discredited.
When it comes to gathering quantitative evidence of the incarceration and torture of Tibetan prisoners, there is no organisation more thorough than the US government’s Congressional-Executive Commission on China. They gather their evidence from a wide variety of reliable sources, and to remain credible, the information they record must be verifiable beyond any reasonable doubt. So what does their political prisoner database reveal about the number of Tibetan political prisoners?
The database shows very clearly that the vast majority of Tibetan political prisoners held up to September 2007 had been charged and sentenced back in the 1980s for their participation in the 1980s riots – the average length of sentencing being ten years and four months. When one looks over all of the yearly reports, one sees that as these prisoners completed their sentences, the numbers remaining in prison, from 1996 onwards, steadily declined. In 1996 for example, there were 200 Tibetan political prisoners serving sentences in prisons located throughout all of China – the majority of which were incarcerated in prisons located with the Tibetan Autonomous Region. By 2003 this number had declined to 150, 145 in 2004, 120 in 2005, 103 in 2006, and then down to only 100 in 2007. Keep in mind here, Raj, that the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China relied to some considerable extent on intelligence from pro-Tibet lobby groups for these figures, especially on the London-based Tibet Information Network. These are not figures provided by the Chinese state.
Yet, despite these relatively low figures, both the US Congressional-Executive Commission and the very same pro-Tibet lobby groups that helped to come up with these figures, drew rather sweeping conclusions from them – that the imprisonment of political prisoners is continually on-going and systematic – indicating a clear political motivation. The pro-Tibet lobby groups and the TGIE talk these figures up into the thousands when issuing media statements.
Sadly, the number of Tibetan political prisoners jumped very sharply as a consequence of last year’s riots. According to the 2008 report, “the resulting surge in the number of Tibetan political prisoners may prove to be the largest increase in such prisoners that has occurred under China’s current Constitution and Criminal Law.” Well over one thousand people were attained in the wake of these riots, though a large number were later released. The 2008 report simply wasn’t able to verify an exact number incarcerated. That said, many of those arrested for having participated in the March 2008 riots would have been charged for criminal activities that are not specifically political in nature – arson, vandalism, etc.
Let us look at the torture statistics now. If we examine the 2005 findings of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Civil and Political Rights, including the Question of Torture and Detention, we see that 314 cases of alleged torture were reported between the years 2000 and 2005, involving around 1,160 individuals. Of these, 66 percent were Falan Gong practitioners, 11 percent Uighur separatists, 8 percent sex workers, 6 percent Tibetans, 5 percent human rights defenders, 2 percent political dissidents, and the remaining 2 percent were people either effected with HIV/AIDs or were of unregistered religious groups other than the Falan Gong. Most of these abuses occurred in pretrial detention centres, like police stations, and were perpetrated by police and other public security staff – reflecting the Rapporteur’s findings that when torture does occur in China, it is usually at the local level, and ‘because the police are often under great pressure from above to solve criminal cases.’
In other words, only 6 percent of a total of 1,160 individual cases involving alleged torture in China over a five-year period were Tibetan, which means that between 2000 and 2005 there were as few as 70 confirmed cases of alleged torture committed against Tibetans in all of China – an average of 14 cases per year over this same period. Hardly ongoing and systematic, as claimed by the TGIE, and even if we assume that the real number of cases is higher, say double or even triple the UN figure, due say to official cover-up or under-reporting perhaps, the probable number would still be relatively small as a total percentage of the Tibetan population, and again, hardly the daily occurrence claimed by the TGIE and its support lobbyists in Washington and London.
Let us now turn to earlier claims by the TGIE that Beijing had a policy of demographic genocide – I won’t bother going into this in too much detail, since few serious Tibet specialists today take such claims seriously. The whole idea has been seriously discredited, proven empirically to be false.
If Tibetans were so fiercely suppressed throughout the 1980s and 1990s, when such claims were commonly voiced, and if Chinese leaders in Beijing were really out to Sinicize Tibet by increasing the ethnic ratio of Han to Tibetan, then why were, and still are, all Tibetan families permitted to have up to three children and are only fined small amounts of money if they exceed this number? Tibetan families in Tibet average 3.8 children, larger than Tibetan families in India. In fact, the population of Tibet in 1959 was only about 1.19 million. By the year 2000 however, the population of Greater Tibet had reached 7.3 million, of which, according to the 2000 census, 6 million were ethnic Tibetans. If we consider the Tibet Autonomous Region only, then according to the census conducted in 2000, there were 2,616,300 people in Tibet, with Tibetans totalling 2,411,100 or 92.2% of the regional population. The census also revealed that the Tibetan’s average lifespan had increased to 68 due to the improving standard of living and access to medical services. In 1950 the average lifespan was only 35. Infant mortality had, by 2000, also dropped, from 43% in 1950 to 0.661% in 2000.
As Barry Sautman points out in his study on Tibet and the (Mis)Representation of Cultural Genocide, “the state sponsored transfer [of Han Chinese] to Tibet is on a small scale. From 1994 to 2001 the PRC organised only a few thousand people to go to Tibet as cadres. Most serve only 3 years and then return to China. Those who move on their own to the Tibet Autonomous Region usually return to China in a few years. They come for a while, find the cities of Tibet too expensive, and then return to China. Some of the 72,000 Chinese who maintain their hukou [household registration] in Tibet don’t really live there. Pensions are higher if your household is registered in Tibet.”
These facts are supported by articles in the Columbia Journal of Asian Law and by an Australian Chinese demographer in Asian Ethnicity in 2000, and show that the claims of ethnic swamping in Tibet are misleading. “What I think these articles show,” says Barry Sautman, “is that there is no evidence of significant population losses over the whole period from the 1950s to the present. There are some losses during he Great Leap Forward but these were less in Tibetan areas than in other parts of China. Where these were serious were in Sichuan and Qinghai, but even there not as serious as in the Han areas of China. There are no bases at all for the figures used regularly by the exile groups. They use the figure of 1.2 million Tibetans dying from the 1950s to the 1970s, but no source for this is given. As a lawyer I give no credence to statistics for which there is no data, no visible basis.”
“Tibet, Tibet”, which was actually first published back in 2003, was written by Patrick French, who worked as an active campaigner on behalf of the Tibetan lobby cause for about 20 years. He worked for the Free Tibet Campaign to be precise, and he wrote his book after spending a lengthy period of time in both the TAR and in Dharmasala back in 1999.
After interviewing many Tibetans, French grew suspicious of many of the exiles’ claims, in particular the widely repeated allegation that 1.2 million Tibetans, a fifth of the supposed original population, died as a direct result of Chinese rule. He points out that the claim that 1.2 million people had died under Chinese occupation didn’t first surface until the mid 1980s, and that Dharmasala had always refused to reveal its sources to the academic world. After much pressuring, he was eventually given access to these files while in Dharamsala, though they were censored (so much for the TGIE’s accountabilty) yet what the documents revealed alarmed and surprised him: he found them to be full of holes and came away with “the unwelcome conclusion that this survey was a statistically useless attempt to satisfy Western demands for data and tabulation” so that the Government in Exile could excite Western support and sympathy.
After spending time in Tibet, Patrick French consequently stepped down as head of the Free Tibet Campaign: “I could no longer view things with the necessary simplicity to be part of a political campaign,” he wrote.
Raj, you know (I think) that the extent of human rights abuses in Tibet have been significantly exaggerated by the TGIE and its supporters over the last few decades, which is why you tacked onto your first question the following comment: “Exaggeration does not invalidate the criticism of them taking place.” Well, I agree with you – just because some organisations and high profile individuals exaggerate human rights abuses in Tibet, doesn’t mean that the world shouldn’t criticise the Chinese state for its shortcomings in this area. But as the Canadian historian and Tibet specialist, A. Tom Grunfeld has continually over the years argued, the world “must also acknowledge the significant gains in personal freedoms for the vast majority of China’s citizens,” and should “support the moderate elements in the Chinese government by portraying Tibet in a more realistic fashion,” – and that means engaging more with Tibetan officials from the TAR “not pandering to the Tibet Lobby.”
Because as Grunfeld also explains, the success of the international campaign for Tibet “has led to a proportional deterioration in cultural conditions for the people of the TAR, since Tibet’s high profile has bolstered the authority of the Chinese hardliners.” Moreover, publicity from outside Tibet encourages hardline separatists to continue their struggles against Chinese rule, which, from the point of view of Chinese hardliners, increases the threat of instability, and therefore the need to make further crackdowns.” Pamela Logan, an American academic who has spent a large amount of her life in Kham working for a foreign NGO on cultural restoration programs, agrees, and has expressed a hope that any future 15th Dalai Lama will prove to be “less divisive”.
Exaggerating human rights abuses in Tibet merely compromises the legitimacy of the human rights cause, and in Tibet’s case, it encourages separatists – thereby further provoking those hardliners who are charged with overseeing the region’s public security into initiating tougher crackdowns.
The Dalai Lama then, in my assessment, is divisive, his political interventions far more damaging to ordinary Tibetans than constructive.
Q2: What are “human rights conditions” and how have they increased?
A: When we talk about human rights, again, we must categorise them into political (or civil) rights, macro-level communal rights (health, education, housing, etc), cultural and of course, personal integrity rights.
Respect for personal integrity rights, while nowhere near as bad as what the TGIE claims, nevertheless needs significant improvement. It would help, as I argued in response to your first question above, if the Dalai Lama and his TGIE were to be less divisive, as this would help to create the conditions necessary to allow a relaxation of hardline measures.
Political rights could be better too, but again, they are not as lacking as the TGIE and its supporters claim. Tsering Shakya, in an article he had published back in the May-June 2002 volume of New Left Review, entitled “Blood in the Snows”, noted that “Tibetans are indeed well represented on bodies like the National People’s Congress and the People’s Consultative Conference.” In fact, he says, “they are over-represented, given the size of the Tibetan population.” By 1989, Tibetans accounted for 66.6 percent of total cadres in the Tibetan Autonomous Region, 72 percent at provincial level and 68.4 percent at prefectural level. All “number one’ administrative leaders at provincial and prefectural levels were Tibetans, as were the Party Secretaries in 63 out of the 75 counties. While this may sound quite impressive, it needs to be said, as Tsering points out, that Tibetan members of these bodies need to be selected and approved as model citizens by the CCP, and very often their positions are rewarded for loyalty to the Party.” There is some reasonable doubt then, as to the real extent to which Tibetan political leaders are able to voice the will of ordinary Tibetans. Nevertheless, the presence of so many Tibetans on these bodies demonstrates at least some level of inclusiveness.
It is in the area of macro-level human rights that the indicators look best. The 2000 census for example, revealed that the Tibetan’s average lifespan had increased to 68 due to improving standards of living as well as to better access to medical services. In 1950 the average lifespan was only 35, and “infant mortality has now dropped from 43% in 1950 to 0.661% in 2000.” Literacy levels, as I mentioned in an earlier comment on this thread, have also greatly increased since the late 1950s.
Have the main beneficiaries of Tibet’s modernisation and economic growth been non-Tibetans?
Tsering Shakya has a little to say about this. According to him, “the majority of the workforce in railway construction projects in Tibet consists of Chinese migrants from poor regions, such as Gansu and Shaanxi, where many farmers now do not have jobs. There is a shortage of skilled Tibetan labourers, so Tibetans often do miss out on certain kinds of employment opportunities, which does of course create feelings of resentment along with charges of racism. Tibetan farmers however, as Tsering also points out, “are far better off than most rural communities in China.”
Qs 4 & 5: How will Tibetan culture survive, and what of the pro-Tibetans-In-Exile claims that Tibetan culture is being replaced by Western culture?
A: Raj, I have already discussed this issue in some detail in an earlier comment that I posted here on this thread – written in response to your first response to my initial comment. Tibetan culture is flourishing in a new and exciting contemporary form, as Tsering Shakya puts it, because Tibetans, like human beings everywhere, appropriate what is new and foreign in ways that are culturally mediated. I provided a few examples of this process in the essay I wrote on China’s Globalisation, which you can find on my China Discourse site, at: http://www.chinadiscourse.net
I take your point about Disney-style attractions, like the new simulated Shangri-la that Zhongdian has been partially transformed into, but tourism is nevertheless, as the anthropologists Kolas and Thowsen have concluded, ‘a very important factor in the revitalisation of Tibetan culture,’ and it is mostly the Tibetans themselves that are driving this process of cultural revival, as they also make clear.
Take the revival of religious life in Tibet for example. As Tsering Shakya explains, with the economic reforms of the 1980s, people started to become wealthier and so gave more money in alms to their local monasteries: “Economic success helped to generate the revival of the monasteries”. Tsering’s understanding of this is supported by Pamela Logan’s experiences, as detailed in a paper she wrote titled “Tulkas in Tibet”, published in the Winter 2004 edition of Harvard Asia Quarterly. Over the last 25 years, a portion of China’s new wealth has “trickled up the narrow, winding dirt roads to the Tibetan plateau,” she wrote. “As the climate of fear lifted,” says Logan, “families again began tithing alms and sons. Despite serious political instability in Lhasa, tulkus in most parts of Tibet found that the resources at their disposal were slowly increasing. Punctuating this slow rise were occasional uprisings against Chinese rule at some rebellious monasteries. The resulting crackdowns led to imprisonment for the ringleaders, who sometimes included tulkus, and restraints on movement. But the majority of tulkus kept their heads low, and managed to avoid these problems. By the mid-1990s, many had attained a fairly comfortable Tibetan lifestyle and restored the most important temples in their monasteries. Their wealth continued to increase, and so, like many others belonging to the rising middle class, they discovered a new use for disposable income: travel.”
Many of today’s Tibetan incarnate lamas are doing very well it seems. Pamela Logan again:
“In 2000 I visited a Buddhist monastery located on the remote grasslands of eastern Tibet. There was not a tree within three hours’ drive, and the land supported only a sparse scattering of herdsmen. Nevertheless, the monastery was thronging with people. Hundreds of workers were in the final stages of constructing a grand new temple. The monks were busily preparing for a great dedication ceremony that would soon take place. Workers were also constructing a hospital, a primary school for local children, and a hotel to house the many hundreds of expected guests. To finance these projects, seven million yuan (almost US$900,000) had been raised by a local tulku from his followers. The donors were not in Tibet, nor were they from overseas. They were in the eastern Chinese regions of Shanghai, Guangzhou, Zhejiang, and Fujian. Many tulkus have discovered that Chinese cities are not only good places to spend the winter, shop, and eat well; they are also good places to collect new students and raise funds. I know a number of tulkus who have established second homes in Chengdu, the largest metropolis in the vicinity of the Tibetan plateau. From there they travel to other Chinese cities. More than a few of them have obtained Chinese passports and travel abroad to places such as Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan. Although many of them do not speak Mandarin well, they seem to fascinate their Chinese followers.”
It is normally the case Raj, that Tibetans themselves are able to exercise considerable agency in reviving and rearticulating their traditions and sense of Tibetan-ness.
When it comes to officially respecting and promoting the cultural rights of Tibetans at the state level, again, while there are controversies and undeniable problems, overall, the situation is nowhere near as bad as what the TGIE and its supporters claim. The Tibetan language isn’t dying out, as the Dalai Lama continually claims – more Tibetans can read and write in the Lhasa dialect today that at any time in Tibet’s entire history. Tsering Shakya, who is very critical of China’s rule of Tibet (which he insists is imperialistic in nature, though some Western academics have challenged him on this, in particular Barry Sautman), is also critical of the Dalai Lama and the TGIE, as I mentioned in an earlier comment on this post. He acknowledges that a genuine cultural renaissance has been taking place since the 1980s – the weight of empirically-verifiable evidence to show this is just so overwhelming that few serious Tibet specialists try challenging it. The flourishing of Tibetan culture – both in its traditional and contemporary hybridized forms – is deep and meaningful, as Tsering himself acknowledges.
One interesting and insightful study is the one carried out by Melvyn C. Goldstein, who is Professor and Chairman, Department of Anthropology, and Director of the Center for Research on Tibet at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, and Cynthia M. Beall, who is Professor of Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University. Their study, titled “The Impact of China’s Reform Policy on the Nomads of Western Tibet”, was carried out over a 16 month period in the Tibet Autonomous Region. It’s worth quoting at length from their conclusion:
“…the post-1980 policies have fostered a cultural and social revitalization that has allowed the nomads to resurrect basic components of their traditional culture….life in Phala today is closer to that of the traditional era than at any time since China assumed direct administrative control over Tibet in 1959. The post-1980 reforms created conditions whereby the nomadic pastoralists of Phala were able to regain control of their lives and recreate a matrix of values, norms, and beliefs that is psychologically and culturally meaningful. The new polices have, in essence, vindicated the nomads’ belief in the worth of their nomadic way of life and their Tibetan ethnicity.”
Tyler Denison reached similar conclusions in his study, titled “Reaffirmation of ‘Ritual Cosmos’: Tibetan Perceptions of Landscape and Socio-Economic Development in Southwest China”, published in the Spring 2006 edition of the University of New Hampshire Undergraduate Research Journal:
“Rather than finding Tibetan tradition being destroyed by Chinese rule and the influx of people, goods and ideas from the modern world,” concludes Denison, “I witnessed firsthand the importance of Kawa Karpo and the ritual cosmos in the lives of the Tibetans of Deqin county: it has not been diminished. Tibetans’ enduring perception of the landscape as a ritual cosmos cannot be termed a static reality of tradition, but more a dynamic cultural process, as they are continually renegotiating and redefining their beliefs in light of new social and economic realities.”
Raj, you say that anything modern isn’t necessarily bad, and I agree entirely. But you also suggest that the Chinese want to homogenise Tibetan culture in order to make them “easier to control” and that Tibetans should be able to exercise agency when it comes to shaping and defining their own culture.
I agree that Tibetans should have the freedom to exercise agency in this way, but most of the empirical evidence suggests that they do (I just provided you with some research that shows this to be the case).
I do not believe that the Chinese state seeks to homogenise Tibetan culture though. There is no evidence to support this, although consumerism is the dominant ideology in China today – the ONLY homogenising and totalitarian ideology gripping China today too, I might add. Yet, as I said earlier, to consume is to appropriate, and so modernisation doesn’t necessarily result in homogenisation. Take for instance one of the examples that I used to illustrate this point in my book, “Flowing Waters Never Stale”: in China’s Tibetan regions, traditional folk songs, some hundreds of years old, are now being revived by young bands with the help of modern recording technology, but in hip-hop and rap styles. Singing in both the Tibetan and Mandarin languages, the Lhasa-based Heavenly Club Band for example, has managed to popularise what had been a largely forgotten folk song, the Chang Wine Toast. According to the lead singer, Tenzin Dawa, a graduate of Tibet University, the ‘Heavenly Club’, which the band takes its name from, is a magical instrument used by Buddhists to defeat evil spirits. Older traditionalists have of course criticised the band for ‘spoiling’ folk songs by producing them in such foreign, Westernised styles, but in response the band argues that ‘this is only their opinion,’ and that they see themselves as ‘carrying forward folk music.’
As the anthropologists Kolas and Thowsen have observed, a more modern Tibetan identity is also [in addition to the revival of traditional culture] in the process of being shaped, mainly by Tibetan youths, who are adopting ‘key traditional symbols’ but ‘expressing this identity through such media as popular music and visual arts, creating a kind of Tibetan urban subculture.’
While the results of this process lead understandably to anxieties about cultural authenticity, ‘the source of one individual’s set of cultural anxieties,’ as Michael Hockx and Julia Strauss have pointed out, ‘is often that of another’s enjoyment.’
It is the traditionalists – the conservatives within the Tibetan lamasery – that want to homogenise and monopolise Tibetan culture, as Tsering Shakya has pointed out, not so much the central government in Beijing. I discussed all of this in detail in my comment addressed to you of yesterday evening – quoting such relevant passages from Tsering’s interview for the New Left Review and pointing out that the traditionalists – the Dalai Lama included – feel threatened by and so dislike the more liberal, secular culture that has been generally embraced by the younger generations of Tibetans, especially those who reside in the urban centres.
Raj, I shall conclude my response here. I will address your other concerns tomorrow night. I trust that our exchange of views here will benefit us both, assisting us each in the further development and refinement of our respective views on the issues of Tibet. It is a very emotive topic for many, I know, but as I said in my introductory remarks to this comment, I do try my best to be as humanly detached and as objective as possible, grounding my conclusions empirically. I do not, nevertheless, claim any of my discursive texts to be representations of truth, for the truth can never really be known, only hinted at, as Lin Yutang once famously said. Still, if you will forgive me for being so cheeky, I should also like to qualify this last remark of mine by pointing out that, as Preiswerk and Perrot have rightly observed, “even if pure ontological reality is impossible to know, it is legitimate to state that versions exist that are more accurate than others.” 🙂
Mark Anthony Jones says
May – again, I agree with you. In fact, I explored this very issue in some considerable detail during the course of a debate that I had with David Meanwell, of the Tibet Information Network, on the American Public Broadcasting Service discussion forum, set up in response to the television series, “China from the Inside”. The web address is as follows: http://discussions.pbs.org/viewtopic.pbs?t=68073&sid=b0bbde99b68f89505c1687a3a9845128
I wasn’t aware of the Tsering Shakya article in the Far East Economic Review though, so thanks for alerting me to its existence! I will give it a read.
@ William Huang #115:
“Steve, not to be argumentative but I won’t count 1960, 61, 62, and 63 as before 1960s.”
That’s not being argumentative, that’s being accurate. You’re absolutely correct. 🙂
“The independence has always been the real issue for Tibet riots. Every other issue is just a side track to force the real intention. If Tibetan independence is never the issue, then the only thing left to address Tibetan human right issue is if there are discriminations against them. If not, a Tibetan human right issue is nothing more than a Chinese human rights issue.”
That seems to be the bone of contention between the two factions. One says that independence isn’t an issue and the other that it is, but in the reverse order that one might expect. Your argument is that no discussion can be held with the DL because the only true agenda he has is independence, and that is why China won’t negotiate with him. If that is the case, and it seems to be, then I wonder who WOULD the Chinese government negotiate with concerning Tibetan issues? As MAJ pointed out, though there are many Tibetan representatives in CPC government bodies, they represent the party interests or would not be in those capacities. If the TGIE isn’t representative of Tibetan interests but of their own interests, then I can see a black hole on the Tibetan side as far as representation.
If MAJ’s data is to be believed, and I see no reason why it should not, then what are the actual human rights issues that need to be addressed? If human rights have improved, is it strictly religious prohibitions we’re talking about or are there other concerns?
“Second, there is no foreign government support like the way TGIE and Dalai Lama are getting. NED (National Endowment for Democracy), a US congress controlled organization finance TGIE millions of dollars each year. Image MLK was financially backed by Soviet Union. Kennedy actually asked MLK personally if he was a communist otherwise wouldn’t support.”
This argument compares oranges and apples. If MLK were in Tibet, he would not be allowed to receive donations from other Tibetans, he would not be allowed to receive foreign support and he would not be allowed to speak freely.
“Also, most of riots during the ‘60s in US were civil disobedience, not really violence that leads to killing and civilians (whites) were not targeted. The March 2008 riot targeted specific ethnic group. Such thing in US, or many other countries is called hate-crime not protest.”
William, I lived through those times and there was violence, people were killed and the violence was perpetrated on both black and white, though obviously more on black since they formed the greater numbers. But as a percentage, the white protesters were targeted in some areas more than the black protesters because they were thought of as “Yankee outsiders” causing trouble in the South. But in general, I certainly agree with you that the differences outweigh the similarities.
@ Tenzin #99:
“To Steve at 81: You said, “I’ve said before that some of the DL’s positions are ludicrious and non-starters.” Could you expand on this for me?”
Two positions he has stated that I would say are non-starters are:
1. No Chinese troops in the Tibetan zone.
2. The Tibetan areas would be incorporated into one large autonomous zone.
If China agreed to the first position, they would be giving up ‘de facto’ sovereignty in Tibet. They would also lose the geopolitical advantages of Tibet to the detriment of the entire country including Tibet. Hong Kong is a special zone yet Chinese troops are there. I cannot think of any country that would accept that proposal.
The next position combined with the first is in my mind, sorry to say, ludicrous. One province that is something like 20-25% of an entire country’s land area is off limits to the central government?
Tenzin, I’m not condemning the TGIE for entering negotiations with these positions. You have to start from an extreme position and negotiate your way down to one that is acceptable for both sides. But neither of these positions could survive a settlement.
@William Huang and Steve:
Steve wrote (half quoting William Huang) in #138
DL is no MLK. That we can all agree on.
If we have to make a better comparison – DL is more like Malcolm X.
The good thing about Malcolm X was that after his religious pilgrimage to Mecca, he did finally see the light that the solution to racial tensions lie in unity, social integration and self reliance – not never-ending bickering of differences, disunity, and separatism.
Now as for Steve’s question whether instability in Tibet is due to nationalism or mass dissatisfaction among Tibetans – that is the 2 million dollar question.
From my perspective, if it’s merely nationalism – then the gov’t need to mete out resistance with an iron hand. If it’s mass dissatisfaction arising from issues other than nationalism – then gov’t needs to adopt better policies.
However I don’t think better policies include autonomy as stipulated by the DL … but now I am jumping ahead of a post I am working on…
@ MAJ #106: First of all, thank you for joining our discussion. When I first joined the blog, my knowledge of Tibet was very limited so I’ve asked questions that were answered in a variety of ways but without much backup (with exceptions) so I appreciate the references you give when making your arguments.
“Traditionalists, like the Dalai Lama himself, blame westernisation on Han economic and social policy, which is why he claims that the Han are carrying out a policy of cultural genocide. Most serious observers reject the Dalai Lama’s claim, norting that since the 1980s Tibet has been experiencing a cultural renaissance. Westernisation is occuring of course, to some extent, in that a globalised consumer culture is now flourishing in many of the larger Tibetan towns and cities. But what people overlook is the fact that globalisation is also helping to revive traditional Tibetan culture – especially the growth of tourism industry – and also the fact that Tibetans, like everyone else in the world, appropriate what is foreign in ways that are culturally-specific.”
Thanks for the explanation. I don’t see a “consumer culture” as being westernized at all. I once read a book that documented daily life in the Southern Song dynasty around Hangzhou and it was just as consumer oriented as anything today. People must make their own decisions on whether to incorporate technology into their lives or live without it. The idea that cultures can stagnate is a myth.
It reminded me of some in Japan who want to follow the “samurai code”, though the code they want to follow was created after the samurai had fought their last battles and their position had no purpose. They had to create a reason for their continued existence. Going back to “traditional ways” in Tibet would just create a “false” tradition.
“Despite constant monitoring by the Religious Affairs Bureau, which places restrictions on the number of monks allowed in monasteries, most lamas and monks here appear to be able to conduct their religious duties with considerable freedom. This contrasts with the situation in the neighbouring Tibetan Autonomous Region, where religious freedoms are said to be more tightly curtailed, thanks largely to the number of vocal separatists there, who use their position within monasteries to mobilise support and to organise occasional protests for independence.”
I have read in many articles that monks outside the TAR had photos of the DL in their temples, so they have more religious freedom as you stated. Why do you think there are more separatists in the TAR than in other areas? And why do you think were most of the protests last year outside of the TAR, per what I’ve read?
“The Voice of America is important in this respect, for example, and is funded by the NED. Tsering Shakya agrees. “The main outside influence on Tibetans,” he says, “is the Tibetan language broadcasting on Voice of America since 1991, and radio Free Asia since 1996…..Both stations report on the Dalai Lama’s trips abroad, and on the exiles in India, giving Tibetans quite international and politicised coverage…The Chinese try to jam the signal, but people somehow manage to listen to them.”
With the new US administration, do you expect this to change? The neocons are being replaced by others with very different viewpoints. Also, with HRC in charge of State, their viewpoint which is decidedly NOT neocon should be given more consideration. She is a very good political insider. I do question your last sentence, though. I’m familiar enough with the technology to know that if China wanted to jam the VOA signal, it’d be effective. When desired, it’s been effective in the past in the more populated eastern areas where control is much more difficult.
Mark, I’ve read through your other posts and also visited your website. I certainly learned a lot from your comments but one thing kept creeping into my mind. Why? Why are the hearts and minds of the Tibetans not on board with the Chinese? Right now there is an extensive lockdown of not just the TAR, but all Tibetan areas. This morning they announced that not only are foreigners not allowed into the Jiuzhaigou area, but they’ve also excluded tourists from Hong Kong and Taiwan.
I read your well researched posts and feel things are improving. Then I read about the smothering security arrangements being made in Tibetan areas, even including Tibetan neighborhoods in Han cities, and feel a disconnect. If conditions are so much better, there should be minimal protests that would be easy to monitor. Why the iron rule? Why is it worse today than before the economic gains? Why aren’t vetted foreigners allowed to see for themselves? Why are even people from HK and Taiwan kept from these parts of China along with foreigners if they are from “one China”? It seems like a huge overreaction from where I sit.
I look forward to hearing your reply. 🙂
Mark Anthony Jones says
Steve – great questions. I know that answers, but won’t have time to answer them until tonight – I’m about to rush off to work.
@ Allen: If you do believe it is nationalism, could you address why you feel nationalism is still an issue after 50 years of CPC control? I’d like to hear your take concerning that issue. Thanks!
Per your MX comparison, what if the DL changed his ideas the way MX did? Would the CPC believe him? According to the DL he has, but according to the CPC and most of the bloggers here, he has not. What is the best way for us to decide?
“solution to racial tensions lie in unity, social integration and self reliance – not never-ending bickering of differences, disunity, and separatism.”
Very well said.
“solution to racial tensions lie in unity, social integration and self reliance – not never-ending bickering of differences, disunity, and separatism.”
In certain sense, it should be a common and principal foundation to solve the world’s trouble. China has been doing her part. US, and a few EU countries have NOT.
@Steve – about nationalism – why it’s an issue – there are many reasons. In some cases, it’s a collective reaction against the excesses of cultural revolution. In other cases, it has to do with distrust built up in some quarters over the years. In still other cases, it is a reaction to globalism.
Anyways – nationalism is too big a topic for me to tackle in one comment. But the basis of your question is a good one. What gov’t policies should be enacted today to make sure that Tibetan nationalism (aka DL and the exiles) become a nonissue in China?
My opinion is that we are going the right direction. With the passing of the older generation and the coming of the new. With economic progress and redevelopment of Tibetan culture – and with proper governance of Tibet that respect, preserves, and promotes Tibetan culture – I think in a decade or two, Tibet will become a nonissue.
As for that Yahoo article about travel restrictions for Taiwanese to JiuZhaiGou area. I don’t think it’s true.
My aunt is currently on a Taiwanese group to JiuZhaiGou. And I know the travel agency is planning another trip later this month!
I forgot to answer your question “Per your MX comparison, what if the DL changed his ideas the way MX did? Would the CPC believe him? According to the DL he has, but according to the CPC and most of the bloggers here, he has not. What is the best way for us to decide?”
My answer is if the DL changed, the CCP will believe him. But he has not – based on his actions (traveling around the world meeting world leaders, same rhetoric, etc.).
By the way … even in the “hell on earth” speech yesterday, DL spoke in front of a poster with the slogan “Tibet: One people, One Nation.” Can’t find the picture now … but will post if I get time to dig it up. Just another little piece of evidence …
@ Allen: The Jiuzhaigou ban is an Associated Press story. It’s being carried by most media but I could only find the one source. I suppose we’ll see whether it’s true or not in the next 24 hours. The ban was just announced today.
Actually, I wasn’t expecting you to answer those questions here but on your new post. Thanks for the unexpected answers!
@Shane – Yes, because the Chinese government does not pointlessly bicker about irrelevant things, does not pointlessly stir up hatred against other countries with endless talk of ‘French/Japanese/American/Russian devils’, does not indoctrinate its people with endless nationalistic rhetoric and talk of national shame at the hands of foreign enemies.
In fact, to be quite frank, the Chinese government, in as much as it does anything, encourages racial hatred as a method of state control of the population. Since you no doubt include my own country in the list of countries not ‘pulling their weight’ I would like very much to ask how many war criminals China has brought to book in the last 30 years, how many people have been charged by Chinese courts with racial discrimination, how many people have received a remedy against discrimination based on race from the Chinese government. Meanwhile, my own country has made great strides in combating racism and racial hatred, punishing those who have been involved in genocide, racially motivated crimes, racial discrimination and hatred. If there is still a long way to go, we are at least making progress.
@FOARP et All
“. If there is still a long way to go, we are at least making progress.”
Lets see when the Chinese manage to have a Tibetan as General Secretary of the Communist Party or as Premier of the People’s Republic of China. 😉
Just to make sure we are on the same page.
Would someone of half Tibetan stature count – i.e. would someone of both Han and Tibetan ancestry work?
Of the people of both Han and Tibetan descent, I would guess they have already registered themselves as Tibetan due to potential preferential treatment — if the inter-marriage happened rather recently, in the PRC era, that is. There are also ethnicities that were interrelated with both Tibetans and Hans from hundreds of years ago.
Even if you lump them together, this population accounts for about 0.5% of all Chinese. So what ecodelta is looking forward to is really akin to expecting a Native American US president (Native Americans, “full” and “partial”, has a population about 1.5% of all USA). While nobody’s ruling it out, I’m not holding my breath either.
As you said before, the mixed will be classified most likely as Tibetan for better treatment like no more one-child policy.
What happens to the child of this marriage marries a Han? S/he should have 1/4 Tibetan blood and grandchild may have 1/8 Tibetan blood and still is classified a Tibetan.
One way to do it: the ethnic background follows the father as usually the child uses his father’s last name (at least one EU country uses the mother’s last name).
The fun way to classify is like Tiger Wood check Other (or have a category called UFO). 🙂
My point is when we all assimilate, does it really matter?
You may take whatever rhetoric position you wish to choose. There is no point of debating on that. It is perfectly fine when some people want to be negative when coming to the subject of China. Are they indoctrinated in certain way? Did they ignore/forget facts that are both historical and new?
The Chinese feeling on the subject of Western colonial past and Japanese invasion/occupation is quite similar to African American feeling of Black slavery, and Jews to their WWII prosecution. There is nothing wrong with those strong feelings, so long it is justified with historical facts.
Having said such, in the end of day, it is still one thing to have a discussion on historical issues and current events, it is another to search reasonable solutions and reach a consensus (if they do exist). This forum has done an excellent work to help find truth based on factual exchanges.
USA proclaimed her independence in 1776. Since then, US territories, as a united republic, expanded significantly many times, and experienced only one small foreign attack after civil war: Pearl Harbor in WWII. Women were given rights to vote in 1920, African Americans were not fully guaranteed until 1965.
PRC was established in 1949. There is still no united territory for China as of today, and forseeable future. However, I don’t see why there is no possibility to have a Tibetan Chinese as a national leader in the future.
I think many would agree with me that Mark’s posts are very well written and well researched, perhaps a new thread should be devoted to it?
“Would someone of half Tibetan stature count – i.e. would someone of both Han and Tibetan ancestry work?”
Or course. But why would that mean he/she is of half stature?
Yes, I asked Mark if he’s willing to be a guest author. He is very busy with his work but hopefully he will be able to do it next week.
Admin, may be we should have some permanent threads like Tibet, human right… and include all those great comments like Mark’s. So we can re-visit them from time to time without searching a jungle of comments to find the real jewels.
@Otto Kerner #90,
Please see 17 Point Agreement for Peaceful Liberation of Tibet. Many of your questions in #90 will be answered.
Unfortunately for some, this agreement is no longer valid – since the DL pronounced it null and void when he escaped to exile.
The 1980’s had also been a lost opportunity. Goldstein, French, and other Western Tibetologists have written extensively about it…
interesting comments by maj to what raj said, but so far no repy. Finnally the sad antiChina crowd are silenced!!!!!
Otto Kerner says
Where does the Wikipedia article say anything about the long-term viability of the 17-point agreement into the 1960s? That was my main question.
@Otto Kerner #162,
Oh Sorry … I only meant to point out the text of 17-point agreement. If we want to know its long-term viability – I guess we’ll never find out since the DL has long since torn it up…
@MAJ: Great posts. Informative.
@WAHAHA: Right on.
@Tinman: I’m not sure if Raj is silenced or not. I suspect he’s just too lazy to read and respond. After all, he’s not here to add insight, just waste everyone’s time. If new people like MAJ finds that his lengthy but thoughtful responses are wasted on a childish audience perpetuated by Raj and SKC, he probably won’t come back to post. That’s why I called out people like Raj and SKC. They’re here to disrupt, not add value
S.K. Cheung says
good grief, dude. What have you added to the discussion? Seems like you needed some time to recuperate since the last time I shut you down. As for being disruptive, perhaps we can begin by tabulating how many posts you’ve had deleted, and compare that with my record (here’s a hint: my total is <1).
Okay, this is REALLY annoying by now.
China’s answer is very simple: DL can rot where ever he likes; there is NO compromise to be made on the kind of autonomy he wants, straight and simple.
Tibetans are treated like every other ethnic groups in China. Give me one example of policy discrimination? They can have more than one child; they can wear their traditional clothing, including that oversized, otherwise restricted knife; they have language and culture classes in schools; monasteries receive lots of funding and the region gets rail and highway though it’s nearly impossible to build there. China is not about to let any part of her territory go independent, nor will she allow ANY religious leader to have political influence (it’s the same with any other religion, like Islam and Catholicism). You can make the overall argument that China is oppressive and no freedom of religion bla bla (which, IMO, is a bunch of bull, but I won’t argue the mainstream rhetoric here), but singling out Tibetans as the single most oppressed? When, what, where, why and how?
So there will be no change to Tibet’s situation in the near future. I don’t know why DL bothers: he is just making himself more and more hated by most Chinese people. Before 2008, I am sure more Han people were sympathetic to their “not having religious freedom” and felt sorry for the 89 incident in Tibet, but now 99% just hate his guts while Hu Jintao’s actions in 89 are becoming more popular. He just turned the Chinese populist anger onto himself. Guess what people say about him? “很讨厌鸠摩智，筒子们一起凑钱做掉他吧！” http://www.tianya.cn/publicforum/content/funinfo/1/1112078.shtml
DL’s posturing is really quite lame. What he should be doing is trying to get on the good side of popular opinion in CHINA, rather than making entire nation hate him. Popular opinion has pushed for many things in China, and if he were any decent politician, he should have taken notice of that. External pressure from western media is going to do NIL. Tibet is going to be in status quo like the rest of China. I mean, people who truly want “free” Tibet should try some sort of colour revolution to topple the CCP, that would be the way to go. But of course the risk is the other end of a 9mm, but that’s just the risk you take for trying to topple governments.
Otto Kerner says
“No policy discrimination” means that Tibetans are treated no worse than Han people given the same behavior — the same actions merit the same responses. But Tibetans don’t act the same as Han people; they act like themselves, Tibetans. For example, the same restrictions on photographs of reactionary religious leaders applies in both cases, but Tibetans are much more likely than Han people to want to have such photographs in the first place. Likewise, the government is happy to bring troops in to arrest people and quiet any large uprisings anywhere in the PRC, but largescale uprisings are much more likely to occur in Tibetan areas than in Han area, and so Tibetans are more likely to suffer from martial law.
Moreover, Tibetan issues are not singled out for attention only because the Tibetans are treated worse than the Hans, but also because they suffer under a political culture which is alien to them.
The stiff neck of CH gov prevents them to take full advantage of strategic opportunities when they arise.
Usually they are slow to react, or they have painted themselves literally into a corner, restricting in this way their strategic options. Not a wise maneuver
A window of opportunity was opened last year that could have helped to loose the TB issue in a peaceful way, profitable for both sides, spare quite a bit of future problems and that could have gained some good PR-brownie points for CH.
TB issue is not the only case where that mental stiffness has put CH in a worst position that would be necessary.
You may consider a god PR policy unnecessary or even humiliating. I don’t think so. One of the consequences of the bad press China gets on what you may call biased western media is the loss of opportunities to improve its position in the world stage.
It is specially damaging for CH business and companies that want to climb up the value chain for their products and services.
In the meantime foreign multinational profit from CH production capacity.. and in some cases inventiveness.
I blame it on a lack of diplomatic and international experience by CH side.
For a country isolated for so long time, or that has an overbearing position when it was one of the major, if not the major, power on the planet (but still with a very isolation minded) it is not surprising.
But things must change if CH want to reach the high position it pretends to reach on the world stage.
I for one considers things to be moving in the right direction in Tibet. There is a cultural Renaissance in the region for the last 30 years, people are getting better off materially, and with the most recent push in integrating the region with the rest of the country, there has never a brighter or more optimistic time in Tibet.
Yes – we hit a few bumps last year, but the CCP is right on track in its policies in Tibet. There are obviously a few things the CCP can do better – such as trying to make a better distinction between religion and politics.
For starters, the CCP should learn to denounce the DL without vilifying him. Since the DL is a well-respected religious leader – not just for many ethnic Tibetans, but for many ethnic Hans – not to mention many cultish individuals in the West – vilifying the DL personally is only counterproductive.
In the end: a few apples can spoil a whole basket of apples. But the CCP will have to deal with the few bad apples and should not allow a few bad apples to ruin the delivery of fresh apples.
“Yes – we hit a few bumps last year, but the CCP is right on track in its policies in Tibet.”
Why so many troops and surveillance needed them? Why blocking access to media them? Whys some much censorship?
Something does not match in your rosy picture.
“For starters, the CCP should learn to denounce the DL without vilifying him.”
That would be a good step forward. I agree. It would allow more flexible strategies to the CCP when they considered it convenient and would make them sound less phony to the outside world.
About the argument of bringing greater material progress to TB. Do you realize how much neo colonialist that argument sounds?
On the other hand to help people without taking them into account many times gets to worst results than not helping the at all, and letting them solve their problems with their own ways.
@ ecodelta #168
“A window of opportunity was opened last year that could have helped to loose the TB issue in a peaceful way, profitable for both sides, spare quite a bit of future problems and that could have gained some good PR-brownie points for CH.”
How can someone still close his own eyes, making wishful statement like that!
The nature of last year’s events is a coordinated anti-China eruption driven by DL/TIE community and certain western forces. It only served to plunge a wedge deep between DL/TIE and China, not something good for confidence and trust building. This vicious cycle continues today.
In comparison, the relation between Taiwan and mainland China have improved significantly recently, after years of anti-China policy by Taiwan’s former leader Chen shui-bian.
A HISTORICAL BACKGROUNDER — The CIA’s Buddhist affair
An interview by Toronto Star with John Kenneth Knaus, the author of Orphans of the Cold War: America and the Tibetan Struggle for Survival, and a retired CIA officer
You ask – “About the argument of bringing greater material progress to TB. Do you realize how much neo colonialist that argument sounds?”
I have answered that misconception many, many times in this board… If you are interested in carrying on the conversation, please read this comment first (there are many others but it’s too hard for me to look for them all).
“How can someone still close his own eyes, making wishful statement like that!”
Curious, we think the same thing, but from different sides.
“… DL/TIE community and certain western forces…”
Usual conspiracy theories.
“In comparison, the relation between Taiwan and mainland China have improved significantly recently, after years of anti-China policy ”
No change from mainland CH?
You also wrote:
There are many people outside of China who criticize China for surveillance, gov’t media control, censorship, lack of democracy, underdevelopment of judicial branch, heavy handed law enforcement, etc., etc.
They preach and preach … and then preach more when they get opportunities like 6/4 or 3/14.
I for myself don’t see any contradictions between what you described and what I described. Most specifically, erring on the side of caution and sending in security forces (whether it be unarmed agents, police, national guard, paramilitary, or the military) into areas you know may spawn riots is not only the right thing to do, but the only responsible thing to do. To do anything less would be abrogation of duties of governance.
Many exile propagandist had painted China as a police state before 2008. Obviously that was painfully shown to not be the case last year. There were no security forces in sight to stop the hooligans, enabling a few bad apples to murder and pillage in a temporary state of disorder.
Now the gov’t is focused on better security – people are crying foul again that China is a police state – that there is a security “lock down” – no freedom of press – no access by western media….
Jesus … good grief. It’s China the bad police state all over again.
Tibet is going in the right direction. If any gov’t officials is reading, many, many overseas Chinese – including this Taiwanese one – support the current general policies in Tibet 100%.
” have answered that misconception many, many times in this board… I”
Can you do it just once more for me? But just try be short in your answers, no longer than my posts if you can.
@ HJG #166: I just wanted to let you know that your post was fine except for one profanity which I shortened to something acceptable. We’re not trying to be G rated; PG is fine but we’re drawing the line above that. Thanks for understanding…
I found your post really enlightening. It provides a good perspective of your mindset. We have very different opinions, but I do not think you are a gov agent, hope you think the same.
Nor am I a conspirator with secret agendas for the ill future of CH. I
If you can consider that, I will have a higher opinion of you than you may think.
“Tibet is going in the right direction. ”
For you of course, that is clear enough for me. For many people in TB not, and they have no chance to express themselves… no chance
“Jesus … good grief. It’s China the bad police state all over again.”
Yes it is again. That it doesnt sound good makes it not less real.
“Tibet is going in the right direction. If any gov’t officials is reading, many, many overseas Chinese – including this Taiwanese-born one – support the current general policies in Tibet 100%.”
And how many oversea Tibetans?
You may need to self-educate and retrace events before and after Mr. Ma Ying-jeou took over the power.
The key to the rapid warming-up between Taiwan and mainland China is, in fact, becasue KMT has a totally different policy towards Taiwan Independence in comparison to Chen shui-bian’s DDP. Mr. Ma Ying-jeou is a wise leader who can make a policy and execute. He didn’t felt he need to travel around the globe and keep pointing a finger at China.
14th DL, in comparison, with his remarks of “Hell on Earth” and “killing millions of Tibetan” etc, showed he is not at all an enlighten person given his own deep religious background, but a bitter political exile locked in a gloomed feeling on the lost of his old ruling.
Otto Kerner says
I agree that parts of the Dalai Lama’s proposals are very impractical and basically no country in the world would accept them in a geographically contiguous area unless they were forced to do so. Actually, judging by history, countries are probably more likely to go along with full-fledged secession than this sort of awkward hyper-autonomy (for instance, the Soviet Union did suffer severe political reversals, but they didn’t need to lose an actual war in order to allow the independence of large chunks of its territory. Some sort of “very high level autonomy” was not on the table). I also agree with you that these demands should not presumably be taken with a grain of salt, since they are an opening bargaining position — although I do think that, under the circumstances, this is not really a wise strategy (there would be better propaganda gains if the Dalai Lama asked for something more reasonable and the government still refused to talk).
Still, I do want to say, with regard to the military issue, that there’s a happy medium between “de-militarized zone” and “militarized zone”. The PRC has a national security reason to have troops stationed in Tibet in and near the Himalayas, because that’s an international border. But, if everything’s cool in Tibet, there’s no good reason for troops be stationed near population centers.
You know, the world didn’t always used to be as militarized as it is now. In the early United States, basically the whole country was off-limits to the national government for most purposes. It wasn’t exactly hell on earth.
You asked what of the opinions of the overseas Tibetans?
Well … their opinions don’t count – for now at least – since they have professed that they are not Chinese and many have vowed to fight for Tibetan independence…
The more important question is what do Tibetans inside China think.
Despite our disagreements – we do have one agreement: it is critical for China to be a nation where every citizen feel they belong, where they feel a part, and where they feel they have a stake. As I mentioned before, continued reforms in economic developments, education, healthcare, etc. that is equitable as well as continued reforms in policies that show more sensitivity to cultural and religious issues will go a long way to help.
I really believe all and any substantive issues can be addressed. The only issues that cannot be is sovereingty. If the goal is protection of culture, etc. – there are lots that can be worked out. If the issues are soveriengty – autonomy that requires changing China’s political systme to a federalism based system outside of the Chinese Constitution – those, I don’t think we can work out.
Otto Kerner says
“You asked what of the opinions of the overseas Tibetans?
Well … their opinions don’t count – for now at least – since they have professed that they are not Chinese and many have vowed to fight for Tibetan independence…”
Ha! Kind of ironic coming from the same guy who said, “If any gov’t officials is reading, many, many overseas Chinese – including this Taiwanese one – support the current general policies in Tibet 100%” a little bit earlier.
@Allen – China is a police state, if any country in the world is. We can play the game of definitions if you like, but the difference in politics and law enforcement between China and the old DDR or the current DPRK is still mainly one of degree. The fact that for a few days the police lost control last year only highlights the nature of those controls.
Unfortunately in recent years democratic states have also been edging towards similar controls by compromising basic freedoms in the name of the war on terror, this deeply disturbs me, but there are reasons to hope that this will change in the next few years. The case of Binyam Mohammed was particularly revolting, and it is my sincere hope that those responsible for his torture should face trial, and the maximum allowable sentence if found guilty.
In China there are fewer signs of change, it seems that the liberal factions within the communist party are losing ground. Some green shoots do appear though – as I recently noted when I spoke to a British human rights lawyer who specialises in supporting people facing the death penalty and in campaigns for the abolition of capital punishment both in the Commonwealth and beyond, and who was recently allowed to speak at a Chinese university. There would not be the current debate as to the furthering of the rule of law in China if there was not a need for it, but given the rise of officials like Wu Bangguo it seems likely to go nowhere.
@HJG – “Okay, this is REALLY annoying by now. ”
Yes, because Tibet is making China look bad. However, pretending that this has nothing to do with the actual situation there is pure silliness. Fix the situation in Tibet, and China’s image will improve. There will always be dead-enders who wish to support failed policies, but the Dalai Lama seems, from all the information we have from reliable sources (which, admittedly, are not many) to have the support of a substantial section of the Tibetan population – accommodate their wishes and things will get better. The truth in this can be seen from the conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Basque country, and Quebec.
One comment I’d like to make.
BBC and CNN’s coverage of the Tibet matter has become more ‘balanced’ of late, to define balance, it’s that it gives equal weight to both the opinions of the Chinese and the Tibetan independence movement.
If the anti-CNN crowd would like to find a new target, the NYT hasn’t changed at all since the last round of riots.
With regards to MAJ, I find he seems to be dogmatically pro-Chinese, as opposed to being pro-Chinese on specific issues and anti-Chinese on others, and I suspect that can become a credibility problem, as others can characterize him as a CCP shill (Nausicaa, if I recall, turned on the more radical posters to maintain her credibility, did she really run away with Ivan?). The highlighted post, however, is especially well-crafted and is the best defense of the Chinese position I’ve seen to date. And much respect for Raj, for not simply sitting at Pekingduck and screaming into the echo chamber, although Richard seems to have changed too, so that the previous characterization of Pek is inaccurate.
Mark Anthony Jones says
Inst – there is nothing at all dogmatic about my approach to China as far as I’m concerned. I can in fact, contrary to what you claim above, be quite critical of China at times (see for example my piece titled “Shenzhen – city of kitsch” or read my essay on China’s human rights situation, which, although generally positive, does not gloss over or neglect to mention real problems – where they exist). Unlike many, I base my conclusions empirically.
Perhaps you ought to take the time to read the Introduction to my http://www.chinadiscourse.net site, which clearly outlines my philosophical and epistemological approach. You will see then that there is absolutely nothing dogmatic about my approach to understanding China. I’m a value-pluralist, not an ideologically-driven Enlightenment fundamentalist of either the socialist or liberal varieties.
While I respect Raj’s opinions, he does seem to me to be an Enlightenment fundamentalist of the liberal variety. While I respect this tradition, and recognise that its philosophical application does lead to valid criticisms, it does nebertheless have some serious shortcomings – shortcomings that I outline and explain in my Introductory essay.
Richard, of the Peking Duck, as you say, has developed a slightly more nuanced and balanced approach to understanding China, which of course, represents a progression!
S.K. Cheung says
To Allen #173:
sorry for being thick. You linked to a comment on the Paris thread. I can see the comment number in the link. However, I can’t find the same identifier on the thread comments themselves. Clicking on the link brings me to comment #1 of that thread. What am I missing? Is there a way to get to the specific comment you intended?
S.K. Cheung says
To Shane #179:
I think ecodelta’s point in #174 is that, while it’s supposed to be a negotiation, China’s position never changes, and there’s no compromise. Cross-strait relations seem improved only because Taiwan’s position has changed. It’s negotiation in name only when it’s “my way or the highway”.
To Allen #181:
“The more important question is what do Tibetans inside China think.” – cue the celebratory song and dance. I’ve been waiting for you to say that for 10 months. How do you suppose we go about determining the answer to your most excellent question?
I think MAJ does lean towards the CCP side on the Tibet issue. But it seems to me that he came to that position as a result of distaste for the Dalai Lama’s position, which in his opinion is exaggerated and uncorroborated. He’s certainly not alone. But he is rather unique in his breadth of knowledge and ability to “back up” his position. That, to me, is a huge improvement compared to people who might share his view, but certainly not his methods. Furthermore, he seems to readily acknowledge that what he says is his opinion, and not necessarily the whole truth and nothing but. Compared to many others, to me at least, he seems anything but dogmatic. His expertise seems to be wrt Tibet; I haven’t seen him come out in unequivocal defense of the CCP position on other matters discussed on this blog.
@SKC – the link in #173 now works.
My bad … my endquote in the html tag was off…
I knew of him right after he left Pek, and regarding Pek I wasn’t any more successful. I didn’t have a good opinion of him from the hearsay, but while I think the effectiveness of his writing is sometimes hampered by pretentious diction, his comments here are better informed than mine.
Regarding your reply to Shane, at least one Japanese observer has noticed the Chinese backtracking on some issues. For example, they’ve traditionally poo-pooed Japanese claims to pacifism since 1945, considering the great aid to Japan’s economy from selling supplies to the Korean and Vietnamese wars. In a recent Wen Jiabao statement, this aspect was absent. In the Sino-Indian border disputes, China’s shifted its position from ceding Arundchal Pradesh and claiming Tawang to ceding Tawang and claiming Arundchal Pradesh.
I predict the TGIE folks are going to be sorely dissappointed as the issue plays out and becomes history, much to my glee. The Tibetans in china will do fine, however. Tibet is overplayed by the western media.
How about we discuss something that is more constructive. For example, corruption in china?
@ Otto Kerner #180:
I think you make a very good point when you wrote that the DL’s position is at a dead end right now and backing off his previous position on the two points I mentioned might re-open the talks on a more serious basis in Beijing’s mind or show him in a better PR light.
You’ll get no argument from me about the current overabundance of troops in Tibet. If everything is “cool” as some would say, then there is no need for so many. But I would take the side of a portion of our commentators in that I feel some troops are needed within the cities that are major flash points. They shouldn’t be patrolling the neighborhoods but they should be close enough so that if trouble breaks out, they can be there quickly.
Having them patrol in large numbers while the streets are quiet is a direct affront to the people there, judging them to be guilty until proven innocent in their own neighborhoods. If as Allen and others believe, the vast majority approve of the government approach, then this is overkill. I’d also think it’d be difficult to station troops far from population centers. This is Tibet, not Jiangsu. It’s virtually impossible and extremely expensive logistically to supply troops near the Himalayas, so they’d have to be by the major cities.
“You know, the world didn’t always used to be as militarized as it is now. In the early United States, basically the whole country was off-limits to the national government for most purposes. It wasn’t exactly hell on earth.”
I don’t agree. In Washington’s administration, he called up the Pennsylvania and Virginia militia to deal with the Whiskey Rebellion. There was only a tiny federal army at the time so militia were the available troops at his disposal. The army raised was the size of the revolutionary Continental Army and personally led by Washington himself. Meanwhile, Europe was being convulsed by the Napoleonic wars. In China, the White Lotus Rebellion was taking place. The Mughals were fighting the Sikhs in India. The world was quite militarized.
@ Allen #173: I agree with you that the terms “colonialism” and “neo-colonialism” do not fit the Tibet situation. China is not colonizing Tibet; the Han Chinese who have moved there mostly live in the major cities and the majority only live there for a time and then go back home. However, I would say that the term “paternalism” could be used. When I read many of the Chinese media reports, the Tibetans are addressed more as a sort of wayward children that need to be educated, pampered and disciplined depending on the situation. Father Government knows what’s best for you, so to speak.
In my mind, the key to Tibet and Tibetans is to find out why they are not satisfied and figure out a way to improve their morale and sense of patriotism. Forced re-education won’t work; propaganda won’t work, armed patrols won’t work; at least not in the long run. To be successful in the long run you need to win the “hearts and minds” of the people, and the only way to do that is to address their concerns. The only way to address their concerns is to allow them the freedom to express them and give the Tibetans THEMSELVES the tools to alleviate them. If not, the problems just fester for generations, passed from parent to child. Your other argument was as follows:
“So for them, when they discuss with Westerners about Tibet, they inevitably try to articulate this point: stop being political for the sake of being political and look at the facts. Tibet today is undergoing unprecedented economic development and there are many programs aimed at active preservation of Tibet’s unique culture … but unfortunately, the Westerner does not appreciate this train of thinking and perseveres in seeing the DL as the loving father of all Tibetan people … and hence sees mainlander’s reference of progress as evidence of more colonialist attitude for justifying their imperial occupation of Tibet.”
I think you’re making an either/or argument here. On one side we have economic progress, preservation of culture, exemption from the one-child policy, infrastructure improvement, educational availability and connection to the outside world.
On the other side we have subservience to the DL in a religious theocracy with a regression of economic opportunities and lack of infrastructure.
I don’t think Tibetans see this as a two choice dilemma. I think they see a series of issues that can each be discussed and solved individually. My guess is that the vast, vast majority of Tibetans are definitely in favor of economic opportunity, availability of education and overall infrastructure improvement. Within those areas, there might be some negotiation on the prioritization of projects and language used in education, etc. but agreement in general.
In terms of the exemption for the one-child policy, I’d think Tibetans would say that there has never been an overpopulation problem in Tibet as there has been in China, so why would Tibetans need to lower their population? If anything, their homeland is underpopulated. There are around 5 million Tibetans in all provinces. In Hunan province alone, there are approximately 67 million people in a relatively small land area. Han China’s one child family program is to reduce the population of Han Chinese but there is no need to apply it to Tibetans. I can understand this argument and can also understand why Tibetans don’t see this as some big privilege.
As I’ve said in the past, there is no going back to an old Tibetan culture. Cultures are always in flux. Take it from a guy who’s older than many here and has seen incredible change in the last 50 years, just in my own country. The Tibetan culture will change, but the Tibetans don’t want it to become overwhelmed. The only thing good about the “good old days” is that they’re gone.
Most cultures cherish a connection to the outside world. Why? Because it’s in human nature to be curious. People like “exotic” as long as it isn’t too exotic. To have visitors from the outside world is exhilarating, to be overwhelmed by visitors from the outside world is very annoying. As long as a balance is achieved, I don’t see this as a problem.
That leaves the status of religion, what you seem to see as an “all or nothing” proposition. This is where I disagree with you the most. For whatever reason, religion matters far more to Tibetans than it does to Han Chinese. It is no different than your argument that Chinese are different from “westerners”, think in different ways and have different priorities. I agree. And Tibetans are different from mainland Chinese. What might seem like a perfectly plausible argument to you makes no sense to them, just as certain “western” arguments make no sense to you.
My guess (and it’s only a guess) is that the vast majority of Tibetans do NOT want a theocracy. They do NOT want independence. They do NOT want the DL in an overtly political role. What they DO want is to have him and other key monks assume their religious roles among the people. There WILL be an indirect religious influence on government, because it is within their culture for this to occur. Exacly because this is prohibited by the CPC is why the Tibetans are not happy, not satisfied with Chinese rule, continually supportive of the DL though he hasn’t lived there for 50 years. They see the DL not in the role as secular leader but as a champion of their cultural religious practices in a country where those practices are currently restricted. If he returned to Tibet and tried to undo years of progress or assume an overt political role, I think you’d see a DL with very little public support.
These are all my opinions based on what I’ve read, heard and observed over the years about human nature. I am certainly not claiming they are “facts” or the “truth”. I just don’t have enough information about the region, culture and circumstances to make a highly qualified judgment but based on the input I have received, it seems like the situation there is not very good at the present time and has the potential to get worse. I can understand why it is both very frustrating to Han Chinese in other provinces and to the Tibetans themselves.
S.K. Cheung says
To Allen #189:
thanks. Works fine now.
To Inst #190:
I agree MAJ writes in a sophisticated manner, but I don’t think he’s a sophist. I actually think we can use more people in the world in general who have elite command of a language, English or otherwise. Lord knows daily usage has devolved to the lowest common denominator. Besides, writing might be what he does for a living, so I would fully expect him to be very good at it.
@SKCheung – However, MAJ has in the past used sock-puppets (i.e., fake handles) to carry on conversations with himself on websites, as well as copying large sections out of other people’s work and posted them on threads as his own opinions.
He also made this totally awful video:
Sophistry ain’t the half of it, but we may hope that he has reformed himself.
Foarp F. Foarpestry Jr.
PS – Madge, remember me to Dr. Anne Myers!
Mark Anthony Jones says
It’s always easier to attack people personally than to engage in serious debate. When people don’t like where the weight of empirical evidence falls, they instead find it easier to simply engage in character assassination. So MAJ must be a spokesman for the CCP. Or he has a past record, four or five years ago, of having poked fun at the Peking Duck crowd through the use of ridiculous personas like Dr Myers, etc. Who gives up toss, FOARP.
If you’re too lazy to engage with the evidence I produce in support of my arguments, then fine. No need to subvert the discussion into another “let’s pick on MAJ” thread though, is there?
Besides, I rather like me Spicy Shiraz video – which, of course, obviously wasn’t meant to be taken seriously!
PPS – It would seem that MAJ has reformed, at least to the extent that he has started to attribute his quotes, but unfortunately this now means that the articles on his website are are almost entirely made up of quotations, check this one out:
MAJ – Seems you only got angry once your now-legendary exposure as a plagiarist was brought up.
Foarp F. Foarpestry Jr. MSc, BSc, GDL, UKLPC, QWERTYUIOP
Mark Anthony Jones says
FOARP – thanks for alerting everyone to my essay on human rights. I’m keen for people to read it. It represents a synthesis of many different sources, both primary and secondary, and of a variety of viewpoints. It do bring all of this research together however, in such a way as to produce a discourse of my OWN – and one that is consistent with the philosophical approach that I outline in my Introductory essay. If it contains way too many quotations for your liking FOARP, then too bad. That’s your problem. I privilege content over style!
Your assumption that I’m angry with you for having “exposed” my past “plagiarism” is silly. I’m not angry – I assumed most people here would have already known about that distant incident. I’m not bothered by it. People tried to use this against me in the PBS discussion on the Tibet Issue back in 2005. I explained myself there and then, and everyone moved on with the debate. Simple.
Be honest FOARP. You are just trying to be plain nasty. Instead of engaging with my actual arguments, and with the empirical evidence that I offer up in support of my arguments, you instead bring up a silly past incident that occured five years ago, hoping that it will discredit me and therefore my arguments. Now you’re picking on my writing style, complaining that I’ve strung together too many quotes. Who cares? Is my discourse invalidated by a past episode? Or by my use of (in your opinion) too many quotations? I think not.
If you can’t let go of the past, then can I be kind enough to offer you a little friendly advice? Try taking a dose of an effective laxative. It’ll do you good.
Mark Anthony Jones says
Just in the way of a clarification, for those of you who are not familiar with the controversy that erupted back in 2004 over on the peking Duck site, it is true that I was accused of plagiarism. The allegation was exaggerated, but I confess partly true. My comments at that time had been strung together quickly, and although I often did identify the titles of the studies I used and the names of the authors, I would often also copy and paste passages without taking the time to place them in quotation marks. I didn’t really see the need to, since I was only making blog comments – a poor error of judgement on my part though, I later realised. Nevertheless, those particular comments, like my comments here, were a product of a synthesis. Like most people, I synthesise the views and research findings of others in order to develop assessments of my own.
These days, as you can see from my comments on this forum, as well as my past comments on the China Law Blog and on the PBS discussion forum, I have learnt to take a little more care in the way that I present my views. All of my sources I now cite, in that I mention the names of the authors and the titles of their studies or reports, and I have also integrated their passages as quotations into my text. This was the approach I took when writing my book as well. The essays on my website by contrast are cited with detailed footnotes so that people know exactly which pages to turn to should they want to check a source (or my interpretation of a source) for themselves.
I therefore request that you engage me on the arguments that I present, rather that on how closely I adhere to conventional academic standards of citation when presenting them here as simple blog comments. Remember, this is only a blog forum – I’m not writing for publication here.
The charges of plagiarism I faced five years ago were levied at me as part of a wider smear campaign by frustrated and vindictive fundamentalists and my response, I must confess, was to experiment with the use of multiple personas (which I have come to regret I might add, although it was also both a creative and liberating experience in some ways) but I can assure you that I have not done so here, nor do I intend to do so here.
It seems to me sometimes that, when it comes to writing blog comments, that I’m damned if I do, damned if I don’t: If I leave comments summarising my arguments in my own words in point form, as I did when leaving my initial comment on this thread, then I’m dismissed as being light on evidence. When I provide the evidence, quoting passages from sources, I’m dismissed as having merely copied and pasted the work of others.
I have no intentions of wasting any more of my time responding to any future attempts to discredit both me and my arguments by dredging up that silly episode of five years ago. People here can read my comments, as well as my website essays, examine the evidence I present and the conclusions I draw from them, and then use my discursive texts to create syntheses or discussions of their own. I simply write and publish to have my ideas more widely considered. My intentions are no more sinister than that.
@ MAJ, FOARP, et al: I don’t particularly have any interest in other blog sites or what happened in the past. My interest is in this blog and what is written here. My judgments will be based on what I read here. If there needs to be a discussion on what happened over at Peking Duck, I’d prefer it be done over at Peking Duck. For me, it’s just wasting space and an annoyance. This is coming from a guy who sits somewhere between both your points of view.
You’re both intelligent guys, each with something to bring to the party. Let’s keep it on that level, shall we?
And now back to our regularly scheduled program… 😛
There’s an article in this morning’s NY Times about the history of Tibetan isolation that has some good information. One quote I thought both historically pertinent and valid in today’s world was this; “Drawing a veil over Tibet has only encouraged outsiders to project their own imaginings and desires onto the hidden land, sometimes with disastrous consequences.”
As we’ve discussed among ourselves many times on this site, a lack of information and access breeds all sorts of imaginings that can neither be confirmed nor disproved, only debated endlessly.
@Steve – I wouldn’t be able to discuss this over at PKD even if I wanted to, MAJ is banned over there ever since, in retaliation for his exposure, he published Richard’s name (this was when he was still incognito) and tried to have his website blocked. In fact, MAJ is banned on most expat sites for exactly the kind of plagiarism and sock-puppetry as mentioned above. Richard did not exaggerate – almost everything the guy writes is re-hashing and paraphrasing of original sources, and he’s been doing it for years.
I only mentioned all this because MAJ’s writing style was coming under criticism – and I have to say I agree with Raj, I find it unreadable, unoriginal and pompous. I also have to say that I am not unsurprised that MAJ is still making the same lame excuses after having made such an utter fool out of himself.
Do a bit of googling on his ‘response’ to Raj, with a few changes it is a word-for-word copy of comments (or I should say, the same comment) that he has made on every website that discusses Tibet – or sometimes something that someone who claims to have reviewed his vanity-published book is quoting at length.
IMO, I find his comments readable and well researched, and his method of using sources and data is a big change from just saying unsubstantiated claims.
“I only mentioned all this because MAJ’s writing style was coming under criticism”
by you and raj right? We get it, you don’t like the guy, but other people seem quite capable of understanding his pieces and are able to take away something they never knew before.
Quite frankly, I’m a little shocked that you bring this up to try and smear Mark, because YOU were on the receiving end by people calling you anti-Chinese here and furthermore, you have always preached attack the argument, not the person.
I find it a bit funny that all you expats actually have these disputes amongst yourselves on Chinese blogs and carry it over to other blogs but I agree with Steve, this isn’t “Desperate Housewives”, let’s keep it civil. Whatever happened between you and mark is not relevant here.
S.K. Cheung says
As Steve said, prior bad acts are prejudicial. I’ll form an opinion of what MAJ has to say on this blog based on what he says on this blog. If he offers support for his position, so much the better. I think most users here have the requisite sophistication to appreciate, comprehend, or at the least, tolerate his writing style. His empirical evidence seems based on his personal experiences, which are his own and whose veracity should not be randomly discounted, though whose generalizability is something each of us can decide for ourselves. Likewise his reliance on Tsering and several Tibetan scholars, whose opinions can also be taken for what they’re worth.
I will say that, like others here, I have little time for someone taking on multiple personalities for the purposes of conversing with himself. That’s an activity best engaged before one’s bathroom mirror. But other folks have tried that pathetic pastime, and Admin has shut them down jiffy quick.
Holy city expects to prosper again on first anniversary of deadly riots
By Xinhua News
“Holy city model” was used last year by a few as a viable solution to Tibet issue. This is the first time the term “Holy City” appeared on China’s official news channel.
In my own opinion, by making Lhasa (or a part of Lhasa) as a “holy city”, it allows 14th DL to return to Tibet as a religious figure with his due authority without getting into any conflict with China’s existing sovereign and administrative arrangment on Tibet, such as those insisted by DL “genuine autonomy” or “greater Tibet”
Great article to bring up, and I think this links back to your questions you asked mark back at #141 about the nature of Tibetan unrest. I feel we do need to reconcile this dichotomy between Tibetans widely resenting the gov’t vs them not resenting them, and if resented, in what ways.
Based on my own VERY limited encounters with one ethnic tibetan, he told me he didn’t like the chinese gov’t but was okay with chinese people. I know it’s one data point, but i’ll just throw it out there.
like the Vatican?
Maj, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to turn out that way, I thought that you were the subject of unrestricted grassroots support and that a bit of criticism would innoculate your position.
SKC, I don’t find MAJ a sophist, I just find that his book writing is at times hampered by pretentiousness and cliches. As he admits himself, he needed an editor, especially considering various typographical mistakes in the printer’s text. It’s a shame that his book isn’t more widely reviewed, either.
My reaction the MAJ’s sockpuppetry was that he was trying to hostilely troll and satirize the Pek crowd. He apparently had a fake Freudian psychotherapist making funny jabs at various folks on Peking Duck. It’s technically sockpuppetry, and perhaps hostile to discourse, but it’s not the same as setting up sockpuppets to inflate your rhetorical position. Breaching Richard’s anonymity is unforgivable, however.
FOARP, which sites is MAJ banned from? I see my fair share of him at Danwei, at perhaps Inside-Out China, China Law Blog. Did Bokane ban him? Sinocidal’s no loss, because they bash China to vent steam there (I wish I could afford Argentina) and trying to stop them is like trying to close down a bar, if they stop drinking there they’ll drink at home.
Vatican is both a Holy City and a sovereign state. So Vatican model can be used for study, but not good as an exact copy.
Hmm … I still don’t understand why this issue of “plagiarism” is important in Internet blogs.
Plagiarism is the false representation or use of another’s work as one’s own original work. The stigma carries mainly in academic circles in the form of academic dishonesty where originality is the basis of prestige as well as promotion. But I don’t think it is relevant in forums like this.
In other field like law, such as writing a brief, you can copy another’s idea all you want as your own … no one cares! You cite for your argument to carry legal weight – not to be nice about disclosing origins of an idea…!
In blogs – where the purpose is to exchange ideas and not to give credit to origins of ideas – should we care if others are disclosing origins of their ideas?
Now for me – whenever I do copy passages from another’s work, I prefer to put quotes and to link to the original author so people can understand in better context what the passage means. But if I don’t and pass it as my own – is that such a cardinal sin in the blogging context?
In summary – plagiarism sounds like a bad word. But I don’t think it make sense to disbar someone from a forum like this for plagiarizing.
This is esp so since ideas (not facts) are evaluated for their merits on the face … not necessarily where they came from.
What do people think?
Yes … that is amazing – isn’t it!
Actually … let me clarify one thing that hopefully will not deflate too much of our celebratory mood here.
One problem I have with the way most of the people in the West criticize the CCP about Tibet is – what do Tibetans want? Hear them out? Do they like the CCP? Do they want the DL want? Do they want more autonomy? Do they even want to be a part of China? The tone is that whatever the Tibetans as an ethnic group want, the CCP must oblige.
We’ve discussed (and disagreed) about self-determination many times. I’ve always asserted that people should not jump to applying self-determination along ethnic boundaries – or religious boundaries – especially in context of multi-ethnic states like China. I’ve also raised the question at what level of granularity should self-determination be applied? At the village, township, county, province, nation, or empire level – or at some geographically determined level like mountain, island, valley, etc.
Anyways – the point is not to discuss self-determination again. However I want to point out that when I say we need to listen to Tibetans in the country (i.e. the ones who are not happy), I an not suggesting some sort of ethnic based self-determination. I am only suggesting that the Chinese gov’t should, as a matter of policy, always care about why any person or group of people are not happy with its policies. That’s all.
If you still think we should have the celebratory song and music … by all means roll the drums out!
Mark Anthony Jones says
My last word here. This time I am annoyed: FOAP – you know not what you are talking about. I am banned from leaving comments on the Peking Duck and the Peking Duck ONLY. I have never been banned from leaving comments on any other site. get uor facts right.
Secondly, I have NEVER attempted to get Richard’s blog banned in China. That’s just ridiculous! What kind of power to you think I have? That kind of nonesense was spread at the time by trouble-makers like you!
Thirdly, I mentioned Richard’s full name in an article I wrote that was published in the China Daily. Richard himself had already published his own full name on another website with reference to his blog, so I really don’t see why or how he can claim that I was out of order. I make no apologies for that one.
FOARP – my conclusion: you’re just plain nasty! I am too busy (yes, I do work full time, and I have a social life to maintain) to enage in childish tit-for-tat arguments like this, especially when they’re over nothing.
There you go then. You’ve succeeded in chasing me away. Happy?
Oh nasty me! All I can say is that Richard certainly didn’t see things the way you describe them, but don’t worry, I’m sure ZGlobal, Anne Myers, Mark Anthony James, Jason Lee and all your other aliases will be back soon – in fact, I’m pretty sure you’ll be back as well, as your trademark is saying you’re going to leave and then not actually following through.
Just a random thought: as I read the news today … I read about “insurgents” and “instability” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other areas in the world. The news focuses on what nations – with the help of big, responsible powers of the West – are helping to stabilize these dangerous situations…
When we read about “instability” in China – such as what happened last year in March in Tibet – we hear only how China’s oppressiveness is causing the “instability” Any attempt by China to restore stability is cast in a evil oppressing good type of light.
Now – I know we do have legitimate differences on China … but on the narrow issue of how certain “instabilities” are cast as simply “instabilities” and others as something more … isn’t that due to bias in our views?
@Mark Anthony Jones #212,
Neither FOARP nor anyone else on this board has the power to chase people away. The admin doesn’t even give me that power for the thread I start.
People come here to share perspectives. Some like SKC think my worldview is warped. But that doesn’t stop me from continuing to contribute! 😉
LOL, accusations of plagiarism on a forum for informal comments and discussion?
What next? Footnotes, annotations and appendices with every comment?
Now who’s having delusion of grandeur and pomposity?
I’m with Allen, SKC and yo on this whole “MAJ past experiences on other websites” thing. This is the way I see it. MAJ by his own admission did some things that he now regrets. He has admitted such. He has not done anything wrong on this website. If he wants to copy and paste, fine by me. If he wants to quote another person, I’d prefer he cite them but if not, he’ll have to defend what they said anyway since we’re most likely to pick at each other’s arguments so it’s not like you can just cut and paste your way to respect here.
I don’t particularly care what happened in the past. If anyone tries funny stuff, admin and others who contribute to running the blog are pretty web savvy and will figure it out. My attitude is that anyone who is respectful, has an opinion and defends it with data that adds something to the discussion is worthy of being part of the debate. FOARP, you’ve always been pretty fair so I’d think that if MAJ maintains a high standard here, you’d change your mind about him and also welcome him to the discussion.
Doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance?
@ Allen #215: Allen, could you expand on that question with more detail? “Instability” as you used it can mean a few things in different circumstances so I wasn’t sure how to reply or even if I really understood what you were trying to say.
Wow, I made a long comment on Tibet. I was expecting to be shelled with all sorts of incoming verbal missiles but nary a word. We are decidedly off subject!! 😉
Please DO come back…I enjoy reading your comments….I liked them when you commented on PKD and I like them now still here in FM. I was very angry with how they smeared and ganged up on you back then. This is Fool’s Mountain, YOU, I believe are welcome here.
Hope to you have you back.
@Steve #219 – yes you are right – we are way off topic. You have to admit though … it’s much easier to pontificate about plagiarizing than Tibet!
OK – here is some of my response to #192,
I make no assumption as to whether the vast majority approve of the gov’t approach of show of force (my take is that the vast majority did not approve of the riots last year, but that take has no impact on the issue of show of force). My thinking only goes like this: show of force – given the potential volatility of the situation – is justified so long as the gov’t so deems. Period. (people can attack my position – but that’s all I am saying)
Now Steve … you next go on to argue against my alleged all or nothing arguments by quoting this:
I am not saying that mainlanders are saying economics development is all that is needed – that cultural development / sensitivity is not important.
And I don’t think most people making the argument is.
But I get the gist of your point. In our attentive focus on the quantitative (i.e. economic growth) we can miss on things that are not so easily measured (i.e. cultural sensitivity).
Despite this admission – I still think we should separate true cultural sensitivity v. Tibetan nationalism cloaked in the name of cultural sensitivity….
Lastly – I do like your term of paternalistic v. colonialistic. I think that does come much closer to my way of thinking. 🙂
Gosh … I think I just got myself into a hole by bringing up the issue of police state.
I suppose police state can mean any of several things, including any authoritarian state, any state that does not have an “independent” or well-developed judiciary, any state that relies on police force to maintain order (actually which state doesn’t – and as you conceded – even Western democracies, when under attack such as the U.S. after 911 – have resorted to developing expansive police surveillance and even detention apparatus), etc., etc.
Anyways – rather than argue that China is not a police state, I will admit that depending on your definition, China – or the U.S. or a host of other nations – may or may not be a police state, depending on one’s definition of a police state.
I do want to clarify that my original intent by police state was the keeping of peace based on a perpetual deployment of snipers on every rooftop at every street – which was how many article in the Western press in in the lead up to 2008 described the situation of Tibet. That obviously was not true… at least not in 2008.
You wanted me to clarify my use of the term “insecurity” in #219.
I guess I’ll shelf that for the future since I don’t want to get into the details of any one article.
However you must know that the media has had many stories on the unstable political situations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan over the past several years. These instabilities are rooted usually in religious strife. But rather than asking – what do the Muslims want – the attention is almost always on how to control the insurgency / spread of fundamental Islamism / control of Talibans… (the surge in Iraq is one specific example; send the force to enforce security – work out the political details later …)
Israel / Palestinian conflict is another example … but again I don’t want to get into the details of the Israeli – Palestinian conflict here.
@Allen (#215): “Just a random thought: as I read the news today … I read about “insurgents” and “instability” in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other areas in the world. The news focuses on what nations – with the help of big, responsible powers of the West – are helping to stabilize these dangerous situations…”
I agree completely with this. Actually, Tibet has never been a big thing on my radar compared to Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the things that really bugged me back in 2003 (and some years after that) was how the Iraqi insurgency was seen as “illegitimate”, as if it was illegal to fight an occupying power. Add to that the fact that the insurgents were composed of several different forces, a fact rarely reported.
Still, there were people who defended everything the US did.
If there’s any similarity to the Tibet issue, it’s how the resistance movement is viewed as one coherent force that’s out to destabilize and move the wheels of history back into the “hell on earth” that was the feudal serfdom. In Iraq, it’s Al-Qaeda fighting against freedom and democracy.
@Allen – If you read the PKD thread you’ll see why MAJ was barred, it wasn’t so much his plagiarism as his clear lack of a grip on reality. I’m not asking for him to be disbarred – but people should definitely take what he says with a fair-sized boulder of salt. Plus, whilst internet comments and the like have little value, simply copying and pasting from articles which were created through the hard work of others and representing them as your own has a bit more of a bite to it, don’t you think?
@Inst – You didn’t hear? Sinocidal went to the great archive in the sky at the end of the year before last. As much as everyone seems to like bashing them now, I am vaguely acquainted with a few of the writers and they are all actually quite well balanced people, and don’t really have any special grudge against China – most of them have been in China 8+ years and are conversant in Chinese.
@Yo – On the other hand, I have also gone after people for full-on lying, [deleted by Allen] being the prime example. There’s a difference between going after someone because you don’t like their argument, and simply saying that someone is trying to trick others.
Chris Devonshire Ellis, of course, started out by using the same IP address for all his sock-puppets, it was only after people got wise to him that he started using proxies – but they weren’t hard to spot either.
S.K. Cheung says
To Allen #211:
I’m not talking about self-determination either. To accomplish that, you would need to know what Tibetans want, then let them do something about it. As bars go, I’ve lowered mine. When the former hasn’t been addressed, tough to even begin talking about the latter.
“I am only suggesting that the Chinese gov’t should, as a matter of policy, always care about why any person or group of people are not happy with its policies.”- and I’m assuming that an expression of “caring” does not mean pretending to know what Tibetans want, or posing a question and answering it on their behalf. If the implication is that at some point, you need to ask a Tibetan about Tibetan grievances, then hey, cue the tunes and break out the bubbly. Like I said, not a high bar. But it’s still one that’s yet to be cleared.
I think what you wrote in #225 is fair. I’ve never thought the Chinese gov’t was only paying lip service to what people want when they try to do what people want though.
I suppose the issue is over how the gov’t can know.
From my perspective, there multiple channels the gov’t can find out – including talking to local officials, local leaders, conducting local tours, etc.
I suspect that from your perspective – the only way to really find out is through elections and referendums?
@ Allen #226: I see a problem with your solution so maybe you can help me figure out an answer.
Both local officials and local leaders are members of the Party, aren’t they? So if they were to say anything negative about the current policy, wouldn’t that hinder their rise in the Party? As in all political systems, advancing within said system can be a very lucrative proposition, especially in China. Who would want to put that in jeopardy?
As far as local tours, China has a history of asking for opinions or permission, and then punishing the people who give opinions or ask permission in order to promote stability and harmony. The last time it happened was at the Olympics with application for permits to protest at “official” protest parksites. People who applied were either sent home or detained until after the Olympics ended, to ensure harmony and an uncontroversial Olympic games. Who in their right mind would take the chance of offering criticisms of the Party line when prior attempts have resulted in detention?
I can’t see the possibility of elections or referendums either. That would set a precedent that other areas in China might want for themselves. So my dilemma still exists, how can the Party accurately discover how to bring Tibetans into the national consciousness? Are they trying to solve the problem or simply manage it?
S.K. Cheung says
To Allen #226:
I’m not about to suggest that the CCP doesn’t do what it thinks is best for the people (at least when it coincides with what is best for the CCP). But I’m happy to suggest that what the CCP thinks is best for the people and what the people might think is best for the people need not be the same thing.
“I suspect that from your perspective – the only way to really find out is through elections and referendums?” – I must say I haven’t given potential alternatives much thought. I won’t say it’s the “only” way; but I will say it’s the “best” way, IMO. Now we get to ground we’ve covered before. If you’ll humour me in an imaginary exchange:
1. “you can’t know what Tibetans want without asking them. And to me, the “best” way is some form of referendum.”
2. “why should Tibetans get a referendum? They are PRC citizens. No more, and no less. They have as many (or as few) rights as any other PRC citizen. Why should one subset of PRC citizenry have access to something that the remainder do not?”
3. “that’s an excellent point. So instead of worrying about giving one group something the other groups don’t have, why not just give it to everyone? That way, not only TIbetans, but all PRC citizens, will be able to inform their government of what their priorities are, and more importantly, which ones remain unfulfilled.”
4. “well, China needs to get to a certain GDP threshold, and a certain level of education threshold, and she needs the rule of law to be established, and she’s only 30 years removed from having been a farming society, and she’s come a long way, and give her time, and good things come to those who wait, and…..”
I don’t pretend to know the “how”? But I’m getting the sense you might be willing to acknowledge the need. That’s good enough for me to fire up the iPod, and crack open the Guinness. However, before I grab the frosted mug, and tip it at just the right angle to allow the slow pour necessary to obtain the proper amount of head, I will say that talking to local officials, etc, doesn’t cut it IMO, for the reasons Steve already mentioned above.
You ask good questions.
I do not know the answer – otherwise, I’d go challenge Hu or Wen for their jobs right now – this moment! 😉
One solution is for the CCP to become more diverse – more inclusive – and more open to ideas. I am not saying that CCP is not so today. But I know corruption and self-interested officialdom is a problem in China’s government. Unless the Chinese gov’t can reform itself such that its officials – at all levels – become trustworthy responsive conduits for the people to communicate what they want – the CCP will only be digging a grave for itself.
Well – you bring the iPod, I’ll bring the loud speakers! You are amazing in going back to dig up all these quotes from our discussions earlier!
I still get antsy reading some of your views from a “self-determination” pov – but I am ok if we read them from a democratic / competent governance pov… 😉
For what its worth, I called a Taiwanese travel agency today. As of today, they are still booking trips to JiuZhaiGou area as usual for all foreseeable future. I asked if they had heard of restrictions for Taiwanese tourists, the person I talked said she had indeed heard things on the news that some trips may be canceled due to “bridge repairs,” but as far as they are concerned however, all trips are still good to go.
Have you heard anything else from the AP news source?
I am curious not because I am so interested about JiuZhaiGou, but because alleged restrictions against Taiwanese tourists to specific areas of the Mainland is the type of info that I can easily verify sitting here in the U.S…. (You can see I still don’t trust English news sources on anything relating to Tibet.)
P.S. Also my aunt just arrived back in Taiwan from her JiuZhaiGou trip yesterday. She told me the scenery was out of this world beautiful. I asked if she saw any ethnic Tibetans, and she told me she saw many in the area and that they were all very friendly (not surprising; even if they were political, why would they not be friendly to tourists!). It is light season now … and she thought it was a bit cold … but otherwise, it was a great trip.
@ Allen #229:
“But I know corruption and self-interested officialdom is a problem in China’s government. Unless the Chinese gov’t can reform itself such that its officials – at all levels – become trustworthy responsive conduits for the people to communicate what they want – the CCP will only be digging a grave for itself.”
How can the government eliminate corruption under the present system? Doesn’t the lack of checks and balances preclude the Party from controlling it on the local level? How can you reform the system while still maintaining an authoritarian government? Can you think of a previous authoritarian government of a large country that held power for so long and didn’t have high levels of corruption? This is always the problem with all authoritarian governments; over time corruption takes over the system because there is no structural way to keep it out. So even if the central administration has the best intentions of eliminating corruption, I’m not sure how they can implement it successfully.
Allen, I’m glad to hear tourists from Taiwan can stil visit Jiuzaigou. I’ve googled it again and the only article I found that announced it was the Associated Press written by Audra Ang, which was picked up by many papers and websites. That’s it so from what you’ve heard, there’s a good chance it is bogus. I hope it is. I’ve known a few people who’ve been there and thought it was spectacular.
“My last word here.”
If you’re still reading, I encourage you to continue to post. There are many activists here, and no matter what you say, you will be attacked. You just have to ignore them, or attack them back. 🙂
It would be a shame if we lost the insights as demonstrated by your first few posts.
Also, regarding Richard and Peking Duck, it’s ironic that that blog is so pro-tibetan freedoms, and yet I was banned for questioning this author he was promoting on his blog (she of course is demonizing china, and even admits her work is fiction to a newspaper). So much for freedom of speech. Free only if you agree with the petty tyrant’s point of view.
(deleted for profanity)
Well, I don’t really mean that. The tibetans are a fine people. The profanity is just my knee jerk reaction to all the TGIE/anti-china filth.
S.K. Cheung says
Gee, it seems the “knee-jerk reaction” is a fairly common affliction among some folks in these parts. I wonder if there’s any treatment. I wonder if it would be the red or the blue pill.
@Steve (#230): “Can you think of a previous authoritarian government of a large country that held power for so long and didn’t have high levels of corruption?”
Er… Big country, no. Singapore, yes. Of course Singapore might not be the answer to China’s quest for a corruption-free government since it’s constitutionally a multi-party system with a (more or less) independent judiciary. In practice, however, the ruling party is expert in using the legal system and their financial superiority to stop opponents.
Singapore has an independent authority that checks corruption within the government. If China could create such an institution and it really could wield power, then we might somewhere.
@ WKL #233: Ha ha, exactly! That’s why I put in “large” before country, because I was thinking of Singapore. But it goes back further. Singapore is a city/state, similar to Athens in ancient Greece. It is much easier to control corruption in a city/state because the geographic area is so small. As long as the dictator is benevolent, the government is actually more efficient than a democracy. This is right out of PoliSci 101 when different forms of government are discussed.
The danger with an authoritarian government in a city/state is that if the dictator is despotic, it is very easy for him to control the government. For the most part, Lee Kwan Yew was benevolent while he was running things, though he’s come up with a few doozies in his old age. Talking to my Singaporean colleagues, they respected him but didn’t respect his son who is the current leader. I’d be curious of anyone from Singapore reading this could give us their opinion of the differences between father and son.
Though the overseas press coverage of Singapore is usually quite positive, I didn’t find that to be true when talking to Singaporeans themselves. They were frustrated with the restrictions the government placed on them. They felt these restrictions were needed in the early days but that the society had matured while the government still treated its citizens like children. They chafed at the limits on constitutional rights, and their lack of choice in government officials, especially Lee Hsien Loong.
It’ll be interesting to see how Singapore gets along over the next 20 years. I have confidence in the Singaporeans themselves but I’m not sure yet if the government will be able to adjust under its present structure, or if it can continue to keep corruption under control.
“Gee, it seems the “knee-jerk reaction” is a fairly common affliction among some folks in these parts. I wonder if there’s any treatment. I wonder if it would be the red or the blue pill.”
You’re a robot. I wouldn’t expect you to understand.
Tibetan delegation disputes ‘lies’
By USA TODAY
“Lobsang Sangay, a native Tibetan and senior research fellow at Harvard Law School, says he is quite familiar with such delegations. “They are paraded to read a script,” he said. “It’s not surprising that what they say is so out of touch with the reality that credible journalists and scholars have reported. It is kind of a desperate attempt on the Chinese part to whitewash the tragic reality in Tibet.”
Robert Barnett, a Tibet expert at Columbia University, said it is rare to have native Tibetans of such high standing willing to speak out in favor of Chinese rule.
“This is a battle of voices,” he said. “China wants to have Tibetans that will speak out, vindicating its claim.”
The delegation of two woman and three men met with an official at the State Department, and were scheduled to call on Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said Guomin Chen, an embassy official.
The news conference drew a few non-journalists, including Washington lawyer Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Clinton whose law firm, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, has three offices in China.
“I have the greatest respect for the Dalai Lama … but there is another side to the story,” Davis said.
Tibet part of China: US official
By China Daily
“Bill Richard, administrative assistant to Congressman Jim Oberstar, said: “The Western media’s perception of Tibet may not be accurate. It’s good that the delegation is here to tell us exactly what the situation in Tibet is,” he said.
Responding to a remark that a number of people may tend to believe the Dalai Lama more than the NPC deputies, Richard said: “When was the last time the Dalai Lama visited Tibet? Here we have people’s representatives from the region to share their views. We should listen and learn.”
I will try to start a conversation on this good topic – and continue it in other threads in the future.
I’d like to take a step back to ask what separation of power is. My understanding is that separation of power is a form of government where power is distributed within different branches of gov’t as a sort of check and balance against government abuse.
Now suppose what we care about is governance in general – and not the specific goals of government abuse, must we have separation of power?
Suppose I want to run a company – or even a military operation – and want to ensure that we have a good, tight operation. Do we necessarily need separation of company or separation of troops?
No, I’d argue.
All we need is a good governance structure that includes a clear chain of command as well as an apparatus that carries out quality check to ensure the whole apparatus is well functioning. Depending on the situation, the quality check and control apparatus may run parallel to the command structure – in which case I suppose we may call “separation of power” – in other cases not (we may simply have good procedures and training).
The key is that – for the CCP to achieve its democratic goals of becoming reliable conduits for the people to communicate what they want and effective apparatus for implementing policies – it needs to run a tight operation. There may be internal “separation of powers” to ensure quality control – but there need not be separation of branches of government.
But you ask – how can one party be trusted with all these tasks? You need independent control and checks.
Well – if the CCP is well run – it will have “independent” control and checks – not as potential external challenges to replace it – but as internal controls and checks to ensure the CCP is truly democratic – i.e. conducive to understanding issues people are concerned with and efficient in implementing policies.
In some ways, we may be arguing terminologies.
The different branches of gov’t are still part of a gov’t. The different branches can still decay together.
When the Japanese were interned, all three branches of the gov’t (executive, legislative, and the court (yes including the Supreme Court) conspired to carry out an action that is clearly way beyond its Constitutional powers.
I truly believe that authoritarian gov’ts are not inherently corrupt – neither are constitutional republics inherently non-corrupt. It all depends on implementation and execution.
Actually, I happen to personally believe the U.S. gov’t is very, very corrupt. It is corrupt in so many layers. Not only have gov’t officials taken money and gift, they have also enacted laws that benefit special interests for the sake of special interests. The most recent financial crisis is a symptom of its corruption (see, e.g., this article).
But maybe we should leave the issue of corruption for another day! 😉
I forgot to answer this question:
No … but I think the Chinese gov’t of 2020 on will be a good example!
“How can the government eliminate corruption under the present system?”
A better question is how can a government eliminate corruption under another system? The Chinese system is already in place and it’s much easier to make concrete modifications to fight corruption under the current framework. Changes in the current government itself (like creating 3 separate branches of gov’t, or changing China to a parliamentary democracy, what ever)requires great overhaul, so the onus is on the person selling the change to make the pitch, what are the costs, benefits, risks, contingencies? This is probably a different thread, we are way off topic here. 🙂
@Allen: Just a question, perhaps for another thread… A lot of people, me included, place a lot of hope in the year 2020 (in my case it’s perhaps more of curiosity) – what will China be like then? Will the great social and environmental problems in the country have been solved by then?
I mean, why do we think this will happen in the year 2020? It’s only 11 years away now. Sure, China is developing very fast, much faster than any other country, but I’m still curious about what you and others think will happen during these years, and what sort of revolutionary threshold we’re supposed to pass.
@Steve: As for authoritarian governments of countries that had low levels of corruption, I think we need look no longer than the Western world about a hundred years ago – though I might be wrong.
This is a discussion about three scenarios for China in the year 2020 (focusing on the political and democratization, but there are also discussion of the social part in there):
Thanks for the link. It’s a simple yet insightful article, I think. We can definitely make this into the basis of another thread.
You want to do it?
@ Allen #244 et al: I think we’re actually looking at two new threads and since we’re already at comment 244, best to start afresh than continue here. None of this has anything to do with the Dalai Lama so yo is right; we’re way off topic. 😉
The first thread can be from WKL’s excellent article; where will China be politically in 2020? Three scenarios are presented (I haven’t had a chance yet to read the entire paper) with various reasons for each, so that can be more about direction.
The second thread can be more specific structurally. You can basically divide Political Science into two broad categories. One is political structure (how to structure and reform a government so that it best serves the people and not itself), and how to win elections and maintain power. Ideology, polling, campaign platforms, governing competence, etc. are all under the second. My emphasis in study and personal interest was always in structure; how to set up the government so the ruling elite (every country has a ruling elite under all systems, some are open while others are closed) serves the people rather than the other way around. Corruption falls under structure, not under ruling competence, though Allen might disagree with me on this. That’s why I think it’d be a pretty good thread.
Does anyone else think these two topics would be interesting and fun to discuss? If so, I can write both up since I have an idea of how to separate them from each other. I can also set up a basic framework for the structural topic.
You are right – we definitely have ideas to spawn at least two more threads here.
When I study the U.S. Constitution or law in general – there are definitely two approaches that are analogous to what you alluded to. For example, in studying the U.S. Constitution, we can take the structural approach as well as the rights approach. To study democracy, some taken focused on procedures while others have focused on legal rights.
Both of the threads you mentioned sound very interesting.
If you and/or WKL want to write up either of these threads, please do so. I promise to chime in with my thoughts in the comments section…! 🙂
@ WKL: Do you want to write up the article you linked to and have me write up the other? Or do you want me to write up both? I won’t be able to get to them until tonight.