Home > Analysis, culture > (Letter from sophie, Opposing Viewpoint) Cultural Reflections on Tibet

(Letter from sophie, Opposing Viewpoint) Cultural Reflections on Tibet

In a previous thread, Steve asked why, with so much material improvement in Tibet region shown by MAJ, the Chinese government still can’t win Tibetan’s heart? I have been asking the same question too.

Following recent MAJ’s comments, I came across this article ‘Reflections on Tibet‘ by Wang Lixiong published in 2002. Wang Lixiong is the writer of ‘Roadmap of Tibetan Independence’ published last year. In the article, Wang Lixiong “considers some of the bitter paradoxes of Tibetan history under Communist rule, and their roots in the confrontation of an alien bureaucracy and fear-stricken religion”. It’s worth pointing out that the original article 西藏问题的文化反思 was published in Chinese in 2001 and therefore we need to be careful how relevant it is to today’s Tibet issue.

According to Wang’s article, during Mao era, the Tibet region was materially destroyed but socially stable since Mao became Tibetans’ new God.

“The Tibetans’ submission to a religion that apparently runs contrary to their material interests becomes prefectly comprehensible in the context of their worship of fear. Faced with a choice between a short spell of suffering in this world followed by a blissful hereafter, or an eternity of torture, the peasants inevitably remained in thrall to the monks who held the keys to heaven. But if it is impossible for Tibetans to live without a god, nevertheless their religion allowed for a reincarnation of the deity. What if a new god appeared who was not only more powerful and awe-inspiring than the old, but who also told Tibetans that this life was everything, that their suffering was injustice, and that they should seek happiness in the here and now? Would they still be willing to deny their own human needs? As to who had more actual power between the Dalai Lama and Mao Zedong, there could scarcely be any doubt.” It’s Mao. Following the new God, ordinary Tibetans rebelled, destroyed old traditions together temples, entered Culture Revolution.
  
Since 1980’s, the living standard of Tibetans have been significantly improved, but, at the same time, Tibet has since become an issue.

Deng started “the process of ‘redressing the wrongs’ in Tibet began right from the start of the new Reform Era. On December 28, 1978, less than a week after taking power, Deng gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he indicated his willingness to start a dialogue with the Dalai Lama; he received the Dalai’s representative in Beijing the following March. The 376 participants in the 1959 Rebellion still serving prison sentences were freed. Over 6,000 others who had been released after completing their sentences but were still branded as ‘rebels’ and kept under ‘supervised reform’ had these labels removed. Party management of Tibet made an about-turn.”

Hu Yaobang made six major proposals in 1980 March:

1. Tibet should enjoy autonomous rule, and Tibetan cadres should have the courage to protect their own national interests;

2. Tibetan farmers and herdsmen should be exempt from taxation and purchase quotas;

3. Ideologically oriented economic policies should be changed to practical ones, geared to local circumstances;

4. Central government’s financial allocations to Tibet should be greatly increased;

5. Tibetan culture should be strengthened;

6. Han cadres should step aside in favour of Tibetan ones.

However,

“within the terms of Tibetan Buddhism, ‘redressing the wrongs’ destroyed the divine status Mao had been accorded. God did not make mistakes….God did not need to curry favour; he could order people to do whatever he desired. More importantly, he would never admit to any errors. That would reduce him to the status of human. Once that happened, people could settle accounts over all the past cruelties, and demand even more admissions and compensation. The Tibetans did not necessarily feel grateful, therefore, when they got government money for restoring the temples. On the contrary, they saw it as an admission that the holy buildings had been destroyed by the Han authorities”

“Now, all of a sudden, after they had smashed the monasteries and temples to pieces, they were told that the new god did not exist. It was all an unfortunate mistake and the previous religion needed to be restored. It is not hard to imagine how they felt; and such a feeling could hardly be commuted into gratitude by government grants.”

If opinions in Wang Lixiong’s article are relevant to today’s Tibet issue, will material improvements and better education lead Tibetans to a less religious life? and therefore solve the Tibet issue eventually?

All these being said, I am still asking how serious the Tibet issue REALLY is? Since Tibet has been a popular travel destination in China in recent years, especially among the young and fashionable new middle-class in cities. as Tsering Shakya said in an interview ‘a much more romantic view of Tibet has emerged among the Chinese population than in the West’. There is an article ‘我说,我在西藏’ (I say, I am in lhasa) on the homepage of Tianya – one of the most popular Chinese sites. I would like to share with you this poem (maybe words for a pop song?) in the article. You would understand immediately how romantic Tibet is in some people’s eyes.

那一刻,
  我升起风马,不为乞福,
  只为守候你的到来;
     
  那一天,
  我闭目在经殿的香雾中,
  蓦然听见你颂经中的真言;
     
  那一月,
  我摇动所有的经筒,
  不为超度,
  只为触摸你的指尖;
    
  那一年,
  磕长头匍匐在山路,
  不为觐见,
  只为贴着你的温暖;
   
  那一世,
  转山转水转佛塔,
  不为修来世,
  只为途中与你相见

Thanks for MAJ’s recent comments, which lead me to some fresh new information.

Categories: Analysis, culture Tags: ,
  1. Wei
    March 17th, 2009 at 01:07 | #1

    I am a bit confuse about what is it that your are trying to say. Could explain it a bit more?

  2. March 17th, 2009 at 01:31 | #2

    Hmmm – the first time I read Wang Lixiong’s translated article was last year immediately after the riots.

    I was too hot-headed to seriously comprehend what Wang wrote.

    I have since re-read Wang’s piece linked above several times … and now thinks that he may actually have some insights regarding some aspects of Tibetan-related issues.

    Here is a bio of Wang from wikipedia,

    Wang Lixiong was born in 1953 at Changchun in Jilin province and resides in Beijing. He was sent for re-education during the Cultural Revolution, and had to study of mechanical enineering. After the Cultural Revolution, he worked in an automobile factory in Mandchourie, then in Wuhan. He has been interested in the politics and conceptualised a model of electoral system by steps as early as 1975. In 1978, he participated in the movement of the Wall of Democracy and published his first essay in the magazine Jintian (Mandarin for “today”). He published his first novel in 1983. In 1984, he travelled along the River Yangtze on a raft crossing Tibetan territories, and began to consider in the Tibetan question. He joined the Association of the Chinese Writers in 1988 and resigned in 2001. In 1994, he finished a book on political theory, “Rongjie Quanli – Zhuceng Dixuan Zhi” (Broadcasting of the strength – an electoral system by steps), proposing democratic reformations adapted to China. In 1994, Wang Lixiong participated in the creation of a non-governmental organization for the protection of the environment, Ziran Zhi You (The Friends of Nature). Between 1995 and 1998, he travelled often to Tibet and published the study Tianzang: Mingyun of Xizhang (Celestial Funeral: the Destiny of the Tibet). In 1999, he became interested in the Xinjiang and would be arrested, but published in 2001 Xinjiang Zhuiji (Remember Xinjiang) where he goes back over his misadventures in Urumchi. Wang Lixiong had the occasion to meet the Dalai Lama with whom he has had long discussions. In 2002, he published Yu Dalailama Duihua (Discussions with the Dalai Lama).

    Wang Lixiong supported Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, an important Tibetan Lama of the region of Litang who was accused of being involved in a bomb attack. December 13, 2002, Wang Lixiong and 24 other Chinese intellectuals signed a petition that requested independent lawyers in the trial in appeal of Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, the right for local and international media to cover the trial and to interview the officials of the Chinese government and the possibility for representatives of the Tibetan community in exile to attend the process. Wang Lixiong and other Chinese authors in China and outside China invited Chinese authorities to consider seriously the middle way approach proposed by the Dalai Lama and consider it as the basis of a negotiated statute for the future of Tibet. Wang Lixiong thinks that the Dalai Lama is the key to resolve the question of Tibet[2], [3]. He met with the Dalai Lama and his analysis of the question of Tibet is described in his work Unlocking Tibet [4]

    Wang Lixiong is married to the Tibetan poetesse and analyst Öser (Woeser). The two blogs of Öser suddenly were closed fine July 2006, at the request of Chinese authorities and while a censorship wave denounced by Reporters sans frontières. Öser published there essays on the Tibetan culture, as well as articles of Wang Lixiong whose forum also was closed[5].

    One thing I do agree with Wang. To understand China of today – including its astounding rise – one must view China in terms of the cultural revolution. Many of today’s issues cannot be understood without understanding the human, social, cultural costs of that era.

  3. may
    March 17th, 2009 at 02:04 | #3

    Sophie, the love poem was attributed to the 6th Dalai Lama (仓央嘉错Tsangyang Gyatso).

  4. Inst
    March 17th, 2009 at 02:45 | #4

    Regarding MAJ, the Jason Lee blog which reviewed China Blur and Flowing Waters Never Stale has since been closed down. I don’t have permission to view it. I like his knowledgeable arguments regarding the Tibetan situation and Western perceptions, but I’m quite frightened of the threat posed by his sockpuppetry. The Myers psychoanalyst seemed quite amusing, but when you have a fake blog that can feign being ethnic Chinese it becomes disturbing.

    Regarding Wang Lixiong, the “han jian” married to Woeser, I’m surprised he’s actually married to Woeser. I found this article right after the riots hit last year, but I was really offput by the segments describing the Tibetans as a bunch of fear-stricken primitives who went from worshipping the Dalai Lama to Chairman Mao and back. So condescending. The most useful thing I got out of this essay was the complicity of ethnic Tibetans in destroying their own cultural traditions, just the same as that of the ethnic Han. If we could verify it with an academic source it would be an interesting counterpoint to Free Tibeters complaining about the Cultural Revolution

  5. may
    March 17th, 2009 at 03:12 | #5

    why Wang’s article is not considered “an academic source”? Wasn’t it published on the New Left Review? … … Two books by the Tibetans authors (Tsering Shakya’s The Dragon in the Land of Snows and Tashi Tsering’s The Struggle for Modern Tibet) also contain bits of information on the participation of some Tibetans in the Cultural Revolution.

    Goldstein published a new book on the 1969 Nyemo Incident in the Cultural Revolution early this year – “On the Cultural Revolution in Tibet: The Nyemo Incident of 1969”. I haven’t got a chance to read the book. But I have read Woeser’s interpretation of the event in her article 西藏“文革”疑案之一:1969年尼木、边坝事件. It seems she has taken a rather nationalistic stance on the event (i.e., Tibetans in revolt against Chinese oppression).

  6. Otto Kerner
    March 17th, 2009 at 03:26 | #6

    “The Tibetans’ submission to a religion that apparently runs contrary to their material interests becomes prefectly comprehensible in the context of their worship of fear.”, etc. is certainly an offensive thing to say. As Tsering Shakya pointed out in his response, this train of thought is typical of the colonial mindset. I greatly respect Wang Lixiong’s courage and openmindedness, but that doesn’t mean he’s right about everything or can’t end up being quite wrong about some things. At the same time, it sometimes takes a person with offensive opinions to tell you stuff that might be somewhat true and that nobody else would say to your face.

    I wonder if Wang Lixiong would still stand behind everything in that essay. It was written a number of years ago and it seems quite possible that his thought has developed since then.

  7. may
    March 17th, 2009 at 03:36 | #7

    Goldstein seems to have a different opinion. From amazon’s introduction of the book:

    “Melvyn C. Goldstein, Ben Jiao, and Tanzen Lhundrup demonstrate that far from being a spontaneous battle for independence, this violent event was actually part of a struggle between rival revolutionary groups and was not ethnically based. On the Cultural Revolution in Tibet proffers a sober assessment of human malleability and challenges the tendency to view every sign of unrest in Tibet in ethno-nationalist terms.”

  8. Otto Kerner
    March 17th, 2009 at 03:50 | #8

    “If opinions in Wang Lixiong’s article are relevant to today’s Tibet issue, will material improvements and better education lead Tibetans to a less religious life? and therefore solve the Tibet issue eventually?”

    If material improvements and better education do occur, do we have a reason to think that would help to solve the problem? I tend to think of the Tibet situation as comparable in some ways to late colonial Ireland. I have the impression that no kind of social or economic advancements were going make the Irish less interested in achieving home rule or independence, especially as long as a Catholic majority remained comparatively poorer than a Protestant minority. If anything, increased education and economic empowerment would provide them with stronger social capital with which to organise a nationaist movement. Is there something different about the situation of the Tibetans which would lead one to expect different behavior from them?

  9. Shane9219
    March 17th, 2009 at 03:52 | #9

    Tibetan intellectuals’ reflection on CR is basically similar to other Chinese intellectuals, plus an added twist on race and religion factors. However, mainstream Chinese intellectuals had moved on quickly from that internal struggle after 80s, because China had been changing so fast. Tibetan intellectuals, on the other hand, seem to still linger on, searching for a destination. The relative isolation of Tibet and DL’s continued exile may have something to do with it.

    For those intersted in more background, the 80s’ so called 伤痕文学 in China was marked by a gentleman named 卢新华. Here is a story about him.

    http://www.chinataiwan.org/wh/dswh/zjsh/200812/t20081205_792684.htm

  10. Otto Kerner
    March 17th, 2009 at 04:06 | #10

    may,

    Tsering Shakya, in The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947, gives a similar description of the late 1960s in Tibet, but with different twist. He describes a Tibet in which “ethno-nationalist” resistance had been so completely repressed (the Cultural Revolution had been in progress for some time there) that the field was clear for fierce conflicts between competing anti-Tibetan factions.

  11. yo
    March 17th, 2009 at 05:19 | #11

    sophie,
    “All these being said, I am still asking how serious the Tibet issue REALLY is? ”
    I agree with what you are saying. While the discussion of Tibet always leads to much heated and exciting debate, fueled much by the backdrop of grossly exaggerated claims made by the TGIE as Mark would put it, the problem for me has always boiled down to problems associated with the gov’t that also exists in the rest of China (e.g. corruption, minority affairs, eminent domain issues, religious regulation, etc.). IMO,Tibet is only a VERY small piece of a greater puzzle.

    While it’s been nice to read all the debates about Tibet, I think it would do this blog good to pick a different topic for a bit to keep things from being stale. 😛

  12. Lobsang
    March 17th, 2009 at 05:48 | #12

    As a Tibetan who had lived in Tibet and continues to visit Tibet frequently from the comfort and freedom of a foreign passport, I managed to stay in touch with both the Tibetans in Tibet and in diasparo. A couple of points to make on the essay at the beginning:

    1)Wang Lixiong is one of the few Chinese intellectuals whom I have great respect and understand the Tibetan psyche and the issue having lived in Tibet for many years and now married to a famous Tibetan activists Woeser.

    2) I absolutely disagree and nor seen in Tibet as mentioned above that Tibetans had worshiped Mao. It was only the fear of the despot that made the Tibetans have pictures of him during those times that I rarely see nowadays in villages and certainly not in the cities.

    3) Fear continues to dominate the Tibetan people in Tibet and they will not share their true feelings to Han Chinese and with heavy state media propaganda, the Chinese people absolutely do not understand the true feelings of the Tibetan people. That’s what suits the CCP rulers just fine to stroke the Chinese nationalism and chauvinism against the Tibetan people. Read Dalai Lama’s 10th of March speech and press conference to undertsand the issue a little better. http://www.dalailama.com/page.128.htm (sorry blocked for readers in China)

    3) Dalai Lama plays a unique and special relationship with the Tibetan people for hundreds of years that perhaps only a very few Chinese like Wang Lixiong understand.

    Finally I agreed with Wang Lixiong that without the help of the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government will not be able to win the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people to stay within PRC willingly and therefore will not be able to solve the Tibet issue. It’s opportune time for the PRC leaders to negotiate seriously and sincerely to solve the Tibet issue with the Dalai Lama who represents the Tibetan people.

    BTW, I Googled Tibet and then Dalai Lama under the ‘news’ section a few days ago and for both, there were 6100 articles under one heading and then 1500 in another heading within a week. Iraq and Afghanistan had 1600; Obama 2600; Wen Jiabao 1900; Hu Jintao 4200 (mostly in reference to Tibet articles). There are so many articles and coverage worldwide on Tibet lately. Quite remarkable considering PRC is more powerful than ever before and do not hesitate to use its power to muzzle the Tibet issue.

    The Tibetan issue is finally being addressed seriously and widely and will not go away despite what PRC wishes. So the struggle continues as the will and spirit is strong amongst the Tibetans especially and more importantly inside Tibet.

  13. may
    March 17th, 2009 at 06:33 | #13

    “2) I absolutely disagree and nor seen in Tibet as mentioned above that Tibetans had worshiped Mao. It was only the fear of the despot that made the Tibetans have pictures of him during those times that I rarely see nowadays in villages and certainly not in the cities.”

    When I took a trekking trip in the Diqing迪庆 Tibetan Autonomous Region in Yunan two years ago, I saw Mao’s portrait (along with pictures of other Tibetan Buddhist deities and Buddhas) hung in the Tibetan family in a remote mountain village. And I have read quite a few times in the online travelogues where the Chinese travelers described seeing Mao’s portrait in Tibetan families (sometimes the travelers took photos of it). Just two weeks ago, I read a travel journal online in which the Chinese travelers were very surprised by the sight of a Mao’s portrait in a Tibetan family in the small town they stayed over night. They took pictures of it and put the photos in their travel journal. The sons of this Tibetan family work in the township government. From the photos the travelers took, one can see the Tibetan family’s house is spacious and richly decorated in the traditional Tibetan style. This small group of young people biked from Chengdu to Lhasa. They took the 317 Road instead of the 318 Road to Lhasa.

    I am not claiming that these “sightings” of Mao’s portrait is a representative sample of the situation in the Tibetan areas. But I have to say that these occurrences of Mao can hardly be described as “rarely”.

  14. March 17th, 2009 at 06:53 | #14

    Inst. – I wasn’t going to leave any more comments here on this site, but I feel compelled to defend myself here against what I consider to be unfair charges. I AM NOT, contrary to what FOARP claims, Jason Lee. I have nothing to do with Jason Lee or his site. He reviewed my book, which I greatly appreciated, and he corresponds with me only very occasionly via email. I just checked his site, and a page comes up telling me it’s closed for maintenance. It hasn’t, I assume, been “closed down”.

    I have never written under the name of ZGlobal or whoever either, as FOARP claimed in the comment he left on the other thread. He doesn’t know half the story, so not suprisingly he gets many of his facfs wrong. He claimed that I am banned from most blogs too – also nonesense. The ONLY blog I have ever been banned from is the Peking Duck. So what? How many people HAVEN’T been at some point banned from the Peking Duck? Even Ivan and Fat Cat (two of Richard’s strongest supporters at one time) are now banned for life! They now run their own site at: http://www.underthejacaranda.wordpress.com

    I really don’t understand why FOARP has attacked me so viciously here on this site. It’s unnecessary, unpleasant, and is an ongoing response of his to an incident that occured five bloody years ago and which didn’t even directly concern him. He knows only one side of the story, and what’s worse, he is here on this site spreading factually incorrect “information” about me. It’s a smear campaign – an attempt at character assassination – and one that’s unwarranted.

    Look Inst., if you want to believe the worst of me then go ahead. What can I do? At the end of the day, all I ask is that people consider the evidence that I present (which I now make sure I cite) and the conclusions I draw from that evidence – ie. they consider my discourse. I’ve never claimed my views to be superior or to represent some sort of devine truth. I don’t think my comments are half as pompous as FOARP’s, whose a know-all, nor do I agree they they comprise of mere quotations. FOARP is simply being unnecessarily nasty. If he doesn’t like me (we’ve never met even, by the way) or my ideas or my writing style then fine. I can’t please everybody. My comments are simply offered up as a contribution to discussion. I have no secret agenda. I’m not politically or ideologically motivated – I’m a value-pluralist for goodness sake!

    If I’m going to have to defend myself constantly for a silly incident that happened five years then I really can’t be bothered to contribute here any longer. No dount that’s what FOARP wants. I’ll just stick to the China Law Blog, where people like FOARP simply aren’t permitted to indulge in making personal attacks. Dan Harris, who runs the China Law Blog, occasionally emails me, and he once informed me when I first started contributing to his site (again, about five years ago now) that he had been bombarded with emails from the Peking Duck crowd urging him to ban me! He refused, much to his credit.

  15. March 17th, 2009 at 07:56 | #15

    “In a previous thread, Steve asked why, with so much material improvement in Tibet region shown by MAJ, the Chinese government still can’t win Tibetan’s heart? I have been asking the same question too.”

    Answering the question should honestly not be difficult.

  16. Shane9219
    March 17th, 2009 at 08:21 | #16

    @Lobsang #12

    “The Chinese government will not be able to win the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people to stay within PRC willingly and therefore will not be able to solve the Tibet issue. It’s opportune time for the PRC leaders to negotiate seriously and sincerely to solve the Tibet issue with the Dalai Lama who represents the Tibetan people”

    1) True enough that without properly settling down 14th DL in Tibet, the current Tibet issue will be up in the air. After all, religion is religion. It holds Tibetan people’s hearts and minds more than any single individual.

    2) How much Dalai Lama can still represent the Tibetan people? 14th DL and his supporters should be realistic about it, especially after 50 years absence and doing practically nothing to imrprove their lives.

    3) When can 14th DL start to act like a mature, wise and enlightened religious leader? His actions in recent years showed a much childish, reactive, bitter and inconsistent nature.

  17. Steve
    March 17th, 2009 at 10:32 | #17

    @ A-gu #15: If answering the question is not difficult, could you take a stab at it? I mean that in the nicest way, since I still haven’t heard an answer yet. I’ve heard examples of material improvement, I’ve heard examples of social benefits, I’ve heard historical examples of why China is there, I hear why the TGIE isn’t representative ot Tibetan views, I hear all about why the DL is a bad guy, etc., but I don’t hear much from Tibetans themselves.

    For China to solve the Tibetan issue, they need to find out what Tibetans really want. Many on this blog say that the DL does not represent the hopes, dreams and desires of the Tibetan people themselves. Shane just remarked that the DL hasn’t been inside Tibet in 50 years. But then the Chinese government says they can negotiate with the DL and TGIE under the right conditions. To me, that’s China saying that the TGIE represents the Tibetan people or else they wouldn’t be negotiating with them in the first place. So if the DL and TGIE represent the Tibetan people to the Chinese government, doesn’t that negate many of the arguments I’ve heard on this board? And if they don’t represent the Tibetan people, then who does?

    @ MAJ #14: If you don’t want to defend yourself on this site, then don’t bother. Outside of FOARP & Inst, I haven’t read anyone else mention other sites and I’ve read many comments encouraging you to contribute to this site, including my own. I’ve never heard of Jason Lee, I don’t spend time at Peking Duck, I never heard of the China Law Blog and I’d guess the vast majority of our commentators haven’t either. For the life of me, I can’t understand why things that happened on other blogs and happened years ago keep getting mentioned here. What do they have to do with Tibet? Quite frankly, I find them annoying, since the past was already brought up and you answered it with a mea culpa for certain past actions on your part.

    I don’t particularly care about catfights between expats. As my wife says, “It takes two quarters to make noise” so if you ignore them, I think most everyone else will too.

  18. TonyP4
    March 17th, 2009 at 13:53 | #18

    @ Steve #17.

    Well said again. You’re taking my words from my mouth on MAJ.

    MAJ, please contribute to this site. We should argue with facts, not what we did nor where we do/did. There are always two sides of a story – let us hear both of them and decide for ourselves.

    I enjoy your post so much I include it in my blog http://tonyp4joke.blogspot.com/2009/03/tibet-50th-anniversary-of-uprising.html. If it is not OK with you, I can delete it.

  19. foobar
    March 17th, 2009 at 15:28 | #19

    #17 Steve,

    As far as I know, the CCP’s official line has been that they will never negotiate with the TGIE under any circumstances. What they say they would negotiate with the DL about, is his personal future.

  20. Raj
    March 17th, 2009 at 17:00 | #20

    @ 17

    Steve, I won’t speak for A-gu, but I would guess he’s talking about the fact that for many Tibetans the Chinese presence in their home is one of occupation. They have never been directly consulted in a free and open way as to whether they approve or disapprove of Chinese occupation/inclusion in the PRC. They do not accept the “Tibet has always been part of China” argument, and even if they do acknowledge that historically Tibet was often close to China they don’t see that as justification for being told what to do, having their rulers and religious leaders chosen by non-Tibetans, etc. Material wealth doesn’t necessarily counteract that, and from what I have read Tibetans are generally not as wealthy as Chinese immigrants so there may be resentment on that front.

    Now I know many Chinese would say that such a view is unfair, yet I believe it is one a majority of Tibetans will hold at least in part. If you’re still unconvinced that improved quality of life doesn’t lead to loyalty, consider that in India under British rule it was the educated, more affluent Indians who pushed for autonomy and then independence. Gandhi was a barrister for God’s sake – his family was well-off. But his ideals still overrode his comfortable circumstances. It’s also worth noting that towards the end at least, most of them would have never known anything other than British rule.

    @ 14

    MAJ make up your mind. If you weren’t going to comment here any longer (save for Inst’s post), any desire FOARP has to see you leave isn’t relevant. So either stay because you want to, or go because you want to. All I can say apart from that is what we do online often stays with us, but that’s the way it works. At the end of the day it’s the internet and really doesn’t matter.

  21. Banlas
    March 17th, 2009 at 17:35 | #21

    IN a way, I don’t quite agree with any Chinese leaders agreeing in resuming dialog with Dalai Lama. What China is lacking is both strategic and tactical plan to destory the secret network of Dalai Lama either in India, or in the West. Neutralise their effectiveness via wide-spread disengagement of what the exile Tibetans are capable of doing through the western media or even hollywood. Sabotage their ability to create nuisances through active participants of the local Tibetans, in continuous offensive year round, on what Tibet has achieved so far. That’s no doubt there is more plans in my mind but…it’s not advisable to divulge all here.

  22. Sophie
    March 17th, 2009 at 17:36 | #22

    @ may #1,#3

    “I am a bit confuse about what is it that your are trying to say. Could explain it a bit more?”

    I made two points in my post:
    1) the cause of Tibet issue: Tibetans are split between Chinese government that provide material improvement to their present life and DL who decides their eternal life in Heaven – as pointed out by another writer 徐明旭 Xu Mingxu before. Unfortunately, from the similar starting point, Xu and Wang reached different conclusion. Wang turned to Tibet independence whereas Xu went on to defend Chinese position.

    Then,
    2) I still have question mark on how serious this issue is. I am living in China. What I see is very different from what I read in the west media. So, how do I know the west media is not doing this again on Tibet?
    Thanks to point out the source of the poem. It’s beautiful. I quoted this poem that I got from a Chinese popular forum to show how Tibet is currently perceived (romantic and trendy) among Chinese. As well, several friends of mine have visited Tibet and enjoyed their trip. it’s hard for me to believe Tibet is ‘hell on earth’.

    @yo,
    “Tibet is only a VERY small piece of a greater puzzle”
    Agreed. What’s the priority between issues relevant to 1.3 billion people or issue relevant to 6 million people? the answer is obvious.

    @Lobsang,
    “I Googled Tibet and then Dalai Lama under the ‘news’ section a few days ago and for both, there were 6100 articles under one heading and then 1500 in another heading within a week. Iraq and Afghanistan had 1600; Obama 2600; Wen Jiabao 1900; Hu Jintao 4200”

    Are you saying that Tibet issue is a bigger issue than Iraq, Afghanistan? DL is higher profile than Obama, Wen Jiabao and Hu Jintao?
    Has Tibet and DL always got so much attention in the world in the past 50 years? or simply from recent years? If it’s the latter, why?

    @MAJ
    I enjoyed reading your writing and totally agree with what Steve said in #17

  23. Shane9219
    March 17th, 2009 at 17:56 | #23

    @Steve

    14th DL represents the most visible symbol of Tibetan religion. That is why 14th DL is deserved to be treated with respect. It is also the root cause of discontent by Tibetan people (inside or outside). Sure enough, China’s leadership needs to take 14th DL seriously in order to settle Tibet issue. 14th DL, on the other hand, should start to build a bridge of trust. He and his supporters are in no position to do hard bargaining with China (and they should be constantly reminded).

    TIE community, especially people around organizations like TYC and SFT, tried to make a case to western governments and audience that they could be made into a catalyst to China’s democracy. They are day-dreaming, and should drop it. LOL … Why? because they never lived in China and very few have traveled to China as tourists.

  24. pug_ster
    March 17th, 2009 at 20:50 | #24

    @12 Lobsang,

    While it is true that the CCP used nationalism to fuel anger towards the Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lama did the same thing to the Tibetans against the Chinese. Unfortunately, the Chinese CCP has been effective in using ‘propaganda’ to justify why Tibet should be part of China, as China has been trying to integrate Chinese and Tibetan society together, yet the Dalai Lama is trying to do the very opposite. The Dalai Lama has to give a better sales pitch to the Chinese of why the Tibetan cause is just instead of just quoting of a few Chinese Intellectuals like Wang Lixiong.

  25. William Huang
    March 17th, 2009 at 20:50 | #25

    I am sure that Mark A. Jones being attacked because certain people just don’t like what he presented on this blog. He never attacked anyone but only presented his own experience. I don’t know why he deserves such treatment. Anyone with real heart for the truth should be grateful for his contribution.

    It’s just a disparate attempt and show that certain people have little or no substance to offer but resort to this kind of tactics. It’s nothing more than a dirty trick to put-off Mark’s point of view by discredit him. It is the truth that hurts especially when it comes from someone with such credentials and well presented point of view. It makes you wonder if these free speech crusaders really know what free speech is.

    It’s also not a manly thing to do, I must say.

  26. miaka9383
    March 17th, 2009 at 20:59 | #26

    @William
    It goes both ways. I don’t care about what MAJ did on another blog or website, and I appreciate his views. It is enlightening. However, I was also attacked, and the “truths” that I pointed out, was deemed a lie. I was also attacked by being discredited. Where was my sympathy? It is just not a manly thing to do to have double standards.

  27. alex
    March 17th, 2009 at 21:01 | #27

    How I wish the people of all ethinic backgrounds can live happily together, in tibet or elsewhere!

    One of the most significant results of last year tibetans riots (out of racial hatred, I might add) and the subsequent violent demonstrations against the Olympic torch relays in London and Paris is the hardening of the Beijing’s position based on tremendous popular support. The tibetans in exile are trashing their dreams of an independent/free tibet by themselves. They do not understand how much support Beijing has among its people (maybe other than the tibetans). They are instigating 6 million tibetans against 1.3 billiion chinese from the comfort of their living room sofa!

    The bitter and venomous exchanges between Dalai Lama and Beijing surely can not induce to a negotiated solution of the tibet issue. It is clear to me that Beijing has made up its mind, for better or for worse, and wants to see who is left standing after all. And with that the tibetans will never have a chance. And it is clear to me too that the tibetans in exile is on a march to extremism at their hope evaporates.

    How sad it is to see the tibetan cause is going on a suicidal venture with the fantasy belief in their spiritual leader.

    I wish them well.

  28. William Huang
    March 17th, 2009 at 21:05 | #28

    @ miaka9383 #26

    “It goes both ways. I don’t care about what MAJ did on another blog or website, and I appreciate his views. It is enlightening. However, I was also attacked, and the “truths” that I pointed out, was deemed a lie. I was also attacked by being discredited. Where was my sympathy? It is just not a manly thing to do to have double standards.”

    I don’t read every post on FM blog so I don’t know who attacked you or discredited you. What can I do to help?

  29. TonyP4
    March 17th, 2009 at 21:48 | #29

    Alan, of Tibetan origin, sings Red Cliff theme songs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8aKG7bELnM

  30. Shane9219
    March 17th, 2009 at 23:06 | #30

    噶玛巴专访文字摘录和录音

    By BBC News

    问:你的中文是哪里学的?

    答:在西藏时只学到小学五年级,来到印度后自学,没有老师,主要透过跟人谈话。可能是对这个文化蛮有感觉,很特殊一种感情。

    问:就是说你觉得中华文化很特别?

    答:对。我以前在西藏时还没有那么强烈的感觉,但是到了这里之后,好像觉得自己以前是汉人一样。

    问:我这里有一份新华社2004年5月发表的新闻,上面引述你离开楚布寺时留下的信,表示”不是背叛国家”你有写这封信吗?

    答:有。是我自己写的,我也强调了不是背判国家,更不是说我是藏族、要跟汉族分裂。

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/chinese/simp/hi/newsid_7940000/newsid_7944000/7944018.stm

  31. Shane9219
    March 17th, 2009 at 23:21 | #31

    Karmapa softens stance on China

    By BBC News

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7946099.stm

    A similar version in English

  32. tinman
    March 18th, 2009 at 02:12 | #32

    Let us stick to the topic.

  33. March 18th, 2009 at 05:52 | #33

    Raj – thank you for your comment above. I agree with you when you say that “what we do online often stays with us” – I know that all too well I’m afraid – something I’ve had to learn the hard way, as you know. But as you also say, “at the end of the day it’s [only] the internet and [so] really doesn’t matter.” I shall thicken my skin then, and continue occasionally commenting here.

    I hope that you will be good enough to engage with me on this site from time to time Raj, as I do appreciate many of your insights, and as I said in my response to you (on the earlier thread), I do respect and appreciate where you are coming from philosophically – that is, if I have correctly read you as being an Enlightenment fundamentalist of the liberal variety. I approach the world from a different angle, though no doubt our assessments will nevertheless at times converge in places. I hope too, that you will be good natured enough to tolerate my “awful” writing style – FOARP informs us all that you find my comments to be both “pompous” and lacking in originality. But again, these are ONLY blog comments, as you say. Besides, I really don’t mean to come across as sounding pompous or arrogant. It puzzles me actually, as to why some people read me this way. After all, for years now, I have frequently taken the time when leaving comments to point out that I in no way hold my views up to be in any way represntations of some grand and knowable “truth” – I merely offer assessments that I draw from MY readings of what I know can be empirically verifiable. My stitching together of other people’s research involves synthesis – there is nothing unusual or intellectually lacking in my approach as far as I’m concerned. This is the approach one MUST take in order to be able to make informed and fairly balanced assessments.

    It puzzles me too, that I am so often dismissed as being ideologically biased. As a value-pluralist, I would have thought, if anything, that I would have been charged instead with being a moral relativist. This is why I went to the effort of outlining my philosophical and epistemological approach in the Introductory essay to my China Discourse website – to justify my modest form of relativism, and to let everyone know just exactly where I’m coming from.

    I think it would be easier in fact, to demonsrate an ideological bias on the part of some of my strongest critics. The title of FOARPs blog – Fear of a Red Planet – along with the banner image he uses on his site (which expresses the rivalry of ideas by juxtaposing the Chinese national flag with the Union Jack) speaks volumes about his approach. He appears to me at least, to be an Enlightenment fundamentalist of the liberal variety, who, like Hong Kong’s former Governor, Chris Pattern, believes that China’s economic success promotes the idea that nation states can develop and ‘get rich’ without the need for Enlightenment institutions like parliarmentary democracy – an idea that, as I explained in my essay on China’s human rights, Pattern”claims is very threatening to the West, since this would allow for a restructuring of global culture by emboldening and inspiring actors in other developing countries throughout the world to restore authoritarian rule. Western cultural values and institutions would consequently be decentred, no longer regarded as universal, but as Western.” Other writers, like Will Hutton for example, also push this line of reasoning.

    Many of FOARP’s criticisms of China are of course very valid, though I would argue that he lacks the fairness of balance. I’m not attacking FOARP the person here, but I really do believe that his approach in flawed.

    My purpose in leaving comments on sites like this, again, is NOT to arrogantly assert my ideas as representative of some grand truth. The charges of pomposity are simply unfair, and the personal attacks unnecessary. If people are going to publically criticise me over my role in an unfortunate dispute that I was only partly responsible for and that occured five years ago, then they ought to at least get all of their facts right. Half of FOARPs claims here about my past and present behaviours are factually incorrect. Period.

    I have never attacked FOARP personally. In fact, about a week ago I left a brief but friendly comment on his blog, and I even added his blog to my website’s blog list. I intend to keep it there, despite his unprovoked attacks.

    I hope that FOARP will call a truce, and that he and I can now go on to engage in discussions that are friendly and productive – surely we can agree to disagree on some, if not many issues? I don’t know about FOARP, but I’m not here to prove anything, or to win arguments or debates. I’m here to share my assessments, and to take into consideration any alternative views offered up in response. I like to take a dialectical approach to learning! 🙂

    So enough of the silly bickering, I hope. Let us all be friends so that we can concentrate from now on, on the actual topics of discussion.

    So back to the Tibet Issue:

    Raj – you say in your above comment that from what you have read, “Tibetans are generally not as wealthy as Chinese immigrants so there may be resentment on that front.”

    This is true, but generally only in urban areas.

    In the main urban centres, economic disparities do exist, and from most accounts that I have read, this is indeed a major source of resentment. As Tsering points out, the reason why Chinese and Hui Muslim shop-owners were targeted during the Lhasa riots of last March and not elsewhere is because “the disparity between the migrants’ success and the status of the indigenous is so glaringly obvious there—the Chinese own hotels, shops, restaurants, and are therefore much more visible. In rural areas, by contrast, the economic disparity between Tibetans and Chinese is minimal, so there was little resentment based on economic grievances.” In fact, roughly 80 percent of the ethnic Tibetan population in the TAR make their living as farmers, and as Tsering also points out, “generally, Tibetan farmers are far better off than most rural communities in China” – largely because “the population is smaller, just under 6 million, and land holdings are much bigger.”

    In Tsering’s view, last year’s demonstrations were not principally concerned with economic disparities, but were rather “defensive protests, concerning questions of national identity.”

    To understand why many (but certainly not all) urban Tibetans living in the TAR are unhappy with the present status quo, despite significant improvements in per capita living standards, one has to focus then, (if Tsering is correct) on the rise of Tibetan nationalism and its causes.

    The questions that we need to investigate then, I think, are these: when did Tibetans first develop a sense of national identity? How has Tibetan nationalism developed over time, to the present? Which segment(s) of Tibetan society encourage the development and popularisation of such nationalist sentiment, and why? Are such nationalist sentiments chauvanistic, and if so, to what extent and in whose particular class interests does such a chauvanistic discourse serve?

  34. may
    March 18th, 2009 at 06:43 | #34

    Sophie #22
    That first commenter who asked you to elaborate your points is “Wei”, not me 🙂

    “Wang turned to Tibet independence whereas Xu went on to defend Chinese position.”

    I don’t think Wang has turned to support Tibet independence but he definitely supports greater autonomy for Tibet. I admit the title of Wang’s latest work 西藏独立路线图Route to Tibet Independence is likely to lead people think he is for independence. But his work does not advocate independence. It is an analysis of the conditions that would lead to Tibet independence and he thinks many are already there (esp. the inflexibility of the Chinese bureaucracy that deals with the Tibet issue). It does seem to me that over the years Wang grows more critical of Beijing but less of Dhalamsara, somewhat to my disappointment. I believe Dhalamsara like Beijing and any other power-holding organizations should be scrutinized. I remember seeing one blogger joked online that the reason is Wang was 被招安了 (referring his marriage to Woeser).

    A new edition of Wang’s now classic 天葬Sky Burial is coming out this year. He said many of his thoughts have changed since he wrote the book ten years ago. I am eager to get hold of a new copy.

    “As well, several friends of mine have visited Tibet and enjoyed their trip. it’s hard for me to believe Tibet is ‘hell on earth’.”

    I traveled in the Tibetan areas too (Yunnan and TAR). Most of the experiences were wonderful and unforgeable. But a few unpleasant things happened too involving a German lady and a Tibetan driver. All in all, things seemed “normal”. Nothing had prepared me to what happened in 3.14. So I doubt how much we (as Han travelers in Tibet) can see through things and really connect with the locals.

    “I still have question mark on how serious this issue is.”

    6 million may be small compared to 1.1 billion. But they occupy 1/4 of the territory of China. Some may think the seriousness of the situation is exaggerated by the western media. But our government is certainly in agreement with western media’s assessment of the situation – just look at how many police and para-military forces our government has sent into the area. Our government has taken it “very seriously”.

  35. Otto Kerner
    March 18th, 2009 at 12:30 | #35

    I’m not sure why it says, “Karmapa softens stance” — is this significantly different than what his earlier stance was?

  36. Steve
    March 18th, 2009 at 15:08 | #36

    @ foobar #19: If the negotiations with the DL are strictly concerning his religious role and do not involve the TGIE, then why are TGIE monks the ones that go to Beijing to negotiate? And why are the pre-negotiation conditions revolving around degrees of autonomy? For me, autonomy isn’t a religious issue but a political one.

    Based on what I’ve read, my guess (and it is only a guess) is that the CPC is waiting for the DL to pass on at which time they’ll pick their own DL while the DL would have named his successor DL before he died, therefore having a situation similar to the two Popes at Rome and Avignon during the Middle Ages. The CPC would then forcefully push their DL (who’d be in Lhasa) on the people there while the TGIE would promote their guy from India. Who the people would choose is the big question, and I would think that would depend to a large extent on the personal qualities of the two men along with how the Lhasa DL was presented to the people. The more he was “shoved down their throat”, the less his following would be. Unfortunately, the CPC has a tendency of going about things exactly the wrong way with forced re-education, etc. so I’m not hopeful that their solution will work.

    @ Raj #20: I don’t think Tibet can be compared to India because the India was never a part of England, it was always a colony with a very small number of Englishmen in the country at any one time. If you want to compare it with India, I think a better comparison would be to look at the SW part of the present country. The area around Kerala was never an historic part of the other kingdoms but today is an integral part of India, and it was the British that incorporated it into the country. These days, I don’t believe there is talk of that region becoming independent, so it is possible to change the status of an area over time if it is in the area’s best interest to do so.

    @ Banlas #21: “What China is lacking is both strategic and tactical plan to destory the secret network of Dalai Lama either in India, or in the West.”

    Secret network? What secret network? And if it’s secret, how do you know about it?

    @ Shane #23: I agree the TGIE isn’t in much of a position to bargain since they hold very few cards. But the one card they seem to hold is the hearts of the Tibetans as they relate to the DL. That’s a pretty big card. If it wasn’t, China wouldn’t be wasting its time on the TGIE or the DL. The fact that China still talks about the DL means the DL is still very relevant to the people in Tibet. The more they try to discredit him, the more relevant he becomes.

    To call him a “jackal in monk’s clothing” is a slap in the face to every religious Tibetan, and then to say they are still willing to talk with him if he accept certain pre-negotiation positions totally negates the “jackal” comment, since why would anyone ever negotiate with a jackal? Every time they put him down, they raise him in the eyes of the Tibetan people. That isn’t something unique to Tibet or Tibetans, it’s basic human nature for someone to get defensive after a personal attack on one of their own. Right, Miaka? 😉

    It’s no different from Jiang Zemin’s Taiwan strategy; every time he would belittle Taiwan on the international stage, the percentage of Taiwanese for independence would rise. Since Hu has gone to a more accomodating position, Taiwanese independence people have lost at the polls. I think there’s a lot of truth in this particular fact.

    Shane, I think you make a good point, so for me the question is tactics, not in a military sense but as a way to solve a particular problem. The CPC has been very successful in harnessing the Han Chinese population to their cause, and apparently unsuccessful in convincing the Tibetans. Is that truly an effective means to solve the problem?

    @ MAJ #33: “So back to the Tibet Issue:”

    Mark, next time just start here and forget about all the earlier stuff.

    You brought up a point that hasn’t been discussed and that we probably should address more thoroughly, and that is the difference between the Tibetan countryside and the urban areas. My guess is that rural people are pretty happy with the present economic conditions but as rural people, are going to be the most religiously conservative. The urban residents would be less religious, more integrated with the rest of the world, more computer literate but also more piqued by the relative difference in economic status between Tibetan and Han residents in those urban areas, and the least satisfied with CPC rule. The closer you are to a power source, the more restricted you tend to be in what you can say and do.

    We’ve always discussed Tibetans as this monolithic indigenous group, while in reality it might be something quite different. What do you think? Are there two Tibets, an urban and rural, each with its own set of circumstances?

    @ May #34: “6 million may be small compared to 1.1 billion. But they occupy 1/4 of the territory of China. Some may think the seriousness of the situation is exaggerated by the western media. But our government is certainly in agreement with western media’s assessment of the situation – just look at how many police and para-military forces our government has sent into the area. Our government has taken it “very seriously”.

    I agree. As a percentage of overall population it is miniscule but as an issue, it probably rates right after the economy. We wouldn’t spend so much time discussing it otherwise.

  37. Shane9219
    March 18th, 2009 at 17:00 | #37

    @Otto Kerner #35

    I wish you could read the original Chinese version and hear the voices first-hand from Karmapa himself. The English report by BBC is neither accurate nor complete, almost like a trash to me.

    Karmapa is really an interesting young man to me. He said he enjoys watching KungFu movies in his spare time 🙂

    @Steve

    We all agreed that rhetoric from some Chinese officials last year were NOT that helpful. The situation was further aggravated by the lack of a good counter-PR strategy to a well-coordinated professionally-managed western compaign for Tibet causes. Those things were already passed. No need to revisit them.

    It is good to see that this year is very different. Things are looking brighter for Tibet. Let’s hope 14h DL and his decision circle can see the current situation and world trend as a window of opportunity, and come forward with reconciliatory rhetoric and actions.

    It takes time, efforts and concrete evidence to convince a hostile party. Chinese are good at slow-cooking 🙂

    Good things usually happen when there is a wise and farsighted leadership burdened by historical long-term interest of its people. I think I am describing the current situation in Taiwan.

  38. Lobsang
    March 19th, 2009 at 00:12 | #38

    I am not prolific bloggers as some of you due to lack of time but will respond to a few to give you a Tibetan perspective. I will be frank and direct. In the hope that forums like this provides a better understanding of issues such as Tibetan grievances and perspective without fear. I don’t expect you to believe and support what I say but another viewpoint on how majority of the Tibetans feel and different from the typical CCP and its media views that are so prevalent from the Chinese population.

    Also I don’t need to convince anyone as currently Tibetan issue and grievances are accepted with strong sympathy from the world population. So this is a heart-to-heart discussion with some Chinese folks. Also with the large population and in a strong, one party authoritarian rule in China I am not really sure if any of the few dozen Chinese bloggers in this forum have that much say (sorry no offence) when the dissenting voices are silenced and jailed in PRC and supporting Tibetan grievances is dangerous to ones safety, career etc in China.

    So in the hope of better understanding of the Tibet problem, I will contribute in this forum time to time. Unless the root cause is understood, it’s not going to be solved. I just don’t see from the current CCP information that are spewing out by their propaganda news outlets which is full of denial of problems in Tibet instead use silence, lock-down, fear, intimidation, oppression, patriotic re-education (brainwashing session), struggle sessions, lies, massive military force, arrests, torture, censorship and launching a personal attack against the only individual who has the power to solve this problem to have a win-win for Tibet and China.

    I don’t think this issue is going to be resolved during Hu Jintao term or perhaps for a long time as long as CCP one party rules, but guarantee to you it’s not going to be win over by the current policy but through dialogue to win over the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people. Like I said I visit Tibet often and the feelings on the ground from the Tibetans is hardened and very strong to gain more freedom, autonomy, Tibetan identity and pride of being Tibetan.

    At this time, the PRC has not moved an inch from their position in the last 50 years and Tibetan side has ceded independence and lot of other compromises including the acceptance CCP rule if given autonomy. If PRC CCP starts negotiating seriously and sincerely this is not protracted or hard bargaining from the HHDL and the Tibetan side unlike the middle-east quagmire. So I am not one mentioned about hard-bargaining when the PRC don’t have intention not desire to given in one inch of concession from complete control of the land and people. If it works great but human beings are not animals especially against a strong and stubborn people like the Tibetans. So the PRC have not achieved any success so why not try dialogue.

    I am sure I will get the wrath of the Chinese nationalists and some will nitpick the comments etc but I am ready to accept.

    Also when I say Tibet, I mean historical Tibetan inhabited regions or the indigenous people of the three Tibetan provinces of Kham, Utsang, Amdo that are scattered in 5 Chinese provinces. So here goes …

  39. Lobsang
    March 19th, 2009 at 00:14 | #39

    Sophie Says:

    “Are you saying that Tibet issue is a bigger issue than Iraq, Afghanistan? DL is higher profile than Obama, Wen Jiabao and Hu Jintao?
    Has Tibet and DL always got so much attention in the world in the past 50 years? Or simply from recent years? If it’s the latter, why?”

    Thanks for your questions.

    Sure last week sure it was the top news in the world. Sure His Holiness the Dalai Lama (HHDL) is definitely higher profile, more popular and garners lot more respected than any of the stiff blue-suited Chinese leaders in the world.

    Well last year, a survey I think commissioned by International Herald Tribune conducted in 16 western countries in Europe of world leaders. HH Dalai Lama is ranked the most respected in the world, Chancellor Merkel came second and the rest. The Chinese leaders were not in the list. Early this year same survey was done and with a huge popularity of Obama after the US election, Obama was first and HHDL placed second. Time Managazine 100 most influential list in 2008. HHDL was first in the list.

    Quite remarkable for a Buddhist monk from a remote land to achieve that high status in the world. So thanks to the Chinese occupation of Tibet which forced him and Tibetans to flee and scattered around the world (still only $150K compare to the millions of Chinese Diaspora population).

    Actually it’s very unfortunate that the large Chinese population and Chinese language publications got interested in Tibet from the March 14th riot in Lhasa year and the subsequent run up to the Olympics. (btw thankfully the Sichaun Earthquake saved the Beijing Olympics otherwise there would have been boycotts like the Moscow). Of course, the PRC propaganda machinery went overdrive to incite the ugly Chinese nationalism against the Tibetan people, HHDL or anyone who supports the Tibetans.

    So two things happened: 1) Tibet issue is finally exposed to the mass Chinese population 2) unfortunately the information was one-sided propaganda and misinformation crafted by the geniuses of PRC-CCP. Again no different than what they did to the Tiananmen Square democracy movement and Falun Gong practitioners. Sure many of the Chinese bought into the CCP propaganda but Tibetans and the people in the outside world didn’t believe most of it. This propaganda still continues if you reach Xinhua, China Daily, Tibet Daily, People’s Daily.

    I know I am digressing but the Tibet issue has always been there outside the censorship from China and infact it was huge during the 1990s with a few mega star, Free Tibet concerts, Holywood films (Kundun, Seven Years in Tibet), SFT started during that time. HHDL winning Nobel Prize and his lecture tours (non-political) are filling stadiums and coliseums. So it was truly a grass root movement. Sure there wasn’t much government support but due to huge grass root movement, the elected politicians had to take it up.

    Yet the Tibetans in exile have been busy educating the refugee population in India who are fleeing Tibet and trying to democratise the exile government with elections for both legislators and top leadership.

    Also the huge monasteries were re-established with thousands of monks, mostly funded by outside the Tibetan community and a large number of Chinese populations from Taiwan, Singapore etc.

    One of the biggest influences in the West has been Tibetan culture and religion which was becoming the fastest religion in the West. You will see jet setting monks in the airports travelling all over the world setting up Dharma centres. Also monks from monasteries in India going on tours world-wide to raise funds for their monasteries. HHDL started these conferences and experiments in collaborations with the top scientists and Tibetan Buddhist masters. So the Tibetan spiritual tradition is gaining huge respect.

    Yes last year Wen Jiabo even admitted the three Ts that PRC i.e. Trade, Taiwan, and Tibet in that order of importance that PRC had to deal with outside world. Well I would say this year, its Trade, Tibet, Taiwan, so I think Tibet has overtaken Taiwan. And I believe it’s the easiest to deal with and solve. First sincerely and seriously give autonomy to Tibet; invite HHDL to live in Tibet without compromising Chinese sovereignty. This will be a huge PR win to China and guarantee awarding of first Nobel Prize for the Chinese leader and a second one for HHDL.

  40. Lobsang
    March 19th, 2009 at 00:16 | #40

    Shane9219 Says:

    March 17th, 2009 at 8:21 am
    “@Lobsang #12

    1) True enough that without properly settling down 14th DL in Tibet, the current Tibet issue will be up in the air. After all, religion is religion. It holds Tibetan people’s hearts and minds more than any single individual.”

    That’s right. Many Chinese show great deal of Han chauvinism (superiority complex looking down on outlying barbarian cultures) of deep contempt to look down on the Tibetan peoples way of practising their faith. Not realising that Tibetans have a very sophisticated and rich culture that is so different than Chinese. One word I mention how Tibetans are so different from the Chinese culture is sorry absolutely no influence of the great sage Confucius in the Tibetan culture. So Tibetans have influence from the Chinese culture than Koreans, Japanese, Vietnamese etc.

    I am going to refer to an article by Woeser that shows the analogy of Tibetan Mastiff dog to show how the Chinese look at Tibet recently. In the last 5 years mainland Chinese showed great curiosity and interest in the Tibetan land, culture, religion and animals. So it became a status symbol to own Tibetan mastiff dog. Woeser’s article made an analogy to the Mastiff dog of Tibetan/Chinese relationship but as long as the mastiff is obedient he is looked after. When the Mastiff rebelled he is beaten to death.

    http://www.chinalyst.net/node/54692

    “2) How much Dalai Lama can still represent the Tibetan people? 14th DL and his supporters should be realistic about it, especially after 50 years absence and doing practically nothing to improve their lives.”

    Sorry HHDL and Tibetan exiles were not given a chance to contribute in Tibet but in exile Tibetan refugees fleeing the persecution from Tibet were given top notch education, health and preserve the culture. Some anti-Tibetans even has the audacity to say DL is a coward and didn’t stay back in Tibet to fight. Well he would be DEAD and ineffective if he had stayed back Tibet. I would guess half of the Tibetan exile population were born in Tibet and quarter of them comprised of recent refugees in the last 20 years. The exile population does represent pretty well the Tibetans in Tibet. I hear from the Chinese bloggers as if Tibetans in exile are some of kind different culture and viewpoints than Tibetans in Tibet which I just don’t see. The biggest reason is same faith, devotion, and love to HHDL.

    “3) When can 14th DL start to act like a mature, wise and enlightened religious leader? His actions in recent years showed a much childish, reactive, bitter and inconsistent nature.”

    No wonder there is no trust when folks like you think this way. It seems to be we are from different planet. I guess that’s what you and the pro-CCP Chinese nationalist feel but not what the Tibetans and majority of the people in the free world feel. Check my response above on HHDL and the Tibet movement since sounds like you got to know Tibet only last year from after the PRC propaganda of March 14th event. Is steadfast non-violent methods to gain freedom for the Tibetans is considered immature sure that’s fine we will stick to this as it’s most effective.

    Actually Tibetans and the outsiders feel the same way to the Beijing propagandist and government leaders. Such as ‘wolf in monks robe’ ‘heart of a beast’, ‘Serf Emancipation Day’, ‘Eye gouging’, ‘cult followers’. Sure lock-down Tibet from outsiders and start a massive propaganda.

    Does it occur to you that if there was 95% serfs in old Tibet and conditions so bad, why are that high percentage still want HHDL return to Tibet and risking their lives to express their feelings and devotion after 50 years of absence. Despite banning of photos of HHDL, I can guarantee you that you will find 95% of the Tibetans still keep photos of him in their altar. I never ever see Mao in the Tibetan altar. It’s in the living room to counteract their illegal photos in the altar. The photo that was very popular in the Tibetan living rooms were the photo of Mao, HHDL, Panchen Lama together but again since last year it’s banned as well. Songs are banned expressing Tibetan identity and faith in HHDL. Surely religion is not the only reason for their devotion to HHDL as you might find out Tibetans are not that stupid when given the opportunity.

    HHDL actions and messages have been consistent from the time in exile in 1960’s and it’s all open for public scrutiny. Check http://www.dalailama.com and especially the March 10th press conference where he articulated the policies and clarification to all these claims from Beijing of 1) 1/4 of Chinese land 2) non-Tibetan to be removed from Tibet 3) PLA removed from Tibet etc. He said that his vision is to see Tibet militarized along with World becoming demilitarised. That is a vision or wish 50, 100, 500 years from now but not a condition for Tibetan autonomy. However he did say that Tibetan autonomy means Defense and Foreign Affairs that PRC China can look after and the rest leave it for the Tibetans to manage.

    I am going to refer you to the Economist article about Tibet and March 14th event. There is a theory mentioned in a reputable Economist news source who if you remember had a reporter on the ground on March 14th that this riot was masterminded by the authorities and I wouldn’t be surprised if United Front officials got involved but got out of control. March 14th event is such as important date for the CCP, perhaps the single most important event last year over and above the Olympics since it used it to turn Chinese people against the Tibetan people with great success. That’s a dangerous game CCP is playing of inciting ethnic war for people who have lived side by side peacefully for time immemorial. Unfortunately to the CCP, the other two audiences that they were targeting didn’t believe any of them i.e. the Outsiders and most importantly the Tibetan people against the HHDL.

    Plateau bargaining
    Mar 11th 2009
    From Economist.com

    http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displaystory.cfm?story_id=13269905

  41. Lobsang
    March 19th, 2009 at 00:18 | #41

    pug_ster Says:

    March 17th, 2009 at 8:50 pm
    “@12 Lobsang, While it is true that the CCP used nationalism to fuel anger towards the Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lama did the same thing to the Tibetans against the Chinese. Unfortunately, the Chinese CCP has been effective in using ‘propaganda’ to justify why Tibet should be part of China, as China has been trying to integrate Chinese and Tibetan society together, yet the Dalai Lama is trying to do the very opposite. The Dalai Lama has to give a better sales pitch to the Chinese of why the Tibetan cause is just instead of just quoting of a few Chinese Intellectuals like Wang Lixiong.”

    You are being disingenuous. You just don’t understand HHDL views and belief system. He is honest, sincere and a moderating force to have win-win solution to both the Tibetan and Chinese people. He firmly believes in co-existence with the Chinese people but at the same time will fight for truth, justice and freedom for the Tibetan people (sound corny but true). This not anti-China policy and definitely ludicrous to label anti-Chinese people. It’s standing up for your rights.

    HHDL is the only person who can sell the idea of Tibetans be part of PR. Any other Tibetans would be considered a traitor by the majority of the Tibetans. That’s how the majority of the Tibetan people in Tibet are so unhappy under the current Chinese policy that must change. The high Tibetan officials in Tibet are considered puppets by the Tibetan people who have become very wealthy but don’t have power or say on political matters. As Wang Lixiong correctly mentioned there is Dalai Lama in every Tibetan heart.

    CCP unleashed the Chinese nationalism against the Tibet people. HHDL finally said without mincing words in the March 10th speech what the Tibetan people really feel and felt under the 50 years of Chinese rule i.e.’hell on earth’ treating Tibetans like criminals for showing strong identity. What do you mean he has encouraged Tibetans against the Chinese people. Tibetans resented the Chinese occupation and heavy handed repression in the last 50 years. HHDL has been so mild and moderate in his response of all the atrocities. The Cultural Revolution suffering has been much worse in Tibet than China due to strong and stubborn faith Tibetans had. Besides it’s more painful as the CR was caused by a foreign occupation and under the supervision of the foreign people.

    Of course you guys don’t know due to massive PRC CCP propaganda. He has said he has strong faith in the Chinese people but losing faith in the CCP leadership. The fact is what he says and does in Dharamsala is completely open to scrutiny where is you can’t say this to the Chinese CCP leadership and their policies. So it’s not fair to nitpick a person who is 99% open and then supports the regime that is 99% closed. Look it’s a two way street. Tibetans don’t need to beg the Chinese for their sympathy. It’s in the Chinese interest that to understand the Tibetan grievances since they are in absolute power and in charge of Tibet.

    I know many Chinese mentioned about HHDL involvement in the CIA. Well read this article from some of the players involved. Apparently HHDL had no part in this which was corroborated by the principal Tibetan figure i.e. HHDL brother Gyalo Thondup in his recent interview.

    I just don’t see any of the points CCP crafted against Tibet make sense or stick. There was a good article last year by Tsering Shakya on the connections between Tibetans inside and outside and how the news and information got inside and whether the last years Uprising at 100 different locations (btw PRC just showed one at Lhasa) was orchrestrated by outside. The conclusion was there is no shred of evidence. Also the fact that ironically the biggest supporters of Tibetan Buddhism in India are the ethnic Chinese Diaspora population in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Hongkong. I don’t see any old Tibetan aristocratic rulers in the Tibetan government-in-exile.

    The CIA’s Buddhist affair

    Mar 14, 2009 04:30 AM

    http://www.thestar.com/article/602187

  42. Lobsang
    March 19th, 2009 at 00:19 | #42

    Otto Kerner Says:

    “I’m not sure why it says, “Karmapa softens stance” — is this significantly different than what his earlier stance was?”

    Otto, Here is a better article on Karmapa from WP yesterday. I like the quote below which is how most Tibetans feel. We are lucky to have a dynamic leader and others coming up to take on this struggle for greater freedoms to the Tibetan people.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/16/AR2009031602668.html

    “The Dalai Lama is always smiling. He has joy in his heart. But Karmapa seems so intense and serious, so worried about the future,” said Sonam Lhamo, 29, who bent her ponytailed head in prayer at the Dalai Lama’s Tsuglakhang temple, nestled in the Himalayan foothills. “Karmapa is like our young generation: angry, serious about Tibet, but unsure of what to do.”

    Good points on Steve 36.

  43. Lobsang
    March 19th, 2009 at 00:28 | #43

    Banlas # 21 – I get a good laugh at your post. Sure try another method to subdue and control the Tibetans if it works for another 50 years and squandering billions more. How long can a ruler put subjects by force, intimidation, fear?. The PRC CCP tried every means possible in the last 50 years and failed miserably. Yet did not move an INCH on the Tibetans demand including huge compromises such as the middle-way memorandum of understanding.

    The current situation is benefiting the few ruling elites who are extremely corrupt and becoming wealthy. The Tibet policy is controlled by the hardliners such as influential United Front officials.

    Yet if I was Chinese tax payer, I would be mad as hell for squandering billions of Renminbi in Tibet and losing face in the international stage for mishandling the Tibet issue by the current PRC rulers.

    The Tibetan government in exile and the Tibetan Support groups policies and actions are completely transparent and it’s all in their websites including funding sources. Sure go to these websites and infact you are welcome to visit Dharamsala to find out the Tibet movement policies and interview Tibetans etc. There is absolutely nothing to hide when you tell the truth and especially when the movement is based on justice and freedom.

  44. Lobsang
    March 19th, 2009 at 00:39 | #44

    I found the photo someone mentioned (I think Allen) couldn’t find.

    http://www.economist.com/world/asia/displayStory.cfm?story_id=13257886&source=most_commented

    I want to make a point about the succession of HHDL. Well in the case of Panchen Lama fiasco, thesecond highest and highly respected and courageous Tibetan who died mysteriously during Hu Jintao term as party boss in Tibet in 1988. Well CCP picked a boy and gave him Panchen Lama title. Well this boy picked by CCP, Tibetans call him, “Chinese Panchen” or “Fake Panchen”. I did NOT see any photos of this poor Tibetan boy in any Tibetan homes in Tibet and Tibetan redicule him for being fake and puppet. So again the disobedient and naughty Tibetans absolutely rejected this boy picked by the CCP when the real Panchen picked by HHDL had disappeared. So with this incident as a example, you think Tibetans will recognize a CCP picked 15th Dalai Lama. Not in the wildest dream.

    From my last visit to Tibet a few months ago, I have been more hopeful than ever before since the educated and younger generation will not give up for greater Tibetan identity and freedom. This includes many party Tibetan members of the CCP. Therefore there has not been single Tibetan as the Party boss or top leader in Tibet or other provinces ever.

    Forget about Tibetan Obama as a leder of China and it doesn’t even exist in Tibet where all of the top leaders have been non-Tibetan since the Chinese rule. This struggle will go on for a long time and the ball is entirely in China’s court unless Tibet is given ginuine autonomy. PRC-CCP has a long way to go …

    One last point, I dream for a day when China becomes what’s stipulated in Charter 2008. So there is hope that they are many sensible Chinese people which unfortunately has been silenced and overwhelmed by these state-sponsored nationalist fervour right now. I believe in the federation where Tibetan people can live in dignity and free and restore the old symbiotic and healthy relationship between the Chinese and Tibetan people to live in peace side-by-side. I just don’t see it coming during the CCP rule …hope I am wrong.

    Not that I read the 6000 news on Tibet articles from last week Google search but posted some relevant and interesting above. Happy reading and off to another country.

  45. Lobsang
    March 19th, 2009 at 01:13 | #45

    Thanks very much for your interest on the Tibetan issues. As always and I am sure Allen can attest that Tibet posting does get a lot of response, which is great. I think CCP has tried to put a lid on this pandora box for so long and it’s out now to the Chinese population.

    The level of knowledge and understanding on Tibet has increased a lot since last year based on reading some of the blogs.

  46. Oli
    March 19th, 2009 at 01:31 | #46

    Cut & Paste, Cut & Paste, Cut & Paste, Yawwwwn, Cut & Paste, mumble, mumble, grumble, cut & paste, cut & paste…..ZZZzzzzzzz……

  47. March 19th, 2009 at 02:12 | #47

    @Lobsang,

    If you were to stipulate of your ideal future of Tibet as part of China and I mine – we are probably not far off.

    DL will become a beloved religious and spiritual figure – no longer politicizing culture or religion for his political gains.

    China will be a prosperous, open, secure, and peaceful country where individuals (of all ethnicity and religions) will be empowered to live the lives they want.

  48. William Huang
    March 19th, 2009 at 03:01 | #48

    @ Lobsang #38-#45

    Thank you for sharing your experience and point of view. I call myself a Chinese nationalist and I am not writing this post to argue with your but to share my personal experiences. My purpose is to provide other side of story that you may not be aware.

    When we were growing up, China was still close to outside world. Therefore, there was no need to educate how outside thinking of us. In that kind of environment, what we knew and learn had a lot to do with CCP’s control or “brain-wash” if you will. So what CCP had brain-washed us into? We all think Tibetans are our brothers and sisters, and not just Tibetans but other minority as well. If you have opportunity to study Communist documents, books, and publications, you will have difficult to find word “Han”. There was an a popular children’s book (for boys) about a Tibetan boy lost in the wild with yaks and his adventure and how he found the way home. So people may argue that this is nothing more than brain washing people into believing Tibet is a part of China and we can argue about at different time. My point here is you can accuse CCP anything but racist is not one of them. There have never any evidence at all outside of Tibet.

    I grew up in Shanghai and had a high school class mate who went into military. The military unit he went into was basically a construction unit for building roads and bridges (in China we called “engineering soldier”). Basically, he was construction labor in military uniform. He went to Tibet for 3 years mainly building roads. They work during the day and slept in the tent at night. Sometimes, Tibetan nomads passed by and invited them for dinner. For his first time, the Capitan gave him some tips on Tibetan customs and then an order; as far as meal was concerned, he didn’t have to eat everything on the table but he was not allowed to refuse anything if host offered to him. It’s an act of disrespect. I am not sure if this is actually a Tibetan custom or just a military code of ethics. Regardless, he followed order. During the dinner conversation, when the Tibetan host realized that he was from Shanghai (probably the best place in China back then), they all felt sorry for him.

    I have never being in Tibet. Once I saw a Tibetan man wearing traditional Tibetan cloth walking on the famous Nanjing Road in Shanghai (a famous street for shopping). There were other people went to Tibet particularly, artists and writers. Some of their works became national hits. One thing as I can remember, almost all the people went there considered Tibetan people are physically very strong and tough minded. If there is anything fear about Tibet, it was the harsh weather and high altitude. Many believed that we, Han Chinese are not suitable to live there because our lungs are not big enough and if we stayed there too long, our lungs will have some kind of permanent damage (I am not sure there is scientific prove of that).

    I personally don’t think Tibet should be independent and I will be very sad when it happens. Not because I think we own Tibet but I have always felt that Tibetans are my brothers and sisters. However, I do believe strongly that Tibetan people have the right for self-determination and maintain their culture and tradition.

    I am not writing this to convince you of anything but to let you know how I felt, as a Chinese with very strong nationalist opinions, about Tibet and Tibetan people.

  49. miaka9383
    March 19th, 2009 at 03:38 | #49

    @William
    A random question….
    Giving Tibetan people special priviledges, treat them differently than Han population, isn’t that a form of soft racism? If it is not, how?

    I mean I am offended by affirmative action. I think the whole concept of affirmative action is racist. But intentions are good, so because the intentions are good and dandy does that make affirmative action less racist?

  50. March 19th, 2009 at 05:49 | #50

    Dear Steve – as I said in my earlier comment, the key I think, to understanding why many ethnic Tibetans living in the TAR feel inclined to challenge the present status quo (despite the significant per capita improvements that have occurred in living standards brought about by Beijing’s modernisation efforts), lies with the issue of an emerging nationalism. I have some thoughts on this.

    What both Tibetan separatists and those who support the Chinese central government’s position often overlook, or fail to appreciate, is the fact that, as the political scientist Dibyesh Anand has pointed out, “the very idea of presenting one’s case in terms of sovereignty or exclusive national jurisdiction is a feature of modernity – a modernity where Western ideas have been more or less hegemonic.” The West then, has supplied the very categories and vocabulary that both parties in this dispute employ in the discourse of sovereignty, even though an absolute understanding of sovereignty and independence was alien to both Chinese and Tibetans before the twentieth century and even though both parties identify themselves as politically and culturally non-Western. As Barry Sautman and June Teufel Dreyer have both pointed out, “while both parties marshal their historic ‘facts’ as resources in a highly statist debate over sovereignty, they fail to question the concept of sovereignty itself, as well as related concepts such as autonomy and self-determination. Their acceptance of these concepts…amounts to an unquestioning acquiescence to the hegemony of Western ideas.”

    Imperial China, as Anand I think correctly argues, “operated with its neighbours on bilateral relations of fealty and patronage.” Traditional Sino-Tibetan relations, he adds, “were considered by the British as ‘irrational’ and lacking legitimacy for not conforming to their ‘modern’ ideas of diplomacy.” Sino-Tibetan relations prior to the middle of the twentieth century were, in Western eyes, very fuzzy. The relationship was understood by the Chinese imperial officials in terms of Confucian tributary relations and by the Tibetans as Buddhists in terms of mchod-yon – Chinese then, did not need to force the Tibetans to accept their control in writing and nor did the Tibetans need to assert their independence and disabuse the emperor of his belief in his sovereignty over Tibet. Tibetans did not declare their ‘independence’ but nor did they surrender their autonomy to imperial China. This traditional relationship generally worked to the satisfaction of both, and wasn’t constructed as a ‘problem’ until the socio-cultural and political environment was altered, first, as Anand explains it, “by the arrival of Western colonial powers in Asia, and second, by the [subsequent] transformation of the traditional Chinese Confucian-dominated polity toward a more European type of political system, which produced a republican China and the growth of Chinese nationalism.” Tsering Shakya also pushes this line of reasoning in his book, “The Dragon in the Land of Snows”.

    As many scholars have argued, the exercise of interpreting Sino-Tibetan relations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in terms of suzerainty and autonomy was linked to the dynamics of British imperialism. As numerous treaties signed between Britain and China in the nineteenth century show, the British accepted Chinese suzerainty over Tibet and sought to operationalise their interests in Tibet through China. However, the Tibetans refused to comply with these. The British tolerated this situation until they perceived a serious threat from Russia to the security of their Indian colony, and so Tibet came to be regarded as an important buffer state. British Indian officials then decided to take matters into their own hands, suddenly declaring China’s suzerainty over Tibet to be a ‘constitutional fiction’ as a way of justifying their 1903 invasion. By 1906 the British had reverted to its old stance, once again recognizing China’s ‘exclusive rights’ in Tibet.

    “The placing of the West within, rather than outside, the discourses on the Tibet Question,” suggests Anand, “can also be examined by looking at the theme of Western representations of Tibet and their interface with Tibetan (trans)national identity.” As the works of postcolonial scholars like Stuart Hall have emphasised, “Western representational practices affect and have an effect on the identity of the represented.” It is necessary then, to consider the politics of representation when considering the rise of Tibetan nationalism. As the anthropologist Peter Bishop has argued, “many Europeans and North Americans use the idea of Tibet as an imaginative escape, as a sort of time-out – a relaxation if you like, from the rigid, rational censorship of their own society.” This then, adds Anand, “explains the unease of many Westerners with the ‘modernization’ of Tibet under the aegis of the Chinese state.” Hence writings about Tibet are sometimes conservative protests against modernism and globalisation. Claire Scobie for example, in her travel narrative Last Seen In Lhasa, laments the apparent loss of her imaginary Tibet. ‘The tide of consumerism was washing up the beach and with it a swell of new shops and supermarkets, giant billboards of David Beckham and Chinese sylphs advertising Oil of Olay,’ she complained. ‘After centuries of isolation, in little over fifty years, Tibet had been forced into global participation and ubiquity.”

    “Exotic Tibet,” argues Anand, “is more about the West’s self-image than about Tibet…a lot of what is behind the support for Tibetans today may not be actual support for the Tibetans, but unconscious support for western ideas of what is right for the Tibetans.” The American Tibetologist, Robbie Barnett, also argues along these lines. Some Westerners, however, as Amaury de Riencourt has observed, also see this ‘virtual Tibet’ (as the Canadian historian A. Tom Grunfeld has called it) as an antidote to Chinese communism – though China in my opinion is today a capitalist society, politically administered and regulated by a market-preserving single-party system with a soft authoritarian rule. As Orville Schell remarks in his book “Virtual Tibet”, no serious appreciation of the Tibet Issue is possible by those whose support for Tibet is connected to such anti-Chinese sentiment.

    The importance of ‘exotic Tibet’ lies in the impact it has on the very construction and contestation of categories of Tibet and Tibetans, for as Anand argues very rightly in my opinion, “the language of stereotype about Tibet not only creates knowledge about Tibet, in many ways it creates Tibet, a Tibet that Tibetans in exile have come to appropriate and deploy in an effort to gain both standing in exile and independence” for Tibet, which they hope to regain political control of. Interaction then, with a Western audience, is a very important dynamic shaping Tibetan identity/Tibetanness in the diaspora. “Rather than painting Tibetans as mere victims,” says Anand, “it is now recognised that they have been active in the appropriation and internalization of western representations, and in the creation and preservation of their own cultural, political and religious identity….recognising the dominance of nationalism as a source of legitimacy in contemporary international politics, Dharmasala has molded its expositions on Tibetan identity accordingly.”

    “Tibet as a nation,” adds the anthropologist and Tibetologist, Ashild Kolas, “is not a historical reality but a product of post-exile imagination.”

    In soliciting support, the TGIE has linked this new nationalism to other transnational ideas of political expression: democracy, human rights, peace, environmental protection, international Buddhism and New Age Orientalism have all been influential in shaping the Tibetan identity claims in terms of universalist discourses such as those of world peace, environmentalism, the need to preserve spiritual havens, the protection of global indigenous sovereignties, and so on.

    In the world of realpolitik, it is highly unlikely that the Chinese central government in Beijing will ever allow the Tibetan Autonomous Region to exercise full political autonomy so long as it feels that its sovereign claims to the region are under threat from the separatist cause. The divisiveness of the old Tibetan ruling elite, operating from their base in Dharmasala, presents then, the main obstacle to addressing the Tibet Issue in a way that could prove mutually satisfying for both parties. The situation on the ground has changed enormously since the 1950s, when the Seventeen-Point Agreement was signed. The collapse of that agreement – sabotaged as it was by the old elite now residing in Dharmasala – was an opportunity lost. The rising tide of Tibetan nationalism since then has greatly complicated matters, driving the wedge between the two parties even deeper. So deep in fact, that it’s now hard to see a way out.

    That said, the Chinese central government in Beijing also needs to move ground a little if it wants to loosen the wedge. As Tsering Shakya argues, from a Tibetan perspective, “one of the biggest grievances is that the Chinese authorities equate any expression of Tibetan identity with separatism. The government seems to think that if it allows any kind of cultural autonomy, it will escalate into demands for secession. This is something the government has to relax. In Tibet, everything from newspapers and magazines to music distribution is kept firmly under control, whereas all over China there are increasing numbers of independent publishing houses. The joke in Tibet is that the Dalai Lama wants ‘one country, two systems’, but what people there want is ‘one country, one system’—they want the more liberal policies that prevail in China also to apply in Tibet.”

    For the Chinese to ‘relax’ though, Tibetan nationalists need to first alleviate their Chinese administrators of fear by relaxing their campaigns for independence, both from within and from outside the TAR. Rather than using the language and institutional framework of a hegemonic West, an alternative imagining of political communities – one that allows for the kind of relationship that existed between the two parties prior to the middle of the twentieth century – ought to be at least seriously looked into and considered as a possible way forward. Such was the spirit in fact, to at least some extent at least, of the Seventeen-Point Agreement of 1951.

  51. William Huang
    March 19th, 2009 at 06:25 | #51

    @ miaka9383 #49

    No, I don’t think some special privileges are racism (I am not sure what “soft” means). There are several aspects. For one, there are differences in culture and traditions we need to consider. For example, some Tibetans are still practicing polyandry (a woman with more than one husband) whereas it is not allowed for Han-Chinese. As long as no abuse is involved and everybody is happy, why should government enforce it?

    If you don’t look things in its culture and historical context, it’s easy to draw an incorrect conclusion that few were given special treatment. But in reality, it’s not. For certain section of Tibetan people, they have practiced it for many years and for good reasons. There is nothing discriminating about that. Similar analysis can be applied to other areas too.

    As for the affirmative action, I don’t want to carry too far off the subject matter of this thread but this is my large picture point of view; affirmative action is just a mean to achieve an end. The end is equality and pursue of equality is a noble cause. Is there some abuse? Yes, and it can always happen. Will it always be fair to everybody? Probably not. But it’s no racism. As a matter of practice, affirmative action has done a lot of good than bad.

  52. Shane9219
    March 19th, 2009 at 07:42 | #52

    @Lobsang

    I hope I got your points right after reading a string of your post. I have two simple points to make here:

    1) Continuing to deny reality will not help resolve current stand-off situation between 14th DL and China.

    2) Using western countries and audience to put pressure on China will not work, and never worked before.

    Wise leadership can make a compromise when being presnted with reality, facts and opportunities, even at a hostile situation.

    Maybe you are aware that US Secretary of Defense Mr. Gates just called off the deployment of a navy destroyer, and replaced Adm Keating from Pacific Command.

  53. may
    March 19th, 2009 at 09:48 | #53

    Mark # 50 – Interesting post. Never heard of Dr. Dibyesh Anand before, but I am adding him to my reading list.

    Just a small note on the use of “mchod-yon” to describe the traditional Sino -Tibetan relationship:

    Many claim that Tibetans viewed this relationship as purely based on the Buddhist notion of priest and patron (mchod-yon). According to this view, the Manchu emperors, as merely secular sponsors of Tibetan Buddhism, wielded no power in the Tibetan religious-political cosmos. But the Tibetans also addressed the Manchu emperors as 文殊菩萨大皇帝 Manjushri. The fact that the Manchu emperors were regarded as one of the highest ranking bodhisattvas by the Tibetans shows the emperors indeed had some level of authority in theocracy of Tibet.

    In fact, an imperial Thangka painting of the Qianlong Emperor as Manjushri was put in the altar of the Potala Palace in the 18th century. The tablet in front of the Thangka says in Tibetan, Chinese, Manchu and Mongolian “当今皇帝万岁万万岁 Long Live the Emperor”. The fact that the Tibetans accepted the Thangka and the tablet and put them in the place of worship indicates they held the Manchu emperor in great reverence. It can even be argued that this was an act of religious-political submission.

    Another three (out of eight) of the imperial Thangkas in which Qianlong was portrayed as Manjushri were hung in three Tibetan Buddhist temples in 承德Chengde (i.e., 普宁寺Puning Temple, 普乐寺Pule Temple, 普陀宗乘之庙a replica of the Potala Place in Lhasa). These three Thangkas are now in the Palace Museum of the Forbidden City. Chengde is the principal place the Manchu emperors used to receive and entertain the Mongolian Buddhist princes. What better place than Chengde to show his Majesty as the true incarnation of Manjushri to awe his Buddhist subjects.

    Smithsonian Institution has one of these Qianlong portraits in its holding. Here is an article that introduces the artistic details and historical background of the Thangka portrait.

    All in all, the notion of priest and patron is only half the story in describing the relationship between the Tibetan Buddhist elites and the Manchu emperors. The other half is recognizing the Tibetans to an important extent indeed accepted the Manchu emperors’ religious-political authority in the traditional theocratic world of Tibet. Emphasizing either side to the exclusion of the other is wrong.

  54. may
    March 19th, 2009 at 11:35 | #54

    The Qianlong Emperor’s commissioned portraits of himself as Manjushri can be viewed as both a piece of statecraft to solicit submission from and connect with his Tibetan Buddhist subjects and as the Royal’s self-obsession as a Tibetan Buddhist.

    It is the way the Tibetans addressed the Manchu emperors and the particular form of emperorship they were willing to worship (i.e., as Manjushri) that tell us how Tibetan themselves view their relationship with the emperors.

  55. Otto Kerner
    March 19th, 2009 at 12:28 | #55

    Re: MAJ #50,

    You quote Ashild Kolas saying, “Tibet as a nation is not a historical reality but a product of post-exile imagination.” This seems to imply that Tibetan nationalism is invalid. However, as you pointed out a bit earlier, the concepts of nation and sovereignty as we know them are modern ideas. Therefore, none of them are historical realities. It would be equally accurate, perhaps moreso, to say, “China as a nation is not a historical reality but a product of post-Xinhai imagination.” Does this mean that Chinese nationalism is not valid?

    You have what strikes me as an odd tendency to put the onus for improving the situation in Tibet on the Tibetans and the exile government, as if they were the ones who held all the cards, all the political power; as if they were the ones who scoffed at the idea of meaningful negotiations.

  56. March 19th, 2009 at 20:24 | #56

    May and Otto – thank you for your response. You both raise some very interesting criticisms. I shall respond late this afternoon, when I have a little more time on my hands.

  57. huaren
    March 19th, 2009 at 23:21 | #57

    @MAJ

    This is another topic, but I am curious if you come across materials or done research in the idea that many Christians are starting to see the popularity of Buddhism and the Dalai Lama as of late as an effort by liberals to counter Christianity.

  58. Wukailong
    March 20th, 2009 at 02:29 | #58

    Otto – I agree with your assessment. Of course MAJ is right in that modern nationalism came with the concept of the nation-state, which is a Western invention, but I also think that the reaction to an invasion and subsequent control by a nation-state easily creates nationalism. The reason for this is that way of solving these ideas today still very much center on the idea of independent, ethnic nations.

    I’ve accepted as fact for a long time that the Tibet problem is due to the old boundaries and checks to be replaced by a nation-state, and especially an authoritarian one. China simply didn’t have the amount of control over Tibet back then that they have now, even though Tibet was a vassal state.

  59. March 20th, 2009 at 04:08 | #59

    Otto – thanks for your response. You thoughtfully suggest that, in keeping with the logic of my overall argument, that “China as a nation is not a historical reality but a product of post-Xinhai imagination.” I agree with you. Some scholars, like the British philosopher John Gray for example, even argue that today’s China “is not a nation, but an empire.” Perhaps this is stretching matters a little though. It’s fair to say I think that China does exist as a nation in the imagination of most Chinese citizens, including those of most ethnic minorities – many Tibetans and Uighurs of course, don’t want to be a part of the Chinese nation. As Benedict Anderson has famously argued, nations are “imagined communities.”

    I think, Otto, that you have perhaps misunderstood part of my argument. I wasn’t trying to imply that Tibetan nationalism isn’t valid, while Chinese nationalism is. That’s NOT what I’m saying at all. The problem, in terms of solving the Tibet Issue, centres around issues of nationalism and related ideas of sovereignty, independence, etc. One way for both parties to overcome their dispute in a way that could prove to be mutually satisfying to both, would be for each side to do away with such modern Western concepts, and to perhaps imagine a more traditional set of possibilities – to revert for example, to the kind of relationship the two had prior to the twentieth century. This is certainly the argument that Anand puts forward, and I think it’s a sound one. In fact, I would add that the Seventeen-Point Agreement of 1951 was crafted in this very spirit. Its collapse must be seen then, I would argue, as an opportunity sadly lost.

    You add that it strikes you “as an odd tendency to put the onus for improving the situation in Tibet on the Tibetans and the exile government, as if they were the ones who held all the cards, all the political power; as if they were the ones who scoffed at the idea of meaningful negotiations.”

    Again, I think perhaps you have misunderstood me. Both parties need to relax – this is what I actually said – both need to make compromises. I agree with Tsering Shakya that the Chinese need to relax their controls over the Tibetan population in the TAR.

    I qualify this though, by grounding my views in the world of realpolitik. Beijing commands a much more powerful presence in the TAR than do the urban Tibetan nationalists, and so one must ask the question: who has the upper hand? The answer is obvious: the Chinese central government does. As I said in the conclusion to my earlier comment above, “for the Chinese to ‘relax’, Tibetan nationalists need to first alleviate their Chinese administrators of fear by relaxing their campaigns for independence, both from within and from outside the TAR.” This is not a conclusion that I just suddenly dream’t up as wish fulfillment. This is the conclusion drawn by a good number of the world’s leading Tibetologists: A. Tom Grunfeld, Barry Sautman, June Teufel Dreyer, Cynthia Beall and Melvyn Goldstein for example, have all reached this very conclusion. Having read close to fifty books on contemporary Tibet, along with numerous journal articles (representing a range of views), I have come to agree with them, as I think their advice on how to overcome the current impasse is at least workable.

    As Melvyn Goldstein has pointed out, calls for independence and even for the introduction of a ‘one country, two systems’ approach, are options that Beijing simply finds unacceptable, so they “therefore do not represent a realistic common ground for creating a resolution of the problem.” (see Goldstein, “The Snow Lion and the Dragon”, p.125) “The key question regarding a compromise resolution,” adds Goldstein, is “therefore whether it is possible to create a truly ‘ethnic’ Tibet within the framework Beijing is willing to accept – that is, without changing the underlying [one-party] system [of governance].” Goldstein says he thinks this is possible “if both sides agree to a number of important concessions and work to set aside past hatred and distrust.” (Ibid., p.126)

    This will never happen though, so long as Beijing feels that its sovereign claims to the region are under threat from separatists. The first step, given realpolitik, must necessarily be then (as Grunfeld in particular has for a long time now consistently and focefully argued) for the more hard-line Tibetan nationalists (like the Tibetan Youth Organisation for example, which inspires and co-ordinates demonstrations in the TAR from their base in Dharmasala) to give up their separatist cause. The two parties need to work together to solve the problem, which first requires trust-building. As I see it, the TGIE and their radical nationalist youth wings, present the most immediate and therefore serious obstacles to finding a peaceful resolution to the Tibetan situation.

    Huaren – I’m sorry, but I know of no research that looks into the issue of Chritianity and its rivalry with other faiths. I’m ignorant on this one!

    May – you make the interesting point that it is necessary to recognise that the Tibetans accepted the Manchu emperors’ politico-religious authority in the traditional theocratic world of Tibet, and that “emphasising either side to the exclusion of the other is wrong.” I agree, but just because the Tibetans may have acknowledged such authority doesn’t necessarily mean that they saw themselves as having surrended totally their autonomy to the Manchu emperors. At any rate, my argument is this: it doesn’t really matter how convincing either side is when putting forward its case regarding the historical relationship so long as they continue to frame their claims using modern Western concepts such as suzerainty, sovereignty, etc. Neither is going to give up their present day claims in response to such discourse, no matter where the weight of evidence falls. What is needed, I suggest (via my reading of Anand) is the doing away altogether of such concepts, and the adoption instead of “an alternative imagining of political communities – one that allows for the kind of relationship that existed between the two parties prior to the middle of the twentieth century.” This I think, might prove to be a more fruitful approach to the problem.

  60. Khechog
    March 20th, 2009 at 04:54 | #60

    Lobsang = Khechog. No multiple personality or deception intended unlike one person in this forum. I am going to change my blog nickname to what I am known Khechog from the previous Lobsang and not to make a cheap shot or point but that’s how I am known.

    #48 William Huang “My point here is you can accuse CCP anything but racist is not one of them. There have never any evidence at all outside of Tibet.”

    Thanks for sharing your views. I did not say ‘racism’ but instead there is ‘chauvinism’ by the majority Han Chinese population against the Tibetan people. I stand by my word that there is clearly Han Chauvinism demonstrated by many Chinese including as we see in these forum. Chauvinism as in superiority complex and contempt of the Tibetans being dirty, lazy and engrossed in their religion. Tibetan culture being backward and lacking the scientific advancement. Moa confided to His Holiness Dalai Lama when he was in China, ‘Religion is poison’ and also admitted that there is ‘Han Chauvinism’. Actually not too different than views by the Western missionaries views 100-200 years ago.

    With this type of attitude, it can easily turn into racism and prejudice when people have to live side by side to compete to earn a living as is the case in Tibet for Tibetans competing to make a living with the Chinese. I did witnessed this in Tibet where the immigrant Han Chinese (mostly uneducated poor from Sichaun province) don’t speak a word of Tibetan but look down to the Tibetans as lazy, dirty, useless. I have talked with Taxi drivers, restaurant owners, officials etc. These attitude and actions were some of the root causes of the massive protests across Tibet last year.

    I also do recognize and acknowledge that there is a growing respect for the Tibetan culture and spiritual tradition from many Chinese intellectuals and well-off folks including high official becoming Tibetan buddhists but it’s still small number.

    In the West, there is definitely great amount of respect for the Tibetan spiritual tradition of Loving-Kindness or Compassion. In fact there has been ground-breaking research being done by the HH Dalai Lama Foundation and if you remember HHDL spoke at the Wold Neurology conference a few years ago. Check this out. http://www.mindandlife.org/ .

    He also authored a highly rated scientific book of his understanding of Astro and Quantum Physics, Cosmology, Evolution, etc called the “The Universe in a Single Atom – The Convergence of Science and Spirituality”. Considering that HHDL got all his education in traditional Tibetan Buddhist tradition is a testament of this deep and unique knowledge that Tibetans have.

    It doesn’t matter what I stand but the important point is that HH Dalai Lama stands for Middle-Way which is geniune autonomy within the PRC which he sincerely believes in. As he has said it’s pragmatic proposal since it benefits the Tibetans as well. As I had mentioned, I encourage all interested to watch his March 10th press conference http://www.dalailama.com under webcast to hear the meanings. Read from the horse mouth instead of twisted infor by Xinhua.

    Shane9219 # 52

    Correction the issue was, is not between the PRC and HHDL. It’s between PRC and the Tibetan people. We have entrusted HHDL to negotiate on behalf of us. In fact his position of middle-way proposal of Tibet being part of China is the most moderate but no one can doubt that only he can influence the Tibetans. So it’s puzzling that we have a leader of HHDL who has the mandate of the Tibetan people willing to live within PRC and would have expected to be accepted as patriot by the PRC. Without the Tibet issue being internationalize, I believe the CCP will make the Tibet issue and plight will get worse. HHDL didn’t travel to Taiwan for over 10 years despite repeated requests from millions of followers/admirers not to anger PRC and said all of the nice things in the hope PRC CCP will respond in kind. Not so. He had even requested pilgrimage visit to China 3-4 years ago and flatly rejected. So what more can we do … just give up and resign when people in Tibet are risking their lives crying out for help.

    “Allen # 47 DL will become a beloved religious and spiritual figure – no longer politicizing culture or religion for his political gains”

    HHDL as a person has already achieved what mortals ever dream or desire for, Fame, Respect, Wealth, Freedom in this world. So political gain of what. He is working for the Tibetan people and has already said it publicly that he doesn’t want any political role. Of course Tibetan people will want to keep the Dalai Lama institution and will look for his reincarnation. I could see purely a religious role for this institution in the future. Right now, sure he is political because the Tibetan people need a strong and effective leader like him against the mighty China to fight for the Tibetan freedom.

    I will be the first one to advise our Representatives who are in contact with the Chinese that unless the PRC is serious in resolving this issue based on the ‘memorandum … ‘ as shown below that was presented to the PRC leaders last year not to scurry to Beijing at a first call from the PRC to start a dialogue. This has been going on since early 80’s off and on without the Chinese side making any concession. I don’t see Hu Jintao who controls the Tibet issue in the Chinese politburo changing the Tibet policy instead I hear him talk about building ‘Great Wall’ against the leftist CCP imaginary separatists. As I have said this current policy benefits (financial and power) a few CCP establishment who mostly live in Tibet such as United Front and other ultra leftists cliques who are determined not to have solution and taken the majority Chinese for a ride like a fool using nationalism etc.

    So like I said this struggle is to going on and Tibetan side should be prepared for the long haul …and the CCP might get their wish that this may turn violent, so that they can crush. Then it’s lose lose not just for the Tibetans but also Chinese.

    Anyone read this document, MEMORANDUM ON GENUINE AUTONOMY FOR THE TIBETAN PEOPLE
    What do you think? Especially for folks living in China if any in this forum for their feedback.

    This is it all in writing black and white what the Tibetans want and I don’t see much watering down from this as it’s the most compromised proposal from the Tibetans.

    Also you need to some faith and trust that there is no hidden agenda and don’t want to hear other meanings such as disguise Independence as no one is saying especially right from the Big boss of Tibet.

    http://www.tibet.net/en/index.php?id=83&articletype=press

    (again sorry blocked in China but I am sure some can get through proxy)

  61. yo
    March 20th, 2009 at 05:52 | #61

    @khechog
    You are exactly the person that Mark describes in his above post, having this fairy-tale image of Tibet. you cannot be serious when you make statements like
    “We have entrusted HHDL to negotiate on behalf of us.”
    Or
    “This is it all in writing black and white what the Tibetans want…”

    “We” have entrusted?! and you magically have a document that expresses the thoughts of all Tibetans!? Not only is it naive to assume you can speak for all Tibetans, it’s ridiculous that you think Tibetans are so homogeneous, because last time I checked, they weren’t.

    By the way, the links you posted are as creditable as Xinhua links.

  62. Shane9219
    March 20th, 2009 at 07:04 | #62

    @Khechog and Lobsang

    Let me just be very frank with you here:

    TIE community, especially those grown-up outside Tibet and educated in the west with utopian ideologies,

    You are holding 14th DL as hostage. By doing so, you are destroying the real happiness of Tibetan people and harming Tibet religion.

  63. March 20th, 2009 at 10:43 | #63

    Sorry everyone. In my comment above, the sentence: “The two parties need to work together to solve the problem, which first requires trust-building. As I see it, the TGIE and their radical nationalist you wings, present the most immediate and therefore serious obstacles to finding a peaceful resolution to the Tibetan situation.”

    SHOULD READ:

    “The two parties need to work together to solve the problem, which first requires trust-building. As I see it, the TGIE and their radical nationalist youth wings, present the most immediate and therefore serious obstacles to finding a peaceful resolution to the Tibetan situation.”

    [Allen: #59 corrected]

  64. Khechog
    March 20th, 2009 at 19:34 | #64

    #61, 62

    It’s ludicrous to think HH Dalai Lama doesn’t represent the will of the Tibetans. You think the puppet Tibetan leadership in Tibet does or who else?.

    The more I travel to all across the Tibetan region, I am more hopeful than ever before that Tibetans will get their freedom. The simple reason is that the spirit is so strong amongst the Tibetans in Tibet and one unifying force is undoubtedly the devotion, love, and reverence to HH Dalai Lama. Ironically the younger generation who are being educated in the minority schools in China have such a strong identity and repeated expressing their views. Tibetans have never been more united than before.

    One clear example of the power of HHDL over Tibetans was clearly demonstrated about 3 years ago in Jan/2006 at the Kalachakra religious event in India, when HHDL in one speech at major religious festival talked about his disgust of Tibetans in Tibet wearing excessive furs that he is embarrassed to be Tibetan, when Wildlife Conservationist accused the Tibetans of contributing to the extinction of Bengal Tigers and Leopards in India and elsewhere. He urged Tibetans in Tibet to change their behaviour and stop wearing furs and this message spread across the Tibetan plateau like a wild-fire. Within a year, Tibetans all over Tibet (1/4 of Tibet) burned their furs in public bonfire in possession at a reportedly worth over a billion Renminbi. Check the google or youtube of this event

    Now you will be hard pressed to find Tibetans in Tibet wearing a fur and I could not find any stores in Lhasa or elsewhere and you will not see any performers wearing fur such as the annual New Year performance. If you checked the New Years performance from I believe pre-2007 and post and you will see the dramatic change in Tibetan wardrobe. Tibetans or HHDL should have received an equivalent of Nobel Prize of animal conversation for this sacrifice. Incredibly the Chinese authorities response was it treated it as an act of political defiance and started arresting organizers and forced news anchor and Tibetan govt officials to wear fur. Now I don’t see even Tibetan officials wearing fur.

    Currently there is still so much fear, repression for all to speak up but they will as China opens up more and there will be protest like last year again. I need to reiterate that CCP propaganda reported one in Lhasa on March 14th. Infact the protest took place in 100 other places in Tibet peacefully.

    In the meantime you truly want to understand the will of the Tibetans, I suggest reading Woeser’s blog and writing (middle-way.net in Chinese language – again blocked in China). It is true that there is lot more freedom in China then Tibet. That’s why Woeser is based in Beijing and her fame and married to a famous China is saving her from being arrested so far.

    Without the help of HH Dalai Lama, PRC will not win the hearts and minds of the Tibetans. It’s sadly mistaken if PRC thinks the issue will go away with PRC becoming more powerful and outsiders forgetting the plight of the Tibetans.

    I will let you guys have the last word as I am leaving the country in a few hours.

  65. Lee
    March 20th, 2009 at 23:13 | #65

    There is a new article for Tsering Shakya on Open Democracy website

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/article/tibet-and-china-the-past-in-the-present

  66. lemony
    March 21st, 2009 at 00:38 | #66

    What’s China’s beef with the Dalai Lama? He was caught playing footsie with the C.I.A.

    China reacted just the way the U.S. would were it to have found that our Alasakan Governor had received arms and training from the KGB in order for Russia to assert its authority in Alaska.

  67. William Huang
    March 21st, 2009 at 01:17 | #67

    @ Khechog #60

    Thanks for the reply and I appreciate your time and effort.

    I agree with you that Han Chauvinism exists and I will be lying to say that Chinese are somehow held high moral ground. But such problem hardly unique in China and it happens at individual level everyday in every part of world. The question is; collectively speaking, does such chauvinism exist against Tibetan people in terms of rules and laws, economic policy, equal treatment and general sentiment. I haven’t seen any evidence.

    Also I am not sure the “Religion is poison” statement by Mao is a form of Han Chauvinism. It’s more of political and philosophical point of view. We can agree or disagree but thats’ beside the point. Also for him to admit that chauvinism existed back then, it’s not a proof that things have gotten worse today but fact that he acknowledged it in itself is not necessary a bad thing.

    As for your personal experience with respect to uneducated poor Chinese looking down on Tibetans, I would attribute to their lack of education and knowledge rather than chauvinism. Again, as I stated above, such behavior is not unique to Han-Chinese. I agree with your statement about growing respect for the Tibetan culture and spiritual tradition in China being limited to intellectuals and well-off folks. But I see the same thing in west. I would like to say that there would be no ulterior motive other than pure religious and culture reason for these Chinese who have interest in Tibetan religion and culture. But I don’t think I can say the same thing about the west. A lot of support for Dalai Lama has something to do with China rather than Tibet.

    As for your comments on Dalai Lama’s book, I can respect that. However, I am not sure religion itself can help science. Yes, it is interest to discuss scientific matter from a religious point of view but science is not about just a point of view. Whatever scientific knowledge Dalai Lama possessed would have obtained beyond his Tibetan Buddhist education not because of it.

  68. Nimrod
    March 21st, 2009 at 02:48 | #68

    It’s so difficult to get anything close to reality on Tibet, and that is one of the main problems. I think Kechog is a little bit delusional (no offense) on the representational power of DL, but I appreciate the effort nonetheless. That said, I can also believe that DL holds enough mental authority over enough people inside Tibet to keep things interesting there.

    I would have to agree with MAJ that the main obstacle in resolving the Tibet issue is the equating of ethnic identity with separatism, and this is fueled by the cross signals sent by DL, perhaps based on his personal political needs to control the divergent exile community. This obstacle isn’t helped by even TGIE’s “most compromised” interpretation of their negotiating position with the PRC, which Kechog posted, and which is also highly delusional for its demand for a Greater Tibet as an administrative unit, that not even the 17 Point Agreement, which had been ripped apart by DL’s 50’s rebellion, had contemplated.

    I would have to say that until the day exile Tibetans and those influenced by exiles can trust that the Chinese state and Han Chinese are not out to destroy their identity and culture (daily genocide claims by DL notwithstanding), until the day they can genuinely accept that being citizens of China and participating in life in China as such is not contradictory to an ethnic Tibetan identity, and that they can be proud of both, these proposals for autonomy with paranoid requests for ethnic lockdowns etc. are not going to be taken seriously. In fact, they will show that the Tibetan identity does = separatism, if not on paper then in reality. If that is the case, all the assurances about no hidden agenda will also fall on deaf ears because reality trumps a piece of paper in the end.

  69. Nimrod
    March 21st, 2009 at 03:06 | #69

    Let me add that there is a reason that few of us trust DL on these proposals. It’s not that what he says or what these proposals write are totally unreasonable. It’s what DL does. His primary goal is to preserve the Tibetan identity. Ok, that’s fine. He has been very successful in that, even managing to exploit the exile situation to create a pan-Tibetan identity across many sects and regional tongues where none had existed before, then re-exporting it into Tibet.

    But look at the method he used to do this: it was all predicated on a separate political identity for Tibet and especially using political tarring of China and intentionally driving a wedge between Tibetans and ethnic Han on ethnic grounds. He never did it on grounds of culture and religion alone. The whole thing has been set up in precisely the way that you would set something up to take over if tomorrow Tibet gained independence. And that is still how it is and that is still how he runs things. Despite the shifting rhetoric, what he does in this regard has not changed one bit. No wonder we think his recent sudden reinterpretation of his Middle Way in PRC Constitutional language is disingenuous, rather than as reflecting a true change of heart for Tibetans to remain in the PRC. Let me be even more specific, if DL took up the cause of Tibetans’ education by encouraging them to study well, learn Tibetan and Chinese languages well, and be able to find good jobs and contribute to the development of Tibet — if he spent more time on that than making daily accusations of genocide and violence and hell on earth, then my mind could start to change.

  70. yo
    March 21st, 2009 at 05:41 | #70

    #64 Khechog
    Like Nimrod said, nice effort, but using unconfirmed sources and examples that look like a PR stunt is not convincing. I understand that many Tibetans revere the DL, but to suggests Tibetans aren’t individuals with their own opinions is NUTS and is undermined by established research that Mark pointed out.

  71. Nimrod
    March 21st, 2009 at 07:20 | #71

    When Kechog comes back, maybe he can make himself useful to our understanding by telling us some specifics rather than talking points. Like what does he mean when he wrote he travelled all over Tibet and is “encouraged” by the youths in minority schools. What are the background of the people he talked to and what exactly did he observe? Let’s get to the bottom of this. I’ve always found it exceedingly frustrating that I could not get even rudimentary apolitical information on these things without being fed a spoonful of propaganda.

  72. may
    March 21st, 2009 at 16:13 | #72

    Mark #59 “but just because the Tibetans may have acknowledged such authority doesn’t necessarily mean that they saw themselves as having surrended totally their autonomy to the Manchu emperors.”

    They didn’t, of course!

    “…doing away altogether of such concepts, and the adoption instead of “an alternative imagining of political communities”…”

    Maybe I am too pessimistic, but I just don’t see how an alternative political tie between Tibet and China is possible by getting rid of international norms of nation-states and sovereignty. A couple of things look like stumbling blocks 1) distrust of the two sides accumulated over the years 2) the size of territory DL asks for – 1/4 of China 3) lack of a leader in China that has the political will and vision to find a solution and execute it – Deng Xiaoping was one but he was long gone.

    I understand where Anand is coming from. He is critical of the postcolonial world where political categories like nation-states and sovereignty were “imposed” by the West to the rest of the world. It is easy to feel disgruntled about it and imagine a brave new world on paper. But in reality, to build alternative political ties and communities is difficult.

    Khechog #60 & William#67: Mao “Religion is poison”

    I agree with William. As someone who went through the whole education system in China from the daycare center to the university, I understand very well where Mao’s comment came from. This particular one indeed came from his Marxist-Leninist political world view.

    Nimrod #68
    Doesn’t Beijing also equate many expressions of Tibetan identity as separatism? and responded with force?

    Don’t get me wrong. Although my political view is considered rather 右 (on the right of the spectrum) in China, I am not naive to think the Tibetan cause is all for the cause of a democratic China. Nationalistic sentiments of Tibetans (and any other ethnic groups) can be divisive, explosive and violent. 敌人的敌人不一定是我的朋友My enemy’s enemy is not necessarily my friend。But calling for DL and his supporters to stop separatist activities is only one side of the coin. Beijing also needs to relax and learn to be more trustful. Don’t look at every expression of Tibetan identity as a threat. A more relax and trustful Beijing will not win the heart of hardliners but it will make sure those Tibetans with moderate views won’t go to the other camp.

  73. Nimrod
    March 21st, 2009 at 18:49 | #73

    may, Beijing does many things wrong, I think so. However, I wouldn’t want to go so far as to suggest Beijing equates the expression of Tibetan identity with separatism. For example, Tibetan cultural expression is encouraged, even religion, albeit regulated, is still allowed. However, any sign of political expression, like raising the Tibetan flag or crying “Free Tibet” or “Chinese out of Tibet” — things imported from the exiles — are almost certainly separatist, and Beijing heavily suppresses these. I see a fairly clear distinction here. Where the problem occurs is usually centered on DL. What if a monk professes loyalty to DL, is that a religious and cultural expression, or is that a political expression? How could you distinguish between them? Beijing tries to err on the side of saying these are political expressions, and that is in many ways counterproductive, but in some ways DL relishes this catch-22 trap he has put Beijing in. This was why I said it is DL who could help the most in this regard, by untying Tibetan identity from separatism. Has he done so? He has not. Words are no longer enough, he needs to show results beginning with himself and the exile community.

  74. March 22nd, 2009 at 10:58 | #74

    May – you are right of course! Imagining alternative political communities is very difficult, and it’s hard to turn back the clock and simply reinstitute the former system – despite the fact that the Cold War is now over. One can borrow ideas, but not situation, and as I said in my comment above, “The rising tide of Tibetan nationalism since [the 1950s] has greatly complicated matters, driving the wedge between the two parties even deeper. So deep in fact, that it’s now hard to see a way out.”

    I share your pessimism I’m afraid. That said, neither party should give up hope for a peaceful compromise. At present though, as you rightly observe, the political will doesn’t seem to exist strobgly enough – on either side.

  75. Shane9219
    March 22nd, 2009 at 21:35 | #75

    @Khechog #64

    “The more I travel to all across the Tibetan region, I am more hopeful than ever before that Tibetans will get their freedom. The simple reason is that the spirit is so strong amongst the Tibetans in Tibet and one unifying force is undoubtedly the devotion, love, and reverence to HH Dalai Lama. Ironically the younger generation who are being educated in the minority schools in China have such a strong identity and repeated expressing their views. Tibetans have never been more united than before”

    Apparently, you are over-confident about your assertion. This is actually a problem associated with TIE community, especially among those western educated youth. How may times you have been in China? How long have you lived among Tibetan in China?

    Even though 14th is one of the most visible symbols in Tibetan religion, his school of religion represents only one among all 4 major branches.

  76. March 23rd, 2009 at 02:21 | #76

    I was re-reading Ian Buruma’s 2001 book, “Bad Elements: Chinese Rebels from Los Angeles to Beijing” over the weekend, and on page 301 I came across a passage that made me recall a point raised by Tsering Shakya, in relation to the rise in Tibetan nationalism. Referring to the rising tide of Chinese nationalism, Buruma makes the point that such imaginings “are actually the products of higher education. Romantic nationalism is an intellectual affliction, which comes more readily to educated minds than it does to people preoccupied with daily survival,” he suggests.

    It may be then, that the rising sense of Tibetan national feeling increasingly shared among today’s Tibetan urban youth, is connected (in part at least) to the success of Beijing’s modernising efforts in the region. Tsering Shakya, in his interview for the New Left Review, mentions the fact that although the teaching of Tibetans “in ‘inland schools’ is almost all in Chinese”, with the quality of this education being “very good”, many of the 3,000 or so who graduate each year “tend to come out of them much more nationalistic—on blogs and websites they are often the ones leading complaints against the Chinese government, for depriving them of their cultural identity and their language.”

    Such is the contradictory nature of today’s Tibet. What do other people think?

  77. Shane9219
    March 23rd, 2009 at 04:08 | #77

    @MAJ #76

    It is true that Tibet is not a happy situation to both native Tibetan and Han Chinese, regardless the level of their education. However, we need to separate those educated inside China from those outside. Even though they are challenged with the current situation and events, those educated in China have a strong cultural affinity with China. Those outside do not. I believe with further development and improvement of Tibet policy, those inside will stand up and make a good case for Tibet to be part of China. This is already happening.

  78. may
    March 23rd, 2009 at 05:21 | #78

    Nimrod # 73
    I see your point. But I still think Beijing, as the central government for all Chinese citizens (including Tibetans) needs to show more good will (and tactics?) in dealing with religious/political expressions of its Tibetan citizens. Beijing couldn’t afford to antagonize Tibetans with the moderate view.

    Shane #75, 77
    Just curious, Have you been to Tibetan areas and talked to the Tibetans? Are you acquainted with any educated/middle-class Tibetans? Why are you so sure economic development will bring Tibetans closer to China? I think 3.14 have showed the failure of this development policy.

  79. Shane9219
    March 23rd, 2009 at 06:45 | #79

    @may #76

    I have old classmates working in Lhasa area for years, so I have good sources myself. Tibetan are always sensitive to outsiders. For example, those worshiping could get so annoyed for being photographed, and they could get physical even towards westerns.

    The root cause of last year event is not a race riot, although on the surface it may look like. Why? Tibet had many of such protesting incidents following 14th DL’s exile. All those events rooted in discontent among monks/nuns regarding central government’s policy towards 14th DL. Last year’s event was only one of the most serious ones, you know how much 14th DL and TIE community had pushed for it because of the year of Olympics making them to think it is a major opportunity for them.

    Last year’s 3.14 event is not a failure of development policy in Tibet. It shows 1) a need for a more balanced development around Lhasa area (a surge of migration population might not be a big problem to other cities in China, but it is a big problem to Tibet since many native young Tibetan would come to Lhasa area and try to find work themselves, if they couldn’t get one then they will resort to their common instinct towards outsiders ), and 2) a tight supervison towards those monks and nuns who are willing to be foot soldiers for 14th DL’s causes, so they will not use any opportunity to cause trouble.

    Inside China, you will find many issues associated with recent years’ development. You may ask yourself: is development policy itself a problem, or is it just pain resulted from development?

  80. March 23rd, 2009 at 08:30 | #80

    Shane9219 – you say that those Tibetans educated inside China “have a strong cultural affinity with China”, but as I pointed out in my comment above, this is not the view of Tsering Shakya, who claims that they “tend to come out of them much more nationalistic” and critical of what they see as being a case of Chinese colonialism. Perhaps Tsering is wrong – perhaps only a minority of Tibetan graduates emerge from universities outside of the TAR which such heightened feelings? Maybe Tsering has overstated his case? I really don’t know, but it would be interesting to explore this line of enquiry.

    Of course, most Han students also emerge from Chinese universities with a heightened sense of nationalism – usually healthy, but in many cases also chauvanistic. But it would be an irony if Tibetans are emerging in significant numbers from these very same universities with a heightened sense of Tibetanness and with thoughts of independence in their minds.

    Shane9129 – you also say that you “believe with further development and improvement of Tibet policy, those inside will stand up and make a good case for Tibet to be part of China. This is already happening.” I suspect you’re probably right, but I’d be wanting to see at least some evidence in support of this. I’m planning on writing a long, detailed essay on the Tibet Issue for my China Discourse site in about three weeks from now, when I have a little more time on my hands, so if you can provide me any such evidence I’d be very grateful.

  81. Shane9219
    March 23rd, 2009 at 19:13 | #81

    @MAJ #80

    If you make a pattern to describe a large group of people, you always find some exception. Hope you see what I mean. There are a few young Tibetan intellectuals who devoted themselves to monasteries after college education. They find the current situation on Tibet religion is not acceptable (which everyone agrees BTW), and they made their voices heard. This is so called “the vocal minority”. You can’t entirely put blame on them. When people are young, they tend to be active and radical.

    For anything to bear fruit though, there should be a solid foundation intertwined via history, culture and reality. Otherwise, it will become a background noise to human history.

    The rising of modern China is as inevitable as an eventual event predicated by Napoleon in 19th century at a time when China was in her darkest hours. Along the way, the searching of her self-conscience and confidence never stops and will continue. I think it is just too simplistic or shallow for news media people in the west to describe it as “nationalistic” or anything similar.

  82. foobar
    March 23rd, 2009 at 22:13 | #82

    #36 Steve
    If the negotiations with the DL are strictly concerning his religious role and do not involve the TGIE, then why are TGIE monks the ones that go to Beijing to negotiate? And why are the pre-negotiation conditions revolving around degrees of autonomy? For me, autonomy isn’t a religious issue but a political one.

    Even if you don’t read Chinese, you can google “dalai representative” and look at entries from Chinese media:
    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=dalai+representative
    Did you see one entry NOT including the word ‘private’ in between? How you, or the west media if that’s what you’re getting your news from, keep missing or misinterpreting this is really beyond me.

    The TGIE might want to make you believe they are in a position to negotiate politics with Beijing, the reality is, well, they are not.

    And why are DL’s representatives all TGIE monks? You tell me. For a self-professed ‘democracy’ which is really a reincarnated theocracy, you’d think they would at least make a token effort at not appearing so. No. Instead this democracy is still ruled by high priests and DL’s close family (many of whom are high priests themselves). I guess it’s just that hard for them to find a secular representative.

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘pre-negotiation conditions revolving around degrees of autonomy’. Are we still talking about the current day Tibet issue, or one of 15 years ago? What are the preconditions for the talks that they’ve already had?

    As for what will happen, I think you guessed exactly right. The TGIE will install their DL incarnate and the CCP theirs. Exactly which ‘government’ shoves their DL down your throat softer or harder remains to be seen. Are you saying the 11th Panchen Lama is becoming more and more unpopular amongst ethnic Tibetans?

    But I do think you mis-over-estimated how much the TGIE holds the Tibetan hearts. It’s like saying the catholic pope holds the hearts of Christians of all denominations. Granted there are Tibetans willing to bow down to whichever tulka shows up in front of them, not unlike how some Christians yield deference to any religious figure. Tibetan Buddhism is not monolithic, and the Tibetan population is not homogeneous. Religiously, even in Tibetan Buddhism (I’m not gonna go into how much the DL is propped up to be the face of the entire Buddhism) , he is but one of the main religious heads in the Gelug sect. Sure right now he is the biggest figure of the biggest sect, however how that came to be is not without political and military backings in the past. Politically, the DL lineage has never ruled the Kham and Amdo regions, which were controlled by other tulkas. Within the current TAR, the Qamdo region was part of Kham, the Shigatse region was ruled by the Panchen Lama, and the upper Ngari region wasn’t under the rule of the DL either. Incidentally (or not), the region currently occupied by India as Arunachal Pradesh was indeed what the DL controlled, and now he’s just too much of a chickenshit to say anything about it.

  83. Nimrod
    March 23rd, 2009 at 22:43 | #83

    On the heightened nationalism of educated Tibetan intellectuals, I think this is actually true. This happens over and over in human history. You see it in the American Indian movement and you see it in the likes of Woeser. Part of it is a group of people collectively becoming aware of and coming to grips with their position in the larger society. Part of it is the first batch of students after some kind of cultural discontinuity tend to be more idealistic, feel a moral responsibility to the “nation” or in this case the “nationality”, especially because most of them are liberal arts types. When reality and ideal clash they must deal with the dissonance.

    However, such heightened nationalism doesn’t necessarily translate into a particular brand of politics. Just like the first generation of intellectuals after the Cultural Revolution at TAM 20 years ago actually wanted to work within the system, so may the Tibetan intellectuals of today. Indeed, for the first time they have the tools to do so — mastery of the country’s language, knowledge of its system, awareness of its bureaucratic culture. Given the chance and outlet, I would bet my money on their putting their energy into actually making a Tibet within the modern PRC work, better than old-school local Tibetan cadres or sent-up Han helpers could. The key is that they are allowed or co-opted to do so.

    Honestly, DL’s world and DL’s version of Tibetan independence (or autonomy) are so far removed from what these educated Tibetans experience or envision, that even if they go the route of radicalism, it won’t be the same. For one, I can’t imagine any kind of theocratic system staying in place.

  84. March 23rd, 2009 at 23:39 | #84

    Shane9129 – you wrote: “When people are young, they tend to be active and radical.” I agree – I was too during my time as a young university student. As Nimrod said in his comment above, “part of it is the first batch of students after some kind of cultural discontinuity tend to be more idealistic, feel a moral responsibility to the “nation” or in this case the “nationality”, especially because most of them are liberal arts types. When reality and ideal clash they must deal with the dissonance.”

    Nimrod – you wrote: “Given the chance and outlet, I would bet my money on their putting their energy into actually making a Tibet within the modern PRC work, better than old-school local Tibetan cadres or sent-up Han helpers could. The key is that they are allowed or co-opted to do so.”

    I couldn’t agree more – especially with the last sentence.

  85. Otto Kerner
    March 24th, 2009 at 00:04 | #85

    @foobar #82,

    The western world is well aware that Beijing refuses to negotiate with the Tibetans, thanks.

    You are quite right that the Dalai Lama is not the “head” of Tibetan Buddhism, and you are quite right that the Dalai Lama’s preeminent position flows from past historical and military circumstances. However, Tibetan Buddhism is a lot more ecumenical than Christianity is. For one thing, the boundaries of the major Christian branches were established in large part by specific schisms in which they rejected the Pope. There is no comparable history of Tibetan Buddhist schisms in response to a particular church leadership. In any event, you will note that all of the heads of the Tibetan Buddhist sects are in exile and they all support the Dalai Lama’s political position, so I fail to see the relevance of this digression.

  86. Otto Kerner
    March 24th, 2009 at 00:20 | #86

    @shane #81,

    A lot of people seem to have the impression that only monks, due to their loyalty to the Dalai Lama, are behind the various protests and disturbances that constitute “the Tibet issue”. It’s not entirely clear to me to what extent you hold this position yourself, since you do say, “this is so called ‘the vocal minority’. You can’t entirely put blame on them.” (emphasis mine). However, elsewhere, you do seem to take this position.

    Now, I think it’s pretty clear that monks do tend to turn out to be the ringleaders of rangtsen-oriented protests. That by itself tells us nothing one way or the other about how popular those protests are with other Tibetans. I don’t know of a good source for information on this, but I think we can draw some inferences from watching the reaction of other Tibetans to the monks. Have you ever heard of a case where the monks’ protests drew jeers and boos, perhaps a bit of spitting or throwing stones and other objects, from Tibetan bystanders? On the other hand, have you heard of any cases where the bystanders appeared to support the monks? For comparison, what do you imagine would be the reaction of bystanders if monks raised the Tibetan flag and protested for “Free Tibet” in a Han area?

  87. Otto Kerner
    March 24th, 2009 at 00:34 | #87

    Mark Anthony Jones,

    By the way, sorry I haven’t had a chance to respond to your comment yet. I’ll need to marshall a few minutes in a stretch sometime …

  88. March 24th, 2009 at 00:44 | #88

    Otto – I’m not so sure that you are correct in saying that the heads of “all” of the Tibetabn sects support the Dalai Lama and are in exile. The Black Hat sect certainly doesn’t support the Dalai Lama for starters. Their leader, the Karmapa, was abducted by the exile “government” where he remians a hostage. This is certainly the view of most Black Hat monks. According to an article published in the Japan Times Weekly back in march of last year, the Black Hats “responded furiously with demands to Beijing that Gelugpa monks should be stripped of their control over the Tibet province budget and other privileges.”

    According to the article, “Feeling sorely betrayed by the Dalai Lama, who had earlier backed the appointment of Orgyen Trinley as Karmapa, Beijing consented to the Black Hat’s harsh demands. Thus ended the Yellow Hats’ monopoly on power inside Tibet. Since then, the local governments of many Tibetan zones have been taken over by laymen loyal to the Black Hats.”

    The same journalist, Yoichi Shimatsu, “This realignment of sectarian power in Tibet…can be compared with the Protestant Reformation in Europe…” He may be stretching things a little here I think, but one thing is for certain: such rivalry does exist. Leaders of the Nyingma and Sakya schools, as well as the native Bon religion, did not endorse last year’s protests. Even some Yellow Hat Tibetan Buddhists – Shungdens – don’t support the Dalai Lama, and last year some of their members travelled the Western world protesting against the Dalai Lama’s supression of their sect. The Dalai Lama considers them to be divisive, describing them as an evil cult.

    Otto – regarding your last comment addressed to me above (no.87) – no worries! Take your time, as I’m quite overwhelmed by work myself at the moment, so I lack adequate time to write up detailed comments.

  89. Shane9219
    March 24th, 2009 at 02:40 | #89

    @Otto Kerner #85

    You raised a good question. I have been saying there is major difference between China-educated Tibetan intellectuals and those educated in the west. China-educated intellectuals are not that ideological, although they may appear to be critical of central government’s Tibetan policy, and may support 14th DL’s causes one way or the other. The root of their discontent as I perceive is more about Tibetan as a separate race and cultural identity, or even as basic as deserved dignity as a group of people. We should note that these concerns are shared by all Chinese. There is no secret plot inside China to treat Tibetan anything less than any other racial group.

    The sad part is that 14th DL and TIE could not and unwilling to discard their political aspiration, as well as their longing for western-style ideologies. 14th DL even said last year that Tibet issue could be resolved in a matter of days if China was a western-style “democracy”. Such remark sounded childish and wishful to many Chinese, but like a music to western audience.

    I do not dispute that 14th DL also has serious concern about Tibet religion and culture. However, if he is sincere about it, he should discard any political aspiration such as what he toted the so-called “geniue autonomy”.

    Right now, it appears, under suggestion by his western advisors, 14th DL and TIE community intend to wait for a more ‘democratic” China, although 14th DL is already in his very senior years. This is the reason that I call 14th DL is being hold hostage by the west, and that is also not the best interest for average Tibetan’s happiness and Tibetan religion.

  90. Wahaha
    March 24th, 2009 at 04:16 | #90

    to #68

    I stand by my word that there is clearly Han Chauvinism demonstrated by many Chinese including as we see in these forum. Chauvinism as in superiority complex and contempt of the Tibetans being dirty, lazy and engrossed in their religion. Tibetan culture being backward and lacking the scientific advancement.

    _________________________________

    Forgive me, but this is nonsense.

    There are similar discrimination among Han chinese, among western people, among any race.

    I assume you live in west, do you want to sit next to a homeless in a park or on a subway ? Can I call you a racist cuz of that if you dont want to ?

    If you make $100,000 a year, do you want your daughter dating or marrying a person who makes only $20,000 a year ?

    BTW, what make you think western respect Tibetans ? can you give me an example they in general respect people from poor country ?

  91. Nimrod
    March 24th, 2009 at 05:06 | #91

    As adaptive as DL seems to be, he is still a product of his time. His political proposals are always a step behind the situation, much like China’s Taiwan policy was during the 90’s.

    He or somebody else even lamented that absolutely nobody in the exile community has studied Chinese policy or history. They don’t even have enough translators between Tibetan and Chinese. But plenty of them know how to talk to the West. Seems completely backwards to me.

  92. Shane9219
    March 25th, 2009 at 16:27 | #92

    美国夫妇康定开起藏式客栈[组图]

    By XinhuaNet

    一对美国夫妇,近日在“康定情歌的故乡”——四川省甘孜藏族自治州康定县,开办了一家具有藏族风情的客栈。这是康定第一家由外国人开办的客栈。

    这家“汇道客栈”坐落在康定县炉城镇白土村的一个山坡上。32岁的客栈“老板”罗悦朋与31岁的妻子罗芬妮来自美国俄勒冈州,他们和两岁半的女儿一起生活在这里。罗悦朋和妻子都非常喜欢旅游和藏族文化。2003年他们在成都西南民族大学学习藏文时,就经常来康定。2007年10月他们又来到康定,一边游玩一边筹建客栈,2008年底他们办好了营业执照,2009年初试营业。

    罗悦朋说,康定近年来的变化很大。以前由成都到康定开车需要14个小时,现在只需要7个小时,还能刷信用卡,这些都是以前做不到的。一家人已经习惯了在康定的生活。目前他们正通过各种方式,努力让更多的外国人了解康定,让客栈迎来更多的游客。

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/photo/2009-03/24/content_11062315.htm

  93. Nimrod
    March 25th, 2009 at 17:54 | #93

    Have you guys seen this article?

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article5927557.ece

    “In a simple office overlooking the Himalayan foothills of India a young Tibetan man sits at a computer, trying to succeed where the Dalai Lama has failed for 50 years — by talking to the Chinese. Every day, Sonam and ten other Tibetans — all fluent in Mandarin — surf social networking sites in search of Chinese people to talk to about their homeland. It can be painstaking work.”

    This aside, since last year, there has been a lot more people on Chinese forums (Han, Tibetan, half-Han half Tibetan) writing down their own experiences. There has always been plenty of material in academic research, but for the masses, this has been sort of a “first contact” singularity. As a result, a normalized view of Tibet is emerging. That’s a very good thing. I am so looking forward to the marginalization of foreign Free Tibeters with their loony propagandistic bombast.

  94. Otto Kerner
    March 27th, 2009 at 04:19 | #94

    Shane9219,

    Back in #37, you recommended the original Chinese BBC interview with Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje (http://news.bbc.co.uk/chinese/simp/hi/newsid_7940000/newsid_7944000/7944018.stm). Although my Chinese reading shuiping is not very impressive, I decided to take your advice and read it — and, you’re right, he does come across as an interesting young man. He actually makes me feel a little hopeful over the possible future in which he would possibly have a political role. It’s too bad the controversy over his identity lingers on.

  95. Nimrod
    March 27th, 2009 at 04:48 | #95

    Well, he has a MySpace page, too
    http://www.myspace.com/17thgyalwangkarmapa

    He is interesting, but mostly he is a mystery, steadfastly refusing to touch on the political question for now. Doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an opinion though.

  96. Shane9219
    March 27th, 2009 at 19:11 | #96

    “Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth”

    By Michael Parenti

    http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html

    This is an article with thoughtful insight on Lamaism, exposing the raw, bloody side of Lamaism, not alone in Tibet but other places in Asia. 14th DL’s supporters should be reminded Tibet’s bad old days as well as the true nature of Lamaism.

    Shangri-La only exists in people’s imagnation.

    “Unfortunately this sympathy for Tibetans strengthened the world’s view of them as the purveyors of a kind of humble goodness, symbolized by the image of peace and wisdom. Although this image is meant to glorify the Tibetans, it really obscures them. It perpetuates a stereotype of Asians who are either all good or all evil, never real people. It contrasts the evil Chinese against the good Tibetans and accomplishes almost the opposite of what it seeks to promote. Instead of treating the Tibetans as a separate people, it casts them again into the shadow of China.”

    From Demystifying Tibet:Unlocking the Secrets of the Land of the Snows,
    by Lee Feigon

    http://www.amazon.com/Demystifying-Tibet-Unlocking-Secrets-Snows/dp/1566631963

  97. colonialism
    March 30th, 2009 at 00:18 | #97

    Shane,

    Why did your classmates go to Tibet to work?

  98. colonialism
    March 30th, 2009 at 00:30 | #98

    “He or somebody else even lamented that absolutely nobody in the exile community has studied Chinese policy or history. They don’t even have enough translators between Tibetan and Chinese. But plenty of them know how to talk to the West. Seems completely backwards to me.”

    nimod,

    Please learn your history. There are many educated Tibetans from the Chinese system working for the exile government or other tibetan institutions outside Tibet. Some of them worked even worked for Tibetan Academy of Social Science, other held many high governmental positions, here is one of them (Arjia Rinpoche):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTVgGetarts

  99. colonialism
    March 30th, 2009 at 00:36 | #99

    西藏问题 50周年纽约纪念会 – Conference in New York with Chinese and Tibetan speakers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfjtLHi4mKE&feature=related

  100. Nimrod
    March 30th, 2009 at 04:35 | #100

    colonialism,

    Arjia Rinpoche is Mongolian ethnically. More to the point, he isn’t exactly in the “exile community” I was talking about, just like Richard Gere isn’t part of the “exile community”, since I was obviously talking about Dharamsala. Anyway there aren’t “many” — maybe there are more now, I don’t know.

  101. April 1st, 2009 at 06:47 | #101

    Let me just say this, a bit late: MAJ is malignant. Most of what he says is cut and pasted from other sources. If you learn how he adjusts key words to stifle your google searches, it will all become clear. He is also still double posting his bible-length comments (http://justrecently.wordpress.com/2009/03/28/quote-serf-emancipation-day/). If you read the thread on my blog carefully – I mean, really read it, through to the end – you will see how sinister and psychopathic this person is. I have a long collection of letters, all catalogued in case I ever need them, of Madge begging to be let back into my site, shifting from the fawning and the obsequious to the cunning and threatening. I’m glad he’s having a blast commenting here, but trust me, you do not want to tell this person any secrets or trust him in any way, ever.

    In the entire history of my site, only four people have been permanently banned. Anyone, like ferin and nanhe, who come back and show good faith, is permitted back in. To be permanently banned you must go beyond the Internet and actually try to destroy the blogger, to actually seek to cause them harm in their daily life, loss of livelihood, loss of friends and even permanent damage. This is what Madge is capable of and I have witnessed it time and again. You may not all like me or agree with me about China, and that is fine; I still link to this blog frequently, enjoy reading it and keep it on my blogroll. It’s fine to disagree. But this is not about point of view or political disagreement. This is about a clear and present danger, a sort of cyber ax murderer who, should you give him the space, will consciously and actively seek to destroy you. I speak of no one else this way. Underneath the highfalutin flowery language and sweet talk lurks a demon the likes of which none of you know. You will see it all in the Fantabulist thread. And bear in mind, after that thread he contributed two smear articles to China Daily, both using my last name which was at the time confidential, even if sleuths could find it if they tried hard enough. That was an act of malice, of incandescent evil. Make no mistake. That is what this guy can do, and he is still doing it, just as before with no change except covering his tracks better. Go read the thread now, and tell me if in your heart of hearts you believe this is a person who speaks to you sincerely and who has complete control of his thoughts and emotions. Tell me if in your heart of hearts you feel this is a decent fellow you’d trust.

  102. pug_ster
    April 1st, 2009 at 16:01 | #102

    Richard, I don’t see what’s the problem with MAJ rehashing or rewording other people’s quotes. Maybe you don’t like his message, but that does not give you the right to kill the messenger. The problem is that I posted some stuff before and somehow it never gets posted. It sounds like the same kind of censorship that we have in China. In any case, there are better blogs out there than yours that welcomes everybody’s opinions.

  103. April 2nd, 2009 at 02:11 | #103

    Richard – I really am disappointed by this latest attack of yours. You’re talking about an event that happened back in 2004/5, and yes, I have apologised to you countless times, both publically and in private emails that I have sent you. So why can’t you forgive? Why the need to continue with all the attacks? What’s wrong with integrating quotations from both primary and secondary sources in order to create a discourse of my onw? Isn’t this what most writers of discourse do? On my China Discourse site, I even carefully footnote all of my sources. I really don’t understand why I am being attacked for writing detailed comments that cite all of my sources. It’s truly puzzling.

    Your claim here that I tried to destroy you is silly nonesense. I’m sorry this is the impression you got. Labelling me a “cyber ax murderer” is really harsh too. I’m really not as “evil” as you say I am.

    I really don;t understand why we can’t be friends. I’ve held out numerous olive branches to. why can’t you accept them? Why not give me another chance?

  104. April 2nd, 2009 at 02:45 | #104

    @richard,

    Thanks for crossing over here. You really ought to come over here more often! 😉

    A while ago, I had written this comment in response to people “digging out MAJ’s” skeletons:

    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?

    Contrast with what you had written in your blog:

    Again, I like MAJ. But when you blog, what you write is there for everyone to see, and if you get caught BS’ing, your crediblity is gone for good. This is a matter of lying. Deception. Fraud. And he’s a repeat offender. And not even the good “Dr.” Anne Myers can get him out of this mess. Sorry if this causes you a tad of embarrassment, Mark, but you left yourself wide open. I invite readers to comb the archives and find other instances of MAJ’s creative cut & paste capabilities. There’s a lot more where these few examples came from.

    I don’t run this blog – so what I say has no official sanction here.

    But I think I can understand how disruptive if someone were copying and pasting volumes of information in a way that stifles discussion (i.e. overloading everyone with so much thoughts while not processing others’ thoughts in the process) – I would consider that spamming.

    I can understand how disruptive if someone consistently distort facts and arguments – or make personal attacks – that would make the blog a less conducive forum for discussions.

    But MAJ did neither of these as far as I can tell.

    All he did was to present for arguments the only flaw of which seem to be they were “copied.”

    But is plagiarism in the blogging context that bad – especially when MAJ has never explicitly taken credit as his original – and had quickly apologized for any oversight about not attributing and promised to be more diligent?

    Since you’ve decided to follow up, I really would like to understand (blogger to blogger) why you go to the extent of using words like “lying,” “deception,” and “fraud” to characterize what MAJ did…. and to charge:

    To be permanently banned you must go beyond the Internet and actually try to destroy the blogger, to actually seek to cause them harm in their daily life, loss of livelihood, loss of friends and even permanent damage.

    What am I missing?

  105. April 2nd, 2009 at 02:48 | #105

    Richard – I really am disappointed by this latest attack of yours. You’re talking about an event that happened back in 2004/5, and yes, I have apologised to you countless times, both publically and in private emails that I have sent you. So why can’t you forgive? Why the need to continue with all the attacks? What’s wrong with integrating quotations from both primary and secondary sources in order to create a discourse of my own? Isn’t this what most writers of discourse do? On my China Discourse site, I even carefully footnote all of my sources. I really don’t understand why I am being attacked for writing detailed comments that cite all of my sources. It’s truly puzzling.

    Your claim here that I tried to destroy you is silly nonesense. I’m sorry this is the impression you got. Labelling me a “cyber ax murderer” is really harsh too. I’m really not as “evil” as you say I am.

    As for me using your full name in the article I wrote for China Daily – well, tweo things: (1) you yourself referred to yourself by your full name on the AV World site where you had posted your report on John Pomfret’s talk. That’s how I discovered your Peking Duck website in the first place. So how can you then accuse me of exposing your name? Others before (apart from yourself) had also referred to you by your full namem, as you know, as have others since. (2) Despite the fact, I have nevertheless apologised to you countless times for having offended you in this way.

    You accuse me here of having tried to “destroy” you – a claim I reject, yet it seems to me as though you’re trying to destroy me. I have never attacked you personally in the way that you are attacking me here. I have never labelled you a “psychopath with a keyboard’ as others have done. Never have I launched into an attempted assassination of your character. I did write two articles calling into question your excessive ethnocentrism, yes, but surely that’s a legitimate criticism. As far as I’m concerned it is. I don’t mind people attacking me for my ideas Richard, but your personal attacks are just plain nasty and unnecessary – you know it.

    I really don’t understand why we can’t be friends. I’ve held out numerous olive branches to you. Why can’t you accept them? Why not give me another chance? I’m prepared to forgive you for having encouraged the kind of cyber tribalism that amounts to bullying – posting a thread about me titled “The Fantabulist”, lifting a photo of a crying baby to accompany it, and then inviting the mob to go on the hunt, daggers and spears in hand.

    Peace out Richard!

  106. April 2nd, 2009 at 03:38 | #106

    Allen, please go here and read the single comment and follow the links.

    Your impression of what Madge did is rosy, to say the least. He tried to ruin my name and get me fired. I have warned you, the guy talks a great talk. I want to ask you the same exact questions I asked above, and if you give me a straight yes or no answer I’ll continue the dialogue and give you even more examples. Here are the questions:

    Go read the thread now, and tell me if in your heart of hearts you believe this is a person who speaks to you sincerely and who has complete control of his thoughts and emotions. Tell me if in your heart of hearts you feel this is a decent fellow you’d trust.

    Yes or no?

    Pugster, my blog sucks, I admit it. It’s a hobby. I force no one to go there. Funny, how you choose to still read it and comment there. No accounting for taste.

    Some bloggers like ESWN have no comments. I offer comments as a courtesy, and if I feel someone is abusing that courtesy I can reject their comment. Free speech. I have the freedom to run my blog erxactly as I see fit, be it with no comments, moderated comments or open comments. You in turn have complete freedom of speech and can set up your own blog and run it exactly as you’d like. I would say there is no blog – literally none – of any value that has complete and open comments except for 4chan, and you can go see what they’re like. As Tang Buxi and CLC well know, I never, ever delete comments I disagree with, only those that I see as being in bad faith or with malicious intent (like a couple of bxbq’s).

    I don’t interact with Madge. I don’t talk to demons. He’s all yours. Enjoy his studious “essays” and “deep thoughts,” and I’m glad to know you think it’s fine if they’re stolen, Allen, as long as it “doesn’t stifle conversation.” In that case, most plagiarism can be excused.

    Just so you can see the depth of the fiend’s “intellect,” here’s a line from the hilariously pretentious “book” he copied wrote:

    When Mr Guo, of the Polytechnic’s International Office, first told me that he wanted to take Xiaojing and I to visit a farm and ‘ancient water village’, I didn’t expect that he was referring to a mere simulacrum – but
    that’s exactly what the Chuanlord Holiday Manor Farm turned out to be:not a farm at all, but a Disneyfied theme park with ‘Chinese characteristics’.

    As a friend of mine remarked upon seeing this monstrosity, “How many serious authors try to drop a pretentious word like ‘simulacrum’ into a sentence when they can’t figure out the simple usage distinction between ‘I’ and ‘Me,’ as in take Xiaojing and I….’

    He does better when he’s pasting. And for the record,I didn’t want to open this wound again. I have been silent about it literally for years. But someone told me about this thread and I see MAJ is still up to his tricks and lies and innuendo, and he won’t let it rest. He says he wants “peace” while stirring up his the hornet’s nest of his own making. So if he insists on drawing first blood I’ll defend myself. If he makes claims about me and my site that are false I will defend myself.

    In closing, let me just repeat Allen’s own words above,as they left a deep impression on me and speak volumes as to how he views honesty and dialogue:

    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.

    Stealing others’ ideas verbatim and presenting them as your own is as low as you can go. You can try to justify this any way you’d like. But when you just use google to find an answer and paste it as though it’s your own brilliant idea, you are making a fool of your interlocutor. But tell me Allen, did you think it was cool, the way he invented Dr. Ann Meyers, had her comment at length on how brilliant Mark is, and request photos of other readers’ penises?

    As I said, he’s yours. Enjoy.

  107. zepplin
    April 2nd, 2009 at 04:03 | #107

    Richard,

    Did he misquote your blog? That would be slandering and indeed dangerous.

    MAJ,

    If you did not misquote Richard, I would love to read about “how many Chinese are in the habit of allowing their young children to defecate everywhere in public, and even on the floor of other peoples’ homes”. Could you provide a link?

  108. April 2nd, 2009 at 04:27 | #108

    Richard – be fair. My comments here are NOT stolen. I have synthesised a number of my readings to create discourses of my own. In doing so I now cite all of the sources I use. What is wrong with that? How is that stealing? It’s not stealing – it’s not plagiarism.

    Secondly, I NEVER tried to get you fired from your job. NEVER. That’s an outrageous lie, and again, you KNOW IT! I’m up to no tricks and lies and innuendo here on this site, or anywhere else for that matter. You’re just being unnecessarily nasty.

    As for your literary critisim, I should have indeed written “Xiaojing and me” rather than “Xiaojing and I”, but I prefer the sound of “Xiaojing and I” – as far as I am concerned, if I want to deviate from standard grammar, I will. James Joyce did so all the time (though I’m certainly not comparing myself to his literary genius).

    I really don’t know why you are being so vicious towards me. I haven’t bothered you or spoken ill of you since our 2005 dispute. I have even included your Peking Duck blog on my blog roll. I’ve made every effort to establish the peace, apologising to you countless times for my sins, yet still you carry on attacking me as if we were time-trapped.

    Again, I call on you to forgive and to forget, and I hope that we can normalise relations as soon as possible. If you’re not interested then fine, but there’s no need for you to make these kinds of personal attacks.

  109. April 2nd, 2009 at 05:15 | #109

    Yes Zepellin, he certainly did. He specifically referred to my site as a hate site, among many other slanders. And I repeat what I wrote above:

    And for the record,I didn’t want to open this wound again. I have been silent about it literally for years. But someone told me about this thread and I see MAJ is still up to his tricks and lies and innuendo, and he won’t let it rest. He says he wants “peace” while stirring up his the hornet’s nest of his own making. So if he insists on drawing first blood I’ll defend myself. If he makes claims about me and my site that are false I will defend myself.

    Madge’s modus operandi is no secret. Luckily he revealed his true self and his intentions, in startling detail, in the famous thread.. Just as a reminder of how this rare and radiant mind operates, here is a snip from when he was pretending to be Dr Ann Meyers:

    And one other thing that I find admirable about Mr Jones, is that, despite his controversial views on some subjects, he never writes under a fake identity. He is open and honest in sharing his opinions with the world, and is never afraid to write under his own true name. Anybody can email him, and anybody can track him down. He hides nothing. Not even his penis! (And I mean that not only metaphorically, but also literally, as he has shared with me, upon request, a number of revealing photographs – photos which themsleves reveal a full public exposure on open nudist beaches.)
    Posted by: Anne Myers at July 5, 2005 01:48 AM

    Isn’t that cool? Makes you wonder, how many “Ann Meyers” are there is this thread? With MAJ, you never know. Never. Plagiarism, sock puppetry, lying, slander, making fools of everyone – take your pick. He’s done it all. What a CV he’ll have.

    I really love this website. Pity to see its threads get taken over by a narcissist who is loving all the attention. (And I admit, by reacting I probably fell into his usual trap, but the truth must be told.)

  110. April 2nd, 2009 at 08:53 | #110

    Richard – the last paragraph in your comment above is very revealing. Your purpose in making these unprovoked personal attacks is motivated by a keen desire on your part to see me banned from posting comments on this site. But why should I be banned? For online behaviour that I exhibited four (almost 5) years ago elsewhere in cyberspace?

    I have, since our online dispute all those years ago, engaged in a number of productive online debates on various sites. I no longer have the kind of time that I had on my hands back in the days when I was a regular pain on your site, so I tend to engage only very occasionally in online debates. In fact, I can count the number of real online debates that I’ve had since 2005 on one hand. The first took place on the American Public Broadcasting Service online discussion forum set up to take comments in response to the television series, “China From The Inside”, back in January 2007. I did not plagiarise any of my comments on that site, nor did I leave any comments under other names. I did however, integrate many quotations from a good variety of sources – both from online sources and by typing in quotations from books and journal articles that I own in print – in order to support my arguments. This is not plagiarism as far as I’m concerned. In fact, this is how most students and academics produce works of discourse: they read a large variety of primary and secondary sources so that they can synthesise all of the various arguments to produce assessments of their own. It’s ridiculous of you, to be frank, to try to dismiss this way of constructing comments and essays as plagiarism. Just about every academic book and student essay ever written is plagiarised if this is how you define plagiarism.

    The style that I use to write the essays I have posted on my China Discourse website mirrors the style I used as a university student. None of the professors and doctors who assessed my research essays ever accussed me of plagiarism and more often than not they awarded me with High Distinctions. My Honours History thesis, which examined the differential treatment of men and women by the 18th century British criminal law courts, was likewise awarded a First Class. To be awarded even a pass, the thesis must be original. It was assessed by an Oxford scholar, and again, I constructed it in much the same way that I have constructed my China essays – I use my research skills to locate a variety of both primary and secondary sources, I then read them and synthesise the various arguments to construct assessments of my own, quoting from the various sources read to support my arguments.

    The response to my online debate with David Meanwell of the London-based Tibet Information Network on the PBS discussion forum, benefited us both, and I think a good number of people enjoyed keeping up with our discussion. Professor Suzanne Ogden, who is a China specialist who teaches at Northeastern University in Boston, left a comment on that discussion forum, addressed to me in response to my comments, which read:

    “Well done, M.A. Jones! A remarkably coherent and incisive commentary on the Tibet issue. Australia’s N.S.W. Department of Education and Training should be very pleased with you as an employee. China is lucky to have you as a teacher, and PBS is very fortunate to have had you participate in such an extended manner on this very important issue, which is usually misrepresented to the public. Tibet has become such a political issue that most commentators, not excluding academicians and journalists, lead with their emotional ideological commitments rather than with the facts and reality. I would just add to your many sources one author that should not be overlooked: Donald S. Lopez, Jr., who is an authority on Tibetan Buddhism and has written about it extensively.”

    You will find this comment on page two of the thread in question, and anybody you suspects me of having written this comment myself can easily track down an email address for S. Ogden, and ask her themselves whether or not she posted the comment.

    She hardly regarded my style of constructing comments as plagiarism, or as in any way lacking in originality.

    Only last week, Professor Daniel A. Bell, another Chinese specialist who currently teaches at Tsinghua University, left a comment on my China Discourse site in response to my essay on human rights. He was alerted to my site by Kate Merkel-Hess, another China specialist who edits the China Beat blog. This is what he wrote:

    “Dear Mr. Jones,

    Thanks for your interesting and well-written essays. I generally agree with your perspective and there is further support for your point that East Asians generally value communal solidarity more than Westerners from political value surveys carried out by Asian Barometer.

    I’m impressed by the thoroughness of your research on China and human rights. But if you want to read more on the philosophy and the history of human rights thinking in China, I’d recommend Stephen Angle’s book on the topic published a few years ago (by Cambridge University Press, forget title) and on China’s recent human rights development I’d recommend articles by WANG Shaoguang published in Modern China and Boundary (all in 2008).

    Good luck with your research! Now I must return to my student papers.

    Best regards,
    Daniel A. Bell
    Philosophy Department, Humanity School, Tsinghua University, Beijing.”

    Rather than dismissing my essays as lacking in originality or as being merely a string of quotes, he instead described them as being “interestng”, “well-written” and “thoroughly researched”. And again, anyone suspecting me of being Professor Bell can easily track down his email and ask him for themselves whether or not he wrote the above comment.

    Likewise, Professor Jeffrey Wasserstrom, another China specialist and co-editor of the China Beat blog, occasionally corresponds with me via email and last December he sent me a copy of his new book on Shanghai for me to review. My review was published by the George Mason University’s History News Network site. Again, I employed my usual writing style, integrating quotations not only from his book, but also from other works like Marshall Berman’s “All That Is Solid Melts Into Air”. The editors had no problems with my style. They accepted my submission, praising my review in their email to me as being “very nicely crafted.” Jeff Wasserstom said the same thing in an email he sent me, dated 8/12/08:

    “Wow, that’s not just a very flattering review but a very smart one as well, much more of an engagement with the book’s themes. It is also just a nice piece of writing.”

    I have the email in my inbox, should anyone doubt my honesty! I’ll most probably me meeting up with Professor Wasserstrom here in Sydney this coming July, as I’ll be attending a conference on China at the University of Sydney that he will be addressing.

    Richard – you will no doubt be familiar with the past contributor to your Peking Duck site who wrote under the name of Sojourner. He too happens to be a professional academic historian, based at a university in Hong Kong. Rather than dismissing my comments and essays as being little more than a string of quotes, he too finds them engaging, though unlike Ogden and Bell, he disagrees with my overall assessments. Sojourner was around at the height of our online war of four-to-five years ago and at the time was well aware of the fact that I had referred to you by your full name in the article I wrote that was published by the China Daily – yet he was long ago able to forgive me for my sins. He trusts me enough now to send me photos of himself and his family on vacations, he trusted me enough long ago to reveal to me his full name and workplace, and he has even sent me a draft chapter of his forthcoming book to read over and to comment on – I won’t mention the title of the book, as that may give away his identity, but I can tell you that it examines British textual representations of China and the Chinese from the years 1880-1940. Sojourner isn’t concerned then, about any possibility of me plagiarisnig his yet to be published work. Why should he be? If Sojourner can forgive and forget, and even open his heart and engage with me as a friend, then Richard why can’t you I wonder? After all, he had just cause to be angry with me too at once stage during that Fantabulist period, as I did steal his handle, posting a few comments on your site under his name! He no longer has any hard feelings, for he recognised that entire episode for what it was – me behaving badly under pressure, with my back against the wall, under attack for an assortment of behaviours that I both did and didn’t commit.

    But back to my post-Fantabulist online debates. Apart from the PBS discussion forum debate with David Meanwell, I also engaged in two separate debates with Amban on the China Law Blog, almost two years ago now. Amban was yet another contributor to your Peking Duck blog back in the days of the Fantabulist outbreak, and yet he too was able to engage with me in a few friendly and productive debates – one about claims of cannibalism in China during the Cultural Revolution, the other about the events that took place in Beijing back in June 1989. He accepted the legitimacy and value of me integrating quotations from a variety of sources in order to support my arguments. Why wouldn’t he? That’s how most people write non-fiction. He pretty much won the first debate, by the way, which should please you!

    The only other online debate that I have had the time to engage in since our initial dispute was the one I had very recently here on this site, which was on the issue of Tibet. Most people here, apart from FOARP (another of your Peking Duck contributors from the days of the Fantabulist beat-up) appear to have valued my contributions to the discussion. They seem not to have any problems with me presenting lengthy and detailed comments with quotatons from various sources integrated into them to support my assessments. I really don’t see why you or FOARP should have a problem with my comments here either.

    I really don’t understand why you have suddenly decided to launch this attack. I certainly haven’t done or said anything to provoke it. It seems to me as though you are just being nasty – that you are acting out of spite and for revenge. This is just not necessary Richard. I have apologised to you countless times for having failed to always adequately cite my use of sources back during the pre-Fantabulist thread days and I have since taken the care to cite all my sources whenever leaving comments on other sites so as to avoid more allegations of plagiarism. Yet still you keep on making them!

    I also apologised to you for having referred to you in my China Daily article by your full name, even though it could be reasonably argued that I hadn’t commited an offense, since you had already identified yourself as the owner of the Peking Duck site by your full name on the AV World site, and since others had also referred to you by your full name prior to the writing and publication of my China Daily article – Simon World and Ariel both did for starters. I was hardly revealing a secret then, was I? Still, I apologised nevertheless in the interest of normalising our relationship.

    In my China Daily article I criticised you and a few other bloggers for what I personally regard as excessive ethnocentrism. I think my argument is a reasonable one to make publically. You have never forgiven me for that, and still today, all these years after the event, you continue to alert people to your Fantabulist thread wherever you find me leaving comments! Some might see this constant and long-lasting lust for revenge as a good example of online bullying, especially when you make your attacks so personal and vicious, describing me as a “cyber ax murderer” and accusing me of having tried to get you sacked from your job, etc. I have NEVER tried to get you sacked from your job. Soon after the China Daily article was published, you publically accused me of sending a letter to one of your past employers exposing to them the nature of your sexuality in an effort to get you sacked or to damage your reputation. This is absolutely NOT true, and I take great offence to this claim. Most of my friends from high school and university are gay and each year I support them by accompanying them to the Sydney gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Some of my closest colleagues at school are also gay and in my book I attack the Dalai Lama for his homophobia. The suggestion that I would try to use your sexuality against you is outrageous! I can only assume that you made this story up as part of your smear campaign against me, though I am prepared (being so generous as I am) to entertain the suggestion that somebody else may have made such an attempt, and that you honestly assumed that person to most probably have been me. If this is the case, then you are mistaken. We have discussed this in the past, yet still you continue to publically accuse me of having tried to get you sacked from your job. How ironic then, that you should dare to accuse me here of having been guilty of slander!

    Richard, your claim that I tried to get your blog banned in China is also silly. As if I ever had that much power or influence! Who do you think I am I wonder? I do vaguely recall somebody making this ridiculous claim back during the China Daily article/Fantabulist period, and I may have responded mockingly by agreeing to have had such an agenda, but really….? Are you that naive to have taken any such claims I may (or may not) have made with any degree of seriousness?

    Come on Richard, give me a break for once. Nealry five years have passed, so why keep all of this silly nonesense alive? Why are you, after all of this time, still so vindictive and out for revenge? When you attack me now, unprovoked and so viciously for online behaviours that I commited four to five years ago and for which I have already apologised countless times, then your start to emit the smell of hypocrisy. Can’t you see the irony in harrassing me now for behaviours I exhibited four to five years ago?

    Richard – I have apologised to you countless times, I have asked for your forgiveness and I have pretty much left you and your site alone for the last four to five years – apart from leaving a small number of comments on your site, some of which you allowed, others you deleted. None of the comments I tried to leave over the past four to five years were in any way nasty or even verbose.

    None of the comments I have left here on this site or on other sites post-Fantabulist period are plagiarised, despite your silly claims to the contrary, and I think that most people here (as has been the case elsewhere) can see that very clearly for themselves.

    So I have a suggestion to make. I hope you’ll give it some serious consideration. I have already forgiven you for inviting your readers to form a tribal group of bullies, and for having depicted me so crudely as being a cry baby and a plagiarist. After all, I did deserve to be criticised and to be taken to task for my failure to always adequately cite my sources, and especially for experimenting mischieviously as I did with cyber-fictives. But given that I have already apologised countless times for these two sins, and given also that I have since taken great care to cite carefully my use of sources and have refrained from posting comments under other names, then I think I’m deserving of a second chance. Others long ago decided to give me such a chance (as I mentioned earlier in this comment) and from what I can tell, none of them to date have felt disappointed or let down.

    As to the issue of me having referred to you by your full name – again, I have apologised many times for that already even though it could reasonably be argued that this didn’t constitute any real offense. You will no doubt beg to differ on that one, which is why I apologised, so let us move on. I do not expect you to apologise to me in return for all of the heartache you have caused me – inviting online mobs to go on the attack, accusing me of crimes I did not commit, and for labelling me still a plagiarist for comments and essays that are clearly in no way plagiarised.

    You do not need to ask for my forgiveness, as I have already fogiven you. If you can not find it in your heart to forgive me for my part in the dispute, for all of the sins I have commited against you, then there is nothing I can do. We both miss out on the chance to start again, and on the potential for a vibrant and productive online friendship. I take two-thirds of the blame for the breakdown of our online friendship, which is why I am always keen to extent to you an olive branch.

    If you’re not interested in being friends, then I ask only this much of you: please kindly refrain from launching into more unprovoked personal attacks. There’s no need for it after all these years.

    Thanks for your patience in reading this all the way through, and again, I really do hope that we can one day become friends again.

  111. April 2nd, 2009 at 09:18 | #111

    One last thing – Richard is very fond of leaving links to his Fantabulist thread wherever I post comments. It’s worth pointing out that Richard has himself in the past been accused of poor online behaviour. One disgruntled ex-friend of his wrote a series of posts detailing his dispute with Richard, referring to Richard by his full name (well before my China Daily article was written and published) titled “Sociopaths with Keyboards”. The address is here: http://urielw.com/chinablsph1.htm

    There are always at least two sides to every story, so we should, to be fair on Richard, take Uriel’s claims with a pinch of salt, recognising that they both no doubt had legitimate grievances against one another.

  112. April 2nd, 2009 at 09:50 | #112

    Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case. Be sure to read the comments. Birds of a feather.

  113. April 2nd, 2009 at 10:03 | #113

    Richard, I’m very sorry to hear about Uriel’s death. According to his website, he died from lymphoma, which is a type of cancer. There is no mention that he suffered from a mental health problem as you claim on your site, but he may very well have for all I know. The comments left on your site in response to his passing seem to indicate that he most probably did have some mental health issues.

    It doen’t necessarily follow, however, that his grievances against you were totally baseless. It usually always takes two to tango. When one apologises, one normally hopes for reciprocation though. Belief in redemption and mutual forgiveness are such important qualities, don’t you agree?

    In any case, I trust that you have read carefully my above comment, and that you will consider normalising relations with me.

  114. April 2nd, 2009 at 10:50 | #114

    One more thing Richard – you justify your outrageous and unprovoked attacks against me here on this site, on this thread, by saying that “for the record, I didn’t want to open this wound again” but “someone told me about this thread and I see MAJ is still up to his tricks and lies and innuendo, and he won’t let it rest.”

    What tricks? What lies? What innudendo? What have I said on this website exactly, that has offended you so much? As far as I can tell, I have done absolutely nothing wrong, have said absolutely nothing false about you or anyone else on this site to date.

    Again, I really am very puzzled.

  115. April 2nd, 2009 at 11:07 | #115

    Also Richard – you say: “Pity to see” the threads on this site “get taken over by a narcissist who is loving all the attention.”

    Where have I ever taken over any threads on this site, or any other sites post-Fantabulist? I have only had the time and inclination to post a few comments on this site to date, though they have been detailed. But the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

    Your claim that I have taken over threads here is just plain ridiculous! It could be argued, however, that you and I are hijacking this thread now in order to have this dispute. But who started the dispute here? Not me. And naturally, when people come along and make unprovoked and unreasonalbe personal attacks, I’m going to feel compelled to defend myself against the charges.

    I’m sorry to the owner of this site, and to all of the regular readers here, that this dispute has erupted here on this site, compromising the quality discussion. Perhaps ALL comments that deviate from the topic ought to be from now on simply deleted. That way outsiders with old axes to grind cannot hijack discussions.

  116. Sympathetic
    April 2nd, 2009 at 12:01 | #116

    Terrible. What are some of the other sites Richard has used to spam links to The Fantabulist? (First time I heard such a word). Did you actually write that stuff or is he making it up? I’m presuming it’s the latter.

  117. April 2nd, 2009 at 12:33 | #117

    Sympathetic – somebody anonymously left a link either yesterday or today on the China Beat in response to a plug they gave me for my site. It may not have been Richard, but the timing suggests it most probably was given his outburst here. The first time I left a comment on Inside-Out China somebody posted a comment immediately afterwards warning the owner about me, and linking to the Fantabulist thread. FOARP did the same when I first started commenting here. When I first started commenting on the China Law blog people tried to get me banned, but the owner refused, coming to my defense. Wherever I go, the distant past seems follows me!

    Did I write the stuff on the Fantabulist thread? Most of what appears under my name I did write, although some of the comments were written by others using my name. I can’t complain too much about that though, as I was the one who set the ball rolling by creating cyber-fictives in the first place.

    What annoys me though, is the way that Richard acts as though butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. He conveniently forgets the fact that that whole situation snowballed partly because of his provocations, along with the provocations of his tribe. I take two-thirds responsibility for all that mess, and I have apologised countless times for it. Richard has not once ever acknowledged any of his poor online behaviours exhibited in dispute with me.

    I just don’t understand why Richard can’t forgive, and why he should make such a sudden and unprovoked attack against me here on this site and at this point in time. It’s unnecessarily nasty and uncalled for, and ironic coming from him, given his charges against me. He’s behaving like a cyber bully, it seems. I really don’t understand why we can’t put the past behind us and normalise relations. We don’t see eye to eye on most China-related issues, but we do have some common ground, and just because we differ in our assessments doesn’t mean that we can’t agree to disagree and behave amicably towards one another.

  118. Otto Kerner
    April 5th, 2009 at 03:08 | #118

    Mark Anthony Jones, #59:

    I do think that I misunderstood you, at least in part. I quite agree with the hope that the Tibet issue can be extracted from under the weight of modern political ideas about state sovereignty. I don’t think an honest reading of history can describe Tibet’s political status during the Qing without recourse to a concept like suzerainty. That concept, however, does not exist in conventional thought about modern international law. I suggested (in so many words) bringing it back in an earlier post about the Tibet situation. It did not meet with the approbation of most of the more sino-nationalist crowd (I could probably have phrased the same idea in a more compelling way). The question, then, is how to get there from here? Tibetan nationalism in any kind of modern sense is entirely reactive, and the 800 lb. gorilla in the room is the modernised concept of Chinese nationalism. Less Tibetan nationalism — or semi-nationalism, pseudo-nationalism, whatever — by itself would be sort of a unilateral disarmament in the face of the kind of aggressive nationalism practiced by states.

    (As an aside, I think that some parties sometimes misunderstand the concept of “imagined communities” to mean that people’s concepts of nation are readily malleable — at least, I hope that is a misunderstanding of Anderson’s point. The word “imagined” can be taken to imply something that is fleeting or fanciful, like a daydream. On the other hand, I would say that most what constitutes are lives is imagined, but that doesn’t mean we are not committed to the things we imagine to be important.)

    I’m sure we also agree in principle that the way forward is a realistic view of the situation, based in recognition of the fact that Beijing has the upper hand. I also think that the Tibetan exiles’ suggestions for compromise so far have been insufficient, and they should be encouraged to compromise more (I count among the compromises the obvious fact that reforms in Tibet must be about empowering the Tibetan people and not at all about restoring the exiles to power, which may or may not be what they secretly desire). That said, I still think that, as far as how we talk about this when we discuss, it’s important that this should not lead us to rhetorically make it the Tibetans’ problem to fix. The exiles’ efforts at compromise have been insufficient, but the Chinese efforts at compromise have been non-existent. The answer to the question, “how do you negotiate when you are weak?” is “very carefully”. Just making concessions doesn’t accomplish anything; they need to make concessions carefully and something must be gotten in return.

    What makes me pessimistic is that, as you say, Beijing must be reassured that their sovereign claims to the region are not under threat from separatists. How can they be convinced of this? If the separatist problem is a top-down phenomenon, it is theoretically possible to achieve this, by building trust between the Tibetan leaders and Beijing to the point where Beijing believes the Tibetans have too much to lose by breaking promises. But, if separatist politics bubble up from the public, then there’s no one to make a deal with. How sure would the people in Beijing be that they know the difference, anyway? For this reason, the central government might prefer a dictatorship of exile elites to an actual democratisation of Tibet — in a dictatorship, they have someone they can hold accountable for what happens. That would be a real restoration of the 17-point agreement (let’s remember that there’s nothing in the 17-point agreement about democracy or elections, or even free speech and civil rights), but I doubt that could happen any time soon.

  119. April 5th, 2009 at 05:07 | #119

    Otto – you wrote: “the central government might prefer a dictatorship of exile elites to an actual democratisation of Tibet…”

    Yes, you are no doubt correct in assuming that. And yes, this was indeed the basis behind the Seventeen-Point Agreement, which the Dalai Lama himself was originally quite happy to go along with.

    You also write: “I’m sure we also agree in principle that the way forward is a realistic view of the situation, based in recognition of the fact that Beijing has the upper hand. I also think that the Tibetan exiles’ suggestions for compromise so far have been insufficient, and they should be encouraged to compromise more…”

    Again, we agree.

    However, I’m not sure you are factually correct in saying that “the Chinese efforts at compromise have [to date] been non-existent.” Insufficent, yes. “Non-existent”, no. The Seventeen-Point Agreement was a compromise in itself, and what about the “over-representaion” of Tibetans in government, that even Tsering Shakya recognises? What about the funding of restoration projects (particularly of monasteries) and what we in Australia refer to as “positive discrimination” when it comes to birth control policies, higher education entrance requirements, etc? Are these not long-term policies designed to help Tibetans prosper? Were these not the policy results of post-1980s reform – a compromised position adopted in response to openly acknowledged failures?

  120. Nimrod
    April 5th, 2009 at 07:32 | #120

    MAJ, good points on the issue of compromise. I think for this issue, baseline is very important … in determining whether one side or the other has been engaging in compromise. If you look at the maximalist position that the exile Tibetans could take as baseline, then yes certainly they have made great compromises, at least rhetorically. In terms of action, I am not as convinced, although compared to armed struggle of the 1950’s-1960’s I suppose it is an improvement. Similarly, if you take the the maximalist position that Beijing could take as baseline, then Beijing has compromised a lot also.

    On a separate note, I think that if the exile’s side really believes that Tibet ultimately should stay in China, then it is clear that the best improvements to the system is from within. The existence of a competing exile community, especially one that is coupled with foreign influence, is really making the situation in Tibet worse. One can speculate how things migiht have turned out if there had never been an exile community, or maybe just never a DL as this one. Or even if there was an external Tibetan community but they were content with themselves (which indeed exist, in the form of Nepal or Bhutan). I believe in such a case, Tibetans would be materially, politically, socially, religious all better off than they are now, thus reducing most of the current complaints. Somewhat ironic, perhaps. But, Tibetan nationalism wouldn’t have been built up as much or stoked to this extent, so perhaps in the exiles’ eyes that would be “losing identity”. I disagree since I don’t think in a multi-ethnic country nationalism should define your ethnic identity, rather than cultural and religious practices. On language and identity issues, there’d be more assimilation, surely. I think that’s entirely benign, but to share this view, you’d have to believe in the multi-ethnic state and whatever naturally occurs in it.

  121. April 5th, 2009 at 12:09 | #121

    Nimord – I generally agree with all that you said in your comment above. Tibetans, as you say, “would be materially, politically, socially [and] religiously better off than they are now,” had there been no foreign-funded separatist movement. Restrictions on even religious activities have for decades been somewhat more relaxed in Khamdo for example, where separatists don’t exercise an active stronghold – although Kham was of course, in the late 1950s, the main centre of separatist activity.

  122. Otto Kerner
    April 6th, 2009 at 01:31 | #122

    Mark Anthony Jones,

    Yes, you’re right that, taking a historical view, my statement “Chinese efforts at compromise have been non-existent” was an exaggeration. Certainly, the central government was interested in compromise back in 1951, when they came up with the 17-point agreement (I’m not sure who says the Dalai Lama was happy to accept it, though — he almost went into exile at that time). And Deng Xiaoping said he was willing to compromise in 1979, and then some healthy policies were enacted during the 1980s. I’m not aware of any interest from the government in making any compromises since about 1995 at the latest.

    The looser restrictions on haivng children and the positive discriminaton are certainly better than nothing. I’m not sure about this “over-representation”. Are Tibetans over-represented in positions of authority in the government, or are they over-represented in positions that are only for show? If the latter, I don’t really see what good that does anybody. They have certainly been under-represented in the position of TAR party chief.

  123. Otto Kerner
    April 6th, 2009 at 02:18 | #123

    @Mark Anthony Jones, re: #88,

    Although the Karmapa’s current situation is awkward, I think this is the first time I’ve ever heard anyone describe it as a kidnapping. The reason for this is that Ogyen Trinley Dorje’s supporters tend to be quite pro-Dalai Lama since his approval is important in their contest with the supporters of the other 17th Karmapa. The Karmapa and the Dalai Lama are normally seen as allies. So, I’m not sure what your source is for saying that this “is certainly the view of most Black Hat monks” (I’m not exactly sure what “Black Hat monks” means, but I think this is the same as what is more commonly called the Karma Kagyu school). The Karmapa’s movements has been restricted since he arrived in India in 2000, and he continues to live at a Gelug monastery since then. However, the conventional view is that this is because of security restrictions placed on him by the Indian government. Also, he presumably wanted to return to the 16th Karmapa’s exile seat in Sikkim, but that property is tied up in an interminable legal battle in Indian courts. Even so, according to this article in January, he is going to go ahead and build a new home monastery near Dharamsala.

    Based on their public statements, both Karmapas appear to support the Dalai Lama’s political position.

    I’m familiar with Yoichi Shimatsu’s work on the Karmapa issue from Erik Curren’s book on the situation. What he writes is quite interesting; however, I have yet to find any other sources that corroborate his assertions, and I’m not sure how reliable he is. I don’t read Japanese, so maybe there is more material in that language from other writers who do corroborate him. His article on the Black Hats vs. Gelugs in Tibet, in particular, seems to describe a development dramatic enough that I would have expected to at least see some references to it in other Tibet news.

  124. April 6th, 2009 at 04:58 | #124

    Otto – I appreciate your last comment. I am not aware of any other sources that corroborate Shimatsu’s work either, though I haven’t really gone in search of any. It’s very possible, as you say, that he may not be totally accurate in what he reports.

    The Karma Kagyu is indeed known as the ‘Black Hat sect’. My source for all of this information was Shimatsu’s article – but again, he may not have all of his facts correct when claiming that most Black Hats view the Dalai Lama with hostility over the alleged kidnapping.

    More research into this issue is clearly needed.

  125. Nimrod
    April 6th, 2009 at 18:44 | #125

    Otto #122,

    There has been these tactical adjustments by both sides on negotiations over the years. There is some cyclic rhythm to it, talks go on for a while, DL thinks it doesn’t go his way, then DL stirs things up with Tibetans in China and applies pressure through foreign lobbying, then maybe there is some violence followed by clampdown and breakdown of talks, then things calm down, and more talks are held. Now some people say the Chinese are not sincere in these talks, but I don’t know what to make of this. I’d imagine their negotiating position should be pretty clear by now, whereas DL seems to change his tune every several months. Perhaps he doesn’t understand the significance of status quo in diplomacy. I tend to think he wants 1959 back, in sort of a do-over, whether it is a bid for independence or “genuine autonomy”.

    Change to Tibet’s status quo happened several times. The Cultural Revolution was one case. In the 1980s, with rolling back of extreme policies back to pre-Cultural Revolution times and then following Deng’s original line of development all over China, China possibly really considered the possiblity of DL returning. For Tibet pre-Cultural Revolution times was basically a time of DL in TAR. With some rehabilitation of DL, the climate was right for some kind of “genuine automony” that DL only now demands. I think that would have worked out back then which was why Deng said anything but independence could be discussed — DL often brings that up now in regret and accuses Beijing of betraying that, with some indignant tone I might add. In any case, by 1995 — the riots of 1988 had happened, DL had internationalized the Tibetan issue, Deng was almost dead — that door finally closed, that line of policy was done, and China moved on with its own plan of development and DL was not going to be in the picture any more. The new status quo definitely moving beyond 1959 was going to be created from modernization, under the Western China Great Development Plan — infrastructure and commerce, just like it had been done in the rest of China earlier. The results speak for themselves. It was also a period of great Tibetan cultural renaissance, as Tibetan music, crafts, and religion found a new market in mainland China, and some Tibetans who had gone overseas began returning. So you’re right that things have been dramatically different from that point on. The status quo changed to one where it was no longer practical for Tibet to be “autonomous” from the rest of China in the DL-circa-1959 sense.

    So what kind of compromises would China make under these circumstances? There are some serious problems in Tibet, but these are more and more internal problems. China is following in the model of post-TAM mainland China where relentless development mutes political conflicts. For anybody in the developing world, livelihood is always the most pressing concern, as it should be. There is also recent policy that says everybody (exiles) is welcome to go back to Tibet and participate in this development (some will, some won’t, just like people who took part in TAM). I suppose the same applies to DL, too. So, while I sit here thinking about what the outcome of a negotiation between exile Tibetans and a Beijing that compromises would look like, I think of what compromises Beijing could make with its most vocal overseas dissidents… I really don’t have an answer.

  126. JXie
    April 6th, 2009 at 21:46 | #126

    I tend to think [DL] wants 1959 back, in sort of a do-over, whether it is a bid for independence or “genuine autonomy”.

    Oh, he wants a whole lot more. His starting point of Tibet isn’t TAR but rather the “Great Tibet”. There is a map:

    http://www.ciolek.com/WWWVLPages/TibPages/Map/tibet-map3.gif

    Bear in mind, here is the map of Qing — pay attention to Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunan:

    http://www.chinaknowledge.de/History/Qing/mapQing.JPG

    Yes, some of the areas outside of TAR have been populated by mostly ethnic Tibetans, but some other areas haven’t been so for a very long time.

  127. Otto Kerner
    April 7th, 2009 at 00:29 | #127

    JXie,

    I always wonder where these maps come from — any reason to believe that first map was produced by the government-in-exile? If not, this doesn’t tell us anything about their position on the more questionable border areas. Except for a little wiggle room at the edges, this is unquestionably a map of ethnic Tibet — that’s where Tibetans live. Contrary to popular belief, there hasn’t been a lot of demographic change in the last 50 years. The parts of Kham in Yunnan now have a lot of Hans living in them, and there were always a lot of non-Tibetan minorities living there, Northeastern Qinghai is probably also gone for good. The rest of that land is still majority-Tibetan.

    Historical Qing maps don’t mean anything. The Tibetan parts of Qinghai and Kham were never reliably under the control of the provincial governments or of the Lhasa government — they were ruled by local chiefs and princes. The provincial boundaries are just lines drawn on maps.

    That said, the Dalai Lama’s negotiating position of trying to get all that land combined under one Tibetan government is quite unrealistic. I think he is impelled to continue with it because of political concerns having to do with his supporters in exile. I would bet cash money that he is more than willing to abandon demands for Greater Tibet if offered a favorable resolution for the TAR. This is exactly the sort of maneuver Beijing should be trying to separate the less radical Tibetan dissidents from the more radical.

  128. Otto Kerner
    April 7th, 2009 at 00:49 | #128

    @Nimrod,

    “I’d imagine their negotiating position should be pretty clear by now, whereas DL seems to change his tune every several months.”

    Simply restating your initial position over and over certainly does not constitute “negotiations”, and it hardly constitutes “talks”. So, your description of the cycle by which, “talks go on for a while, DL thinks it doesn’t go his way, then DL stirs things up with Tibetans in China and applies pressure through foreign lobbying” really seems quite bizarre. Has the Chinese government ever expressed any interest in talking to anybody about political reforms in Tibet? No, they want to talk about the Dalai Lama’s personal residency. Since political reform is the entirety of what the Dalai Lama says he wants to talk about, he could hardly fail to be disappointed, given that the other side has no interest in discussing that subject. And, being an intelligent person, I’m sure you are aware that there is no evidence of the Dalai Lama stirring up violence in Tibet, so you may want explain or clarify what you meant by that.

    “I think that would have worked out back then which was why Deng said anything but independence could be discussed”

    Didn’t a Chinese foreign ministry official recently deny that Deng ever said that?

    “The results speak for themselves.”

    Oh, indeed they do. I, too, saw the happy Tibetans dancing their ethnic dances on Serfs Emancipation Day, and the meaning of it was obvious.

  129. Otto Kerner
    April 7th, 2009 at 00:56 | #129

    “So what kind of compromises would China make under these circumstances?”

    I would suggest that a fine compromise would be to implement the Basic Law of Hong Kong in the TAR, complete with functional constituencies and everything. They could even bring in judges from Hong Kong for a while to help establish an independent judiciary, if a shortage of qualified Tibetans presents itself at first. This is really a much better system than what is practiced in mainland China, so it should really be implemented throughout the country (“one country, one system”), but that would be even more politically inconceivable. The need to implement it in Tibet can be justified in Marxist terms because Tibet never went through a capitalist phase, which is supposed to be a prerequisite for the socialist phase. Of course, that argument applies, again, to the whole country, but I’m sure Hu Jintao Discourse (or whatever) could find an adequate explanation for this apparent discrepancy.

  130. Wahaha
    April 7th, 2009 at 03:15 | #130

    I would suggest that a fine compromise would be to implement the Basic Law of Hong Kong in the TAR, complete with functional constituencies and everything….

    ________________________

    Under DL and his followers, this implementation would take centuries ….

  131. Wahaha
    April 7th, 2009 at 03:24 | #131

    admin,

    This forum is dying.

    We and Westerners here can hardly find anything we both agree.

    On democratic issue, westerners are not willing to face the problems caused by their ‘wonderful’ system; and when we try to explain to them, we become advocates of communism or nationalists.

    On Tibet issue, well, they keep talking about ‘music’, we keep talking about ‘food’. We are never on the same page.

    have a good nite.

  132. Nimrod
    April 7th, 2009 at 05:59 | #132

    Otto Kerner,

    “I would bet cash money that he is more than willing to abandon demands for Greater Tibet if offered a favorable resolution for the TAR. This is exactly the sort of maneuver Beijing should be trying to separate the less radical Tibetan dissidents from the more radical.”

    I don’t think you’ve placed the divide correctly between the two groups. The moderates believe in segregated “autonomy” for Greater Tibet. The radicals believe in “independence” for Greater Tibet. What you’re suggesting is dividing exiles into regional factions, after all, they have a precarious power sharing arrangement. I don’t think Khampas would jump on board without Greater Tibet, their self-proclaimed zealous love for DL’s wisdom notwithstanding.

    “Except for a little wiggle room at the edges, this is unquestionably a map of ethnic Tibet — that’s where Tibetans live. Contrary to popular belief, there hasn’t been a lot of demographic change in the last 50 years. The parts of Kham in Yunnan now have a lot of Hans living in them, and there were always a lot of non-Tibetan minorities living there, Northeastern Qinghai is probably also gone for good. The rest of that land is still majority-Tibetan.”

    The “wiggle room” is not given by simple geographic boundaries. In practice, Muslim (in Qinghai) and Han (in Sichuan) congregate in major urban areas in mixed residence with Tibetans and other minorities all over these areas, whereas monastic towns and surrounding valleys are where Tibetans have definitive clusters. This whole area is a bunch of dots on the map, not some solid bloc with clear divisions.

    “Historical Qing maps don’t mean anything. The Tibetan parts of Qinghai and Kham were never reliably under the control of the provincial governments or of the Lhasa government — they were ruled by local chiefs and princes. The provincial boundaries are just lines drawn on maps.”

    Wait, so instead, DL’s maps mean something and are not lines drawn on maps? So can China draw a map of the world wherever there are Han Chinese (now or even just historically) and demand “genuine autonomy” under Hu Jintao? The Tibetan identity as a national one is recent. In many places, the distant relationship to Lhasa, if it existed (travel was on yaks), was purely religious. In terms of other ethnic markers, lots of these people in Qinghai and Sichuan are in fact Qiangic. And no, the provincial boundaries are not just lines drawn on maps, these people paid taxes to the Qing emperor and they see this as to their advantage in their various feuds with other monasteries and sects.

    “Didn’t a Chinese foreign ministry official recently deny that Deng ever said that?”

    I seriously doubt officials would outright “deny” something if Deng said it, but they probably made statements to the effect that it was no longer the operating assumption. As I said, that book has been closed.

    “Oh, indeed they do. I, too, saw the happy Tibetans dancing their ethnic dances on Serfs Emancipation Day, and the meaning of it was obvious.”

    Serf Emancipation Day aside (and I don’t see a refutation that serfs were emancipated, but that’s a lot time ago, one can’t rest on those laurels), I’d say with new developments come new complaints, but can you honestly say Tibetans are doing worse than they were before? I’m pretty sure in 1988 the situation was worse. Yes, some Tibetans say last year’s riots had broader participation, but they themselves credit this to the infrastructure put in place by China such that Tibetans of various regions that never communicated with each other now had a viable common national identity. Ironic isn’t it? One would think that China, far from committing ethnic genocide, has actually been promoting pan-Tibetan identity.

    And, being an intelligent person, I’m sure you are aware that there is no evidence of the Dalai Lama stirring up violence in Tibet, so you may want explain or clarify what you meant by that.

    What kind of evidence do you want? That DL signed a document saying “stir up trouble”? Really? Use your common sense. DL (or those who have his ear) frequently coordinates with various Tibetan independence groups like TYC, on their activities. The exile government itself organizes various events like this, and through various programs encourages some people to go back to Tibet and essentially make converts to their cause. If you want to believe DL knows nothing about this or has no control over this network of people, you’d be quite naive. Indeed, from time to time, he exercises control over them and boasts about it. It was he who turns these floods on and off like a spigot before and after the Olympics, like stopping the “March to Tibet” when he wanted or — don’t some Tibetans claim that DL banned all fur-wearing among Tibetans everywhere with one speech?

  133. may
    April 7th, 2009 at 07:21 | #133

    according to zhu weiqun, this is what Deng actually said:

    http://www.china.com.cn/zhibo/2008-11/10/content_16739572.htm?show=t

    # 日本共同社记者:

    达赖喇嘛方过去多次说过,70年代末达赖喇嘛代表见到邓小平先生的时候,邓小平先生说过,如果他不主张西藏独立,所有的问题都可以谈。请问,邓小平是否真的这样说过?你承认他的说法吗?如果你承认,现在的政策和邓小平先生的说法不一致吗?

    # 朱维群:

    您的这个提问恰恰也是甲日·洛迪先生多次向我提出的。邓小平同志没有说过这样的话,甲日捏造的这个话是对邓小平同志有关讲话的极大歪曲。邓小平的原话是说:“最关键的是西藏是不是中国的一部分,你们是站在一个所谓的独立国家的立场上同我们来谈,还是站在西藏是中国的一部分这个立场上来同我们谈。”

    既然讲到邓小平同志,我想顺便请大家注意,回去好好读读《邓小平文选》(第三卷)他同美国前总统卡特先生的一番讲话。邓小平说:西藏的地方很大,人口很少,汉族和其他民族有更多的人到西藏去帮助建设,对西藏有好处。我们要从帮助西藏尽快发展起来、人民尽快富裕起来的角度来考虑问题,这才是一个正确的角度。这是大意。如果有人想从我们伟大的爱国主义者邓小平同志的话当中挑出一点他们分裂主义势力可以利用的东西,那未免也太愚蠢了。我们今天所做的一切,就是在邓小平同志所确定的指导思想之下进行的。

  134. April 7th, 2009 at 11:41 | #134

    @Wahaha,

    This is a forum to exchange ideas, not to convert people. So it’s alright that we are not on the same page.

    This forum may fade away, but it will not die. 😉

  135. April 7th, 2009 at 13:15 | #135

    I learn, enjoy and be converted to small extend from this forum. We do not have to agree 100% but need to understand each other to have a better world.

  136. Wukailong
    April 7th, 2009 at 14:50 | #136

    I too find this forum enriching, though I haven’t been here much lately. I don’t expect others to change their viewpoints, but I do expect people in all camps to better understand competing perspectives and learn each others’ arguments.

  137. miaka9383
    April 7th, 2009 at 17:08 | #137

    Why do we have to agree on anything? This is a place of exchanging ideas. You don’t have to compromise your position to learn something you don’t know. You can be open to other possibilities and ideas without changing your opinions….

    I hate the “either you are with us or with them” attitude… its so immature and annoying ..

  138. Wahaha
    April 7th, 2009 at 17:25 | #138

    Who said we have to agree on everything ?

    Before two persons start their debate, there must be some principles that they both agree on, otherwise the debate will go nowhere, that is common sense.

    For example, What is more important for most people, ‘music’ or ‘food’ ? I think most will agree that ‘food’ is more important as long as that they have some education and are not brainwashed. then why West only talk about ‘music’ in China ?

    How about give us an idea that people in China (Tibet) can have both ‘music’ and ‘food’ ?

  139. April 7th, 2009 at 18:22 | #139

    Hi Wahaha, you’re right that we do not have to agree 100%. However, we need to set priority: food first and music second. We cannot play music with an empty stomach. 🙂

  140. miaka9383
    April 7th, 2009 at 18:46 | #140

    @wahaha
    Whatever you say. I am not as smart as you so therefore I must not know what common ground that we are on..
    I thought our common ground was talking about Issues in China….

  141. Otto Kerner
    April 10th, 2009 at 02:57 | #141

    So, did I misread the quotation Miaka gave, or did this official say in no uncertain terms that Deng never said “anything but independence could be discussed”?

  142. Otto Kerner
    April 12th, 2009 at 22:32 | #142

    re: #130,

    Otto Kerner: “I would suggest that a fine compromise would be to implement the Basic Law of Hong Kong in the TAR, complete with functional constituencies and everything….”

    Wahaha, “Under DL and his followers, this implementation would take centuries ….”

    Wahaha,

    If by “followers”, you mean the Tibetan public, then I’m afraid you wil find it hard to avoid including them in a happy solution to the issue.

    On the other hand, if by “followers”, you mean the government-in-exile, I would suggest not asking their permission or requesting their assistance. They could even be specifically prohibited from holding office or forming parties for all I care.

  143. Wahaha
    April 13th, 2009 at 02:04 | #143

    ….a happy solution to the issue..

    Otto,

    I guess hundreds of millions of indians are happy with living in poverty.

  144. Wukailong
    April 13th, 2009 at 02:07 | #144

    @Otto: I think your idea would work theoretically, but there’s too many practical problems implementing it. First of all, you would have to justify why Tibet needs a special system. I like the attempt of using Marxism to describe the leap Tibet would need to make from a pre-feudal system to a socialist one, but that could be used in other minority areas as well…

    In 2046, when there is no longer any guarantee that Hongkong could retain its capitalist system, I’m pretty sure the system in China will be so similar that there’s no longer any need for “one country, two systems” – though that’s admittedly quite far into the future.

  145. April 13th, 2009 at 14:40 | #145

    Richard – one more thing. I have just noticed that Dan Harris, of the China Law Blog, has just written about my book, which he said he enjoyed so much that he couldn’t put it down, and he also descibed me as a “thoughtful commenter” on his site:

    http://www.chinalawblog.com/2009/04/china_ill_take_you_thereflowin.html

    Nobody else sees me a the cyber equivalent of an “ax murderer”. Only you (and maybe FOARP).

  146. Shane9219
    April 13th, 2009 at 18:32 | #146

    @Mark Anthony Jones

    Congrat on your long march to introduce a changing China to the world. Keep up your good work.

  147. April 13th, 2009 at 21:42 | #147

    @Mark Anthony Jones,

    Where can one purchase the book in the U.S.?

  148. April 13th, 2009 at 23:19 | #148

    Allen, my book hasn’t been released in the US. It can be purchased online though, direct from he publisher, from Fishpond.com.au or from some Australian bookstores like Gleebooks and China Books.

    But Allen, I will be happy to email you an electronic copy, for free! Just send me your email address. You can email me at majones03au@hotmail.com

  149. Ashild Kolas
    April 25th, 2009 at 16:47 | #149

    Mark Anthony Jones has either quoted me completely out of context or simply made up a “quote”,- that is: “Tibet as a nation is not a historical reality but a product of post-exile imagination.” Anyway, Otto is completely right when he says: “the concepts of nation and sovereignty as we know them are modern ideas. Therefore, none of them are historical realities. It would be equally accurate, perhaps moreso, to say, “China as a nation is not a historical reality but a product of post-Xinhai imagination.” Mark Anthony Jones, if you want to express your views that’s fine, but do it in your own name not mine.

  150. Shane9219
    April 25th, 2009 at 19:18 | #150

    @Ashild Kolas #149

    You are making an interesting philosophical argument on the subject of Tibet and China, which has no historical and political implication on this subject.

    The bottom line is this: Tibet region was under China’s dynastic control for over hundreds of years; that control was loosened signifcantly due to western and Japanese invasions; Tibet regiosn was then once again under China’s full control following the founding of PRC.

  151. April 26th, 2009 at 04:42 | #151

    Ashild Kolas – I did not make up the quote, though I do apologise, as I have just checked my sources for that quote, and discovered that it was Dibyesh Anand who wrote that, not you. My caresless mistake. Anand makes this statement in his essay on “The Tibet Question and the West”, published in the book edited by Barry Sautman and June Teufel Dreyer titled “Contemporary Tibet”, published by M.E. Sharpe Inc., New York, 2006. The quote that I mistakenly attributed to you appears on p. 298.

    That said, you may be interested to know that in the sentence immediately following the one in question, Anand cites you in support of his assertion. The passage reads as follows:

    “Tibet as a nation is not a historical reality but a product of post-exile imagination. In their search for outside support, the Tibetan elite has been learning the language on international politics dominated by Western powers (Kolas 1996).” He is referring here to your essay on “Tibetan Nationalism: The Politics of Religion”, published in the Journal of Peace Research, Volume 33, No.1, pp.51-66.

    Ashild, you do, do you not, argue in your essay on “Tibetan Nationalism” that secular nationalist arguments, rather than those based on religion, have very much become a part of the TGIE’s political discourse, and that the choice of arguments put forward by the TGIE reflect the notions of legitimacy and rhetoric of the different audiences addressed?

    Ashild, I am a little puzzled by your objection here to my comment. You attribute to Otto the argument here that “the concepts of nation and sovereignty as we know them are modern ideas.” Yes, but that’s EXACTLY what I was arguing in the first place (via my reading of Anand) – and I pointed this out to Otto again in comment No.59 above.

    You then agree with Otto, that “none of them are historical realities” and that it “would be equally accurate, perhaps moreso, to say, ‘China as a nation is not a historical reality but a product of post-Xinhai imagination.'”

    But Ashild, again, this is exactly what I said in the first place and I pointed this out to Otto in my opening paragraph to comment No.59. Look at what I wrote at the beginning of comment No.59. I was explicit on this point.

    So we all appear to agree then – you, me and Otto – that neither China nor Tibet are “historical realities” and that Tibetan nationalism uses the language of Western powers when formulating their notions of nationhood.

    So although I wrongly attributed a sentence by Anand to you, it would seem to me as though I have not really misrepresented your basic line of reasoning on this point. If I have, then please explain in a little more detail, so that I can develop a more accurate understanding of your positioning on this issue.

    About two years ago, incidentally, I purchased a copy of the book you co-wrote with Monika P. Thowsen, “On the Margins of Tibet”, which I found to be very insightful. I quoted from your book in my essay titled “Appropriating the foreign: globalisation and the Chinese tradition”, which you can find on my China Discourse site at:

    http://www.chinadiscourse.net/globalisation-and-the-chinese-tradition.php

    I refer you to footnotes 49, 50 and 52. I hope that you approve of my use of quotations in this instance. If not, please let me know so that I can make any necessary alterations to me text.

    Yours faithfully,
    Mark Anthony Jones

  152. Ashild Kolas
    April 27th, 2009 at 09:11 | #152

    Thank you for the clarification, Mark Anthony Jones. As to your question, if you don’t understand why I object to this quote being wrongly attributed to me you should read my article more carefully:
    http://jpr.sagepub.com/cgi/reprint/33/1/51
    My point is that claims about ‘historical reality’ (such as the one I was supposed to have made) belong in a futile debate between primordialist and modernist views of nationalism. In my article I prefer to look at how and why different kinds of arguments (including ‘nationalist’ arguments) are made. As I say in the article, “The historicist claims of nationalist discourse are apparently difficult to keep out of the academic discourse on nationalism. Claims to modernity [of the nation, such as the claim made by Anand] are read as counterclaims to the nationalist’s ‘ancient and primordial nation’, whereas arguments for the nation’s ‘ethnic origins’ are read as support for ‘nationalist rhetoric’”. So, in the literature to debunk the primordialist claims of nationalism you typically find the counterclaim that nationalism (or the nation) is a modern creation which has been “mythically retrojected into the past of a human community”. The implications are all too obvious.
    Rather than arguing endlessly about the ‘historical reality’ of nationhood, let’s leave historicism behind, look towards the future and consider constructive solutions. It’s not necessary (or even possible) to ‘revert’ to some earlier age. There are so many better ways of going beyond nationalism.

  153. April 28th, 2009 at 01:00 | #153

    Dear Ashild Kolas,

    Thank you for clarifying for me your exact thoughts on this issue. I now understand your objection.

    I see where we differ more clearly now. I find the argument that nations are modern creations to be a convincing one, whereas you are uncomfortable with the implications of this line of reasoning, and prefer instead to bypass the question over nationalism in favour of looking instead at alternative, and in your opinion “better” ways of finding constructive solutions.

    Fair enough. Again, I do apologise for having carelessly misrepresented your views on this topic.

    I am interested in knowing what kind of solutions you have in mind. Perhaps, if you have the time, you might like to eleborate further on this.

    Yours faithfully,
    Mark Anthony Jones

  154. Otto Kerner
    April 28th, 2009 at 23:36 | #154

    A minor point, but I would like to say that I do not agree that “neither China nor Tibet are ‘historical realities'”. I agree that they are not historically nations in the modern sense. I would say that China and Tibet are cultural complexes which presumably tend to correlate with particular genetic lineages. As with a lot of things in human social life, there is a continuum which has patterns and fuzzy edges; people seem to feel the urge to draw a clear line around specific categories, resulting in a lot of confusion and disagreement about where to put the border. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s completely arbitrary.

  155. Shane9219
    April 29th, 2009 at 00:54 | #155

    @Otto Kerner #154

    The theory you mentioned above is kind of bizarre. Tibetan may have a narrow and definable genetic lineages, but not the rest of China. Even so-called ethnic Han Chinese has a very diverse genetic mix.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Han_Chinese

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhonghua_minzu

    Secondary, the term “China” was initially created by the West, and widely used by western people to refer to a geo-region under a unified and firm political (or dynastic) control. At first, people in China don’t even accept it, as it sounded degrading.

    Internally, people use Huaxia (or YanHuang) ONLY for cultural purpose. People use the exact name of a dynasty such as Qin, Han, .. Tang .. Yuan .. Qing for political purpose. It is dynastic control that defined a nation’s border, not its cultural influcence. Such measure is quite suitable for ancient nations.

    Coming to the modern time, the term “China”, that I totally agree, can be confusing, since it can be referred for both culture purpose as well as political purpose. Even though both contexts give China a historical reality, their bounday of control may vary time to time throughout the history.

    Let’s again look at Tibet region. Under cultural context, Tibet has been a continous historical reality. But not under political context. Tibet, as an independent political/dynastic entity, faded away quickly during its early civilization, and never materialized after.

    What MAJ mentioned “Tibet as a nation is not a historical reality but a product of post-exile imagination.” is a correct statement under political context.

  156. Otto Kerner
    April 29th, 2009 at 05:02 | #156

    Shane, I think you have misunderstood me. I never said said that either Tibet or China is composed of “narrow and definable genetic lineages”. I’m sure that China’s lineages are particularly broad and hard to define even compared to other national groups in the world. Tibetans perhaps have somewhat narrower and more definite ancestry.

    Also, you will recall that I agreed with MAJ that the idea of Tibet and China as nations is modern.

  157. shane9219
    April 29th, 2009 at 05:52 | #157

    @Otto Kerner #156

    It is true that the term “China’ was adopted in near-modern time, especially after the founding of ROC. But the geo-political region, referred by this term “China”, as an independent nation is NOT modern. As I said before, we Chinese always use a specfiic dynasty name for a given period time, unlike the West who liked to use “China” in a wanton fashion. The West also created such term as “orient” to refer to nations in Asia.

  158. Otto Kerner
    April 30th, 2009 at 00:17 | #158

    The point that I was making is that, whatever conception the Chinese had of their country before the modern era, it was presumably not the same as the modern view of “nations”, “states”, and “nation-states”. This is not too surprising, since this is a relatively recent idea deriving from Western political thought. Similarly, the French didn’t have such a concept of France as a nation until the French Revolution or thenabouts, the Germans did have such a concept until the 19th century, etc.

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