Home > Uncategorized > (Letter from tibetan, Opposing Viewpoint) Smurf Emancipation Day: 50 years of harmonious oppression

(Letter from tibetan, Opposing Viewpoint) Smurf Emancipation Day: 50 years of harmonious oppression

In light of the mega attention and millions of yuans that chinese government use to establish a new holiday in Tibet “Serf Emancipation Day”, and advertise this around the world, clever Tibetan youth in Tibet created the following cartoon: “Surf Emancipation Day: 50 years of harmonious oppression”.

http://woeser.middle-way.net/2009/03/blog-post_28.html

smurf chinese-1.jpg

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  1. Karen
    March 29th, 2009 at 18:29 | #1

    Just wanted to share this comment from a Chinese living in the U.S:

    “To me the saddest thing is this propaganda succeeded with a lot of Chinese people, including overseas Chinese. Many of these are pretty honest, rational people with an open mind. Yet when the topic of Tibet is brought up they regurgitate the official PRC line and deliberately refuse to examine other materials. Do they believe it? I am not sure. It seems they unconsciously know something is wrong with this vision, but are desperately holding on to it as a result of fear and paranoia cultivated by the government.”

    Tsiaojian Lee (age 36)
    Springfield, USA

  2. Shane9219
    March 29th, 2009 at 23:13 | #2

    — It’s time to show TOUGH LOVE to 14th DL and TIE community —

    In general, western governments, scholars and audience criticize China out of ideology difference, fear and ignorance. It is actually healthy to have some critics abroad, and I think Chinese take those people in stride.

    The real important and urgent matter is to combat baseless media reports on Tibet issue as well as so-called “activist” media personnel on behalf of TIE community. Here is Why:

    1) It is not healthy as a form of balanced and objective public media due to serious politicization on the Tibet issue by public media personnels. They made themselves into the debate, thus prevent them from objective and balanced reporting.

    2) It won’t help resolving Tibet issue since 14th DL and TIE got their false impression that they have a blank check of support in hand from western audience, no matter whatever they say and whatever they have done. With such broad support, TIE community thought they had a high moral ground (which is false) on the Tibet issue, have been relunctant to make any compromise.

    It is time for western media to show some tough love to TIE community, regardless how they felt strongly on Tibet issue (whether out of a “grand moral obligation” to help Tibetan or due to strong ideology difference with China).

    What can you do? There are many things you can do, for example:

    1) Express your opinion on mass publication –community newsletters, newspapers and magzine alike

    2) Express your opinion online on blogs and commentaries

    3) Express your opinion to people in the public offices, especially those unconditionally support TIE causes, such as Nancy Pelosi

    4) Express your opinion to Tibet scholars who unconditionally support TIE causes, such as Robert Barnett (email: rjb58@columbia.edu)

  3. pug_ster
    April 1st, 2009 at 13:32 | #3

    Karen #1,

    The problem is that the TGIE failed to convince the Chinese that their cause is right. Instead, the TGIE goes to western nations trying to shame China into submission. Telling that the Chinese are blinded by propaganda when most of them are rational people is just plain stupid.

  4. Wahaha
    April 1st, 2009 at 14:45 | #4

    Karen,

    So han chinese get out of Tibet, so Tibetan people will enjoy 50 years of harmonious poverty and oppression (you know, any pro-China voices will be suppressed. ever heard of western shugden society ?)

    This must be something you like to see in Tibet, right ? like an antique in your home, so you can enjoy playing ‘it’ when you have time.

  5. Steve
    April 1st, 2009 at 14:58 | #5

    @ Wahaha #4: Karen shared a comment, she didn’t say any of the things you stated yet you state them and they act like she said them. It’s not fair to her to put words in her mouth. If that’s what you think, that’s fine. But wouldn’t it be better to first ask her what she thinks before you assume that you know?

  6. Wahaha
    April 1st, 2009 at 17:47 | #6

    Steve,

    “To me the saddest thing is this propaganda succeeded with a lot of Western people, including some westerners who have been to China. Many of these are pretty honest, rational people with an open mind. Yet when the topic of Tibet is brought up they regurgitate the official west propaganda line and deliberately refuse to examine other materials. Do they believe it? I am not sure. It seems they unconsciously know something is wrong with this vision, but are desperately holding on to it as a result of fear and paranoia cultivated by the west politicians and media”

    I think you get my point.

  7. zepplin
    April 1st, 2009 at 21:28 | #7

    @Wahaha

    Karen never said to get the Han out of Tibet. Do you think that the Tibetans prefer Chinese rule to independence? Then why not hold a vote on self-determination.

    Suppose the Han Chinese is allowed to stay, and China continues to subsidize Tibet.

    A vote is held between staying with China, with PLA solider clamping down on freedoms of religion, press, and assembly versus having independence with Dalai Lama returning, which do you think would win out? What do the Tibetans want for themselves? I think all the West is asking for is that the Tibetans be allowed self-determination.

  8. April 1st, 2009 at 21:36 | #8

    Dalai Lama Institution – 300 years of suffocating oppression.

  9. April 1st, 2009 at 21:37 | #9

    @zepplin,

    Are you serious you want a substantive discussion on self-determination? Do you know what it is?

    I’ll give you a first shot.

  10. zepplin
    April 1st, 2009 at 21:46 | #10

    @Allen

    Sure, I’ll just quote Wiki here, that Self-determination is defined as free choice of one’s own acts without external compulsion, and especially as the freedom of the people of a given territory to determine their own political status or independence from their current state.

    So in this case, it is the freedom of the Tibetan people to determine whether they want independence over their current state.

    In terms of implementation, this can be achieved with a simple majority vote. While not a perfect method, I think it will be a good proxy for what the Tibetan (and Han’s / Hui’s living in Tibet) wants. If needed, make it 60% to pass just to be sure.

  11. April 1st, 2009 at 21:48 | #11

    @zepplin,

    Sorry – you win. I give up.

  12. April 1st, 2009 at 22:31 | #12

    To everyone (including zepplin),

    Sorry if I sound flippant in #11.

    I usually do invest quite a lot of energy when I carry out serious conversations.

    It’s usually not worth the effort unless I get a sense the thread is watched by serious observers and/or the person with whom I am discussing has deep insight into the issues.

    Nothing against zepplin, but when the person with whom I am discussing cites the wiki as a primary source of info for the start of a serious conversation – I get turned off.

  13. zepplin
    April 1st, 2009 at 23:25 | #13

    That’s fine, I wouldn’t waste effort either if someone asked me to clarify a concept, then rejects the semantics based on the source.

  14. April 2nd, 2009 at 00:00 | #14

    @zepplin,

    Allen and others had an extensive discussion on this topic back in May last year.
    http://blog.hiddenharmonies.org/2008/05/23/is-self-determination-a-tool-for-liberation-in-todays-world/

    If you have something new to add to that discussion, we welcome you to submit a post. Thank you.

  15. April 2nd, 2009 at 00:37 | #15

    Thanks admin.

    There have also been many insightful discussions since that post…

    Some of the topics we touched upon include:

    1. Self determination is actually a bucket for many strains of political thoughts.

    2. Some think a group under military occupation is entitled to self determination (hence the importance of characterizing CCP’s unification of China as invasion of Tibet).

    3. Some think a group of a shared religion, ethnicity, culture is entitled to self determination (hence the emphasis on Tibet as a distinct cultural entity)

    4. Some think only a colony is entitled to self determination (though not necessarily ethnic / religious groups within that colony) – e.g. India (hence importance of characterizing Tibet monolithically as a colony).

    5. Some think a group suffering from pervasive and consistent misgovernance and human rights abuses is entitled to self determination (hence importance of characterizing CCP as violator of human rights).

    I’ve also noted that the hidden and emotional political assumption of self determination is to decide what makes a people a “people” entitled to self determination. Self determination is not an individual right, but a collective right. One must define beforehand at what granularity to apply self determination – at the clan level, tribe level, zip code level, city level, province level, “ethnic” level, “religious” level, or national level, etc., keeping in mind that whatever level you choose – you will always find minorities and majorities on any divisive issue…

    When are the “Taiwanese” justified in unilaterally seceding from China irregardless of what the rest of the Chinese people think?

    When are the “Tibetans” justified in unilaterally seceding from China irregardless of what the rest of the Chinese people think?

    When are the “Chinese people” entitled to their own self determination free from Western meddling?

    I promise to write another post on these and other issues when the opportune time arises.

  16. zepplin
    April 2nd, 2009 at 03:10 | #16

    @ Admin
    I have just read the linked discussion and believe that my views are new / different from what was discussed.

    @ Allen
    From those posts, I gathered that your argument against self determination, and in particular self determination for Tibet, is that:

    1. Self determination is a right conferred upon a subgroup to secede from a supergroup.
    2. This right may be in conflict with the sovereignty of the supergroup.
    3. Conferring this right to all subgroups will lead to impractical fragmentation and chaos in the limit.
    4. Requisite characteristics for a subgroup to receive this right is needed.
    5. There are many proposed requisite characteristics, hence it is subjective.
    6. In particular, conferring this right to territorial ethnicities is a Western construct, and is not universally valid.
    7. In particular, the sovereignty of the Chinese has a reasonable precedence over the Tibetans’ self determination.

    In essence, that the tyranny of the majority is a necessary evil in the limit, and thus, the bullying of the Tibetan subgroup by the Chinese supergroup cannot be objectively invalidated.

    Great. I agree with you. My post #7 and #10 has nothing to do with this.

    I was simply replying to Wahaha by stating that the West is asking for self determination, and not to kick out all the Hans and cut off aid so the Tibetans live in poverty.

    I claim neither that self determination is a fundamental right nor that it is objectively apt to apply it to Tibet.

    My case is more concrete. I allow the inclusion of Tibetans in the Chinese grouping, as that is not relevant to my case. The specific concrete application of self determination to the Tibetans does not revert to the limiting case of impracticality and chaos. I claim that the application of this right in the case of Tibet would ameliorate much of the relevant antagonisms between the Non-Tibetan Chinese, Tibetans in China, Tibetans in exile, and the West on this issue. The only thing hurt is Chinese sovereignty.

    If you believe that the right of the Chinese majority to continue bullying the Tibetans via forced union is more important than achieving a level of harmony which reduces bloodshed and repression in Tibet, then we are in logical agreement.

  17. April 2nd, 2009 at 03:22 | #17

    @zepplin #16,

    Let’s go to your more concrete point then – which I think is then not self determination per se – but how do we maximize total happiness – achieve maximum harmony – and achieve most progress and good.

    For me – the unity of the Chinese nation – when all is said and done (factoring geopolitics, China’s social fiber, Tibet’s development, etc., etc., etc.) – will accomplish far more good than a fragmented Chinese nation – for both “China proper” and “Tibet.”

    We may definitely disagree – just as Southern Confederates would have disagreed about the need to preserve the Union – but I also hope if I get your gist right – you will apply the above logic to every political action elsewhere, too – i.e. every political action U.S., Britain, France, etc. take will have to be justified on the ground of promoting the concrete cause of maximizing total human welfare – or else they shall not be justified…

  18. zepplin
    April 2nd, 2009 at 03:51 | #18

    @ Allen

    You are saying that a greater good will be achieved by temporarily allowing the repression of Tibet. And furthermore, that Tibetans don’t know what’s good for themselves, in the long run. If so, then maximizing total welfare will indeed lead to a rejection of my proposal.

    This is different from my conclusion above that the you would reject my proposal on the grounds of China’s sovereignty.

    My intention was not to propose a justification of actions, but to pose a solution where the welfare of the Tibetans would be improved and the conflict subsided at the cost of China’s sovereignty.

    You argue that giving self determination leading to independence would actually decrease the welfare of the Tibetans, hence my point is moot.

    I cannot predict the future or offer a good estimate of future welfare, but I wish to identify your cause of rejection to see on which point I might try convincing you.

    I know this is hypothetical to you, but suppose the Tibetans correctly predicted their future in that the immediate reduction in conflict and repression resulting from independence was not outweighed by possible (re)invasion from China, and China did not fragment into a thousand pieces as a result, destroying the regional economy, etc. etc. And in the end, Tibetans ended up better off, with the rest of China worse off (due to lost ego perhaps), but total welfare is increased. Then would you support the vote on independence at the cost of Chinese sovereignty?

  19. April 2nd, 2009 at 04:00 | #19

    @zepplin #18,

    Suppose we could fragment China into China proper and Tibet – and suppose that the sum of total welfare for China proper and Tibet increases (I fight tooth and nail on this, but I will go along), with the welfare disproportionately accruing to Tibet – should we allow this to happen?

    My answer: it’d be up to the people of China as a whole (not just the people in Tibet unilaterally) to decide.

    That’s been my point all along.

  20. zepplin
    April 2nd, 2009 at 04:33 | #20

    @Allen

    Thank you for going along with my hypothetical scenario. I see that you feel the right of the majority Chinese in the supergroup supersedes that of the Tibetan subgroup to secede even if the welfare of the Tibetans and weighted total welfare would be increased (hypothetically).

    This would be the classical tyranny of the majority where the welfare of the minority is transfered to the majority, even if a transaction cost is incurred. I’m sure you see this is also not a fundamental right, since it leads to undesirable outcomes.

    You would simply be evoking it subjectivity, in this hypothetical scenario, based on some characteristic of “China”, where as those who favor self-determination for Tibet evoke that right based on some characteristic of “Tibet”. And both sides would hold to their view even if the total welfare of Tibetans and (Non-Tibetan) Chinese argued against them.

    Going off topic, but I think you see one of the biggest challenges of “Fool’s Mountain”. Even if one side were to convince the other of morality and the factual consequences on these issues, already a difficult task, fundamental subjective differences remain that are almost impossible to address. But getting to the point of agreeing to disagree is a worthy goal.

  21. April 2nd, 2009 at 06:47 | #21

    @zepplin,

    I’ll paraphrase what you wrote:

    Zepplin,

    Thank you for going along with my hypothetical scenario. I see that you feel the right of the minority Tibetan in the subgroup to secede supersedes right of the Chinese supergroup even if the welfare of the Tibetans and weighted total welfare would be decreased (hypothetically).

    This would be the classical tyranny of the minority over the majority where the welfare of the minority supersedes that of the majority. I’m sure you see this is also not a fundamental right, since it leads to undesirable outcomes.

    You would simply be evoking it subjectivity, in this hypothetical scenario, based on some characteristic of “Tibet”, where as those who favor self-determination for China overall evoke that right based on some characteristic of “China”. And both sides would hold to their view no matter what.

    Oh by the way … given your shifting the overall emphasis back to / basing your arguments in #20 on the normative basis of “overall welfare” again … let me redirect you to my comment in #17 regarding maximizing overall welfare also again – the content of which you had previously dismissed as wasn’t your point.

  22. yesman
    April 10th, 2009 at 01:37 | #22

    “For me – the unity of the Chinese nation – when all is said and done (factoring geopolitics, China’s social fiber, Tibet’s development, etc., etc., etc.)”

    1. Tibet was never part of “Chinese nation”, even though some Han-imperialists wanted this.

    2. Geopolitically, neighboring states are better served with Tibet as a demilitarized buffer state.

    3. Chinas social fiber??? Dont understand your point.

    4. Tibet is better developed by Tibetans than by Chinese.

  23. Steve
    April 10th, 2009 at 02:58 | #23

    Seems to me that zepplin is saying that China is using a “might makes right” argument while Allen is saying that the real argument is that in this case, “might is right”. To change the discussion slightly, let’s look at China’s history. Since the Chin dynasty, China has undergone a series of unifications and dissolutions. In almost all cases, the unification has been much more progressive and dynamic for the Chinese than the dissolution. Right now China is in a unification phase and as with all previous phases, there are centrifugal forces tugging at the edges. Currently the three forces are Tibet, Taiwan and Xinjiang, with Taiwan being the partial exception since it is not ruled by the CCP but still considered part of “One China” so it needs to be included as a factor.

    Historically, once one part gives way, others follow. The Chinese government is not going to willingly allow that to happen. Beyond any civil rights, human rights, self determination, etc., China is going to be adamant in its position. That’s why China has never been very imperialistic in her history. She is always too busy trying to keep herself intact or trying to regain her unity. How Tibet, Taiwan and Xinjiang fit into the new China will be decided by the players involved, but I doubt the stresses will mollify anytime soon.

    Allen, zepplin and yesman have advanced three different positions. All three have a body of adherents. None of those three will change their position anytime soon so I don’t expect this issue to fade away in my lifetime. I see Allen’s position as the official Chinese government stance, zepplin’s position as motivated by democratic and human rights philosophy, and yesman’s as the current TGIE thinking. Because the fundamental underlying concepts of all three are completely different, I can’t see any way to come to a common understanding.

  24. Shane9219
    April 10th, 2009 at 04:39 | #24

    @yesman #22

    It’s good to see TIE and 14th DL finally put down their beloved “cultural” masks. Now what else can they do?

    Hide behind their Indian “gurus” and western “masters”, waiting for a better time ? LOL.

  25. April 10th, 2009 at 05:02 | #25

    @Steve #23,

    I won’t speak for zepplin or yesman – but you have gotten my argument completely wrong.

    Nowhere do I make the argument of might is right – or makes right.

    My argument is based on democratic principles. If you want to break up a country – or decide on anything controversial for a country – the country as a whole decides. Period.

    The argument would presumptively shift to what is China, I suppose. I say China is mainland + Taiwan. Some say China is just mainland. Some want to say China is mainland – Tibet.

    My position of China is mainland (including Tibet) + Taiwan does not appeal to might, though I will happily support use of might to achieve my vision of China.

  26. Steve
    April 10th, 2009 at 05:11 | #26

    Hi Allen~

    I think you misunderstood me. When I said “might is right” I wasn’t implying “might makes right” at all. What I was saying is pretty much what you said yourself, that under a “one China” system no one area could break free without the consent of the other areas. So in this case, the “might” is the might of an entire country and your opinion was that this position was the correct one benefiting the entire country and not just one area. I can see how you thought I was implying something else, though. The wordplay wasn’t very clear.

    Is that closer to what you meant?

  27. April 10th, 2009 at 05:17 | #27

    @Steve –

    Not really …

    I don’t see what “might” has to do with anything I am saying.

    Zepplin started the conversation by asking why can Tibetans not have a right to self determination?

    I countered by asking why cannot China have a right to self determination?

    Now – I do want to make a comment about might. If the issue is merely a conflict of power in the form of Chinese nationalism vs. Taiwanese nationalism or Tibetan nationalism – I don’t think there is anything to talk about. The only way to settle things is by force.

    However, if there are legitimate issues fanning Taiwanese nationalism or Tibetan nationalism – then yes, there is a point to keep talking / discussing those underlying issues….

  28. Otto Kerner
    April 10th, 2009 at 05:51 | #28

    Allen,

    It’s very easy to be in favour of democracy when your side is numerous. But, this “democratic principle” is indeed a cloak behind which hides might makes right — the contemptible and pathetic power of simply being more numerous. In 1959, the Tibetans were outnumbered, what, 150 to 1? Consider how differently their rebellion would have turned out as a fair fight. However, fights usually aren’t fair, are they, since sensible usually avoid fighting somebody their own size. So, China controls Tibet because it is strong enough to do so, and because it has important security concerns in the region. I don’t think that a failure to admit this can be anything other than a waste of time.

    I wonder if it would be possible to the Tibet question up to a vote as a referendum to the people of the world — all 6.7 billion of us. I guess 1.3 billion Chinese people would vote almost all against independence; 1.1 billion Indians and 1 billion Westerners would vote mostly for independence. Would the rest of the world really do much better than 50% against? What would you say to that kind of democracy?

  29. Shane9219
    April 10th, 2009 at 07:05 | #29

    @Otto Kerner #28

    “China controls Tibet … ”

    Don’t get it wrong. It is because of a long historical claim over Tibet that spans over hundreds of years. China’s Tibet position is strong both on historical ground and on moral ground. China will be first in-line to reject any foreign occupation, unlike Russian, which occupied a big swath of Chinese soil throigh Treaty of Aigun and Beijing Treaty.

    Do we need to debate such old topic again — why 14th DL is currectly not in Tibet ? No need to spend any further time, I guess.

    On the subject of democracy: China is not afraid to talking about democracy.

    Let’s not to forget western-style democracy is NOT the only form of democracy. In some sense, it is basically “money” democracy driven by “money” politics. It is a sad notion to export western-style democracy like a fast-food chain.

    China has its own unique value system and cultural tradition. 20 years from now, the world will be much better place because of China. I sure can bet my house with you on this one, LoL.

  30. April 10th, 2009 at 07:15 | #30

    @Otto Kerner #28,

    Sure – let’s have a world gov’t … and have a world regime that really works for the world (instead of tiny fraction of the privileged)!

    What took you so long to bring it up? A meditative insight while practicing meditation with DL?

    As for your persistent narrow minded focus on Tibetan nationalism, what can I say? You say what you want, I’ll say what I want.

    China will do what she wants.

    The world will be what it will be.

  31. April 10th, 2009 at 07:21 | #31

    @Shane #29,

    The DL practices what one might call Monday Night quarterbacking or back seat driving.

    My response to dear DL is either to lead (by making the tough choices to be able to come back to China) or get out of the way.

    But don’t worry. If DL does not learn the lesson, time will eventually teach the lesson.

  32. Wukailong
    April 10th, 2009 at 08:34 | #32

    @Shane9219: “Let’s not to forget western-style democracy is NOT the only form of democracy. In some sense, it is basically “money” democracy driven by “money” politics. It is a sad notion to export western-style democracy like a fast-food chain.”

    I’m curious about the other types, not in a polemical way (this interest started long before I knew there was a Chinese “anti-Western” democracy discussion). Would you care to list what other types you have in mind, or what you think is the basis for democracy?

    I recently read Wang Shaoguang’s “民主四讲” in which he criticizes what he calls Western “electocracy” (选主), and he says that real democracy is when “peopla are the masters” (人民当家作主), but unfortunately he gives no description on what that means on a detailed level. In the last chapters he describes some possible improvements to the current democratic system, but it’s still an improvement on “electocracies”.

  33. Shane9219
    April 10th, 2009 at 16:28 | #33

    @Wukailong #32

    There is no doubt that China’s democracy is still in an early stage. And there is also no doubt that China is on a right path to achieve that.

    Why I said this with such certainty is because China now has a deep-rooted experimental development methodologies and mind-set that people all agree on. Such experimental development methodologies is good for economical development as well as social development.

    If you ask 10 people what is the ideal form of democracy? I bet there will be ten different answers. My basic view is as simple as the following:

    1. Everyone’s voice get heard through a forum of consultation and expression
    (NOTE: voting is only one form of democratic expression. Western-style democracy consistently failed on voter turn-out rate. Voting should only be carried out on important political measures, voting everything through ballot propositions makes no sense)

    2. Majority rules, but majority shouldn’t be in a money-denominated form or in any form of special interests (NOTE: I have said consistently that western-style democracy failed badly on this essential part of democracy)

    3. Minority should seek consultation with majority on their concerns, not through confrontation or force
    (Note: Thailand just had a military coup in 2006 even though it is proud of itself “matured” UK-style democracy for so many years)

    4. Democracy, first and foremost, should be for people, not for party politics or struggling of power.

  34. April 10th, 2009 at 18:46 | #34

    @Wukailong #32,

    My view of democracy is more philosophical.

    Is democracy about procedures and institutions – or is it about people activism and participation in government for the benefit of the people.

    For me, if I have to choose, it will have to be about people activism and participation in government for the benefit of the people.

    The West (sorry if I am being over general) today tend to focus on the former though. We have elections. We vote. We have parliament. We have “freedom” of speech. We therefore have democracy.

    For me though – that is stale democracy.

    Democracy was referred to as a bold experiment by many in the enlightenment because those people understood the essence of democracy lies in people’s vigilance and activism – not institution and procedural formalism. Without vigilance and activism, a “democratic” government is democratic in name only.

    Can people stay engaged and informed and interested in governance for democratic government to survive as democracies?

    I have it marked that one day when all individuals are liberated from poverty – if the Chinese people want – the Chinese people can form a great electoral democracy and actively participate in politics and governance of China. In the mean time, I prefer to have a competent, strong, centralized government that is slightly immune from day-to-day flux of public opinions, and chartered with the mission to do what is best for the country / people in the long run.

    That type of gov’t is – to me – more democratic than say the type of democracy-for-show governance we see in India and the West.

  35. Shane9219
    April 10th, 2009 at 20:37 | #35

    @Allen

    Excellent points. The essence of democracy is about allowing average people’s participation of government for the benefit of people.

    Democratic procedures and institutions should be carried out according people’s own culture and tradition. As the saying goes, there is no single form of cooking and cuisine, therefore, no single form of democracy. On long term basis, average people support their goverment with stomach and food on the table, not empty ideas. This is true in US, and also true to many places.

    To those democracy nuts, democracy has its limits too. The long term interest of a nation and long term benefit of people is not equal to a public opinion pool. Public opinions are often affected by short-term inpulse, long term strategic thinking often comes from an experienced and wise leadership. Therefore, the need to have a balance of people’s power and central authority is also essential to a functional government that can devise and execute effective long-term policies.

    For how many years, people of California suffered from budget impass. Even US government was in danger of that for a few times.

  36. Nimrod
    April 10th, 2009 at 22:19 | #36

    zeppelin wrote:

    “I think all the West is asking for is that the Tibetans be allowed self-determination.”

    +++++
    The “West” is asking for nothing of the sort. Maybe you are. Even it were, so what? There are many serious theoretical arguments against the entire conception of unfettered self-determination (not just in the extreme case of chaos), but let’s leave those aside and simply be practical. Are we to believe that some asinine suggestion the West isn’t even willing to try for itself should be a good thing for anyone?

  37. Shane9219
    April 11th, 2009 at 05:55 | #37

    一个留美藏人的故土情结

    来源:南风窗

    This is an excellent interview with a native Tibetan from China who got his education in US and now working in US. He met and talked to 14th DL many times.

    http://www.nfcmag.com/articles/1452

    “40余岁的扎西,现在在美国一所著名大学的藏学研究机构工作。1990年代初,他从藏区出国,现定居美国。受过完整高等教育的扎西虽身处异国,却密切关注着故乡的变化。”

    “扎西反对“藏独”,对自己民族的未来之路充满期待。在海外近20年,扎西也曾前往“西藏流亡政府”所在地印度达兰萨拉,见过达赖喇嘛本人及“流亡政府”的部分高官。接触过后,他更加坚定地认为西藏绝对不能独立。身在海外,他对中央政府却表示了充分的信任,他说,“中国这么强大一个国家,还怕一个达赖喇嘛。”但同时,扎西对藏区基层政治的生态也颇为忧心。”

    “现在西藏本民族的一些官员,没有受过什么高等教育,有些官员为了这个官职,乱讲、乱汇报,中央如果只会听取他们的意见,可能根本就了解不到底下的西藏人真正想什么。奥运会的火炬事件,中央政府可能根本没想到会闹这么大,中央政府一开始可能根本没有准备。你知道为什么吗?那些官员老说,西藏安全,西藏我们搞定了,这种好消息一直往上报。乡里报到县里、县里到省上、省上到中央,都是好消息。如果中央真的放开一些政策,让西藏本地真正受过教育的人做领导,不会是这个样子。 ”

    “西藏寺院,让那些僧人叫喊一下,绝对不是什么大问题,有时候有人会偶尔提到“独立”,但在今天,有想法的藏人可能会想到让达赖喇嘛回来。中国那么强大的一个国家,还怕一个达赖喇嘛?话说回来,最坏的打算,达赖喇嘛回去,西藏就反了不成?这么强大的军队,能反到哪里去?如果达赖喇嘛回去了之后有闹的苗头,让他们闹,让他们跳,让全世界人民看嘛。闹完了之后,该怎么办就怎么办,是达赖喇嘛先动手嘛,让全世界看看到底谁的错?现在信息已经发达到了这个程度。 “

  38. April 11th, 2009 at 07:53 | #38

    @Shane9219,

    Thanks for the link. I’m marking it down so I can translate it and post it here.

    If you’d like to translate yourself – please let me know!

  39. Raj
    April 11th, 2009 at 18:36 | #39

    Allen

    When are the “Taiwanese” justified in unilaterally seceding from China irregardless of what the rest of the Chinese people think?

    They would be justified because they’re Taiwanese and not Chinese.

    When are the “Chinese people” entitled to their own self determination free from Western meddling?

    Ok, here’s a little scenario for you. The BNP, somehow, win a future UK general election. They immediately bring in anti non-“British” policies. Ethnic Chinese are rounded up and put into prisons, raped, murdered, denied the vote, whatever would make you give a damn about your common man.

    It’s legal British policy. The BNP have withdrawn from the EU and ECHR. The victims are British citizens. But they’re 100% ethnic Chinese. Would it be wrong for ethnic Chinese around the world to “meddle” as you put it?

    Suppose we could fragment China into China proper and Tibet – and suppose that the sum of total welfare for China proper and Tibet increases (I fight tooth and nail on this, but I will go along), with the welfare disproportionately accruing to Tibet – should we allow this to happen?

    Should you get to decide whether it happens or not?

    Your argument for denying Tibetans a say in how they run their affairs is that your system is better for them. That’s no different from what imperial powers said to justify their empires.

    So tomorrow, if a foreign power invented a doomsday weapon that wiped out the Chinese military in a stroke and they occupied China, would you support that because they promised to wipe out poverty in China faster than the CCP could? Hell no, you would scream and scream and scream blue murder.

    Why should Tibetans accept Chinese domination when you would not accept foreign control of China? Tibet was never asked to approve becoming part of the PRC by a referendum. Just because you see Tibet as a “part of China” doesn’t make you right nor makes them agree with you. Are you trying to justify harsh Chinese policies to the international world by saying they’re your play-things or are you trying to win Tibetans over? If the latter your attitude is what causes tension between Tibetans and Chinese. If the former, have the balls to admit it.

    My position of China is mainland (including Tibet) + Taiwan does not appeal to might, though I will happily support use of might to achieve my vision of China.

    So will we be seeing you or your children on the battlefield? No, I guess it will be the poor peasant boys fighting for their mandarins as has always been the case in China.

    I have it marked that one day when all individuals are liberated from poverty – if the Chinese people want – the Chinese people can form a great electoral democracy and actively participate in politics and governance of China.

    But they won’t choose, it will be handed deus ex machina by the Chinese political elite. You also forget that it is impossible to have no one in poverty, because as living standards rise so does the definition of poverty. There are always people who fall upon hard times in a capitalist system, which is what China is generally following. A large country like China will always have “poor”, even if it is near poverty.

    Of course wealthy Chinese nationalists know this. They set goals that can never be achieved therefore ensuring they and their families continue to benefit from a system that favours them and cannot be changed by the majority voting for change. So the masses have to keep their heads down or choose violence, in which case they can loose everything.

    that is slightly immune from day-to-day flux of public opinions

    You mean beats the cr*p out of anyone who dares challenge it.

    chartered with the mission to do what is best for the country / people in the long run.

    You mean chartered with the mission to do what is best for it, even if it makes others suffer.

  40. Wahaha
    April 11th, 2009 at 20:51 | #40

    They would be justified because they’re Taiwanese and not Chinese.

    ___________________________

    Allen,

    The above was by Raj,

    I told you, dont waste with some scumbags who hate Chinese people, It is pointless.

  41. Wahaha
    April 11th, 2009 at 20:53 | #41

    They would be justified because they’re Taiwanese and not Chinese.

    Allen,

    The above was by Raj.

    I told you, dont waste time with someone who hate chinese people, it is pointless.

    They cant take that China getting better, and better, and better. they are pissed off. so they try to piss us off on internet.

  42. Wahaha
    April 11th, 2009 at 20:58 | #42

    BTW, I posted something on the blog above, and my post didnt pop up.

    My post was censored by Woeser, a so-called human right fighter ?

    By the way, my post is

    Han chinese out of Tibet, so Tibetan people will enjoy centuries of harmonious poverty !!!

    Obviously, this is what Raj wants for Tibetan people, am I right, Raj ? then why was my post censored by someone who you always agree with, Raj ?

    I guess that is too much for Woeser or Wang LiXiong.

  43. Nimrod
    April 11th, 2009 at 21:37 | #43

    I caught a claim here or maybe elsewhere that Tibetan development and modernization can or should only be done by ethnic Tibetans. In any case that’s what DL is implying. I would like to know a rational reason why. Is having more hemoglobin or wearing robes considered a qualification?

    “现在西藏本民族的一些官员,没有受过什么高等教育,有些官员为了这个官职,乱讲、乱汇报,中央如果只会听取他们的意见,可能根本就了解不到底下的西藏人真正想什么。”

    This is something I have heard in several instances, and I believe it is the true picture. Clearly, ethnicity is not the issue, but competence is. I suggest people all read between the lines and watch the “Year in Tibet” series with the ludicrous commentary tuned out.

  44. Lime
    April 12th, 2009 at 02:45 | #44

    Allen,
    Just to be sure I have you right, you’re saying that Tibet’s presence in the PRC is justified because the presence or absence of Tibet should be a decision made by all the citizens of the PRC (including Tibetans), and because the presence of Tibet in the PRC provides a greater net benefit than its absence would (based on your comment #17).
    In your opinion, if tomorrow the PRC were to invade Korea, or New Zealand for that matter, and both those conditions applied (the majority of the PRC’s citizens, including Koreans or New Zealanders wanted those people to be part of the PRC, and there was a net benefit for everyone involved), would there be any reason to object to their involuntary inclusion in the PRC any more than the inclusion of Tibet in the PRC? And if not, should the PRC’s neighbours be worried?
    I’m not saying there is necessarily anything wrong Tibet’s membership in the PRC, but if those two arguments are the sole justifications for including one group or another in a state, it seems like the logic is heading down a rather Napoleonic road.

    Shane,
    I’m interested in your alternative forms of democracy too. (Also in a non-polemical way.) Do you have any ideas how a state could adhere to the points you outlined in comment #33 in practice? How would a government that operated like that be structured?

  45. April 12th, 2009 at 07:33 | #45

    @Lime,

    Thanks for #44 for trying to the conversation forward…

    I can see how “absurd” it would seem if PRC would to invade another territory and say the only way for it to cede control of the conquered territory is for PRC+invaded territory to decide (instead of just having the invaded territory to decide).

    In the case of Tibet, the million dollar question is to determine if Tibet was ever invaded. Of course, invasion means the taking by force of something that does not belong to the taker. To determine whether Tibet belong to China, we need to go further back to history…

    In some ways – this is why history and perspective does matter. As I have written before, the the hidden and emotional political assumption about self determination is to decide beforehand at what granularity to apply self determination – at the clan level, tribe level, zip code level, city level, province level, “ethnic” level, “religious” level, or national level, etc. (Keep in mind that whatever level you choose – you will always find minorities and majorities on any divisive issue…)

    Unfortunately for us, that hidden assumption – in the case of Tibet – is greatly determined by irreconcilable differences in people’s sense of history and perspective.

    Suffice it to say, the concept of self determination per se does not inform at what level of granularity to apply self determination. It has to come from elsewhere.

    This the point I am trying to make… in response to zepplin’s original question.

  46. may
    April 12th, 2009 at 08:05 | #46

    zepplin #16 “I claim that the application of this right in the case of Tibet would ameliorate much of the relevant antagonisms between the Non-Tibetan Chinese, Tibetans in China, Tibetans in exile, and the West on this issue. The only thing hurt is Chinese sovereignty.”

    two questions
    1. Are you assuming the non-Tibetan Chinese would approve the referendum? Otherwise, I don’t see how a referendum can create more harmony when a majority party is against it in the first place. And I’d say it will create even more tensions when the result of the referendum is independence.

    2. Tibetan areas in Amdo and Kham are much less ethnically homogeneous than the Tibet proper. Let’s say there are 100 households in one of the towns in these areas. 65 of them are ethnic Tibetans and 25 are Hui and the rest 10 households are ethnically Han Chinese. 1) the referendum goes ahead in spite of the disapproval by the Hui and the Han; 2) as a result of the referendum, Tibet goes independent, which the Hui and the Han in the town object.

    Although the Hui and the Han outnumber the Tibetans in China in the total number, they are clearly a minority in this particular town and victims of “the classical tyranny of the majority” that you seemed to speak against in #20. So how do you propose to defend the rights of minorities in these Tibetan areas who wish to stay in China?

  47. Nimrod
    April 12th, 2009 at 08:07 | #47

    Whatever the case may be, the only violence before the signing of the 17-Point Agreement was a few local clashes near Qamdo that ended almost as soon as they began. The subsequent history could be said to be “invasive” in terms of contrasting ideas, ways, and means, which for an isolated region like Tibet was a given, but does that constitute an “invasion”? From a literal point of view, Hainan Island was invaded more than Tibet.

  48. Raj
    April 12th, 2009 at 08:52 | #48

    Allen, can I expect a response to my earlier comment? Thanks.

    Wohohoho

    Obviously, this is what Raj wants for Tibetan people, am I right, Raj ? then why was my post censored by someone who you always agree with, Raj ?

    Because whoever censored it doesn’t want what’s best for Tibetans? Or perhaps it was rude? I don’t know, you will have to ask the admin staff – they run the place!

  49. Lime
    April 12th, 2009 at 09:09 | #49

    @Allen
    So we agree then that what constitutes a particular nation, or should constitute a nation, is based on an arbitary and individual interpretations and preferences? And coming back to the might vs right thing, what will constitute the nation is determined by the relative might possessed by the different interpreters? (Which means not so much might makes right, but might makes reality).

  50. April 12th, 2009 at 09:24 | #50

    @Raj #48,

    I did want to respond. But I didn’t know where to start. Most of what you wrote seem to be like rhetorical tit-for-tat – or even simple ad hominem type retorts.

    Is there a particular point you’d like me to focus on in #39? It’s hard to have a genuine conversation when someone lambaste all over the place – seemingly without any logic.

    Anyways, since you asked for a response – here is my good faith short response to you:

    Allen: When are the “Taiwanese” justified in unilaterally seceding from China irregardless of what the rest of the Chinese people think?

    Raj: They would be justified because they’re Taiwanese and not Chinese.

    My response: Same question. The point is at whatever grouping you are going to accept, there will always be majority and minority – with the minority going along with the majority. If you are going to accept the minority going along with the majority at some granularity (say the Taiwanese, or Tibetan) – I can equally demand so at the Chinese nation level.

    Allen: When are the “Chinese people” entitled to their own self determination free from Western meddling?

    Raj: Ok, here’s a little scenario for you. The BNP, somehow, win a future UK general election. They immediately bring in anti non-”British” policies. Ethnic Chinese are rounded up and put into prisons, raped, murdered, denied the vote, whatever would make you give a damn about your common man. … It’s legal British policy. The BNP have withdrawn from the EU and ECHR. The victims are British citizens. But they’re 100% ethnic Chinese. Would it be wrong for ethnic Chinese around the world to “meddle” as you put it?

    My Response: Not sure what you are trying to get at. We have several discussions about violence against ethnic Chinese in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam…. Looks like you are having a bad day and just want to rant?

    Allen: Suppose we could fragment China into China proper and Tibet – and suppose that the sum of total welfare for China proper and Tibet increases (I fight tooth and nail on this, but I will go along), with the welfare disproportionately accruing to Tibet – should we allow this to happen?

    Raj: Should you get to decide whether it happens or not?

    My Response: fortunately, I don’t get to decide. Or else I will have to get secret service protecting me all the time…

    Raj: Your argument for denying Tibetans a say in how they run their affairs is that your system is better for them. That’s no different from what imperial powers said to justify their empires.

    My response: I don’t see your point. European colonialism is wrong. Some colonialists did try to do some good. Doing good does not make colonialism good. But doing good does not become bad simply because some colonialists were doing good.

    Raj: So tomorrow, if a foreign power invented a doomsday weapon that wiped out the Chinese military in a stroke and they occupied China, would you support that because they promised to wipe out poverty in China faster than the CCP could? Hell no, you would scream and scream and scream blue murder.

    My Response: The rest of your writing gets even more insane from my perspective. I have no idea what you are writing about. Perhaps you were arguing with other people in other websites and decided to copy your arguments here?

  51. April 12th, 2009 at 09:30 | #51

    @Lime #49,

    The arbitrariness relates to self determination – not nationalism.

    If you have ideas on which nationalism is more legitimate than others – please share them with us.

    As for the notion of might makes right and might is right: I am always willing to listen to what others say. But I want to say once again might has nothing to do with the point I was making. In fact, the argument I made regarding self determination of China – that becomes even more passionate when China is weak…

    However – if you have to ask, in my opinion, might – over the long term – is always right. This is not a moral or ideological statement. It’s sort of like 2+2=4. I’ve learned that it’s how the world – right or wrong – works.

  52. Raj
    April 12th, 2009 at 12:11 | #52

    Allen, thanks.

    The point is at whatever grouping you are going to accept, there will always be majority and minority – with the minority going along with the majority.

    I don’t accept that Taiwanese are part of the “China grouping”, nor do most Taiwanese. That’s the point. Your attitude would not be unlike saying the whole of Mongolia was part of China, ergo as there are more Chinese than Mongolians China would have a right to occupy it because the Mongolians have to go along with what the Chinese want.

    We have several discussions about violence against ethnic Chinese in Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam

    I believe there have been, but I can’t remember where they are. Could you crystallise your view here, or link to what you have said in the past?

    I don’t see your point. European colonialism is wrong.

    Why is European imperialism wrong but Chinese imperialism right? The arguments Chinese nationalists advance that they are doing good in Tibet, ergo Chinese policies are right are no different from those advanced by Napoleon and other imperialists.

    I have no idea what you are writing about.

    It’s quite simple. If China were occupied by a foreign power in the same fashion Tibet was by Chinese forces, with the occupying force promising an end to poverty and a better life than the CCP could provide, what would your reaction be?

    I may be misrepresenting your views, but you seem to argue that because China is bringing or is promising to bring a better life for Tibetans that makes what it does “ok” there. I’m trying to demonstrate that just as Chinese would never accept what was regarded as an outside force taking control of China, even if they promised the world, Tibetans are never going to accept China doing the same to it. They might tolerate being part of China but that requires being left alone to do what they want. Controlling Tibetan politics and interfering in Tibetan religion isn’t leaving them alone.

    As for my other comments, I’ll explain more clearly what I meant when you were talking about using military force to achieve your vision of China. You said “might”, which I take to mean military force. If you don’t mean that perhaps you could clarify what you do mean by it.

    It’s one thing to have the military defend China against an external military assault, but I don’t believe a nation should be kept together through military force. Maybe you believe that it would be better to have a war over Taiwan and/or a deadly military operation in Tibet to stop either territory formalising its independence/breaking away, but I would prefer to see Scotland or Wales leave the United Kingdom that for us to have a war. Nations should be bound together by a desire to work together, not fear and death.

  53. Shane9219
    April 12th, 2009 at 18:11 | #53

    @Allen #38

    Please go ahead making that translation. That will be an excellant effort.

    @Raj

    Raj = faked “European” ultraliberal utopianist.

    If your wish, Indian subcontinent would be divided into dozens or even hundreds of small tribe nations.

  54. April 12th, 2009 at 18:16 | #54

    @Raj #52,

    I see our core disagreement on view of China’s nation building process. I don’t per se want to get to that here. We disagree on facts, on history, on perspectives.

    My point here is only to point out that a lot of people fly the flag of self determination and arbitrarily subscribe it to something informed by their other political inclination – not by the principle of self determination per se.

    As for using military to hold a country together – every country depends on military to help keep peace against factors internal as well as external. Civil wars are also perfectly acceptable in my opinion. So I have no problem with the idea of a country having a strong military per se.

    As for your preference for Scotland and Wales – that’s great. The British can do what they please. The Canadians, too – with respect to Quebec. If the U.S. want to fragment – that’s fine too. But that’s the business of each individual society. Please don’t graft the political preferences of one country unto another. That’s really imperialism (you seem to like analogy to former colonialism), if you really think about it.

  55. Lime
    April 12th, 2009 at 18:37 | #55

    @Allen
    I don’t think any nationalism is any more legitimate than any other, and therefore a nation just as arbitary as who gets to self-determine. I think I understand what you about the might vs right. You’re saying what is right, or rather what you believe is right, does not changed based on the reality of the situation or relative might of the different players. Taiwan being part of ‘China’ is right, regardless whether the PRC has the power to enforce that, and if it doesn’t, you’re even more passionate about it… Do I understand you correctly?

    That’s why I said might makes reality, not right.
    Course once again, it comes back to the arbitrariness of it. You said “My position of China is mainland (including Tibet) + Taiwan does not appeal to might, though I will happily support use of might to achieve my vision of China.” The emphasis is on ‘my position’ in the sentence. There nothing that makes your position any more or less justified than anybody else says (China=territory of the Qing Dynasty, China=PRC+ROC, China=PRC+ROC+Mongolia, Japan=Current Japan+Korea+Taiwan, or whatever). No matter what happens, I understand that you will continue to believe your equation is right (as will everyone else), but it is just your arbitary personal belief, which is what all nationalism (or nationism) boils down to.

  56. Wukailong
    April 13th, 2009 at 01:50 | #56

    Some thoughts on the discussion so far:

    I think Otto and Allen (and all people who second their viewpoints) both have valid points, and paradoxically, these points are both based on a certain view of democracy – that people have the right to “self-determination”.

    The reason might versus right comes into the discussion is because there is the problem of the “tyranny of the majority” – if you have a conflict between two groups in which one group is substantially larger than the other, and you try to solve it just by majority vote, you’re going to have an obvious result unless the two groups are internally split. This holds both for the case with Han vs. Zang in modern China, as well as the hypothetical case of an independent Tibet with a minority of Han and Hui inhabitants.

    I’m not sure there’s any good solution to this, though there have been attempts… One is affirmative action, another is having fixed representations of minority peoples or groups like some governments are attempting. This is, by the way, one of the problems of majority rule in both “western” democratic countries and other systems, so here’s something for you to solve in your more mature democratic systems. 😉

    The right of self-determination can also be interpreted as sovereignty, the right not to be intruded upon by other countries, and if viewed from such a perspective, self-determination for groups within the whole could just be a maneuver by foreign powers to divide and conquer.

    Personally, I don’t think self-determination is really the point at all… Though that’s something I’ll write about later. Short summary: solve the underlying problems that cause the calls for self-determination and separatism instead.

  57. Wahaha
    April 13th, 2009 at 01:55 | #57

    Lime,

    may I ask what your nationality is ?

    Say, if you are a canadian, how do you justify your view of the land under white as NOT nationalism ?

    Raj,

    read your comment, can you elaborate what exactly you mean ? or as Allen said “even simple ad hominem type retorts” ?

  58. Wukailong
    April 13th, 2009 at 02:36 | #58

    @Wahaha: I think Lime is from Mauritius, but don’t take my word for it.

  59. Lime
    April 13th, 2009 at 02:39 | #59

    Hi Wahaha,
    My citizenship is Canadian. When I have to choose a nationality though, I like to say I’m an Albertan (sometimes I say West-Central Albertan). Not sure what you mean by “land under white”.
    What’s your nationality?

  60. Wahaha
    April 13th, 2009 at 02:50 | #60

    Lime,

    If a Chinese defends his position and opinion on Tibet, he is nationalist, in your opinion.

    Now if we question you about your view why not giving the land back to native aboriginals, and if you defend, does that make you a nationalist ?

  61. Lime
    April 13th, 2009 at 03:01 | #61

    Well if someone whose nationality is Chinese takes the position that Tibet should be part of the PRC because that’s just what ‘China’, as a nation is, and the political state should reflect that, then that would probably be nationalism, or his nationism of China.
    As for giving the land back to aboriginals in Alberta, well I gather that the British government, whose members were mostly white forcibly took land from various Native American states, most of whose members were not white… so maybe those guys should give it back, I don’t know. Probably most of them on both sides are dead now, though. But I don’t think it applies to me either way. I don’t own any land, I’m a renter.

  62. Wahaha
    April 13th, 2009 at 03:15 | #62

    Lime,

    Let say, I bark “Give the land back to native aboriginals !!!” like some idiotic westerners yelled about Tibet.

    Whatever you say will make you a nationalist, according to your post.

  63. Lime
    April 13th, 2009 at 03:37 | #63

    Not necessarily. How I’m defining nationalist is somebody who has a particular ideological commitment to one version of a nation that they believe they are part of. If they do not believe they are part of it, but are still ideologically committed to it, then they are what I’m calling a nationist. Hence the Dalai Lama and Woeser are Tibetan nationalists, Hu Jintao and James Soong are Chinese nationalists, Gao Junming is a Taiwanian nationalist, and so on. The idiotic barking western in your scenario would be a Tibetan nationist. I’m not saying there anything wrong with being either a nationist or a nationalist. Most people are one or both, in fact. Nietzsche is one of the few examples of an anti-nationalist I can think of. But my point is that nationalism, or a particular nationalism, is a personal ideology. Your belief in what China is or what ‘China’ (or any other nation) should be, assuming you even believe it does or should exist, is your own belief, and it is no more or less justified than the next guy, whether he be Hu Jintao or the Dalai Lama.

  64. April 13th, 2009 at 05:11 | #64

    @Lime #55,

    I can accept what you wrote in #55.

    At this moment, I too cannot prove whether one form of nationalism is more legitimate than another either. That’s why I often end statements about Chinese nationalism with – but I know where I stand. I never have said that Chinese nationalism is the truth, only truth, and nothing but the truth.

    (With that said, I personally believe Chinese nationalism will bring about the most good, the most improvement in people’s quality of life, and the best chance for peace … for the world. But that’s just my personal view.)

    Anyways – given the fact that nationalism is based on a belief – I have no problem you characterizing my sense of nationalism as my “arbitary personal belief.” The arbitrariness is not the same type of arbitrariness I have been talking about w.r.t. self determination (this is why your use of the word arbitrary for nationalism confused me at first) – but I guess I can agree it is another type of arbitrariness.

    But if we want to talk at this level, I should think everything we believe in can be described so also… Even many things we call facts as well – as many sort of knowledge are subjective in nature.

    Stlll … when subjective truthiness is held by a large number of people – which together form nationalism (nationalism can’t be an idea of one, it instead is a belief shared by many) … well (I guess now I see where “might” (if used to be synonymous with a majority, or large number of people – not force per se) can come up) – “might” makes … is … right?

  65. Lime
    April 13th, 2009 at 07:46 | #65

    @Allen
    Yeah, that’s pretty much what I’m saying. The arbitariness of one group’s right to self-determination and the arbitrariness of nationalism/nationism are not exactly the same thing, but they’re linked I think. As for the might/majority thing, I still don’t think you can say that makes right. Even if no one else but you thought the PRC including Tibet was the correct form of ‘China’, it wouldn’t make it any less right for you. Likewise, just because the Chinese government, thanks to the support it gets from its people, can make Tibet part of China, it doesn’t make the Dalai Lama’s Tibet-is-a-nation-and-should-be-a-state any less right for him. And it does come down to the will and ability to use the threat of violence and ultimately violence itself, so that your nation (your ‘right’) is the one reflected by the reality of the state (did Maistre say that?).

    I want to go back to you comment #15 and think about the self-determination-nationalism connection.

    In your list, items 2 and 5 can be thrown out immediately. Tibet was invaded, I don’t think you can really argue this, but as Nimrod said either on this or another thread, so was Jiangsu and so was Hainan. The CPC forced itself on all of the current PRC and maintains its rule through force everywhere, not just Tibet. What are perceived as abuses of “human rights” (which is also highly arbitary, even silly category), go on in Tibet, but they go on everywhere too.

    So that leaves colony/distinct cultural entity. When splitting up the British Empire of the 19th century it is easy to tell the colonies from the mother country; the mother country’s government was elected by the franchised voters and colonies had their governments appointed. In the case of one-party dictatorships* like the PRC, the colonies are always going to be governed the same way as the mother country, so either the division just doesn’t apply, or you have to divide it along cultural/ethnic/linguistic lines. Or potentially it could be the group in question’s belief that they are a nation. Which makes the definition of ‘colony’ just as arbitary as ‘nation’.

    Hmm… I think I’m just rambling now, and should probably stop and get some sleep. Nice talking to you Allen (and Wahaha too).

    *I don’t mean to suggest there is anything wrong with one-party dictatorships, and I don’t want to dismiss Shane’s idea of a non-western democracy out of hand either, but if the PRC is currently a non-western democracy, then ‘non-western democracy’ is just a euphemism.

  66. Wahaha
    April 13th, 2009 at 15:44 | #66

    …The idiotic barking western in your scenario would be a Tibetan nationist. …

    LIME,

    The barking I was talking about was not about Tibet, I mean if some Chinese or other people foolishly demand Canadians or Australians give back the land to native, and no matter how Canadians or Australians defends that they are the rightful owners of the land, it is nationalism by your criteria.

  67. Wahaha
    April 13th, 2009 at 16:34 | #67

    Lime,

    Here is a story about a girl who was forced to choose country or parents. Her parents are illegal in Japan and were about to be deported.

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/04/13/japan.philippines.calderon/index.html#cnnSTCText

    By the criteria of humanity, what Japanese government did is very inhuman. The question is ” does Japanese government have other choice ?”

    On surface, it looks quite simple, why cant Japanese parents let the parents of the girl staying in Japan ? Japan can afford two illegal immigrants, what did they do such ‘terrible’ things ?

    But you think a little deeper, you will see the huge potential problem if Japanese government let them stay, cuz it opens a way for other illegal immigrants LEGALLY staying in Japan, all they have to do is giving birth to several kids.

    In China, there are lot of “so called” human right problems that are similar to this case, most notably, the land acquistion. A government must estalish certain laws and people must enjoy certain level of lives (so they wont do something stupid) before people can be granted the right of protesting at will. See Thailand ?
    China would be chaos 100 times worse than in Thailand if people are allowed to protest at will.

    While obviously you dont give a damn if China will be in chaos or not, vast majority of chinese care, that is why CCP can sell “Stability is paramount.”

  68. Shane9219
    April 13th, 2009 at 18:39 | #68

    China pledges to improve human rights – with Chinese characteristics

    By Peter Foster on Telegraph.co.uk

    “China released its first “action plan” on human rights on Monday, but made clear that its citizens’ right to earn a living, educate their children and see a doctor would come before Western ideas of freedom of speech, assembly and a fair trial. ”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/5148694/China-pledges-to-improve-human-rights—with-Chinese-characteristics.html

    Now it is high time for those self-appointed human rights “Czars” with “full stomach” to shut up and listen. They have been dictating so much on this topic.

    @admin

    Really a good idea to start a new thread on this concrete action plan.

  69. April 13th, 2009 at 19:01 | #69

    @Lime #65,

    #65 is as good a place to agree to disagree as any, I think.

    I do disagree that Jiansu, tibet, and other provinces were “invaded” by China when China was simply being re-unified. Now … I may agree that Jiansu, Tibet, and other provinces may be considered to be “invaded” by communist forces while China was still undergoing civil war since the communists did not have control of the full territory of China at the moment.

    But China did not invade Jiansu, Tibet, or other territories as you depicted…

    It’s a subtle – but very important – distinction…

    The rest of our disagreement is really I think on the current form of government. You really think the CCP holds the country by force – and not through legitimacy. Oh well… let’s just agree to disagree on that.

    One last thing about your comment in #65. Yes I agree the DL and exiles definitely has a “right” to believe in their notion of Tibetan nationalism. I never argued against that right. It’s just that if they must play the nationalism game – then it will have to be a fight between Tibetan and Chinese nationalism. I don’t think the DL and exiles can ever win in that front (at least I’ll take my chances with Chinese nationalism). If the DL and exiles truly want to have a say in how modern Tibet is to be developed, they must find a way to come home – and work cooperatively with the CCP and the government in Tibet today in building that modern Tibet. But I digress…

  70. Nimrod
    April 13th, 2009 at 20:58 | #70

    Shane9219 wrote:

    “China released its first “action plan” on human rights on Monday, but made clear that its citizens’ right to earn a living, educate their children and see a doctor would come before Western ideas of freedom of speech, assembly and a fair trial. ”

    +++++
    After spending 1958-1976 mired in mistaken economic policies and the kind of mobocracy you see in color revolutions these days, China has found something that works and is increasingly taken as a model by the developing world, whatever the developed world likes to believe. Perhaps some of what’s going on in Africa is already replicating this success, perhaps not… one can argue about that. Results speak louder than rhetoric. In the developing world, the Western model has pretty much produced nothing but failures, even Eastern Europe.

    Regardless, for any developing country, it would do no wrong to carefully study the entire history of modern China, from gaining independence, self-sufficiency, security, and basic sanitation, to modernizing society and thought, fostering social cohesion, to long-term strategic planning and infrastructure investment, and the concensus governing and stability-centric development model and merit-based leadership selection, along with the mistakes to avoid. Indeed, these concerns are thousands times more basic and universal than whether there should be 2 parties or 3, or whether legislators have the right to curse at each other or throw lunchboxes, or whether people can go on the streets shouting slogans.

  71. Lime
    April 13th, 2009 at 21:04 | #71

    @Wahaha
    Fair enough on just about everything. Except I’m not sure why you think it’s obvious I don’t give a damn whether the PRC is in chaos. Also, with Thailand, it might be worth it to consider why its in chaos. The problem may lie deeper than the chaos itself.

    @Allen
    You got me wrong mate. I believe that the PRC maintains its rule through violence, but I don’t think that necessarily makes it illegitimate, assuming there is such a thing as ‘legitimacy’. Let me put it this way, I don’t think that the government of PRC is any less legitimate than either the governments of the US or UK, both of which established themselves through violence (or at least the threat of violence in the Glorious Revolution), and both of which maintain their rule with the threat of violence. The only real difference is that in recent times, the government of the PRC has actually had to use violence against internal elements to protect itself. (But I also don’t think the ROC’s government is any less legitimate than the PRC’s.)

    To the invasion vs reunification bit, as I argued in my other post, I’m not convinced that there is any such thing as ‘China’, or rather China, especially a historical pan-historical China is an arbitrary and not even especially useful category, so I’m certainly not saying that Jiangsu or Tibet was invaded by ‘China’. I guess because the PRC was not officially established when the Red Army marched into Nanjing, you might be able to still characterise the invasion of Jiangsu as a rebellion, and they were operating from territory that had once been controlled by the ROC and the CPC and Red Army were mostly ex-citizens of the ROC. But the PRC was established when Tibet the Red Army marched into Lhasa. Yeah, maybe Tibet was an invasion and Jiangsu was not. The only way to not see Tibet as an invasion is to superimpose a map of the Qing state and all its territorial possessions at the height of its territorial expansion over a map of Asia in the 1950s. Them ignore every other historical formation of ‘China’, (even though China is supposedly 6000 years old…) and then choose to believe that the superimposed map is the ‘correct’ version of the nation, and believe that any attack by any state holding territory within the superimposed map on any other state within the superimposed map is a ‘reunification’. Which is not only arbitrary, it’s just silly.

    As a caveat, I’m not saying that Tibet’s inclusion in the PRC is illegitimate. Lots of nations are composed of the territory of one or more ex-states that was invaded. The United States is probably the best example. But let’s call a spade a spade.

  72. April 13th, 2009 at 21:35 | #72

    @Lime #71,

    Still don’t agree China invaded Tibet … or that PRC – as legitimate gov’t of China – invaded Tibet. In fact, since PRC had become a de-facto legitimate gov’t of China, the taking over / re-integration of Tibet can definitely now not be said to be an invasion.

    As for the relevance of the Qing map – yes it does play a central role to my interpretation of what is China and what is not. It is not a static conception – as you pointed out – but it is an important basis on which the notion of modern China rest.

  73. Lime
    April 13th, 2009 at 22:10 | #73

    @Allen
    Alright, then, so my questions are;
    1. What is China?
    2. Why does the Qing map take precedence, for you, over, say the Ming map or the Han map (if those are also ‘Chinas’)?
    3. Why was the PRC’s government the legitimate government of China?
    4. Why wasn’t the Dalai Lama’s government the legitimate government of Tibet?

  74. Lime
    April 13th, 2009 at 22:24 | #74

    I’ll amend that.
    Question 4 should be;
    4. Was the Dalai Lama’s government the legitimate government of Tibet?

  75. Oli
    April 13th, 2009 at 23:59 | #75

    @ Lime
    @ Allen

    Allen, allow me to interject to answer Lime’s questions.

    1. What is China?

    China is whatever and however its peoples want it to be as a result of its history and its political discourse.

    2. Why does the Qing map take precedence, for you, over, say the Ming map or the Han map (if those are also ‘Chinas’)?
    3. Why was the PRC’s government the legitimate government of China?
    4. Why wasn’t the Dalai Lama’s government the legitimate government of Tibet?

    To answer 2, 3 and 4 you can read up on the political theory and doctrine of the succession of states that the international community abide by. As the Republic of China was recognised as the successor state of the Qing Empire, so the People’s Republic of China became the successor state of the Republic of China after the civil war, both politically and geographically.

    As Tibet was not an independent state under the Qing Empire, so it is also neither independent under the ROC or under the PRC. As it was never an independent state through the line of state succession, ergo its “government” under the Dalai Lamas is also illegitimate. This illegitimacy is further reinforced by the fact that no foreign governments or international bodies currently recognize the “TGIE” as representative of the “non-state of Tibet”, irrespective of how it stylized itself.

    Furthermore, its claim that it was briefly independent is also unsustainable simply because it did not gain sufficient international recognition at the time. The fact that it had some political interactions with a few foreign governments is nevertheless insufficient to establish either independence or sovereignty if it cannot be maintained or expanded upon. Considering that all governments regularly have dealings with non-state actors under a variety of conditions, such dealings do not automatically constitute diplomatic recognition.

    And ultimately the Dalai Lamas government’s illegitimacy is simply due to the undeniable reality that it is not, both politically and militarily, in control of the area it claims, no matter its voiciferous assertions to the contrary.

    Clear enough?

  76. Lime
    April 14th, 2009 at 00:34 | #76

    @Oli
    No not really, I’m afraid.
    Your answer, “China is whatever and however its peoples want it to be as a result of its history and its political discourse,” is circular reasoning. The next question is, “Who are China’s people?” And the answer will be “People who live in China, or consider themselves Chinese, or are considered Chinese by other Chinese people.”
    See the problem?

    Second, the first problem with the theory of the succession of states is that it’s just a theory. Even if you accept it as a binding rule, no where has the theory ever implied that when, a state collapses, the successor state is automatically entitled/obligated to reconquer all of the territory of the old state. That’s why Russian Federation can be accepted as the successor state of the USSR, but not be expected to ‘reunify’ with the Belarus, the Ukraine, and so on. It also means that the Russian Federation can be the USSR’s successor state, but the Ukrainian government can still be ‘legitimate’.

    Taken to its logical conclusion, your interpretation would mean that almost no state (except maybe those that occupy the territories of the so called ‘heartland civilisations’) would be legitimate, as most everywhere has at one time or another been part of a larger federation.

    I agree that the Dalai Lama’s government isn’t currently a legitimate government, as its not a government at all. But the succession of states theory (provided we accept it) does not in any way suggest his government from 1912 to 1951 was not legitimate.

  77. Otto Kerner
    April 14th, 2009 at 01:20 | #77

    “And ultimately the Dalai Lamas government’s illegitimacy is simply due to the undeniable reality that it is not, both politically and militarily, in control of the area it claims, no matter its voiciferous assertions to the contrary.”

    Exactly right. The PRC is the government of Tibet because they are politically and militarily in control of the area in question: might makes reality.

  78. Shane9219
    April 14th, 2009 at 01:36 | #78

    @Lime

    USSR was not a nature state entity. It was a federation of states. Don’t compare apple with orange.

    Furthermore, state sucession has been well-established since 19th century, so it is not a political “theory” per say. White Europeans set up those rules for their own benefits in the old days. Now they pretend to be post modern, saying the concept of nature state is no longer important, so that they can continue to exploit developing countries under “legitimate” means.

    There is no doubt that sovereigty is still very important and sensititive issues to countries outside Europea.

  79. Shane9219
    April 14th, 2009 at 01:55 | #79

    @Otto Kerner #77

    A strong nation expresses itself with strong political will and military might. That is what makes USA a super-power. However, a legitimate claim is a legitimate claim, has nothing to do with expression of state might.

    This is a world difference between China’s claim on Tibet and US claim on Hawaii. US did have to make an apology to native Hawaii and China does not.

    Unfortunatly, native Hawaiian culture has been degraded so much in danger of losting its vatality, while Tibetan culture is thriving in Tibet.

  80. April 14th, 2009 at 02:22 | #80

    @Lime #73,

    You asked:

    1. What is China?
    2. Why does the Qing map take precedence, for you, over, say the Ming map or the Han map (if those are also ‘Chinas’)?
    3. Why was the PRC’s government the legitimate government of China?
    4. Why wasn’t the Dalai Lama’s government the legitimate government of Tibet?

    We can discuss epistemically what is China … and it always make for wonderful topic. We’ll inevitably get more here – so stay tuned! There are several threads on what is Chinese – I recommend reading up on those when you have time.

    For our purpose here though (establishing whether PRC invaded Tibet) – which depends on establishing whether Tibet is part of China – we can simply refer to International Law.

    There is a body of international law relating to state succession. I don’t intend to lecture that, but suffice it to say, a succeeding state generally is recognized by other nations as the state taking in place of a former state, in the process taking over all obligations and rights of the states being succeeded.

    There is no doubt that ROC succeeded Qing in International Law. Nor is there doubt today that PRC has succeeded ROC (barring a few welfare state of the ROC).

    The fact that no nation in the world has ever recognized a Tibetan state is further evidence of this state of affairs.

    Based on all these factors – no one – except politically interested parties sympathetic to Tibetan nationalism – would characterize the events of 1951 or 1959 as China invading Tibet in 1951 or 1959 (whether we talk about 1951 or 1959, as the case may be, really depend on the mood of the DL!!! (another DL chameleon act…)).

    As for legitimacy of the government – I prefer not to get into that here (as you also claimed in an earlier thread) – so I’ll leave it there. Otherwise, we are going to get into arguments such as China is not legitimate because so on and so on and son on – and I retorting DL’s gov’t is not legitimate is not legitimate because so on and so on and so on – or none of the Western gov’t is legitimate because of so on and so on and so on….

  81. April 14th, 2009 at 02:29 | #81

    @Oli #75,

    Thanks…

    I often feel silly clarifying that China did not invade Tibet. It’s like teaching someone that 2+2 does indeed equal 4 … by helping someone parse that 2+2 is the same as 2+1+1 and that 2+1 = 3 and after we finally get to that stage, that 3+1 does indeed equal 4 … so – hence 2+2 is really … really … 4. No trick up my sleeve. Nothing but the truth. Really!

  82. Wukailong
    April 14th, 2009 at 04:24 | #82

    @Allen: What if people are using different kinds of algebras? 😀

  83. Otto Kerner
    April 14th, 2009 at 04:44 | #83

    Allen,

    The “invasion of Tibet” issue is usually at root a semantic issue: does “invade” mean to forcibly enter a territory, or does it mean to illegitimately enter a territory? Some people use it one way and some people use it the other way. That being the case, it is a question of no significance unless you and the person you’re talking to agree on definitions beforehand.

  84. April 14th, 2009 at 04:59 | #84

    @Otto Kerner #83,

    Fair enough – and I do apologize for seemingly slighting the issue.

    I’ll leave it at this (hopefully it will help): for people who believe Tibet was part of the Qing and that the PRC successfully succeeded the ROC (which had then succeeded the Qing) as the gov’t of China – the entry of the PRC army into Tibet cannot be considered an invasion.

  85. April 14th, 2009 at 05:01 | #85

    @Wukailong #82,

    Different kind of algebra? (what’s 1+1? It’s 1! Why? Well, when you mix 1 clump of dirt + 1 clump of dirt, you still get 1 clump of dirt!)

    Jokes aside, you had no idea what trouble I had to take to double check and triple to make sure I didn’t make any arithmetic errors in #81. For I know people would pounce on me to no end had I made a mistake there! 😉

  86. Shane9219
    April 14th, 2009 at 05:31 | #86

    @Otto Kerner #83

    There is no need to whitewash the nature meaning of “invasion”.

    China claims its historical sovereignty over Tibet, therefore, sending its army to put down an uprising was not an act of “invasion”.

    TGIE, on other hand, claims Tibet has been an independent state since ancient time (they probably forgott how 14th DL got his official title), therefore, PRC “invaded” Tibet.

    Through established historical facts, it is pretty clear that, at no time, international communities accepted Tibet as an independent state, even during the time of imperial GB.

  87. Nimrod
    April 14th, 2009 at 05:41 | #87

    Lime wrote:

    That’s why Russian Federation can be accepted as the successor state of the USSR, but not be expected to ‘reunify’ with the Belarus, the Ukraine, and so on. It also means that the Russian Federation can be the USSR’s successor state, but the Ukrainian government can still be ‘legitimate’.

    +++++
    Not be expected to, to be sure, but has no right to? You have to remember that Russia came about as a result of mutually agreed upon defederalization. Even so, the CIS was around, and conceivably, whoever acting on its behalf (Russia, perhaps) could have forced the issue on the eve of the USSR’s breakup. Had it done so, it would have been condemned for political and humanitarian reasons (a la Chechnya), but not for reasons of illegitimacy.

    Suppose further that a Russia-dominated CIS even managed to sign a 17-Point Agreement with Ukraine without so much as firing a shot. Imagine that.

  88. Wukailong
    April 14th, 2009 at 05:44 | #88

    I don’t mean to be snarky or something, but… The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, or simply Afghanistan ruled by the Taliban, were only accepted by three countries in the world, at least one of which later revoked its acceptance. So if the then government wasn’t accepted as the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan by any country (almost), did the Northern Alliance or even the US invade them?

    Still, before getting into heated arguments about this can of worms, I’ll just say that using the word invasion depends on what status you want to give the controversial area, like Shane said above.

  89. Otto Kerner
    April 14th, 2009 at 05:53 | #89

    Shane,

    In fact, I half agree with you: I think the word “invasion” does normally mean some sort of illegitimate encroachment. Therefore, if Tibet was part of PRC sovereign territory, the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, no matter how violent, was not an invasion. However, there are certainly people who use “invasion” to mean any forceful entry, and for them the issue of legitimacy is irrelevant.

  90. Nimrod
    April 14th, 2009 at 06:02 | #90

    Otto Kerner,

    However, there are certainly people who use “invasion” to mean any forceful entry, and for them the issue of legitimacy is irrelevant.

    +++++
    Problem is there wasn’t even forceful entry, since the borders weren’t even defined. Arguably the Yangtze River was sort of a border, if you go by the Simla lines that China doesn’t recognize. In that case, there was one skirmish that could be called a cross-border “raid” and Ngabo Ngawang Jigme in Chamdo surrendered promptly while the Lhasa officials refused to come back from their picnic. The rest was negotiated. So, what invasion?

  91. Shane9219
    April 14th, 2009 at 06:06 | #91

    @Otto Kerner #89

    “forceful entry“ is NOT insufficient to define the meaning of “invasion”. A legitimate home owner can forcefully enter his/her own home if a key was lost. A bystander can “invade” a piece of private property “peacefully” if he does not know the boundary. You can see what I mean through this simple example.

  92. April 14th, 2009 at 06:08 | #92

    @Lime #76,

    Forgot to respond to your point about Soviet Union and Russia … I hope you kind of asked that question in jest and that you understand that Russia never reputed to be the full successor former Soviet Union. Soviet Union defederalized – with Russia taking over most of the rights and obligations (but not all) of the former Soviet Union. Russia immediately recognized the independence of former Soviet states. No one treats Russia as a successor state of the Soviet Union in the sense we are talking about ROC and PRC here…

    Just to be perfectly clear: neither ROC nor PRC recognized a fragmentation of China – nor an independent Tibet as a result of that fragmentation. No other nation in the world understood ROC or PRC to be a result of a fragmented China. Both ROC or PRC claimed to be the full successor of the Qing – not a fragmented part of the Qing…

  93. April 14th, 2009 at 06:10 | #93

    @Nimrod,

    There was not even any forced entry.

    In 1951, the forces entered peacefully. The DL worked with the Chinese central gov’t peacefully for 9 years. Then the DL tried to instigate a riot in response to land reforms that would have stripped the ruling class much of their power basis. The riot was so pitiful that the DL had to flee.

    There was no forced entry either 1951 nor 1959 …. only liberation.

  94. Wukailong
    April 14th, 2009 at 06:14 | #94

    This must be the first time I’ve heard that DL had to flee because the riots were pitiful… Whatever the truth to all this, it’s obviously clear there were widespread riots and the subsequent dissolution of the local government was a result of it.

  95. Wukailong
    April 14th, 2009 at 06:19 | #95

    As for the discussion of the word “invasion”, it was indeed used during WWII to describe the allied entering (or whatever other neutral word there is) of the European continent during D Day. Perhaps the meaning of the word has been floating, so that it is now considered only pejorative?

  96. April 14th, 2009 at 06:48 | #96

    @Wukailong,

    Invasion to description things like D-Day seems to make sense for me. France (most of Europe) were considered (by the allies) to be occupied by a foreign power (Germany). Those territories need to be liberated from occupation.

    Invasion for Tibet does not make sense since Tibet was not occupied by a foreign power. Power were simply being reconsolidated by the central gov’t.

  97. Oli
    April 14th, 2009 at 10:51 | #97

    @ Lime
    @ Otto Kerner

    I think you two need to wake up, grow up and smell the roses. OK here is Political Theory and Practice 101.

    ALL states and governments, irrespective of its political ideology, whether it’s communist, democractic, fascist, dictatorial or theocratic Buddhist/Christian/Moslem whatever, involve elements of state power and/or sanctions and violence within the matrix of the polity’s socio-political fabric. That’s what the military, the judiciary and the security forces represent and yes, violence is an accepted and acknowledged form of state power, however many of us may sometimes wish otherwise.

    The theory of the succession of states is actually NOT just a theory, it is a CONVENTION and I suggest you look it up. Not all rules are written or need to be written. As regarding the former USSR or today’s Russian Federation, if it had the means to assert its authority over ALL the territory of the former USSR at the time of its collapse, it would have done so. That it didn’t do so was because it was unable to at the time. But where it could it did, ie. Chechnya, Abkhazia, Tartars, Cossacks etc., so that even in today’s Russian Federation there remain significant ethnic diversity despite the breakup of the former USSR.

    Ditto with the USA in the outbreak of the American Civil War. The South wanted to break away and while there were some European states willing to recognise the new Confederacy’s government in Richmond, its brief, self-perceived independence and sovereignty did not gain sufficient international diplomatic recognition and its inability to win the war ultimately meant that it was never independent to begin with. Ditto Turkey as the recognised successor state of the Ottoman Empire, the UK that of the British Empire and Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina being the recognised successor states of the former Republic of Yugoslavia after NATO intervention.

    So, Tibetan nationalists, don’t hold your breath and yes up to a degree might AND cash is certainly and unashamedly right, so that’s realpolitik for you, get used to it.

  98. Otto Kerner
    April 14th, 2009 at 12:05 | #98

    Nimrod and Allen,

    The negotiations could never have happened nor could they have been concluded to the PRC’s satisfaction had they not brought an army. Before the troops showed up, the Tibetan side’s negotatiating position was along the lines of, “Please give back Kham and Amdo”, i.e. the opposite of what was settled on. So, the entry into Tibet was clearly forceful — without force, it would not have occurred.

    Allen,

    I’m awaiting your post arguing with Oli on this “might vs. right” thing. You two seem to have something of a disagreement.

  99. Oli
    April 14th, 2009 at 14:44 | #99

    @ Otto Kerner

    Actually, Allen and I don’t have any disagreement. You obviously have certain intellectual difficulty in holding two concepts in your mind at the same time, nevermind recurring difficulty with reading comprehension.

    Go back and re-read what I wrote, see the qualifier, “…up to a degree…” and also the bit about succession of states? Might and legitimacy are not mutually exclusive, but are instead mutually self-reinforcing, ergo when police forceably enters someone’s abode with a court order it is done so with both force and legitimacy. Ditto Tibet.

  100. April 14th, 2009 at 19:00 | #100

    @Otto Kerner #98,

    All political negotiations are carried out in the shadow of real politik.

    The CCP – in the process of reconsolidating the power of the central gov’t – went out of its way to make sure it did not bring in gov’t forces into territory then under control of the Tibetan local gov’t until an amiable agreement for orderly transfer of power has been reached.

    By all accounts – that agreement was reached. The DL happily worked side by side with the CCP to reform Tibet for some 9 years…

    If the CCP really wanted to invade Tibet – it would have brought those armies in without negotiating anything.

  101. April 14th, 2009 at 19:08 | #101

    @Wukailong #94,

    There was no widespread riot. There were small scale resistance surrounding the DL formed by DL’s followers. That resistance was quickly and easily put out.

  102. April 14th, 2009 at 19:25 | #102

    @Otto Kerner #98,

    You wrote:

    I’m awaiting your post arguing with Oli on this “might vs. right” thing. You two seem to have something of a disagreement.

    Maybe we do … maybe we don’t. The reason I don’t know is because I don’t even know what “might” or “right” mean.

    When Steve first brought up that term in #23 (clarified in #26) – he did not mean military force – just the majority force of a country. But others understood it to mean military force per se.

    As for right – are we talking about moral rights – human rights – political norms – or something more mundane, like political acceptance? I know many of us don’t seem to agree of what is basic human rights, political norms … so we probably are thinking different things here when we talk about “right.”

    Anyways – in my own lingo – might (even narrowly as military might) does make right. British military power made the Indians acquiesce to learning English. Over the long term, Indians came to accept English as a basic even coveted language (might – over the long term – is right). Spanish conquistadors forced Christianity among the natives in the New World. Most of their descents – though proud of their new world heritage – also take Christianity as their native religion.

    To be cute – I also think right makes might. In China, a ragtag of communist rebels gained power not because of military superiority, but because they were seen as fighting for justice. Through that process, they gained might.

    Anyways – I am not sure what exactly you want me to clarify about might vs. right. Perhaps if we can define what might or right really means – lest we are engaging in just a cute distraction.

  103. Nimrod
    April 14th, 2009 at 21:52 | #103

    98. Otto Kerner Says:

    April 14th, 2009 at 12:05 pm e

    Nimrod and Allen,

    The negotiations could never have happened nor could they have been concluded to the PRC’s satisfaction had they not brought an army. Before the troops showed up, the Tibetan side’s negotatiating position was along the lines of, “Please give back Kham and Amdo”, i.e. the opposite of what was settled on. So, the entry into Tibet was clearly forceful — without force, it would not have occurred.

    +++++
    What you describe is at most called “annexation”, certainly not “invasion”. There is no way you can pigeonhole this into “invasion”. Anyway, the Tibetan side’s position wasn’t ever about Kham or Amdo or territorial issues. It was about keeping the Lhasa regime in power and the DL as the exclusive lama at the theocratic pinnacle in Central Tibet. They more or less got this with the 17-Point Agreement which was why they signed. Their only unhappiness was the fear that the Agreement was a modus vivendi, and contained provisions that hardly guaranteed the permanence of the status quo.

    By the way, a historical side note: If you read history carefully, the rebellion of the late 50’s was a rebellion of complex causes, but all in all a reactionary rebellion, in defense of the status quo. The manor owners in Kham were defending their existing property rights (which you can argue are privileges or not), while the Lhasa residents (many commoners in this case) were much like Boxers or luddites defending what they believe should be the world order with DL at the top. Both were dead set against change, even natural change. Look at the TGIE, how long did it take them to start having elections, and even so, who do they elect? Monks.

  104. huaren
    April 14th, 2009 at 22:02 | #104

    On this Tibet issue, its clearly one of the most hot-button ones. I’d like to offer this perspective if someone has not already previously brought it up.

    1. If you look at a society, there will always be divisions.

    Looking at China, its between ethnic Tibetans vs. the rest. If you look at Tibet region, its between the different sects of Budhism. You can slice China between the rich coaster provinces vs. the poor inner regions.

    If you look at the U.S., its the blacks vs. whites, male vs. female, Hawaiian independence vs. the rest, etc., etc..

    2. If you seek to divide any group, you are conducting “societal terrorism”. (I made up this term just now.)

    I understand the nuance – if a group is purposedly suppressed for no reason, that is wrong. For those genuinely care about “human rights” – I can understand the compassion and desire to help. However, they also ought to think about not dividing any group of people – if they do, they work against “human rights”.

    For example, if the independence seeking Hawaiians are somehow armed by an external force (or given enough support so they fully assert themselves), then blood will be spilled over that issue. Once violence starts, it is extremely difficult to stop.

    I would say this kind of “societal terrorism” is almost the worst kind – its a type that clashes between millions of people.

    3. So, what’s next?

    I think this world needs a “reset” button. Look, lets not divide anymore from this day forward! Maybe this could become a religion.

    I think China is going through an industrial revolution and on her way to become a modern country. This world recession will allow China to gain more influence in organizations like IMF. China is becoming even more integrated with the rest of the world.

    I think Dhamsla and TGIE will become less appealing over time. When the DL dies, there will be an intense coordinated blitz by the Tibetan separatists to smear China. After that, I think the world will move on. The separatist camp will become more radical as they fight internally for a new leader. This further makes the separatists less appealing.

    The Chinese government/people would have enough self-confidence and thicker skin to withstand criticisms.

  105. April 14th, 2009 at 22:13 | #105

    @Nimrod #103,

    You wrote:

    Look at the TGIE, how long did it take them to start having elections, and even so, who do they elect? Monks.

    I also have a slight bemused smile when people talk about TGIE elections. So many Westerners buy into these incestuous procedures to consolidate power as some sort of proof that TGIE is modern and democratic.

    These same people however will call elections within the CCP to elect people to gov’t positions as electoral shams – or refer to actions of elected legislatures as rubber stamps – etc.

    To each his own … I guess.

  106. Otto Kerner
    April 14th, 2009 at 23:57 | #106

    Allen,

    “The CCP – in the process of reconsolidating the power of the central gov’t – went out of its way to make sure it did not bring in gov’t forces into territory then under control of the Tibetan local gov’t until an amiable agreement for orderly transfer of power has been reached.”

    That is incorrect. Are you not aware of the battle at Chamdo? The result was a humiliating rout of the Tibetan forces, but patently was an example of government forces entering territory under the control of Lhasa before any kind of agreement was reached.

    “By all accounts – that agreement was reached. The DL happily worked side by side with the CCP to reform Tibet for some 9 years…”

    Happily? I have been re-reading the section of Tsering Shakya’s ”The Dragon in the Land of Snows” that deals with the 17-point agreement period recently. I had forgotten that, in April of 1952, the Chinese had to threaten the Dalai Lama (who was 16 years old at the time) with criminal charges in order to encourage him to fire the two prime ministers (”sitshab”) of Tibet. They wanted to get rid of the prime ministers because they were obstructing the implementation of the 17-point Agreement, but the ministers were quite popular, so the Dalai Lama and the kashag didn’t want to fire them.

  107. Otto Kerner
    April 15th, 2009 at 00:02 | #107

    Nimrod,

    I don’t know what you mean when you say, “Anyway, the Tibetan side’s position wasn’t ever about Kham or Amdo or territorial issues.” The Tibetan government made numerous demands for the return of these territories, starting in 1913 and continuing until right before the Seventeen Point Agreement; they also fought a series of border wars with the Chinese warlords who controlled Sichuan.

    “in defense of the status quo”

    Quite so, although this seems like more of a good thing than a bad thing. The CPC’s conservatism is currently its strong suit. I agree with you that the TGIE’s elections are not very impressive.

  108. April 15th, 2009 at 00:16 | #108

    @Otto Kerner #106,

    Hmmm…. Battle at Chamdo. I think I know what you are talking about. I agree it wasn’t much of a “battle.” We can argue over minute details of history, but from my perspective, that “battle” (if you prefer to call it that) seems more like a street fight of DL’s personal body guards vs. the central gov’t than any real Tibetan military force fighting against the central gov’t on behalf of the Tibetan people.

    As for the intrigue of 1952 … I’ll take your word for it. Doesn’t really change my point and the overall history of that time period. The DL worked closely with the central gov’t for a long, long time and left when land reform hit the DL and the ruling elite where it hurts – the bottom line.

    In retrospect, I’ll give you this: the CCP probably could have taken it a little easier on the former ruling elite – allowing them more time to transition from their privileged life. But you know- it’s really no use crying over spilled milk…

  109. Shane9219
    April 15th, 2009 at 00:36 | #109

    @Otto Kerner #107

    In order to really settle the Tibet issue once for all and for the future benefits of entire TIE community as well as Tibetans in Tibet regions, TIE and 14th DL can not afford to continue living in the past. Past is history, best to leave it to scholars. Keeping on the old argument will not yield any dividend for their future, while China and Tibetans in Tibet are moving along forward fast.

    They have to take bold steps to come out of shadow, and start the process of reconciliation with China and Chinese people. That requires them to take concrete step to demonstrate their true willingness to be part of China and stay as a unique group of Chinese people.

    However, so far, they are bound by their own ideologies and emtional stress, and unable to take any major step.

  110. Nimrod
    April 15th, 2009 at 01:17 | #110

    Otto Kerner wrote:

    I don’t know what you mean when you say, “Anyway, the Tibetan side’s position wasn’t ever about Kham or Amdo or territorial issues.”

    +++++
    I was referring to the negotiations that were undertaken with the PRC, particularly the one that produced the the 17-Point Agreement.

  111. Lime
    April 15th, 2009 at 05:47 | #111

    @Allen
    Alright, just to see if I understand your interpretation of the theory of the succession of states;

    1. If a state (State A) collapses and two states (States B and C) emerge in the territory of state A, then the larger of the two (State B) can claim to be the successor state of State A ( a state here is defined as a group of people in a specified territory under the military and political control of government independent of external control, and does not depend on external legitimisation).
    2. Even if State A persists, controlling a fraction of its original territory, if State B is larger, it still can claim successor state status
    3. If State B does not formally recognise the independence of State C, State C is not a legitimate state, and should be considered the territory of State B, and its government should be considered a rebel group or internal uprising within the territory of State B, regardless of how long State C can persist independent of State B
    4. Second order succession does not change the status of State C. If State B collapses, and State D takes control of enough of its territory that it is larger than either State C or any other independent part of the original territory of State A, then it can claime to be a successor state of bothe A and B, and State C should still be considered State D’s territory, unless State D recognises State C’s independence.
    5. A military attack on State C, or a negotiated settlement in which the threat of military force is used to coerce State C to join State B or D should be considered a ‘reunification’ and not a invasion or annexation.

    Do I understand this correctly? I’ve only done a bit of research, but the only document I can find that codifies the successor state theory is the ‘Vienna Convention on the Succession of States in Respect to Treaties’ of 1978 (http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/texts/instruments/english/conventions/3_2_1978.pdf), which deals mostly with the relationship between ‘successor states’ and the states with which their predecessors had treaties. It recognises the existence of ‘newly independent’ states, but says a “newly independent State” means a successor State the territory of which immediately before the date of the succession of States was a dependent territory for the international relations of which the predecessor State was responsible” (ibid., p. 3), which does not clarify Tibet’s status in regard to the treaty. And, it was written in 1978, so it wouldn’t have applied to the 1951 takeover of Tibet anyway.

    So, if I’ve understood your understanding of the succession of states theory correctly, do you know of any formal conventions, laws, treaties, or precedence that support your understanding, or is it your own personal interpretation?

    Also, I was quite serious about the Russian Federation. It successfully argued to the UN that it was the successor state of the USSR, and therefore should get the USSR’s security council’s seat. I’ve never heard of a “full” versus “partial” successor states before. Is this your own interpretation, or is there some precedence for it as well?

  112. April 15th, 2009 at 07:11 | #112

    @Lime,

    Do you have a legal background? I will assume you do till you correct me otherwise.

    The law of succession can be found in convention but is mostly considered customary legal practice.

    How succession takes place is obviously complicated and is fact intensive. You need to take into account the totality of circumstances. And yes – it may be a protracted, drawn-out process. There is no statute of limitation, if you will.

    In general – look to the internal documents of the state in question. Then look to how external actors treat the circumstances.

    For the case of China – it’s not that hard. There is no question of succession in the case of Qing, ROC, PRC under International Law today.

    As for USSR – sorry about the full and partial. What I meant show was that Russia successfully became the successor state of USSR – however, since territory of Russia was much smaller, there some rights and obligations inevitably had to fall and be shared with newly independent states (nuclear arms management, treaty over natural resources, etc., etc.). So Russia did not become a full successor. As I mentioned, USSR fragmented where Russia formed only a portion of the former state. Russia however for the most part obtained the rights and obligations of USSR – but not all – some of those fell onto or had to be shared with the newly independent states.

    PS If Tibetan exiles want to argue Tibetan right to sovereignty based on Law of Succession. Good luck. I’d love to have them keep spending their energy there.

  113. April 15th, 2009 at 07:25 | #113

    @Lime,

    As far as the hypothetical in #111 – Yes, to the extent I think I understand you, I confirm.

  114. Lime
    April 15th, 2009 at 15:33 | #114

    @Allen
    Nope, I have no legal background. If I did, I might have an easier time finding something else on the succession of state. Your interpretation, based on what I outlined in #111 is probably fairly similar to how the PRC government interpreted the event after the fact (though, if what you said in #100 about how they were careful not to bring troops in to Tibet until an agreement had been reached would seem to imply that that was not how they saw it before the fact).

    As for the acceptance of the PRC’s sovereignty over Tibet by other nations, that does nothing to support your interpretation of the succession of states, as conquest (which I will use here as an umbrella term meaning the invasion, annexation, or coercion with the threat of military force by which one sovereign state involuntarily joins another) is a widely accepted method by which a state can acquire territory. As many people on this blog have pointed out, conquest is how the United States acquired most of its territory, as did Australia, Canada, and many others. So the acceptance of the PRC’s sovereignty over Tibet could just as easily be seen as an acceptance of their right of conquest without recourse to any interpretation to a succession of states theory.

    Neither of us have found any other formal interpretation of the succession of states theory (in law or precedence) that would support the outlined interpretation in #111. I think we must therefore conclude that it is your own personal interpretation, and that your ‘2+2=4’ shows Tibet was not invaded, it was reunified, is based on your own personal algebra as it were.

    Because this theory is poorly defined (actually not defined at all), your version is as good as the next guy’s. But if I want to reject your interpretation (and I do; especially the idea that the right to become a new state after the dissolution of an older state is contingent on the acceptance of the ‘successor state’, which gets to be the successor state by virtue of being larger), I’m equally justified in seeing the PRC’s acquisition of the Tibet as a conquest of one sovereign state by another, and not a reunification.

    I also don’t see that there is “no question of succession in the case of Qing, ROC, PRC”, as the ROC still exists, and is recongnised by a minority of states (which though small, have no less legal authority than any other states). Also, the PRC wouldn’t be a full successor state anyways, even under your interpretation, because they have accepted the independence of the Republic of Mongolia.

    Once again, I’m not in any way questioning the PRC’s current sovereignty over Tibet. I’m just saying that the past relationship is open to personal interpretation, and is not an established fact.

  115. Shane9219
    April 15th, 2009 at 16:12 | #115

    @Lime #114

    “I’m not in any way questioning the PRC’s current sovereignty over Tibet. I’m just saying that the past relationship is open to personal interpretation, and is not an established fact.”

    It is okay for you to question and have doubt about this established fact. But fact is till fact.

  116. April 15th, 2009 at 18:04 | #116

    @Lime #114,

    OK – even though you don’t have a legal background, I’m glad to have this conversation with you…

    A few quick follow ups.

    You suggest that the fact that the PRC was careful about bringing the troops into the territories then under control of the DL proves somehow that PRC accepted Tibet to be a sovereign state. That’s not true. As I already have explained before, when PRC was reconsolidating power, it was trying to do so in a way that was as orderly and peaceful as possible. The communists were building internal alliances with all the multiple power centers that had developed within China. The 17-point agreement achieved that wrt to Tibet. The fact that the PRC negotiated with the DL did not prove the DL was head of a sovereign government.

    As for the role of recognition by other states of Chinese sovereignty: you would be correct to say that the fact that other states today accept Chinese sovereignty over Tibet today does not prove that Tibet was never invaded – since annexation and invasion were considered (at least prior to formation of UN) legitimate ways for states to grow its territorial boundary. However, that was not the point. The focus is that no state at the point of contention (1911-1951) ever accepted an independent Tibetan state. Chinese central gov’t – even when at its most weakened state – never acknowledged the existence of an independent Tibetan state. All the nations today accept the fact that the PRC (or ROC if you prefer) is the successor of the Qing.

    Finally – about the Law of Succession of State. Yes there was a convention. I don’t know if it was ever ratified by enough country to become undisputed standard of international law, but it is still considered a good reference of law. Most of its provisions sought to codify existing law – not to make new laws.

    In any case, for the most part, law of succession of state remains established in practices and customary norms. You are definitely free to see my variant of succession of state as different than yours (but I will tell you, in a disinterested fashion, what I have said thus far is not controversial at all).

    In some ways, your challenging me that there are different versions of international law is part of the essence of international law. International law is not legislated – or litigated. International is often formed – in the course of geopolitical wrangling (where might is king). And often the best way to change international law is to violate it. With enough violating it, a new norm is established.

    In my view, as I’ve said many times before, international law is more politics than law. The law we know today developed in Europe – and was expanded by convention to the world with colonialism – and has stayed since. In the most general form, law is politics. And in politics – might defines right.

    If you prefer – I will say might defines reality, with “right” becoming a relativistic term to which each individual can ascribe. Even so – wouldn’t it be more productive to talk about reality – not nebulous concept of subjective rights that are allowed by definition not to be based in reality….?

  117. huaren
    April 15th, 2009 at 18:23 | #117

    Allen,

    I aplaud your incredible patience and ability to explain.

  118. Lime
    April 15th, 2009 at 19:21 | #118

    @Allen
    In my view, defining something’s historical legal status based on events that happened after the fact would be an abuse of history, but I do understand that your interpretation is also partly based on the lack of contemporary recognition of the 1912-1949 Tibetan state (state based on the above definition) by other states, and on what we are supposing was the PRC’s interpretation of Tibet’s status prior to the acquisition (to use what I intend as a neutral word). I don’t know enough about PRC political history to know how Tibet’s status was seen by the PRC’s leadership prior to the acquisition, but I accept that you’re probably right in your suggestion of how they saw it.

    I know that there was some controversy surrounding the Russian Federation’s succession of the USSR in the UN, but it’s true that I haven’t heard many debates over particular interpretations of the successions of the ROC and PRC. Perhaps its just because most debates over the current and historical status of Tibet haven’t examined the legal side of it as closely as we have? It also probably doesn’t come up that much because rejecting your interpretation of the succession of states theory does not mean rejecting the PRC’s current sovereignty over Tibet, and thus is not useful for advancing the arguments of most of the politically-motivated debaters. In any event, perhaps my interpretation is the controversial one, and if it is, I don’t mind.

    You’re probably right that it would be more productive to talk about reality too, but as far as I can tell, we’re pretty much in agreement on the reality of the matter. Anyways, I’ve enjoyed having this conversation with you too. All the best.

  119. April 15th, 2009 at 19:41 | #119

    @Lime #118,

    Just one last thing.

    You wrote:

    In my view, defining something’s historical legal status based on events that happened after the fact would be an abuse of history…

    You seem to hint at this retroactive application a lot – exactly what do you mean by it.

    The Law of Succession exists as international law in customary practices and accepted norms during the time of 1911-1951 (actually much earlier also). There is no retroactive application as far as I can see.

    I also have not made up any revisionist facts. These were accepted facts of the time.

  120. Lime
    April 15th, 2009 at 20:15 | #120

    @Allen
    Well, the succession of states theory predated the collapse of the Qing dynasty, I agree. But I haven’t seen any evidence to suggest that your interpretation of it, particularly the assumption that if two or more states arise out of the collapse of the old state, the smaller state or states’ legitimacy depends on the formal recognition of the larger (successor) state, was an accepted norm. Maybe it was an accepted norm, but neither of us have found any evidence of this.

    You said; “International [law] is often formed – in the course of geopolitical wrangling (where might is king).”
    I agree with this in principle. But I understood (or misunderstood) you to be implying that the outcome of the Tibet acquisition by the PRC should influence our perception of the international law being applied (the successor states theory, I guess), and thus the status of the Tibetan state prior to 1951. This, to my way of thinking, would be a retroactive application of a legal principle.

  121. April 15th, 2009 at 20:28 | #121

    @Lime #120,

    You wrote:

    the assumption that if two or more states arise out of the collapse of the old state, the smaller state or states’ legitimacy depends on the formal recognition of the larger (successor) state, was an accepted norm.

    You have mischaracterized the issue. The issue is not whether a big or small state (size doesn’t matter here … really ….!) forms in the intermediary. The issue is whether an understanding exist between the two states that they were to be separate states and whether one state ultimately forms and take on the rights and obligation of the prior art in the aftermath of the chaos. If you want evidence – you can see plenty in European history of divided kingdoms. You can see plenty in examples involving civil wars. They form what we refer to as customary practice and accepted norms of international law.

    As for the issue of application after the fact – I think I see your point now. The fact that China is strong enough to gain recognition of sovereignty over Tibet today does not mask the potential fact that Tibet was independent in 1951.

    Fair enough … though I don’t think I relied on that logic at all. The key thing to focus on is the circumstances at the time between 1911-1951 when China was weak and could not force external powers to respect its powers. And as I have noted before, no state at the point of contention (1911-1951) ever accepted an independent Tibetan state. Chinese central gov’t – even when at its most weakened state – never acknowledged the existence of an independent Tibetan state. Every country in the world – even when the Qing was weak and decrepit – accepted Tibet to be part of the Qing. All the nations today accept the fact that the PRC (or ROC if you prefer) is the successor of the Qing.

    With all this said though … it’s always good to explore and challenge the status quo. I commend you for that.

  122. Lime
    April 15th, 2009 at 21:17 | #122

    @Allen
    Its not the bigger state that gets to be the successor? I guess I’ve misunderstood you since #111. Alright in this particular instance, as only one state claimed to be a successor at one time, we can just say the successor is the one that claims the title. Are you saying that an understanding existed between the Tibetan state and the ROC (and then the PRC)? My understanding (which may be wrong) was that the PRC and ROC saw themselves the legitimate government of all of the old Qing dynasty territory (except Mongolia) including Tibet, and that Tibet’s government was not legitimate. Tibet on the other hand, up until the point that the PRC marched its army up to the border, may or may not have accepted that the ROC and then PRC were the successor states of the Qing dynasty, but felt that their being successor states did not mean they had sovereignty over Tibet, which had declared itself a new state that was (in their interpretation) an equal an independent sovereign state.

    Thus, no agreement. We then have to choose which of the two interpretations we accept. For the sake of argument, I’m accepting that the ROC and PRC were successor states of the Qing. So the question is whether or not being a successor state means you have the right to accept or reject the legitimacy of other states that may have arisen in the predescessor state’s old territory.

    Can you think of some examples that would make this accepted norm? The only situation I can think of, which would contradict your interpretation, was when the old Spanish government was ousted by the French under Napoleon, and the new French back regime claimed it should inherit all of Spain’s territories, but this was rejected (successfully) by many of the old Spanish vice-royalties and kingdoms in the new world. Maybe after the French revolution, there were territories in France proper, or in its overseas territories that established temporary states that were later ‘reunified’ by subsequent French governments? I’m not sure, but I don’t know of any.

  123. April 15th, 2009 at 22:00 | #123

    @Lime,

    Examples? Do you want European examples or Chinese examples? There are so many examples of kingdoms splitting and even coexisting for a while and then being gobbled back up by another – where the final survival became the legitimate gov’t of a people that had previously undergone civil wars.

    But in the end, i feel like it doesn’t matter. I feel like we are now getting back to talking semantics and rights again. Problem with that is that the law of succession does not prove a “moral right” – which I believe you are trying to do. Law of succession – like other aspect of international law – is designed to reflect reality – not moral correctness per se.

    Someone could make an assertion that Tibet has a moral right to be independent in 1951. I can make an equally strong case it is not. But what is more important is that Tibet was not considered independent by any international actor at anytime between 1911 and 1951 – even when China was very, very weak. Even more important – Tibet was not considered independent in the eye of any of the intermediary successor of the Qing.

    In some ways – I think your point about retroactive history is valid. The most important point about succession is that whichever entity gets to hold the mantle of the successor is conferred all the rights and obligations of the prior succeeded state. All intermediary entities that had wished to obtain independence or to become successor become no more…

    P.S. You could argue what do you mean “wished to obtain independence” – they did have (I’ll presume that) “independence” in the mean time – when it was not certain the ultimate victor was going to win out.

    Well – independence is in the eye of the beholder. If the ultimate victor did not think you had independence – then you don’t. There is a certain sense of retroactiveness – I admit. But that is reality.

  124. Lime
    April 15th, 2009 at 22:37 | #124

    “The most important point about succession is that whichever entity gets to hold the mantle of the successor is conferred all the rights and obligations of the prior succeeded state. All intermediary entities that had wished to obtain independence or to become successor become no more…”

    Unless of course the successor either recognises the independence of intermediary entities (like Mongolia, or the smaller ex-Soviet States), or the successor is incapable of establishing its control over the intermediary entities (like the ex-Spanish states in the Americas), issues of legitimacy aside, in which case they only get some of the rights and obligations.

    Alright, if I understand correctly, you believe that the ROC and then the PRC, as successor states of the Qing, had the right to decide if Tibet got to be a legitimate state or not, and decided that it was not. Thus it was an illegitimate state for the period of its independence within the rightful territory of the ROC and then PRC. You back this up with the valid point that no other state recognised Tibet as a legitimate state either. The eventual acquisition of Tibet by the PRC was therefore reunification.

    I believe that even if we accept the ROC and then the PRC’s status as successor states of Qing, that did not automatically give them the right to decide whether Tibet could be a legitimate state or not. The Tibetan government’s ability to establish independent control over the territory in the wake of the Qing’s dissolution made it a legitimate state for the period of its independence. For me, the lack of recognition by outside states was irrelevant. The eventual acquisition of Tibet by the PRC was therefore conquest.

    We agree that Tibet, after 1951, has been the legitimate territory of the PRC, as that’s the reality of the matter. I think we understand one another’s positions. Shall we leave it at that?

    P.S.
    How do you put words in bold?

  125. April 15th, 2009 at 22:47 | #125

    Perfect. Agreed. That doesn’t preclude us from arguing / debating in the future though … right? 😉

    P.S.

    To put things in bold, put things in < b > bolded text < / b > – taking away the spaces I have.

    To put things in underline, put things in < u > bolded text < / u > – taking away the spaces I have.

    To put things in blockquote – put things in < blockquote > quoted text < / blockquote> – taking away the spaces I have.

    If you want to test but not leave a comment – use the preview function on a test message – but don’t post.

  126. Otto Kerner
    April 16th, 2009 at 04:38 | #126

    Allen,

    “Hmmm…. Battle at Chamdo. I think I know what you are talking about. I agree it wasn’t much of a ‘battle.’ We can argue over minute details of history, but from my perspective, that ‘battle’ (if you prefer to call it that) seems more like a street fight of DL’s personal body guards vs. the central gov’t than any real Tibetan military force fighting against the central gov’t on behalf of the Tibetan people.”

    Are you familiar with the facs of this matter? At Chamdo, the PLA met the regular Tibetan army, commanded by the Governor of Kham, Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme. Ngapoi had recently taken over from the previous Governor, Lhalu Tsewang Dorje, who was considerably more active in organizing the troops. The fact that they were poorly trained and commanded and were defeated as a result does not make them something other than an army. You’d think that, if they were the Dalai Lama’s personal bodyguard, they would have been somewhere near the Dalai Lama, rather than in Chamdo, right?

    None of this is really the point, since I was responding to your claim that, the CCP “went out of its way to make sure it did not bring in gov’t forces into territory then under control of the Tibetan local gov’t until an amiable agreement for orderly transfer of power has been reached”, which is incorrect. Regardless of whether they met resistance from an army or from bodyguards or from nobody, they certainly brought their forces into the local government’s territory before any kind of agreement had been reached.

    (By the way, both Ngapoi and Lhalu are now old men who hold high positions in the party or government. Lhalu had to go to prison for some years and then be rehabilitated as a CCP loyalist, whereas Ngapoi’s rather remarkable career has seen him consistently in a good position).

  127. Otto Kerner
    April 16th, 2009 at 04:47 | #127

    @ Shane9219 #109,

    Actually, I basically agree with you. I personally take an interest in Tibetan history, so I am happy to talk about it, but it doesn’t have that much to do with settling the current Tibet issue.

    The 14th Dalai Lama is a great man, but it seems that even he is constrained by his personal history and by his associates. This is why I maintain some small hope that a future in which the 17th Karmapa is the one talking to the government might prove more productive.

  128. Wukailong
    April 16th, 2009 at 04:59 | #128

    @Otto: Wait a minute… I remember hearing about Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme in the Chinese form 阿沛·阿旺晋美 in another context, and thought of him just as an official. My wife told me she watched a TV program about a man from the Tibetan aristocracy who had been fighting against the PLA but later been reeducated. I didn’t connect these two until now…

  129. April 16th, 2009 at 05:38 | #129

    @Otto Kerner #126,

    Sorry – my understanding was that they were forces personally loyal to the DL – not the Tibetan military force per se. But I admit I am not that familiar with that part of history.

    Perhaps my statement was not 100% correct.

    But whether there was a real military conflict at Chamdo or not – my main point was that the CCP showed tremendous restraint in holding the army way off away from the center of power of the DL – until an agreement was reached… (remember the border of DL’s region of control was never marked)

  130. Otto Kerner
    April 16th, 2009 at 11:54 | #130

    I think it’s quite an exaggeration to say that the CCP showed tremendous restraint. They did show some restraint. However, after taking Chamdo, they were within a few days march of Lhasa, which is why the Dalai Lama fled to Yatung on the Indian border at that point. The CCP had been requesting negotiations all along, but no negotiations had actually occurred at that point.

    I don’t think there was ever any doubt that Chamdo was part of the Lhasa government’s territory. It was firmly under the control of the Governor of Kham, who was a member of the Kashag, and had been since the 1910s. The current boundaries of the TAR match the boundaries of the old Lhasa government’s territory pretty well, and Chamdo is in the TAR.

  131. Otto Kerner
    April 16th, 2009 at 11:59 | #131

    Wukailong,

    I don’t think Ngapoi Ngawang Jigme was ever reeducated. He surrendered to the PLA in 1951, became the lead Tibetan negotiator of the Seventeen Point Agreement, and has been loyal to the PRC ever since. He was not purged during the Cultural Revolution, although I think he lived in Beijing and had no influence in Tibet. The program your wife saw may have been about Lhalu (拉鲁·次旺多吉), who, in addition to being the former commander at Chamdo, later described himself as Commander-in-Chief of the uprising in 1959 (no other source that I’ve seen confirms that he had this role, though). Some pro-Tibetan-nationalist sources tend to show Ngapoi as “bad” and Lhalu as “good”, but I think it is more the case that Ngapoi thought resistance was pointless.

  132. April 16th, 2009 at 18:53 | #132

    @Otto Kerner,

    The current boundary of TAR has more to do with demographics than line of control of local gov’t at the time. If you want to call Chamdo a “battle” of “armies” – then I submit even more that the CCP went out of its way to not do anything to encroach on the local gov’t. Judging by the effect of Chamdo, CCP could have easily wiped out the old gov’t by force if need be. They didn’t. After the negotiated agreement, the DL worked side-by-side with the CCP for some 9 years before finally deciding to flee when land reform hit his bottom line too much.

    Let’s leave it here. Whatever we are arguing about would not establish to either side whether Tibet was invaded or not anyways. Chamdo or not – we know this for a fact: no country recognized a so-called Independent Tibetan State in 1951. There was nothing to “invade.”

    Dreaming about independence does not equal to having independence. We can retroactively try to revisit the issue as part of a political struggle in the 21st century … and many writers have tried to write revisionist history … that’s their prerogative, but I personally don’t have the energy to do so.

    Let’s save our energy to debate the future – such as what type of autonomy each of us think Tibet ought to have … when I finish writing a post on that … hopefully some time soon! 😉

  133. why
    April 16th, 2009 at 22:29 | #133

    Why do people bother to debate here? Especially reasonable people like Raj and Otto etc. This website is just a front functioning as a crowd sourcing information unit for CCP, an english version of Anti-CNN.

    Please do not contribute to this website. Then it will die and dissapear Thank you!

  134. Nimrod
    April 16th, 2009 at 22:48 | #134

    why,

    I’m not sure who is crowdsourcing whom, honestly. There was a post in which somebody named Lobsang (and later changed his name to something else I don’t recall) started talking about his relatives in Tibet. Then he kind of left. All of you exiles are like this. We really like to hear from you. We’d especially like to hear what we do not already know. Sure, you’d need to be a little patient and you’d need to put up with some challenges, but such is the nature of a controversial topic and it should be no big deal. You can even submit a whole post like this one. You are welcome to do that. The question isn’t “why”, it’s “why not”.

    By the way, it reminds me, Serf Emancipation Day is pretty tacky but so is Uprising Day. Honestly it’s time to move on, but instead now March has two propaganda holidays thanks to TGIE’s success in not moving on. But you get an extra day off, so…

  135. Shane9219
    April 16th, 2009 at 23:35 | #135

    @Nimrod #134

    Very well said. It’s kind of strange for someone like that to ask ‘why’ in the age of twitter. How long they can keep their heads in sand, denying the emergence of a changing China.

  136. Otto Kerner
    April 17th, 2009 at 01:06 | #136

    why,

    I have found this forum to have a considerably higher quality level than the English forum of anti-cnn, especially if you make up your mind just to ignore a few of the participants. I have often wondered why anyone participates in anti-cnn — you don’t learn anything from that sort of silliness. The answer to “why” I read and comment on this blog is that I’m interested in what Chinese people think about the Tibet issue (note that this does not require the opinions in question to be statistically representative of the Chinese populace at large — they might or might not be).

  137. April 17th, 2009 at 01:15 | #137

    Otto Kerner and Raj get the thumbs up – but I don’t.

    I am going to sit at a corner and pout… 🙁

  138. Oli
    April 17th, 2009 at 04:17 | #138

    Allen, can we see a picture of you pouting?

    Pretty pleeease? 🙂

  139. Wukailong
    April 17th, 2009 at 05:19 | #139

    Yes! I’ve always wanted to know what Allen and some of the other people here look like!

    Allen, care to upload a picture? 😉

  140. April 17th, 2009 at 06:41 | #140

    By popular demand – webCam sneak shot of Allen pouting:

    No funny jokes – you don’t want pictures of him sobbing now…

  141. Raj
    April 17th, 2009 at 07:06 | #141

    Allen, thought about some hair transplants for on top? 😉

  142. Shane9219
    April 20th, 2009 at 19:14 | #142
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