Home > Analysis, history, human rights, Opinion, politics, religion, White Paper > 2008 “Olympic Debate” over Tibet on American Bar Association China Law Committee

2008 “Olympic Debate” over Tibet on American Bar Association China Law Committee

My 2008 public debate with a US trained Tibetan Lawyer (with some other folks interjecting), archived on ABA China Law Committee Listserver:

This began over the ABA China Law Committee’s email listserver in 2008 around the time of the Tibet riots.  Several US attorneys started asking questions about Tibet and the riot.  The Tibetan-American lawyer began with his definition of “sovereignty” as applied to Tibet, and I responded.  And it sparked off a rather heated debate (I personally remained very civil, some of the middle parts were not my statements, but rather from a few other Chinese and American commentators/lawyers).

Click here for a pdf summary from the ABA Archive. 
The China Committee’s listserve has hosted an extraordinary discussion of the legal status of Tibet over the last several weeks. The discussion of this particularly topical and sensitive issue has focused on the question of China’s claims to sovereignty over Tibet as well as Tibetan claims of independence. Members of the listserve also discussed what the legal basis under Chinese and international law might be for increased autonomy for Tibet within the PRC and the political positions of the relevant officials in both the Tibetan exile government in India and the Chinese government, as well as some consideration of the Tibetan exile community, to the extent that its positions seem to differ from official Tibetan views.

This summary has been prepared in accordance with listserve guidelines. None of the excerpted emails from the listserve used in this summary represent the views of the China Committee, International Section, or the American Bar Association. The Committee leadership has selected and edited the content solely for clarity and to remove the identification of specific individuals, so as to focus the attention on the substance of the debate. Although all authorship information has been removed from the following summary, if individual authors would like their authorship recognized, please advise the Committee leadership and that information will be added in a footnote or reference. The Committee leadership may endeavor to update this summary as additional messages are posted to the listserv.

Once started the discussion first delved into a potential legal distinction with the recognition that the relationship between China and Tibet before the PRC “was suzerainty, not sovereignty.”

As a response, one of the contributors attempted to put the concept of suzerainty and the origins of Tibet’s status into context:

As I read and understand the term, “suzertainty” refers to a principle first seen in feudal law and later used in more modern (late 1800s) positive law in which one country is a vassal state to other. Parts of the Ottoman Empire, e.g., Egypt, Bulgaria, Romania, and others, were organized this way.

The vassal is described as an independent state that gives up some, but not all, of its autonomy to the suzerain state in exchange for certain obligations flowing back to the vassal state.

See an excellent summary of the history of the term “suzertainty” with references at http://www.1911encyclopedia.org/Suzerainty.

I also sketched out a partial timeline of the historical development of Tibet’s legal status, as highlighted below. Unraveling the legal status of Tibet takes one through the period of British colonialism in the region and later through one or more treaties between Britain and imperial Russian, later cancelled by the Communist government, and through the 1950 invasion by China of Tibet to the present day.

One discussion, attributed to Sir Algemon Rumbold, President of the Tibet Society of the United Kingdom from 1977-1988, says that Britain treated Tibet as an independent state from 1910, but stated in 1912 and again 1943 that it acknowledged the suzertainty of China in Tibet, but on the condition that Tibet’s autonomy was respected. The latter is cited Memorandum from Sir Anthony Eden to the Chinese Foreign Minister, T.V. Soong, FO371/93001 (May 8, 1943).

Some say that Tibet initially declared independence in 1912, a position apparently agreed by the British government, which treated Tibet as independent from 1910 or from 1912, depending on the commentator. Others say that that 1912 and two subsequent declarations, at least through 1965 or so, did not amount to declarations. See Alfred P. Rubin, Tibet’s Declarations of Independence, 60 AM. J. INT’L L. 812-14 (1966).

The 1914 Simla Convention between Great Britain and Tibet established or purported to establish internationally-recognized boundaries, the McMahon Line, for an independent Tibet. China refused that Convention, and Sir Rumbold writes that it was a that point that Tibet repudiated China’s suzertainty.

On September 19, 2006, the Declaration of Independence of the Nations of High Asia: Tibet, East Turkistan and Inner Mongolia was made in Washington, D.C. at the Capitol Building.

With this background, other contributors began to delve more deeply into the historical relationship between China and Tibet, seeking to provide some additional point at which the historical measure of the relationship could be taken:

The tributary relationship between China and Tibet existed between the Yuan dynasty and the Qing dynasty. Though Yuan was arguably not Chinese rule, but Ming was. The British coin that phrase for China and Tibet’s relationship, but I think Sir Charles Bell qualified as the “Patron-Priest” relationship. On some level that suggested some degree of independence on part of Tibet. However, it was well acknowledged by early British record of contact with Tibet, as well as most followed treaties, (the tri-parte treaty between Britain, Russia, and China, as well as the disputed Simla Convention), that China controlled the right to conduct foreign diplomacy for Tibet at least prior to 1914, and probably after.

While historians may have called this relationship “suzerainty”, but international law typically recognized that the “right to conduct one’s own foreign affairs” is THE essential element to claim of “sovereignty”.

These observations brought up the first reference to one of the elements of the Montevideo Convention (the “right to conduct one’s own foreign affairs”) and the factors of the Montevideo Convention became a major focus of the discussion, starting with a response to the previous post.

Tibet satisfied all the requirements for sovereign statehood under the Montevideo Convention at the time Chinese troops entered Tibet in 1950-51. Tibet had a permanent population, a territory, a government exercising effective control, and the capacity to enter into international relations. On the latter point, Emile correctly refers to the Simla Convention; Tibet also attended the 1947 Asian Relations Conference as a sovereign state, issued passports recognized by states like the US, signed treaties with states like Mongolia, and maintained neutrality in World War II despite Allied overtures.

Imperial Britain did indeed use the term suzerainty, while treating Tibet in practice as a sovereign, independent state. The context was the “Great Game,” where Britain worried that Tibet might ally with Czarist Russia, so the British had an interest in limiting Tibet’s international status. Qing and Republican China were, to all intents and purposes, too weak to enforce any claim to Tibet, so the myth of Chinese suzerainty suited Britain well.

It could deal directly with Tibet, while making it harder for Tibet to pursue an independent foreign policy of its own.

There is also the issue of the Seventeen Point Agreement that China forced on Tibet in 1951, under threat that the People’s Liberation Army would march on Lhasa. Tibet agreed to “re-join the motherland,” which begs the question of why this document was needed at all (even in the eyes of the PRC government) if Tibet were already legitimately part of China.

Lastly, I would point out the related principle of self-determination for all peoples.

Tibetans are a “people” and have this right; moreover the widespread protests we are seeing in Tibet right now are indicative that the Tibetan people are demanding this right, which they do not feel they currently have. There is some debate over whether the right to self-determination refers to internal or external self-determination (autonomy or independence). His Holiness the Dalai Lama is asking only for genuine autonomy. On the other hand, the Canadian Supreme Court, in the Quebec decision, held that customary international law recognizes that self-determination can entitle a people to full independence if their rights cannot be protected other ways (similar to the Kosovo precedent). Even setting aside Tibet’s history as a sovereign state, if the Chinese government cannot bring itself to reach an autonomy agreement with the Dalai Lama, international law would suggest that the Tibetan people have a right to independence.

Additional historical information was provided:

I would say that reasonable people could disagree on the exact nature of China’s influence in Tibet historically. There are certainly factual evidence that supports both sides of the argument. Again, I said it is very difficult to classify the nature of that relationship.

I would, however, point out that the Dalai Lama’s leadership in Tibet, and indeed, the dominant position of the Yellow Robe sect was not always so. Sectarian power game in Tibet often waxed and waned, but history showed substantial influence of first Mongolia and later China. Perhaps that is not 100% definition of “implementation”. But I would argue there were “design” and purpose.

After the death of the last Tibetan King, and before the Mongol “patronage” of Tibet, Tibet was in a state of constant civil war for over 300 years. Religious loyalty was divided between the native Bon religion and Tibetan Buddhist sects. Whether Tibetan Buddhism would have flourished, and whether the Yellow Robe sect would have become dominant, without outside influence is very doubtful.

The “Kashag” government also didn’t exist in Tibet, up until Qing China. Did Tibetans have the agency and ability to establish their own religious and political leadership? Prior to the establishment of 1st “Kashag” government form, Dalai Lama successions were marred by assassinations. 5 consecutive Dalai Lama’s died before the age of 20. All assassinated, poisoned, by the regent of the time or by rival supporters. China and Mongolia had to send troops to stabilize the situation in Tibet. So, I cannot conclude if the Tibetans of that time had the ability to establish their own religious and political leadership.

How much influence China had in Tibet historically is the exact question.

Pro-Tibetan arguments tend to focus at the narrow slices of time at around 1949 just at the end of the Chinese Civil War, or at the height of the Tibetan Kingdom when Tibet held sway over a large territory. Pro-China arguments tend to look at the history from the time of Mongol conquest of China and Tibet.

I don’t know if either are really clearly convincing.

But again, I think it still comes down to treaties and whether world nations are convinced by these arguments.

As in almost all cases in this discussion, the reply was delivered “respectfully”:

I must disagree with your characterization of the Tibetan government’s historical relationship with the Chinese emperor in your point number 4. “Kashag” simply refers to the Tibetan cabinet of ministers, and was not “implemented” by anyone other than the Tibetans themselves, occasional Mongol or Chinese interference notwithstanding. The Chinese government similarly likes to claim that the title of Dalai Lama flowed from whomever held power in Beijing, but this is quite a sino-centric view of the world. Did Tibetans not have the agency and ability to establish their own religious and political leadership?

For a more detailed analysis of Tibet’s status under international law (including a historical analysis) from Tibet’s perspective, I suggest this article:  http://www.tibetjustice.org/reports/sovereignty/index.html

Also, on the “race” discussion, I believe we are dealing with a difference in terminology.

International law recognizes self-determination for peoples, not races. This is, in fact, similar to Lenin’s thoughts on the self-determination of nations, which is one reason that the USSR — technically — always held out the right of secession to the constituent republics. Until recently, the PRC called its purported autonomy system “national regional autonomy.” Now it has been renamed “regional ethnic autonomy,” perhaps on the realization that the original term was uncomfortably close to Leninism and customary international law vis-a-vis self-determination of nations/peoples.

These comments brought an impassioned plea for reasonableness as the group, for the first time, found itself being accused of (on behalf of the United States, presumably) hypocrisy for suggesting that Tibet’s independent status is anything more than a tool in international politics.

Don’t you think on the one hand you are talking seriously about International Law as a “law” but on the other hand you are clear in you deeper heart that the so called law is only policy tools and dipomatic tricks played by your government, rules and concepts building of which are far from maintaining logics and integrity as they are in your domestic law system?

Official standings of the U.S or Britain as Mz Loza mentioned are only political games rather than legal rules, not to mention sources of international law. (Hopefully all of you are clear what international law is) I agree that in formation of a government or country, admissions of other countries’may constitute legal evidence, but this doesn’t itself promote these governments’ views have been raised to the sources of international law. This is especially so when you are talking only about two countries, the U.S and Britain.

I would provide just one example: The U.S government’s official stands regarding Tibet. It had dramatic changes just around the time of establishment of PRC government.

Prior to the 1940s, the U.S government has always acknoledged that Tibet is one integral part of Chinese Sovereignty. Just around PRC was founded, the U.S dramatically changed its foreign policy regarding Tibet. What are the legal basis behind that? Don’t you think it’s allible bit too much coincidence. The doubtful changes may be established if you say that the U.S doesn’t regard PRC as a legitimate government. But it’s apparent that your government is having official relations with China without any doubt of its legal status.

Generally, are the U.S foreign policies changes also change the international law by itself? So that before 1949 there were not much international critisisms about Tibet’s status but after that if suddenly comes that China’s “invading” Tibet.

As it’s not academic paper I don’t think I need to give detailed quotations here but I can still give you some hints, official reply from governmental official (Mrs Bacon) of your own countries states that in the U.S wording, no distinct line between Suzerainty and Soverignty as two terms differentiated in the Britain English. Taking this into account, before 1940s, the U.S had always acceded that Tibet is integral part of China. Foreign Relations of the United States. 1949.China. [Z].Washington D C. United States Government Printing Office.1973.P1066. This was also demonstrated in Tieh-Tseng Li. The Historical Status of Tibet. [M]King’s Crown Press. Columbia University. New York.1956.P215.

[The] mention of “invasion” to Tibet in 1950 –see below: I just want to ask whether this is an official view or a view that has any reasonable support. Supposing it’s true under this logic, then the whole China was invaded after world war 2 by the PRC forces, making the whole government an illegal one. Because Tibet before 1950 was in basically the same conditions as any other part of China being under control of Republic of China.

PRC took over from Republic of China each part of the country with totally the same art: revolution and domestic war. Tibet is no exception in this regard and has nothing different from the land of Shanghai talking of theri being taken over from one government to the other.

I just wonder as scholars or legal professionals why it’s yet so difficult for you to keep a neutral mind. Why is it so hard for you to try to jump out of benefits of your own country and look at issues from really “international” stand. Were you in China before or how many times and how long? Do you really understands China or Chinese? Do you really understand even a little bit part of the 5000 years histry of the people that never ceases in China? Do you even know meaning of Chinese when you are talking about such a historical and complex political issue? I feel really disappointed that as so called open and democratic cultural people, you still are caring about your own benefits so much and try every effort to make facts distorted or reasonsings illogically logical looking in order to protect so called national benefits. If you can not rebut that those never were in the utmost mind and egoisticism,I would hold that my feelings are reasonable. Sorry for possible offending because I’m really upset and aroused by such one-way inclining discussions.

Thus followed a plea for reasonableness given that messy reality that does not match the neat forms lawyers often find lacking.

It seems to me that increasing passion may be in danger of obscuring reason in this debate.

International “law” is full of examples where more than one culture is subsumed in one nation, and where one culture is divided among many nations. Let’s take North America, for example. By any standard, the absorption of lands held by Mexico as well as those held by native peoples by the US government during the 19th century failed to meet the standards of civilized behavior which the international community now expects of its members. Yet no one is seriously suggesting their return to their original owners and their status as US territory is secure under international law. By the same token, Canada – which draws its culture from the same English well as does the United States (leaving Quebec aside for the moment) – is secure in its status as a sovereign state.

Whatever its stage of democracy, China surely is a sovereign state, comprising a territory that without a doubt includes Tibet. Just as moral arguments won’t restore parts of the US to their former owners, moral arguments are not sufficient to create an independent Tibet.

Rather, autonomy for the Tibetan people must come, if at all, from within the structures of the Chinese state, as the Dalai Lama himself recognizes. As foreign observers, our role can only be to support and encourage this process, not to dictate from an imaginary position of moral superiority. And we must realize that the Chinese government needs to manage much more than Tibetan autonomy. No large country on earth has changed as quickly as China has in the last generation. The economic, cultural and political changes that have resulted present the government with numerous difficult challenges, of which the Tibetan situation is but one among many.

In a return to the understandings of lawyer as advisor, the debate was reframed in the following terms:

· What, if pursuant to international public law Tibet were indeed an independent state? – This is a question each litigator would raise before starting a trial: how do you want to enforce it?

· What, if pursuant to international public law Tibet were part of China? – We are still in the middle of the same mess we are in.

As legal professionals, the sensible contribution we can make is, perhaps, to discuss about feasible solutions.

The problem will finally be solved through dialog (as a Chinese born Swiss national, I dare say that the Chinese people would vote against the presence of US armed force in China J), and the solution will be implemented in detailed rules (law!). Some more significant rules may be subject of negotiation.

The negotiation basis is theoretically given, since the Dalai Lama declared that he did not want to separate Tibet from China (though he has not expressly defined the term “genuine autonomy” , I’ve understood from his speeches and scripts that he has given up the claim of own right of diplomacy and own defense force).

Suppose you are the legal consultant of Dalai Lama, what would you suggest? Some of you might prefer to be the legal consultant of Chinese government, and what would you suggest?

The Tibetan perspective was provided:

You say that Tibet was no different than Shanghai, with the CCP taking over both. I can think of two differences. First, China signed the 17 Point Agreement with Tibet in 1951.  This was fundamentally a surrender treaty, incorporating Tibet into China. No other region or province (even Xinjiang or Hainan) had a similar treaty, showing how unique Tibet was even to the CCP.

Second, Shanghai or other Chinese regions may have been under the control of local warlords, but the people still considered themselves Chinese. Tibetans considered (and still consider) ourselves Tibetan. It is instructive to look at the Tibetan language to see: the Tibetan word for Tibet (“bod”) is not the same as the word for China (“gyana” meaning “black expanse”). The Tibetan word for India is “gyakar”, meaning “white expanse,” suggesting Tibetans as being from the land between these two great civilizations. There was never a Tibetan word for a China that included Tibet, and today Tibetans inside Tibet say “chongguo” (which is obviously an imported Chinese word) when they talk about the current borders of the PRC including Tibet. “Gyana” still refers to China proper, not including Tibet.

But putting this aside, lawyers are problem-solvers and not just scholars. Looking at the Tibet issue, the gap between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama is not so wide, when viewed objectively. As the Dalai Lama has repeatedly stressed, Tibetans’ dispute is not with the Chinese people, but with a few people at the top of the CCP leadership. His Holiness has also said that he is not seeking independence for Tibet, but wants to work with the Chinese government to implement genuine autonomy for Tibetans under China’s sovereignty. This is a huge concession from the Tibetan perspective, and is based on the 17 Point Agreement and China’s own laws on national regional autonomy and special administrative regions. The problem has been lack of trust on both sides and lack of political will from Beijing.

Unfortunately, the Chinese government has chosen to vilify the Dalai Lama in words that seem like they are out of the Cultural Revolution: a “wolf in monk’s robes” with the “heart of a beast.” That’s not helpful, and does not make the Chinese government look mature and reasonable. If we are to “seek truth from facts” as Deng Xiaoping urged, the Dalai Lama is not the root cause of the unrest in Tibet, whatever he may be accused of.

The root cause is, ultimately, that the Tibetan people (like any people would) resent being unable to control their own lives and society and religion.

I know that in China, Xinhua is portraying Tibetans as “terrorists” and  “rioters.” There were two days of violence in Lhasa, which is sad. But Xinhua is not reporting on protests that occurred all over Tibet, mostly nonviolent, involving tens of thousands of Tibetans. Fundamentally, the question must be asked: why the unrest in Tibet? Is it because we Tibetans are savage terrorists, or we enjoy being shot by People’s Armed Police, or are stupid and easily fooled by foreign “anti-China forces”? Or is it because we Tibetans feel pain and anger at what we see as having our homeland stolen from us?

Whatever one might think about Tibet’s history, whatever one might think about the correctness or incorrectness of China’s claim to Tibet, if one looks at the situation objectively one should recognize that there is a problem when a people perceive themselves to be under foreign occupation. This problem must be addressed, or there will not be true stability and harmony. Every Tibetan I know inside and outside of Tibet considers themselves Tibetan, not Chinese. Any solution has to recognize that feeling, and the Chinese (of all people) would hopefully sympathize as to what it feels like to be under foreign rule. I am not saying that Chinese people have to agree, but just to recognize the strength of Tibetan feeling in this regard.

I think if there were a recognition by the Chinese government of this fact, we would see a more constructive, confident and mature approach toward the Tibet issue. Military force and foreign-designed economic development alone cannot address Tibetans’ grievances, when the root grievance is lack of self-rule. Fortunately, if the Chinese government is courageous, it has in the Dalai Lama a conciliatory negotiating partner willing to take into account China’s concerns about sovereignty. I hope in this urgent time, the leadership in Beijing can take this opportunity to do the right thing.

The Chinese side was represented:

I would disagree with some of your assessments.

(1) The 17 point agreement does not stand alone. It is not the core of Chinese claim on Tibet, and its absence does not mean a lack of Chinese claim of Tibet. As stated before, pre-1949 treaties with other nations established China’s sovereignty over Tibet. Since China’s sovereignty over Tibet were previously established by other treaties, the 17 point agreement is not a treaty. The 17 point agreement, can be best characterized as an “agreement for autonomy”. The 1st clause stated, “The Tibetan people shall return to the big family of the motherland – the People’s Republic of China.” Even if this implies incorporation by surrender after a military conflict, not all military conflicts are between 2 sovereigns. US Civil War for example, ended through a “surrender”, but it does not mean that the conflict was necessarily between 2 nations. In a civil war context, 1 side may seek to declare its independence, as in the case of the Confederation. But that does not mean that sovereignty is automatically obtained. Civil War may indeed be a conflict over secession. 2 sides of a civil war may also be very markedly different. But that again does not imply that the 2 sides are separate.

(2) In a different point of view, take a hypothetical. If the Dalai Lama’s exile government and China does reach an agreement today, there would be a formal drafting of an “agreement for autonomy”, which both China and the Dalai Lama will sign. And it may very well incorporate 10 points, 17 points, or 23 points of items. But this hypothetical new agreement would not be called a “treaty”, because China’s sovereignty over Tibet is already acknowledged prior to the “agreement”. It is merely an agreement between a sovereign and an local organization (that does not imply any authority of local organization). In that sense, it is a political contract, where both parties would agree to some specified manner of conduct.

(3) Objectively, some distrust from the Chinese side is not isolated to the Chinese leadership. In the past 49 years or so, Dalai Lama has only adopted the “non-violent Middle Road” about 20 year ago. (Frankly, it is well documented that the Tibetan Exile Government was on the CIA payroll directly and indirectly.) Even the Tibetan Exile Government’s constitution was not adopted until 1991. All of this makes it extremely difficult for the Chinese leadership to know whether they should even negotiate with the Dalai Lama or trust him (in terms of legal binding force). It was also very recent (in one of the last rounds of informal talks) that the Chinese side asked for some guarantees that if “autonomy” is granted, that the Tibetans will not seek to push for “independence”. The Dalai Lama flatly said that his “signature would mean nothing”.

(4) The impression to the Chinese side thus far is that the Dalai Lama either has no real power to negotiate for his people in Exile, or that he is not serious. Most objective evidence point to that the Dalai Lama perhaps has lost his political authority. (The Exile movement is obviously very dependent financially and resource wise on foreign organizations.) But even if we are to ignore the financial dependency, it is evident that the Tibetans in Exile largely do not agree with the Dalai Lama’s “middle road” policy.
Regardless of what the Dalai agrees to, most of the Exile Tibetans still want “independence” for “Greater Tibet”. In that case, there is little practical value for China to negotiate with the Dalai Lama.

(5) Objectively also, “Tibetans” are obviously not an unified voice. (evident from divergence of the Tibetan Exiles from the Dalai Lama’s policies). (Additionally, there was that whole “shugden dorjee” sect persecution controversy around the Exile Government around 2000, when sectarian violence got so bad in the Exile community that the Indian Police had to declare curfew in a town to prevent Tibetans from stoning other Tibetans.) Also evident from history, the Tibetan society was volatile and sectarian. The 13th Dalai Lama himself was only able to hold onto a territory roughly coinciding with the current Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), and was never able to expand his authority to the “Greater Tibet”. The Tibetan sects historically competed for religious influence among the Tibetans. Doubtless, some Tibetans are genuinely loyal to the Dalai Lama, but I do not think that can be easily extrapolated to all Tibetans and all Tibetan sects. Doubtless also, that after the Dalai Lama’s exile, some sects have benefited more than others in Tibet. I do not think the protests in Tibet are as widespread as some believe. Rather, most evidence suggest that the protests are largely concentrated in areas closest to the Yellow Robe Sect major monasteries.

(6) Religious freedom is certainly undisputed, but there is the touchy matter of “separation of Church and State”. For this reason alone, negotiation with the Dalai Lama would be rather difficult. To legally recognize the political authority and autonomy of a religious leader in this sense would be well beyond US legal framework, let alone Chinese legal framework. (Feelings or not, lawyers are still bound by the legal frameworks to construct their arguments and solutions. And on this point, abolition of “separation of Church and State” just for Tibet would be illogical and dangerous for the entire Chinese legal framework.) (Religious freedom is not a total exemption from political and legal frameworks in a country, not even in US. Oregon State laws criminalizing religious use of the drug peyote by Native Americans upheld by the US Supreme Court, in Employment Division, Department Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith, 494 U.S. 872.)

(7) As for practical solutions, I would suggest that there is enough politically charged slogans and accusations from both sides. If negotiations are to go forward, both sides must stop the drumbeating. China should refrain from the personal accusations. But I would say that the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Exile Government’s continual accusation of “Cultural Genocide” does not help the situation either. Neither slogans move the discussions any further, they only invite more charged accusations. (and I note, China upgraded the “separatists” to “terrorists” only recently.) But practically speaking, objectively speaking, I think that both sides have gone too far down the road of the yelling match, and neither side is willing to calm down and consider the other side’s feelings.

In responding to these assertions on a point-by-point basis, the group learned a significant amount about the circumstances that would guide any determination of Tibet’s legal status.

1. At a minimum, it seems we recognize that the 17 Point Agreement acknowledges that Tibet was de facto not under the Chinese government’s control pre-1951, whether one characterizes that as being a separate country or a secessionist province during a civil war. I understand how Chinese might favor the civil war view, since China was actually under civil war between the KMT and the CCP. However, Tibet wasn’t involved in China’s civil war. No Tibetan I know inside or outside of Tibet would say that Tibet was part of China pre-1951, so certainly from the Tibetan perspective the view would favor being a separate country that was coerced into signing the 17 Point Agreement after the People’s Liberation Army defeated the Tibetan army at Chamdo. Professor Elliot Sperling had this recent op-ed in the New York Times, where he critiques both Tibetan and Chinese perspectives, but then concludes on balance that Tibet was not “Chinese” until the PLA marched in and made it so:

2. Going forward, I would concur that a future agreement providing Tibet with autonomy would not implicate questions of China’s sovereignty, if one starts from the perspective that Tibet is legitimately part of China rather than an occupied country under international law — a question that has already been addressed here. From that perspective, it would be no different than Britain’s devolution of authority to the Scottish Parliament. Frankly, something like that in Tibet would be an amazing development that would reflect incredibly well on the Chinese government’s confidence and political maturity.

In this respect, I would point you to an editorial by Cao Xin in Southern Weekend (Nanfang Zhoumo) in early April. He said that the recent protests in Tibet demonstrate that many Tibetans still revere the Dalai Lama and show that Tibet is a special case. He wrote that policies adopted in other autonomous regions are perhaps not appropriate in Tibet and that “genuine regional autonomy” is the answer.
3-5. The Chinese government vacillates on how much power the Dalai Lama has, largely to suit its propaganda needs. Wen Jiabao recently in Laos called on the Dalai Lama to use his “influence” to calm the situation in Tibet, blaming His Holiness as the instigator of all the troubles in Tibet. Zhang Qingli, the hard-line party secretary in Tibet, on the other hand, says the Dalai Lama is irrelevant in Tibet. (He also said that the communist party was the “real Buddha” for Tibetans; if this is the sort of insensitive viceroy Beijing sends to rule Tibet, no wonder they have an uprising on their hands). His Holiness is looked to by every Tibetan I know as the religious head but also the head of state, the symbol of the country. As you suggest, His Holiness’ control over Tibetans is not absolute, nor does he seek to wield dictatorial powers, so there is a limit to how much he can single-handedly control the situation. Tibetans are not sheep, and have pain for the loss of homeland. If you prick us, do we not bleed? Isn’t it natural that a people will feel anger and resentment at foreign occupation? But it would be disingenuous for the Chinese government to claim that, just because the Dalai Lama doesn’t absolutely control Tibetans, there is no use in negotiating with him.

He is the only person who could convince Tibetans to settle for autonomy, after all we’ve been through for the past 50 years. The way I look at it, passions among people on both sides are up to the respective leaderships to reign in, but His Holiness cannot ask Tibetans to give in for nothing in return. It is not enough to say that people among one side are too vociferous so there is no point in talking. That is what leadership is about. The Chinese government can try to accommodate legitimate Tibetan grievances under the Canada/Quebec/Nunavut and Britain/Scotland model, or it can try to use repression and apply the Russia/Chechnya and Serbia/Kosovo model. Putin was successful but at a great cost, and Milosevic lost power and lost Kosovo too. I hope Hu Jintao can be more enlightened than Putin or Milosevic.

Lastly, I think your emphasis on Tibetan exiles might be misplaced (I say this as a Tibetan-American too). The key issue is the wishes of the 6 million Tibetans inside of Tibet. Tibetans on the outside are politically active because Tibetans inside Tibet lack a voice. You say the protests in Tibet may not have been as widespread as reported. Here is a map of major recent protests, including at places like Sakya that are centers of power for other sects besides the Gelukpa (Yellow Hat): http://www.savetibet.org/images/images/protests_map_404_LARGE.jpg and this doesn’t include vigils bravely held by Tibetan university students in Beijing and Chengdu.

Considering the penalty for protesting in Tibet can include getting shot by the PAP or arrested and tortured, this seems fairly widespread to me. Of course you’d be right to suggest this isn’t the same thing as having a referendum, which I would completely support. I have a feeling the Chinese government wouldn’t be so enthusiastic, after seeing what happened in East Timor.

6. As I mentioned, His Holiness is more than a religious leader, he is seen as the head of state of Tibet as well. China had no problem dealing with him as a political leader before, whether under Mao, Deng or Hu Yaobang. His Holiness has repeatedly said that in a future Tibet, he will have no political authority, which will be reserved for the Tibetan government. So there really is no problem of separation of church and state.
Anyway, it would be funny for the CCP to make a fuss about this Western concept, since to the CCP everything is about the state, even the church (e.g. the patriotic catholic association controlled by the CCP).

7. On the “drumbeating,” sometimes parties have to make a decision about whether to negotiate despite perceived provocation by the other side (Israel/Palestine, for instance).

It would be hard to expect Tibetans to completely cease protesting, since Tibetans feel that as the people under occupation, it is an unaffordable luxury to sit back and assume that the Chinese government will negotiate in good faith without pressure. It’s not as if Tibetans are blowing up noodle shops in Beijing; Tibetans have been incredibly restrained considering what we’ve been through. It would be great if the rhetoric could be toned down, but China is the party with all the guns… surely the powerful Chinese government can afford to weather a few protesters?

Finally, I have a question. I never understood why many Chinese people are so convinced that Tibet “was, is, and always will be” part of China, but don’t feel the same way about Mongolia. Mongolia if anything was MORE under the control of the Qing and Yuan Dynasties than Tibet ever was, and the KMT purported to rule both Tibet and Mongolia through the same Commission (of course this rule was a fiction). If Tibet is a sacred part of Chinese territory because of its relationship with old Chinese empires (regardless of what the Tibetan people may feel), then why not Mongolia as well? This is an honest question, which I have never understood.

Another response in this line of debate:

1. Tibet’s de facto “self-control” was largely a result of the disintegration of Qing Dynasty. Thus it cannot be said that Tibet wasn’t involved in the Chinese Civil War, which stretched back to the Warlord period in the early period of Republic of China. It was well documented that Tibetan military forces engaged in small scale territorial battles with Muslim Chinese Warlords in the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu. It was also well documented that the Tibetan military harassed the Communists as they embarked on their Long March north through Sichuan. Neutrality of Tibet during that time is doubtful. Even if Tibet was neutral, “neutrality” does not automatically translate into sovereignty. Mere de facto “self-control” and neutrality is not equal to independence.

a. Again, the treaties prior to 1949 recognized Tibet as part of China. A central government may indeed lose control when it disintegrates, and local warlords always benefit in gaining more self-control in the absence of the central government, but that does not imply that the local warlords are automatically their own countries, even if some of the warlords chooses to stay “neutral”. And “coercion” is always used to end Civil wars. The mere part that Tibetan military tried to expand their territory after the fall of the Qing Dynasty means that Tibet was a participant, and benefitted from the ongoing chaos.

b. Culturally distinct self-identity is one thing, political and legal identity is another. (Otherwise, immigration would be illogical, if Cultural identity implies legal identity.)
Culture may be a reference in determining historical boundaries between sovereign nations, but it is not a presumption of sovereignty. Again, treaties and history are the usual major indicators.

2. On genuine autonomy, I would refer to my previous message on how Tibetans in Exile really feel.

3. On China’s view on the value of negotiating with the Dalai Lama, the concern is a practical one and a legal one.  Negotiations is about reaching a legally binding solution.

It might be helpful to get the Dalai Lama to “agree to help” China to persuade the Tibetans in Exile, but ultimately, the agreement with the Tibetans in Exile must be somehow binding on both sides. Some body on the Exiles side must be able to do more than try to convince.

4. I think the Tibetans in Exile’s activities render it questionable the real feelings of 6 million Tibetans in China. (As it was questionable whether the 1959 uprising was due to real grievances or incitement by CIA, or a little of both.) (It’s the chicken and the egg problem. We don’t know which one is causing which.) But I would say, realistically, if all 6 million Tibetans in China feel that strongly about it, even the PAP would not be able to keep them under control.

5. Referendum may be a future solution, but I doubt any reasonable government would allow referendum to be carried out under heavy external influence and internal disorder. That, frankly would render the “referendum” completely meaningless.

6. So far, all the negotiations with the Dalai Lama, after the Exile, have been informal. Neither side promised anything, and that unfortunately will not change, unless the basic problem of legal binding authority and “separation of church and state” question are answered. And the Chinese legal framework of “separation of Church and State” involves heavy State monitoring of Religious organizations to prevent political activities.

Right or wrong, it is the Chinese legal framework, and it is based upon concerns for historical rebellions based upon religious organizations, such as the Taiping Rebellion which caused 20 million deaths in China. You may not agree with it, but then again, we may not agree with the French government banning Muslim head scarves in schools. It’s inherently not supposed to be the same as the US system of “separation of Church and State”.

7. On weathering the protesters, I saw a recent comparison of the crackdown. Post- LA riot, over 3000 arrests. Post Lhasa riot, over 1000 arrests. Laws may weather the protesters, but the protesters must also weather the laws, by proportions. Even Civil Disobedience in US will mean often some jail time. Violent protests are violence, no matter where they are. Would we condemn these protests less if they happened in US? I do not think the law would weather it by ignoring it out of sympathy.

Mongolia was actually part of ROC under a treaty with Russia. Once the Soviets took over Russia, they helped Mongolia rebel against the ROC forces. PRC might have a problem with Mongolian independence, except for several reasons: (1) USSR backed Mongolian independence, (2) Mongolia was by 1949 no longer theocratic but rather Communist, (3) Mongolia did not claim “inner Mongolia”, and (4) Mongolia had helped China in her fight against Japan during WWII.

Some of these reasons were geopolitical, some are political, and some are just practical. Mongolia was a Communist ally of PRC during WWII. USSR used Mongolia as a base to launch offensives against Japan in China, and Mongolian communist army participated.

In order to further the debate, a contributor asked the following questions:

Based on previous discussion, I throw more questions to this list serve

1. How to solve Tibet issue?

2. Does boycotting Beijing Olympic for alleged human rights violation conform to the concept of â€oesovereignty†of international law or not?

3. Should China Committee get involved to solve this issue or not? If so, how? If not, why?

4. What can China Committee do to promote healthy Sino-US relationship in this politically sensitive time?

I hope to hear the answer from you especially from our respectable co-chairs. There is one thing we need to keep in mind that everyone has freedom of speech. We do not need to get upset because some one else’s opinion is different from ours. I fully trust your professional attitude.

which generated this response:

(1) Tibet is perhaps too great of an issue to “solve”. Chinese historians tend to take a long view of history, full of rise and fall of nations and stabilities. As Zhou Enlai once remarked to Nixon on the historical significance of the French Revolution, “It’s too early to tell.” Oddly enough, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld recently adopted a similar attitude, in remarking that only history can tell if the Iraq War was a success. Tibet perhaps will join the other “unsolvable” issues of history and politics. “Unsolvable” by man’s actions, but perhaps reconciled by time, which heals all wounds.

(2) I believe, boycotting is a right of individuals to refuse commercial transactions for political reasons. It is perfectly legal when done by individuals, even government officials. Collectively done boycotts, may occasionally violate national laws, under the theory of “Interference of contract” and antitrust (when boycotting against a government). If boycott is organized by legislation, it is still a choice. No country is required to attend the Olympics.

a. But that said, boycotting the Olympics has been historically wasteful and pointless exercise.

(3) I think the China Committee could get involved, but the issue of Tibet may prove to be too politically charged. Many members have personal financial interests in China, US, and Europe. The committee may be able to make non-partisan investigations and reports on Tibet, but the results may be tainted by personal biases, and possibly subject the committee to public admonishment. But I would say, personal visits to Tibet may enlighten ourselves individually. I myself intend to visit Tibet as soon as convenient. I have always wanted to visit Tibet, just haven’t had the time. One note of caution, however: like most places, Tibet is often in the eyes of the beholder, people see what they want to see. I would also say that visit to the Exile Community in India might also be helpful.

(4) US-China relationship is always politically sensitive. That’s why we are all here. That’s what makes the China Law Committee great, in my opinion. We are all, by the definition of “lawyers”, students of law. We study different areas of law, history of laws, historical background that changed laws. We talk to each other across borders, across cultures, NOT because we are paid by our governments to do so, but by our own intellectual curiosity and our need for diversity of opinions.

Above said, on the Tibet issue, I see some clear problem areas that present themselves as major obstacles to resolution:

(1) The Chinese government’s reactions are, needless to say, predictable, even if uncertain as far as extent. But it is not surprising for any government, Civil disorder always bring about heavy crackdown by law enforcement and even military. US deployed National guards during the LA riot. It would not be logical to expect China to react otherwise. This policy will not change. There is no reason to expect it to.

(2) Chinese counter protests world wide. Some in the Western nations choose to view the recent surge of Chinese counter protests as “Chinese Nationalism”. This is a serious misunderstanding of the genuine dissatisfaction with the West within ethnic Chinese population world wide. There are many ethnic Han Chinese who live near ethnic Tibetan areas, and over the past 2 decades, the social interactions have increased significantly, hence occasional ethnic conflicts. Tibetans frequent Muslim Hui Chinese restaurants and hotels. There was even a case of a riot few years ago because of a number of cases of food poisoning of Tibetans in a Hui restaurant. Ethnic divide is not as wide as some have portrayed it. Great many ethnic Tibetans work along other Chinese  in variety of occupations, including government and academic and commercial. (Recently, Norwegian Inge Solheim symbolically flew a Tibetan independence flag at the North Pole. Ironically, in 1999, Penba Tsering, a weather engineer, became the 1st Tibetan to reach the South Pole, sent by a Chinese scientific research mission. Penba Tsering has also climbed the peak of Mt. Everest, the 3rd pole of the world. And he is expected to reach the North Pole in some future expedition.)

(3) That said, there is an ethnic divide in some parts of TAR. Part of it is due to economics. Tibet is remote. Income from Tourism is still slow to generate. The recent riot certainly does not make things better for the ordinary Tibetans. (Foreseeably, foreign tourists to Tibet will decrease, as China tightens visa requirements. Chinese tourists to Tibet will likely increase in the long run.)

(4) The Wild card, unfortunately, is the Tibetan Exile Movement, which I have to say, is baffling, but expectedly so. In this sense, there is a fundamental intellectual difficulty to communicate and negotiate a resolution with it. Fundamentally, it is disjointed with confusing hints and suggestions and contradictory public statements.

a. While the Dalai Lama publicly states his hope for “genuine autonomy for greater Tibet”, he compares Kosovo to Tibet and Taiwan. Not only does that signal a threat to the Chinese government that he intends “Kosovo like” independence, it hints to his followers in the Exile community that “it really is about independence”. (This also hurts Kosovo’s independence, since China has more reasons to reject it in UN.)

b. On the recent claims by China that some Tibetans were arrested for bombing a government office in China, the Dalai Lama publicly rejected the accusation. Yet, in a 1998 interview with NY Times,

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A01E7DC123EF932A35756C0A96E958260, the Dalai Lama publicly acknowledged that bombing had been going on in Tibet by Tibetans, 9 times in the 1st 4 months, all targeting government buildings. He clearly knew these acts of terrorism were going on. Yet he has chosen public plausible deniability. That only incenses the Chinese government to further accuse him of planning the bombings. (which may or may not be true) (I can only guess that such an admission of bombing of “buildings” would remind the Western public of 9/11, and cause a public backlash against the Dalai Lama)

c. On April 2, 2008, in an interview with Radio France International’s Chinese language program, Dawa Tsering, an Additional Secretary in the Department of Information and International Relations of the Tibetan government-in-exile, answered a question about why the Dalai Lama has not condemned the violent actions of rioters during the unrest. Speaking in Chinese, Dawa Tsering stated that:

First of all, I must make it clear that the Tibetan (rioters) has been nonviolent throughout (the incident). From Tibetans’ perspective, violence means harming life. From the video recordings you can see that the Tibetans rioters were beating Han Chinese, but only beating took place.

After the beating the Han Chinese were free to flee. Therefore [there were] only beating, no life was harmed. Those who were killed were all results of accidents. From recordings shown by the Chinese Communist government, we can clearly see that when Tibetan [rioters] were beating on their doors, the Han Chinese all went into hiding upstairs.

When the Tibetan [rioters] set fire to the buildings, the Han Chinese remained in hiding instead of escaping, the result is that these Han Chinese were all accidentally burnt to death. Those who set and spread the fire, on the other hand, had no idea whatsoever that there were Han Chinese hiding upstairs. Therefore not only were Han Chinese burnt to death, some Tibetans were burnt to death too. Therefore all these incidents were accidents, not murder.

This plainly admitted that the “beatings” and arson were going on in Lhasa, yet it redefined it as “non-violent”. The logic of this explanation completely escapes me. If this was the Exile Government’s position on “non-violence”, there is some serious disconnect with its Western supporters.

(5) While I hope still that the Dalai Lama truly believes in “peaceful” autonomy solution for Tibet, I do not see a strict adherence to that principle. While it is true that some extremists exist on every issue, I think it is also clear that the Exile Government has chosen to keep its eyes wide shut, and indeed publicly rationalized extremist behavior.  Even if some peaceful solution comes, China or the Dalai Lama must deal with the Extremists, with force of law if necessary.

(6) Foreign interests in Tibet. Noble as “human rights” interests are, a negotiation between 2 parties can be hopelessly bogged down and confused by interests of uninvolved 3rd parties. That much most lawyers would appreciate. As long as the Exile Government continues to receive funds from well meaning Western countries, it presents itself as a problem with furthering the negotiations. (My suggestions for a possible solution would be too political to mention.)


Some Parting Quotes from Dalai Lama:

Dalai Lama Quotes

1st Quote:

“….if the situation was such that there was only one learned Lama or genuine practitioner alive, a person whose death would cause the whole of Tibet to lose all hope of keeping its Buddhist way of life, then it is conceivable that in order to protect that one person it might be justified for one or ten enemies to be eliminated
Source: December 1997 issue of US magazine “Mother Jones”

(Recall I wrote about DL trying to Solidate his authority).

2nd Quote

“….whoever fights against the Shugden spirit is defending religious freedom. I am quite prepared to compare this to the Nazis in Germany. Whoever fights against them is defending human rights because the freedom of Nazis is no freedom”
Source: Interview with Klemens Ludwig for “Esotera” magazine pg. 82, May 1998

3rd Quote

“Judging from their way of thinking and way of acting, yes, you can say: fanatic.” Referring to Shugden practitioners.
Source: BBC 2 TV “Correspondent” broadcast May 9th 1998

4th Quote

“There will be no change in my stand. I will never revoke the ban. You are right. It will be like the Cultural Revolution. If those who do not accept the ban do not listen to my words, the situation will grow worse for them. You sit and watch. It will grow only worse for them.”
Source: Talk at Trijang Labrang, India, Jan 6th 1999

(I think some should complain about DL more on “let’s have a Cultural Revolution”, since DL holds no exception to his invocation of Cultural Revolution to his followers, and rather shamelessly does so.  DL’s lesson from the “Cultural Revolution” is apparently, Mine will be better, Death, or Worse, to Unbelievers).

5th Quote
“Therefore, unless I remind you once again, there are those who pretend they have not heard it. It will be the last resort if we have to knock on your doors. It would be good if you can heed this without us having to resort to this last step.”
Source: Talk in Dharamsala 1996

(Last Resort? Or was that a mistranslation from “Final Solution”?)

6th Quote
“What contribution did Dorje Shugden do for the Gelugpas in 60 years – nothing! Creates more misunderstanding between different sects – nothing positive. Truly not necessary – therefore better wipe out”.
Source: UK Press Conference London 1997

  1. Charles Liu
    May 25th, 2011 at 02:26 | #1

    I’m suprised so little compare & contrast between Tibet and Native America occured.

    Fundamentally is United States’ current treatment of Native Americans acceptable for Tibet (confiscation of land, Tibetans live in pockets of tiny reservations, continued abrogation of treaties by Chinese government, prohibition on exercise of sovereignty.)

    This is Native American’s reality TODAY. If this is not accetpable for the Tibetans, then the next logical question is how does the United States morally justify it’s sovereignty and statehood?

  2. raventhorn2000
    May 25th, 2011 at 05:26 | #2


    I would caution the comparison of Tibetans to Native Americans.

    For 1 major difference I pointed out during the debate is that Tibetans lost their own sovereignty a long time ago, and never regained it.

    The 17 point agreement cannot be compared as a legitimate “treaty” between 2 sovereigns. (For one, the simple reality that DL himself continued to say that his own signature meant nothing. Another, merely an agreement does not make itself into a Treaty to prove one’s sovereignty. Just as you can’t turn a horse into a deer, by first calling its meat veal).

    Whereas Native American tribes clearly did have “treaties” with US government, which legally evidenced the EXISTENCE of Native American tribal nations’ sovereignty. (it’s well recognized by US government).

  3. raventhorn2000
    May 25th, 2011 at 05:57 | #3

    My best legal analysis of the 17 Point Agreement.

    “(1) The 17 point agreement does not stand alone. It is not the core of Chinese claim on Tibet, and its absence does not mean a lack of Chinese claim of Tibet. As stated before, pre-1949 treaties with other nations established China’s sovereignty over Tibet. Since China’s sovereignty over Tibet were previously established by other treaties, the 17 point agreement is not a treaty. The 17 point agreement, can be best characterized as an “agreement for autonomy”. The 1st clause stated, “The Tibetan people shall return to the big family of the motherland – the People’s Republic of China.” Even if this implies incorporation by surrender after a military conflict, not all military conflicts are between 2 sovereigns. US Civil War for example, ended through a “surrender”, but it does not mean that the conflict was necessarily between 2 nations. In a civil war context, 1 side may seek to declare its independence, as in the case of the Confederation. But that does not mean that sovereignty is automatically obtained. Civil War may indeed be a conflict over secession. 2 sides of a civil war may also be very markedly different. But that again does not imply that the 2 sides are separate.

    (2) In a different point of view, take a hypothetical. If the Dalai Lama’s exile government and China does reach an agreement today, there would be a formal drafting of an “agreement for autonomy”, which both China and the Dalai Lama will sign. And it may very well incorporate 10 points, 17 points, or 23 points of items. But this hypothetical new agreement would not be called a “treaty”, because China’s sovereignty over Tibet is already acknowledged prior to the “agreement”. It is merely an agreement between a sovereign and an local organization (that does not imply any authority of local organization). In that sense, it is a political contract, where both parties would agree to some specified manner of conduct.”

  4. SilentChinese
    May 25th, 2011 at 08:05 | #4

    Any one who draw parallel between Native Americans and Tibetans as a device to affirm chinese soverigny over tibet is shooting him/herself in the foot.

    One looses all moral grounds when stooped that low. acceptability changes over time, whats acceptable 200 years ago is not acceptable today.

    The parallel itself is horrendously ill-suited.
    as Tibet was always part of chinese political/religious/cultural sphere. where Native Americans were never ever part of European settlers political/religous/cultural sphere until first encounter.
    Tibet is infintely more intertwined with Chinese polity than Native American society ever was with European based polity.

  5. Charles Liu
    May 25th, 2011 at 08:40 | #5

    I agree, it is a lowest common denominator comparison. Never mind 200 years ago, I conceed even today’s treatment of the Native Americans isn’t acceptable for Tibet.

    But why isn’t the ABA debating US claim of sovereignty, in any sort of parity? Where’s the outrage?

  6. May 25th, 2011 at 10:58 | #6

    Really good point and I am glad you all are in agreement on it.

    @Charles Liu
    The U.S. counts on the fact that within the conquered territories people’s standards of living are relatively high versus the rest of the world. She also has a mighty military, so domestic separatist organizations have zero chance.

    These two facts suppress the ugliness at home. Plus, foreign countries like Russia or China don’t bother to fund any separatist groups – inside or outside the U.S.. No country dares to play that type of game against the U.S..

    Thus, there is no intensity in the U.S. in those type of issues.

    One day when Mexico is relatively much stronger than the U.S. or the U.S. becomes much weaker relative to the rest of the world, then all these various ‘issues’ of the past will come forward with force.

    At that time it will come down to who the hegemon is and how much that hegemon believes in national integrity. Not any time soon, but if there is a time machine, I like to go forward 500 years and see what the world is like.

    Thus, I have always said in the past – America being the hegemon right now needs to build a world political culture to not re-open wounds of the past. It would be in America’s interest as well as everyone else’s. That applies to Americans in not meddling in Tibet too.

  7. Terry Chen
    September 26th, 2011 at 09:31 | #7

    The tibetan-American lawyer says that tibetans don’t consider themselves Chinese. Does he have any proof of that.

    He also says that tibetans have endured nothing but suffering but oppression, but how would he explain the fact that the infant mortality rate has decreased from a staggering 43% to 0.661%, the life expectancy has increased from 35.5 to 67, and that the literacy rate has increased by more than 90% ever since 1959.

    I can’t believe that the fact that 95% of the tibetans were slaves before 1959 wasn’t even covered during the debate! It also was barely mentioned that tibet had a theocratic system prior to 1959. Western civilizations experienced the horror of theocracy during the middle ages and tibet had such a form of governing for centuries before the CCP finally eradicated the evils.

    Overall the pro-China debator has a good use of language and his logic is okay, but he puts way too much energy into arguing about Tibet’s sovereignty. There really is no point to do so, as every country in the world recognizes the fact that tibet was and is a part of China.

  8. raventhorn2000
    September 26th, 2011 at 09:48 | #8

    “Overall the pro-China debator has a good use of language and his logic is okay, but he puts way too much energy into arguing about Tibet’s sovereignty. There really is no point to do so, as every country in the world recognizes the fact that tibet was and is a part of China.”

    Thanks for the compliment. And the debate was between 2 lawyers, specifically on the question of “sovereignty” as a legal issue.

  9. Terry Chen
    September 26th, 2011 at 20:36 | #9

    That did not stop the tibetan-American lawyer from lambasting China on the way tibetans are “mistreated and oppressed”. It also didn’t stop him from saying that tibetans don’t consider themselves Chinese. Perhaps he got a bit off-topic, but I personally feel that commmenting on how tibetans have much living standards than they had before and tibet’s dependence on the Chinese central government would have strengthened the argument.

  10. raventhorn2000
    September 27th, 2011 at 05:30 | #10

    @Terry Chen

    Thus, I tried to separate my response from his emotive arguments. (ie. ignoring his subjective emotive arguments, which have little factual basis).

    The purpose is to demonstrate to the ABA committee members that his emotive arguments simply won’t work in the legal context, nor will it work practically.

    My main purpose was to demystify the traditional TGIE illogical baseless arguments, with nothing more than simple historical facts and legal principles, because emotive arguments won’t work with US lawyer audience any ways.

    Again, the context of this debate was for an audience of US lawyers, not the general public, on the LEGAL theories of Tibetan and Chinese sovereignty issue based upon the history.

  11. Terry Chen
    September 27th, 2011 at 06:28 | #11

    I see. In that case, it seems as if you did a very good job, much better than your opponent. Most of his arguments werr very emotive and lacked evidence. At times, he was very off-topic and started talking about how tibetans were suffering rather than focus on the issue at hand. Forgive me, I barely know anything about law.

    Was a winner decided for this debate?

  12. raventhorn2000
    September 27th, 2011 at 06:57 | #12

    @Terry Chen

    As is with most debates about controversial topics of law, no winner was decided.

    I did have the last words, and I got a few kudos from a few Chinese American lawyers.

    I felt it important enough to just break the deadlock of the traditional debate on Tibet, filled with so much “nationalist” rhetorics that most people have tuned out from, and people have forgotten the REAL history and the REAL facts of Centuries of China Tibet relationships, far more complex than can be boiled down to how some people “feel” about their identity.

    The ultimate point is that LAW is about HISTORY, not how one feels.

    I may feel like I should be a rich man, but if my ancestors didn’t save for my education and my inheritance, then I must live in relative poverty.

    We all live with the consequences of our ancestors’ actions. And Sovereignty is precisely our inheritance as People.

    Some are born in rich countries, some are born in poor countries. That may not be fair, but life is not fair.

    WE don’t go around and say, “Hey, I feel that my culture is unique, therefore, to protect my culture, the land I live on is now a sovereign nation”.

    Such notions are against the very idea of “sovereignty” as an inheritance of national identity.

    History has its consequences. Americans inherited US, because of all the colonial conquests. They may not like how they got it, but they won’t hesitate to fight to maintain their inheritance.

    Chinese will do the same, and frankly, Chinese have better historical claims on Tibet as a territory, than Americans on US.

    So, it really doesn’t matter how we “feel” about the past, the present, or the future. Tibet is part of China as inheritance to ALL Chinese people, and it is our legal right to maintain our sovereign inheritance.

    If some people say, they don’t “feel” like they are Chinese, then that’s their own problem, they can give up their inheritance claim on all Chinese territories if they so choose and move else where. That has NO bearing on the inheritance of all Chinese people.

  13. raventhorn2000
    September 27th, 2011 at 08:04 | #13

    “Except that when they try and move elsewhere legally they are prevented, and when they try other methods they are shot. Nice theory though.”

    I’m sure Felons in US would like to “move elsewhere legally” and they are also “prevented”.

    But you have a funny idea of “move elsewhere legally” for people who Commit crimes first and facing prison time.

  14. Terry Chen
    September 27th, 2011 at 08:48 | #14

    @Todd Rundgren

    Recently, I read another story I’d never heard of before from The Economist of another border where similar killings happen often, but I found no demand for a UN Investigation in the Western media. Even The Economist, which reported the story, did not call for an investigation.

    Instead, The Economist concludes with, “Shooting the people you claim to want to do business with is a poor start.”

    Maybe the difference is that the border killings reported by The Economist took place between two democracies — India and Bangladesh.

    I couldn’t find a report of this India-Bangladesh incident in English on YouTube

    The Economist says, “On January 7th India’s Border Security Force (BSF) shot dead Mr. Nur Islam’s 15-year-old (daughter) Felani, at an illegal crossing into Bangladesh from the Indian state of West Bengal. Felani’s body hung from the barbed-wired fence for five hours. Then the Indians took her down, tied her hands and feet to a bamboo pole, and carried her away. Her body was handed over the next day and buried in the yard at home.”

    “The BSF (India’s Border Security Force) kills with such impunity along India’s 4,100-kilometer (2,550-mile) border with Bangladesh that one local journalist wonders what the story is about. According to Human Rights Watch, India’s force has killed almost 1,000 Bangladeshis over the past ten years.”

    How many were reported killed by witnesses of the China incident? Two or three?

    What about deaths along the US border? The Snow Report says, “Border deaths for illegal immigrants hit record high in Arizona sector.”

    The Snow Report says, “The discovery of record numbers of bodies along the Tucson sector of the US-Mexico border suggests that border crossings for illegal immigrants are becoming deadlier as heightened security forces migrants into remoter and more forbidding areas.”

    Maybe democracies (which are billed as better places to live), sort of like James Bond, get a free pass from the Western media to kill.

    But of course, it didn’t happen in China. That means they’re right!!!

  15. Terry Chen
    September 27th, 2011 at 09:24 | #15

    My point is that killings in borders happen in many places. Hundreds have been killed on the US mexican border yet no one cares but when 2 tibetans are killed on its borders with nepal it becomes front page news.

    Every country has its fair share of expatriates, I don’t know why people like to point at Chinese expatriates and assume that they were being mistreated in their home countries.

  16. raventhorn2000
    September 27th, 2011 at 11:04 | #16

    “Did you emigrate and become an American because you didn’t feel Chinese? Poor thing. Well you’re more than making up for it now. Maybe they will take you back one day.”

    Are you asking as a former American (now Chinese)? Guess US doesn’t want its porn troll back.

  17. Terry Chen
    October 3rd, 2011 at 08:14 | #17

    Btw, how did you know the content of the dialogue between the CCP and the dalai lama? Wasn’t the content of that dialogue not revealed to the public?

  18. raventhorn2000
    October 3rd, 2011 at 08:37 | #18

    @Terry Chen

    I think for the “dialogue” you are referring to, it was the subject as admitted by DL in the Western newspapers.

    DL himself announced that the Chinese side asked him for some “guarantee” that Tibetans would not seek further independence (as a precondition for additional negotiations over more autonomy), and DL said he replied that his signature and guarantees would mean nothing at all.

    I merely pointed that out as an example of DL’s double talks during negotiations. Ie. he wants China to put down guarantees, but he himself basically says he won’t give any guarantees in return.

  19. Terry Chen
    October 3rd, 2011 at 09:51 | #19

    Apart from that, the dalai lama also says he is supposedly representing all the tibetans in China. By his logic, dharaslama should have autonomy as well? That makes no sense at all.

    If we were to look at the ‘greater tibet region’ as he says, tibetans would undoubtedly be a minority and that has nothing to do with the CCP. The population demographics in that region has remained relatively unchanged for centuries and the lamas have had no control outside of the TAR ever since the yuan dynasty.

  20. raventhorn2000
    October 3rd, 2011 at 10:27 | #20

    @Terry Chen

    More than that, the TGIE’s claim of “genocide” by “population transfer” is self-contradictory.

    (1) TGIE’s own “constitution” states that ANY ONE born in “Greater Historical Tibet” are considered Tibetan citizens.

    (2) This “Greater historical Tibet” would encompasses much of Sichuan and Qinghai and Gansu, which contain the traditional home of the “Hui” Chinese people, who account for significant portion of the people who migrated to TAR, (and also includes Han Chinese born in parts of Sichuan and Qinghai and Gansu).

    (3) so by logic, the “Hui” Chinese migrants who moved into TAR, set up shops, are ALSO “Tibetans” by TGIE’s own “constitution”.

    (4) Then, how can there be any “population transfer”, if they are just “Tibetans” moving around in “Greater historical Tibet”??!!

  21. zack
    October 3rd, 2011 at 12:19 | #21

    so why is the dalai lama silent about indian annexation of tibetan territory? ie southern tibet “arunachal pradesh”?

    hypocritical much?

  22. raventhorn2000
    October 4th, 2011 at 06:16 | #22


    Because he knows if he made too much noise about it, the Indian Government would kick him out in a heart beat.

    *but on the other side, the Indian government knows that if DL does get his “Greater Tibet” back, he would start to make demands about the Southern Tibet areas.

    So, that’s why India is in no hurry to help him that much. They just give him a back junkyard where his followers can wallow in misery.

    (It’s common knowledge among the Exiles that the Indians treat the Tibetan Exiles like dirt, and the Exiles can’t complain much. Pre-2008 Olympics, the Indian Police cracked down pretty heavy handedly on the Exile protesters, made a show of force, and the Exiles made hardly a whimper).

    Yeah, it’s pretty obvious DL is acting like a junkyard dog. He’ll take the abuses, because he has no where else to go.

  23. Terry Chen
    October 4th, 2011 at 08:12 | #23

    Where did you get the knowledge that indians treat the tibetans in exile like dirt? This is pretty interesting!

    Regardless of whether this is true or not, its readily apparent that the HHDL is nothing but the wests dog. Ever hear him condemn the US for invading 50 countries since WWII or the israeli’s for all the atrocities they’ve committed? Of course not!!! His fake government completely depends on western support and would crumble without it.

  24. raventhorn2000
    October 4th, 2011 at 08:31 | #24

    @Terry Chen

    I periodically browse through Tibetan Exiles’ internet forums and read through the comments (with a grain of salt).

    You hear all kinds of stuff that TGIE doesn’t like to advertise: Ie. the well known corruption among the TGIE officials (DL’s relatives), TGIE’s aborted attempt to set up a marriage for DL and an American woman, how the new Prime Minister of the Exiles can’t write or read Tibetans well, how ONLY the well connected Tibetan Exiles get visas quick to leave the Exile camps in India (others have to wait in the long wait list), etc.

    And of course, the TRUE “plan” and purpose of the DL’s “Middle Road” approach: It was well acknowledged among the Exiles that the “Middle Road” approach (and all negotiations with China) was merely a facade to allow the Exiles to return to Tibet in China, so that they can “continue the struggle for independence” from within.

    (The last paragraph is no joke. And the biggest reason why I don’t believe anything DL says. Even his followers acknowledge this lie as a lie. Which is also another reason why he won’t put up any guarantees.)

  25. Terry Chen
    October 4th, 2011 at 20:12 | #25

    Got any links to recommend? It’s amazing how all this is never made public.

    To think that many westerners believe that the TGIE would do a better job than the CCP at governing tibet just show’s how brainwashed they are.

  26. zack
    October 4th, 2011 at 21:41 | #26

    @Terry Chen
    these are the ppl who honestly believe in a la-la-land of tintin-esque tibet where the dalai lama leads a chilled out impartial enlightened existence.

    strange how they’ve never asked the dalai lama to run for office in their own respective countries

  27. raventhorn2000
    October 5th, 2011 at 05:45 | #27

    Archbishop Desmond Tutu throws a temper tantrum in South Africa for denial of visa to DL.


    I will be forever suspicious of the Priests and Monks, because so often their Holiness do not show through other than when they attempt to call upon the Wrath of God on us mere mortals.

  28. raventhorn2000
    October 5th, 2011 at 05:56 | #28

    @Terry Chen

    No I don’t have any links off hand. I just google them every now and then, google “Tibet exile forum discussion”, and click through.

    TGIE people’s forums come and go all the time. And they avoid talking the embarassing stuff on the TGIE official websites, but you do get some rumors here and there.

    If you get a hint of a small rumor, then google the rumor subject, such as “Tibet Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay Nepalese wife Chinese girlfriend”, then you get more results.

    It’s all “public” in the sense that most Westerners do not look at them, and Tibetan Exiles don’t talk about them much, so the information just die on the net pretty quickly.

    *I thought for a while that somebody should create an archive for all these “information”.

    But ever since the Shugden sect Ban by DL and the TGIE, the Western Shugden followers have made a point to archive as much embarassing details about the TGIE and DL as they can. Google “Western Shugden” to find their websites.

    So, in light of their efforts, for now, I don’t see a need to duplicate their activities.

  29. Terry Chen
    October 5th, 2011 at 09:09 | #29

    @raventhorn2000 Just asking, what do you think will happen to the TGIE? IMO, they will slowly lose their influence and crumble sometime in the next few decades.

    Like people of all races, the younger tibetans are getting more and more materialistic as modernization continues to sweep through tibet. From the interactions I’ve had on the internet, I’ve come to the conclusion that a sizeable number of tibetans consider themselves Chinese while pretty much every tibetan living inside tibet doesn’t want to see tibet become an independant nation as they know how much their livelihood depends on the Chinese government.

    From what I’ve seen, it seems as if the younger generation of tibetans are much more assimilated than the older generation. The older generation still treat the DL like a god BUT they definitely do not want to go back to pre-1959 tibet and are generally grateful for what the CCP has brought them. At the end of the day, having a good standard of living trumps having all these religious superstitions for most people.

    People seem to exxagerate about how bad the racial tensions are in China but IMO the minority groups in china have assimilated much better than those in the US. They get all sorts of special benefits and the CCP tries its best to preserve their original culture. Heck, the Hui people are even more patriotic than the Han Chinese are.

    I just wonder how this free tibet movement will end and how history will look at it.

  30. Terry Chen
    October 5th, 2011 at 09:14 | #30

    Agreed. Tutu is a self-serving hypocrite just looking for publicity. It’s plainfully obvious that he knows NOTHING about tibet apart from the rubbish from western media sources that we’re so accustomed to seeing.

  31. raventhorn2000
    October 5th, 2011 at 09:49 | #31

    @Terry Chen

    I think 1 immediate problem for the Tibetan Exiles will be there may be a “Cultural Revolution” of some kind when DL approaches his death or go into senility. (Similar to the rise of the Gang of Four when Mao became old).

    Regardless of DL’s intentions, there is a strong cult of personality around him in the Exile Community, and his reincarnation/succession in the Exile Community may very well become the focal point of an internal political purge.

    In the Exile community, DL is trying to separate religion from politics, because he knows the approaching danger of the question of his succession.

    But in the Exile Community, Religion and Politics cannot be separated, it’s simply too little too late. Without a strong religious backing, secular leaders simply cannot control the politics among the Exiles.

    This will lead to a succession fight. I honestly believe this carries a very high probability.

    (Note: Part of the reason behind the bitter Shugden sect ban was about religious and political influence. Expect the Shugden to attempt to make a come back during DL’s succession. They are not going to give up that easily, and they will want revenge).

  32. Terry Chen
    October 5th, 2011 at 09:55 | #32

    How do you think this internal battle will end? Do you think that the TGIE will be no more in a few decades?

    Regardless of what happens, their influence will continue to wane. Despite all their efforts to stir unrest right before the 2008 olympics, they were only able to cause a few hundred people to cause havoc in the streets. In one or two generations, tibetans will be even better assimilated into Chinese society.

    In a few decades, I’m interested in how people around the world view the TGIE


  33. raventhorn2000
    October 5th, 2011 at 10:11 | #33

    @Terry Chen

    it would be hard to predict how it might end, before it even started.

    It would depend rather on who the players are, and who on the outside would attempt to influence the outcome.

    It could drag the dominant world powers into play, like a new proxy Cold War. Undoubtedly, China will try to influence the outcome, so would India, US, Europe, perhaps even Russia.

    I think it’s likely that the TGIE overall influence will wane, split, splinter, or disintegrate altogether.

    But the important question is NOT what will happen to TGIE, but rather what will happen to the Exiles’ self-identity.

    If the internal purge happens, it may very well turn many Exiles (or potential Exiles) against the myth of DL. Kind of like how Chinese people turn away from the Cult of Personalities after the Cultural Revolution.

    This may be beneficial for the renegotiation of Exiles for returning back to China. (But this may cause a further split in TGIE). As already, some Shugden followers, being banned by DL, are quietly turning back to China. (Afterall, if their beloved DL is beating them over the head, why keep worshipping him? Why keep worshipping someone who doesn’t want your worship, thinks you are misguided degenerates who are dangerous for your community, and would rather look the other way while his followers stone you and chase your family out of your home?)

    Eventually, I think the Exiles will become sick of their own religious political fanaticism. It took the Chinese people a destructive Cultural Revolution to get sick of “revolutions”, and it might do the same for the Exiles.

  34. Terry Chen
    October 5th, 2011 at 17:32 | #34

    Why is the dalai lama so harsh on the shugden sect? Even some westerners were critical of how he dealt with the shugden sect.

  35. raventhorn2000
    October 5th, 2011 at 18:58 | #35

    I have a feeling that Shugden sect was becoming a threat to DL’s cult of personality in some ways.

    Shugdens believe in an Avatar spirit, a protector spirit, of a rival Dalai Lama candidate who was assassinated, supposedly by the supporters of the DL long time ago.

    Among the Tibetans, it was almost to the point that Shugden spirit was to be feared and worshipped at the same time. Even the current DL himself was taught the Shugden belief by 1 of his religious instructors.

    But, this spirit, this belief, is not one based upon a living/reincarnated spirit, but one that has no Real representation in life.

    This spirit, thus, is more powerful in it is less materialistic than DL or any other “living Buddha”.

    DL’s cult of personality exists on a mythical level, one that would be threatened by an idea like the Shugden spirit.

    A Shugden may even be able to threaten DL with curses or “evil” thoughts, as DL puts it.

    In other words, a Shugden follower may dare to challenge DL’s religious authority in time.

    Harking back in even Recent history of Tibet, when DL’s could barely control the TAR, and couldn’t extend much further beyond TAR territory. WHY?

    Because Many of the Khampas and others in Qinghai, Sichuan, and Gansu, didn’t really consider DL to be the highest authority. Coincidentally, or not, Khampas outside of TAR were also among the greatest Shugden followers.

    In other words, DL’s current Cult of personality is a relatively new PR invention of the TGIE, not based upon historical reality (which can be easily seen from DL’s lack of total control over historical Tibetan regions).

    It is a convenient myth, and Shugden is a reminder of the TRUTH behind that myth.

  36. Terry Chen
    October 5th, 2011 at 19:02 | #36

    The Dalai lama had trouble even controlling TAR. From what I know, the 9th panchen lama had a bitter feud with the 13th DL.

    Another reason why his authority couldn’t extend beyond TAR was because tibetans were and still are a minority in those regions.

    The Dalai lama became the most powerful lama because his sect was supported by the qing dynasty emperors. Ever since the yuan dynasty, it’s been the Chinese central government thats decided which sect is the one in power.

  37. raventhorn2000
    October 6th, 2011 at 05:49 | #37

    @Terry Chen

    One has to be careful when using the term “Tibetan”, because that term mean differently to different groups.

    TGIE has twisted that term to mean all those who descend from the “Greater historical Tibet”, which is somewhat self-contradictory in definition, because they obviously do not mean any Han or Hui people who lived in Qinghai, Sichuan, or Gansu.

    What TGIE means by “Tibetan”, includes Sherpas, Khampas, etc., people who were subjugated by the Tibetan Military Empire and subsequently adopted or share some of Tibetan cultural traits, such as perhaps sharing some commonalities in Lamaist Buddhist traditions.

    But China classifies Sherpas and Khampas and others as separate ethnic groups, aside from the Tibetans, because there are quite a bit of differences, even linguistically between these groups.

    In some bizzarre ways, the TGIE likes to present “Tibet” as some form of monolithic entity, that should be unified AND separate from China, when in historical reality, Tibet was NOT, and DL was barely in charge of a small portion of “Tibet”.

  38. Terry Chen
    October 8th, 2011 at 06:12 | #38

    Why did the DL wait until 2008 to deal with the dorge shugden? I mean, all the attention was on them at the time, during the tibet riots. Wouldn’t it have been a better decision to ban them earlier?

  39. raventhorn2000
    October 8th, 2011 at 09:40 | #39

    @Terry Chen

    Actually, the official BAN of Shugden sect came about before 2008. Several years earlier in 1996, when DL publicly announced, calling for his followers to avoid the Shugden practice, and the Tibetan Youth Congress began to conduct “loyalty oath signature drives”.

    But the tension between Shugden and the other religious sects were always there.

    Keep in mind, Shugden sect is NOT an actual branch of Tibetan Buddhism. It is sort of “extra” set of beliefs thrown on top of Tibetan Buddhism.

    Because of this nature, Shugden grew in influence among all the Tibetan Buddhist branches, and steadily, this became a threat to DL’s establish order of Buddhism.

  40. Terry Chen
    October 9th, 2011 at 17:55 | #40

    I’m still a bit perturbed why the DL banished shugden believers from monasteries so recently. If I was him I would have dealt with them ages ago, possibly in 1959.

  41. raventhorn2000
    October 10th, 2011 at 07:17 | #41

    @Terry Chen

    There was a reason for DL’s reluctance to deal with the Shugden sect.

    The Shugdens made up a large percentage of the Khampa fighters who joined the 1959 uprising. And it was the Khampas who made up the bulk of the CIA trained fighters who launched their raids from Nepal in the 1960’s.

    DL made a lot of compromises in the beginning to try to bring all the sects and groups under his leadership, but that peace was temporary at best.

    DL realized that as he got older and near his death, there would be serious internal political religious struggles for the right to determine his succession and the control of the next leadership.

    ***I think DL’s meddlings of Panchen Lama’s succession and the Kharmapa candidate, actually indicated that it was DL’s attempts in trying to DE-legitimize all other possible rival positions of power in Tibetan Religious schools and sects!

    Consider also his ban of Shugden, DL has effectively removed ALL other possible religious positions of authority as rival positions. Now, only the Next DL would be the supreme leader of the Exiles.

    DL’s method and process was simply to create suspicion and paranoia about all other prominent religious sects and their leaders. By doing so, he consolidates the DL position as the ONLY real power in Exile.

    Consider the following:

    (1) he names Panchen Lama’s successor before China. Thus infuriating China, causing China to name a different candidate. (Now, he could have easily named his own candidate for PL, AFTER his people have sneaked the boy out of China. But NO, he names the boy publicly, while the boy was in China. Why? DL had no intention of having a REAL legitimate PL in Exile with him. 2 possible PL’s, either one being fake or controlled by China, was much better for DL’s authority).

    (2) he welcomes Kharmapa (rather with surprise and reluctance). And suddenly, there was some rumors and investigations about Kharmapa being a Chinese spy. (DL himself says he backs Kharmapa, but his people were behind the rumors in the first place). The whole intent was to discredit Kharmapa, who is the figure head leader of the Black Hat sect, the largest sect outside of the Yellow Robe. (Again, DL didn’t need a REAL Kharmapa in Exile. He wanted delegitimized Kharmapa candidates.)

    (3) and of course, the banning of the Shugden.

    **I don’t think DL could have deal with the Shugden much earlier. He needed them in the beginning. And DL had to appear benign, while he’s quietly sabatoging the other sects 1 by 1.

    This is actually not all that surprising, considering that this sort of tactics have been used in the past by past DL’s.

  42. Terry Chen
    October 10th, 2011 at 07:47 | #42


    The steps that he has taken may backfire in the end. After he dies, its highly likely that all these different sects will be back for revenge. I wonder what the Kharmapa was thinking, turning to the exiles. Perhaps he wants a share of the power.

    With all these internal issues, TGIE will have trouble keeping itself intact, let alone taking on a country that many have predicted to become a superpower in the near future.

  43. raventhorn2000
    October 10th, 2011 at 09:32 | #43

    @Terry Chen

    very likely it will backfire. And that was also the historical trend. Strong DL consolidate their powers by diminishing their rivals 1 by 1, but that also creates disunity and resentment, and when the strong DL passes, religious infighting.

    The “God-kings” suffer from the simple ego of mortals, and they do not see that the Religious fervor that they were trying to tap into, can also turn around and bite them.

    The Shugdens will not go quietly into obscurity, neither will the Black Hat sect.

    And when DL dies, these sects will come out big time and say something about DL’s successors, (either to take back some powers, or to just take DL’s faction down a notch).

  44. raventhorn2000
    October 11th, 2011 at 07:21 | #44

    Interesting piece on the Karmapa “Fund from China” investigation:


    A delegation of Tibetans comprising Tibetan parliament-in-exile’s Deputy Speaker Dolma Gyari and Karmapa’s spokesperson Karma Topden met the chief minister to clarify their stand on the Karmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje – the spiritual head of the Karma Kagyu School, one of the four sects of Buddhism.

    ‘I have asked them to abide by law and told them such marches might create law and order problem in the state. Why are such marches being taken out when the central and state government agencies are doing their job,’ Dhumal said, adding ‘even the Dalai Lama has asked for an in-depth investigation’.


    On 1 hand, DL supports Karmapa, (Deputy Speaker Dolma Gyari, was the official DL spokesperson who announced that DL backed Karmapa).

    On the other hand, DL “asked for an in-depth investigation”.

    We Chinese have seen this kind of 2-faced political moves before in the old Imperial courts.

    BTW, Deputy Speaker Dolma Gyari, is now a member of the new Kashag, as a Kalon (minister).


    PM announced his new Kashag (cabinet), with almost entirely of “recycled” oldie ministers. (for those of you who are really interested in the all the low-down dirt of TGIE).

  45. raventhorn2000
    October 11th, 2011 at 07:30 | #45


    Some more insider articles about the Karmapa controversy, from Shugden followers in the West.

    They too are beginning to see DL’s ploy to sabatoge the other sects 1 by 1.

  46. Terry Chen
    October 11th, 2011 at 07:38 | #46

    From what I know, the 5th DL was the first one to have political power, hence from that moment onwards tibet was governed by a theocratic regime, where religion and politics were basically the same thing. The 5th DL was able to consolidate his power by taking out his enemies one by one but that led to a vicious power struggle. Henceforth, the 6th to 12th DL’s all fell prey to the internal battles between the different sects of tibetan buddhism. While the 13th DL did a decent job in consolidating his power, he could barely control the TAR region(as we can see from his bitter feud with the 9th PL), let alone taking over the whole greater tibet region, where most of the people were and are of hui or han ethnicity.

  47. raventhorn2000
    October 11th, 2011 at 07:45 | #47

    @Terry Chen

    That is generally correct. The 5th DL was called the “Great Fifth”, described by a Jesuit Missionary as the “Devilish God the Father, who would put to death anyone who did not obey him.”

    He was known to be completely ruthless. He was responsible for ordering the sacking of the Entire 5th School of Jonang of Tibetan Buddhism, to consolidate his power.

    Hence, it is fitting irony that his death brought about another long period of decline for the DL authority.

  48. Terry Chen
    October 11th, 2011 at 07:53 | #48

    If it hadn’t had been the fact that the different tibetan buddhist school’s were united against the CCP, there probably would have been another decline for the DL authority after the death of the 13th DL. Hopefully, history will repeat itself after that self-serving hypocrite a.k.a the 14th DL passes away.

    If history does repeat itself, the TGIE will crumble, even if the CCP doesn’t intervene.

  49. raventhorn2000
    October 11th, 2011 at 08:15 | #49

    @Terry Chen

    Not all Tibetan Buddhist schools are as “united” as they appear. The Black Hat sect and the Jonang and the Shugden have realized that they can benefit more from CCP-DL antagonism.

    Indeed, during the 1980 on reform period in China, CCP has largely channeled more funds to rebuild the other schools of Tibetan Buddhism and their temples, to counter balance DL’s influence in Tibet.

    The Black Hat sect was probably the recipient of highest stipend and construction aid from CCP (until the Karmapa affair).

    I think some in the Black Hat sect have maintained opposition to DL, even after Karmapa’s “escape” into TGIE. They don’t really consider Karmapa’s position to be all that important, in their resistence against DL’s authority.

    *Under the surface, even in China Tibet, there are still inter-sect struggles and fighting every now and then. We tend to underestimate the violence, because it is largely unreported.

    But even during the 2008 “Uprising” by Tibetans, there were rumors that members of the Yellow Robe Sect followers riding horses into Black Hat Sect territories, causing some brief street scuffles with Black Hat monks. (And subsequently, PLA locked down the town for security, which was explained by Western media as CCP’s clamp down on protests in those towns).

    (There were Youtube videos of Yellow Robe sect members riding horses into those towns, but NO protests, just an almost surreal Western movie with a bunch of hooting cowboys)!

    Inside Tibet, the Yellow Robe Sect sees CCP’s opening up the Tibetan Buddhist temples for worship as encroachment on the Gelug power base:

    (1) they are deprived of their traditional religious tax (tithe and Corvee).
    (2) they can no longer dictate to the other sects on “territories”. All are free to choose which temples to go to, and CCP fund temples without any regard for DL’s position.

  50. raventhorn2000
    October 11th, 2011 at 08:22 | #50

    Also, I don’t believe CCP needs to intervene. However, CCP does need to RESPOND to foreign interventions in Tibet.

  51. Terry Chen
    October 11th, 2011 at 08:36 | #51

    CCP getting involved in the power play within tibet is nothing new. The emperors of the yuan, ming, and qing were all heavily involved in the power play within tibet. The main reason why the gelug school remained the dominant sect for so long was because they had the support from the qing dynasty emperor’s.

    Agreed with you. The CCP does not need to intevene in the TGIE’s affairs nor do they need to interfere in the internal affairs of any other country. Thankfully, China’s official policy is for no military intervention and no meddling in the internal affairs of others. They should just concentrate on China’s OWN internal issue’s. The most important thing is that China continues to get stronger and richer. If that happens, all these external problems will gradually diminish.

    Just look at what happened in the aftermath of the 1989 tiananmen crackdown. All the westerners were predicting that the CCP would crumble soon and that the dissidents would form a strong front against “communism”. What happened? The Chinese defied all odds and continued the phenomenol economic and military growth that they had enjoyed ever since the start of the 1980’s and today idiots like Chai Ling and Wu er kai xi don’t even get mentioned in the news!!! Point is, the western governments try to stir up trouble in China by supporting any form of opposition to the CCP. However, once it becomes obvious that this opposition isn’t of much use, they will stop supporting them as well. If the TGIE starts losing its influence in tibet, the western governments and the CIA will stop funding them.

    Westerners never seem to understand that its disrespectful and arrogant to tell others how they should run their country or government. Maybe it’s because of their christian culture. Who can ever forget how god drowned a tower full of people just because they didn’t believe in god?

  52. raventhorn2000
    October 11th, 2011 at 08:45 | #52

    @Terry Chen

    ” If the TGIE starts losing its influence in tibet, the western governments and the CIA will stop funding them.”

    I don’t think the CIA really cares about TGIE’s actual /real influence in Tibet. They intended it to be a “thorn” in China from the very beginning.

    But if DL does lose influence in TGIE and Tibet, CIA will undoubtedly want to make sure that it has the next “God king leader” in the pocket, regardless of who that might be.

    Thus, China needs to respond to prevent CIA’s influence.

  53. Terry Chen
    October 11th, 2011 at 08:51 | #53

    I don’t think China can really do much to prevent that from happening. From what I can see, the dalai lama is already a CIA tool. Whoever becomes the next DL will probably just be another CIA mouthpiece.

    However, that won’t be of much use to the CIA if this DL doesn’t have much influence within tibet.

  54. October 11th, 2011 at 08:52 | #54

    @Terry Chen
    Tsinghua Professor Yan Xuetong said that the Western political culture is dominated by might, not by any of the ideologies they pronounce. So, yeah, indeed, Christian crusaders were capable of killing women and children because they can, not because of their belief or lack of.

  55. October 11th, 2011 at 09:35 | #55

    After the current DL passed away, it is highly likely two DL will appear. However, there will be a vacuum for 5-6 yrs before the next one is selected.

    I actually have some sympathy for the current DL, he was in his 20s when he was coerced into exile. Then he was promised by the west who used the TGIE for their own goal. TGIE in many ways is similar to Manchuko, when the backer disappeared it would die. He is slighty luckier than Pu Yi, the last Qing emperor.

  56. Terry Chen
    October 11th, 2011 at 17:50 | #56

    That’s a pretty good comparison.

    However, I disagree that there will be a vacuum of 5-6 years before the next DL is selected. For starters, the Chinese authorities are not going to wait. They have been waiting on DL’s death for decades and are itching to pick the next DL.

  57. raventhorn2000
    October 12th, 2011 at 07:12 | #57

    @Terry Chen

    They are definitely not going to wait. Neither side will wait.

    DL has already announced that HE will announce his reincarnation before he turns 90, (or before he dies, which ever is first).

    Chinese government will also not wait.

    JUST to be clear, this is the 1st DL who has announced that HE will announce his OWN reincarnation, in history of DL’s.

    Shugden followers have said publicly that, this is against the very tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which historically required a sort of communal recognition of the Reincarnated living Buddhas, via multiple tests (such as picking favorite objects of the past lives).

    Since such tests cannot be performs on not yet born candidates, current DL’s plan is completely anti-tradition.

    One might even call it “Cultural Genocide” by DL himself.

  58. Terry Chen
    October 12th, 2011 at 09:19 | #58

    I wonder how much support the hand-picked DL will have among the tibetan community? After all, even the supporters of the DL might not take to this anti-traditional way of picking the next DL very well.

    This may play into China’s hands. They WILL wait after the current DL dies before using the TRADITIONAL goldern urn method to pick the next DL. However, they certainly won’t wait after the current DL dies. They will pick their own DL asap to fill the religious vacuum.

    However, the Chinese-picked DL will NOT have any political power, and thats the way it ought to be. After all religion and politics SHOULD NOT ever mix. The reason why tibet had such a dark, oppressive, feudal society before the CCP took over was because they had been governed by a theocratic government for so long ever since the reign of the 5th DL. China has done a great job in separating religion and politics.

  59. raventhorn2000
    October 12th, 2011 at 10:38 | #59

    @Terry Chen
    precisely the problem. DL is not sure himself. Hence, he wants to remove all potential rival factions that may want to control his successor, such as PL, Karmapa, shugden, etc., which have in the past have all acted as pseudo-regents, when DL’s were young.

    But regardless, the next young DL will be heavily influenced by a “regent”. The question will ONLY be, who that “regent” will be, and which faction that “regent” will come from.

  60. October 12th, 2011 at 11:48 | #60

    @Terry Chen and raventhorn2000
    Well, if it is reincarnation “the commitees” would still have to find a boy who is 5-6 years old after the death of the current DL to make the decision. That’s how it was done for the past few hundred of years. They cannot simply pick someone before they died or a new born infant, the DL need time to reincarnate, right? LOL

    Anyway, that’s my understanding of the traditional process.

  61. raventhorn2000
    October 12th, 2011 at 12:23 | #61

    Well, that’s the logical flaw.

    DL has previously tried to assert his authority on his own reincarnation by saying, the next DL would be born outside of China. (like he’s making a prediction).

    Except, DL’s don’t make such predictions. Typically, even DL’s consult Tibetan “oracles”. 1 such Oracle was a Shugden Oracle, who advised the present DL to flee from China in 1959.

    By making such “predictions” about his own reincarnation, DL is effectively opening himself up for interpretations from various factions.

  62. raventhorn2000
    October 12th, 2011 at 12:37 | #62

    I guess one can say that DL, after banning Shugden, is now trying act like the Shugden Oracle, thus upsetting the traditional relationship between DL’s and the Oracles.

    In other words, DL is kind of making a statement that, Tibetans shall have no other living Buddhas and Oracles and Spirits, other than DL.

    A transition toward Tibetan Monotheism?! Kind of “Culturally genocidal” of him.

  63. October 12th, 2011 at 17:40 | #63

    Yes, the DL is seriously undermining his own religion. So would the next DL be a woman or even a non-Tibetan? It would be an interesting developement.

    I read that the current DL and his inner circle banned the Shugden Oracle after giving him the wrong advice in 1959. Is this the reason he is so hostile towards the Shugden supporters?

  64. raventhorn2000
    October 12th, 2011 at 18:01 | #64


    “I read that the current DL and his inner circle banned the Shugden Oracle after giving him the wrong advice in 1959. Is this the reason he is so hostile towards the Shugden supporters?”

    It’s possible.

    Kharmpas who followed Shugden beliefs were the most fervent anti-Communists. And they lost most of their territories upon PLA’s liberation into Sichuan and Qinghai. (or Eastern Amdo, as TGIE called it).

    In comparison, DL got at least public guarantees that TAR would remain under his authority under the 17 point agreement.

    Of course, Kharmpas wanted to bring the other Tibetan groups into open revolt against the Chinese Government.

    When they saw that DL got a good deal out of it, they might have resorted to tricking DL into going into Exile, knowing that DL can’t back out of it after it’s done.

    Of course, DL was young at the naive, and he might have regretted the decision afterwards, but too late.

    *But that’s mostly speculation, and regardless, DL wants to consolidate his power now, and he sees all other sects as threats to his authority.

  65. raventhorn2000
    October 13th, 2011 at 07:15 | #65

    a very long but very detailed document on DL’s past, compiled from various historians’ works.


    “The image of a beleaguered Dalai Lama as a virtual prisoner, not
    of the Chinese but of the Tibetan rebels, is reflected in a remarkable
    series of letters between him and the Chinese General Tan
    Yuan-san (see Appendix 1). In Lhasa at around 4 p.m. on 17 March
    1959, two mortar shells landed harmlessly in a marsh inside the
    palace grounds. The Tibetans say these were fired from the direction
    of the Chinese camp, but this has always been open to question.
    Grunfeld points out that at this time the Dalai Lama:
    ‘… was writing to General Tan, informing the Chinese of his
    support and of his plans to move to their camp. Why would
    the Chinese have fired shots, thereby precipitating a crisis?
    On the other hand, the rebels, undoubtedly disturbed by
    the Dalai Lama—Tan correspondence, needed some grand
    gesture to get the Dalai to finally break with the Chinese.
    Logically, the mortars could have come from the rebels.’144
    The mortar shells created panic in the palace and the Dalai Lama
    turned to his oracle for advice. But which oracle did he consult?
    There are conflicting accounts; over forty years later the Dalai
    Lama claims in his most recent autobiography that just before the
    two mortar shells were fired he consulted the Nechung oracle:
    ‘I again sought the counsel of the oracle. To my astonishment,
    he shouted, “Go! Go! Tonight!” The medium, still in his trance,
    then staggered forward and, snatching up some paper and pen,
    wrote down, quite clearly and explicitly, the route that I should
    take out of the Norbulingka, down to the last Tibetan town
    on the Indian border. His directions were not what might have
    a great deception
    been expected. That done, the medium, a young monk named
    Lobsang Jigme, collapsed in a faint, signifying that Dorje
    Drakden [Nechung] had left his body.’145
    Eye-witnesses alive today however say that the Dalai Lama did
    not consult the oracle of Nechung but rather the oracle of Dorje
    Shugden.146 In 1998 Swiss National TV interviewed Lobsang Yeshe,
    the assistant of the previous abbot of Sera Monastery and someone
    who accompanied the Dalai Lama on his escape from Tibet. Lobsang
    Yeshe stated that he went to the oracle of Dorje Shugden to request
    exact instructions about the escape. In the SNTV programme:
    ‘Lobsang Yeshe tells us that the oracle gave precise instructions
    as to how and by which route the escape should take place with
    the monks as his bodyguard.’147
    Helmut Gassner, for many years the German-language translator
    for the Dalai Lama, has also pointed out:
    ‘… the Dalai Lama’s Chamberlain, Kungo Phala … organized
    His Holiness’ escape from the Norbulingka Summer Palace …
    The preparations for the escape were made in absolute secrecy
    and strictly followed instructions received by [the oracle of]
    Dorje Shugden. I asked him [Phala] what thoughts were on
    his mind when he had to make his way through the crowds
    surrounding the Norbulingka with the Dalai Lama, disguised
    as a servant, just behind him. He said that everything happened
    exactly as the Dorje Shugden Oracle from Panglung Monastery
    had predicted …
    ‘According to all trustworthy witnesses I know and consulted,
    the State Oracle [of Nechung] did not provide any help
    on that occasion. After the Dalai Lama and his retinue had fled,
    the State Oracle only found out the following day that he had
    been left behind.’148
    This last statement is supported by the testimony of the medium
    of the Nechung oracle himself, except that he says he only found
    out three days later! In Exile from the Land of Snows Lobsang Jigme,
    the medium of the Nechung oracle, says that he was ill at this time
    the fourteenth dalai lama
    and mentions nothing about the Dalai Lama consulting Nechung
    or telling him to go that night. After an invocation on March 20th,
    three days after the Dalai Lama left, Lobsang Jigme and his attendants
    ‘one and all lapsed into silence, pondering Dorje Drakden’s
    other statement: the stunning news of the Dalai Lama’s flight from
    the Norbulinka … .’149 This clearly contradicts the Dalai Lama’s
    Also, by revealing that the Nechung oracle, although sick, was
    obliged to find his own way out of Tibet, this account shows the
    lower level of respect and importance at which the Nechung oracle
    was held at that time. It may also help to explain the subsequent
    resentment of the Nechung oracle towards the Shugden oracle and
    by extension towards Dorje Shugden.
    It is therefore clear that much of what the Dalai Lama has said
    about his escape from Tibet is untrue. A lot has been written of this
    dramatic escape – how at any moment the Chinese could have caught
    up with them, how brave the Tibetan soldiers were and how arduous
    the journey was. However, two points are now seen to be glaringly
    omitted from these popular accounts. First of these is that the party
    was accompanied by a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-trained
    operative who was in radio contact with the CIA network throughout
    the escape. As reported in the American George Magazine:
    ‘Around 3 a.m. on March 18th, they rested for a few hours near
    the Che-La pass separating Lhasa valley from the Tsangpo
    valley. It was then that the first coded radio message on the
    Dalai Lama’s progress was broadcast from Tibet to a CIA
    listening post on Okinawa, Japan. The message was relayed to
    CIA headquarters near Washington, D.C., where Allen Dulles
    waited for news of the Dalai Lama’s journey. Soon Dulles
    would brief President Eisenhower. Tibet’s war for independence
    was about to begin.’150
    The CIA involvement was not just limited to radio operators:
    ‘… the Dalai Lama was accompanied by a Khampa who
    had been trained and equipped with a movie camera and
    a great deception
    sufficient color film to preserve a visual record of the flight.
    The Americans used a Lockheed C130 aircraft—modified
    especially for flight over the thin air of Tibet—to drop food
    and fodder for the Dalai’s party and were able to do so thanks
    to the training other Khampas had in learning how to place
    distinctive panels in the snow as targets for the pilots.’151
    As Grunfeld has quoted:
    ‘… this fantastic escape and its major significance has been
    buried in the lore of the CIA as one of the successes that are
    not talked about. The Dalai Lama would never have been saved
    without the CIA.’152
    Another feature of this mythical flight that is rarely reported is the
    Chinese claim to have deliberately let the Dalai Lama go. Two British
    visitors to Tibet in the early 1960s report that the Dalai Lama’s party
    was followed by observation aircraft, and that no attempt was made
    to pursue the slowly-moving entourage, which included the Dalai
    Lama’s mother, elderly people and children.153 Credence is given to
    this claim by the fact that China announced his arrival in India before
    anyone else did, causing the Indian government acute embarrassment.
    The Chinese also state that Mao gave orders to the PLA to
    allow the Tibetan leader to cross the border. Mao Zedong is reported
    as telling the Soviet Ambassador in Beijing, ‘If we had arrested him,
    we would have called the population of Tibet into rebellion.’154
    The western and Indian media reacted immediately and with considerable
    glee to these dramatic events on the roof of the world. One
    journalist writing in the Atlantic magazine described how:
    ‘Kalimpong became deluged with journalists from around
    the world, who were inundated with phone calls from frantic
    editors pleading for colorful, descriptive accounts of burning
    monasteries. So relentless was this pursuit of “information”
    that one reporter from a major British newspaper was heard
    to declare in exasperation, “Fiction is what they want. Pure
    fiction. Well, by God, fiction is what they are going to get.” ’155”

  66. Terry Chen
    October 13th, 2011 at 07:20 | #66

    It’s ironic that the DL is lambasting the CCP for cultural genocide and religious freedom when he’s the one breaking tradition and forbidding people from worshiping the dorje shugden.

    I really can’t wait till the current DL dies.

  67. October 13th, 2011 at 08:36 | #67
  68. raventhorn2000
    October 13th, 2011 at 12:51 | #68


    Quite enlightening comments.

    “Free First Nations”!

  69. Terry Chen
    October 14th, 2011 at 09:24 | #69


    Why does the DL even bother to “step down from politics” as he says and “give his power” to a “newly elected” prime minister who obviously is just a figurehead?

  70. raventhorn
    October 16th, 2011 at 10:42 | #70

    @Terry Chen

    It bears historical similarity to DL’s appointment of “regents” who would rule in his name while his reincarnation is not yet of adult age.

    Except, in this case, DL does not trust any of the other Sects to be “regent”. Thus, he attempts to appoint a “secular regent”.

    It is a new concept, and I think DL has thought about it quite a bit, to try to make the process work for his purpose.

    However, I think DL has seriously underestimated the other Sects.

  71. Terry Chen
    October 16th, 2011 at 17:44 | #71


    “However, I think DL has seriously underestimated the other Sects.”

    I hope that is the case. At the end of the day, the DL still has to follow the rules in India, i.e he can’t go around randomly killing others.

    In any case, what were the roles of ambans then? I heard that they had a lot of power as well, as they were the representatives of the qing emperors.

  72. raventhorn
    October 17th, 2011 at 08:39 | #72

    @Terry Chen

    In theory, India is monitoring DL and his group’s activities to ensure that they don’t create some kind of diplomatic incident. (See India’s rather heavy handed crackdown of TGIE protesters outside of Chinese embassy recently).

    However, Beyond the “diplomatic embarassment” aspect, India doesn’t really care if DL kills off a few of his own followers.

    India’s own enforcement of laws is tenuous at best. Especially, on the Eastern front of India, where they are fighting their own Maoist armed insurgents. India simply doesn’t have the manpower to keep watch on DL all the time. (And as I said before, they treat Tibetan refugees like dirt. So, they really don’t care if they killed a few of their own).

    *Ambans were Qing imperial court’s “bootstrap” desperate attempt to maintain control over Tibet.

    In the old days, many tributary kingdoms such as Korea and Tibet acknowledged Chinese Emperors as the “sovereign”, and had to pay tributes, AND had to ask Chinese Emperors’ permissions for doing any thing important, such as establishing trade with another kingdom, King getting married, King naming an royal heir, etc.

    When the Tibetans were invaded twice by the British, DL decided that he might not need the permission of the weakened Chinese Imperial Court. So, he began to make deals with the British without consulting the Chinese Imperial Court.

    The British notified the Chinese of such deals, realizing that if DL would renege on his allegiance to China, DL might just renege on his “deals” with the British in the future.

    The Chinese Imperial Court was furious, and sent Amban officials, along with Chinese military escorts (very few), to make sure that EVERY Tibetan meeting with foreigners would include Chinese Amban presence.

    DL couldn’t argue much, and grudgingly accepted the Amban presence.

    *That was the brief extent of “Amban”. They didn’t do much, other than to make sure that DL’s were NOT making secret deals.

    But in that, the Amban served precisely their purpose, being, to maintain China’s sovereignty claims on Tibet. Ie. even if they didn’t do much, the Ambans were still there, and the DL’s had to accept their presence in diplomatic meetings, and didn’t kick them out. (The Right to conduct foreign affairs is a MAJOR factor in deciding who has the Sovereignty claims).

  73. raventhorn
    October 19th, 2011 at 08:31 | #73

    Indications that Tibetan terrorists may be stockpiling weapons.


  74. zack
    October 19th, 2011 at 09:36 | #74

    guess it’s a given that the TGIE is all set for armed insurrection, what’s China’s policy on firearm ownership btw?

  75. raventhorn
    October 19th, 2011 at 09:47 | #75

    The Chinese constitution does not contain any “right to bear arms” clause, as far as I’m aware of.

    *Also there were occasional reports that Chinese authorities seizing weapons cache in some Tibetan Monasteries.

    And in the 1990’s, DL himself acknowledged and confirmed reports of several Tibetans conducting suicide bombings of Chinese government facilities, during interviews with NY Times.

  76. zack
    October 19th, 2011 at 10:54 | #76

    when terrorists conspire, who cares whether or not they claim to be holy people?

    apparently, the trope of chillaxing lamaist monks is stronger for the westen audience than reality.

    reminds me of that clip i saw here a few months back of uighur terrorists bringing knives and blades into a mosque and attempting to entice the uighurs inside to attack the police and riot. To their credit, the uighur audience were recorded as getting up and leaving the mosque.

  77. Terry Chen
    October 21st, 2011 at 08:53 | #77


    “In the wake of the incidents, overseas Tibet independent forces and the Dalai group did not criticise the cases,” Jian said adding, “On the contrary, they beautified, played up such issues to incite more people to follow suit. As we know, such splittist activities at the cost of human lives is violence and terrorism in disguise.”
    Jiang was replying to questions over reports that the Tibetan spiritual leader fasted and conducted prayers for them at his exile in Dharmashala.

    Wow. The Dalai lama claims he cares so much about tibetans, yet he won’t even advise them to stop burning themselves.

  78. raventhorn
    October 21st, 2011 at 11:18 | #78

    @Terry Chen

    If DL really cared, he could just burn himself to make a point. But he won’t, because he’s a coward. Guess the “cause” is only important for him to talk about, not enough to do anything about.

    And BTW, TGIE websites are calling the suicide people as “Martyrs”, and they even have an Award for their “Martyrs” (with money).

    Oh, Not so subtle suggestions of “Holy War” and Tibetan “Jihad” at all, eh?

    *Guess, if you can’t actually find evidence of China killing Tibetans, start calling the Tibetans to kill themselves and then blame China for it.

    I guess the rising Suicide Rates in US and Europe are also due to “religious repression” in the West??! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/07/26/suicide-rates-up-since-re_n_658668.html

  79. October 21st, 2011 at 15:01 | #79

    zack :@raventhorn guess it’s a given that the TGIE is all set for armed insurrection, what’s China’s policy on firearm ownership btw?

    I wouldn’t mind if they were, but from the tone of the news coverage, it seems unlikely that authorities think the illegal weapons are intended for political purposes. If there were a lot of guns coming in to Tibetan resistance fighters, it would be time for a freak-out. More likely, they are being sold to petty criminals and would-be mobsters.

  80. raventhorn
    October 21st, 2011 at 18:11 | #80

    “More likely, they are being sold to petty criminals and would-be mobsters.”

    I guess I wouldn’t mind if they were, as well.

  81. zack
    October 21st, 2011 at 18:14 | #81

    i guess i should point out the obvious: a monk/spiritual person who believes in an afterlife probably isn’t making that much of a sacrifice (from his perspective) if he decides to top himself via self immolation;
    there i said it.

  82. Terry Chen
    October 22nd, 2011 at 07:53 | #82


    “The situation was better before. A few years ago, before 2008, the situation was better, but now we basically have no freedom.”

    By organizing all these terrorist activities, the DL is only making it TOUGHER for the tibetans.

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.