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How the NYT encourages dehumanization of the Han

One of the best methods used by colonists, genociders, and other racist oppressors is to use testimony from certain members of the victim group as evidence of the victim group’s subhuman nature. We are told that this member of that group agrees with the oppresser’s narrative of the inferiority of the victim group. White slave masters loved to show-off their House Negroes who went on about the natural inferiority of the black race and how slavery was a good thing for his people. This kind of co-opting of narratives to serve as a tool to justify racism and oppression is common throughout history. If even they say they’re inferior/evil/stupid/worthy of oppression, oppressing them has to be right!

Take a look at one recent example of this tool being used to dehumanize the Chinese, to make the Han, look subhuman and demonic from a Chinese “human rights” lawyer published in the New York Times. The lawyer can’t help but fall to his knees and plead for forgiveness of the Tibetan people for the evil ways of his Han brethren. His  teary-eyed mea culpa on behalf of all 1.1 billion Hans towards what they have done to the Tibetans.

I am sorry we Han Chinese have been silent as Nangdrol and his fellow Tibetans are dying for freedom. We are victims ourselves, living in estrangement, infighting, hatred and destruction.

What exactly is being done that warrants such collective mea culpa? The author doesn’t really say other than suggesting some vague prohibitions against religious or political speech (such as requiring a permit to go to Lhasa). He says that one Tibetan told him that he thought the Han were “devils” and you could feel that his bleeding heart bled profuse drops of bitter blood at the great injustice of being made to go through the process of receiving said permits. He seems to relish the thought that he is a modern day Han messiah willing to take on the sins of his fellow sinners and carry the cross on their behalf. “Do you hate Hans?” he slavishly asks his Tibetan companions on his way to collectively apologize for one auto-incinerated monk. You can easily envision the thought “I’m not like the rest of those devils! Please give me some approval!” running across his groveling mind. In his groveling, he is tacitly agreeing that most Hans are devils and that these Tibetan are justified in hating Hans. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere it’s important to realize that this defamatory propaganda is not just directed at the Chinese nation but at the Chinese people.

No real example is given of serious human rights violations but they are always alluded to in the story as being somewhere in the shadows. Trust him, he’s a bleeding heart Han. He’s gotta be right that the Tibetans are facing massive discrimination, oppression, maybe even genocide. You get the sense that these Tibetans are facing something like what the Chinese have endured at the hands of the imperial Japanese or what the Jews had to face against Nazi Germany.

The truth is is that these monks who call the Chinese devils and who burn themselves do so purely for religious reasons, not because their human rights are massively violated. They simply want the Dalai Lama to return (read their own statements made before suicide) and will kill themselves or others (as has happened most recently in 2008) to get their religious “fix.” They need to be near the DL. They must be near him. He is their god. This view seems even more extreme and nutty than the Catholic claim that hell is merely the absence of god but for these modern day serfs hell is not being in a certain proximity to the DL! And China and the Chinese people are to blame for him not coming back. That’s all in the background of the story.

These are incredibly silly religious fundamentalists. Their religious fervor is grotesque and what is truly demonic. They have no value for their own lives much less the lives of anyone else except for their godking. They feel entitled to anything, life, death, heaven and earth must be moved for their own religious predilections. Their primitive minds cannot handle reality and must resort to fantasy. Like all religious fundamentalists, they feel that all other people are obliged to satisfy their religious fix.

The Buddha was amiable and enlightened; on his deathbed he laughed at his disciples for supposing that he was immortal. But the Buddhist priesthood — as it exists, for example, in Tibet — has been obscurantist, tyrannous, and cruel in the highest degree.

-Bertrand Russell

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  1. December 13th, 2012 at 14:59 | #1

    So ironic that this douchebag claims to be a “human rights” “lawyer”. Is guilt by association (in this case, racial association) acceptable under modern western definitions of “human rights”? What about modern western standards of “law”?

  2. Black Pheonix
    December 13th, 2012 at 15:35 | #2

    And here I thought DL’s minions were saying all this time that they don’t hate the “Chinese people”, just don’t like the Communist Government.

    Well, we should thank Xu Zhiyong for exposing that lie, because from his view, DL cult worshippers are taught to hate the Chinese “devils”.

  3. Black Pheonix
    December 13th, 2012 at 15:45 | #3

    Not that it surprised me one bit.

    The whole TGIE/DL’s argument of Tibetan Independence/autonomy was built up the myth of the “Greater Tibetan Ethnographic region”, which is about as fictional as the School of Hogwarts.

    One look at that “Ethnographic region” theory, it should give you a clue that they were really talking about Racism the whole time, and it was the same old “the Chinese are taking over” threat.

    “Cultural Genocide”? (hint hint: the Chinese are taking over”).
    “Tibetan Buddhism endangered”? (hint hint: the Chinese are taking over, because the Chinese are not REAL buddhists).
    “No religious freedom”? (hint hint: the Chinese are taking over, Tibetans feel suffocated).

  4. pug_ster
    December 13th, 2012 at 18:04 | #4

    Considering that there are thousands of protests in China everyday, you never see a large number of Chinese protesting against the government about these Tibetans who needlessly kill themselves. Of course you have these occasion brainwashed Chinese loonies whom are embraced by the Western propaganda who don’t really represent the Chinese voice.

  5. N.M.Cheung
    December 14th, 2012 at 06:51 | #5

    One interesting thing about the article is although it was supposed to be translated from Chinese I can’t seem to find it in NYT’s Chinese edition. I suppose they didn’t want to antagonize Chinese government or Chinese in general that badly, as it was mostly for western comsumption. another interesting thing about those self immolators I find the striking similarity to suicide bombers; most were young, naive, religious fanatical, easily under pressure for martyrdom and heaven or next life. I didn’t see any of those TGIE doing the sacrifice, but encouraging those naivete youngsters to doom for propaganda values. The Chinese government with the construction of railroads and airports is now opening Tibet to immigration, globalization, and tourism. It’s only a matter of time for traditional Tibetan Buddhism which differs quite dramatically from the real teachings of Budda to wither away. One can argue pro or con on the merits of cultural assimilation and destruction of aboriginal cultures, yet it is a fact of modernity and moving away from barbarism.

  6. Mulberry Leaf
    December 15th, 2012 at 14:17 | #6

    Bravissimo. This essay, along with “Collective Defamation”, is one of the most biting and eloquent on this website. And the quote – just icing on the cake! Melektaus, be my god-king!

    Black Pheonix :
    And here I thought DL’s minions were saying all this time that they don’t hate the “Chinese people”, just don’t like the Communist Government.

    That’s not my reading of the rhetoric. Clearly, the narrative is more about “occupation by a foreign country”, “destruction of our language and culture” than anything about communism nowadays. But yes, the Dalai Lama has recently told the Western press about his efforts to reach out to “the Chinese people”, and especially Tibetan Buddhists of Han ethnicity. Whether this tactic will produce results is yet to be seen.

    Black Pheonix :
    The whole TGIE/DL’s argument of Tibetan Independence/autonomy was built up the myth of the “Greater Tibetan Ethnographic region”, which is about as fictional as the School of Hogwarts.

    There are two separate issues here that have to be disaggregated. One is the existence of Tibetans who live in areas adjacent to Tibet, but which were under non-Tibetan provincial jurisdictions during dynastic China. They are recognized under China’s regional ethnic autonomy system, albeit on a subprovincial level. The other issue is what the Dalai Lama and his Tibetan government in exile claim Tibet’s borders to be, based on history and not the actual proportion of ethnic Tibetans. Here I quote the Dalai Lama himself:

    (In response to the question: “What do you think the borders of the future autonomous Tibet should be?”) Dalai Lama: “In the seventh century, the border between Tibet and China was drawn up very clearly…. Already in the eighth century, during the reign of King Trisong Detsen and King Tri Ralpachen, the border between China and Tibet had been clearly demarcated from the Chinese province of Yunnan to the Tibetan province of Amdo, in the north. There are inscriptions, some of them on pillars, others on rocks. In Yunnan province, for example, there are rock carvings. These ancient inscriptions indicate the true border between China and Tibet, and this is not something we have made up, but historical reality.”

    What’s the significance of the eighth century? That’s when the Tibetan empire was at its maximal extent (see map). Of course, that territory spans multiple countries as well as all of China west of Xi’an, yet today the Dalai Lama is not asking to annex Nepal or Arunachal but just internal Chinese areas.

  7. perspectivehere
    December 16th, 2012 at 13:22 | #7

    NYT appears to be employing a divide-and-rule strategy, as in:

    “Divide-and-rule strategies commonly work by narrowing the focus of loyalty and solidarity, or nurturing or encouraging attachments to nation, race or gender. In situations where a population shares language, behaviour, habits and traditions, it may successfully be divided by making most salient whatever single trait its members do not hold in common: religion, skin colour or some other phenotypic characteristic.

    This is also how to understand the emergence during recent decades of particularism and ‘identity’ projects as political movements in the economically-developed countries. Each of these functions to partition people and weaken their political unification by upholding the political exclusivity of a group based on some characteristic, often enough inherited from birth, which reproduces a division. Of course, attention to such matters (e.g. racial prejudice or oppression) may have progressive potential to the extent that it overcomes segregation and leads to political unification on a wider basis than before. But such progressive potential can be depleted and continued focus become regressive.

    As the historian Eric Hobsbawm has pointed out, a universalist movement aims to abolish the category that brings injustice and inequality (e.g. the division of people into classes via differential private ownership of scarce productive assets, in the case of socialism). No nationalism or identity project, on the other hand, aims to abolish nationhood or whatever is the relevant vehicle of identity.

    Particularism is thus a form of interest-group rent seeking that seeks to gain privileges for its constituent members: access to prestigious law schools, quotas for seats in parliament, favourable welfare payments, etc. As such it is acutely vulnerable to manipulation by ruling groups – which dangle inducements to ‘defect’ rather than ‘cooperate’ – of the sort described by Posner and Vermeule. It is known, for example, that elements of the US and Australian states sought deliberately to deal with 1960s radicalism by diverting it into more amenable nationalist channels. Pliable figures were cultivated and funded, feuds nurtured and groups played off against each other – it being important, J. Edgar Hoover remarked, ‘that Black extremist groups be kept divided so that their strength is not increased through united action.’

    External powers, meanwhile, have long promoted secession or separatist movements in resource-rich and strategic regions, from the Kaiser’s posture as ‘protector of Muslims’ during the late Ottoman Empire, through the Biafran conflict, down to the Ogaden and Nubian peoples today. (Which is not to say that such groups aren’t sometimes or usually genuine victims of misfortune and repression). In this they have been assisted by the ‘progressive’ gloss applied to the principle of ‘self-determination’ through its wielding by Austro-Marxists and Stalinists along with Wilsonian internationalists and their latter-day epigones among the NGO and activist set.

    These tactics are the bread and butter of security and intelligence organisations, diplomats and politicians. The propertied classes, meanwhile, may benefit from segmented labour markets (where due to scarcity or costly training for some jobs there is a dispersal of wage rates and other conditions of employment, with horizontal mobility of workers limited) and anti-immigrant xenophobia.

    There are other groups, foremost among them the media, that assist divide-and-rule strategies without themselves sharing the incentives and immediate objectives of ruling groups. Both the ‘yellow’ and ‘quality’ press, for sound business reasons, revel in promoting, egging on and inventing lurid tales of social conflict, pitting one group – race, gender, generation – against another.”

  8. December 16th, 2012 at 23:18 | #8

    Mr. Melektaus:
    Given your indignation about the “dehumanization” of the Han people by the NYT, it seems that you should be treading more carefully. But a few paragraphs into your post you commit the act yourself by dehumanizing the Tibetans. I quote:

    “These are incredibly silly religious fundamentalists. Their religious fervor is grotesque and what is truly demonic. They have no value for their own lives much less the lives of anyone else except for their godking. They feel entitled to anything, life, death, heaven and earth must be moved for their own religious predilections. Their primitive minds cannot handle reality and must resort to fantasy. Like all religious fundamentalists, they feel that all other people are obliged to satisfy their religious fix.”

    The absurdity of the post would have been fantastic if you closed by quoting some reformed Tibetan monk (I am sure the CPC can whip up some on demand), but as it is quoting Bertrand Russel (a product of anti-colonial Britain) is funny enough. That performance along with the followup applaud by the audience of this site, seem to be expressing attitudes captured very aptly by Kipling in “White Man’s Burden”. One could write a modern version of the poem based on the discussion in this blog. I will contribute a few verses in English below:

    Take up the Han man’s burden
    Send forth the best ye CPC
    Go send your cadres to Tibet
    To serve your captive’s needs
    Your 1950’s-caught, sullen peoples,
    Half-devil and half-child.

    I would invite you to think how ridiculous these verses sound. At least they where paraphrased from a poem written 110 years ago by a man of his (colonial) age. It is sad that you Mr. Melektaus wrote your paragraph in 2012. I would attribute your confusion to the fact that you are struggling to reconcile notions such as “human rights” and “democracy” with a sense of wounded pride and desire to avenge past injustices perpetrated by the amorphous “West” (so much is evident from your other posts on this site). So, I would state for the record that I understand – I have been in similar situations in the past and probably will be in the future and I am thankful that someone called me on it.

    To explain my reaction: I stumbled upon this site/blog while browsing around to find out more about the recent (deplorable) NH iPhone store incident. Initially I was mildly amused while reading the arguments about NYT supposedly dehumanizing the Han Chinese. But after thinking more about the hypocrisy of it all, I would like to ask all of you how would you feel if someone had written the following paragraph in response to the Nashua incident (fervently discussed on the other most recent thread on this site):

    “The truth is that these Chinese people who call Apple racist do so purely for consumerist reasons, and not because their rights are being violated. They just want to buy iPhones and will endanger themselves and disturb the peace of our shopping malls to satisfy their consumer “fix”.

    The above is of course a parody of what Mr. Melektaus wrote. It is insulting to Ms. Li but I hope it will illustrate that “rights” is not something that can be selectively applied to ones “tribe” and denied to others. Also being a victim in one case does not justify anyone to be a perpetrator in another.

    If a group of “silly monks” in Tibet wants to worship their “godking” they have the right to do so without being oppressed by CCP goons (and without oppressing others). If Ms. Li in NH wants to buy 10 iPhones she has the right to do so without being abused by rentacops.

    And if netizens in a website want to turn an Apple Store in NH to to Montgomery AL, and Ms. Li to an Asian American Rosa Parks they have the right to do so.

    But the same netizens can’t have it both ways: if one of their own crosses the line with a grotesque dehumanization of some presumably “backwards” Budhists they should reign him in. Otherwise they’d have no hope against the “think different” machine – which is in collusion with the elite in their own country btw. Also, if they are advocating the use of organizations such as the services of the ACLU and the AALDF they should support similar organizations in their homeland (and in Tibet).

    Confucius, Socrates, Lincoln and Sun Yat Sen would all agree. Hitler, Mao and George Wallace on the other hand would invoke some past wrong done to their tribe by others..

    And that Mr. Melektaus is what people mean when they refer to “universality of human rights”.

    Thanks for reading. Xie xie.

  9. December 16th, 2012 at 23:56 | #9

    Great. Another functionally illiterate product of the US education system. “These” refer to “these monks who call the Chinese devils and burn themselves”, you know, the religious fundamentalists I was talking about.

    Jesus christ what a fuckin moron.

  10. December 17th, 2012 at 05:17 | #10

    It’s really sad that the US education system has degraded to this point. Now Americans don’t even know basic grammar rules such as the rules for pronoun cross reference. It would have saved this cretinous fool the hours he spent writing a completely irrelevant response had he the basic literacy skills to understand the language of the OP. At least he got some needed writing practice.

  11. Mulberry Leaf
    December 17th, 2012 at 05:34 | #11

    @jb , There’s no way that these fanatics represent the Tibetan people as a whole. They’ve done a good job of dehumanizing themselves by making a public spectacle out of human death.

    The Li Xiaojie incident is indeed related, not as you say because the woman was “disturbing the peace” by trying to make a purchase, but because dehumanization of the Han in America justified the use of force due an animal against a Chinese. As we saw by the Fox News report linked in comments, apologists for police brutality like Neil Cavuto made reference to supposed Chinese espionage, raising the possibility that she was buying a common consumer product for inspection by government officials!

    There were many ways that you could have expressed your disagreement about the Tibetan politics of this post without more smears against the Han people. But that would require actual knowledge of the situation instead of merely a visceral, genocidal anti-Chinese hatred nurtured by hate rags like the NYT. HH commentators showed immense respect for American law and politics by calling to work within the existing constitution and civil society system of the country. You barely disguise your neocolonial contempt for Chinese by calling for the invasion of aggressive American litigation groups into China.

  12. perspectivehere
    December 17th, 2012 at 07:20 | #12


    The situation of Ms Li and the suicides by ethnic Tibetans in China are not comparable.

    Ms Li was simply trying to buy a product from the store on the same terms as any other customer. It appears that the “2 per customer” restriction was applied unequally to her in a kind of racial profiling. This kind of “separate and unequal” treatment brings to mind the struggles of African Americans for legal and social equality. In seeking to exercise her right to make purchases on the same terms as any other customer, she was prevented from making her purchase. When she sought to object, she was attacked by police and arrested.

    In contrast, the situation of the ethnic Tibetans committing suicide is quite different. No principle of unequal treatment is involved in the decedent’s choice to commit suicide. You may say that as a matter of religious liberty they should be free to practice their religious beliefs, and that committing suicide to express their worship of the DL is a matter of religious expression which should not be condemned or interfered with. I disagree. I think that we can respect the Tibetan religions but also offer a societal judgment that it is wrong to encourage the young to commit suicide. Tibetan buddhist religious leaders appear to be unable to state that it is wrong, and indeed their religious leadership appear to condone or perhaps even sotto voce encourage this behavior, the purpose of which seems to be a form of political protest. To my mind, what is going on here is not sincere religious practice, but instead as a kind of cynical sacrifice of young lives to secure political objectives. One of the political objectives appears to be to promote revulsion / hatred towards China and Chinese people.

    In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers.

    This essay offers several reasons for disagreeing with the religious leadership’s approach to this problem in their community which do not denigrate the rellgion itself.

    “All religious movements have martyrs who died at the hands of an intolerant foe rather than betray their faith. Deliberate self-sacrifice in religious warfare, as practiced by Muslim suicide bombers, is controversial and opposed by more rationalistic preachers. In totally different circumstances of peace and prosperity on the Tibetan Plateau, the resort to self-immolation raises hard questions about Buddhist attitudes toward suicide.

    The infrequent suicidal protests in modern China and Vietnam have been solitary actions and not a policy of Buddhist sects. The most famous incident, broadcast worldwide over television, was the self-torching of 66-year-old Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc to confront persecution by the Catholic-run government of South Vietnam. His suicide in 1963 prompted President Ngo Dinh Diem to personal remorse, even if it did not lead to the desired reform.

    The Tibetan immolations fail to get across the message. In recent years, Chinese society has developed a phobia toward religious fanaticism, largely due to online images of an alleged Falun Gong member’s self-immolation at Tiananmen Square, which the sect claims is a fake, promoting the stereotype of religious extremism as a form of psychosis.” Instead of arousing compassion for their cause, human torching led to ostracism.”

    End of Boyhood

    A troubling question concerns the age of the suicide victims- all young, some still teenagers, rather than elderly men past the prime of life. With Tibet prospering and monks having the chance to study in India, why would anyone so young throw away a promising future?”

  13. N.M.Cheung
    December 17th, 2012 at 07:47 | #13

    Melektaus may have overstated in his criticism of NY Times and Tibetan Monks, and I take your view on White man/Han’s burden mockery, but you didn’t really address Bertrand Russel’s quote/view of Tibetan Buddhism. Whether this view is correct and whether we should put the respect of aboriginal traditional practices/religion, your definition of human rights over the Chinese definition of human rights, that of food, shelter, education and health. Recently there was a petition drive to Xi from Tibetan scholars in the West asking China to preserve the Tibetan tradition and language which presuppose that China is destroying them. I beg to differ that China is taking steps to preserve them but the forces of modernity are inevitably changing them. If Dalai Lama is serious about preserving Tibetan culture he would have returned to Tibet without precondition as Buddha would have done. For someone from U.S. to advocate for Tibet knowing the history of Native Americans that would be really hypocritical. I have worked in Alaska where despite the best intentions of teachers teaching in rural Alaska, the tradition of Eskimos and Aleuts are fading under pressure of oil and money. It is sad that many cultures are disappearing under assault of globalization and Capitalism, but that is a fact unlikely to change.

  14. December 17th, 2012 at 07:58 | #14

    “Overstated” what? I guess jb isn’t the only functionally illiterate commenter but I already knew that from cheng’s comments on uselesstree…

  15. N.M.Cheung
    December 17th, 2012 at 09:02 | #15

    Functionally illiterate? I suggest you try a dictionary, see if the shoe fits yourself better. I thought this board is for discussion, whether one agree or disagree, not name calling.

  16. December 17th, 2012 at 09:37 | #16

    “functional illiterate”

    a person with some basic education who still falls short of a minimum standard of literacy or whose reading and writing skills are inadequate to everyday needs.


    Fitting NM Cheung perfectly who also failed a simple test of basic reading comprehension along with “jb”.

  17. December 17th, 2012 at 21:10 | #17

    melektaus/N.M. Cheung,

    I’ve seen more than my share of people like jb. He is not interested in exchanging views.

    The two of you contribute so much, and I wouldn’t let that dime a dozen get in the way. 🙂

  18. December 18th, 2012 at 07:59 | #18

    This jb character obviously didn’t stumble upon HH as he allege. He is well prepared and had to make up a lie. However, so far the funniest one is the one who alleged to be Libyan Chinese. Too bad YinYang outed him, as I would like to hear how he made up the story of how his Libyan Chinese parents met, chuckles.

  19. December 20th, 2012 at 02:07 | #19


    I absolutely enjoy melektaus’ uncompromising style and razor sharp logic! Too many of us tend to over-mince words in debating with purebred idiots and self-righteous hypocrites who double-speak loudly and self-righteously in triple-standard. However, I’m also amused by his short fuse, and I think his remark on N.M. Cheung was unfair. (Now I’m asking for it! 🙂 )

    This is a rare blog with loads of thoughtful and well researched articles, and lively comments of similar quality. There’s a refreshing respect for facts and rationality; but not everyone would think the same in every detail. Furthermore, we are up against an international propaganda network with unparalleled power and influence. People have been getting their brains washed (not their fault) daily since they could read. Patience (and hopefully more blogs like this) is required to help bring focus back to facts and fairness. Unfortunately, it’s a slow and exasperating process.

    A good friend from France once told me she had read in a magazine that the lush Tibetan forest had been logged out by the Han Chinese, sent to Shenzhen to make furniture. When she eventually visited Tibet, she saw it with her own eyes: Hardly any lush forest left! It took a bit of wine before I could explain the effect of altitude on tree population (it helped that her husband was a geologist!) Since then, I would send her simple historical facts about Tibet (how “Han massacres” had increased Tibetan population significantly since 1949; what were serfs etc.) once in a while. That was before I could forward her links from this blog!

    She is now 180 degree different from the Hollywood induced DL supporter that she was. Had I honestly told her what a moron I thought she was (especially being a very well-educated person) at the time, she would probably have remained a diehard fan of the DL and Richard Gere.

    A scary majority of “educated people” out there unthinkingly believe in 911, end of the world once in a while, Chinese fake eggs (in shells, made cheaper than a hen could, for a “profit” of a few pennies each! I offered HK$2000 to see one but without success for three years) etc. etc. This is the moronic reality that we must face, until the end of tomorrow, Guatemalan time, anyway! 🙂

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