Here is an excerpt from the Christian Science Monitor: Read more…
What comes to your mind when you look at the population distribution map above? Different people see different things even if it is the same picture or skewed statistic. In case you are new, the standard narrative of mainstream western press is that China invaded Tibet in 1959, and has been committing genocide on the Tibetan people since then. If you have doubt do a search on mainstream website like ABC, CNN, BBC etc, you would have a single version of the story. Read more…
In the field of media criticism, it pays to be picky about language. Around touchy issues of sovereignty and legitimacy, journalists frequently navigate intractable disputes where no term is truly “objective”. A wise man once said, if you want to create social change, then it is of paramount importance to identify “who are [your] enemies [and] who are [your] friends?” But there’s the risk of being so hypercritical and without humility as to impart devious significance to routine, apolitical phrases. In the English-language Tibetan studies circuit, which leans almost entirely pro-separatist, one phrase regularly trotted out for criticism is “China’s Tibet”. This blogpost at High Peaks Pure Earth is representative in its mocking tone, if not for the most academic exposition of the idea. “There must be a psychological condition that describes an anxiety so acute that there is an overwhelming need to constantly state and re-state that something belongs to you… China’s rather childish and possessive nature!”
(It’s worth noting that Gady Epstein of The Economist calls this video, “remarkable propaganda document.” If you think about it, that’s a wholesale rejection of the Chinese point of view. This is politics. But, then, don’t forget that The Economist and other Western media self-proclaim to be “free.” According to their definition, Western journalism is supposed to be about presenting differing perspectives. That’s rubbish. As regular readers of Hidden Harmonies know, Western media is every bit about propaganda as much as anything else.)
The oddity of Tibetan Immolation: Nothing is changing, So Suicide ourselves until some thing changes. (And that’s when you know it’s a bluff).
There have been several posts on the Western Media, prevailing the opinions on the Tibetan Self-immolation as is or isn’t within the propriety of Buddhism (particularly Tibetan Buddhism).
Let me say clearly, YES, Self-immolation is fine within the boundaries of Buddhism. Indeed, Self-immolation and other forms of symbolic martyrdom are within the boundaries of most religions, and even FAVORED among the most EXTREME forms of religions and cults.
Given that the Dalai Lama and the TGIE are funded by the U.S. government, wouldn’t it be interesting if their communications are somehow transparent such that we could see the nature of the relationship? Are their interests aligned? Who calls the shots? Patrick French in an Op-Ed in 2008, advising the Dalai Lama to instead negotiate in good faith with Chinese authorities and abandon his Hollywood strategy, wrote:
The International Campaign for Tibet, based in Washington, is now a more powerful and effective force on global opinion than the Dalai Lama’s outfit in northern India. The European and American pro-Tibet organizations are the tail that wags the dog of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Remember, French was a former director of the London-based Free Tibet Campaign. Interestingly, in this recent letter made public from Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of California to Lobsang Sangay, we get a glimpse of what French wrote about. Rohrabacher excoriates Sangay and his ‘cohorts’ for allegedly tampering with the Tibetan language version of Radio Free Asia. He wrote: Read more…
There has been terrible violence in India’s Assam region recently and the violence has spread to other parts of India. Since this is a blog on China, not India, I am not going to dig too much into the cause or even meaning of the riots. But I do want to point out the relatively “favorable” coverage India is getting.
In almost all reports I see, India is cast as the force of stability (and humanity), with the forces of conniving politicians and ethnic-based politics the root of instability. By comparison, when ethnic violence occurs in China, the opposite story is told, with ethnic-based politics held in high regard (under the guise of “human rights”) and any efforts to stabilize the situation seen as somehow oppressive and barbaric.
You see this fairly uniformly across Western media in all Western countries, including even self-professed “independent” news sources such as the global post. Here is a recent article global post had on Tibetan self immolations – which place the blame squarely on China. The Tibetans who burned themselves – and by extension the Tibetans who rioted in 2008 – were seen as oppressed people who had a right to riot, to fight back and were cheered on for their presumptive courage. There was never a reference to the official Chinese perspective on what’s really going on. Read more…
An interesting analysis in TIME magazine, to the extent that it tries to be an analysis:
And don’t forget to check out these two accompanying arguments, one for India and one for China:
In an earlier discussion, reader Naqshbandiyya responded to this comment by Otto Kerner. He was in fact commenting on the exchange between Otto Kerner and Raventhorn2000. I want to repeat his point that for the most part, U.S. and China are interested in creating a tolerant society at home. They prize harmony. We all should watch out for those pushing for ethnic nationalism, for that is what divides us. I simply liked how Naqshbandiyya articulated this view: Read more…
(YinYang: This came via a reader, Ray, self-described as “overseas Chinese who currently resides in Toronto, Canada born in the 1970s in Malaysia. The piece below is timely as the Dalai Lama was recently on a trip to the U.S. as a ‘spiritual leader.’ By the way, he recently supposedly stepped down as a political leader. I thought it ironic he goes straight for Capitol Hill and meets House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.)
Most average American/Canadian do not know that the majority of the Tibetan Chinese do not live in Tibet proper. The majority of Tibetan Chinese live in Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, Yunan etc. This should give a better picture of the story. If one considers the first Tibetan Buddhist temple as the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa and study all the building dates of subsequent Tibetan Buddhist temples, the movement is from West to East of China. If you go back in history, it is the Tibetan King Songtsän Gampo who invaded Tang and demanded a princess in marriage not the other way. Eventually, a Tibetan king even sacked Xian, the capital of Tang. So in essence Tibet became part of China because of invasion by the Tibetan not the other way round. And similar to the Anglo-Saxon or Norman conquest, Tibetan became Chinese through their invasion.
To compare the Tibetan to the First Nations who was completely decimated in culture, language and religion by European settlers is incorrect. Read more…
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).
The video below is about the 青藏铁路 (Qingzang railway) connecting Tibet Autonomous Region’s Lhasa and Qinghai Province’s Xining. Much of the 2000km railway is an engineering marvel. One, for it’s 5000 meter elevation and rough terrain and another for where the tracks have to work on top of permafrosts (where the ice could melt depending on the time of the year). It opened in 2006 connecting the autonomous region to the rest of China’s railway networks. Singers 阿兰达瓦卓玛 (Alan Dawa Dolma, or simply known as Alan or 阿兰) and 韩红 (Han Hong) performed “天路” (“Heaven Road”) in tribute to this important project that Dr. Sun Yat-sen had first proposed around the turn of the century.
(You may click on any images on this post for an enlarged view.)
Above is a traveler meditating to sunset at Poipu Beach at the southern coast of Kauai. It is easy to imagine why such landscape or seascape draw all sorts of inspiration; romance, artistry, and, apparently spirituality. By the way, the woman in the picture is really beautiful. A thought to interrupt her to get a portraiture did cross my mind, but I decided otherwise.
On the issues of Tibet, the Dalai Lama, and religion, the Chinese government actually has a very large constituent of compatible ideological “supporters” within the U.S.. Recently, the American Humanist Association (AHA) blogger, Luis Granados, published two articles: “India vs. China: Part 1” and “India vs. China: Part 2.”
In part one, Granados rejects the Dalai Lama’s recent admonishment of China about religious harmony. Here is how he starts off his article:
On 3rd July 1914, as Ivan Chen made his way down the steps of the Summit Hall building in Simla, he must have been aware of mixed feelings rising up inside him. He had done something which would have far reaching repercussions; and which would for years be remembered by many people on both sides of the Sino-Indian border, albeit in very different ways – He had just left the Simla conference.
After refusing to sign the agreement himself, he was made to sit in a separate room, and behind his back, was signed one of the most controversial and bizarre treaties in human history – The Simla accord.
For over a century, the intricacies of the border between India and China/Tibet have baffled scholars. In fact, the plot leading to the Simla conference and beyond actually plays just like a thriller movie or book. The sheer complexity of this problem can be judged by the fact that 36 rounds of negotiations have taken place between India and China at different levels since 1981; but they have yet to reach a settlement.
The two Asian Giants are still not able to figure out the line which divides them – in the longest running border dispute in modern history. This dispute offers interesting lessons on how to, and how not to, handle boundary issues. The analysis of Chinese behavior in the negotiations is doubly important given China’s perception in the west of it ‘flexing its muscles’, and China’s theory of ‘Peaceful Rise’.
About a century ago, Sir Henry McMahon, the then British Foreign Secretary, took a think red pencil and sketched a line between India and Tibet on a map – a line which has resulted in the two most populous nations in the world going to war, costing more than 2000 lives; and which has created enormous mistrust on both sides, especially in India.
President Obama and the Dalai Lama met yesterday at the White House. The White House issued this statement
The President met this morning at the White House with His Holiness the XIV Dalai Lama. The President stated his strong support for the preservation of Tibet’s unique religious, cultural and linguistic identity and the protection of human rights for Tibetans in the People’s Republic of China. The President commended the Dalai Lama’s “Middle Way” approach, his commitment to nonviolence and his pursuit of dialogue with the Chinese government. The President stressed that he has consistently encouraged both sides to engage in direct dialogue to resolve differences and was pleased to hear about the recent resumption of talks. The President and the Dalai Lama agreed on the importance of a positive and cooperative relationship between the United States and China. Read more…
The Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan twice, once in 1997 and 2001. However, soon after Ma took office on a platform promising to amend ties with the Mainland, a request for the Dalai Lama to visit was turned down by Ma, citing the timing as not proper. A Dalai Lama visit then could have derailed Ma’s plan for closer ties with the Mainland – and still has the potential to do so the same. Read more…
This article was printed in the People’s Daily on June 19th. Since this is a state controlled publication, whatever is published will usually have the blessing of the CCP leadership.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and India PM Manmohan Singh recently appeared together at the BRIC summit in Russia. Things seemed friendly enough at the time. What has changed since then? And why would China have a problem with the Asia Development Bank financing development projects in Arunachal Pradesh? I would think economic development in an area that China considers to be a part of her territory would be viewed by China in a positive manner, as it would be beneficial to the people of that region.
It seems the western media and Chinese blogosphere agree on one thing; Green Dam is not winning any popularity contests. Today, the Chinese government backed down on the mandatory usage of the software, though it will still come either pre-loaded or be included on a compact disc with all PCs sold on the mainland from July 1st.
There are several problems associated with this software, each one an interesting topic in itself. I’d like to run down the issues associated with its release, one by one.
1) Why the sudden announcement of this invasive software with virtually no implementation time given to the manufacturers?
US Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced “Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and 2011 (H.R.2410)” on May 14. It drew some criticism from the Chinese government about this because “It meddled in China’s domestic issues of Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong.” It can be accessed here.
Among most of this 320 page broad proposal, it has some interesting tidbits about about Tibet (sorry I didn’t properly format it yet):
22 SEC. 237. TIBET.
23 (a) TIBET NEGOTIATIONS.—Section 613(a) of the
24 Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (Public Law 107–228; 22
25 U.S.C. 6901 note) is amended—
1 (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting before the pe2
riod at the end the following: ‘‘and should coordinate
3 with other governments in multilateral efforts to4
ward this goal’’;
5 (2) by redesignating paragraph (2) as para6
graph (3); and
7 (3) by inserting after paragraph (1) the fol8
lowing new paragraph:
9 ‘‘(2) POLICY COORDINATION.—The President
10 shall direct the National Security Council to ensure
11 that, in accordance with this Act, United States pol12
icy on Tibet is coordinated and communicated with
13 all Executive Branch agencies in contact with the
14 Government of China.’’.
15 (b) BILATERAL ASSISTANCE.—Section 616 of the Ti16
betan Policy Act of 2002 is amended—
17 (1) by redesignating subsection (d) as sub18
section (e); and
19 (2) by inserting after subsection (c) the fol20
lowing new subsection:
21 ‘‘(d) UNITED STATE ASSISTANCE.—The President
22 shall provide grants to nongovernmental organizations to
23 support sustainable economic development, cultural and
24 historical preservation, health care, education, and envi25
ronmental sustainability projects for Tibetan communities
1 in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in other Tibetan
2 communities in China, in accordance with the principles
3 specified in subsection (e) and subject to the review and
4 approval of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues
5 under section 621(d).’’.
6 (c) SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR TIBETAN ISSUES.—
7 Section 621 of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 is amend8
9 (1) in subsection (d)—
10 (A) in paragraph (5), by striking ‘‘and’’ at
11 the end;
12 (B) by redesignating paragraph (6) as
13 paragraph (7); and
14 (C) by inserting after paragraph (5) the
15 following new paragraph:
16 ‘‘(6) review and approve all projects carried out
17 pursuant to section 616(d);’’.
18 (2) by adding at the end the following new sub19
20 ‘‘(e) PERSONNEL.—The Secretary shall assign dedi21
cated personnel to the Office of the Special Coordinator
22 for Tibetan Issues sufficient to assist in the management
23 of the responsibilities of this section and section
1 (d) DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATION RELATING TO
3 (1) UNITED STATES EMBASSY IN BEIJING.—
4 (A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of State
5 is authorized to establish a Tibet Section within
6 the United States Embassy in Beijing, People’s
7 Republic of China, for the purposes of following
8 political, economic, and social developments in9
side Tibet, including Tibetan areas of Qinghai,
10 Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan provinces, until
11 such time as a United States consulate in Tibet
12 is established. Such Tibet Section shall have the
13 primary responsibility for reporting on human
14 rights issues in Tibet and shall work in close
15 cooperation with the Office of the Special Coor16
dinator for Tibetan Issues. The chief of such
17 Tibet Section should be of senior rank.
18 (B) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIA19
TIONS.—Of the amounts authorized to be ap20
propriated under section 101(a), there are au21
thorized to be appropriated such sums as may
22 be necessary for each of fiscal years 2010 and
23 2011 to carry out this paragraph.
24 (2) IN TIBET.—Section 618 of the Tibetan Pol25
icy Act of 2002 is amended to read as follows:
1 ‘‘SEC. 618. ESTABLISHMENT OF A UNITED STATES CON2
SULATE IN LHASA, TIBET.
3 ‘‘The Secretary shall seek to establish a United
4 States consulate in Lhasa, Tibet, to provide services to
5 United States citizens traveling to Tibet and to monitor
6 political, economic, and cultural developments in Tibet, in7
cluding Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, and
8 Yunnan provinces.’’.
9 (e) RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN TIBET.—Section
10 620(b) of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 is amended by
11 adding before the period at the end the following: ‘‘, in12
cluding the reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism’’.
After reading this, it seems to be that the US government is running the TAR region. This proposal doesn’t mention much about Hong Kong and Taiwan though. I think that this bill was brought by Pelosi and company. I hope that this proposal won’t be signed into a bill.
The following essay (translated below) written by somebody named “Crystal” was posted to Woeser’s blog. I am not sure that is the origin of the article, as some attribute it to 《联合早报》 (their version here). But it has been slowly spreading since to other sites like Anti-CNN, MITBBS, and Minkaohan forums. I think it’s a very good essay, informative and incisive.
I will also post some comments from those other sites. Feel free to chime in.
Amid the depressing news of the trial of Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, a respected lama from Kardze (western Sichuan), is a hopeful sign: he is being defended by two Han Chinese human rights lawyers. They say that they have had some harrassment from the police, but they have not been prevented from serving as counsel to a man they believe was unjustly accused. They have helped him have his day in court, which is better than nothing. In my opinion, democracy and nationalism, etc., are less important than simple rule of law applied impartially. Is that something Tibetans and Hans can make common cause for? It ought to be.
Here is something interesting. Please read to the end.
Tibetan Leader’s Secession Talk Stirs Furor
PARIS (AFP) — The Dalai Lama has touched off a political uproar by expressing sympathy for Tibetans who want to secede from China. His comments have made him a darling of exiled Tibetans, a target of abuse on Chinese state television and a target of criticism from regional Communist officials.
Since this is the last day of what seems like Tibet month – I figure I’ll squeeze in one more post on Tibet before the end of the month.
Below is a translation by Allen of an article recently published by Han Fang Ming in Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao. Han is a member of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). CPPCC plays an advisory role to the Chinese government. Han is a businessman and an investment banker. Currently living in HK, Han specializes in issues involving Tibet, Hong Kong and Macao and overseas Chinese. Read more…
In light of the mega attention and millions of yuans that chinese government use to establish a new holiday in Tibet “Serf Emancipation Day”, and advertise this around the world, clever Tibetan youth in Tibet created the following cartoon: “Surf Emancipation Day: 50 years of harmonious oppression”.
In a previous thread, Steve asked why, with so much material improvement in Tibet region shown by MAJ, the Chinese government still can’t win Tibetan’s heart? I have been asking the same question too.
Following recent MAJ’s comments, I came across this article ‘Reflections on Tibet‘ by Wang Lixiong published in 2002. Wang Lixiong is the writer of ‘Roadmap of Tibetan Independence’ published last year. In the article, Wang Lixiong “considers some of the bitter paradoxes of Tibetan history under Communist rule, and their roots in the confrontation of an alien bureaucracy and fear-stricken religion”. It’s worth pointing out that the original article 西藏问题的文化反思 was published in Chinese in 2001 and therefore we need to be careful how relevant it is to today’s Tibet issue.
I am very worried. Many Chinese citizens have armed themselves, and they are ready to shoot. It is a very tense situation. At any moment there could be an explosion of violence.
I suppose Dalai Lama was referring specifically to Han and Hui Chinese citizens, who were on the receiving end of indiscriminate violences by Tibetan
mobs freedom fighters a year ago. Leaving aside the plausibility question of Chinese citizens stocking up guns in China, I wonder why they would feel the need to arm themselves nowadays?
Well – the New York Times just pronounced that first day of Losar 2009 is a Day of Mourning in Tibet.
[Editor’s note: Previously we have translated Back to Lhasa (Part I) . The following are translations by Allen of journal entries 回到拉萨之六七八 Back to Lhasa (chapters 6-8)– originally posted on Jan 25, 2009]
Return to Lhasa (6): Drinking with the sky burial masters
North of Lhasa, in the Nyangri mountains, is a famed temple named “Pabongka.” Located on a turtle shaped stone, the temple surprisingly receives few outside tourists these days. According to legend, Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wen Cheng once lived there. The temple is also the birthplace of the Tibetan language. Stored in the temple are the earliest stone tablets of carved Tibetan alphabets known. Although the temple is small, it occupies a special place in Tibetan hearts for its historical importance both in the context of Tibetan language as well as Tibetan Buddhism. Read more…