Behind the unrest in Tibet

Raj

Tibet: the jealousy, rage and bitterness of a new generation that fuelled deadly riots

An insightful article that has grave warnings for the future.

Tibetans in communities across the Himalayan plateau and in surrounding provinces who have risen up this week against Chinese rule appear mainly to be young men and women in their teens or twenties. They are from a generation too young to remember either a 1959 uprising against Chinese rule in which tens of thousands were killed or the destruction wreaked by Red Guards – both Chinese and Tibetan – during the 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.

Their anger has been directed as much against the traditional symbols of Chinese power as against ordinary Chinese, hinting at a deepening resentment, even a hatred, that follows ethnic lines.

China repeatedly tells itself that everything will be fine in Tibet once the Dalai Lama dies and that it is older Tibetans who are the “troublemakers”. But, if anything, it is the older generation that try to keep things calm. Younger Tibetans are the angry ones who will resort to violence. They can’t be bought off with money because, at least at the moment, Chinese immigrants are the ones taking most of the opportunities. It’s too late to try to teach them Mandarin.

But there are those who feel left out. Young Tibetans who speak poor Mandarin – the official language of China and crucial to finding a job. Others are accustomed to a more rural way of life and their education, like others in China’s vast countryside, leaves them ill-equipped for the rough and tumble of a market economy.

The comparison between Tibetans and rural-dwelling Chinese is an interesting one. Note the sympathy the latter often gets from other Chinese due to official corruption and lack of opportunities, whereas the former get none. For a nation that loves to claim it lives in harmony with its minorities, I think there is an element of racism in that Tibetans are automatically blamed for any problems by Chinese.

So what is China going to do when these angry young youths become the majority? Clearly Tibetans are not trusted by the Chinese, despite what they may like to think.

Many Tibetans chafe under the restrictions imposed two years ago by the regional party boss that ban Tibetan Government servants from religious activities. Others are keenly aware that scarcely a single Chinese official in the regional government can speak Tibetan. That ethnocentric Han approach only intensifies the ethnic divide and cultural misunderstandings. No ethnic Tibetan has ever held the job of Communist Party boss – a potent signal of Beijing’s lack of trust in this deeply Buddhist people who still revere the Dalai Lama.

Clearly China needs to take the opportunity to deal with the Dalai Lama as the only Tibetan leader that still holds a large degree of respect across the region, whilst older and wiser generations are the senior community leaders in Tibet. Quisling leaders are complete jokes and only make matters worse. If China delays the new generation that does not heed the Lama’s calls for peace will take control. Then China would have to offer a lot more for a peaceful solution. Sadly I think that, as usual, China will stick its head into the sand and only pull it out when the opportunity to negotiate through the Dalai Lama has gone.

Update – 24th March

The Times reports that at least two Tibetans have been shot by Chinese forces, with a dozen or more wounded while taking part in a peaceful protest.

Hundreds of monks, nuns and local Tibetans who tried to march on a local government office in western China to demand the return of the Dalai Lama have been turned back by paramilitary police who opened fire to disperse the crowd.

Local residents of Luhuo said two people – a monk and a farmer – appeared to have been shot dead and about a dozen were wounded in the latest violence to rock Tibetan areas of China.

China spends tens of US$ billions more every year on the Chinese military, and yet for some reason the security forces can only deal with protests by gunning people down. Are promotions handed out on the basis of how ruthlessly people deal with unarmed civilians?

Broken bones amongst a few people = a $1,000 bonus?
Use of firearms = promotion to the next grade?
People dead/wounded = a villa in the nearest tourist resort?
A dozen + casualties = fast-track to the Politburo?

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 218 Comments

Frankly, China does not need to negotiate with the Dalai Lama. There are only about 6 million Tibetans versus 1 billion Han Chinese. As for Tibetans resorting to violence to end Chinese rule over Tibet, I have to agree with the Dalai Lama that by doing so, they will only make their situation worse. Now the Tibetan nationalists will be no better than the Chechen terrorists in Russia, or the Basques in Spain.

Lens of Reason

March 22, 2008 @ 8:33 pm | Comment

The 1 billion Chinese don’t live in Tibet. If China wants that region to be peaceful it needs to do something positive. If not, the only solution is genocide. You wouldn’t want that, would you?

As for the international comparisons, you can’t compare the situation to the Basque region as they at least have democracy and a degree of real autonomy. Tibet has neither. If China at least gave its people the right to demonstrate without harrassment the recent violence might not have happened.

March 22, 2008 @ 8:44 pm | Comment

Raj,

Genocide? Who’s talking about genocide? It’s the Dalai Lama who keeps using the word “genocide.” The only think that is happening is a massive migration of non-Tibetans into Tibet. That is hardly genocide. Assimilation (willingly or not willingly), yes. But not genocide.

You’re missing my point. By reacting violently, the Tibetan nationalists are merely making themselves look like terrorists, like the Basque separatists, Chechen rebels, and the IRA.

Lens of Reason

March 22, 2008 @ 8:58 pm | Comment

Many Basque separatists are not violent.

Please inform yourself better.

March 22, 2008 @ 9:25 pm | Comment

@Lens

For your information

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

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

March 22, 2008 @ 9:31 pm | Comment

Genocide? Who’s talking about genocide?

Genocide is the only way to completely deal with the Tibet problem without negotiating fairly with the Tibetans and giving them real autocracy. Whether that is by murdering them in their tens of thousands or turning them into a minority by flooding Tibet with Chinese, it is still genocide. You don’t have to kill people to commit genocide – even the UN recognises that.

By reacting violently, the Tibetan nationalists are merely making themselves look like….

You’re also missing my point that the comparisons are not prudent because China offers Tibetans no peaceful way to express their frustration and produce change, whereas in the places you mention they had at least some democratic rights – even in Russia. China can’t have its cake and eat it. If it wants peace it must negotiate. If it refuses to negotiate honestly, but will not subject Tibetans to gradual genocide, it must be willing for Tibet to be a permanent police state with Chinese fearing for their lives every day of the year.

March 22, 2008 @ 9:57 pm | Comment

Riot in Tibet: True face of western media

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSQnK5FcKas

March 22, 2008 @ 11:07 pm | Comment

That is a very insightful article. Thanks for the link.

March 22, 2008 @ 11:08 pm | Comment

Great article. I’ve included it in a summary of the happenings in Tibet.

http://biginshanghai.com/2008/the-tibet-issue-a-roundup

March 22, 2008 @ 11:29 pm | Comment

Gents, any time.

March 23, 2008 @ 1:53 am | Comment

Ok. But. Young angry men make up 99% of all riots, everywhere, about everything. It’s a fact of life that as people mature, start families, start trying to amass some economic independence they tend to become less … volatile.

It’s not surprising at all that it was the youth rioting here, whether this was a spontaneous overflow of anger after decades of unfair and repressive treatment, or whether there were some secretive (TPUM or other) organisers.

However, you do have a good point. By doing its best to undermine the Buddhist tradition, and to marginalise the influence of the Dalai Lama, the CCP is almost certainly shooting itself in the foot. I also agree that his (hopefully distant) death will probably just make things worse.

March 23, 2008 @ 2:09 am | Comment

AC, I’d prefer the relative bias of the “Western” media any day over the total one-sided drivel that comes from China’s propaganda division – aka the Chinese “media”.

March 23, 2008 @ 2:10 am | Comment

Raj,

The word “genocide” is used too loosely by some people. It actually cheapens the word, just like the word “holocaust.” People use it every time they see some minor scuffle in some country. What is reallly happening in Tibet is “assimilation” rather than “genocide.”
Even the Dalai Lama knows that. This is the reason he uses “cultural genocide” in place of “genocide” per se to denote what is happening in Tibet.

Let me reiterate: Killing of innocent non-Tibetans based simply on their ethnic and racial background makes one no better than a terrorist. I don’t care where that is occuring, in Tibet, in Russia, in Spain, or in northern Ireland. It’s terrorism. By acting like terrorists, the Tibetan nationalists are not much different from IRA, the Basque separatists, and the Chechen rebels. I am certain there are always reasons for rioting, killing of innocent bystanders, some even quite legitimate. Hey, even Al Qaeda has good reasons to blow up the United States. But does that make it right? And does that do any service to the cause of the perpetrators?

I have to agree with the Dalai Lama, the rioting will only make the situation worse for the Tibetans in Tibet. For by doing so, people are now alienated from any Tibetan walking on the street, and the Hanification of Tibet will continue even faster.

Lens of Reason

March 23, 2008 @ 2:18 am | Comment

What is reallly happening in Tibet is “assimilation” rather than “genocide.”

Assimilation my foot! Tibet is being forcibly changed to be like the rest of China – assimilation implies China is also changing to take Tibet into it.

The reason the Dalai Lama uses the word “cultural genocide” is that at the moment Tibetans are being suppressed culturally. If, however, China changed its policy to actually make Tibetans a tiny minority in their own home it would turn it into attempted genocide.

Killing of innocent non-Tibetans based simply on their ethnic and racial background makes one no better than a terrorist.

So in your book the killing of innocent Tibetans based simply on their political leanings makes the Chinese State guilty of terrorism too. Your ridiculous double-standards in focusing on only the recent unrest by a minority of young, angry Tibetans who feel left behind by Chinese society pales into comparison to the decades of oppression and murder carried out by China in Tibet.

March 23, 2008 @ 2:45 am | Comment

raj, just as you would prefer the relative bias of the western media over the one-sided drivel of the state-controlled chinese media (no argument with you there), most tibetans, save the formerly privileged few, would prefer their so-called “second class citizen” status than the feudalistic society they were liberated from that somehow gets lost in western media coverage…

would love to hear your spin on this one.

March 23, 2008 @ 3:01 am | Comment

Anon ^,

Are you really, really sure about that? I mean, have you polled the entire (or even a representative segment) of the Tibetan population?

March 23, 2008 @ 3:06 am | Comment

anon

would love to hear your spin on this one

I guess I would “spin it” by pointing out that a majority of Tibetans don’t feel that they were liberated at all, and that if they had a choice they might prefer Tibetan autocracy to foreign, Chinese autocracy, because they would have a better chance of changing the former.

Even if they don’t want to go back to the very old ways they are not satisfied with the current situation either.

Your rather poor attempt at justifying what China does to Tibet sounds a lot like the reasoning behind 19th century imperialism, something that Chinese themselves beat their chests about frequently on the internet. So I guess that many Chinese don’t actually object to imperialism, so long as they’re the ones in charge.

Doubtless all fenqing believe that a world totally dominated by China would be completely happy…..

March 23, 2008 @ 3:17 am | Comment

Thing is, chaps,

The Chinese media (which most of us, and most PRC citizens, have very grave doubts about) will only ever show us one side of Tibet and the Tibetans.

The western media (which most of us place more faith in, but which can certainly suffer from various biases) only have access to ex-political prisoners, refugees, and economic emigrants from Tibet. That sample is pretty much guaranteed to produce a bias.

I suspect that the truth is much more multi-faceted, much more detailed and much less black-and-white than either kind of media has yet suggested.

March 23, 2008 @ 3:26 am | Comment

One of my comments has got lost. I’m going to blame this on my dodgy internet connection (because it is dodgy).

Above my comment starting, “Thing is, chaps,” I asked Raj exactly the same question as I asked Anon, “How do you know that?”

March 23, 2008 @ 3:46 am | Comment

All the talk about Western media bias is tiring. When it comes to foreign news reporting, the problem isn’t bias so much as ignorance exacerbated by shrinking numbers of experienced, long-term correspondents and, like dish mentioned, lack of access into the region.

As for genocide, a lot of it is semantics-parsing over physical killing versus killing of the social/ethnic identity. However, even if we use the term assimilation, it would be disingenuous to not differentiate between forced assimilation and the relatively more benign forms of assimilation like, say, what happens with minorities in immigrant countries like the States.

Also, I think the violence is terrible and fucked-up, and I don’t think ethno-nationalists of any stripe are to be lauded, be they Chinese, or Tibetan, or Turkic, whatever, but I wouldn’t be so hasty as to call the rioters terrorists. Terrorism involves intentional and strategic targeting of civilian populations…and I don’t think you can prove that, at least not right now, based on the scant information we have. They could be terrorists…or they could simply be angry young people acting out their frustrations with the government violently – the case in civil conflicts the world over.

March 23, 2008 @ 4:24 am | Comment

Hi Nausicaa,
How’ve you been?

March 23, 2008 @ 5:04 am | Comment

Nausicaa,

So you don’t think minorities in the United States are being forcibly assimilated into white America? Read your history.

As for semantics, well, it is important. Because genocide denotes and implies physical killing of an entire race or ethnic group. That is not what is happening in Tibet today. Now admittedly, there is assimilation, be it willingly or unwillingly. But there is a drastic difference between assimilation today in Tibet versus genocide, in say, Nazi Germany.

And yes, people who terrorize people and kill them on the streets, pre-meditated or not, are terrorists, and does no service to the cause of Tibet.

Lens of Reason

March 23, 2008 @ 5:24 am | Comment

Raj said: Your ridiculous double-standards in focusing on only the recent unrest by a minority of young, angry Tibetans who feel left behind by Chinese society pales into comparison to the decades of oppression and murder carried out by China in Tibet.

Raj,

So are you saying then it will be completely justified if some African, or Arab, or Native American, nuked Great Britain or the United States simply because these Western nations took all the loot (gold, oil, slaves, land) from them for hundreds of years (compared to only decades as in China versus Tibet) and left them now with nothing? Where is the reparations for Africa, the Middle East, and Native America?

Your logic is completely in line with Osama bin laden and Minister Farakhan.

Lens of Reason

March 23, 2008 @ 5:43 am | Comment

In the youtube video, one guy participating in the rioting is speaking English with heavy India accent. I guess CCP is correct that this riot is probably instigated by outsider. It is still unclear whether Dalai lama is directly behind it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1dxZlS9Axo&e

March 23, 2008 @ 6:09 am | Comment

@dish: Dishuiguanyin, right? Great to see an old-timer.

I’m good. Waiting for nice weather so I can go out and play. You still in China, or have you resettled to the UK?

So you don’t think minorities in the United States are being forcibly assimilated into white America? Read your history.

Americanization can be unpleasant and even traumatic, but often it’s also voluntary. Obviously though, some minorities historically received better treatment than others. The policies of the American government towards Native Americans were (and still are) contemptible.

As for semantics, well, it is important. Because genocide denotes and implies physical killing of an entire race or ethnic group.

That is the conventional interpretation, but certainly not the only one put forth by legal scholars and others. Personally, I don’t use it in application to Tibet, but my point is – so ? Even discounting the term, you are still left with mass slaughter, democide, political repression, destruction of culture, forced relocation, etc etc. Not using such a charged, condemnatory term just means that other condemnatory terms are used to describe the situation.

And yes, people who terrorize people and kill them on the streets, pre-meditated or not, are terrorists

To argue that the rioters are terrorists, you’d have to prove that 1) they set out with the intention to kill (in other words, premeditated), and 2) that there was strategic logic in how they killed (i.e. not so much to inflict pain on their victims but as a political strategy. ) Until then, they’re just youths who rioted out of anger and ended up killing people.

And of course, one could argue that none of this would have happened had they been given the right to peaceful protest.

March 23, 2008 @ 6:43 am | Comment

Nausicaa,

The last time I checked, terrorists are defined as people who commit terror acts on people. It’s that simple. Stop giving me the academic technicalities on what terrorists are.

Genocide is what IT IS. PHYSICAL (note: not cultural) acts of harm committed on an ethnic or racial group with the intention of PHYSICALLY wiping out the entire ethnic and racial group. So are the Chinese trying to wipe out the Tibetans? If they wanted to, they would have done that long ago. The fact that there are still Tibetans around to riot and kill means that there is no systematic slaughter of Tibetans. In other words, no genocide.

If you want to argue about forced assimilation in Tibet, then yes, I will concede that is what is happening in the region. However, that is far different from genocide.

Also, yes, the history of America is about assimilation, a good deal of it is FORCED assimilation.

Lens of Reason

PS: I love your use of all those big words (democide).

March 23, 2008 @ 7:02 am | Comment

@Lens

The fact that there are still Tibetans around to riot and kill means that there is no systematic slaughter of Tibetans. In other words, no genocide.

That is like saying that the fact that Warsaw uprising could happen in August 1944 proves that the Germans were not killing Jews systematically.

March 23, 2008 @ 7:10 am | Comment

Amban,

1944 is only 6 years right after the Germans started to mass-murder Jews with the intention of wiping them off the face of the earth. Of course, there were still Jews who could rise against the Germans. If the Germans were not defeated, assuredly, they would have wiped all Jews, at least the European ones, down to a couple of thousands, or hundreds in a very short amount of time. Within 20 years, Jews would have gone extinct.

Now, how long has Tibet been a part of China?
Hundreds of years. Even if we count only the years Tibet has been under Chinese communist rule, it’s been about 50 years. In that time, if the Chinese had wanted to commit genocide, they would have done so. We would see practically no Tibetans. They would have been all extinct by now, just like the Native Americans (or what’s left of them) with not even the chance to riot.

Lens of Reason

March 23, 2008 @ 7:36 am | Comment

Are you really, really sure about that? I mean, have you polled the entire (or even a representative segment) of the Tibetan population?

Well, you can ask Tibetans if they want to become slaves or serfs like the old time or continue be like 2nd class citizens. Or you can imagine yourself as a Tibetan and ask the same question.

Btw, if Dalai Lama takes power do you think he won’t try to marginalize other religions and other ethnic races. The third largest population I think is Mongolians in Tibet. Also, when a theocracy is preaching religious freedom, it has to be the biggest joke ever. Go watch Penn and Teller’s Bullshit, in one episode they sum it up very well.

Americanization can be unpleasant and even traumatic, but often it’s also voluntary.

Can you restate your “often voluntary” part? I bet Aztec and Inca civilization didn’t voluntarily to be wipe out by the Spanish. I bet Native American did not voluntarily went to our so call Indian reservations. Oh, and what did Mohican get for helping so called Americans in the French and Indian war and the American Revolution? They have their lands, cultures, and their racial identities completed erased from earth. In addition, did African slaves voluntarily move to the US to become slaves? No.

Btw, people who made such statements are usually the ones want everyone in the US to speak ENGLISH. I am sorry, if someone speak Spanish in front of you, and you can’t understand a word, please go learn Spanish especially in Florida, Texas, and California. Last time I checked, US does not have a national language. You see my children will be able to speak Chinese (from me; I will only speak Chinese to them), Spanish (from…I will let you guess :P ), and English (school), they will not have a first language because they will have three. That’s the future of America.

March 23, 2008 @ 7:40 am | Comment

“Now the Tibetan nationalists will be no better than the Chechen terrorists in Russia, or the Basques in Spain.”

And Kosovo in Serbia. Latvia in Russia. Poland in Germany. China in Mongolia.

March 23, 2008 @ 7:49 am | Comment

“If China wants that region to be peaceful it needs to do something positive.”

But China wants it “under control”, “submissive” instead of peaceful.

Remember the Cultural Revolution ? It was chaos created to solve a control problem. Chinese are very creative user of chaos.

March 23, 2008 @ 7:51 am | Comment

“the only solution is genocide. You wouldn’t want that, would you?”

You and I human beings may not. History has demonstrated that wiping out the Turks, Huns, and other natives is favourite solutions of Chinese.

March 23, 2008 @ 7:54 am | Comment

@Lens of Reason: I love how you dismiss my definition of terrorism as mere “technicalities” while insisting upon your definition of genocide. Like I said, I don’t personally use the term in application to Tibet (because I do define it in narrower terms – as deliberate physical extermination of a race or ethnicity, and I don’t think there has been enough evidence for that at this point.) But there has been other definitions floated around and “cultural genocide” is certainly not a new term.

But like I said – leery of the term genocide? Alright, but there’s still undisputed mass slaughter to contend with.

Oh, and “terrorists are people who commit terror acts”? Tautological.

(Btw, there’s no need to sign your posts. Your moniker shows up anyway.)

@Arty:
…and what do the Aztecs and the Incas have to do with Americanization? And if you had read my post, you would’ve seen that I did address the treatment of Native Americans. But fair enough, I admit I was mainly thinking of immigrant populations, especially contemporaneous ones.

Btw, your assumption is wrong. I don’t think it’s a good thing that so many Americans are unilingual and, as a Chinese-Canadian transplant who speaks Chinese and French (and trying to learn Spanish, which is confusing my already indifferent French), I try to rub it in their faces as often as possible. ;-)

March 23, 2008 @ 8:05 am | Comment

How does China commit genocide?

Over 1 million dead Tibetans since 1950?

Over 2 million dead northern Koreans since the Korean war?

Over 1 million dead Laotians during Pol Pot?

Not to mention the 40-50 million dead by Mao’s direct hand.

[deleted]

March 23, 2008 @ 9:03 am | Comment

Raj

If moving people into an area to make the indigenous population into a minority counts as genocide, then Israel has been guilty of genocide in Palestine, as has Britain in Northern Ireland. In which case, perhaps we need a new word for the real thing.

March 23, 2008 @ 10:36 am | Comment

nanheyangrouchuan

Your pathological appetite for abusing & insulting China seems insatiable. And BTW Pol Pot killed Cambodians not Laotians. But I’m sure you knew that (?).

March 23, 2008 @ 10:54 am | Comment

Here’s my summary of the Tibetan issue:

Chinese official position is: Tibet has always been a part of China, and the Dalai Lama Clique instigated this violence, and it is ethnic violence, targeted at innocent Han civilians living in Tibet. Therefore it is akin to Terrorism, akin to Hamas, akin to Bin Laden.

The West acknowledges (grudgingly) there’s violence by the Tibetans (but refuses to publicly denounce the violence), but says the violence is rooted from the oppressive and discriminatory and racist policies of the Chinese government over Tibet, and therefore the violence is justified, at least partially. Much like many Al Qaeda sympathizers say 911 and Hamas were at least partially justified because Muslims were oppressed by the aggressive foreign policies of the US. Of course, in the case of Tibet, the West suddenly became the sympathizer of terrorism.

My position is simplistic and brutal. I am a Chinese, of course I support occupying Tibet, whether the policies are “discriminatory” or “racist” matters not to me at all. In this world, “power” = “might” = “right” = “justified” = “correct” = “mainstream”

March 23, 2008 @ 11:33 am | Comment

jer,

The treatment of Northern Ireland in past centuries is precisely the sort of thing that civilised people no longer consider to be at all acceptable.

Israel is similar in form, but a lot of people would argue that it is a bit of a special case, since the Jews were a minority everywhere (i.e. they had no country of their own) and they moved into a tiny corner of the overall Arab region, marginalising the people there but leaving other large areas which are inhabited almost exclusively by Arabs. The area into which the Jews moved also happened to be their ancestral home and the emotional centre of their religion. Now, I have mixed feelings about this argument, and you may or may not accept it, but obviously none of these mitigating factors apply to China and Tibet.

March 23, 2008 @ 11:41 am | Comment

From today’s NY Times opinion piece:

the Free Tibet Campaign in London (of which I am a former director) and other groups have long claimed that 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed by the Chinese since they invaded in 1950. However, after scouring the archives in Dharamsala while researching my book on Tibet, I found that there was no evidence to support that figure. The question that Nancy Pelosi and celebrity advocates like Richard Gere ought to answer is this: Have the actions of the Western pro-Tibet lobby over the last 20 years brought a single benefit to the Tibetans who live inside Tibet, and if not, why continue with a failed strategy?

Let’s be tough on China and pressure them for change. But let’s also get our facts straight and take an objective look at whether the current strategy is a good one.

March 23, 2008 @ 11:59 am | Comment

Ah, just what I was waiting for- a post about finding a solution. Great post. This situation was made by the CCP, and the CCP should find a way out. What I’m hoping is that after the crackdown and the fire-and-brimstone propaganda, they’ll turn around and start paying attention to the needs and demands of the Tibetans, like Deng Xiaoping did for the Chinese after Tian’anmen.

March 23, 2008 @ 1:00 pm | Comment

@Raj:

AC, I’d prefer the relative bias of the “Western” media any day over the total one-sided drivel that comes from China’s propaganda division – aka the Chinese “media”

Glad you admit you are never objective to begin with.

March 23, 2008 @ 3:33 pm | Comment

RE: Raj – AC, I’d prefer the relative bias of the “Western” media any day over the total one-sided drivel that comes from China’s propaganda division – aka the Chinese “media”.

I prefer Western media to Chinese media (obviously not everyone of them belong to the propaganda division) but I don’t “prefer” bias of any kind like you do.

March 23, 2008 @ 4:00 pm | Comment

@Bingster

Being “objective” in a situation where one people has occupied another and is brutally repressing them is not objectivity.

Nobody with a conscience was “objective” between Nazi Germany and German Jews.

(“Come on guys, let’s be objective, the Germans have a good point with their gas ovens, and the Jews also have a point, both of them need to be heard.”)

No, there is not and will not be any objectivity in the world between the Chinese government that is killing Tibetans daily, and the Tibetans who are being killed.

Better get used to it and stop dreaming about “objectivity”, you apologist for criminal mass murderers.

March 23, 2008 @ 4:37 pm | Comment

I have a few thoughts to make on this topic, as I’m sure many of you expected.

First off, those of you who’ve seen the CCTV program, frankly, would objectively have a hard time describing it as intentionally “inflaming” ethnic tensions. The CCTV program has repeatedly emphasized Tibetans were killed (of the 5 girls burnt to death in the flower shop, 4 were Han, but one was Tibetan).

The CCTV program has also focused on the heroism of individual Tibetans who saved Han lives (one popular story: a Han father is running from a Tibetan mob while carrying his young daughter, with the daughter already beaten unconscious. An ambulance pulls up, and tries to rescue the pair. The mob catches up and begins to attack the pair again; the Han father throws himself across the daughter lying on the gurney, gets stabbed in the process. The *Tibetan* doctor throws himself across both, and manages to help everyone get away. The Tibetan doctor was seriously injured in the process, and remains in some sort of critical condition.)

If the CCTV documentary inflames racial tensions, its because the *riot* itself was racial in nature, and any even remotely honest account of the riot will inflame racial tensions.

I have consistently said from day one that if Beijing was allowing full broadcast of the videos the rest of the world was seeing from Lhasa, Tibetans would be lynched throughout China. Beijing tempered all of this by delaying the release of information (until order was restored and people were already being arrested), and by putting a heavy police presence on the street.

I for one believe that the nature of Han/Tibetan relations have fundamentally changed courtesy of these riots. Frankly, not many Han believe they personally have much guilt to speak of when it comes to policies in Tibet.

Here’s a related article from the ICT:
http://www.savetibet.org/news/newsitem.php?id=1246

According to several sources, Tibetan laypeople and monks have been verbally abused and even spat upon by passersby in several Chinese cities, including Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. A similar report has also reached ICT from Singapore. One source told ICT: �I’ve heard reports of monks in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Chengdu, having civilian Han Chinese giving those in robes a hard time. They say some hospitals are refusing to help them [those wounded in protests]. When they arrive at a restaurant, they are told to leave immediately. I know of a few who have stopped wearing monks robes so they don’t bring so much attention.�
The vast majority of Han don’t accept the accusation that Tibetans have been targeted for special persecution historically; for every Tibetan monastery destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, there were probably 100 Han Chinese cultural artifacts destroyed. For every Tibetan monk forced to eat meat and marry, there were probably 100 Han Buddhist monks forced to do the same thing.

And when Han Chinese look at policy in more recent decades, they see more of the same: favorable governmental policies aimed at Tibetans on the basis of their skin color. Failures in economic development for rural Tibetans is matched by rural Han Chinese.

I said it before: if the Tibetans displeased with Communist policy had hit the street with pro-Chinese slogans, they would’ve found support from the Han Chinese who are equally displeased with Communist policy.

But the Tibetans have hit the street with an anti-Chinese message (not just the rioters, but *all* of the protesters)… and as such, they’ve made themselves enemies with all 1.3 billion Chinese.

Raj, in terms of a possible response… I’m still *hopeful* of a positive moderate solution, but I don’t know whether I’m optimistic.

The solution discussed above, whether we call it “genocide” or “assimilation”, basically involves an active effort to integrate Tibetans. Before you claim that it isn’t possible, note that there are 50+ other ethnic minorities in China who’re considered far better “assimilated”… I’m referring to large minorities like the Miao (also known as the Hmong – a fiercely independent people who have previously fought numerous race wars against Chinese control), Hui (who fought numerous religious/race wars versus Beijing during the 19th century), the Zhuang, etc.

And many Chinese are pointing out a key difference between these other minorities and the Tibetans: in almost all of these other cases, minorities don’t live in the same sort of high concentration away from Han Chinese population centers that Tibetans currently enjoy; these minorities also don’t have a subset of the population which are intentionally, almost by definition, separated from the Chinese mainstream (the Tibetan monk class).

So, more forceful assimilation of Tibet isn’t just possible… it’s also being advocated by more and more average Chinese.

March 23, 2008 @ 4:41 pm | Comment

@CCT

The vast majority of Han don’t accept the accusation that Tibetans have been targeted for special persecution historically; for every Tibetan monastery destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, there were probably 100 Han Chinese cultural artifacts destroyed. For every Tibetan monk forced to eat meat and marry, there were probably 100 Han Buddhist monks forced to do the same thing.

This argument does not make any sense. It’s like the argument about Russian oppression in Poland during the many years of Russian occupation there.

“Yes, the Russian authorities killed intellectual Poles, sent them to Siberia, massacred Polish officers in cold blood, but it’s all OK, because they did the same thing in Russia as well.” A Russian might accept that argument; a Pole never would. Similarly, only a Chinese nationalist would buy your argument, so you’re preaching to the converted. It may make you feel better, but won’t change anyone else’s mind about the fundamental injustice of the Chinese occupation and the crimes of the Chinese in Tibet.

The “key difference” about the Tibetans is that they are a different country, they are not Chinese. There are so many differences between them and China (such as what you with uncharacteristic totalitarian doublespeak call “the Tibetan monk class”) that trying to jam them into the same brutal Chinese system is doomed to failure.

I’m sure you’re right that many “average Chinese” are now advocating killing all the Tibetans and swamping them with even more Chinese settlers. However, I think you don’t realise how dangerous for China that will be. It will turn many people around the world into active opponents of the Chinese regime, and it will force the hand of western governments that are currently bending over backwards to avoid taking a stance against China. A concerted attempt to destroy Tibet could well do for China what the cynical destruction of Czechoslovakia did for Hitler, ie. turn appeasement-minded western democracies into implacable opponents.

March 23, 2008 @ 5:29 pm | Comment

I’ll answer your question to Rohan for him.

Your question is a false hypothetical, artificial and created to put words into the mouths of others, and to delineate a black and white view of the issue, an issue that is grey and nuanced. Looking at your posts, it seems you indeed see the world in black and white.

First, no one has advocated the wholesale departure of all Han from Tibet. Not even the Dalai Lama, and from what I know, not even the most extreme of Tibetan groups. There have always been some Han in traditional Tibetan areas, and vice-versa. What you are trying to do is characterize Tibetan anger and the recent violence, as simply a racial matter, devoid of the political, religious, economic and cultural elements which make it so much more of a complex problem. It’s simplistic, and it’s silly.

Second, as I’m sure you’re quite aware, Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand are not simply White. As an Asian-American, I can tell you one thing, you need to stop thinking that the big bad White Bogey man is out to get your ass. That, and the voices in your head isn’t Rohan speaking. That’s the sound of you clicking Reload every 5 seconds.

March 23, 2008 @ 6:11 pm | Comment

@Mongol

You seem to subscribe to the “human wave” theory of blog commentary. There is also little point in discussion with someone who is as badly informed as yourself. Also your aggressive hypernationalism makes it unlikely that anything sensible said to you will have any effect.

I will just note that deaths of Tibetans in Tibet take place in prisons like the infamous Drapchi in Lhasa where people are tortured on a daily basis. Many are tortured and beaten to death. No outside observers are allowed and accounts from surviving prisoners are the only source of information.

Here’s the letter from 29 Chinese intellectuals that I posted a link to. This would be a more useful starting point for people like Mongol than the obscenity-laden nonsense above.

————

Twelve Suggestions for Dealing with the Tibetan Situation by Some Chinese Intellectuals
1. At present the one-sided propaganda of the official Chinese media is having the effect of stirring up inter-ethnic animosity and aggravating an already tense situation. This is extremely detrimental to the long-term goal of safeguarding national unity. We call for such propaganda to be stopped.

2. We support the Dalai Lama’s appeal for peace, and hope that the ethnic conflict can be dealt with according to the principles of goodwill, peace, and non-violence. We condemn any violent act against innocent people, strongly urge the Chinese government to stop the violent suppression, and appeal to the Tibetan people likewise not to engage in violent activities.

3. The Chinese government claims that “there is sufficient evidence to prove this incident was organized, premeditated, and meticulously orchestrated by the Dalai clique.” We hope that the government will show proof of this. In order to change the international community’s negative view and distrustful attitude, we also suggest that the government invite the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to carry out an independent investigation of the evidence, the course of the incident, the number of casualties, etc.

4. In our opinion, such Cultural-Revolution-like language as “the Dalai Lama is a jackal in Buddhist monk’s robes and an evil spirit with a human face and the heart of a beast” used by the Chinese Communist Party leadership in the Tibet Autonomous Region is of no help in easing the situation, nor is it beneficial to the Chinese government’s image. As the Chinese government is committed to integrating into the international community, we maintain that it should display a style of governing that conforms to the standards of modern civilization.

5. We note that on the very day when the violence erupted in Lhasa (March 14), the leaders of the Tibet Autonomous Region declared that “there is sufficient evidence to prove this incident was organized, premeditated, and meticulously orchestrated by the Dalai clique.” This shows that the authorities in Tibet knew in advance that the riot would occur, yet did nothing effective to prevent the incident from happening or escalating. If there was a dereliction of duty, a serious investigation must be carried out to determine this and deal with it accordingly.

6. If in the end it cannot be proved that this was an organized, premeditated, and meticulously orchestrated event but was instead a “popular revolt” triggered by events, then the authorities should pursue those responsible for inciting the popular revolt and concocting false information to deceive the Central Government and the people; they should also seriously reflect on what can be learned from this event so as to avoid taking the same course in the future.

7. We strongly demand that the authorities not subject every Tibetan to political investigation or revenge. The trials of those who have been arrested must be carried out according to judicial procedures that are open, just, and transparent so as to ensure that all parties are satisfied.

8. We urge the Chinese government to allow credible national and international media to go into Tibetan areas to conduct independent interviews and news reports. In our view, the current news blockade cannot gain credit with the Chinese people or the international community, and is harmful to the credibility of the Chinese government. If the government grasps the true situation, it need not fear challenges. Only by adopting an open attitude can we turn around the international community’s distrust of our government.

9. We appeal to the Chinese people and overseas Chinese to be calm and tolerant, and to reflect deeply on what is happening. Adopting a posture of aggressive nationalism will only invite antipathy from the international community and harm China’s international image.

10. The disturbances in Tibet in the 1980s were limited to Lhasa, whereas this time they have spread to many Tibetan areas. This deterioration indicates that there are serious mistakes in the work that has been done with regard to Tibet. The relevant government departments must conscientiously reflect upon this matter, examine their failures, and fundamentally change the failed nationality policies.

11. In order to prevent similar incidents from happening in future, the government must abide by the freedom of religious belief and the freedom of speech explicitly enshrined in the Chinese Constitution, thereby allowing the Tibetan people fully to express their grievances and hopes, and permitting citizens of all nationalities freely to criticize and make suggestions regarding the government’s nationality policies.

12. We hold that we must eliminate animosity and bring about national reconciliation, not continue to increase divisions between nationalities. A country that wishes to avoid the partition of its territory must first avoid divisions among its nationalities. Therefore, we appeal to the leaders of our country to hold direct dialogue with the Dalai Lama. We hope that the Chinese and Tibetan people will do away with the misunderstandings between them, develop their interactions with each other, and achieve unity. Government departments as much as popular organizations and religious figures should make great efforts toward this goal.

Signatures:
Wang Lixiong (Beijing, Writer)
Liu Xiaobo (Beijing, Freelance Writer)
Zhang Zuhua (Beijing, scholar of constitutionalism)
Sha Yexin (Shanghai, writer, Chinese Muslim)
Yu Haocheng (Beijing, jurist)
Ding Zilin (Beijing, professor)
Jiang Peikun (Beijing, professor)
Yu Jie (Beijing, writer)
Sun Wenguang (Shangdong, professor)
Ran Yunfei (Sichuan, editor, Tujia nationality)
Pu Zhiqiang (Beijing, lawyer)
Teng Biao (Beijing, lawyer and scholar)
Liao Yiwu (Sichuan, writer)
Wang Qisheng (Beijing, scholar)
Zhang Xianling (Beijing, engineer)
Xu Jue (Beijing, research fellow)
Li Jun (Gansu, photographer)
Gao Yu (Beijing, journalist)
Wang Debang (Beijing, freelance writer)
Zhao Dagong (Shenzhen, freelance writer)
Jiang Danwen (Shanghai, writer)
Liu Yi (Gansu, painter)
Xu Hui (Beijing, writer)
Wang Tiancheng (Beijing, scholar)
Wen kejian (Hangzhou, freelance)
Li Hai (Beijing, freelance writer)
Tian Yongde (Inner Mongolia, folk human rights activists)
Zan Aizong (Hangzhou, journalist)
Liu Yiming (Hubei, freelance writer)

March 23, 2008 @ 7:39 pm | Comment

Speaking of access to the region by Western media, a correspondent from The Economist was in Lhasa as the riots broke out. Here is the report .

March 23, 2008 @ 7:42 pm | Comment

Mongol Warrior, I don’t know who you are or how you got here, but I have a real bad feeling about the way you are commenting, with both fists swinging, angry, a bit hysterical, baiting commenters so they’ll fall into your trap and fight…. As I said, I don’t like it at all. Would you mind being a little more polite and less surly? I don’t need another rabid dog fenqing turning the comments into mayhem.

March 23, 2008 @ 8:38 pm | Comment

Mongol

If Han should leave Tibet, should all white people leave Canada, America, Australia and New Zealand and hand back these lands to their repective indigenous owners?

The families of the “white” people in North America and Australasia you mention have mostly been there for centuries. In contrast the Chinese in Tibet are mostly new arrivals. It would be a lot easier to move the latter than the former – the Chinese have their original provinces to go back to, whereas moving all Caucasians would hollow out those countries and cause all infrastructure to collapse – plus they have nowhere to go, as the countries their great-grandparents (or whatever) came from wouldn’t have room.

In any case, I think Tibetans could live alongside Chinese if their constant flow stopped. If Tibetans feel safe that they won’t be “bred out of existence” (or into nothing more than tourist attractions) then they’ll be calmer.

Now, as richard said, calm down and don’t engage in confrontation. If you want to flame and troll please go to a Chinese forum where your viewpoint will be protected by the moderators.

March 23, 2008 @ 9:12 pm | Comment

Bingster

Glad you admit you are never objective to begin with.

Don’t sulk. My point wasn’t about objectivity, it’s about being realistic. There is bias everywhere. The question is what it is and how far it goes. The European media is biased in favour of freedom and against oppression, but it still gives voice to conflicting views.

The Chinese media is biased in favour of the Chinese government, never criticises it in a serious way apart from a few, brave publications and always censors conflicting views on sensitive subjects.

So clearly the former is much better and objective than the latter. You can try to sweep that under the carpet, but it is plain to see for anyone who has their eyes open.

March 23, 2008 @ 9:22 pm | Comment

@Mongol Warrior

“Deal with us with respect and equality and we can have friendship. Otherwise just get the fuck out of here.”

That’s the way most Tibetans feel about Han Chinese people (and the way most commenters on this thread probably feel about you).

I would like to ask you one simple question:
Where are you living right now? My guess is: not in Tibet, as a matter of fact, not anywhere in China, but in the USA, or maybe Canada. I have a theory about aggressive pro-CCP commenters like you and I really want to know if I am right.

March 23, 2008 @ 9:34 pm | Comment

He is in New South Wales, Australia, which is exactly where our most infamous commenter ever lives. I am now extremely, extremely suspicious. IP addresses tell us a lot.

I just looked over his comments again. Yes, that’s definitely who it is. He’s so bad at covering his tracks…

March 23, 2008 @ 9:40 pm | Comment

mor, I ran a “background check” and can confirm that “mongolwarrior” is our old friend jeb/wei/wayne. Banned troll.

richard, he’s actually in New Zealand according to the IP tracker.

March 23, 2008 @ 9:42 pm | Comment

Raj, my IP locator says New South Wales – maybe he’s using a proxy…? Was Wei’s English this good?

Either way, he’s out.

March 23, 2008 @ 9:44 pm | Comment

You’re right, same IP as Jeb and Wei, but it does seem to be New South Wales, 203.173.156.12.

Again, why are the craziest fenqing all living outside of China? (Rhetorical question.)

March 23, 2008 @ 9:48 pm | Comment

I tried another website and it said the same as you. The provider operates in both NZ and Australia. If you try some others they will say NZ – doesn’t matter much.

Either way mor’s suspicion that the guy doesn’t live in China is correct.

March 23, 2008 @ 9:52 pm | Comment

Dear Richard and Raj,

Thanks for the information! So my guess was wrong, but close enough and my theory that all the aggressive pro-CCP commenters here are not living in their beloved motherland, but rather in democratic “Western” countries, has been confirmed once more.

By the way, Happy Easter to everybody!

March 23, 2008 @ 10:11 pm | Comment

richard

Again, why are the craziest fenqing all living outside of China?

I know that it’s a rhetorical question, but I would guess that it’s because they’re pathetic types who couldn’t fit in to their home societies and thus looked towards China for some sort of stability and blamed non-Chinese for all their troubles.

March 23, 2008 @ 10:52 pm | Comment

Looking over his comments now, I would bet all I have that Mongol Warrior/Jeb/Wei is not Chinese at all. Some disaffected narcissist who enjoys disrupting every comment thread he enters and turning the discussion away from the topic at hand and onto himself. Hmmmm.

March 23, 2008 @ 11:05 pm | Comment

@Rohan,

The “key difference” about the Tibetans is that they are a different country, they are not Chinese.

This is a tautological statement. I might as well return the favor and say, the “key difference” between Tibet and Poland is that Tibetans are of the same country as the Chinese, while the Polish are of a different country.

My point isn’t to determine whether Chinese policy in Tibet “okay”. My point is just to explain what context motivates Chinese thought on the issue of Tibet.

A concerted attempt to destroy Tibet could well do for China what the cynical destruction of Czechoslovakia did for Hitler, ie. turn appeasement-minded western democracies into implacable opponents.

Here’s another key difference for you: the international community recognizes Tibet as a part of China.

But I don’t deny that there could eventually be a military invasion aimed at intervention in Tibet; we’ve seen enough invasions over the past 30 years to know that’s possible. You don’t need to remind me of this; we Chinese are already well aware of this possibility, even without your crude threat.

Look at our history; we’re more qualified than anyone to speak on the topic of facing foreign invasion due to our domestic policies. We know exactly what Europe and the United States is capable of.

The West spent hundreds of thousands of lives to stop Nazi Germany. If you and the Tibetans in exile continue down the path of unilaterally ignoring Chinese views, then any resulting war will cost Europe even more lives.

March 24, 2008 @ 12:15 am | Comment

richard, I don’t know. His earlier comments could have been a lot worse but they stayed within the boundaries of usual fenqing behaviour.

CCT, please do not continue comments raised by banned visitors.

March 24, 2008 @ 1:10 am | Comment

“The West spent hundreds of thousands of lives to stop Nazi Germany. If you and the Tibetans in exile continue down the path of unilaterally ignoring Chinese views, then any resulting war will cost Europe even more lives.”

The West spent that many lives stopping the Nazis and the Japanese. And yes it will cost that many and more to stop the evil Chinese regime, but to do nothing would cost the human race everything it has accomplished.

March 24, 2008 @ 1:22 am | Comment

@CCT

In the news, a Thai Olympic torchbearer, Narisa Chakrabongse, has just withdrawn in protest at the Chinese government’s actions in Tibet, saying in an open letter that “The slaying of the Tibetans … is an outright violation of human rights”. Narisa is a prominent environmental activist in Thailand. That country is generally favourably disposed to China, benefits hugely from Chinese trade and investment, and certainly harbours no desire to invade China.

This illustrates how the Tibetan issue is weighing on the world’s conscience. Trying to paint this as an issue of “crude threats” from the west makes no sense. Chinese actions in Tibet are crude and disgusting and are turning away people in countries that might otherwise be natural Chinese allies, not just the hated west with its history of interfering in China. Advocating “forceful assimilation” is only likely to hasten this process. There is an internal logic to advocating a policy of thumbing your nose at global opinion and making enemies worldwide — as America did in Iraq — but you should recognise the responsibility of the country which did that in creating the ensuing global hostility. Caricaturing that as “crude threats” puts you in the company of the Americans who think Muslim hostility against them is unrelated to any of their government’s actions around the world. That’s not good company to be in. It’s rather stupid company.

Nobody is ignoring Chinese views. They are widely reported and impossible to ignore. People are disagreeing with them, which is different. Suppressing religious freedom is wrong whether done by China or the Soviet Union. Deliberately colonising another people’s land with settlers is wrong whether done by China or Israel. Shooting fleeing unarmed refugees in the back is wrong whether done by China or East Germany. Using protests against such crimes to feed an unjustified sense of victimisation is at best unwarranted and at worst potentially disastrous for everybody concerned, including China.

March 24, 2008 @ 1:44 am | Comment

Nausicaa,

Let me repeat: Terrorists are people who commit acts of terror on innocent people. That is what had happened in Tibet RIGHT NOW. I care less about what happened in the 1960s. That is in the past, as much as is the the true genocide which did occur in 19th century America agains the natives. I care about innocent people killed by Tibetan nationalists TODAY, including foreign tourists visiting the region.

Let me repeat: Genocide denotes the PHYSICAL elimiation of a race of people with the intention of WIPING out a paritcular people with a pariticular GENOTYPE. It’s not genocide when you assimilate a group of people to another culture, even if it’s forced. There is a significant difference between sending people to the gas chambers and forcibly educate people in accordance to the dominant culture. Even the Dalai Lama don’t dare use the term genocide per say. He has to append the word “cultural” to the word “genocide.” Even this phrase “cultural genocide” does not make sense. Human culture is not rooted in his physical traits or genotype. So how can you commit “cultural genocide” ???

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 2:16 am | Comment

I hope that no one will accuse me of spamming links, but here is the Chinese original text of the open letter referred to above. Very important reading.

http://crd-net.org/Article/Class71/200803/20080322152657_8159.html

March 24, 2008 @ 2:17 am | Comment

@Lens

It’s not genocide when you assimilate a group of people to another culture, even if it’s forced.

So that makes it better than genocide?

March 24, 2008 @ 2:22 am | Comment

@Lens

You seem very caring. Therefore I am sure you care about the Tibetans who are arrested, tortured and imprisoned for owning a picture of their respected religious leader, the Dalai Lama. Please explain what you as a Chinese propose to do to end this ongoing crime by the Chinese government.

March 24, 2008 @ 2:24 am | Comment

Lens

I’m sorry, but your comment on dismembering other countries is too off-topic – most people here simply want to see Tibetans treated with respect and given civil rights. No more diversionary tactics.

Also please keep posting under your name – don’t use other handles.

March 24, 2008 @ 2:49 am | Comment

Rohan,

As a solution to the problem in Tibet:

We need to integrate Tibetans into Chinese society and make them feel they are a part of Chinese society. Certainly, there are inequalities, economic and perhaps social, between Tibetans and Han ethnic groups. These problems need to be addressed. We need to encourage more inter-marriage between the two ethnic groups and cultural exchange. Han Chinese, if they are chauvinistic, need to get rid of their attitudes. Tibetans need to be more open-minded and less parochial. As a compromise between the two groups: The Han Chinese can give Tibetans a parcel of land for them to exclusively govern. In return, Tibetan nationalists need to accept that the world is becoming global and you cannot exclude other ethnic groups from being a part of Tibet.

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 2:50 am | Comment

I would like to point out that the map (http://tinyurl.com/yvqyvl) of Tibet that the Dalai Lama’s side uses does strike me as irresponsible in its implications for whether Hans and Tibetans can live peacefully together. They apparently claim areas such as Xining which have a lot of Han people living in them, which would throw off the population balance and effectively deny self-determination to the Han people living in those areas. The implication could be taken from this that the Tibetan government, given their full druthers, would expel or deny political rights to some of these Hans.

On the other hand, according to government statistics, Tibetans are still a substantial majority in most of the land area of Tibet, even outside the TAR — but non-Tibetans are concentrated in cities, so including urban areas such as Xining and Golmud makes no sense. The TGIE are not always a good or reliable source for information or ideas on this sort of thing.

Really, this demand for autonomy in the entire Tibetan region is an albatross. We’re talking about almost 20% of the land area of the PRC (what the TGIE claims is probably more than that). I don’t see that they have any choice but to work for self-determination for the TAR first and worry about the rest of Tibet later.

March 24, 2008 @ 3:04 am | Comment

@Lens

Hey, I am experiencing this every day in the United States. I am every day of my life being forcibly spoon-fed on being an American, and taught American English, and taught, consciously or subconsciously, that being Caucasian is better.

Yes, but you can choose between staying in the US or going to China. There already is a China. But there is only one Tibet.

March 24, 2008 @ 3:05 am | Comment

A note about that map: all of the yellow, orange, and red areas are claimed by the TGIE. All of the yellow and orange areas are designated Tibetan autonomous areas according to the PRC.

March 24, 2008 @ 3:06 am | Comment

Amban,

Why one in hell’s earth do I have to move out of the the United States? I am an American citizen, and yes, I am forcibly assimilated, whether consciously or subconsciously, into white American culture.

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 4:36 am | Comment

@Lens

I am an American citizen, and yes, I am forcibly assimilated, whether consciously or subconsciously, into white American culture.

Good for you, you have choices, both in your adopted homeland and your ancestral land (if I have understood it correctly). The Tibetans do not have your range of choice. It would be noble of you if you could recognize that, instead of arguing in favor of forcible assimilation.

March 24, 2008 @ 4:46 am | Comment

Amban,

What ancestral homeland? I am a 4th generation Chinese American. Alas, like the Tibetans whose home is in Tibet, my home is here in the United States. But I see logic in your argument, may be we Chinese Americans and other minorities here in the United States should also start our own self-determination movements. We need our own state, our own country here, and OUT with the Whities.

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 4:58 am | Comment

@Lens

I may have put my argument somewhat crudely, but try to be serious for a moment. Unless something happens soon, the Tibetans are losing their homeland and they have nowhere to go. They do not have the choices most of us have who are posting messages here. That’s all I’m trying to say.

March 24, 2008 @ 5:54 am | Comment

Look at the similarities:

Al Qaeda terrorist: I want to blow up the United States because they have oppressed us for generations.

Tibetan nationalist: Those Han Chinese deserve what they get because they have oppressed us.

Black American nationalist: The whitie is the devil that needs to be exterminated, for they have exploited, committed genocide against minority races.

Tibetan nationalist: The Chinese are the monster that need to be kicked out of the Tibet, for they are diluting our gene pool with their dirty genes.

Nazi Germans: The Jew is a plague upon Germany. We need to get them out of Germany or wipe them out, or else they would pollute our Aryan genes.

See the similarities? It’s racist nationalism, and that is what was exhibited in Tibet by the Tibetan nationalists in the past week.

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 6:03 am | Comment

@Lens

Your allegations are counterfactual.

Al Qaeda terrorist: I want to blow up the United States because they have oppressed us for generations.

Tibetan nationalist: Those Han Chinese deserve what they get because they have oppressed us.

Black American nationalist: The whitie is the devil that needs to be exterminated, for they have exploited, committed genocide against minority races.

The Han Chinese are oppressing the Tibetans *right now*, not in the past.


Tibetan nationalist: The Chinese are the monster that need to be kicked out of the Tibet, for they are diluting our gene pool with their dirty genes.

Nazi Germans: The Jew is a plague upon Germany. We need to get them out of Germany or wipe them out, or else they would pollute our Aryan genes.

The Chinese need to leave Tibet because they are killing and imprisoning people unjustly, repressing freedom of speech, imposing their own language, marginalizing the people of the country, stealing its resources, and preventing people from practising their religion freely.

It has nothing to do with genes, and as far as I know you are the only person who suggested it did.

March 24, 2008 @ 6:21 am | Comment

Amban,

Most of us don’t have many choices. The average Han Chinese, whom the Tibetan nationalists demonize as devils, are poor and desperate. For many Han Chinese, Tibet opens up a window of opportunity for their livelihood when in fact, if they were pushed back into China Proper, many of them would either starve on the streets or be sold into human slavery (e.g. prostitution). Now these poor Han Chinese are in Tibet, only to be met with murderous nationalists. Seems to me the Ku Klux Klan-mantality is operating very well recently in Tibet.

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 6:24 am | Comment

Rohan looked at how the Tibetan crowd is killing non-Tibetans, and makes the comment: What gene pool? The Tibetan secessionists aren’t worried about the gene pool. They aren’t racist.

Rohan,

According to the Free Tibet crowd, it is very much about the gene pool in Tibet. They are the ones who always say that Tibetans are becoming a minority within Tibet. So what’s that? Is’nt that an obsession about genes or what? How’s that different from the Aryan Nation which also talks about how immigrants in the United States are diluting the white gene pool and making Whites a minority in their own nation?

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 6:32 am | Comment

@Lens of Reason: I’m disengaging from the discussion about genocide. We’re essentially arguing over whether one type of shit is better than another type of shit, and I’m sorry to have engaged in the first place because it’s ultimately meaningless and detrimental to the real issues. As for terrorism – I give up. The Tibetan rioters are monsters, akin to Al-Qaeda…but where’s your outrage at the state terrorism perpetuated against Tibetan civilians and dissenters?

Also, like Rohan mentioned, the grievances of the Tibetan independence activists (except for the most extreme nationalists, I suppose) have very little to do with racial purity or miscegenation. And your attempt to equivocate them with Aryan nationalists is disingenuous. They’re worried about becoming a minority in Tibet not because they’re obsessed with the gene pool, but because they’re worried about the lack of protection of their *group rights*. Don’t tell me you can’t see the difference.
Furthermore, what you call “racist nationalism” very likely wouldn’t even be a problem in Tibet had the Chinese government allowed for more positive forms of civic expression and participation.

March 24, 2008 @ 6:42 am | Comment

Also:

Most of us don’t have many choices.

Us? You’re a 4th-generation American. Neither you (nor I, as a first-and-a-half gen), can pretend to speak for the “average Han Chinese” on the mainland.

March 24, 2008 @ 6:48 am | Comment

@Lens

Now these poor Han Chinese are in Tibet, only to be met with murderous nationalists. Seems to me the Ku Klux Klan-mantality is operating very well recently in Tibet.

I assume that you have same amount of compassion for foreigners who were killed by Chinese nationalists in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

March 24, 2008 @ 6:53 am | Comment

Nausicaa,

If you read one of my more recent posts, I have pointed out that the PRC government needs to address the social and economic inequities in Tibet. In fact, I even said that a consideration can be made by parceling out a piece of land for Tibetans to govern it exclusively as a cultural preserve. However, I don’t see how you can justify the stance of throwing out the Han Chinese out of Tibet, or even try to rationalize the murder of non-Tibetans by the Tibetan nationalists.

And yes, to a certain degree, racist xenophobia is a part of Tibetan nationalism, much akin to the Aryan Nation. The Free Tibet crowd is always concerned about diluting the Tibetan gene pool by non-Tibetans in Tibet. What’s that, if it’s not about genes/race?

Lens of Reason

PS: I’m glad you see my point of view regarding the use of terms, such as “genocide” and “terrorists”. It is important to define these words precisely. Otherwise, we are subject to propaganda and misinformation.

March 24, 2008 @ 6:56 am | Comment

Amban said: I assume that you have same amount of compassion for foreigners who were killed by Chinese nationalists in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Amban,

Don’t you? Aren’t all whities concerned when a member of their same race are killed, especially by the evil Chinese.

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 6:59 am | Comment

@Lens

Don’t you? Aren’t all whities concerned when a member of their same race are killed, especially by the evil Chinese.

OK, I guess this discussion is over.

March 24, 2008 @ 7:05 am | Comment

Lens of Reason, do you even read what I write?

However, I don’t see how you can justify the stance of throwing out the Han Chinese out of Tibet, or even try to rationalize the murder of non-Tibetans by the Tibetan nationalists.

Don’t put words in my mouth. I never try to rationalize murder – not when it’s perpetuated by Tibetan rioters and not when it’s perpetuated by the Chinese government.

And yes, to a certain degree, racist xenophobia is a part of Tibetan nationalism, much akin to the Aryan Nation. The Free Tibet crowd is always concerned about diluting the Tibetan gene pool by non-Tibetans in Tibet. What’s that, if it’s not about genes/race?

Vague assertions backed up by more vague assertions. The “Free Tibet crowd”? Show me your sources. And I’ve already pointed out that it’s not about the gene pool but about minority rights.

I’m glad you see my point of view regarding the use of terms, such as “genocide” and “terrorists”. It is important to define these words precisely. Otherwise, we are subject to propaganda and misinformation.

Go back and re-read what I wrote. I refuse to debate with you over terminology any longer because in the end, it’s all shit. Akin to UN quibbling over “genocide” versus “acts of genocide”. Meanwhile, people (both Tibetans and Han Chinese) are suffering.

March 24, 2008 @ 7:19 am | Comment

Amban,

My point is that yes, if I see a white killed simply because of his or her race by a racist, even of my own race, I will disapprove of it. European foreigners who did travel to China in the 19th century were oft attacked, either because of the unequal treaties imposed on China, or the injustice did to the Chinese. But that does not justify the wholesale slaughter of Christian missionaries, or white persons simply because they are white.

Similarly, the slaughter by Tibetan nationalists against the Han Chinese in Tibet is unjustified, whichever way you look at it.

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 7:25 am | Comment

lens,

I dont think the Chinese in Tibet are rioted against because they are Han, I think it is because they give the impression to the Tibetan people that they are on the side of the communist party. I would say that a lot of Han are following the line of CCP zealously, they dont think for themselves and they are tools in the mechanism of the CCPs persecution. Without brainwashed people all over China and the world, the CCP would not be able to control this kinf of persecution against so many innocent people. I think that Chinese people (who follow the party, which is a large proportion) should not be exempt from the role they have played in the cultural genocide and persecution of segmented groups that the party wants to hurt.

I dont say it justifies violence, but I do think the Chinese people cannot all be considered innocent if they willingly contribute to hate crimes and are tools of communist persecution…

March 24, 2008 @ 8:02 am | Comment

Snow,

How are Han Chinese in Tibet commiting hate crimes? They are simply migrants looking for a better livelihood in Tibet. It’s no wonder that they will flock to the CCP for protection since the Tibetan nationalists have decided to wantonly kill innocent civilians.

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 8:18 am | Comment

@Lens

Aren’t all whities concerned when a member of their same race are killed, especially by the evil Chinese.

Whities? I doubt anyone would tolerate calling Chinese “chinks” here, so I don’t see why this would fly either. Troll.

How are Han Chinese in Tibet commiting hate crimes?

I assume the person who posted that referred to Chinese acts that impose violence on innocent Tibetans for practising their own religion.

They are the ones who always say that Tibetans are becoming a minority within Tibet. So what’s that? Is’nt that an obsession about genes or what?

Nonsense. This is culture, not genes. If a person with Chinese parents speaks perfect Tibetan and practises Tibetan customs, he would not be swamping the Tibetans. If all the Chinese did that, there would be no charges of cultural genocide.

Instead, the Chinese come to Tibet as occupiers, continue to speak their own language, appropriate Tibet’s resources, punish Tibetans for practising their own religion, and desecrate Tibetan sites. These are all well documented and uncontroversial facts.

Lens, you appear to be a bored teenager who doesn’t know anything, isn’t particularly bothered with the facts, and is obsessed mainly with his own racial resentments against ‘whities’.

There are Chinese commentators here who don’t waste our time. You, on the other hand, do. I agree with nausicaa: you are a waste of time.

March 24, 2008 @ 9:09 am | Comment

lens,

yes that is a valid perspective of course, but, is it accurate? Do most Chinese people accept to follow the party line on persecuting Tibetan people? Are most Chinese people supportive of the idea of replacing the Tibetans peoples Buddha with the CCP? Would most Chinese agree with the party that the party can take away a Tibetans (or anyones) right to practice their religion of choice?

I am looking at this from the perspective of Falun Gong. I would say a lot of people in China are grossly uncaring towards the Falun Gong people because they follow the party line. You might say the Chinese dont believe the CCP media, but they do, they think some is true and they support the party….. So if the Tibetan situation is like the Falun Gong where the party wants them to renounce their faith.. and the main portion of Chinese people are cold cold cold and even supporting persecution with lots of actions to corroborate…. that could be the reason the Tibetans are not disassociating the Hans from the party itself. Whadoya think?

March 24, 2008 @ 11:27 am | Comment

Besides, if you were a Tibetan, and you were being persecuted, would you feel that party members and the particular party member who instigated the persecution are soo different? I mean Han is one thing, but party members are essentially responsible for the crimes of the party. I mean, the party needs these supporters, they crave members to bribe with some sort of securities….

March 24, 2008 @ 11:33 am | Comment

Rohan,

Let’s stick to the issues, rather than to calling each other names.

There is obviously an over-population of Han and other non-Tibetan ethnic Chinese groups that is over-spilling into Tibet. This is the inevitable consequence of human beings who live in overpopulated areas and are seeking to find a living space to live and live better for themselves and for their children. The great majority of Han Chinese in Tibet are merely looking for a livelihood. Take away all the labels, such as race, ethnicity, and even culture, all we are left with are human beings who are finding ways to survive. In the final analysis, there are no “Chinese” or “Tibetans”, only people. The unfortunate events of the past week demonstrated that some people are intensely parochial in their mindset and see different people groups as aliens to be exterminated. Your description that the “Chinese” are so and so only reinforce this racist/ethnocentric tendency.

As I proposed, there are ways the government need to use to address whatever grievances there are in Tibet, but to demonize and punish the innocent non-Tibetans in Tibet is ridiculous.

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 11:40 am | Comment

I’m actually happy over the Tibet disturbances. For it has truly exposed the face of the West and its designs upon China. Chinese people all over the globe are united on this one. It has NOTHING to do with the communist party and EVERYTHING to do with our national honor.

If I read you correctly, you regard the Tibetans as hostages in China’s supposed struggle against the West. How noble.

March 24, 2008 @ 11:54 am | Comment

Snow,

You have to get rid of the mentality that the Chinese people are unthinking robots who just repeat the party line. They understand that China needs time to politically transform, and it’s not going to happen overnight. The falung gong, if left uncontrolled, can spiral into political upheaval, and everyone with a historical understanding of China knows that religious forces (e.g Taiping, Yellow Turbans) have been known to cause political troubles in China. People in China are really tired of revolutions since they had cost so many lives.

As for Tibet, again, it’s not that the Han Chinese are towing the party line. The Han Chinese, for the most part, are destitute agrarian peasants and workers. They need to make a living for themselves. If you were a Chinese peasant and you are poor and you have kids to feed, and now you heard that in Tibet there are opportunities for work, what would you do? Likely you’ll go to Tibet also.

But unfortunately, it’s incidents like these, these anti-Chinese riots, that make the average non-Tibetan Chinese more sympathetic to the CCP, who is seen as protecting the interests of China. And of course, foreigners demonizing the Chinese people doesn’t help matters much because then the perception is that the West hates China (please no rude comments here).

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 11:56 am | Comment

The Han Chinese, for the most part, are destitute agrarian peasants and workers. They need to make a living for themselves.

You can say that of almost any colonial settler community, be they pied noirs in French Algeria or Japanese in Manchukuo. But their economic opportunity come at the expense of the local population.

In the case of Tibet, all important manufacturing and construction jobs go to Han Chinese. Fluency in Chinese is required for all important jobs. And no Tibetans has ever been allowed to hold the reins of power in TAR. If you don’t call that discrimination, I don’t know what discrimination is.

March 24, 2008 @ 12:10 pm | Comment

Amban,

So the Han Chinese being poor and desperate for a livelihood is not important to you? I think we need to balance between the interests of the Tibetans and those of other ethnic groups, who are also human beings in need of a livelihood. Keep in mind it’s not just Han Chinese who are moving into Tibet, but also other ethnic groups, such as Uighurs.

Like I said before, what the government might have to do is to address the social and economic inequities that result from this mass influx of migrants into Tibet. But mass influx into Tibet there will be because people are looking for jobs and a wage to live on.

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 12:18 pm | Comment

Amban, that was our Sydney troll, Wayne/Jeb – so he’s gone.

Lens, the best word I can think of to describe your comments is “slick.” Equating the Tibetans with Nazis was really, really slick. It’s total horseshit, of course, considering the Nazis invaded sovereign nations and exterminated groups of the occupied population, but what the hell, it sounds good. Now, I agree that the killing of Han Chinese and looting of their stores, etc., are really bad things. But these bad things happen nearly all the time when people see their lands occupied by foreign intruders. The Indians attacked the American invaders, the Mujahadeen attacked the Soviet invaders, the Palestinians attack the Israeli settlers, the Iraq insurgency attacks the American invaders, etc. I am not saying any of this is justified – not the invasions and not the attacks on the invaders. I am only saying this is not a very extreme or unusual situation. In nearly every case I cite, I can understand the mentality of those who feel oppressed (though I don’t necessarily agree with them). None of those whose land was conquered can be compared to the invading, exterminating Nazis. Not at all. They may be brutal, they may be irrational, they may be self-destructive, but they are not Nazis. And your slick attempt to portray them as such is obscene.

Anyway, what with your posting under various names and casual historical sloppiness, I think we all can see what your game is.

To other readers, including those who take a different stand than my own but do so in an intelligent way (like CCT and Jing and others), I just want to say that the invasion of this site by irrational if smooth-talking fenqing is like a game of whack-a-mole. They keep popping up and usually self-detonate in a blaze of party talking points. An intriguing phenomenon but it can be quite draining for the site managers. At the end of the day, I think their main motivation is sadism, a desire to see just how annoying they can be, and to see how far they can push the envelope before they are are either totally ignored or asked to leave.

March 24, 2008 @ 12:19 pm | Comment

mole, good word, clever… specially since they are here on behalf of an institution that lives off of propaganda, its department of which extends to tasks like the ones we often see carried out on blogs like this…Some people might not believe this, too far fetched, you will see that it is true, just wait till the poop really hits the fan, 60-99% seems to still be in the closet (depending on who were lookin at…

Anyway, I agree that if the Hans in Tibet are not members of the CCP and do not persecute the Tibetans in any way, the riots against them is really freak… But I dont think that is the case…. I will have to do more research…

lens, your excuse for persecuting Falun Gong doesnt hold up. whats your excuse for taking away the Tibetan peoples religious beliefs? SOme kinda potential threat?

lens, isnt universal justice a threat to the partys existence? SHould we exterminate it? Well, thats what the party is working on. Excuses for all crimes, huh,

March 24, 2008 @ 12:32 pm | Comment

And to make sure there are no misunderstandings: I think the Iraqi insurgency is pretty evil, and don’t condone anything they do when it comes to chopping off heads of innocents and blowing up police stations and mosques. And I don’t compare what they are doing with what the Dalai Lama is doing, or with what the on-the-ground Tibetan rioters are doing. But the comparison of the Iraqi insurgency with Nazis and extermination do not hold up. Both may be evil, but not at all in the same way.

March 24, 2008 @ 12:35 pm | Comment

If China weren’t so hell-bent on crushing anyone who calls them on their BS, they would realize that the best way for them to handle the Tibet situation would have been to calmly allow protests to take place and put down any violence with non-lethal weapons, allowing foreign media to openly report that they were doing all they could to prevent harm to the protesters and give them their space. Whether or not Tibet is right (and I am not going to get into the right or wrong of it) the inability of the PRC to accept that people can and will disagree with its policies is exacerbating a bad situation. Tibet is trying to hijack the Olympics? That’s a laugh! China needs no help on that front. One World, One Dream, One Clusterf@@k.

March 24, 2008 @ 12:48 pm | Comment

Otto Kerner

Thanks. I think I do have difficulty accepting at least one of the possible arguments in mitigation that you suggest might be advanced in the Israel-Palestine case. As you are aware, the Arab world is hardly homogeneous. Most Palestinians feel strongly that they are a distinct people in their own right with their own history & identity. Their homeland is not simply a tiny corner of the overall Arab region but that geographical area to which they feel uniquely bonded. For them it is not interchangeable with any other part of the Arab world. (As you know, the Israeli authorities have tended to deny the existence of a distinct Palestinian national identity.)

Anyway, back to Tibet…

March 24, 2008 @ 12:51 pm | Comment

Incidentally, Lens, you may want to go have that checked out. Your lens seems to be blurring reason into something more akin to doctrine. It’s tough, I know. You don’t realize it’s happening until you go to the ophthalmologists and say “Wow, has my reason degraded so quickly? I just bought this lens!” but alas we all grow old, and our lenses do tend to need servicing. Good luck with that, friend, and good luck with coming to terms with reality.

March 24, 2008 @ 12:56 pm | Comment

Well,

Looks like the gang of 15 has now ganged up on me. I’d be concerned if everyone here starts to agree with me, a scenario which would prove I have lost my character and courage to stand up for what I perceive as reality. But good, I have piqued the hatred of the anti-China crowd, even though my conversation has been quite polite. Yayyyy.

Pick and tear my comments apart, please do. I’m off to have some fun.

Lens of Reason

March 24, 2008 @ 1:28 pm | Comment

No one will miss you, trust me.

March 24, 2008 @ 1:39 pm | Comment

I think it’s obvious Beijing is trying to precisely what the above (imposter) “Reason” suggested from a law enforcement point of view. It heavily invested in the use of non-lethal equipment; I’m convinced so far of only one actual use of lethal force over the past week, in Sichuan. Considering the scale of the protests and Beijing’s previous history, I personally am very surprised at the restraint.

@Amban,

As far as the Thai Olympics torch runner withdrawing … honestly, while it’s not what I would’ve wanted, it’s really not a significant measure.

I understand you’re telling me that China shouldn’t want to be in the company of the United States, but if the world hasn’t managed to convince a Western developed democracy of the morals you’re espousing here… do you really to have more luck in an oriental developing nation?

I’m still not sure that Iraq is truly so “important” to American interests that the United States was so ready to ignore international opinion… god knows American opinion was divided on the subject. But the issue of Tibet, indeed *any* issue involving national sovereignty, is hugely significant to the vast majority of Chinese on a personal level.

I’m not at all convinced that you (and the Free Tibet movement in exile) have at all taken Chinese perspectives into account. I’ll say it again: the vast majority of Chinese do not accept that Tibetans are victims of a colonial occupation, or special persecution at the hands on the basis of their race / identity.

The Dalai Lama at least seems to understand that any favorable outcome for Tibet must come within the scope of a solution that the Chinese on the street will accept. Much of what has been suggested so far isn’t remotely close to being palatable for the Chinese.

Both tibet.net and tibet.com (as well as every major significant Tibet support group) continues to reflect an agenda that eventually leads to independence. Even the dissenters (a tiny, tiny minority) that signed Wang Lixiong’s petition wouldn’t articulate support for “self-determination” or any sort of suggestion that the solution to Tibet is decolonization.

So, I’ll say it again. If “Free Tibet” is the goal, then their supporters better start figuring out a way to explain their cause to the Chinese people. The Chinese have already fought one shooting war against Tibetan guerillas, and is preparing to fight a shooting war against the United States/Japan if necessary to defend claims to Taiwan; I don’t think China’s remotely afraid of fighting another war with the “Tibet Youth Congress”.

March 24, 2008 @ 2:20 pm | Comment

Washington Post: Protests May Only Harden Chinese Line

http://tinyurl.com/2qd2co

Western coverage on Tibet has been very flawed, as discussed here. However, I (and many others) do admit Beijing is partly responsible. Despite my best guess (and what I certainly would’ve argued was the smarter policy), Western media has not been invited back into Tibet for a closer look at the “repression” in Lhasa.

Regardless… it seems China and the West are destined to be separated by this wide gap in perception. The ’99 bombing of the Chinese embassy, the ’01 EP-3 collision over Hainan Island.. and now the ’08 Lhasa riots. All of the communication channels we have access to today hasn’t at all helped us understand each other.

March 24, 2008 @ 3:24 pm | Comment

@Amban

“Fluency in Chinese is required for all important jobs.”

Chinese, English and Spanish will be most important languages in our and our children’s lifetime.

New Yorker are paying $70,000 for Chinese speaking nanny to teach their children Chinese. Tibetans are getting Mandarin education for free.

Btw, I thought you became irrelevant in Tibet after we throw out the Qing in 1911 . how did you survive all these years in the wild?

March 24, 2008 @ 3:48 pm | Comment

An op-ed article from the NYT you probably have read:

“He may be a God, but he’s no politician”

http://tinyurl.com/2voc37

Good week everybody

March 24, 2008 @ 4:24 pm | Comment

Dear Cao Meng De

You make an excellent point. In fact, those prisoners of war that the Americans have kept at Guantanamo get free Spanish lessons out of the deal, so what is everyone complaining about?

Again, excellent point.

I might point out that Chinese is important for all important jobs IN China.

March 24, 2008 @ 5:25 pm | Comment

Dear Tweeter,

I doubt they taught those Uyghurs held in Guantanamo Spanish. I hope they did learn some basic English phrase though like “lie face down on the ground”, “Open your legs” “We are going to perform full body cavity search on you” etc.

No matter what your definition of China is, TODAY, you still need fluency in Chinese to get hygh paying job in Tibet and Xinjiang. That’s a fact.

Maybe you would like change that? Just a friendly advice. US embassy just issue a statement to traveler to China which include this gem

“The Department of State or the U.S. Embassy and Consulates General cannot have an American released from prison.”

If you would like to picture what will be like inside a Chinese prison make sure you read this article first.

Cheers

March 24, 2008 @ 5:43 pm | Comment

@CCT

I’ll say it again: the vast majority of Chinese do not accept that Tibetans are victims of a colonial occupation, or special persecution at the hands on the basis of their race / identity.

Logical fallacy: Appeal to popularity. “Appeals to popularity suggest that an idea must be true simply because it is widely held. ”

http://www.logicalfallacies.info/appealtopopularity.html

March 24, 2008 @ 8:27 pm | Comment

@CCT

Interesting article from the Post. I think this comments summarizes the issues:

“I have been telling my students for years that as China becomes a world power, there is going to be a lot more scrutiny and criticism,” said Michael Pettis, a professor at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. “Just as Americans have learned to deal with it, the Chinese are going to have to learn to deal with it. My hope is that after the anger there will be some reflection on the complexity of these issues.”

March 24, 2008 @ 10:08 pm | Comment

CCT actually raises a good point but asks the wrong question – which is not how the Free Tibet movement can better garner popular support among mainland Chinese (as if a lack of recognition somehow invalidates it), but how the mainland Chinese can possibly grasp the extent to which the Tibetans have been discriminated against and persecuted when they’re subjected to propaganda and misinformation by the state media, when Chinese nationalism (and ethnic nationalism in general) is by nature exclusionary and deny the claims of perceived competing groups, and when the Chinese themselves lack the full actionable rights of citizens.

They can’t perceive the inhumanity because they themselves have been denied realization of their full humanity. And this is another dimension to the tragedy.

March 24, 2008 @ 11:44 pm | Comment

lens,

does painting yourself the victim make you feel your points are more valid?

No one here is anti China (except nanhey but hes not around), and I think people may seem to not like you because their is a lot of controversy over opinions thmselves when it comes to issues about China, cause there is so much skewing of info..

your tactic is of glossing over, you have shown that you are way to simplistic and you dont express very good nderstanding of the issue because your comments have no depth of understanding. Thats okay, your opinions are valid indeed and I apologize if I have made you feel insulted.

Has anyone or anything you care about ever been forcefully taken away through evil political means? Have you ever experienced being the victims of genocide or atrocities against human rights? I think I know the answer, what do you think?

So dont take it personally

March 25, 2008 @ 12:42 am | Comment

@nausicaa,

The Chinese believe what we believe. There are clearly differences in values between what the average Chinese believes, and what you believe.

Most Chinese, in turn, believe that the sort of liberalism you describe is naive, and happens to be applied in a *very* selective way in order to forward the specific agenda of overseas governments.

Frankly, looking at China’s history, we are more than a little tired of Western “justice”. The Opium War was about nothing more than the freedom of trade and rule of law, after all. Subsequent invasions were about preserving religious freedom, or punishment for violence targeted at Westerners and Western missionaries… all of whom were in China on “just” causes.

Our histories divide us. The Lhasa riot is just the most recent incarnation of this. I don’t hold much hope of easily convincing you (or the American public at large)… and you shouldn’t hold false hope of convincing me (or the Chinese public at large) on this issue.

If this is an issue you care about, that leaves us two solutions. 1) talk to us in terms we all understand, talk to us from a perspective we all share. 2) grab a gun, and we’ll see who’s convictions are stronger.

Talking *at* us with claims of genocide and colonialism will not work; might as well grab your gun.

Talking *to* us about the merits of rule of law, about the need for transparency, about religious autonomy not necessarily conflicting with national sovereignty.. that might work.

It’s really that simple.

March 25, 2008 @ 2:15 am | Comment

Blog entry updated with new article about Tibetans shot by Chinese “security” forces.

March 25, 2008 @ 2:32 am | Comment

CCT

Talking *to* us about the merits of rule of law, about the need for transparency, about religious autonomy not necessarily conflicting with national sovereignty.. that might work.

CCT, you are conveniently forgetting that for the last 20+ years China has ignored all reasoned requests for discussion over Tibet. They are dismissed as being unnecessary because everyone in Tibet is happy, or malicious because they want to break up China. China had every chance to listen but decided to stop its ears up instead.

To now complain that no one is trying to engage it in reasonable discussion is a joke. What is happening is that China has been rudely woken up from its self-imposed fantasy that Tibet is stable and doesn’t need change by the recent unrest. China is trying to bluff its way out of a problem that it only has itself to blame for.

And you certainly don’t do yourself any favours by bringing up the Opium Wars as an example of North American/European justice given that happened a century and a half ago. Drop the victim act and join the rest of us in the 21st century – or go see a psychiatrist if you’re honestly troubled by the events of the 19th century.

By the way, if you want to fight someone you can leave your gun behind – only cowards use one when they have their fists instead.

March 25, 2008 @ 2:43 am | Comment

I agree completely with Raj’s comment. I also want to add that I am extremely troubled by the tendency of some cyber patriots to hold the Tibetans hostage in an imaginary struggle against the “West”.

March 25, 2008 @ 3:17 am | Comment

@CCT:

Yes, “Western justice” has been marred by imperialist policies in the past (and I think anyone who would retroactively justify them would be wholly discredited), but you forget that “Western justice” also involved acknowledgment of complicity in histories of genocide and colonialism from the post-war years up until the 90′s. So public opinion (and values, and culture) is never immutable, and this fact can be applied universally.

(P.S. I’ve mentioned this to Lens of Reason, and I’ll say it again – please stop using “us”, especially when you’re so matter-of-factedly proposing violence as a solution. You are not the average Chinese. If in fact civil war does break out, you wouldn’t be anywhere near the areas of conflict, because you have exit options and like any chickenhawk you’d use them.)

March 25, 2008 @ 3:26 am | Comment

@Raj,

Bringing up 110 year old history is verboten? (The Boxer Rebellion and the subsequent Western invasion is only 110 years old.) But bringing up 60 year old Tibetan history is, on the other hand, reasonable?

Can you let me know where the cut-off on history is, so that I can better understand what arguments I’m allowed to bring up? Is it right at 60 years? Or 90?

I’m not trying to argue anything at all, really… in the sense that I’m not trying to convince you to share the Chinese perception of nationalism. I’m laying the context for why popular belief in nationalism is so widespread amongst the Chinese.

I don’t have a problem with people bringing up events from 1950 as being motivation for Tibetan exiles… those events obviously define their approach and perspective of China/Tibet today. And you better recognize that the events of 1900 are absolutely relevant to the issue of Chinese world-view, today.

As far as “engagement” over the last 20 years, clearly, almost all political reform in China has been on freeze-frame since 1989. I do believe there’s a lost opportunity here when it comes to reforms. If you want to place blame on Beijing and the Chinese people, I can understand that sentiment. You can proclaim loudly “Beijing started it”.

But I’m talking about today and the practical future. Regardless of “who started it”, Beijing is not going to lose this battle. There’s nothing that Tibetan exiles can do, short of nuclear terrorism, to force Beijing into policy changes.

I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: if Tibetan monks can brave arrest to demand political change, then it would’ve been much more productive to do so as Chinese citizens… the conflict would look like a few hundred million Tibetans + Chinese, versus a few thousand political conservatives on the other side.

However, recent protests have clearly been one of “Tibetans” versus “Chinese”, and that’s the only theme in the exile community. Well, now the conflict looks like 5 million Tibetans motivated by the history of 1950 versus 1.3 billion Chinese motivated by the history of 1900.

March 25, 2008 @ 3:37 am | Comment

@nausicaa,

Frankly, I don’t relish speaking for “us”. I’m well aware of the fact that there are 1.3 billion Chinese, which implies there are 1.3 billion different opinions, of which I .. generously… can only claim to know the opinions of maybe 100-200.

Unfortunately, very few of “you” speaking about the Chinese have learned enough language, and taken enough initiative to want to learn the Chinese position on anything. Even when the opportunity arises, you automatically dismiss anything which doesn’t match your opinion as products of brain-washing and information control.

With millions of mainland Chinese now living/working/studying overseas, there is now plenty of opportunity to engage in a discussion with a representative sample of “us”. Have you done so, and in what way have you done so?

I’m more than willing to give you links to 5, 10 well-populated overseas mainland Chinese forums. Are you going to spend time trying to learn what that sentiment is, or do you already the answer?

When I speak as “us”, I personally try to speak as objectively as possible in representing the *popular* opinion that I see and hear. If you look through my posts, I’m usually careful about a distinction between “us” and “I”. I don’t agree with everything that dominates the popular opinion of my community, but I’m at least willing to relay it.

As far as the Western acknowledgment of its “complicity” in past injustice… that’s fine, I’m certainly willing to accept that no one in the West would attempt to defend the Opium War. However, recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan just goes to confirm that this morality only goes so far. National interests will *always* dominate all other considerations, and moral excuses can always be found to justify any action.

Western sense of “justice” didn’t stop a war in Iraq, and it will never stop a Western government from weakening China strategically, if it helps forward Western national interests. China’s too big of a target/market/threat to be left alone. Just as you’d never trust the Chinese government to protect your interests, I certainly don’t trust the United States or any other Western nation to protect our interests.

The only thing on this planet that protects Chinese interests is China.

March 25, 2008 @ 3:50 am | Comment

Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth
http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html

March 25, 2008 @ 4:02 am | Comment

@CCT

The only thing on this planet that protects Chinese interests is China.

I wonder if you have thought out where exactly Chinese interests lie in the matter. Consider this illustration and this hypothesis.

The illustration is as follows. Recently, it came out in the Indian press that Chinese troops had crossed a short way over the international border in western Bhutan near the Bhutan-Bangladesh corridor, which could put them in a position to cut off north-eastern India from the rest of the country.

To respond to this threat, the Indian government had to move troops from security duty in Kashmir, because they didn’t have enough reserve troops. This lack of reserves created by the suppression of dissent in Kashmir is one of India’s major strategic problems. It has been clear for some time that Kashmir bleeds the Indian army and blows a great hole in the country’s budget; this only made people painfully aware of.

India’s hawks think they are serving Indian interests by a maximalist position on Kashmir, but all they are really doing is bleeding their own country and damaging its primary long-term interest, which is economic growth to lift Indians out of poverty.

My hypothesis is that China’s long-term interest is the same, ie. economic growth. Chinese hawks are in that hypothesis similarly shooting their country in the foot. The Tibetan occupation hinders the goal of long-term economic growth in two obvious ways and one less obvious one.

1. By using resources for occupying and funding an administration in Tibet that could be more profitably employed elsewhere.

2. By creating conflict with outsiders that puts a brake on direct as well as indirect economic ties.

The less obvious handicap is related to the place of China in the world in fifty years. Russia was easily placed in the role of the bogeyman of the cold war because of its cultural distance from the west and it is not inconceivable that China could fall into the same harmful trap.

India as an increasingly English-speaking nation would be likely to slot into a global democratic (and largely English-speaking) alliance if hostility between China and the west grew and China did not reform.

It seems vital to China’s long-term interests to avoid creating a dynamic that isolates China and surrounds it with a hostile alliance of the English-speaking democracies. A sensible strategy would be to make enough allies to avoid encirclement. So:

3. By strengthening the hand of China’s hawks, who can portray democratisation as defeatism and giving up territory, the Tibetan occupation increases the risks of China finding itself in a long-term conflict with a much larger alliance.

(Actually, now that I’ve come this far with the analogy, I see more comparisons between China and Prussia circa 1890: new, successful, militaristic, contemptuous of democracy and democracies, and culturally isolated).

Whatever the ultimate truth or falsehood of such analogies and arguments, I hope intelligent Chinese are asking themselves two questions…

1. What are the goals China aims for in this century, in terms of economic growth and geopolitical alliances?

2. Is Chinese policy towards Tibet helping or hurting these goals – to what extent and in what ways?

3. What effect would alternative policies have on those goals?

As a general heuristic, allowing policies to be guided by knee-jerk jingoism and not a sober and practical consideration of costs and benefits almost always leads any country towards dangerous errors (eg. we still don’t know what the ultimate costs of America’s Iraq adventure will be).

China seems particularly vulnerable to this because it has only recently opened up enough for popular jingoism to become a significant force. Until the last decade policies were still quietly made in secret. Democracy and openness are good things, but they have a learning curve, and part of that learning curve is teaching the mob prudence. It’s as old as the disastrous Athenian decision to invade Sicily. Nationalist emotions may serve a country’s best interests when its back is really to the wall (eg. Britain, 1940) but in most other situations they are truly catastrophic.

March 25, 2008 @ 4:25 am | Comment

@CCT

Bringing up 110 year old history is verboten? (The Boxer Rebellion and the subsequent Western invasion is only 110 years old.) But bringing up 60 year old Tibetan history is, on the other hand, reasonable?

Please don’t play games; you know exactly what Raj is talking about. The history of many Western nations in China is disgraceful, but all unequal treaties have been withdrawn, there are no foreign troops in China, no foreign concessions and the Anschluss of Hong Kong took place more than a decade ago. Anti-Chinese legislation has been repealed in all Western democracies. Western imperialism is a painful memory, but no longer a fact of everyday life. In fact, China is stronger today than it has been for a long time. Where’s the gripe, really?

Tibet is different and the past 60 years of history means a lot because the government of the PRC has not yielded an inch from its position.

March 25, 2008 @ 4:36 am | Comment

@Amban,

Don’t put words in my mouth; instead, read through what I wrote.

I don’t have a gripe against the West, do I have a desire to exact some sort of revenge on the West for past events. However, I am completely clear what the West is “capable of” if the situation dictated.

I have come to the conclusion that the West isn’t tolerant of non-Western moralities, that Western democracies will never sacrifice local economies to the advantage of foreign economies, and that the West isn’t afraid to use force to achieve its claims. Do you disagree substantively with these conclusions?

That’s why China needs to be strong. Not to punish the West, and not even to fight an impending Western invasion… but to protect Chinese interests.

Strategically speaking, breaking Tibet off of China is exactly what the British attempted in the early part of the 20th century… and many Chinese suspect those motives haven’t changed. Tibet for Tibetans could easily be followed by Uyghur-land for Uyghurs; Miao-land for Miao…

Radio Free Asia, funded by the US Congress, already broadcasts in Uyghur. It wouldn’t be difficult for it to start broadcasting in Hmong/Miao.

March 25, 2008 @ 5:01 am | Comment

@Rohan,

Well, I certainly appreciate your effort to step into Chinese shoes in an objective manner. This is certainly the kind of effort (and discussion) from non-Chinese that could bear fruit, especially if it was repeated more generally. I appreciate the fact that it’s not patronizing.

You bring up excellent points, points I don’t necessary have the answer for. I certainly wouldn’t want to speak for “the Chinese” at large on answers to those questions.

How much is Tibet “worth” from the perspective of economic loss? How much should all of China sacrifice to hold on to a poorly populated Himalayan region with zero economic value? Will a different strategic approach actually work better for China?

As I myself said in an earlier post, is there any chance that an “independent” or “autonomous” Tibet could possibly swing away, if it was attached via land border to (what will be) the largest economy on the planet? Will secular middle-class Tibetans really give up their DVD players and satellite TVs?

I don’t know the answers to the above, partly because we don’t (yet) have a way to determine the answer. There isn’t official dialogue to figure out the parameters.

I’d want to correct you on one point, however. My sense is that the Asian nations surrounding China aren’t especially concerned by the concept of China holding onto Tibet with dear life. Almost every Asian nation is struggling with some sort of separatist sentiment of its own. There are separatist insurgencies in Thailand, Malayasia, Indonesia, Burma, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Burma… and as you said yourself, India. Even Bhutan, which some uphold as some sort of Tibetan ideal, has had its challenges with the ethnic Nepali minority.

March 25, 2008 @ 5:19 am | Comment

@CCT

I have come to the conclusion that the West isn’t tolerant of non-Western moralities, that Western democracies will never sacrifice local economies to the advantage of foreign economies, and that the West isn’t afraid to use force to achieve its claims. Do you disagree substantively with these conclusions?

I happen to disagree. And what is the “West” by the way? Where does it start and where does it end? Anyway, the European Union is an example of an attempt to settle differences between former enemies peacefully.

There are a number of territories and peoples that may declare independence in the near future and the majority populations in these countries would rather not see that happen. But here is the beauty of the European Union: Europeans can travel freely between countries and trade barriers are gone. Even if Scotland or Flanders became independent tomorrow, English people and Waloons would be able to travel to visit their former compatriots.

If Chinese cyber patriots had any sense, they would realize that China is big and powerful, and even if Tibet, Xinjiang and Taiwan become independent, they would still have to deal with China. The question is whether Chinese patriots want to pay the human and moral cost to retain these territories, or perhaps open their minds to different ways of forging relations to their neighbors. That would be the best way of protecting “Chinese interests” whatever those may be.

March 25, 2008 @ 5:28 am | Comment

I think what Chinese cyber patriots do realize is that many of China’s current and “potential” neighbors on this planet do not want China being big and powerful. And China did pay dearly when “Chinese interests” are dictated by others.

March 25, 2008 @ 5:48 am | Comment

@CLC

I think what Chinese cyber patriots do realize is that many of China’s current and “potential” neighbors on this planet do not want China being big and powerful.

If you were right, it is almost impossible to explain why the rest of the world has allowed China to develop into a economic world power with all the protections international institutions allow.

March 25, 2008 @ 5:54 am | Comment

Well, the credit to China’s recent development first and foremost goes to the Chinese people, not some outside permissions. And the U.S. has become a superpower despite ill wishes from many other countries.

March 25, 2008 @ 7:25 am | Comment

@CCT:

You seem to think that most of us have never had any contact with the mysterious creature known as the Chinese. I don’t want to make a pathetic show of proving any so-called “credentials”, so you can believe what you want. But I wonder at your presumption in thinking that overseas mainlanders – who are but a relatively small population of mostly educated elites – somehow make for a “representative sample” of 1.3 billion people. So my point remains – since neither you (nor in fact the majority of overseas mainlanders) would actually be the ones to bear the burdens and consequences of Beijing pursuing hawkish policies – you should quit grouping yourself in with the mainlanders who don’t have the luxury of leaving should there be an actual breakout of civil war and acting as a self-styled mouthpiece for “Chinese interests”.

And speaking of misrepresentation – I love the way you’ve set up this binary structure of “Western morality” versus “non-Western morality” (which is…what, exactly? Do tell.) I brought up postwar decolonization and the recognition of the debilitating legacies of imperialism and colonialism not because I want to show how great and moral “the West” (which is of course a monolithic and homogeneous entity) is, but because I wanted to point out to you that public opinion, cultural values, and national interests do change. Postcolonialism as a concept has been in existence for about as long as modern Chinese nationalism – in other words, not very long. So any talk about “Chinese interests” as if they’re somehow inherently immutable is erroneous. And also, since you brought up Iraq and Afghanistan, it bears mentioning that *perceived* “national interests” are arguably not always the actual interests of the nation – popular support for the Iraq invasion and the War on Terror was at least in part perpetuated by propaganda and misinformation from the Bush administration and press cowardice and self-censorship.

March 25, 2008 @ 7:36 am | Comment

@Amban,

What international institutions has protected China? What did you have in mind?

Other than the WTO (where China’s entry is clearly a win-win situation rather than some sort of gift).. what other international institution are you referring to? China fought a war against the United Nations in the 1950s, and didn’t join as a member until until the ’70s. And the only reason China was invited in at all was as a political counter-weight to the Soviet Union. China didn’t compete in the Olympics until 1984. China’s not a member of the G-8.

As far as the rest of the world “allowing” China to develop into an economic world power… it seems to me more accurate to say that the rest of the world has been to greedy to allow China to develop economically. I don’t see a hint of benevolence in China’s economic growth. For that matter, I’m not sure what the West could’ve done to keep Apple, HP, or Nike from buying from lower-cost Chinese manufacturers short of an economic boycott.

That said, I’d agree that the rest of the world isn’t hostile to China at the moment. There’s no war (cold or hot) in recent years. But the winds of change blow fast in the West, and there’s plenty of latent hostility.

It was only 1997 that China’s embassy was blown up. It was only until 2001 that China had to beg/plead for “most favored nation” (ie, normal trading status) with the United States on an annual basis. It was only in 2000/2001 that the Bush presidency announced China was a strategic competitor, not a partner.

China still isn’t allowed to participate in the International Space Station. There’s an on-going boycott in military affairs from both Europe and the United States. European Union nations aren’t allowed to sell arms to China… the United States goes even further by explicitly prohibiting any American made *components* from being launched on a Chinese rocket… an explicit attempt to slow the Chinese space program. This is the primary reason China hasn’t taken over the space launch market with its more reliable, far less expensive rockets.

So, while the West isn’t currently planning an invasion of China, the hostility and strategic tension there is obvious and present. And if you follow domestic debate in the West, the only reason China is being treated “kindly” at all is because of the economic weight that China now carries.

The lesson of the past 50 years just reinforces what I said earlier: only a strong China can preserve Chinese interests, because no one else will.

March 25, 2008 @ 7:50 am | Comment

CCT, it is rather hypocritical to accuse Amban of putting words in your mouth when you did the same with me.

You know that I wasn’t saying anything was “forbidden”, only that it damages someone’s credibility if they try to use history from over a century ago to indicate what countries or people are like today. It could be more recent than that, but a century is a clear indication that it’s not appropriate given everyone from that period would be dead.

I’m not saying that the view of the world held by some Chinese is not affected by events from 1900 and earlier. I’m saying that those who are so obsessed with those periods of history that they view modern countries through those events (eg. they say that European nations et al are “imperialist” and “racist” today because of the Opium Wars) need therapy.

if Tibetan monks can brave arrest to demand political change, then it would’ve been much more productive to do so as Chinese citizens…

CCT, you really are living in fairy-land. They could swear love to the motherland and they’d still be treated the same way by the government, media and most Chinese.

Besides, some Tibetans would say that it is better to stay true to who they are than sell out in the hope of gaining the sympathy of a few Chinese who aren’t even brave enough to stand up for themselves, let alone people hundreds of miles away.

I have come to the conclusion that the West isn’t tolerant of non-Western moralities

If you mean beating the shit out of someone because they don’t bend down and take it from behind from autocratic regimes and corrupt business bosses, you are correct. But in the 21st century most of us here would hope these are universal moralities – I’d feel very sad if Chinese thought that it’s ok to shoot unarmed civilians simply because they have political complaints, or for unpaid workers to have their legs broken because they ask for their wages.

March 25, 2008 @ 7:55 am | Comment

@nausicaa,

I don’t want to make a pathetic show of proving any so-called “credentials”, so you can believe what you want.

I don’t really know anything about you, so I have no idea what to believe of you. But my exchanges with others on this forum have largely convinced me that they’re basically ignorant of mainland Chinese perspectives.

It’s interesting that you don’t want to make a “pathetic show” of your credentials, but have little problem attacking mine.

I’m certainly willing to concede that there’s certainly a difference in attitudes between the “elite” overseas and the “non-elite” in China… but claiming that I am therefore ignorant of the “non-elite” perspective is as ridiculous as saying you must have no idea what provincial farmers in your home country (whatever that might be) is thinking. If you are remotely interested in your own country, I’d assume you’d have at least a reasonable idea of what motivates everyone. If you don’t… well, don’t project your flaws on me.

Frankly, the concept of “credentials” itself is idiotic. I haven’t dug around asking about anyone’s background on this thread; the way someone speaks of Chinese perspectives makes it instantly obvious whether they know of what they speak regardless of whether they agree with me. zhizhe jianzhi. So far, you haven’t said anything about Chinese perspectives.

As far as “Western” versus “non-Western” morality… I trust the concept of Islamic values, for one, isn’t lost on you. On the concept of rights of woman, I (being a happily brain-washed Communist drone) share the Western perspective: they are equal to men, and they should be given every right to education and career success. However, I could never imagine the existence of polygamy or the stoning of adulterers could become any sort of justification for foreign policy when my country deals with Islamic nations. Singapore’s Li Guangyao has also written extensively in the ’90s about “Asian values”; I’m not sure I agree with his definition of these values, or the conclusion of what those values imply… but wise men at least agree there’s a cultural difference here.

I recognize national interests and values can change. Considering I grew up in the waning years of the Cultural Revolution, that’s a rather obvious observation.

But what’s the significance of this comment when it comes to Tibet? Are you implying that China’s perspectives towards Tibet/Taiwan and the concept of nation-hood itself could change? It could, it very well could. But so far, it simply hasn’t.

March 25, 2008 @ 8:07 am | Comment

Sorry, I agree with your points Raj, but this

of a few Chinese who aren’t even brave enough to stand up for themselves

strikes me with how easy it is to armchair posture in a country where your rights are protected and civil dissent isn’t criminalized.

March 25, 2008 @ 8:10 am | Comment

CCT (continued)

there’s plenty of latent hostility

Sure, because many of us are tired of being branded as “racists” and “anti-Chinese” because we don’t bend over and take it from Hu Jintao and his buddies. Time and time again the Chinese government, media, fenqing and even ordinary Chinese define “friendship” as being whether a person, organisation or country ignores all China’s troubles and just cynically takes everything the country has to offer. Despite the fact that if China ran into trouble they would then disappear into the woodwork and do sweet fa to help. China praises fair-weather friends regardless of whether they’re racists, extremists, murderers, mass murderers or simply down-right arseholes. It’s incredibly short-sighted yet it persists in doing this.

On the other hand people who really care about China are mocked and treated like dirt just for the reason that they raise important issues that China would prefer everyone pretend didn’t exist. But they do exist and any good friend would do their best to make China deal with them.

Don’t you think it hurts for those of us that care about China to see us (even generically) repeatedly slandered and ripped apart by all forms of information media in China? Yet if we try to defend ourselves our letters to newspapers go unpublished, our posts on internet forums are deleted by the moderators and we certainly don’t appear on TV shows like “Dialogue”, not that we would necessarily want to anyway.

Of course we all have our real Chinese friends to talk to and we are thanked for our friendship. But the general abuse we are subjected to still causes irritation, and I think many people can’t just turn those feelings off like a switch.

So, yes, you could say there is some latent hostility.

there’s an on-going boycott in military affairs from both Europe and the United States.

Because of repeated Chinese threats to invade the peaceful island of Taiwan and its refusal to deal with past human rights abuses, instead choosing to continue brutal policies of suppression against anyone who “dares” to challenge them in public on almost any issue.

only a strong China can preserve Chinese interests, because no one else will

Is China strong if it has to deal with dissent by murdering people in cold blood, throwing them in jail after show trials, or bundling them into unmarked vans and beating them up? I would say that’s a sign of weakness myself.

March 25, 2008 @ 8:18 am | Comment

@Raj,

You know that I wasn’t saying anything was “forbidden”, only that it damages someone’s credibility if they try to use history from over a century ago to indicate what countries or people are like today.

So… does it damage credibility when history from 60 years ago is used to indicate what countries or people are like today?

Anyways, I’m going to drop that whole rhetoric chain of discussion. I’ve already explained why the 19th century is very relevant to today’s China, and it has nothing to do with whether Kaiser Wilhelm was racist and imperialistic.

But in the 21st century most of us here would hope these are universal moralities – I’d feel very sad if Chinese thought that it’s ok to shoot unarmed civilians simply because they have political complaints, or for unpaid workers to have their legs broken because they ask for their wages.

Well you can be happy then, because no Chinese I know think that it’s okay to do any of the things above.

March 25, 2008 @ 8:20 am | Comment

nausicaa

The point still stands. If Chinese aren’t going to stand up for themselves, why are they going to help Tibetans? It isn’t a moral condemnation of Chinese people – it’s a pragmatic observation.

March 25, 2008 @ 8:21 am | Comment

So… does it damage credibility when history from 60 years ago is used to indicate what countries or people are like today?

Yes, if those countries have changed. It doesn’t mean that those events cannot be criticised, or used to highlight where countries have not moved on. But it is wrong to use historical events to characterise modern states where their presents bare no resemblance to the current day.

Well you can be happy then, because no Chinese I know think that it’s okay to do any of the things above.

So what are these “Chinese values” that I, as a European, supposedly know/care nothing about? I’m interested.

March 25, 2008 @ 8:27 am | Comment

@Raj:

Fair enough.

@CCT:

I’m not accusing you of being ignorant of the perspectives of mainlanders from other sections of society. I’m accusing you of conflating them and assigning homogeneity where there is none, and of furthermore being glib about war.

However, I could never imagine the existence of polygamy or the stoning of adulterers could become any sort of justification for foreign policy when my country deals with Islamic nations.

So…your conception of an alternative to “Western morality” is basically the CCP’s supposed principle of “non-interference”.

Singapore’s Li Guangyao has also written extensively in the ’90s about “Asian values”; I’m not sure I agree with his definition of these values, or the conclusion of what those values imply…

The fact that you are hesitant about them should tell you that they’re mostly bunk. Don’t be a myopic culturalist.

But what’s the significance of this comment when it comes to Tibet? Are you implying that China’s perspectives towards Tibet/Taiwan and the concept of nation-hood itself could change?

Yes, but only if there is a free space for competing discourses to happen and for that, China needs democratization. And it needs a Thomas Mann.

March 25, 2008 @ 9:14 am | Comment

@CCT

What international institutions has protected China? What did you have in mind?

I beg your pardon. After 1919, China was party to many international organizations and conventions. From 1941, China was part of the allies and fought the Japanese shoulder to shoulder with the United States – one of few great powers that had no big colonies in China and relatively limited economic interests. The United States defeated Japan in the Pacific War, which benefited China greatly. The United States made sure that Taiwan was handed back to China and helped to airlift troops to facilitate the surrender. China became a founding member of the United Nations and most other institutions that existed at the time.

Now for purely internal reasons, the two contenders for supremacy over China, the KMT and CCP chose to go to civil war instead of unifying the country. I’m sure both the KMT and CCP had good reasons for doing what they did, but you cannot expect the rest of the world to understand their motives for throwing China into yet another bloody civil war. The CCP won, and the KMT lost. And for a moment things were unsettled. The US withheld recognition, but many other countries recognized the PRC.

I’m not American and I’m not a cold warrior who believes that someone “lost China,” but I can imagine that some Americans were puzzled when the first thing your new leader Mao Zedong did was to go to the Soviet Union and sign a submissive treaty with Stalin. A Soviet Union that didn’t do anything to directly help China until the stumbling last moments of World War Two and only to benefit itself. A Soviet Union that held on to territories that many Chinese believe were stolen from them during the Qing dynasty. A Soviet Union that demanded military bases at the same locations as old Czarist Russia.

Then came the Korean War and from then on, the PRC and the US were pretty much stuck in the Cold War. But it didn’t have to be that way and both are to blame for that. And even though the US did its part in pushing out the PRC out of the world community, the PRC did all it could to repudiate world organizations and world events as long as the ugly ROC took part in the same events. It refused to adhere to international conventions and treaties, but after 30 years of turmoil the PRC finally decided to join the world community again. Welcome back. But make sure that you earn your rights, instead of just demanding them.

March 25, 2008 @ 10:16 am | Comment

@CCT

China didn’t compete in the Olympics until 1984.

Yes, China boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980, for political reasons. Also quoting Wikipedia, for what it is worth:

“Also in 1976, due to pressure from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Canada told the team from the Republic of China (Taiwan) that it could not compete at the Montreal Summer Olympics under the name “Republic of China” despite a compromise that would have allowed Taiwan to use the ROC flag and anthem. The Republic of China refused and as a result did not participate again until 1984, when it returned under the name “Chinese Taipei” and used a special flag.”

March 25, 2008 @ 10:25 am | Comment

Just to play devil’s advocate here, feeling confident that an independent Tibet would remain within the Chinese sphere of influence no matter what happens may be a little wishful. In the next century or so it would probably share a land border with not just the biggest economy in the world, but the two biggest, and I don’t think it’s a given which way it would be inclined to go.

As for ‘Western’ (which I assume we mean free world, including the ROC and Japan, and other not so ‘western’ places) versus Chinese perspectives on the issue of Tibet, the only difference I can see is on the idea of the will of the majority.
If you were to ask a patriotic American if he could accept Texan independence, and could be content with an America without Texas, he would most likely say, “No fucking way!”
But then if you suggested, hypothetically, “What if the majority of Texans want independence?”, and if he was open minded enough to consider this scenario, he would be having some serious cognitive dissonance as his nationalism/patriotism and his democratic values came into conflict. The patriotic PRCer, on the other hand, doesn’t place much value on the will of the majority, so it’s not much of a question for him.

Maybe it goes deeper than that though. Perhaps the divergence in perspectives here is because the philosophies of nationalism and patriotism are gradually being strangled by democracy and free speech, at least in the intellectuals circles of free world. We are discovering, I think, that inspite of living in the same geographic areas and speaking the same languages we actually don’t have that much in common with all our countrymen, and subsequently the intangible ideas of our nations are quite hollow. When you think about it, what exactly are ‘Britain’ or ‘America’?
I think this may be why China has such a hard time finding ‘western’ (read free world again) thinkers who sympathise with their claim to Tibet, but I bet that if we were to resurrect a few old school imperialists, say Cecil Rhodes or Benjamin Disraeli, they could much more readily be induced to sympathise with the CCP’s Tibetan stance

As for the ‘West’ (free world) not being tolerant of other cultures’ moralities, of course we aren’t. No two moralities that diverge are tolerant of each other. This is almost by definition isn’t it?

March 25, 2008 @ 10:59 am | Comment

@Rohan

Unlike some other posters here, you have lay out a rather intelligent and thoughtful analysis. I will do my best to respond in kind.

Your hypothesis that China’s long-term interest is the same, ie. economic growth, is indeed correct.

I also agree that Chinese approach to Tibet and Xinjiang, rather like Indian approach to Kashimir, is suboptimal to say the least. Hence we are faced with riots and terrorism problems today.

In a more ideal world, internally China and India would be more like United States where dissent and even call for independence (as the case with Hawaii) are channeled non-violently. People would have more freedom to devote to whatever their pursuits.

But we are not there today. So the question is how do we move forward from our imperfect present to a more “harmonious” future.

As I see it, China, just as India, face two choices.

1. pack up and leave Tibet, Xinjiang or Kashimir

2.try to integrate these places into the nation-state.

How these two political giants will decide, IMHO, will base on their respective self-interest.

Let’s examine the pro and cons of holding onto Tibet for China, shall we?

Pros:
A) Tibet is one big ass of a natural buffer. I will bet you 500 RMB that Indian tanks are not gonna roll over Himalayas anytime soon. India�s currently longest ranged missle Agni
will have to be placed in Assam on the Tibetan border to have any hope of landing anywhere with more economical significance than a patch of grass and yak dungs. Sure Lhasa and Shigatze might be in the range of Indian missiles, but I doubt anyone is seriously losing sleep over that possibility.

B) There might be undiscovered natural resources underneath Tibet�s soil. Commodity boom has led to discovery of significant copper and coal deposit in Mongolia in recent year. Could happen in Tibet�s vast wilderness yet.

C)Tibetan plateau is the ultimate source of water for Asian continent. Great river systems, Yellow River, Yangtze, Mekong, Salween, Indus, Brahmaputra all have headwater in Tibetan plateau. In a way, Tibet is the third pole on earth. Water shortage will be a serious problem in coming decades for fast developing economies of China, India and Southeast Asia.

March 25, 2008 @ 11:07 am | Comment

Con:
A)Tibet is currently a blackhole of economic drain on Chinese Treasure. China foots the bill for Tibet’s government budget while collecting no taxes from Tibet. According to Peter Hessler, “in 1996 China spent some $600 million in Tibet…for that same year the United States gave a total of $800 million dollars in aid to all of Africa”. I don’t even know if Hessler took into account of expense of maintaining 200,000 men army presence.

There is no hope for China ever to recover these “investments” unless large deposit of metal or oil can be discovered AND easily recoverable from Tibet. Big “ifs”.

B)Resentment from local groups (especially the Lamas) that are not benefiting from Chinese rule.

C)Damage to China’s international reputation

It might seem Tibet is more trouble than its worth. It will also be quite easy for China to quit Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). We just ship out the soldiers and Han cadres by the newly completed railroad. Will be done in a few month. Most economic Han migrant who came to Tibetan urban centers seeking economic opportunity will leave once the economic activities dries up, as they will will with withdrawal of Chinese government directed investment. Dalai Lama and Tibetan government could return and resume their operation.

Chinese government could always use combination of carrots (continuation of aid) and stick (threat of re-invasion) to make sure Tibet is not being used by US or India as anti-China staging ground(no US military base allowed inside Tibet). So far so good. That will be the easy part. We still got buffer zone in Tibetan area of Qinghai and Sichuan.

Ah, here we are gonna have a problem. Dalai Lama and his government in exile has “repeatedly spoken of ‘six million Tibetans’ and put forward the demand for the re-constitution of a ‘Greater Tibet’ known as ‘Cholka-Sum’ and comprising the areas of ‘U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo’.” (I am quoting N. Ram’s famous article about Tibet now but you can find the info about the “Greater Tibet” on the website of Tibetan exile groups)

You see Chinese word for Tibet is “Xi Zang” which is a phonetic transcription of the Tibetan word “U-Tsang”. U-Tsangwhich together with Western Kham comprise of the region under Dalai government’s direct control before “liberation” by PLA. This region later became Tibet Autonomous Region after Dalai has fled to India and CCP started land reform.

Amdo (Qinghai and part of Gansu)and most part of Eastern Kham (now in Sichuan) even though have large Tibetan population hadn’t been under Dalai Lama’s political control for hundreds of years.

Now Amdo and eastern Kham, being traditionally the frontier between Han China and Tibetan always had a mixed population of Han, Hui muslim, some dash of other turko-mongol groups as well as Tibetans. These area remain a hedgepodge of ethnicities. Han and Hui ethnicities living there are not recent immigrants.

In fact the “Great Tibet” issue had be a sticky point for many of past Chinses-Dalai talks (Yes, there had been talks since 1980s). On the the of Dalai Lama, 1/3 of Tibetan refuges come from Amdo and Kham , therefore the “Great Tibet” claim will unlikely to be dropped.

Let’s even suppose that China entertain the thoughts of giving Tibetan parts of Qinghai, Sichuan and Gansu to Dalai which his group had no control for nearly hundred years, it will be logistically nightmare to separate which parts goes to Tibet which part remain in China. Think of Bosnia pre-ethnic cleansing days.

And China should go through all these trouble to yield an ethnically pure Tibetan state?

You think monks at Labrang Monastery would want to live outside of Dalai controlled Tibet?

Better to examine the Con part of holding on to Tibet again.

March 25, 2008 @ 11:26 am | Comment

You are quite right that that Kashmir as well as Tibet are just bleed the coffers of occupying powers.

But I believe that you overstate the overall impact of the cost (both financially and diplomatically) and underestimated the ease of withdrawal.

Let’s assume inflation and additional investments, let’s allow that China spends a cool $1 billion on Tibet per year.

To give you a perspective, we put down $3 billion for a 9% stake in Blackstone. Now BlackStone shares have lost -55% since IPO. This is only one purchase. Citic almost paid $1 billion for 5 % of Bear Stern last year before Chinese regulators blocked the deal.

We lost way more money on Wall Street than we ever spend on Tibet. $1 billion comes to less than $1 per Chinese citizen.

China simply have the resources to stay in Tibet indefinitely.

I don’t have enough facts about Kashmir but I feel that given India’s booming economy, India probably could similarly well afford her operations in Kashmir.

B)Resentment from local groups (especially the Lamas) that are not benefiting from Chinese rule.

Frankly after what happened on march 14th, I don’t really give it damn about how Tibetans feel about Chinese rules anymore.

C)Damage to China’s international reputation

Even without Tibet, West will find fault with China. Before Lhasa riot, we are being blame for everything from encourage Darfur genocide to suppression of monks in Burma.

Look at experience of Russia. Even after Russia discarded the Soviet system, Western media continue to paint a very negative picture about Putin’s government. Why? Because Putin is no western lapdog and Russia continue to have divergent interests from the West.

West will continue find fault with China because CHINA is not YET a liberal democracy. While China is done with the business of exporting revolution years ago when Mao died, certain people in West (neocons?) hasn’t give up the dream of spreading liberal democracies everywhere.

I actually don’t oppose liberal democracy in China as an end goal. But I digress.

I believe there is very little the West or Tibetan themselves can do at this point.

Events of March 14th just united Chinese around the flag and sharpened Chinese resolve.

March 25, 2008 @ 11:43 am | Comment

Now I would like to answer directly you questions:

1. What are the goals China aims for in this century, in terms of economic growth and geopolitical alliances?

As you already pointed out economical development remains paramount. Whatever alliance China would form would be to serve that goal. We actually enjoy mutually beneficial trade relationship with most of countries. Most likely alliance will be with the states that will help China ensure access to natural resources that will feed her economy.

2. Is Chinese policy towards Tibet helping or hurting these goals – to what extent and in what ways?

China’s interest in Tibet has always been security related. Qing expanded the empire to include Tibet precisely because Oriat Mongol had occupied it and Qing was vying for supremacy of Central Asia with the Oriats.

Of course, you will need security for economic environment (see Iraq). Nothing screams security more than Himalayas. Good fence make good neighbors. We got the world’s biggest natural barrier between us.

3. What effect would alternative policies have on those goals?

Abandoning Tibet will likely see American and Indian influence take over Tibet. We certainly wouldn’t like to see American military base on the border of Sichuan.

March 25, 2008 @ 11:57 am | Comment

The idea of military bases on the border of Sichuan will be a moot point if China continues to develop at anything close to the rate it is now. A full scale military conflict between China and any of the regional powers, America, Japan, Russia, or India, is all but unimaginable, or soon will be, as it would be so costly for everyone involved as to be unwinnable. Everyone but Japan has a nuclear arsenal after all, and it is certainly within Japan’s means to acquire one if the need ever arose.
If an independent Tibet under the sway of Washington and New Delhi had a strategic role to play against China, the only one I can see would be in the event of a joint economic assault by the world’s powerful nations and their smaller allies in an attempt to bring China to its knees by depriving it of resources and markets.
But we have to consider why America et al would want to do that. What are *our* economic and geopolitical goals? We don’t trust the CCP at all of course, because, as Cao Meng De said, their country is not YET a liberal democracy. This is justified as authoritarian states don’t have mechanisms that democracies do to keep power from concentrating in the hands of individuals with petty goals, but the PRC seems to be currently managing to avoid this trap. As long as this holds, the main goals of China and the free world are identical; growth of the global economy and the subsequent improvement of everyone’s material well being.
Freeworlders tend to deplore the Tibetan situation, as we tend to view it as nothing but imperialism, but ultimately nobody’s going to risk their quality of life solely for the restoration of a theocracy, so for better or worse, as charming as Tenzin Gyatso is, advocates of his cause in the free world will be mostly limited to college students with too much time on their hands.
So, if things continue as they are now, the only apparent fly in the ointment is the Republic of China. I don’t know if the People’s Republic of China will ever be willing to compromise on this, but I certainly hope that we won’t, so if there is to be any foreseeable conflict, that will be it. And if Tibet is to regain any strategic importance, it will be as a pawn in the game for Taiwan.

March 25, 2008 @ 2:16 pm | Comment

@Amban,

Japan invaded Manchuria in 1931. Japan launched a full-scale invasion of the rest of China, starting with Shanghai + Nanjing (including the infamous Nanjing Massacre) in 1938.

The fact that the United States (and the rest of the allies) only started to stand “shoulder by shoulder” with China in 1941 itself says quite a bit… it was only after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 10 years after the invasion of Manchuria, that Japan became an enemy worth fighting.

As far as the Soviet Union goes, I don’t think anyone in Washington DC was remotely surprised that Mao Zedong “ran” to the Soviet Union as an ally. The two were closely united by a shared Communist ideology, something considered above and beyond local nationalism. Soviet advisers had played an important role in the Chinese Communist party rise to power.

Bottom line conclusion: I’m not claiming the United States is intentionally hostile or jealous of Chinese success. As you said, the United States wasn’t involved in the most overt acts of colonialism in China. But the United States does have a long history of intervention in any area that potentially affects American interests.. see: Monroe Doctrine. After World War II, easy to argue that American interests had extended into east Asia; see mutual defense agreements with Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

The current war in Iraq is also rather indicative of what American democracy implies: no US winning presidential campaign will ever be run on the platform of reducing the suffering of non-Americans… even while the Iraq war has become an important issue, the number of Iraqi dead is completely irrelevant in both the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections.

Just to conclude, I don’t think the United States is by its nature hostile towards China or the Chinese. But I strong believe the United States would much, much more prefer to see a world in which China is divided into smaller, more manageable pieces. Furthermore, I believe that if the opportunity presented itself, the United States would act (legally or not) to make that happen.

March 25, 2008 @ 2:33 pm | Comment

@ Cao Meng De

From a much earlier post, I must now ask my question directly, as sarcasm is difficult to convey in writing. What is the relevance of the Tibetans being given an education in Chinese? Have you ever thought that perhaps Tibetans wouldn’t need to learn Chinese to have a good job if they still had their own country with their own economy? To imply that Tibet should somehow be grateful that their oppressors are letting them learn their language for free is a bit rich. Perhaps had Daddy Yankee not dropped the bomb on Japan to end WW2 they would have taught you all to speak Japanese to make the most of the economic boom of the ’80s. My, how much better off you all would have been then!

March 25, 2008 @ 2:46 pm | Comment

@Lime,

As long as this holds, the main goals of China and the free world are identical; growth of the global economy and the subsequent improvement of everyone’s material well being.

I am not absolutely convinced that the above scenario will necessarily work out in a happy/utopian way. I’m not predicting a shooting war, but at least an on-going trade + economic war.

There are a couple reasons for my pessimism.

First, there are clearly some natural resources in limited supply, and there will eventually be tensions based around this. We might be talking about petroleum reserves, or we might be talking about satellite slots in geosynchronous orbit… there are many things out there that can only be “had” by one country, and not the other. Human societies have not yet shown that we know how to share these things equitably.

After all, the key question is… how should things be shared? If it’s on a per capita basis, then China and India will each have “more” of whatever resources than the United States and Europe combined. Is this something that the American and European governments are going to tolerate?

Second, I’m not convinced that every society will compete equally well in the utopian society you describe. There are cultural differences between every country, and some will increasingly dominate various aspects of world economics. There’s a reason the Jews were despised in Europe (beyond betraying Jesus), and the Chinese were despised in Indonesia. Those tensions are always there.

On the issue of Republic of China / Taiwan… the recent election of Ma Yingjiu is great news, and I think it has dramatically lowered the possibility of conflict across the strait. There are too many shared cultural traits to make conflict probable once this door was opened. There aren’t many mainland Chinese willing to die (or kill) just to bring Taiwan under Communist rule.

We’ll just all make money, inter-marry, send our best and brightest back and forth… I personally think reunification will grow more and more probable with every decade.

March 25, 2008 @ 3:10 pm | Comment

@Tweeter,

Have you ever thought that perhaps Tibetans wouldn’t need to learn Chinese to have a good job if they still had their own country with their own economy?

What language do those with “good jobs” in Nepal or Bhutan speak? What language does the Tibet government-in-exile teach in?

March 25, 2008 @ 3:13 pm | Comment

@ CCT

Nepali, Dzongkha, Tibetan and probably English. Why do you ask, exactly? I’m curious as to how you would continue this argument.

March 25, 2008 @ 3:37 pm | Comment

But the United States does have a long history of intervention in any area that potentially affects American interests.. see: Monroe Doctrine.

If you are Latin American, then you should indeed be worried by the Monroe doctrine, but not if you are Chinese. US meddling in Latin America has no counterpart in Asia.

After World War II, easy to argue that American interests had extended into east Asia; see mutual defense agreements with Japan, South Korea, and Australia.

Yes, you can see that as US meddling in East Asia. But unlike another major player in the region, the US prefers a leaner form of occupation. They help to develop the economy and institutions, prosecute a few war criminals. They don’t set up puppet states like Japan did, or create military and economic colonies like China does in Tibet and Xinjiang. They have meddled in Taiwan, but then again, that meant that a piece of China was saved from the follies of the Great Leap and the Cultural Revolution and that there were businessmen ready to take risks in China that no American would be prepared to take.

What would the alternative be? A rearmed and strong Japan that would contend with China over supremacy over East Asian sea lanes. Instead, the US navy (paid for by US tax payers) are helping to keep the seas safe, very much like the British navy used to do. China is a net beneficiary of Pax Americana in East Asia.

But I strong believe the United States would much, much more prefer to see a world in which China is divided into smaller, more manageable pieces. Furthermore, I believe that if the opportunity presented itself, the United States would act (legally or not) to make that happen.

There is simply no proof for that kind of fear. During the cold war, the CIA had agents in Tibet pretty much like they had in the rest of the world. But the US has never moved to support an independent Tibet. The Tibet issue in the US is a lobbyist issue and an issue of public opinion, for better or worse.

I’m not arguing that the US is always good or anything like that. The US is known for using dirty tricks every now and then, but China is one of the few countries in the world that should have the least to fear from the US and that is why anti-Americanism in China is so puzzling. But the PRC has a good track record of shooting itself in the foot and doing things that are not in China’s interest. But least not help the PRC finding new reasons to hate the world?

March 25, 2008 @ 9:06 pm | Comment

@Tweeter

Konbawa Tweeter san. Hai, Nihongo o hanashimasu.

I did learn Japanese, in an American University : )

“What is the relevance of the Tibetans being given an education in Chinese?”

Why, to better prepare Tibetan children for global economy of course!

“My, how much better off you all would have been then!”

We Chinese have managed pretty well since 1978, thank you very much.

March 26, 2008 @ 12:51 am | Comment

@Amban,

If you are Latin American, then you should indeed be worried by the Monroe doctrine, but not if you are Chinese. US meddling in Latin America has no counterpart in Asia.

Sorry, that sounds extraordinarily naive. Over the past 60 years, the US has “meddled” extensively in every country where their interests are involved. The US has fought numerous wars in the Middle East and Asia, overthrown democratic governments (the latest being a campaign to sideline the popularly elected government in the Palestinian Authority).

The CIA has trained and landed Tibetan operatives in southwest China! Is that not “meddling”?

But unlike another major player in the region, the US prefers a leaner form of occupation. They help to develop the economy and institutions, prosecute a few war criminals. They don’t set up puppet states like Japan did, or create military and economic colonies like China does in Tibet and Xinjiang.

Well, I’ll agree with the first sentence of that paragraph at least. The United States does believe in a leaner form of occupation.

But it’s very difficult to argue that they “don’t set up puppet states” like Japan did. The US “meddling” and client state list is a pretty long one. Why were Americans taken hostage at the Iranian embassy in 1980, if not for American backing of the Shah of Iran’s puppet state? What about Pinochet in Chile? Who gave the Taliban and Osama Bin-Ladin their weapons, and why?

But we don’t have to look at just Cold War history. We can look near term too. Remember the banning of the Baath party in Iraq? Do you think Mohammad Omar will be allowed to run a campaign on behalf of the Taliban in Afghanistan? What about the democratic elected government in Hamas? Without American political support (and arms), could the unpopular Saudi royal family maintain control?

There is simply no proof for that kind of fear. During the cold war, the CIA had agents in Tibet pretty much like they had in the rest of the world. But the US has never moved to support an independent Tibet.

Why is Kosovo independent, but Kurdistan not? Answer: an independent Kosovo helps American strategic interests, but an independent Kurdistan hurts American strategic interests.

Think about it Amban. Why does the US Congress funded Radio Free Asia broadcast in Tibetan and Uyghur? Of all the languages used in east Asia, why were these two selected?

An independent Tibet would’ve hurt American ties with Taiwan; that’s the only reason the United States historically didn’t support an independent Tibet. Now, the United States needs Chinese cooperation on a few issues, and thus isn’t pushing on it as we speak. But if the winds change, as I said, I for one am very clear in terms of what the United States is capable of. How would an independent Tibet feed itself, some Chinese have asked? Easy, just like Okinawa or Guam.

Frankly, American interests aren’t aligned with an independent Tibet right now, so I’m not suggesting the CIA is behind what’s happening now. I believe the Bush administration wishes the Tibet situation would go away for now, and not pop back up until the United States is “ready” to deal with China. This is why Washington DC has been by far the quietest of all western capitals when it comes to the issue of Tibet. I’m only explaining why China needs to be united and strong in general, not simply in the case of Tibet 2008.

Now I know the above list makes me look like a left-wing nut… and I’m not. I’m not looking to “condemn” American foreign policy; but objectively speaking, it’s very clear that morality isn’t a consideration at the highest level. Protect and extend American interests; foreign interests and lives are absolutely just collateral.

March 26, 2008 @ 12:53 am | Comment

@Amban

“But I strong believe the United States would much, much more prefer to see a world in which China is divided into smaller, more manageable pieces. Furthermore, I believe that if the opportunity presented itself, the United States would act (legally or not) to make that happen.

There is simply no proof for that kind of fear.

If you want to know what strategic thinkers in US view the world, here is a Youtube clip of China Threat Debate of a speech by John Mearsheimer.

Mearcheimer is a well-known international relations theorist and the leading proponent of a branch of realist theory called offensive realism.
Listen to what he has to say about Great Powers competition and how relates to China.

March 26, 2008 @ 12:56 am | Comment

@Tweeter,

Nepali, Dzongkha, Tibetan and probably English. Why do you ask, exactly? I’m curious as to how you would continue this argument.

Nepali universities teach in Nepali and English, with English programs dominant in most programs. They do not teach in Tibetan or Dzongkha.

Why? Because economic and professional success in today’s world means integration with a larger market. English fluency gives Nepali’s access to the Indian market.

March 26, 2008 @ 1:12 am | Comment

CCT, I’d still like to know what “Chinese values” Europeans do not value/are intolerant of.

You weren’t just making it up, were you?

March 26, 2008 @ 1:18 am | Comment

If you want to know what strategic thinkers in US view the world, here is a Youtube clip of China Threat Debate of a speech by John Mearsheimer.

Mearcheimer is a well-known international relations theorist and the leading proponent of a branch of realist theory called offensive realism.
Listen to what he has to say about Great Powers competition and how relates to China.

You bring up Mearsheimer but conveniently fail to mention equally prominent theorists like Robert S. Ross and Alastair Ian Johnston. Not all security scholars in the U.S. are realists who advocate containment (let alone dissolution of the Chinese state) and you know it.

March 26, 2008 @ 1:40 am | Comment

and that is why anti-Americanism in China is so puzzling.

Have you read “China Can Say No”?

March 26, 2008 @ 1:48 am | Comment

Raj, the “Chinese values” of which CCT speaks are probably just “Party values,” which aren’t worthy of respect.

March 26, 2008 @ 2:21 am | Comment

@CCT

Before I respond, I just want to make clear that I’m not saying that the US has not meddled in other countries internal affairs or that the US has always been a force of good. But I insist that as regards China – be it the ROC or the PRC – China has been a net beneficiary of US policies. China is one of the countries in the world that has the least reason to complain of US “hegemony”. And I think it is stingy of you not to recognize that.

Why were Americans taken hostage at the Iranian embassy in 1980, if not for American backing of the Shah of Iran’s puppet state? What about Pinochet in Chile? Who gave the Taliban and Osama Bin-Ladin their weapons, and why?

Well, let’s be clear about as much as I disagree with the above actions, there is a difference between a client state and a puppet state. And that difference do matter to locals, even as they take to the streets to protest US interference. The US did not force the Iranians bow in front of a US appointed Imam or made English the mandatory language in higher education. The US did not tell the Chileans to cut their ties with the Catholic church.

Why is Kosovo independent, but Kurdistan not? Answer: an independent Kosovo helps American strategic interests, but an independent Kurdistan hurts American strategic interests.

You are probably right about Kurdistan. But the Kosovars didn’t need the US to tell them that they were oppressed by the Serbs, they could figure that one out for themselves. And the US got into the picture after the EU failed to clear up the mess it had created in relation to Yugoslavia. The US was invited into Europe.

Why does the US Congress funded Radio Free Asia broadcast in Tibetan and Uyghur? Of all the languages used in east Asia, why were these two selected?

It is not that the US is the only country in the world that broadcasts in minor languages. Not long ago, Eastern bloc countries were broadcasting and publishing in almost any minor European language, and that didn’t turn the rest of Europe into Soviet or Chinese satellites. If things are great in Xinjiang and Tibet, as the PRC government and its cyber groupies keep telling us, what do you have to fear, really?

March 26, 2008 @ 2:38 am | Comment

@CCT

Have you read “China Can Say No”?

Yes, I have.

March 26, 2008 @ 2:41 am | Comment

@nausicaa

Have you read “China Can Say No”?

Yes, I have. The book is one of the most incoherent and dangerous statements of Chinese nationalism that I have come across.

March 26, 2008 @ 2:42 am | Comment

Amban,

LOL, I’ll agree with you that China has been the “least” affected by US hegemony over the past century. The difference is I certainly don’t see that remotely as a sign of US good-will, but rather Chinese strength and the reality of geopolitics.

If the United States had won the Korean or Vietnam wars, for example, I have a feeling the story on US “hegemony” in China would have looked very differently. And besides, if “Europe” as a continent can invite the United States into the former Yugoslavia… any doubts that “Asia” as a continent might eventually invite the United States into the former People’s Republic of China?

You still haven’t explained yet *why* the United States broadcasts in Tibetan and Uyghur. The fact that Eastern Bloc broadcasts in “minor” European languages and that China has issues in Xinjiang and Tibetan isn’t the point.

But look, I don’t know if we need to debate every aspect of American foreign policy. I don’t have any interest in fighting a rhetorical battle where there are no judges.

I personally think the facts speak for itself as far as the conclusion goes… Western foreign policy is not benevolent, separatism and democracy are restrained or encouraged depending on how it impacts American interests, and quite simply China needs to be ever-vigilant of Western foreign policy.

Nothing you’ve said seems to address that conclusion at all.

March 26, 2008 @ 3:30 am | Comment

@nausicaa

“You bring up Mearsheimer but conveniently fail to mention equally prominent theorists like Robert S. Ross and Alastair Ian Johnston. Not all security scholars in the U.S. are realists who advocate containment (let alone dissolution of the Chinese state) and you know it.”

Thanks for sabotage my campaign to help my brother CCT out.

Look I am not even trying to be objective here. It’s about taking sides.

As a fellow first and half generationer, you chose to be on the opposite side of this issue. Fine, it’s your prerogative.

What amaze me about these internet forums is that people have generally already made up their mind, yet somehow they think they could convince the other side of the righteousness of their cause.

Look, the line has been drawn. Let’s see which side will win out in the end (I am not talking about little spat on the internet here), shall we?

Btw, I love Hayao Miyazaki’s work as well.

March 26, 2008 @ 3:39 am | Comment

@Raj,

It’s one thing to recognize that a difference exists, and a different exercise (as an amateur) to try to categorize the difference precisely.

But because you asked, I’ll give it a try.

Many people describe Chinese cultural values as favoring “collectivism” versus Western emphasis on “individualism”. Those are broad and not very precise terms. I’d describe it instead as the Chinese tending to believe we *can not* succeed as individuals without a stable, successful larger society around us. A personal example: as an individual, I feel a level of personal responsibility towards my parents and extended family that it seems most Westerners don’t share.

In the political arena, the Confucian relationship between governed and governor still defines political expectations. We expect our government to be large and constructive; forcing a small minority to sacrifice for the greater good of society makes complete sense to me.

We absolutely expect our government to be involved in managing morals; look at the rules and regulations in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. We believe it is the government’s responsibility to make the world better, not simply stay out of the way.

March 26, 2008 @ 4:00 am | Comment

@CCT
“Western [you mean American, I think] foreign policy is not benevolent, separatism and democracy are restrained or encouraged depending on how it impacts American interests”

If you want a much better example of this than Hamas, a terrorisit organisation, or Salvador Allende, a Marxist, look at the Republic of China and the fact that America (along with its allies) is continuing to treat the country like a bastard red-headed step child in spite of it becoming a real democracy (arguably more real than places like Japan or Canada) and as sympathetic to what you insist on calling ‘western’ interests as any state on earth.
The flip side though is that it shows the US is willing to compromise (to some extent) its own supposed ideals to improve its relationship with the PRC.
For every nation that has got tread upon by American/free world interests, there has been another that has or is being aided by them; Germany, Japan, most of Europe, Columbia, India, Israel, and even much more distasteful states like Saudia Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan. America and Co. is merciless when you get in its way, but it is the best of allies if you can allign your interests with its. I think that it’s going to be mostly up to the PRC to decide whether it chooses to be an antagonist of the free world, or agrees to work as part of the current world order. America has been showing a significant number of olive branches to Beijing of late.

As for the limit to Earth’s resources, I am not a scientist so I don’t have much of a first hand perspective, but historically we, as a species, have always managed to use technology to move beyond resource crunches. When we ran out Whale oil, we switched to fossil fuel. When we ran out of trees, we started building metal boats. I hope this continues to be true. But if you’re right, and we are heading for a global struggle over satelite slots or the remaining puddles of petrol, I suppose there’s nothing for it but to begin plotting one another’s destruction, eh?

March 26, 2008 @ 4:06 am | Comment

CCT,

“We absolutely expect our government to be involved in managing morals;”

“We believe it is the government’s responsibility to make the world better, not simply stay out of the way”

Yikes! bro, I love you man. But let’s not get carried away here.

Look, neither of us are spokesperson for the Chinese people.

I absol…f*cking..lutely believe that government should get the f*ck out the way of managing morals.

I also believe that it’s my responsibility to make my world a better place. It’s government ‘s responsibility to maintain law and order (crack heads of rioters for example ), build infrastructures … etc.

It’s government’s responsibility to provide basic services to people. It’s national government’s responsibility to protect the national interests.

That’s it!

Chinese government is not responsible to make a world a better place neither is the government of United States.

Chinese government is responsible to make a world a better place for Chinese CITIZENS and equally US government is responsible to make a world better place for Americans. Sometime, this could lead to conflict.

March 26, 2008 @ 4:19 am | Comment

@CCT

LOL, I’ll agree with you that China has been the “least” affected by US hegemony over the past century. The difference is I certainly don’t see that remotely as a sign of US good-will, but rather Chinese strength and the reality of geopolitics.

Well, good-will or not, look at it anyway you prefer. I have only tried to address the point why Chinese cyber patriots are obsessed with US “hegemony”, while their country has actually benefited from it.

You still haven’t explained yet *why* the United States broadcasts in Tibetan and Uyghur.

That’s not my problem, ask the US government. What’s your gripe, really? But I guess it is hard to have that kind of discussion with someone who doesn’t really believe in freedom of speech.

if “Europe” as a continent can invite the United States into the former Yugoslavia… any doubts that “Asia” as a continent might eventually invite the United States into the former People’s Republic of China?

That’s the way you prefer to look at things, from the worst possible scenario. My answer to that fear would be to increase regional cooperation and dilute national sovereignty, just like European nations have done. Your answer seems to belong to pre-1914 Europe and the geopolitical thinking of that era. We all know what that lead to.

Western foreign policy is not benevolent, separatism and democracy are restrained or encouraged depending on how it impacts American interests

As I have tried to demonstrate, I happen to think that there are a few good achievements of “Western” foreign policy, some achievements that China have benefited from. But I guess it would hurt too much to admit that. And separatism is not always a bad thing; an amicable divorce is often preferable to a restraining order or a custody battle.

If European nations had not been able to accept separation to the extent they are now, it would not be possible to travel from Rovaniemi to Lisbon without a passport. But I guess that you would need another great war to come to that conclusion.

quite simply China needs to be ever-vigilant of Western foreign policy.

Any country needs to be vigilant on other countries’ foreign policies. That includes China’s neighbors.

March 26, 2008 @ 4:27 am | Comment

@Lime,

I’m fine with your example of the Republic of China. Clearly, you’re right, the United States is sacrificing a thriving democracy in order to further her own national interests.

But if you’re right, and we are heading for a global struggle over satelite slots or the remaining puddles of petrol, I suppose there’s nothing for it but to begin plotting one another’s destruction, eh?

I don’t think that’s a natural extension of what I said. I have competitors in every facet of my daily life; from school, to work, to finding a wife… I’ve always recognized this, and I’ve never found it necessary to actually “destroy” my competitors. I’d rather just focus on improving myself.

But regardless, I certainly know better than to expect my competitors to do me any favors.

March 26, 2008 @ 4:56 am | Comment

@Amban,

As I have tried to demonstrate, I happen to think that there are a few good achievements of “Western” foreign policy, some achievements that China have benefited from. But I guess it would hurt too much to admit that.

Any “good” achievements of Western foreign policy when it comes to China has been a matter of coincidence. Isn’t that obvious? Do you believe the United States props up the Saudi monarchy because it legitimately believes this is best for the Saudis, or Arabs in general? Have you heard any discussion at any campaign rally for the US presidency, where non-American interests have been discussed?

Truth is, I don’t know many Chinese who actually hate the United States. As you said, many of us have been the “lucky” recipients of American largess.

But I for one am equally aware that if China happened to dominate the kind of oil reserves that the Arab nations currently control, nothing but a shooting war could’ve kept the United States from putting a compliant client government in Beijing.

If China was an insignificant piss-ant of a country, none of this would really matter. After all, piss-ant interests can align itself with American interests without much cost. But how does a developing nation of 1.3 billion people “align” with American interests? Is it even possible? I’ve already asked you how we’d share the resource allocation problem. Do you think United States interests are aligned with sharing petroleum on, say, a per-capita basis?

If the United States wants to show itself to be a benevolent friend of the developing world, it can start by getting rid of agricultural subsidies and lowering tariffs… give the farmers of southeast Asia and Africa a chance to sell the only product they know how to make. But it hasn’t, because the American government will forever be beholden to American voters and American interests.

And the day will come when China is no longer a developing nation with a population of 1.3 billion. It will be a wealthy, developed nation with a population of 1.3 billion. What happens then? Will China be “going along” with American interests, or would you instead advocate that the United States “goes along” with Chinese interests?

So, there’s no hatred of the United States. Just awareness on my part that the US was an enemy in the past, a “strategic competitor” in the present, and a potential danger in the future.

And you’re completely right: China’s neighbors should be “aware” of China’s self-interest. If a government in Beijing actually put Vietnamese interests ahead of Chinese interests, I for one would be very very angry. If forwarding Vietnamese interests doesn’t hurt Chinese interests, then by all means, let’s be “generous”.

Finally, you talk about “separatism”… if your point is that it’s a positive because it allows people Europeans to travel from Rovaniemi to Lisbon without a passport… seriously now, so what? In a non-separatist China, we can already travel from the Siberian border to the Vietnamese border without a passport, and while speaking the same language no less.

March 26, 2008 @ 5:12 am | Comment

And here’s another idea, Amban.

To show how much I don’t hate the United States, and to show much I appreciate the value of democracy…

In the interests of humanity moving together into the new century, in the interests of forwarding democracy… how do you feel about the United States and China merging into a single, democratic country?

March 26, 2008 @ 5:15 am | Comment

@Amban: It was also full of anti-American sentiment and criticisms of U.S. foreign policy. And it was an influential bestseller.

@Cao Meng De: Have you ever thought that not everything might be about winning? But thanks for at least seeming to have a sense of humour and not making a pretense at objectivity, and I’m always glad to see another Miyazaki fan around.

March 26, 2008 @ 5:22 am | Comment

@CCT

Any “good” achievements of Western foreign policy when it comes to China has been a matter of coincidence.

Does Western mean “the US” in your book, and China “the PRC”? Not mine. There have been ups and downs, but the cyber apologist of the PRC prefer to talk about the downs and whine about it. Many of us wonder why.

“Coincidence”. Wow. That’s what you would call a reductionist argument, in social science terms.

Isn’t that obvious?

No.

Do you believe the United States props up the Saudi monarchy because it legitimately believes this is best for the Saudis, or Arabs in general?

No, but what does that have to do with China, which is what I though we were debating.

Have you heard any discussion at any campaign rally for the US presidency, where non-American interests have been discussed?

You mean this year, or ever? Well, not that I’m that interested in US politics, but, yes, I actually have heard about that. So would you, if you cared to listen.

In the interests of humanity moving together into the new century, in the interests of forwarding democracy… how do you feel about the United States and China merging into a single, democratic country?

No, I’m not interested in making a parody of serious discussion.

March 26, 2008 @ 5:33 am | Comment

@CCT

Finally, you talk about “separatism”… if your point is that it’s a positive because it allows people Europeans to travel from Rovaniemi to Lisbon without a passport… seriously now, so what? In a non-separatist China, we can already travel from the Siberian border to the Vietnamese border without a passport, and while speaking the same language no less.

Wow. So that’s how much you care for other countries’ experiences. Perhaps you can go from the Nepalese border to Siberia with your Chinese passport. I certainly do not have that freedom of movement in China. But with a Schengen visa you have the same freedom of movement as European citizens have. Now, since everything is a zero sum game in your world, it might be a wise thing to adjust that asymmetry.

March 26, 2008 @ 6:23 am | Comment

@CCT

Just stepping in for a minute here… don’t have the time to address anything else…

Nepali universities teach in Nepali and English, with English programs dominant in most programs. They do not teach in Tibetan or Dzongkha. Why? Because economic and professional success in today’s world means integration with a larger market. English fluency gives Nepali’s access to the Indian market.

The difference between the situations is as follows.

Nepalis and Bhutanese who study English are in roughly the same position vis-a-vis everyone else around them, because there are an extremely small pool of native English speakers in South Asia.

Tibetans who study Chinese are in intense economic competition with settlers who are studying in their native language and by definition speak the language perfectly. This means they are defeated before they start.

If you have trouble getting this, picture, compare and contrast the following two situations.

1. All Chinese start studying in English instead of Chinese, but remain independent. They all have what would be a crappy level of English in America, and some of them like yourself are better than others and have a slight advantage, but for the most part everyone gets by.

2. All Chinese start studying in English instead of Chinese because they have been occupied by America. Beijing fills with ten million immigrants from the U.S., Britain, Canada and Australia. Chinese law is abolished and American law, for which the Chinese have neither the training nor the language skills, is introduced. Perfect English is required for high-level posts in all companies and government service. Chinese have to be content with low-level jobs and working as sweepers.

Clearer now?

March 26, 2008 @ 7:09 am | Comment

Amban,

You appear to be rambling. At least, I still have no clue what your point is, in reference to separatism. You brought up visa-free travel as (apparently) one of the positive net effects of a multi-national Europe. As I said, I have no idea how that’s a positive for the Chinese to aspire to, when it’s approximately what we’ve always had (for thousands of years).

I guess you’re right that foreigners can’t travel to Tibet freely; well, with my Schengen visa I can’t travel to the United Kingdom. And even as I traveled throughout Europe last year (I visited Italy/Spain/France), I couldn’t get by with a single language… another one of the advantages of unity.

March 26, 2008 @ 7:32 am | Comment

Holy shit… this is possibly the most ridiculous piece of foreign coverage I’ve seen yet over the last two weeks, which says quite a bit.

http://specials.rediff.com/news/2008/mar/17video.htm

Please see the translated version of the woman’s comments mid-way through the video.

March 26, 2008 @ 8:03 am | Comment

CCT, REDF is a $200 million-ish company, and TWX is a $50+ billion one. Honestly I don’t think too many give a flying f what rediff.com has to say. On the other hand, apparently a 23 year old Chinese Internet entrepreneur started a web site called anti-cnn.com. You have to hand it to the guy who has the right ideas and quickly put them to the use.

March 26, 2008 @ 8:22 am | Comment

@CCT

You appear to be rambling.

Well, I see that you have retreated into your usual defensive position of ignoring your opponent’s argument, when you have nothing to say.

March 26, 2008 @ 8:45 am | Comment

I certainly do not have that freedom of movement in China.

Amban, can you elaborate that?

March 26, 2008 @ 9:08 am | Comment

@CCT, Amban, et al
“If China was an insignificant piss-ant of a country, none of this would really matter. After all, piss-ant interests can align itself with American interests without much cost. But how does a developing nation of 1.3 billion people “align” with American interests? Is it even possible? I’ve already asked you how we’d share the resource allocation problem. Do you think United States interests are aligned with sharing petroleum on, say, a per-capita basis?”

Thinking about this, I’ve come up with a few answers. First, I’d like to say that I believe the PRC has managed to make itself appear much less like belligerent child in the eyes of the rest of the world as of late. Not brandishing weapons at the ROC during its election was a good move, as was not going apeshit and Tiananmening the riotting Tibetans. The PRC has also been a constructive partner in the attempt to talk Kim Jong Il out of his nuclear program, and I don’t think this has gone unappreciated. But perhaps the most surprising bit of maturity recently was Wen Jiabao’s apologies to stranded holidayers. The leadership of mainland China seems to be getting smarter and less bellicose all the time, and I think the parts of the free world that care have noticed this.

I have a few ideas on how this could be taken even farther and help further allign the PRC and the USA and the rest of the free world, none of them particularly new, and most of them cosmetic. I won’t put Darfur on the list, as I don’t think the free world is doing much too help there either.

1. Shutup about the Yasukuni Shrine, and lay off on the government sponsored Japanese bashing generally. The Anglosphere, at least, can appreciate why China finds the Shrine so distasteful. It’s worth remembering that our people were killed and tortured by the troops and officers whose ‘souls’ are enshrined there too, but this is a matter of sensibilities, and Koizumi’s visits didn’t hurt anything but feelings. And there is quite a bit we, and the modern Japanese, find distatseful about the PRC too (the dictatorship, the propaganda, the occupation of Tibet, the persecution of Falun Gong, and so on).

2. Stop helping out our real enemies. Stop selling weapons to Syria and Iran, and why not help us with our sanctions against Iran? As fun as it may be to keep skuttling our efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear program without blood, I fail to see how either a war or an nuclearly armed Iran would be at all in the PRC’s interest.

3. This might sound crazy, but how about Afghanistan? Why not help out there? That’s the kind of war the PRC could really make a big difference in. We don’t need money or guns, but we need more boots on the ground and China has no shortage troops that are sitting around doing nothing apparently more constructive than keeping an eye on Tibet. I appreciate that London, Madrid, and New York are not Chinese cities but the PRC has to realise that they are really bad precedents. Terrorism is going to be an issue for every major nation sooner or later (I’m guessing it won’t be long before this occurs to some frustrated Tibetan nationalists too), and besides is the idea of American, European, and Chinese troops fighting side by side really so incredible?

You have to ask yourself why China’s relationship with America has to be so different than Japan’s, Europe’s, or India’s. The obvious answer is that the wrong side won the civil war and the Soviet Union got the ‘compliant client government’ in Beijing instead of America. I think the Americans would have liked to have seen a secure and prosperous China after the war, like Japan and the European nations it helped rebuild. Benevolence, as you say, would not have been the prime motivation (though I think saying that it would have been utterly excluded from the equation would be overstating your case). The prime motivation was that America realised that the best hope it had for perserving its hegemony long term and for preventing any more globe consuming wars was to convert as much of the world as it could into strong allies whose interests were aligned with its own. China ended up on the wrong side of the cold war, but that was then and this is now.

Japan is not exactly a piss-ant nation either, and neither is the European Union (if we can count it as a state here), so why are their relationships with America so different than China’s? I’m proposing that China’s interests are already just as alligned with America as Europe and Japan, and the only thing that makes the relationships different is China’s belligerent attitude. This sitting on the sidelines and saying things like, “Just wait until we’re a 1.3 billion man wealthy nation. Then you’ll all play by our rules!”, while the rest of us struggle in the Afghanistan and elsewhere is a choice. If America is willing to turn a blind eye to Tibet, and to tell Taiwan that it shouldn’t have a democratic referendum to determine the will of majority, the PRC could give a little quid pro quo in Iran at least.

Utopia is the CCP’s to reject. If it insists on not being a constructive part of the Pax-Americana, it’s going to have a damn hard time managing a Pax-Sina. Even as a wealthy nation, odds are pretty good that the rest of us combined will still out gun, out money, out resource, and even out man it.

PS
The petrolomeum distribution is simple. We ain’t going to do global communism, so it will just have to be sold on the open market to Chinese people as it is to everyone else.

March 26, 2008 @ 10:39 am | Comment

Lime, when you speak freely about “the rest of the world”, has it ever occurred to you that the African population is larger than the European population (including Russia), and the Latin American population is larger than the North American population? Now, what makes you think the “rest of the world” doesn’t side with China more than with the US? My only advice is, don’t let the media think for you.

For instance, Iran. I’ll admit that I’ve never traveled to Iran, but would like to one day. Over the years, I have befriended with a few Iranian immigrants, some of whom had lost their family fortunes in the Islamic Revolution. Yet the Iran they told me is vastly different from what’s portrayed in the US. Instead of relying on sound bites often taken way out of contexts, how about this — read the full speeches of Ahmadinejad, and the Iran described by Andranik Teymourian, a Christian Iranian soccer player who is playing in the FA Premier League. No, I don’t agree with many Ahmadinejad’s viewpoints. But at least if you listen emphatically, you can see a reasonable human being instead of some madman certain media outlets just so love to sell to you. Once you see the viewpoints (that you may not agree with), you will realize sanctions are probably the stupidest idea there is.

March 26, 2008 @ 11:54 am | Comment

@CCT:

And if the day comes that China is a wealthy, developed nation (because I must point out that GDP growth is but one precondition for being considered “developed”), Pax Americana (already in decline) could quite likely by then have already come to an end. So instead of continuing to fixate on “American interests” or speculating on China bandwagoning on “American interests” or America bandwagoning on “Chinese interests”, let’s consider the possibility that that it will be neither and that it will primarily be the interests of its neighbours that China will have to contend with. In which case, creating better regional linkages (i.e. through institutional capacity-building and trust-building) right now is paramount – which I think is the point that others were trying to make by bringing up the European Union. But to do so the Chinese government would have to prove sincerely willing to build peace across the Taiwan Strait and in the Korean Peninsula, among other things.

March 26, 2008 @ 12:04 pm | Comment

@JXie

I don’t think Ahmadinejad is a mad man, but he seems unnecessarily belligerent as well. At the moment I don’t have the time to go through his speeches, although I will try to take your advice in the future. In any event, you obviously know more about Iran than me at the moment, and it’s beside the point to debate the Iranian point of view, so I’ll let that part of it go. But I hope you see my overall argument.
You might be right that a scenario where the PRC helps develop a rag tag band of third world nations into a Sino bloc that can successfully oppose the American bloc is possible. They’ve got Burma on side, probably Cuba, Venezuela, and Bolivia (if there government’s remain stable, which I think is doubtful), and China is certainly doing more than any other nation at the moment to help develop Africa.
But why? Why must we be stuck in the Cold War mentality that the free world and China are perpetual rivals? Why can’t China stand with us as a group of, if not ‘free’ nations, at least nations whose primary aim is the secuirty and prosperity of their people?
“Join me, and together we shall rule the galaxy…”

March 26, 2008 @ 1:29 pm | Comment

The false pretenses in this discussion are way to out of hand for me to comment ofr only a couple minutes…

March 26, 2008 @ 1:35 pm | Comment

CCT

Europeans and North Americans are not “intolerant” of “collectivism” as you alleged earlier on. Many believe that what is required is more support for the whole rather than more individualism these days. It is not as simple as to say one group supports one principle totally and another group the other.

What we tend to object to is the suppression of the individual and their rights. You talk about people wanting government to do something about “morals”, but these days it is the State which acts in an immoral way. What “immoral acts” does the Chinese government crack down on that Europe gets so upset about? Even the gay community in China is finding it easier to operate these days, even if it is forced to keep a low profile.

The focus is on people having the shit kicked out of them because they have a problem they want to draw attention to. It’s very easy to say that you expect people to make sacrifices, but what has your family sacrificed in China recently? When was the last time your family had assets stolen from them by the State? When was the last time a family member was wrongly executed because they were a convenient scape-goat for a crime? Would you happily walk off to the firing squad if you had been wrongly convicted of a crime because it was for the “greater good”? Or what if your mother, sister, a close cousin, had been gang-raped by the Police? Would you promise not to pursue the matter for the “greater good”?

You mentioned Taiwan, but in Taiwan there are a whole host of freedoms not available in China. Those rights are what most people in the UK and elsewhere care about. So by your own logic clearly Chinese values (you imply they extend to Taiwan) do not include a requirement to suppress the individual.

I’m sorry, I see nothing in your post that convinces me I and my fellow citizens are intolerant of any key “Chinese values”. For the most part we do not care whether Chinese are interested in the collective or individual good. We object to people being treated poorly because they have “inconvenient grievances”. Their suppression is not for the greater good, because next year it is other people in other areas – it never ends.

The reason most Chinese don’t object is that they don’t care. “I’m alright, Jack”. They want to make money and if the peasants are trodden into the ground then the majority of city-dwellers are not troubled by that. It’s not about the Chinese “values” in relation to collectivism and individualism – that’s an excuse, one that I have seen in the past and so am not fooled by. It’s about making money, which is a universal motivation, and to a lesser extent fear of what will happen to them if they try to do something/a belief they can’t change the system.

March 26, 2008 @ 5:55 pm | Comment

Chinese government would have to prove sincerely willing to build peace across the Taiwan Strait and in the Korean Peninsula

Do you imply that China does not want to see peace in the Korean Peninsula?

March 26, 2008 @ 9:41 pm | Comment

@jxie

“I certainly do not have that freedom of movement in China.

Amban, can you elaborate that?”

um, yes, jxie. tibet?

March 26, 2008 @ 9:56 pm | Comment

@cct

the reason you can’t get into the UK is because you need a separate visa. you need the separate visa to stop you working here illegally. the reason i can’t get into tibet is because the ccp doesn’t want me to see what is going on. stop being so disingeneous

@raj

brilliantly put.

March 26, 2008 @ 10:56 pm | Comment

@Si

Yes, I can. Large parts of China are restricted areas where foreigners cannot go. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs regularly updates that list. Foreigners cannot settle wherever they wish in China or check into any hotel of their choice. There was even a time when no foreigner was allowed to stay overnight in a Chinese home. Most of these apartheid rules have been repealed, but the fact remains that the movement of foreigners in China is still restricted, much more restricted than the movement of Chinese in the US or Europe.

March 27, 2008 @ 2:53 am | Comment

Lime,

I know you for one are *trying* to make an effort to see this from a neutral objective stance… but I have to say, you haven’t quite gotten there yet.

Take a look at your list of priorities. I’m surprised you didn’t throw “protect intellectual property” on there. Every single item you listed is basically about servicing an American interest.

Why should China care about North Korea? No one doubts that Kim Jong-Il is running a very strange country, one that I’d never want to live in… but frankly, North Korea isn’t a threat to Chinese interests. I wouldn’t want to live in Saudi Arabia either, but the United States seems to find that country’s current government a convenient ally.

Why should China care about Afghanistan? Well more accurately, China once *did* care about Afghanistan. I don’t know how up you are about Cold War history from the Communist side, but China and the Soviet Union weren’t exactly close buddies for much of the past 40 years. China, along with the United States, sponsored the war of the mujahaden “freedom fighters” (as in, Osama Bin Ladin) against the Soviet Union.

But in the year 2008… does Islamic fundamentalism pose a threat to China? You’re certainly right that suicide attacks in Madrid, New York, and London are “bad precedents”, and China certainly wouldn’t want to be the target of such extremism. But frankly, I fail to see how putting troops in Afghanistan will eliminate such extremism or attacks, which so far haven’t been aimed at Chinese cities. It seems to me resolving the conflict in Palestine, restoring sovereignty and ending American meddling in the Middle East would be a far more sure way of reducing Islamic militarism. Wonder why that isn’t on your list of priorities.

Now, why should China stop selling arms to Syria and Iran? In what way are these countries posing threats to Chinese interests? The United States sells arms to Taiwan and Israel… why shouldn’t China? You call for a quid pro quo. The United States *still* sells arms to Taiwan; why shouldn’t China sell arms to Iran?

And India, by the way, was in many ways closer to the Soviet Union during the Cold War than it was to the United States. And India today continues to very much have a love-hate relationship with the US, especially since the United States continues to sponsor the undemocratic Pakistani government militarily and economically.

I think the Americans would have liked to have seen a secure and prosperous China after the war, like Japan and the European nations it helped rebuild.

I think the Americans would’ve liked this the same way they’d like to end world poverty. It’s a great idea, as long as it doesn’t hurt American farmers/incomes/influence.

As far as the US rebuilding of Japan and Europe… if the United States was in such a charitable mood, don’t you wonder why they never helped “build” Latin America?

The truth is, Japan and Europe were benefactors of American strategic interests, nothing less. Japan and Europe served a critical role in American strategy in fighting the Cold War. Look at how Americans reacted to the rise of the Japanese economy in the late ’80s.. it wasn’t popular.

I’m proposing that China’s interests are already just as alligned with America as Europe and Japan, and the only thing that makes the relationships different is China’s belligerent attitude.

I agree with part of the sentiment here, although not with your conclusion. I personally believe Chinese interests can be aligned with American interests to: let’s build a peaceful, globalized world where we can travel and study freely, where we compete on the basis of our knowledge, our brains, and our labor.

But you’re wrong in suggesting that Chinese belligerence is the only item that keeps us from delivering this utopian view.

A few years back, China launched its first man into orbit. Do you know what flags Yang Liwei held up during his short trip in orbit? The Chinese flag (of course), and the blue flag of the United Nations! There’s absolutely a willingness here to engage in a brotherhood of nations.

Think about it. Who has done the most to undermine the United Nations over the past 8 years? When this brotherhood of nations wouldn’t agree to an invasion of Iraq, who ignored it in order to forward American interests?

But let me start over, and finish with my position statement on this issue:

I for one am willing to concede that the United States has been friendly in terms of foreign policy with China over the past decade. Beijing and Washington DC are probably closer today than they’ve ever been. If present trends continue indefinitely, I honestly believe we might be on the cusp of the utopian world you’re talking about.

Bush has little to complain about when it comes to Chinese cooperation internationally… which is why he rarely does any complaining. And Beijing has little to complain about American cooperation as well… the United States has definitely helped preserve Chinese interests in Taiwan.

However, I’m not necessarily optimistic about the future. I only have to rewind the clock to 2001 to remember what a hostile American/Chinese world looks like. The only thing that changed in 2001 was American priorities: embroiled in a war against the “axis of evil”, the US needs Chinese support.

I’m not sure that after the United States “resolves” Iraq one way or another, that China doesn’t again become the next target. Europe and Japan aren’t great comparisons; Europe is way too divided to present a united front on foreign policy, and Japan’s post-war constitution explicitly declares it as a pacifist country.

No, frankly, I think a united country of 1.3 billion people represents a very tempting target for American politicians looking for an enemy. I’m not saying that China must treat the United States as a hostile enemy… but certainly, China must continue to be strong and run its own country.

March 27, 2008 @ 6:13 am | Comment

@Raj,

It’s very easy to say that you expect people to make sacrifices, but what has your family sacrificed in China recently?

We lost our family home. My grandfather died an early death due to political persecution after the cultural revolution. My uncle served 3-4 years in prison in the mid-90s. My cousin’s new mother-in-law was just released from prison a few weeks before their wedding.

During the urban reforms of the late ’90s, several of my uncles/aunts were laid off from their life-long jobs, and sat at home unemployed for several years. One of my aunts finally found an accounting job 10 years after being laid off from her state job.

And to say that a price isn’t being paid today is also inaccurate… we, as urban dwellers, pay *far* more taxes than we actually receive in services from the government, partly because huge, huge amounts are being siphoned off to build roads to distant villages we’ll never visit.

Have you ever looked at Chinese statistics for income growth versus absolute GDP growth? Chinese salaries (which is basically a measure of urban wealth) have grown at a far lower rate than GDP growth. Why? Because we, as taxpayers, are paying for the reconstruction of much of rural China.

We object to people being treated poorly because they have “inconvenient grievances”. Their suppression is not for the greater good, because next year it is other people in other areas – it never ends.

I simply don’t agree with this. Chinese society is climbing in terms of every meaningful metric. Education levels are increasing; wealth levels are increasing. We have more social and economic freedoms today than we’ve ever had.

Raj, I believe you’re being earnest in your reply. However, I simply don’t think you understand what “Chinese values” implies in modern China. “Chinese values” in this case means willingly going along with a re-engineering project that hits every aspect of society. And I, for one, am very enthuastic about what this re-engineering project is going to do for China.

Look at the construction cranes in Chinese cities next time you’re in town. What you presumably see as luxuries for the rich I see as a process that’s gradually allowing rural Chinese move into urban cities in the *hundreds* of millions. Chinese farmers/peasants/migrant workers can never be economically wealthy, because they’re economically not productive enough. But as they integrate into the urban economy, that will change quickly.

In 20 years, assuming the reform process can stay on track, another 400 million rural Chinese will be off the land. They will no longer be living hand-mouth existence, but will instead be studying to be accountants, lawyers, factory workers, and bartenders. All of these jobs are far more economically productive than dragging a hoe over unproductive earth.

At the same time, the rural villages they leave will see another huge round of land reorganization. (And god knows I for one am very curious exactly how that policy will be implemented.) The remaining Chinese farmers, who at the end of the process should only number about 250-350 million out of 1.5 billion, will be working far larger plots of land. Instead of working by hand, they’ll have industrialized equipment for planting and harvesting grains; factories for raising chickens and milking cows.

In 20 years, we’ll have more trained judges and lawyers. (Right now, less than 25% of all Chinese judges have legal degrees.) We’ll have a better media.

Frankly, if mainland China in 2025 looked like Taiwan in 2008, I for one would be absolutely ecstatic and very proud… how does that admission strike you? But I see it as a very difficult task, far more difficult than setting up ballot boxes and opening up avenues for organized dissent.

This is the China I’m looking for, and it’s a China all Chinese are paying a price for. As soon as we get past the difficult reforms needed to get to that point, the Communist Party can be rightfully placed in the refuse bin.

March 27, 2008 @ 7:11 am | Comment

CCT, note the word “recently”. A huge number of families were affected during the Cultural Revolution. And being laid off from a job is hardly a “sacrifice” – that happens to people in free societies too.

So I ask again, what has your family sacrificed recently – the last three years, let’s say? And when I mean sacrificed I’m talking about the State abusing their rights, not being victims of economic ups-and-downs.

Because we, as taxpayers, are paying for the reconstruction of much of rural China.

Those that pay their taxes – not accusing your family of tax evasion. However, again that isn’t a sacrifice. Those with more money usually pay to support those without.

We have more social and economic freedoms today than we’ve ever had.

Again, you’re dodging the issue. I’m not talking about the right to marry without your work’s approval, because it was a barmy restriction to have in the first place. As for “economic freedom”, the most vulnerable in society rarely get to enjoy them anyway.

You know full well that people in Europe et al object to political suppression, something you’ve conveniently swept under the carpet. And that is not going forward – there was more civil and political freedom under Zhao Ziyang in the 80s.

“Chinese values” in this case means willingly going along with a re-engineering project that hits every aspect of society.

Oh ho-ho, so then they’re not Chinese values are they? “Chinese values” implies something that is a matter of heritage, something traditional. You’re not talking about a set of values held by Chinese people, you’re talking about an expectation placed upon the vulnerable by those cashing in most from China’s current growth.

“Don’t rock the boat – you’ll upset it for the rest of us.”

I see as a process that’s gradually allowing rural Chinese move into urban cities in the *hundreds* of millions.

Who can’t access services for urban-dwellers because they’re not officially resident. They have to live in sub-standard accomodation and scratch money together just to get their children from school. And then the schools get pulled down because they were set up by migrant parents and it’s not “official”.

In 20 years, we’ll have more trained judges and lawyers.

And? If they’re still told to find in favour of the State “or else”, or instructed to get their clients to confess/withdraw their legal action because it’s easier for the State then nothing will change.

We’ll have a better media.

Why? If they’re still told not to criticise the CCP, or run stories that embarass officials because they’ll get beaten up by goons and/or closed down, any change will be cosmetic.

how does that admission strike you?

Honest that Taiwan is superior to China in respects of rule of law, justice, civil rights, etc. But I also think you’re giving the CCP far too much credit, given the arrogance it has demonstrated in calling for a century of Communist rule.

it’s a China all Chinese are paying a price for

The hell they are! The poorest pay the price, whereas the wealthiest have few problems provided they pay their taxes and patronise officials. The middle classes are relatively immune from trouble, though not as much as the super-rich.

Just as there is a discrepancy in earnings there is in civil rights and freedom. Those at the top are fine whereas those at the bottom have all the grief.

—-

CCT, you’ve been somewhat disingenuous here.

First you complain that my sisters and brothers in Europe (and people elsewhere) are intolerant of other people’s values. Then when asked what values we don’t respect, you talk about “collectivism” and even Confucian concepts. Then when I disagree that we don’t respect such views, you then say that you mean a much more recent attitude – one of needing to “put up” with China’s change.

You’ve shifted the goalposts enough times. Whilst you were trying to move them again I’ve simply had enough and kicked the ball into the back of the net.

You tried to get some sympathy by claiming people in “the West” (i.e. the free world) are “intolerant” of other’s values. That is an improper way to deflect criticism of what is happening in China. We are often more tolerant of others’ values than they are when dealing with groups different to their own. The only objections normally come where people are suppressed for convenience, gain, due to prejudice, etc. In such a case the lack of tolerance is in regards to actions which are themselves intolerant.

The net result is that you haven’t won any sympathy and have looked a bit silly. If you had wanted to simply say that many Chinese are happy to shelve their rights to make money, that would have got you further than trying to pretend that some of the most tolerant people in the world are actually the reverse.

March 27, 2008 @ 8:09 am | Comment

@CCT
I can’t pretend to be trying to see this from a neutral objective stance, I’m afraid. I’m just as smitten with my Anglo-American civilisation as you are with Chinese, and perhaps this is why I can sympathise a little more with the Chinese nationalist than say Raj or Snow.

Your arguments for why the PRC should not buddy up with the developed first world are, I suppose, as good as mine for why they should. I guess if the PRC becomes the wealthy superpower that the economists predict, the Middle East will become its problem. What do you imagine Israel’s relationship with China will be?

I do know a bit about the Cold War and about Afghanistan. I feel I need to make one correction to your analysis there. The ‘Osama bin Laden was sponsored by the CIA’ thing is a myth, or at least an oversimplifiction to the point of being totally misleading. Peter Bergen, the guy who interviewed bin Laden, has written quite a bit about it. Maybe he’s a liar, but there is no evidence I am aware of to support it.

Thinking about it though, you must at least admit that if the PRC is planning to become the #1, it would behoove it to start cultivating some friendships with states more meaningful than Burma and the Sudan. Waving the UN flag from a spaceship is a nice gesture, but what will a Pax-Sina really mean for the rest of us?

And just out of curiousity, how do you think that the US has perserved Chinese interests in Taiwan? Do you mean simply by refusing to support independence, or by preventing reunification, thereby allowing it prosper, creating a nice little nugget for the PRC to push back into the pie when the time is right?

March 27, 2008 @ 9:37 am | Comment

Oh, one more thing. The US didn’t rebuild Japan or Europe, it just helped by supplying resources. In Latin America, I’m not sure if you’re aware or not, a similar program was started by the Kennedy administration called the Alliance for Progress. It was much less successful owing in part to the failure of Latin American governments to use the money as constructively as Europe or Japan had.
I’m curious where post-war Europe fits in your thesis that poor democracies don’t mature economically as quickly or as well as poor dictatorships. Seems like some of those western European democracies, West Germany not least of which, were pretty poorly off at the conclusion of the war. Japan was in pretty rough shape too.

March 27, 2008 @ 9:52 am | Comment

Oh and another thing. The PRC doesn’t care about North Korea generally, and neither does the United States. Only Japan and South Korea are really concerned, the former because the North Korean secret service has developed the bad habit of kidnapping Japanese people for whatever, and the latter for the obvious reason that North still claims the south. But all those nations care very much about North Korea getting the bomb, including the PRC, and that’s why the PRC has actually been very helpful in the effort to dissuade Mr. Jong Il from this particular scheme.
The other reason that the PRC might care about North Korea that is often mentioned in the media (I don’t know how much realism it actually has) is the possibility that if the North Korean state collapses, millions of starving Koreans will be trying to flee into relatively prosperous China.
And as far as the quid pro quo goes, its worth pointing out too that although the US continues to sell the ROC conventional weapons, it actively prevented it from getting the bomb. The CIA even seriously considered sponsoring a coup against Jiang Jieshi over this. A nuclearly armed ROC would complicate things quite a bit wouldn’t it?
None of that really undermines your overall point, but its worth bearing in mind when considering how independent the PRC can really afford to be in the 21st century.

March 27, 2008 @ 10:21 am | Comment

Sorry about all the typos there; I’m cooking and posting at the same time.

March 27, 2008 @ 10:24 am | Comment

Tibet: Her Pain, My Shame

The Tibet tragedy from a Han with a conscience:
http://tinyurl.com/2k287o, complements of youpai.org

March 27, 2008 @ 11:31 am | Comment

i am personally starting to believe the ccp actually wants a boycott. their behaviour is giving the anti-boycott people little room to move and i for one am finding it hard to justify my present non-boycott attitude.

March 27, 2008 @ 5:25 pm | Comment

Si, I tend to agree with you that it seems they are inviting a call to boycott. How can they possibly be so stupid? They are definitely still not superpower material. Economically they may be shaking the world simply by the country’s sheer size, appetite for resources, huge foreign investment and cheap labor force. But they remain embarrassingly immature, pig-headed, ham-fisted, maddeningly obtuse and impervious to reason. They’ve got a long way to go.

March 27, 2008 @ 5:47 pm | Comment

Si/richard

Yes, their actions do beggar belief – but why should we expect anything else from the CCP/Chinese government? They are incredibly arrogant, even for a political organisation.

richard has summed things up quite nicely. I would just add that they’re also frequently in denial about reality. I honestly don’t think they can understand why anyone would want to boycott the Games/protest against what they’ve done in Tibet.

Yes, maybe another thing they lack is empathy – which is one reason why they’re often so cruel to those they find a nuiscance.

March 27, 2008 @ 9:47 pm | Comment

@Lime,

You make good comments again. I think you’re right that you and I tend to see eye-to-eye, perhaps because we’re willing to stand back and admit we have different eyes.

I just wanted to quickly address a few points.

First, from my “Pax-Sina” perspective, I think you’ll find that the PRC has done pretty well in terms of improving relations with neighboring nations. Take a look at India’s attitude towards the Dalai Lama and Tibet; compared to where things stood in 1962, things have come quite far. The same is true of relations with Vietnam, South Korea, etc. China was at war with Vietnam only 3 decades ago, and didn’t establish diplomatic relations with South Korea until very recently.

China’s done an especially good job of patching up relations with southeast Asia nations; if you want to talk about after-effects of the Cold War, the ASEAN nations was really a fault line between the “Communist” and “Capitalist” blocks. There was plenty of mistrust of Chinese motives throughout southeast Asia even after the fall of Communism.

I mean, who have you heard speaking of a boycott of the Beijing Olympics? Is it China’s Asian neighbors, or is it distant Europe? Has South Korea or Japan talked about it?

I’m curious where post-war Europe fits in your thesis that poor democracies don’t mature economically as quickly or as well as poor dictatorships. Seems like some of those western European democracies, West Germany not least of which, were pretty poorly off at the conclusion of the war. Japan was in pretty rough shape too.

Actually I have very strong opinions about this. I believe post-war reconstruction in Japan and Germany, as well as the post-colonial collapse in Africa tells me two things:

- “hard” assets are easy to replace,
- “soft” assets are very difficult to build.

Japan and Germany were highly industrialized nations before their factories were blown to dust. Both could brag about very high education rates, as well as a very efficient, functioning social structure at every level. The engineers didn’t forget engineering (or his traditional dedication to his work) because his equipment was blown up; it was only a matter of replacing the equipment before he could get back to work. Given sufficient capital, these nations went back to work quickly.

In contrast, post-colonial Africa was left with reasonable infrastructure. Throughout French and Portugese Africa, equipment, buildings, roads, dams… were all left in basically the same condition they were in when they happened to be part of European empires. In these countries however, technical expertise and education had spread very thinly. Literacy rates remained low, and governing/managing staff were ultimately led by the European base nation. And yet, quickly, these countries largely collapsed into economic ruin and civil war.

So, that’s how everything fits into my model. It’s overly simplistic to say “GDP/capita” in any given year is sufficient… at best, it’s a simple litmus test that usually provides the right results. But you really have to look deeper at the “quality” of the people in terms of education, work culture, etc, etc.

I’ll tie this back to China again. One of my aunts is a self-taught lawyer; she never even attended college because it wasn’t an opportunity available to those in her generation. And to be frank, I question many of her “methods” in practicing law I think she needs to be replaced by a couple generations of trained professionals in the field.

There’s no magic to be had in China. I can’t think of any scenario that will make China cleaner, wealthier, or “better” on just about any metric except 3-5 more decades of continued development and constant self-improvement.

March 28, 2008 @ 6:21 am | Comment

@Raj,

Do you have any idea what Taiwan looked like in the ’50s and ’60s? The dark era of martial law, the immediate successor to the 228 era? I obviously didn’t experience it, but my in-laws did, and they’ve given me some insight.

Whatever Taiwan has today was bought on the backs of slow, gradual progress. Chen Shui-bian wasn’t a better lawyer or braver than his predecessors; but the previous generations (both lawyers and the government officials suppressing them) just weren’t educated enough to know how to better resolve the conflicts than what they saw. The same can certainly be said about Ma Yingjiu.

I admit it; my family hasn’t had to sacrifice much beyond doing our duty and paying taxes over the last 3 years. But you know, I’d estimate that for 95% of Chinese, life in 2008 is better than it is in 2005… I’m not sure how many arrests or unlawful beat-downs you think are happening in China, but Hu Jia represents 1/1.3 billion people.

I have no interest in sympathy from the West, because it has zero practical value. Western actions are motivated by self-interest; I think I’ve repeated that theme more than once.

March 28, 2008 @ 6:37 am | Comment

CCT, I know full well about martial law in Taiwan. But change was not that slow. It happened relatively soon after martial law was lifted, whereas before there was little or no change for a long time. In Taiwan change was down to the will of a small number of politicians in the right process, rather than a constant process.

As for 95% of people, whether life is “better” is a subjective term.

If you have no interest in sympathy, don’t fish for it.

March 28, 2008 @ 9:45 am | Comment

@Raj,

If you “know” about martial law in Taiwan, then you obviously are aware that martial law wasn’t lifted until 1987. As you say, political reform was basically static (nonexistent) until 1987, when there was an explosion of liberalism.

How did it suddenly happen in 1987? Where did the politicians that led the reform era come from? Who were the journalists that protected them? Who were the military officials who stood aside and allowed it to happen, not seeing it as a threat to “national security”? Who were the lawyers that protected the dissidents fighting for political reform?

The answer is clear in my mind. The ingredients weren’t in place in 1949, 1959, 1969, or 1979. It took a long process of gradual reform until conditions were ripe. It took 20 years of Taiwanese students studying overseas and returning to significant positions in the KMT government and Taiwanese society.

I really have no idea how you expect China to have a functioning democracy, when only 25% of the judges in China have a law degree, and they have *no* retired judges (or legal tradition) around to lean on for guidance or advice. Who will decide the inevitable legal challenges that will come up when voting in a district is very close?

And who will actually be running for office? Do we have enough Harvard-educated Ma Yingjiu’s on the mainland? Ma will be running a society of 23 million. We will need 60 copies of Ma, at least.

It took Taiwan 40 years (from 1947 to 1987) to prepare 23 million people for some form of democracy… and the transition really took another 20 years from there to get into a healthy state. Mainland China has had all of 30 years since the reform/opening up period, which literally caused the rewriting of every single law and rule in Chinese society… and all of this for 1.3 billion people.

As for 95% of people, whether life is “better” is a subjective term.

Bullshit. Go ask 100 people in China whether their life is better today than it was in 2005, 2000, and 1995. I would bet my life that 95% will tell you, “subjectively”, that their life is better.

March 28, 2008 @ 2:38 pm | Comment

maybe another thing they lack is empathy

The empathy from western media to those Chinese girls who were burned to death are voluminous.

March 28, 2008 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

“only 25% of the judges in China have a law degree, and they have *no* retired judges (or legal tradition) around to lean on for guidance or advice.”

Can’t help but point out the irony that in one thread you are demanding that Tibetan “rioters” be brought to justice in “open” trial (or, more precisely, show trial), while in this thread you are using the lack of a strong legal system in China as an excuse for delaying democratization. You’re getting more contradictory than official ideology!

March 28, 2008 @ 3:23 pm | Comment

It took a long process of gradual reform until conditions were ripe.

There was no gradual reform for decades, nor was there even the desire to open up the political system. The KMT originally wanted to rule as the CCP does. It was only when politicians with different attitudes came to the fore – they had to make the reforms from scratch.

Go ask 100 people in China whether their life is better today than it was in 2005, 2000, and 1995.

I wonder which class of Chinese would be willing to talk to a complete stranger, and a foreigner to boot, on that subject openly without fear.

The ones whose lives have not improved or gone backward would be the least likely to talk to me (even if I was Chinese).

I really have no idea how you expect China to have a functioning democracy

Who said anything about a functioning democracy? How about starting with some basic human rights for PRC citizens, the Police not beating people up because they have a grievance, the judiciary being given a centrally-funded annual budget to allow them to be independent, rather than reliant on local government and thus unable to find against them?

We will need 60 copies of Ma, at least.

No, you don’t. You need honest people with some brains, honesty and common-sense. You don’t need people who went to university at snooty institutions. 60 Mas might be exactly what China does not need.

Or are you saying that China’s current leaders are woefully underqualified?

It took Taiwan 40 years (from 1947 to 1987) to prepare 23 million people for some form of democracy…

As I said that’s complete nonsense because THERE WAS NO PREPARATION FOR DEMOCRACY for most of those 40 years.

———-

CLC

The empathy from western media to those Chinese girls who were burned to death are voluminous.

At least the foreign media haven’t denounced the Chinese victims as being “troublemakers” who “deserved it”, as the Chinese government and many Chinese on the internet describe the victims of the Chinese State.

March 28, 2008 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

At least the foreign media haven’t denounced the Chinese victims as being “troublemakers” who “deserved it”, as the Chinese government and many Chinese on the internet describe the victims of the Chinese State.

Since when did the rotten Chinese propaganda become exemplary for free Western media?

March 28, 2008 @ 10:44 pm | Comment

Since when did the rotten Chinese propaganda become exemplary for free Western media?

Since never. I was making a comparison with its Chinese counterparts, as you did in regards to the lack of empathy the CCP has – the point being that the international free media still has way more empathy.

March 29, 2008 @ 4:30 am | Comment

the point being that the international free media still has way more empathy.

So that’s it? That’s not a big compliment that the free media is better than the worst. By the way, lack of a smear campaign does not substitute for empathy.

March 30, 2008 @ 12:15 am | Comment

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