How fast is the sky falling?

This is a really bad week. Two big issues. And I mean big.

One: In case no one’s noticed, the US economy is being “challenged,” which is code for FUBAR, which is code for time to run for cover. When Bear Stearns gets bought out for $2 a share, and Citigroup and UBS and Merrill Lynch and other giants are brought to their knees by the subprime catastrophe, we know these are not ordinary times. I tried to say it more than a year ago and some people laughed it off with the usual lines about America’s can-do spirit and strong fundamentals – both true, but not enough to weather the storm that’s approaching. It does little to console us to see Alan Greenspan write today, “The current financial crisis in the US is likely to be judged in retrospect as the most wrenching since the end of the second world war.”

There are deep flaws in our economic structure, and the war in Iraq combined with the subprime mess rubbed a lot of salt deep into the wounds. Recovery now is not possible – at least not without bailouts and a lot of misery along the way. Bush and his stooges brought this on us with their anything-goes, to-hell-with-regulation “laissez faire” policies. And now they will use your tax dollars to bail out the very same scoundrels who wrought this misery on us. And each of us will pay a high price, with broken dreams, diminished expectations, houses we can’t sell and a painful submission to the sorrows of stagflation.

Two: Let’s look over on the other side of the world. Beijing’s chant of One World One Dream is getting drowned out by the international uproar over Tibet. Even if the line the Chinese have been spoon-fed about Tibet being “liberated” from feudalism is true, and even if the Dalai Lama actually is a pawn of the CIA, the world is still going to bristle when it perceives religious oppression and the crushing of protests. Hypocrisy, you say? Maybe. But perceptions matter, and China is not being perceived well this week.

With the Olympic Torch Relay starting in only a few days, the threat to China’s pride cannot be exaggerated; they have hitched their star to the Olympic Games, and if that star crashes and burns the country will erupt in outrage and shattered pride. I hope that doesn’t happen; I hope China will be smart enough to do something truly constructive and make peace with the unhappy Tibetans. Knowing Hu Jintao’s past, of course, one can only conclude this is unlikely. Heads will be cracked and more lies spun out by Xinhua.

Like me, all that James Fallows can see ahead is tragedy. Once again the obtuseness of the Chinese bureaucracy defies description, and you wonder where are all those brilliant, hard-working cadres you know? Why are the big decisions only made by the dummies?

The government is full of subtle thinkers, but few are in the propaganda or public security ministries. The propagandists black out news coverage and blame every problem in Tibet on what they call (when they speak in English) “hooligans” from “the Dalai clique.” Most people in China assume that Tibet, like Taiwan, Inner Mongolia, or the Muslim Xinjiang region of the northwest, is an integral and inalienable part of its territory. That’s all they have ever heard from the media and in the schools. The threat of regional “splittism” raised by riots in Tibet is in this view a true threat to national security.

Thus conditions are set for the next stage of tragedy in Tibet, as Monday’s deadline for the end of protest draws near. The government is conditioned to be tough — and to have the support of its public, and not to care about objections from overseas. It has to care more, in this year of the Olympics. Soon we’ll see how much that tempers the policy.

Huge question marks are floating in the air. How they are answered will affect many of us. I can’t say I am optimistic about either issues one or two. I suspect a lot of us are simply trying to ignore these developments, willing ourselves into a self-induced coma. Maybe that’s actually the smartest thing to do. Watching the dramas on both sides of the world unfold is simply too depressing and infuriating.

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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: 168 Comments

Huge question marks are floating in the air. How they are answered will affect many of us.

I guess this is the reason why we can’t ‘will ourselves into a self-induced coma’. What has and will happen will affect us and our friends, may we be Chinese, Tibetan, or foreigners. People have died and will die and there will be hatred on all sides that will linger long after the streets are cleared.

Reading all the arguments going on in your blog has confirmed my suspicions that there can never be effective dialog between China and the rest of the world. If we, as ordinary citizens of the world, cannot discuss in a civilized manner without calling each other names and make condesceding comments, how can we expect states to do so.

Yeah, I guess this really is all too depressing. If you’re ever in Haidian district, let me know. We can drown our misery in alcohol.

March 17, 2008 @ 7:04 pm | Comment

I’ll be in Haidian Thursday and Friday – I am there every week (in Shangdi).

Tibet, Tokyo and Taiwan – the three T’s guaranteed to turn every thread into a food fight. I resigned myself long ago to the fact that, at least on these three topics, there’s no hope for a rational discussion because people seem to be hard-wired. It’s like talking about gun control or abortion. No one can see the other’s point of view, everyone is so convinced they are right.

March 17, 2008 @ 7:46 pm | Comment

Richard,

I wish you would not quote Greenspan, regardless of what he has to say.

That man is in large part responsible for the mess the U.S. economy is in. He encouraged the Bush tax cuts in 2001 by talking about the dangers of a surplus. Excuse me. He resisted tighter regulations on lenders, in spite of Congress giving the fed such authority. And now he denies any responsibility whatsoever for the mess the economy is in.

Please don’t quote Greenspan. I cringe when I hear his name.

March 17, 2008 @ 9:54 pm | Comment

I can’t comment on the US economy as I don’t know enough about the current problems to say what is likely to happen.

On the China matter I’ve always felt the supreme arrogance often exhibited by the Chinese government would cause problems like this. I don’t think they actually understand why other countries could care about Tibet so much.

World: “China, you’ve got to treat the Tibetans more fairly.”
China: “We are treating them fairly.”
World: “That’s not what we’re seeing and hearing.”
China: “Then you are being misled by propaganda.”
World: “Umm, I think we know what’s true and not. We believe it more than what you’re telling us.”
China: “So you say China lies? Hey you racists, shut up!”
World: “No need to be rude – we have our own POV.”
China: “CHINA SAY WHAT IT LIKES AND YOUR POV MEANS NOTHING! CHINA HAS SOVEREIGNTY OVER TIBET – GO AWAY FOREIGN TROUBLEMAKERS!!”

Although Beijing might not put its points across in such a way, that is an impression many non-Chinese get. Beijing frequently refuses to accept criticism, whether it is constructive or not, on board.

The problem with the Chinese government and the CCP is that in many ways they buy their own propaganda. They fail to see that many other countries, especially the important ones, don’t.

March 17, 2008 @ 10:04 pm | Comment

“The problem with the Chinese government and the CCP is that in many ways they buy their own propaganda. They fail to see that many other countries, especially the important ones, don’t.”

Their overseas propaganda campaigns are clearly overwhelmed by that of the West and only go as far as the embassies and the consulates.

But that does not mean they have any less credibility than the West. It’s be hard to beat the effectiveness of the Western propaganda machine but not hard at all to beat it in terms of journalistic integrity.

“On the China matter I’ve always felt the supreme arrogance often exhibited by the Chinese government would cause problems like this.”

Yet you totally failed to realize the degree of arrogance displayed by the Western media and how much it irritates people around the world.

It is indeed unfortunate that there can be no constructive dialog between the global North and the global South. But this is inevitable as the dramatically different interests encourages dramatically different media rhetoric which in turn encourages dramatically different popular opinion.

Parties participating in it may not be conscious of what they are doing, which is to promote their own interests; nonetheless that is precisely what they are doing.

March 17, 2008 @ 10:25 pm | Comment

Raj, I agree. And this inability to understand that the world’s perception of China is radically different from the perception it wants the world to have could be China’s undoing, or at least the cause for a major crisis (like the Olympics becoming the worst nightmare since the Cultural Revolution).

Marc, I have to quote Greenspan because, whether I agree with him or not, or like him or not, the man has influence, and when he speaks the world listens. And in this case, at least, he’s completely right.

March 17, 2008 @ 10:28 pm | Comment

I am not so sure people listen to him so much anymore. Only months ago, he was saying the economy was fundamentally sound and it just needed a small correction.

How quickly he changes his mind when there is undeniable proof to the contrary.

March 17, 2008 @ 10:32 pm | Comment

Jinhan: Yet you totally failed to realize the degree of arrogance displayed by the Western media and how much it irritates people around the world.

I can’t speak for Raj. For myself, I would say it’s nearly impossible for anyone to live oversees and not realize just how hated the US is by many, many people. This hatred may be irrational, it my be misplaced, but it’s certainly there.

March 17, 2008 @ 10:35 pm | Comment

Yet you totally failed to realize the degree of arrogance displayed by the Western media and how much it irritates people around the world.

Apart from Chinese who are rather biased on Tibet because in part due to nationalism and in part due to Chinese media censorship, who is irrated by North American, European, etc reporting on Tibet and other China issues?

Anyway, I was talking about the Chinese government’s attitude towards criticism – bringing in foreign media as a comparison isn’t appropriate.

March 17, 2008 @ 10:50 pm | Comment

“Apart from Chinese who are rather biased on Tibet because in part due to nationalism and in part due to Chinese media censorship, who is irrated by North American, European, etc reporting on Tibet and other China issues?”

Practically the entire third world.

“Anyway, I was talking about the Chinese government’s attitude towards criticism – bringing in foreign media as a comparison isn’t appropriate.”

And I was analyzing the reason behind the confrontation between the Chinese government and the West. And that is, fundamental conflicts in interest. (and the entire North-South confrontation, in fact)

No one cares what his enemies have to say about him.

March 17, 2008 @ 11:02 pm | Comment

Don’t expect the Chinese government to listen and understand. Face is just too important. Accepting others’ view is a sign of weakness to China, rather than sign of enlightment, and is a big loss of face. That is one of their character “strength”.

March 17, 2008 @ 11:38 pm | Comment

Face is a curse and a blight on China, though not China alone. A complete disaster. That such a fundamentally worthless concept could become the very foundation of a society…well, it never ceases to amaze me. A blight in every way

March 17, 2008 @ 11:52 pm | Comment

Argh!!
Jinhan. You forgot tinyurl! ;-)

March 17, 2008 @ 11:53 pm | Comment

Eco, I fixed it. That wasn’t the only thing wrong with his comment.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:11 am | Comment

I can’t understand why this crisis isn’t more important to some of my fellow Americans. In America, we’re so focused on our economy and on the situation in the Middle East, we aren’t paying attention to the situation between Beijing and Tibet.
I do not believe that all Chinese people side with their government. Hopefully, some peaceful resolution will be reached, however short-term that peace may be. My prayers are with both the Chinese people and with the people of Tibet.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:21 am | Comment

I can’t understand why this crisis isn’t more important to some of my fellow Americans. In America, we’re so focused on our economy and on the situation in the Middle East, we aren’t paying attention to the situation between Beijing and Tibet.
I do not believe that all Chinese people side with their government. Hopefully, some peaceful resolution will be reached, however short-term that peace may be. My prayers are with both the Chinese people and with the people of Tibet.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:22 am | Comment

They really have a problem now. and i am very sceptical that they can solve it. And as you said, Richard. If this leads to real problems for the olympics, the outcome for foreign-china relations won’t be good. This could become another 6/4.
If one followed the Chinese governments reaction to any major problem over the last years, one can not be too optimistic that they will do the smart moves.

For the question “why the big descisions are allways made by the dummies” I would like to refer to the chapter “why the worst come to power” in F.A. Hayeks “The road to serfdom”.
I know, this was more a rethorical question. But its a great book anyway.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:26 am | Comment

They really have a problem now. and i am very sceptical that they can solve it. And as you said, Richard. If this leads to real problems for the olympics, the outcome for foreign-china relations won’t be good. This could become another 6/4.
If one followed the Chinese governments reaction to any major problem over the last years, one can not be too optimistic that they will do the smart moves.

For the question “why the big descisions are allways made by the dummies” I would like to refer to the chapter “why the worst come to power” in F.A. Hayeks “The road to serfdom”.
I know, this was more a rethorical question. But its a great book anyway.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:32 am | Comment

Practically the entire third world.

If that’s all you can come up with then your point is extremely weak, especially given it’s the privileged in the third world who have the time and resources to whinge on “Have Your Say”.

No one cares what his enemies have to say about him.

Then China has an attitute problem because North America, Europe et al are not China’s enemies. This ridiculous “you are with us or against us” mentality that too many Chinese have needs to be got rid of ASAP if relations are to improve.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:34 am | Comment

I can’t understand why this crisis isn’t more important to some of my fellow Americans. In America, we’re so focused on our economy and on the situation in the Middle East, we aren’t paying attention to the situation between Beijing and Tibet.

Many Americans don’t even care about how many people are dying everyday in Iraq thanks to their own government, why are you suprised they paid less attention to the crackdown of rioting mobs in other country?

I do not believe that all Chinese people side with their government. Hopefully, some peaceful resolution will be reached, however short-term that peace may be. My prayers are with both the Chinese people and with the people of Tibet.

Thanks for your good will. On the issue of Tibet I assure you when Chinese find out what really happened there, most of them will not side with the government instead they will demand much harsher policies regarding Tibetans and abolishing any existing ones in favor of them.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:37 am | Comment

Shulan, I’ve heard it’s a great book; it’s on my list. And yes, it was a rhetorical question.

Donna, it really isn’t that bewildering that this would seem largely irrelevant to Americans, for two key reasons: distance and race. Compare how we react to 10 lives lost of people of our own race in downtown London to the lives of nearly 1,000 brown people killed in a ferry accident in Bangladesh. Compare the space the media gives to the two stories and how they handle the reporting in general. As a media watcher this anomaly has always fascinated me. Its also why we can drop an atomic bomb on a Japanese city with relatively little compunction. Race and distance.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:40 am | Comment

Reactions like this are not very encouraging:
http://www.danwei.org/sports/cub_scout_splittists.php

Aya, Herr wirf Hirn vom Himmel!
Sorry but I don’t know how to translate this. How stupid and irritaded can one be to fear that ten year olds will shout Free Tib@t, shortly before their NBA-Idols will play.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:49 am | Comment

@richard,

I do suspect the American and world economy are going to be in for a nasty few years, but the sky isn’t falling. The average American will get dinged by this, but when you have the wealth that the United States has accumulated over the past century to fall back on, it’s not going to be the end of the world.

For China, there are more immediate concerns.

As far as Chinese “arrogance”, Raj… look at what the Western media is reporting. For that matter, look at the articles that you, Jeremiah, and richard have linked on this blog over the past 4 days. There are repeated assertions that martial law has been declared, that there are 100 dead “due to a crackdown” in Lhasa. The standard tone coming out of Western capitals and newspapers is that the Chinese government’s “crackdown” must end.

All of this is, to put it mildly, a distortion of the facts. Western eyewitnesses have already given us enough information about the violence on Friday/Saturday, and it didn’t come from security forces directed at “peaceful’ protesters. The same is true throughout the eye-witness protest reports in Gansu, Sichuan, Qinghai.

… now, I agree with you about face, richard.

Frankly, I think China needs to learn from other international powers. Israel and the United States have never deviated in their government policy because of foreign protest. George Bush faces near riots every time he travels to Europe and Latin America. Israel is condemned in the United Nations on almost a weekly basis. Putin carried out a long-standing civil war in Chechnya, and is viewed with great animosity throughout much of Europe… but he still remains hugely popular with the only people that *should* matter: his citizens.

The Olympics were meant to be about “one world, one dream”. Clearly, this world has many dreams, and many do not share China’s dream. China should stop deluding itself that some form of international utopia is at hand, that there’s some kind of international club out there where membership is worthwhile.

I’m very … numb … about the Olympics at this point. If it happens, I will be there. (I’ve spent too much money to not go.) If it doesn’t happen… I couldn’t care less. It has no real significance. Why should I particular care whether international athletes come to Beijing to jump, run, and dive? Why should I particularly care whether international tourists come to see the sights? Stay home, and at least richard will get to keep his apartment.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:54 am | Comment

“How stupid and irritaded can one be to fear that ten year olds will shout Free Tib@t, shortly before their NBA-Idols will play.”

Why can’t you understand all the government is trying to do is for the safety of these foreigners?

What do you expect if some of them do shout out free Tibet?

The first few times Chinese may not pay attention but if the words spread and people start to realize what these foreigners are trying to achieve. What do you expect be their reactions?

Try shouting out free Kosovo in one of Serbs football games and see what happens.

March 18, 2008 @ 1:01 am | Comment

Bing, shulan’s point was that American kids usually don’t shout unrelated political slogans when they watch a sports competition. The fact that Chinese policemen obviously fear that under 10 year old children from the USA might use a baseball match between two American teams as an opportunity for political statements about Tibet says a lot about the CCP’s misconceptions regarding the world outside China. And the fact that all this went straight over your head says a lot about where you are coming from.

March 18, 2008 @ 1:30 am | Comment

“If that’s all you can come up with then your point is extremely weak, especially given it’s the privileged in the third world who have the time and resources to whinge on “Have Your Say”.”

So the silent are ignored while the vocal are negated.

How convenient.

Just so you know, as an example of this North-South confrontation: African farmers are *in staunch opposition* to Western trade practices—and the Western media’s attempt to paint a rosy picture.

“Then China has an attitute problem because North America, Europe et al are not China’s enemies. This ridiculous “you are with us or against us” mentality that too many Chinese have needs to be got rid of ASAP if relations are to improve.”

That doesn’t even make sense. Western media has waged a war of propaganda against China every since the “communists” took over. And it’s never stopped. It takes quite an unobservant person to say otherwise. Unfortunately, that mentality will not change because it is a reaction to Western hostility.

And you wonder innocently why China has “an attitude problem”. Geez.

March 18, 2008 @ 1:43 am | Comment

“And the fact that all this went straight over your head says a lot about where you are coming from.”

What do you mean by “this went straight over your head”.

The government certainly doesn’t want those foreigners get hurt to make a bigger scene for foreign media.

Stick to the argument I presented and don’t start stereotyping others.

March 18, 2008 @ 1:43 am | Comment

@bing

Woa!
You may just not be aware of what you just said. Equating Chinese with Serbs!

Precisely the people who destroyed their own country by trying to hold it together by force and brutality.

March 18, 2008 @ 1:44 am | Comment

“Woa!
You may just not be aware of what you just said. Equating Chinese with Serbs!

Precisely the people who destroyed their own country by trying to hold it together by force and brutality.”

Sorry, China is not Serbia. You will see what I mean by trying a bombardement in Beijing.

March 18, 2008 @ 1:59 am | Comment

“Sorry, China is not Serbia. You will see what I mean by trying a bombardement in Beijing.”

I think he is referring to the wars that resulted in the creation of Bosnia, etc. rather than Kosovo. Yugoslavia was already a dead letter by the time the 1999 war started.

March 18, 2008 @ 2:07 am | Comment

@ecodelta,

The only difference between the Serbs and the Russians is that one managed to destroy its separatist movement, and the other didn’t.

You can’t say that force doesn’t work. Human history tells us otherwise.

March 18, 2008 @ 2:17 am | Comment

“The only difference between the Serbs and the Russians is that one managed to destroy its separatist movement, and the other didn’t.

You can’t say that force doesn’t work. Human history tells us otherwise.”

Before 1999, Serbia was free to use whatever means necessary to stop the other republics from seceding, and used them. The fact that most of Yugoslavia had already seceded by 1999 and NATO intervention seems to defeat your argument.

March 18, 2008 @ 2:26 am | Comment

@Anonymous guy,

No, it doesn’t defeat my argument at all. I wasn’t necessarily pointing the hand at NATO, although without their intervention we’ll never know how Yugoslavia would’ve resolved its issues.

(If there was a different international superpower in the 1950s, the world perhaps would’ve never seen the United States resolve its civil rights issues in the deep South.)

I think our conclusion remains the same: Serbia was too weak as a nation to stop the secession of the other republics. Russia wasn’t.

March 18, 2008 @ 2:34 am | Comment

@CCT,

OK, I concede the point that if a strong power pulls out all the stops to defeat its’ enemies, up to and including genocide, then it is possible defeat less dominant ethnic groups and remain intact. In practice, though, this is nearly impossible. France could have nuked Algeria to keep it French, but the costs in terms of the negative reaction from other countries of doing so would have outweighed the benefits of fighting to keep it. Fighting endless ethnic wars can often cost more than they are worth.

March 18, 2008 @ 2:40 am | Comment

I guess I’m in a slightly more hopeful mood today. Not optimistic, but hopeful. I posted some links to the possible involvement of the Panchen Lama’s daughter in all of this in the “other” thread…

Let me follow up with the link to an older interview with one of China’s most famous Tibetan Buddhists:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVPlT9GWF_g

March 18, 2008 @ 2:42 am | Comment

@Anonymous guy,

Nuclear weapons? The United States managed its expansion across North America, and put down separatist uprisings from Native Americans without resorting to nukes. It took nearly a century, but history speaks for itself.

For every French Algeria, there’s the British Falklands. For that matter, in North America the United States represents the separatist colonies, while Canada represents the loyal colonies.

Human history is full of separatist movements; some successful, some not. There’s no predestined solution here; there’s no Hollywood ending already guaranteed. Tibet will be free only if China changes its mind, or if China is defeated in war. That’s not false bravado; I’m not claiming it can’t happen. I’m only pointing out that many Chinese know the score.

China’s current problem is that it has an over-idealistic view of history, and its obsession with having “face” in front of the international community. Eliminate both, and China will do far better in managing her national interests.

March 18, 2008 @ 2:54 am | Comment

“Fighting endless ethnic wars can often cost more than they are worth.”

It depends. Turk’s reactions to Kurds. Russia, Serb…We see the examples from both sides. Also there is no war here. A riot every 20 years is not a big deal. Paris just had its take last year.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:00 am | Comment

@CCT
“Russia wasn’t.”
Ahem….Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia. To name just a few.

The point with Yugoslavia is that a more intelligent policy could have held the country together. Resorting to violence not only broke the country apart, it created huge animosities among former neighbors that will take ages to heal.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:05 am | Comment

That is exactly the ;oint. When Russia was weak in 1990s, it lost many parts of its country. Now Russia is strong than a decade ago. You can even read the news that it might get some places back from Georgia.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:14 am | Comment

@ecodelta,

Sorry, I don’t really believe you have supernatural powers. I don’t think you *really* know that a more intelligent policy could have held the country together.

As far as Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia.. surely you understand that these were *all* maintained as independent Republics within the USSR? And for that matter, the USSR’s policy towards these Republics was one of tolerance, in hopes that some form of unity could be maintained within the context of the CIS. But the tensions between these Republics show that tolerance obviously didn’t work.

With Russia, I was speaking specifically about Chechnya.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:14 am | Comment

@ CCT Re: SSR “independence”,

They weren’t represented in the UN, and did not have seperate military forces.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:17 am | Comment

@Anonymous guy,

You’ve lost me. I have no idea what the point is in your last post.

Anyone currently with representation in the UN, and has a separate military forces probably shouldn’t be referred to as a “separatist” movement.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:28 am | Comment

By the way, BBC broadcast showing more footage from the “peaceful” protests and the “violent” suppression:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTn-lrIRcQU

March 18, 2008 @ 3:33 am | Comment

Hey Richard, say hello to your New USA Lord and King, Walmart, and their biggest trading partner, the CCP

Just sorta kidding (-:

You can see the china Interim Governments statement about the Tibet uprisings…

http://lairdkeir.spaces.live.com/

I would say that the things that are happenning can be seen as good if you just become part of the solution. If you just want to sit back and enjoy life without caring about human justice, then it will be very difficult. I think the current crises need peoples understanding and compassion to get through with positive changes. In any case changes need to be made and those who are against changes will burn.

I think that the situation we are experiencing is the culmination of materialism and greed, we have sold our dignity and now we are experiencing the results.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:44 am | Comment

@CCT
I have just “reasonable” powers, thank you. ;-)
You never know what could have happened, buy they should have tried. Definitely Tito was able to keep the country together for long time applying a more clever politics. He died, and there was no one good enough substitute him.

About those independent republics…. definitely not during the Russian Empire and…. during the Soviet Union…. you should rather speak with some of the people of that region. Ever hear about the Ukraine famine?
About CIS, well that was the point, “Community of Independent States”. Maybe they took the words too literally.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:44 am | Comment

“”"”The problem with the Chinese government and the CCP is that in many ways they buy their own propaganda. They fail to see that many other countries, especially the important ones, don’t.”"”"”

Thats a good point Raj, but I dont think they actually buy the propaganda, but they MUST live by it cause it is the only way they can survive……

If they admit ANYTHING, they will be VERY insecure. They know they are walking on extremely thin ice, but they know that lying is the only safe place for them. What can they do but lie? I bet they all have plans for what they will do when the party collapses (if people ever wake up)

I’ve said this before, they would be laughing at whoever buys the crap they put out, but they syre wouldnt be laughing in people stopped buying it!

However, there are indeed millions of people who ARE genuinely fooled (probly not near the top levels of the fooling game), the people who are not in the paid cadres probably are genuinely thinking that the CCP will make China and thenselves great due to propaganda manipulation aimed at glorifying and preserving the party’s life..

March 18, 2008 @ 3:51 am | Comment

“However, there are indeed millions of people who ARE genuinely fooled (probly not near the top levels of the fooling game), the people who are not in the paid cadres probably are genuinely thinking that the CCP will make China and thenselves great due to propaganda manipulation aimed at glorifying and preserving the party’s life..”

Brainwashed people like you are the reason there won’t be genuine dialog.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:54 am | Comment

@CCT
Seriously CCT I am not claiming for the independence of Tibet. I am sure that people with most influence on the Tibetan side know that that is impossible for the Chinese to accept.

On the other hand, anyone could see the crisis coming, that no one in Chinese government was able to take preemptive political measures, is quite surprising to say the least.

Much could be done with a little foresight and flexibility. Alas! From what I read it seems to be impossible.

If crisis unfolds as you seem to suggest from Chinese side
“We are not going to tolerate this!! etc”.
There are going to be more crisis before and during the games.

May I remind you that it was China who asked for the games. Several times. Quite vehemently . No one forced them to do accept it.

There were compromises to be fulfilled when they signed for hosting the Olympics, which are not fulfilled by now. Human rights, free press, free movement.

I must concede you are right. China is not mature enough yet. It is too soon maybe. In my opinion, if things go on like now, the games should be canceled to prevent greater evil.

I blame also the shortsightedness of IOC in this.
Up to a point. Maybe the IOC thought that the compromises the Chinese government signed were for real. From my experience with joint agreements with Chinese firms, there is a different interpretation of what a signed contract means. Cultural differences it seems.

Please, next time think it twice before asking to hosting the games. And if you consider that this “western” celebrations go against your customs, deepest believes and most cherished traditions, do not take the bother to apply.
We will spare a lot of trouble for everybody: Chinese, Tibetans and rest of the world.

March 18, 2008 @ 4:08 am | Comment

and one more thing. I dont think that the Tibet issue is about independance. I know it is not. I have some contact with the Tibet associations here and they want freedom for all of China, freedom from communism. before the CCP came, the Tibetans did not care who claims them or not, as long as they can live their peaceful religious ways of life.

I do not want to insult atheists here, but the problem is that a religious, spiritual people are being bossed around and opressed by atheist ideology,that is the problem.

the CCPs intention in Tibet is to genocide the peoples beliefs cause it is in opposition with communism. The Tibetans worship Buddha and Lama er whatever. The believe in the spirit/mind world. The CCP hates that very much cause it is “subversive” to the ideological poop insisted upon by the overlord.

People coming into Tibet and forcing them to give up their spiritual way of life is considered a huge sin in the spiritual world, it’s really something you cant do to a believer, you can’t stop them from believing in what they think is the highest good….

March 18, 2008 @ 4:10 am | Comment

“”"”Brainwashed people like you are the reason there won’t be genuine dialog.”"”"”"

Jinhan, care to explain? Can you explain? I think dialogue is when you dont have to agree in order to talk about something, I am willing to talk about stuff with people who dont agree with me, so I dont think I have a problem with dialogu, DO YOU?

March 18, 2008 @ 4:15 am | Comment

“Jinhan, care to explain? Can you explain? I think dialogue is when you dont have to agree in order to talk about something, I am willing to talk about stuff with people who dont agree with me, so I dont think I have a problem with dialogu, DO YOU?”

Keep on insisting the other side is brainwashed by Chinese propaganda over and over again does not substitude for serious dialog.

It’s what somebody does in order to get out of a discussion. Since anyone who remotely disagrees with Western propaganda is brainwashed by Chinese propaganda, then there is no need for dialog.

You can better satisfy yourself talking to the mirror or the CNN.

March 18, 2008 @ 4:20 am | Comment

A photo with more geo-political relevance than intended, I’m sure:

http://tinyurl.com/2ux9cq

Notice the logo on the burning car? This photo jumped out at me as a great microcosm of western countries’ increasingly convoluted relationship with China.

“Free Tibet, you oppressors! Oh by the way, do you need any police cars? Surveillance technology? Internet filters?”

March 18, 2008 @ 4:21 am | Comment

Notice the logo on the burning car?

Hhhmm…… It could be one of those counterfeit cars manufactured in China…… Just kidding.

By the frontal side it looks like and old Audi model. Maybe imported used car. The poor owner must have had a terrible sock. :-(
I suppose it is not easy nor cheap to get or buy one of those cars in China. I pity him

Hope he had a good insurance which covers the damages.

March 18, 2008 @ 4:32 am | Comment

Ecodelta,

Yeah, it is visibly an older Audi. Might be a hand-me-down from a cadre in a bigger eastern seaboard city, who has upgraded to the latest high-end black model with tinted windows. I still thought it was a great symbol of modern-day geopolitics/economics, though (don’t really know if it’s a police car or not).

March 18, 2008 @ 4:43 am | Comment

@ecodelta,

I think Beijing applied for the Olympics thinking that there were some basic shared values across the planet. But now we find that isn’t the case. International camaraderie is something that’s quickly becoming a joke, and destined to the garbage bin of history.

The United Nations has already become a mockery of what it was supposed to be. And I guess it was inevitable that the Olympics would eventually go down the same path.

March 18, 2008 @ 5:12 am | Comment

@CCT

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is supposed to be a basic shared value across the planet.

The CCP, unfortunately, hasn’t heard of it. That is the problem here.

As Wei Jingsheng put it in the papers today, “Improvements in China’s human rights were a quid pro quo for granting the games to Beijing. So how can the committee proceed as if nothing has happened when blood is flowing in the streets of Lhasa?”

The solution is simple. Let the international media back into Tibet. Let international observers into the prisons. Let those detained have representation. Let the Tibetans have the same freedom everyone else on the planet deserves.

March 18, 2008 @ 5:53 am | Comment

Sorry, but if the camaraderie you are looking for is the type we’ve seen inflicted upon Tibet for the past half-century, I don’t think you’re going to get many takers.

March 18, 2008 @ 6:06 am | Comment

“Sorry, but if the camaraderie you are looking for is the type we’ve seen inflicted upon Tibet for the past half-century, I don’t think you’re going to get many takers.”

What was inflicted upon Tibet for the past half-century? Wanna be more specific?

“As Wei Jingsheng put it in the papers today, “Improvements in China’s human rights were a quid pro quo for granting the games to Beijing. So how can the committee proceed as if nothing has happened when blood is flowing in the streets of Lhasa?”

Whose blood? Watch every BBC program you can find. The cops didn’t have a single pistol in any of the programs. The religious fanatics are the murderers, for crying out loud.

March 18, 2008 @ 6:16 am | Comment

@CCT
No. Beijing a applied for national prestige reasons. They just could not delivery what they signed for.

About international camaraderie, as a help organization volunteer in development countries for several years I can guarantee you is far from going to garbage bin history
I met many which help in development, without political nor religious agendas, without asking for anything in return. Nor love nor hate.

About the UN. With all imperfections it is doing a greater job than you think. Just that almost all countries meet in place, even to disagree, is a great achievement.

It is a pity that China will loose this opportunity. It is a pity that you can not see beyond your nationalistic mindset.
One day you will finally learn that the more tightly you grasp something the faster it escapes through your fingers.

Until that time. My best regards to you.

Time to go for dinner here. Good night CCT.

March 18, 2008 @ 6:32 am | Comment

@jinhan

The photos you are looking for are in the hard drives of the computers taken away security forces.

On the memory cards confiscated from tourist and journalist

On the web pages blocked in China.

Go and look for them…. If you can.

March 18, 2008 @ 6:39 am | Comment

“On the memory cards confiscated from tourist and journalist

On the web pages blocked in China.

Go and look for them…. If you can.”

So with or without evidence, China is guilty in your eyes. Not that it matters.

But from what I recall not a single person reported seeing them carry guns.

Not that it matters to you either.

March 18, 2008 @ 6:55 am | Comment

“But from what I recall not a single person reported seeing them carry guns.”

Because whoever saw a gun must have been killed on the spot and disposed of without a trace. Considering Chinese had killed 1m Tibetans in the past 50 years as some people claim. The last 3 days there must have been at least 3 x (1000000 / (50 x 365)) = 165.38 Tibetans killed.

March 18, 2008 @ 7:24 am | Comment

@Rohan,

The “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”? A document that China, representing at least 1/5th of humanity, was not involved in creating? A document that has no legal binding value, and has never been signed by anyone?

The United Nations Charter is supposed to represent a sacred commitment, too. And that’s something all member nations signed upon joining. The Charter provides for many things, but not the unilateral independence of peoples because they feel like it.

I wish there were more international media in the streets of Lhasa, in all honesty. I wish there was more footage of the racial violence unleashed by Tibetan rioters. But Beijing is far more conservative than I.

As far as accepting “international observers”… why? What’s my moral or legal responsibility in doing so? When will Chinese observers be allowed access to Guantanomo Bay? Last time I checked, the United States was so paranoid as to explicitly insist that all American forces were off-limits from world courts established for the investigation of war crimes.

And if we were to do so, will all international observers sign a document expressing their commitment to the United Nations Charter, that they believe no region of a country should be allowed to separate unilaterally? That Tibet’s political status must be decided by all Chinese, not the small minority of Tibetans? That they reject the tenets of ethnic cleansing, that Han Chinese born and raised in Tibet have the moral and legal right to stay?

March 18, 2008 @ 7:31 am | Comment

“But from what I recall not a single person reported seeing them carry guns.”
My BS meter shot thru the roof just now. Check out Sino-Tibetan camaraderie!
http://tinyurl.com/2s6jea
http://tinyurl.com/2ukrbl

March 18, 2008 @ 7:37 am | Comment

@jinhan

Got youtube dude?

http://tinyurl.com/33ds6q

Good night to you too

March 18, 2008 @ 7:47 am | Comment

@kevin,

As far as the first image goes… it’s possible that at one of these remote regions of Sichuan, there were killings by security forces. We’ve seen plenty of images of riot police and no one with guns, but I believe that it’s possible.

However, I’ll believe it actually *happened* when someone other than the Tibetan activists confirm it. The Tibet government-in-exile announced on Friday that martial law had been declared in Lhasa, and that 100 Tibetans had been killed. By Sunday, the martial law claim had been revoked, and the death count had dropped to “at least 30″.

You don’t have to believe the Beijing version that only 10 (or 13) died; I sure as hell don’t believe anything coming out of Dharmasala as being true.

The second image, by the way, disprove your point. The soldiers in that image are exclusively carrying wooden clubs. Look at the image.

March 18, 2008 @ 8:02 am | Comment

@CCT

A document that China, representing at least 1/5th of humanity, was not involved in creating?

Really? Ever heard of P.C. Chang (Zhang Peijun), who served as vice chairman of the UN Commission on Human Rights and represented China, a founding member of the UN. He played a key role in drafting the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” in 1948.

For more information, please consult Angle & Svensson, The Chinese Human Rights Reader: Documents and Commentary (2001), which effectively refutes the idea that “human rights” is a novel and alien concept to China.

March 18, 2008 @ 8:04 am | Comment

Here’s something new today.

Many (overseas) Chinese, after seeing videos of the Dalai Lama’s press conference, are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. (He’s as charming to the Chinese as he is to everyone else.) Many are willing to concede that he’s not directly behind the violence in Lhasa. All remain convinced, however, that the entire thing was still organized… likely by the exile government.

I only know the overseas Chinese opinion, because domestically all discussion of Tibet remains largely verboten.

March 18, 2008 @ 8:16 am | Comment

“Because whoever saw a gun must have been killed on the spot and disposed of without a trace. Considering Chinese had killed 1m Tibetans in the past 50 years as some people claim. The last 3 days there must have been at least 3 x (1000000 / (50 x 365)) = 165.38 Tibetans killed.”

Exile propaganda. I also heard the claim that CCP murdered 1.2-2 million Tibetans after taking over Tibet.

In 1959, Tibet’s population was a mere 1.19 million. Today, there are 6 million Tibetans in Tibet alone. So the population doubled every 25 years or so—And population booms do not happen faster than this.

If 1 or 2 million Tibetans were killed in the past 50 years, (especially 1951-1959) there would not have been so many Tibetans in Tibet.

“Got youtube dude?

http://tinyurl.com/33ds6q

Good night to you too”

So you’d rather not discuss the crackdown. I will not waste anymore time with you…As you would surely start some new random topic whenever the evidence goes against you.

Good night.

March 18, 2008 @ 8:16 am | Comment

CCT, look at the image. Did you by any chance see a gigantic tank behind them?
What a joke.

March 18, 2008 @ 8:21 am | Comment

@CCT

So, you don’t care to respond to the point I just made? 顾左右而言他.

March 18, 2008 @ 8:28 am | Comment

@Amban,

I own that book. I believe the name of the gentleman is Zhang Pengchun, not Peichun. I guess we could argue whether Zhang, as a representative appointed by the Nationalist Government, could really represent all of China. But I won’t; I’ll give it to you.

So, 1948 China was involved in the writing of the document. And? Have even one of the founders of the United Nations reached the standard set in that document? While China aspires to reach that level some day, should we start today, even if it requires compromising other deeply held ideals in international law?

March 18, 2008 @ 8:35 am | Comment

@Kevin,

That’s an armored personnel carrier, not a “tank”. After watching footage of the Lhasa riots, I’d want one around me too.

March 18, 2008 @ 8:36 am | Comment

Indeed, maybe they were giving free armored personal carrier rides to Tibetans to show their camaraderie!
If you didn’t see guns in those pictures, I would recommend that you look again. You started the Tibet discussion off on a fairly reasonable footing, but you have descended into narrow-minded nationalist cheerleading for a CCP crackdown, with the majority of your energies focused on denying the realities of the Tibetan situation. That’s unfortunate.
As I said yesterday, if this had been the popular response to Vietnam, we’d still be there.

March 18, 2008 @ 8:39 am | Comment

@CCT

Thanks for correcting my romanization, but your response is astounding. Your point was that there was no Chinese input into the drafting of the document. There was. Care to comment?

Now, supposedly that is not important because China has a different government. Well, then what happens to all statements made by the People’s Republic of China that claims made by the Qing government and the Republic of China have force today, such as sovereignty over Tibet and Xinjiang?

March 18, 2008 @ 8:48 am | Comment

@Amban,

Did you read my post? As I said, I grant that there was Chinese input into the drafting of the document.

So, 1948 China was involved in the writing of the document. And? Have even one of the founders of the United Nations reached the standard set in that document? While China aspires to reach that level some day, should we start today, even if it requires compromising other deeply held ideals in international law?

March 18, 2008 @ 8:50 am | Comment

@kevin,

The last 3 days have very much made a cynic of me. If you go back to read the first day of posts, I sincerely hoped that the Dalai Lama would come out and make a firm, categorical condemnation *of the violence*. I never expected the Dalai Lama to necessarily halt the protests… but I hoped he’d be firm that the scenes of Tibetans burning/stabbing/beating would be unacceptable to him, and that he condemns it. He simply hasn’t done so.

I also expected the Western media (and you) to be more fair about the Chinese military reaction in Lhasa itself. As I said, I have no idea what has happened in the smaller towns in western Sichuan or Qinghai; it’s possible firearms were used in isolated incidences.

But the Chinese security forces in Lhasa have, so far, have not been guilty of the many accusations laid at their feet. There have *not* been mass killings; the soldiers in the field have been armed with non-lethal equipment. There are enough Western eyewitnesses and Tibetan eyewitnesses (still talking to the Western media) to confirm this.

Again, taking that second picture as example… you prefer to focus on the “tank” rather than the wooden clubs carried by every soldier. I see the latter as evidence of intent, and the former as transportation. You see the former as intent, and the latter as… I don’t know, a prop?

So, how would you suggest I react to this? I’m willing to concede that Chinese policies in Tibet are wrong, but how much more should I go? Is the West, are *you* personally, going to meet me half way on this and accept that Beijing has so far treated the Lhasa riots with the same restraint that the US showed during the ’92 LA riots? Or that Paris showed during the ’05 Paris riots?

March 18, 2008 @ 8:58 am | Comment

@CCT

I did read what you said, I just don’t see what point you are trying to make. How would following the declaration of human rights violate international law? We’re not even talking about the right to secede here. Just to take one example, arguably the police in Lhasa is not acting in the spirit of the declaration when they prevent any independent investigation of the events.

Article 19.

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

You have the book in front of you; did P.C. Chang register any complaint to that article on behalf of the Chinese government? Or would it be fair to say that the actions of the authorities grossly violate principles that have been accepted by China in 1948?

And yes, not all countries do not live up to the standards of the declaration. But should the perfect be the enemy of the good?

March 18, 2008 @ 9:07 am | Comment

I agree with CCT’s earlier comments about China being too idealistic and naive about the International arena. The main problem, in my opinion, is that the Chinese government treats international affairs like inter-personal affairs, and has this fantasy that in the international arena, if you are nice to another, they’ll be nice to you.

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

So to continue Raj’s “dialog” about the West and China: when the West asks:

World: “China, you’ve got to treat the Tibetans more fairly.”

The current response by China is: “We are treating them fairly! Look, I can show you pictures, videos, witnesses, come to Lhasa and I’ll show you! How can you say we are not treating them fairly!”

WRONG ANSWER.

The CORRECT way to to handle this dialog is:

World: “China, you’ve got to treat the Tibetans more fairly.”

China: “Um, why?”

World: “Because we must show religious tolerance, and let Tibetans choose their way of life, etc etc .”

China: “Sorry dude, I don’t believe in that. Tibet is part of China and we can do whatever we want.”

World: “How dare you! We’ll start economic sanctions against you!”

China: ” Um, ok. Do what you like.”

March 18, 2008 @ 9:08 am | Comment

@HongXing

World: “Because we must show religious tolerance, and let Tibetans choose their way of life, etc etc .”

China: “Sorry dude, I don’t believe in that. Tibet is part of China and we can do whatever we want.”

This article 18 of the universal declaration of human rights, which was accepted by China in 1948:

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

March 18, 2008 @ 9:18 am | Comment

Sorry dude, that’s not how the game is played. Rules are made to be broken. And if you are strong enough, powerful enough, influential enough, then who dares to even fart if you break it?

Yes I broke the rule, so what, what are you gonna do, what are you gonna do, huh?

The fact of the matter is, if a Nigeria breaks the rule, everyone will rape it. If USA or Russia breaks the same rule, no one dares to even make a noise.

That’s the reality (or ‘tragedy’) of big power politics.

China needs to be a strong member of this big power politics.

March 18, 2008 @ 9:23 am | Comment

China needs to be a strong member of this big power politics.

Well, why do you deign to argue with the rest of us idealists? Hardly a sign of strength.

March 18, 2008 @ 9:27 am | Comment

Well, why do you deign to argue with the rest of us idealists? Hardly a sign of strength.

Big powers don’t argue, they do. Only if you are weak, and have no chips, then you need to “argue”.

If I am America or USSR, or Rome or the Tang Dynasty, or Genghis Kang, and if some small island nation disagrees with me, do I send representatives and debate with them, argue with them?

No.

I make sure they dissapear, evaporate, vanish, within 24 hours. Simple, quick, efficient, clean.

This is how a professional big power behaves.

March 18, 2008 @ 9:32 am | Comment

If I am America or USSR, or Rome or the Tang Dynasty, or Genghis Kang, and if some small island nation disagrees with me, do I send representatives and debate with them, argue with them?

No.

Uh, yes. That’s how civilized nations generally interact.

I make sure they dissapear, evaporate, vanish, within 24 hours. Simple, quick, efficient, clean.

What a juvenile view of world relations.

March 18, 2008 @ 9:36 am | Comment

Uh, yes. That’s how civilized nations generally interact.

Um, no. That’s how your high school civics class teacher tells you how nations should behave. What I described is how “civilized” nations DO behave today.

The world is a jungle, you are too naive, too simple.

March 18, 2008 @ 9:39 am | Comment

以己
4230;人

March 18, 2008 @ 9:45 am | Comment

你这
3567;逼๢
4;会成
;语啊&
65292;不
616;单。

March 18, 2008 @ 9:48 am | Comment

@Bing
you really didn’t get it, did you? The emphasis lays on 10 year old and NBA-Stars shortly playing.

I am pretty sure that these kids can name each and every NBA player but doubt that they even have the most simple concept of Teabad.

But as mor said. It is quite telling that you don’t get the point.

And please give me a break with that it’s only for your security stupidity. The old nanystate argument over and over again.

March 18, 2008 @ 10:01 am | Comment

Despite the fact that the pictures above included guns in addition to sticks (which also are probably not being used to promote camaraderie), for those living in a fantasy land insisting that the troops in Lhasa are unarmed, please appreciate this pic:
http://tinyurl.com/yuhlxa

March 18, 2008 @ 11:50 am | Comment

Kevin etc etc,

If you look closely, the cops in the photo you posted are holding riot guns, probably to fire off teargas cartridge, not “real” guns.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:47 pm | Comment

“China needs to be a strong member of this big power politics.

Posted by: HongXing at March 18, 2008 09:23 AM”

China needs to be boycotted, embargoed, deconstructed and disappeared.

March 18, 2008 @ 12:54 pm | Comment

If you would like to “look closely,” maybe also try looking at the photo gallery on the same page… unless, of course, you just want to look closely for “proof” that the Chinese government is benevolent and blameless.

March 18, 2008 @ 1:07 pm | Comment

“”"”"”"Keep on insisting the other side is brainwashed by Chinese propaganda over and over again does not substitude for serious dialog.

It’s what somebody does in order to get out of a discussion.”"”"”"”

I mention oftewn that the Chinese people are genrally brainwashed because it is pretty important when talking about Chinese peoples attitudes and perceptions, you cant really avoid that fact when you are discussing such things, it is a pretty significant factor.

I dont come here to get out of discussions, but I did find your comment to be dismissive, not really very conducive to dialogue. You made some assuptions about me and tried to use them to write me off so it seems.

If you want to discuss the brainwashing foactor, we can, its just that we are supposed to stay on topic.

If you wanna talk about brainwashing and how it affects the Chinese peoples attitudes and perceptions about Tibet, well, it greatly affects it.

It’s not time for me to get into all the instilled notions now because I will go to sleep, but I am not closed to any discussion, to be clear…

March 18, 2008 @ 2:15 pm | Comment

Dpark is very right. The gun in question is clearly a very large caliber gun usually used to fire tear-gas.

I’m sure you’ll eventually find pictures of soldiers with guns, especially in recently deployed units about to carry out specific arrests in Lhasa.

But for 72 hours, during the heat of some of the most heated racial violence seen in recent decades, Chinese security forces tried to stay its hand. The cover of the New York Times from the following day will forever show a large group of military police (consisting of both Han and Tibetan) huddled behind riot shields, with rocks strewn throughout the street in front of them… without a gun in sight.

March 18, 2008 @ 2:28 pm | Comment

The root of the Tibet problem is a fundamental lack of open discussion within China as to WHY the Tibetans are unhappy and WHAT Chinese can do about it. By fundamental and open, I mean not guided by government statements, and based on the acceptance that Tibetans have a point of view that is no less valid than that of Han Chinese.

Therefore, criticising Western governments and news organisations for what you see as their lack of understanding of a problem does you no good when you can’t even admit that such an obvious problem exits and is partially rooted in China.

March 18, 2008 @ 2:38 pm | Comment

Kevin etc etc,

If you want us to look at the photo gallery, say so; but your previous post pointed us to “this pic”, which showed police with riot guns. You’ve made a mistake with regard to the type of guns in THAT photo, either from carelessness or ignorance, no big deal, maybe signing up for the NRA would help.

For people wishing to gain some first-hand information from the ground, Thorn Tree, which is Lonely Planet’s discussion forum, contains some surprisingly impartial posts from foreign tourists/students currently in the city. According to one posters, many streets are now open, and people(including Han) are going to the Old Quarter to check out the aftermath.

March 18, 2008 @ 2:59 pm | Comment

Personally, I wouldn’t say that police had not used guns until I looked at the pictures available to me.
I would say that when you assume something like that, you’re not making an ass out of u and me, but rather primarily yourself.
I also wouldn’t say that the police had used guns unless I saw pictures in which they had. If you want to deconstruct and avoid certain pictures in technical moves reminiscent of Nanking Massacre deniers, be my guest. However, that doesn’t change the truth of this unfortunate situation.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:31 pm | Comment

@CCT
I got a question for yah. You are the defender of the CCP’s policies that is easily the most willing to consider different points of view, but you still, you dismiss the idea of the PRC granting Tibet its independence as an option for China out of hand. I’m wondering if this is because you believe that it is so impractical an idea (owing to the deep indoctrination of everybody that Tibet is fundamentally part of China, I guess) that it’s not even worth discussing, or do you think there is something inherently wrong with the idea?

March 18, 2008 @ 4:02 pm | Comment

Global economic meltdown of historic magnitude, and this thread turns out to be children screaming “I DID NOT!” and ‘YES YOU DID!”

March 18, 2008 @ 4:16 pm | Comment

without a gun in sight

Yes, and I’m sure those dead Tibetans committed suicide to try to smear China’s image………

March 18, 2008 @ 4:38 pm | Comment

@Amban, @HongXing
Fascinating exchange. Utterly reminiscent of the Melian Dialogue. Of course HongXing is right that force is the prime mover in international relations, but he forgets that alliances determine who has the most force. If you make too many enemies, you will not survive, a mistake Hitler and Napoleon made. A country that wants to survive makes allies, not enemies, and the Chinese Communist regime has added a few enemies to its list this week. Taiwan is backing away from China already. U.S. and European sentiment is swinging wildly towards an anti-China position that governments will have to take into account. The opposition has walked out of the Indian parliament in protest at the government’s appeasing of China, and Indian sentiment on the street is totally anti-Chinese. On the positive side, Russia is stepping up to defend China. Are the battle lines drawn for the next decade? Too soon to say, but quite likely. I think they will stay this way until the CCP comes toppling down.

@Jinhan
What was inflicted upon Tibet for the past half-century? Wanna be more specific?
Thousands of people shot in the streets, bombed from the air, tortured, killed, arrested and imprisoned for decades for no more than expressing their opinion or holding a poster. The most utterly vile and condemnable genocide against Tibetans. Reading the opinions on here I can understand how it happened.

@CCT
I never expected the Dalai Lama to necessarily halt the protests… but I hoped he’d be firm that the scenes of Tibetans burning/stabbing/beating would be unacceptable to him, and that he condemns it. He simply hasn’t done so.
The Dalai Lama has been condemning violence for half a century. The Tibetans have long realised that this plays in China’s hands, because all the stupefying violence that is practised every day by China against Tibetans happens in prisons and military camps, safely out of sight of the world, so that nobody knows about it, whereas any small act of angry retaliation by Tibetans 1) becomes a stick to condemn them and trash their rights, and 2) holds them back, so that China can slowly destroy them without protest. As a result the Tibetans asked His Holiness not to request them to stop the violence, and he agreed. Good for him. The old fellow is getting some sense in his old age.

March 18, 2008 @ 4:46 pm | Comment

“Kevin etc etc, If you want us to look at the photo gallery, say so;”
Sorry, comrade, I am not the “mighty, glorious, and correct” Chairman Hu, and will not be attempting to mold your mental development step by step. If you want to look at the gallery before brazenly asserting that there are no photos of police with arms, then I would strongly recommend that you do so. It might make your opinion more nuanced.

March 18, 2008 @ 4:59 pm | Comment

@mor

excellent point. what most chinese cannot get over is the fact that most of the west doesn’t see it as the west vs china, like the ccp, but just sees it as the west and a bunch of poor, oppressive countries, china being one example.
this is why there is a lack of knowledge of china, not due to racism but disinterest and ignorance.

March 18, 2008 @ 5:25 pm | Comment

@ Kevin et etc,

I have two posts prior to this one, please point out the sentence where I asserted that there are no photos of police with arms anywhere or police had not used guns at all in T*&bet. You directed us to look at this ONE picture above an article, where you confused a riot gun with a “real” gun; being an observant person I pointed out that mistake, and now you are shoving words down my throat? Where did you learn that from? Looks like you and the CCP are not so different after all.

And what’s up with all the name-calling? You are the type of people who turns a somber and thought-provoking post on current events into a spit-war, that’s very childish and annoying.

March 18, 2008 @ 5:45 pm | Comment

@Dpark

Of course you are right. Kevin has killed hundreds of thousands of people. Kevin continues to stifle the freedoms of one billion people and threaten the peace of the planet. Please continue pointing out these truths. We are with you, comrade.

March 18, 2008 @ 5:48 pm | Comment

Wow, thanks for the warning Rohan, didn’t know this Kevin person is way worse than Dr. Evil, where’s Austin Powers when we need him? Thank you, Comrade!

March 18, 2008 @ 6:15 pm | Comment

@jinhan
“So you’d rather not discuss the crackdown.”
Sorry. I was going to sleep. By the way, good morning. Cup of coffee?

“I will not waste anymore time with you…”
Do not have to. Wish the T____ could do the same with the likes of you.

“As you would surely start some new random topic whenever the evidence goes against you.”
Ha ha ha ha. That is a good one. You really must got good grades in propanga class. Any ex-DDR fellow there? Maybe I know him.
Regards to your fellow comrades. Kamarad!

March 18, 2008 @ 7:00 pm | Comment

@cct et al

the dalai lama has threatened to resign if the violence continues

http://tinyurl.com/2bf3vh

if you can read this (are you in china?)

March 18, 2008 @ 8:11 pm | Comment

http://oimdu.blogspot.com/2008/03/riots-in-lhasa-last-day-of-visit-in.html

This is a quote from blog from a guy who was there. I think it is important not to forget THE ISSUE, which is not land or fighting for separation from ‘China’ This is a girl who was explaining to the French guy why this is happening, and I think this is what really counts in all of this, the media care about violence, guns, surface slogans, but the issue is not being dealt with well by the media since the REAL ISSUE is about the CCP trying to warp the Tibetan people into CCP drones whcich they have done so successfully in the Han regions.

“”"”"”"”They explain that Tibetan people lost all their temples, and when losing their temples, they are losing their history. “Our culture is transmitted orally, and the only ones to archive and keep writings on what makes Tibetan people are the monks, in the monasteries. Destroying temples and assassinating/jailing monks, Chinese are destroying us. They destroyed more than 1000 monasteries, and all their content has previously been looted and is now outside Tibet, in China.

They are teaching us how to become rich, to them business is the most important. But for us, the most important is religion. It is not in our mentality to be rich, because it means that we take too much money to the others, and in our culture, the others are more important than yourself. Albeit Tibetans are happy to have better clothes, but the truly important thing is religion. We don’t want to be rich, we want to be free.”"”"”"”"”"

March 19, 2008 @ 12:00 am | Comment

Any chance she had been brainwashed by monks just like so many Chinese by CCP?

When were those 1000 monasteries destroyed? Cultural revoluation?

Her mentality was no difference from the serfs in Tibet 50 years ago or Chinese 30 years ago.

Do not long for material life, spirit is all you need. We, the wise and powerful, will take care of the sins of the wealth and luxuries.

Is she not a drone of the feudal theocracy?

March 19, 2008 @ 12:50 am | Comment

@Si,

I’m not sure how to interpret the Dalai Lama’s comments. You have Rohan on this very thread applauding his acceptance of violence; is he really going to disappoint Rohan and resign?

There are others who speculate the Dalai Lama is merely playing good cop to the Tibetan extremists “bad cop”. It’s been said in numerous contexts that the Tibetan protesters are hoping to force a better negotiation position for the Dalai Lama.

But a lot of people have been speculating that the Dalai Lama is unable to control the movement, even if he’s the symbolic head. The fact that he’s threatening to resign seems to confirm this. His resignation wouldn’t have any effect on Beijing that I can see. On the contrary, if he’s seen the videos and first-hand reports that we’ve all seen, if he’s truly frustrated by the violence, perhaps this is his only recourse.

March 19, 2008 @ 12:55 am | Comment

@snow,

I think I agree with the French guy’s interpretation, after he balanced her words with what he saw on the streets:

I understood that in this kind of situation there is no good and evil. It was Tibetans against Chinese. Those Chinese as victims of Tibetans are also victims of their own government policy. Tibetans hope that Chinese will now be afraid of settling in Tibet.

China will not be overwhelmed by fear.

March 19, 2008 @ 12:59 am | Comment

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March 19, 2008 @ 1:06 am | Comment

@Lime,

You are the defender of the CCP’s policies that is easily the most willing to consider different points of view, but you still, you dismiss the idea of the PRC granting Tibet its independence as an option for China out of hand.
I happen to think you’re the critic of the CCP’s policies that is easily the most willing to consider different points of view… ;)

I don’t really like either of the two choices you gave me. So, I’ll just speak more generally as to my feelings on the subject…

I’m Chinese. That’s sort of the base line for the entire discussion. I see myself as having a responsibility to my family, and my country. I’m fortunate enough to live in an age where I don’t directly depend on my country to “protect” me, but I do believe that my interests, and the interests of my family at large, can only be preserved by a strong China.

And the calculation from there is simple: in my opinion, China is better and stronger as a united country. That’s what history has always shown me. A united China is something I inherited from my parents, and that’s something I’d like to pass on to my children.

Will the existence of an independent Tibet destroy me? Destroy China? No, of course not. My life will continue basically unmodified, and China will continue.

But what we’re talking about is attitude and effort. In world history, China’s a very unique case in its ability to remain largely united for thousands of years. I don’t give the credit for this to Chinese emperors, but rather to the Chinese people. Without a conscious effort and attempt by the hundreds of millions of Chinese who lived before me, China would’ve fragmented politically/culturally/socially the same way the Roman Empire did.

I don’t think Tibetan independence could destroy China, but I think a permissive attitude towards self-determination, and apathy towards the importance of unity will eventually destroy China.

But thanks for asking the question. It has made me think, and it reminds me that “destroying Tibet” (however emotionally satisfying that might be after seeing some of these images) doesn’t really help the aspect of China that I care most deeply about.

And in terms of even more self-reflection… I think as Chinese, we could afford to be more confident about the status of our country in the 21st century.

Do me a favor and consider where (People’s Republic of) China is coming from: we’ve only been in the United Nations for 30 years; we’ve only been participating in the Olympics for 20+ years; it was only 40+ years ago that the CIA was parachuting Tibetan agents into Sichuan in preparation for a new land invasion of China. It’s only been 50 years since we fought a war with the United States on our borders… a war in which the American general in command called for the use of nuclear weapons.

20 to 30 years ago, the only thing that allowed us to maintain our borders and national security was desperate passion. God knows we had nothing else… zero international influence, a weak military, few friends, and no economy to speak of. This isn’t a long time ago you realize; it’s within my life time.

But in 2008, I do feel we’ve reached a point where our security on the international stage is really guaranteed. Our position in the United Nations is solid; our military and economic power is substantial. Heck, this thought is putting a smile on my face.

So, if I step back take another tack at this Tibet problem, for example… so what if there’s more autonomy? Who really cares? When asked what an independent Tibet would look like, many of these activists point to places like Mustang and Bhutan. Personally, if the political situation relaxed over night, I doubt many Tibetans would embrace Mustang and Bhutan’s model of development. After all, I’ll note that few of these Tibetan independence activists actually move to Mustang and Bhutan… they seem to prefer the United States and Canada.

You know, traditionally, the Dalai Lama was partly feared because there were concerns that an “autonomous” Tibet would quickly be redirected to lean towards India, or even Britain. This was a reasonable fear 20-30 years ago. But today? Why should China be remotely afraid of competing with India or even Britain on the scale of cultural and economic influence? Chinese programs are already popping up in high schools across the United States… do we *really* need to be concerned that the youth in Tibet, politics aside, will want to learn any language other than Chinese as their second language?

Good exercise, Lime. I prefer this more idealistic outlook on the future of China.

March 19, 2008 @ 2:26 am | Comment

CCT,

what you said about the violence being bad is true, of course violence is not cool.

But, don’t forget that there is an underlying problem and the fact that some Tibetans lost their cool these days does not mean that the CCP did not opress them. We can’t really use the fact that some Tibetans lost their cool as a reason to dismiss the legitimate complaint that they are very opressed peoples.

I do not advocate violence at all. But what did the Tibetans do to deserve the CCP evilness upon them? And what did the brianswashed Chinese and the CCP do to the Tibetans to deserve this violent uprising?

So there is definitely an inbalance of guilt right CCT? I mean thats the way I see it but please let me know your opinion.

March 19, 2008 @ 3:34 am | Comment

bing bing,

“”"”Is she not a drone of the feudal theocracy?”"”"

Can you elaborate a bit please?

I am not too familiar with ‘feudal theocracy’. I try to be objective in that I look at the common sort of law that most people in the world agree on which is used as the base of most legal constitutions. The CCP uses vile tactics to manipulate peoples minds. They block info and supply lies. They pump propaganda so hard that people dont even know whats what… If you dont think as they wish for you to think, they torture and threaten, using fear and power, hiding their crimes in order to keep people in the party line…………….

Do you think the monks have done that to this girl? Atually I dont think they did. i think she probly just likes to follow that way of life because she finds it virtuous and contributes to her self actualisation and happiness, something materials cannot give her, and propaganda probly does not appeal to her……..

What do you think bing bing

March 19, 2008 @ 3:41 am | Comment

@snow,

I’m not sure how the balancing of guilt is supposed to work. If a Jewish suicide bomber blows himself up in the Gaza Strip tomorrow, is he guilty, or isn’t he? If a black man is convicted of murder, is he more guilty, or is it the slave owners who brought his ancestor in chains from Africa more guilty?

And what I said China only invaded Tibet because we were invaded by the West, and therefore wanted to build a security buffer from British India… does this mean the guilt for the death of Chinese storekeepers in Lhasa is actually due to the guilt of Queen Elizabeth?

I have a hard time balancing guilt. I don’t have a moral calculator for this stuff.

I will say what I’ve said from day one. Those responsible for the violence we’ve seen on videos and heard in stories are guilty of crimes, period. If they’re fighting a war of resistance against the Chinese state, then declare the war and fight it. You can never stab civilians in the street and call it justified.

Similarly, Chinese police officers involved in extra-judicial killings are also criminals. I don’t have a problem with calling the officer who killed the Tibetan nun crossing the Chinese border last year a criminal. I wish China would tell us how/if he was punished… but I can only tell you I personally hope he was.

Is protesting peacefully a crime? I don’t think so (within broad limits). Is protesting *violently* a crime? Should burning down office buildings be considered a crime? If African-Americans activists burned down the US capital building… is that a crime, or is that justified considering their history and current socio-economic conditions?

Now, how do you balance this crime against the “crime” of a government’s policies? Is restricting political freedom a crime? If a minority population fails to thrive in a market economy, is that a crime of the government? Is China’s presence in Tibet itself a crime?

I don’t think any of these are simple, and they all must be discussed and considered in detail. But none of this can possibly justify brutal violence aimed at innocents, when it happens.

March 19, 2008 @ 3:58 am | Comment

@CCT
At the same time, though, you can see the argument of the Tibetan nationalist, I don’t mean the Dalai Lama or the rioter attacking innocent Chinese civilians, who has a concept of what he sees as his own ‘nation’ and its own history? I think that it is possible for China to win the argument and convince the Tibetans that they are part of China without either demographically crushing them or brainwashing them. It’s a matter of making them enfranchised, giving them a stake in the system so to speak, and showing them that you understand their concerns are real and their concerns are your concerns. There are precedents, Britain, Canada, and India (which though a disappointment in some ways as you pointed out, is a great success in others) are all nations where the dominant culture varies from region to region, and of course all have problems that have occurred because of it, but all have managed to operate without destroying their minority regions culturally. China is not as special as Chinese people often like to claim it is, so I believe there is no reason why the approaches that have worked for these countries couldn’t work for it.

March 19, 2008 @ 4:31 am | Comment

@CCT:

I believe the problem really begins when the government *prevents* public protests, or even public criticism, after which people resort to violence to get themselves and their cause noticed. It’s not that violence isn’t ultimately deplorable, but that when people are being oppressed and their government offers them no legitimate non-peaceful method of protesting, they will resort to violence. Personally, I would have felt that violence by Tibetans against the state and the security services (and not civilians) would have been justified, but the fact that civilians have been killed by rioters does not make the Chinese authorities in Tibet any more legitimate.

Basically, what we are seeing in Tibet is the same thing colonisers everywhere have faced, and the Chinese reaction is the same as that of every coloniser, who sees their mission as uniquely good, and can see no comparison whatsoever between their own actions and those of their former oppressors. The notion that they could be seen as oppressors is as difficult for the Chinese to comprehend as it was for the French in Algeria and Indochina (who saw themselves as spreading civilisation and freedom), the Japanese during the Pacific War (who saw themselves as liberators of the Asian peoples from European domination), the Americans (who see themselves freeing the Middle East for democracy) and the Portuguese in southern Africa (who saw themselves as defending the poor, childlike African from the threat of Communist domination and slavery).

At the end of the day, all were or are imperialists, and the Chinese are just the latest arrival. We could argue all day long about the merits of each case. What makes China (and the US) unique, however, is the belief that they are not in fact imperialists. Both seem to be discovering that they are seen as such, and someday, “Chinese Tibet” may ring as comical as “French Algeria”.

March 19, 2008 @ 4:45 am | Comment

good comment but, it can be more simple if you would reread my comment.

I never said the violence was justified, I dont hink violence is good, so it is not justifiable. So I dont really want to debate this point.

I just said that the balance of guit is, to put it mildly, tilted, towards the CCP.

Yes, we can certainly accuse the Tibetans of being wrong and bad for this violent stuff, of course they are commiting crimes…..

All I wanted to say was that it is not acceptable to use that as an axcuse for what the CCP has done to them. The CCP has committed unpardonable atrocities against the Tibetans and freddom of belief of all Chinese. Some Chinese voluntarily gave up their right to think when the CCP came in, but the Tibetans didnt go for it, they care about their religion stuff and they have had to put up with murder torture, brainwashing, and ‘genocide’ because they didnt submit their minds/beliefs.

Yes the Tibetans did some crimes recently but it does not seem balanced to overlook the crimes committed against them, using their crimes to excuse the CCP for their atrocities.

It’s the same principle, that always comes up here, Communists like to use Americas crimes as an excuse for the CCPs crimes, well, it doesnt work. And in the case of the crimes of the Tibetans compared to the CCP, the CCP has been at it for 50 years to a high degree, ot at all comparable with what we are seeing these days.

CCt, if you are a total moral relativist er immoralist er whatever, then what is your role in this discussion? it seems your role is to push an agenda. What is your agenda may I ask?

March 19, 2008 @ 4:47 am | Comment

@Anonymous,

There is some truth in your comparison of “Chinese imperialism” with American/European/Japanese equivalents. In particular, I appreciate your understanding that the Chinese, at least, do not see ourselves as imperialists in Tibet.

I would like to point out what I suspect is one key difference, however. Tibetan citizens have every single legal right that I do as a Chinese national, and *more*. I don’t deny that the end effect might not be sufficient, that Tibetans at large are marginalized, and that their culture is threatened… but I want to emphasize, again, that China is a particular colonial or imperial power indeed if our colonial subjects have *more* legal rights than we do.

I don’t pretend to be fully informed about French Algeria and some of the other examples you’ve brought up, so I’ll leave it to you to confirm whether China is really unique in this respect. But certainly in the American example, the Iraqis being “freed” don’t have the legal right to work in the United States, nor are there affirmative action policies allowing them to enroll in American universities.

March 19, 2008 @ 5:20 am | Comment

@CCT:

What made European imperialism more transparent, I guess, is that since European countries are themselves representative republics, our denial of African voices was more transparent that the denial of minority voices in the USSR was and is in China today. Since no-one has freedom in China as European colonial powers and whites in South Africa enjoyed, the oppression was more transparent. Whereas in China, since no citizens have freedom of speech or the right to have a say in the formation of government, Peking can claim that Tibetans enjoy “equality” while packing the Tibetan civil service with Han Chinese and their handpicked Tibetan collaborators.

I guess in short, the difference is that the freedom of European society as a whole made European oppression of other peoples more obvious than in China, where everyone is denied basic freedoms.

March 19, 2008 @ 5:36 am | Comment

I take your point regarding the US and Iraq though. Of course, I’d suggest that difference is mainly due to the fact that the US and China have adopted different measures to disguise their imperialism: the US by claiming that Iraq is a sovereign state, and China by claiming that Tibet is an integral part of their own country.

March 19, 2008 @ 5:38 am | Comment

@snow
“CCt, if you are a total moral relativist er immoralist er whatever, then what is your role in this discussion? it seems your role is to push an agenda. What is your agenda may I ask?”

Yes. I am starting to think that too. I have checked the German blogs and the same suspicions arises there. The answers of China apologist against Tibetans and the west follows a similar pattern. It is surprising. Looks as they have been teached.

Ad hominen, tu quoque arguments and moral relativism are the most usual replies. Sometimes they go in circles. They usually avoid to respond to most difficult issues for them. They keep going and going even when the issue grow stale so their opinions stays on top.
Anyone who knows the German crave for discussion can very well imagine they are having a hard time.
Some of them do not seem to even be aware of contemporary German history, making some major mistakes.

Remember an article in “Der Spiegel” about espionage in Germany. The reporter forwarded the following theory. Many of Chinese students and researchers are there thanks to the CCP, and they are asked to give something in return.
It seems it is not only restricted to industrial/technical espionage.
I am not saying that all of them are doing it, but surely they have a significant number available.

Of course there are those who respond for themselves out of sincere patriotism.
It is hard to differentiate some times. Usually ther are more candid.

All in all I consider CCT a quite smart guy. Far more articulate than other. What his agenda may be, only he can tell.
But he is really after an agenda, he gets a +bonus recommendation from me ;-)

March 19, 2008 @ 5:38 am | Comment

@Lime,

There are precedents, Britain, Canada, and India (which though a disappointment in some ways as you pointed out, is a great success in others) are all nations where the dominant culture varies from region to region, and of course all have problems that have occurred because of it, but all have managed to operate without destroying their minority regions culturally.

All three aren’t very convincing examples. The sort of racial violence we saw in Lhasa is replicated on a far larger scale in India on an annual basis. Canada, as you pointed out earlier I believe, essentially exterminated the native population (or at least cut them from their roots). And I don’t believe the United Kingdom has much “minority culture” left to speak of… how many in Northern Ireland speak Irish?

But I do get your point. I understand the United Kingdom has especially been moving towards local autonomy, with the creation of the Scottish parliament by way of example.

However, I see this trend more as a confirmation of my earlier point. These reforms are the moves of a confident country, that understands an autonomous Scotland is unlikely to join with a foreign invader and threaten British interests… but in the 18th century, England pressed for union with Scotland partly in fear of French invasion. A Scottish independence movement based out of Napoleanic France, for example, would’ve been opposed wholeheartedly (and violently) by the British.

As far as whether China is unique… China is a continent-sized empire, and has been for most of the past two thousand years. Contrast that to the Roman empire, which upon its collapse only collapsed into smaller and smaller pieces… for most of the past 2000 years, a Europe heavily influenced by the same intellectual and religious roots (Greek philosophy combined with Roman Catholicism) still fractured into 100 tiny pieces, embroiled in constant conflict.

I admit I had to Wikipedia up a little bit about Scottish history, just so I understand the context of its union. And the truth is, reading about English/Scottish/British history makes my head ache… is there even one century of history where there wasn’t major conflict embroiling a significant percentage of British citizens?

Chinese history is filled with its own share of imperial collapses, and these came frequently enough.. Chinese dynasties last no more than 200-300 years. And there were always border disputes at the fringes of the empire. But at least in between these dynastic shifts, the Chinese core largely remained at peace.

But that’s a tangent. Let me end on a note about Tibet. My thoughts are starting to turn yet again another 180 degrees, and believe that autonomy in Tibet can not possibly be a threat to a strong China.

March 19, 2008 @ 5:43 am | Comment

@CCT:

A surprising number in NI speak Irish as a badge of identity. Thousands of IRA members learned it while serving sentences for terrorism in the Maze Prison!

March 19, 2008 @ 5:49 am | Comment

@Anonymous guy,

I guess in short, the difference is that the freedom of European society as a whole made European oppression of other peoples more obvious than in China, where everyone is denied basic freedoms.

Very insightful observation. But based on what you know of China… do you forsee the possibility that China would implement multi-party democracy in inland China, but deny it to the Tibetans?

I believe a democratic China will still deny the right of self-determination for the Tibetan minority. Should such a China still be considered imperialist?

March 19, 2008 @ 5:55 am | Comment

@snow and ecodelta,

I wish I was a paid employee of the Chinese Foreign Ministry… I’m probably biased, but I believe I could do a much better job of conveying the Chinese perspective than the stiffs they currently have in the position.

But agenda… why do I have to have an agenda? What are your agendas for posting here? What’s richard’s agenda for posting this blog in the first place?

I am writing here out of patriotism to my country, nothing else… that doesn’t require constant loyalty to my government, but it does require loyalty to my Chinese conscience.

The truth is that both of you, in fact just about everyone here, carries deep biases against “Communist China”. It’s almost a matter of faith that those arguing the Chinese perspective are brain-washed, are ignorant of facts (which the West of course possess in full), are government agents… isn’t that your first instinct?

But the truth is, it takes none of those things to agree with the Chinese position on many things. I’ve argued here on the basis of fact and logic; I haven’t brow-beaten anyone, I haven’t referred to obscure texts you haven’t read, I haven’t insisted “you can’t understand”.

Take a look at your own countries. How many political debates do you engage in with your countrymen about your own government’s policies? How far apart is the “right” and the “left” in your own country? … (every country has a right, and a left) Is ignorance and brain-washing really a prerequisite for having opinions drastically different from yours?

March 19, 2008 @ 6:05 am | Comment

@snow,

CCt, if you are a total moral relativist er immoralist er whatever, then what is your role in this discussion?

A moral relativist doesn’t see guilt or wrong. I see guilt; I don’t see how anyone can not see guilt in the streets of Lhasa. Even the Dalai Lama sees guilt… which is probably why he suggested perhaps the video-taped assaults are manufactured by Beijing, with Chinese military police playing athe role of the thug.

All I wanted to say was that it is not acceptable to use that as an axcuse for what the CCP has done to them.

First of all, I’ve never used it “as an excuse” for what the CPP has done to them. Look through my posts; you won’t find any hint of that.

Second of all, all I want to say is that it is not acceptable to use what the CCP has done to them, as an excuse for what they did to non-Tibetans walking down the street.

March 19, 2008 @ 6:17 am | Comment

@CCT
“I am writing here out of patriotism to my country, nothing else… that doesn’t require constant loyalty to my government, but it does require loyalty to my Chinese conscience.”
I respect that

“The truth is that both of you, in fact just about everyone here, carries deep biases against “Communist China”"
My opinions are based in observation and analysis. From many different sources, some personal. If you are interested I can pass you my bibliography, some of it maybe not be available in China.

“It’s almost a matter of faith that those arguing the Chinese perspective are brain-washed, are ignorant of facts (which the West of course possess in full), are government agents… isn’t that your first instinct?”
If it was my first instinct I would have said it much sooner and no exchanged post with you.
About what we know. Well. At least we do not have a firewalled internet. Web sites are not blocked in times or crisis or when they publish sensitive information. Why do you spend so much time an effort on it.
Yes. Chinese may have a good knowledge of what happen in the world, but they have it much more difficult.

“Take a look at your own countries. How many political debates do you engage in with your countrymen about your own government’s policies?”
Constantly, almost everyday, with coworkers, friends and family. Sometimes heavy argumentations.
I even had arguments with my own arguments authorities and registered official complains.
Can Chinese do the same thing in their own country? All of them?

March 19, 2008 @ 6:45 am | Comment

@Lime,

By the way, here’s some suggestion that China’s policies with minority Tibetans *are* working, at least in part. It’s not a complete failure.

http://tinyurl.com/32flmg

Perhaps there is some hope then that the Tibetan middle class in Lhasa will be equally shocked by this violence. I hope that Beijing continues to act in a restrained and fair manner in prosecuting those involved in Lhasa.

March 19, 2008 @ 6:45 am | Comment

@ecodelta,

First off, I didn’t mean to make a contest of the amount of information available inside China to that outside. All Chinese are very aware of the overwhelming scale of censorship, as well as the one-sided story of political propaganda. Almost every Chinese person I know takes pride in seeing through the propaganda.

My point is just that in this day and age, many Chinese are better informed. Many Chinese have studied and traveled overseas. Frankly, I seriously doubt there’s anything you’ve read on the subject of China that’s substantially different from everything that I’ve read.

On political debate, my point is that you disagree with your own countrymen on politics without believing them to be brain-washed. It’s time to give the same courtesy to all Chinese. I appreciate that you’ve been fair with my writings from day one, although I was surprised you too questioned my “agenda”.

March 19, 2008 @ 6:50 am | Comment

@CCT:

Bottom line, the CCP’s censorship of the Chinese media must help them to ensure that their version of events becomes the accepted one among the Chinese public. If it did not, the Chinese government would presumably not bother.

March 19, 2008 @ 6:56 am | Comment

@CCT
That courtesy you always have.

In your case, and some others, I must apologize to you and them.

In some other cases. Well…., let me consider it for some time….

Now. Returning to the issues. What do you think will happen this summer?

March 19, 2008 @ 7:09 am | Comment

@Anonymous,

I think you give the Chinese government’s propaganda wing a little bit too much credit. It does many things that may not be especially effective.

Keep in mind that government propaganda, for as long as I’ve been alive, have only said one thing: China is a country of 56 nationalities, and minority nationalities like Tibetans are equal to us in any way. And yet overseas Tibetan activists speaks of pervasive racism against Tibetans. Is government propaganda really that effective?

That said, I think its reasonable to state that most Chinese on the street have only heard the government view, and probably have absolutely no idea what the Dalai Lama wants for Tibet. (By a similar token, I wonder how many Americans still believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11.)

But the number of Chinese who know much more, especially in the aftermath of what’s happened recently, is still very high in absolute terms. In that sense, I guess the recent protests has had a positive effect as well. I’ve seen Chinese translations/summaries of Tsering Shakya and Mel Goldsteins’ books floating around on many BBS’s.

In fact, if there was no violence in Lhasa over the weekend, I think these protests could very well have been a positive experience in China’s political and social development. More people know “the other side” of the story when it comes to Tibet then ever before. But now, opinions have also been hardened by the visceral effect of seeing the violence and racial hatred unleashed.

I’m also afraid that racism towards Tibetans will probably escalate to a new level. It’s a well-known fact that Uighurs can have a hard time getting taxis or hotel rooms in inland China; Tibetans may find it equally hard, now.

March 19, 2008 @ 7:17 am | Comment

@ecodelta,

I think other than isolated incidences, I don’t think there will be no more violence in Lhasa itself. The Chinese government is inefficient in many things, but handling internal dissent is not one of them.

The much whispered about “massacre” won’t happen in Lhasa; it doesn’t need to. China can maintain law and order without it… hell, it could assign a single military police officer to every Tibetan in Lhasa. (But I can’t make the same promise in Qinghai or Gansu. If protesters keep pushing these poorly educated county officials further and further, someone’s going to make the wrong decision.)

As far as the summer in Beijing… I don’t know. I’m certainly concerned. I said in an earlier thread I’m especially concerned about inflation.

It seems inevitable that there will be Free Tibet (and FLG) protests at the Olympics, but that doesn’t concern me; as long as they aren’t organized by a foreign government, they won’t be mass scale. And frankly, I think most foreign governments have gotten the memo that this isn’t a good year to fuck with China.

Beijing will have special procedures in place to handle protests peacefully and without controversy. There really is a great difference in sophistication from area to area, in China. Look at how sensitively Beijing has handled the Tibetan students conducting a sit-in over the Lhasa violence: no force, no government… just teachers talking to them, and private security guards keeping the media away.

(Foreign media can’t tell the difference I guess, but the people wearing silver uniforms and ugly badges are *not* public security; they’re private guards.)

It will take a huge, concerted effort on the part of Beijing to make sure the Olympics go off without too much controversy.

March 19, 2008 @ 7:26 am | Comment

Well. The situation is fluctuating quite rapidly.

There is already a idea from France of boycotting the Olympics ceremony to be discussed in the next EU meeting. At the moment it looks just like a warning signal.

Another proposal is running in main German newspapers blogs about each visitor to wear a yellow scarf or similar during their trip to the Olympic games.

No to speak of personal boycotts to TV programs and more specifically sponsored products. Specially affected will be Chinese products I think.

A lot or PR prowess and damage control is going to be needed during the next months. Something that I have always missed from the Chinese officials. With some rare exceptions. They will have to learn fast or hire some good ones.

If things really go awry, we are going to speak not much about sports.

March 19, 2008 @ 8:06 am | Comment

Fluctuating quite rapidly indeed.

BBCNEWS
“Update, 05:00PM: Earlier this afternoon, the press counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in London, Liu Weimin repeated an offer made by the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing this morning. Mr Liu said the Chinese authorities would give serious consideration to organising a foreign press trip to Lhasa so the international media could see for themselves the situation in Tibet. We’d welcome this opportunity – there is no substitute to first hand reporting. The BBC is ready and waiting.”

March 19, 2008 @ 8:20 am | Comment

Power in China is incredibly centralized. As soon as Wen Jiabao said those words at the press conference, I knew it’d very likely occur. Barring any major disasters over the next 24 hours, foreign press will be broadcasting from the streets of Lhasa.

I see this as a plus. I see the foreign media as being biased, but I don’t believe the foreign media actually serves foreign governments. Letting the foreign media in is a great sign.

March 19, 2008 @ 8:25 am | Comment

http://www.seeingred.com/Copy/3.1_freetibet.html

This is an article written by a Trotskyite and a friend of mine.

He happens to be the most knowledgeable person I know with regards to Tibet.

It’s definitely worth a read.

March 19, 2008 @ 10:08 am | Comment

“Let me suggest that the main enemy is at home. That those living in the U.S. have a duty first of all to oppose the crimes of the U.S. government (which, of course, include arming numerous repressive regimes around the world). That the U.S. is the strongest imperial power in history and therefore the main enemy of humanity. That the nation which oppresses another forges its own chains.

The same applies to those who live in other imperialist countries. For example, how can anyone in the United Kingdom call for China to get out of Tibet while Britain remains in Ireland? Anyone in Canada while the Quebecois and Natives remain oppressed?

Let people in China–including the Tibetan portion–deal with Beijing’s crimes. Of course denouncing them from North America, Europe, or Japan is both easy and safe. It’s also worse than useless. ”

—Evan Roberts

March 19, 2008 @ 10:18 am | Comment

>For example, how can anyone in the United Kingdom call for China to get out of Tibet while Britain remains in Ireland?

Northern Ireland remains part of the UK with the broad consent of all major political forces, including the republican Sinn Fein. It elects members to the British Parliament and posesses its’ own devolved government. If and when a majority in NI support union with the Republic, the will of the majority will be respected.

I believe Quebec has also had a referendum on seperation from Canada, which failed to attract the support of a majority. Yes, it could be argued that English plantation in Ireland and English settlement in Quebec have ensured that independence/irredentist movements do not have majority support; but then again, any comparison between the political situation in almost any Western country and that in China is laughable, given that basic standards of free speech are virtually universal in the West and non-existant anywhere in China.

March 19, 2008 @ 10:24 am | Comment

@CCT
I can’t remember what thread I should be posting this in as I’ve been posting at you in at least two, but I’ll go with this one.
Thinking about your statement concerning the core of China remaining largely at peace, I realise that this is what I admire most about historic China. The size and relative peace of the various dynasties are testaments to the ability of the people to come together, find common ground, and work together towards shared goals. Especially in the history of the Tang, and even more so in the Song, which seemed to be (if I remember my early dynastic Chinese history correctly) one of the most militilarly pathetic and intellectually impressive eras, the Chinese ability to communicate and cooperate is very apparent.

In contrast to the Roman Empire, which was created and sustained through overwhelming military force, China more often than not, at least before the Yuan, seemed to lack the need for a militarily sustained loyalty to Xian, Kaifeng, or Hangzhou and was kept together simply through the people’s desire to be together. This I think is the key difference. Where the Pax Romana was definitely an empire, the Song was a nation.

Despite my arguments against retaining Tibet, I am not ideologically opposed to imperialism. I think the idea of imperialism solely for the sake of agrandisement to be petty and childish, but colonies created for economic or security reasons have been a normal part international interactions since our species’ agricultural revolution. And from the perspective of the colonised, more times than not in the last few hundred years the colonial government ends up being much better government than the colonised people could have otherwise expected. I’ll risk the ire of some readers by pointing to Hong Kong as an example, but Tibet is good as well. The CCP is no paragon of virtue, but since Mao, it has undoubtably been an improvement on the feudal God-King system that the Tibetans would have otherwise had.

So there is a philosophical problem with Tibet. (Let’s assume, as we have only anecdotal evidence, that the majority of Tibetans are Chinese citizens against their will.) Whether the Chinese see themselves as imperialists or not, Tibet is not part of the nation, it is part of the empire because the Tibetans in their own view are not Chinese. If what makes China special is the broadly held desire to part of the concept of ‘China’, how can this be reconciled with the occupation of Tibet now that its utility for security has past? How can this be reconciled with the CCP ostensible desire to be forging a ‘nation’?

I know I’ve already stated these arguments more or less, but I think this version is a little clearer and more honest.

The idea of a Scottish independence movement during the Napoleonic War is exactly what I’m talking about. The Scots, by the late 18th century, seem to have become more or less convinced that they were partners in the British state and that their interests and the English’s, internationally at least, were mutual. Thus, this allowed a united British nation to face Napoleon together. And yes, we Anglo-Saxons and Celts are both cultures that are a wee bit militant.

In the Canadian state, our dealings with the native peoples have been a failure, owing I believe first to an attempt to destroy destroy the cultures and now through a paternalistic, racist, system of special rights, not disimilar to what you describe with the Tibetans. But the reconciliation between the Francophone and Anglophone populations have been surprisingly successful. Quebec has had several referendums on the issue of separation (there is significant minority who do want to separate), but the ‘yes’ side has never won. It seems that despite being a geographically concentrated and linguistically isolated minority, the majority have decided that being part of Canada is alright.

India, I get the distinct impression, is a subject you know far more about than me, so I’ll bow to your knowledge there.

March 19, 2008 @ 10:39 am | Comment

@CCT

No, I don’t sit and search dictionaries to find the most appropriate locution for the occasion; I just type what Chinese saying that happens to come to my mind. Whatever. I think I’m through with this discussion for this time. Let’s wait for appropriate instructions from Premier Wen and then we’ll see if there is room for an informed discussion, or if we need to reinvent the wheel of national self-determination. Till then, bye!

March 19, 2008 @ 11:58 am | Comment

CCT, thanks for sharing. I dont want to start an accusation thing here but I might as well point out some stuff, my opinion…

By the way, it is not because I dont agree with you that I say you are brainwashed, you wish I was that stupid eh.

“”"”"I am writing here out of patriotism to my country, nothing else… that doesn’t require constant loyalty to my government, but it does require loyalty to my Chinese conscience.”"”"”"

you are here out of patriotism? Why does patriotism bring you here? No one here (except nanhey) is against China, so you dont need to defend your country here (-: I would really like to know, what is the quality of this “Chinese conscience” What is the difference between this type of conscience and the typical moral conscience that (most) people relate with?

“”"”"”The truth is that both of you, in fact just about everyone here, carries deep biases against “Communist China”. It’s almost a matter of faith that those arguing the Chinese perspective are brain-washed, are ignorant of facts (which the West of course possess in full), are government agents… isn’t that your first instinct?”"”"”

I cant speak for anyone else, but I will say it again, for the millioneth time, I am not against China, I come here cause I like China and I want to improve it, so I am very critical of the party that is in power….. I never said the “Chinese perspective” is brainwashed, actually I think the brainwashing carried out by CCP tactics is against Chinese cultural characteristics so I would not ever think that a culturally Chinese way of thinking is CCP induced cause the CCP induced stuff is not similar I find. Also we are not talking about instincts here, there are facts that prove that there are A LOT of Chinese paid shills doing front work to manipulate public support all over the world and on the net, not only that type, but A LLLOOOTTT of Chinese people who are indoctrinated over 50 years and spread false info to people all over the world because they think they are being patriotic…..Maybe you think that you dont need to love the CCP, but I think most Chinese at least the ones in my country, feel that they are being patriotic by not questionning the party.

“”"”"But the truth is, it takes none of those things to agree with the Chinese position on many things.”"”"”"

The “Chinese position”??? What is that? Where does it come from? Can you explain this kind of statement? The Chinese position???

March 19, 2008 @ 2:11 pm | Comment

@snow,

I don’t think I’d be here if I really thought everyone here was “anti-China”. What purpose could it possibly serve? I’ll waste bandwidth and your time… and therefore, keeping you from attacking China?

I participate here (and on other forums like this) because I see people who have formed opinions on China based on, in my opinion, incomplete information.

I don’t mean to sound superior here, but I do believe that many in the West don’t recognize how their perspectives are heavily shaped from being citizens of a *developed* nation. And don’t get me started on the biases of the Western media…

Bottom line, I’m here to challenge some of those opinions by saying my piece. I don’t “expect” to change any minds per se, but I certainly do expect to make some sense.

I simply don’t believe the Chinese government is the evil, stupid brute that many in the West have demonized it as. I don’t believe that China is a much larger version of North Korea, with 1.3 billion people living either in fear or brain-washed worship of Communist Party rule.

I believe the *current* Chinese government is far from perfect; on some issues, the Chinese government is overly conservative and moves with the efficiency of a dinosaur; and on a few issues, it’s possible the Chinese government may indeed be on the wrong side of history.

However, on *many* issues its policies are admirable (even brilliant). I want to make sure there’s a fair accounting of all of these issues.

March 19, 2008 @ 3:00 pm | Comment

And by the way, if you find that many Chinese in your country defend the Communist Party… it may very well be because you’re not making the right accusations.

If you say the Communist Party has been *unable* to contain corruption, almost all Chinese will nod with you.

If you say instead to the average Chinese that it’s a shame the Communist Party brainwashes its people; or that the Communist Party arrests dissidents so that it can rule through fear; or that the Communist Party is a threat to world peace… you will find most Chinese people disagreeing with you fervently.

There may be some kernels of truth in those comments, but most of us just don’t agree with those broad conclusions. We know China better than that.

March 19, 2008 @ 3:05 pm | Comment

@jinhan

the point isn’t who colonised who. the point isn’t who did what to whose granny. the point is that people have the right to choose the destiny of their land through freedom of expression and free and fair elections. if the uk does not abide by this i oppose it. if the us does not abide by this i oppose it. if china does not abide by this i oppose it. that is why most people on here oppose what happened in iraq and why most oppose what is happening in tibet. you may disagree with us, but your ad hominem argument is simply irrelevant to the discussion. we are not hypocrites (though our governments maybe)

March 19, 2008 @ 5:42 pm | Comment

A very interesting discussion here.

On the claim that India has regular occurrences of the “racial violence” that happened in Lhasa, that is essentially a lie.

India has a great deal of ethnic violence, but the only violence in India that is directly comparable to what is happening in Tibet is the violence around 1990-91 in Kashmir against the Kashmiri Hindus. They were associated with the occupying power (India). They were attacked by Kashmiri independence supporters and most of them left Kashmir.

That is the missing element in what is wilfully misrepresented as racial violence: the deliberate oppression of one ethnic group by another that is in control. The Chinese make the rules in Tibet. Nobody can doubt that. No Tibetan would make it illegal to hold up a picture of the Dalai Lama.

It is because of the Chinese that any Tibetan who holds up a picture of his respected religious leader the Dalai Lama is whisked away to prison, has his legs smashed, his teeth knocked out, and is released after twenty years, a shattered cripple waiting only to die.

In those circumstances, for Tibetans to attack Chinese is not racial violence. It is a desperate struggle against a murderous occupation. Any Chinese who chooses to go to Tibet is deliberately associating himself (whether he acknowledges it or not) with a criminal occupying power and should expect to suffer whatever consequences follow.

The same is true, naturally, of an American in Iraq.

Now, if the Chinese government were to declare a truce by ending arrests and imprisonment, allowing the Dalai Lama back unconditionally, letting people express their faith, returning the remaining monasteries to the control of the Dalai Lama, etc. then that would change this situation, and I would hope people like CCT can see how important such moves are.

However such crimes have already been committed by the Chinese that it would be difficult for them to do that now without withdrawing altogether. In an atmosphere of freedom, the Tibetans would probably immediately start working for complete independence (my untested hypothesis, of course, but plausible).

Which brings us back round to the basic problem. The vast majority of the Tibetans hate China, are not Chinese, have no wish for their country to be administered by Chinese in the Chinese language, and never asked to be part of China in the first place. They were invaded and occupied in 1950 and they are still occupied now.

March 19, 2008 @ 9:09 pm | Comment

A very interesting discussion here.

On the claim that India has regular occurrences of the “racial violence” that happened in Lhasa, that is essentially a lie.

India has a great deal of ethnic violence, but the only violence in India that is directly comparable to what is happening in Tibet is the violence around 1990-91 in Kashmir against the Kashmiri Hindus. They were associated with the occupying power (India). They were attacked by Kashmiri independence supporters and most of them left Kashmir.

That is the missing element in what is wilfully misrepresented as racial violence: the deliberate oppression of one ethnic group by another that is in control (Hindus in Kashmir, against Muslims; Hans in Tibet, against Tibetans).

The Chinese make the rules in Tibet. Nobody can doubt that. No Tibetan would make it illegal to hold up a picture of the Dalai Lama. It is because of the Chinese that any Tibetan who holds up a picture of his respected religious leader the Dalai Lama is whisked away to prison, has his legs smashed, his teeth knocked out, and is released after twenty years, a shattered cripple waiting only to die.

In those circumstances, for Tibetans to attack Chinese is not racial violence. It is a desperate struggle against a murderous occupation and it is justifiable self-defence (even if it is not always advisable). Any Chinese who chooses to go to Tibet is deliberately associating himself (whether he acknowledges it or not) with a criminal occupying power and should expect to suffer whatever consequences follow.

The same is true, naturally, of an American in Iraq.

If the Chinese government were to declare a truce by ending arrests and imprisonment, allowing the Dalai Lama back unconditionally, letting people express their faith, returning the remaining monasteries to the control of the Dalai Lama, etc. then that would change this situation, and I would hope people like CCT can see how important such moves are.

However such crimes have already been committed by the Chinese that it would be difficult for them to do that now without withdrawing altogether. In an atmosphere of freedom, the Tibetans would probably immediately start working for complete independence (my untested hypothesis, of course, but plausible).

Which brings us back round to the basic problem. The vast majority of the Tibetans hate China, are not Chinese, have no wish for their country to be administered by Chinese in the Chinese language, and never asked to be part of China in the first place. They were invaded and occupied in 1950 and they are still occupied now.

March 19, 2008 @ 9:11 pm | Comment

Previous message seems to have been posted twice, can a moderator delete one?

March 19, 2008 @ 9:24 pm | Comment

@Rohan,

India has a great deal of ethnic violence, but the only violence in India that is directly comparable to what is happening in Tibet is the violence around 1990-91 in Kashmir against the Kashmiri Hindus.

I’m baffled by what you mean. If you’re predicating your distinction between the Indian and Chinese government (with the first democratic and the latter not), then no comparison can ever be possible between these two countries.

But if we’re talking about ethnic violence, especially separatist-motivated ethnic violence… again, I’m baffled by what you mean.

Let’s just look at 2007, which seems like a perfectly representative year to me.

In Assam:
AP – Suspected separatist rebels fatally shot 13 sleeping migrant workers before dawn Saturday, adding to a string of attacks over two days that killed a total of 48 people and wounded at least 19 across India’s remote northeast, officials said.

All the attacks targeted poor, Hindi-speaking migrants and were likely carried out by United Liberation Front of Asom rebels, R.N. Mathur, police chief for Assam state, told The Associated Press.

In Manipur:
A separatist group in north-east India has killed eight of its members for allegedly collaborating with Indian security forces, the rebels have said.

Police in the north-eastern Indian state of Manipur say suspected separatist rebels have killed five migrant workers.

In Punjab:
CHANDIGARH, India – Indian police say they suspect Muslim militants allied with Punjab separatists were behind a blast that killed six people and injured 32 at a crowded cinema hall in northern India.

All of that is independent of action associated with Islamic fundamentalism and Kashmir. There are also the headline events which I’ve already mentioned. The massive blood-letting in Gujrat in 2002, for example.

It seems to me the major difference is that in India, the government isn’t involved in moderating ethnic violence. In many respects, it’s involved in fanning it. Look at the BJP’s Hindu nationalist campaign platform, especially with respect to Ayodhya.

In China, the government is accused of destroying Tibetan monasteries in the heat of the Cultural Revolution.

In India, the government doesn’t stop rioters from destroying a key Muslim mosque… and then subsequently runs on a platform of replacing it with a Hindu temple! Couldn’t possibly imagine that in China.

March 20, 2008 @ 1:18 am | Comment

“”"”"”I simply don’t believe the Chinese government is the evil, stupid brute that many in the West have demonized it as. I don’t believe that China is a much larger version of North Korea, with 1.3 billion people living either in fear or brain-washed worship of Communist Party rule.”"”"”"”

Well you may believe what you want, but you are wrong. I challenge your perception. Do you know why people might think this way?

“”"”"”If you say the Communist Party has been *unable* to contain corruption, almost all Chinese will nod with you.”"”"”"”

Right, well I guess because they cannot say anything against the party itself, but the correct statement would be closer to “the party is totally corrupt and evil”

“”"”"”If you say instead to the average Chinese that it’s a shame the Communist Party brainwashes its people; or that the Communist Party arrests dissidents so that it can rule through fear; or that the Communist Party is a threat to world peace… you will find most Chinese people disagreeing with you fervently. “”"”"”

Right, because they tiw their nationalism to the party, as you mention in the paragraph above, you do not believe the arty is bad, most Chinese don’t, and they are wrong. I dont care if they agree with me or disagree with me, but I think they are wrong, misinformed, brainwashed , and I dont fault them, but I do think they should wake up.

“”"”"”"There may be some kernels of truth in those comments, but most of us just don’t agree with those broad conclusions. We know China better than that.”"”"”"

“we know China better than that”, ie, the propaganda is more powerful than truth, and thats how we have grown accustomed to thinking and acting.

I have a question for you, by the way you didnt really answer my questions about this so called Chinese conscience and so called Chinese perspective….

Do you believe there is such a thing as evil? Do you think that there is such a thing as a party being totally corrupt and evil? Cause you dont strike me as a person who really believes that evil is evil, I think you will make excuses for evilness right till the end whithout considering what is good and bad, right and wrong, so how can you talk about evil if you dont even consider what it means?

March 20, 2008 @ 1:23 am | Comment

@Snow
What does evil mean to you, Snow? Is it relative?

March 20, 2008 @ 1:39 am | Comment

@Rohan,

In those circumstances, for Tibetans to attack Chinese is not racial violence. It is a desperate struggle against a murderous occupation and it is justifiable self-defence (even if it is not always advisable).

Under international law, China’s presence in Tibet is not one of occupation. (And no, I don’t care what the “international council of jurists” said in its research report.) And even if it was an occupation, there is no justification under international law for targeting civilian Chinese.

On the other hand, under international law, China has the right, no, the responsibility to maintain stability and punish those involved in killing/robbing others.

If the Chinese government were to declare a truce by ending arrests and imprisonment,

That would indeed change the situation! I’d like to see the Chinese government try to release those guilty of murder out on the streets. Beijing would be in flames, tomorrow. I’d be there with a torch.

But that’s all rhetoric. You threw a bunch at me, but I’m going to try at least and not return the favor. Let’s just concede that your arguments have *no* convincing power to those of us on the other side. I’m at least willing to concede that the Chinese “argument” has little convincing power over Tibetans in exile.

The only common point we share is a desire to see an end to the violence, and hopefully long-standing harmony and peace in the Tibet region.

So, let’s talk solutions and actual policies that assures the above. Frankly, I don’t see a problem with granting greater religious freedom, but that will only be possible if its *not* paired with a political independence movement.

How do you suggest the Dalai Lama, who once led a CIA-funded militant uprising in western China, convince Beijing that greater religious freedom for Tibetan monks (and private freedom for himself) will not lead to an independence movement?

March 20, 2008 @ 1:42 am | Comment

@CCT

In no particular order:

I don’t expect anyone can convince Beijing that greater freedom for Tibetans will not “lead to” an independence movement, for the simple reason that it is impossible. The Tibetans have been so brutalised by you Chinese, from the initial thamzing sessions of the 1950s on, that they do not trust you and in fact hate you. So your question is really based on false premises. Under those premises only further conflict is possible.

If Beijing steps in to shoot anyone who talks about independence, or anyone who talks about anything that could “lead to” independence, such as but not limited to Tibetan language primacy, independence of the monastic orders, return of the Dalai Lama then there is no hope for peace, and China will continue to deal with suppressed Tibetan rage and major world hostility.

I notice that despite your apparent commitment to liberalism, you do not support freedom of speech. This is the basic failing in your view. You are not prepared to let Tibetans talk peacefully about independence. Everything follows from that.

If you don’t install a peaceful safety valve, don’t be surprised when the pressure comes out of the violent one.

March 20, 2008 @ 2:11 am | Comment

@CCT

Regarding the point you were baffled about, it is to do with attacks by the majority population on civilians who are seen as occupiers accompanying an army of occupation. This was clearly the case in Kashmir in the 1990s and in Tibet now (although the resentment of Tibetans is more overt. In Kashmir there were not these attacks in broad daylight on the street by mobs. What happened was targeted assassinations, usually at night).

The Gujarat riots obviously don’t fit that picture. They were essentially a pogrom by Gujarati Hindus with state acquiescence and support, against the minority Gujarati Muslims. The Punjab case seems like an isolated bomb-throwing incident. However you may be right about the Manipur and Assam cases. My inclination is against it because I don’t believe from my admittedly limited knowledge that there is enough widespread support and universal resistance to make a comparison.

Anyway this discussion seems to be degenerating into a general observation that “there is a lot of ethnic violence in India”, which is a point nobody is going to contest, and has little relevance to the Tibet case.

March 20, 2008 @ 2:31 am | Comment

“”"”"”"”Under international law, China’s presence in Tibet is not one of occupation. And even if it was an occupation, there is no justification under international law for targeting civilian Chinese.”"”"”"”"

Actually their presence there is more along the lines of genocide. GET THIS THROUGH YOUR HEAD: The CCP is in Tibet and all of China on a mission to unify the thinking of all Chinese people in support of the party’s culture. The party has it’s own f****d up concept of human rights, religion, property, nationalism, every concept, the CCP has a parallel F***D up version that it want s to impose in peoples minds, through various tactics. The conflict in Tibet is not about some land dispute, it is about brainwashing and forced cultural genocide.

So, I think most Han who are in Tibet are following the party line on wanting to destroy the Tibetan culture cause it is considered subversive. They call this hatred of freedom of thought ‘harmony’.

I will not say this absolutely, but it would seem that those Han who follow the party line are opressors of the Tibetan culture.

Correct me if I’m wrong.

They are shipped into Tibet to wear down the Tibetan culture as the party has worn down the Chinese spirit in China.

Aren’t all Chinese who follow the party line opressors of Tibetans, opressors of human rights activists, opressors of Falun Gong, haters of truth, ???

Would you say that Chinese who follow the party line and who are in a position to know better but have to conscience are innocent? Wouldnt you say they are elements of the party and guilty of the party’s crimes?

If the typical German knew about the mass Jew killings back during that time and some Jews rose up and took hooligan revenge on German nationalists (nazis) Would you say those Jews were attacking innocent people?

People who know the atrocities and dont oppose them are guilty of colluding.

Now a lot of Chinese are colluding to hate Falun gong people and treat them as if they are less than vermen, they are guilty of following an evil party. The Falun Gong people will not take violent revenge, but it’s not because you guys dont deserve it, its because they feel compassion toward the lost Chinese souls who commit sins blindly… so sad….

March 20, 2008 @ 2:49 am | Comment

@Rohan,

I completely disagree when you Indian ethnic violence has little relevance to the Tibet case. In the absence of the Communist Party this week, in the absence of its restrictions on free speech, I for one believe the sort of ethnic violence we saw in Gujrat would’ve been replicated in Tibet.

I for one am inclined to believe “civilian” Han nationalists could’ve very easily started a race riot in return, “purging” Tibetans from all majority Han areas. If YouTube hadn’t been blocked, and the really provocative videos (of physical assault) shown on CCTV… this would be a very different story.

You have one view of Tibet: that of occupying colonial power versus occupied resistance. I’m not going to insist that your view is necessarily wrong, but I’m going to tell you that there’s one other very significant view out there that you have to deal with.

The Communist Party will come, and it will go. Sooner or later it will no longer be in power. The 1.3 billion people in China will not be going anywhere. If you continue to insist on your own narrative to the exclusion of the Han Chinese… well, as just as you’re telling me today that this “explosion” was predictable, I’m telling you that a similar “explosion” in the future would be equally predictable.

Don’t think for a second that a democratic China will be more sympathetic towards a separatist movement in Tibet. I could easily imagine a Chinese nationalist party, much like the Hindu nationalist BJP, implicitly allowing Han nationalists burn down the Potala Palace if the ethnic conflict continues. After all… democracy is all about obeying majority will and wining votes.

March 20, 2008 @ 2:52 am | Comment

More on this theme from the Financial Times:

http://tinyurl.com/2pebtu

There’s this continuous belief out there that the Communist Party dictates political opinion in China. If this were the year 1967, there would be some truth in the statement. In the year 2008, that’s simply not true.

The Communist Party dictates government policy, and that’s it. The Party itself is infinitely aware that it’s only one popular uprising away from being replaced with another one that serves the aspirations of the Chinese.

Yesterday, Taiwan’s KMT presidential candidate, Ma Ying-jeou berated Wen Jiabao and the Communist Party for its heavy-handed treatment of Tibet. The Washington Post had an article about this, I believe, suggesting that Ma was now distancing himself from China in response to the situation in Tibet.

The *actual* quote from Ma goes on to say… (paraphrasing) “the Republic of China (Taiwan) has always believed in autonomy for Tibetans because of their distinct culture and religion.” In other words, even in long separated Taiwan in which the Communist Party is often public enemy #1, Ma will not offend his supporters and party by describing Tibet as anything but a part of China.

March 20, 2008 @ 3:01 am | Comment

random internet opinion that I agree with:

“”"”To me, evil is the absence of good, so it includes not only nasty acts and behavior, but the failure to do what is good. Evil also includes apathy. Goodness is truth, integrity, responsibility, love – so evil is the absence of those qualities.”"”"

specially agree witht he quote of Buddha

Evil Quotations

Know one knows whether death, which people fear to be the greatest evil, may not be the greatest good.
Plato

The power of choosing good and evil is within the reach of all.
Origen

I think the world is full of evil people. I think in some ways we’re in more danger now than before.
Dean Koontz

An insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a wild beast; a wild beast may wound your body, but an evil friend will wound your mind.
Buddha

Constantly choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil.
Jerry Garcia

Lime,

The thing about the concept of evil, it can sometimes pertain to the realm of the mind, and that is a topic that is ignored in society’s culture todays. I think that religious materialism is the cause for people not giving a damn about the concept of good and evil. It has become less important, a secondary issue, the mind is ignored, but I think it is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ( -:

March 20, 2008 @ 3:05 am | Comment

@CCT

That’s an argument I’m very familiar with from the Indian context. It goes something like this, “If Kashmir becomes independent / the mosque is not knocked down / some other insult to Hindu pride happens” then one billion Hindus will turn on the Muslims in India and annihilate them.

It’s obviously a frightening scenario, which is why people use it, but my sense is it’s used more as a tool than as a realistic analysis of what might happen. There have never been realistic signs that it’s happening, or might happen. Not to deny the infinitesimal possibility, but it’s usually just a debating strategy.

I think in a situation of openness, yes, you would have more reports that might inflame the ordinary Chinese, but you would also have a more realistic picture that would cause them to rethink. For example, information from Chinese pro-democracy activists like Wei Jingsheng about the crimes of the Party in Tibet.

By the way, I’ve noticed that when I mention Wei Jingsheng on Chinese boards, absolute silence usually follows, no discussion, views or other mention of any kind– not even the stereotypical “he is running dog of capitarists”. Is there a reason for this silence?

March 20, 2008 @ 3:25 am | Comment

@Snow
Perhaps I misunderstood, but are you seriously suggesting that because the random Chinese civilians that were killed by the Tibetan mobs in Lhasa were not actively plotting the downfall of the CCP, they were guilty of colluding with and deserved to be killed? I am not at the moment plotting to bring down the CCP, so am I therefore evil and deserve to be taken revenge on?
And for the record, in my morally relativist view, the hypothetical ethnically German citizens living under the third reich with knowledge of the holocaust would not deserve to be murdered by Jewish hooligans. Would they be innocent? Well, by how you’ve construed it, no one is innocent, save the newborn and perhaps the bodhisattvas

March 20, 2008 @ 3:29 am | Comment

Lime,

It would depend on how much you nitpick about peoples attitudes towards the CCP and Tibet….. I think asking the Chinese to plot the downfall of the CCP is not really what I mean…, but I was indeed suggesting that if they are committing crimes against the Tibetan people and their culture by following evil propaganda of the CCP, then they are not so innocent. But, I do not say that justifies violence.

interesting comment…

March 20, 2008 @ 3:40 am | Comment

@Snow
What you’ve done here is taken Orwell’s thoughtcrime one step further and created a thoughtsin. I think that CCT is probably right in that the overwhelming majority of PRC subjects believe that Tibet should be controlled by China. If this is evil, then in your construction, there are a billion guilty thoughtsinners out there. So are the overwhelming majority PRC subjects evil? This is the problem with moral objectivism, isn’t it? The most common way to escape this kind of a trap is to use the term ‘brainwashed’, but this is intellectual dishonesty. All our interpretations of the world around us are constructed from what we experience. It’s true the CCP goes to great lengths to control the kinds of experiences their subjects can have in effort to make their interpretations of the world ‘harmonious’ with the CCP’s own interpretations of the world. But this does not make the people mentally inferior, or incapable of critical thought or the ability to moralise. They have constructs of good and evil, right and wrong and so on too, but theirs are (apparently) divergent from yours. Therefore, if you’re a moral objectivist, the billion or so pro-PRC-Occupation-of-Tibet PRC subjects are sinners, and perhaps ‘evil’, if a person can be rendered evil through sin in your interpretation. What say you?

For interest’s sake, you’ve given us some idea what you believe evil, but evil, according to you is at least sometimes the absence of good, so what do you think good is?

March 20, 2008 @ 6:04 am | Comment

Lime,

Interesting points for sure, but the details of the crimes we are discussing are more complex than how you have just described it. The CCPs 59 year rule is chalk full of propaganda combined with terrirism and moral/cultural degradation.

I will read your comment another time here to see what it is we’re talkin about here…

“”"”"I think that CCT is probably right in that the overwhelming majority of PRC subjects believe that Tibet should be controlled by China.”"”"”"

I definitely do not think this kind of thinking constitutes a sin or a crime… What I think is sinful/criminal is the hatred directed at the Tibetans, segregating them and labelling their leader an evil seperatist and stuff like that. I think it is wrong to rape Tibet till it’s spirit is gone. I think the CCP and it’s followers do not care about the Tibetans or their culture and only live to carry out the CCP agenda in hopes of achieving some kinda richness and standard of living, harmoany or some crap like that.

The Chinese people have been taught that the way to be successful is to pummel the opponent, destroy the opponent, purge the dirty element. With this indoctrination, all the CCP has to do is conjure up a dirty element and the followers will obey and commit crimes and sins against that propagated element. (like the holocaust)

The CCP deems people bad based on whether they are mosre virtuous than the CCP. If someone has some moral superiority, the CCP is afraid of them and makes up some lines to cause the Chinese people to take their side.

The Japanese are more free and successful, the Taiwanese are more happy and well off, the Tibetans are content to be simple and religious, the Falun Gong are happy by looking inside to become happy and good, Americans are pleased with their human rights and freedoms. The CCP has to keep a lid on China, has to not let any Chinese people realize that there is better solution than the CCP.

Actually you aksed if the chinese are all guilty sinners… My big beef with them and their sinnin’ is that they dont care whether they digest truth or lies, they dont care either way, they just want money and face. The second thing is that they dont care the difference between right and wrong, they dont value the concept of morality at all, they just want to follow the party cause its easier than caring about the big picture.

These are generalizations, but to illustrate my complaint about the Chinese people…..

March 20, 2008 @ 11:13 am | Comment

WhatdoI think is good? Hmmm…Its hard to say… Good is good right? he he…. Yuno… I dont think I have to tell you what good is, friend. I really do not want to have to tell anyone what is good because it is my belief that people KNOW this kind of stuff… I guess you just gotta care… and you gotta do the right things and treat stuff goodand be helpful and nice… to be good or to realize good, i think you gotta look at the big picture….not sure what I mean by that, something about clarity…

March 20, 2008 @ 12:14 pm | Comment

@Rohan,

Wei Jingsheng

Uhm, what did you see about Wei Jingsheng, and which Chinese boards? Wei isn’t really that well known to those inside China any longer. And for those outside of China familiar with the dissident community outside of China… well, on the boards I frequent, usually not much is said except: “Old Wei’s still around?”

I mean, we all know he’s Chinese, but there are 1.3 billion of us… we can’t care about everyone’s opinion! He’s had some influence on Chinese thought, but he was already past his prime and in prison by the time the vast majority of us (online) were even born. He’s “done” nothing since.. 1976? 1977? He’s just not relevant. And really, his writings these days are written for the Western crowd, not a Chinese one.

March 20, 2008 @ 3:40 pm | Comment

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