Tibet News Blackout

My site is still blocked (I am using an industrial-strength proxy if any on you need one, way stronger than Anonymous and much faster than Tor), and I was called about it yesterday by a “real media.” You can find my quote buried in this article.

I’ve had CNN playing in the background the past few nights, and it’s downright comical how often the screen just goes dark shortly after mention of the T word. Once again I ask my friends over at the ministry of propaganda if they sincerely believe with all their heart that this kind of ham-fisted tactic makes China look better, and if they sincerely believe it achieves their goal of keeping CNN viewers ignorant of what’s happening in Tibet. If something ugly happens at the Olympic Games in August, are they just going to blackout the media broadcasts? And do they think they will be admired for it?

______________

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: 81 Comments

Well, right now it works without a proxy. But just a view minutes ago it didn’t open. Seems there is a conflict between different filters wether or not your site is dangerous. And it seems right now the pro-Richard filters have the upperhan. But that can change quickly.

March 18, 2008 @ 10:21 am | Comment

BTW would be interested in that proxy. Thhanks.

March 18, 2008 @ 10:29 am | Comment

It depends on what page you go to. This thread will open, others won’t. And it comes and goes. For a several hours the entire site was blocked tight. Nothing personal, just based on keywords, probably in the comments.

March 18, 2008 @ 11:09 am | Comment

I’m through on a proxy today – yesterday it was almost impossible to get any site at all, not just yours, proxied or not.

Other friends in Shanghai were noting this problem.

March 18, 2008 @ 11:53 am | Comment

I’m also interested in this proxy…

March 18, 2008 @ 12:09 pm | Comment

Get out those coat hangers for your VOA broadcasts, apparently some right-minded person in the US decided its time to turn up the heat:

news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080317/pl_afp/chinaunresttibetrightsbroadcasting

March 18, 2008 @ 12:47 pm | Comment

“Turn up the heat?” Unfortunate and reckless use of the phrase; rather, I thought the purpose was to present news – as in “news (plural, noun): information about something that has recently happened”. If the purpose is to turn up the heat (I doubt it) then the person is surely not right-minded.

March 18, 2008 @ 1:21 pm | Comment

Yeah, same problem with mine and so many other sites. It was refreshing to hear a couple of my students raise the issue this morning:

“Stuart, what’s wrong with your blog?”

“Well, it’s been blocked because I used a naughty word.”

“Really? What word?”

“Tibet”

A good discussion with the students followed, despite their government’s pathetic efforts to stifle debate.

March 18, 2008 @ 1:25 pm | Comment

Richard, you posed the questions; how did your “friends over at the ministry of propaganda” answer?

March 18, 2008 @ 1:25 pm | Comment

Heh. I’m actually having people ask me, in all seriousness, if the Olympics will be “safe.” It never occurred to me that there might be problems. But who knows?

March 18, 2008 @ 2:41 pm | Comment

Hi Richard. After reading through your blog, I do think you’re right in some points regarding Chinese treatment. However I’d like point out a few things.
The U.S. is to blame for some of the worsening Tibet-China relations when they initiated the CIA op to train Tibetan guerillas, just as a time when the government was willing to negotiate with Dalai lama. It is then the tables have turned and Dalai got kicked out.
The CPC isn’t to blame for their current occupation of Tibet. It was the KMT and the ROC government who decided to take administration of Tibet. Part of Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s dream, so to speak, was unite all the ethnic group that lived in historical China, and this included Tibet.
The Tibetans themselves want their state back, that’s nationalism. I would argue that in practicality, without China’s prescence, Tibet today would be like a lot like New Guinea. If Dalai is restored, you bascially gets rid of one bad government and restores an absolute monarchy that resists modernization. While there are Tibetans who don’t want to be modernized and rather live as serfs to their monarch, I think it would not be fair to not even give them the choice to go into the cities and make it rich, but bascially condemning them to living on Hi Richard. After reading through your blog, I do think you’re right in some points regarding Chinese treatment. However I’d like point out a few things.
The U.S. is to blame for some of the worsening Tibet-China relations when they initiated the CIA op to train Tibetan guerillas, just as a time when the government was willing to negotiate with Dalai lama. It is then the tables have turned and Dalai got kicked out.
The CPC isn’t to blame for their current occupation of Tibet. It was the KMT and the ROC government who decided to take administration of Tibet. Part of Dr. Sun Yat-sen’s dream, so to speak, was unite all the ethnic group that lived in historical China, and this included Tibet.
The Tibetans themselves want their state back, that’s nationalism. I would argue that in practicality, without China’s prescence, Tibet today would be like a lot like New Guinea. If Dalai is restored, you bascially gets rid of one bad government and restores an absolute monarchy that resists modernization. While there are Tibetans who don’t want to be modernized and rather live as serfs to their monarch, I think it would not be fair to not even give them the choice to go into the cities and make it rich, but bascially condemning them to living on <$.50 day since birth.
On the cultural genocide issue, I think Tibetan culture is certainly being faded away on some repects, but there are still 3million of them left! There is no imminent danger of wiping the culture out at all. Take the American west for example, it’s been over 100 years since The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the Latinos are still a strong prescence culturally in states like CA and AZ. Looking at their situation, most of the Mexican population are STILL treated as 2nd class citizens(coming from a state like AZ..), even though it was originally their land.
On the issue of Tibet, I don’t think the U.S. has any legitimacy at all to criticize others when itself has been the single worst historical human rights violator in the world. (Slavery, Native Americans, Mexico, a military base in every independent country in the world etc etc)
Hope your site gets unblocked soon.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:30 pm | Comment

The IOC is working overtime to convince athletes not to boycott the Olympics due to health concerns (Justin Hennen is the latest) or due to the hunting events in the alpine glades.

And we know that there is no greater crime in the world than engaging in an “anti-Han” activity. But anti-Japanese, anti-American and anti-west activities are perfectly acceptable.

One thing that can be said for China is that it is an unapologetic monster, but how about our corporations and political leaders who have turned their backs in Tibet in favor of corporate interests and the Genocide Olympics?

China must be permanently deconstructed and MNC executives be relentlessly flogged.

March 18, 2008 @ 3:34 pm | Comment

“The U.S. is to blame for some of the worsening Tibet-China relations when they initiated the CIA op to train Tibetan guerillas, just as a time when the government was willing to negotiate with Dalai lama. It is then the tables have turned and Dalai got kicked out.”

The US is to blame for removing support of the Tibetan freedom fighters as a pre-condition to Nixon’s visit. This was negotiated by Henry Kissenger. The resistance movement was actually going well up to that point. The PLA controlled the urban areas and main arteries but had no control over rural areas or the mountains (like the USSR in Afganistan).

“While there are Tibetans who don’t want to be modernized and rather live as serfs to their monarch, I think it would not be fair to not even give them the choice to go into the cities and make it rich,”

Why not give them that choice instead of having big, dirty commies force it on them, especially since it is Han Chinese that are really benefitting and not Tibetans.

March 18, 2008 @ 4:02 pm | Comment

Wen Jiabao suggests China might allow foreign tourists visit Lhasa in the near future. I hope it happens.

Wen is taking a big hit on Chinese BBS’s, however, as many are very dissatisfied with the soft line he’s taking with the Dalai Lama.

There’s a rumor going around right now that two youths were killed by a Tibetan in Chengdu. I’ve seen the pictures (taken from a distant window), but I’m not ready to believe it. I’ll upload the pictures to a US-based site if anyone is interested in seeing it, but believe me… it doesn’t show much more than what looks like Chengdu, a dead body surrounded by police, and a man surrendering to heavily armed police.

In Sichuan at least, people are angry and scared.

March 18, 2008 @ 4:21 pm | Comment

I just want to say the moderator “Raj” (or is he the mod??) didn’t do such a good job in maintaining an objective stance in moderating the comments threads. I’d like to request him be terminated for this job.

March 18, 2008 @ 4:26 pm | Comment

“While there are Tibetans who don’t want to be modernized and rather live as serfs to their monarch”
Sorry for the potentially offensive manner of this post (to some people), but I couldn’t resist.
Is is possible that Chinese declarations of Tibetan loyalty to the Dalai Lama are in fact projections of these individuals’ own dedication to Party ideologies and manipulations of history?
Could it be that rather than thinking with their own mind about the suffering of human beings (wish I could underline) as inherently equal individuals whose pain is wrong, no matter their race (Tibet, East Turkestan) or political viewpoint (Tiananmen, Falun Gong), their willingness to outsource moral judgment to the CCP (e.g. 4/26/89 and its aftermath) is projected onto their perceptions of how Tibetans interact with the Dalai Lama, which leads to misunderstandings. The Dalai Lama criticized the violence in Tibet, but it didn’t end it like the government-manipulated anti-Japanese protests of 2005. I could think of no better example of modern serfs, doing their corrupt government’s bidding while inciting nationalist hatred.
Perhaps it is not a case of “Tibetans who don’t want to be modernized and rather live as serfs to their monarch,” but rather Han Chinese nationalist who can’t stand the quite modern concept of respect for people’s views and peaceful protests, and who continue (quite ironically despite the anti-feudal rhetoric that dominates throughout China) to quite feudal-ly go along with whatever latest statement comes from “the heavens” (ie- recent press conference claimed that no guns were used; see similar comments on post below), while also willingly serving as essentially “serfs” (considering the wages, which would be illegal in the “big bad” US) for corporations from China’s so-called “Western enemies” so that the local feudal lords can make a quick buck (or a million or so) along with corporations that couldn’t care at all about the people, all of the while projecting this sense of blind dedication to false “national glory and prosperity” onto the Tibetans.

March 18, 2008 @ 4:43 pm | Comment

Xian, you’re suggesting you were watching this discussion from the start. But as you’ve made only two comments just now that also suggests you’re a sockpuppet of someone else who was around earlier.

If you are honest, though, I can tell you a lot of comments removed were from sockpuppets. As a rule to help people have a happy stay here, everyone should choose one alias and stick with it. Switching names makes you more likely to be regarded with suspicion.

March 18, 2008 @ 4:45 pm | Comment

@Stuart

Very interested to hear what was expressed in your discussion with your students.

March 18, 2008 @ 4:50 pm | Comment

“Wen is taking a big hit on Chinese BBS’s, however, as many are very dissatisfied with the soft line he’s taking with the Dalai Lama.”
Very sorry for the future of your country if that is what people consider to be a soft line. They must be blind or mentally incapacitated by censorship. It would be like me calling Dick Cheney a “softie.”

March 18, 2008 @ 4:54 pm | Comment

“a soft line” what do they want? a hit squad sent to india?

the problem is that is saying it is orchestrated by the dalai lama the ccp shows how out of touch it is. what is becoming clear is that tibetan resistance is fracturing, the dalai lama on one side, and a bunch of angry young tibetans on the other. the ccp cannot avoid the continuing violence, which i predict will only get worse as the tibetans become a minority in their own country (or already are, depending on what you define as tibet).

one thing they could do is stop all han migration into tibet, gently suggest to others that they leave (i’d imagine those who can leave probably will after this). this might mitigate some of the anger. won’t happen though.

March 18, 2008 @ 5:31 pm | Comment

“one thing they could do is stop all han migration into tibet, gently suggest to others that they leave (i’d imagine those who can leave probably will after this). this might mitigate some of the anger. won’t happen though.”

Yeah, like you can ask USA politicians to gentally tell the hundreds of thousands of Latin American to leave.

March 18, 2008 @ 5:57 pm | Comment

Hi there Richard,

I’m having exactly the same problems with my site… the main page sometimes loads, sometimes 25% or 50% loads, and is some times blocked by a terminated connection error. Some posts seem fine while others are consistently unavailable.

I’m using a proxy right now to view everything from here in XJ, as the reliability of almost every site has gone down significantly in the past few days.

March 18, 2008 @ 6:34 pm | Comment

what greater proof is needed of what is really going on in T____ than the current black out of news and blocking of web sites?
These O____ G_____ are history.
They should have waited another 25 years.
Time to move on, nothing new here.

March 18, 2008 @ 6:45 pm | Comment

@ Rohan

One student in particular was quite vocal in his opinion that the Chinese government had interfered too much in the lives of Tibetans. The class neither denounced him nor openly supported his view.

Most were receptive to the idea that suppressing information is a bad idea and that we can only get the full picture by being allowed to look at a situation from all angles. It was interesting to note a sense of shame that my blog (familiar to many of them) had fallen foul of TGF.

The general view was that the violence of recent days was unlawful and should be punished. I agreed, suggesting that those responsible for unwarranted violence against Tibetans over the years should also be punished ‘according to the law’. This met with a bemused response, along the lines, “but China has done so much to improve the lives of Tibetan people.” I countered that Han businessmen were the true beneficiaries of Chinese influence in Tibet. Dead end.

A few predictably tried to deflect attention to the human rights violations of other countries. We discussed the way language is used to shape public opinion. In particular we considered the words ‘liberation’ and ‘invasion’ as they have been selectively applied to describe the occupations of Tibet and Iraq. The analogy, of course, was rejected on the grounds that Tibet is part of Chinese territory. I argued that clearly many Tibetans didn’t feel that way.

At this point, and mercifully for the only time, was reference made (not by me) to ‘the Dalai Lama clique.’ Then we got sidetracked to the Olympics before I eventually brought things back to the topic of the day.

In contrast to the call of many for a swift and harsh response from China’s military, most students – predominantly female it should be noted – expressed a wish for their government to show restraint. All in all, a lively and productive discussion.

March 18, 2008 @ 7:05 pm | Comment

@ecodelta

We are protesting outside the IOC headquarters here in Lausanne in one hour.

March 18, 2008 @ 7:06 pm | Comment

Here’s the link to the best proxy I ever used. One annoying thing is the ads, which automatically scroll you about halfway down the page you are going to. But you get used to it, and it opens just about everything, even CDT.

March 18, 2008 @ 7:18 pm | Comment

“Wen is taking a big hit on Chinese BBS’s, however, as many are very dissatisfied with the soft line he’s taking with the Dalai Lama.”

I’ve seen some of those comments, they range from arrest all monks to bomb Lhasa, Chinese fanatic youth/ “粪青” at their best. But CCP had it coming, that’s the problem of nationalism, or should I say extreme nationalism, a double-edged sword the CCP wields at its enemy at times but also wounds itself some other times. Given CCP’s rather harsh rhetoric during “peace” time, it’s not difficult to see why your average hot-headed youth would be pissed when the CCP’s actions don’t match its words. In their eyes, if you talk the talk, you better walk the walk.

The CCP faced a similar situation in 1999 when NATO bombs hit the Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia. The Chinese public was enraged, first at the U.S. let NATO, then the anger shifted towards the Chinese government for not standing up to the “evil American imperialist” which the CCP denounced so often. They wanted tougher responses, including military actions against the U.S., which would be suicide and even the incompetent Chinese government understood that and took a verbal beating from the public instead of doing anything foolish.

When a regime bases its legitimacy on nationalism, that’s always dangerous, history has spoken, many times.

March 18, 2008 @ 7:21 pm | Comment

When a regime bases its legitimacy on nationalism, that’s always dangerous, history has spoken, many times.

Don’t most modern nations base their legitimacy on some forms of nationalism?

March 18, 2008 @ 7:29 pm | Comment

Not necessarily.

First, there’s a difference between patriotism and nationalism. The former is good, means pride for your country; the later could be narrow-minded pride for your country regardless of its actions. We should applaud patriotism and shun nationalism. However I do agree it’s a very fine line btw the two.

Second, I guess I should rephrase, “when a regime primarily bases its legitimacy on extreme nationalism…”

Thanks.

March 18, 2008 @ 7:39 pm | Comment

I hope this guy doesn’t get missed in the Tibetan dust cloud:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7302057.stm

March 18, 2008 @ 7:41 pm | Comment

@Rohan

Ah! Lausanne. Remember the city well. Studied French there once. Fell in love with Switzerland.

Wish I could be there.

Yesterday there were protest in Barcelona in front of Chinese consulate. Sure there will be in front of Madrid embassy.

March 18, 2008 @ 7:58 pm | Comment

@bing

you missd the bit where i wrote

“won’t happen though”

i s’pose

you also assume i am american. i’m not.

@dpark

well said
@rohan

good luck with the protest – do let us know how it goes!

March 18, 2008 @ 8:08 pm | Comment

and in kind of related news hu jia went on trial today

http://tinyurl.com/239mbw

(bbc link)

March 18, 2008 @ 8:28 pm | Comment

Direct from Lhasa

http://tinyurl.com/393my9

March 18, 2008 @ 8:45 pm | Comment

French tourist report.

http://tinyurl.com/yomu4u

Painful description of a dying culture. Han chinese caught in the middle.

March 18, 2008 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

Greetings,

I thought this might be of interest to someone:

http://tinyurl.com/3ypfcn

March 18, 2008 @ 10:10 pm | Comment

Let’s consider the book burning, censorship and state control of the media to prevent dialogue, discussion and the regime in Nazi Germany alongside China’s censorship of the Internet and all forms of media.

Let’s say the current occupation of Tibet is analogous to the anschluss the Germans carried out in 1938 with both using the same justification: an occupying force “peacefully liberating” a neighbour from, er, itself.

And let’s suggest that China’s threats of war over Taiwan is similar to Hitler’s threats at Munich, replacing ethnic Germans who were never a part of Germany with ethnic Chinese who had been ruled by Beijing for a mere four years the previous century.

To broaden the discussion to control of the domestic population, let’s replace the names of Nazi labour camps such as Dachau and Buchenwald with any of the 1100 known forced-labour gulags here in China.

And while we do so, let’s keep in mind that Berlin had been awarded the Olympic Games before Hitler had taken power, while the Chinese regime has had six decades to kill, directly or otherwise, well over fifty million of its own people. There was no CNN in 1939 to show the world an image of a man standing in front of a panzer in Prague as there was fifty years later when the same regime hosting the Games were busy slaughtering its own (unarmed) students.

If we can make even the barest comparison of a state in today’s world with the most loathsome in history, my question therefore is this: What is the moral teachers should try to to get across to students when the appeasement of the fascist powers throughout the 1930s is even more cynically being repeated?

March 18, 2008 @ 10:12 pm | Comment

Keir,

Who are the moral teachers you are refering to? If I was a moral teacher I would tell people to look at the facts, take time from their schedules to look at the facts, dont just go along with what the Chinese people at your work place tell you. And once you know the facts, I would say that people should look in their hearts for whats right and wrong, good and bad, and ask themselves truly, what they should do, what their responsibility is as a person who is aware…

March 18, 2008 @ 11:35 pm | Comment

If it is legitimate for the Chinese people wishing to remain under the brutal and undemocratic rule of the Party, why is it so bad for the Tibetans wanting to remain under the slavery of the Lamas’. It is just one from of undesired slavery verse a desired slavery.

March 19, 2008 @ 12:17 am | Comment

@ecodelta, @si

Impressive, the internet had a news report on the protest up by the time I got home.

http://tinyurl.com/24hyad

People were talking about Jacques Rogge versus Joerg Schild. The first one is the president of the IOC, and the other the president of the Swiss Olympic Association. Rogge is seen as pooh-poohing the problem. Schild has said that he can’t imagine how anyone can go and play sport in this situation. Bully for him.

Many of the crowd were Tibetan refugees. They sang songs in Tibetan. We practised the traditional throwing of tsampa in the air, although in this case it was plain white flour instead of roasted barley flour.

I met one refugee who fled the Chinese crackdown in 1959 with his family as a boy of thirteen and has just retired from his job in Zurich a month back. His entire life has been bracketed by the Chinese occupation.

I taught them some Bhutanese in exchange for them teaching me some Tibetan. In many cases the words are the same or similar (the exception, is “awa”, the Tibetan word for “child”, which means “shit” in Bhutan).

I also learned that the Tibetan word for “sorry” is “gongda”.

Now that’s a word Hu Jintao would do well to learn.

March 19, 2008 @ 1:57 am | Comment

In terms of why Wen Jiabao’s statement is seen as soft… he didn’t change existing policy towards the Dalai Lama by one word, and made no mention of the Han killed in the streets of Lhasa. More than a few Chinese were hoping for a post-9/11 style memorial, preferably with Wen Jiabao reading the names of each of the dead while their loved ones sobbed for the camera.

March 19, 2008 @ 2:49 am | Comment

A video showing the pictures I had seen last night, showing the alleged Tibetan terrorist in action:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJ50uqlG3Dw

The official government response to the rumored Tibetan terrorist in Chengdu:

http://www.chengdu.gov.cn/moban/detail.jsp?id=183331

Basically, stop believing and spreading rumors. There was a crazed man swinging a knife by the bus station, but it has nothing to do with Tibet or Lhasa. There are a lot of people out there looking to blame Tibetans right now, but after looking at the pictures, I believe the government version.

March 19, 2008 @ 2:57 am | Comment

More eyewitness accounts:

http://tinyurl.com/2sdo75

March 19, 2008 @ 3:17 am | Comment

My piece of advice to those knuckleheads in Beijing, not that they will hear or even listen, is to dramatically raise education level for Tibetan women. The student age female population in Tibet is several hundred thousand and I feel that China can solve the Tibetan problem in the long term by providing free tuition up to college level for all Tibetan women. This has the added benefit of destroying the Tibetan community while simultaneously gaining kudos from the West.

This may seem odd way to most people of defeating Tibetan separatism, but if I do say so myself, it is my own stroke of sudden genius. Dramatic rises in education levels among women universally lead to two demographic factors, one a later initial child bearing age and two fewer children in general. Better educated Tibetan women will result in fewer Tibetans in the long run.

The second and more immediate and powerful effect is that educated women upset the traditional social balance of Tibet in two ways. First is overturns the male hierarchy since women will have more earning power than men, seriously diminishing the prestige and influence of the monasteries and organized religion in general.

More importantly however are the changes in marriage customs that will arise with more educated and affluent female population. Women marry upwards socially and not downwards. Female Tibetans having been educated in Chinese universities, will not be satisfied returning home to Tibet to shovel yak shit with their hick husbands for a living. With male Tibetans of suitable social standing few and far between, it is guaranteed to increase outmarriage rates between Tibetans and non-Tibetans dramatically, diluting the political activeness of those Tibetans in the position to cause the most trouble. This has two benefits, it creates a cadre of mixed but loyal Tibetan elite while simultaneously ruining the reproductive opportunities of Tibetan males most likely to cause trouble.

This policy should not be adapted in a vacuum of course, but works best when part of triad of policies, namely political repression of agitators and direct population transfers that form the other two legs. The “demographic swamping” that the Tibetans claim is nothing but the natural economic migration of opportunity seeking individuals, so far. China needs to replicate the Bingtuan system in Xinjiang by relocating entire villages into sensitive areas and forming them into paramilitary camps.

Face the facts, Tibet is not going to be independent barring two exceptions. The first is a military invasion of Tibet by anti-Chinese forces and the only military capable of such is the U.S. which barring a snowy day in hell is not happening. The second is that political priorities in China itself changes where both politicians and the general public re-evaluate China’s long term strategic interests and are secure/confident enough in both China’s status and power that physical control of Tibet becomes irrelevant. The second scenario is a vague possibility though distant.

All other scenarios involve dead Tibetans, the quantity of which depends on how far protests escalates and whether or not the Party decides to set their guns on rock and roll. Those hundreds of hippy do-nothings protesting in Paris, London, New York, San Francisco, etc will only manage to accomplish something between jack and squat for all that they can affect realities on the ground. Hell, even if Tibet does become indepedent, it’s not like they will actually move back to live there.

March 19, 2008 @ 3:19 am | Comment

With the events unfolding in Tibet, it seems most people skipped over this little gem:

http://tinyurl.com/36tc2r

It’s nice to see that in these depressing times, someone is keeping their sense of humour. Then, not too long after, I caught in one of the infinite news report on the Tibet violence that an armed personnel carrier was parked in a central area of Lhasa with “Stability is Happiness” emblazoned on it. Nice to see the CCP is managing its end of global comedy.

When did the damn date change to 1984?!

March 19, 2008 @ 3:41 am | Comment

@PB

“War is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength”

The good Orwell. Always ahead of its time. Wish he were here. He would have interesting things to say.

March 19, 2008 @ 3:47 am | Comment

@Jing

You are extremely sincere. I appreciate it.

March 19, 2008 @ 3:48 am | Comment

@CCT

I assume you mean Chamdo (the Tibetan name, used by the 98% of the city’s population who are Tibetan), not Chengdu (the Chinese name, used by the other 2%). I read a wonderful line in a Chinese propaganda brochure about Chamdo the other day. It said, “Minorities comprise about 98% of the whole population”. That must be how Hu Jintao got elected — by a 2% “majority”.

@Jing

You don’t know anything about Tibet. Women in Tibet have always been far *more* empowered and free than their Chinese counterparts. There was never foot-binding in Tibet. In much of eastern Tibet, there was traditionally polyandry, where a woman could have multiple husbands. Divorce and remarriage was also traditionally acceptable.

In Tibet, the land was considered holy and the trees and mountains were not cut and were left undisturbed. Wildlife was also protected. Then the Chinese arrived and started destroying the landscape. They also killed a large number of dogs. Forcing Tibetans to kill animals was one of the many ways of insulting their religion. Fortunately the Tibetan reverence for nature was preserved and continues to be enforced in Bhutan, so we know what it is like. It’s much more serene and attractive to live in than any Chinese city.

March 19, 2008 @ 3:50 am | Comment

Chamdo and Chengdu are two different cities. Chendu is the capital of Sichuan province. Chamdo is called Chandu in Chinese.

March 19, 2008 @ 4:06 am | Comment

@CLC

Sorry, you’re right – I was thinking of “Qamdo”, the Chinese name for Chamdo. Renaming Tibetan towns is a big thing in China (Yatung becomes Yadong, and so on). Funny when you consider how insistent they were on making foreigners start saying Peking instead of Beijing.

March 19, 2008 @ 4:32 am | Comment

@Rohan:

I think you mean that the other way around, “insistent they were on making foreigners start saying Beijing instead of Peking”.

March 19, 2008 @ 4:47 am | Comment

Last time I saw, Beida still sells t-shirts emblazoned “Peking University”. You seem well informed about Tibet Rohan, but you’re very poorly informed about China as a whole.

By the way, MSNBC reporter (I’m assuming a Chinese national) writes from Lhasa:
http://tinyurl.com/2ksdgx

March 19, 2008 @ 5:10 am | Comment

CCT, read Chris Patten’s “East and West” for a discussion of the Peking vs. Beijing argument. IThere is a push to enforce “Beijing,” which he compares to the Rome vs. Roma debate and other “European” names.

March 19, 2008 @ 5:22 am | Comment

So, perhaps it is you that is poorly informed…sorry.

March 19, 2008 @ 5:23 am | Comment

Richard,
I’m thinking about your question up at the top, and I’m thinking about discourse analysis (cos I’m in the middle of writing an essay).

On the macro (international) level, we seem to have a pure example of disputational discourse – neither side seems to be trying to understand where the other is coming from, and worse, both sides are presuming they share common knowledge when, in fact, they don’t.

On the more personal level here, I see many examples of disputational discourse, but I can also see definite evidence of exploratory discourse. Some of your commentators are actually trying to understand where the other side is coming from. I’m not sure how much progress has been made on this front, or once some level of mutual understanding is achieved whether it’ll be possible to find any way forward, but it is encouraging to see some tentative steps being made in this direction. You should feel proud of (some of) your regulars.

On the micro-personal level – my own home – I have experienced how difficult it can be for both sides to understand where the other is coming from, and exactly why they’re coming from that place. For example, when my husband* was surfing on Tianya right after Bjork’s concert his first reaction was not anger, hurt pride, or even acceptance – it was complete confusion. He wanted to know how this could even be an issue, and where Bjork had got these strange ideas from. Over the past week we’ve had a few more conversations on the topic, and each time it has become more and more apparent that even when both sides are trying to understand the other they don’t share any of the same context for this discourse, let alone any common knowledge.

So, what’ll happen in August? Even if both sides started listening to each other, I can’t see how they could possibly progress to understanding each other, or even sharing a common framework for the discussion.

The dispute will continue.

How bad it will get will depend on many factors, not least of which being how heavily the CCP invests in decent PR professionals.

They’ve promised us that the firewall will be down for the games. A naive promise? Definitely.

Then again, the IOC claim that they granted Beijing the games in order to promote progress on various human rights issues. The most ludicrously naive belief you’ve ever heard? Indubitably.

(Course, a cynic might suggest that the IOC were more interested in economic rather than human rights factors, but we don’t want to be cynical, do we?)

* Yes, I married him. I’ll send you an email with the details.

March 19, 2008 @ 5:34 am | Comment

Ecodelta mentioned in another thread that China has an image problem w.r.t. Tibet just like Darfur. Well, Darfur or the overall role of China in Africa is an ENTIRELY different matter. For that one, it’s not the world against China; it’s more NYT and a few other news outfits, and their ardent and uncritical readers, against the world — the world largely side with China on that one if you talk to laypeople in places such as Sao Paulo or Johannesburg.

Tibet is another matter. It’s definitely the world against China, save a few places with their own similar ethnic/nationstate overlapping problems. Look at its figurehead Dalai Lama, for goodness sake, he said he was praying for CCP! Let me quote him, “I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.” Geez, had Palestine had Dalai Lama, the US would have probably had to divert all aids from Israel to PLO.

The ground reality is, getting indignant on China is easy, but in the end you are asking China to give up something meaningful — may not be day 1 but it’s on its way whatever solution you may have. How about carving a piece of land in your home country and move all ethnic Tibetans who want to go there to your country? I am sure China is willing to pony up the moving expense. How about half of Colorado, or half of the Canadian Rockies? Does it sound like a good bumper sticker: “Colorado for Free Tibetans”? Come on, you stole that piece of land anyway… You know, it’d better there for a human zoo, oh my bad, I meant preserving a culture that needs to be preserved.

Major powers did manage to carve a piece of land for Israel after the WW2, only not in their own countries but rather in somebody else’s backyard.

China’s policies may seem to be stupid to you. But it really isn’t. China is patiently waiting for HHDL’s reincarnation. Once that 72 year old Buddist monk with a killer smile is in the process of earthly body recycling, the largely shadowy Tibetan government-in-exile will have to face the spotlight. Now we’re more on equal footing. What China will face is a messy real-world real-politicking organization instead of a living god with a seemingly impeccable semblance.

March 19, 2008 @ 5:40 am | Comment

@jxie
“For that one, it’s not the world against China; it’s more NYT and a few other news outfits, and their ardent and uncritical readers, against the world”
That is what I call wishful thinking

“How about carving a piece of land in your home country and move all ethnic Tibetans who want to go there to your country? ”
So you recognize they are a different people. Why dont you carve a piece of your own land for your own people, the han ethnic and leave them with their own land in peace?

“China’s policies may seem to be stupid to you. But it really isn’t. China is patiently waiting for HHDL’s reincarnation. ”
Yes that is the stragegy, and if possible accuse him that he is behind the disturbs too.

“Once that 72 year old Buddist monk with a killer smile is in the process of earthly body recycling, the largely shadowy Tibetan government-in-exile will have to face the spotlight”
I think you are going to miss him in the end.

It is going to be an interesting summer in Beijing in end

March 19, 2008 @ 6:16 am | Comment

@JXie
You touched on what I believe is an important point. Is it the people of Tibet or the physical territory itself that the issue here? Like you said, if another country offered a new Tibetan homeland, and all the Tibetans were prepared to bugger off, would you be okay with that? Or rather, would China be okay with that? How about Taiwan?

March 19, 2008 @ 6:26 am | Comment

That is what I call wishful thinking

40+ yo and still can’t accept the possibility that you are wrong. I _may_ be wrong, but at least I actually tried pretty hard to find out. Now, how to do you tell what other people like Africans think, let your favorite newspapers spoon-feed you?

So you recognize they are a different people. Why dont you carve a piece of your own land for your own people, the han ethnic and leave them with their own land in peace?

* I believe in principle people should be able to choose wherever they want to live, i.e. freedom of movement. I treasure freedom of movement a lot more than freedom of speech. Human evolution bears that too — it’s homo sapiens moving out of African kicked started the upward changes of human conditions. Sadly on that I think the current world is very much fucked.

* I admit I am fucking selfish. My point is that you are too. Let’s work out a solution based on that understanding.

* We’re all different and we’re all the same.

I think you are going to miss him in the end.

Personally yes. But as to China, why?

It is going to be an interesting summer in Beijing in end

Looks like that way. It will be a biggest and baddest celebration of sports in human history. Now can you all shut up so I can watch the ESPN highlights?

March 19, 2008 @ 6:38 am | Comment

The AP reinforces what I said earlier about Dalai Lama’s offer to resign:

http://tinyurl.com/2ongkq

I’d like to see that there’s an opportunity here. It’s interesting to see that Wen Jiabao and the Dalai Lama both made reasonably polite comments at each other, clearly leaving the door for negotiation open.

March 19, 2008 @ 6:40 am | Comment

Lime, I can only speak for myself. If they want to move, I can contribute to the air tickets. That’s a win-win: some people are supposed to be happier in their new home, and the current incarnation of China is happy with its “territorial integrity of motherland”.

Heck, I don’t mind doing another trade if I represent China. If someone can talk Russia into returning the land they took from China back, and China can let go of Tibet. Why the heck to make you feel better, China must be smaller? There are some 1 billion Chinese to begin with!

March 19, 2008 @ 6:46 am | Comment

@ Jing,

The interesting thing, though, is that China was right alongside the “granola munchers” in the West in championing the cause of the freedom of “primitive cultures” from European domination back in the ’60s. They dismissed European claims to be bringing “civilisation” and development to Africa as cover for their colonial ambitions (which their claims arguably were). China’s anti-imperialist credentials are being tarnished by this whole affair, especially now that the Chinese are pointing to the lynchings of Han Chinese as somehow justifying the Chinese presence there.

Occasional murders of European civilians in Africa by China’s allies, including ZANU and ZAPU in Southern Rhodesia were brushed aside by China at the time on the basis that the victims were colonialists and settlers after all, and not entitled to be treated as civilians.

Now that Chinese are being treated in a similar way, it appears that the Chinese response is very different.

March 19, 2008 @ 6:53 am | Comment

Different strokes for different folks, and times. One of the problems of Marxism Leninism has always been ideological rigidity, the CCP is wise to abandon it!

In any case you are mischaracterizing the purpose of China’s plans then, particularly during the politically charged era of the gpcr. Destroying European colonialism through revolutionary violence was the first step towards communism. The whites were not destroyed because they were white, but because they were class enemies, representing counter-revolutionary bourgeois elements to be eradicated. Rest assured, the Chinese then had little appreciation for indigenous customs, for they had scant enough for their own. They were simply evangelizing a different set rules as to what constituted civilization, that is perpetual revolution, class warfare, and the dictatorship of the prolitariet. After the Europeans were gone, the next on the hit list would be pillars of traditional society.

You also completely miss the chasm that separates the granola munchers from cadres that were being trained by China. When push comes to shove, the hippies run to Starbucks with ipods and laptops in hand to agitate on facebook and blogger and otherwise make useless nuisances of themselves whenever they can. Agitprop light for those too lazy and feckless to do anything else. Chinese trained cadres were planting bombings, planning assassinations, and starting labor riots. The former is a dilettant, the latter is a professional revolutionary and a trained killer.

March 19, 2008 @ 7:26 am | Comment

@Jing:

In theory, perhaps. But in practice, there was some overlap between the granola-muchers and the hardcore anti-revolutionaries, to the extent that they supported the destruction of imperialism. What came after was another matter – and of course, in practice, post-colonial Africa reverted to its’ tribal past rather than any communist future, and whether or not that was an improvement depends on your personal POV.

March 19, 2008 @ 7:31 am | Comment

Jing, no personal attacks/name-calling – period.

———-

CCT

clearly leaving the door for negotiation open

The door for negotiation has been open for years, but I’m not so sure China has been honest in the way it has approached it. Previously I (and others) believe that it used it as a delaying tactic hoping that he would die and then, magically, all Tibetans would be happy. Clearly this is a delusion, but we all know the CCP believes its own propaganda so that’s not a surprise.

The question is if the Chinese government will start to realise that the Dalai Lama is the only person who can negotiate a peaceful settlement to the Tibetan problem. Already he has been denounced by younger Tibetans who believe tougher action needs to be taken. He will lose the ability to keep the Tibetan youth in check the longer China delays. Will China accept this truth, or will it continue to indulge in its childish trait of demonising individuals so that it can pin all its problems on outsiders?

March 19, 2008 @ 8:57 am | Comment

The Times publishes more tourist interviews:

http://tinyurl.com/2wykf9

March 19, 2008 @ 10:41 am | Comment

Weak sauce.

You’re are so anal Raj, I doubt Richard would have gotten his panties in a twist about me calling someone a hippy. Particularly since I qualified the comment with a follow up mentioning why this was so.

To follow up on your comment to CCT, if the Dalai Lama is as he claims not responsible for the organized protests nor can he end them, why should the Party negotiate with him in the first place. He obviously does not have as much influence as people think he does and will all parties abide with him as their representative to any agreed upon settlement? Why should they even trust him to negotiate in good faith in the first place?

Secondly it seems to be that the Free Tibet crowd is suffering from some gross delusions of their own. Their idea, and yours, of a “peaceful settlement” starts and ends at a complete Chinese capitulation. You seem to forget that arresting all the monks and agitators and closing all the monasteries coupled with a demographic shift until even the TAR is majority Han will eventually settle the Tibetan problem by making them irrelevant. It may not be the settlement you want, but it’s a settlement nonetheless. You forget that peace is a desired end, not the means with which a goal is achieved.

March 19, 2008 @ 10:42 am | Comment

More from these tourist:

http://tinyurl.com/yqox3p

Mr Kenwood also saw boxes of stones being supplied to Tibetan throwers.

“To me it was like it was planned,” he said. Both men said a rumour spread that a group of monks arrested on Monday had been killed by the Chinese, and that this inflamed emotions.

March 19, 2008 @ 10:45 am | Comment

DIsh – is that who I think it is? If so, congratulations!

I haven’t had much time for blogging lately. Nice to “see” you!

March 19, 2008 @ 11:36 am | Comment

One world! One Dream! One China!!!

March 19, 2008 @ 12:07 pm | Comment

“…until even the TAR is majority Han will eventually settle the Tibetan problem by making them irrelevant.”

The CCP’s very own ‘final solution’.

March 19, 2008 @ 12:08 pm | Comment

All those Tibetan demonizing links provided by CCT are evidence that he is under the spell of ‘dalai clique thought’

As for His Holiness being the mastermind behind the unrest, one can only laugh. This from Xinhua:

“The Dalai clique maintained real-time contacts, sources say, through varied channels with the rioters in Lhasa, and dictated instructions to his hard core devotees and synchronised their moves”

Not in a million years did this man orchestrate or endorse the violence of the last week. And by accusing the DL of such actions, Beijing effectively closes the door on dialogue, whatever they may say to the contrary.

March 19, 2008 @ 12:20 pm | Comment

Richard Spencer is having some difficulty explaining Chinese law with regard to press freedom to police:

http://tinyurl.com/2gze8l

Never mind, Mr Spencer. You and the rest of the hacks are free to discuss the evil nature of the Dalai clique back at the hotel bar.

March 19, 2008 @ 12:53 pm | Comment

“If someone can talk Russia into returning the land they took from China back,”

Except that Russia didn’t take any land from China.

March 19, 2008 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

“More than a few Chinese were hoping for a post-9/11 style memorial, preferably with Wen Jiabao reading the names of each of the dead while their loved ones sobbed for the camera. ” – all 14 of them? it’ll be a short memorial…

of course any violence is deplorable. the han and hui are paying the price in much the same way that the british occasionally paid the price during colonialism – murdered by an angry native. that’s what happens when you colonise a country – people get pissed off.

@rohan

thanks for letting us know about the demonstration it was interesting and sounds like a good evening. i wish the tibetans luck – but i just see a bloodbath.

March 19, 2008 @ 5:36 pm | Comment

Just because the Dalai Lama didn’t cause the attacks doesn’t mean he has no influence. He is still respected and things would be much worse if he wasn’t around. As it is he keeps most Tibetans calm, even if a minority took to the streets recently.

But if he is losing/has lost influence it is because Beijing refuses to talk to him openly and make change happen. If the Dalai Lama’s path of peace leads to no change, people will eventually go for something else – especially after he dies. If, however, his approach produces results then of course people will listen to him.

March 20, 2008 @ 1:44 am | Comment

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March 21, 2008 @ 1:41 pm | Comment

Raj,

For China to negotiate with the Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lama needs to do more to convince the Chinese that he is not a separatist. Lip-service that he is not going to separate Tibet from China is not enough. He needs to dissociate himself ABSOLUTELY with the free-Tibet crowd, he has stop associate himself with Chen Shui-bian’s corrupt regime in Taiwan, and he has to avow that he is a Chinese, as well as a Tibetan. Only then, will the Chinese respond in kind. Otherwise, riot on. Like I said, the more Tibetan nationalists riot and kill people, the more Han Chinese are going to be alienated from Tibetans. That is not a good thing, considering that the majority is now the minority.

Lens of Reason

March 22, 2008 @ 9:10 pm | Comment

He needs to dissociate himself ABSOLUTELY with the free-Tibet crowd

And cut off his main source of international support? What guarantee would there be that China would then change its mind and leave him with nothing? None.

he has stop associate himself with Chen Shui-bian’s corrupt regime in Taiwan

You mean democratic regime. I know China sees democracy as corruption, but that’s its problem not the Dalai Lama or Taiwan’s.

and he has to avow that he is a Chinese, as well as a Tibetanthe more Han Chinese are going to be alienated from Tibetans

Chinese don’t care about Tibetans anyway. They have always looked down at them and treated them like children. If Chinese had shown real compassion for Tibetans maybe the latter would care about the former. But that is not the case. Tibetans will only try to please Chinese when they are given guarantees that will get them what they want.

March 22, 2008 @ 10:15 pm | Comment

Raj,

The Dalai Lama has squandered his chance for negotiation by allying himself with the “free-Tibet” crowd and international forces intent on demonizing and splitting up China. Association with Chen Shui-bian’s unpopular government has only made the Dalai Lama even less trustworthy in the eyes of the PRC and the great majority of the Chinese people.

But what’s the point? The Dalai Lama is now impotent, as he himself cannot control the rioting by his people. And like I said before, China is in a position of strength and therefore frankly, the leadership is in no hurry to negotiate. I think the Dalai Lama should take pragmatic steps to alleviate the distrust between the PRC and himself. Depending upon “international forces” or overseas Tibetans as a way of support is quite useless, except if you want some cash.

Lens of Reason

PS. I will be off from responding to this blog. I can see our discussion can go on and on and on…

March 23, 2008 @ 2:32 am | Comment

allying himself with the “free-Tibet” crowd and international forces intent on demonizing and splitting up China

The usual China victimization clap-trap! China causes international disgust by its own actions. If it just looked in the mirror once and realised that it is its own worst enemy it might be able to improve its image. As it is it prefers denial because it doesn’t want to lose face.

Chen Shui-bian’s unpopular government

Is another example of China’s demonising. Just because he wouldn’t follow China’s unreasonable demands he was demonised at every turn. As I said, it’s easier to demonise the other side rather than look at yourself.

The Dalai Lama is now impotent, as he himself cannot control the rioting by his people.

You obviously have not paid attention to anything I’ve been saying. He cannot control the rioting because:

a) he is not in Tibet
b) his peaceful mantra has not gained results

If China negotiated with him openly it would show that peace could lead to results. If peace achieves nothing then the only option is violence.

Even the chronically moronic CCP should be able to understand that.

I will be off from responding to this blog. I can see our discussion can go on and on and on…

Yes, it’s called free speech. If you have a problem with that feel free to post on a Chinese forum where you won’t have to deal with conflicting views due to the usual censorship.

March 23, 2008 @ 2:57 am | Comment

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