I can hear the hum of China’s media puppeteers gearing up for a controlled tidal wave of publicity designed to erase any doubts about the wisdom of China’s liberation of Tibet and to arm the public with easily digestible and regurgitatable memes they can use to ward off the claims of ignorant imperialists who look at Tibet and ask, “China liberated them from whom? Liberated them from what?”
As with my earlier post today, let me make clear that I am not stoking up the old argument about which point of view of Tibet is right or wrong. Most of us understand this topic pretty well by now, and know that there is no fast and easy feel-good answer. All I am saying is the Party is mounting a pro-active campaign to nip any such discussion in the bud by ensuring there is a monolithic and inarguable POV instilled in the minds of all its citizens, And let me add this: I see this campaign as unnecessary, and can only guess they are implementing it as a form of insurance, “just in case.” They have already been brilliantly successful in nurturing the Tibet meme, and anyone with close friends (and spouses) who are Chinese knows exactly what I mean.
So, the media campaign…. Instead of bloviating, let me simply share some headlines, links and excerpts from articles that started to appear within the past 48 hours, all uncannily similar in tone and message.
White paper published to mark 50th anniversary of Tibet reform
When you want to drive a point home in China, there is no better way to do it than a document you call a “white paper.” Now, I’m not sure how many people here actually know what a white paper is, but the educated classes do know that documents so named have a patina of certainty and authority, as if they were scientific and tested. Then, the media quotes from the “white paper’ as though it were an unquestionable source of factual knowledge. Case in point:
China’s government Monday published a white paper on the situation in Tibet before and since 1959 to mark the 50th anniversary of the region’s Democratic Reform. The paper, released by the State Council Information Office, reviewed the profound changes that have taken place in the past 50 years.
It also shed light on the laws governing the social development of Tibet, and attempts to rebut lies and rumors it alleges were spread by the 14th Dalai Lama and his hard-core supporters.
“It is conducive to telling right from wrong in history and helps the world better understand the real Tibet,” the paper said. Tibet had been a society of feudal serfdom under theocratic rule before 1959, with the 14th Dalai Lama as the chief representative of the upper ruling strata of serf owners, the paper said.
The long centuries of theocratic rule and feudal serfdom stifled the vitality of Tibetan society, and led to its decline and decay, the paper said.
The phrase “the paper said” is repeated several more times. It’s not the government saying this, nor is it any person. it’s The Paper. And the paper knows all.
Of course, these white papers tend to pop up when the government feels it needs to buttress public opinion in the wake of a potential threat. Hmmm, what could that threat be? 1959. 2009. 50-year anniversary. I think we may be onto something.
FOCUS ON TIBET: Origin of the title of “Dalai Lama” and its related backgrounder
A handy “backgrounder,” appearing in perfect synch with the white paper, this document, tortured syntax aside, offers an unbiased history of the Dalai Lama and his tireless campaign to enslave and brutalize the Tibetans, when he’s not busy tearing the wings off of flies and torturing small mammals.
[A]lmost all the Dalai Lamas of later generations, except for the 14th Dalai Lama, were patriotic, loyal to the central government, and devoted to safeguarding the national unity. What people could not understand is that now that every Dalai Lama was the reincarnation of the late Living Buddha, why the patriotic quality wasn’t passed to the 14th?
…[W]hat the 14th Dalai Lama loves is his personal reputation, personal status and old Tibetan local regime practicing a feudal serfdom under the theocracy. Since he fled to India in 1959, the 14th Dalai Lama has been depending on the western countries for survival and those politicians with ulterior motives who can support his living, to win his so-called honor, status and obtain more funds from them. How despicable it is that Dalai, a previously esteemed religious leader in Tibet, has been reduced into a card of others chosen to play in the game.
If that doesn’t read like an impartial, balanced “backgrounder,” what does? (And allow me to state for the record that I reject similar documents but out by extremists on the other end that portray the DL as the embodiment of love and peace and joy and light.)
Finally, as if this weren’t enough, yet another authoritative piece appeared today in People’s Daily – three reports on Tibet in 24 hours:
Erroneous understanding of Tibet goes against development trend
You gotta love the opening sentence:
The year 2009 marks the 50th anniversary of the end of rebellion and democratic reform in Tibet.
I’m going to assume that was a typo, and that what they meant to say was 2009 marks the end of rebellion and the start of democratic reform. Freudian slip? Moving on:
Since becoming free from a feudal serf system Tibetan people have become masters of a new socialist Tibet and now fully enjoy all kinds of rights that the country’s Constitution and Law endow them, creating a brilliant page in human history.
However, some westerners use the Tibet issue as a tool to damage China’s interests, and western media is overwhelmingly biased in their coverage of anything related to Tibet…
Like what they did in Africa and south Asia, some westerners believed they had the authority to interpret Tibet’s history and the right to explore the region. Their mentality to be colonial ruler of Tibet shows they intended to separate the region from China. Some western countries do not understand China’s stance on Tibet. However, in consideration to strategic interests, they used it as a tool to damage China’s sovereignty and put pressure on China.
There’s certainly some elements of truth to this argument, but I’m afraid the lady doth protest too much. This is ham-fisted overkill, flooding the media waves with time-worn slogans of the West’s conspiracy to destroy China, as though the West could ever do a better job in pursuing that goal than Mao Zedong did. Small wonder they are so eager to focus public attention on the West’s looting and plundering of sacred Chinese relics. That sets the stage for labeling any Western protests regarding Tibet as a continuation of the same imperialism.
Anyway, expect a lot more of this as the CCP annual congress approaches (groan – is it that time of year again?) along with the anniversaries they fear so much. It’s pointless, it serves no purpose, it fools no one, and yet they have to do it. Don’t ask me why. They just do. I stopped asking why a long time ago.