Pico Iyer on the Dalai Lama and Tibet (“hell on earth”)

Readers know I approach Tibet cautiously, aware that it’s the most emotionally loaded of all topics (after the Nanjing massacre, Yasukuni Shrine, Tiananmen Square, Taiwan independence, etc.), and knowing the situation there is not as black and white as some media in the West make it out to be.

That said, one of my very favorite journalists has written a piece on the topic, including a description of several interactions with the Dalai Lama, that paint a very dark picture of the situation in Tibet,and a very positive one of the DL. His conclusions:

As Tibet enters its second half- century as an oppressed nation—this fall marks the sixtieth anniversary of the arrival of People’s Liberation Army troops in eastern Tibet—there is a sense that what happens there has implications for us all, not just in its environmental consequences, but in its political ones as well. How China deals with Tibet will affect its relations with Taiwan, and if Beijing does come to its senses and takes a more enlightened and farsighted approach to Tibet —as small a threat to it, population-wise, as Idaho might be to the US—it will inevitably win the respect of the larger world and do much to secure its own legacy. Part of the unusual fascination of the China–Tibet issue, after all, is that it seems to suggest a larger question beyond the geopolitical: How much can anyone live on bread alone, and to what extent does some sense of inner wealth either trump or at least make sense of all the material riches we might gain? It’s no surprise, perhaps, that 100,000 Han Chinese have already taken up the study of Tibetan Buddhism, and their numbers are rising quickly.

The Dalai Lama has done his bit by announcing himself “semi-retired,” something like a “senior adviser,” in his own words; if Beijing thinks he is the cause of the recent disturbances and problems in Tibet, he has been effectively saying, he will gladly take himself out of the equation altogether to see if that can help. The Tibetans in Tibet have endured a lifetime of oppression with uncommon patience and fortitude. Now it remains only for China to be as “realistic” and transparent in its handling of Tibet as, the Dalai Lama noted, it was in the wake of the tragic earthquake in Sichuan last summer. His final words to the Chinese students, some of whom were sobbing and working Tibetan Buddhist rosaries as he spoke, were “Investigate, investigate. Analyze, analyze.” He left the Chinese professors with the words, “Keep out the propaganda. Keep out our Tibetan side, too, our emotions. Study the situation!” Two days later, however, as he was addressing the journalists in Tokyo’s Foreign Correspondents’ Club, another Tibetan man was imprisoned, for five years, according to Human Rights Watch. His crime? Daring to tell relatives abroad about what is happening inside Tibet.

I try very hard to learn about the situation in Tibet from Chinese eyes (and this is my favorite article on that subject). I hope my Chinese friends and readers will likewise see what Iyer has to say, and think about whether the topic is perhaps more multidimensional than they’re taught in school. (And that goes for my Western readers as well, come to think of it.)

I remember one of the first times I heard of the Dalai Lama, back in the late 1980s when I was attending a pop “self-actualization” seminar on – pardon the Nietzschean title – the “power of the will.” The seminar leader told us how through sheer force of will, upon the invasion by evil and aggressive Chinese troops, the DL magically transported himself out of Tibet and landed, Star Trek-style, in the hills of India. And that’s how a lot of people in the West saw (and continue to see) him; not necessarily as a super-man, but as a mystical force, existing on a different and higher plane than us mortals.

I no longer think of him as angelic or infallible, as a force of pure good at war with forces of pure evil. But I do think of him as more than a jackal, and of his followers as more than a clique. Again, there’s a middle ground somewhere. What I do know is that after reading Iyer’s piece, I have a deeper respect for the DL (and I admit, living here for a long time can distort your perceptions).

This link is via ESWN, and I thank him for it.

This was a pre-dinner quickie. Hope to elaborate when I get time. Much more to the article than I could comment on tonight. And no, I haven’t forgotten how the standard of living in Tibet rose after the “emancipation” and how much investment China has poured into Tibet. Two sides to every story.

______________

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: 60 Comments

I always viewed the Dalai Lama with suspicion due to the large following of new agers etc etc that he has always attracted. However during the last few years when I have got around to reading what the chap actually has to say, my respect for him has grown immensely. I find very little in his political statements that are unreasonable, though perhaps more reference to Tibet’s past and an emphasis that his ideas are not a return to the way things were might help. But what he is asking for is the founding of basic human rights in Tibet, and it is hard to argue against that.

March 30, 2009 @ 7:10 pm | Comment

What the author rote are all empty talks. To know what the Dalai really wanted, you need to look at the demands put forward by his representatives to the Chinese government. . Now with all this talk of “hell on earth”, he looks just like another cranky old fart.

March 30, 2009 @ 7:39 pm | Comment

@stp

Given you feel so strongly, perhaps you could go through the Dalai Lama’s demands in the article point by point and explain why they are so unreasonable?

March 30, 2009 @ 7:59 pm | Comment

@SVP

By the “demands put forward to the Chinese government”, are you refering to this document?

http://www.tibet.net/en/index.php?id=77&articletype=press&rmenuid=morepress

March 30, 2009 @ 8:15 pm | Comment

It’s not the appropriate time to discuss Tibet issue for the outsiders. In this recession period,Western is begging us for mercy to back them with the green-notes we have. You should have given up the trade between human right and economic.

March 30, 2009 @ 8:17 pm | Comment

@amadeus

I enjoyed your post. However, I was wondering whether you could clarify a few points:

1. “It’s not the appropriate time to discuss Tibet issue for the outsiders.” Do you it is not an appropriate for Chinese to discuss the Tibetan issue with foreigners? Or do you mean it is not an appropriate time for foreigners to be discussing the problem with each other? When is an appropriate time?

2. “In this recession period,Western is begging us for mercy to back them with the green-notes we have.” I was unaware of China being requested to bankroll all the Western nations. Perhaps you can tell me when this happened. I understand that the US wants China to keep buying the dollar in order to bankroll their debt, but given the fact China’s reserves are largely in US dollars, if they do not do so they will bankrupt themselves as well as the US. China doesn’t really have a choice here, does she? I am not sure anyone is begging China for mercy.

3. “You should have given up the trade between human right and economic.” I don’t understand this sentence at all. Who does “You” refer to? The blogger? The other commenters? Western governments? Their people? What do you mean by a trade between human rights and economic? Economic is an adjective. Do you mean economy or economic choices/policy or something else? What sort of trade is this? Could you explain what this means? I don’t understand

March 30, 2009 @ 8:38 pm | Comment

One of the questions I’m wondering these days is why there wasn’t much western attention on the Tibet issue before the riots last year. During two decades from 1989 to 2008, the west at large seemed to have put aside the issue.

I had a newsletter subcription to a western group for the Tibet cause when I was in college. I had to use a web proxy first to get to their website for the subscription, but didn’t need to do anything special for their subsequent newsletters. At first I got two or three newsletters every month and I read them all. As time went by, however, it was reduced to two or three a year. And several years later, it stopped almost completely. But this year it was up and running again, with one e-mail a month.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government mended fences with Japan, took a big step in improving relations with Taiwan (Sissy Ma’s election helped) and built stronger ties with ASEAN countries. And before the riots last year, one could freely travel to Tibet and many foreigners were living there.

Now we would be lucky if it could return to what it was in Feb 2008. The more internationalized the issue is, the harder the Chinese government will push back. With the Olympics out of the way, there really isn’t that much coming from the west that could daunt the commies any more.

Why did it become like this?

March 30, 2009 @ 8:40 pm | Comment

Si:

I am not interested in teaching the senior. Try to understand my commentary with you own intellect. It seems you prepared your GRE arguments well, good luck. Now,I’m going to read the book “the elements of style”.

March 30, 2009 @ 9:02 pm | Comment

@amadeus

Thank you for your response. Initially I thought you were being unclear, but now I understand with those three sentences you were demonstrating an ability to condense your thoughts to rival that of Confucius or Zhuangzi. I presume from your answer you are referring to Confucius when he said that if a student on being shown one corner cannot infer the other three he is not worth teaching? Please accept my deepest apologies for having the impertinence to question your posting and for being such an unworthy student. I hope you enjoy your book.

March 30, 2009 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

I want to ask the blogger, you agree with Pico Iyer that China should take a more enlightened and farsighted approach to Tibet, is that so? Then what do you think is the best result of the China–Tibet issue? Let DL and his followers rule Tibet as what they want and let Tibet separate from China ever since? I think it’s a very very complicated issue and I still can’t see that DL should be respected!

March 30, 2009 @ 9:52 pm | Comment

Odd, Ghandi also attracted new agers, was also ‘linked’ to violence, was also often bundled together in the British press with ‘violent communists’ like Nehru, was also blamed for incidents which had little to do with him. I guess I should be more suspicious of him when I read his speeches.

March 30, 2009 @ 10:10 pm | Comment

@Si

you understood Amadeus all wrong.

The key to his post is to be found in the term “green-notes”, which refers to initiatives to achieve “bluer skies and clearer waters”, i.e. environmental concerns.

( http://miamiherald.typepad.com/green_notes/ )

In other words, he is saying that the West has been begging China to improve its environment and reduce pollution. And China is doing all it can to help, which is a lot of hard work and of course means that China doesn’t have time to waste on pointless discussions of Tibet.

The third sentence then mildly rebukes the West for putting too much emphasis on trade. Because as we all know, trade requires transport, and transport is polluting. Here, his English was a little off, but what he surely wanted to say is that the “human right”, meaning those living to the right on a China-centric world map (i.e. the US), and the future “economic (centre)” of the world, which is of course China, should stop trading so much, because all those container ships pollute the ocean.

March 30, 2009 @ 10:12 pm | Comment

Richard wrote: “Again, there’s a middle ground somewhere.”

Where did the clique about the truth being located somewhere in the middle come from anyway?

So the Truth is located in the middle, like an anus, penis, or a vagina?

What does “the middle” have to do with anything?

March 30, 2009 @ 10:23 pm | Comment

@ Thang Long

Middle Kingdom, perhaps?

March 30, 2009 @ 10:32 pm | Comment

“through sheer force of will, upon the invasion by evil and aggressive Chinese troops, the DL magically transported himself out of Tibet and landed, Star Trek-style, in the hills of India.”

Is that what those guys are saying ? May be I was just lucky to be around when he escaped to India. I read newspaper stories about his escape, with armed guards, of course, through the Himalayas. He was a boy then. Yes, will was important, and so was physical strength, and horses, donkeys and yaks. A few thousand followers helped too.

And these were stories on Chinese newspapers, not western.

That’s why I always see him as a man. And I was very pleased that he continue his studies, in buddhism and other subjects, and became a great scholar, while spending time leading the Tibetans.

March 30, 2009 @ 11:59 pm | Comment

“It’s not the appropriate time to discuss Tibet issue for the outsiders.”

It is always appropriate to discuss issues. It is never appropriate to stop others from voicing their views. You must be a Chinese.

March 31, 2009 @ 12:02 am | Comment

“The key to his post is to be found in the term “green-notes”, which refers to initiatives to achieve “bluer skies and clearer waters”, i.e. environmental concerns.”

No way. He is a Chinese. The only meaning of “green-notes” is MONEY.

March 31, 2009 @ 12:04 am | Comment

“You must be a Chinese.”

That, is, typical

March 31, 2009 @ 12:05 am | Comment

Thanks for the link to Peter Hessler’s article, I can totally relate to the “Chinese view” he described, I have to say it’s very accurate. I don’t agree with his conclusion about “imperialism”, but this is one of the best article on Tibet by a Westerner I’ve read.

As far as I know, Pico Iyer has never been to Tibet, so he is just relaying what the DL says, I just can’t take it seriously, sorry.

March 31, 2009 @ 2:30 am | Comment

“As far as I know, Pico Iyer has never been to Tibet, so he is just relaying what the DL says,…”

Sorry,I take that back. :-)

March 31, 2009 @ 2:59 am | Comment

As far as I know, Pico Iyer has never lived Tibet, so he is just relaying what the DL says, I just can’t take it seriously, sorry.

March 31, 2009 @ 3:04 am | Comment

This is kind of interesting:

A list of colleges in Tibet from wikipedia:
Tibet University (西藏大学)
Tibet Police Officers Institute
Tibet Nationalities University (西藏民族学院)
Tibet University of Traditional Tibetan Medicine (西藏藏医学院)

and this is a list of prisons in the TAR also from wikipedia:

Bomi Prison
Chushur Prison
Delapuxie Prison
Gazha Prison
Lhasa Prison
Drapchi Prison in Lhasa (mostly for political prisoners)
Naidong Prison
Nyalam Prison
Shengyebo Prison
Shigaze Prison
Situola Prison
Xizang Autonomous Region Prison
Xizang No. 2 Prison
Zedang Prison

I was looking to find out if they have coal in Tibet. The tibetan people are benefiting from a higher standard of living from their Han benefactors investments and “emancipation” as much as the people of West Virginia are benefiting from a higher standard of living from all that investment by the coal mining industry.

too bad it is impossible to verify the prisons vs colleges ratio. would need to differentiate between local jails and prisons.

west virginia must have at least two prisons. at least one state prison and probably a federal prison.

http://u101.com/colleges/West_Virginia/

this webpage shows a list of more than 30 colleges in west virginia.

glad to see the PRC Han people making sure the Tibetans have enough prisons to hold all those people who have a picture of the dalai lama.

if there is coal in tibet then i am sure they will get to enjoy the benefits of looking at the strip mining operations through the bars of their prison cells while wondering what it would have been like if they had an opportunity to attend college.

March 31, 2009 @ 3:53 am | Comment

” are you refering to this document?

http://www.tibet.net/en/index.php?id=77&articletype=press&rmenuid=morepress

Thomas,

It is very good that you give this link to everyone so that people will not have a discussiion based on ignorance.

I have read the document before. Here are some of my thoughts.

“As a part of the multi-national state of the PRC, …”
“RESPECT FOR THE INTEGRITY OF THE TIBETAN NATIONALITY”

For anyone knowing Pledge of Allegiance for US, “ONE nation under God, indivisible … “. The same applies to China here. There is only one nation in China. There is no Tibet nation. We do have Tibetan ethnic group. But there is no Tibetan nationality.

If DL does not change that position, I do not see Tibet issue going anywhere.

“Regulation on population migration”

If you change “Tibetan nationality” to “Tibetan ethnic group”, the whole document essentially becomes a racist’s manifesto. It calls for having the same racial people living togethter, keeping other racial people out their area. It becomes some type of apartheid system.

Just like US, China is a melting point for different enthic group. People are supposed to have freedom to move, settle and have inter-racial marriage. The whole document from DL is about the control of territory, resources while keeping other racial people out.

Let’s face the reality. Globalization is the trend. Eventually we will all assimilate together and become an earth person.

Instead, Dalai should ask what is the best way to make sure Tibetan people have equal opportunities to develop each individual to their full potential. That is exactly missing in that document.

March 31, 2009 @ 4:15 am | Comment

I found some info about west virginia prisons.

http://www.wvdoc.com/wvdoc/PrisonsandFacilities/tabid/36/Default.aspx

they have about 15.

west virginia: 30+ colleges vs 15 prisons

tibet: 14 prisons vs 4 colleges

so west virginia has 2 times as many colleges as prisons and tibet has 3 times as many prisons as colleges and you wonder why the westerners have an issue with the Han peoples “emancipation” of the tibetan people and investment in the TAR.

March 31, 2009 @ 4:15 am | Comment

steve,
maybe you should think of tibet’s relationship to the PRC as being more like american somoa, puerto rico, eskimo or indian reservations, and not just another one of the 50 states.

if white people were migrating to somoa, puerto rico or onto indian reservations at the rate Han are migrating to tibet i am sure the somoans, hispanics and indians would have the same issue as the dalai lama. the dalai lama is not attempting to leave the prc but trying to elevate it above being just another Han province, but viewed as more like a semi autonomous vasal country still part of the PRC but with some autonomy like scotland and irelands relationship with the United Kingdom.

he will not win because the han are more concerned about ensuring their own Han birthright to exploit their western barbarian provinces.

March 31, 2009 @ 4:26 am | Comment

Lindel,

I can’t help to ask why you bring up West Virginia? Are you from West Virginia or do you live there? Either way I feel sorry for you.

March 31, 2009 @ 4:46 am | Comment

@Lindel

The way of your comparison is quite misleading. I think college/population ratio would be more “scientific.”

Let’s take a western province Gansu as an example. Gansu has 33 colleges and universities, and has a population of 26.2 million. So the college/population ratio for Gansu is 1.26 universities per million. The population of TAR is 2.84 million, so the ratio for TAR is 1.41 universities per million. By the same calculation, Sichuan is at 0.78 (68/87.3). So based on your logic, the evil CCP is oppressing Gansu and Sichuan more severely than TAR?

I don’t know about prisons, you are the expert.

March 31, 2009 @ 4:49 am | Comment

AC you should learn more about the prisons in the TAR and elsewhere in the PRC it is your civic duty.

Serve the People I used West Virginia as a comparison because it is a relatively poor and less economically developed state in the US and is also a state with mountains and mineral resources that are mined. Tibet is a mountainous nation with mineral resources that being exploited by the Han people. West Virginia also has suffered from exploitation by mining companies from other states and it seemed like the best state to make a comparison.

I am heartened by your concern for my well being.

I strongly encourage you and AC to learn more about the prisons in your province and in the rest of the PRC. Also I would suggest that the two of you make an independent study of the tibetan ethnic group prison population in the TAR versus the number of ethnic Tibetans in colleges. You should gather your own data by actually visiting all the prisons and colleges in the TAR and personally counting the tibetans your self. Any statistical data from your own government should be treated with suspicion.

I suspect young Tibetans have a higher probability of going to prison than finding a decent job or attending college, but I am also certain that the probability of attending college has increased for the average college tibetan since they were emancipated by the concerned Han brothers. But unfortunately the probability of their being incarcerated in prison has increased even faster.

Please independently determine the prison budget for the TAR vs the college budget for the TAR. Again do not trust your governments data with out verifying I am sure Zhang Qingli will be happen to open his prison budget records and the college budget documents to two concerned citizens like your selves.

I am sure the Red Cross or Amnesty International would be happy to assist you in the study and will speak out in your behalf when you get thrown in prison for sticking your nose into Zhang Qingli’s rice bowl.

March 31, 2009 @ 5:16 am | Comment

So it’s not the numbers but budgets now?

What is your “independently determined prison budget for the TAR”? If you don’t have it, then can we take it as just another of your baseless diatribe?

March 31, 2009 @ 5:27 am | Comment

Comparing numbers of universities and prisons is a pretty silly and fairly meaningless way of deciding whether an area is suffering from oppression. The prison population can be a gauge of oppression, but only to an extent – for example, the prison population/capita of population of the USA is much higher than that of Iran, or indeed the official prison population of any other country in the world. The best way is to measure the degree to which freedom of speech may be exercised, whether officials can exercise their power without check and balances, public participation in the making of policy etc. etc. etc. By all these measures, China is an oppressive country.

March 31, 2009 @ 5:33 am | Comment

AC your analysis does not address the logic of my prison to college comparison at all. You are only saying that the TAR has more colleges per capita than Gansu.

Can you check your Gansu data? I wonder be curious to know if the colleges are predominately in areas of Gansu that are more heavily populated by Han.

I would be curious to know if the average Tibetan youth in Gansu has a better chance of going to prison than to college compared to the average Han youth in Gansu.

The population of West Virginia is 1.8M with more than 30 colleges so as far as colleges go the poorest state in the US is significantly better off than the TAR or Gansu.

Maybe the PRC should follow Obama’s lead and invest more money in education.

March 31, 2009 @ 5:36 am | Comment

Actually I think I have made a rather significant point by comparing the number of colleges to prisons. It is not conclusive but it certainly leads to more questions. Maybe I can ask next time Zhang Qingli holds an open press conference.

AC i don’t have the information you ask for. It is your job as a citizen of the PRC to gather these kinds of information and independently verify because your government can not be trusted. Investigative reporters and independent groups and agencies do this all the time in the US.

March 31, 2009 @ 5:42 am | Comment

I got my university data here:
http://www.eol.cn/article/20040706/3109656.shtml

And I got the population data from wiki.

March 31, 2009 @ 5:44 am | Comment

@FOARP

By Western standards, China is an oppressive country, no problem there.

But the point is, Tibetans and Hans are treated the same way, good or bad.

March 31, 2009 @ 5:48 am | Comment

AC you need to gather all kinds of information: population demographics, per capita income, age, numbers of colleges, numbers of prisons, numbers of college students, numbers of prisoners, annual budgets. per student spending ratios, per prisoner spending ratios. All sorts of statistics.

After that you should be able to see a pattern and draw conclusions.

Obama might have some advice for you if you are interested in how to do this.

My original point is very simple: It appears that the PRC builds more prisons incarcerating Tibetan minorities than they build institutions of higher learning for educating Tibetan minorities.

To be fair to the PRC, I suspect that being so remote and rural that Tibet has some basic issues with criminal elements and just general lawlessness and that a few prisons have a legitimate use. They can’t build colleges before there is some kind of rule of law.

The numbers support my simple point, but there is more to the story. I hope someday some citizens of the PRC care enough to ask questions and find out for themselves.

March 31, 2009 @ 6:06 am | Comment

I’m seriously reluctant to read this comment thread. Richard, you are far braver than I. Or perhaps a bigger masochist. :)

March 31, 2009 @ 6:12 am | Comment

But the point is, Tibetans and Hans are treated the same way, good or bad.

No one I have spoken to, who has any knowledge about the situation in Tibet, would agree with that statement – regardless of what he or she may think on the status of Tibet. A Chinese friend of mine who visited Lhasa not long ago was shocked to find a city that looked like any other Chinese city and where Tibetans seemed to be second-class citizens.

It doesn’t matter what area you talk about, Han Chinese dominate every important aspect of Tibetan life in Tibet, whether it be law enforcement, education, business, construction or defense. Han Chinese are not required to know Tibetan to get employment in Tibet, whereas Tibetans have to learn Chinese in order to get employment in their home town. (That is a rather interesting situation, because in colonial Hong Kong, local Chinese could have careers without any significant knowledge in English or Mandarin.)

As for the figures AC quoted on access to education, it doesn’t really matter if admissions to college are higher in Tibet than elsewhere if instruction is done in Chinese, which is not the native language of most Tibetans. All the figures mean is that the government is trying to create a Chinese-speaking, assimilated elite in Tibet. The problem is that it doesn’t matter how well a minority speaks Chinese or blend in, they will never be entrusted with positions of real power in Tibet or elsewhere.

March 31, 2009 @ 6:19 am | Comment

Lindel, I understand that. But until you get those statistic data and present them to us, we can only think that you are just speculating.

It’s you who is making an accusation here, therefore the burden of proof is on you, not me.

March 31, 2009 @ 6:28 am | Comment

The Tibetans in Tibet have endured a lifetime of oppression with uncommon patience and fortitude.

This is where anyone can find fault with his paper. Their last 500 years have been oppression, and so has China’s since the Qing (and many earlier dynasties). The whole world has been “oppressed”, really. The Tibetans are no more oppressed than the “Hans” (new buzzword that Western hipsters love to bandy about, as if it makes them appear more knowledgeable about other cultures). He also mythologizes Tibet, the whole “Tibetans are peaceful people who survive on prayer and magic chanting!” thing is really old and tired.

@FOARP

Comparing numbers of universities and prisons is a pretty silly and fairly meaningless way of deciding whether an area is suffering from oppression.

Of course. Who knows how many people those prisons or colleges contain? Prison population to graduates would make more sense, but we can all see that Lindel is grasping at straws here.

The best way is to measure the degree to which freedom of speech may be exercised

Rather, the best way is to measure how much freedom of speech actually matters in the face of corporate domination of the discussion. The anti-Chinese agitation of 2008 successfully distracted many from the looming financial crisis.

@Lindel
Serve the People I used West Virginia as a comparison because it is a relatively poor and less economically developed state in the US and is also a state with mountains and mineral resources that are mined. Tibet is a mountainous nation with mineral resources that being exploited by the Han people.

Garbage like this would make anyone with a brain sick. The “Han people” have no choice whether or not Tibet is part of the PRC. They have no options when they want to oppose the one child policy Tibetans are exempt from. They have no choice but to pay taxes when many Tibetans do not. They do not have a say in how many billions of yuan are sent to “develop” Tibet. The PRC is not really a Han-centric party but a pseudo-Communist, non-Han dynasty. In fact the PRC is probably the most anti-Han dynasty in history- no other has actually tried to eliminate 30% of the Han population.

The problem with people like you is that you keep trying to use Tibetans to demonize “Han Chinese” as if they are part of some conspiracy to destroy Tibet’s culture. This is key to a narrative where the “evil Chinese” are some kind of international boogeyman hellbent on world domination like “Communists” and “Islamofascists”. In the process, Tibetans are infantilized by New Agers. Last I checked, Tibetans are wearing Nikes and rapping, not wearing hanfu and performing Beijing Opera.

What the CIA-funded “Free Tibet” organization really is, is an attempt to separate the “Han Chinese” genetically, culturally, linguistically, from their neighbors in whatever pseudo-scientific way the liars can get away with. They want Tibet to be “liberated” into an anti-Chinese American client state to create a geographically complete “China containment” circle. It’s not about rights or freedom or equality- that’s bull.

Essentially they are using propaganda to create ethnic hatred (popular Western colonial tactic) that will, only in their wildest dreams, blow up into a Rwanda-like race-war that kills hundreds of thousands. That is no secret. They will do anything to strike at the heart of China. Even stooping so low as to use “Han Chinese” like how Goebbels used “degenerate Jew” in his many libelous attacks against random innocents. You might as well have posters on the streets of New York saying “What is a Han? A Han degrades Tibetan culture!”

if white people were migrating to somoa, puerto rico or onto indian reservations at the rate Han are migrating to tibet

Ridiculous. The Tibetans would have to be on reservations in the first place. In fact, to be more like China, all whites would have to get out of California, Alaska and Hawaii which would then be 50-90% populated by “Indians”. Then they would have to give .1% of GDP to the “Indians”. Lastly, whites would face serious legal consequences if they dared to have more than one child. Fat chance that that is ever going to happen in a “democratic” nation where the majority lords over the other 49% of the population like a tyrant.

—-

The final word in all of this is that no occupation is really “morally” justified, be it Siberia, Australia, America, Brazil, Canada, Argentina, Northern Ireland, the Basque Territories, Outer Manchuria, etc. But the world, following in the footsteps of the West, does not look to “morality” in geopolitics.

The anti-China (called “pro-Tibet” by spinsters) campaign is both one based in the sacred right of the Dalai Lama to return to his homeland, and the right of Tibetan people to self-rule (regardless of how despotic and tyrannical it may have been in the past), but also the CIA and America’s personal interest/desire in murdering/exterminating “evil Han Chinese” and destabilizing the Chinese state as a direct attack on its people, their culture and by extension the whole of East Asia.

With that in mind, the CIA’s, America’s and the Western Imperium’s involvement in creating race-wars in Tibet (The Hui were also attacked) has complicated things excessively. Instead of taking a more nuanced view, “Western” journalists continue to paint a good/evil picture, with the Han Chinese as evil and everyone else as good. Not satisfied with only demonizing the Chinese government, they paint the “evil Han” as a faceless mass of subhumans that deserve to be killed by anyone. No different from Nazi propaganda, but instead of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Aryan virgins being eaten alive by “Jews”, we have doe-eyed, sheep-like Tibetans being torn apart in the maw of the “faceless yellow horde”. The ironic part is that Tibetans are also “yellow”, but many, bloodthirsty Hindu nationalists especially, have tried to depict them as “racially different” in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.

One thing to note is that the 2008 Lhasa Riots were quite mild in comparison to the 1992 LA riots (and especially compared to the 2002 Gujarat Massacre), showing that journalists are overestimating how much discontent there really is. But the way they portrayed the anti-Chinese race riots in Lhasa was pretty ghastly. It wasn’t so much that they lied outright in several instances, but most publications didn’t shed a single crocodile tear for any of the “evil Han Chinese” (some of which were young girls) that died. That is saying quite a lot considering many of these news corporations are experts at theatrics and deception.

By cherry-picking the independence movements they support, the “pro-Tibet” (anti-Chinese) groups have turned an internal issue between an authoritarian government and one ethnic group out of many into a matter of national pride in the face of clear racial and cultural antagonism from the “West”. Now the CCP has clamped down even harder and relations between Tibetans and the Hui and Han have strained, undermining their ability to work together as PRC citizens and press the CCP to act in their collective interests. Indeed, it can be said that while the “Western” media says they hate the CCP and love the Chinese people, their actions benefit the CCP and hurt “the Chinese people”. So either they secretly love and support the CCP (as evidenced by the ruthless corporatism of many foreign interactions with China) and want to destroy “the Chinese people”, or they are just incredibly stupid, short-sighted and incompetent.

However, what China does in Tibet does reflect on the CCP. They can humiliate “the West” by aiding the Tibetans and setting them on a path to autonomy or nationhood while America strangles Native Americans to death with a combination of coercion, assimilation and negligence, and while Australian Aborigines suffer disproportionately from a variety of social ills. Not even President Hope’n'Change is making a serious attempt at redress for Native Americans.

Another thing is that, genetically speaking, the Tibetans are closely related to the Northern Han. It would be, in a sense, going against Confucian norms to mistreat them. The Tibetan peoples (there are more than one, despite what Hollywood teaches you) have created viable cultures and societies despite great odds and they should not be disrespected. The Dalai Lama is also not a god or a devil, but a man. One that just wants the best for his people and to return to his homeland, but is also capable of making mistakes like the rest of us. For that reason I have sympathy for him.

Long post, that probably won’t be posted, but there are too many misconceptions to clear up in just a few words.

[Ferin, I cleaned out some of the usual ad hominems and will still hold your comments. You are completely false when you say I tolerate people saying the Chinese are genetically inferior - I never allow such comments. And when you shout obscenities and attacks as you did in another comment that I won't let in, you remind us you're still intent on playing the troll..]

March 31, 2009 @ 6:44 am | Comment

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2009-03/27/content_7621463.htm

“As she stepped from the plane and on to the tarmac at Beijing International Airport, Kelsang Drolkar allowed herself a sigh of relief.

The 47-year-old Tibetan village chief from Lhasa was glad to be back on Chinese soil after her first overseas journey. But it had been no ordinary debut.

Drolkar was one of five delegates from the autonomous region, all deputies to the National People’s Congress (NPC), to complete a unique but exhausting 13-day tour of the United States and Canada to meet the leading lights of North American politics and present a very real vision of modern Tibet.

The trip has come at an important time to see the 50th anniversary of the Democratic Reform of Tibet, when about 1 million serfs in the region were freed, while China has also been targeted by a fresh wave of attacks on its stance over the autonomous region by the Dalai Lama, the leader of Old Tibet and now a political exile.

This month he claimed Tibet had become a “hell on Earth” and that the Tibetan culture is “nearing extinction”.

But Drolkar, through a Mandarin interpreter, countered: “As an ordinary Tibetan who was born and has spent almost half a century in Tibet, I really don’t understand how there can be such an ungrounded accusation. Our lives are much better than before.”

March 31, 2009 @ 8:52 am | Comment

@steve

The word “minzu” is translated incorrectly into English as “nationality” in official names by the Chinese government (for example, until just recently the ethnic minority university in Beijing was called “Central University for Nationalities”). The government-in-exile is just using the same terminology as the Chinese government; it doesn’t necessarily imply what you think it does.

March 31, 2009 @ 9:45 am | Comment

“But if they refuse my friendship, I will use war to develop them”

Sound like Hessler’s students are embodied with that all too familiar Chinese insistance on obedience to authority, and a willingness to pursue punitive measures if anyone objects. It rather brings to mind the anger directed at Tibetans following last years riots on account of their ‘lack of gratitude’.

This was interesting:

“…Chinese Party Secretary, Hu Yaobang, went on a fact-finding mission to Tibet and returned with severe criticisms of Chinese policies. He advocated a two-pronged solution: Chinese investment was needed to spur economic growth in Tibet, but at the same time the Han should be more respectful of Tibetan culture. Cadres needed to learn Tibetan; the language should be used in government offices serving the public; and religion should be allowed more freedom.”

Then he was purged and Hu Jintao, as Provincial bigwig, meted out the kind of respect for Tibetans more commonly associated with Chinese leaders. Hu Yaobang has gone up in my estimation after reading that. Things could have been so different …

And this:

“But although I was certain that nobody was truly happy (most of the Han didn’t like being there, and most of the Tibetans certainly weren’t happy to have them), I wasn’t sure who was pulling the strings. One could go straight to the top and probably find the same helplessness, the same strings.”

It seems that everyone’s wishing the Party had listened to Hu Yaobang. But he was too compassionate, too respectful. Not the stuff of real CCP.

March 31, 2009 @ 9:50 am | Comment

Hooya, thanks for the link on tokenism.

I want to ask the blogger, you agree with Pico Iyer that China should take a more enlightened and farsighted approach to Tibet, is that so? Then what do you think is the best result of the China–Tibet issue? Let DL and his followers rule Tibet as what they want and let Tibet separate from China ever since? I think it’s a very very complicated issue and I still can’t see that DL should be respected!

I have limited authority over Tibet, so my opinion might not matter much, and I acknowledge at every breath that this is a complex and difficult situation. I’d start with the quote Stuart just pasted fromPeter Hessler’s article:

Chinese Party Secretary, Hu Yaobang, went on a fact-finding mission to Tibet and returned with severe criticisms of Chinese policies. He advocated a two-pronged solution: Chinese investment was needed to spur economic growth in Tibet, but at the same time the Han should be more respectful of Tibetan culture. Cadres needed to learn Tibetan; the language should be used in government offices serving the public; and religion should be allowed more freedom

I have never advocated handing Tibet over to the DL and making it independent of China, just as I don’t advocate independence for Taiwan, much as I would like to see it happen. (I might as well advocate an end to all organized religion, while I’m at it.) All of Hu Yaobang’s suggestions along with greater autonomy and religious freedom, greater representation and a complete opening up of Tibet to the media – those are good places to start. Then let’s take it from there. Agree?

March 31, 2009 @ 10:38 am | Comment

The DL seems like a nice guy. I have nothing to add, except for this: remember when that golf caddy, Carl, caddied for the DL? Great story, here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkLH56VlKT0

March 31, 2009 @ 11:03 am | Comment

Chris Hearne

“The word “minzu” is translated incorrectly into English as “nationality” in official names by the Chinese government (for example, until just recently the ethnic minority university in Beijing was called “Central University for Nationalities”). ”

Well, if the wording is wrong, DL had better correct that mistake first. On the other hand, I think DL used that word intentionally, such as in ““As a part of the multi-national state of the PRC, …”

For all DL supporters here, they really should have read the document put out by DL. After that, you will find that, if DL’s position is not changed, I do not see a single chance to find a solution for Tibet issue.

What DL wants essentially is an independent Tibet. That will never happen, unless China, like Serbia, is bombed by US into submission. What is the chance of that? I will say very small.

If DL talks about equal opportunity for Tibetan, he will find a receptive ears among Chinese. If he talks about Tibetan nation without Han people, most chinese will rally behind CCP.

March 31, 2009 @ 11:24 am | Comment

“All of Hu Yaoban’s suggestions along with greater autonomy and religious freedom, greater representation and a complete opening up of to the media – those are good places to start. Then let’s take it from there.”

Ironically, the existence of DL and his activity is the biggest obstacle to achieve religious freedom in Tibet. If DL pledges “one nation, indivisible, ….” for China, then I think the religious freedom will be improved significantly.

Can you imagine a religion in US advacating secession can go far without FBI hunting them? The same goes with China here. Therefore it is totally legitimate for China to remove DL influence from Tibet religion.

March 31, 2009 @ 11:56 am | Comment

Hu Yaobang’s ideas were good in theory but naive in in the real world. His policies were tried in the eighties, by a new party secretary, Wu Jinghua who himself is a member of the Yi nationality. The separatists perceived China’s good will as weakness and launched a series of riots.

China learned the lesson that appeasement is no solution. You give the bad guys an inch, they will want a mile.

March 31, 2009 @ 12:00 pm | Comment

@Richard
Thank you for your comment. It seems to be a good solution. Sorry I misunderstood your meaning. I just can’t accept the idea that the DL is good guy.

March 31, 2009 @ 5:06 pm | Comment

Save all these empty talks from the West. Tibet is firmly in our secured hands. If Dalai talks too much, we just quicken the demograghic change. If he mellows, we may just let the natural process evolve on its own pace. Either way, Tibet is Chinese territories, just like North America is Caucasian territories, Australasia Caucasian (no! this may subject to change as Western power recedes & it is simply too far away from protection of mother Europe, who knows!)again (shit!).

If you guys have guts, take up arms to effect change for Dalai’s sake! Otherwise, it is all plain empty talks. So sick & tired of this subject already.

March 31, 2009 @ 5:18 pm | Comment

“Can you imagine a religion in US advacating secession can go far without FBI hunting them? The same goes with China here. Therefore it is totally legitimate for China to remove DL influence from Tibet religion.”

Sigh. And Steve shows is ignorance of politics outside of China. Sure, in the US secession is unconstitutional (according to Texas v. White, just after the civil war), but advocating secession is perfectly legal and protected by the First Amendment. The Alaska Independence Party, to which Sarah Palin’s husband once belonged, is tiny and kinda loony but still well within their rights.

And outside the US, the situation is even more clear. In lots of regions of “the West,” including Quebec, Scotland, Northern Ireland, the Basque Country, Catalonia, Flanders, northern Italy, and many more, parties advocating the secession of that region are very prominent, and have even been in power in the region. Of course, when this crosses the line into violence and terrorism (as with the IRA in the UK and the ETA in Spain), those groups are repressed, but I think we can all agree that is as it should be.

So when, say, a Briton advocates allowing Tibetans to freely voice their desires for autonomy or even independence, he or she is not necessarily being hypocritical or trying to split up and weaken China, or even to advocate any political position. He or she is merely saying that the Tibetans should enjoy the exact same human rights that his or her own countrymen in, say, Glasgow are entitled to.

March 31, 2009 @ 10:58 pm | Comment

“So sick & tired of this subject already.”

I’m relieved to hear that, OC. Nationalistic overtones are so tiresome.

April 1, 2009 @ 9:00 am | Comment

(as with the IRA in the UK and the ETA in Spain

I would say that certain people in the Tibetan exile groups are no different than the IRA or ETA, and the comparison is apt.

April 2, 2009 @ 12:41 am | Comment

It is very simple.

You build more prisons in Tibet than colleges.

In our poorest state in the US we build more colleges than prisons.

That is not speculation. Those are facts. These facts communicate the priorities of our governments.

Why do these simple facts not bother your conscience?

If this situation were reversed in the US and our poorest state had more prisons than colleges there would be a public outcry against the government and the problem addressed.

The PRC has issues that her citizens need to take responsibility for to correct.

April 2, 2009 @ 1:08 am | Comment

You build more prisons in Tibet than colleges

Except many of these prisons have a 10-20 person capacity.

In our poorest state in the US we build more colleges than prisons.

Except your prisons are huge, and the U.S has a greater prison population as a portion of its population than civilized countries.

7.3 million in U.S. prison system in ’07

The U.S. correctional population — those in jail, prison, on probation or on parole — totaled 7.3 million, or 1 in every 31 adults.

http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/03/02/record.prison.population/

More:

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2494/does-the-united-states-lead-the-world-in-prison-population

According to the International Centre for Prison Studies at King’s College London, the U.S. currently has the largest documented prison population in the world, both in absolute and proportional terms. We’ve got roughly 2.03 million people behind bars, or 701 per 100,000 population. China has the second-largest number of prisoners (1.51 million, for a rate of 117 per 100,000), and Russia has the second-highest rate (606 per 100,000, for a total of 865,000).

So we have a prison population of 2 million in the US, but 1.51 million in China. I guess you will just say “Chinese statistics! I only believe CIA statistics”.

I guess Richard is going to tell me that that I’m comparing China to America again, because I guess only Lindel/Hemulen are allowed to do it when (they think) it favors them.

April 2, 2009 @ 1:17 am | Comment

Panchen Lama the Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh are all Chinese patriots advocating China-Tibet unification.

The Han followers of Tibetan Buddhism are followers of Panchen Lama (past and present), and other High Lamas. They all are against the separatist policy of Dalai Lama. These Lamas have all chosen to remain in China-Tibet. According to these Han followers, the Panchen Lama the Eleventh, rejected and not recognized by the Dalai Lama, has now been winning a lot of converts among the Tibetans, even in many monasteries that were traditionally the strongholds of the Dalai Lama, because wherever he goes and preaches, there is an aura of righteousness, and signs and miracles follow his Buddha-hood. (I am a Christian by the way).

THIS IS NO GOOD NEWS FOR THE DALAI LAMA.

I hope with the complicated history above, you guys will know and understand that China and Tibet are one. Han-Chinese and Tibetans are brothers. Tibet belongs to Tibetans and all-Chinese peoples.

But the vision and mission of the Dalai Lama is, ONE TIBET ONE PEOPLE.

The vision of all Chinese peoples is, ONE CHINA ALL CHINESE PEOPLES.

The Chinese peoples have no choice. The Dalai Lama has to be rejected until he repent and learn how to be a patriotic Chinese.

He still has time. There is no such thing as being too old to become patriotic, according to Deng Xiaoping.

April 9, 2009 @ 4:11 am | Comment

You can’t force someone to be patriotic, I’m afraid. I don’t think many here would argue that Tibet is part of China, by the way.

April 9, 2009 @ 7:10 am | Comment

O… I love Obama …because he is the first US leader that I know to have a vision of nuclear free world.

Under Bush, I actually quietly support nuclear N. Korea and Iran…This is the only way the Western nuclear powers which get serious about total elimination of nuclear weapons.

I pray Obama will have success on this. He deserves to be US President for two terms for this.

April 9, 2009 @ 8:23 am | Comment

correction:
Who else? People like you who NOT have done enough readings. Read one side only. That is brainwashing.

April 9, 2009 @ 9:53 am | Comment

Matthew, why are you double posting as Anoni? I hope everyone saw your insane comments under the “Interview with a 1989 Demonstrator” post.

April 9, 2009 @ 9:59 am | Comment

抱歉,我英文水平不好,请恕我用中文留言。
看到楼上一些阁下例举出一些例子,例如:在美国或在其他什么国家,宪法允许人们公开支持独立之类的;或者在哪些国家,我们是如何如何做的。
我无法理解列举这例子的意义。是的,您的国家是这么规定的,可以说,但不可以做,这种没营养的宪法到头来只能让人图个嘴皮子痛快吗?可是要知道,美国人确实喜欢夸夸奇谈,爱讲个不停(我没有攻击美国人的意思),而中国人则认为“沉默是金”,“祸从口出”。
我想说,那是您们国家的宪法,我并不觉得他有多高级,或者说:“你们的宪法跟我们有什么关系,我们又不是美国人”。

April 18, 2009 @ 2:25 am | Comment

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