Obama blows off the Dalai Lama

Only, not quite.

Of course, if you were listening to Fox News and the assorted voices of Greater Wingnuttopia today, you’d think Obama had just handed Czechoslovakia over to Hitler.

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

The Discussion: 127 Comments

“Modern Era – Western news outlets put forth the ridiculous claim…”

Sounds like you’ve been reading the same material as the Han anthropologists who dismiss ‘out of Africa’ because they don’t like the idea. The same researchers discovered that the Chinese invented golf 3000 years before it reached the west because a round pebble was once found next to a hole in the ground in Sichuan Province. Holes have also been found in parts of India, Vietnam, Russia, Mongolia, Korea, and Japan. Therefore, experts say, these regions are in fact renegade provinces of an even greater China. Amazing.

Oh, and the Dalai Lama and Obama will soon be exchanging golf tips on the Eisenhower putting green.

October 15, 2009 @ 8:36 am | Comment

Golf?

October 15, 2009 @ 3:42 pm | Comment

Just trying to stay on topic, eco 😉

October 15, 2009 @ 10:52 pm | Comment

@ Stuart’s post:

““It also expressed displeasure over a planned visit by the Dalai Lama to the state’s Tawang monastery in November.”

“Always interfering in the affairs of others. When will China ever give it a rest?”

Stuart, the Chinese government’s position is that the area in question is actually a part of China. How therefore can you expect them to acknowledge that expressing displeasure &c over what happens there amounts to “interfering”? Of course you may not agree that the area is a part of China but that’s another matter.

BTW, were you maintaining earlier in this thread that the Dalai Lama did not in fact have close links with the CIA? If you were, have you now conceded the point?

October 16, 2009 @ 4:31 am | Comment

“Stuart, the Chinese government’s position is that the area in question is actually a part of China.”

China’s farcical territorial claims weaken the legitacy of such protestations.

“BTW, were you maintaining earlier in this thread that the Dalai Lama did not in fact have close links with the CIA?”

I was saying that he’s never been a CIA operative, which was the fenqing tag team’s CCP-esque spin earlier in this thread.

October 16, 2009 @ 9:34 am | Comment

““Stuart, the Chinese government’s position is that the area in question is actually a part of China.”

“China’s farcical territorial claims weaken the legitacy of such protestations.”

Stuart, are you confident that you know enough about the background to this particular border dispute to be able to dismiss the Chinese claim as “farcical”? Or are you simply assuming that, because you believe the Chinese government is wrong on so many matters, it must automatically be wrong on this one?

Bear in mind that China is actually claiming that the disputed area is a part of Tibet. Tibet itself in 1947, at a time when it was de facto independent, also claimed the area as part of Tibet. If the Chinese claim, which by the way long predates the founding of the PRC, is “farcical”, then so too was the Tibetan 1947 claim, as they have much the same basis.

Now, of course, the TGIE has no choice but to accept the McMahon line as the border, because it needs the good will of the Indian government.

I am not saying that I know for certain that China is in the right in this matter but I am curious to know why you are so certain that China is in the wrong.

““BTW, were you maintaining earlier in this thread that the Dalai Lama did not in fact have close links with the CIA?”

“I was saying that he’s never been a CIA operative, which was the fenqing tag team’s CCP-esque spin earlier in this thread.”

Well, I’m not sure exactly what defines an “operative” in this context: I don’t think anybody here is saying that he was a full time CIA agent. However, he was certainly on the CIA payroll for many years, to the tune (I think) of around 200,000 USD per annum. I doubt that they were paying him to do nothing. Therefore it would not be unreasonable to argue that he was a CIA employee. This has long been known by the Chinese government &, rightly or wrongly, may well have contributed to their enduring mistrust of him.

October 16, 2009 @ 8:41 pm | Comment

“,,,to the tune (I think) of around 200,000 USD per annum.”

Well, if he did receive such a stipend it would have been by way of a ‘supporting grant’ rather than a return for services rendered; and China would have no right to complain about such a relationship anyway seeing as how they exiled the poor chap.

“Bear in mind that China is actually claiming that the disputed area is a part of Tibet. Tibet itself in 1947”

As the recent Oct 1 parade reminded everyone, the present Chinese geopolitical entity is only 60 years old. Thus, she has no legitimate claim to anything pre 1949. Simple.

“Or are you simply assuming that, because you believe the Chinese government is wrong on so many matters, it must automatically be wrong on this one?”

Nope. I base my ‘farcical’ description on the extent and rather too loud protestations we regularly hear from Beijing regarding what it believes (or would like to call)its territory. Most of these claims are based on the flimsiest of historical evidence; or in the case of China’s territorial water claims, megalomania.

October 19, 2009 @ 11:51 am | Comment

One of the Fenqing earlier made an egregious comment that shouldn’t go unchallenged:

“What about Northern Ireland”? doubtless implying that westerners are hypocrites to express sympathy with either the Uighurs or Tibetans wanting independence.

Well, there are two things they have in common. Northern Ireland is currently part of the UK and Xinjiang/Tibet are part of China, and in all three there are separatist/splittest advocates.

But look at the fundamental differences.

In Northern Ireland the “splittists” are represented by a political party, Sinn Fein, that has complete freedom to campaign, elect representatives to Parliament, and enjoys complete freedom of speech to advocate their views. Hardly true of Uighur or Tibetan separatists.

Second, in Northern Ireland the separatists are mostly Catholic, a minority group. The majority population favours Northern Ireland remaining part of the UK. Once Catholics become the majority maybe the situation will change.

Third, I know absolutely no one in the UK who gives a damn whether Northern Ireland remains part of the UK or not. Unlike China most of us have long ago given up jingoistic, neurotic nationalism.

October 19, 2009 @ 4:05 pm | Comment

Second, in Northern Ireland the separatists are mostly Catholic, a minority group. The majority population favours Northern Ireland remaining part of the UK. Once Catholics become the majority maybe the situation will change.

Sojourner, it’s even worse for the fenqing. Even if/when Catholics become a majority in Northern Ireland they won’t be asking for independence as they get a good deal being part of the UK (more spending per head of population than in England) and the Republic doesn’t want them back.

But the important thing is that if people in Northern Ireland wanted to, they could elect an Assembly dominated by politicians who wanted independence. That would probably trigger a referendum and then people would have another chance to vote for independence, the last referendum failing miserably.

Unlike China most of us have long ago given up jingoistic, neurotic nationalism.

Indeed. We weren’t invaded nor did we become a poor country because the Republic of Ireland was granted independence – nor would we if Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales left the UK too.

October 19, 2009 @ 8:57 pm | Comment

In Northern Ireland the “splittists” are represented by a political party, Sinn Fein, that has complete freedom to campaign, elect representatives to Parliament, and enjoys complete freedom of speech to advocate their views. Hardly true of Uighur or Tibetan separatists.

Second, in Northern Ireland the separatists are mostly Catholic, a minority group. The majority population favours Northern Ireland remaining part of the UK. Once Catholics become the majority maybe the situation will change.

Third, I know absolutely no one in the UK who gives a damn whether Northern Ireland remains part of the UK or not. Unlike China most of us have long ago given up jingoistic, neurotic nationalism.

Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.

So you’re suggesting China flood “Uighurstan” (Uighur are not native to Xinjiang) and Tibet and then once they are 98% of the population there, they can become a “democracy”.

No thanks. Too American for me.

October 21, 2009 @ 10:46 am | Comment

China would have no right to complain about such a relationship anyway seeing as how they exiled the poor chap.

China didn’t exile him. He just left. There is no evidence that he would have been executed either- enough with your lies.

As the recent Oct 1 parade reminded everyone, the present Chinese geopolitical entity is only 60 years old. Thus, she has no legitimate claim to anything pre 1949. Simple.

Then America has no claim to anything pre-1776. Of course they have no claim to even one inch of American territory, but we’re using your “logic” here.

October 21, 2009 @ 10:49 am | Comment

Stuart, you said:

“As the recent Oct 1 parade reminded everyone, the present Chinese geopolitical entity is only 60 years old. Thus, she has no legitimate claim to anything pre 1949. Simple.”

“Simple”? Sorry, you’ve completely lost me there. What has the fact that a regime change took place in China in 1949 got to do with the validity or otherwise of her current territorial claims? Is this some point of international law that I’m unaware of?

But in that case why isn’t India’s claim to the area in question illegitimate too, by the same token? Doesn’t the “geopolitical entity” that we now know as India date back only to independence & partition in 1947?

However, please forgive me if, as I suspect, I’ve totally failed to understand the point you’re making. Perhaps you could explain what you mean when you say that, because of what happened in 1949, China cannot have a ” legitimate claim to anything pre 1949″.

You also said:

“Nope. I base my ‘farcical’ description on the extent and rather too loud protestations we regularly hear from Beijing regarding what it believes (or would like to call)its territory. Most of these claims are based on the flimsiest of historical evidence…”

You’ve replaced one value judgement (“farcical”) by another (“flimsiest”) without any real attempt to justify either. Do I take it that what we have been discussing, ie the case of what both the PRC & the TGIE (still, I think) know as South Tibet, is an example of what you would consider a Chinese territorial claim “based on the flimsiest of historical evidence”? If so, why? Do you have any knowledge at all of that historical evidence, “flimsy” or otherwise?

You also said:

“…or in the case of China’s territorial water claims, megalomania.”

In the case of the islands in the South Chine Sea, why do you single out the Chinese claims as being any more based on “megalomania” than those of the other countries that claim them?

In the case of the Diaoyutai islands, it seems to me from what I know, (which admittedly isn’t that much), that if either side could fairly be deemed to be making a “farcical” claim it is more likely to be Japan than China.

October 21, 2009 @ 10:55 am | Comment

Stuart is a joke.

October 22, 2009 @ 4:34 pm | Comment

It has been a long time since I was on this forum. Anyway, here is a statement that is relevant to the discussion.

Tenzin

Special Envoy’s Statement on the arrival of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington, DC

Tuesday, 6 October 2009, 9:34 a.m.
Washington, DC: His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived Monday in Washington, DC, for a five-day visit today during which he will meet Speaker Pelosi and other Congressional leaders. His Holiness has many years of personal close friendship with many members of Congress and he is greatly appreciative of the consistent and strong bipartisan support extended by the US Congress to the Tibetan people. The US Congress bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal upon His Holiness in 2007.

His Holiness will not be meeting with President Obama on this visit. From the outset, there has been no question of President Obama not at the appropriate time meeting His Holiness, whom he holds in great esteem. Taking a broader and long-term perspective, His Holiness agreed to meet the President after the November US-China Summit,” Mr Lodi Gyari, Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama said.

“His Holiness the Dalai Lama has always been supportive of American engagement with China. Our hope is that the cooperative US-Chinese relationship that President Obama’s administration seeks will create conditions that support the resolution of the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people.

The decision to send a high-level delegation headed by his senior advisor and close friend Valerie Jarrett, accompanied by Under Secretary Maria Otero, Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, to Dharamsala, indicates a new approach on Tibet by the US administration. His Holiness conveyed to the President’s emissaries that he looks forward to meeting with the President later this year and thanks the President for his invitation.

During his visit to Washington this week, His Holiness will also receive the first Lantos Human Rights Prize award by the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, created in the name of his close friend, the late Congressman Tom Lantos, a world-renowned human rights advocate and friend of His Holiness.

His Holiness will also present the International Campaign for Tibet’s Light of Truth award posthumously to Julia Taft, a great humanitarian and former Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues, and to a group of Chinese who have, at great personal risk, spoken out in China about Tibet. He will also participate in a two-day Mind and Life conference, bringing together world-renowned educators, scientists, and contemplatives to explore the emerging field of contemplative learning and its potential contribution to education.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama will also give a lecture on contemporary Buddhism, “The Heart of Change: Finding Wisdom in the Modern World” at American University.

October 23, 2009 @ 2:11 am | Comment

Change “his holiness” to “his majesty”, you get a more dramatic effect.

October 23, 2009 @ 8:52 pm | Comment

“the legitimate grievances of the Tibetan people.”

Perhaps there are some illegitimate “grievances”? His majesty?

October 23, 2009 @ 8:55 pm | Comment

@ merp

“but we’re using your “logic” here.”

Quite frankly, you’re better off.

@ hah

“Stuart is a joke.”

pop over to my site and you can really start to put the joy back into your life.

@ jer

“Doesn’t the “geopolitical entity” that we now know as India date back only to independence & partition in 1947?”

Exactly. They’ve got you by a couple years. Game over.

“why do you single out the Chinese claims as being any more based on “megalomania” than those of the other countries that claim them?”

Because they’re the only country whose claims take it within a decent seven iron of half a dozen other countries. Peaceful rise, though, so nothing to worry about.

The Dalai has landed.

October 23, 2009 @ 10:12 pm | Comment

Because they’re the only country whose claims take it within a decent seven iron of half a dozen other countries.

That’s because no country has seen its territory stolen as much as China. India has no place being less than twenty countries itself, so I don’t get what you’re trying to say here other than CHINA BAD EVERYONE ELSE GOOD.

The world’s greatest volume of human rights abuses occur in India.

October 25, 2009 @ 12:25 am | Comment

@ stuart

““Doesn’t the “geopolitical entity” that we now know as India date back only to independence & partition in 1947?”

“Exactly. They’ve got you by a couple years. Game over.”

Er, aren’t you missing something here? You said (#107) “the present Chinese geopolitical entity is only 60 years old. Thus, she has no legitimate claim to anything pre 1949”.

Therefore by the same token India has no legitimate claim to anything pre 1947. But in 1947 the ROC, which already had a longstanding claim to the area in question, had been in existence for 35 years. By your logic, therefore, from 1947 until 1949 China (as the ROC) had the only legitimate claim to the area, & since 1949 neither India nor China has had a legitimate claim.

So whom does South Tibet legitimately belong to, then? The ROC in Taiwan, perhaps? Not India, certainly, as by your logic her claim is just as “farcical” as China’s.

Just as in 1947 newly independent India claimed to have inherited British India’s territorial claims, so when the PRC came into being in 1949 she renewed & restated some (but not all) of the ROC’s territorial claims. You have been unwilling or unable to explain, let alone justify, your assertion that China “has no legitimate claim to anything pre 1949″.

Regards.

October 26, 2009 @ 2:51 am | Comment

“I don’t get what you’re trying to say here other than CHINA BAD EVERYONE ELSE GOOD.”

That’s the probelm, merp. In common with many others, you’re so sensitised to the idea of China being singled out that you perceive any comments that aren’t full of praise for China as deliberately targetting her for criticism.

It’s simply not the case.

October 26, 2009 @ 9:24 am | Comment

“Therefore by the same token India has no legitimate claim to anything pre 1947”

They partitioned by consent – different thing altogether.

October 26, 2009 @ 9:26 am | Comment

India wasn’t even a country for nearly all of its history. In fact India has been a country for less time than Tibet has been incorporated as part of China.

Hell, India has been a country for less time than America has.

So to use the India analogy, you would have to abolish the state entirely and turn it back into the 20-40 statelets it used to be.

October 27, 2009 @ 6:28 am | Comment

“Hell, India has been a country for less time than America has.”

And the PRC for less than the pair of them, which is the point.

October 27, 2009 @ 8:34 am | Comment

@ stuart

“Because they’re the only country whose claims take it within a decent seven iron of half a dozen other countries. Peaceful rise, though, so nothing to worry about.”

That doesn’t follow! There are many possible reasons other than “megalomania” why a country might stake a claim to an area close to another country.

In the case of the Paracel & Spratley islands, for example, if you’re looking for the motivation behind China’s territorial claim, the most obvious candidate is her belief that there are large oil deposits nearby. And what’s more, this consideration is probably what motivates the competing claims of the other countries too. (The quest for fishing rights may an additional factor for all concerned.)

Greed is a sufficient cause: hardly a noble sentiment but hardly unique to China. In the absence of evidence I see no need to invoke “megalomania” as well, just in order to fit your negative stereotype.

Cheers.

October 27, 2009 @ 10:03 am | Comment

“…the most obvious candidate is her belief that there are large oil deposits nearby.”

Sure, that’s a reason; but it’s not a legitimate one.

October 27, 2009 @ 2:57 pm | Comment

@ stuart

““…the most obvious candidate is her belief that there are large oil deposits nearby.”

“Sure, that’s a reason; but it’s not a legitimate one.”

Of course it’s not: where & when did I ever say it was? How could any nation, with a straight face, base its territorial claims on a desire to acquire certain oil & fishing rights? (Or on “megalomania” for that matter?)

I think you’re confusing (1) the evidential basis of a claim, with (2) the motivation underlying that claim. The evidential basis for China’s claim to the islands in the South China Sea resides, I understand, in historical accounts of voyages of discovery, ancient maps & place names, archaeological finds &c. As far as I’m aware the competing claims of the other countries are based on similar considerations. I don’t know nearly enough to be able to give an opinion on which of the competing claims is the best. Do you know enough to be able to give an opinion?

However, why all these countries should be taking such an intense interest in these tiny islands is a different matter. The consensus among neutral commentators appears to be that the desire to secure oil & fishing rights is the principal motivation, not only in China’s case but also in the case of all the other competing countries.

So what motivates your glib dismissal of China’s claim as based on “megalomania”? And I’m still curious as to what reason you have for assuming that her claim must be less valid than that of the other countries concerned that are making the same territorial claims for much the same reasons.

October 29, 2009 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

“So what motivates your glib dismissal of China’s claim as based on “megalomania”?”

Its inconsistency with China’s claims of “peaceful rise/development”, “non-interference”, “no threat”, and a “non-expansionist” foreign policy.

October 29, 2009 @ 7:50 pm | Comment

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