Tibet, one big bundle of joy

From today’s Global Times.

The country’s Tibetan-populated regions are in a party mood as the Tibetan New Year, or Losar, falls today, striking a stark contrast with the call by the “Tibetan government in exile” to cancel celebrations.

Decorations decked Lhasa’s main streets, and local people were busy with last-minute preparations for their most important festival of the year.

Yonten, the head of publicity and education with Drepung Monastery on the outskirts of Lhasa, told the Global Times that families have cleaned up the buildings, prepared heaps of food and purchased new Tibetan garments as the Tibetan Year of the Water Dragon drew near.

“Markets in the city were crowded Tuesday with shoppers snapping up fruits, beverages and other goods for the holiday. We will get up before sunrise tomorrow morning in brand new clothes,” Yonten said.

Take a look at the photo, too. China’s minorities always wear such bright, colorful costumes.

This is not a post about Tibet per se but about how the Chinese media sugarcoats stories about it to the point of making these stories self-parodying and downright embarrassing. (This old post is my favorite example.)

About Tibet, let me just say I understand the Tibetan and the Chinese points of view. About who is right and wrong, we can leave that for another discussion, as it has been over-discussed already. My sole point here is how the Chinese government portrays Tibet in the media. Do they truly believe anyone fails to see it as rather desperate propaganda?

______________

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: 156 Comments

What’ll be more fun is when they buy the time & space to put this sort of drivel up in places like NYC’s Times Square to convince everyone how warm and cuddly the greaseheads in Beijing are…

February 22, 2012 @ 1:14 pm | Comment

@China’s minorities always wear such bright, colorful costumes.

Nothing in the Global Times cpation says this anywhere.

February 22, 2012 @ 2:39 pm | Comment

Hey, at least Tibetans feel festive around their new year celebrations. That’s probably better than not feeling festive…so that’s something.

February 22, 2012 @ 2:42 pm | Comment

@Jason – Richard was poking fun at the “minorities looking harmonious in their traditional dress” photo that always seems to accompany such articles. The way in which various national minorities (but not the Han) at CCP meetings always wear their traditional dress also shows a similar level of tokenism.

February 22, 2012 @ 6:10 pm | Comment

Jason, did you look at the photo? Bright, colorful costumes, as usual.

February 23, 2012 @ 12:02 am | Comment

I’m sorry richard, but the colorful costumes in that photo are costumes for Tibetan operas, you may wanty to pick a different photo to prove your point.

February 23, 2012 @ 12:59 am | Comment

My sole point is that when they choose photos of Tibetans and other minorities it’s always people in bright costumes doing folk dances (or singing operas), usually grinning from ear to ear. This is, as FOARP says, your typical tokenism.

Here’s an excellent post on how this whole GT story is pure horseshit.

February 23, 2012 @ 1:03 am | Comment

I attended my share of CPCCC and NPC “lianghui” gatherings over the years and always felt I was among extras on the set of a Star Trek movie.

That said, I recall seeing billboards in the American West saying “See Real Live Indians – 14 miles”

February 23, 2012 @ 1:39 am | Comment

I live in a city with several surrounding Indian reservations so I know what you mean. I see that, too, as a form of colonialism. But they don’t fake photographs of grinning Indians and present them to the public as proof of their joy and gratitude for being liberated. Most news stories about American Indians are about drunkenness, crime, and in-fighting over on-reservation gambling. I have never once read about their happiness and/or gratitude.

February 23, 2012 @ 2:02 am | Comment

That “shiny, happy” domestic media coverage in China is a major millstone around the neck of China’s soft power projection drive. CCTV and Xinhua will never be taken very seriously until (at a minimum) that stuff goes away.

February 23, 2012 @ 2:29 am | Comment

@Richard – You mean you don’t celebrate Tribes Liberation Day? Tell me – why do you hate America?

February 23, 2012 @ 2:44 am | Comment

@Slim – I never could figure out exactly what it is that you do. Now I have to figure you’re either some media flunky or a policy wonk, close?

February 23, 2012 @ 3:04 am | Comment

As Richard says, we can leave it for others (ideally the Tibetans themselves) to discuss the rights and wrongs of whether Tibet should be a part of the PRC.

What we can say is that the justifications we hear all the time (We freed them serfdom and primitive conditions! We brought them all the benefits of science, technology and our superb WesternChinese civilization! Railways!) have a familiar ring to them. As descendants of ex-colonists we’ve heard them all before.

China’s current problems in Tibet and other places are also similar to the problems the colonial and occupying powers had in the past. During the Vietnam war, Buddhist monks used to immolate themselves to protest the US occupation. Now they are doing it in Tibet.

February 23, 2012 @ 5:49 am | Comment

“That said, I recall seeing billboards in the American West saying “See Real Live Indians – 14 miles””
Can’t ever recall seeing anything similar when I was in Canada. Did see a bunch of native culture events in things like teh Calgary Stampede and Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump. Here in NZ we do have the “Maori villages” in places like Rotorua but they’re not in a reservation, as such (“Once were Warriors” situation aside…).
In this “real live Indians…” place, can you recall if they really were native Americans or were they whiteys all dressed up?

Like Peter, I also like the colonial paternalism I hear all the time too :-)

February 23, 2012 @ 6:27 am | Comment

@FOARP – very close.

@Mike #14 – I never followed through to see the advertised roadside attraction, but I’d heard it was actual Indians.

There is a serious American Indian music culture in the US — powwows and drumming — that draws people to big festivals.

February 23, 2012 @ 6:46 am | Comment

Slim
have a record (vinyl…aaaah, the good old days!) of music I bought from Canada. When in Head Smashed-In Buffalo Jump (sorry, can’t resist mentioning this most beautiful of names again!) they started doing some drumming and singing in the centre. Small space so you can imagine the sound and indeed the feeling – that drumming went right through to the bones.

Regarding the colourful costumes, I remember we were walking through one of the musea in Peking (this one was full of ethnic minority stuff) and the wife mentioned that she wished the Chinese had costumes like the ones displayed….

February 23, 2012 @ 7:53 am | Comment

the wife mentioned that she wished the Chinese had costumes like the ones displayed…

They have qipaos, that’s pretty much considered Chinese now even if they are borrowed from the Manchu.

Some people claim the Kimono is actually Chinese, surprise surprise…..

February 23, 2012 @ 8:35 am | Comment

I understand why you cannot understand why there are minority people happy living under CCP. In America, 70% of native American population is killed from massacre, famine, etc. No more real indian and indian culture left. Of course you cannot understand.

February 23, 2012 @ 8:46 am | Comment

@Peter

Some people claim the Kimono is actually Chinese, surprise surprise…..

You’ve never seen any Tang dynasty paintings? From wiki:

As the kimono has another name, gofuku (呉服, literally “clothes of Wu (吳)”), the earliest kimonos were heavily influenced by traditional Han Chinese clothing, known today as hanfu (漢服, kanfuku in Japanese), through Japanese embassies to China which resulted in extensive Chinese culture adoptions by Japan, as early as the 5th century CE. It was during the 8th century, however, that Chinese fashions came into style among the Japanese, and the overlapping collar became particularly a women’s fashion.

February 23, 2012 @ 9:12 am | Comment

I have to admit to rather flippantly saying that all the costumes on display were Chinese as they were all from different regions of China. She gave me “The Look” suggesting I didn’t go further :-) The last time we had a similar argument was, oddly enough, about Tibetans… “But if Tibet is a part of China, how come Tibetans aren’t Chinese?” or words to that effect might have been mentioned.
Bit of an ephemeral thing, this concept of what is Chinese, at times. I’m still unsure when one is Chinese as an ethnicity as opposed to a nationality….

February 23, 2012 @ 10:52 am | Comment

Aaaah, nice comment from Hong “lets kill 5000 Hong Kong people and let the bodies float in the harbour to change their minds” Xing.

Yeah, the minorities are happy. Money does buy happiness after all!
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/03/05/china-unrest-idUSTOE72400920110305

In fact, some minorities are so happy they get to have their communication with the outside world cut off.

Oh, and a word from the wise – avoid “Tibetan Happy BBQ”. Even after tenderising the cooked meat, you just never know what you might be eating…

February 23, 2012 @ 11:39 am | Comment

You’ve never seen any Tang dynasty paintings?

Many things in Japan are either borrowed from or influenced by China, but the fact that some people go to great lengths to point this out all the time is rather telling.

February 23, 2012 @ 11:54 am | Comment

Now here’s a question for the CCP apologists:

If a nationalist wants to be ruled by people who share his/her own culture, speak their language, have the same history and is willing to fight for this, and if every good Chinese is a nationalist, then is a Tibetan nationalist a good Chinese?

February 23, 2012 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

Qipao are nothing more than the filthy wrags of the Manchu dogs. No one but a deracinated Han Jian should consider it as anything close to approximating Chinese attire.

As for the Tibetans, they are a primitive and superstitious people of few redeeming qualities. More savage than noble. The Chinese would be better served for recognizing them as they are, dimwitted and dangerous, rather than holding a false stereotype of “vibrant” “diverse” and “colourful”. China would be better off with them gone.

Which is why I am an advocate of an independent sovereign Tibetan state.

February 23, 2012 @ 12:52 pm | Comment

Jing, you crack me up.

February 23, 2012 @ 12:54 pm | Comment

@If a nationalist wants to be ruled by people who share his/her own culture, speak their language, have the same history and is willing to fight for this, and if every good Chinese is a nationalist, then is a Tibetan nationalist a good Chinese?

There’s undisputed fact that nationalists are fueled by 1959 Uprising who CIA supported and trained Tibetan guerillas.

The Dalai Lama himself was on the CIA’s payroll from the late 1950s until 1974, reportedly receiving $US15,000 a month ($US180,000 a year).: http://www.theage.com.au/news/business/behind-dalai-lamas-holy-cloak/2007/05/22/1179601410290.html

Nationalists who situates with DL will NEVER be good.

February 23, 2012 @ 1:57 pm | Comment

If I had a nickel for every time Jing says “deracinated”, I’d have a lot of nickels.

February 23, 2012 @ 2:09 pm | Comment

I’ll raise you a dime.

February 23, 2012 @ 3:13 pm | Comment

China never did this to minorities:

“…free men and women forced into industrial servitude, bound by chains, faced with subhuman living conditions and subject to physical torture. That plight was horrific. But until 1951, it was not outside the law.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/books/10masl.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjUF1ktxxIQ&feature=player_embedded#!

The entire documentary is here:
http://video.pbs.org/video/2176766758

February 23, 2012 @ 3:29 pm | Comment

Oh, for heavens sake. Yeah, this is bad and shameful. But CR. GLF. Come on.

February 23, 2012 @ 3:35 pm | Comment

The CR and GLF are of a completely different nature to what I linked to above.

The GLF was policy error compounded by atrocious climatic conditions. Even then the mortality rate was better than before the revolution.

The CR was a mass movement which resulted in excesses when things spun out of control. But the intent of the CR in attacking bureacratic privilege was not altogether wrong.

That is the difference. The bad things since 1949 are mainly errors and excesses, understandable for a new regime. Things after 1949 were much better than before 1949.

The history of the PRC is a history of struggle to halt the decline of the Chinese nation since 1840, reverse this decline and resume the march to China’s rightful and just place in the world. Excesses and wrongs happened, but the overall goal was noble.

The same cannot be said for the malicious and evil actions of whites who enslaved blacks, treated them like animals, and dehumanized them for no greater goal than personal profit.

February 23, 2012 @ 3:43 pm | Comment

And what I meant to say is, note that you’re citing the NYT and a PBS documentary about this subject. When has the PRC encouraged honest, open debate about the problems of its “minorities” policies, ever?

I almost moved to China in 2009. I was on a plane when the Xinjiang riots broke out in July, on my way to interview with a certain English language Chinese newspaper. In no way do I hold the Uighur population blameless for what happened. But when I saw the response in the government owned papers, how the riots were caused by “splittists” and Rebya Khadir (excuse the spelling), with absolutely no effort to discuss what the grievances of the Uighur population were…

Daniel, you only know about these issues in the US because the PBS, the NYT and courageous journalists reported on them. And this is my problem. Yeah, the US has done all sorts of really bad stuff to its own people, and to people outside its borders. I spend large chunks of my day in a state of rage over things like this. But don’t go telling me that “China never did these things to its minorities” because you know damned well that’s not true, or maybe you DON’T know, because the Chinese government does not allow any honest reporting on these issues.

February 23, 2012 @ 3:44 pm | Comment

Oh for crying out loud. Slavery in the US was in the 19th century. By your own tortured logic, you should not be applying historical standards from more than a century and a half ago to conditions now.

And if you think the GLF and the CR were purely the result of “climactic problems” and “excesses,” your knowledge of your own history is pretty limited. They were largely caused by institutional problems at the highest levels.

February 23, 2012 @ 3:47 pm | Comment

Er, I mean, slavery in the US ended in the mid-19th century. Horrific human rights abuses continued long after that, and yes, on an institutional level. I would never deny that. I mean, here we are in the 21st century listening to a bunch of Taliban-like Christianist men debating women’s reproductive rights. But I digress.

I’m fine with copping to the bad stuff my own country has done. What I have no patience for is the willful ignorance and blind defense of Chinese policies that are equally bad. Okay, if you haven’t left the mainland and you haven’t been exposed to other information, I’ll give you a pass. But if you have access to other materials, then sorry. You’re just another 50 center dispensing CCP propaganda.

February 23, 2012 @ 3:51 pm | Comment

OtherLisa. The atrocities in the stories I linked continued to happen until about 1951.

The PRCs minorities policies have of course not been perfect, but they are well-intentioned. The reason for the abuses you mention are because the minorities in China have vibrant cultures, speak their own languages and have a strong sense of identity, encouraged by the Chinese government. This has somehow backfired and now there is a problem with separatists.

But this should be emphasised. One should not confuse how a government handles separatist elements and the harsh policies associated with these to characterise overall policy on minorities.

If you have a very real danger of the country being torn asunder, then you will have security measures in place to handle these. As with any security measures, designed to handle the exigencies of the moment, they will be harsh. But again that is not what the Chinese government wants.

No minorities enjoy affirmative action policies as comprehensive and generous as minorities in China. That is why some Han assume minority identity to benefit from these policies.

February 23, 2012 @ 4:13 pm | Comment

Daniel, you only know about these issues in the US because the PBS, the NYT and courageous journalists reported on them.

True. But remember. Often these revelations happen decades after the fact.

Also it is all very well to feel fashionable guilt over slavery and the Native Americans today, and even write about it.

But the point is this. This is happening only when little can be done to reverse these wrongs. And you people continue to benefit from these wrongs.

If the US was under the same pressures as China, with very real fears of the country being torn asunder and a return to the days of warlordism, or something like what happened to the former Yugoslavia with all the massive human suffering involved there, my bet is the US would have policies not that much more benign than that of CHina’s.

In fact just the Sept 11 attacks, have resulted in the curtailment of many civil liberties in the US —and understandably so.

In terms of a time lag, China has more or less faced up to the problems of the GLF and the CR, and the best testament to this is almost the complete reversal of the policies of that time.

And again, Mao started the GLF with the intention that the peasants eat for free. Idiotic yes.

But not malignant like kidnapping people to work for nothing in order to simply enrich oneself.

February 23, 2012 @ 4:19 pm | Comment

But if you have access to other materials, then sorry. You’re just another 50 center dispensing CCP propaganda.

Lets just debate the issues and avoid ad hominems shall we? I have.

February 23, 2012 @ 4:40 pm | Comment

Why is it that with every thread which even remotely touches on subjects like Tibet, the urge to compare becomes so irresistible as to rear its ugly head? There should be a Vegas over/under line on how many comments it takes before it comes up. And that ignores the reality that such useful comparisons with blacks and aboriginal peoples have been dragged out and flogged like a dead horse many times over already. But it seems the urge to compare is so physiologically compelling that resistance is futile for some. Heck, Richard might as well ring a bell with his subsequent Tibet threads, and let Pavlovian discourse run its expected and predictable course.

To Daniel,
you seem readily prepared to forgive and forget full-on clusterfucks because they may have been “well-intentioned”. I’ve stipulated in the past that Mao could arguably get some partial slack for the GLF since his intentions were probably somewhat noble even if his execution sucked and he took willful ignorance to stratospheric levels. But the CR was strictly self-serving and can’t possibly be viewed as well-intentioned except by the most ardent members of the Mao fan-club. Not sure what noble cause you can envision from an exercise designed to purge his political enemies real and imagined.

The “country torn asunder” bit is rather overwrought melodrama on your part. Where are the warlords waiting in the wings to pounce on a fractured China? Gimme a break. The comparison to Yugoslavia is also a non-starter. There, you had a handful of ethnicities of comparable size and territorial demarcations that separated regions without necessarily respecting those ethnic lines. In China, you have one dominant ethnicity and numerous much smaller minorities. And for the vast majority of them, there is no discussion whatsoever about separation.

Now, slavery and the treatment of aboriginals in America are historical wrongs, and you decry the fact that “little can be done to reverse these wrongs”. I agree. So if one is to learn from history, one would think that you wouldn’t want those mistakes repeated elsewhere. And guess what? That’s where China is today. If you are to be logically and intellectually consistent, you should be on the forefront of demanding better and fairer treatment of ethnic minorities in China, such that their cultures and lifestyles can be maintained and preserved far better than what has happened with aboriginals in America in particular. Hopefully, you are not one of those types that ignores the realities of time, and merely insist that China should be allowed to do in 2012 what America did in the 1800s.

February 23, 2012 @ 4:58 pm | Comment

OT Thanks Richard.

@FOARP You totally misrepresented what I wrote on Sinostand re How economic growth happens when responding to Lorin’s comment over at CG.

Desperate measures here, since I go offline tomorrow morning.

You seem to have adopted the HH reading strategy and have lost all credibility with me.

Judge for yourself readers, and take this IT busybody’s future comments with a grain of salt. Always so keen to point out others’ reading failures.

http://sinostand.com/2012/01/31/how-economic-growth-happens/#comments

http://chinageeks.org/2012/02/on-the-superior-political-model/

You are a scurrilous scribbler in this instance and I should take a horse whip to you.

February 23, 2012 @ 5:03 pm | Comment

If you are to be logically and intellectually consistent, you should be on the forefront of demanding better and fairer treatment of ethnic minorities in China, such that their cultures and lifestyles can be maintained and preserved far better than what has happened with aboriginals in America in particular.

You are correct here. I agree we should not use the past of other countries to justify wrong policies now, but rather to learn from this history and improve on things.

But I think the issue is this. The Chinese government actually does want the minorities to maintain their cultures and lifestyles. And they are to a large extent preserved much better than those of aboriginal peoples in America, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Anyone visiting Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, and Tibet can testify to this.

But because the minorities in China have been encouraged to maintain their identities, and their numbers have even flourished under PRC rule (the one child policy does not apply to minorities – an astounding concession), this strong sense of ethnic identity is now causing a minority of Tibetans and Uighurs to engage in splittist activities.

If China lost Xinjiang and Tibet, territories which are rightfully China’s, that is well over 50% of her territory lost. That is why China has to treat splittist activities very seriously.

In fact given the huge risk to China’s territorial integrity of losing these territories, is it not amazing that a great power such as China has treated these restive minorities with the restraint she has demonstrated so far? Compare China’s response to the Tibetan riots in 2008, to the way the Russians simply levelled Grozny.

Afterall if we use the examples of Anglo Saxon colonisation, the Tibetans would simply have been exterminated, or removed to reservations.

But again I want to emphasise. It is wholly unfair to point to very understandably security measures, some strict, and use these to characterise Chinese policy towards minorities.

In the same way that it would be wrong to point to martial law or emergency regulations during an earthquake in the West to use as an example of how the West does not respect civil liberties.

February 23, 2012 @ 5:23 pm | Comment

merely insist that China should be allowed to do in 2012 what America did in the 1800s

If you refer to my first post, the links are about bonded, indentured labour close to slavery, as late as the 1950s.

If we look at things such as public executions, lynching, we certainly we only need to go back to the late 1930s. And some of these lynchings were carried out with a horrifying brutality – burning alive, castrating, with postcards made of the event and openly sent out around the country in a celebratory manner.

But again I want to emphasise there is a lot of good in the American experimment, and yes, America has on the balance contributed more to human happiness than taken away, for many of the reasons Other Lisa brings up.

But I would also say that the history of the PRC, on the balance is not one the Chinese people should be ashamed of. The Chinese have every reason to be very proud of their socialist revolution, in spite of its tortuous path.

February 23, 2012 @ 5:29 pm | Comment

“The Chinese government actually does want the minorities to maintain their cultures and lifestyles.”
—I have no basis to dispute that. However, an assessment of how successful they have been in that regard is best gleaned from the perspective of those minorities themselves.

Some Tibetans may be restive. Your interpretation seems to be that this is due to overindulgence of Tibetan identity. But the opposite could also be true, that they are restive because China is excessively oppressive of their identity. It’s chicken/egg. Do Tibetans keep wanting more and more because they’ve been given too much, or not enough? That’s probably in the eye of the beholder.

I wouldn’t dispute Xinjiang, but since China had to march in in 1959 to take Tibet, I’m not sure the “rightful” claim of China’s holds there. And that has a significant bearing on everything that’s happened since, if one were to question why Tibetans are more restive than other minorities within CHina.

I agree that China has not responded in Tibet like how Russia has responded in Chechnya, or Georgia. However, Tibetans have also not resisted in the same way as Chechnyans or Georgians. And we could probably argue till the cows come home as to which represents the more proportionate response.

Security measures are understandable if there is a security threat. Where/what is the current and ongoing threat in Tibet? In your example, martial law might be in place for a while after an earthquake, but Lhasa was 4 years ago.

February 23, 2012 @ 5:51 pm | Comment

of how successful they have been in that regard is best gleaned from the perspective of those minorities themselves.

Not really. Culturally distinct minorities will always chafe under majority rule, no matter what they are given. And this is understandable. The majority will never truly understand how a member of a minority group feels.

All I’m saying is China’s record is far better than that of the West’s in this regard.

But I agree they do need to come up with some creative solutions to ensure that Tibet remains a part of China, because Tibet historically is rightfully a part of China, recognised as such by the US in 1942, and recognised by all Western countries as a fact.

But at the same time the minorities need to feel a great sense of empowerment. And I agree that no matter what you are given, that is not empowerment, if what you are given can be taken away any minute by your erstwhile benefactor.

Whatever the case I don’t think most Westerners understand enough about the situation to contribute to improving the situation there in any meaningful way.

February 23, 2012 @ 6:02 pm | Comment

“modern” America in a form I could support probably didn’t exist until the 1960s with the civil rights movement. So one could suggest that it took nearly 200 years for America to become acceptably civilized. But surely that does not mean that China can wait until the mid 2100s to get it together. That something took so long starting in the 1770s doesn’t mean it needs to take just as long starting in the 1940s.

I think Chinese citizens can be proud, on the balance, of what has occurred in the last 30 years. It is definitely a lot more sketchy in those first 30 years. And these days, China is no more socialist as it is communist. What it is, however, is authoritarian (and capitalist). To me, the decision for CHinese people is how much more of that they require.

February 23, 2012 @ 6:03 pm | Comment

I agree that China has not responded in Tibet like how Russia has responded in Chechnya, or Georgia. However, Tibetans have also not resisted in the same way as Chechnyans or Georgians.

That is arguable. There was the 1959 revolt of Tibetan nobles. And then CIA funded subversion.

We could also argue that Russia has less history in Chechya and Georgia than China has to Tibet. And in terms of territory the loss of Chechnya and South Ossetia would be like losing a fly speck to Russia. Whereas if Tibet was lost, that would be over a quarter of China’s territory. This also needs to be considered when debating how proportionate the respective responses were.

February 23, 2012 @ 6:09 pm | Comment

Enough of the “You can’t talk, you treat the XYZ just as badly …” comparisons. Richard’s point is that the official Chinese media lose credibility in western eyes by portraying minorities in a patronising, tokenistic way, often as little more than rustic simpletons who just like to dress up and dance and sing. Is this because it’s what Han Chinese want to see and hear? Is there some cultural difference, by which minorities in Asian countries are expected to “act the part”? I imagine it would be like the English media portraying the Irish as a voluble but simple folk who like nothing more than to put on their leprechaun outfits, drink some Guinness and do a River Dance while singing Paddy McGinty’s Goat.
Do Chinese people have even a flicker of suspicion that this sort of portrayal might be seen as not only demeaning but also glossing over the reality?

One of the weirdest things I ever saw on Chinese TV was a Sichuan TV Spring Festival craptacular in which groups of the various minorities were expected to dance, sing look suitably festive. When it was the Tibetans’ turn, their delegation all looked sullen and performed grudgingly as if they had pistols stuck in their backs. What does the intelligent PRC viewer think when they see that? Do they just pretend it isn’t happening?

February 23, 2012 @ 6:13 pm | Comment

So one could suggest that it took nearly 200 years for America to become acceptably civilized.

In a way I agree. But people are products of their time. The 1960s civil rights movement happened in the context of what had gone on before. If people never even had the idea that people should be treated equally, then the civil rights movement would not have happened.

So the declaration of independence, the ideals of the early foundign fathers, emancipation proclamation are good things, even if it took a while for their promise to be realised.

Without them, the idea of a civil rights movement in the first place would have been unthinkable.

February 23, 2012 @ 6:14 pm | Comment

@KT – I am always open to being corrected.

February 23, 2012 @ 7:34 pm | Comment

@ No worries. I got particularly exercised about that since I happen to know quite a bit about what I posted on Sinostand. It is also an area which needs to be unpacked/deconstructed further and that entails putting globalising concepts aside for some, at times boring, but quite detailed analysis.

I can now head for the great outdoors, snakes and drop bears in a happier frame of mind.

February 23, 2012 @ 10:52 pm | Comment

“There was the 1959 revolt of Tibetan nobles. And then CIA funded subversion.”
—but again, that was 1959. It’s now 2012. You could no more use Tibet circa 1959 as justification for Chinese policies in Tibet in 2012 as you could use American treatment of blacks and aboriginals in the 1800s as justification for how China treats minorities in 2012.

I agree that the size of territory in question can factor into a discussion of proportionality. But then so should the relative population and population density…and that is lower in Tibet than in China overall. And while Russia is suppressing violence in Chechnya and Georgia, China is just suppressing people in Tibet.

To Mick:
I have no issue with minorities dressed in traditional garb for the benefit of a TV audience per se. People go on TV here with their dragon dance attire during Chinese New Year. But I agree the distinction lies in whether they do so with pride and participate voluntarily, versus simply being trotted out as a caricature.

February 24, 2012 @ 12:02 am | Comment

Guys, before we go much further, here is the user info for a comment Wayne/Mongol Warrior tried to slip in earlier:

Author : Wayne (IP: 220.241.199.217 , 220.241.199.217)
E-mail : wayne1827@gmail.com

Here is the info Daniel Xu is using:

Author : Daniel Xu (IP: 220.241.199.217 , 220.241.199.217)
E-mail : danxujian@gmail.com

Please compare the IP addresses.

Remember his M.O.: Start by being solicitous and eager to interact, then become increasingly jingoistic and finally attacking personally and raving about “our women” and the evils of all white men. The final phase are the personal threats. Sorry this all got through while I was asleep.

February 24, 2012 @ 12:39 am | Comment

Our women…tick.
Evil white folk…tick.
Inferiority of black folk ….needs a tick.

February 24, 2012 @ 3:51 am | Comment

Jason, did you look at the photo? Bright, colorful costumes, as usual.

There are plenty of pictures of Tibetans in suits and workclothes (as well as PLA uniforms, as much as many Westerners refuse to believe it).

The fact that people assume they’re “Han” is what causes the problem. Kind of like how many people think all gay men are flaming queens because they’re the only ones that they can “spot”.

But for every bright colorful costume in China’s state-owned media you’ll hear 10 pieces from the West spewing downright lies and slander about the “evil Chinese” in Tibet.

February 24, 2012 @ 4:02 am | Comment

The Chinese government actually does want the minorities to maintain their cultures and lifestyles.

Of course they want them to keep their colourful clothes and traditional dancing, as we see every Spring Festival. But they also want to determine what gets taught in their schools, how the next generation are brought up and whose values are inculcated. All the vital decisions and tradeoffs relating to culture will be made in Zhongnanhai, not by the people directly affected.

February 24, 2012 @ 5:14 am | Comment

and again, framing the issues as a Tibet and China thing is off. There are millions of Tibetans in the “China” camp. There are lots of Tibetans in the PLA and they had a Communist party long before the PRC took over KMT holdings in the Southwest.

February 24, 2012 @ 6:22 am | Comment

SK Cheung
I wouldn’t dispute Xinjiang, but since China had to march in in 1959 to take Tibet, I’m not sure the “rightful” claim of China’s holds there. And that has a significant bearing on everything that’s happened since, if one were to question why Tibetans are more restive than other minorities within CHina.

The PRC had to march in and take a lot of places including Sichuan just a few years before. The TAR itself (not the vast majority of Tibet, which was annexed in the 1700s) was de facto independent but no one recognized them as a state.

The reason why Tibetans are more restive is because they’re poorer, they’re further from central control (and thus markets and subsidies). It’s FOR these two reasons that the CIA and now the NED has dumped money into creating chaos in Tibet to the detriment of innocent Han and Tibetan civilians. The fact that there hasn’t been a full-scale revolt that the West could take advantage of shows that the Tibetans aren’t as mad as Westerners wish they were.

I agree that the size of territory in question can factor into a discussion of proportionality. But then so should the relative population and population density…and that is lower in Tibet than in China overall. And while Russia is suppressing violence in Chechnya and Georgia, China is just suppressing people in Tibet.

The Tibetan population, and I assume you’re talking about the TAR, is mostly concentrated in river valleys. There are a few hundred thousand nomads that are typically more “restive” for the reasons I listed above – young and unemployed. Of course, any attempts at settling them is universally decried by the West as “cultural genocide”.

February 24, 2012 @ 6:29 am | Comment

Mick
Enough of the “You can’t talk, you treat the XYZ just as badly …” comparisons. Richard’s point is that the official Chinese media lose credibility in western eyes by portraying minorities in a patronising, tokenistic way, often as little more than rustic simpletons who just like to dress up and dance and sing. Is this because it’s what Han Chinese want to see and hear? Is there some cultural difference, by which minorities in Asian countries are expected to “act the part”? I imagine it would be like the English media portraying the Irish as a voluble but simple folk who like nothing more than to put on their leprechaun outfits, drink some Guinness and do a River Dance while singing Paddy McGinty’s Goat.
Do Chinese people have even a flicker of suspicion that this sort of portrayal might be seen as not only demeaning but also glossing over the reality?

Please. Don’t project the failures and prejudices of the West on China, and don’t complain about tu quoque when the West’s propaganda against China is essentially an extended civilization-scale tu quoque – CHINA might do X so we MUST do Y! The MUSLIMS do A so it’s okay if we do B!

Just stop. Are you REALLY accusing China of portraying Tibetans in a paternalistic and tokenistic light? They could take a page from Hollywood on that. As to the fallacy of this assertion, see above: when you see a bunch of random Chinese citizens in “modern” dress I’m sure you simply assume they’re all “Han”.

February 24, 2012 @ 6:34 am | Comment

CM, if people were as vociferous in condemning the saccharine sweet happy Tibetan articles in the CCP media as they were in condemning the perceived bias in western (read US) media, maybe a happy medium could be reached.
No one denies there are millions of Tibetans as normal Chinese citizens doing normal Chinese things. No one denies that there’s millions of any other ethnicity in China doing normal Chinese things. Wang Lijun, of recent media fame, is an ethnic Mongol who was quite high up in the hierarchy. Anecdotally, a nephew of ours took the train to Tibet last tie he was in China and shared a cabin with Tibetans coming back from Beijing where they’d been getting education in internet “harmonisation” – Tibetans actively learning to make sure the CCP’s message was clearly and correctly disseminated in the online chatrooms.
That doesn’t mean the situation is all hunky dory, though, does it? There are issues in Tibet and the surrounding ethnically Tibetan areas as well as slight issues in Mongolia and Xinjiang. Denying them isn’t going to make them go away and the media will pick up on the stories as that’s their job. Saying “Everything’s great! Happiness all round!” then cutting off the areas and flooding them with paramilitary police is going to make sure the media will try and get a story out. It’s a, pardon the pun, red rag to the media bull.

February 24, 2012 @ 7:00 am | Comment

It’s FOR these two reasons that the CIA and now the NED has dumped money into creating chaos in Tibet to the detriment of innocent Han and Tibetan civilians

How much money would you have to pay a monk to set himself on fire?

February 24, 2012 @ 7:56 am | Comment

Funny no one ever says anything about how Mao got chummy with Nixon….

February 24, 2012 @ 7:59 am | Comment

To 56:
yes, I’m referring to TAR. And to think, if one day you had “de facto” independence, then suddenly China marches in and exerts rule over you, I wonder if that might get folks a little peeved, eh?

I can’t speak for Tibetans and don’t know why exactly they’re disgruntled. I’ll leave the ‘speaking for Tibetans’ part to self-proclaimed experts like you. But some of them are disgruntled nonetheless, and if you want to boil it down to two things, these are the logical ones: (1) things China has done; (2) things China hasn’t done. To repeatedly invoke the tired old NED/CIA conspiracy business bespeaks an utter lack of imagination.

Did all these “young and unemployed” nomadic Tibetans just suddenly decide to hold a convention in Lhasa 4 years ago? It’s always the same thing with you people. When someone is unhappy with the CCP, you need to cast them to society’s fringes cuz you can’t reconcile average Tibetans to possibly be displeased with all the largesse that the CCP has apparently bestowed upon them.

To 57:
you’re falling into the trap of pointless comparisons again. Sometimes you just can’t help yourself. I agree Hollywood does do the tokenism thing at times. But that’s no excuse for China doing it (just as there is no excuse for Hollywood doing it). You are living embodiment of precisely what Mick and Richard were talking about. ““You can’t talk, you treat the XYZ just as badly …”” seems to be your default position.

February 24, 2012 @ 8:18 am | Comment

To Peter,
that’s a good one. The self-immolating monks are probably the young unemployed nomadic ones, i’ll bet. And other people in other countries have torched themselves, so why are you “projecting” all your concerns about human fireballs onto China on a blog about CHina? It’s potentially enough to make a guy have a hissy fit.

February 24, 2012 @ 8:25 am | Comment

SK Cheung
To repeatedly invoke the tired old NED/CIA conspiracy business bespeaks an utter lack of imagination.

To continue to dismiss facts as conspiracy bespeaks an utter lack of imagination.

seems to be your default position.

Your default position is to defend the West no matter what, but that’s not the point. If you are arguing for the sake of minorities in China that’s one thing, but if you’re just trying to make China look bad to justify the actions of America or perhaps India and other democracies (like you are) that’s another. Then, the argument is perfectly valid.

Peter
How much money would you have to pay a monk to set himself on fire?

Don’t be ridiculous. The NED and other American organizations fuel unrest in Tibet. How that’s expressed is up to the relatively small numbers of people who act in response.

February 24, 2012 @ 9:38 am | Comment

@—but again, that was 1959. It’s now 2012. You could no more use Tibet circa 1959 as justification for Chinese policies in Tibet in 2012 as you could use American treatment of blacks and aboriginals in the 1800s as justification for how China treats minorities in 2012.

Most Tibetans except those who practice Dorje Shugden, accepts Dalai Lama as their God-King who surprisingly has a grave offense on his so-called “clean record”:

The Dalai Lama himself was on the CIA’s payroll from the late 1950s until 1974, reportedly receiving $US15,000 a month ($US180,000 a year).

http://www.theage.com.au/news/business/behind-dalai-lamas-holy-cloak/2007/05/22/1179601410290.html

In addition, the CIA recruitment of Tibetans to spy on China and trained guerrilas to start the 1959 Uprising which NONE of the Hollywood propaganda movies EVER mentioned, anyone who associates with the Tibetan independence movement and Dalai Lama publically will be in grave position. This is where which most Tibetans who self-immolates and the 2008 riots’ issues has been.

@To repeatedly invoke the tired old NED/CIA conspiracy business bespeaks an utter lack of imagination.

First of all, NED/CIA fingerprints on Sino-Tibetan issue is not a conspiracy. It’s a fact.
http://www.historynet.com/cias-secret-war-in-tibet.htm

Read Peter Harclerode book, “Fighting Dirty: The Inside Story of Covert Operations From Ho Chi Minh to Osama Bin Laden”

February 24, 2012 @ 10:03 am | Comment

@Jason
Yawn. So what? Mao schmoozed with Nixon…

February 24, 2012 @ 10:07 am | Comment

The NED and other American organizations fuel unrest in Tibet. How that’s expressed is up to the relatively small numbers of people who act in response.

Right OK, obviously the bad Americans just provide the money and once they have it some of the monks decide to burn themselves? I think S.K Cheung’s theory is more plausible.

February 24, 2012 @ 12:36 pm | Comment

To 64:
tell you what. I’ll rephrase and take out “conspiracy”. What we’re left with is “To repeatedly invoke the tired old NED/CIA business bespeaks an utter lack of imagination.” And your juvenile antics repeatedly serve as proof of same. Some things never get old, and some people never grow up.

“You can’t talk, you treat the XYZ just as badly …” is never a valid argument. Even as an excuse it’s fairly lame. We know about slavery and aboriginals yada yada. And Hollywood. And those can be criticized at the right time and place. But none of that absolves China’s position. So you can complain about the US did in the past(though one wonders why you would do so on a forum about China, but you do what you gotta do), but that serves as no justification for what China is doing in the present. The logic is not difficult if you put your mind to it…at least it shouldn’t be. Besides, no one needs to actively make the CCP look bad. She takes care of that expertly all by herself. And we know you need to compare, principles be damned. I don’t have you pegged as a very principled dude in any event…unless it comes to defending the CCP at all costs, in which case you’re all in.

And LOL, Tibetan monks self-immolate and it’s America’s fault. Well, at least you’re consistent. Logical, not so much.

To Jason,
bravo. You’ve moved up the timeline to 1974. Please, do wake me up when you get to 2012. The present awaits you. We have internet and cool stuff like that.

February 24, 2012 @ 12:41 pm | Comment

@Yawn. So what? Mao schmoozed with Nixon…

What does this has to do with espionage which DL and many Tibetans at the time were doing.

February 24, 2012 @ 12:43 pm | Comment

@Please, do wake me up when you get to 2012.

How many Tibetans in 2012 who self-immolates called in their lasting words for the return for that traitorous monk, Dalai Lama and calling for the causes of the Tibetan Independence movement in India who were associated with CIA in the 1959 Uprising? All.

Every protests now that is remniscent of the causes of the Tibetan Independence movement and the called for the return of DL will be consider a traitor to the state.

Patrick French, former UK Tibetan group asked a great question of Western pro-Tibet lobbyists: Have the actions of the Western pro-Tibet lobby over the last 20 years brought a single benefit to the Tibetans who live inside Tibet, and if not, why continue with a failed strategy?

February 24, 2012 @ 1:01 pm | Comment

To Jason,
really, you know the last words of all the burning monks in 2012? Often times in your desperation to make a point, you fail to realize just how silly you sound.

The Dalai Lama is on record as saying that he is not in support of outright independence. I realize that does not dove-tail as nicely with your preferred narrative as you would like, but if we’re going to transact with facts, then that is something you should incorporate into your routine. It does amp up your degree of difficulty, but just think of the high marks you’ll get if you actually pull off a logical argument with that. It’s enough to make a CCP apologist dream…

We’re not talking about what pro-Tibet lobbyists have or haven’t achieved. We’re talking about how China treats Tibetans. If Tibetans were satisfied with their treatment within China, it would not be fertile ground for pro-Tibet lobbyists. So instead of constant whining about what others do, you should engage in some introspection and consider what China hasn’t done.

February 24, 2012 @ 1:18 pm | Comment

@really, you know the last words of all the burning monks in 2012?

Have you read the reports ccoming from Tibetan lobbyists in UK?

@The Dalai Lama is on record as saying that he is not in support of outright independence.

Do you know that he’s as sleazy politician than any other? His action speaks louder than his words.

@We’re talking about how China treats Tibetans. If Tibetans were satisfied with their treatment within China, it would not be fertile ground for pro-Tibet lobbyists.

I want to ask you a question: Why do Chinese government treat ethnicities better now that has no history of associating with the CIA? Take the Hui people for example, PLA in 1975, massacred 1000 Huis and destroyed 4000 plus homes as part of the Four Olds. Four years later, Yunnan Communist Party apologized. Since then, Huis, without associating with foreign intelligence, animosity and tired-old bickering has stopped and hasn’t experience the iron fist.

February 24, 2012 @ 1:39 pm | Comment

“Have you read the reports ccoming from Tibetan lobbyists in UK?”
—considering your general disdain for “Tibetan lobbyists”, it is surprising that you would believe what they say so readily. Oh, I forgot, that part is consistent with your narrative, so you’ll believe it. How typically predictable.

“His action speaks louder than his words.”
—and could you wow us with some of those “actions” that apparently contradict what he has said on record? Oh, remember it’s 2012, so if you could stay at least somewhat contemporary in your references, that’d be grand.

“Why do Chinese government treat ethnicities better now that has no history of associating with the CIA? ”
—fantastic. It’s the Tibetans’ fault. I should’ve known better than to suggest introspection to someone like you. It’s playing a piano to a cow.

February 24, 2012 @ 1:52 pm | Comment

@SKC – It really is just pointless to debate this issue with people who have swallowed the anti-China conspiracy theory hook, line, and sinker.

February 24, 2012 @ 2:24 pm | Comment

@general disdain for “Tibetan lobbyists”, it is surprising that you would believe what they say so readily. Oh, I forgot, that part is consistent with your narrative, so you’ll believe it. How typically predictable.

Sure I have disdain for Tibetan lobbyists but when it gives me ammunition for an argument, I take it. Besides most reports from Reuters and AFP that is reguritated to other news outlets have excerpts from them.

@and could you wow us with some of those “actions” that apparently contradict what he has said on record? Oh, remember it’s 2012, so if you could stay at least somewhat contemporary in your references, that’d be grand.

His ongoing fear of Han diluting onto Tibet and also in 2008, he has hinted for independence

@It’s the Tibetans’ fault. I should’ve known better than to suggest introspection to someone like you. It’s playing a piano to a cow.

Of course it is the fault of Tibetan guerrilas in 1959 and DL acceptance of the money provided by CIA that has cause rifts in the present and the future. If they didn’t associate with them, we won’t be having this conversation-that is why the example of Huis is significant.

@FOARP: It really is just pointless to debate this issue with people who have swallowed the anti-China conspiracy theory hook, line, and sinker.

Yet you turn a blind eye on Tibetan propaganda.

February 24, 2012 @ 4:27 pm | Comment

Espionage?
Mao was having wet dreams about getting the US on his side. He got deep and dirty with the US president. DL only dealt with an erstwhile friendly (read ally) government agency after his country got invaded by foreign (to him) power.
Who then is the worst?

February 24, 2012 @ 4:35 pm | Comment

Oddly, given the circumstances, Chiang Kai Shek hated Americans. Probably hated more than Mao. But old old DL gets all the bad press…

February 24, 2012 @ 4:43 pm | Comment

@S.K Cheung, actually cows seem to like music.

February 24, 2012 @ 4:43 pm | Comment

@Mao was having wet dreams about getting the US on his side.

So has Nixon who wanted to be “friendly” with Mao so he can contain Soviet Uniton. But both got sour over the Cambodia affair.

Again, not an ounce of similarity.

February 24, 2012 @ 4:46 pm | Comment

To Jason:
“Sure I have disdain for Tibetan lobbyists but when it gives me ammunition for an argument, I take it.”
—LOL. I should give you some credit for at least having the honesty to admit that. That attitude also comes into play every time you guys rail against “western media” only to turn around and quote western media when it suits you. The hypocrisy there is obvious, just as it is here, where you believe Tibetan lobbyists when it suits you, but don’t believe them when it doesn’t. At least you are man enough to own it, so good on you. I actually wouldn’t have called that, so in this case, you were being atypically unpredictable.

So the burning monks were calling the Dalai Lama’s name. That doesn’t make them bad people. It certainly doesn’t diminish the grievances they must have had that were sufficient to drive them to torching themselves.

“His ongoing fear of Han diluting onto Tibet”
—this “fear” is evidence that he wants to pursue independence?

“he has hinted for independence”
—perhaps you can show us the tea leaves you were reading that allowed you to arrive at that assessment. When he says he doesn’t support outright independence, he’s actually “hinting” that he wants it? Okay, whatever you say. Colour me convinced.

“Of course it is the fault of Tibetan guerrilas in 1959…”
—I thought you’d progressed to 1974. Are we moving backwards in time again? When I asked for something more contemporary, that doesn’t mean dredging up older and older stuff…just so you know. And still, it’s the Tibetans’ fault. China had no choice but to oppress a whole bunch of Tibetan people because some Tibetan people weren’t toeing the party line. I don’t think you even know what introspection means.

February 24, 2012 @ 5:26 pm | Comment

@That attitude also comes into play every time you guys rail against “western media” only to turn around and quote western media when it suits you.

I am surprised by your bewilderment of my attitude. Who doesn’t have that attitude? Hell, even when Democrats who hates Fox News and the Republicans pundits and Republicans hating on MSNBC and other liberal media, both parties will use the material by the opposing media to strength their issue. Hell even you, yourself has done this before.

BTW I have never ONCE said I hate ALL Western media.

@So the burning monks were calling the Dalai Lama’s name. That doesn’t make them bad people. It certainly doesn’t diminish the grievances they must have had that were sufficient to drive them to torching themselves.

It makes them disloyal to pick a man who once supported the CIA coup and receive money from them. No matter what grievances they had, use it as motivation to do better in what field they choose to be.

@—this “fear” is evidence that he wants to pursue independence?

No tolerance of Han and Tibetan living together=is he really seeking autonomy or independence?

@China had no choice but to oppress a whole bunch of Tibetan people because some Tibetan people weren’t toeing the party line.

Then stop being a monk and do other things.

@perhaps you can show us the tea leaves you were reading that allowed you to arrive at that assessment.

http://www.nationalia.info/en/news/302

February 24, 2012 @ 7:52 pm | Comment

“Yet you turn a blind eye on Tibetan propaganda.”

If pro-Tibet activists came on this blog and started making groundless claims I might bother engaging with what they are saying. Where are they?

And on the occasions I have talked about, for example, Tibetan self-imolation, have I been supportive? The record shows that I have not. The record shows that I have said they were wrong.

Have I ever written expressing support for Tibetan independence? The record shows that I have not. Whilst I have said that the Tibetans have just as much right to national self-determination as other peoples, I have also said that this could be contained within the framework of the Chinese state.

However, the very clear facts are that:

1) Tibetan monks, who occupy a special position in Tibetan society, are imolating themselves in apparent protest at the Chinese state.

2) Despite an overwhelming control of all media, education, etc. in Tibet, the Chinese authorities are unable to prevent the influence of the Dalai Lama in that territory.

3) The PRC government, the government of an officially atheist state, insists on making detailed decisions about the Tibetan Buddhist faith (as well as other religions) which they would appear unqualified to make.

4) The PRC government heavily restricts access to Tibet to foreigners, especially those working in the media.

5) There have been incidents in recent years in which PLA soldiers appear to shot and killed people trying to leave Tibet.

6) Incidents of large-scale unrest have repeatedly broken out in Tibet since 1959.

Blurbling about the funding that the NED may be providing to the Dalai Lama does not change any of these facts. Instead, it merely highlights the desperate lengths to which people are willing to go to deny that the PRC government has any responsibility for what happens within territory that it excercises very strict control over.

Again, I do not automatically believe information coming from Tibetan sources. I do not support (or necessarily oppose) Tibetan independence. On the occasions in which I have come into contact with obvious anti-CCP propaganda (especially that coming from Fa Lun Gong sources) I have been just as forthright in condemning them as I have been here in condemning pro-CCP propaganda.

February 24, 2012 @ 8:53 pm | Comment

I know I will regret this…

About Tibet, let me just say I understand the Tibetan and the Chinese points of view.

Talk about an overstatement.

The “colorful costumes” were meant to celebrate the Tibetan New Year. Why such a big deal? Because the TGIE announced that due to to the plights suffered by Tibetans (more like those around the TGIE), Tibetans should not celebrate this new year. Then whose ideas were those, i.e. “colorful costumes”, “Serf Emancipation Day”? You may be surprised.

There are about 6 million ethnic Tibetans worldwide, of which up to 150,000 living outside of China, with the bulk of them living close to the TGIE. The highest net worth of a single Tibetan living in China, is higher than the annual budget of the whole TGIE. The average living standard of Tibetans in China, is far higher than that of those living outside of China. You have heard a lot from Dalai Lama and those 2.5%, but have you heard from the rest?

The “Serf Emancipation Day” law was proposed and passed by the People’s Congress of TAR, of which Tibetans are a significant majority. The goal was to push the narrative to the front, to make sure any meaningful dialogues between Beijing and Dalai Lama (not the TGIE, which Beijing refuses to talk to) will end. In a way, it’s a message sent from Lhasa to Beijing, “don’t you dare to forget about us.”

The bargain Dalai could potentially get out of any talks with Beijing (not Lhasa) in late 2008 to early 2009, before the TAR congress passing the SED law, was considerably less than he would’ve been able to wrestle away in 1990. In 1990, Beijing was internationally quite isolated and much more humble but Mr. Tenzin Gyatso’s life story can be summed up as somebody who overplays his hands — he refused the talk and intended to talk to the next Chinese government. The fault? IMHO he has surrounded himself with the wrong people. Case in point, the Nazi friends in his formative years. He had to partially buy into the Nazi crap, otherwise why he would break the 17-point peace agreement to come to the rescue of Tibetan noblemen outside of TAR in 1959? But I digress. Anyway, if Dalai Lama succumbed to the pressure of his own mortality and struck a deal to return to China by himself, it would not sit well with many in Lhasa. Hence the idea of SED law. Quite honestly, I was impressed.

February 25, 2012 @ 12:29 am | Comment

@Jxie – As much as I respect your view on sports, here’s where I have to disagree:

“There are about 6 million ethnic Tibetans worldwide, of which up to 150,000 living outside of China, with the bulk of them living close to the TGIE.”

And why, pray tell, are those 150,000 Tibetans outside China? Why do thousands join them by crossing the border on foot every year when there have been incidents of people being shot trying to cross into Nepal?

“You have heard a lot from Dalai Lama and those 2.5%, but have you heard from the rest?”

Yes, about that. It would be great if journalists had even the very minimal freedoms to gather information in Tibet that they have in the rest of China. You know – so that very basic information on how that remaining 97.5% live could be gathered.

“The “Serf Emancipation Day” law was proposed and passed by the People’s Congress of TAR, of which Tibetans are a significant majority. The goal was to push the narrative to the front, to make sure any meaningful dialogues between Beijing and Dalai Lama (not the TGIE, which Beijing refuses to talk to) will end. In a way, it’s a message sent from Lhasa to Beijing, “don’t you dare to forget about us.””

There is of course an alternate interpretation. That being that the People’s Congress of the TAR is Beijing’s creature and was merely acting on Beijing’s instructions.

“Case in point, the Nazi friends in his formative years.

You mean the couple of guys who escaped from captivity in India and made their independently to his court, and who were anyway not committed Nazis?

“He had to partially buy into the Nazi crap, otherwise why he would break the 17-point peace agreement to come to the rescue of Tibetan noblemen outside of TAR in 1959?”

Errrm . . . what does that have to do with Nazi ideology?

February 25, 2012 @ 2:14 am | Comment

To Jason:
“I am surprised by your bewilderment of my attitude.”
—there is no bewilderment. This is the part where you fall back into being typically predictable. Said attitude is expected from folks like you.

“Hell even you, yourself has done this before.”
—example? I don’t rail against “Chinese media” then quote them when it suits me. I leave that kind of hypocrisy to good folks like you. BTW, when you engage in that kind of hypocrisy, you should realize how stupid and funny it sounds each and every time one of you guys go on and on about “western media bias”. You should just remember that your disagreement with an article does not mean the article is biased.

“I have never ONCE said I hate ALL Western media.”
—no, of course not. You love western media you agree with, and hate western media you disagree with. Notice a pattern? That’s right, Sherlock. You’ve confused “bias” with “disagreement”. Somebody should really teach you guys the difference.

“It makes them disloyal to pick a man who once supported the CIA coup”
—he’s their spiritual leader, for Christ’s sake (pun intended). And seriously, are you going to fall back to 1959 every time? Any chance of you talking about present events using present evidence?

“No tolerance of Han and Tibetan living together”
—I realize you need to be disingenuous in order to make your argument, given the pathetic position you’re trying to sell. But his concern about ‘dilution’ does not mean he has “no tolerance”. And even if he was truly intolerant, that is not proof that he seeks outright independence. Gee, dare I say you seem a little “biased” against the Dalai Lama. When he sneezes, you probably interpret the sound he makes to be “I want Tibetan independence”.

“Then stop being a monk and do other things.”
—that comment is so stupid I don’t even know what you’re talking about. China oppresses Tibetans and monks self-immolate, so the solution is “don’t be a monk”? It’s not China’s fault for oppressing Tibetans; it’s Tibetans’ fault for choosing to be monks. Nice. Folks like you are wonderful people. I’m glad the CCP has folks like you on their side.

February 25, 2012 @ 3:35 am | Comment

As for your link:
1. There is no quote of the Dalai Lama saying that he wants independence; it only refers to some people musing about that as one possibility to be discussed in “upcoming talks”. That was in 2008. And what came of these talks? Where is the official change in the Dalai lama’s stated position to one where he now demands independence?

2. “”He’s lost hope in trying to reach a solution with the present Chinese leadership which is simply not willing to address the issues,”"
—I should probably give you a full dissertation on cause-and-effect, since you don’t seem like the type to have a grasp on that sort of thing. But I’ll hold off for now. Suffice it to say that EVEN IF the official position changed to seeking full independence, the reason this change occurred is because of the inaction and failure of the “Chinese leadership”. So if you had any grasp of logic and were looking for someone to blame, there you go. But I imagine you will just blame the Tibetans again, since that is all you’re capable of doing.

February 25, 2012 @ 3:56 am | Comment

@FOARP, the reason why I said I would regret this, is because how the back & forth will last forever and eventually it will suck up a lot of my time. If I began with the end in mind, I didn’t like how the ending might be.

And why, pray tell, are those 150,000 Tibetans outside China? Why do thousands join them by crossing the border on foot every year when there have been incidents of people being shot trying to cross into Nepal?

Like everything else there are at least 2 versions of each story. Don’t know if I can comment the shooting incident intelligently. Maybe the Chinese soldier lied that they weren’t attached earlier… Individually everyone is different. Obvious as a whole religion plays a major role in those who have left China. Religion can be such a powerful force. Why they drank the Kool-aid in Jonestown, or why somebody would kneel down and kowtow each step, for miles? I can somewhat understand but just can’t resonate with them.

The point I tried to raise is, there is a big chunk of largely secular Tibetan population out there that have been doing rather well. Most of the comments in this site have that comic book quality — the real world is a whole lot more complicated.

There is of course an alternate interpretation. That being that the People’s Congress of the TAR is Beijing’s creature and was merely acting on Beijing’s instructions.

I urge you to read up Woeser’s “Invisible Tibet” blog, and what she has to say in various public forums. This may be the easiest way for you to understand. She makes a careful differentiation between 北京当局 (Beijing government) and 西藏当局 (the Lhasa government, which she obviously despises). Woeser has contributed a lot to RFA, mostly funded by the US government, and is living out of all places, in Beijing. Go figure.

Errrm . . . what does that have to do with Nazi ideology?

I for sure shouldn’t have put it there because this requires a much longer conversation. Have you read Dalai Lama’s 1991 book Free in Exile and have a somewhat good understanding of the major events leading up to March of 1959? If you did, the explanation may be reasonably short.

February 25, 2012 @ 4:32 am | Comment

FOARP
And why, pray tell, are those 150,000 Tibetans outside China? Why do thousands join them by crossing the border on foot every year when there have been incidents of people being shot trying to cross into Nepal?

To be quick – a lot of them can’t afford to go back: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/sep/22/world/la-fg-india-dharamsala-20100922

And the 150,000 figure is dubious. I have no doubt (from looking at pictures and video) that their numbers are padded with Tibeto-Burman speaks from other parts of India to bolster the TGIE’s claims. Tibetans from the TAR are very physically distinct from Tibetans from “Northeast India”.

My personal view is that China should bend over backward to accommodate the Tibetans, support their language and culture more vigorously than they do and do whatever it takes to get basic healthcare and electricity to at least 90% of people in the TAR.

But there should be zero tolerance for independence movements or foreign meddling. I believe that the TGIE’s tactics are odious but I also think the PRC is being inept. It’s a disgrace that the PRC is essentially pushing (some) Tibetan people to pay lip-service to India’s absurd claims to the Northeast and become unwilling cronies of the West when it would be far easier to dump development funds on them until they’re happy.

February 25, 2012 @ 4:59 am | Comment

SK Cheung
To 64:
tell you what. I’ll rephrase and take out “conspiracy”. What we’re left with is “To repeatedly invoke the tired old NED/CIA business bespeaks an utter lack of imagination.”

Please. You’re the always the one to resort to personal attacks when your democracy delusions are attacked. I don’t see how the NED can be “tired old” when it’s an ONGOING operation. “It’s all in the past!”. If we had a nickel every time a West-worshiper said that.

“You can’t talk, you treat the XYZ just as badly …” is never a valid argument.

Yes, it is, when the speaker (The Holy West) is on trial and not the argument. Not that that even was the argument to begin with. Tibet at its WORST was treated better than Native Americans/Aborigines at their BEST. This, again, is justifiably used to silence people who live in glass houses.

but that serves as no justification for what China is doing in the present.

Too bad, you don’t get to pick the argument. As for “what China is doing in the present”? You think doubling the Tibetan life expectancy and population is a sin?

And LOL, Tibetan monks self-immolate and it’s America’s fault. Well, at least you’re consistent. Logical, not so much.

Partially, yes. If their heads were not filled with junk propaganda those 20 or so Tibetans would be alive now, not that the TGIE cares about anything other than the land holdings of a few proto-fascists among them (esp. the Dalai Lama’s brothers).

February 25, 2012 @ 5:13 am | Comment

It must further me said that taking “white man’s burden” and trying to apply it to China and Tibet is absolutely ridiculous and intellectually dishonest. You know who you are.

Tibetans and Chinese are very closely related. If anything their relationship would be like France and England.

The “Chinese” that go to the TAR are citizens of a multiethnic nation looking to volunteer in a region that is relatively economically deprived (unlike wealthy minority regions in the East and Northeast).

Would you call volunteers who go into the countryside “Han chauvinism” that look down on the peasants?

February 25, 2012 @ 6:11 am | Comment

*”Han chauvinists”

February 25, 2012 @ 6:12 am | Comment

@Jxie -

“The point I tried to raise is, there is a big chunk of largely secular Tibetan population out there that have been doing rather well.”

No doubt there are secular Tibetans who are prosperous. The problem here is that the only available information we have as to how secular the Tibetan population is, or how prosperous they are, comes either from the censored media inside China, or from the Tibetan government in exile. The reason for this is PRC government policy.

“I urge you to read up Woeser’s “Invisible Tibet” blog, and what she has to say in various public forums. This may be the easiest way for you to understand. She makes a careful differentiation between 北京当局 (Beijing government) and 西藏当局 (the Lhasa government, which she obviously despises).”

Perhaps you could point me to those of her writings that support your interpretation. I’m not much one for poetry, at least not the type carried on her website.

“Have you read Dalai Lama’s 1991 book Free in Exile and have a somewhat good understanding of the major events leading up to March of 1959?”

I know a rough outline of the events. I don’t see the Nazi connection but welcome explanation.

February 25, 2012 @ 6:34 am | Comment

FOARP
The problem here is that the only available information we have as to how secular the Tibetan population is, or how prosperous they are, comes either from the censored media inside China, or from the Tibetan government in exile.

Or you could just go there yourself. There are lots of Western NGOs in Kham and Amdo.

You are basically saying the West’s media isn’t allowed in the TAR in full force. Of course they can’t, they’re just there for profit-making not journalism.

February 25, 2012 @ 6:39 am | Comment

@FOARP, first don’t be so freaking lazy. You seem to have plenty of time to comment everywhere. Read Mr. Tenzin Gyatso’s book Freedom in Exile first. After which, I promise I will let you know my theory why he was partially buying into the Nazi ideas from his mentor Brad Pitt. Otherwise it will take me too freaking long to bring you up to the speed.

Actually I got the origin and the rationale behind the SED law from a non-Internet source. You can corroboration of them in some pro-China forums, which I assume you (and many others) will discount. Woeser is kind of dopey for me, but at least she knows quite a bit of how things work in Tibet. It’s easier for you to understand it fully if you read more than just one entry of her blog. But if you insist something quick: http://woeser.middle-way.net/2009/01/blog-post_29.html. She squarely blamed the Lhasa government on the SED law.

BTW, I skip some threads you brought up. Not that I agree with you — just ending those threads now waste me less time.

February 25, 2012 @ 7:49 am | Comment

@FOARP #92

The problem here is that the only available information we have as to how secular the Tibetan population is, or how prosperous they are, comes either from the censored media inside China, or from the Tibetan government in exile.

Not entirely correct. Generally, the best sources for facts about Tibet are Western academics. This doesn’t mean they are never biased; they do tend to line up with the exiles to a certain extent. On the economy, check out the relevant chapters from Authenticating Tibet, even though it is somewhat out of date.

Note that not all Western academics are stooges of the Dalai Lama. However, I don’t think Sautman or Grunfeld, two of the most notable pro-Chinese scholars, are very reliable. On the other hand, Melvyn Goldstein, the dean of American Tibetology, is a good source and he sounds very pro-Chinese in parts of his most recent book on the early 50s in Tibet.

February 25, 2012 @ 9:14 am | Comment

@Jxie: I’ve read Free in Exile but it was a long time ago so I don’t remember exactly where he mentioned viewpoints that could be construed as nazi. And when it comes to regretting things, heading down the path of nazi references tends to derail any discussion… ;) But i’ve read the book (though I don’t have it now) so feel free to elaborate on this.

You asked earlier what I think about California. It’s definitely different from my days in China but I like the change. My last year in Beijing I felt that the pollution and food safety issues were beginning to take their toll so I’m happy to not have that anymore. I miss a lot of things of course, mostly with the environments as well; in China you can just walk anywhere and you don’t need to research stuff on Yelp because most places have good food just as they are. This might sound superficial, but when it comes to it, it’s these details that makes a place.

February 25, 2012 @ 12:54 pm | Comment

To 89:
I recall a past commenter on FM who was always hot to trot when it came time to wax poetic about NED. You would probably qualify as the second keenest member of that club.

The “west” is not “on trial”. We’re talking about China’s treatment of Tibetans, and the fact that some Tibetans seem to chafe under it. What does the “west” have to do with it? I realize the comparison thing is all you’ve got, but EVEN IF the Tibetans’ worst is better than the aboriginals’ yada yada best, is that supposed to make Tibetans feel better? ‘Oh’ says one monk to another, ‘we should be satisfied because our lot in 2012 is better than the aboriginals of (pick a year that floats your boat)’? Where is their commonality that would make such a comparison meaningful and relevant in the real world? Like I and others have repeatedly pointed out to you before, your “comparisons” aren’t an argument (at least not one with any logic to it), and it barely serves as a lame excuse.

Yes, Tibetans have longer life expectancy and higher numbers. Yet here we still are. Doesn’t that tell you anything? Oh, that’s right. Must be the “west’s” fault…and whatever blame isn’t laid on the west can be heaped onto Tibetans themselves.

And of course, self-immolations are America’s fault. Those guys didn’t do it because they were unhappy with CHina; they did it because America told them to. Yeah, I’m sure that makes sense.

And when/how did this become about Chinese volunteers trying to do good work in Tibet? That’s quite a leap there.

February 25, 2012 @ 1:57 pm | Comment

To Cookie monster, it is great that Tibetans life expectancy has gone up and that it is developing, but I’m sure the Tibetans would prefer to develop Tibet themselves rather than having it foisted on them by China.

To Wukailong; sorry but I lived in Beijing for a few years and yeah there’s a lot of great food, I also tasted a lott of mediocre, oily, over salted food. But, sure there’s a lot of good stuff too :-)

February 25, 2012 @ 10:31 pm | Comment

“Tibetans and Chinese are very closely related. If anything their relationship would be like France and England.

Hahaha, my toes are giggling.

February 25, 2012 @ 10:50 pm | Comment

@Cookie
“Your default position is to defend the West no matter what, but that’s not the point.

Substitute “the West” for “the CCP”. Wow, a perfect mirror for you. LOL.

February 25, 2012 @ 10:53 pm | Comment

The fact that there hasn’t been a full-scale revolt that the West could take advantage of shows that the Tibetans aren’t as mad as Westerners wish they were.

Cookies is as delusional as Louis XVI in July 1789. Hahaha. How many times were we told of a “harmonious society” by the CCP propagandists only to see episodes after episodes of unrest like at Wukan?

February 25, 2012 @ 11:01 pm | Comment

You think doubling the Tibetan life expectancy and population is a sin?

Japanese colonialists in Taiwan must be smiling in their graves given that by their very act of increasing Taiwanese life expectancy from late 20s in 1906 to early 40s in the 1940s. Thanks to Cookie’s ferocious vindication of Japanese rule in Taiwan! LOL.

February 25, 2012 @ 11:20 pm | Comment

SK Cheung
We’re talking about China’s treatment of Tibetans

Too bad, you don’t get to pick the topic or the argument. I’m talking about China’s (fairly good) treatment of Tibetans in the context of global politics.

If Tibetans were satisfied with their treatment within China, it would not be fertile ground for pro-Tibet lobbyists.

Except it’s not “fertile ground”, and if spent time actually knowing what you’re talking about not whining and moaning about China’s policies, you’d realize that.

February 26, 2012 @ 2:18 am | Comment

sp123
WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH

If Japan were able to pull Taiwanese out of slavery, increase their life expectancy by 40+ years (20 to 40 is nothing), double the population and create 12-13% economic growth for several decades then maybe their rule would be justified – IF they were recognized internationally as the legitimate successor.

Except they’re not. Don’t forget your drool cup.

February 26, 2012 @ 2:29 am | Comment

If Japan were able to pull Taiwanese out of slavery, increase their life expectancy by 40+ years (20 to 40 is nothing), double the population and create 12-13% economic growth for several decades then maybe their rule would be justified – IF they were recognized internationally as the legitimate successor.

No hard feelings then about Hong Kong, old chap?

February 26, 2012 @ 5:09 am | Comment

To 103:
You’re right. Neither of us should arbitrarily pick the topic. How about we let Tibetans decide on the topic? Oh, but they can’t, because the CCP won’t let them. Yes, we know what you would like to talk about (the CCP is great). But as I said earlier, and which you repeatedly prove unwilling to or incapable of grasping, it’s not about “global politics”. It’s about Tibetans and what they want. As I said in #97, do you think they would say “we should be satisfied because our lot in 2012 is better than the aboriginals of (pick a year that floats your boat)”? You are entitled to think that China’s treatment of Tibetans is fairly good. But you’re not Tibetan so how would you know? And you’re not there so your opinion doesn’t matter. So what you’re left with is repetitive, illogical comparisons that have no relevance to the reality of being a Tibetan in Tibet under Chinese rule in 2012. But I can understand that, from your position, you need to make do with what you’ve got. And it ain’t much.

Let’s turn it around. If Tibetans actually felt that their treatment has been “fairly good”, there’d be no issue. Like I said in #97, “Tibetans have longer life expectancy and higher numbers. Yet here we still are. Doesn’t that tell you anything?”. I guess the answer is no then, eh?

“Except it’s not “fertile ground”,”
—I see you’re going backwards to #71 to look for things to talk about. That’s cool. Sure, it’s not fertile ground. Tibetans are happy as clams, and are thankful to the CCP for the privilege. Because a non-Tibetan American living in the USA says so, it must be so. Colour me convinced.

February 26, 2012 @ 8:05 am | Comment

@Cookie Monster: “I’m talking about China’s (fairly good) treatment of Tibetans in the context of global politics.”

Yes in the context of the Armenian genocide or the Jewish holocaust, you could say China’s treatment of Tibetans is “fairly good”.

After all what is taking over their country, forcing hundreds of thousands into exile, banning their religion, knocking down all their holy places, shooting them in the back, forcing them to study in a foreign language, imprisoning and torturing them, when compared to Hitler’s extermination camps?

But in the usual context (ie. taking all of history, politics and current affairs into account) we can say that the Chinese government is one of the most evil and barbaric conquerors in history; and the Chinese people who support it in Tibet are foolish, cruel barbarians. They deserve to be spat on by all right thinking people from all countries.

If Tibetans were satisfied with their treatment within China, it would not be fertile ground for pro-Tibet lobbyists.
Except it’s not “fertile ground”, and if spent time actually knowing what you’re talking about not whining and moaning about China’s policies, you’d realize that.

February 26, 2012 @ 5:43 pm | Comment

Tsarong
After all what is taking over their country, forcing hundreds of thousands into exile, banning their religion, knocking down all their holy places, shooting them in the back, forcing them to study in a foreign language, imprisoning and torturing them

Exaggerations.

we can say that the Chinese government is one of the most evil and barbaric conquerors in history

Barbaric would be how the TAR administration treated the Tibetans before liberation.

SK Cheung
How about we let Tibetans decide on the topic?

Sure, as soon as we let the Native Americans decide on their “topic”.

Tibetans are happy as clams,

Nice straw man.

Peter
No hard feelings then about Hong Kong, old chap?

Hong Kong accomplished what it did in spite of the British, not because of them. Unless you’re claiming Iran, Sudan, Egypt, Burma and India are staggering successes … ROFL

February 27, 2012 @ 5:34 am | Comment

Liberation, yeah just like the Chinese masses were liberated from their evil landlord capitalist roaders in the 50s. Oh gosh, look who’s running China today, it wouldn’t be evil landlord capitalist roadars would it?

February 27, 2012 @ 6:32 am | Comment

To 108:
“Sure, as soon as we let the Native Americans decide on their “topic”.”
—there you go with your stupid comparisons again. Do you have any relevant contemporary comparators, or will it just be slavery and aboriginals over and over again? It’s even lame as an excuse, but that seems to be all you’ve got.

Besides, the US asking what “Native Americans” want and China asking what Tibetans want are two distinct and separate events with no causal or correlative relationship. Apples and oranges, as it were, and you’re certainly familiar with those.

“Tibetans are happy as clams,

Nice straw man.”
—LOL. So are Tibetans NOT happy as clams? Cuz if they’re not happy, then that would seem like “fertile ground”. But if you want to suggest (and it’s a hilarious one at that) that Tibetans don’t represent “fertile ground”, then you’d have to be suggesting that they are happy (and I’d be curious how you would know that, but I realize you don’t let minor details and logic get in the way of your “argument”).

“Exaggerations.”
—that’s lame even by your lowly standards. Did they not take over their country? Maybe tens of thousands were forced into exile? The religion was allowed as long as they didn’t practice it and didn’t show pictures of their chief religious figure? They only knocked down some of their religious places? They shot people in the side? People were voluntarily imprisoned? LOL.

February 27, 2012 @ 6:53 am | Comment

“Exaggerations.”
Brilliant! :-D I have to remember that! Pithy, to the point, doesn’t need anything other that an opinion and can be used anywhere :-D

“Sure, as soon as we let the Native Americans decide on their “topic”. ”
Ummmm, correct me if I’m wrong….but they are allowed to vote, are they not? And run for president? And form political parties? Freely publish their opinions online and in books, etc? In fact, do anything a minority in China can’t do unless sanctioned by the CCP in Beijing….

February 27, 2012 @ 7:38 am | Comment

Meh, I’ll bite
“Hong Kong accomplished what it did in spite of the British, not because of them.”
So for 5000 years (this is the default number of “Chinese civilisation” years, isn’t it?) nothing happened in Hong Kong. Then the British arrived…

February 27, 2012 @ 7:47 am | Comment

Honestly, arguing normative legitimacy to effect change in Tibet misses the point, which is that China has de facto control over Tibet which cannot be changed absent highly risky military intervention at altitudes averaging 17,000 feet.

Where the normative arguments for Tibet, Xinjiang, and Hong Kong have more effect are on the debate over Taiwan. China needs to demonstrate a compelling example of positive integration into *its* system before Taiwan’s population will concede to an abrogation of sovereignty.

February 27, 2012 @ 10:43 am | Comment

t-co, why do your comments read like an academic research paper? :-)

Has anyone here even hinted at a proactive intervention of any kind in Tibet, let alone a military intervention? I don’t think so.

February 27, 2012 @ 10:51 am | Comment

@Cookie
Hong Kong accomplished what it did in spite of the British, not because of them. Unless you’re claiming Iran, Sudan, Egypt, Burma and India are staggering successes … ROFL

Whose judgement do you trust? The founding father of modern China who spent his entire life fighting for the happiness and emancipation of the Chinese nation or that of a habitually-deranged troll? ROFL. Read Dr Sun Yat-sen’s feeling about HK when he gave this speech in the University of HK in 1923.

Sun Yat-sen’s Address at The University of Hong Kong
“Why I Became a Revolutionist?”
Abstract from The Hongkong Daily Press, February 21, 1923

The question was “Where and how did I get my revolutionary and modern ideas?” The answer was, “I got my idea in this very place; in the Colony of Hong Kong.” – (Laughter and applause.) “I am going to tell you,” continued Dr Sun, “how I got these ideas. More than thirty years ago I was studying in Hong Kong and spent a great deal of spare time in walking the streets of the Colony. Hong Kong impressed me a great deal, because there was orderly calm and because there was artistic work being done without interruption. I went to my home in Heungshan twice a year and immediately noticed the great difference. There was disorder instead of order, insecurity instead of security.

When I arrived home I had to be my own policeman and my own protector. The first matter for my care was to see my rifle was in order and to make sure plenty of ammunition was still left. I had to prepare for action for the night. Each time it was like this, year after year. I compared Heungshan with Hong Kong and, although they are only 50 miles apart, the difference of the Governments impressed me very much. Afterwards, I saw the outside world and I began to wonder how, it was that foreigners, that Englishmen could do such things as they had done, for example, with the barren rock of Hong Kong, within 70 or 80 years, while China, in 4,000 years, had no places like Hong Kong.”

February 27, 2012 @ 11:23 am | Comment

Sun Yat-sen went on in the same speech in HKU in 1923

So there was nothing to be done but to return to Hong Kong—not to study the streets, but to study the government. And I found that among the government officials corruption was the exception and purity the rule. It was the contrary in China, where corruption among the officials was the rule. I then thought I would try higher up, to the provincial government, but I found that the higher the government the more corrupt were its ways.

February 27, 2012 @ 11:51 am | Comment

By spewing “Hong Kong accomplished what it did in spite of the British, not because of them. Unless you’re claiming Iran, Sudan, Egypt, Burma and India are staggering successes … ROFL” Cookie has also slapped the face of former HK Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa when he paid tribute to late British governor of HK Lord MacLehose when MacLehose passed away.

—–
Chief Executive’s statement
***************************

Following is a statement by the Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, today (June 1):

I was saddened to hear of the death of Lord MacLehose of Beoch. On behalf of the HKSAR Government and the people of Hong Kong, I offer my condolences to Lady MacLehose and her family.

Lord MacLehose was Governor of Hong Kong from 1971 to 1982, the longest serving British Governor in Hong Kong’s history.

He initiated a wide range of major policies, including the implementation of a comprehensive public housing and new towns programme, the establishment of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the construction of Mass Transit Railway, the provision of free basic education, and the opening up of the countryside for recreational use by the community. They remain as a tribute to his vision and energy.

Lord MacLehose had sustained his concern and support for Hong Kong since leaving the territory. His death means Hong Kong has lost a good friend.

End/Thursday, June 1, 2000

http://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/200006/01/0601184.htm

February 27, 2012 @ 12:15 pm | Comment

@Cookie

,i>WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH WAH
If Japan were able to pull Taiwanese out of slavery, increase their life expectancy by 40+ years (20 to 40 is nothing),

Doesn’t it occur to the organ between your ears that Taiwan under Qing China couldn’t even do the “nothing” of increasing life expectancy from 20 to 40 over a span of 300 years from 1683 to 1895? That is of course assuming that there is even an organ between your ears. ROFL

February 27, 2012 @ 1:04 pm | Comment

To T-co,
I think change can be effected for the benefit of Tibetans without any compromise of China’s control, de facto or otherwise. And such change would come on the part of China, without invoking anything foreign whatsoever.

But i agree that China hasn’t done much to entice Taiwan into integration, especially if Taiwan can reap the benefits of open borders and commerce while maintaining the political status quo.

February 27, 2012 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

Mike Goldthorpe
So for 5000 years (this is the default number of “Chinese civilisation” years, isn’t it?) nothing happened in Hong Kong. Then the British arrived…

Hong Kong was (relatively) prosperous for a Guangdong city because it was well-placed for maritime trade. It had nothing to do with the British. Other coastal cities in China likewise “flourished”.

Too bad about your delusions though.

Ummmm, correct me if I’m wrong….but they are allowed to vote, are they not? And run for president? And form political parties? Freely publish their opinions online and in books, etc? In fact, do anything a minority in China can’t do unless sanctioned by the CCP in Beijing….

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, sure, letting Tibetans (a 1% minority) vote would make such a huge difference. Oh, and here’s a list of major Native American political parties:

SK Cheung
Besides, the US asking what “Native Americans” want and China asking what Tibetans want are two distinct and separate events with no causal or correlative relationship.

Uh yes, they do. Considering America poses a threat to China, they will never consider giving Tibet more autonomy as long as much later arriving Americans continue to occupy an entire continent they don’t belong to.

Common sense.

So are Tibetans NOT happy as clams? Cuz if they’re not happy, then that would seem like “fertile ground”.

You are evidently brain damaged. Either you are pretending to be stupid or you just have no concept of the middle ground. Then again what do you expect from someone who still has 100% blind faith in democracy nowadays.

Tibetans are not “happy as clams”. No nation or people are. They’re also not “fertile ground” for your wet dream of revolution and civil war in China.

that’s lame even by your lowly standards. Did they not take over their country? Maybe tens of thousands were forced into exile? The religion was allowed as long as they didn’t practice it and didn’t show pictures of their chief religious figure? They only knocked down some of their religious places? They shot people in the side? People were voluntarily imprisoned? LOL.

ONE: Tibet was not a country TWO: No one was “forced” into exile, they just ran off when they were spooked by nationalist propaganda. THREE: you must be an idiot if you think Tibetan Buddhism was banned, and the Dalai Lama is not really preeminent in all sects of Tibetan Buddhism FOUR: “Their” “religious places” (sounding awfully informed there, Cheung) were being knocked down by other Tibetans, or fell to ruin due to mismanagement, or were destroyed because they were hotbeds of serfdom and slavery supporters FIVE: people get shot and imprisoned everywhere, scale and context (the two things that are the bane of your existence, along with logic) matter

Celebrate Tibet Liberation Day in March!

February 27, 2012 @ 11:57 pm | Comment

@Cookie

ONE Tibet has been a country for centuries, and it still is a country because of its people’s staunch and unconquerable peaceful refusal to forget their nationhood in the face of brutal Chinese repression.

TWO When mortars are fired into the streets people run. The Lhasa attack by the PLA in 1959 resulted in the deaths of thousands. It is not at all surprising that tens of thousands immediately fled into exile.

THREE When there is no freedom of religious thought, when monks are imprisoned for believing the wrong thing, there is no freedom for Tibetan Buddhism. Under the barbaric Chinese there is only slavery. May all the Chinese rot in hell.

FOUR Lies, lies, Communist propaganda and more lies. The dzongs were destroyed, the lhakhangs were destroyed, the gompas were destroyed. The vast majority still lie in ruins. This was done within a few short years after the Chinese occupation of 1959, and it was accomplished by the Chinese army. Only Chinese barbarians believe Chinese lies; no civilised person ever will.

FIVE The scale of Tibetan suffering in occupied Tibet is so great that to this day no indepedent observers are allowed there — though the Chinese swine have had over fifty years to consolidate their occupation and kill anyone who resists. They will never succeed.

February 28, 2012 @ 1:25 am | Comment

Tsarong
ONE Tibet has been a country for centuries

I won’t accuse you of lying, but you might almost be right if you’re referring to the TAR alone. Obviously, Kham, Amdo and the “Indian” parts of Tibet have not been under Lhasa’s control for centuries.

When mortars are fired into the streets people run. The Lhasa attack by the PLA in 1959 resulted in the deaths of thousands. It is not at all surprising that tens of thousands immediately fled into exile.

I’ll do my reading on this, thanks.

When there is no freedom of religious thought, when monks are imprisoned for believing the wrong thing, there is no freedom for Tibetan Buddhism. Under the barbaric Chinese there is only slavery. May all the Chinese rot in hell.

Don’t you believe in karma? I guess this is your punishment for sacking Chang’an in 7th century and harassing the Tang Dynasty without provocation, by your non-barbaric standards of course.

The dzongs were destroyed, the lhakhangs were destroyed, the gompas were destroyed. The vast majority still lie in ruins. This was done within a few short years after the Chinese occupation of 1959, and it was accomplished by the Chinese army. Only Chinese barbarians believe Chinese lies; no civilised person ever will.

Tibetans also destroyed plenty of the monasteries – apparently they’re not so fond of epicenters of mass rape, slavery and torture. Otherwise, they fell into disrepair as the slave workforce required to sustain them waned.

The scale of Tibetan suffering in occupied Tibet is so great that to this day no indepedent observers are allowed there — though the Chinese swine have had over fifty years to consolidate their occupation and kill anyone who resists. They will never succeed.

Sorry, but your fantasy of China mass murdering and torturing Tibetans will never come true.

February 28, 2012 @ 1:47 am | Comment

The 8th century, rather. According to great people like Sharon Stone, any alleged suffering under the Chinese is karma for Tibetan invasions and slave raids on China.

February 28, 2012 @ 1:50 am | Comment

@ Richard

There has been no discussion of military action, which is why I brought it up–any sympathy to the plight of Tibetans is likely to fall on deaf ears, as, for the most part, Chinese positions on Tibet are determined by domestic factors like nationalism and a need to maintain economic stability.

w.r.t. the tone, I went to the University of Chicago

February 28, 2012 @ 3:35 am | Comment

Relatively – I like that :-D
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Clearance

Wonder if a Tibetan can write something like this
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tim-giago/forming-a-native-american_b_133976.html

I know some Han have tried but they’re in prison now….

“letting Tibetans (a 1% minority) vote would make such a huge difference.”
Aaaah, so the TAR isn’t really an autonomous region then? Or Tibetan either…..?

“I guess this is your punishment for sacking Chang’an in 7th century and harassing the Tang Dynasty without provocation”

WTF? Oh, right, I get it! It was the Romans! No, wait, the Assyrians! What’s that? They Scythians, you say? Hmmmm – you have a point there – how can anyone trust people who shoot backwards, eh? And don’t get me started on them Kurgans….

February 28, 2012 @ 5:08 am | Comment

This is the opening sentence of Shaun Rein’s latest column in CNBC:

“I was dining at an ultra-luxury resort in Bangkok talking with a millionaire from Beijing…”

I have never read anyone so gauche and obsessed with dropping names.

http://www.cnbc.com/id/46451358

February 28, 2012 @ 7:11 am | Comment

Mike
WTF? Oh, right, I get it! It was the Romans! No, wait, the Assyrians! What’s that? They Scythians, you say? Hmmmm – you have a point there – how can anyone trust people who shoot backwards, eh? And don’t get me started on them Kurgans….

Uh, are you reading TSARONG and MIKE now? Or are you just that narcissistic?

Wonder if a Tibetan can write something like this

I don’t care about your link. Words are nice, results matter. Tell me when the Lakota Sioux have life expectancies anywhere near as high as the TAR.

February 28, 2012 @ 7:24 am | Comment

So a Tibetan CAN’T write something like that?

Thought not….

February 28, 2012 @ 7:56 am | Comment

Can a Native American benefit from 13% GDP growth for 10 consecutive years?

Thought not…

February 28, 2012 @ 8:52 am | Comment

Walmart.

Now, can a Tibetan an article like the one you don’t want to read?

February 28, 2012 @ 10:50 am | Comment

@boo – Jesus, that is an awful piece.

One has to ask just how he gets away with using the phrase “my firm estimates” for various (apparently rounded to the nearest 10%) statistics about Hong Kong when his firm does not (as far as I am aware) do business in Hong Kong. One also has to ask how a figure of 60% “strongly [thinking] about other countries to visit instead of Hong Kong [...] because of the discrimination” was reached when the number of interviewees was “a dozen” (FYI Shaun, 12/100 * 60 = 7.2 people). Indeed, how can anything be determined based on such a small sample size?

February 28, 2012 @ 11:56 am | Comment

Mike
I don’t know how toe Chinese economy works

February 28, 2012 @ 12:49 pm | Comment

boo, that is amazing. Well, not so amazing, since it is, after all, Shaun Rein. Why does he have to say “an ultra-luxury resort”? Normal, secure people don’t boast like that.

FOARP, his firm “estimates” by deciding in advance what he wants the conclusions to be and then creating the data to prove it.

February 28, 2012 @ 1:32 pm | Comment

To 120:
“Considering America poses a threat to China, they will never consider giving Tibet more autonomy as long as much later arriving Americans continue to occupy an entire continent they don’t belong to.”
—huh? Americans weren’t native there, and America is supposedly a “threat” to China, so China must continue to oppress Tibetans? You’re no longer simply comparing apples and oranges. You’re basically suggesting that apples cause oranges, which furthermore result in pineapples. Bizarro indeed.

There is no doubt “Americans” took land from aboriginal peoples. Heck, you can say that throughout the Americas. So what do you propose? That people who are not descendants of aboriginal peoples vacate the 3 continents (north, south, central)? Yeah, that sounds realistic. And how far back does that logic go? Should we in fact all head back to Africa since that is where man began? How about something a little more logical and practical (I know, not concepts you can grasp, but stay with me here)? We’re talking about China giving Tibetans more autonomy without independence. It is something that is actually feasible, and can be accomplished without vacating the “New World”.

So you’re concerned (as you always are when you tend to see shadows around every corner) that America is a threat. So yeah, let’s harbour a bunch of unhappy people within China’s territory. That’s a great way to achieve security. It would seem to me that China would be better off making Tibetans feel more included rather than persecuted, so that they’d be less inclined to have sympathy for apparent evil outside forces. But like I said, logic ain’t your thing.

“They’re also not “fertile ground” for your wet dream of revolution and civil war in China.”
—when did I say “revolution” and “civil war”? There’s your creative reading rearing its ugly head again. You should really get that looked at. Unhappy Tibetans are fertile ground for discontent. But hey, if you want to believe that Tibet is not fertile ground for discontent, go right ahead. You seem to exist in an alternate reality anyway.

I’m glad Tsarong in #121 corrected some of your many misconceptions as evidenced by your last bit of #120. I should really thank him/her.

But I must say, I really enjoyed the Sharon Stone bit. It’s always hilarious when you reach for talking heads like that when you agree with what they say. Who knows, maybe you’ll be supporting your statements with a Richard Gere quote soon. One can only hope. Please don’t let me down.

And blaming the current suffering of Tibetans on karma from stuff that occurred over a thousand years ago…that’s really classy stuff. You take “blame the victim” to a new low. You drill down to such depths on such a regular basis that you should be hitting oil soon.

February 28, 2012 @ 2:18 pm | Comment

@Cookie
Hong Kong was (relatively) prosperous for a Guangdong city because it was well-placed for maritime trade. It had nothing to do with the British. Other coastal cities in China likewise “flourished”.

Hahaha. Still in denial. Without good governance and rule of law, you can eat grass even if you are on the coast. 共匪的奴才就偏死鸭子嘴硬

February 28, 2012 @ 3:51 pm | Comment

You know, it’s funny. I would be really interested in discussing American Indian history and the current situation and policies with someone who actually gives a shit about that topic. I have a lot to say about it and there’s a lot to criticise about the way things are now. And yet I’ve never talked a Chinese nationalist fenqing type who actually cares one way or the other what happens to indigenous people outside of China … it’s just squid ink.

February 28, 2012 @ 11:25 pm | Comment

@Cookie Monster #122
I won’t accuse you of lying, but you might almost be right if you’re referring to the TAR alone. Obviously, Kham, Amdo and the “Indian” parts of Tibet have not been under Lhasa’s control for centuries.

Just for the record, Kham != the Tibetan areas of Sichuan and Amdo != the Tibetan areas of Qinghai. Western Kham (Chamdo and vicinities) was under Lhasa’s control by all accounts throughout the “de facto independence” era, which is why western Kham is still part of the TAR. Geoffrey Samuel in Civilized Shamans (the early part of which contains the best overview of traditional Tibetan political systems that is available in English) describes traditional Tibet as series of concentric circles. Carole McGranahan in Arrested Histories argues that the division of Tibetan areas as “under Lhasa’s control” vs. “outside of Lhasa’s control” is entirely a product of early 20th century British attempts to draw lines on maps as part of their colonial project. It was to become a legal reality under the Simla Accord, a three-way agreement between the British Empire, China (Yuan Shikai’s ROC at the time), and Lhasa — but this was never accepted by the Chinese side so it never went into force. Nevertheless, this British colonial idea of “inner Tibet” and “outer Tibet” became the conventional wisdom and has been assumed by Chinese policy since then. In reality, almost all Tibetan areas had some degree of loyalty to Lhasa and all had some degree of independence; the balance varied, but it was never a “yes or no” question. Probably the most fiercely independent of the minor Tibetan states was Drukyül, which the Injis call Bhutan (it’s still independent today). I don’t know why you mention “Indian Tibet” specifically: in fact, Sikkim was clearly subordinate to Lhasa before the British wrested it away in the 1870s and Tawang paid taxes to Lhasa up until the 1940s. It’s true that Ladakh was conquered by Kashmir a long time ago. Not sure what the political status of Lahul and Spiti was in the old days.

To me, the relevance of these facts is not so much the statelike features of the old Tibetan political system, but the background sense of national solidarity it implies. Tibet is uniquely conscious of itself as national entity compared to other stateless peoples (although it is still far from the fully modern popular nationalism found in true nation states).

February 29, 2012 @ 1:06 am | Comment

SK Cheung
That people who are not descendants of aboriginal peoples vacate the 3 regions of Tibet (U-Tsang, Amdo, Kham)? Yeah, that sounds realistic.

thanks for saving me the time.

February 29, 2012 @ 4:50 am | Comment

“Mike
I don’t know how toe Chinese economy works”

Cookie
Toe?

Never mind, read up on how the world economies work. Learn how the Chinese make stuff so we westerners can buy cheap (even a small minority of indigenous people you don’t give a shit about in a country you hate despite living there). It’s basic stuff, even you might get it…. And it’s great to see how Tibetans have enjoyed this growth, along with the Uighurs (hey, wasn’t there another riot in Kashgar? 12 dead – something to do with the inequalities of the distribution of the wealth created by the Chinese wirtshaftwunder).

February 29, 2012 @ 5:05 am | Comment

Mike
Learn how the Chinese make stuff so we westerners can buy cheap

Learn the difference between a price tag and profit margins and then get back to me, and I’ll teach you how GDP works.

February 29, 2012 @ 5:27 am | Comment

@Cookie Monster #138,

An independent or autonomous Tibet is possible without expelling anybody, and I would suggest extending citizenship to any civilians who are legal residents under PRC law. There aren’t really that many non-Tibetans living in Tibet; Hans and Huis have a high profile because they are concentrated in the capital. I looked at census figures and estimated that a free Tibet would have a Sinophone minority of 15-20% (I suspect less in practice because some people would want to move voluntarily). There were Soviet republics that had larger Russian minorities than that and it wasn’t an insurmountable obstacle, including in the Baltic states which have done quite well since independence.

So, independence/autonomy/democracy in Tibet and expulsions are two completely separate issues.

February 29, 2012 @ 7:20 am | Comment

To 138:
“That people who are not descendants of aboriginal peoples vacate the 3 regions of Tibet (U-Tsang, Amdo, Kham)? Yeah, that sounds realistic.”
—you are a child, given your repeated penchant to take other people’s phrasing, change a word here and there, and pass it off as your own.

And you are a moron, since no one is talking about expelling non-native Tibetans. For once in your life, you should aspire to arguing against what other people say, rather than against the random musings that are generated from whatever it is that exists between your ears.

And you know, if #134 is too complicated for you, how about if we boil it down to the money shots so you don’t get so easily confused:
1. “We’re talking about China giving Tibetans more autonomy without independence. It is something that is actually feasible, and can be accomplished without vacating the “New World”.”
2. “It would seem to me that China would be better off making Tibetans feel more included rather than persecuted, so that they’d be less inclined to have sympathy for apparent evil outside forces.”

You give even CCP apologists a bad name.

February 29, 2012 @ 9:21 am | Comment

@Otto, 136 – apologies for overlooking your posts

I’m hardly a fenqing type. I just get branded as such because I don’t kowtow to the West’s deranged worldview. Do I care about aboriginals outside of China? I do in the sense that I “care” about poor people in general. I guess to sum it up I’d like to see the natives in America flourish again and I have my own theories on how it could happen but it seems like a pipedream to me.

137
In reality, almost all Tibetan areas had some degree of loyalty to Lhasa and all had some degree of independence; the balance varied, but it was never a “yes or no” question. Probably the most fiercely independent of the minor Tibetan states was Drukyül, which the Injis call Bhutan (it’s still independent today). I don’t know why you mention “Indian Tibet” specifically: in fact, Sikkim was clearly subordinate to Lhasa before the British wrested it away in the 1870s and Tawang paid taxes to Lhasa up until the 1940s.

Thanks for this, Otto. I stand corrected on Sikkim. On a related note, what are your opinions on India’s annexation of Sikkim? For me, personally, Tibetan independence or autonomy would be far more palatable if they took back all the parts that Britain/India basically stole. It sickens me that the REAL flooding of Tibet is happening in Sikkim, Ladakh and AP and the West stays completely silent on that fact. Whereas the permanent Han population in Tibetan regions is declining rapidly if anything.

141
An independent or autonomous Tibet is possible without expelling anybody, and I would suggest extending citizenship to any civilians who are legal residents under PRC law. There aren’t really that many non-Tibetans living in Tibet

True. I wouldn’t disagree at all that it’s logistically possible. Politically though, it is. I see no reason why China should bow to the demands of other nations whose only interest is in hurting China, not helping Tibetans. I’d revisit the line you made about squid ink in the first place, but fill in the blanks with Iraq, Afghan, Tibetan, Libyan, Syrian, Iranian, so on and so forth.

I just don’t think career liars and genocidal scum should draw the world’s borders. If China lets go of or eases up on Tibet it will be on Chinese terms and a uniquely Chinese historical precedent that the West will never in a million years emulate.

February 29, 2012 @ 9:22 am | Comment

To Mike,
you should refer the guy to the Credit Suisse report which demonstrates that China’s wealth Gini has been on the rise. It marked yet another of Cookie’s episodes of sheer “brilliance”.

February 29, 2012 @ 9:37 am | Comment

^ Guess what, it’s been on the rise … everywhere.

Let us not forget the part where you thought the difference between 80 and 41 Gini was insignificant, and where you thought it was an acronym.

February 29, 2012 @ 9:52 am | Comment

*politically, it isn’t

February 29, 2012 @ 10:12 am | Comment

If China lets go of or eases up on Tibet it will be on Chinese terms and a uniquely Chinese historical precedent that the West will never in a million years emulate.

If this historical precedent exists, you should tell us what it is and then we can discuss its merits and whether it could be emulated or not.

February 29, 2012 @ 10:51 am | Comment

Voluntarily giving up territory for diplomatic or moral reasons is a uniquely Chinese phenomenon, but something on the scale of Tibet would set a precedent. I think you misread my comment.

February 29, 2012 @ 11:43 am | Comment

@Cookie Monster, 144

Well, I regret implying anything about you specifically. I think it is common for American Indians to be brought up by people who don’t give a damn about American Indians. (I wonder how actual aboriginal Americans would feel about being used to justify the situation in Tibet). That might not apply to you personally.

Thanks for this, Otto. I stand corrected on Sikkim. On a related note, what are your opinions on India’s annexation of Sikkim? For me, personally, Tibetan independence or autonomy would be far more palatable if they took back all the parts that Britain/India basically stole. It sickens me that the REAL flooding of Tibet is happening in Sikkim, Ladakh and AP and the West stays completely silent on that fact. Whereas the permanent Han population in Tibetan regions is declining rapidly if anything.

I don’t have a strong opinion about Indian taking over Sikkim. Generally, I like having more and smaller countries, but annexation was apparently popular with the public there. The real problem in Sikkim is the demographic shift where it developed a Gurkha majority, but that has been a fait accompli since the 19th century. I’m generally against major demographic changes since they are almost never what the local public wants. Sikkim is also a bit of a special case in the Tibetan world since (along with, for example, Muli in Sichuan and to some extent Bhutan as well) it’s not clear that it ever really had a primarily Tibetan public, despite its Tibetan ruling class. I think most of the citizens were always various indigenous Himalayan clans, who didn’t necessarily appreciate being ruled by Tibetans. So the best solution might have been to detangle Sikkim out of the Tibetan sphere and have as an independent republic ruled by the locals.

So, the situation in Sikkim is basically already done for. I’m not aware of major ongoing demographic changes in the Tawang area or Ladakh, but I don’t claim to know a lot about them. If there is major demographic change, I’m against it. Still, problems around the periphery of the Tibetan world just don’t seem like as big of a deal as problems in the heartland of Tibetan civilisation.

141
An independent or autonomous Tibet is possible without expelling anybody, and I would suggest extending citizenship to any civilians who are legal residents under PRC law. There aren’t really that many non-Tibetans living in Tibet

True. I wouldn’t disagree at all that it’s logistically possible. Politically though, it is. I see no reason why China should bow to the demands of other nations whose only interest is in hurting China, not helping Tibetans. I’d revisit the line you made about squid ink in the first place, but fill in the blanks with Iraq, Afghan, Tibetan, Libyan, Syrian, Iranian, so on and so forth.

I just don’t think career liars and genocidal scum should draw the world’s borders. If China lets go of or eases up on Tibet it will be on Chinese terms and a uniquely Chinese historical precedent that the West will never in a million years emulate.

True. I wouldn’t disagree at all that it’s logistically possible. Politically though, it is.

I agree that it is politically impossible at present. However, I think this is a bit of a change of subject. Independence-without-expulsions and independence-with-expulsions are both politically impossible.

February 29, 2012 @ 2:21 pm | Comment

“If China lets go of or eases up on Tibet it will be on Chinese terms and a uniquely Chinese historical precedent that the West will never in a million years emulate.”

There are several states in the world today which have ceded substantial powers of autonomy in areas under their control without force being involved, but because a desire for autonomy was expressed in the territory concerned or for diplomatic reasons. To cite only some of the most recent examples: Scottish and Welsh devolution, Serbia’s cession of Montenegro, the redefining of Quebec’s position as a “nation within Canada”, the division of Czechoslovakia. There would be nothing incredibly unique about Tibet being granted greater (as in, actual) autonomy.

February 29, 2012 @ 2:41 pm | Comment

To 145:
Hey look, you wrote an original sentence. Well done!

Your are correct, I used Gini incorrectly previously. But I must thank you again for bringing forth the data to support my assertion that a growing income gap in China must eventually result in a growing wealth gap, and I again enjoy the irony that you did so thinking it would support yours. That also was well done.

Your #143 is actually not bad. Of course, independence is logistically possible. And of course, independence is politically impossible. And that might explain why people aren’t talking about independence. They’re only talking about autonomy in more than name alone. And that doesn’t involve “Voluntarily giving up territory”, which seems to be the only position you can conceptualize on the subject.

February 29, 2012 @ 3:32 pm | Comment

SKC,

I don’t think autonomy is really much more politically possible than independence. I think the government knows that once the genie is out of the bottle, they won’t really be able to control where it goes; therefore, they can never loosen their grip even a little. I do think there is an alternative in the form of some kind of closely-watched semi-democratic autonomy, but it would be risky.

February 29, 2012 @ 9:09 pm | Comment

The Chinese state in its current form is brutal, genocidal and totalitarian towards Tibetans. It has been since 1959 and it has not changed yet. Only the collapse of the Chinese state in its current form holds out any hope of any kind. Tibetans and well wishers should work towards that end.

February 29, 2012 @ 10:23 pm | Comment

Tsarong,

Being as our enemies are consummate liars and distorters of the truth, let’s we go for a high standard of accuracy. China in Tibet: Brutal? Yes. Totalitarian? Yes. Genocidal? Not really. I don’t like the watering-down of that word.

The government has had 53 years to kill all the Tibetans, and there are an awful lot of Tibetans left. The demographic shift in Tibet is not a fait accompli yet and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be accomplished in the immediate future. This is a good thing – it means a free Tibet can be won without ethnic cleansing (as opposed to, say, Greek revanchism about Constantinople – there are currently more Turks living in the city than there are Greeks in the whole world). I think it’s probably true what they say that Tibetans’ average life expectancy has increased (I don’t necessarily trust official figures on how much it has increased, though). So, genocide doesn’t seem like the right word.

It’s interesting to look at the reasons why China has chosen brutal but not genocidal policies in Tibet. For one thing, there is the difficulty of implementing a practical policy which is contrary to the ostensible goals of the organization: it’s harder to give clear instructions to your subordinates. The Chinese Communists had a position in favor of ethnic self-determination going back to before they were in power, and it’s somewhat awkward to switch that to racial supremacy now. It’s not an insurmountable problem, though, since they have gone against Communist ideology in various other ways. An important thing to bear in mind is that Chinese policymaking has not been in the hands of one mastermind for a long time; instead, it’s done by committees and different levels of government interacting, which tends to discourage bold moves for good or ill.

Back in the 1950s, the PRC’s position was still somewhat unsteady and they were trying to avoid getting pulled into a major war with Tibet, so they attempted to coöpt the Tibetan élite instead. This created some inertia behind at least pretending to try to get along. After the revolt and the war (followed by the mulching of the Panchen clique) ended the élite collaboration strategy, they went straight into the Cultural Revolution. I think the Chinese leadership at the time overestimated how readily Tibetans would give up their identity and be assimilated as loyal Chinese subjects. They didn’t they had to kill the people to kill Tibet. They were reportedly very surprised at the emotional reaction of the Tibetan public to the Tibetan fact-finding missions in the early 80s (Chinese leaders apparently really believed that the public reaction would be anger and they were afraid of anti-exile riots!) Nowadays, there are probably limits to how much international PR damage the Chinese government is willing to put up with over Tibet; they’ll take a lot opprobrium and ignore it, but gas chambers might be a bridge too far. It’s worth noting that, in international law, genocide is often seen as a sufficient cause to warrant secession (as in the case of Kosovo) whereas simply enforcing objectionable laws is not. More to the point, what they’ve been doing in Tibet basically works; major political change there looks like it’s as far away as ever. They aren’t going to destablize it now with a big shift toward mass murder. I think they are still overly-optimistic about their long-term prospects. I think it will take hundreds of years to crush the Tibetan spirit of resistance (just as the English spent hundreds of years ruling Ireland and trying to get the Irish to like it, “the beatings will continue until morale increases”-style. The Irish didn’t stop wanting to be free even after they gave up their own language. Maybe some day there will be an independent Tibet where everybody speaks Chinese.)

March 1, 2012 @ 1:08 am | Comment

I do agree that the collapse of the Chinese state is Tibet’s only hope in the foreseeable future. Hopefully, the collapse would be followed swiftly by a new, stable, more liberal government. Actually, the ideal result for Tibet would be a partial collapse leading to a period of uncertainty and paralysis in China for a few months, with nobody totally sure who’s in charge, but without much actual violence. This would create a window of opportunity for an uprising in Tibet (and, presumably, in Xinjiang, too). However, any more liberal government would be very good news for Tibet. Liu Xiaobo for president!

March 1, 2012 @ 1:37 am | Comment

This thread has gone on long enough. If you need to keep talking about Tibet please use the thread above.

March 1, 2012 @ 1:59 am | Comment

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