Tibetans, second-class citizens?

Yes, I know all about the schools, the hospitals, the highways and the end of serfdom. I know about improvements in the quality of life and all the economic benefits. I know how Chinese people see Tibet and I know that there is some justification for it. But I also know that many, many Tibetans do not see the CCP’s involvement in Tibet to be liberating. Many rage against the interference of the Han Chinese even while they profit from it. (This phenomenon is described in one of the best chapters of the new book Chinese Characters.) Some even go so far as to self-immolate.

But the debate as to how much the Tibetans have benefited thanks to the largesse and munificence of the CCP is largely irrelevant to the discussion of how so many Tibetans are treated as second-class citizens. And the fact that they are is simply undebatable. It is a matter of fact.

I urge you all to read this excellent interview of a leading Tibetan scholar by my former blog buddy Matt Schiavenza. Tibetans are being denied passports because the Party fears they’ll travel to India to hear the teachings of the Dalai Lama. Han Chinese, of course, face no such restrictions. Tibetans are the Untouchables. Matt asks the scholar, Robert Barnett, about other restrictions:

There have been many. These include the Chinese government putting Communist Party cadres in every monastery, requiring every monastery to display pictures of Chairman Mao Zedong, putting troops on every corner of the Tibetan quarter in Lhasa, limiting foreign visitors to guided groups, having to give their names before photocopying, not being allowed to enter Lhasa without a police guarantee if they’re from another Tibetan area, and many more.

The strategy of pouring money into Tibet has failed to bring the Tibetan people to that stage of enlightenment wherein they view the Communist Party as liberators. It will never happen so long as the CCP tries to force its own culture down the Tibetans’ throats. Things have only deteriorated since the riots of the Spring of 2008, and no matter how thrilled the CCP propagandists say the Tibetans are with their liberation (and you gotta check that link), the truth is far darker. The Party can trumpet its generosity and label all protest as the work of the jackal the DL, but the fact remains that many Tibetans do not believe they have been liberated, and instead see the Han as colonizers. Is it that hard to wonder why?

Read the whole piece
.

______________

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: 211 Comments

Interesting that out of a population of some 2 or 3 million Tibetans, only “tens of thousands” would be considered middle class. So much for all that money going into develop the place, I guess most of the money just goes straight into the hands of the Han immigrants.

Anyone know if Tibetans from other parts of the country such as Sichuan, Gansu or Yunnan are also being denied passports?

February 1, 2013 @ 11:46 am | Comment

Good points all, but you forgot what might be an even bigger one, far bigger than passports- Tibetans can’t even travel to Xizang province right now if they come from one of the Tibetan regions outside the TAR. So if you’re from Qinghai and you want to travel/visit family/pursue business/go on pilgrimage to Lhasa, it’s essentially impossible, while Han pour in.

The writer Woeser related a particularly revealing episode- at a highway checkpoint police noticed that she was Tibetan and stopped her car, searching it for other Tibetans. At Lhasa railway station Tibetans get extra security checks. I guess some Chinese want to act bewildered by how Tibetans are acting ‘ungrateful,’ but when you can’t even travel around what’s supposed to be your own country, how can you even get to the point of caring about a passport?!

Woeser is using the word ‘apartheid’ more and more, and I’m not entirely sure that apartheid is inaccurate these days.

February 1, 2013 @ 12:13 pm | Comment

Hold the phone. The CCP has a culture?

February 1, 2013 @ 12:37 pm | Comment

Ironically, one of the major problem of Tibet’s lack of economic development has been that because they actually don’t teach Mandarin at the public school as the primary language (this goes for Xinjiang as well) in Tibetan dominated schools. which leave their students with very little chance of seeking employement elsewhere in China for obvious reasons.

Of course, if they did, and Tibetans leave Tibet by the thousands to live / work in other places in China where their second generation will inevitably become much less Tibetan, that seem to play right into the “cultural killing” wheel house.

Of course, I advocate for the CCP to follow the brilliant American model of killing them until there’s only a few thousand left, chase them into parts consider crap even in Tibet, and then give them full autonomy after their culture and even language has literally been destroyed and then lament how there’s about 20x more rape per capita and alcholism is about 100% in those region! (sarcasm, but not entirely)

One need to point out that the Tibetan government in exile is asking for an automous region way larger than just TAR though, which has been a major sticking point.

That is not to say that CCP hasn’t done any wrong, but I think second class citizen is a stretch, I can point out that pretty much all Han Dissidents and their relatives are likely to see even more restriction then Tibetans.

February 1, 2013 @ 3:42 pm | Comment

Rather, I should clarify that I think the way the Tibetan situation is being handeled by the Tibetans and their foreign supporter is unlikely to be constructive. If their goal is to be completely independent, then the time has long past for armed inssurection, and without that the odds of it happening is close to nil, seeing that I don’t think even the Tibetan in exile really think that is the course of action, then you need to try to find reasonable common grounds to push negotiation with China, instead of provoking them to no end without constructive opinions.

February 1, 2013 @ 3:47 pm | Comment

I suppose it all comes down to a question of who you know. Israel has done much the same for six decades, and has the full support of the West. China is actually trying to bring Tibetans into the fold through development – albeit “clumsily” – Israel isn’t even trying to do that with its Palestinians. And that is the the big elephant in the room here; China is kinder to Tibetans than Israel is to Palestinians, and the West embraces Israel. Go figure!

February 1, 2013 @ 6:49 pm | Comment

Very good points and well researched. It’s hard to grasp how you can drive one of the most peaceful non-violent and almost entirely devout buddhist places on the planet to riot and immolate themselves.

February 1, 2013 @ 7:28 pm | Comment

‘Peaceful’ and ‘nonviolent’? That’s a rather selective view of things, considering all the warfare that took place amongst Tibetans during the Qing dynasty – witness the fact that all the zhai 寨 covering the area, and all the monasteries besides, are huge freaking literal fortresses, and raiding and plundering food was practically a way of life in Tibetan Kham well up until the Republican period. That, and the fact that they staged a CIA-supported armed rebellion against Chinese rule in 1959, kinda speaks against the whole nonviolence thing in modern times.

If they’re just burning themselves, that’s actually kind of tame for them.

February 1, 2013 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

BB, I have been very critical of the Israelis for their treatment of the Palestinans. But this post is about China and one doesn’t mitigate the other.

Same with Yu-Hsing. What America did to the Native Americans is a great stain on the country’s history, as are its recent escapades in the Middle East. I have criticized both countless times. But this post is about China, and if the best some can do is to point to how bad the US is I see it as an acknowledgement of my main points.

February 2, 2013 @ 12:33 am | Comment

Richard, thanks for linking to that. The thing is that the CCP thinks all “Chinese” people, including Tibetans, should be eternally grateful for what it does. That’s why it often reacts unreasonably when people aren’t grateful. Of course, because Tibetans are a minority in a remote part of the country it’s easier to crack down on them.

February 2, 2013 @ 4:13 am | Comment

BB is absolutely right. More than that, look at how Iraqis have been bombed into pieces in the name of spreading democracy , freedom and human rights !

February 2, 2013 @ 8:24 am | Comment

Chinese people don’t need this crap humn rights. In the past we were forced to swallow opiums.

February 2, 2013 @ 8:28 am | Comment

I think this is an internal matter and foreigners should keep their noses out. Let Tibetans decide their own fate. Oh wait, that’s not going to happen. Maybe we should let them be heard. Oh wait, that’s not going to happen either. They can’t even get a passport, let alone be able to speak out against anything the government is doing. Oh well. Sucks to be Tibetan.

February 2, 2013 @ 8:42 pm | Comment

“Chinese people don’t need this crap humn rights. Oh and I guess I’ll go ahead and speak for the Tibetans, too, because that’s a thing you can do when you’re a Chinese nationalist.”

February 2, 2013 @ 10:57 pm | Comment

As a Chinese I strongly being lectured constantly on human rights by ppl who seldom practice what they preach is a shame. That’s why I dislike it

February 3, 2013 @ 12:20 am | Comment

I think this thread has been troll-jacked. Sorry.

Bottom line: the US killed Native Americans and did bad things in Iraq, thus no one should comment on social inequalities in Tibet.

February 3, 2013 @ 1:39 am | Comment

Firstly I’m not American, I’m Australian. Secondly I’m third generation German. Thirdly, I have nothing to do with what happened in the past or what happens in other countries.

If I feel strongly about human suffering, I speak up. I do the same for wars in Iraq on the ‘America’s war of terror’ blog. Or Israel’s war on Palestine. These are all issues which are prominent in the media and I regularly get pictures and posts on facebook recognizing the problem and denouncing these among many issues in the world.

My sister has an international politics major. I get everything from Julia Gillard’s mismanagement and lack of addressing major issues to female genital mutilation in Afghanistan.

These are all issues of human rights and they should ALL be dealt with. If you want to talk about America’s issues, go for it but this isn’t the most relevant platform for doing so. There are PLENTY of message boards where you can join in with thousands of other Americans and people from around the globe in discussing the issue.

If a human rights issue is identified, people should be disgusted and want to change it regardless of country or whatever. Saying Tibetan apartheid is ok because country XYZ did ABC makes absolutely no sense. If that’s how human rights were dealt with, then every country in the world would be shitting on their citizens and simply trawling through the accuser’s history books to find a tit-for-tat example. Face the problem, address the problem and say sorry.

I do believe the Australian government has done that with indigenous Australians. Kevin Rudd publicly addressed the nation, acknowledged the atrocities that were inflicted by the British and Australian government and said SORRY.

They now enjoy, free housing, free education, free car, double the welfare, priority in job placement, historical land rights, freedom of religion, they have their own TV channel and news, their own party, and they are just about impossible to arrest, they get priority in education and they get huge grants for their indigenous arts and sports programs. I know all this because I used to teach indigenous children. My mother used to nurse in an indigenous Australian town and you only have to turn on the TV in Australia and Indigenous Australians have a prominent voice in Australia. They even have their own football team, the Indigenous all-stars which recently played the Australian A rugby team. Our two best boxers ATM are indigenous Australians who strongly advocate indigenous Australians rights.

Their situation is not ideal and there is much more to do, but in the end, I’m not responsible for what the British colonisers and Australian government of yesteryear did, I can only advocate it’s quick resolution and compensation. Any comments on what should still be done, btw has probably already been said and is still being said by the indigenous Australian party and the many advocates. But your support is welcome, the more people that back their cause, the better.

February 3, 2013 @ 6:22 am | Comment

Again, I think Indigenous Australian’s current situation is far from ideal, but it’s improving due to the ability for them to speak out and have these issues recognised, and the active support of many of the Australian public.

I think for Tibetans, this would be a good start.

Governments will shit on anyone if they can get away with it. You have to fight for your right. Chinese people would know this better than anyone.

For example (true story), I Chinese family have a heavily disabled child in the countryside. They are entitled to a monthly payment for disability support. After months of pushing the town leader, he still won’t pay them. So they go to the county office and petition. The county office won’t pay them either. So they leave their disabled child at the office and tell them they can care of him. The county guards drop him off the next day at the edge of their village with the compensation money in his pocket.

I’m sure most Chinese know similar stories. But the message is true. Greed is universal and people get the government they deserve. You have to fight for your right.

February 3, 2013 @ 6:55 am | Comment

# 17 What a saint and such an illustrious family tree also.

February 3, 2013 @ 9:38 am | Comment

Thank you Sir Tubster! I must say you are quite the star on this blog yourself.

February 3, 2013 @ 11:45 am | Comment

Actually I hated the job. Half of the job was “positive handling” for the school because there was only three men in the school and I was the only teacher who was trained for positive handling. So every time there was an incident with fighting or serious misbehaviour, I was the go to guy. School bouncer of sorts. Depressed me pretty bad at the worst of times.

February 3, 2013 @ 11:49 am | Comment

I get the feeling that Tibet is like a bone stuck in China’s throat. Yes the Tibetans are not happy with CCP rule, but hte CCP can’t let them go their own way since the CCP is fearful of China breaking up like the USSR. Much, if not most, of Western China would love to break free of China. It’s not just Tibetans who are suffering under CCP rule. It’s not just Western China either. I suspect many other parts of China would love to break away from the Beijing CCP imperial control of the Chinese Republic.

I feel sad for the Tibetans who are suffering, but I also feel sad for all the Chinese who are suffering under CCP rule. Indeed for the suffering of all sentient beings. At this point there is not much we can do about most of this suffering, but that does not mean we should forget it. Rather we should do what we can, and if that’s not enough, there is always prayer and meditation (both of which are very important in Tibetan religion and culture)

February 3, 2013 @ 12:48 pm | Comment

Not to put too fine a point on it, the equality that Tibetans need is self-determination. Chinese people get to have their own country, and Tibetans should, too, if they want it.

The prospects for that are close to zer0 under current conditions. There’s no hopeful trend to speak of. The only hope is liberalization in the PRC as a whole. That isn’t going to happen any time soon, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if it happens in the 2020s.

February 3, 2013 @ 1:40 pm | Comment

“As a Chinese I strongly being lectured constantly on human rights by ppl who seldom practice what they preach is a shame. That’s why I get to ignore Tibetans when they demand the human rights that are their birthright as human beings.” -a chinese nationalist

February 3, 2013 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

Richard @ 16

For me it is a question of why is Tibetan rights keeping Americans awake at night? We don’t have to go back centuries or go overseas to see the glass house of Americans’ criticism of China/Tibet. Why aren’t more Americans losing sleep over the second-class African-American citizens in our urban areas? That is why I’m skeptical of our supposed compassion that we grandiosely export to countries who laugh at us about it.

For the record, 1 in 3 African-Americans is likely to be imprisoned, and are well over-represented in prisons. Police harassment of African-Americans is routine, police brutality is a huge problem, poor federal and local investment in schools in black areas means that education is de-facto denied to them. Not to mention discrimination in housing, wages, and hiring. In some ways, African-Americans are worse off than Tibetans – again, at least China is trying to incorporate Tibetans and has genuinely offering opportunities. For African-Americans in the world’s freest country opportunities are limited.

Why don’t we Americans bring that to the UN?

February 3, 2013 @ 5:55 pm | Comment

Hey! Let’s pick on Germany instead.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/sex-with-animals-banned-20130202-2dr8h.html

“GERMANY’S upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, has voted to criminalise for the first time ”using an animal for personal sexual activities” and to punish offenders with fines of as much as $34,000.

Mr Zimmermann had a Great Dane with which he occasionally had sex but it died four months ago, he said. Now he lives with his similarly zoophilic boyfriend and their celibate Dalmatian.”

February 3, 2013 @ 8:30 pm | Comment

LOL That’s animal rights gone to far…

February 3, 2013 @ 8:44 pm | Comment

Not just African American; indeed most other minorities are second class when it comes to critical issues.

February 3, 2013 @ 8:56 pm | Comment

@ yamabuki Zhou (Feb 3, 12:48 pm) – sorry to be so ignorant, but can you please direct me to sites that would show what you say about Chinese regions and how they would like to be more independent of Beijing rule? Not knowing your country, I didn’t realise that (minority groups aside) there were such tensions. Is this a long-standing thing, or a reaction to the economic development and land grabs or recent years?

February 4, 2013 @ 12:50 am | Comment

#25 You’re doing the same tired thing: Any discussion of Tibet leads to how bad the US is or has been. But we in the US HAVE been outraged and “kept up at night’ by America’s many sins and injustices. One doesn’t negate the other. Period.

Go through this blog, especially in 2004, and see how critical I have been of the US, especially under Bush. Or look at a more recent post. But this is a blog mainly about China. Should we be silent on Tibet? And tell us, do you believe Tibetans are treated just the same, with the same rights and privileges, as their Han brothers?

February 4, 2013 @ 3:44 am | Comment

Richard @ 30

I think what I’m getting at is that the US and all of us who think we may be better than the Chinese don’t really have a clue. It’s not just about pointing out America’s short-comings – that, as you say would be tired. It is about challenging the implicit suggestion that America (and Americans) knows what they are talking about and know the solution.

We haven’t solved our own second-class citizen problem (and we seem clueless about how to do it) so why should anyone believe that we know how to solve theirs? We don’t, and that is a big problem because we are pretending to know what to do when we don’t. A quick look at our foreign policy over the past several decades shows that we have a bloody history of fucking up other people’s countries pretending to know what we are doing.

So it goes beyond the simplistic tu quoque of “we do it too!”. The truth is that we have no meaningful solution to offer anyone, anywhere, on how to resolve ethnic minority abuse. If we did, we would have solved our own problem of the obscene abuse of African-Americans.

February 4, 2013 @ 5:16 am | Comment

That’s right. If you’re American, you have no right to speak out against any human rights violations any where in the world. But every other country is ok. Until I come up with an excuse for you others too.

BTW Excuse still pending.

February 4, 2013 @ 7:08 am | Comment

Nice, another thread about China that ends up with discussing America. These guys are great at derailing.

The thread is about the alleged restriction of passports for an ethnic minority. For all those people saying that Americans shouldn’t discuss this because of their own track record, why don’t you tell us what you think of this policy yourselves? No, because it’s not just Americans, you don’t want anyone discussing this stuff.

I’m not an American, is it okay if I disagree with this policy?

February 4, 2013 @ 9:03 am | Comment

@ Sackerson. Concerning Western China’s strong disaffection with CCP control, one need only search the internet to find evidence. A quick search found the following web pages(see below), but I’m sure you could find more sites that say much the same thing.

Probably the provinces in China that are most restive are in Western China. Tibet (Xizang), Quinghai, and Xinjiang make up the three western provinces of China.

Tibet I think has already been discussed. Quinghai has many Tibetans and is also not happy with Chinese rule. See http://www.voanews.com/content/tibetan-self-immolates-in-china-qinghai-security-clampdown/1517837.html and http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323300404578205060680190272.html

Xinjiang on the other hand, also in Western China, is mostly populated with Uighurs who mostly practice Islam. There has been ongoing unrest among the Uighurs against CCP rule. See http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/59942/joshua-kurlantzick/the-unsettled-west and http://www.cfr.org/china/uighurs-chinas-xinjiang-region/p16870

Other parts of China are discontented with CCP policies and have led to more and more civil unrest throughout China. Further there are other more subtle indications of disaffection, such as the antagonism between Northern and Southern China. Still at this point it seems to be mainly Western China that is most unhappy with CCP rule.

I hope this helps.

February 4, 2013 @ 11:47 am | Comment

@zhou

Don’t forget Hong Kong and Taiwan, these places would just love more of the CCP in their lives.

February 4, 2013 @ 12:29 pm | Comment

Hongxing #31,

My first thought was “oh, thank goodness”. I hope the UN kicks our ass over this BS.

February 4, 2013 @ 2:21 pm | Comment

Seriously, I don’t know why you guys let these fools troll you. You know exactly what they’re going to write, and what the response will be – like that guy in The Wire said: “You cannot lose if you do not play”.

Back on topic – problems in Tibet are part of the back-story of China which people may be forgiven for forgetting is still going on. Outside China stories about Tibet may only crop up two or three times a year, inside China they are never reported. The response when Tibet inevitably explodes in violent rioting leading to hundreds of deaths as it does every decade or so is a vague remembering amongst those outside China and disbelief, followed by scape-goating of foreigners amongst those in China.

February 4, 2013 @ 2:50 pm | Comment

Xilin @34

I fail to see how I’ve derailed the thread. If anything I’m calling for more meaningful dialogue. If all people have to offer is criticisms without solutions then all we are doing is nagging pointlessly. It is a legitimate and essential aspect of this issue that those who criticize should offer solutions.

It is also legitimate to point out that the US – and other western countries – haven’t solved the “problem” of their own ethnic minorities. You may recall that in the past two years, leaders of the UK, France, and Germany, have all stated that multi-culturalism has failed. The ongoing repression of African-Americans in the US also indicates that the US doesn’t really know how to deal with some of its minorities. And, of course, it is not just the US, many countries of the west, who are outspoken in their criticisms of China often forget the uncomfortable fact that their minorities are over-represented in prisons, have much higher poverty and unemployment rates, and report routine police harassment. This isn’t derailment because it shows that China’s Tibet critics don’t have anything to offer when it comes to successfully integrating minorities.

In fact, it may be the case that pointless western nagging without solutions is making the situation worse. For example, would we be denying passports to African-Americans if there were outside powers openly and aggressively sometimes, for African-Americans to take up arms against the US? No-one is denying that China has an ethnic minority problem in Tibet, the question is why should they follow the west’s lead when the west isn’t in a position to lead on this issue?

So again, the fact is, given that there is little indication that the US and (perhaps to a lesser degree, perhaps) other western countries seem to have aN meaningful solutions to their own integration problems of ethnic minorities, we really have very little to offer the Chinese in terms of advice, and even less to offer the Tibetans. No-one here – or on any other ex-pat blogs I’ve read – seem to offer any concrete solutions to the issue. That is because they don’t have a clue when it comes to ethnic minority issues – again, it comes down to pretending to know what is right and what is wrong and hoping that no-one notices the lack of substance in the nagging.

February 4, 2013 @ 3:25 pm | Comment

So what do the Tibetans think? That’s what I’d like to know. I’d love to hear it from the horse’s mouth. I know what African Americans and XYZ minorities think. I just go to their web page or facebook page and read it or just go go to the next desk in the office and ask them. I don’t need someone to tell us how XYZ minority feel or experience. I can read it, see it and be part of the solution.

February 4, 2013 @ 5:39 pm | Comment

@BB,

You have written so much on this thread without actually putting down what you think about this policy.

February 4, 2013 @ 10:50 pm | Comment

Xilin

Are you serious? That is all I’ve done.

February 4, 2013 @ 10:56 pm | Comment

FYI, I think the passport thing is retarded as well. It doesn’t mean, however, that Western nations and NGOs have a right to stick their nose in the tent, not with the shit they’ve been pulling.

February 5, 2013 @ 1:01 am | Comment

Lucky I’m not a ‘western nation’ government. I’m a concerned world citizen.

February 5, 2013 @ 6:31 am | Comment

Tibetans are not an ethnic minority. They are the majority in the places where most of them live. The solution I’m proposing is a UN-supervised, binding referendum by all registered residents on independence in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in each Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, followed by a border commission organized by the resulting sovereign government to suggest areas that might need referenda at the sub-prefectural level.

Some people might feel this is a bit radical. What I would suggest as a compromise measure would be free, multiparty, democratic elections in the TAR and in each Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, i.e. normal practice in a developed country.

February 5, 2013 @ 7:03 am | Comment

t_co, I would think sticking their noses into the Tibet issue instead of continued acquiescence to China would be something that international actors could do to make up for some of their past misdeeds. I’m not holding my breath.

A friend of mine a couple weeks ago said to me, “you know, the CIA has never done anything good since it was founded”, and I thought to myself, “basically right, except for the Khampa operation back in the 50s”.

February 5, 2013 @ 7:07 am | Comment

t_co, 43: It doesn’t mean, however, that Western nations and NGOs have a right to stick their nose in the tent, not with the shit they’ve been pulling.

What foreign nations are sticking their nose in the tent?

February 5, 2013 @ 7:49 am | Comment

This post was about Tibet, not about Germans, Australians or Americans. Most of you seem to have read very little about the Tibetan culture that was “liberated” in 1959 and has since been 95% destroyed, not or the sake of the Tibetans but for the sake of the Chinese — Tibet is a rich land that was not exploited before the Chinese came. The culture was theocratic and medieval, but it was slowly moving toward modernization (hardly anyone knows that). The people were killed, imprisoned, their culture was destroyed and they are as much second class citizens as Native Americans and Australian Aborigines have ever been. They are forced to speak Chinese, their ancient literature has been burned, the lamas in the monasteries do not know who is a spy, tourists think their holy sites are empty Disney-like exotica. The Chinese people have been lied to by their government about what happened in Tibet. The country was not “liberated”, it was destroyed.

In other countries young people with deep dissatisfactions are becoming suicide bombers and terrorizing cities. The Tibetans (99 so far) self-immolate from the same feelings of despair and anger, but they do not murder innocents as they die. The Dalai Lama has said again and again and again, that he will compromise with the Chinese government but they continue to call him a “splitist” out of same paranoid fear that drives despots everywhere.

Do some reading before you start spouting off about a country most of you commentators have never visited and never studied. I have been there twice and have been studying it’s literature for 25 years. As you have all heard “the victors write the history” — and necessarily that history is skewed.

February 5, 2013 @ 8:07 am | Comment

@BB,

You haven’t commented on a single one of the controversial policies mentioned in the Atlantic article. For example, what do you think of the policy to restrict passports for Tibetans?

@Otto,

On a national scale, they are an ethnic minority. As such, they face similar challenges as other minorities in other countries, such as lack of political representation at the national level.

February 5, 2013 @ 8:43 am | Comment

‘And the new rules say that any Tibetan, before getting a new passport, if indeed they ever get one, must make a written declaration not to do anything while abroad that might threaten China’s national security, and must be visited by the police and interviewed once he or she returns to see if they kept this undertaking.’

With policies like this, how do they ever hope to create a harmonious society? I can see what they’re trying to do and in the short term it might serve ‘national security’ interests, but in the long term, it’s just going to piss a lot of people off.

February 5, 2013 @ 9:00 am | Comment

Richard:

My remark was at least partially sarcastic of course, but the point is that it is difficult for an objective viewer of history, let alone an evenly slightly nationalistic Chinese, to not feel that the west is applying standards they hardly adhere to.

Because by all measure, China’s current point of social / economic development is not unlike that of early 20th century USA, and if that’s the standard, then the Chinese government have been saints to the Tibetans in comparison to the European / American government of that period to the various natives of the world.

That is of course, not to say the Chinese can’t do better on Tibet, they obviously can, but a lot of things in the world come in mixed bags, one of the major MAJOR issue of why Tibetan Youths are setting themselves on fire certainly has to do with the relatively more difficult employment for them (even if you don’t believe the 2008 article claim of 50% unemployement for Tibetans, it is not hard to imagine that they’re going to have a harder time finding jobs.) , but to address that, the most obvious course of action would be to teach mandarin as the primary language in public schools, but if the PRC is already being accused of cultural destruction now, how do you think that’ll go down? but would it be sensible to instead teach Tibetan to all Chinese employer so they can hire Tibetans?

By nature, Tibet is not going to be a very wealthy place, it is quite obvious that in terms of national budget allocation Tibet is a major net intaker (aka they get more money then they give out.) which complicates the picture greatly. would Tibetan groups really say… accept full autonomy outside of military, but that also means they need to take care of their own fiance? (again, outside of military).

I certainly think they should stop with the stupid travel bans and other silly restriction on them, as they should on all other dissdents of any ethnic, I feel that these things are NOT the real underlying issue of Tibet today.

February 5, 2013 @ 10:51 am | Comment

What foreign nations are sticking their nose in the tent?

How about the millions of dollars in funding that the NED forks over to the Dalai Lama and the TGIE every year? Or the default bias against the Chinese POV re Tibet in nearly every Western NGO?

There is no justification–I repeat, none–for those levels of support. Under principles of Westphalian sovereignty, either you recognize a state as the legal administrator of a region and refrain from subversion, or you derecognize it and prepare for conflict. Western support for the Tibetan movement is a direct threat to China’s national security, and should be treated as such. The fact that China is not going after funding flows to the Dalai Lama and Tibetan activists in the same manner that the US has gone after “terrorist financing” is already evidence of a more courteous approach than myself and many Chinese scholars would like.

February 5, 2013 @ 11:39 am | Comment

What China ought to do is adopt a multi-pronged strategy vs. the TGIE.

First, China should stop treating the Tibetan exiles as a unitary entity. Negotiations should start with moderate exiles who fully accept Chinese sovereignty over the region and reject the TGIE or any definition of autonomy that does not originate from Beijing.

Second, for exiles who are peaceful but don’t fall into the first grouping, China should actively pursue financial sanctions against them. Bar any financial institution that handles money for Tibetan exile groups from dealing with China’s banks–the same treatment the US has visited upon Iranian oil exporters. China does more physical trade than the US, and contributes a sizeable chunk of international financial flows; given such a choice, most banks would side with China.

Third, for exiles who do not renounce violence–if there is another spate of anti-Han or anti-Uighur rioting (remember, the Tibetans targeted both groups in March ’08), then China should pursue targeted kinetic operations against key individuals in the Tibetan exile movement (funding parties, organizers, individuals with leadership capability or charisma)–again, emulating US tactics in the GWOT so as to shield Chinese operations from any sort criticism.

The end goal is eliminate groups which are violent; shrink and fragment groups which are incorrigible but non-violent; and offer a peace branch to groups that accept the Chinese POV. Dealing with the Tibetans as a unified group of people only solidifies the TGIE’s position. Instead, China should seek to break them apart into manageable chunks, much as the British did with the Northern Irish and the Israelis have done with the Palestinians.

February 5, 2013 @ 11:49 am | Comment

We can look primarily at just the economical aspect at the moment, since generally speaking a lot of other issue really revolve around that.

The economy of Tibet is very limited naturally, aside from the low agricultural yield, poor access to any ocean / river or even land routes, building infrastructure a mile high is in itself a major problem.

For the PRC in general, the way to address this sort of poor region is to have most of their folks move to the cities and work there, so instead of pushing up a supply inefficiently, they more efficiently reduce the demand.

However, this doesn’t work for Tibet, due to the obvious problem mentioned, most average Tibetan speaks very limited Mandarin is at all, because the PRC actually do teach Tibetans in local public schools (up through Junior high) where they are the majority.

So Tibetans (and the minorities of Xinjian too) have very limited prospect of finding jobs in coastal cities, so they’re stuck at home, but the local area is very difficult to develop for reason that really can’t be blamed on the PRC.

To this extend, we can see a society where young people have little reasonable prospect of finding good careers, and a region where significant infrastructure improvement to meet up this excessive demand in the short run is unlikely at best even with the greatest effort. That’s obviously not a recipe for success. and that kinda describe the problem of Tibet these days more so then anything else.

In Xinjian the story is actually different, because there infrastructure build up and general access to trade is much more realistic. and have been done , the problem is that the locals haven’t gotten what they precive as the fair share of the pie, which at least have some reasonable merits, though the whole Islam issue complicates things further, as I’m sure the US will look stupid if they accuse china of presecuting people they claim to be jihadist.

February 5, 2013 @ 11:51 am | Comment

On a sidenote, many of the overseas-educated, well-born Chinese of my generation that I’ve spoken with seem relieved that Xi finally has the right combination of backbone and finesse to get China a favorable resolution of the ‘Grand Bargain’ vis a vis the US. What’s more, most of them believe this bargain will have to come during Xi’s tenure, and that if it doesn’t, the stage is set for war–full-spectrum war, with the possibility of a nuclear holocaust. And what is frightening (at least to me) is that they feel it is a price worth bearing (or that China should at least signal its willingness to bear it, in accordance with the delightfully optimistic prognoses of game theory.)

February 5, 2013 @ 11:55 am | Comment

#53, I wholeheartedly agree at your description of the symptoms of poor Tibetan integration into China. China could and should do a better job. Here’s how:

Sinify and secularize the children. All of them.

First, bar Tibetan parents from enrolling any children in monasteries. Then enforce compulsory public education in secular schools in Mandarin only. Bar religiously-oriented individuals from teaching in or even working as janitors or staff in the schools–basically, a zealous interpretation of the American First Amendment. Test the kids yearly; at age ten, put the smartest 1% in strictly secular boarding schools far far away from Tibet to get these kids away from any and all religious influences. For the rest of the children, encourage them to attend vocational schools post-graduation that let them become the builders of a better tomorrow for China.

Give that top 1% scholarships to attend colleges on the wealthy east coast of China, pick up useful skills like engineering, medicine, and law, and work on the wealthy East Coast of China, far away from Tibet. Keep soft tabs on them and encourage them to marry into Chinese society. Isolated from the family unit, these kids will search for a sense of belonging–so offer membership into the Communist Youth League, but make it selective and exclusive to the best of the best, so that all the brightest ethnic Tibetans compete against each other for acceptance into the Chinese party-state.

There are only three million ethnic Tibetans, so every year this program would have to encompass about fifty to seventy thousand children–a 1% cutoff is 500-700 kids, which means the program is doable with the right amount of funding. Indeed, this could be dressed up as a charity–set up a foundation to promote education in Tibet, base it out of Hong Kong, make its finances (but not its operations) transparent to the Western media, and hell, you could even tap into the very same Western foundations that salivate at the thought of splitting apart China into helping you completely Sinify the best and brightest Tibetan youth, year after year, decade after decade, until these Tibetans identify more with Beijing than Dharamsala, and can be reliably counted upon to govern out of Lhasa.

Then, after twenty or thirty years of this program being active, you take those Tibetan ‘best of the best’, find the ones who are reliable (preferably ones with Chinese spouses and children), and install them back into Lhasa. A Tibetan face on a competitive, professional, materialistic Chinese heart–that is what you will have, and that is the best way to keep the peace in the region. They will have a direct incentive to keep the peace in the region, as the first people the Tibetans kill if unrest boils over will be them and their families, and because they are Tibetan (and smart), they will keep the peace using subtle, nuanced, and utterly effective methods.

And when the Dalai Lama protests, simply say “we are offering the children of the Tibetan Autonomous Region a way out of poverty and opportunities they otherwise would not have”. Paint the Dalai Lama into a corner, and force him to choose between acceding to the program or looking like Anwar al-Awlaki, that notorious American who encouraged all Muslim parents to send their children to madrassas (and who was killed by an American predator drone in Yemen–maybe China should do the same thing to the Dalai Lama if he deviates one centimeter from his rejection of violence, or if there was some sort of regrettable terrorist incident in Tibet, say a bombing or a shooting.)

Eventually, the problem of a separate ethnic identity will go away. And heck–every time Tibetans attack one of these schools, incite the Tibetans to violence and try to get them to shoot at the schools. Then you can put egg on the face of the Tibetan movement in the West, by making them look like the same Taliban religious zealots shooting up schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Finally, you could take one of those Tibetan one-percenters, put him through the paces in Beijing, and have him do something that firmly erases Tibetan aspirations for independence, like ascending to the Politburo and governing on behalf of all Chinese.

February 5, 2013 @ 12:15 pm | Comment

It’s not like the CCP hasn’t tried to cultivate Tibetan cadres before. Not so easy to find Tibetans who want to play that role, is it? Do you suppose Tibetans who go to good schools in coastal China tend to become less local-nationalist? I’ve heard it tends to have the opposite effect.

February 5, 2013 @ 1:42 pm | Comment

How about the millions of dollars in funding that the NED forks over to the Dalai Lama and the TGIE every year? Or the default bias against the Chinese POV re Tibet in nearly every Western NGO?

You’ll have to document the Hidden Harmonies-type claim of the assertion the NED hands the DL “millions of dollars” each year. How do you know this? And even if they do, the US categorically does not “nose” into China and its Tibet issues. In fact, the US is conspicuously silent on the matter, avoiding any mention of Tibet if at all possible. The last thing the US wants to do is damage its ties with China by meddling in its Tibet policies. Just as with Taiwan independence, the US says nothing except that we should stick to the status quo.

February 5, 2013 @ 1:53 pm | Comment

t_co :

While sinification would probably solve the problem in the longer run, it does play against everything the PRC have tried to do for Tibet and also right into what folks accuse them of doing. and certainly in the shorter run is pouring a ton of gasoline onto what is still currently a manageable fire.

I personally think that it is a very difficult issue to solve. my suggested middle road compromise would be something like..

A. Make mandarin compulsary second language from first grade onward, essentially make Tibetan Public school system dual language. it requires a lot of money and resource, but it’s not like the PRC isn’t already sinking money into Tibet.

B. do the reverse of Han immigration, aka immigrate Tibetans to certain coastal regions and actively setup communities for them. This give them a more reasonable outlet of opportunities. and is a lot more plausible then trying to industrialize a region a mile above sea level. The PRC is actually doing this to some extend for Tibet / Xinjian IIRC, though on a rather limited scale, try doing it for a bigger scale.

February 5, 2013 @ 3:56 pm | Comment

My general argument is fairly simple, the things most people (which to some extend, also includes the CCP) criticize / focus on for the Tibetan issue is generally wrong, they’re looking at the result and not the cause. the root of the problem is clearly in unemployment, and because of better health they now have many more people then they would have had in the older days, so job creation has no real chance of catching up.

The CCP should both letup on dubious control measures while also create much more realistic opportunities for young Tibetans to make a career out of outside of being monk / nuns / human torch.

It should be noted that one thing people completely overlook in these discussion is that Tibetans are NOT subjected to the one child policy, which means that the Tibetan demographic structure is not what the rest of China is like, this is also a root of the problem, because there are a lot of young tibetans, who are no longer dying as baby in droves, is MUCH better educated then their previously generation…… and has terrible employment prospect, that sums up why young people would want to set themself on fire a lot more then the other accused reasons

February 5, 2013 @ 4:06 pm | Comment

CHina is just learning from Canada, aboriginal protests have been raging in canada for months with little sympathy from westerners.

February 5, 2013 @ 4:32 pm | Comment

Aboriginal reservations have the highest suicide rate in Canada, so even though they are not setting themselves on fire when they are killing themselves, it is clear they are suffering extreme repression and cultural genocide.

February 5, 2013 @ 4:35 pm | Comment

and has terrible employment prospect

Hmmm…

February 5, 2013 @ 5:31 pm | Comment

@t_co:

“Sinify and secularize the children. All of them.”

I hate to write netspk, but *Rolleyes*. You may have noticed that this kind of thing has been tried in many other place to varying degrees of success – the attempt to educate Soweto children in Afrikaans being a notable example. Let me guess, this time it would be different because Tibet is an indisputable part of China and there are no meaningful differences between Han Chinese and Tibetans except those created by foreigners? Right . . .

Not only that, but it would break that tacit understanding between Beijing’s people in Tibet and the Central government – that is, Tibetan communists get to be big fish in a little pond whilst Beijing is assured that at least the majority of the local elite won’t side with separatism. In place of this, you’d be enforcing linguistic and cultural imperialism which would make them foreigners in their own country and make their children alien to them. You don’t think this might elicit a response?

Oh I know, China’s different, and all this is the fault of foreigners anyway . . .

February 5, 2013 @ 8:55 pm | Comment

“There is no justification–I repeat, none–for those levels of support. Under principles of Westphalian sovereignty, either you recognize a state as the legal administrator of a region and refrain from subversion, or you derecognize it and prepare for conflict.”

Does the Chinese leadership recognise British rule in the Falklands? Should Britain “prepare for conflict” with China simply because China choose to side with Argentina in return for Argentina’s equally meaningless support for PRC claim to Taiwan? Or is the basic fact that no-one in Britain (or the Falkland islands, for that matter) cares what position the Chinese government has taken?

Speaking of Taiwan, by this definition, it seems you would back conflict aimed at conquering and subduing the Taiwanese people.

“The fact that China is not going after funding flows to the Dalai Lama and Tibetan activists in the same manner that the US has gone after “terrorist financing” is already evidence of a more courteous approach than myself and many Chinese scholars would like.”

Or could it just be an indication of how limited Chinese influence remains? Basically, China remains outside the system of collective security that binds most of the world together and allows Britain and the United States to pursue terrorists in e.g., Yemen. A similar meeting of minds does not exist towards Tibetan separatism.

February 5, 2013 @ 9:14 pm | Comment

I’m a minority in my own country. I had to learn the national language, and at least adhere to / observe certain local customs and traditions in order to succeed in getting meaningful employment here. The civil service and many vital information sources are all conducted in the national language. The majority race here does not speak or write my mother / home tongue fluently (and few of them speak even a lick of Chinese or any of the assorted dialects).

Yet, I am able to flourish. The culture of my minority survives, actually, thrives. Some of us have learnt to speak, read and write in 3 languages – the national language, English and Chinese, so that we can be both local and global citizens and participate accordingly.

My country practices majority race discriminatory policies, sort of a reverse apartheid. In the past, the vernacular schools of my race were forced to adopt the national language as their primary language of instruction. It caused quite a significant uproar, and certainly resulted in a couple of minor insurrections, that were swiftly and ruthlessly dealt with.

The minorities of my country adapted. And despite the policy discrimination, they (we) are successful, and our culture thrives. Our ability to communicate in 3 languages (how many of our vernacular schools got around the requirement of national language instructions was to have 2 school sessions for the students – the first session is taught in the national language, and the second session is taught in the minority language, with English being an important subject as well) made us competitive and flexible. If need be, I can work anywhere where it requires decent communication ability in either English, Chinese or my national language.

I can’t see why the Tibetans cannot follow suit and adapt. Just like a Native American cannot expect to be schooled purely in the Sioux language and expect to find a job anywhere in an English speaking country, thus the Tibetan fuss over their language, while on the surface “preserves” their hereditary linguistic identity, is actually a limiter on the future of their children.

If the Tibetans are able to include Mandarin as a core communication curriculum in their education (whether alongside Tibetan or otherwise), and with all the positive policies set for minorities in China, I see no reason why they would not be able to succeed and flourish and still maintain their cultural identity.

Heck, in the future, they can even have “Tibettown” in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and (hopefully) Hong Kong.

February 5, 2013 @ 9:29 pm | Comment

Xilin @ 48

Yes I have told you what I think about the restrictions – any government that believes that it is facing a potential existential threat from outside groups would act in this way. America has denied passports to its citizens for this very reason, so it is actually quite normal.

Plus, if people would stop reacting with hysterics and actually try to think they might notice that, according to the article, China had relaxed travel rules over the last decade “for these new [Tibetan]middle class urbanites”, but recent upheavals have caused a reverse in this trend and our expert thinks it is likely that the recent restrictions will be relaxed with the new leadership.

t_co @ 55

“Sinify and secularize the children. All of them.”

That is an interesting point and one which I think many here would balk at. It is a further indication of the cluelessness of China’s Tibet critics here in the west that whilst most of Europe and North America strives to keep religion out of governance, culture and society in general, we become self-righteous about keeping the Tibetans quaintly religious. Personally, I think secularization is the key, sinification will happen naturally, because in the long-run sinification itself will become synonymous with development, both locally and internationally.

February 6, 2013 @ 5:07 am | Comment

Who promoted Tibetans to second-class citizens in the PRC? There’s a pecking order and Tibetans are way down in it.

February 6, 2013 @ 5:08 am | Comment

“Sinify and secularize the children. All of them.”

No, chinese should show Tibetans that Tibetan Buddhism and chan/zen buddhism are the same.

February 6, 2013 @ 6:17 am | Comment

“While there is doubt about the level of Songtsän Gampo’s interest in Buddhism, it is known that he married a Chinese Tang Dynasty Buddhist princess, Wencheng, who came to Tibet with a statue of Shakyamuni Buddha.”

So Chinese government should teach Tibetans that Bhuddhism was transmitted to Tibet from china, and that Tibetan Bhuddihsm is a branch of Chinese Buddhism.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_Buddhism#History

February 6, 2013 @ 7:19 am | Comment

Tibet has simply never been normal place from a Westphalian perspective. Before 1913, it was a thoroughly pre-Westphalian regime. From 1913 to 1951, it was sui generis. Since 1951, many countries have expressed over and over their serious reservations about the measures China has taken to regularise Tibet’s political status.

February 6, 2013 @ 7:44 am | Comment

nonracist, Tibetan Buddhism may well be a branch of Chinese Buddhism. Does this mean Tibetans should be denied passports? I am trying to follow the logic of how your comment relates to my post.

February 6, 2013 @ 8:04 am | Comment

BB, I’m afraid this “secularization” sounds like it could be a straw man. If secularization means wanting an even-handed legal system with separation of church and state, I think almost everybody wants that for Tibet. Perhaps not the Tibetans themselves, but Western observers assume secularism as a norm. A person can be secular in this sense and still quite religious. Or do you have something else in mind as far as “secularization”?

February 6, 2013 @ 8:06 am | Comment

@Yu-Hsing Chen #59, you are quite correct that China’s policies in Tibet are not as bad as they could be; some of the accusations of human rights abuses and destructive policies are spurious. It’s ironic, then, that you and t_co are suggesting actually making policies worse and making more of the accusations true!

You seem to believe that other people’s nationalism is pretty cheap: they just need some better jobs and some higher living standards and then they’ll be happy. I doubt it. People worry more about nationalism and related sentiments when their living standards improving, not less.

February 6, 2013 @ 8:19 am | Comment

Re: t_co #53

“First, China should stop treating the Tibetan exiles as a unitary entity. Negotiations should start with moderate exiles who fully accept Chinese sovereignty over the region and reject the TGIE or any definition of autonomy that does not originate from Beijing.”

Okay, now I’m curious — start negotiations about what?

Beijing is afraid to give an inch to anybody on Tibet. How do you start negotiating if you can’t offer anything? If the plan is to have negotiations about nothing (I call it the Seinfeld strategy), well, that’s already what Beijing is doing.

February 6, 2013 @ 8:20 am | Comment

Thank you, Otto.

February 6, 2013 @ 8:21 am | Comment

@BB,

Great to finally hear what you think about these policies: America has done it, so it’s okay for China to do it. Strange considering your above comments were mostly critical of how America has treated ethnic minorities.

February 6, 2013 @ 10:45 am | Comment

@Otto

It’s like the preconditions for political negotiations with Taiwan: they will negotiate on anything, but the Taiwanese must first abandon all hope of independence.

I would think China a great nation if it could hold a referendum on independence (for any region). Like Quebec or Scotland.

February 6, 2013 @ 10:53 am | Comment

Xilin @77

“America has done it, so it’s okay for China to do it.”

Yes I knew you would stupidly try to frame my comments in that way – unfortunately your misrepresentation of my comments is embarrassing for you alone. What I said was; it is normal practice for a government to impose travel restrictions on those deemed to pose a threat to national security – and understandable. This has nothing to do with America’s ongoing mistreatment of African-Americans, few of whom pose any explicit threat to American sovereignty. I hope that helps you to understand the nuance of my comment.

Otto @73

I’m not understanding what you think is a strawman? A “strawman” means to misrepresent someone’s argument – like Xilin @ 77, in fact – I don’t think I have done that.

Secularism in the west goes way beyond governance, and has become a culture, and you would struggle to find religion in mainstream western cultures most of the time.

February 6, 2013 @ 1:24 pm | Comment

BB,

Yes, I think you are misrepresenting “China’s Tibet critics” and/or “we” as being against secularism in Tibet. On the other hand, perhaps you are accurately representing those vague entities but you are using “secular” is a way that I find confusing.

I really don’t know what you mean when you say “you would struggle to find religion in mainstream western cultures most of the time”. Here in the U.S., I see a church every few blocks. Most people I talk to, when it comes up, describe themselves as having some kind of religious beliefs. Most people trust religious people (even from a different religion) more than they trust atheists. People usually get married in churches and they usually have religious services when they die. Many people sent their children to Catholic schools for K-12. Immigrant communities often use churches, mosques, and temples as community centers. Religious motifs are common in art and literature. The Passion of the Christ was a huge hit a few years ago. I realize that things are scaled back a bit in Europe, but the difference is a matter of degree rather than kind.

February 6, 2013 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

Otto

At the same time the outward expression of religious belief is slowly being eroded – prayers at high school football games are coming under attack with some calling for a ban, religious symbolism is becoming less mainstream. This is probably truer for Europe than it is for the US, but the US is certainly headed in that direction. Sure, there are examples of religion overlapping into cultural life, that doesn’t mean that culture hasn’t become overall more secular in its outlook. Religion is becoming increasingly insignificant as a cultural force. As for Catholic schools in the US, my wife taught at one for years, the student body included Muslims, Buddhists, and Protestants, and the curriculum was not based on Catholic doctrine at all. But I think it would be dishonest to claim that outward expression of religion in culture in the US hasn’t come under significant attack over the past decade.

“Yes, I think you are misrepresenting “China’s Tibet critics” and/or “we” as being against secularism in Tibet. On the other hand, perhaps you are accurately representing those vague entities but you are using “secular” is a way that I find confusing.”

I think the problem here is that the goalposts have moved – hence your confusion? You first made a vague accusation that that I presented a strawman regarding secularization, and then respond to my clarification by accusing me of misrepresenting China/Tibet critics as being against secularization.

My only representation of China’s Tibet critics is that they are falsely claiming to know how to resolve the problem of minority integration into a mainstream culture, when in fact they are clueless on this subject. This is self-evident; western countries are struggling with how to integrate their own minorities, and some, like the US, actually abuse some of theirs, and keep them disenfranchised. This is incontrovertible, so it is true to say that given that the West (and its citizens, including Tibet advocates) is not even close to understanding how to resolve these issues in their own countries, I see little reason to believe that they have anything meaningful to add to the dialogue.

At the same time, I think it is misleading to claim that keeping Tibet religious is not an implicit aspect of guarding against the supposed “cultural genocide” that China is accused of. It is ignorant western stereotypes about the spiritually ascended Tibetans living in a paradise that attracts many western supporters to the cause in the first place.

February 6, 2013 @ 3:30 pm | Comment

@BB, you don’t think it a little strange to be so critical of America and then to justify Chinese policies by saying the Americans do the same thing?

And anyway, you haven’t shown that the Americans do so anyway. We’re taking about Tibetans attending talks by the Dalai Lama. If they were learning how to blow stuff up, you might have a point. What you’re talking about would be like the UK taking passports of Scottish nationalists or the Canadians doing something like that in Quebec. There is even a movement for an independent Texas, but last time I checked it’s members could still get passports.

February 6, 2013 @ 4:48 pm | Comment

@ Xilin

You have got to top misrepresenting what I’m saying – I’m not justifying anything. I’ve said that it is understandable and any country would and does do it.

As far as I can tell, there is no indication that any of those nationalist movements have the support of foreign powers who have the potential to present an existential threat to those nations. For example, the Russians are not harbouring Texas separatists and advocating on their behalf financially, militarily, or politically. If you don’t see the difference then I would say that your misrepresentation of my points reflect a more serious cognitive issue than poor comprehension.

I’m still waiting to see how the west’s treatment of its minorities (particularly America’s maltreatment of blacks) gives it the experience and understanding to offer any meaningful solution to the China/Tibet issue.

February 6, 2013 @ 5:04 pm | Comment

@BB, apologies, you’re saying it is understandable for China to do so because America also does so.

No, those movements don’t have foreign backing. So what? I’m still waiting for you to give me an example of another country that has restricted passports for a whole ethnic because a few members of that group attended religious or political events abroad.

February 6, 2013 @ 6:41 pm | Comment

@ Xilin

Er, no I’m not saying that. I don’t think that you are pretending to be that dense. And where did I say that the US has restricted passports for a “whole ethnic”?

February 6, 2013 @ 7:05 pm | Comment

“It is a further indication of the cluelessness of China’s Tibet critics here in the west that whilst most of Europe and North America strives to keep religion out of governance, culture and society in general, we become self-righteous about keeping the Tibetans quaintly religious.”

Nonsense – just because I may not choose to live my life according to religious precepts does not mean that I musty support others being stripped of their freedom of religion. If secularisation comes about because a movement amongst Tibetans themselves – fine – but forcing it on them is clearly an infringement of their human rights.

February 6, 2013 @ 8:01 pm | Comment

@BB

You said it is understandable because other countries have done so.
The passports of all Tibetan have been restricted. So which other county has restricted the passports for a whole ethnic group because some members of that group have attended political or religious events abroad?

February 6, 2013 @ 9:52 pm | Comment

[...] Why CCP largesse has failed to change the Tibetan image of the PRC as a colonial power. [...]

February 6, 2013 @ 11:03 pm | Pingback

Beijing is afraid to give an inch to anybody on Tibet. How do you start negotiating if you can’t offer anything? If the plan is to have negotiations about nothing (I call it the Seinfeld strategy), well, that’s already what Beijing is doing.

That’s the point. Negotiations will basically identify which TGIE groups can accede to all Chinese conditions. If they don’t, they will be placed under financial sanction. End of story.

February 6, 2013 @ 11:09 pm | Comment

The point of negotiations is not to bend to Tibetan demands, but to break the unity of the Tibetan movement from the inside out. Only after such fissures have been created, can true progress on the Tibetan issue be made.

February 6, 2013 @ 11:11 pm | Comment

Tibetans who are willing to accept all Chinese conditions wouldn’t be in exile, now would they? The people you have in mind are not “moderate exiles”, they’re people with names like Ngaphö Ngawang Jigme, Lhalu Tsewang Dorje, Qiangba Püncog, Padma Trinley, and Losang Gyaltsen.

February 6, 2013 @ 11:53 pm | Comment

BB it would be dishonest to claim that outward expression of religion in culture in the US hasn’t come under significant attack over the past decade.

You are wrong and starting from a false presence. More and more young people are rejecting religion here and in Europe. I have never seen religion “under significant attack” in any way. All presidents must prove their religiosity before being accepted, let alone elected. Religion, in fact, has experienced an upswing in importance in political races and discussion. There is no attack on religion, only in your mind. If so, show us what you mean. This is a strawman statement: someone is attacking religion, but you can’t say who.

February 7, 2013 @ 2:26 am | Comment

t_co: The point of negotiations is not to bend to Tibetan demands, but to break the unity of the Tibetan movement from the inside out. Only after such fissures have been created, can true progress on the Tibetan issue be made.

Are you a Party member? We have to crush the beliefs of thousands of Tibetans before they can see how nice we are and agree to negotiate with us.

February 7, 2013 @ 2:28 am | Comment

Richard @92

You guys need to read up on the meaning of strawman – none of what I have written has been a strawman. You guys only think so because you don’t seem to know the meaning of strawman. And I gave specific examples of what I meant with this statement, so I don’t see why you are confused.

Over the past decade, religion has been attacked by western intellectuals as superstitious nonsense, and religious followers as ignorant morons. A culture has developed of denigrating religious belief and mocking religious believers. Public expressions of religious belief are seen as embarrassing, and provincial, and religious belief has come to be seen as incompatible with reason and the scientific mindset. This is uncontroversial.

FOARP @ 86

“just because I may not choose to live my life according to religious precepts does not mean that I musty support others being stripped of their freedom of religion.”

Does that apply to Muslim minorities who want to practice sharia law in their own communities in European cities? The west is struggling with this question and is far from resolving it (in fact some European seem on the verge of abandoning multi-cult altogether), yet somehow, I’m supposed to believe that we know the best course of action in Tibet?

February 7, 2013 @ 4:57 am | Comment

A strawman is an argument based on a fallacy, like when President Reagan talked about “welfare queens,” though he couldn’t offer any proof they existed. But let’s forget about the semantics; there are other words that describe the way you argue, like making things up or falsifying information.

Over the past decade, religion has been attacked by western intellectuals as superstitious nonsense, and religious followers as ignorant morons.

Strawman! “Western intellectuals” – what a load of rubbish. Religion has always had its attackers. You make it sound like this is something unique to the past 10 years. Religion has its supporters and detractors. Your statement up above that we’ve seen “a significant attack over the past ten years” is pure bollocks, and you know it or you’d have documented it. Strawman.

February 7, 2013 @ 5:41 am | Comment

Please watch your step.

Merriam Webster definition of Straw Man: “a weak or imaginary opposition (as an argument or adversary) set up only to be easily confuted.” Fits your arguments to the letter.

Richard

February 7, 2013 @ 5:55 am | Comment

BB, I think this conversation would be more interesting if you focused on points made by the other commenters on this thread. I don’t mean to imply that you’re ignoring us completely, but you’re arguments seem to center on what “America” or “Americans” or “China’s Tibet critics in the west”, etc. think about things. If you aren’t addressing those of us commenting in this thread directly, then at best you are describing somebody else’s opinions, but they aren’t here to rebut or respond.

February 7, 2013 @ 7:21 am | Comment

@BB

‘Does that apply to Muslim minorities who want to practice sharia law in their own communities in European cities?’

A really good question. But I don’t think you can compare this to Tibet. Tibetan Buddhism and culture are indigenous to Tibet. They have been there long before the CCP. ‘Sinification’ of Tibetan people would involve forcing a foreign culture on them.
In Europe, Islam is not indigenous. In the UK, for example, people have moved there from around the world and taken their own religions and cultures with them. They must, however, abide by the ‘laws of the land’. These laws, however, do evolve. Perhaps you are not aware that there are Sharia courts in the UK. If both sides of a dispute are willing, they can use a Sharia court. If, however, they wish to make the ruling legally binding, they can take the ruling to a regular court to have it verified according to the UK laws.
That being said, I think there are many problems with the way that governments in Europe tackle ethnic diversity. I think there are also many problems with how the Chinese government does so as well. But, as this is the Peking Duck, and not the Paris Canard, I’ll comment more on the latter.

One more thing…. you said, regarding the Chinese policies referenced in the article: ‘it is understandable and any country would and does do it.’

Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear above. The main focus of the article was restricting passports for all Tibetans. You state that Chinese policies regarding Tibet are ‘understandable’ and that any country ‘would’ and ‘does’ do the same. Whether any country ‘would’ is open to debate, but saying that any other country ‘does’ is a lot easier to tackle. Simple state one other country that has restricted passports for a whole ethnic group.

February 7, 2013 @ 8:36 am | Comment

Tibet, and its unique culture and religion, are doomed because the CCP requires complete domination of Tibet for two overwhelming strategic reasons: (1) its vast mineral wealth; and (2) strategic depth (where do you think all those intercontinental ICBMs are based?). The CCP has given nothing to the world (aside from a growing China as a trade partner) and despises the gifts that Tibetan Buddhism offers. It will only be content when it has reduced Tibetan culture and religion to a Disneyland-like display for naive foreign tourists.

One aside to those who compare the Han colonization of Tibet with Israeli actions vis-a-vis the Palestinian Arabs. When the Tibetans start calling for the extermination of China, get back to me.

February 7, 2013 @ 10:07 am | Comment

Tibetan monks don’t work, you think government should subsidize all their living expenses? Tibetan monks’s income are from tourism.

February 7, 2013 @ 12:52 pm | Comment

If Dalai lama is in charge, then all the monks will just live on government handout via taxpayers.

which do you think is better? government handout or tourism?

February 7, 2013 @ 1:07 pm | Comment

Otto @ 97

I don’t think that I have ignored most of the points made by the other commenters at all. But I do think that I have valid points about the ability of western Tibet advocates to truly offer anything meaningful to the issue because you simply don’t have the experience of successfully integrating minorities. Anybody can make grandiose, sweeping statements about freedom and justice but without that key component of showing it working in your own countries, then it is just a lot of hot air. No-one has addressed this, possibly because they know that I am right.

My contention is that Tibet advocates are probably making things worse for the Tibetans by pretending that they can offer meaningful solutions – if they could their own countries would reflect this, but they don’t.

Xilin @98

“Simple state one other country that has restricted passports for a whole ethnic group.”

Please show me I have contended that countries have restricted passports for a whole ethnic group. I never said that, so I don’t know why you keep demanding I provide evidence for it. I’ve said that governments have been known to restrict passports for those they deem to pose an existential threat.

Also, Buddhism isn’t indigenous to Tibet.

February 7, 2013 @ 1:31 pm | Comment

Xilin,

‘Tibetan Buddhism and culture are indigenous to Tibet. They have been there long before the CCP.’

The latter is certainly true. The former is absolutely not.

The indigenous religion of Tibet is known as Bön, and had nothing at all to do with Buddhism at all before Buddhism’s introduction to Tibet by the Tang Princess Wencheng in the seventh century, which was part of an extended series of tributary alliances between the first Tibetan Empire and the Tang Empire. Seen in its proper historical light, Buddhism is ironically as much the product of Chinese ‘imperialism’, if you want to call it that, as it is its victim.

The prominence of the institution of the Dalai Lama in Tibetan politics, also, is likewise the result of first Yuan (Mongolian) and later Qing (Manchu) policies in the region meant to integrate Tibet into their multicultural empires. At the very least, let us be clear about the nuances of the regions’s history and stop indulging in these patronising Shangri-la fantasies, which are the precise mirror image of the CCP’s ‘happy Tibetans’ narrative, and of equal disservice to actual Tibetans.

‘The main focus of the article was restricting passports for all Tibetans.’

True. In which case the proper analogy would be the Ossetians and Abkhazians in Georgia, which is an illustrative example of how passport regimes can be manipulated or used to foment political strife, particularly between ethnic groups in troubled regions.

Only, in this case, the US government (and Georgia’s) have been wholeheartedly on the side of restricting the Ossetians’ and Abkhazians’ access to Russia (where many of them have close relatives and family) through the use of their own passports, in defence of Georgia’s ‘national sovereignty’.

After Georgia’s two-bit dictator Mikheil Saakashvili committed the Bonapartean-Hitlerian blunder of trying to invade Russia over the issue and got himself well and thoroughly spanked for it, of course.

February 7, 2013 @ 4:43 pm | Comment

@Mathew,

You are truly a skilled user of Wikipedia. Thanks, but I was aware that Buddhism did not originate in Tibet (nor did it originate in China). Tibetan Buddhism did however. That’s why it’s called Tibetan Buddhism. Even if you don’t concede this, my point, which you ignored, still stands.

As for the passports, have you found an example of a country restricting the passports of an entire ethnic group of that nation?

February 7, 2013 @ 5:56 pm | Comment

“In some parts of the United States, suicide among Native American youths is 9 to 19 times as frequent as among non-Native youths, and the number is rising”

http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/native-americans-raise-awareness-of-suicide-with-vigil/article_57be0449-0657-5c28-8087-29d0d4575f79.html

can you imagine chinese display such brutal and callous disregard for life.

February 7, 2013 @ 7:22 pm | Comment

“can you imagine chinese display such brutal and callous disregard for life.”

Yes, yes I can.

Today I saw someone being pickpocketed right in front of me. RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. I saw one man pass an umbrella to another – two people simply walking along the street, one catches up with another and hands him an umbrella. Then the first man dives into the pocket of a woman a few feet in front: I tackle him and shout at the woman to check her pockets: he had not grabbed anything. I pushed the man up agains a wall and called for someone to phone the police. This was a busy street. The next thing I know, his accomplice struck me with his umbrella and both men ran. I powered after them as fast as I could shouting for others to stop them… But nobody, not one stepped forward to share my risk. They escaped.

Last Tuesday, I was on Metro Line 9, just pulling into Xujiahui. Suddenly I heard a *THUMP* and one door length away, a man lay on the floor. A circle of bystanders quickly formed around the shaking man. Not one stepped forward to help. I threw off my coat and bag: the man had swallowed his tongue so I cleared his airway, his pulse was slow and his breathing erratic. I helped him up to a chair and then handed him over to the station master. Not one person stepped forward.

Just the murdering foreigner whose ancestors raped the world. Just the foreigner whose forefathers sacked the Imperial Palace. Just the foreigner whose race suppressed thousands of others over the course of history.

I am proud to be that foreigner.

Can I imagine Chinese showing such disregard? No: I can imagine them doing worse.

February 7, 2013 @ 7:48 pm | Comment

Xilin, you just can’t admit you were wrong gracefully, can you? The condescending Wikipedia quip certainly isn’t becoming.

Here is what you said:

‘Tibetan Buddhism and culture are indigenous to Tibet.’

That Tibetan culture is indigenous to Tibet is what we call in logic a tautology, and not worth discussing. Tibetan Buddhism, however, is not indigenous to Tibet. It is a foreign import, the result of syncretism between beliefs imported from China and local Bön influences. And the fact that the political institutions of modern Tibetan Buddhism were originally instated by China’s rulers for the purpose of keeping Tibetans under their political control is itself rather telling.

As to your ‘point’, I’m not even quite sure what it was. Tibetan Buddhism is not like Islam because it is ‘indigenous’, but it should be respected like Islam and allowed to have its own legal jurisdiction, but that legal jurisdiction should be subject to the ‘law of the land’ (CCP law, in this case?), but that entire analogy was flawed to start with because Europe sucks at dealing with other cultures, and this is all beside the point anyway because ChinaisaspecialcasesoSTFU.

narsfweasels, there is such a phenomenon as ‘bystander effect’.

Bystander effect is by no means peculiar to China – the murder of Kitty Genovese is the textbook case. China’s bystander effect is made worse by poor jurisprudence which has a precedent of punishing Good Samaritans with litigation. Chinese exceptionalism is annoying enough when Chinese nationalists do it; when ‘foreigners’ do it in the other direction, it’s even more so. Something to think on next time you condemn an entire ethnic group as ‘worse’ than your own.

February 7, 2013 @ 8:43 pm | Comment

Oh yes, and Xilin, if you wish to ignore the clear example I gave you of a passport regime restricting entire ethnic groups’ movement and rights, you are welcome to do so, though that certainly doesn’t reflect well either on your reading comprehension or your etiquette.

The US and Georgia began a regime of unmarked passports to be distributed to Ossetians and Abkhazians living in Georgia, after the botched 2008 invasion of Russia by Georgia. Most Ossetians and Abkhazians living in Georgia already have passports, which they use to visit relatives, get medical care, work, &c. in Russia. The unmarked passports scheme was an attempt to render their previous passports invalid internationally, such that they could not travel to Russia under the new passport or to any other country under the old passport.

That explicit enough for you? It’s wrong no matter who does it, but let’s not pretend this is an issue of China’s exceptional evilness.

February 7, 2013 @ 8:51 pm | Comment

Hey Narsfweasels, if those stories are true, I have a cape and a mask for you…

February 7, 2013 @ 8:51 pm | Comment

t_co,

Well, that, and the old standby cliche that data is not the plural of anecdote.

February 7, 2013 @ 8:58 pm | Comment

I actually already own a set of body armour. Capes are impractical.

February 7, 2013 @ 9:16 pm | Comment

@ Mathew,

A combination of the foreign and indigenous to produce something new and unique. Tibetan Buddhism first appeared in Tibet. It is indigenous to Tibet.

Regarding the passports, I read up on that issue, and it looks like the government is trying to force them to change passports, not stopping them from leaving the country altogether. Which is quite different from the current situation in Tibet.

If I misread it, then perhaps BB should note in the future that restricting passports for a whole ethnic group is understandable and normal practice for China and Georgia.

February 7, 2013 @ 9:34 pm | Comment

Debates about whether Tibetan Buddhism is a “native” religion or not are sterile at best. Buddhism originated in India where it is no longer practiced, except by the Tibetan Buddhists who fled the Communist invasion of Tibet, and by the Tibetan Buddhists of Ladakh and Zanskar.

Buddhism as practiced today everywhere is a mix of indigenous religious beliefs and Indian Buddhism. This is true in Tibet, China (Chan Buddhism), Japan, Thailand, Laos and Burma. Buddhism has been practiced in Tibet for a longer period than most of those other countries.

What is true is that Tibetan Buddhism is a profound religion that the Chinese Communist Party is determined to exterminate.

February 7, 2013 @ 10:12 pm | Comment

And that Tibetan Buddhism was used as a political tool to bring Tibet into the Sinosphere doesn’t bother you, does it? Well, in that case, we can say that the Communist Party’s activities in Tibet between 1949 and 1959 resulted in the creation of something new – Tibetan communism – which is also indigenous to Tibet and is now being expressed through the organs of the CCP in Tibet. At least, that is how Anna Louise Strong would put it, and perhaps Michael Parenti. So by your logic, to interfere with them would be cultural imperialism, no?

Personally, I say a plague o’ both their houses. Misrule by the sadistic and exploitative lama overlords for whom mutilating serfs was SOP, is not preferable in the slightest to misrule by Communist Party apparatchiks.

And you asked for a counterexample – one counterexample, to be preciese, or did ‘state one other country that has restricted passports for a whole ethnic group’ mean something different to you when you wrote it than to every other speaker of the English language? – and I gave it to you. Not only that, but the situation is much closer than you appear to have read it. The government is trying to force the Ossetians and Abkhazians to change passports precisely to stop them from going to Russia, in exactly the same way that the Chinese government is trying to prevent Tibetans from getting passports precisely to stop them from going to India.

And in both cases, they seem to be worried about the ethnic groups’ separatists getting ideas from foreign travel. Looks like a rather apt comparison to me.

February 7, 2013 @ 10:16 pm | Comment

Are you a Party member? We have to crush the beliefs of thousands of Tibetans before they can see how nice we are and agree to negotiate with us.

To quote you, that’s a strawman. The point isn’t to crush the beliefs of thousands of Tibetans; it’s to break the unity of a political movement. Politics is not culture; it is not religion; it is not something saintly to be preserved at all costs or treated with kid gloves. By forming a Government-in-Exile and taking money from the NED (and earlier, the CIA), the Tibetans have indicated their willingness to play for keeps–the gloves should come off. That aspect of their community–their government and political unity–is now fair game for any ops the Chinese side may wish to pursue.

If they wish to abandon any pretense of extraterritorial calls for political change (and yes, that includes their definition of ‘autonomy’), then, of course, China will be happy to negotiate. Until then–no dice, and China is entitled to use whatever means necessary to fracture and splinter the movement into a thousand ineffectual pieces and scatter it to the winds.

February 7, 2013 @ 10:18 pm | Comment

China does not need a Party to fight its culture wars; it needs a Party to fight its political wars; to play the game of cloak-and-daggers against the forces that seek to keep China from asserting its rightful place in the symphony of global powers. The Party should be allowed to use any and all tools–social, cultural, economic, diplomatic–in that struggle, so long as it acts in the best interests of the people it represents. And when it doesn’t, the people of China have every right to find another institution (or set of institutions) to accomplish that goal, no matter what the cost.

February 7, 2013 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

Kulturkampf is not the end here; it is merely the means, the means to a Greater China. And that is a goal every Chinese should support.

February 7, 2013 @ 10:23 pm | Comment

@Mathew,

I stand corrected. Restricting passports for the whole of an ethnic group is not normal and understandable practice for China alone. It is normal and understandable practice for China and Georgia.

February 7, 2013 @ 10:40 pm | Comment

t_co,

Again I ask, negotiate about what? You’ve been clear about what not to negotiate about. What is on the table.

February 7, 2013 @ 11:16 pm | Comment

Again I ask, negotiate about what? You’ve been clear about what not to negotiate about. What is on the table.

The terms of their entry into/exit from Tibet? I’d assume that most of these exiles are persona non grata, but they probably have friends and family on the plateau. It would be fine to let them visit once or twice a year, and place them on a “no-fly list” otherwise.

Also, economic rights as well-how should trade between Tibet and Sikkim/Arunachal Pradesh (chunks of Indian-administered territory traditionally held as part of Tibet) be conducted? I’d imagine that those Tibetan exiles who are so interested into cutting chunks of Sichuan and Qinghai province into a greater Tibet would be equally interested in cutting out chunks of India as well. China should use that issue as a litmus test for exiles in Dharamsala; are they willing to choose bona fide negotiations over pleasing their allies in Delhi? If not, no dice.

Immigration back into the country/bringing more friends and family out? This would be a tricky one. Immigrating back into Tibet should be allowed. Encouraging friends and family to leave shouldn’t.

Communications with Tibetans inside Tibet by exiles should be routed through Beijing, although I can imagine some degree of flexibility–say, for the all communications, written and oral, to be routed through special facilities maintained by the Lhasa branch of the Ministry of Public Security.

February 7, 2013 @ 11:33 pm | Comment

To clarify, on the above points; any exile which enters into negotiations into Beijing must do so:

a) under the condition that he/she is merely a Chinese citizen, and represents no higher authority than himself or herself (no organization is allowed to represent the [political sovereignty of the greater group of Tibetan people except for the Chinese government, in keeping with principles of Westphalia); all negotiations shall happen on a case-by-case basis between the Chinese consulate and individual in question

b) under the condition that they recognize India’s occupation of Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim as illegal

negotiations will most likely cover some sort of amnesty for returning to Tibet; a promise of non-prosecution for any laws violated during the course of leaving Tibet or being an exile

February 7, 2013 @ 11:39 pm | Comment

@T_co,

Your musings read like a parody. Unfortunately, some people in power seem to think the way that you do. And that’s precisely why there is so much resistance to the CCP in Tibet.

February 7, 2013 @ 11:54 pm | Comment

So, personal status negotiations exclusively? That’s always been on the table. Tibetans have been negotiating that with the Chinese government since the 80s if not earlier. The Tibetan exile community is focused political goals. You aren’t going to divide and conquer them by offering no political concessions whatsoever.

I don’t understand what you’re saying about Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. Hypothetically, Tibetan exiles might be interested in adding those areas to a free Tibet. But obviously China is not in a position to offer that. You’re talking about some kind of vague trading privileges as if it was equivalent to basic political reforms.

There’s no mystery about Tibetan exile attitudes toward Sikkim and AP. If a friendly country has occupied tiny bits of your territory while a hostile country has occupied the vast bulk of your territory, which are you going to be more concerned about?

As for controlling all communications between Tibetans in Tibet and the exiles, obviously any totalitarian regime would like to be able to do that. It will require establishing complete control over everyone’s use of cell phones and the internet. Good luck with that.

February 7, 2013 @ 11:58 pm | Comment

t_co, I just saw your clarification. Now I get it. Your approach is essentially, “Make these concessions and we will give you nothing in return, but at least you won’t be prosecuted.” You would make a charming salesman.

February 8, 2013 @ 12:03 am | Comment

Your musings read like a parody. Unfortunately, some people in power seem to think the way that you do. And that’s precisely why there is so much resistance to the CCP in Tibet.

That’s putting the cart before the horse. These thoughts come into play because there is resistance. Once the resistance stops, there is no need for such policies; they cost money, after all, money that could be spent elsewhere.

February 8, 2013 @ 12:17 am | Comment

t_co, I asked you for some proof the NED is “funneling millions” to the Tibetan opposition. Can you elaborate? Millions? This goes counter to US interests, which it did not when the CIA helped the Dalai Lama in the 1950s. Any proof at all?

You are a broken record on this subject. Subjugate and repress, then reform. Do the protests in Tibet count for nothing?

Tibetans, not just activist Tibetans, are routinely denied passposts. And as the source quoted in the article says, this is only one restriction.

There have been many. These include the Chinese government putting Communist Party cadres in every monastery, requiring every monastery to display pictures of Chairman Mao Zedong, putting troops on every corner of the Tibetan quarter in Lhasa, limiting foreign visitors to guided groups, having to give their names before photocopying, not being allowed to enter Lhasa without a police guarantee if they’re from another Tibetan area, and many more.

And you expect them to roll over and fetch and stop protesting? This is what liberation looks like? “Why won’t they just love and appreciate us?” Half a century, and still the Tibetans are being treated as second-class citizens. In the US we’ve had a black president, if no one’s noticed, two black secretaries of state, a black ambassador to the US, a black head of the Justice Department, many black congressmen, and blacks are free to protest and/or participate in their governance. Are there any Tibetans in top CCP posts? Even one? Can we blame them for their frustration over the decades? Do we attribute it only to the US? If they’re being “funneled” so much money why don’t they take up arms instead of immolating themselves? And again, I know all the good China has done or tried to do in the region. But its treatment of the Tibetans, not allowing them to photocopy any document no matter how innocuous and restricting their movement, is close to totalitarianism. It is a huge stain on China’s efforts to cultivate soft power.

February 8, 2013 @ 1:33 am | Comment

http://www.savetibet.org/policy-center/us-government-and-legislative-advocacy/tibet-funding#house

Bill language

…of which not less than $250,000 shall be for human rights and democracy programs relating to Tibet:

Report language

In addition, $250,000 shall be made available for the training and education of Tibetans in democracy activities and for monitoring the human rights situation in Tibet. The Committee supports the use of these funds for activities that have their primary impact inside Tibet, to the extent practicable. The Committee recommends that NED consult with the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the Department of State on implementation of its programs related to Tibet.

Report language

Exchanges with Tibet. The Tibetan Fulbright Scholarship Program has provided support to almost 300 Tibetan students and professionals seeking higher education and professional training at United States universities. The Committee strongly supports these exchanges with Tibet and has included the $750,000 requested for the Tibetan Scholarship Program in fiscal year 2010. In addition, the Committee recommendation includes not less than $650,000 for the Ngwang Choephel Fellows program, which is the same as the request.

Radio Free Asia (RFA)

The Committee recommendation includes $36,648,000 for Radio Free Asia, which is $729,000 above the fiscal year 2009 program level and the same as the request. The Committee strongly supports the broadcasting efforts to China, Tibet, Burma, Vietnam, North Korea, Laos, and Cambodia. The Committee commends the BBG and Radio Free Asia for the surge in VOA and RFA Tibetan broadcasts undertaken in fiscal years 2008 and 2009 and includes the funds requested to maintain those broadcast levels through fiscal year 2010.

Bill text, page 175

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, not less than $7,300,000 of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading “Economic Support Fund” should be made available to nongovernmental organizations to support activities which preserve cultural traditions and promote sustainable development and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and in other Tibetan communities in China.

Statement language

Tibet.-The bill provides $7,300,000 for assistance for programs that preserve cultural traditions and promote economic development and environmental conservation in Tibetan communities, to be administered by USAID. The Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues should play an active role in the allocation of funds for programs and activities in Tibet, as authorized by Public Law 1 07-223. Organizations involved in China rule of law programs should seek opportunities to conduct programs that can improve the human rights situation and the administration of justice in Tibetan areas, including Tibetan areas outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region. USAID should consider the work of The Bridge Fund.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

February 8, 2013 @ 2:44 am | Comment

And you expect them to roll over and fetch and stop protesting? This is what liberation looks like? “Why won’t they just love and appreciate us?” Half a century, and still the Tibetans are being treated as second-class citizens.

No. The point is not for them to roll over and stop protesting; Chinese people protest all the time, but not out of secessionist tendencies. Protest is a fundamentally neutral act; when it is conducted to split apart the People’s Republic, then it becomes a decidedly non-neutral act that must be liquidated.

The point is–if they were simply protesting environmental degradation or land rights or property rights or even censorship I would not care at all. Indeed, were those grievances legitimate, I would cheer them on. But when they protest on behalf of foreign powers, that’s where I draw the line, no matter what sort of reasons they bring to the table. The territorial sovereignty of China is inviolable, and no Chinese politician will ever back down from that argument.

In the US we’ve had a black president, if no one’s noticed, two black secretaries of state, a black ambassador to the US, a black head of the Justice Department, many black congressmen, and blacks are free to protest and/or participate in their governance. Are there any Tibetans in top CCP posts? Even one? Can we blame them for their frustration over the decades? Do we attribute it only to the US?

And–in all of those examples you cited, those Black people did not take an oath to serve just their fellow Black Americans, but all Americans. They believed–deep down inside–that there from a political perspective, there was nothing separating them from the rest of America. Some of those Tibetan protestors don’t share that sentiment vis a vis China, especially those influenced by the exile movement; what’s more, the entire exile movement itself predicates itself as an alternative source of political legitimacy. That’s intolerable, and that is why their views should be suppressed, marginalized, and liquidated.

If they’re being “funneled” so much money why don’t they take up arms instead of immolating themselves?

The money goes to the exile movement; not Tibetans. China has been remarkably successful at keeping foreign NGO cash out of Tibet, and this policy must continue.

And again, I know all the good China has done or tried to do in the region. But its treatment of the Tibetans, not allowing them to photocopy any document no matter how innocuous and restricting their movement, is close to totalitarianism. It is a huge stain on China’s efforts to cultivate soft power.

Fair enough–but the tradeoff is well worth it. There are some things more important than China’s soft power (or even the lives of Chinese soldiers). China’s inviolable territorial sovereignty is one of them.

February 8, 2013 @ 2:53 am | Comment

The point is: the Tibetan people must truly believe, from the bottom of their hearts, that they are part of the Chinese political unit. If they don’t, they cannot participate in China’s political discourse above a parochial level–and, what’s more–China, as the holder of sovereignty over Tibet, is completely justified in integrating and assimilating them until they do.

February 8, 2013 @ 2:55 am | Comment

More evidence:

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2008/03/tibet-uprising.html

Reminiscent of how US manipulates Iranians on the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, planting the South Korean dictator, Syngman Rhee while ignoring human rights and sole responsible for the tensions of North and the South Koreas, and planting various dictators in Latin America and post-Soviet areas with tons of cash from NED and USAid in the name of US’ definition of valuing human rights and democracy.

February 8, 2013 @ 3:59 am | Comment

Nice try. Very confusing, linking to the proposed bill approved by the GOP house but ignoring the final bill, which is all that matters. Very hard to decipher on that site what is actual policy vs. proposed legislation, so apologies if I misread anything. But based on all I saw, including a final bill, nearly all of the money is for education and environmental protection. The total amount for NED after the final 2009 appropriations bill was approved (see here) was $250,000 — hardly the “millions” you say they are “forking over.” Compared to US programs for foreign aid around the world, these numbers are laughable. $250,000. Heh. Burma, at the time our “enemy,” was slated in this final bill bill for $36,850,000!

I know you see this as all something insidious, but the US offers aid all around the world, and this is totally innocuous The US doesn’t want Tibetan grievances in any way to mar its relations with China. The US hasn’t endorsed a policy of independence for Tibet in decades, if ever. Last thing it wants to get involved in. The Dalai Lama is a hindrance to the US. He makes a nice occasional photo op with US presidents, but the US does not and will not endorse independence for Tibet and any aid it offers is not only trivial, it mainly goes to popular projects like the environment and scholarships.

I love the way some conspiracy-minded commenters go after the bogeyman known as the NED, a very, very, teensy-tiny endowment with no power or money to speak of.

February 8, 2013 @ 4:26 am | Comment

Mentioning NED blah blah blah is a hardy staple of the fenqing canon, but it should be a scarlet letter that brings banishment from adult debates. It’s hard to dispel the disgusting taste of Charles Liu when I see NED mentioned, even in the rare cases that it is used (relatively) in context.

February 8, 2013 @ 5:05 am | Comment

Slim I agree. Never saw a shred of evidence of its vast resources and interference in other governments. A fantasy. $250,000? Ho Ho Ho. The DL gets more in private donations every month.

February 8, 2013 @ 5:22 am | Comment

@Richard, T_co

The NED annual reports are published online. In 2011 they spent $400’000 in Tibet. T_co, look through the list of the programs they support. Which ones would you stop? The Women’s Society, the Cultural Centres? No, you’d probably stop the programs advocating and promoting human rights and democracy, issues that the Chinese government is supposed to support as well.

You sit at your computer in sunny California enjoying the hard-fought and treasured freedom to travel, text, phone and photocopy, ranting that the Tibetans should unconditionally accept CCP rule. You want them to stop advocating for freedoms which are a fraction of those that you enjoy in the country you hate so much but choose to live in.

@T_co,

‘That’s putting the cart before the horse. These thoughts come into play because there is resistance.’

As Mathew points out above, Tibetan culture and religion were there long before the CCP.

February 8, 2013 @ 8:40 am | Comment

The NED annual reports are published online. In 2011 they spent $400’000 in Tibet. T_co, look through the list of the programs they support. Which ones would you stop? The Women’s Society, the Cultural Centres? No, you’d probably stop the programs advocating and promoting human rights and democracy, issues that the Chinese government is supposed to support as well.

I’d call for a halt to all such funding, as well as funding to Radio Free Asia service in Mandarin and Tibetan.

And look, don’t get me wrong: I wholeheartedly agree with the issues of human rights and democracy. Read my comments on Chinese reform; read my comments on China’s political transition; China deserves better. But foreign support for such issues rarely comes in good faith, and usually serves to strengthen the centrifugal forces that try to fracture the polity apart and derail economic growth. That specter is troubling–and China should remain ever-vigilant against it.

You sit at your computer in sunny California enjoying the hard-fought and treasured freedom to travel, text, phone and photocopy, ranting that the Tibetans should unconditionally accept CCP rule. You want them to stop advocating for freedoms which are a fraction of those that you enjoy in the country you hate so much but choose to live in.

First off, I’m in miserable Chicago, not sunny earthquake country, and second off, when have I ever been arguing Tibetans shouldn’t have those freedoms at a normative level? I have argued that they can’t, because they are using those freedoms to subvert state power by visiting an alternate pole of political legitimacy. That automatically abrogates one’s freedom vis-a-vis the state. Just as every citizen has the right to overthrow their government; every government has the right to preserve itself so long as it views itself as acting in the interests of its constituents. That is the flip side of the social contract.

And nor have I stated Tibetans should accept CCP rule. My view is that China has sovereignty over Tibet; ergo, Tibetans should accept whatever rule China accepts. If the Tibetans want to pick otherwise; tough luck, they better be prepared to pay the blood, treasure, and cloak-and-dagger diplomacy that goes with trying to earn recognition of breakaway sovereignty from other countries.

Finally, the “why are you posting from America when you hate it” spiel is just stupid. I don’t hate America–I enjoy living here a lot. And I do back the American national project: the project that sees American returning to its true roots without foreign alliances and entanglements and one which lets the Eurasian continent go its own way absent soft and hard-power meddling. And finally: my enjoyment of freedom does not give me a moral obligation to support the right to freedom of someone else. I can support or un-support whatever I want.

‘That’s putting the cart before the horse. These thoughts come into play because there is resistance.’
As Mathew points out above, Tibetan culture and religion were there long before the CCP.

No amount of culture or ethnic uniqueness gives Tibetans a normative right to nationhood. And before you cry foul according to the right of Wilsonian self-determination, remember that I don’t care for it; I am not a subscriber to Wilson; I am a subscriber to the simple Westphalian realism of Mearsheimer, Kissinger, and Metternich.

Nobody has the normative right to be independent. To win that right to independence, Tibetans should start by putting themselves on the path to de facto independence through solicitation of foreign powers, armed resistance, eventually leading to guerrilla warfare. That is their right–and once they cross that Rubicon (as some already have), the Chinese state has every right to target them, to subject them and their families and wealth to exile, proscription, and unlimited force. And in the end, if they are victorious and the facts on the ground support they, they earn nationhood. If not, tough luck. Such is the game of politics and sovereignty, the grand chessboard. They can always choose not to play.

February 8, 2013 @ 11:21 am | Comment

@Matthew Cooper #134

Seriously? Tibetan Buddhism is an originally-foreign religion that Tibetans adopted and adapted over the course centuries, almost exclusively at the impetus of the Tibetans themselves, until it became deeply embedded in Tibetan society. I’m not really sure what you mean by “Tibetan Buddhism was used as a political tool to bring Tibet into the Sinosphere”. Wencheng is more myth than history. The Qing dynasty embraced Buddhism to get closer to the Tibetans; they didn’t push Buddhism onto the Tibetans.

On the other hand, Communism is a recent important which is associated almost exclusively with foreign domination. As far as indigenous Tibetan Communism, there was Bapa Phüntsok Wanggyäl’s group, but it was farcically small and ineffectual,and he ended going to prison for a long time once the serious communists came to power; and there was a Tibetan Communist Party in exile (founded by Tibetan nationalist secessionist Marxists), but it fell apart after a few years due to lack of interest.

February 8, 2013 @ 11:41 am | Comment

What bothers me, when it comes up, is an attitude of simultaneous aggressiveness and aggrievement from Chinese nationalists. One commenter on a different site a long time ago expressed his opinion of how China should handle Tibet: “less jaw-jaw, more war-war”. Although it might seem distasteful, it’s intellectually coherent. It makes sense. But having embraced that position, it no longer makes sense to talk about how other countries should act toward China. Century of humiliation, unequal treaties, massacres by the Japanese … all of that becomes irrelevant. It’s just the way the game is played. Someone who approves of unlimited force can hardly disapprove of the Rape of Nanking.

And yet, I’ve read in this thread that the U.S. has no right to get involved in China’s affairs. Look, China is stronger than Tibet, so Tibet is part of China. The U.S. is stronger than China, so we can fund the Dalai Lama if we feel like it. I’m sure the State Department has a Bureau of Whining and Complaining to which complaints can be addressed.

February 8, 2013 @ 11:59 am | Comment

@t_co

The first part of your comment sounds really reasonable. The second part about armed resistance and guerilla warfare and all that is just nuts. Why not just have a referendum for the people of Tibet (or Taiwan) to decide for themselves. Like Scotland or Quebec. Why can the Scottish people decide their own fate through peaceful means but you would deny Tibetans this chance.

February 8, 2013 @ 12:27 pm | Comment

The first part of your comment sounds really reasonable. The second part about armed resistance and guerilla warfare and all that is just nuts. Why not just have a referendum for the people of Tibet (or Taiwan) to decide for themselves. Like Scotland or Quebec. Why can the Scottish people decide their own fate through peaceful means but you would deny Tibetans this chance.

Because a referendum would have two options:

a yes for independence, which would simply stoke the flames of separatism and/or undermine Chinese territorial integrity
or a no for independence, which would be accused of being a biased/fake/brainwashed answer by ‘neutral’ observers anyhow, since, based on the support that the US, Britain, and Japan toss to Tibetan exiles, they probably aren’t really neutral

A referendum would be useful if all outside support for Tibetan independent ceased, but that won’t happen.

February 8, 2013 @ 1:11 pm | Comment

And yet, I’ve read in this thread that the U.S. has no right to get involved in China’s affairs. Look, China is stronger than Tibet, so Tibet is part of China. The U.S. is stronger than China, so we can fund the Dalai Lama if we feel like it. I’m sure the State Department has a Bureau of Whining and Complaining to which complaints can be addressed.

And there’s the rub: the root of US support for Tibet is not because it is morally right, but because the US is stronger than China.

What bothers me, when it comes up, is an attitude of simultaneous aggressiveness and aggrievement from Chinese nationalists. One commenter on a different site a long time ago expressed his opinion of how China should handle Tibet: “less jaw-jaw, more war-war”. Although it might seem distasteful, it’s intellectually coherent. It makes sense. But having embraced that position, it no longer makes sense to talk about how other countries should act toward China. Century of humiliation, unequal treaties, massacres by the Japanese … all of that becomes irrelevant. It’s just the way the game is played. Someone who approves of unlimited force can hardly disapprove of the Rape of Nanking.

The above point ties in here as well. China has learned from its most recent century and a half that in the end, no one gives a shit about what happens in China unless the events in China potentially impact their own interests, and no one can do much when they give a shit unless they have the power to do so. When England needed to beat on China until terms favored her, she waged two wars and forced China to legalize–nay, offer credit and favorable trade terms for an English pharmaceutical product until 25% of the Chinese population was addicted. When the French, Germans, and Russians felt left out, they sailed their gunboats over and forced their own treaties. When the US felt left out, the US played nice and made the Open Door policy. When the Japanese felt left out, they invaded Taiwan, then Korea, then Manchuria, then China proper. When the other countries felt their interests were hurt by those invasions, they started piping up in protest and suddenly became China’s ‘friend’ (even though then, there were plenty of people who argued the Japanese could be worked with even if they were slaughtering Chinese by the million, like that apologist bastard MacMurray). Nobody fired a shot to defend China until the Japanese sank their battleships or marched into their colonial holdings. Then when China picked a different side in the Cold War, suddenly China was a bogeyman again. Then when the West needed China for a second front against the USSR, China was a friend again. Now China’s independent, prosperous, and bulking up in ways not seen since the 1700s, so China’s flipping back to the enemy side of the equation, but China still trades and respects international capital, so they’re a friend in some respects. Nations only do things for what they want, and they only do things that they can. End of story. China’s century of humiliation isn’t about sympathy; it’s about explaining China’s worldview to the rest of the world, much as the Holocaust has shaped, for better or worse, how Israel views its own existence. China’s lesson is that Chinese prosperity can only come from the game; and at the end of the day, the scoreboard only keeps track of power. And China will do anything to win, because China knows exactly how high the stakes can be.

February 8, 2013 @ 1:28 pm | Comment

@T_co,

If a yes would stoke the flames of separatism and/or undermine territorial integrity, why are the Scottish getting a referendum?

What you mean is that if Tibet gained independence, many other regions would also seek it. I wonder why.

Why is it so hard to believe that many people, like you, simply do not want to live under the rule of the CCP?

February 8, 2013 @ 1:30 pm | Comment

In the same vein, if China ever goes through a “Chinese Spring”, I fully expect whatever winning faction comes forth to basically deliver the below speech to Mandarin.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6bVj-nTkiU

“Fellow Chinese, I come to you in the wake of recent events to issue a call to reason. Let none of us deny the perils of our time.
While we battle one another, divided by the petty strife of our common history, the tide of a greater conflict is turning against us, threatening to destroy all that we have accomplished. It is time for us as factions, and as individuals to set aside our longstanding feuds and UNITE.

The tides of an unwinnable war are upon us, and we must seek refuge upon higher ground, lest we be swept away by the flood.

The Party is no more. Whatever semblance of unity and protection it once provided is a phantom. A memory. With our enemies left unchecked, who will you turn to for protection?

The devastation wrought by the foreign aggressors is self-evident. We have seen our resources and interests usurped by the calculated blows of the Americans. We have seen firsthand our friends and loved ones consumed by the nightmarish Japanese. Unprecedented, and unimaginable though they may be, these are the signs of our times.

The time has come, my fellow Chinese, to rally to a new banner. In unity lies strength. Already many of the dissident factions have joined us.
Out of the many we shall forge an indivisible whole, capitulating only to a single throne.

And from that throne, I shall watch over you.

From this day forward, let no Han make war upon any other Han. Let no Chinese agency conspire against this new beginning. And let no Chinese soul consort with foreign powers. And to all the enemies of China, seek not to bar our way. For we shall win through, NO MATTER THE COST!”

February 8, 2013 @ 1:43 pm | Comment

@T_co,

You’re a nutter.

February 8, 2013 @ 1:46 pm | Comment

You’re a nutter.

That speech would happen, and it would be successful–even if we might think it’s crazy.

February 8, 2013 @ 1:50 pm | Comment

“Today I saw someone being pickpocketed right in front of me.”

Pickpocketers are just people trying to make a living, personally i if i saw some children pickpocketing, i would not interrupt them.

February 8, 2013 @ 1:52 pm | Comment

If a yes would stoke the flames of separatism and/or undermine territorial integrity, why are the Scottish getting a referendum?

Because they’re reasonably certain a yes won’t happen?

What you mean is that if Tibet gained independence, many other regions would also seek it. I wonder why.

No, that’s not what I meant, but I’ll bite. Why?

Why is it so hard to believe that many people, like you, simply do not want to live under the rule of the CCP?

It’s not hard to believe at all. It’s also not hard to believe that people want to have their own country. But a) no one has shown proof the majority of Tibetans support either of those two and b) even were it so, I literally don’t care. My interest (as a Chinese citizen operating under conditions of rational utility maximization and state-centric models of international relations and social welfare generation) is limited to how it affects China.

February 8, 2013 @ 2:01 pm | Comment

@T_co,

That’s the crunch, even if Tibetans want their own country and want rid of the CCP, you ‘literally don’t care’. You don’t care about them or what they want and neither, it seems, do the upper echelons of the party.

Your ‘interest (as a Chinese citizen operating under conditions of rational utility maximization and state-centric models of international relations and social welfare generation) is limited to’ experiencing the benevolence and brilliance of the CCP from the comfort of Chicago.

February 8, 2013 @ 3:16 pm | Comment

“Wencheng is more myth than history”

Tang dynasty was not so ancient to be considered mythical.

February 8, 2013 @ 3:54 pm | Comment

If the Chinese Governme…. I mean, the CCP, has to start a conversation with the TGIE and the very first topic is “autonomy”…. then the conversation is going to be a non-starter.

There is no way the CCP… (or ANY Chinese Government for that matter) will ever give up autonomy on any Chinese province, let alone to a bunch of people who aren’t even IN Tibet in the first place.

And self-determination? No matter how liberal or “democratic” China is…. the lessons of the Soviet Union are enough to ensure that “self-determination” for Tibet will not happen for a VERY long time. Short of a couple of nuclear strikes on China and the army in the Tibet region loses control. No Han Chinese will be stupid enough to let go of territory. Even an outsider like me can see this very clearly.

And oh BTW, the CCP has a marvelous precedence to follow where it comes to Tibetan “self-determination”. Guess where it comes from? Oh yes, The great United States of Amerikah! The scene? The secession attempt of Texas (and a few other ex-Confederate states)!

https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/response/our-states-remain-united

“In a nation of 300 million people — each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs — democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that’s a good thing. Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted.

But as much as we value a healthy debate, we don’t let that debate tear us apart.”

“Our founding fathers established the Constitution of the United States “in order to form a more perfect union” through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. They enshrined in that document the right to change our national government through the power of the ballot — a right that generations of Americans have fought to secure for all. But they did not provide a right to walk away from it.”

Repeat – no right to walk away from it!

If even states in that “great” icon of liberalism and democracy are unable to secede through voting (and the Union and Confederates fought a massive war over this), why should Tibet get self-determination just because a bunch of outsiders feel so?

February 8, 2013 @ 6:59 pm | Comment

Your ‘interest (as a Chinese citizen operating under conditions of rational utility maximization and state-centric models of international relations and social welfare generation) is limited to’ experiencing the benevolence and brilliance of the CCP from the comfort of Chicago.

Straw man alert: where in my above statements have I said that I believe the CCP is either benevolent or brilliant? Also, what does living in Chicago for six months out of the year have to do with anything?

February 8, 2013 @ 10:38 pm | Comment

@T_co,

It was intended as an ad hominem. I think you’re a hypocrite for asking the Tibetans to live under a system which you yourself do not wish to experience.

This is a thread about whether Tibetans are treated as second class citizens. You certainly do see them as such, or worse, evinced by your statement that you ‘literally don’t care’ what they want.

February 9, 2013 @ 12:38 am | Comment

@TE Low,

Conventional American thought (which I don’t really find that compelling, but you apparently do) holds that we don’t need a right to secession because we have democratic elections. We all get to participate in the political process that way. On the other hand, the American Revolution was justified because the 13 colonies were not represented in parliament. No taxation without representation. This is an argument for Tibetan independence unless China starts having democratic elections.
PS – I love this bit that comes up sometimes about how no Chinese government worth its salt would ever cede Chinese territory and the people would never stand for it, full stop. In fact, Mao Zedong ceded Outer Mongolia to the Soviets in the 1940s. China is really no worse for wear for it.

February 9, 2013 @ 2:19 am | Comment

It was intended as an ad hominem. I think you’re a hypocrite for asking the Tibetans to live under a system which you yourself do not wish to experience.

First off, an ad hominem is a logical fallacy. Second off, when did I say I do or do not wish to experience the CCP myself? Third, what obligates me to care about their welfare? Finally, how does a lack of such an obligation mean I agree their treatment matches that accorded to your criteria of ‘second-class citizens’?

You’ve proven nothing.

February 9, 2013 @ 3:03 am | Comment

PS – I love this bit that comes up sometimes about how no Chinese government worth its salt would ever cede Chinese territory and the people would never stand for it, full stop. In fact, Mao Zedong ceded Outer Mongolia to the Soviets in the 1940s. China is really no worse for wear for it.

Mao did it because he needed Soviet support to win the Chinese Civil War, and even then, he had substantial opposition to overcome on his decision. Without such an extenuating circumstance, TE Low’s statement holds.

Of course, Tibetans can start dreaming about instability and unrest in China all they want, and a return to China being the ‘sick man of Asia’ in order for Chinese troops to leave Lhasa. That will win them support from Chinese dissidents, I’m sure…

In that same vein, it’s not surprising that in spite of Woeser’s efforts to bring attention to the immolations in the Chinese twitterati, most Chinese dissenters (even people like Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiaobo) have stayed mum on the issue, perhaps because of the aforementioned linkage between realistic conditions for Chinese explusion from Tibet and Chinese weakness. No dissident in China who wants popular relevancy (and let’s face it: which one doesn’t) will link themselves to a weak China.

February 9, 2013 @ 3:09 am | Comment

On the other hand, the American Revolution was justified because the 13 colonies were not represented in parliament. No taxation without representation. This is an argument for Tibetan independence unless China starts having democratic elections.

That’s disingenuous. The AR was justified because other people had representation while the colonies didn’t. In Tibet’s case, no one has representation in China, so the logic is exactly applicable. The proper impact of this example is that the AR becomes a justification for all of China to revolt against the CCP, not just Tibet, and in no way does it imply Tibet has a right to revolt separately of the whole entity.

February 9, 2013 @ 3:12 am | Comment

@t_co,

Mao did it because he needed Soviet support to win the Chinese Civil War, and even then, he had substantial opposition to overcome on his decision. Without such an extenuating circumstance, TE Low’s statement holds.

right, that’s what I’m saying. Obviously, no Chinese politician would give away territory without some kind of reason. That’s hardly the same as “would never do it and no one would ever stand for it, never.”

most Chinese dissenters (even people like Ai Weiwei and Liu Xiaobo) have stayed mum on the issue, perhaps because of the aforementioned linkage between realistic conditions for Chinese explusion from Tibet and Chinese weakness. No dissident in China who wants popular relevancy (and let’s face it: which one doesn’t) will link themselves to a weak China.

I completely agree with this (except for one thing: LXB has made some very pro-Tibet statements. He is currently staying mum about everything because he’s in prison). Actually, I wish Chinese dissidents would shut up about Tibet because it hurts their popularity levels. I liked Xu Zhiyong’s article “Tibet is burning”, but I also cringed, thinking, “this will go over like a lead zeppelin”.

February 9, 2013 @ 7:22 am | Comment

Well, you’ve done it again, Cookie, and gotten yourself banned. You can’t spout insults like that.

Richard

February 9, 2013 @ 7:25 am | Comment

Xilin,

Within t_co’s framework, I don’t think “second-class citizen” is quite the right description. I think it would be more accurate to say that they are subjects. A subject’s interests and preferences are not relevant unless they happen to coincide with those of the ruler.

February 9, 2013 @ 7:27 am | Comment

LXB has made some very pro-Tibet statements.

‘LXB’ has said a lot of things. “a cul­ture and (reli­gious) sys­tem that pro­duced this kind of threat, must be extremely intol­er­ant and blood-thirsty.”
“with­out America’s pro­tec­tion, the long per­se­cuted Jews who faced exter­mi­na­tion dur­ing World War II, prob­a­bly would again be drowned by the Islamic world’s hatred.”

Pamela Geller? No, Liu Xiaobo.

“Liu also published a 2004 article in support of Bush’s war on Iraq, titled “Victory to the Anglo-American Freedom Alliance”, in which he praised the U.S.-led post-Cold War conflicts as “best examples of how war should be conducted in a modern civilization.” He predicted “a free, democratic and peaceful Iraq will emerge.”

Ann Coulter? No, ‘LXB’

February 9, 2013 @ 7:28 am | Comment

@CM

Let’s back off from the ad hominems on LXB. Guy’s got credibility issues but we can say he represents a certain strain of Chinese dissident thought (and probably also shows why Chinese dissidents are so marginalized amongst the masses of their own country).

February 9, 2013 @ 7:58 am | Comment

@Otto, perhaps ‘second class subject’ would be more apt.

@T_co,

‘First off, an ad hominem is a logical fallacy.’

I know.

‘when did I say I do or do not wish to experience the CCP myself?’

You don’t live there.

‘Third, what obligates me to care about their welfare?’

Basic human decency.

‘how does a lack of such an obligation mean I agree their treatment matches that accorded to your criteria of ‘second-class citizens’?’

From your previously comments, I thought that you had an ethnic/cultural pecking order when it comes to the peoples of China. Tibetans, it seemed, fell somewhat low down on this order of yours. If, however, you don’t care about what anyone in China thinks, I take it back.

‘You’ve proven nothing.’

I’m not really trying to prove anything. You yourself have stated above that you do not care one iota what Tibetans themselves actually want. I’m just saying I don’t think much of a ‘Chinese citizen’ who sits in Chicago saying that Tibetans should accept passport restrictions.

@CM, shame you got banned. I hope the insult wasn’t aimed at yours truly. I was looking forward to a few more claims that you cannot support with evidence, like the Chinese people have the lowest crime rates in the world.

February 9, 2013 @ 8:50 am | Comment

CM’s ad hominem was directed at another commenter and was one os his nastiest yet. I try to keep things as unrestricted as possible but there are limits.

February 9, 2013 @ 8:58 am | Comment

t_co – What a short and defective memory you have! “Nobody fired a shot to defend China until the Japanese sank their battleships or marched into their colonial holdings.” I suppose that’s literally true as far as it goes, but also extremely misleading because it omits the material facts: Roosevelt’s embargo of oil against Japan, which was intended to force Japan to cease its war of aggression against China, led directly to Pearl Harbor. If the US really didn’t care about China, it could have left China to Japan’s tender mercies and Japan would never have attacked Pearl Harbor or the Philippines.

Your apologies are accepted.

February 9, 2013 @ 11:17 am | Comment

US would never have allowed japan to control CHina anyway, if japan controls china, it will have an empire as powerful as US and USSR

February 9, 2013 @ 12:06 pm | Comment

@Doug – Of course, Winston Churchill had been willing to go further sooner, but Roosevelt had his eyes fixed on the 1940 election and Britain could not act alone on this. The League of Nations did condemn the invasion of China, however sanctions against Japan were meaningless without US involvement – it is not for nothing that Churchill said that, of the democracies, it was the United States that held the gravest responsibility for the failure to act against aggression before the war.

The allies – Britain, France, and, later, the United States, supported China with arms throughout the war, firstly from French Indochina, then from Burma, and then by air across the Himalayas. All this at a time when a cynical, self-interested foreign policy demanded closer relations with Japan whilst war with Germany, Italy, and even possibly the USSR, was so pressing.

These measures followed years of sanctions against Japan of exactly the kind that the People’s Republic of China so often either opposes or fails to support when directed against modern examples of aggression such as the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.

February 9, 2013 @ 2:50 pm | Comment

FOARP @165

The LoG could not realistically condemn Japan’s invasion of China because it would have set up a precedent whereby the rights of all the imperial powers to subjugate the people in their colonies would have been in doubt. That is likely the same reason that the LoG did not condemn the italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935 (where, incidentally the Italians committed horrific atrocities)- how do you condemn imperial aggression when that is the accepted norm of your era?

I think that in the west we like to conveniently forget that we were just like the militaristic Japanese – at least in kind, and occasionally in degree as well. Most of the world was subjugated (truly subjugated) by the western powers so trying to paint the western world at the time as some kind of bastion for human rights and freedom is entirely dishonest.

February 9, 2013 @ 6:48 pm | Comment

@BB – Thanks for the faux-history lesson. Actually the League of Nations condemned both invasions, invasions then no longer being an accepted norm as it may have been 30-40 years previously. I know it’s SOP to simply make out that there has been no change in the way countries behave in the last 150 years on these boards, but you could simply have Googled a bit before posting.

February 10, 2013 @ 4:23 am | Comment

@ FOARP 167

Actually, no I didn’t say that the League didn’t condemn Japan’s invasion, I said that their condemnation was unrealistic – that is, it was a a joke since most of the world at the time had been subjugated to European imperialism.

And no, the League did not condemn Italy, and by 1938 most of the world – that is the west – had accepted Italy as the “rightful” rulers of Ethiopia. And the only reason that invasions may have ceased was because there was not much left to invade except for Ethiopia and China. Sorry but the truth is ugly.

February 10, 2013 @ 6:11 am | Comment

@BB – From “1935 SANCTIONS AGAINST ITALY” by CRISTIANO ANDREA RISTUCCIA, the sanctions consisted of:

“Proposal I which imposed a ban on arms trade to both Italy and Ethiopia; Proposal II which “asked States to render impossible all loans to or for the Italian Government, or banking or other credits to or for that Government or any public authority, person or corporation in Italian territory, and all issues of shares or other capital flotations in Italian territory or elsewhere, made directly or indirectly for the Italian Government or for public authorities, persons or corporations established in Italian territory”;2 Proposal III “related to the prohibition of importation into the territory of State Members of all goods (other than gold or silver bullion and coin) consigned from Italy or Italian possessions”;3 Proposal IV which “prohibit[ed] the exportation or re-exportation to Italy and her colonies of a certain number of articles…necessary for the prosecution of war, …[and] mainly exported by States Members of the League”.4 In addition, a suspension of all the bilateral clearing agreements with Italy was declared. The sanctions came into force on 18 November 1935.”

These measures were enforced without exception by the members of the League. It has been speculated that an additional embargo on oil and coal might have had greater effect, however studies on this subject show that Italy would probably have been able to do without them. The League was no more capable of managing Italian aggression than it was capable of preventing Italian intervention in the Spanish Civil War, or the Italian invasion of Albania, or any of the other crises of the era. Talking as if there were additional reasons for failing to act based on imperial expansion which had been completed 30-40 years previously and on which opinion in the 30′s was largely mixed lacks basis in fact.

February 10, 2013 @ 8:23 pm | Comment

@ FOARP

Yes, halfhearted sanctions, lasting less than one year, and not inclusive of the two of the most important raw materials necessary to wage a modern war, hardly constitutes condemnation. A year after the invasion of Ethiopia the international community had fully recognized and legitimized Italian control of Ethiopia, end of story, end of Ethiopia. The Italian empire was recognized as a legitimate and welcome member of the imperial community – to condemn it would have been an implicit condemnation of all imperial gains. This is common sense.

And what history books have you been reading? The Brits and the French took control of most of the Ottoman middle East territories in the 1920′s, and even post WWII the Brits, Dutch, and French tried with great brutality to reassert their control over their empires which had been (oddly enough) liberated by the Japanese in Asia. The French even tried to regain their territories in China, and the Brits are reported to have killed tens of thousands of Kenyans in their attempts to maintain their control there. European imperial expansion (including acts of suppressing liberation movements) was fundamentally ongoing until the late 1960′s.

February 10, 2013 @ 10:22 pm | Comment

@t-co

“And finally: my enjoyment of freedom does not give me a moral obligation to support the right to freedom of someone else.”

“Third, what obligates me to care about their welfare?”

Perhaps “I’m alright Jack” would have been more succinct?

This is where you reach your ethical nadir; one common to virtually all true educated Chinese nationalists – when the mask of geniality finally slips. Fine sounding words, elegant rebuttals, busy fingers dancing on the key board of hypocrisy as they weave euphonious arguments like a Lan Lan of logic. But at the heart of it, dissonance and discord – a moral vacuum.

Let’s face it – if you’re not Han (or willing to acquiesce to Han hegemony) then in China you don’t count. A disdain towards others that would be considered racist in more enlightened societies permeates China today. Sorry Tibet, sorry Xinjiang, sorry to all the 55 vassal peoples of the Han (excepting perhaps the pretend minorities, Han in all but name). As far as t-co and his (regrettably numerous) ilk is concerned, a ‘peacefully’ rising China means alea iacta est – and the Han wants his lebensraum, so you just lost.

February 10, 2013 @ 10:53 pm | Comment

Thank you, Peter.

February 11, 2013 @ 12:51 am | Comment

Peter Arthur @171

“This is where you reach your ethical nadir; one common to virtually all true educated Chinese nationalists – when the mask of geniality finally slips. Fine sounding words, elegant rebuttals, busy fingers dancing on the key board of hypocrisy as they weave euphonious arguments like a Lan Lan of logic. But at the heart of it, dissonance and discord – a moral vacuum.”

But this is the point at which self-righteous passion for human dignity becomes absurdly comical. Why is it that we western moral authorities are spending our time and effort trying to win dignity for Tibetans when in our own backyards we offer our own ethnic minorities with less dignity that we treat our dogs.

It is the problem that won’t go away; we, as westerners have nothing to offer China when it comes to uplifting our ethnic minorities – particularly here in the states. We certainly have no moral authority, and so far haven’t come up with a solution to how to successfully integrate our own ethnic minorities.

One reason might be that all of our moral superheroes and ethical activists are spending their time meddling in the affairs of other countries. Why is it that so many of us seem to be outspoken about the plight of Tibetans, yet so few of us are outspoken about the social injustices that contribute to the fact that 5-year-old African-American boys are selling crack a few blocks from our homes, and become serial offenders by the time they are 15, and prison regulars by the time they are 18, and then several times more likely to receive a death sentence?

The ugly fact is that Tibet advocates are only pretending that they can offer a solution, and that to me is the biggest moral scam of the whole phenomenon. Who knows, maybe the Chinese will come up with a better way of uplifting minorities than us.

February 11, 2013 @ 2:12 am | Comment

Peter is playing the classic race-baiting scheme. By doing that, is to ignore the history of rebellion channeled by the United States past and present where most critics of China’s policy on Tibet and Xinjiang fails to do.

The other 53 ethnicity where they have not being manipulated by the US, most of them all fine. It has nothing to do with acquiesce to Han hegemony or “inferior race” for the matter.

February 11, 2013 @ 2:18 am | Comment

This is where you reach your ethical nadir; one common to virtually all true educated Chinese nationalists – when the mask of geniality finally slips. Fine sounding words, elegant rebuttals, busy fingers dancing on the key board of hypocrisy as they weave euphonious arguments like a Lan Lan of logic. But at the heart of it, dissonance and discord – a moral vacuum.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_the_well

And what moral vacuum are we speaking of? Han chauvinism? When I have ever said I am a)Han Chinese or b) morally obligated to care for the freedom of Han Chinese, either?

Let’s face it – if you’re not Han (or willing to acquiesce to Han hegemony) then in China you don’t count. A disdain towards others that would be considered racist in more enlightened societies permeates China today.

Quite a large generalization, is this not?

Sorry Tibet, sorry Xinjiang, sorry to all the 55 vassal peoples of the Han (excepting perhaps the pretend minorities, Han in all but name). As far as t-co and his (regrettably numerous) ilk is concerned, a ‘peacefully’ rising China means alea iacta est – and the Han wants his lebensraum, so you just lost.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_reasoning
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loaded_language

You can’t win the debate this way. Bring some logic to the table.

February 11, 2013 @ 2:42 am | Comment

I suppose that’s literally true as far as it goes, but also extremely misleading because it omits the material facts: Roosevelt’s embargo of oil against Japan, which was intended to force Japan to cease its war of aggression against China, led directly to Pearl Harbor. If the US really didn’t care about China, it could have left China to Japan’s tender mercies and Japan would never have attacked Pearl Harbor or the Philippines.

The US made those actions because Japanese aggression against China adversely affected American, French, and British interests in China, not out of some sense of international altruism. Your move.

February 11, 2013 @ 2:46 am | Comment

All this at a time when a cynical, self-interested foreign policy demanded closer relations with Japan whilst war with Germany, Italy, and even possibly the USSR, was so pressing.

This makes no sense. A cynical, self-interested foreign policy for whom? For Britain? In that case, British moves made perfect sense: closer relations with the United States, neutrality on Japanese moves in China; cultivation of UK-USSR relations; a formal alliance with France.

For the US? Remember that the US was looking not to get involved in Europe, period, at the time, so none of her foreign policy moves can be explained by war with Germany, Italy, or Russia.

February 11, 2013 @ 2:49 am | Comment

Peter is playing the classic race-baiting scheme. By doing that, is to ignore the history of rebellion channeled by the United States past and present where most critics of China’s policy on Tibet and Xinjiang fails to do.

He’s not just race-baiting, his arguments are illogical.

The other 53 ethnicity where they have not being manipulated by the US, most of them all fine. It has nothing to do with acquiesce to Han hegemony or “inferior race” for the matter.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say those ethnicities have been manipulated by the US–even for the Tibetans and the Uighurs. I would, however, say that subsets of those two aforementioned examples have been used by the United States to advance American interests at one time or another (and that includes the present-day). It is those acts of using ethnic tensions to advance American interests that are “fair game” for China to use full-spectrum options against (freezing financial flows, targeted kinetic operations, PSYOPs, etc.) The root ethnic issues themselves are ones that should be addressed with the normal tools of governance.

February 11, 2013 @ 2:56 am | Comment

@t_co –

“This makes no sense. A cynical, self-interested foreign policy for whom? For Britain? In that case, British moves made perfect sense: closer relations with the United States, neutrality on Japanese moves in China; cultivation of UK-USSR relations; a formal alliance with France.”

Right . . . it’s a funny kind of neutrality that includes sanctions and condemnation against one side and the supply of arms to the other side. But hey, feel free to ignore those parts of history that don’t fit into your ideological viewpoint.

“Yes, halfhearted sanctions, lasting less than one year, and not inclusive of the two of the most important raw materials necessary to wage a modern war, hardly constitutes condemnation. A year after the invasion of Ethiopia the international community had fully recognized and legitimized Italian control of Ethiopia, end of story, end of Ethiopia. The Italian empire was recognized as a legitimate and welcome member of the imperial community – to condemn it would have been an implicit condemnation of all imperial gains. This is common sense.”

So you admit there were sanctions, sanctions which were enforced? And the enforcement of these sanctions “hardly constitutes condemnation”? I guess you’re OK with the continuation of the EU/US arms embargo against China as well then? I guess the UN sanctions against North Korea, which still allow the import of oil, also “hardly constitutes condemnation”? And Italy was viewed as a “Welcome member of the imperial community”? The historical record shows that every country except the USSR stopped recognising Ethiopia – not just ‘imperialist’ countries, but even countries like Mexico and China, and that it was Britain that gave Haile Selassie sanctuary and British troops that helped restore Ethiopian independence.

February 11, 2013 @ 2:29 pm | Comment

@ FOARP 178

You think that insignificant sanctions that lasted about 1 year, after which the international community – yes, mostly imperial nations – made a complete 180 degree change of policy constitutes “condemnation”? And the opinions of Mexico and China hardly made much of a difference to world affairs or the decisions of the imperial powers. Plus, why would suggest that sanctions against North Korea don’t constitute condemnation?

Plus, when did the Brits liberate Ethiopia – do you mean the second world war when they were at war with Italy? That doesn’t change the fact that the Brits continued to acquire imperial territories they had no right to right up until the 1920′s, neither does it change the fact that several European countries attempted to brutally suppress liberation movements in their attempts to reassert their imperial authority post-war.

February 11, 2013 @ 3:18 pm | Comment

Peter, that is dead on. Well put.

February 11, 2013 @ 6:29 pm | Comment

I have to say that reading the above exchange I have come away with the very strong impression that the person who goes by the name “t_co” has profoundly disgusting and immoral views (stealing Tibetan children from their parents and raising them in some kind of government-controlled boarding camps, etc.)

If these are are views that anyone in China espouses, they should be aware that evil will be resisted around the world.

February 12, 2013 @ 9:00 am | Comment

@BB – So:

“No sanctions” = sanctions

“No condemnation” = sanctions stricter than those currently applied against Iran and North Korea.

“Imperialist community” = every country in the world at the time except the USSR.

You can keep going as if your argument hasn’t been torn to shreds, but you can do it without me.

February 12, 2013 @ 2:16 pm | Comment

@t_co 175

No less than four appeals to the arbiter of all discussion. Re. the first half of my post, QED I think. M. t_co, with all this wikimining you are really spoiling me! Flattering nonetheless.
Let me put this as simply as possible, lest I be accused of further rhetorical contortions (unintentional I assure you – I am a simple soul); I am not taking issue with your use of logic. Logic after all has been used, ad nauseam, to argue the toss for every political theory in history – both the crackpot and the mainstream, the admirable and the reprehensible. No, it is not your logic, it is your moral standpoint I find repugnant. Fear not, you may retire to your bed tonight, erudition intact. As for your of mind peace – that is your business.

I have just read your comment #56

“Sinify and secularize the children. All of them.”

Are you aware how blood-chilling this phrase sounds to anyone brought up in a region where genocide – cultural or actual – has been attempted. Have you any idea of the human toll of your glib plan for the cultural obliteration of an entire society? Of the inherent racism of your “Tibetan face on a … Chinese heart”?
The fact that you have obviously considered this plan carefully – and deliver it in the clinical language of the soulless technocrats that excel in such endeavours – appalls me. No doubt you would applaud the Nipponisation of Northeastern China (and many other parts of E/SE Asia) in the 30s and 40s. After all was it not for the greater good? First, for the good of the Japanese empire and second for the good of the “backward Chinese” – in the eyes of the Japanese conquerors – whose loyal Japanese-speaking children would prosper in the new Nippon centered Asia. That one ended up well.

Which moral vacuum? I think the above will make that clear – yours.

My dear t_co, beloved as you are of the accusatory rhetorical question, here’s one for you: Have I ever accused you of being a Han Chinese? Your provenance is irrelevant, your words speak volumes.

February 12, 2013 @ 3:28 pm | Comment

@ FOARP

Where did I say “no sanctions means sanctions”, where did I say “no sanctions”? I didn’t – what is it about you Tibet advocates and not being able to understand simple English?

I’m glad you have decided to back off because you have done little more than misrepresent what I’ve written and imagined that that amounts to a rebuttal – which incidentally seems to be another quality exhibited by some Tibet advocates.

I will also point out that no-one has even tried to illustrate how the west’s treatment of its minorities can serve as an example to the Chinese – probably because we know that we are only pretending to know what is best. Italy has sanctioned roaming bands of vigilantes who harass non-white Italians, Greek police have been reported to look the other way whilst Golden Dawn commits crimes against immigrants, Spain and Portugal have abysmal records of brutality, racism, and harassment of minorities. The poorest people in France and the UK are minorities, and police harassment of minorities is rife. And don’t even get me started with the US – African-Americans are dying in police custody by the dozens every year, and statistically are far more likely to get sentenced to death. And I won’t even go into the third world poverty of many African-American communities, and the poor investment in education within those communities that perpetuates the cycle. It may be a coincidence that in some African-American communities 47% of high school graduates are functionally illiterate, or it could be a reflection of our poor treatment of them – it is even possible that the Chinese are doing a better job of providing education for Tibetans than we provide for blacks.

So let’s cut to the chase; in concrete terms what exactly is it that western societies are doing with their minorities that we believe the Chinese can emulate? Some might stupidly claim that at least western immigrants have the vote and can speak out against their oppression, yet this would only seem to magnify the injustice by significant degrees – minorities have rights, yet, the experiences of a significant portion of them is almost indistinguishable from the experiences of a minorities in countries where rights are absent.

Yet, we have something to teach the Chinese about uplifting minorities. It’s a joke and deep down we all know that our self-righteous proclamations have no foundation.

February 12, 2013 @ 3:42 pm | Comment

@BB 173
This thread concerns the very real discrimination against Tibetans in China. It does not concern the very real discrimination that exists against many ethnic minorities in the US. If it did it, I might have something to say about that. But it doesn’t, so I don’t.
Bye Bye.

February 12, 2013 @ 4:13 pm | Comment

Right . . . it’s a funny kind of neutrality that includes sanctions and condemnation against one side and the supply of arms to the other side. But hey, feel free to ignore those parts of history that don’t fit into your ideological viewpoint.

Please, enlighten me about exactly what Britain did to oppose Japanese moves into China prior to Pearl Harbor.

February 13, 2013 @ 6:58 am | Comment

No less than four appeals to the arbiter of all discussion. Re. the first half of my post, QED I think. M. t_co, with all this wikimining you are really spoiling me! Flattering nonetheless.
Let me put this as simply as possible, lest I be accused of further rhetorical contortions (unintentional I assure you – I am a simple soul); I am not taking issue with your use of logic. Logic after all has been used, ad nauseam, to argue the toss for every political theory in history – both the crackpot and the mainstream, the admirable and the reprehensible. No, it is not your logic, it is your moral standpoint I find repugnant. Fear not, you may retire to your bed tonight, erudition intact. As for your of mind peace – that is your business.

“Do you see ? Men have a weapon against you. Reason. So you must be very sure to take it away from them. Cut the props from under it. But be careful. Don’t deny outright. Never deny anything outright, you give your hand away. Don’t say reason is evil – though some have gone that far and with astonishing success. Just say that reason is limited. That there’s something above it. What ? You don’t have to be too clear about it either. The field’s inexhaustible. ‘Instinct’ – ‘Feeling’ – ‘Revelation’ – ‘Divine Intuition’ – ‘Dialectic Materialism’. If you get caught at some crucial point and somebody tells you that your doctrine doesn’t make sense – you’re ready for him. You tell him there’s something above sense. That here he must not try to think, he must feel. He must believe. Suspend reason and you play it deuces wild. Anything goes in any manner you wish whenever you need it. You’ve got him. Can you rule a thinking man ? We don’t want any thinking men.”

Take your BS somewhere else.

February 13, 2013 @ 7:00 am | Comment

Are you aware how blood-chilling this phrase sounds to anyone brought up in a region where genocide – cultural or actual – has been attempted. Have you any idea of the human toll of your glib plan for the cultural obliteration of an entire society?

Appeal to emotion. Also, it’s a strawman fallacy since nowhere am I calling for the obliteration of Tibetan culture. All I am saying is to assimilate and integrate the children so that they view Chinese culture as their dominant culture, much as most America gets most immigrants to view American culture as their dominant culture. Plus, yes, I do have an idea of the human toll–it’s not very high at all. Life is sacred. Liberty–for mentally competent, law-abiding adults–is sacred. Property–for mentally competent, law-abiding adults as well as corporate entities–is sacred. A culture is not automatically sacred.

Of the inherent racism of your “Tibetan face on a … Chinese heart”?

Appeal to emotion, loaded language, strawman fallacy. I won’t even bother to address this one.

The fact that you have obviously considered this plan carefully – and deliver it in the clinical language of the soulless technocrats that excel in such endeavours – appalls me.

Appeal to emotion. Plus, I don’t really GAF that what I say appalls you. In fact, I take it as a compliment.

No doubt you would applaud the Nipponisation of Northeastern China (and many other parts of E/SE Asia) in the 30s and 40s. After all was it not for the greater good? First, for the good of the Japanese empire and second for the good of the “backward Chinese” – in the eyes of the Japanese conquerors – whose loyal Japanese-speaking children would prosper in the new Nippon centered Asia. That one ended up well.

Tu quoque, ad hominem, appeal to emotion, cherry picking, plus a non sequitur to boot since you are subtly equivocating the Tibetan Autonomous Region with Japanese occupation. Hint: they’re not equivalent or even remotely comparable.

The Japanese killed 20 million Chinese people in their eight-year occupation. That act alone demonstrates they were unfit to rule over China, as it clearly shows a large part of China was willing to die to free the country. How many Tibetans have died as a direct result of resisting Chinese rule over the past eight years? Are they willing to bleed for their country? If not, they have no right to seize a social contract for themselves, except through the good graces of Beijing–which will not be forthcoming.

To paraphrase The Sopranos, the Tibetans will have to either come heavy (packing heat), or not at all, if they wish to earn the right to Westphalian self-determination. But alas, it seems most of them view themselves as Chinese–the silent majority, if you will, so it’s a moot point.

Which moral vacuum? I think the above will make that clear – yours.

Translation: I know I’m getting my ass kicked sideways in the logical argument here, so I’m going to retreat into the realm of emotions and morality since I can make up the rules of the game there in such a way that I always win. Sorry, I’m not playing your game.

My dear t_co, beloved as you are of the accusatory rhetorical question, here’s one for you: Have I ever accused you of being a Han Chinese? Your provenance is irrelevant, your words speak volumes.

Yes you have:

This is where you reach your ethical nadir; one common to virtually all true educated Chinese nationalists

And if you didn’t mean that to say I was a Han Chinese, then, great, I modify the below comment to drop claim “a”:

And what moral vacuum are we speaking of? Han chauvinism? When I have ever said I am a)Han Chinese or b) morally obligated to care for the freedom of Han Chinese, either?

You still haven’t answered what moral vacuum we are speaking of here. A vacuum, by what standard of morality–yours?

February 13, 2013 @ 7:24 am | Comment

@t_co – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma_Road – the British supplied weapons and materiel to China along the road from 1938, closed due to Japanese pressure for three months in 1940 – during the monsoon when nothing could have run along the road anyway.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lytton_Report – Lord Lytton, with the support of the British government, declared the invasion of Manchuria to be Japanese aggression and advised sanctions. Sanctions that were eventually enforced against Japan by the British government. The British government also made large loans available to the Chinese.

Did Britain do enough? Arguably not. Did Britain remain ‘neutral’? Not by the standards for neutrality applied on this page.

February 13, 2013 @ 2:39 pm | Comment

BTW – As a demonstration of the bizarre lines of reasoning employed on this page, you couldn’t do much better than this:

“The Japanese killed 20 million Chinese people in their eight-year occupation. That act alone demonstrates they were unfit to rule over China, as it clearly shows a large part of China was willing to die to free the country. How many Tibetans have died as a direct result of resisting Chinese rule over the past eight years? Are they willing to bleed for their country? If not, they have no right to seize a social contract for themselves, except through the good graces of Beijing–which will not be forthcoming”

Of course the CCP racked up their own death toll, but since it wasn’t caused overwhelmingly through resistance then it isn’t demonstrative of their unfitness to rule China. The fact that the majority of Chinese who died during the war were civilians who did not die in acts of resistance but as a result of starvation and Japanese war crimes doesn’t register here. All that’s important is that Tibetans aren’t dying in millions – which is a pretty low bar to set, If you don’t mind me saying.

February 13, 2013 @ 8:31 pm | Comment

Google “Panchen Lama” and “Poison Arrow” for useful info on what went down in Tibet. I don’t think t_co’s line of reasoning here works at all anywhere in the world, but if one wants to go there, it can be argued that proportionally more Tibetans died at PRC hands than did Chinese perish under the Japanese.

February 14, 2013 @ 12:38 am | Comment

Wow. t_co, the ultimate fascist. We will fight you no matter what corner of the globe you live in.

Tibetans should maintain solidarity not just amongst themselves, but with China’s other minorities as well. Majority privilege is a problem in every country, China is no exception. Assimilation is code for cultural and ethnic genocide. Integration is the true path to multiculturalism.

February 19, 2013 @ 11:02 pm | Comment

Oh and let me show the Chinese fascist up there a bit of truth. Every fascist loves to imagine his own little utilitarian world, free of any moral concerns, and a monolithic national entity to back up his every desire.

Now the reality. The vast majority of people on the planet do care about morals and social justice. That includes people in China. Before your fascist fantasy comes true, you will be met not by plotting foreigners, but by Han Chinese objectors, born and bred in China. See all those liberals on weibo? That trend will only grow as the world becomes smaller, and China becomes more modernized. Your nationalism is a disease that will be cured by cosmopolitan pluralism.

Anti-fascists will rise to crack skulls. YOU will be the marginalized lunatic, just like we do with white nationalists here. Solidarity for all oppressed groups is rising around the world. Women, minorities, indigenous peoples and LGBT folk will only be more supportive of Tibet after hearing your disgusting proposals. You can whinge about America’s ulterior motives all you want, but like every squirming conservative in the US you know in your heart our cause is genuine and just. The world supports those who are oppressed, just like we do Ireland and Palestine.

So go ahead, make up more scenarios for subjugating the Tibetan people. Justice has time on our side.

February 19, 2013 @ 11:32 pm | Comment

Did Britain do enough? Arguably not. Did Britain remain ‘neutral’? Not by the standards for neutrality applied on this page.

Enough? There was no standard for ‘enough’; the standard was never there. The point is that no nation sacrifices for the benefit of another nation; nations only spend blood and treasure for their own interests, and history has taught China this lesson in spades. Your evidence merely serves to reinforce that point, as it appears British actions in the run-up to outright war were all designed with a possible rapproachement with Japanese interests in mind.

Wow. t_co, the ultimate fascist. We will fight you no matter what corner of the globe you live in.

Appeal to emotion, ad hominem, and appeal to force as well. We’re on a roll today!

Oh and let me show the Chinese fascist up there a bit of truth. Every fascist loves to imagine his own little utilitarian world, free of any moral concerns, and a monolithic national entity to back up his every desire.

That’s a huge strawman and ad hominem. When did I say I was constructing a worldview? When did I say I was explicitly shelving all moral concerns? All I was saying is that in argument, morality is no substitute for logic. What’s more, how does subscribing to that view hurt my arguments?

Now the reality. The vast majority of people on the planet do care about morals and social justice. That includes people in China. Before your fascist fantasy comes true, you will be met not by plotting foreigners, but by Han Chinese objectors, born and bred in China. See all those liberals on weibo? That trend will only grow as the world becomes smaller, and China becomes more modernized. Your nationalism is a disease that will be cured by cosmopolitan pluralism.

The real irony of your statement is that if you read my other comments on this site, you’ll see that I heavily subscribe to ‘Chinese liberal’ strains of thinking, such as rule of law, media independence, transparency, accountability, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly.

The other irony of your statement is the assumption that Chinese liberals somehow sympathize with Tibetan aspirations. They haven’t, they don’t, and they won’t. Woeser even covered this on her blog. This is because Tibetan exile views are overwhelmingly unpopular within China, and most people in China view the TAR as part of China. Indeed, as Chinese liberals wake up and realize that they have, for the first time in a hundred years, a chance to push a political mandate, Tibetan views will probably be the first thing they end up steamrolling in their rush to get traction and popularity.

Tibetans should maintain solidarity not just amongst themselves, but with China’s other minorities as well. Majority privilege is a problem in every country, China is no exception. Assimilation is code for cultural and ethnic genocide. Integration is the true path to multiculturalism.

….

Anti-fascists will rise to crack skulls. YOU will be the marginalized lunatic, just like we do with white nationalists here. Solidarity for all oppressed groups is rising around the world. Women, minorities, indigenous peoples and LGBT folk will only be more supportive of Tibet after hearing your disgusting proposals.

Furthermore, you’re conflating assimilation with cultural and ethnic genocide. You’ll find that logic to be unpopular not only within China but in most countries around the world, and you’ll find that logic internally deficient as well, as genocide implies killing or coercion, while most assimilation is passive and voluntary (or at best, ‘nudged’ by things like single-language education).

As for solidarity with other oppressed groups–first, you haven’t proven Tibetans to be an “oppressed group”; second, this sort of solidarity is not a given. After all, the TGIE’s very own Dalai Lama has spoken out against homosexuality, as has the FLG’s Li Hongzhi.

Finally, you’re making an appeal to force here. It’s a logical fallacy, in case you didn’t know. What’s more, if you believe yourself to be an “anti-fascist” while believing me to be a “fascist”, by your logic you should be trying to crack my skull. Come on, make my day. I dare ya. ^_^

You can whinge about America’s ulterior motives all you want, but like every squirming conservative in the US you know in your heart our cause is genuine and just.

I know in my heart that nations work for their interests, and that to the people of a nation, the interests of that nation (note: not its methods or actions) are inherently just, by the basic logic of the social contract.

So go ahead, make up more scenarios for subjugating the Tibetan people.

My proposals aren’t about subjugation–they’re simply designed to bring about a peaceful resolution of tensions in the TAR in a manner that fits my own interests. You are welcome to bring your own proposals to the table as well–I’d be excited to hear them.

Justice has time on our side.

By using the word “our”, do you imply that you are “justice”? If so, I do not subscribe to whatever notion of justice you are proposing, for the obvious reason that an abstract concept and an internet commenter cannot be one and the same.

February 20, 2013 @ 1:03 am | Comment

All your excuses and diversions only prove me right.

As the world globalizes your liberals will become more aware of social justice theories. Modernism chips away at nationalism, and there’s no regaining it without collapse and revolution. Your conservative old guard leftists will give away to real, compassionate, grassroots leftists who put EMPATHY before your sickening fantasies.

“Good treatment” is what oppressors uses to silence minorities and women into submission. It will be replaced by our own voices, our own ethnic determination. The more you try to split minorities, the more we band together against you. Excusing every bit of activism as outside interventionism isn’t going to work forever.

Eventually you will be just like the old white man in the west, clinging onto his privilege while telling minorities they’re not really oppressed and should just assimilate. Do you think young people of the future will buy that? Especially when a minority calls you out on it?

Go ahead, resort to denial and semantics. You know these trends are true throughout the modern world.

You know it, and you’re afraid.

February 20, 2013 @ 2:02 am | Comment

All your excuses and diversions only prove me right.

You realize how delusional this sounds, right?

As the world globalizes your liberals will become more aware of social justice theories. Modernism chips away at nationalism, and there’s no regaining it without collapse and revolution. Your conservative old guard leftists will give away to real, compassionate, grassroots leftists who put EMPATHY before your sickening fantasies.

Wha? I wasn’t talking about old guard leftists in my last comment. Also, the historical trends you’re talking about aren’t necessarily true–you’re going to need much more to prove that beyond a simple assertion. What’s more, opinion polling suggests the current Chinese government is much more conciliatory than the Chinese population on select issues like Chinese border disputes and treatment of ethnic minorities (especially as regards things like free heathcare, freebie gaokao points and the right to have a second child), which means your point will likely be flipped in the current situation.

“Good treatment” is what oppressors uses to silence minorities and women into submission. It will be replaced by our own voices, our own ethnic determination. The more you try to split minorities, the more we band together against you. Excusing every bit of activism as outside interventionism isn’t going to work forever.

When did I talk about “good treatment”? And again, you’re going to have to back up your assertions.

Eventually you will be just like the old white man in the west, clinging onto his privilege while telling minorities they’re not really oppressed and should just assimilate. Do you think young people of the future will buy that? Especially when a minority calls you out on it?

Actually, young people will, especially when they see those minorities getting affirmative action that puts them first in line for scarce jobs, education, and healthcare.

Go ahead, resort to denial and semantics. You know these trends are true throughout the modern world.
You know it, and you’re afraid.

Actually, I don’t know it. Maybe you do. Care to prove it to me?

February 20, 2013 @ 2:37 am | Comment

“Your evidence merely serves to reinforce that point, as it appears British actions in the run-up to outright war were all designed with a possible rapproachement with Japanese interests in mind.”

You mean they were designed to fall short of war between Britain and Japan? Yes. Were they ‘neutral’ (which was the term under dispute)? Not by any reasonable definition of the word.

“The point is that no nation sacrifices for the benefit of another nation; nations only spend blood and treasure for their own interests, and history has taught China this lesson in spades.”

This is an ideological stand-point not born out by even a cursory analysis of history, or even basic logic, since it assumes that all national leaders operate according to the same principles and execute them perfectly.

National leaders have in the past sacrificed significant resources where no direct benefit to their own country was possible – the US commitment to South Vietnam being one example, the USSR’s commitment in Afghanistan another. They have done so for ideological reasons (e.g., Mao’s support for the Khmer Rouge), religious reasons (e.g., the Crusades), reasons of regional or ethnic solidarity (e.g., Morrocco’s support for Syria during the Yom Kippur War), personal prestige (e.g., Colonel Gaddafi’s support for Idi Amin in his war with Tanzania), reasons of family (e.g., Napoleon III’s support for the Mexican monarchy), to curry public favour (e.g., Galtieri’s invasion of the Falklands), and for a host of other reasons that had little to do with ‘national interest’ even in the eyes of many of the leaders who made such decisions.

February 20, 2013 @ 6:53 pm | Comment

@t_co

The other irony of your statement is the assumption that Chinese liberals somehow sympathize with Tibetan aspirations. They haven’t, they don’t, and they won’t.

Doesn’t matter. Tibet can remain part of China only through the extreme use of authoritarian force. A liberal China won’t be able to continue doing that indefinitely.

February 21, 2013 @ 1:06 pm | Comment

“Tibet can remain part of China only through the extreme use of authoritarian force.”

It’s possible to maintain a union state practically indefinitely so long as the interests of all parties are aligned. The PRC has to some extent achieved the co-opting of Tibet’s elite, the question is whether this can be maintained into the future. A liberal China might not be so quick to use force to keep Tibet, but it would have less cause to do so.

February 21, 2013 @ 2:28 pm | Comment

Tibet can remain part of China only through the extreme use of authoritarian force.

No, not really. The method I outlined above–using educational NGOs and compulsory public education to secularize Tibetan youth, as well as enticing the most capable of them to Chinese urban agglomerations rather than remote monasteries, then parachuting them back in to govern their own people–does not require authoritarian force at all. Indeed, it’s explicitly modeled on how liberal countries have dealt with their own ethnic minorities.

The ‘force’ component will always be there–just as secession from the United States by Native American tribes, territorial dependencies, or Texas would be dealt with by force–but the force wouldn’t be ‘authoritarian’ in nature, insofar as it would take a different form than tear gas and fire extinguishers.

One of the other solutions some Chinese Tibetan experts have advocated, aside from subsidizing food and fuel so as to control the ability of TAR residents to survive in harsh environmental conditions, has been tying tourism to the plateau with gaming, in the same way that Indian reservations in the United States are allowed to run casinos. The profits would then go to tax-deductible religious charities, and the funds would be commingled and mixed with religious donations for the monasteries. The logic goes that this would open a source of income for religious elites independent of how pious they seem–they would get busy competing with each other to see how best they could cater to tourists and gamblers, which would naturally draw them further from the Dalai Lama’s ascetic ideology. And given how much Chinese people love to gamble, there shouldn’t be any difficulty in attracting customers, especially if the central government pretends not to notice any money laundering that goes through these casinos while clamping down on those same activities in Macau.

To quote the expert–”If we can make Lhasa look like Las Vegas, and Ngaba look like Reno, then the problem is essentially solved.”

February 21, 2013 @ 2:37 pm | Comment

And yes–a liberal China would be able to control, Sinify, and secularize the youth of Tibet through these mechanisms (gambling, education, economic opportunity, a strict emphasis on the separation of church and state) just as effectively as an authoritarian government–perhaps even more effectively, as they use less Torquemada and more Cass Sunstein, less axe, and more scalpel.

It is toward that liberal goal–a free, prosperous, and confident China–that reformers work towards every day. They are the heroes of China, and, ergo, they deserve the support of every true Sinophile.

February 21, 2013 @ 2:42 pm | Comment

@t_co

You’re proposing the sinification of Tibet through casinos? Do you write for the China daily show or something?

February 21, 2013 @ 7:25 pm | Comment

You’re proposing the sinification of Tibet through casinos? Do you write for the China daily show or something?

Would you rather we pacify the region through brute force instead?

February 21, 2013 @ 8:11 pm | Comment

@t_co

‘Would you rather we….’

What’s all this ‘we’ business? You’re in Chicago, buddy.

February 21, 2013 @ 11:19 pm | Comment

What’s all this ‘we’ business? You’re in Chicago, buddy.

Does that matter? Answer the question.

February 22, 2013 @ 12:29 am | Comment

@t_co

‘Does that matter?’

Yes. I doubt that you could play much of an active role in either the cultural carpet bombing of Tibet or the pacification of Asia while sitting at your laptop in Starbucks, Chicago. So perhaps you shouldn’t use ‘we’.

February 22, 2013 @ 7:16 am | Comment

Wow, much ado about nothing going on here. Tibet will remain part of China for the foreseeable future.

The geopolitics of the modern era demands this whether China democratizes or not. The Himalayas is a natural boundary between the two regional powers of India and China. Offensive force projection is basically nullified by this natural fortification. No sane Chinese leadership will just give it up. Too bad, so sad…

To the guy above ranting about a liberal revolution with Han marching side by side with Tibetans, LOL. This is reality not a Les Miserables musical, buddy.

February 22, 2013 @ 1:13 pm | Comment

@t_co #201 and #202

You really think that will work? I expect it would have no effect, or maybe be counterproductive. I suppose Beijing has been planning on parachuting in a reliable Tibetan leadership since 1951. How’s that going so far?

@FOARP #200,

You’re right. It’s hypothetically possible to have a long-term equilibrium in which Tibet is an autonomous part of a liberalized China. The more anger and resentment build up from the current policies, the harder it will be to effect this.
I’m not sure what you mean about co-opting the élite. Most of them are in exile. Tsering Shakya noted in 2008 that the government was having a hard time finding influential lamas to lean on to support their policies, having lost so many to exile, prison, and gradual attrition to old age (for instance, Bomi Rinpoche, the widely-respected Acting Gandän Thripa, who presided at the selection of the Chinese Panchen Lama, got sick not much later and died after a couple years. There doesn’t seem to be a new Acting Gandän Thripa). Almost no reincarnated lamas were identified in China prior to the Karmapa in 1992, so the younger generation of Rinpoches (e.g. Pawo, Trungpa, Ghungthang, Reting) is still young and their ability to influence the public untested. As far as secular leaders, it’s notable that, in the last few years, two of the most prominent Tibetan businessmen, who were seemingly non-political, have gotten lengthy prison terms for putative subversion.

February 23, 2013 @ 12:11 am | Comment

@ t_co #204,

Would you rather we pacify the region through brute force instead?

Bring it on, son. We will resist you by any means necessary, even if it requires us to develop morals, ethics, a more just and decent system of international legal norms, or visions and dreams for a better world in the future. Non serviemus.

February 23, 2013 @ 12:38 am | Comment

This thread has generated a huge spam attack and I’m closing it. If anyone wants to add a comment please email me. Thanks.

February 26, 2013 @ 12:20 am | Comment

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