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Jul 21

A meaningful exchange on Tibet

Written by Buxi on Monday, July 21st, 2008 at 5:05 pm
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On one of our earlier threads on the misnamed Dalai Lama, there is an excellent on-going exchange of thoughts and positions from two of our posters: one is a Tibetan in exile, the other is Chinese in China.

In case people are not paying attention to that thread, I wanted to bring it to the top. Here are some excerpts from the most recent posts:

From Tenzin:

I would like to know better your defination of “hardliners” on both side. Who are the moderate ones in the CCP and where do they stand?


The CCP passed a new law in 2007 requiring lamas to get permission to be reborn and no one is allowed to be reborn outside China/Tibet. Everyone in the Tibetan world has no doubt for whom this law is target for, the next Dalai Lama. Does this show ignorance or just willful ignoring and efforts at manipulating Tibetan way of life.

Rulers and times have changed but Tibet and China has lived as neighbours for thousands of years. Sometimes Tibet was controlled by China and CHina by Tibet where each of our armies marched up to the capitals. At other times we were both controlled by others like the Mongols. Yet until the CCP occupation of there has not been a direct animosity between Chinese and Tibetan people. Of course we had differences and many wars between us. But there was generally a respect and tolerance between Tibetans and Chinese.

Today the policies initiated by the CCP for the past 60 years is creating some sort of hatred between the two people. And that is what worries me. CCP to divert any complaints to its rule is nurturing, through control of information and manipulation of media a pseudo-nationalism or jingoism. This will never help anyone.

From chorasmian:

Because the way CCP runs their administration, I don’t know who the particular moderate one currently is. But in the past, I think Hu Yao Bang could be count as one, as what he wanted was generally based on 17 points agreement which is not very far from middle way policy. If there is any one in CCP who plan to take this way now or in the future, he needs to be free from the risk of letting Tibet separated, and needs the positive feedbacks from Dalai Lama and Tibetan people; otherwise they can’t prove they have better way than hardliners in CCP. There are always arguments inside CCP, though these arguments (or power competition if you want to put it that way) are little known in detail to the public. For example, if Wen Jiabao didn’t become prime minister, not many people notice he was that guy stood behind Zhao Ziyang in 1989.

The new law in 2007 is just another prove for their ignorance. The target is so clear that it can fool nobody except themselves. It actually will, opposite to their will, destroy the legitimacy of the Beijing pointed 15th Dalai Lama, even bring negative impact on the Beijing pointed 11th Panchen whose legitimacy is already controversial. They can get better outcome by using golden urn without this ridiculous law. Just imagine if CCP had pointed Ma Ying Jiu to be president of ROC before this May, could he win the election? If they had done that to ROC, you will call it ignorance as well. Again, this can only upset Tibetan people and get more resistance from them. The “strike hard” campaign in 1996 I think is mainly an overreaction to the conflict of 11th Panchen selection.

To avoid the worst, when the soft-liners in Beijing have the chance to make policy, I hope Tibetan people can be a bit more patient, give some positive feedback and use them as agency to fight with the hardliners. Moreover, because the tradition in Han is largely destroyed, Tibetan culture is very attractive to Han Chinese. When communicate with them, please forgive their mindless insult, like calling “Dalai”, pointing holly mountain with improper manner, etc, and show them the beauty of Tibetan culture. Your culture is more viable than you thought.

Thanks to both Tenzin and chorasmian, and hope your discussion will continue as events happen.

Let me propose a possible topic of discussion for the two of you (and everyone else, of course). It’s interesting that after this most recent round of talks, mainland media painted the negotiations in a positive way. On the other hand, exile media painted the negotiations in a very negative way, as a near failure. Why is there such a difference of opinion? Are we any closer to an agreement?

Also, overseas Chinese media reported that the Dalai Lama is more seriously talking about going into permanent retirement, and shutting his mouth on political issues completely (while still refusing to return to China). Tenzin, do you think that could happen, and how do you think the Tibetan community will react? chorasmian, would this make things easier, or harder?


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49 Responses to “A meaningful exchange on Tibet”

  1. Buxi Says:

    By the way, speaking of meaningful exchanges on Tibet…

    Noted (exile) Tibetan scholar Tsering Shakya has a wide-ranging, and very interesting discussion on Tibet in the New Left Review: http://www.newleftreview.org/A2720

    If Tibetans could articulate them freely, what would their essential demands be?

    One of the biggest grievances is that the Chinese authorities equate any expression of Tibetan identity with separatism. The government seems to think that if it allows any kind of cultural autonomy, it will escalate into demands for secession. This is something the government has to relax. In Tibet, everything from newspapers and magazines to music distribution is kept firmly under control, whereas all over China there are increasing numbers of independent publishing houses. The joke in Tibet is that the Dalai Lama wants ‘one country, two systems’, but what people there want is ‘one country, one system’—they want the more liberal policies that prevail in China also to apply in Tibet.

    I think there is a lot of truth in that, and it’s definitely a failure in Chinese government policy that hard-liners have blocked this sort of basic cultural autonomy. Freedom for all Chinese *in* Tibet is a cause I have no problems supporting.

  2. Netizen Says:

    I don’t think we should rewrite history here.

    When Deng Xiaoping came back to power in 1978, he was very liberal in Tibet policy and started talks with Dalai Lama’s representatives. It didn’t go anywhere.

    Then in Hu Yaobang’s times, he was also very liberal in his Tibet policy and had many talks with Dalai Lama’s envoies. He didn’t get anywhere either.

    Even New York Times’ Nicolas Kristof and former director of the Free Tibet Campaign and biographer Patrick French thought the Dalai Lama has been badly advised by his western advisers and failed to seize opportunities when they arose.

  3. Hemulen Says:

    @Buxi

    If there is to be a meaningful solution to the China problem in Tibet, Tibetans need to be reassured that they will not be assimilated. The PRC government has never been able to convince Tibetans that its goal is not assimilation and tries to reduce negotiations with DL to the questions of his personal status, which shows how out of touch it is.

  4. AC Says:

    @Hemulen

    China is not trying to assimilate Tibetans, China wants to modernize Tibet. Tibetans should not resist modernization.

    Tibetan culture is the most valuable resource in Tibet, and it’s probably the only resource we can utilize to lift Tibetans out of poverty, why would we want to destroy it?

  5. Khechok Says:

    China has NOT been sincere in solving the Tibet problem that is mutually beneficial. They have NOT compromised one bit and keep on insisting that there is nothting to talk with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans on the Tibet problem. They continue to allege that the problem is only to do with Dalai Lama personal welfare with the Central govt despite repeated and clear messages that Tibetans in Tibet have been demonstrating courageously. These recent talks are just to deflect pressure on them from western countries so that the Olympics goes smoothly.

    So it’s sad that this long standing problem is not going to be resolved since a few hardlines and establishments don’ want to.

  6. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Interesting discussion.

    I wish the Tibetan people could have a representative alternative to the Dalai Lama, a secular one that could speak for their interests at a non-religious level.

    I feel the problem between Tibetans and Han-dominated China was mostly cultural (instead of political), arising from an incompatibility between Tibetan religiosity and Chinese secularism. My guts feeling is that the Chinese have always been fiercely secular through and through. This feeling resonate with the scholarly opinion from a book by Liang Qichao I was reading (中国近三百年学术史). He talked about the experience of Christianity in China since the Ming Dynasty (far from great). Even before the Boxers the missionaries’ religious messages were rejected by the Chinese population so they had to focus on introducing European science and technology through translations. Edgar Snow drew similar conclusions old China. He once said (roughly) “In certain places of the world religion is people’s Opium but in China Opium is people’s religion.” (Those words sound really harsh but personally I can imagine myself being a pothead but religious piety is too out there for me. So I dont mind Edgar’s criticism that much.) It is difficult for a deeply religious people and a fiercely secular people to understand each other; they have completely different world views and paradigms about everything that matters. I don’t know what can be done about it.

  7. Otto Kerner Says:

    AC: Are you not aware that states often make an effort to assimilate minority peoples? The reason is obvious: by assimilating regions into the base ethnic group, those areas are controlled much more securely by the state. For example, there is a Xinjiang separatist movement and a Tibetan separatist movement, but no Manchuria separatist movement. Why? Because the Manchus are completely assimilated into mainstream Chinese society, so they have no interest in separatism … not even vocal a minority among them. Also, their traditional areas are now mostly inhabited by Han, which makes Manchu separatism even more impossible.

    In addition, because there are more than a billion Han people in China but only a few million Tibetans, in fact, assimilation will happen naturally unless policies are put in place to attenuate it. So, if the goal is to preserve Tibetan culture, then simply having no policy against it is insufficient. I don’t think (correct me if I’m wrong) that there was ever a policy to wipe out Manchu culture, and, yet, now, the Manchu language is all but extinct (don’t get me wrong — Tibetan will take a lot more time than that).

  8. chorasmian Says:

    @Buxi

    I think the reality of negotiation can only be known to the one at the table. The difference between their comment in public doesn’t surprise me at all. Both of them need to assure their own hardliner that they won’t be betrayed. To make it more complicate, CCP need to claim every is under control to its people. On the other hand, Dalai Lama needs the keep it concerned by the whole world.

    I think retirement of Dalai Lama is impossible and destructive. Whether we like it or not, Dalai Lama has significant influence in Tibetan society. The one he disprove can’t be elected as the PM in TIE. For Beijing government, Dalai Lama is a better channel to give feedback on Tibet issue than their own local administration. In my opinion, lack of high quality feedback from people is the biggest drawback to authoritarian government. So, I think that will make it harder.

    BTW, I didn’t declare my residence before. Actually I am a Chinese moved overseas recently.

    @Netizen

    Put the blame on either side solely for the interaction in post-Mao era is unfair. From my point of view, the policy of both sides swang all the time during this period. Unfortunately, both of them didn’t swing toward each other at the same time.

    @Hemulen

    The assimilation you mention happen everywhere in the world, we call it globalization. If you insist Han is trying to assimilate Tibetan, why not try to turn the table around? Viability of any culture doesn’t depend on how much force it has, but on the strength of the people’s faith. I am afraid Tibetan have stronger faith and is much more traditional (perhaps conservative sounds more accurate to you) than Han.

    @AC

    Though I like everything traditional, I agree with you that modernization is a good thing. The question is how much price we want to pay for that. Only people live in Tibet know the answer. Neither you or I can decide for them. I don’t think CCP intent to destroy Tibetan culture, actually they have done a great job in improving living standard there. But they failed to get trust from people there.

  9. Sino Federation Says:

    The CCP (or CPC as they call themselves nowadays) in general is not comfortable with any religion that can potentially challenge its authority, especially those that have powerful religious leaders – the Dalai Lama, the Pope, and the Falun leader.

  10. werew Says:

    #9
    Falun Gong is like Scientology. It’s cult belief made by a clever con artist to earn money. When did it become a religion?

  11. Chops Says:

    #10, you can follow this thread on Falun Gong
    http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/05/22/some-rabid-falun-gong-followers-show-their-ugly-side-in-flushing-ny/

    or this link – The Falun Gong: A religion, a cult, or a business?
    http://gauntlet.ucalgary.ca/story/11348

  12. hotshotdebut Says:

    Another facebook campaign for Tibet is attracting a lot of people.

    I even got invited.

    http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=26061226952

  13. yo Says:

    “‘one country, one system’—they want the more liberal policies that prevail in China also to apply in Tibet. ”

    I COULD NOT AGREE MORE. I personally think this “1 country, 2 system” thing is only a temp solution, but should be abolished. However, while I agree some liberal policies have not made it to Tibet, Tibet also enjoys other benefits that are not shared by people in the east coast, but this just furthers my opinion against the two separate systems framework.

    Furthermore, I’m against the existence of autonomous regions and even autonomous counties. Some might argue the existence of the autonomous regions is a way to give “extra” help to a minority. However, IMO, the exisitence of these dichotomies perpetuates the idea that, for example, the TAR or Xinjing are not full fledged members of China, which I feel is counter to what the “anit-secessionists” want. China is China, and they should have uniformity in their laws and legal statuses.

  14. Buxi Says:

    @yo,

    I can understand the reasoning behind “autonomous regions”. Since China doesn’t have a federal system, whatever says in Beijing goes, provinces don’t set their own laws. And this can be a problem:

    Let me give you one example. In many Tibetan areas, polyandry (one wife, multiple husbands) is still practiced. By the marriage law passed in Beijing, this would be illegal. Should it be outlawed, the way that polygamy is outlawed in the United States? I don’t see why. If that’s what Tibetan culture finds acceptable, then it makes sense to legalize polyandry in regions where they live in great numbers. They can figure out their own laws in terms of how to deal with divorce, inheritance in that situation…

    And that also applies to things like education. I think there should be a unified education requirement nationally, but there should be some flexibility in how autonomous regions implement it. So, autonomy makes sense to me in these scenarios.

    But the Dalai Lama’s statement of “high degree” of autonomy is… suspicious. If he just means that the people living in these areas (of all ethnicity) should decide things like polyandry, I am comfortable with that. But when he starts talking about the Hong Kong model, complete with immigration control, its own taxation, its own finances… all of the aspects of “one country, two systems”… I get very suspicious whether there’s another purpose here.

  15. Buxi Says:

    @Otto,

    I don’t think (correct me if I’m wrong) that there was ever a policy to wipe out Manchu culture, and, yet, now, the Manchu language is all but extinct (don’t get me wrong — Tibetan will take a lot more time than that).

    I just want to make clear that there was no state effort to “assimilate” Manchus. Manchu assimilation happened mostly during the Qing dynasty, when the state itself was Manchu. The Manchu government tried various policies to preserve its cultural purity, and it just couldn’t do it. That, by the way, just confirms how limited government policy really is in all of this.

    Most Tibetan experts agree that part of the reason Tibetan language isn’t “threatened” just because of intentional government policy, but because Tibetan parents themselves want to send their children to schools where they’ll learn putonghua.

    So… I understand the concern amongst Tibetans about their culture, and I think it should be respected. I think the discussion should be about improving government policy to improve these practical problems, and I think the Dalai Lama would be a very convincing advocate for these issues within China. (Just as the previous Panchen Lama was.)

    It’s just a shame that the political issue behind all of this is making such cooperation impossible. I’m not going to place blame, because I realize I (as a Chinese nationalist) am equally responsible for the deadlock.

    So let me put this neutrally: those fighting for a “Free” or independent Tibet, and those fighting for a united “one China” are making Tibetans suffer, and putting Tibetan culture at risk.

  16. yo Says:

    @Buxi,
    Very true, however, there can be uniformity in spite of states rights. In the U.S., I think we can all agree we all go by the same playbook. Of course, there are federal and state laws, however, the government tries to come to an agreement on which ones are state and federal and that is what makes it uniform.

    As an example, if the TAR can pass laws on pologamy, then ANY province should be given that power. However, other provinces don’t have that right and instead follow federal regulations. You can see that the laws on polygamy is not a states rights issue nor a federal one because it’s mashed up all together. Perhaps a nice first step would be to clearly define or work towards finding a common understanding between state and federal rights.

    As for DL’s statements for autonomy, I’m against it for the reasons I said in the previous post and this one in regards to autonomous regions.

  17. Buxi Says:

    Here’s a story of how ethnic Chinese have held onto their culture despite being a tiny minority and facing heavy restrictions in Indonesia from the government.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0723/p04s01-woap.html

    I believe that Tibetan culture will do much better, will thrive in China, especially when there are probably 5+ Tibetan-language TV stations, numerous Tibetan newspapers/radio stations, Tibetan websites, Tibetan language education in every school in autonomous regions, Tibetan-language programs at Tibet University… all paid for by the government.

  18. wuming Says:

    Some numbers from the official TAR website:
    Population of TAR: 2.88 million, 92% Tibetan (as of 2006)
    Population of of the Lhasa Administrative Region: 500,000, 87% Tibetan (not clear from which year)
    Monk population in TAR 46,000

  19. Netizen Says:

    Buxi,

    Hong Kong’s one country two systems scheme only lasts 50 years. It has an end date. I don’t know if Dalai Lama has an end date in mind. Probably not. It’s not good if it lasts forever.

  20. Buxi Says:

    @Netizen,

    Exactly right. “One country, two systems” in Hong Kong is supposed to help us make a smooth transition (over 50 years) into a single country, with a single system.

    I don’t think that’s what the Dalai Lama has in mind in Tibet.

  21. Wahaha Says:

    Dalai Lama has been “kidnapped” by West and some of his followers.

  22. Netizen Says:

    Wahaha,

    It is more like the Dalai Lama is trapped by his and Tibetan independence advocates’ frequent pronouncements. Since he is, I suppose, infallable, he can’t take back many things he said despite new conditions have risen.

    For example, Nicolas Kristof and Patrick French have both suggested the Dalai Lama stop demanding a greater Tibet occupying one sixth of China’s territory because many of these areas in neighboring provinces were not under his control in the first place when he was still in Tibet.

  23. Buxi Says:

    @chorasmian,

    Apologies for mis-remembering your location. 🙂

    Although… I was using you as my quick test to see if our site is still “viewable” within China. Can someone else confirm whether we are?

  24. JL Says:

    Some excellent discussion here.
    I agree with Buxi, some moderate degree of autonomy in culture and education is appropriate.
    But regarding politics, “one country, one system” would be great if that one system is the kind of system that is experimenting with democratic reform: why can’t Lhasa and other Tibetan counties follow the example of Guiyang and Shenzhen (see earlier posts)?
    “One country, one system” would also be great for publishing. Why can’t there be a Tibetan language that is allowed to hold debate and carry out critical inquirey the same way as the better Chinese language publications do?

    Some people will always blame one party or the other for the failure of progress (either the Dalai Lama or the CCP), but I don’t see how anyone with a balanced, neutral perspective could do so.

  25. Otto Kerner Says:

    yo: I think that the U.S. is a poor example of what you’re arguing in favour of, since the U.S. does contain territories which are not states and which have a different set of rights and prerogatives, to wit Puerto Rico, Guam, etc. As in China, these special areas have their roots in a minority national territory.

    Now, personally, I think it would be better if the U.S. consisted only of states, but neither I or nor anyone else would ever suggest requiring Puerto Rico or Guam to become a state if the people there don’t want it — the choice would be statehood or independence — whereas you seem to want to insist that Tibet become a province. I don’t want to present the situations as being very comparable, though. It’s easier to let Puerto Rico go its own way since it doesn’t share a land border with the U.S., to say nothing of serving as a buffer zone between the American heartland and some country that it’s fought a war with in the last 50 years. The U.S. gov’t would freak out if Puerto Rico were independent and then it got taken over by Cuba or al-Qa‘ida or suchlike.

  26. Otto Kerner Says:

    bianxiangbianqiao, a quick solution to the problem of the lack of Tibetan leaders other than the Dalai Lama would be to hold genuine public elections — for any office — in the TAR. Of course, I don’t expect the central government to go with that plan any time soon. Also, it might not make any difference if the new leaders who were elected turned out to be strongly pro-Dalai Lama, which is the result that I would bet on as the most likely.

  27. Hemulen Says:

    @Buxi

    Here’s a story of how ethnic Chinese have held onto their culture despite being a tiny minority and facing heavy restrictions in Indonesia from the government.

    I appreciate your attempt to be balanced here, but Indonesia is no counterpart to Tibet, unless you’re implying that Tibetans should accept a future as a minority in their own country. Besides, there has always been a China, for better or worse. The moment Tibet becomes a majority Han region, that’s probably the end of it. Just look at what has happened to the Mongols in Inner Mongolia. After the railway was built to Inner Mongolia in the 1920s and 30s, Han Chinese quickly took over. The same thing happened after the railway to Xinjiang was completed under PRC rule.

  28. JL Says:

    @Otto and Yo

    If we are going to look to Western countries for ideas for Tibetan autonomy (or in Yo’s case to evaluate arguements against it), I would suggest that Western arrangements for indigenous peoples are a better parallel than Pueto Rico.
    I don’ t know too much about the US in this regard, but I think Canada’s Nunavut is a good model. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nunavut), and that it would be useful for China to look at setting up something like Canada’s Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

  29. Sino Federation Says:

    “July 22 (Xinhua) — There is no difference between the abolishing of feudal serfdom in Tibet and the ending of slavery in the United States, a senior Chinese Tibetologist said”

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-07/23/content_8750768.htm

  30. Nimrod Says:

    JL, would such a “Commission on Aboriginal Peoples” deal with Aboriginal Han’s too? Because China is not an immigrant country, you know.

  31. yo Says:

    @otto

    “I don’t want to present the situations as being very comparable, though…”

    Right, if they are not directly comparable, then why are you bringing them up 🙂 Regardless, while there are a few territories that are in fact not states, the bigger picture still holds so I disagree that America is not a good example.

    But back to my original point, China should have a uniform federal/state partition. Laws should be clearly define as either states rights or federal. However, I feel that the autonomous regions are further blurring this distinction, which I feel will lead to legal disparities and inequalities down the road, which is the position that Tsering Shakya points out(“what people there want is ‘one country, one system’”) which I agree with.

    If people try to propagate some new policies (trial by jury or something like that ) in the east coast to the tar or xinging or where ever, that autonomous status will stonewall them. Same goes the other way. I’m guessing, but my impression is that Hong Kong has a good legal system, but it has no legal right to export them to other jurisdictions because of this brick wall. China needs more uniformity.

  32. JL Says:

    @ Nimord,

    Most parts of China are not “immigrant countries”, but the Han are not aboriginal in Tibet, Xinjiang, Mongolia, and in parts of Qinghai and Yunnan, so those parts of China can be called “immigrant regions”.
    In other parts of China, the parts that have been Han settled for centuries, I don’t really see the point of Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

  33. JL Says:

    Yo,

    I think the Autonomous Region / County system is necessary so long as things like language policy and education in the rest of China don’t allow for significant regional difference. Don’t you think Tibetans should be allowed to learn Tibetan history and language at school (in addition to Mandarin)? But so far as I know, provinces aren’t allowed to have their own education curriculums –at least there is little significant variation between provinces.

    You might argue that students in all provinces should have the right to take subjects in their own language (i.e. Cantonese in Guangdong). In which case, I might agree with you, there wouldn’t be much point in autonomous regions.

  34. yo Says:

    JL,
    I said this earlier:
    “I personally think this “1 country, 2 system” thing is only a temp solution,”.

    For implementation purposes, then yes, a temporary solution is okay for now but it’s only temporary.

    Your second paragraph is closer to what I’m saying. If language classes is deemed a “states”(or provinces since China doesn’t have states 🙂 ) rights issue, then it must propagate to all provinces and they too must have that power. For me, the separate systems remind me of the “separate but equal” mantra in the U.S., back in the civil rights days, which turned out be “separate but not equal”.

  35. Buxi Says:

    @yo,

    The history between China and the United States are very different. The US federal government was formed by agreement between individual, previously existing states… Chinese provinces are carved out and specified by a previously existing central government.

    The tension between “states” and the federal government in the US has never existed in China. The idea of there being multiple centers of power just doesn’t have any precedence in China, and I don’t think its necessary that we have to emulate the American model at all.

    @JL,

    The wikipedia entry didn’t have many details… but it doesn’t seem like Nunavut has a “high degree of autonomy”. It seems to be not significantly different from the other Canadian provinces and territories… can you explain how it’s different from what the TAR has today? (Other than, obviously, the lack of electoral democracy… the lack of which isn’t limited to just the TAR.)

  36. Buxi Says:

    @Hemulen,

    I appreciate your attempt to be balanced here, but Indonesia is no counterpart to Tibet, unless you’re implying that Tibetans should accept a future as a minority in their own country. Besides, there has always been a China, for better or worse. The moment Tibet becomes a majority Han region, that’s probably the end of it. Just look at what has happened to the Mongols in Inner Mongolia. After the railway was built to Inner Mongolia in the 1920s and 30s, Han Chinese quickly took over.

    I actually wasn’t trying to be balanced in offering Indonesia as a counterpart to Tibet, just trying to emphasize that cultural roots are no so easily destroyed. But I appreciate your appreciation for my attempt. 🙂

    I have to say though, that it’s hard to have a discussion on these issues when your fundamental assumptions are in opposition to mine (and most other Chinese). I’m not at all trying to dictate to you on the “right” answer… but unless we can agree on at least the framework, we’re not going to get anywhere discussing policy or events.

    For example, what do you mean “Tibetans should accept a future as a minority in their own country?” They *are* a minority, in their own country: China. The only mutually acceptable solution is finding a way to make sure they’re a protected, respected minority in China, not a numerical majority in “their own country”.

    The moment Tibet becomes a majority Han region, that’s probably the end of it.

    The end of *what*, exactly? I think this is a very important question.

    The Dalai Lama himself was born in a village, in a region that has been majority Han (and Chinese-speaking) for centuries. It wasn’t the end of Tibetan religion or culture in that area.

    Hui are very integrated into the rest of China… in the only “autonomous region” set aside for Hui (Ningxia), they’re not even a majority. But Hui continue to practice their religion, practice their culture (with halal restaurants dotting most Chinese cities).

    What exactly do you believe will “end”? And is the only alternative solution for Tibetans to be isolated into a ghetto that non-Tibetans can not enter?

  37. Wahaha Says:

    Buxi,

    Hemulen wants a free vote by Tibetans,

    to my knowledge, there are about 5 to 6 million tibetans in China, but only 2.8 million now in Tibet,

    An interesting question would be : are those Tibetans who are now not in Tibet counted as Tibetans ?

  38. Wahaha Says:

    sorry, mistake,

    Tibetan population residing throughout China amounted to 4.593 million,

    http://www.popline.org/docs/1245/131465.html

    4.593 -2.84 = 1.753 million

    Hemulen,

    are those 1.753 chinese counted as Tibetans ?

  39. Charles Liu Says:

    @Hemulen: “Just look at what has happened to the Mongols in Inner Mongolia. After the railway was built to Inner Mongolia in the 1920s and 30s, Han Chinese quickly took over.:

    There’s another example some, especially Americans, seem to avoid – Manifest Destiny.

    We Americans pushed westward on the pretence of “God said so”, and once the railway was built and whites took over, the buffalos disappeared and the Native Americans were dispatched to tiny, desolate, isolated, “reservations”.

    Where’s the balance for our own “Tibet”? Does it apply to the Chinese?

  40. yo Says:

    Buxi,
    I don’t follow your first paragraph.

    “The tension between “states” and the federal government in the US has never existed in China. The idea of there being multiple centers of power just doesn’t have any precedence in China, and I don’t think its necessary that we have to emulate the American model at all.”

    But that is where I have to disagree. First, the counterexample would be during the republican era. But in the present context, which is the one that we should care about, the existence of the autonomous regions like TAR, Xinjing and Hong Kong IMO act like separate states and do have separations of power(they can make their own laws), so there is precedent. In addition, I wouldn’t consider it an “American model”, rather a way to uniformly define legal statuses in the country, as opposed to the Hodge podge system today. I’ll say it again, the autonomous regions should be used in a transition period, but the system must eventually combine into a one country one system framework, to avoid what I consider the risk of having separate and unequal states/provinces/regions etc. (e.g. I don’t it’s fair for the TAR to make laws regarding child birth but the province of Fujian can’t)

  41. FOARP Says:

    @Yo – That to me is a perfectly sane request.

  42. Buxi Says:

    @yo,

    The Republican “warlord” era is seen as lawless chaos, and multiple centers of power is seen as severely hurting China… I don’t think there’s any interest in reliving that.

    I’ll say it again, the autonomous regions should be used in a transition period, but the system must eventually combine into a one country one system framework, to avoid what I consider the risk of having separate and unequal states/provinces/regions etc.

    Well, I think that’s an interesting argument only as a way of minimizing the “racial” angle on autonomy right now. But otherwise… I don’t really see the risk that you’re talking about here.

    Fundamentally Why should (arguably) the TAR and the rest of China have different policies? Because Tibet has a high concentration of a specific minority with a culture they’d like to preserve. I can understand that. But why should Fujian have “localized” law making capabilities, why should it have “localized” laws as compared to the rest of China?

  43. JL Says:

    @Buxi,

    No, Nunavut doesn’t have a very high amount of autonomy. I have never argued that Tibet should, although I do think it would be nice if the people could be allowed to have a debate on the subject.
    What I think is good about autonomous region status, in the case of Nunavut and Tibet, is that it makes it clear that the region is culturally distinct from the mainstream culture of the rest of the country. Autonomous status is perhaps not necessary per se, but by formally recognizing the cultural distinctiveness, I think it somehow becomes more likely that policies such as the one to promote the use of indigenous languages in government will be undertaken. Which I think is your opinion too?
    (I only raised the example of Nunavut because some other people were talking about US states, and Puerto Rico)

  44. Otto Kerner Says:

    wuming (re #16): are those numbers accurate?

  45. Otto Kerner Says:

    Buxi, the tension between states and federal power arguably does not exist in Chinese political thought, but it does exist in Chinese political history. The Republican warlord era is one example, and in that case it is perceived as an unmitigated disaster. For another example, taking the Qing dynasty as “China”, there were clearly examples of tension between imperial and local power on the borders, i.e. in Tibet, Mongolia, and Xinjiang … this historical reality is, after all, what the autonomous region system arises from. In that case, I’m not sure that everybody sees the Chinese tension and balance of power as a bad thing.

  46. yo Says:

    Buxi,
    “Well, I think that’s an interesting argument only as a way of minimizing the “racial” angle on autonomy right now. ”
    Yep, everyone is on the same boat, one of the benefits.

    “But otherwise… I don’t really see the risk that you’re talking about here.”

    Fair enough. The risks I see is a social system that has separate but unequal/different systems. Tesring shakya alluded to this but it goes beyond Tibet. Social instability can occur from the fact that other provinces have rights that others don’t, or the federal government doesn’t have the capacity to legislate laws that should be customized for provinces. (Quick question, do provinces levy their own taxes?)

    “Fundamentally Why should (arguably) the TAR and the rest of China have different policies? Because Tibet has a high concentration of a specific minority with a culture they’d like to preserve. I can understand that. But why should Fujian have “localized” law making capabilities, why should it have “localized” laws as compared to the rest of China?”

    Hans aside, Fujian people are very different from Cantonese people, who are different from Sichuan people, and etc. So local law making powers can make sense, it shouldn’t be given to a selective group of people. Standardizing states rights will give everyone the ability to set the same type of laws(key here, everyone is on the same page), but customized for their needs. Of course, a law needs to be determined if it’s a state right first.

  47. Sino Federation Says:

    “localized” laws is apparently going to be tried in Shenzhen and maybe Guangdong for democratic reforms.

    http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/07/23/use-democracy-avoid-bottleneck-lake/
    http://blog.foolsmountain.com/2008/05/28/shenzhen-aims-for-major-political-reforms/

    So “localized” laws for Tibet may be up to whether the CCP hardliners allow it or not.

  48. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Just read something in my local newspaper today…yes, I’m old-school, I like papers that I can hold and flip pages…anyhow, off the wire from Daily Telegraph (reported by a Richard Spencer), stating that China is planning a renewed purge of Tibetan monasteries, including banning of worship, particularly in regions of Sichuan like Kandze. There is also talk of “re-education” of monks. This plan is apparently contained in a document signed by a Li Changping, the Kandze prefecture head. There is no mention of timing of this “purge”, or whether there is a start and end date. This document is apparently posted in Tibetan on a government Tibetan information website, but the article does not provide the link. The document was translated by Tsering Topgyal, of the London School of Economics.
    I don’t vouch for the accuracy of the article, and it’s not even clear whether it refers to July 2008, or is left over from something implemented immediately after 3/14. But anyway, it’s out there in a western newspaper, for what it’s worth.

  49. werner h. fischer - helsinki Says:

    Hello,

    is there anybody in this forum, who has red the article written by Mr.Slavoj Zizek – Tibet – Dream and Reality – please let me know your commnts – thank you very much in advance.
    tashi delek – rangzen
    werner(tsultrim dorje)

    ps. by the way, I am planing to send some kind of an answer to Mr.Zizek – as I think he missed some very important facts in his widele published articel conc the political and of course cultural developements in Tibet!

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