Sep 14

(Letter) What has been the result of Dalai Lama’s 30-years of dialogue?

Written by guest on Sunday, September 14th, 2008 at 12:15 am
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An assessment of thirty years of dialogue by Skylight.

For thirty years, Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in Exile has approached the Chinese leadership to resolve the Tibet issue. Since the resumption of dialogue in 2002, there has been seven rounds of meeting and confidence building exercises between Dalai Lama’s envoys and the United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.

During the last couple of meetings, the Dalai Lamas envoys have expressed frustration with the limited progress in these meetings. The eight round of meetings are scheduled for October/November 2008. The Dalai Lama has called for an emergency meeting with the Tibetan parliament in exile and other Tibetan leaders to discuss the future of the dialogue process. Personally, Dalai Lama has been exhausted by the latest events and extensive traveling and meetings at the advice of his doctor. He has canceled events abroad in South-America as well as a large event planned in Basel, Switzerland in mid-October for Tibetans in Europe.

Are these cancellations due to his health or a gesture of goodwill before the important eight round of dialogue? Anyhow, the eight round of dialogue are clearly very important to the Dalai Lama as he needs to deliver some visible result to the rapidly increasing amounts of Tibetans who are frustrated by his Middle-Way approach.

I hope and pray that the eight round of dialogue will show some result for the sake of the Tibetan and Chinese. Included below is a chronology of the dialogue efforts since 1978 for people to judge by themselves if Dalai Lama’s Middle Way Approach has produced results or not.

Appendix: (Chronology of 30-years of Dialogue, Source: The office of Dalai Lama)

Sino-Tibetan Dialogue: Hopes and Suspicions (1978-1987)

Mar 1978: In his official statement on 10 March 1978, His Holiness the Dalai Lama suggested that the Chinese authorities should allow the Tibetans in Tibet to visit their parents and relatives now in exile. His Holiness further said, “Similar opportunities should be given to the Tibetans in exile. Under such an arrangement we can be confident of knowing the true situation inside Tibet”.

Dec 1978: Li Juisin, Xinhua’s Head and China’s de facto official representative in Hong Kong, met Gyalo Thondup, elder brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and informed him that Deng Xiaoping and his colleagues were eager to meet him and discuss about the problem of Tibet. Li invited Thondup to visit Beijing for the purpose.

Jan 1979: On 6 January 1979, a reception committee to welcome the “returning and visiting” Tibetan exiles was formed in Lhasa, according to a Radio Lhasa broadcast 8 January.

Feb 1979: After seeking His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s formal approval, Gyalo Thondup visited Beijing in late February 1979 in his personal capacity. Thondup met China’s paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, on 12 March 1979 in Beijing. Deng told Thondup that “apart from independence, all issues can be discussed”. Deng suggested that His Holiness the Dalai Lama should send people to investigate the situation in Tibet and said “it is better to see with one’s own eyes than to hear something a hundred times from other people”.

Aug 1979: On 2 August 1979, His Holiness the Dalai Lama sent the first Tibetan fact-finding delegation to Tibet and China. During their visit to various parts of Tibet for nearly six months, the Tibetan delegation found that China’s claim of socialist progress in Tibet had little substance – the living standard of the Tibetan people was extremely poor, economic development minimal, and the destruction of religion and monastic institutions almost total. On their way back to Dharamshala, the Tibetan delegation reported their findings to Beijing. Following that, China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping instituted a five-member working committee on Tibet under Hu Yaobang, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), to assess the situation and formulate correct policies for Tibet. The Working Committee was also given a task “to work for the return of the Dalai clique and the Tibetans abroad to the motherland”.

Jan 1980: In January 1980, at the meeting of the National People’s Congress in Beijing, the Chinese leaders announced that a new law would be enacted to “realise the right to autonomy” of the minority nationalities.

Apr 1980: In April 1980, the CPC’s Central Committee called the first ever high-level meeting on work in Tibet.

May 1980: In May 1980, Beijing sent its own high-level fact-finding delegation to the “Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)”. The delegation composed of members of the newly instituted Working Committee. While in Lhasa, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China, Hu Yaobang, expressed astonishment at the level of poverty in Tibet. He demanded to know whether all the money Beijing had poured into it over the years had been thrown into the Yarlung Tsangpo River. He said the situation reminded him of colonialism. Hu sacked General Ren Rong from the post of the “TAR” Party Secretary and replaced him with Yin Fatang, a Tibetan-speaking Chinese.

May 1980: On 4 May 1980, the second Tibetan fact-finding delegation arrived in Beijing. After spending nearly three months in Tibet, Beijing asked the second delegation to cut short its visit as a result of emotional demonstration of popular support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Lhasa.

Jun 1980: On 11 June 1980, the Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi appealed for the early return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. During a meeting with Kalon Phuntsok Tashi Takla, the Chinese Ambassador said, “If the Dalai Lama does not prefer to stay long there, he can return [to India]. The Central Government will respect his decision”.

Jun 1980: The third Tibetan fact-finding delegation arrived in Beijing in the first week of June 1980. Commenting on the current China’s preferential policy to the “TAR”, Ling Tao, Vice-Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and Deputy Director of the CPC’s United Front Work Department, said to the Tibetan delegation, “With his visit to Tibet, Comrade Hu Yaobang has taken a special responsibility to groom Tibetan cadres to provide real autonomy to Tibet. Tibet and other nationalities are different. Therefore, we have developed and implemented a separate policy [for Tibet].”

Sep 1980: His Holiness the Dalai Lama offered to send 50 trained teachers from the exile community to help the educational development of Tibet. He also suggested opening a liaison office in Lhasa to build trust between the Chinese government and Tibetans.

Oct 1980: In a press statement released in Dharamshala on 7 October 1980, His Holiness the Dalai Lama appealed to his countrymen both in Tibet and in exile to look forward and to approach the whole problem calmly and objectively. His Holiness said, “The recent admission by the Chinese government of the mistakes committed, the failure of their policies in Tibet was a courageous step forward but is only just the beginning. We hope that the Chinese government would continue to review their policies thoroughly and respect and restore the fundamental human rights of the Tibetan people.”

Oct 1980: The third Tibetan fact-finding delegation to Tibet, led by Jetsun Pema of the Tibetan Administration-in-exile, returned confirming that the standards of education in Tibet was deplorably low.

Mar 1981: In the beginning of March 1981, Gyalo Thondup, once again, visited Beijing. On 19 March, Thondup reported back to His Holiness the Dalai Lama that Beijing wanted the number of volunteer teachers to be reduced and sent first to minority schools in China instead of Tibet, where the living condition was bad. Thondup also reported that the Chinese authorities suggested postponing the Tibetan proposals to send the fourth fact-finding delegation and open a Liaison Office in Lhasa for a time being.

Mar 1981: His Holiness the Dalai Lama sent a formal letter, dated 23 March 1981, to China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping in which he suggested improving “relationship between China and Tibet as well as between Tibetans in and outside Tibet”. His Holiness further said, “The time has come to apply, with a sense of urgency, our common wisdom in a spirit of tolerance and broadmindedness in order to achieve genuine happiness for the Tibetans”. In a separate note attached to this letter, His Holiness agreed to the postponement of the fourth delegation’s visit and the opening of a Liaison Office in Lhasa for a time being. But, he requested the Chinese leadership to reconsider his proposal to send volunteer teachers and assured that the teachers would be concerned solely with education and would not “indulge in any political activities”.

Jul 1981: Gyalo Thondup visited Beijing and met Ulanfu, Director of the CPC’s United Front Work Department, and Yang Jingren, Director of the Nationalities Affairs Commission, on 12 July 1981. Ulanfu suggested that it would be better for His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his followers to return at the earliest. Thondup also met CPC’s General Secretary Hu Yaobang on 27 July.

Apr 1982: On 24 April 1982, His Holiness the Dalai Lama sent a three-member exploratory mission to Beijing with the aim of kick-starting a discussion on key issues. The Tibetan delegation included Kalon Thupten Namgyal Juchen, Kalon Phuntsok Tashi Takla and Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, Chairman of the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (Tibetan Parliament-in-exile). On 29 April, the Tibetan delegation met officials of the CPC’s United Front Work Department and Yang Jingren, Director of the Nationalities Affairs Commission. Yang Jingren handed over to the Tibetan delegation a copy of China’s “Five-Point Policy towards the Dalai Lama”, which was supposed to have given earlier to Gyalo Thondup by Hu Yaobang in 1981. The five points are:

The Dalai Lama should be confident that China has entered a new stage of long-term political stability, steady economic growth and mutual help among all nationalities.

The Dalai Lama and his representatives should be frank and sincere with the central government, not beat around the bush. There should be no more quibbling over the events in 1959.
The central authorities sincerely welcome the Dalai Lama and his followers to come back to live. This is based on the hope that they will contribute to upholding China’s unity and promoting solidarity between the Han and Tibetan nationalities, and among all nationalities, and the modernization programme.

The Dalai Lama will enjoy the same political status and living conditions as he had before 1959. It is suggested that he not go to live in Tibet or hold local posts there. Of course, he may go back to Tibet from time to time. His followers need not worry about their jobs and living conditions. These will only be better than before.

When the Dalai Lama wishes to come back, he can issue a brief statement to the press. It is up to him to decide what he would like to say in the statement.

The disclosure of China’s “Five-Point Policy towards the Dalai Lama” clearly reflected that Beijing was only interested in the unconditional return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and not at all interested in discussing the issue of Tibet. The Chinese leaders contended that the Tibet issue was forever resolved with the introduction of “democratic reforms” in Tibet and the creation of “Tibet Autonomous Region”.

Jun 1982: A high-ranking three-member exile Tibetan delegation to China returned to Dharamshala on 8 June 1982 after five weeks of talks in Beijing beginning 24 April. The delegation said it had “cordial, free and frank discussions with the authorities of the People’s Republic of China”.

Nov 1982: In November 1982, the Chinese government disclosed the content of their discussions with the three-member Tibetan exploratory mission. In an article, entitled Policy Towards Dalai Lama, published in Beijing Review of 15 November 1982, it said that the three-member delegation sent by the Dalai Lama requested the central authorities “to accord Tibet the same treatment as is provided for Taiwan in the Chinese Government’s nine-point principle” and that “all the areas inhabited by Tibetans in Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan be incorporated with Tibet to establish a unified big Tibet autonomous region”.

Nov 1982: In response to the Chinese statements and commentaries published in Beijing Review of 15 November 1982, the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi issued a press statement on 22 November which said: “According to news reports which quoted latest Peking (Beijing) Review, the Central Chinese leadership seem to have some misapprehensions and misunderstandings with regard to the discussions held in May this year when His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s delegation was in Peking for exploratory talk. …His Holiness is, however, confident that the Peking authorities will sooner or later realistically recognise the reasonable desires and aspirations of the Tibetan people”.

Jan 1983: At the end of a teaching in Bodh Gaya, India, in January 1983, His Holiness the Dalai Lama announced that he would visit Tibet sometime in 1985. This proposal was later officially conveyed to the Chinese leadership by Kalon Phuntsok Tashi Takla when he met the Chinese Ambassador, Sheng Jiang, in New Delhi on 5 February 1983.

Sep 1983: A press release of the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi in September 1983 reported the arrest of more than 500 Tibetans towards the end of August 1983. Many of those arrested were later known to be those involved in contacting the Tibetan fact-finding delegations and in the restoration of Gaden Monastery, near Lhasa.

Feb 1984: The CPC’s Central Committee convened the second high-level National Forum on the Work in Tibet in Beijing between 27 February and 6 March 1984. Held under the chairmanship of the CPC’s General Secretary, Hu Yaobang, the Forum initiated a second phase of reforms in Tibet and decided to open Tibet further by allowing Chinese entrepreneurs into Tibet. The policy later resulted in a chain of protests from the Tibetans in Tibet, who complained that the new immigrants threatened their livelihood and employment.

Mar 1984: His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that the situation in Tibet was far from satisfactory despite recent changes. In his official statement on 10 March 1984, His Holiness further said, “the Tibetan people in and outside Tibet must examine the facts by abandoning speculations and breaking free from bondage of fear. They must struggle with greater determinations to regain the right, which is justly ours and enjoyed by people the world over: the right to govern ourselves”.

Aug 1984: In August 1984, Beijing dispatched another high-level delegation, led by Hu Qili, to “conduct a thorough investigation” of the situation in Tibet. Hu Qili endorsed the policy of opening up Tibet. However, the visit once again confirmed the Central Committee’s intention of keeping a tight control of the running of the region.

Oct 1984: In October 1984, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, once again, sent the same three-member Tibetan exploratory mission to Beijing. The Tibetan delegation met Deputy Director, Jiang Ping, and several other officials of the CPC’s United Front Work Department. At the meeting, Jiang Ping reiterated Beijing’s “Five-Point Policy towards the Dalai Lama” and said, “It will remain unchanged, no matter what happens. Beijing has already made it clear that the precondition for dialogues is the Dalai Lama’s recognition that Tibet is an inalienable part of China. This should be the basis for any dialogue between the two sides”.

Nov 1984: On 28 November 1984, Xinhua News Agency released the document of Beijing’s “Five-Point Policy towards the Dalai Lama” to the public. This was followed by another statement, on 2 December, saying that “the Tibetan delegates doubted the possibility of the Dalai Lama’s visit to Tibet” and that they had once again sought “Taiwan formula for Tibet, inclusion of certain areas in a greater Tibet, and the withdrawal of Chinese troops from the region”.

Dec 1984: On 3 December 1984, the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi refuted the claims made in Xinhua statement. The Bureau said that “the purpose of sending the Tibetan delegation to Beijing was to maintain our dialogues with the Chinese authorities and to discuss mainly the aspirations of the six million Tibetan people and not about the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama”.

Dec 1984: On 16 December1984, His Holiness the Dalai Lama announced the cancellation of his proposed visit to Tibet in 1985. In a formal press statement, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “As I have often said in the past, as long as the Tibetan people are not fully satisfied, the question of my return does not arise at all. The very fact that the Chinese are insistent that I return and stay in Beijing clearly indicates that there are still problems inside Tibet”.

Jan 1985: In January 1985, the Tibetan Administration-in-exile, for the first time, issued a formal public statement on the Sino-Tibetan talks.

Feb 1985: The Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (Tibetan Parliament-in-exile) rejected the China’s “Five-Point Policy towards the Dalai Lama”. In a statement issued on 5 February 1985, the Chairman of the Assembly said that the Chinese terms are nothing but “a move to reduce the Tibetan cause to the personal issue of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Chinese leaders pretend to forget His Holiness’ statement that the Tibetan people’s struggle is a struggle for satisfactory happiness for the six million Tibetans. The Tibetan people will never be fully satisfied as long as they live under foreign domination”.

Mar 1985: His Holiness the Dalai Lama appealed to the Chinese leaders to make genuine attempts to resolve the Tibet issue. In his official statement on 10 March 1985, His Holiness said: “It is now for the Chinese to act according to the enlightened ideals and principles of the modern times; to come forward with an open mind and make serious attempt to know and understand the Tibetan people’s viewpoint and their true feelings and aspirations”.

Jun 1985: On 8 June 1985, the Chinese government replaced the Tibetan-speaking Chinese “TAR” Party Secretary, Yin Fatang, with a slightly younger, non-Chinese national, Wu Jinghua. Wu belonged to the Yi nationality of Sichuan.

Jun 1985: On 9 June 1985, while responding to the press questions during his visit to Great Britain, West Germany and the Netherlands, China’s Premier Zhao Ziyang said, “Tibet has been inalienable part of China since the seventh century. This is the historical fact and has been recognised by the international community. As such there is no question of discussing its future pattern or status except within the framework of the Chinese territory”.

Jun 1985: The fourth Tibetan fact-finding delegation led by Woeser Gyaltsen Kundeling arrived in Beijing in June 1985. Before leaving for Amdo, north-eastern Tibet, the delegation met with the senior officials of the CPC’s United Front Work Department on 21 June. Responding to the Chinese officials during the meeting, the Tibetan delegate said that as far as the [Beijing’s] ‘Five-Point Policy towards the Dalai Lama’ was concerned, Tibetan people had already rejected it.

Jul 1985: In the United States, in an unusual gesture on Capitol Hill, China’s President Li Xiannian was presented with a letter, written by Congressman Charlie Ross and Senator Claiborne Pell and signed by 150 prominent members of both houses of Congress, expressing concern for the situation in Tibet. The letter, dated 9 July 1985, urged the Chinese leadership to resolve the Tibetan issue through dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Dec 1985: On 23 December 1985, Britain’s Parliamentary Human Rights Group wrote a letter to the China’s Premier Zhao Ziyang, asking him to work out arrangements with His Holiness the Dalai Lama that accord with “justified and reasonable” wishes of the Tibetan people “to manage their own affairs”.

Jan 1987: In January 1987, Hu Yaobang was removed from the post of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC). One of the reasons stated for the demotion of Hu Yaobang was his ethnic-sensitive liberal policy in Tibet.

Mar 1987: In his official statement on 10 March 1987, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “It seems there is no desire on the part of China to resolve the issue on the basis of mutual respect and for mutual benefit”. His Holiness further said, “I would like to reiterate that the issue of Tibet is not about the power and position of either the Dalai Lama or the future of Tibetan refugees alone but rather it is the question of the rights and freedoms of the six million Tibetans… The issue of Tibet is fundamentally political with international ramifications and as such only a political solution can provide a meaningful answer”.

May 1987: Gyalo Thondup made an another attempt to revive the Sino-Tibetan dialogue and visited Beijing in May 1987, but only discovered that Beijing’s attitude had further hardened. Thondup met three senior officials of the CPC’s United Front Work Department: Dang Xian-cao, Song Yidang, and Li Cao-ming, on 8 May.

Sino-Tibetan Dialogue: A Row over the Internationalisation of the Tibet Issue (1987-1990)

Sep 1987: On 21 September 1987, His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressed the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus and unveiled his Five-Point Peace Plan for Tibet. The five-points are:

transformation of the whole of Tibet into a zone of peace;
abandonment of China’s population transfer policy;
respect the Tibetan people’s fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms;
protection of the Tibet’s natural environment and abandonment of the use of Tibet for the production of nuclear weapons and dumping of nuclear waste; and
earnest negotiations on the future status of Tibet.

Sep 1987: On 23 September 1987, Beijing rejected His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s proposal outright. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing said, “We are opposed to Dalai’s engagement and activities anywhere and in any form aimed to split China”.

Sep 1987: The Chinese official media strongly criticised His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s address to the US Congressional Human Rights Caucus. The criticism enraged the Tibetan people in Tibet and served as the immediate cause of anti-China demonstration in Lhasa on 27 September 1987. The Chinese police arrested all those who took part in the demonstration.

Oct 1987: On 1 October 1987, another large-scale demonstration broke out in Lhasa to demand the release of arrested monks and to show solidarity with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Five-Point Peace Plan for Tibet. The Chinese authorities reacted to the demonstration with violence. A commentary in the Communist Party Newspaper, People’s Daily, blamed His Holiness the Dalai Lama for instigating the demonstrations and described them as serious political incidents stirred by “few splittists”.

Oct 1987: His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed grief at the loss of lives and persons injured during the demonstrations. In his press statement issued on 3 October 1987, His Holiness said, “I am glad that the Chinese government have found in me a scapegoat for the Tibetan people’s demonstrations in Tibet, just as they blamed the ‘Gang of Four’ for the madness and chaos of the ‘Cultural Revolution’. I appeal to all human rights groups to prevail upon the Chinese government to stop the executions and to release those imprisoned”.

Oct 1987: The Kashag formally denied the Chinese accusation that the demonstrations had been provoked by outside forces. In its press statement issued on 3 October 1987, the Kashag said that the demonstrations were a direct result of the Chinese policy of apartheid and their state-sponsored transfer of countless Chinese into various parts of Tibet with an aim of reducing the Tibetans into an insignificant minority in their own country and eventually wiping out Tibet as a nation.

Oct 1987: Gyalo Thondup arrived in Beijing on 2 October 1987, a day after the second demonstration erupted in Lhasa city. Thondup delivered a copy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Five-Point Peace Plan for Tibet to the Chinese leaders and refuted the Chinese criticism that His Holiness the Dalai Lama initiated the demonstration in Lhasa.

Oct 1987: On 17 October 1987, Yang Minfu, Director of the CPC’s United Front Work Department, gave Gyalo Thondup a five-point memorandum, which said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama should bear the responsibility of the consequences of the incidents in Lhasa and reiterated that there was no change in the central government’s ‘Five-Point Policy towards the Dalai Lama’.

Dec 1987: On 17 December 1987, the Kashag rejected the allegations made in Yang Minfu’s memorandum in a fourteen-point reply and urged the Chinese leadership to positively consider His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Five-Point Peace Plan for Tibet. This reply was delivered by Gyalo Thondup during his visit to Beijing in December 1987.

Dec 1987: The US President Ronald Reagan signed the Foreign Relations Authorization Act (1988-89) on 22 December 1987. The act stated that the “United States should make the treatment of the Tibetan people an important factor in its conduct of relations with the People’s Republic of China” and that the “United States should urge the Government of the People’s Republic of China to actively reciprocate the Dalai Lama’s efforts to establish a constructive dialogue on the future of Tibet”.

Mar 1988: His Holiness the Dalai Lama appealed for international support to the Tibetan people’s non-violent struggle. In his official statement on 10 March 1988, His Holiness said: “I have always felt that violence breeds violence. It contributes little to the resolutions of conflicts. I, therefore, renew my appeal to all freedom-loving peoples to support our non-violent struggle for the survival of our national identity, our culture and our spiritual traditions, and to persuade the Chinese government to abandon its oppressive policies.”

Apr 1988: On 5 April 1988, the Chinese government announced, “If the Dalai Lama publicly give up the goal of independence, he can live in Tibet rather than in Beijing”.

Jun 1988: His Holiness the Dalai Lama announced a detailed framework for negotiations with Beijing in order to secure genuine autonomy for Tibet. In his address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg on 15 June 1988, he said: “The whole of Tibet, known as Cholka-sum, should become a self-governing democratic political entity founded on law by agreement of the people for the common good and protection of themselves and their environment, in association with the People’s Republic of China.” The proposal went on to state that although Beijing could remain “responsible for Tibet’s foreign policy”, Tibet should maintain international relations “through its Foreign Affairs Bureau…on non-political activities” and “decide on all affairs relating to Tibet and Tibetans”. The proposal further stated that “the regional peace conference should be convened to make Tibet a genuine sanctuary of peace through demilitarization” and that “Beijing could maintain a restricted number of military installation in Tibet for defence purpose”.

Jun 1988: As a gesture of goodwill, Kalon Tashi Wangdi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative in New Delhi, gave an advance copy of the statement to the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi on 14 June 1988, a day before His Holiness the Dalai Lama announced it in Strasbourg. In a meeting with Bei Chanyi, the Embassy Charge d’Affairs, and his colleagues (Wangdu and Yonten), Tashi Wangdi asked the Chinese government to start the talks soon.

Jun 1988: On 23 June 1988, China’s Foreign Ministry, at a regular press briefing in Beijing, said that it rejected “independence, semi-independence or even independence in disguised form” for Tibet. On the same day, the Chinese Embassy in Berne, Switzerland, issued a press statement saying that “China’s sacred sovereignty over Tibet cannot be denied” and that “it would not bow to foreign pressure”.

Jul 1988: The first open condemnation of the Strasbourg Proposal came from the Chinese mission in Washington, D.C. The mission’s spokesperson, Zheng Wanzhen, said that the Dalai Lama’s proposal “distorts history, twist reality, negates Tibet as an inalienable part of China and denies the Chinese government’s sacred sovereignty over Tibet”.

Jul 1988: On 27 July 1988, the Tibetan Administration-in-exile issued a press statement, naming the members of the proposed Tibetan negotiating team. The statement said that the negotiating team would be headed by Tashi Wangdi, Kalon for Information and Security, and Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, Deputy Kalon for Culture, Religion and Health. Other members included Jigme Lhundup (Alak Jigme Rinpoche), Deputy Kalon for Security; Wangdu Dorjee, Former Kalon; Sonam Topgyal, Secretary of the Office of Information and International Relations; and Lhamo Tsering, Former Additional Secretary of the Security Office. The statement said that the team would be assisted by Pema Gyalpo, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative in Tokyo; Kelsang Gyaltsen, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative in Geneva; and Michael van Walt van Praag as legal adviser.

Aug 1988: In August 1988, the Beijing Review denied that the Chinese government had ever received any formal letter, cable or oral statement from His Holiness the Dalai Lama demanding discussions with the central government.

Sep 1988: On 21 September 1988, the Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, Zhao Xizeng, met with Kalon Alak Jigme Rinpoche and Migyur Dorjee, Secretary of the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi, and conveyed a message from the Chinese government to them which was released to the press on 23 September. The Embassy’s press release said: “We welcome the Dalai Lama to have talks with the central government at any time. The talks may be held in Beijing, Hong Kong, or any of our embassies and consulates abroad. If the Dalai Lama finds it inconvenient to conduct talks at these places, he may choose any place he wishes. But there is one condition, that is, no foreigners should be involved.”

Sep 1988: On the same day, i.e. 23 September 1988, the Tibetan Administration-in-exile responded formally to both the verbal communications of 21 September and also to the subsequent press statement of 23rd. The Tibetan press statement said, “Though we have different views and stands on many issues, we are prepared to discuss and resolve these through direct dialogues”.

Oct 1988: On 25 October 1988, the Tibetan Administration-in-exile in a communication to the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, proposed Geneva as the venue and January 1989 as the date for the talks. This information was also released to the press in New Delhi in the afternoon of the same day. While delivering the message, Kalon Alak Jigme Rinpoche told the Chinese Embassy’s Counsellor that the message was in response to the Chinese offer of 21 September 1988.

Oct 1988: Towards the end of October 1988, Gyalo Thondup visited Beijing. He met Yang Minfu, Director of the CPC’s United Front Work Department, and his colleagues, Song Yi-dang and Ren Ring, on 28 October.

Nov 1988: On 18 November 1988, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi formally presented Beijing’s response to Kalon Tashi Wangdi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative in New Delhi. It rejected six members on the [Tibetan] negotiating team and refused to accept “the Dutch person in the team”. It also said, “The Strasbourg Proposal cannot be the basis of talks.”

Nov 1988: The Tibetan Administration-in-exile was disappointed by this communication, as it was inconsistent with the earlier public statements and official communications received from Beijing. On the same afternoon, Kalon Tashi Wangdi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative in New Delhi, handed a memo to the Chinese Embassy. The memo stressed that it should be the prerogative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to appoint whomsoever he chooses to negotiate on his behalf, and said, “Dr. Michael van Walt van Praag is not a member of the negotiating team. He is only a legal advisor. It is an international norm to arrange such legal counsel.”

Dec 1988: On 7 December 1988, the New York Times reported that the liberal minded “TAR” Party Secretary, Wu Jinghua, was sacked. Wu’s demotion came just a day after the statement of the Panchen Lama that the price paid by Tibet for its development over the last 30 years was higher than the gains.

Dec 1988: Hu Jintao, a Chinese Han national, succeeded Wu Jinghua as a “TAR” Party Secretary.

Jan 1989: On 28 January 1989, the Panchen Lama suddenly died, aged 50, reportedly of a heart attack, at his seat, Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet.

Feb 1989: On 7 February 1989, the Chinese Government requested His Holiness the Dalai Lama to visit Beijing to attend the funeral ceremony of the late Panchen Lama, which was scheduled on 15 February. The invitation letter, dispatched in the name of China’s Buddhist Association, was delivered to Gyalo Thondup, who was in Beijing at the time of the Panchen Lama’s death. Since the invitation came at a very short notice, His Holiness the Dalai Lama could not make this visit.

Feb 1989: The Tibetan Administration-in-exile proposed to send a ten-member Tibetan religious delegation to Tashilhunpo monastery in Shigatse and other areas of Tibet, such as Lhasa, Kumbum and Labrang Tashi-kyil for the purpose of offering prayers and performing a Kalachakra ceremony for the late Panchen Lama.

Feb 1989: On 19 February 1989, the Chinese authorities in Tibet banned the annual Monlam prayer festival in Lhasa.

Mar 1989: On 3 March 1989, His Holiness the Dalai Lama advised Gyalo Thondup to formally deliver in person his response to the China’s Buddhist Association’s invitation. His Holiness the Dalai Lama also advised Thondup to tell the concerned Chinese officials that he would like to accept Yang Mingfu’s suggestion for a meeting. But such meeting, His Holiness said, could only be arranged when the Sino-Tibetan talks start.

Mar 1989: On 5 March 1989, Lhasa witnessed the largest demonstration against the Chinese rule since 1959. For three days, the Chinese police battled with demonstrators, killing a substantial number of Tibetans and wounding many more. The situation almost went out of control as demonstrations starting spilling over to adjacent areas outside Lhasa.

Mar 1989: On 8 March 1989, the Chinese government declared martial law in Tibet in order to bring the situation under control. On the same day, Kalon Tashi Wangdi, His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Representative in New Delhi, visited the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi and handed over the Tibetan Administration’s memorandum, expressing shock and serious concern with the latest incidents in Tibet.

Mar 1989: On 10 March 1989, His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote to China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping, asking him to immediately lift martial law and stop repression on the Tibetan people. He also asked for the early start of talks in Geneva to resolve the issue peacefully. His Holiness the Dalai Lama also wrote to the leaders of the United States, Russia and Japan requesting their support to persuade the Chinese Central leaders to lift martial law.

Mar 1989: In his official statement on 10 March 1989, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said: “I am deeply saddened to learn that there has been further bloodshed in Lhasa only days before making this statement. The loss of innocent lives saddened us very much… Nevertheless, as the Chinese have, unlike before, become more realistic these days, I remain hopeful that the Chinese leaders will see the wisdom of resolving the issue peacefully by negotiations.”

Apr 1989: On 4 April 1989, His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a press statement asking for the world leaders and international community to impress upon China to find a peaceful solution to the Tibetan issue and to bring early end to the sufferings of the Tibetan people.

Apr 1989: On 12 April 1989, His Holiness the Dalai Lama released a press statement through the Tibetan overseas Offices of Tibet and said that the People’s Republic of China had recently made a number of one-sided statements regarding the negotiations that he had proposed. Citing the need for the Tibetan Administration-in-exile to set the record straight, the statement said: “On numerous occasions, we have conveyed to the Chinese government, through its Embassy in New Delhi, that:

The framework for negotiations, as proposed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, refers specifically to the positive notion of association with the People’s Republic of China;
The Tibetan negotiating team has been appointed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and it is within his right to appoint whosoever he considers competent to represent him;
There is no foreign third party participation in the negotiating team. There are both Tibetan and non-Tibetan advisors to the team. It is quite natural to seek advice from qualified persons regardless of their nationalities.”

Aug 1989: On 25 August 1989, the Chinese authorities issued a press statement in Lhasa, saying that the Chinese government would select the 11th Panchen Lama “according to China’s Constitution and within China”. The Tibetan Administration-in-exile immediately condemned the announcement through a press statement issued by the Department of Information and International Relations and said, “The reincarnation of a high lama in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition has never been restricted to any place… In the Tibetan tradition, lamas are never selected and appointed but discovered by following certain set tradition.”

Dec 1989: On 10 December 1989, His Holiness the Dalai Lama was conferred the Nobel Prize for Peace. While delivering his Nobel lecture at Oslo’s University Aula on 10 December 1989, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “I believe the plan [Five-Point Peace Plan] provides a reasonable and realistic framework for negotiations with the People’s Republic of China. So far, however, China’s leaders have been unwilling to respond constructively. The suppression of the Chinese democracy movement in June of this year, however reinforced my view that any settlement of the Tibetan question will only be meaningful if it is supported by adequate international guarantees.”

Sino-Tibetan Dialogue: Stalemate in Dialogue (1990-1993)

Mar 1990: In his official statement on 10 March 1990, His Holiness the Dalai Lama urged the Chinese leadership to be more open minded and said, “By their narrow outlook the Chinese are missing the main message which I have tried to convey to them in my Five-Point Peace Plan, the Strasbourg Proposal and the Nobel Lecture which concerns the future relationship between Tibet and China. I am prepared to consider this with an open mind through dialogue…”

May 1990: On 1 May 1990, Beijing lifted martial law in Tibet after 419 days. Welcoming this development, the press statement from the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi said, “We cannot help but to see it as more a public relations exercise in view of the growing international criticism.”

Jul 1990: Towards the end of July 1990, the Chinese Communist Party leader, Jiang Zemin, and the army’s chief of staff, Chi Haotian, paid the party’s highest-level visit to the “Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)” in a decade. They promised new economic incentives for Tibetans and urged continued vigilance against pro-independence activities.

Mar 1991: In his official statement on 10 March 1991, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said: “My proposals have not elicited any official response from the Chinese leadership… If in the near future there are no new initiatives from the Chinese I will consider myself free of any obligation to the proposal.”

Mar 1991: On 21 March 1991, His Holiness the Dalai Lama sent a message to the Chinese government through its embassy in New Delhi, offering his assistance in searching for the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his desire to send a religious delegation of high lamas and abbots to Lhamoi Lhatso, the sacred lake near Lhasa, to pray and observe prophetic visions in the lake, which would guide them to the genuine reincarnation. After more than three months, the Chinese government replied that “there is no need for outside interference in this matter” and that reincarnation of the Panchen Lama would be found by the officials responsible at Tashilhunpo monastery.

Apr 1991: On 16 April 1991, the US President, for the first time, received His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the White House. During his 30-minute meeting with the US President George Bush Sr., His Holiness the Dalai Lama briefed the President on the situation inside Tibet, including the issue of human rights violations, threat to the survival of Tibetan culture and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s own efforts to seek a negotiated settlement with China.

Apr 1991: On 18 April 1991, the United States lawmakers gave an emotional welcome to His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Capitol Rotunda. Speaking to the gathering of Congressmen from both the parties, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that China was unwilling to engage in a meaningful dialogue over the future of Tibet and called on the United States to take a stronger stand on the issue.

Sep 1991: On 2 September 1991, Kalon Gyalo Thondup, Chairman of the Kashag, announced that the Tibetan Administration-in-exile was no longer bound by the Strasbourg Proposal. The Chairman said: “Judging from the official statements and the experiences of our recent contact with the Chinese government, it is clear that the present leadership lacks a sincere commitment to finding a solution to the issue.” However, Kalon Gyalo Thondup pointed out that the Tibetan administration was “open and willing to consider any realistic initiative by the Chinese leaders, which takes into account the historical facts, the changing situation of the world, the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Tibetan people, and the long-term mutual interest of both Tibet and China.”

Sep 1991: On 24 September 1991, the Consulate of the People’s Republic of China in New York issued a press release, which was titled “Questions concerning negotiations between the Government of China and the Dalai Lama”. The press release blamed His Holiness the Dalai Lama of not giving up his position of “independence of Tibet”, and termed this as “the root cause for failure to achieve results in the past contacts and to continue the negotiations”. It also reiterated that “except for the independence of Tibet, all other issues may be negotiated.”

Oct 1991: On 9 October 1991, His Holiness the Dalai Lama put forward a new proposal to visit Tibet in an address to Yale University in the United States. His Holiness said: “The Chinese government’s refusal to reciprocate my efforts to start negotiations has increased the impatience of many Tibetans, especially young Tibetans in Tibet, with the non-violent path to follow. Tension in my country is increasing as China encourages demographic aggression in Tibet, reducing Tibetans to a second class minority in our own country… In view of these developments, I am considering the possibility of a visit to Tibet as early as possible… My visit could be a new opportunity to promote understanding and create a basis for a negotiated solution.”

Oct 1991: On 10 October 1991, the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing rejected His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s new proposal and said: “What is most important now is for the Dalai Lama to stop his activities aimed at splitting China and undermining the unity of its nationalities and abandon his position of Tibet’s independence.”

Dec 1991: On 2 December 1991, British Prime Minister John Major received His Holiness the Dalai Lama at his official residence at 10 Downing Street and the two leaders discussed human rights issues and the results of Major’s September visit to Beijing.

Dec 1991: In December 1991, Chinese Premier Li Peng paid a six-day visit to India, which was the first visit of Chinese premier to India since Chou Enlai’s visit in 1956. During his visit, His Holiness the Dalai Lama sought a meeting with the visiting Chinese Premier, which was rejected by the Chinese government.

Jan 1992: On 23 January 1992, the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (Tibetan Parliament-in-exile) passed a resolution stating that the Tibetan Administration-in-exile should not initiate any new move for negotiations with China unless there was a positive change in the attitude of the Chinese leadership. The resolution, however, noted that the Assembly would have no objection to negotiations if the overture came from the Chinese Government either directly or through a third party.

Feb 1992: On 26 February 1992, His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a document, entitled “Guidelines for Future Tibet’s Polity and Basic Features of its Constitution”. The document states that the present Tibetan Administration would be dissolved the moment the Tibetans-in-exile return to Tibet, and that His Holiness the Dalai Lama would hand over all his traditional political power to an interim government. The interim government, it explains, will be responsible for drawing up a democratic constitution under which the new government of Tibet will be elected by the people. It assures that there will be no political recrimination against those Tibetans who have worked in the Chinese administration and said, “In fact, because of their experience, the Tibetan officials of the existing administration in Tibet should shoulder the main responsibility.”

Mar 1992: In his official statement on 10 March 1992, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said: “On our part, there will be no lack of willingness or sincerity should the Chinese government show a genuine interest in finding a solution of the Tibetan problem. Even though Strasbourg Proposal, which I made more than three years ago, is no longer valid, we are committed to the path of negotiations.”

May 1992: On 3 May 1992, Gyalo Thondup (who had then retired from the Tibetan Administration-in-exile) informed the Kashag that the Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi had called on him and said that if the Tibetan side was willing to be “more realistic”, they would like to be “more flexible”. Thondup informed the Kashag that the Ambassador had invited him to visit Beijing.

May 1992: On 4 May 1992, the Kashag suggested that Gyalo Thondup should inform the Chinese Ambassador to channel such proposals through the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi. Thondup then contacted His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Australia. His Holiness the Dalai Lama instructed him to discuss the issue with the Kashag.

Jun 1992: On 6 June 1992, Gyalo Thondup and his eldest son, Khedrup Thondup, arrived in China on a private visit. On 22 June, the Director of the CPC’s United Front Work Department, Ding Guangen, met Thondup and gave a 10-point statement to clarify the Chinese government’s policy. It said, “The day when the Dalai Lama makes an announcement, renouncing the idea of Tibetan independence, we will resume dialogues.”

Sep 1992: On 11 September 1992, His Holiness the Dalai Lama formally wrote to China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and President Jiang Zemin. Along with the letter, His Holiness sent a 13-point memorandum to explain and clarify his views on the 10 points raised by the Chinese government. In the memorandum, His Holiness stated: “If China wants Tibet to stay with China, then it must create the necessary conditions for this. The time has come now for the Chinese to show the way for Tibet and China to live together in friendship. A detailed step by step outline regarding Tibet’s basic status should be spelled out. If such a clear outline is given, regardless of the possibility and non-possibility of an agreement, we Tibetans can then make a decision whether to live with China or not. If we Tibetans obtain our basic rights to our satisfaction, then we are not incapable of seeing the possible advantages of living with the Chinese.” His Holiness decided to send a three-member delegation to Beijing to take his letter to the Chinese authorities.

Sep 1992: On 16 September 1992, the three Tibetan delegates (Gyalo Thondup, Sonam Topgyal and Kelsang Gyaltsen) met with the Chinese Ambassador in New Delhi and gave him a copy of the letter and memorandum. The Tibetan delegation asked the Ambassador for permission to visit Beijing to deliver His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s letter and memorandum. The Tibetan delegation also gave all the texts of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s speeches and statements since 1979 and specifically requested to point out where His Holiness the Dalai Lama had demanded independence for Tibet. The Tibetan side suggested a mechanism of having regular monthly meetings at the Chinese Embassy to exchange views and ideas as a confidence-building measure.

Sep 1992: On 22 September 1992, the Information Office of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China released a white paper, entitled, Tibet–Its Ownership and Human Rights Situation. In it, the Chinese government claimed the “ownership” of Tibet with the usual argument that Tibet had become an integral part of China in the 13th century. The paper also said the Central government was willing to hold talks with His Holiness the Dalai Lama any time “so long as the Dalai Lama can give up his divisive stand and admit that Tibet is an inalienable part of China.”

Sep 1992: The Tibetan Administration-in-exile’s reaction to the Chinese white paper was later issued by His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Special Envoy in Washington D.C. In his reaction, Special Envoy Lodi G. Gyari said: “The dissemination of such propaganda is extremely unfortunate as it makes it clear that the Chinese leadership remains totally insincere in its approach to the issue of Tibet… It contradicts and departs from the stand taken by Mr. Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s in which he had stated that every thing could be discussed with the exception of total independence.” Lodi Gyari’s statement further said, “the document released at this particular time is doubly disturbing, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Administration-in-exile are trying to set the stage for genuine discussions potentially leading to a resolution of the long standing conflict between our nations.”

Dec 1992: Chen Kuiyuan succeeded Hu Jintao as the First Secretary of the regional Communist Party of “Tibet Autonomous Region”.

Jan 1993: On 12 January 1993, the British Foreign Office urged Beijing to negotiate with the Tibetans without precondition. This was disclosed by Alastair Goodlad, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, during a question-and-answer session in the House of Commons. “We are strongly in favour of the principle of talks without precondition. We have consistently urged the Chinese authorities to get into a real dialogue with Tibetans including the Dalai Lama. We reminded the Chinese of our proposal only yesterday,” said Alastair Goodlad.

Mar 1993: On 10 and 11 March 1993, the Chinese Government called a special meeting, Conference on the Work of External Propaganda on the Question of Tibet, in Beijing. The meeting was attended by Chinese and Tibetan representatives from the “TAR” and Tibetan autonomous districts and prefectures of Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan. The 30-page conference document, which was smuggled out of China and released later on 15 November 1993 by the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet, detailed the Chinese government’s aggressive propaganda offensive to sanitise its occupation and oppression of Tibet and “eradicate…divide and destroy” the international supporters of the Dalai Lama.

Apr 1993: On 27 April 1993, the United States President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore met His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the White House and discussed issues relating to Tibet. Commenting on the meeting, the President said: “The administration continues to urge Beijing and the Dalai Lama to revive a dialogue between them and presses China to address human rights abuses in Tibet.”

May 1993: On 26 May 1993, the British Government’s Far Eastern Department issued its policy paper on Tibet. The paper stated: “We have stressed to the Chinese authorities the need for fuller autonomy in Tibet. We believe that a solution to the problem of Tibet can best be found through dialogue between the Chinese government and the Tibetan people including the Dalai Lama. It is disappointing that despite both sides’ stated willingness to enter into dialogue, talks have not yet taken place. We will continue to encourage the Chinese authorities to begin a dialogue without preconditions.”

Jun 1993: On 1 June 1993, the European community and its member states issued a joint statement from Copenhagen on a weeklong visit to Tibet in May 1993 by their Heads of Mission and senior diplomats in Beijing. It said that the EU community and its members states believed that the problem of Tibet could be best resolved through dialogue between the Chinese authorities and the representatives of the Tibetan people, including its spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and urged both sides to engage in dialogue without preconditions.

Jun 1993: On 7 June 1993, the Tibetan Administration-in-exile’s definitive response to the China’s white paper on Tibet, entitled, Tibet: Proving Truth from Facts, was released by Kalon Tashi Wangdi at a press conference in New Delhi.

Jul 1993: In July 1993, the long overdue visit of a Tibetan delegation to deliver His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s letter and memorandum addressed to China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping and President Jiang Zemin materialised. The Chinese government accepted only two delegates, namely Kalon Gyalo Thondup and Sonam Topgyal, Secretary for Information and International Relations of the Tibetan Administration-in-exile. The Tibetan delegation met Wang Caogo, Director of the CPC’s United Front Work Department, on 14 July.

Jul 1993: In late July 1993, the delegation returned to Dharamshala, considerably encouraged by their impression in China. Kalon Gyalo Thondup informed the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile that there had been a change in the Chinese attitude, although not all the members of the Kashag were convinced of this.

Aug 1993: On 25 August 1993, quoting a spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the Xinhua News Agency said: “The affairs of Tibet are an internal business of China’s and the door of negotiations between the central government and the Dalai Lama remains widely open. Except independence of Tibet, all other questions can be negotiated.” At the same time, the Reuters’ report from New Delhi quoted Chinese Ambassador Cheng Ruisheng as having said that early talks with the Tibetan leaders were not likely. In the same month, China severed all formal channels of communication with Dharamshala.

Sino-Tibetan Dialogue: Confrontation (1994-2001)

Mar 1994: In his official statement on 10 March 1994, His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed his concern at the lack of positive response from the Chinese government to his initiatives. While proposing to consult his people on the future course of the freedom struggle, His Holiness said in the statement: “Whatever the outcome of such conclusion, it will serve as a guideline for our future dealings with China and the reorientation of the course of our freedom struggle… I continue to remain committed to finding a peaceful and negotiated solution to the issue of Tibet with the Chinese government directly.”

Apr 1994: On 28 April 1994, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with the US President Bill Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore. He also had a separate meeting with the US National Security Advisor Anthony Lake. The White House release said that the meeting was aimed to discuss efforts to initiate dialogue with the Chinese leadership and to inquire about efforts to preserve Tibetan religion and culture.

Jul 1994: From 20 to 23 July 1994, the Chinese government convened the “Third Forum on Work in Tibet” in Beijing and decided to follow a hardline policy on Tibet. The Propaganda Committee of the “TAR” Communist Party summarised the decisions of the Third Work Forum in a document for internal distribution among CPC cadres, entitled, A Golden Bridge Leading Into a New Era. The document revealed that the Chinese government was no longer seriously interested in dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama or in his return.

Mar 1995: In his official statement on 10 March 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “I have consistently and sincerely made attempts to engage the Chinese government in earnest negotiations over the future of Tibet. Regrettably China has rejected my proposals for a negotiated resolution of our problem. Instead she has set the pre-condition that I formally recognise Tibet to be ‘an inseparable part of China’ before any negotiations can start.” His Holiness suggested that the true nature of the historical relationship of Tibet and China is best left for Tibetan and Chinese historians to study objectively, and said, “I also encourage other scholars, as well as international jurists and their institutions, to study the history of Tibet and draw their unbiased conclusions.”

May 1995: On 14 May 1995, His Holiness the Dalai Lama formally recognised Gendun Choekyi Nyima, a six-year old boy from a semi-nomadic family in Tibet, as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama. Just before making the public announcement, His Holiness the Dalai Lama informed Beijing of his intention through Gyalo Thondup.

May 1995: On 16 May 1995, two days after His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s announcement, the Chinese government rejected the choice. A spokesman for the State Council’s Bureau for Religious Affairs described His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s nomination as “totally illegal and invalid”. On the same day, Chatrel Rinpoche, the leader of the Search Committee of the Panchen Lama’s reincarnation, was detained in Chengdu along with his assistant Jampa Chungla, for “colluding with the Dalai Lama.” Later, on 21 April 1997, the Chinese authorities sentenced Chatrel Rinpoche with imprisonment of five years and his assistants, Jampa Chungla and Samdrup, received imprisonment of four years and two years respectively. Similarly, the 11th Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima, along with his family, was moved to an unknown location, where he still remains under Chinese custody.

Jul 1995: In July 1995, the “TAR” Party Secretary, Chen Kuiyuan, criticised His Holiness the Dalai Lama as “not only reactionary politically, but also a religious renegade who degenerated into betraying Buddhism”, and called upon Tibetans to “mercilessly expose and denounce the Dalai Lama’s conspiracy and criminal acts.”

Nov 1995: On 29 November 1995, the Chinese government announced Gyaltsen Norbu as the 11th Panchen Lama and vilified Gendun Choekyi Nyima.

Dec 1995: His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a public statement stating that his recognition of the Panchen Lama’s reincarnation could not be changed. His Holiness said: “On several occasions in the past years I have approached the Chinese Government in this matter without success. Last month again I appealed directly to the Chinese President Jiang Zemin to extend his government’s recognition to the young Panchen Lama. I had hoped that a personal appeal form my side might facilitate a gesture of goodwill from the Chinese Government. …It is unfortunate that the Chinese Government has chosen to politicise this issue and to appoint a rival Panchen Lama.”

Jan 1996: In January 1996, the Chinese authorities in Tibet labelled the photographs of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Gendun Choekyi Nyima as “reactionary literature” and imposed a strict ban on it.

Feb 1996: In February 1996, Xizang Ribao (Tibet Daily) carried a series of reports blaming the Dalai Lama for unrest in Tibet; calling for the intensification of propaganda offensive against the influence of the Dalai Lama; and warning monasteries and nunneries where monks and nuns involved in political unrest to face their closure.

Mar 1996: Despite the tragic developments in Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama reiterated that he was committed to the spirit of the middle-way approach. In his official statement on 10 March 1996, His Holiness said: “We wish to establish a sustainable relationship with China based on mutual respect, mutual benefit and friendship. In doing so, we will think not only about the fundamental interests of the Tibetan people, but also take seriously the consideration of China’s security concerns and her economic interests.”

Jul 1996: In Tibet, the Chinese authorities launched three major political campaigns of “Patriotic Education”, “Spiritual Civilisation”, and “Strike Hard” and stepped up repression even further. Whilst “Patriotic Education” and “Spiritual Civilisation” are tailored to undermine Tibetan religion, culture and language, “Strike Hard” is targeted against Tibetan political activism; this ranges from speaking to foreigners to possessing publications produced by the Tibetan Administration-in-exile and participating in peaceful protest demonstration.

Sep 1996: On 30 September 1996, the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo had been sentenced to three years in labour camp for writing a joint letter addressed to China’s President Jiang Zemin supporting the Tibetan self-determination and also calling for dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He was the first Chinese to be sentenced for speaking up for Tibet.

Oct 1996: In October 1996, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Europe, where he addressed the three bodies of the European Union. In his address to the European Parliament, His Holiness the Dalai Lama urged for their intensified efforts to help facilitate an early and peaceful resolution of the Tibetan issue through negotiation.

Nov 1996: On 28 November 1996, coinciding with President Jiang Zemin’s eight-day visit to India, His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a statement urging the Chinese President to reverse China’s repressive policy in Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama said: “Although I have a strong desire to meet President Jiang Zemin while he is in India it is obvious that in view of the new wave of repression and the ongoing campaign to denounce me inside Tibet the prospect of such a meeting is unrealistic. I, therefore, take this opportunity to urge President Jiang Zemin to reverse China’s repressive policy in Tibet.”

Jan 1997: Around 240 exile Tibetan representatives took part in a three-day workshop in Dharamshala to discuss a proposed referendum on the future course of the Tibetan struggle. His Holiness the Dalai Lama had proposed a referendum in his 10th March statements of 1994 and 1995.

Feb 1997: On 19 February 1997, China’s paramount leader Deng Xiaoping died in Beijing after a long absence from a public view. In his statement issued on the same day, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that as soon as the Tibetans receive a positive indication from Beijing, he was ready to enter into negotiations anytime and anywhere without preconditions. His Holiness further said, “I very much regret that serious negotiations on the issue of Tibet could not take place during Mr. Deng Xiaoping’s life time. The absence of Mr. Deng provides new opportunities and challenges for both the Tibetans and the Chinese. I hope the Chinese leadership will realise the wisdom of resolving the issue of Tibet through negotiations in a spirit of reconciliation and compromise. True stability must be based on mutual trust, consent and benefit for all concerned, not on the use of force.”

Feb 1997: On 24 February 1997, His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued another statement, explaining the purpose of his visit to Taiwan in March 1997. The statement read: “Although my visit to Taiwan will be religious in nature, there are some who wish to interpret it politically. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that the Tibetan struggle is neither anti-Chinese nor anti-China. Over the past many years, I have sought a peaceful resolution of the Tibetan problem through negotiations with the Chinese leadership in Beijing. I have proposed a framework for negotiations for self-rule for Tibet. These initiatives have been taken in a genuine spirit of reconciliation and compromise. However, the government of the People’s Republic of China has so far not responded positively.”

Mar 1997: On 10 March 1997, His Holiness the Dalai Lama accused China of employing a policy of cultural genocide in Tibet. In his official statement, His Holiness said: “These new measures in the field of culture, religion and education, coupled with the unabated influx of Chinese immigrants to Tibet, which has the effect of overwhelming Tibet’s distinct cultural and religious identity and reducing the Tibetans to an insignificant minority in their own country, amounts to a policy of cultural genocide.”

Mar 1997: From 22 to 27 March 1997, His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Taiwan, where he received a tumultuous reception from Taiwanese people. During this visit, His Holiness the Dalai Lama met with Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui, Vice President and Premier and also with the leaders of Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party.

May 1997: On 25 May 1997, His Holiness the Dalai Lama told a gathering in New York that should his death occur in exile, he would be reborn outside Tibet. His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “The reincarnation will definitely not come under Chinese control; it will be outside, in the free world. This I can say with absolute certainty.”

Jun 1997: In June 1997, the Chinese authorities called for five-pronged strategy to combat the “Dalai clique’s international campaign” against its rule in Tibet.

Oct 1997: China’s President Jiang Zemin paid an eight-day visit to the United Sates from 26 October 1997. During his 45-minutes speech at the Harvard University in Boston, a Harvard student asked why Beijing had refused to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama even though the Tibetan leader had no longer demanded Tibet’s independence. Jiang Zemin replied: “Our policy towards the 14th Dalai Lama is a very clear-cut one. He must recognise publicly that Tibet is an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China, that he must state publicly to give up Tibet’s independence and that he must stop all activities aimed at splitting the motherland.”

Oct 1997: While reacting to President Jiang Zemin’s statement, Tempa Tsering, Secretary of the Department of Information and International Relations of the Tibetan Administration-in-exile commented that it was the same old wine in a new bottle. He said: “His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been on record saying that he would negotiate with the Chinese leadership to resolve the future status of Tibet anywhere, anytime but without preconditions… By demanding that His Holiness the Dalai Lama accept that Tibet has been an inalienable part of China, President Jiang Zemin is in effect demanding that His Holiness rewrite the history of Tibet. His Holiness can never do this. His Holiness is on record saying that stating this would constitute an enormous historical lie and he as a Buddhist monk would have no part in it… However, the fact that the highest Chinese leader has publicly commented on the issue of Tibet may be an indication of the seriousness with which the Chinese leadership takes the Tibetan issue and this is a welcome first step.”

Oct 1997: On 31 October 1997, the US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright named a top assistant, Gregory B. Craig, as the Special Coordinator for Tibet. China criticised the United States’ move, calling it as an “unacceptable” interference in China’s internal affairs. Later, Gregory Craig outlined his mission as the Special Coordinator for Tibet as to “preserve the unique religious, cultural and linguistic heritage of Tibet and to promote a substantive dialogue between China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives.”

Mar 1998: In his official statement on 10 March 1998, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “I continue to believe that my ‘Middle-Way Approach’ is the most realistic and pragmatic course to resolve the issue of Tibet peacefully. This approach meets the vital needs of the Tibetan people while ensuring the unity and stability of the People’s Republic of China. I will, therefore, continue to pursue this course of approach with full commitment and make earnest effort to reach out to the Chinese leadership.”

Jun 1998: On 27 June 1998, in a joint press conference in Beijing, which was telecast live by the China Central Television (CCTV), the US President Bill Clinton urged the Chinese government to open a dialogue on Tibet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. President Clinton said: “I urge President Jiang [Zemin] to assume a dialogue with the Dalai Lama in return for the recognition that Tibet is a part of China and recognition of the unique cultural and religious heritage of that region.” Clinton also said, “I have spent time with the Dalai Lama, I believe him to be an honest man, and I believe if he had a conversation with President Jiang, they would like each other very much.” In response, President Jiang Zemin augmented the positive aspects of China’s rule in Tibet. He also said, “As long as the Dalai Lama makes a public commitment that Tibet is an inalienable part of China and Taiwan is a province of China, then the door to dialogue and negotiation is open… Actually, we are having several channels of communications with the Dalai Lama, so I hope the Dalai Lama will make a positive response in this regard.”

Jun 1998: On 29 June 1998, reacting to the statements of two Presidents, the Tibetan Administration-in-exile said in a statement: “We applaud President Bill Clinton for asking the Chinese government to enter into dialogue and negotiation with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We also applaud President Jiang Zemin for publicly recognising the fact that Tibet is an important issue needing a solution and for indicating his willingness to have an exchange of views and discussion on this.” In response to the conditions spelt out by President Jiang Zemin, the statement said, “As far as the question of Tibet’s status is concerned, nobody can change the past. However, His Holiness feels that we should not be encumbered by the past. What is important is the future, for which he stated very unequivocally that he is not seeking independence. Regarding the issue of Taiwan, His Holiness stated during his March 1997 visit to Taiwan that this is a matter, which must be discussed and decided between China and the people of Taiwan. Confrontation and the use of military force will help neither China, nor Taiwan.”

Sep 1998: On 25 September 1998, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, on the second day of his official visit to China, delivered the Chinese President a message from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He urged President Jiang Zemin to meet with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and said he was prepared to help arrange a dialogue if the Chinese leaders were willing. In response, President Jiang Zemin had reiterated that he was willing to meet His Holiness the Dalai Lama if the exile Tibetan leader recognised China’s rule over Tibet. Jiang Zemin was reported to have said that there was “nothing new” in recent Tibetan proposals, suggesting thereby that the ball was in the Tibetan court.

Oct 1998: On 6 October 1998, British Prime Minister Tony Blair raised the issue of Tibet with his Chinese counterpart Premier Zhu Rongji, during his visit to China. British Prime Minister said that he hoped dialogue without preconditions could begin with the Dalai Lama to find a solution for the future of Tibet. Zhu Rongji replied that channels of communication were open to the Dalai Lama.

Oct 1998: On 26 October 1998, the Chinese government accused His Holiness the Dalai Lama of being “insincere and of ignoring official channels of communication.” The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tang Guoqiang, said: “The central government’s position on negotiations with the Dalai Lama is consistent and clear. That is, the Dalai Lama must give up his proposal of independence for Tibet and stop activities to split the motherland… He must make public announcements to recognise Tibet is an inalienable part of China, that Taiwan is a province and that the government of People’s Republic of China is the sole government representing the whole China.”

Nov 1998: Seven Nobel Peace Prize laureates, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama, urged China to open formal talks “to find a peaceful resolution to the Tibet issue”, in their joint statement issued on 6 November 1998 at the end of a three-day conference on peace and reconciliation held at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, USA.

Nov 1998: During his visit to the United States, His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a statement on 10 November 1998 in Washington, D.C. In his statement, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “I have expressed my commitment to the process of dialogue as a means to resolve the Tibetan problem. Therefore, when President Jiang sought public clarifications from me on certain issues during his press conference with President Clinton in Beijing [in June this year], I did not have any hesitation in welcoming his statement and making clear my readiness to respond. However, I do not wish to make a unilateral statement without the opportunity of prior informal consultations with the Chinese leadership. I believe such an informal consultation needs to take place in order to forestall misunderstanding and to receive a positive response from the Chinese leadership.”

Nov 1998: On the same day (10 November 1998), the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, People’s Daily, carried a front-page commentary accusing His Holiness the Dalai Lama for “playing tricks” and for “insincerity” in publicising the Tibetan issue on the international stage. The daily accused the Tibetans of constantly readjusting their tactics in attempting to split China.

Feb 1999: On 14 February 1999, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that the existing, informal channels of Sino-Tibetan communications had come to a complete halt.

Mar 1999: In his official statement on 10 March 1999, His Holiness the Dalai Lama appealed to governments, parliaments and friends to continue their support and efforts with renewed dedication and vigour. His Holiness said: “I strongly believe that such expressions of international concern and support are essential. They are vital in communicating a sense of urgency to the leadership in Beijing and in persuading them to address the issue of Tibet in a serious and constructive manner.”

Oct 1999: On 25 October 1999, in his written interview with the French newspaper Le Figaro on the eve of his visit to France, Chinese President Jiang Zemin told that His Holiness the Dalai Lama must truly give up his advocacy of independence of Tibet and stop his activities to “split the motherland”. Reiterating his preconditions, President Jiang said: “Dalai Lama must also openly declare that Tibet is an inalienable part of China and recognise that Taiwan is a province of China and the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the sole legitimate government representing whole China… Only on this basis will the Central Government open talks with Dalai Lama over his personal future.”

Apr 2000: On 13 April 2000, the European Parliament passed a resolution, which among others, called China to start a dialogue “without precondition” with His Holiness the Dalai Lama on the future of Tibet on the basis of the Five-Point Peace Plan. The resolution expressed concerns over the threat to the “Tibetan cultural and spiritual heritage” due to “large-scale transfer of ethnic Chinese to Tibet” and over the “continuing and widespread restrictions on fundamental freedoms.”

Jul 2000: From 3 to 18 July 2000, Gyalo Thondup visited China after informing His Holiness the Dalai Lama. While in Beijing, Thondup met with three key officials of the CPC’s United Front Work Department–Zhu Xiaoming, Li Dezhu and Wang Zhaoguo.

Mar 2001: On 6 March 2001, Chinese Vice-President Hu Jintao told Tibetan participants to the Fourth Session of the 9th China’s National People’s Congress that Beijing would stamp out separatism and curb “illegal” religious activities in Tibet. According to the People’s Daily (6 March 2001), Hu called for “cracking down hard on separatist activities and enhancing patriotic education of teenagers.”

Mar 2001: In his official statement on 10 March 2001, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said that Beijing had hardened its attitude and that it lacked political will to resolve the Tibetan problem. His Holiness said: “Last July, my elder brother, Gyalo Thondup, once more made a personal visit to Beijing and brought back a message from the United Front Work Department reiterating the well-known position of the leadership in Beijing on relations with me. In September of the same year we communicated through the Chinese embassy in New Delhi our wish to send a delegation to Beijing to deliver a detailed memorandum outlining my thinking on the issue of Tibet and to explain and discuss the points raised in the memorandum. I sincerely hoped that this development would lead to an opening for a realistic approach to the Tibetan issue. I reasoned with the Chinese leadership that through face-to-face meetings we would succeed in clarifying misunderstandings and overcoming distrust. I expressed the strong belief that once this is achieved then a mutually acceptable solution of the problem can be found without much difficulty.”

Mar 2001: On 31 March 2001, His Holiness the Dalai Lama began a 10-day visit to Taiwan at the invitation of the Chinese Buddhist Association of Taiwan. Before departure from Dharamshala, His Holiness told the press on 28 March that China had no cause to be concerned about his 10-day visit. His Holiness further said, “My main goal is to meet the Buddhist community there and explain about Tibetan Buddhism. …if they [Chinese leaders] know the reality and look at my activities from a wider perspective, then I don’t see any reason for them to be concerned.”

Apr 2001: On 1 April 2001, the Xinhua News Agency’s commentary termed it “a political visit” driven by separatist motives the Dalai Lama shared with officials in Taipei. It said: “the Dalai Lama’s second Taiwan trip will certainly be a political visit for collaborating with ‘Taiwan independence forces’ to separate the motherland, regardless of the 10-day schedule which includes many preaching and religious ceremonies.”

Sino-Tibetan Dialogue: Renewed Contacts (2002- )

Jan 2002: In January 2002, the envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama met outside of China with Chinese officials responsible for Tibet policy. This was the first face-to-face meeting since August 1993.

Mar 2002: In his official statement on 10 March 2002, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “I remain committed to the process of dialogue. As soon as there is a positive signal from Beijing, my designated representatives stand ready to meet with officials of the Chinese government anywhere, anytime.”

Sep 2002: On the occasion of the 42nd Anniversary of the Tibetan Democracy Day on 2 September 2002, the Kashag of the Tibetan Administration-in-exile, in a statement, urged all the Tibetans to extend their support towards the realization of a united existence of the three provinces with genuine autonomy and proper democratic system through a negotiated settlement with leadership of Beijing on the basis of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Five Point Peace Plan and Strasbourg Proposal.

Sep 2002: The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a press release in Dharamshala on 9 September 2002 informing about the visit of a Tibetan delegation to Beijing and Lhasa. The press statement said, “His Holiness the Dalai Lama is very pleased that the team is able to make such a visit.”

Sep 2002: A four-member Tibetan delegation headed by Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Lodi G. Gyari, left for China on 9 September 2002. The Special Envoy was accompanied by Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen and two senior assistants, Sonam N. Dagpo and Bhuchung K. Tsering. The visit was hosted by the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and came after a decade long deadlock in the relation between Beijing and Dharamshala. The Tibetan delegation visited Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai and the Tibetan capital Lhasa and areas of Shigatse and Nyingtri, and met officials in Beijing, Lhasa as well as in other areas. In Beijing, the Tibetan delegation met Wang Zhaoguo, Vice-Chair of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and head of the CPC’s United Front Work Department; Li De Zhu, Minister for Nationalities Affairs and Deputy Head of the United Front Work Department; and Ngapo Ngawang Jigme, Vice-Chair of the CPPCC. The purpose of the visit was two-fold: One, to re-establish direct contact with the leadership in Beijing and to create a conducive atmosphere enabling direct face-to-face meetings on a regular basis in future; Two, to explain His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Middle Way Approach towards resolving the issue of Tibet.

Sep 2002: While welcoming Beijing’s positive gesture in receiving the Tibetan delegation to China earlier this month, the democratically elected Kalon Tripa of the Tibetan Administration-in-exile, Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, announced that the period till June 2003 would be devoted towards creating a conducive atmosphere for building on the new contact. The Kalon Tripa, in an appeal dated 30 September 2002, said, “I want to urge all Tibetans and friends of Tibet to refrain from public actions like rallies and demonstrations during President Jiang Zemin’s visit to the United States and Mexico [in October 2002].”

Oct 2002: On 1 October 2002, US President George W. Bush signed the Tibet Policy Act (TPA) which established in law the position of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues at the State Department with the central objective to “promote substantive dialogue between the government of the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama or his representatives.”

Mar 2003: In his official statement on 10 March 2003, His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed happiness over the re-establishment of direct contact with the Chinese leadership with the visit of his envoys to Beijing last September and said, “I had instructed my envoys to make every effort to pursue a course of dialogue with the leadership in Beijing and to seize every opportunity to dispel existing misunderstandings and misconceptions in Beijing about our views and positions. This is the only sensible, intelligent and human way to resolve differences and establish understanding.” His Holiness further said, “It is my sincere hope that the Chinese leadership will find the courage, vision and wisdom for new openings to solve the Tibetan issue through dialogue.”

Mar 2003: On the occasion of the 44th Anniversary of the Tibetan People’s Uprising Day on 10 March 2003, the Kashag, in a statement, said, “The Tibet-China problem, which is nearly 55 years old, has never been about political issues only. Rather it is a problem which is related to the issue of nationality.” Reassuring the Tibetan people, the Kashag further said, “Over the past 44 years of our existence in exile, His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Administration have never wavered from our commitment to the goal of a united Tibet.”

May 2003: The Tibetan delegation visited China for second time from 25 May to 8 June 2003. The visit followed the changes in leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) as well as of the Chinese Government and gave the delegation the opportunity to engage extensively with the new Chinese leaders and officials responsible for Tibet and relationship with the leaders of the Tibetan community-in-exile. In Beijing, the delegation met Liu Yandong, Vice-Chair of the CPPCC and head of the CPC’s United Front Work Department; Zhu Weiqun, deputy head; Chang Rongjung, the Deputy Secretary-General; and other senior officials.

Mar 2004: In his official statement on 10 March 2004, His Holiness the Dalai Lama expressed willingness to meet with today’s leaders of the People’s Republic of China in the effort to secure a mutually acceptable solution to the Tibetan issue. While welcoming the present process of dialogue between his envoys and their Chinese counterparts, His Holiness said, “I consider it of highest importance to maintain the momentum and to intensify and deepen this process through regular face-to-face meetings and substantive discussions.”

Sep 2004: The Tibetan delegation made the third visit to China and Tibetan areas from 12 to 29 September 2004. The delegation met Liu Yandong, Vice-Chair of the CPPCC and head of the CPC’s United Front Work Department; Vice-Minister Zhu Weiqun, the deputy head; Chang Rongjun, Secretary-General; and other officials in Beijing. Both sides acknowledged the need for more substantive discussions in order to narrow down the gaps and reach a common ground.

Mar 2005: In his official statement on 10 March 2005, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “I once again want to reassure the Chinese authorities that as long as I am responsible for the affairs of Tibet we remain fully committed to the Middle Way Approach of not seeking independence for Tibet and are willing to remain within the People’s Republic of China.” His Holiness expressed optimism over the gradual improvement of interactions between his envoys and their Chinese counterparts, and said, “Now that our elected political leadership is shouldering more responsibility in Tibetan affairs, I have advised them to look into the issues raised by the Chinese side during our third round of talks and to take steps to address or clarify them as needed.”

Mar 2005: On the occasion of the 46th Anniversary of the Tibetan People’s Uprising Day on 10 March 2005, the Kashag, in a statement, said, “In essence, the entirety of the Tibetan population having legitimate rights within the constitutional framework of the People’s Republic of China to enjoy genuine national regional autonomy is the legitimate requirement of the Tibetan people. Therefore, the need of such an autonomy, equally and uniformly practised amidst all the Tibetan people, has already been emphasised; not just once but many times. We would like to once again state that this basic principle can not be changed at all.”

Jun 2005: The fourth round of meetings between the Tibetan and Chinese delegations took place on 30 June and 1 July 2005 at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Berne, Switzerland. Special Envoy Lodi G. Gyari and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen, accompanied by three senior assistants, Sonam N. Dagpo, Ngapa Tsegyam, and Bhuchung K. Tsering, met Vice Minister Zhu Weiqun of the CPC’s United Front Work Department and his six-member delegation. Vice Minister Zhu declared that their direct contact with the Tibetan delegation has now become stable and an “established practice.” He also conveyed to the Tibetan delegation that the Central leadership of the Chinese Communist Party attached great importance to the contact with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan side put forward some concrete proposals that will help build trust and confidence and move the ongoing process to a new level of engagement aimed at bringing about substantive negotiations to achieve a mutually acceptable solution to the Tibetan issue.

Sep 2005: The Kashag of the Tibetan Administration-in-exile issued a second appeal on 3 September 2005, which said, “The President of the People’s Republic of China, Hu Jintao, will soon pay an official visit to the Americas sometime in September this year. We would like to take this opportunity to make an urgent appeal to all the Tibetans and Tibet Support Groups to refrain from any activities, including staging of protest demonstrations, which will cause him embarrassment.”

Feb 2006: The Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a press statement in Dharamshala on 15 February 2006 informing about the arrival of the Tibetan delegation in China for the fifth round of talks with their Chinese counterparts. The press statement further said, “His Holiness is pleased that the present round of talks, which began in 2002, is the longest process of continued interaction that we have had with the leadership in Beijing. For the last four meetings, the envoys have had very candid and serious discussion with their counterparts in the Chinese leadership.”

Feb 2006: Special Envoy Lodi G. Gyari and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen, accompanied by two members of the Task Force, Sonam N. Dagpo and Bhuchung K. Tsering, visited China from 15 to 23 February 2006. The Tibetan delegation had a day-long meeting with the Executive Vice Minister of the CPC’s United Front Work Department, Zhu Weiqun, on 22 February 2006 in Guilin City during which they dealt with substantive issues. This fifth round of discussion made it clear that there is a major difference even in the approach in addressing the issue. However, both sides remain committed to the dialogue process with their firm belief that the obstacles can be overcome through more discussions and engagements.

Mar 2006: In his official statement on 10 March 2006, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “The Kashag of the Central Tibetan Administration has made a number of appeals to Tibetans and our international supporters to work toward the creation of a conducive environment for negotiations. Today, I would like to emphasise that we leave no stone unturned to help the present process of dialogue for the resolution of the Sino-Tibetan problem. I urge all Tibetans to take note of this on the basis of the Kashag’s appeal. I make the same request to Tibet supporters and those sympathetic to the Tibetan people.”

Apr 2006: The Kashag of the Tibetan Administration-in-exile issued the third appeal on 3 April 2006, which said, “President Hu Jintao will soon pay an official visit to America this month and the Kashag would like to once again strongly appeal with utmost importance and emphasis to all the Tibetans and Tibet Support Groups to refrain from any activities, including staging of protest demonstrations causing embarrassment to him. This appeal is not only to create a conducive atmosphere for negotiations but also not to cause embarrassment and difficulty to His Holiness the Dalai Lama whose visit coincides with President Hu Jintao’s visit to America. If protests are held, this will give the impression that no Tibetan or Tibet Support Group is taking notice of and carrying out His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s instructions issued in the recent 10th March statement.”

Nov 2006: Briefing on the current status of discussions between His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Government of the People’s Republic of China at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C., on 14 November 2006, Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, Special Envoy of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, said, “Some detractors in the Chinese Government seem to believe that the aspirations of the Tibetan people will fizzle out once the Dalai Lama passes away. This is a most dangerous and myopic approach. Certainly, the absence of the Dalai Lama would be devastating for the Tibetan people. But more importantly his absence would mean that China would be left to handle the problem without the presence of a leader who enjoys the loyalty of the entire community and who remains firmly committed to non-violence. It is certain that the Tibetan position would become more intractable in his absence, and that having had their beloved leader pass away in exile would create deep and irreparable wounds in the hearts of the Tibetan people.” He further added, “In the absence of the Dalai Lama, there is no way that the entire population would be able to contain their resentment and anger. And it only takes a few desperate individuals or groups to create major instability. This is not a threat, but a statement of fact.” “The Dalai Lama’s world view, his special bond with the Tibetan people and the respect he enjoys in the international community all make the person of the Dalai Lama key both to achieving a negotiated solution to the Tibetan issue and to peacefully implementing any agreement that is reached. This is why we have consistently conveyed to our Chinese counterparts that far from being the problem, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the solution,” Special Envoy concluded.

Jun 2007: Special Envoy Lodi G. Gyari and Envoy Kelsang Gyaltsen, accompanied by two members of the Task Force, Sonam N. Dagpo and Bhuchung K. Tsering, visited China from June 29 to July 5, 2007 for the sixth round of discussions with the Chinese leadership. During this trip three sessions of discussion were held over a day and a half in Shanghai and Nanjing. The Executive Vice Minister of the Central United Front Work Department, Zhu Weiqun, and the Vice Minister, Sithar (who has been recently promoted to this post), led the discussions from the Chinese side. The Tibetan delegation conveyed their serious concerns in the strongest possible manner on the overall Tibetan issue and made some concrete proposals for implementation if the dialogue process is to go forward.

There are currently 3 comments highlighted: 15790, 15959, 16233.

196 Responses to “(Letter) What has been the result of Dalai Lama’s 30-years of dialogue?”

  1. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Wow!. There’s been so much talk, even the summary is a mile long. I think it was Jerry in another thread who compared this to the Israeli-Palestinian situation. Decades of chatter, and not a lot to show for it.

  2. Hongkonger Says:

    Time for a little comic relief and maybe a tad of reality check: Take a walk on the wild side and imagine this 🙂


  3. jack Says:

    Seriously, dude, is it necessary to make a mile-long post? Believe me, there will not be any significant result coming from the dialogue. The official line stands the dialogue or negotiation is only about the status of Dalai Lama. Clearly the two sides are not on the same page and have no intention to compromise.

  4. Allen Says:


    To be honest, I only glanced through part of this very long list – mostly because I think our perspective should be on the future, not necessarily the past…

    As someone here has said, if the KMT and CCP and get back together on good talking terms, the CCP and the Dalai Lama definitely can also.

    The most important thing going forward I think is what is the intent of the parties. If the Dalai Lama is interested in nation building (i.e. continuing to nurture Tibetan nationalism) and/or if the CCP is interested in stonewalling the Dalai Lama, hoping he passes away, then things won’t bode well.

    On the other hand, if the Dalai Lama and the CCP are both interested in working together to help improve things that are of importance to the common people in Tibet – including perhaps not just the economic sphere, but also the spiritual and cultural spheres – then I keep some hope for a pleasant surprise some time later this year…

  5. pug_ster Says:

    I don’t think we can compare to China-Taiwan relations and China-Tibet relations as China has more things in common with Taiwan than to Tibet. The Dalai Lama probably knows that China can go on without him and he has to give more concessions to China.

  6. wukong Says:

    I am wondering if Dalai Lama truly understands what CCP needs from him.

    It’s almost an fixture on western media to see angry faces of exile Tibetan denouncing China and cursing Chinese leaders, complete with mock up tanks and graphical displays etc. They’ve been demanding, shouting and cursing. I hear they want rights, freedom and all that good sounding stuff.

    But there is almost nothing about CCP wants from Dalai Lama, from either the exile Tibetans or western media. If you are going into a negotiation on good faith, shouldn’t you discuss and debate about what the other side want and what portion you can compromise to get a working deal?

  7. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To jack:
    agreed. They can talk until the summary is 2 miles long, but if neither side has any intention of compromise, they can talk till they’re blue in the face. Too bad you can’t call in a mediator, or go to binding arbitration.

  8. Michelle Says:

    Hongkonger, that youtube clip just short-circuited my brain..

  9. Wukailong Says:

    @jack, SKC: Certainly an arbiter can be brought in, like king Hussein in the Israel/Palestine conflict (not that it’s been very successful, but anyway). A leader from some neutral country could do the trick. Certainly not a Western country, so there goes Sweden and Switzerland, and India is out of the question. The Fiji islands? 🙂

    @pug_ster: Yes, and the stakes are higher for the Taiwan question because of a possible, however unlikely, war. Besides, both sides have something to gain from more cooperation. For the time being China wouldn’t have much to gain from talking with the Dalai Lama.

    (Btw, why do we all refer to him as DL? It’s like everyone called Hu Jintao “Zongtong”, and did so in English too 🙂 )

  10. Hongkonger Says:

    that youtube clip just short-circuited my brain..


    I hope I understood what you mean. In Cantonese-chinese “a short-circuited brain,” would mean someone is crazy, like, lost ones mind, not thinking straight, etc.
    In any case, I am hoping you are telling me you had a very good laugh, like it had me roaring with stress-relieving laughters.
    I am hoping that’s what you meant?
    All the Best.

  11. Michelle Says:

    Yes, it was a good laugh! 🙂 I wish i had time to be that creative!

  12. jack Says:

    @Wukailong :
    Can you honestly believe the CCP will accept any arbitration on Tibet by Sweden and Switzerland ? Or any of the permanent 5 of UNSC would, for that matter.

  13. Allen Says:

    @Jack #12,

    No way. Tibet is not an international issue as far as the CCP (and Chinese like me) is concerned…

  14. Wukailong Says:

    @jack: I do not honestly believe it, which is why I wrote what I wrote.

    @Allen: Let’s compare it to two another issues that are/were completely national in some sense: North Korea’s nuclear weapons and Palestine as part of Israel. In the first case, 6 countries are in the for ride, in the other case, an undefined number.

  15. jack Says:

    Then, good luck.

  16. skylight Says:

    I find it strange that Chinese side always has preconditions for talks. At one time they wanted DL to say that Taiwan had always been part of China, other times he had to say that Tibet had historically always been part of China.

    Most international talks are initiated without preconditions. And I wish Chinese leaders could show that they really think it is important to resolve the issue by setting up a high level meeting without preconditions between the Chinese president or prime minister and Dalai Lama.

    So far, it seems the majority of the leadership think it is better to do nothing and wait untill Dalai Lama dies. I think this might be a wrong strategic choice.

  17. skylight Says:

    There are some people who say that if the CCP had reached out to Chiang Kai Shek while he was still alive, the “Taiwan issue” would have been resolved long time ago.

    Similarily, the leadership might loose some face if they start high-level negotiation with DL now, since they used so much energy to demonize him, but if they have the courage, it can be a quick fix to the “Tibet issue”.

    If they wait untill he dies, just like the “Taiwan issue” after Chiang Kai Shek’s death, we might face another 30-50 years of conflict and mistrust.

  18. Hemulen Says:

    I agree with Skylight. Beijing doesn’t realize what an asset DL actually could be. Other governments with separatist problems would love to deal with a person like him. The problem is that the CCP has adopted an inflexible position and that there is no transparency in Tibet policy making. DL would be a great popular leader in a colony like British India. Beijing is not London in 1947, it’s more like Pretoria in the 1970s.

  19. Netizen K Says:

    Beat around the bushes….No wonder talks go so long.

  20. Chops Says:

    #17 “If they wait untill he dies, just like the “Taiwan issue” after Chiang Kai Shek’s death, we might face another 30-50 years of conflict and mistrust.”

    On the other hand, it may turn out in China’s favour, since the current Panchen Lama is pro-China.
    According to tradition, “The Panchen Lama bears part of the responsibility for finding the incarnation of the Dalai Lama and vice versa.” within Tibet – Wikipedia.

    So Zhongnanhai will choose a pro-China Dalai Lama successor when the current one goes.
    There will be a dispute if the Tibetan govenment-in-exile decides to choose their own successor as well.

  21. Zickyy Says:

    Re: skylight

    Taiwan is effectively independent but Tibet is not. This is one the key reasons that the two issues are not comparable.

    The Chinese government is in control of Tibet but DL has nothing except some sympathy from the West. The talk is not between two equal parties so you cannot expect any compromise or no pre-conditions from the Chinese government.

    After DL passes away, it is highly likely that the Tibet government in exile will turn into a terrorist group which can be dealt with easily and harshly.

    In the meantime, the government should concentrate on investing in Tibet and improving Tibetan’s lives. As Tibet develops, more and more Han Chinese will settle there and make Tibet a Han majority province. When that day comes, China will have probably have turned into a democratic country. Let everyone in Tibet have a vote, no doubt what the result will be.

    During this process, the most important thing is to ensure normal Tibetan and Han people can get along with each other in harmony. Unlike between write and black people, there is no racial discrimination between Han and Tibetan. And in fact, most Han Chinese would agree to give some privileges to Tibetan to help them develop.

    Overall, I am positive with Tibet’s future and Tibetan’s lives.

  22. Zickyy Says:

    To Hemulen

    British were kicked out of India no matter how many popular leaders they had promoted.
    Does this give you enough reason?

    No matter what DL says or does, unless DL breaks his relationship completely with those Tibetan government in exile or organisations, it will be a serious mistake if the Chinese government allows him to return to Tibet.

  23. Allen Says:


    I find it strange that Chinese side always has preconditions for talks. At one time they wanted DL to say that Taiwan had always been part of China, other times he had to say that Tibet had historically always been part of China.

    I understand and respect the fact that you are sympathetic to the DL. But that may make you blind to preconditions that the DL has made throughout the talks – such as the right to discuss with Beijing as equals and as a sovereign, legitimate leader of ethnic Tibetans…

  24. Wukailong Says:

    “So Zhongnanhai will choose a pro-China Dalai Lama successor when the current one goes.
    There will be a dispute if the Tibetan govenment-in-exile decides to choose their own successor as well.”

    This reminds me of the situation in Europe once, where there was a pope and an anti-pope. The present Dalai Lama has anticipated it, as he said there might be a “female DL or even two in the future, if China presents their own.”

    “Unlike between write and black people, there is no racial discrimination between Han and Tibetan.”

    When you one day can look at your own problems without always looking at the West, you will find that these are problems too. It isn’t only black and white people, and it isn’t only the US. But to give you a simple taste of it:


    “As Tibet develops, more and more Han Chinese will settle there and make Tibet a Han majority province. When that day comes, China will have probably have turned into a democratic country.”

    Both agree and disagree. I wonder how many Han want to settle there, really, with the weather up there. At the same time, yes, China will become democratic (and all these cultural discussions about how confucianism doesn’t compute with democracy will just ebb away), and the problem might slowly fade away.

    Sorry, I’ve had a lot of red wine tonight for the moon festival, so I’ll probably regret that I wrote this when I wake up tomorrow. Though, I should say I agree with Allen’s last comment, at least in principle – not only China put up preconditions…

  25. skylight Says:


    I think your view is very much in line with the hardliners in Beijing. I respectfully disagree with you as I think that we should try to solve conflicts without bloodshed. I think you are cruelhearted when you say that you wish that Tibetans become terrorist so that you can “deal with them easily and harshly”. Nothing good comes out of violence…except generations of hate.

    I also disagree with your thesis that increased development and pouring more money into Tibet will solve the Tibet issue. The reason the “Tibet issue” has been going on for so long, is that it is essentially a political issue, not an economic one. Even pampered Tibetan communist cadres with top salaries from the Chinese government keep secret pictures of Dalai Lama in their homes.

    It new to me that DL had put forward any preconditions for high level talks, but if that is correct I agree that it is foolish. Talks should be held without any preconditions on either side. I think DL and Wen Jiabao could get along and find solutions…

  26. Allen Says:

    If I am not mistaken – in the past, some DL had been Han (or at least partly Han)… [this is a dumb comment – because I am getting trapped in the Han v. Tibetan mentality just like everyone else now…]

  27. Otto Kerner Says:


    And I wish Chinese leaders could show that they really think it is important to resolve the issue by setting up a high level meeting without preconditions between the Chinese president or prime minister and Dalai Lama.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that they do not think it is important to resolve the issue. The Dalai Lama is of great value if you believe that there is a 藏族 problem and you want to resolve it. He is of no value if you don’t think there’s a problem or you don’t care about resolving it. Beijing has made it clear from their actions what they think.

  28. Zickyy Says:

    @Otto Kerner

    I think that they do think there is a problem but they don’t believe the problem can be resolved by talks with DL

  29. Zickyy Says:


    As long as there is opportunities to earn money, people will go. Not everyone in China has a choice.
    That’s why I am saying as Tibet develops and offers more opportunities for people to make a living, they will go. The only thing I am worried is that Tibet doesn’t have many advantages in terms of economic development.

  30. Zickyy Says:


    I did NOT say ” I wish Tibetans become terrorist”.

    What I said was “After DL passes away, it is highly likely that the Tibet government in exile will turn into a terrorist group which can be dealt with easily and harshly”.

    More specifically, I refered to those leaders of Tibetan Youth Congress. In fact, they are already not too far from there.

    If what I said made you think that way, I am sorry.

    The so called “Tibet issue” is not as huge as you think. Most Tibetan people would like to have a peaceful life and to improve their living standards. And probably most importantly they want to have religion freedom which the Chinese government should give and in fact the government is not doing as badly as the west says.

    If DL agrees to come back as a pure religious figure without any political role and involvement, I am sure every Tibetan can have a picture of him. Then everyone is happy.

    But what he wants is
    to rule 25% of China’s land
    to kick out Han and other ethinic minorities from Tibet
    to have “democracy” when other Chinese have not achieved

    Do you think there are realistic?

  31. Tom Says:

    To the chinese leaders, or any national leaders, territorial integrity is paramount; it over-writes democracy, human right, liberty and faces. Though, unwelcome are these smear campaigns staged by tibetan/human-right organizations during major events, like national congress meetings, olympics, etc.., the decisions made by chinese leader with regarding the development of Tibet and other area inside china will not be affected by them.

    Based on the actions of DL’s organizations and his relationship with foreign entities, I think the chinese government considers him to be a hostile variable. As China is in the midst of developing the western area, it is not wise to introduce the DL variable into this equation. A better social harmony between Tibetans and other ethnic groups can be achieved through better economy with job security, social justice, and rule of laws.

    After this development transition, when the tibetan culture, religion, and society can develop safely and semi-independently of the DL’s Lamaism then perhaps China can negotiate the return of DL(if he isn’t dead by then).

  32. wuming Says:


    The Tibet issue is indeed a political issue. However, there are two problems with Dalai Lama and TGIE’s approach:

    First, Dalai Lama casts this political issue as a religious and cultural conflict. While Dalai Lama and TGIE are trying to start a worldwide political movement, any counter political measure by the Chinese government is being called religious prosecution or cultural genocide. I am yet to be convinced that the current Chinese government has any problem with Tibetan Buddhism as a religion, or view Tibetan culture as a threat to be extinguished.

    Second, I don’t think Chinese government and Chinese people are inclined to or even able to solve a political problem such as Tibet or Taiwan. The priorities are political stability and economic development. The political system is evolving slowly to facilitate the economic development. Until it has reached a more settled political structure, it simply does not have the energy and knowledge to accommodate other political interests that are so at variant from their priorities.

  33. Netizen K Says:

    It looks Dalai Lama is no longer relevant between the Chinese government and the exiled Tibetans. He is increasingly becoming a bystander because he is not in command of the exiled activities. He speaks a lot but the exiled tibetans do what they want.

    When he passes on, the real negotiation between the central government and the exils can begin.

  34. Otto Kerner Says:


    The government probably doesn’t have anything against Tibetan Buddhism, although they do officially restrict the involvement of Tibetan Buddhists in the government, since party cadres are not supposed to be religious.

    However, since the government is opposed to the Dalai Lama, doesn’t that place them at odds with Tibetan Buddhism in practice? He is the Dalai Lama, after all — not the only Tibetan religious leader, but the most prestigious one (the government is not on good terms with the either Karmapa or with the Sakya Trizin, for that matter — they all support the Dalai Lama).

  35. wuming Says:

    Otto Kerner

    Many government officials and party cadres believe in Buddhism and other religions. Outside of Tibet, the belief never constitute a problem.

    “However, since the government is opposed to the Dalai Lama, doesn’t that place them at odds with Tibetan Buddhism in practice?”

    This is the key point, isn’t it. The popularity of many Tulkus around China shows that the government’s problem is not with the religion, but the role Dalai Lama and other religious leaders played in the independence movement.

  36. wukong Says:

    @Netizen K

    I don’t think the Central government really cares what the exile Tibetans want either. They are even less relevent than the Dalai Lama. At least Dalai Lama can satisfy the religious longings of many Tibetans inside China, and this is what makes Chinese government even want to talk with Dalai Lama. The welfare and well beings of Tibetan Chinese concerns the government most, exile Tibetans agitation’s are just white nose.


    Chinese government’s problem is only with THIS Dalai Lama. When the next one is anointed by the central government, the problem will go away.

  37. Otto Kerner Says:

    Wuming: that’s like saying, “the PRC doesn’t have a problem with Catholicism — just with the Pope.” Which happens to be another PRC policy. It’s nonsense because Catholicism without the Pope isn’t Catholicism.

    Wukong: Good luck. I predict that the death of this Dalai Lama will make the religious problem much worse, because the government will be trying to get religious Tibetans to accept a fake and pretend that it’s the Dalai Lama. Anyone claiming to be the Dalai Lama on the basis of anointment from Beijing will be perceived as a fake. That’s going to upset a lot of people. The government would be smarter to forget trying to have their own new Dalai Lama and just be glad that the old one is gone. However, I don’t expect they will be that smart.

  38. Otto Kerner Says:

    An interesting question occurred to me: who is the highest-ranking / most prestigious Tibetan lama who is still in the PRC, supporting the government. There was a Bomi Rinpoche who had been elected “acting Ganden Tripa” and agreed to serve as the tutor for the young government-chosen Panchen Lama; however Bomi Rinpoche is now deceased. Arjia Rinpoche (阿嘉仁波切) of Kumbum (塔尔寺) was a quite high-ranking tülku who was consistently pro-government; however, he defected to the United States because of the government’s actions during the Panchen affair. The 6th Jamyang Shêpa of Labrang (拉卜楞寺) is still in Tibet and cooperates with the government; however, it’s not clear how good that relationship is since, last I heard, he still lives in Lanzhou rather than at hs monastery. Other prominent lamas in China are Reting, the Trungpa Tülku, and Nênang Pawo, but they are all currently minors, so it remains to be seen if they will become influential and what their attitudes toward the government will be.

  39. The Trapped! Says:

    The government-appointed 11th Panchen Lama is called by Tibetans as “Jia Panchen”, or at best “Gya-mi Pachen”. I have heard that now even he is in difficult situation because, unlike his childhood, he now realizes that in Tibetan people’s mind he is not the friend, if not the enemy. I really feel pity about this young guy. However, this how every individual is dealt with whenever needs arise in a country where everything and everyone is the property of the government which is ruled by few elites.

  40. Allen Says:

    @Otto Kerner,

    However, since the government is opposed to the Dalai Lama, doesn’t that place them at odds with Tibetan Buddhism in practice? He is the Dalai Lama, after all — not the only Tibetan religious leader, but the most prestigious one (the government is not on good terms with the either Karmapa or with the Sakya Trizin, for that matter — they all support the Dalai Lama).

    This is the tragedy of it all when politics and religion mix.

  41. skylight Says:

    Some clarifications:

    1. The importance of the “Tibet issue”

    The “Tibet issue” might not be “huge”, but it is still a very important issue to the Chinese government. Just take a look at the assignments of party secretaries to Tibet (Zhang Guhua, Zeng Yongya, Ren Rong, Yin Fatang, Wu Jinhua, Hu Jintao -President of P.R.China, Chen Kuiyuan -Director of CASS, Guo Jinlong -Mayor of Beijing, Zhang Qingli). The hardliners clearly get their rewards after a TAR “hardship” stint.

    2. Its not about DL…its about misguided policies in Tibet

    Even if the Dalai Lama dies tomorrow and TGIE is dealt with “harshly and easily”, the “Tibet issue” will remain unsolved, the Chinese government still have to deal with the 6 million tibetans in Tibet. Please recognize that the issue is not about DL, TGIE or some 100.000 exile tibetans, it is about the demands and wishes of tibetans in Tibet. Read what Panchen Lama, the crown jewel of the CCP said, (http://www.tibet.com/PL/warning.html). The son of top Tibetan CCP official Ngabo Ngawang Jigme left Tibet and now works for Voice of America. The top CCP religious official Arjia Rinpoche left Tibet in late 90’s. The third most important lama in Tibet after DL and Panchen Lama, Karmapa lama, recognized by Jiang Zemin, left Tibet in 2000. Why did all these people, born after the “liberation of Tibet” and educated under Chinese system leave Tibet? It is not because they were brainwashed by DL or had blind faith in DL, the reason they left is that they disagreed with Chinese policies in Tibet.

    3. Tibetan cultural identity is considered splittist

    Imagine yourself that if you practiced your Chinese ancestors rituals, or worked hard to promote Chinese language traditions, you wanted university instruction in Chinese language, you could be labeled “splittist” by the government. How can such policies promote harmony?

    “The success of our education does not lie in the number of diplomas issued to graduates from
    universities, colleges…and secondary schools. It lies, in the final analysis, in whether our graduating
    students are opposed to or turn their hearts to the Dalai Clique and in whether they are loyal to or do
    not care about our great motherland and the great socialist cause
    -Chen Kuiyuan, Tibet party secretary at TAR Fifth Regional Meeting on Education (1994)

    “Religion is the main element of destruction in Tibetan society because it represents anti-Chinese sentiments. Superstitious beliefs impede economic development in the region. For example, farmers do not kill insects nor slaughter their livestock during the (15 day Sagadawa Buddhist) Festival.”
    -Chen Kuiyuan, Tibet party secretary, Tibet Daily (1999)

    “Tibetan cultural identity is the enemy” [to fully integrate Tibet into the Motherland]
    -Chen Kuiyuan, Tibet party secretary

    “The communist party is like parents to the Tibetan people and are always considerate about what the children need. The party is the real Buddha for the Tibetans.”
    -Zhang Qingli, Current party secretary in Tibet (2008)

    “As communists, we cannot hold that all is well because we merely announce that we are atheists. Rather, we should make bold propaganda about Marxist atheism and insist on indoctrinating the masses of peasantry and herdsmen in the Marxist stand on religion.”
    -Ragdi, highest ranking tibetan communist official (1998)

    [On hardline anti-splittists] “Having invested their careers in anti-splittism, these people cannot admit the idea is mistaken without losing face and, they fear, losing their own power and position as well.”
    -Wang Lixiong, Chinese dissident writer (2008)

  42. skylight Says:

    Not all historical DLs have been as popular as the current 14th DL is among Tibetans.

    He is popular due to the following:

    – He is hardworking and not very corrupt
    – He emphasize unity among three tibetan regions (U-tsang, Kham, Amdo)
    – He emphasize unity among four tibetan religious schools (Gelupa, Sakya, Kagyu, Nyingma)
    – He is an effective spokeperson for Tibetans

    Any Tibetan leader who can deliver on these four points will be loved by Tibetans both outside and inside Tibet.

  43. Oli Says:

    Heh????? What the Heck!!!

    Sorry to have to point this out, but only the most religiously confused and the historically ignorant would regard the Pope as the personification of Catholicism. I personally always thought it was Jesus and the God Almighty. Did I miss something???? Since when did Catholics pray to the Pope???

    Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t remember the Old Testament ordaining the establishment of a Catholic Church or any Church for that matter. The Catholic Church is purely a political creation established by the Roman Emperor Constantine I at the First Council of Nicaea some 300+ years AFTER the cruxifiction of Jesus. Frankyly I think Jesus would have been appalled by the establishment of ANY churches considering his attitude towards the debasement of the Temple on Temple Mount by the then Chief Rabbi who turned it into a market and a courtyard for the money changers (sheesh! dosen’t anybody read the Bible or attend Sunday School anymore?)

    Similarly, in no Buddhist scriptures or writings was it ever mentioned that Siddhattha Gotama (the ueber Buddha duda himself) ever advocated the establishment of a Buddhist theocracy headed by any “Dalai” or “Panchen” Lamas. I mean seriously, I personally always thought that Buddhism was all about achieving enlightenment by recognising The Four Noble Turths through “right” understanding etc. (The Eightfold Path) thereby abandoning ignorance and thus suffering and and to break free from attachments, desires and cravings. And so on and so forth.

    Unless I am missing something, is this how Tibetan Buddhism is different and unique? So in Tibetan “Buddhism”, one can achieve Enlightenment just by spinning the prayer wheels, go on pilgrimages, abased oneself before the Dalai/Panchen Lamas or someother second rate baldies etc. So, no need to personally read the scriptures or think for myself (wait I am a poor ignorant peasant yokel and the monks/nuns claim a monoply on all buddhist teachings and books, so of course I can’t read). Ahhh, BUT I can simply PAY some monks/nuns or monastry to pray for me or alternatively allow my first-born to become some head-honcho big chief abbot’s personal slave, sexual or otherwise and kerching! enlightenment is mine! Yes!

    Oh no wait I get it, this is the suffering part isn’t? So as my personal and very masochistic suffering contribute to the personal benefit and comfort of some monks or nuns I am accruing “merits” which at the end of my days some supernatural accountant will tally it all up for me and on the basis of which determine whether I deserve reincarnation, preferably as the next HH Dalai Lama or at least as a living saint like his elder brother (thank you very much), or not and Yieeepy!! Enlightenment/reincarnation is mine!!!

    Is that it? Wow that’s quite a racket Tibetan “Buddihsm” has got there. Gosh, that’s easy, where do I sign up? And can I supersize that with a Papal Bull to absolve me from all earthly sins to go please? You know? For just in case in the afterlife the soul trafficking system screws up and misdirects me to the Christian Hell instead.

    Hmmm, or maybe I should become a Muslim and just blow myself up along with some pasty faced infidels, then I can partake of all the pampering dish out by 40 of my very own virgins (preferably with some like that blond-haired, blue eyes Miss September Playboy bunny, just for the sake of variety) in the hereafter. Ahhhh choices, choices…..

  44. wuming Says:


    You and Otto have jointly hit the nail on the head — Tibetan Buddhism is closer to Catholicism than any other sect of Buddhism. From its centralized hierarchical organization to its theocratic bent, Tibetan Buddhism is an organized religion in the traditional Western sense of the phrase.

    More importantly, the late Pope John Paul II served as the archetype for Dalai Lama in this saga – a paragon of moral authority against a communist dictatorship. With such a compelling story line, how can you expect the media, politicians and western intellectuals to see any moral hazard?

  45. wukong Says:


    – He is hardworking and not very corrupt

    All of his brothers, sisters and in-law relatives either occupy high ranking positions in his exile government or hold cushy overseas assignments, sometimes both at the same time.

    – He emphasize unity among three tibetan regions (U-tsang, Kham, Amdo)
    – He emphasize unity among four tibetan religious schools (Gelupa, Sakya, Kagyu, Nyingma)

    To quote Allen, “If the goal is to preserve Tibetan culture – and avoid ‘cultural genocide’ – wouldn’t it make more sense to preserve all the various components of the culture rather than try to homogenize the culture?”

    Similarly, if the goal is to practice religion freely, and achieve “religious freedom”, why is it important to unify all four schools? Especially in order to achieve this unity and become the leader of “all Tibetans”, he has to pull his own version of Night of Long Knives, and banned an important Tibetan Deity from his own school, which he once was a supporter.

    – He is an effective spokeperson for Tibetans

    If the effectiveness is measured by the number of “Free Tibet” bumper sticks, then he’s been effective; On the other hand, If his goal is to achieve his vision of “autonomy” (and independence before that) for Tibetans in China, then he has failed miserably. It’s been 50 years since his exile, what has he got to show to the Tibetans? Very little.

    He’s been talking to Hollywood and western media, but they are the wrong audience. The most important audience for solving the Tibet issue is the Chinese people, in- and outside of China. Until recently, he hasn’t even tried to engage Chinese or Chinese media. For the few times he talked to oversea Chinese media since 3.14 riot, he made things even worse by telling a different story from his western media version. It adds credence to CCP charges that he’s untrustworthy and insincere.

    And from CCP’s point of view, the more effective he becomes the rallying point for anti-China forces, the more support he gets from anti-China western politicians like Nancy Peloci, the less likely China is going to compromise with his demand.

    So how effective is he as a spokesperson for his Tibetan cause? You be the judge

  46. skylight Says:

    1. I still think he is hardworking and much less corrupt than many Chinese leaders, even tough it is true that many of his relatives hold or held important positions. But they were also highly capable and educated, in the 1950-1960s and early 1970s, there was no abundance of tibetans with high modern western-type educational background. Some of DLs siblings clearly had these skills and utilized them cleverly, whether to solicit US support for tibetan guerilla acitivities or to establish the first school in exile for Tibetan children. Although tibetans might disagree with his older brothers policy, few doubt that they acted in what they thought was the best interest of Tibetans.

    Lobsang Sangay, a Tibetan scholar refutes some of these claims here:

    2. I dont think it is important to “unify” Tibetan culture or religious schools, as I agree that there is a clear value in diversity, but it is important to keep them “united” against Chinese attempts to divide and conquer as they have done in the past (i.e. Panchen Lama vs. DL etc.). Having said that, no culture should be “preserved” just for the sake for preservation. It is important that culture develop according to modern needs and international developments. This is called globalism. Just like Chinese and Japanese culture and civilizations have adapted to the modern world, Tibetan culture need to adapt.

    3. I totally agree with you that he has been talking to the wrong audience. I think he has realized this mistake and is making more efforts to talk directly to Chinese media and Chinese audience. At the same time, it has not been easy for him to talk to Chinese media in the 1970s or 1980s or early 90s. I would say only recently has there been more acceptance of diversity and plurality in Chinese media reporting. In this field, I have much more faith in Tibetans who are educated inside Tibet or China, they are the best spokespersons for Tibetans to Chinese audience. Some examples are Karmapa lama (#3 highest lama in Tibet and leader of Kagyu school), Arjia Rinpoche (former high CCP religious official), Phuntshok Wangyal (co-founder of Tibet Communist party), and Woeser (Tibetan writer living in Beijing). In conclusion, I think DL has been a good spokesperson, but I agree that new/modern times require a new type of leader/spokesperson. I hope the 2011 election of a Tibetan prime minister will deliver such a person, and will put DL from his current semi-retired position into permanent retirement from politics.

  47. BMY Says:

    @skylight #41

    I think you (and many overseas Tibetans) take too seriously about what some high rank CCP officers have said but nobody believes and everyone laughs at. things like” the party is the parent of the people ..” reminds me when I was a child. But who believes this kind of B.S. these days.

  48. Otto Kerner Says:


    I certainly didn’t say or mean to imply that the Pope is the “personification” of Catholicism, or that you can’t have Christianity without the Pope. However, you can’t have Catholicism without the Pope (there are some other churches that use “Catholic” in the name, but I mean Roman Catholicism). Catholics believe that the Pope is the representative of Christ on Earth, so, from their perspective, the Pope is important because of Jesus. I’m not a Catholic myself, so I cannot defend the validity of this claim, but it’s what they believe.

    The situation with Tibetan Buddhism is a bit different, of course, since one can certainly imagine Tibetan Buddhism without the Dalai Lama (Tibetan Buddhism is ~1200 years old, while the title of Dalai Lama was first given about 430 years ago). However, Tibetan Buddhism as it actually exists does honour leaders such as the Dalai Lama, the Karmapa, the Sakya Trizin, etc., and so that has become normative.

  49. BMY Says:

    @wukong #45 “All of his brothers, sisters and in-law relatives either occupy high ranking positions in his exile government or hold cushy overseas assignments, sometimes both at the same time”

    I would defend Dalai Lama on this one. He was chosen by the system so were his brothers. I don’t think they had much choice when they were young. After they’ve gained enough experience and education while on posts they would stay under such system.

  50. Otto Kerner Says:


    I think skylight had it right when he described the Dalai Lama as “not very corrupt”. He was born into a system in which nepotism was very important, and he continues some of those traditions. I think the point is that he doesn’t offend people by being egregiously corrupt.

  51. Allen Says:

    @Otto Kerner,

    I think the point is that he [the Dalai Lama] doesn’t offend people by being egregiously corrupt.

    Many politicians would kill for a life term of office where they can be judged only under the “egregiously corrupt” standard! 😉

  52. Allen Says:


    I dont think it is important to “unify” Tibetan culture or religious schools, as I agree that there is a clear value in diversity, but it is important to keep them “united” against Chinese attempts to divide and conquer as they have done in the past (i.e. Panchen Lama vs. DL etc.).

    This is the you vs. us mentality that I don’t think is helpful. If the positions of the DL is really that Tibetans need to be united against the Chinese – then I don’t think there is much to discuss.

    Often in negotiations, however, it is helpful to look behind the positions of seemingly uncompromising parties.

    Why does the DL want the Tibetans to be united? Is it because of government policies?

    If so, we might be able to focus on fixing the policies so the DL need no longer nurture a “us” against “them” attitude amongst the ethnic Tibtetans. This takes courage but could break the impasse.

    If however the DL can’t get himself to do so, then DL will be forever stuck in the “Tibetans” v. “Chinese” mode of thinking that he has so diligently nurtured but that has also so tragically destabilized his homeland…

    And I as a Chinese in spirit (although not in official citizenship) can never bring myself to sympathize with such a person.

  53. Oli Says:

    They believe this, they believe that…the Jews believe that Palestine is their promised land, Tibetans and Tibetan buddhists believe that the DL is XYZ divine/reincarnation/ personification of (take your pick), while Americans believe in their country’s “manifest” destiny and all American apple pies. For crying out loud! Did we all collectively somehow missed the sign that says This Way to The Age of Reasoning and Enlightenment or something???

    If this is how the game is played, maybe the Chinese should just whip something up and simply declare that Tibet is forever part of China because we believe that Huang Di (The Yellow Emperor) said so and raspberries to anybody that said otherwise.

    As for “normative”, what the heck is THAT supposed to mean??? In what buddhism is it “normative” for buddhists to go about assaulting others, destroying other people’s property or burn other people to death? Where in the world on the Eightfold Path did Buddha himself ever said that it was “normative” to have “buddhist leaders” or that it was “normative” to accept or bestow such titles or honours? Talk about dressing up the “cow dung” of human desire with the “flowers” of Buddhism.

    Personally, I have more sympathy for the Burmese monks than those Tibetan pseudo monks involved in the riots and their Western followers, who wouldn’t even recognise enlightenment if Buddha himself comes along and sove it up their you know where.

    As for the Dalai Lama, he has my pity, but not my sympathy, becuase when he left China, he was a victim of his inexperience, admitted ignorance and of his advisors’ desire more than anything else (didn’t Skylight said that the DL, his family and many other Tibetans were smart and western educated, but somehow forgot about the little matter of Communism and what was happening in China? Hmmm, maybe not so smart after all). And now that he is abroad, he has become a victim of circumstances of his own making because of the responsibilities he feels for those who left with him and those who later came to him.

    Frankly, Tibetan “Buddhism” has strayed so far from the teachings of Buddhism that in my personal opinion, the true death of Tibetan Buddhism will occur not in China’s Tibet, but rather among the Overseas Tibetans.

  54. Otto Kerner Says:

    Allen, on the front of Tiananmen, it reads “世界人民大团结万岁” (“Viva la great unity of the people of the world!”) But Chinese people naturally also put a lot of emphasis on 团结 — unity and solidarity — among Chinese people. Does this imply an “us vs. them” mentality among Chinese people? Should the rest of the world take this as a threat and refuse to negotiate with China as long as it is cultivating solidarity among the Chinese people?

  55. Allen Says:

    @Otto Kerner #54,

    Good play of words except that it’s out of context… unless we are talking about abolishing the concept of the nation state.

    As I’ve mentioned in a previous post: if you do any travel around the world, you will see that the quality of life of ordinary people is still most correlated with the nation they live in; the nation state is still the entity in the best position to promote the interest of its citizens. I see nothing wrong with building national unity at all – including, and perhaps especially, in the name of human rights of the common people.

  56. Wukailong Says:

    “Did we all collectively somehow missed the sign that says This Way to The Age of Reasoning and Enlightenment or something???”

    I often get that feeling too when I read the news.

    “Frankly, Tibetan “Buddhism” has strayed so far from the teachings of Buddhism that in my personal opinion, the true death of Tibetan Buddhism will occur not in China’s Tibet, but rather among the Overseas Tibetans.”

    I remember describing Satanism once to a Chinese (this was a long time ago while I was still learning the language), and she said that Tibetan Buddhism seemed pretty close to that. It kind of reminds me too, about all the horrors attributed to Jews and Catholics by Protestants.

  57. Hemulen Says:


    In the meantime, the government should concentrate on investing in Tibet and improving Tibetan’s lives. As Tibet develops, more and more Han Chinese will settle there and make Tibet a Han majority province.

    So in contrast to official Chinese policy, you are advocating cultural genocide as a solution to the Tibet question. Disgusting. I have nothing more to say other than quoting the following:

    According to Article 7 of the “United Nations Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” (26 August 1994), “cultural genocide” is defined the following way:

    Indigenous peoples have the collective and individual right not to be subjected to ethnocide and cultural genocide, including prevention of and redress for:

    (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities;
    (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources;
    (c) Any form of population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;
    (d) Any form of assimilation or integration by other cultures or ways of life imposed on them by legislative, administrative or other measures;
    (e) Any form of propaganda directed against them.


    I say no more. Reading

  58. Allen Says:


    Please understand that many of these documents are not as simple as they seem. The words are loaded – with plenty of references to concepts such as established customs of international law, self determination – all of which are still evolving legal concepts. Even the term “indigenous people” is not defined.

    Further, try as I might, I can’t find the term “cultural genocide” anywhere in the document – so I am not sure what you mean by Article 7 defining the term “cultural genocide.”

    Here is the problem with international human rights documents (one of my pet peeve subjects while I was in law school): the documents are always worded very vaguely and are then invariably politicized for less than noble purposes. Depending on how you read the document, I’d say the whole concept of the melting pot in the U.S. is illegal. White supremacist now has a solid legal basis to argue for racial segregation. English only campaigns in the U.S. is a egregious travesty to Mexican immigrants. Globalization should be banned. Mass media should be broken up.

    Finally, if we really must apply such a document, let’s apply to some place that everyone agrees there is a problem between ethnic groups – in the Middle East between the Israelis and Palestinians.

  59. Hemulen Says:


    We can quibble about article 7 or whatever, but both you and I are capable of understanding the following sentence:

    As Tibet develops, more and more Han Chinese will settle there and make Tibet a Han majority province.

    And it does not take the intelligence of an Einstein to figure out what that will mean to Tibetan culture and language. No loss to you? It’s not your language, your culture. Not mine either.

    There is absolutely no meaning whatsoever to have any discussion about Tibet or anything else on this blog, if statements such as the above are just swallowed. You are ridiculing a people that is being marginalized in a region where they have been the majority for hundreds of years.

    I just don’t know what to say more than this. I have spent decades studying China, not Tibet, and I keep hearing statements such as Zickyy’s wherever I encounter Chinese talking about Tibet. Sometimes I regret the fact that I ever got involved with this.

  60. Allen Says:


    I understand your concern at #59 (and elsewhere). That’s why I’ve always stated that the Chinese gov’t need to focus on better governance in Tibet (as with elsewhere in China).

    Now regarding Zickyy’s comment (in #21), he also said in the same post (immediate after your quote):

    During this process, the most important thing is to ensure normal Tibetan and Han people can get along with each other in harmony. Unlike between write and black people, there is no racial discrimination between Han and Tibetan.

    Now, I am not going to put words into Zickyy’s mouth – nor is it my job to defend him – but based on my overall reading of his post, it seems clear that he is arguing for unity rather than segregation – and all based on a spirit of mutual respect and cooperation.

    Sure, one could have read Zickyy’s comment as a threat: i.e. do as we say, because we han will assimilate you one way or the other – but I don’t think that’s what he said…

  61. Hemulen Says:


    Sorry Allen, but to say that the idea of a majority Tibetan Tibet is “segregationist” to is being disingenuous in the extreme. The HK SAR applies immigration control to preserve the stability of HK society and no one accuses it of being racist. People who feel shut out of HK can challenge their plight in court. And sometimes they win. But most importantly of all, most mainland Chinese who settle in HK do so with the ambition of integrating into society. They want their kids to learn to speak Cantonese. And Cantonese is one of the major languages of government. You can spend an entire life in HK and prosper without speaking anything but Cantonese.

    Don’t pretend that you don’t know the difference between the status of the indigenous languages in HK SAR and the TAR. You know exactly what would happen if Tibet became a majority Han region. So does Zickyy. No administration in TAR has even made a serious attempt to make coluntary Han settlers assimilate into the Tibetan way of life and learn Tibetan. I’m sick and tired of all this make-believe, all these people who pretend not to understand what is actually being said right in front of them. I should stop here, because I’m really pissed and I may say something I regret.

  62. Allen Says:


    I am not qualified to compare HK SAR and TAR. But I also know I was not being disingenuous in describing a Tibetan-only Tibet as segregationist. I think you and I simply disagree what it means to be an autonomous region. I believe it is possible to have an integrated Tibet that is still Tibet while you don’t. No need to get pissed off at me over that. I really think it’s possible…

  63. Wahaha Says:

    When Pacific explorer James Cook arrived on Hawaiian shores in 1778, there were an estimated 300,000-400,000 native speakers. According to 1990 U.S. Census statistics, less than 9,000 Hawaiians speak their indigenous tongue today. Why has there been such a drastic decline? Let’s take a brief look at our 50th state’s fascinating past to find the answer.

    The Hawaiian language, which is similar to Tahitian and Maori, is a young branch in the Polynesian family tree. Until American missionaries created a 13-letter alphabet for the strictly oral language in the 1820s, petroglyphs and hula were the only ways native Hawaiians had to convey their history.

    The decline began in early 1800s when the island kingdom became an international hub for the booming fur and sandalwood trade, as well as the Pacific whaling industry. Seamen from far and wide brought alien germs and diseases like the common cold, chicken pox, and the measles to the isolated archipelago. With no natural resistance built to combat these ailments, the native Hawaiian population dwindled 90% from 300,000 to less than 34,000 in a single century.

    To further add to the language’s demise, after the U.S.-backed overthrow of Queen Liliu’okalani in 1893, the language was completely banned from being taught or spoken in society, under punishment of ostracism and beatings. As the number of pure Hawaiians diminished, and with Hawaiian banned from the schools, the language nearly died out. By the 1980s, there were reportedly fewer than 2,000 native speakers.

    Today, the state of Hawaii realizes the importance of resurrecting its native language. Much like other indigenous American peoples, Hawaiians are experiencing a rebirth of pride in their heritage and traditions. Hawaiian language immersion programs are offered throughout the islands, and many independent hula schools continue to teach their “haumana” (students) the “olelo” (language) through dance and chant.


    I like to know if there is a school in Hawaii in which both English and Hawaii language are taught.

    If not, please kindly stop talking about culture genocide in Tibet.

  64. Hemulen Says:


    I’d love to see Tibetans and Han side by side, as long as the famous principle “In Rome do as Romans do” is applied, 入乡随俗. As of now, this cultural exchange is a one way street, more like 喧宾夺主. And in what sense do Tibetans have any real autonomy today? The People’s Government of TAR doesn’t even have a website in Tibetan, and you know exactly why.


    Another cynic. So you compare US colonization of Hawaii to Chinese colonization of Tibet? In what way are Tibetans helped by being told that other nations have been destroyed? Your the TGIE’s secret weapon.

  65. Wahaha Says:


    Simon participates in the Ann Arbor university’s Program in Ojibwe Language and Literature, one of the largest of its kind in the nation. It seeks to teach and preserve the American Indian language spoken by about 10,000 in more than 200 communities across the Great Lakes region — but 80% of them are older than 60.

    “We are literally one generation away from losing it or bringing it forward,” said Margaret Noori, an instructor who coordinates the Ojibwe program. “That’s what makes it so endangered.”


    It is not hard to find those information, just google “preserve native xxx language”. dont know how many even bother to check that before talking about culture genocide they believe in Tibet.

  66. Wahaha Says:


    Chinese dont criticize others for something they havent done perfectly.

    BTW, Jews were slaved and killed for thousands of years, their culture still exists. Ever think how they perserve their culture ?

  67. Allen Says:


    I’d love to see Tibetans and Han side by side, as long as the famous principle “In Rome do as Romans do” is applied, 入乡随俗.

    Unfortunately, I think your vision of Tibet is very different from mine. I think modern China should have one unified secular culture in the public sphere. In Fujian or Tibet, you don’t do as Fujian or Tibet does, but as China does. Nevertheless, given that, China should recognize the various diverse aspects of culture within its territory, and should do all that’s possible to allow its various cultures to prosper.

    So I don’t agree with you at all “In Rome do as Romans do” applies to the various locations of China – though I respect your ideas and think they could be helpful in helping to improve governance within China…

  68. Hemulen Says:


    Look, there is no point discussing this. You vision of Tibet is being carried out as we write this. You are just convincing me that Tibet would be better off being independent.

    In Fujian or Tibet, you don’t do as Fujian or Tibet does, but as China does.

    Again, it is an insult to the separate identity of Tibetan people to be compared to a sub-ethnic group and thus being encouraged to become Han Chinese.

    I don’t agree with you at all “In Rome do as Romans do”

    And interesting admission.


    Jews were slaved and killed for thousands of years, their culture still exists.

    This is an interesting admission too.

  69. Allen Says:


    Look, there is no point discussing this. You vision of Tibet is being carried out as we write this. You are just convincing me that Tibet would be better off being independent.

    Yes. There is no doubt: if the goal and vision is to have an independent Tibet, then you will feel that Tibet will be better off as an independent political entity after any length of discussions….

  70. Wahaha Says:


    Are you saying that the current American government is far more brutal ?

  71. Allen Says:


    Again, it is an insult to the separate identity of Tibetan people to be compared to a sub-ethnic group and thus being encouraged to become Han Chinese.

    Chinese ≠ Han

  72. Hemulen Says:


    No, my goal is that Tibetans should have the right no preserve their culture and their territory, without being told to assimilate into Han Chinese culture as a precondition of success. If that can be realized within the borders of the PRC, that is fine. The current PRC government, which you evidently support, wants to lock them up in bantustans and only provide them with viable careers as long as the assimilate and learn Chinese. That is not what is usually called a policy of respect for local cultures.

    But what is the discussion about? There is nothing to discuss! Your point of view is the only approved in the PRC and so far, I haven’t see you saying that you disagree with me, but would have no problem seeing my point of view expressed in Tibet or China. So I assume that you approve of current repression in Tibet.

    And the argument, as I understood it here, is just because a lot of Han Chinese have suffered and been forced to conform to mainstream culture, the Tibetans should suffer the same fate and have no right to complain. Taiwanese kids have been bullied for speaking Taiwanese in school, and so on. To recreate your own tragedies by inflicting the same thing on others is not a rational response to trauma, it is a psychopathology.

  73. Allen Says:


    so far, I haven’t see you saying that you disagree with me, but would have no problem seeing my point of view expressed in Tibet or China. So I assume that you approve of current repression in Tibet.

    I do not approve of the current state of affairs but also believe that most of the repressions have been blown way out of proportion (please see a piece by Sautman regarding cultural genocide in Tibet and a recent BBC chronicle on the daily lives of ethnic Tibetans in China).

    And whatever repression there is in Tibet, I believe, must be attributed to the DL as well. Here you have someone that is traditionally worshipped by the masses in Tibet but chooses to foment Tibetan nationalism and openly preach that Tibet should be an independent country (he only recently toned down his words, although based on his various acts, I don’t believe him). Under such circumstances, it is inevitable the Chinese gov’t restrict such worshipping.

    To have the DL the politician hide behind the cloak of religion accusing China of cultural genocide is the same thing as to have a terrorist or Saddam hide behind civilian shields accusing the US military of genocide.

    Yes – the situation in Tibet can be better. But I wouldn’t lay it only at the Chinese gov’t. After all, it takes two to tango.

  74. Hemulen Says:


    Oh my…you are absolutely incredible. “Whatever repression there is in Tibet” (as if we didn’t know already), “must be attributed to the DL as well”, as if it was the tTGIE putting snipers on mountaintops shooting Tibetans in the back. The agent of repression in Tibet is the government of the PRC, no one else. Until we are talking about a fully-fledged civil war, there is no sharing of responsibility here. None. You know what is going on here, don’t engage in cynical make-believe.

  75. Wahaha Says:


    You are talking to someone who is in deep cynical make-believe.

  76. Allen Says:


    I am really glad we were able to discuss passionately issues we both passionately believe in with a relatively level head (even if you might dispute whether I have a level head).

    I still think Tibetan culture can be preserved without creating a Tibetan-only TAR or a Tibetan-only state. I still think the Tibetan people can prosper and live peacefully side by side with other ethnic and religious groups. I still think China can become the best of open, stable, and prosperous multi-ethnic, multi-cultural states.

  77. BMY Says:


    “as if it was the tTGIE putting snipers on mountaintops shooting Tibetans in the back”

    I remember many people (Chinese and no-Chinese) had very detailed discussion with you about the shooting a while ago.

    “The People’s Government of TAR doesn’t even have a website in Tibetan, and you know exactly why”

    You and demin had a good discussion about the website thing last week and he pointed out why and also pointed out the Tibetan language website in China but you failed to point out any Tibetan language website in TGIE. there have been lots of investment in teleco section in Tibet. Don’t we think to let people have computers and phone connections is the first step than building websites ahead of when people have no means to access internet.

    “Again, it is an insult to the separate identity of Tibetan people to be compared to a sub-ethnic group”

    You seem no problem of thinking one people is superior than the other even a comparison is a insult.

  78. Hemulen Says:


    I’m not a spokesman for the TGIE. All I can say is that governments in exile operate under constraints that real governments do not have to pay attention to.

    Forget about the TGIE. If TAR is a real autonomous region, it is a sign of failure that no serious efforts seem to have been to make Tibetan fully computer compatible and that the overwhelming majority of TAR websites have no Tibetan version. This is, after all, a region, where according to Barry Sautman’s official numbers, most people still speak Tibetan only.

    You say that we should focus on providing people with computers is the first step. Well, I’m old enough to have been online since the early days of the Internet, and I can tell you that the Chinese government had a code for simplified characters long before China became a superpower on the Internet. They didn’t wait for some magical day when all Chinese would be online to browse websites to come up with the software. Why produce computers, software and websites, when no one understands what’s on the screen? If you can spend billions on a railroad no one asked for, you can spend a few millions to provide people with readable websites.

    The fact that Tibetan has still not been fully computerized not only tells us that TAR has no ambition in linking up with the exile Tibetan community and convince them that TAR is the best government for them. It also tells us that the TAR assumes that when the day has come when most Tibetans have computers, Chinese will be their main language. That is how you kill a language. Keep monolingual people trapped in ethnic bantustans and give the educated ones access to technology in the language of the master race.

    And no, BMY, I don’t think that Tibetans are superior to any Chinese community. But to deliberately conflate someone’s ethnic identity with someones else’s ethnic identity is often taken like an insult, just like Danes don’t like to confused with Dutch. Fukienese is a dialect of Chinese and most people in Fujian regard themselves as Han Chinese. If we get a movement to establish a separate Fukienese language, let’s take that discussion when it happens. Tibetans appreciate that their separate identity and separate language is recognized and the special status of Tibetan culture was recognized by Chinese government from day one. That is what Li Weihan, Zhang Jingwu, Zhang Guohua and Sun Zhiyuan promised the Tibetan people in 1951.

    The Chinese government promised not to force Tibetans to conform to the rest of the country and to respect their language a culture. That promise has been reneged upon countless times and no mistakes of the DL or the Kashag can overshadow that fact. Since 1951, the people who have called the shots have not been Tibetan and most of them have not spoken Tibetan. Not a single ethnic Tibetan has been entrusted with the highest office in the region, the secretaryship of the local CCP.

  79. skylight Says:


    “…but you failed to point out any Tibetan language website in TGIE….”

    Since we all respect the facts on this blog. TGIE does have a Tibetan language website.

    Here is the link: http://www.tibet.net/tb/

    If you cannot see the tibetan fonts on the website, see help to install tibetan fonts on this site:

    In the future as more people migrate to Microsoft Vista, you don’t have to download fonts, since Microsoft Vista supports Tibetan language as default with the font “Himalaya”.

  80. Wahaha Says:


    and of course , it is a propaganda machine by CCP.

  81. Karma Says:


    I am glad to see TGIE is finally putting more efforts into its Tibetan language website. A cursory glance at the Internet Archive will show that it always had a very (very) rudimentary website in Tibetan (as compared to English) for the longest time. It is only until after February of this year (maybe later) that it has begun to upgrade its Tibetan version of the website.

    While TGIE continues to put in additional resources to develop its website in Tibetan, the CCP will continue to spend billions developing Tibet on the ground.

  82. skylight Says:


    “While TGIE continues to put in additional resources to develop its website in Tibetan, the CCP will continue to spend billions developing Tibet on the ground.”

    Agreed, and your point is?

  83. BMY Says:


    thanks for pointing out the Tibetan languge version of the site. I only saw the English version last time. It’s encouraging to see there are progress from both sides.

  84. BMY Says:


    I fully understood you were not speaking for TGIE. My argument was why one got accused of no Tibetan languge website but the other one which didn’t have Tibetan language site did not accused.(I personally don’t see the websites are so important now for both Tibetans in China or in India as most of them don’t have access to internet). millions (or billions) have been pour in to Tibet to build the teleco and internet infrastructure and I beleive more Tibetan sites would be built as more other Tibetan language media which has been happening.

    I fully agree Tibetan is different with Fukienese. my argument is a country need a national language as well as need keep local dialects and language. I will keep in mind that a Danish man would feel insulted to be called as a Dutch man. It’s good to know.

    Regarding the railway, I am not quiet sure no Tibetans asked/need it. As from my limited life experience both in China and aboard, transportation is critical for the development of economy. It’s good to learn here that people don’t ask for or don’t need modern transportation.

  85. BMY Says:

    my term of “modern transportation” means public transport. It would be end of the world if everyone on this planet has a car.

  86. Karma Says:



    “While TGIE continues to put in additional resources to develop its website in Tibetan, the CCP will continue to spend billions developing Tibet on the ground.”

    Agreed, and your point is?

    My point is precisely what I wrote: even as the DL devote resources to developing his website, the CCP should not be distracted, and should continue to pour resources to building a modern Tibet.

  87. The Trapped! Says:

    Hi everybody,

    I want to put some facts, not aimed at anyone specifically. As far as I know, the first Tibetan Typeset as well as Tibetan Fonts Software and Tibetan email (actually there is no Tibetan email program in China even today) programs were first invented outside of great motherland China. Until last year, thanks to Bill Gates, only unicode Tibetans were those of Monlam Tibetan (this Tibetan Font Software was invented by a Tibetan monk in south India who learned computer along with his religious study. So far, this is best software that has 8 different Tibetan Fonts with 2 unicode fonts.), TCRC Tibetan (1 unicode and one non-unicode), Sambota Tibetan, Tibetan Machine Font and so on were first invented from the other side of Himalaya. In China, there are only 2 Tibetan Font Software, Bazhida and Tongyuan, both are not fully unicode supported and unlike fonts from outsides, these fonts can not read each other and this situation remained like this until last year when Mr Gate spoon-fed mother China.
    I know some people first raise some issue, thinking that they large portion for winning, and then say that’ this is not so important when they feel that their argument is losing ground. However, the truth still is that the only way for a language to survive is to use it. In modern life, using written language mainly means using it on computer. As Stalin said, “the fastest way to eradicate a nationality (say ethnic if you like) is to eradicate its language…”.
    Concerning above argument again, if anyone is really so interested in which side has more Tibetan language website, it’s very easy, just download Microsoft Himalaya font (its free of charge) and then press any key you like in Google. Then click on the links, and see how many of the sites you can open and how many can not (this test can only be carried out in mainland China). And then close your eyes and think about Tibetan population in and outside China. I am sure you will still find an excuse because it is said that even thief has excuse for stealing.

  88. Jack Says:

    @The Trapped

    I have 4 Unicode fonts with Tibetan characters in my computer : STSong, STFangSong, STHeiti and STKaiti :

    Copyright (c) 2002, Changzhou SinoType Technology Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Marque déposée STSong and SinoType are trademarks of Changzhou SinoType Technology Co., Ltd.

  89. a bhodpa Says:

    Its amazing that the so-called global powerhouse China is comparing its efforts to Tibetan language with the efforts of exile based Tibetan govt in dharamsala. Looks like the TGIE has more clout and influence than some people agree to.

    The TGIE started their site http://www.tibet.net in 2001. It is available in English, Tibetan, Hindi, Arabic, Japanese, Russian; Spanish and some more.

  90. Greypowered Says:

    Hi there,

    Although I’m not as knowledgeable about China or even Tibet (I would say that I’m a perfect ignorant in comparison to most of the participants here, many of them having an extensive experience of China), I’d like to express a specific (and probably Western-biased) view concerning the issue of the preservation of Tibetan culture, in the present political context, that is Tibet as part of China. I have heard a lot of people talking about the efforts of the Chinese government to preserve regional ethnic cultures and I must say that after my trip to Xinjiang, last year, I have some serious doubts about these policies. I have to specify that I traveled there for one month, not with a group and travel agency, but with my professor of Chinese, who is Uyghur and was paying her yearly visit to her family in Urumqi. This means that I lived with local people and moved around with them, either by car or public transportations.

    One of the things that really bugged me, were the discourses on regional ethnic cultures. Basically, the official conceptions of these cultures resemble very much that which was developed by European anthropologists about the colonialized indigenous populations around the world from the middle of the 19th century until the 1950’s. The non-Chinese minorities are thus being reduced to a sort of mythicized folklore, just good enough to be mummified for eternity in a museum. When I visited the National Uyghur Musuem of Xinjiang (if I remember its name properly) in Urumqi, I thought I was walking through the National Museum of American Indians, designed at the turn of the 19th century, before its complete revamp in the 1990’s. Each ethnic group has its window display containing examples of what constitutes their “traditional” way of life, with clothes, furnitures, tools and sometimes a reconstruction of a yurt. If there are explanations of the evolution of human settlements in Xinjiang in prehistorical times, it seems that the Turkmen and other non-Chinese ethnic group of the region don’t have any history besides these picturesque traditions. At least, not until the PLA liberated them from some regional tyrany in the 20th century. On TV, I saw all kinds of displays of “traditional” dancing and singing, totally out of context, really more as a token of propaganda. Another example that reinforced this opinion was the “ethnic” exhibit in Beijing during the Olympic Games, which, in my opinion, resembled very much some of the European colonial exhibits of the late 19th-early 20th century. Maybe, in less cruel conditions, but with similar paternalistic undertone.

    With all this in mind, I’m not sure that Chinese authorities are really aiming at the preservation of a cultural diversity in regions like Tibet, but rather at imposing a politic of massive assimilation into the Han system while locking up different ways of life as folklores in museums.

  91. Wahaha Says:


    what you said is a problem, but it is not solely on chinese government or han chinese, as it is not han chinese’s duty to preserve the culture of Uigharians or Tibetans. What chinese government should do is providing financial support, and I dont think han chinese can do much beyond that.

    Like in America, only about 10,000 native indians can speak native language, 80% of them over 60. I would not blame that on American government. I am sure American people would be willing to give native money to preserve native language and culture, but it is not job for white or black people to learn native language and write novels for them.

  92. Allen Says:

    @a bhodpa,
    The TGIE, backed by the West, definitely have some influence and power. It is just being used in a nonconstructive and perhaps destructive manner.

  93. my_mother Says:


    I agree with Wahaha that what you describe in #90 shouldn’t really be characterized in ethno-nationalistic terms. It should rightly be characterized as a problem that arises because of modernization.

    You have to ask yourself the question — what would a “traditional” society look like if it was brought up to “modern” standards? What kind of changes would people in such of society go through (especially in cultural terms)?

    One of the things that we have to realize, especially for those of us who are living in developed countries, is that no culture or society lives in stasis. Cultures and societies change as times change. You can look at your own culture and history to see exactly what kind of changes a society goes through as it modernizes.

    And to make thing a bit more interesting. We can ask ourselves the question of whether or not things (i.e., the cultural and societal changes) would be different if the effort or the drive to modernize originated locally rather than centrally. If so, how? We can apply these questions to Tibet and Xinjiang alike.

  94. Greypowered Says:

    @Wahaha #91:

    That Native Americans are so few to speak their original language is actually something one can partially blame the successive American governments for, especially in the 19th and early 20th century, as they did everything they could to force these indigenous people to assimilate to the colonizers’ system or to simply exterminate them. It’s only starting in the 1940’s -1950’s that the general opinions about Native American cultures began to change significantly, but it was way too late as these societies had already been sliding towards their doom. Nowadays, we have a few modern Indian reserves, exploiting loopholes in the national laws to build casinos on their territories and get some of their money back from the White Americans who can’t go to Las Vegas and have no casinos in their states. This is certainly completely different from what they were 200 years ago, but at least, now, they can choose what they want as they live in a democracy.

    Considering the Uyghur and Tibetan cultures, it isn’t just a matter of money. Although the USA are far from being as perfect a democracy as they often claim, the situation for the promotion of regional or minority cultures is certainly not the same in there as it is in China. I’m not as knowledgeable about China as you and the other participants here, but I do know that you can’t do anything remotely political without the consent of the authorities. And culture is always political, in one way or another. The national museum I visited in Urumqi is certainly not the product of Uyghur discourses, as my Uyghur friend was quick to point out. It has obviously been designed to meet the expectations of a Chinese nationalist point of view and I believe that its maintenance and financing is directly dependent on the good will of the regional authorities. I’m not saying that the results would be extraordinarily better if the Uyghur were actually in charge of such museum, but it would certainly be very different and less cadaverous.

  95. Allen Says:


    I’m not as knowledgeable about China as you and the other participants here, but I do know that you can’t do anything remotely political without the consent of the authorities.

    I don’t want to get into a discussion of democracy per se here (since we already had several the last couple of weeks), but in China, you should understand that the authorities is not just one monolithic entity.

    For those who want to participate in politics in China, you join the CCP, you discuss the issues internally within the party and the leadership, you network, you do good work, and as you rise through the ranks, you get more say. I am not saying that’s the best system, but it really is not that much more difficult to participate than if you are in the West.

    In the West, you start running for a low office, you raise money (and perhaps struggle with personal finances), you network, you campaign, and as you rise in the gov’t, your voice will be heard more.

  96. Greypowered Says:

    @my_mother #93:

    Actually, I do agree with you. Of course, no culture lives in a stasis. Actually, being Swiss, meaning coming from a country that’s been under various major cultural influences for centuries, I grew up thinking that I was a kind of starched French (since I come from the French-speaking region of the country, bordering with France) and that Swiss culture, and by extension history, simply doesn’t exist. I did come to realize that their is a specifically Swiss history, for at least 200 years, and that, in general, cultures are born from encountering between different people in various circonstances, more or les pleasant. Cultures are also made by individuals or groups and therefore, there will be Uyghurs and Tibetans as long as there are people to call themselves Uyghurs and Tibetans, whether traditions die out or not.

    However, what I was pointing out is that Chinese authorities seem to be doing the exact opposite with minority cultures, that is, trying to mummify them in a folkloric form under the pretext of preserving “traditions” or what is perceived as traditional, opposed to the “modern”, represented by Chinese Han society and authorities. This is why I compared the National Uyghur Museum of Xinjiang with the National Museum of American Indians. If I’m not wrong, this institutions was designed at the turn of the 19th century, when Native Americans were being forced to assimilate to modern anglo-saxon society and some concerned anthropologists and philanthropists realized that their “traditions” were going to disappear as a result of this process. The idea was therefore to preserve what was about to be gone forever in a sort of huge memory box, called the museum. And from reading and discussing with Uyghur friends, this is exactly what Chinese authorities are trying to do with them: force them to assimilate in the Han Chinese society and lock up what they are supposedly leaving behind in a museum, leaving them no alternative to choose for their evolution path. And in the process, impose on them a historical memory that is essentially made up of folklore and anecdotal elements.

    Actually, there are weird twists with respect to the issue I raised here. Take the big Bazaar in Urumqi. It was completely destroyed by the Chinese authorities who had it then rebuilt according to “traditional” Uyghur architecture, but repopulated with Chinese merchants. When you walk around in it, you can buy Uyghur folklore from Chinese sellers. So, all the Uyghur merchants were driven out of this main touristic place of Urumqi, to make place for Chinese, who then, in a way, reappropriated Uyghur folklore as depicted in the museum, for the sake of Chinese tourists. So, of course, things aren’t completely black and white and there is space for debate.

  97. Greypowered Says:

    @Allen #95:

    I know that Chinese authorities are not monolithic. No need to be a political genius to realize that. However, I was speaking from something I experimented during my one-month long travel in Xinjiang. I was only expressing doubts about the willingness of the Chinese “central” and some “local” authorities to actually support different ways of life by listing diverse examples that seem to point to the other direction.

    I’m not going into a full discussion about the difference between Western democracies, especially the Swiss direct democracy, and the Chinese political system, as you seem to say that it has been debated in and out in other threads of this blog. Simply, from a Swiss point of view, discussing “the issues internally within the party and the leadership” would appear as un-democratic and lacking in civic transparency as it can get. In Switzerland, there is no need to be a party member in order to launch a referendum or start an initiative requesting that a parliamentary or governmental decision be put to vote. And you can do that at the communal, state and federal levels. That’s not for nothing that we vote 4-5 times a year, on dozen of issues. So, of course I will have a hard time believing that it is as easy to talk about political issue in China, especially with all the yearly reports on the jailing of political opponents from such organisms as Human Right Watch, Amnesty International, Reporters without Borders, etc, as it is in Switzerland, despite all the imperfections of our political system, one major being our slowness in taking a decision (since everyone has to agree on it).

  98. Allen Says:


    As someone who grew up and was educated in the West, I definitely would prefer a transparent rather than opaque political process. But to demand that process in another country must exist in a certain form that passes the Western test would seem myopic and narrow minded – in my view at least.

  99. Allen Says:


    By the way, what you described about moving ethnic minorities out and putting Han Chinese in as merchants, etc. – that certainly bothers me. That is not the type of cultural preservation most of us are interested in. As China develops, governance will get better: I am confident of that.

  100. Greypowered Says:


    I’m not demanding anything from any country. I was merely commenting on your comparison between the Chinese political system and the Western democracies. You seemed to be saying that it was basically as easy to make oneself heard from the politics in China as in Western democracies, something I do disagree with in a large extent. However, I know full-well that you can’t just transpose a system from one country to another, as if to transplant a tree from one ground to another. This is like trampling over its history and culture(s). The Iraqi and Afghan cases are here to prove it. There is also actually an excellent book written by Mark Twain in 1889 (!), a bit less known I believe than his Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn, titled “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”, which portrayed in a somewhat extreme and eccentric way this issue. I also recommend it because it’s a really good reading! Personally, it’s one of my favorite 19th century books.

    I don’t know what path China will choose, as its society is certainly not as homogeneous as some would like us to believe. I know that there are various trends and ideologies going through the Chinese elites and even though debates might not be opened to the whole of the country, it’s certainly going on. I also know that the Chinese government faces huge socio-economic, political and ecological challenges, which, in a country of 1.2 billion people, might not be solved through a political system like the one we know in Switzerland, which has only 7 millions inhabitants (but 20% of foreigners, many of them Chinese too). I’m neither particularly optimistic or pessimistic about China, which doesn’t mean I don’t feel concerned, but I’m more in the “wait-and-see” stand for the moment. I also definitely need to learn more of Chinese general history in order to have a better assessment of its recent evolutions. I have started learning the language, but had to interrupt the lessons because of my present academic engagements. I hope to be able to start again next year. I have terrible ears, so I’m really struggling with the oral part. Fortunately, I have got a much better visual memory, so I’m enjoying the writing part.

  101. Allen Says:


    You seemed to be saying that it was basically as easy to make oneself heard from the politics in China as in Western democracies, something I do disagree with in a large extent.

    I tend to agree with you … though even here not necessarily. One of the illusions that many Westerners (I’ll stick with Americans since America is where I live) have is that they have a lot of political voice in their system. I don’t agree with that.

    It takes a lot of effort and money to create a movement. The American voting public is not (cannot be) substantively into politics partly because they are not trained in government policies, but also because most live from pay-check-to-paycheck and are drowned in debts, with few having the time, energy, or resources to really dig into an issue, form a group, and go out and make something substantive happen.

    No – most are simply automatons that react to 30-minute sound bites, act as the consumers of mass media they are, or march as foot soldiers on behalf of established organizations that are for the most part corrupt.

    If you really have something new to say, it is very hard to get heard in this country. The two party system in the U.S. is a just another symptom of a problem where we are only seeing a tip of the ice berg…

  102. Allen Says:


    I really hope you will stay committed to learning Chinese! It’ll be such a great journey…

  103. Hemulen Says:


    Greypowered is right on the money when it comes to the bazaar and it’s naive to think that governance will get better in China, as long as minorities have no real power and are only employed in ornamental positions in the government. Most Tibetans that have raised through the ranks of the CCP have done so by shutting up an adapting to their Han Chinese peers (Jampa Phuntsog). Some are even former Red Guards and aren’t even literate in Tibetan (Raidi).

    The American voting public is not (cannot be) substantively into politics partly because they are not trained in government policies, but also because most live from pay-check-to-paycheck and are drowned in debts, with few having the time, energy, or resources to really dig into an issue, form a group, and go out and make something happen something.

    That is an incredibly condescending statement. Having an input into policy has nothing to do about being trained in government policies (of which party?), but about acting according to process. And you don’t have to have a bachelor’s degree to vote. Be as it may, it is very difficult to make your voice heard on the national level in a huge country like the US, which has a very complex voting system that tends to favor vocal minorities. If you look around, most functioning democracies are much smaller countries.

  104. Wahaha Says:


    what you said is equivalent to saying that those monks and monastereise should have lot of political power, as in Tibet, Tibetans are either educated in monasteries or educated in inland China.

    Whether those educated in inland China like this government or not, I dont know, but I am sure they love that Chinese government pours money into Tibet, and I dont think they would love giving up power to monks.

  105. Allen Says:


    I was worried someone with a sharp eye like you might catch my condescending tone. But to be honest, it’s not really condescension but wariness….

    Let me start by saying that of course, the people should have a voice into what policy should be pursued by the country. After all, the government should be accountable to and serve the people.

    My question is: is the people’s voice be tapped through the democratic process?

    Just look at the election process in the U.S. (with which I am most familiar). The entire process is so full of sound bites and rhetorical bickering (about things that are often unimportant or taken out of context) that one has a hard time justifying how this is a platform for people to provide substantive political discourse. Even when politicians become serious and discuss white papers and policies (did you see the debates between Hillary and Obama earlier), it is so peppered in details, technicalities, assumptions (upon assumptions) and innuendos that there is no way the public can figure out from those process what is best for the country.

    Many rely on the media to process those information for them … but you can probably guess what I think about relying on the media.

    Anyways, in the U.S. the election inevitably end up being a competition between $ spent (advertisement), clever blurbs crafted (esp. those 30-second sound bites), and/or a political beauty contest (e.g., concerning who came across more confident in the debate; who was more funny at the talk shows; who is cuter; what is the gender (or race) of the candidates, etc.).

    So yes, I am a little wary – even condescending – about how the democratic process in a modern society can be relied upon to deliver the voice of “the people.”

  106. Allen Says:


    Greypowered is right on the money when it comes to the bazaar and it’s naive to think that governance will get better in China, as long as minorities have no real power and are only employed in ornamental positions in the government. Most Tibetans that have raised through the ranks of the CCP have done so by shutting up an adapting to their Han Chinese peers (Jampa Phuntsog). Some are even former Red Guards and aren’t even literate in Tibetan (Raidi).

    And do you seriously think that just because we live in a democracy, people do not need to conform to the establishment to rise through the ranks to the highest political office?

  107. Wahaha Says:

    Greypowered 94,

    I didnt talk about what Americans did to native 100 years, I was talking about last 40 to 60 years. I didnt see any report that American people in anyway suffocated native’s culture, but the native’s culture is clearly dying. who should be blamed for this ?

    The museum is not “pure uighur”, I dont know why you are surprised, uuz it means that some Han Chinese joined the design. I think maybe you were talking about some “patriotic” exhibition in the museum, right ?

  108. Hemulen Says:


    Suppose that you are right about education in Tibet, are you seriously implying that it is the fault of the Tibetan people that there are only two ways to get educated in Tibet? Or is something else amiss?


    If what you want to say is that the US system is seriously flawed then I’m with you. But I think that the most serious flaws are in the way the electoral system is set up. That informs the way media talks about politics, not the other way around. If US presidents were elected through a direct, proportional vote, it would be much more difficult for the two corrupt political parties to dominate politics the way they do. And media would have to adapt to that.

    And do you seriously think that just because we live in a democracy, people do not need to conform to the establishment to rise through the ranks to the highest political office?

    Let’s leave the highest political office aside for a moment. All societies reward a certain degree of conformity, but what I’m talking about is that the CCP ruthlessly enforces conformity, especially in minority areas. In a democracy, you have a choice which political culture you’d like to conform to and join a party accordingly. If you are a religious conservative in Germany, you join the CDU. If you are a environmentalist, you join the Greens. And then you sit down and argue in the Bundestag.

  109. Allen Says:


    Even if you are right that reforming the electoral college will lessen monopoly of the two parties in the U.S., I still don’t see how that solves many of the problems I cited above i.e. (apathetic public with short attention spans who pay attention only to sensationalized stories…).

    Modern societies have complex problems. Look at the financial crisis we are in. Does the public have a clue what went wrong or what to do? Should we defer to the public to elect people who profess they know what to do? Since the public doesn’t know have a clue, the election becomes open season by experienced politicians to prey on the fear of the public.

    Regarding conformity in the political process – I just want to say that within the CCP – there is a wide divergence of views within the party – sort of the like the CDU and the Greens – though all within the party. The only difference is that – because it’s all within one party – the process is less transparent in China than the process may be in Germany. But I don’t think the divergence of view is less.

    As for your comment that the CCP takes too hard a line on cultural diversity, I may agree with you. But you must evaluate things in context.

    In the case of Tibet, when the DL has used religion, ethnicity, and even culture to foment Tibetan nationalism and division amongst the people of China, cultural diversity can become a collateral damage of such struggles. It’s sad, but it’s true. One of the results of mixing too much religion with politics, I guess….

  110. Wahaha Says:


    I dont blame Tibetan people, I blame those monks, they never help ordinary tibetans.

    BTW, here is link about books in Tibet.


  111. The Trapped! Says:

    Both people and government of China profess to blame everything setback in Tibet on DL. And this idea is what they grown. Well, lets see if Chinese government can sleep soundly after DL pass away.

  112. Wahaha Says:

    The Trapped,

    1) I think DL has been kidnapped by his followers and west politicians.

    2) Think of the future of TGIE, not bright at all. If China gets stronger and stronger, it is meaningless for West to use Tibet issue against China, and TGIE will be abandoned by West; If China becomes another India, TGIE will also be abandoned by West, as West needs China agianst Russia, like 1970s and 1980s. (Russia will increase their military expense by about 30% next year.)

  113. Wukailong Says:

    I think there are some different problems here. (Sorry, this is just about democracy and not Tibet)

    1. Raising the ability govern well (i.e. raising the effectiveness of the government) is certainly important and something I think the government is working well towards. However, I don’t think this is the whole thing. The ideology of the one-party state must change and it must be possible to have more freedoms. I’ve lived here for 6 years (not in a row though, came to China the first time in 1997) and I know there are a lot of hurdles and that the government has done a lot for development. But some fundamental things just haven’t changed. Making the government better does it more effective, but it’s not the only reform needed (which I think is the vision of most of the conservatives in the party).

    2. Either the freedom of China and the West is the same, or there is a difference. With all the problems in the West, I have to say that there are extreme restrictions on creating political groups in China that doesn’t exist in the West as a whole. And you can choose between them. Either you think this is a problem (makes China less stable) or something good. On this forum, you sometimes see the same person saying that it’s basically the same situation as in the West, only to argue later that the Western model would bring chaos to China. I respect any of these viewpoints on its own, but I ask for consistency.

    3. There is a difference between negative and positive freedom, and negative and positive oppression. It’s one thing having a system where people’s voice isn’t heard, and another one where making it heard might cause trouble with the authorities. Again, there are problem in the Western systems, but in China a lot of issues are simply off-limits. And this is different from India, despite the same level of economic development. It’s hard to see this change within a one-party system, although of course the media as a whole is much freer now than it used to be even in 1997.

    I would say I’m optimistic, though. The democratic process follows the amount of public voice there is. The burgeoning civil society in China, combined with economic development, has created different voices and stakeholders that need to be negotiate. In the long run, I think it would be better for them to break out of the confines of a one-party system.

    Another thing we need to consider, when talking reform, is that it is not necessarily going to happen according to the plan of the party (like what it says in 攻坚, for example). What I hope is that the party is able to deal with the growing amount of voices when it happens and gracefully step down and share power – otherwise it will be like what Wahaha said earlier, a Suharto-like situation.

  114. Hemulen Says:


    The only difference is that – because it’s all within one party – the process is less transparent in China than the process may be in Germany. But I don’t think the divergence of view is less.

    You don’t think that that divergence is less transparent, but you don’t know. Because it isn’t transparent. From the line we can see, the politburo standing committee has been, is and will remain a purely male, Han Chinese affair. And one thing, that we can tell you for certain is that “the process” has not yielded a single person of Tibetan ethnicity that has been entrusted to run Tibet, or Uighur to run Xinjiang, for that matter. Women can head a ministry every once in a while and ethnic minorities can have seat in the People’s Consultative Conference.

    In the case of Tibet, when the DL has used religion, ethnicity, and even culture to foment Tibetan nationalism and division amongst the people of China, cultural diversity can become a collateral damage of such struggles.

    Well, prior to 1951, there were no Han Chinese running things in Tibet. Then, some Han Chinese have used secular religion (communism), ethnicity (Han Chinese) and lack of culture (Cultural Revolution) to foment nationalism and division among the people of Tibet. And I can guarantee you that cultural diversity as a whole – globally speaking – has been a direct victim, not just collateral damage of that struggle.

  115. Allen Says:

    @Hemulen #114,

    I respect your opinion about the use of gender and ethnicity as a measure in the government progressiveness. I am not going to argue against or for such a stick of measurement, but I’d just like to note that it is one measure that may or may not be correlated with good governance.

    As for your point about the use of communism, han Chinese nationalism, and cultural revolution to foment nationalism and divide the “people of Tibet”, I really have no idea what you are talking about. I don’t mean to demean you, but what you seem to demonstrate a very poor grasp of modern Chinese history….

  116. Allen Says:


    There is a difference between negative and positive freedom, and negative and positive oppression.

    That is just one perspective. In Western history, the “problem” is the gov’t (i.e. the royalty). The focus is on negative freedom: it is paramount to limit the power of gov’t. As long as gov’t doesn’t meddle, all is well.

    In Chinese history, the “problem” is NOT the gov’t per se, but chaos and foreign invasions. It is paramount for the gov’t to create an environment of peace and stability so the people can live peacefully and prosper. The focus is on positive freedom: it is paramount that the gov’t to empower the people to escape from the grasp of poverty (and then to achieve and enjoy things they could never have otherwise).

  117. Allen Says:


    Sorry I sound a little terse in #115. What I meant to say (in the last part) was:

    But what you seem to demonstrate a very poor grasp of modern Chinese history. Either that or I am missing something completely…

  118. Allen Says:

    @Wukailong #113,

    Many times I may say – look the West and China isn’t really that far off … if you look at things this way. But other times, I may say – look the West and China share different experiences and histories, what work here won’t work there. These by themselves per se are not inconsistent.

    But next time you sense any inconsistency from me, I’d appreciate it if you let me know.

  119. Wukailong Says:

    @Allen: I guess I should have made myself more clear above that the post pointing out inconsistencies wasn’t pointed at you. Sorry about that. It came into my mind when I read some of the things you wrote, but it’s more a general feeling. Anyway.

    “That is just one perspective. In Western history, the “problem” is the gov’t (i.e. the royalty). The focus is on negative freedom: it is paramount to limit the power of gov’t. As long as gov’t doesn’t meddle, all is well.”

    Again, I’m not making myself clear. What I talked about was basically a scheme like this:

    Positive oppression: The government forces its citizens to lead a certain kind of life. (China under Mao, Soviet under Stalin)
    Negative oppression: The people can basically go about their business as long as they do not protest the government. Dissent and certain organizations (like unions) are not tolerated. (China today)
    Negative freedom: The people can basically go about their business, criticize the government and create independent organizations. (most democratic countries, including the West)
    Positive freedom: The people can do all off the above and play a creative role in society. Media reflects different opinions and there is very little conformism.

    Clearly, the 4th is an ideal state at this point. When criticism is made of the 2nd, many seem to argue along the lines that 4 is impossible and so 3 is too, or that 2 = 3. That’s what I’m hinting at. You don’t need to think of the government as problem under any of these; I would even go as far as to say that the government is not seen as a major problem in most European countries (you don’t have candidates that all claim to be against the leaders in the capital, for example…).

    I just use this model to illustrate a point on how we argue.

    “But other times, I may say – look the West and China share different experiences and histories, what work here won’t work there. These by themselves per se are not inconsistent.”

    Right, but it’s not only just China and the West. If we look at the different countries around the world that have made later successions to democracy, some of them have looked quite similar to China today. I certainly don’t think it’s impossible for China to one day proceed to a democratic mode of governance. It might even be good for social stability if all interest groups can make themselves heard.

    Also, democratic governance is quite young even in some Western countries. Authoritarianism as a part of culture has been an explanation in these countries too, until they chose to get rid of it. Also, I believe no communist country used culture as an explanation to explain their ideals when the Soviet bloc was still strong – that came later.

    I believe there is some truth in the Marxist idea of economy shaping the “superstructure” (i.e. culture and politics).

  120. Greypowered Says:

    @Wahaha 107:

    Even though you were referring to the last 40-60 years, the damages to the various groups of indigenous people in America had been done over almost 300 years of waring, extermination, attempt at forced assimilation and then, isolation into reserves, located on the least worthwhile ground the US government could find on its territory. And this last stage lasted pretty much until the late 1990’s. You know full-well that isolation is probably the best way not only to kill any culture but also to simply choke off a population.

    Of course, the Uyghur National Museum of Xinjiang isn’t pure “Uyghur”, as the region has never been exclusively inhabited by Uyghurs either. And no, I wasn’t referring to some “patriotic” exhibit but to the overall tone of the museology at work in this institution. When I was there, there was no temporary exhibit. If I remember properly, there are 3 floors in the building: 1) Prehistory, archeological sites and window displays of ethnic folklores, 2) Prehistory (following) and Han history in Xinjiang, 3) Xinjiang’s history for the last 60 years, with a particular focus on the positive role played by the PLA (but, of course, not a word about the destructions of archeological/historical sites by the same army during the Cultural Revolution). There is an apparent scientific and chronological logic in it, with quite a luxury of details in some displays, with interesting reconstruction. I didn’t say that the Museum was bad. However, if you start reading between the lines, you realize that the minorities of Xinjiang are represented pretty much as picturesque, folkloric but backward people to whom Hans have brought modernity and a much better life than they could have ever achieved on their own. Basically, all what these minorities have to offer are nice singing and dancing, period. For the rest, leave it to the Hans. They are the most advanced, civilized and therefore know much better than anyone else what’s good for everyone in the country. This whole discourse resembles too much that of the European colonizing empires of the 19th-20th century for me to ignore it. The French and English especially, were also claiming to bring modernity, civilization and, on top of it (how nice from them), spiritual salvation, to these poor and lowly people who would never be able to close the civilizational gap with Europe without its intervention. And I understand that it’s not just the Uyghur or other Turkmen minorities that get such paternalistic and condescending considerations from the Chinese government, but the Tibetans as well.

    In my opinion, there is indeed a real problem here, because that means that the political system, dominated by Hans, isn’t willing to accept these minorities as equals, but more as secondary citizens, who would still be swimming in the mud of backwardness without their liberating and civilizing intervention. I’m particularly sensitive to this, because, in Europe, there is a similar attitude towards immigrants from former colonies (either in Africa, Asia or Latin America) and from the ex-USSR countries, including Russia. In the first case, they are more and more perceived scornfully, as the Europeans were more often than not kicked out of their colonies by force and now, these people come to Europe to get a better life, because they can’t get one in their own country, implying that, well, colonization wasn’t so bad after all (I’m being ironic here, of course). In the second case, they are coming out of a system that failed miserably in the face of the glorious “market economy and political democracy” (more irony here as well), so they should bow to the West and beg it to teach them the true path. In both cases, these superiority/inferiority complexes are leading to real international tensions that can be extremely damaging to everyone. I think Gandhi summarized it well when he said (I don’t remember the quote textually) something like: There won’t be any peace as long as people feel superior or inferior to each others.

    I fully agree with him.

  121. JC Says:

    What I think is sad is that China thinks things will get better when the Dalai Lama dies. But it’s so prejudiced and sure of itself it doesn’t realise he’s China’s biggest hope for peace – the young hot-heads who caused the violence earlier this year weren’t tied to him (only Chinese propaganda says they were). As time goes on they will listen to him and other older Tibetans less.

    If the Dalai Lama dies without signing a deal for Tibet’s future that is fair and honest, I think we can expect serious terrorism in the future in Tibet. What will China do to respond then? Give what it could have given the Dalai Lama 10-20 years too late, or start ethnic cleansing?

  122. Hemulen Says:


    As for your point about the use of communism, han Chinese nationalism, and cultural revolution to foment nationalism and divide the “people of Tibet”, I really have no idea what you are talking about.

    Well, that is my clumsy way of saying that very much of CCP rule in Tibet 1951 has been incredibly divisive and destructive. And much of that has taken place under the banner of a secular religion, Maoism. Perhaps you need to read up on Tibetan history?

  123. Zickyy Says:

    To JC

    “…………..the young hot-heads who caused the violence earlier this year weren’t tied to him only Chinese propaganda says they were………..”

    How do you know? What made you to choose to believe DL?

    “…………If the Dalai Lama dies without signing a deal for Tibet’s future that is fair and honest, I think we can expect serious terrorism in the future in Tibet. What will China do to respond then………..”

    How to respond to Terrorism? I think US has given you a very clear answer. Do you think that it is ethnic cleansing?

  124. Hemulen Says:


    What made you to choose to believe DL?

    OK, Zickyy, since it is the TAR that exercises jurisdiction over Tibet, the burden of proof is on them to show that DL was directly involved.

    How to respond to Terrorism?

    …we know what you think about that. You’re the one that looked with satisfaction at the prospect of a terrorist Tibetan organization developing, so separatism could be wiped out once and for all.

  125. JC Says:


    “How do you know? What made you to choose to believe DL?”

    How do you know that I’m wrong? I choose to believe the Dalai Lama because he publicly and repeatedly calls for a non-violent solution. The Chinese story is not credible, that somehow he conveys to all Tibetans a secret message that he doesn’t really mean that – depsite the fact China has never published any details of such communications.

    “I think US has given you a very clear answer. Do you think that it is ethnic cleansing?”

    The US has offered and supported democracy in Aghanistan and Iraq, so it can offer a political solution to the problems there. But if China refuses a political solution that means anything to Tibetans, it will have no permanent way to resolve the Tibetan question without indiscriminate use of force.

  126. Wahaha Says:


    Your argument doesnt hold water. We han chinese treat Tibetans and Uighur as secondary, hardly true. Using political position in system hardly proved anything.

    Discrimination is a superioriy felt by a group of people over another group of people. Like in Ameria, most important positions in Hawaii are held by Americans, but overall Americans dont have any negative sentiment against native Hawail. When Westerners colonized India and China, they thought Asian people were inferior.

    It is true that Uighur people and Tibetans have little say about how modernzation process should be carried out, but it also applys to Han chinese. It is true that the museum in Urmqi has some exhibitions (like something about PLA) you dont like, but you can also find something in museum in other cities of China.

    So when you talk about discrimination, you should judge that by people’s sentiment, like if they mind their children marry Uighur or Tibetans (under similar education and financial background), or if they are treated differently in cities along coastline.

  127. Wahaha Says:

    In a word, you have to give us some examples that han officials have treated Han chinese differently than Uighur or Tibetans.

  128. Hemulen Says:


    To paraphrase George Orwell, in China all ethnic groups are equal, but some ethnic groups are more equal than others. It is true that many Han Chinese do not have a say in the way their country is run, but the have more to say than any other ethnic group. Han officials often run regions with “ethnic minorities”, even in cases where ethnic minority is in majority in the location concerned. And to my knowledge, no “minority” leader has even run a major province, city or region where Han Chinese are in majority.

    Take a look at the most high ranking communist officials of Xinjiang and Tibet and you will see that with one notable, and brief, exception (Seypidin Eziz), no Uighur or Tibetan has ever been entrusted with the highest office in their “autonomous” regions, the secretaryship of the CCP. If you look at other positions in the party, there are periods were there were almost no representation of the local ethnicity.

    So, yes, Uighur and Tibetan officials are treated differently. They always rank under their Han peers and they are never allowed to rule over Han Chinese. Ever.

  129. Hemulen Says:


    This, comrade Wahaha, is the party secretary of Lhasa. Male, Han Chinese, born in Henan 1965.


    Look at his resume. How much Tibetan do you think he speaks?

  130. Wahaha Says:


    To my knowledge, the highest position in Tibet was held by a Tibetan. Of course you will say he is just a puppet of CCP. if so, then we can claim the president of Georgia is a puppet of West, Former president of Phillipine Marcus was also a puppet of America, any hawaii officials in Hawaii are puppets of white Americans, cant we ?

    I know there was a famous Uighur student leader on Tianenmen during 1989 demonstration, and no Han chinese wowed “look, an Uighur as a leader ?” That is what I am talking about, Han Chinese dont discrimate against Uighur or Tibetans, just like the way Americans treat Hawaii people. the only requirements for official positions are pro-China and their abilities. BTW, it is Han Chinese pouring the money into there, what you are asking is “give me the “f@#4ing money and get out of here.”, that is ridiculous.

  131. Hemulen Says:


    Please, don’t pretend that you don’t understand this. Every Chinese knows that the person who calls the shots at any level government in Chinese is the party secretary, not the president, governor or mayor. Zhang Qingli is the guy who is in command in Tibet, not Qiangba Puncog. Wang Lequan is in charge in Xinjiang, not Nur Bekri.

    As for Georgia, Hawaii and the rest, I must admit that your argument is a bit of a stretch.

    And sure, we all know about Wu’er Kaixi, but I have never said that all Han Chinese would resent a “minority” leader. I know quite a few Han Chinese who deeply respect DL.

    What I am saying is that the current system of government discriminate against ethnic “minorities” and promotes Han Chinese supremacy.

  132. Greypowered Says:

    “It is true that Uighur people and Tibetans have little say about how modernzation process should be carried out, but it also applys to Han chinese. It is true that the museum in Urmqi has some exhibitions (like something about PLA) you dont like, but you can also find something in museum in other cities of China.

    So when you talk about discrimination, you should judge that by people’s sentiment, like if they mind their children marry Uighur or Tibetans (under similar education and financial background), or if they are treated differently in cities along coastline.”

    @ Wahaha,

    I have Uyghur friends and I can tell you that they do feel discriminated against, not just as members of the Communist party, but also, in their general daily life. And it seems that in big cities, like Beijing or Shangai, they are actually considered as foreigners! Chinese people are even sometimes surprised to hear them speak Mandarin so well! However, it doesn’t mean either that they have absolutely no future. These families I know are actually faring pretty well, if you consider the general living standards in the region. But that’s only by accepting to mold into the Han system. And I did give you quite good examples of the paternalistic overtone in the authorities discourses about Uyghur or other minority cultures. I have visited other cultural institutions as well and when Han history or culture is involved, I have never seen this kind of condescending tone. On the contrary, most Han historical accounts are more on the verge of hagiography, if not outright nationalistic propaganda. I didn’t say whether I liked this museum or not, I was merely reporting some observations.

    Concerning the issue of partaking in national or regional decision processes, as most of the high-ranking officials of the communist party, whether at the central government or in all regions are Hans, I would say they certainly do have more to say about the evolution of the country than Uyghurs, Tibetans or other minority groups. You could add that it’s only fair, since Hans represent 95% of the Chinese population, so the majority leads.

  133. Hemulen Says:


    You could add that it’s only fair, since Hans represent 95% of the Chinese population, so the majority leads.

    Well, in Tibet and large parts of Xinjiang, Han Chinese are the minority, at least according to official statistics, so this is a rather disingenuous excuse for Han rule. Not that I think you actually mean that.

  134. Wukailong Says:

    Perhaps this system of dual governance should be explained somewhere (party secretary vs. governor), because it seems to confuse discussions every now and then. There are some special regulations that comes with it (correct me if I’m wrong here), for example that party secretaries for a province should be from somewhere else. I think the governors should be from the same province, but maybe that only holds for the autonomous regions?

  135. Wahaha Says:


    I dont think Han chinese consider them foreigners, sorry. Your friends must dressed in their native clothes and there are few Uighur or tibetans dressing in their native clothes in Beijing or Shanghai, so people are curious, maybe some kids ask their mothers who those people are. You call that a discrimination? I dont think so. It is if han people think they are inferior, and we dont !!!

    30 years ago, there were almost no foreigner in China at all. If a white guy was on the street, every chinese will turn his head.

  136. Hemulen Says:


    That explanation makes a lot of sense, not the least historically. The problem starts when you apply that idea in a one party system, in minority areas that are supposedly autonomous.

  137. Greypowered Says:

    Wahaha (#135),

    You are making absolutely unfounded assumptions here. Dress in “native clothes”? My friends are as urbanites as one could get and are always on top of the latest fashion fad! I did witness people in Beijing taking my professor of Chinese who is also Uyghur for a foreigner. They were both absolutely astounded and delighted to hear her speak Mandarin so fluently and nicely. And it seems that her sisters and other friends, met in Urumqi have suffered the same consideration when in Beijing, Shangai and Xian. And I didn’t call “that” discrimination! It only reinforced my impression that cultural minorities are considered as backwards or less civilized than Hans.

    As for foreigners in general to be noticed in China, I did notice that I was being noticed. In Balading, within an hour of visit, I had dozen of requests from total strangers (all Chinese) to pose with me for a picture, as they seem to be really surprised that a Westerner could actually make it there. And in Xinjiang, I had people addressing me straight….in Russian. Apparently, the only white people they see there, are Russian business people from the other side of the border.

    As of today, I don’t hear many people thinking or claiming that Hans are inferior to anyone.

  138. Wahaha Says:


    You are talking about “political discrimination”. I am sorry, you are basically trying to sell you idea of “self-determination” here.

    Actually it is not fair for Tibetan people, as Lama still have too much influence outside major cities, Lot of Tibetans know nothing about outside world, so their lack of knowledge has greatly limited their choices. so “self-determination” is more like “there is no other choice.”

    I saw a program in which a west tourist was greeted by a tibetan tribe in Nepal, I cant imagine people can be poorer than the Tibetans in that tribe, and the head of the tribe is a lama. If an election is hold, do those tibet have choice? No, they dont.

    NYT once wrote about a Tibetan girl working in SiChuan, she said she had a picture of Dalai Lama and she also felt so sorry for her sister as her sister couldnt speak Chinese. and she was paid good, her boss was a han chinese.

    So the condition for “self-determination” is if Tibetan people have multiple and REASONABLE choices, financially and politically. It is not fair to them to force them to pick either material benefits or political power.

  139. wuming Says:

    “30 years ago, there were almost no foreigner in China at all. If a white guy was on the street, every chinese will turn his head.”

    Not only that, but many of them will follow the foreigner. Even in place like Beijing up to the early 70s, you can see the spectacle of a foreigner (white usually, because there were a few African “foreign friends” even during the CR) walking down a street followed by several dozens of Chinese (not just kids.) We lived near Sanlitun, where many of the foreign missions were located, therefore considered ourselves more “sophisticated”, felt quite ashamed of our fellow citizens.

    As for now, I don’t think how you dress will get you noticed. But a Uighur being mistaken as a foreigner by appearance, why should that be regarded as a symptom of discrimination?

  140. Wahaha Says:

    “It only reinforced my impression that cultural minorities are considered as backwards or less civilized than Hans. ”

    I dont get where you are trying to say. I was trying to tell you that Uighur and Tibetans are not discriminated in big cities in China, that is the whole point. If your culture is great, people will study your culture; if not, people will not study your culture. Are we supposed to read Koran ?

  141. Greypowered Says:


    You are the one talking about discrimination. I didn’t. I was only referring to certain discourses on minorities in China, especially in cultural institutions like museums or exhibit like the one on ethnic groups during the Beijing Olympic Games. I was only saying that it seemed to me that the government is trying to impose a model dominated by Hans on the cultural minorities, allowing them to express their specificities only in the frame of folkloric display, as witnessed in the examples I have mentioned so far. But since you really want to talk about discrimination and say that one should address the topic from the angle of what people feel, I can tell you that my Uyghur friends and their friends as well as other Uyghurs met during my trips said that they had been subject to discriminations in Xinjiang in various instances.

    And no, you aren’t supposed to read the Koran nor any other sacred books. I don’t understand why you are asking such rhetorical question.

  142. Allen Says:

    @Wukailong #119,

    Ok – I now understand more what you are getting at by the terms negative oppression to positive freedom. It’s not a bad way to look at things, but in my mind, a more realistic model should look to how much “actual” freedom a society actually has. Government is not the only source of “oppression” on our “freedoms” – other factors that dictate how much freedom an individual actually has include: cultural attitudes, personal financial resources, social constraints, technological resources, etc.

    I still think the Western perspective focuses too much attention on the government factor per se.

    It is possible that in China the changes in the culture, social outlooks, economy and technologies that have taken place are liberating people more than any amount of political reforms (western style) could have provided to the individual Chinese over the same time span.

  143. Wahaha Says:


    Did you watch “Dance with wolves” ? What we saw in that movie is that how white people made friends with native americans, how white people saved the native girl from buffalo, how native Americans retreated from their land voluteerily.

    I guess if we han chinese do something similar like making the movie, we become bastards.

  144. Wahaha Says:

    BTW, did you hear the toxic rice scandal in Japan ? Japan’s agriculture minister even resigned. but did you see BBC, ABC, NYT, CNN report about that like they report Sanlu incident in China ?

    Hey, look at those chinese bastards !!!

    Can any of you elaborate the difference ?

  145. Wahaha Says:

    also I heard Western Shudgen Society sues Dalai Lama for suppression in India, why didnt West media talk about it ? isnt it a human right issue ? (I didnt mean WSS is on the right side.)

  146. Hemulen Says:



  147. Wukailong Says:

    @Wahaha: I’ve read about Dorje Shugden in the Western media. I think it was Newsweek, and that was the way I learned about the whole affair. The article was a one-pager, and described an unusual situation: Western monks protesting against Dalai Lama.

  148. Wukailong Says:

    I also found this:


  149. Karma Says:

    @Wukailong #148,

    Good find. I knew about this, but this article gave a good summary.

    This just shows (for me personally) the farce that the “Tibet issue” is about freedom of religion, cultural protection, and language development, etc.

  150. Hemulen Says:


    No. The Tibet’s “China issue” has to do with total Han domination, not religion or “culture”. Since 1951, the central government has not allowed a single Tibetan to rule the region, be he a monk, like the leader of TGIE, or a communist, like Phuntsok Wangyal.

  151. Wukailong Says:

    I wouldn’t call the issues involved a “farce” just because there are political battles going on in the exile government. It shows, mainly, that these are complex issues. Economic development guided by the CCP isn’t is a farce just because there is so much corruption going on the country.

  152. Greypowered Says:

    @Wahaha #143:

    Yes, I saw Dance with the Wolves (several times actually) and I’m quite aware, as you might have noticed from my first posts, of the way Anglo-Saxons treated Native Americans for 200-300 years. Contrary to what you are saying, I’m not pointing my finger at anyone in particular and was merely reporting on some observations I made during my trip in Xinjiang last year, as well as some of the conclusions I drew from them. However, actually considering what Americans of European ascents did to Native Americans in the US and Canada and what European empires did to colonized countries around the world, I was simply quite astounded to find the same kind of justifying paternalistic discourses in Chinese cultural institutions and events. I wasn’t saying that minorities in China are being completely trampled over and didn’t even make a comparison with the way Native Americans were treated by the newcomers from the 17th to the 20th centuries. You are the one who actually did it and even seemed to find it justifiable for Chinese Hans to oppress minorities, since others did it as well.

    I can understand the irritation felt by many Chinese to see their country so systematically criticized in the West and I agree that more often than not, Westerners should sweep in front of their own door (as we say in French) before telling others to do so. However, rejecting any criticism by simply saying “look what the others are doing” or “you don’t understand China” isn’t going to make the problem go away, nor the criticism. If you follow Western media properly, you’ll see a lot of criticisms about China, many of them, I believe, totally justified, but you’ll also find a lot of interests in, admiration and appreciation for this country. Moreover, you’ll note that journalists and other media actors also progressively change their perception of things as they learn more and more about China. All in all, I believe that these various positive and negative views balance each others well. Actually, China, as well as Asia in general, is very fashionable in the West and not just the food or Buddhist philosophy.

    Concerning the scandal of toxic rice in Japan, it was in all main European French-speaking medias (I mean, in Switzerland, France and probably Belgium…I don’t know for Canada, Caribbeans or West Africa, where they have got other cats to beat) as well as Euronews, so, yes, we did hear about it. If you think the world is obsessed with China-bashing, then, just ask some Russians how they are feeling about the way media have been reporting on their country these last few years.

  153. wuming Says:


    You did a very good defense of the perceived “China Bashing” above, like several commentators on this blog have done before you. However, there is a strain in the western criticism of China that grates. This strain is the idea that China has to be qualified for everything that a normal nation would have considered naturally endowed. From the obvious ones like “China does not deserve to host Olympics”, to the more subtle ones like “China should strive to be a responsible stake holder” and “Olympics is China’s coming out party”, the underlying assumption is that China is still a “sub-nation”.

    Of course some of these are inevitable since the west had invented may of the institutions and clubs that China seeks to join, therefore being treated as an interloper by the insiders is too natural a behavior for a person as well as a nation. But nevertheless, the balance of view on China you talked about is just not there until such attitude is addressed or at least acknowledged.

  154. Hemulen Says:


    the west had invented may of the institutions and clubs that China seeks to join

    That is another example of how cyber-patriots can’t make a distinction between China, themselves and their beloved PRC government. In fact China is a founding member of the UN and GATT, and Chinese lawyers participated in the drafting of the declaration of human rights. In 1945, China was a full member of the international community.

    Then China changed government and pulled out of many international agreements, while Taiwan occupied China’s seat in many organizations. For decades, the PRC flaunted its disregard for international law, international agreements and international institutions. At one point, the Chinese government allowed students to raid and burn the British embassy in Beijing. The reluctance of many countries to grant China membership in many institutions has to do with the nature of the current regime, not because we are dealing with China per se.

  155. Greypowered Says:

    @Wuming #153,

    I can only partially agree with you. I think one should firmly distinguish between different types of discourses about China, which are emanating from various sources. Media aren’t the only ones to make their voice heard about this country: politics, experts, entrepreneurs, individuals (especially over the Internet, with blogs such as this one), scholars, etc. all have something to say about China and their vision is certainly not homogeneously negative or systematically criticizing. Moreover, even media are not unanimous in their perception of China. You can’t equate Anglo-Saxon (and from what I see on this blog, mostly North American) media with all Western Media, and even in the first categories, the vision of China is, in my point of view, quite nuanced. I don’t have the feeling that such titles as Financial Times, the Economist or Wall Street Journal are engaged in constant China bashing, not even in the more subtle sort. In Europe, you’ve got many titles that offer very balanced account of the Chinese socio-political, economic and cultural evolutions. Moreover, these last 10-15 years, I have seen tons of audiovisual broadcast giving a really positive image of China, from Chinese cinema being cheered up by the most authoritative critics to TV shows of all genres (documentaries, films, series, reports, thematic shows,…) and many European channels.

    I would also add that Chinese authorities aren’t always helping build a positive image of their country in the way they behave. One easy example: they had promised to give foreign journalists attending the Olympic Games a full-access to the Internet. First thing we learn, just before the beginning of the games, is that they don’t have a full-access to the Internet, some of them seeing the Websites of their own newspapers or media being blocked (meaning that they can’t even do their job properly). And the authorities trying to navigate around their own promise by saying that they would provide “sufficient” access to allow the journalists to do their job. This was exactly what China-bashers were waiting for and Chinese authorities were serving it to them on a silver tray! Even those who are most favorable to China had a hard time finding an excuse for this kind of behavior.

    Therefore, in my opinion, it’s not only up to Westerners to reconsider their attitude towards China, but also up to China not to feed negative views and reactions in the West. There are a lot of misunderstanding on the Chinese sides as well and they need to be addressed too. One of them being that all Westerners are simply brutal, arrogant and self-righteous ignorants who know nothing of Chinese civilization and history and are incapable of conceiving that another culture could compete with them. This could still apply to some populist and conservative movements (the same ones who have hard time believing that Russia isn’t just the USSR bis) who do have some success among certain populations, but certainly not to actors of multinational industries, Asian Studies scholars, specialists of China, and politics who have their feet well-grounded on earth. And these people aren’t just a tiny unheard minority playing around in its little corner, but are very influential actors in the global economy and on the international stage.

  156. wuming Says:


    “The reluctance of many countries to grant China membership in many institutions has to do with the nature of the current regime, not because we are dealing with China per se.”

    That is why raising the same questions about the behaviors (current or historical) of these western nations is relevant to a discussion like this. My country, the United States, have openly challenged the validity of any international law if whenever it is in conflict with the temporary national or political interests. So where does this get us?

    All countries, should be accepted as they are by default. The systematic disrespect demonstrated by the western opinion makers for many nations in the world should ALWAYS call their own nations’ behavior into question. Maybe we should defer every international moral pronouncement to Norway?

  157. skylight Says:


    Thank you for your report and impressions from your Uighur friends. It is refreshing to hear from someone who who have been to these areas we are discussing on this blog. Hopefully, we can get some Uighur perspectives on this issue too on this blog. I think discrimination exist in every society all over the world, and I think it is counterproductive for persons like Wahaha to deny it so strongly. For a Tibetan perspective on this issue, see this letter from a Tibetan girl to Lian Yue’s blog. There is also an interesting conversation between two Chinese government officials at the end.


  158. Greypowered Says:


    I’d like to correct something. I was reporting on my own observations during a trip to Xinjiang, not the impressions of my Uyghur friends, although I did talk about their telling me being discriminated in several instances, when the issue of discrimination was brought up. However, I have decided not to go too much into the specific debate of discrimination against minorities in China for the good reason that I feel that I don’t have enough reliable information on the subject. And I haven’t lived in the country to be able to actually witness it either.

  159. Greypowered Says:

    @wuming #156

    “All countries, should be accepted as they are by default. The systematic disrespect demonstrated by the western opinion makers for many nations in the world should ALWAYS call their own nations’ behavior into question. Maybe we should defer every international moral pronouncement to Norway?”

    1) Please, stop assimilating the whole West with the US. And no, the rest of the West can’t be reduced to Norway. The fact is that most European countries have denounced the actions of the US for years, not only through their political leaders, but also through civic movements and public media. It is true that many of these oppositions couldn’t stop the US flaunting every other international laws and principles that were on their way, but you can’t imply that the whole West just followed the US blindly.

    2) I totally disagree with your statement concerning the acceptation of any country as it is by default. That would mean that we can’t criticize anymore not only China, but also the US or even one’s own country. If one has to be absolutely pure and perfect in order to emit a criticism, then, the whole world can fall silent. I think one should make a clear distinction between criticism aimed at destabilizing and humiliating a country and constructive criticism to help this country improve. And usually, this kind of criticism isn’t made out loud with trumpets all over the earth, but rather discreetly, among specialists or diplomats who speak the same language (I don’t mean Chinese or English here, but rather a common way of communicating).

  160. wuming Says:


    Accepting a nation by default is neither unconditional nor permanent. It is a simple recognition that your consensus righteous cause may be the ruin of another people. It also does not mean you can not criticize, but simply you should criticize as equals. Here I am not arguing with you on whether your criticism is fair but whether criticizing other countries in a framework where your nation(s) plays the roles of the judge, jury and the prosecution is fair.

    In another thread on this blog about the Chinese born journalist’s suspension by DW (allegedly) for making a statement to the effect that: in the last 30 years, Chinese government did more good for its people than most of the nations in the world in the contemporary history. Many of us have arrived at a similar conclusion. I have never seen critics of China makes anywhere near this conclusion, while I can easily find many who state that the Chinese regime is one of the worst. Therefore it must be that our frames of reference, our narratives are entirely different. Some of us also have the hubris to believe that by living in the west for a long time, we are familiar with these common western narratives, it is just that we don’t agree with them.

  161. Wahaha Says:


    I read you link, I dont feel the discrimination, what I see is some people are not well educate enough to know how to respect others.

    Do you know 30 years ago, some chinese would stop a foreigner on the street during day time and ask him/her “where are you going ?” ?


    Bwahaha, you have no answer to elaborate the difference or what ?


    I just pointed out to you that Chinese or chinese government did something as everyone else. It is rude to criticize others while your country didnt corret the mistak, like UK refused to return the beard of Sphinx.

  162. Wahaha Says:

    “I totally disagree with your statement concerning the acceptation of any country as it is by default. That would mean that we can’t criticize anymore not only China, but also the US or even one’s own country.”

    What do you think of the following :

    ….The greedy bastards in democratic Japan sold Toxic rice to people ……

    ….Democratic Britain tried to invade Tibet in early 1900s…..

  163. Zickyy Says:

    @ Greypowered

    I agree with you that in Xin Jiang there is discrimination against Uighur people. I have been there many times and I did feel that. Most Han people would not want their son or daughter to marry Uighur but you should also note that it is probably more because they are muslim. The same thing happens in the UK.

    But for Tibetans, I don’t agree with you. As long as they are under similar education and financial background etc…., I cannot see why Han would not marry Tibetans.

  164. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #161:
    a lack of education might make one more prone to resort to stereotypes, and hence to discriminate. But while that might explain the phenomenon, one shouldn’t use that to excuse it.

  165. Zickyy Says:

    @ Greypowered

    “most European countries have denounced the actions of the US for years, not only through their political leaders, but also through civic movements and public media”

    Yes, many European countries have done this but it didn’t seem to be working at all.
    And the UK is still with the US, you cannot say most British people don’t support this, can you? UK is a democracy if I don’t it wrong.

  166. Zickyy Says:

    @ Hemulen

    “I think one should make a clear distinction between criticism aimed at destabilizing and humiliating a country and constructive criticism to help this country improve”

    I totally agree with you and I do appreciate that China’s reform did benefit from some criticism from western media.

    But I have to say that not many of them are constructive. While I can see the Chinese government is working hardly to reform, to develop the country, to improve people’s lives in a more realistic and constructive way, most criticism now from the West appear to be, to some extent, destabilizing and humiliating, under the disguise of “democracy”.

    I don’t know whether you have thought about why many Chinese, who themselves criticize the government, defend it in front of the West.

    However, I hope we Chinese can learn from all kinds of criticism, even they are destabilizing and humiliating. Learn from your “enemies”, so thank you, our “enemies” 😛

  167. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Zickyy:
    know yourself, know your opponent; 100 battles, 100 victories. I was of the understanding that Art of War was standard teaching at West Point once upon a time. Seems the Americans themselves may need a refresher.

  168. Zickyy Says:

    @ Hemulen

    Sorry I don’t think you have got all my points.

    I am trying to be very honest with you and just wanting to bring you back to reality.

    I love Tibet and Tibetan people no less than you and I would be very sad if any terrorism or violence happens in Tibet and hurts ordinary Tibetan or other ethnic groups.

    In your ideology, every ethnic group should rule themselves and has a independent country if they wish. I agree. If I were a Tibetan, I would support DL and even independence.

    But from a Chinese perspective, if anyone who wants to take control of 25% of China’s land and keep Han Chinese out of there, NO WAY. Whether Tibet was part of China or should be part of China is not that important and you could find a thousand of evidences to support whatever your point of view is. The most important part is that Tibet is part of China now and we don’t need a visa if we want to travel there and live there.

    So the world is far from perfect. I cannot see how DL and his exile government can achieve what they want in a foreseeable future. Begging for sympathy or fighting using your mouth will simply not work.

    I feel sad for him but I would suggest him to be more realistic. He will be welcomed if he can drop any political involvement and act as a pure religious leader. Then he can do more to help preserve their culture and promote their religion and he can contribute more on improving Tibetan people’s lives.

    One day, if China is as developed as the US or Europe, both economically and politically, Tibet and China could be like between Scotland and England. Harmony!

  169. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Zickyy #168:
    yours is a very honest perspective. Regardless of my POV, I can certainly respect yours the way you’ve framed it.

  170. Wukailong Says:

    I agree with SKC. There is no aggression in Zickyy’s comments (like some other commentators I’m not gonna name…. 🙂 ), and nothing unreasonable. It’s a good ground for further discussion.

  171. FOARP Says:

    “you cannot say most British people don’t support this, can you?”

    Actually, you can say this pretty easily, the vast majority of British people oppose the war in Iraq, and (with a small blip in 2003) have done since the start.

    “I agree with SKC”

    Until further notice, this is going to be my standpoint on everything. The fanaticism of some of the people on this website is a real turn-off.

  172. Allen Says:


    You and I are probably among the last people in this forum who will agree with each other.

    But I can say for sure things will be awfully boring without you.

    I hope you don’t just sign off like this. It won’t be fair to SKC (Hemulen, Wukailong, etc., etc.) – who will then get the brunt of my attack! 😉

  173. skylight Says:


    “I dont feel the discrimination, what I see is some people are not well educate enough to know how to respect others.”

    Interesting theory, do you have any substantial evidence to back up your theory that educated persons are less discriminatory than uneducated persons?

    “Do you know 30 years ago, some chinese would stop a foreigner on the street during day time and ask him/her “where are you going ?” ?”

    I dont understand this example, what is the connection with discrimination?

  174. FOARP Says:

    @Allen – I don’t mind opinion of any shade, but the way certain people on this website see fit to throw around words like ‘bastards’ all the time, is not the kind of talk that is conducive to debate.

  175. Hemulen Says:


    Thanks for your thoughts. I can understand that 25 % of the territory is a big deal and that both the Chinese people and the Chinese government have legitimate concerns. But if the people who live on 25 % of your territory believe that their land has been stolen, you have a problem. They feel they lost 100% and you fear that you may lose 25%.

    Be as it may, a number of different plans have been concocted over the years that conceive of Tibet as part of China and does not exclude Chinese from the Tibetan plateau. Federation, one-country-two-systems, demilitarization, you name it. From a third party point of view, it really seems that DL really has gone out of his way to address Chinese concerns since 1987 and from what I know he and his late brother had some fundamental disagreements over this.

    But the PRC government has done little but put scorn on DL and his proposals, and what I find even harder to swallow is the fact that so many Chinese add their voices to this. It is very easy to find fault at the DL and the TGIE, since so many exile Tibetan disagreements are voiced in public.

    Why this unwillingness to give any consideration to exile Tibetan proposals whatsoever? Why this tendency to reduce the Tibet problem to the question of DL’s status? And where do all this aggressive feelings against Tibetans really come from? The events in March were horrible, but who is really the victim here, in the larger picture? Sometimes I suspect that some Chinese take a hard-line stand against the weaker Tibetans in order to “get at” the much stronger West, which they resent for a number of reasons. In sum, I’m really appalled at what I have seen and heard this year.

  176. Heart of The Dragoon Says:

    We need to understand that Tibetans have their perspective to their culture and history. Until us (Han Chinese) realise that many Tibetans feel they have had their sacred land occuppied and the injustice that people in Tibet have faced, we can’t comprehend what we need to do in order to co-existence.

    Just imagine if Eastern parts of China was taken over by Japan and Japanese culture/perspective of history was just forced upon us, we would be pretty unhappy.

    Its time we wake up to this. When we wake up, compromise and forgiveness is still possible.

  177. Zickyy Says:

    @ Heart of The Dragoon

    Suppose we have waken up, what should we be doing differently?
    Any specific thoughts or suggestions to share?

  178. Heart of The Dragoon Says:

    @ Zickyy

    There are many suggestions but our focus should be to allow re-Tibetification with respect to Tibetan views towards their history and culture. We can’t just force the Han-centric history and ways of doing business onto the Tibetan population. Its almost like we need to accept Tibet is and was different to other parts of China and only if we accept this different perspective we have a chance of unity in diversity.

    We have to accept Tibetans will always feel Tibetan first and then those who can see light in the moderate way could identifiy with being Chinese (as in Zhong Guo Ren) second. This is different to some Han(s) who because are the majority culture do not need to feel Han first then Chinese second. It is utmost important for Han(s) to empathise into being in the shoes of Tibetans who genuinely would feel threatened with this type of assimilation.

    I know I may be a dreamer but if I could, I would like to see us go and form a human shield around His Holiness with our Tibetan brothers and sisters so that he can return to his home. But with so much propaganda on both side and un-compromising talk, this dream seems so far away.

  179. Allen Says:

    @Heart of The Dragon,

    In light of #178 (which I think is well articulated), can someone educate me on the purpose of having “autonomous regions”? If I understand correctly, besides autonomous regions, that are also autonomous districts within normal provinces?

    Sorry – this is a very basic issue, I know, but since we don’t have that concept in the U.S. (unless you want to call Native American Reservations that), I don’t know if I really understand.

    Is the purpose to ensure ethnic segregation, empowerment of minority ethnicities, or simply a deal of convenience when the PRC was formed (with no particular relevance today), or something else?

  180. skylight Says:


    According to one scholar there are three reasons for the creation of the regional autonomous regions:

    -Regional autonomy as a gift: Oroqen case
    -Autonomy as a behavior of keeping a promise: Inner Mongolia case
    -Autonomy as a result of negotiation (by force?): Tibet case (17 point agreeement 1951)
    …Quote end

    The preface of Regional National Autonomy Law (http://www.novexcn.com/regional_nation_autonomy.html) states the following purpose:
    “RNA embodies the State’s full respect for and guarantee of the right of the minority nationalities to administer their internal affairs and its adherence to the principle of equality, unity and common prosperity for all the nationalities”.

    According to the scholar, the problem is that many of the concepts in the law has not been developed with rights and obligations, such as the concept of “internal affairs”. Furthermore the law doesn’t have any judicial or administrative cases. The system itself has its origins from the Soviet Autonomy system, which allowed different forms of autonomy:

    -Narrow admin. autonomy (Volga Germans, Karelians)
    -Wider political autonomy (Bashkirs, Volga Tartars, Kirghiz)
    -Even wider political autonomy (Ukraine, Turkestan)
    -Highest form of autonomy – to contractual relations (Azerbaijan)

    “Soviet Autonomy is not a rigid thing fixed once and for all time; it permits of the most varied forms and degrees of development…This flexibility of Soviet autonomy is one of its prime merits; for this flexibility enables it to embrace all the various types of border regions of Russia, which vary greatly in their levels of cultural and economic development”
    -J.V. Stalin “The policy of Soviet government on the national question in Russia”, Pravda, 1920

    A NGO report (which has a nice outline of relevant Chinese laws) states the following in its preface of a recent report:
    “Evidence in the report shows that the very autonomy system that should empower self-governance in autonomous regions works as a mechanism for minority exclusion and state control”.

    Finally, a much quoted white paper from the Chinese government on regional autonomy.

    I hope this information might be helpful.

  181. skylight Says:

    With regard to the Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures, I only have some superficial knowledge, but this seems to be the classic tactic of “divide and conquer” by splitting up historically Tibetan areas into prefectures, redrawing borders, and including these prefectures under the administration of different neighboring Chinese provinces (happened in 1958-1965). Tibet Autonomous Region was created in 1965.

    Here are two links with more info on these Tibetan autonomous prefectures:

    Quoted from a Tibet travel website:
    “Before I begin, it is important to remember that the terms “Tibet” and “Tibet Autonomous Region” (or TAR) are different. When I use the term “Tibet” I am referring to the greater Tibet region that the Tibetan people call Tibet. This area consists of all 6 prefectures of the TAR as well as all 6 Tibet Autonomous Prefectures of Qinghai, the 2 Tibet Autonomous Prefectures of Sichuan, the Tibet Autonomous Prefecture of Gansu, the Tibet Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan, the Tibet Autonomous County of Sichuan and the Tibet Autonomous County of Gansu. All of these areas are considered to be Tibet to the Tibetan people. The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is ONLY the 6 prefecture region the Chinese government calls “Xizang”. Tibet covers much, much more than just the TAR. The Tibetan regions outside of the TAR are nearly all open and do not require any travel permits.”

  182. Wahaha Says:


    Han chinese dont mind their children marry Tibetans with similar education and financial background, you can see that from the link you have.

    In America, most Chinese parents are against their children dating black cuz of news or unpleasant experience, that is discrimination.

  183. Wahaha Says:

    Zickky # 168,

    For me, the problem is I dont believe West really care about Tibetan people, they only want to make trouble for China, at least that is the purpose of politicians and media, plus huge numbers of people who hate anything related to communism.

    Human right, tyranny, brutality are not what they care, those are just excuses used to brainwash westerners. They have had no problem with brutal government or dictatorships as long as the government is pro-west, like indonesia under Suharto and 1980 south Korean government.

    I believe what has lead to all of this is that West (including west people) dont want to share power with others (which is understandable). Subconsciously, they are extremely self-centered.

    I watched a CCTV program about lives of people in Yunan, Vietnam, Cambodia. In the program, I didnt see a single han chinese in the program. But if you watch ANY program about Asian countries by West, West reporters, tourists and businessmen are always the center of the programs, they act like “they are sent from above” and ” you are my subordinate”)

  184. Wahaha Says:


    Lot of poor educated chinese dont understand what privacy is.

    About 20 years ago, in a remote village, one family lost their money hid under their bed. As the village was far from nearest town, it was unlikely that people from outside stole the money, more like the money was stolen by someone in the village. So they held a meeting to find a way of finding out who the thief was. and the way they decided is unacceptable to any westerners : every family in the village opened the door and let the elders of the village searched one by one.

  185. Wahaha Says:

    Heart of Dragon,

    We are living in a brutal world, People cant have anything they want, that is reality. In reality, people are usually forced to make a choice based on what they care most, not everything they want. Like Japan, they dont want importing rice from America, but they want to sell car to America, so they have to open their doow to America’s rice.

    Same for Tibetans, they cant ask “give me the money and get out here.” Unless they want to stay in poverty, Culture impact is inevitable, whether it is from China or from West.

    let us assume that Tibet is just a colony of China. Cuz the geographic position, China, India and West all want to control this area. You think Tibetans would be better off by driving out Han chinese ? then India and West will invade into Tibet ( in the backyard of China), and the new government HAS TO be a puppet of India and West as China will try to expand its influence in Tibet.

  186. Otto Kerner Says:


    I think it’s a bit questionable to describe the borders of the Tibet areas in the PRC as “divide and conquer”, because the Tibetans were already divided to begin with. The boundaries of the TAR actually match fairly well the boundaries of the old Lhasa government’s control. The rest of the Tibetan region was divided into a large number of small states and tribal areas, and now it is divided into a smaller number of prefectures. I would be happy to see the creation of a more united Tibetan region, but I think that would be an innovation, because division has been the status quo since before 1951.

  187. Wukailong Says:

    “let us assume that Tibet is just a colony of China. Cuz the geographic position, China, India and West all want to control this area. You think Tibetans would be better off by driving out Han chinese ? then India and West will invade into Tibet ( in the backyard of China), and the new government HAS TO be a puppet of India and West as China will try to expand its influence in Tibet.”

    Hmm, I’ve heard this argument before. Basically, it’s that the Tibetans are always puppets, no matter where they go.

  188. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wukailong:
    agree again. Why can’t people give Tibetans at least enough credit that they would be capable of representing themselves. If Tibetans one day freely and willfully elected to integrate completely into China, would the CHinese then consider them their puppets?

  189. Allen Says:

    @skylight #180 – thanks for the info.

  190. skylight Says:


    I agree that the extent of Lhasa control in Kham/Amdo can be discussed, anyway it has been limited as you mention. But I was thinking with regard to Kham and Amdo areas, why where they divided between so many chinese provinces? I don’t know the specific details. Tsering Shakya writes the following:

    “The first task was to integrate the region into the admin. structure of the new constitution, which allowed for the setting up of autonomous admin. areas. In areas where the Tibetans constituted the majority they were granted local autonomy. By 1956 the Communist had created a number of Tibetan autonomous districts in Kham and Amdo. In 1955 the Communist abolished the province of Xikang set up by the Guomindang and integrated it into the province of Sichuan. In other parts of Amdo, the Communist kept the Guomindang province of Qinghai. But six new autonomous zhou were established in areas of Amdo where the Tibetans formed the majority. The principal districts were the Jyekundo (Yushu) and the Golok Tibetan Autonomous Zhou. Gansu was the cultural boundary between Tibet and China, the area furthest from Lhasa. Here the Communist set up Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Zhou, with Labrang as its capital…However all these administrative changes existed merely on paper and most Tibetans continued to show allegiance to their traditional leaders.”

  191. Ted Says:

    “Han chinese dont mind their children marry Tibetans with similar education and financial background, you can see that from the link you have.”

    Sorry, but all this denial about racism and discrimination is ridiculous. When I ask people where they are from, those who are from Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, and Xizang first say the name of the province then state that they or their parents had to move there as part of the relocation program and they are not local. I’ve met few who did not make this distinction. If I, or another student asks whether the person speaks the local language of the provinces mentioned above, I generally get sour looks or dismissive gestures. You don’t get this reaction if you ask whether they speak Nanjing hua or Shanghai hua. Either this means these regions are not seen as a part of China by the average Han Chinese, or (much more likely) the local population is not seen as Chinese. It is an attitude that harkens back to the old imperial notion that one is not Chinese until they adopt Chinese values thereby elevating themselves above barbarism. The definition of what it means to be Chinese may have changed in the past hundred years but, based on several comments in this thread, it appears the rules haven’t.

    As for stereotypes, it is common knowledge among most people I meet that Uighur people are crooks and Tibetans are a dirty, dangerous, and backward people. I was told to general laughter in front of a group of about 60 people that the best way to eliminate crime in Shanghai is to send all the Uighur people back to Xinjiang. Many of those who make statements like this graduated from some of China’s best universities and are certainly better educated than the average person. I will say that I haven’t heard any negative stereotypes about Mongolian people.

    As for the argument regarding lack of education, there is a distinct absence of social pressure among many to be accepting of outsiders (whether indigenous ethnic outsiders or foreigners) that cannot be ascribed to a lack of education. In my opinion this is a result of the absence of an open continuous dialogue on the reality of racism in China. Most are quick to point out the problems of racism in other countries but I have never heard it publicly discussed as a problem in China. Perhaps that’s because, for 95% the population, discrimination isn’t a problem.

    For those who argue benign ignorance because China is unaccustomed to foreigners, I hope you will consider how odd this sounds coming from a country with 2,000 years of history. That is not meant as a slight, I am genuinely trying to communicate how strange it is to hear. This is the sentiment I have heard time and again from foreign friends who, in a single exchange, hear that China has more than 2,000 years of history and black people are scary.

    I can accept the reality that China was largely closed off for the past 60 years, a period when the international community first began to openly discuss the issue of racism, but China didn’t leap frog the problem of racism. Where there is racism, there is discrimination and to suggest otherwise is naive.

  192. Oli Says:


    If you think what the non-Tibetan Chinese said are prejudicial, I suggest you try to read what the Indians and the Nepalies say about the Tibetans living in their midst.

    While I deplore all stereotyping and prejudice, your anecdotal experience is hardly representative of all Chinese people’s opinions. I would suggest you read the discussions appended to the article, “Chocolate City”, where alleged Chinese “racism” has already been discussed ad infintum.

  193. Ted Says:

    @ Oli

    Thanks, I am certain that the countries you mention, like the U.S. and China, also have their fair share of prejudice and racism. I also appreciate you directing me to “Chocolate City” and the other posts on FM that get into these issues. Having read them I think my opinion remains valid.

    I certainly agree that the experiences I mentioned do not represent the opinions of all Chinese. If that were the case this blog wouldn’t exist. As long as comments such as Wahaha #182 are posted folks should expect some fingers pointed back. And sorry, those and other anecdotal experiences are all I have on the subject, I thought they were more concrete than Wahaha’s generalizations.

    @Admin – Are these the kind of comments you set up the open thread for? too off topic?

  194. admin Says:


    Thread drift is hard to avoid, so don’t worry about it. If you want to comment on something that hasn’t been covered on this site, then the open thread is a good place to go.

  195. Sandy Says:

    The most the Tibetans can hope for is that one day the Chinese government will allow free
    and open practice of religion. If the Tibetans had been as virtuous in their religion as they want people
    to believe, Their protecting deities (Tara and Dorje Shugdan) would not have allowed this take over in the first place. So the Karmic causes stem from the Tibetans themselves. If the Karmic Causes were
    currently resolved, they would have more freedom in the Tibetan Chinese region. Obviously the
    Chinese were used as an instrument to give the Tibetans the Karmic repurcussions of some wrong
    they themselves committed. When their wrong actions are corrected, the situation in Tibet will be
    more peaceful and negotiations more friendly. I suggest the Tibetans become as aware of
    dependent origination (the Buddhas teaching) as they claim to be and look to themselves as the cause for all that has occurred.

    In the long run, the Chinese have everything to gain in the area of tourism and international
    relations and should invite His Holiness to return to Tibet and teach the Dharma if for no other reason
    than the whole world would flock to see him. All Tibetans have to do is accept what they themselves have caused and work according to the laws of China. United States laws of expression are not available in
    China. However the Chinese do allow some forms of expression so long as they do not fall under
    the description of treason. Outside of China activists have it on their side to demonstrate in major
    cities all over the world and invite media to help them embarrass the Chinese government who is trying
    to get a better image worldwide. “Da”-activists are not using the very weapon that could be very effective if well coordinated with world media for events carefully scheduled. Chinese government will not consider religious freedoms of any kind for its’ citizens until it believes this will not disrupt productivity and civil
    peace and obedience.


  1. Global Voices Online » China: Dalai Lama’s 30-years of dialogue

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