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Jan 04

(Letter) What if the Dalai Lama returned to Tibet as a private citizen? Some details …

Written by Otto Kerner on Sunday, January 4th, 2009 at 4:46 am
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In a recent letter, I wondered aloud if it might be possible for the Dalai Lama to retire from politics and return to Tibet as a private, nonpolitical citizen. Is it possible that the goodwill created by such a move could prove more productive in the long-run than political negotiations would?

I got to thinking about some of the details that would need to be settled in order for this to be possible. I came up with eight specific points, although the eighth is a bit of an epilogue and would not be implemented until the government decides things are going well.

I suspect these points would in fact be accepted by neither side, but I’m interested in specifically why not. If nothing else, this is a conversation that could actually be had, as opposed to the government-in-exile’s negotiations with the PRC so far, which have basically been over before they began.

0) The agreement is based on the idea that the Dalai Lama will retire from politics for the duration of his current life, while the PRC government will refrain from interfering with his religious activities.

1) the Dalai Lama will be have a Chinese passport and will be able to travel freely into and out of the PRC.

2) the Dalai Lama will not engage in any political activities in public or in private and will not make any public political statements. The Dalai Lama may address any topic in private discussions with or petitions to the central government or its specified representatives.

3) the exception to point 2 is that the Dalai Lama may make political statements if those statements are mutually agreeable to himself and the PRC government. The PRC government will not expect or demand any particular political statements, such as statements about the history of Tibet or the Taiwan issue. The PRC government will not expect or demand the Dalai Lama’s presence at any particular meetings or festivals.

4) the Dalai Lama will live in Tibet at Drepung Monastery. The Dalai Lama will be able to travel to Beijing and return to Drepung at will.

5) the Dalai Lama will be considered the abbot of Drepung, and will be in charge of religious teachings there. For the foreseeable future, the Dalai Lama will not have a role in governing any other Tibetan monasteries. (The nature of the Dalai Lama’s relationship to the other Gelug monasteries will be eventually determined along with the structure of “separation of church and state” in Tibet. This is an interesting topic, since separation of church and state has never existed in Tibet in the past, but it’s a separate topic). The governance of Drepung is contingent on the nonpolitical behavior of the monks and other students residing there. In the event that people from Drepung engage in political activities that disrupt law and order, the Dalai Lama’s governance may be temporarily revoked.

6) the 15th Dalai Lama, the successor to the current Dalai Lama, will be located and validated by representatives of the current Dalai Lama. The current Dalai Lama should list those representatives specifically by name or by religious function. The persons listed should be religious leaders, such as the Ganden Tripa, or independent scholars, rather than members of the government-in-exile. Among the members of the search committee will be at least two tutors appointed by the Dalai Lama; the tutors will conduct the religious instruction and oversee the education of the future 15th Dalai Lama. In the event that any of the tutors dies or otherwise becomes unable to carry out his duties before the majority of the 15th Dalai Lama, the other members of the search committee will appoint replacements. The current Dalai Lama will state plainly that he plans to reborn somewhere that the search committee will be able to find him, and that this means that he will be reborn in India if conditions in Tibet at the time make it impossible for the search committee to carry out its responsibilities freely. The PRC government will accept the decision of the Dalai Lama’s search committe on this matter (this section of the agreement should be worded ambiguously, in order to be compatible with both of the following views: a) that the approval of the central government is required in order to have a new Dalai Lama, but the central government has agreed to accept the judgment of the search committee in this one instance; or b) that the approval of the central government is completely irrelevant to the identity of the Dalai Lama, but is being sought to avoid political problems).

7) if either side violates the terms of this agreement to extent that it can no longer be carried out, then the Dalai Lama will leave Tibet and go back into exile. No attempts should be made to detain him.

8) the issue of Gendün Chökyi Nyima, whom the Dalai Lama considers to be the current Panchen Lama, does not need to be resolved at the same time as the issue of the Dalai Lama’s personal status; however, if moves toward a resolution could be begun within a few years of the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet, that would represent an important show of good faith. After the above points have been put into practice and things are going well, the Chinese government should arrange one or two short meetings between Gendün Chökyi Nyima and the Dalai Lama or his representatives, possibly along with representatives of neutral international bodies. Since the Chinese government has raised concerns about Gendün Chökyi Nyima’s privacy, he may be reluctant to take part in such a meeting. However, the government should request, now that he is an adult, that he attend as a patriotic duty, since his appearance will counter aspersions that have been cast upon the government and prove that he has not been mistreated. After the meetings, Gendün Chökyi Nyima may go back to living in seclusion if that is his preference. On the other hand, if he prefers, he should be allowed further meetings with the Dalai Lama or his representatives. If, after a period of discussion, they wish to do so, Gendün Chökyi Nyima and his family should eventually be allowed either to live publicly in Tibet or to go into exile in southern India.


There are currently 5 comments highlighted: 24679, 25050, 25067, 25146, 25410.

226 Responses to “(Letter) What if the Dalai Lama returned to Tibet as a private citizen? Some details …”

  1. Steve Says:

    @ Otto Kerner: First of all, thanks for putting this together. It obviously took a lot of time to come up with such a thorough proposal.

    I’m not that knowledgeable about this subject, so I wanted to ask you a question regarding the first point.

    0) “…while the PRC government will refrain from interfering with his religious activities.”

    I was under the impression that the government didn’t allow any independent religious activities in China, but that every religion had to be under the auspices of a party appointed leader. For instance, the Catholic Church in China is not allowed to acknowledge the Pope but is under a government appointed “bishop”. To a Catholic, this makes the Church a non-Catholic church. If the government allowed the Dalai Lama to head the Tibetan church with no interference, would this establish a dangerous precedent in their eyes?

    Everything else you wrote seemed like a good starting place for various discussions. Because this particular subject is normally very heated, I commend you for sticking your neck out. 😀

  2. kui Says:

    “The agreement is based on the idea that the Dalai Lama will retire from politics for the duration of his current life,”

    So the Dalia Lama retire? from politics for now and will come back to possess both political power and religious power in his next life and next next life and so on…… Looks like a TROJAN HORSE at least to me.

  3. BMY Says:

    I don’t believe there are words like “retirement” and “private citizen” for Dalai Lama. How could him to be a private citizen? Could most of his religious follower just treat him as ordinary Tezen in the street without worshiping him anymore? As long as someone being mass worshiped as a living god, there will be no retirement for this person to be away from religion/politics/public.

  4. Netizen K Says:

    A private citizen of China? Have you got his holiness’s or tgie’s view on this?

    I think the problem with Dalai Lama is that he has too many Westerners giving him adivces to do this or to do that without knowing history or culture of Tibet.

    Most of this type of advice are opportunistic or instrumental and are seen by the Chinese as lack of honesty. As a result, Dalai Lama had to backtrack or deny more often than not.

    I count this as bad advice.

    Instead, I would advice his holiness to return without any pre-conditions and with only one promise. That is he will only attend to religious affairs.

  5. Allen Says:

    My problem is with point 2, 6, 7, and perhaps 8.

    To me all these sound more like an attempt to do what is politically expedient for the DL at this time (buying him time politically), than an attempt to get the DL out of politics.

    But that’s just my opinion…

  6. Otto Kerner Says:

    Steve,

    Thanks for your comment and question. I think that the analogy between the Pope and the Dalai Lama can be potentially misleading. The Pope’s role in Catholic Church necessarily involves his authority over the church, but this is much more complicated when it comes to Tibetan Buddhist leaders. Generally speaking, the latter enjoy prestige and respect but very limited if any authority outside of their own monasteries. In the Dalai Lama’s case, this was historically a bit different because he was also a political power in much of Tibet. Also, note that two of the most important Tibetan monasteries that were beyond the Dalai Lama’s political control, Labrang (Gansu) and Kumbum (Qinghai), are technically subsidiary branches of Drepung, the Dalai Lama’s home monastery; that means that, if the Dalai Lama had authority there, it’s not necessarily because he was the head of the whole sect (when I said that the Dalai Lama would be treated as abbot of Drepung, I meant only the main location, not including Labrang and Kumbum, which are thousands of miles away).

    What I’m getting at is that I think we can separate the Dalai Lama’s religious teaching activities from his religious authority, which should be limited if any. I’m not suggesting that the Chinese government should set the Dalai Lama up as head of the Tibetan Buddhist church. I’m suggesting that he could return to Tibet and give religious teachings with no authority outside of his own monastery.

  7. Steve Says:

    @ Otto Kerner: Thanks for your explanation. It makes a lot more sense to me now.

    Regarding BMY’s statement “As long as someone being mass worshiped as a living god, there will be no retirement for this person to be away from religion/politics/public.”, isn’t the DL considered to be the reincarnation of a god? If so, what BMY says makes sense to me. How can a living god retire? My guess is that you mean to retire politically as head of the government in exile, but continue on in his religious role. Can that be done? Or is his prominence too great and his followers will continue to rely on him for both religious and political leadership? Is the nature of his religious position also politically based?

    In a somewhat similar situation in Taiwan (though I realize there are major differences), the CCP just waited out Chen’s term until someone replaced him. Isn’t this the same strategy for the DL? It seems that once the CCP determines a strategy, they just don’t change it. It would also seem to contradict what Allen said; at his age, is buying time a relevant strategy? He doesn’t have that much time left since he is already 73. I know the CCP had a definite timeline for Chen because of the two term limit and the DL could live to 100, but he could also die in the next few years. Do you think this also drives the CCP’s policies concerning him?

    @ Netizen K: Do you think that the DL is accepting advice from western powers, or is he more pro-active and successfully lobbying for their support as he gives them advice?

  8. Otto Kerner Says:

    Steve, the Dalai Lama is considered to be an incarnation of a great bodhisattva, which might be similar to what you mean by a god. I think that this does mean that the Dalai Lama cannot retire from his religious role, so I am suggesting that he might retire as head of the exile government while keeping his religious role (this was in response to comments he made implying that he might retire).

    Re: Steve #7 and BMY #3. There’s no question of Tibetans treating the Dalai Lama as ordinary Tenzin from the block — he would still be the Dalai Lama in religious terms. It’s true that the Dalai Lama’s political and religious roles are somewhat intermingled. Some Tibetans — apparently a large number — look to him for political leadership. This is because PRC policies have made it impossible for them to develop new political or civil leaders that enjoy the confidence of the people. I think it’s not so unusual for a group of people to fall back on religious leaders to fill the void left when civil society is suppressed. I’m not completely sure that it will be practical for the Dalai Lama to really give up his political role — would he come under constant pressure from ordinary Tibetans to give them political direction? Nothing can be done in Tibet that doesn’t involve some risk for both sides.

  9. Otto Kerner Says:

    Re: kui #2,

    I don’t think a “Trojan Horse” is exactly what we’re talking about, but I do think you are quite right that this is not a permanent solution, which means that it will not prevent conflict between the Dalai Lama and the government in the future. I see this as public-relations ceasefire, in which the Dalai Lama and the government agree to stop arguing for the remainder of his natural life. With any ceasefire, fighting could start again in the future, but the hope is that, by waiting for a while, a permanent resolution of the conflict might eventually not seem so impossible.

  10. Otto Kerner Says:

    Re: Netizen K #4,

    You give better advice because of your deep knowledge of Tibetan history and culture? Have you ever noticed that some Chinese people sometimes seem to think that they understand Tibet simply by virtue of being Chinese?

    “I would advise his holiness to return without any pre-conditions and with only one promise. That is he will only attend to religious affairs.” That sounds pretty close to what I’m talking about. You advise an even more unconditional surrender? What a true friend you are! Let’s review what the conditions are that I’m suggesting:

    0) “the government does not interfere with his religious activities”. It sounds like you agree with this, since you have said that he should attend to religious affairs;

    1) “have a Chinese passport and will be able to travel freely into and out of the PRC.”. What? You think think he should agree not to visit any foreign countries for the rest of his life?

    2) “may address any topic in private discussions with or petitions to the central government or its specified representatives.” If the Dalai Lama expresses his opinions in private to the CCP itself, what harm does that do?

    3) “The PRC government will not expect or demand any particular political statements … The PRC government will not expect or demand the Dalai Lama’s presence at any particular meetings or festivals.” Again, you apparently agree with this, since you want the Dalai Lama to attend only to religious affairs;

    4) “live in Tibet at Drepung Monastery … travel to Beijing and return to Drepung at will.” If he’s going to return to Tibet, why wouldn’t he live at his monastery? If he’s going to be a citizen of the PRC, why shouldn’t he have the right to travel to the capital?

    5) be the abbot of Drepung, except when the government determines there is a security risk. How can he attend to his religious affairs without a monastery to teach at? If the government is allowed to suspend his administration there any time it feels like, what’s the problem?

    6) “the successor to the current Dalai Lama, will be located and validated by representatives of the current Dalai Lama.” I suppose this is the sticking point. But how could the Dalai Lama ever even consider returning to China if that meant the government would be able to appoint its own Dalai Lama to replace him? That could never happen.

    7) If the agreement falls apart, the Dalai Lama will go back into exile rather than being arrested. Again, how could the Dalai Lama ever consider going back to China if he thought that any problems in the future were going to lead to him ending up in a Chinese prison?

    So, what, specifically, are the pre-conditions that need to be dropped and why? How would I revise these suggestions if I developed a deeper understanding Tibetan history and culture?

  11. Otto Kerner Says:

    Re: Steve #7, the CCP sure is trying to wait out the Dalai Lama, but the difference between that and waiting out Chen Shui-bian. Chen was more pro-independence than the average person in Taiwan, so, by waiting, there was a good chance that somebody better from Beijing’s perspective would take over. The best case scenario (again from Beijing’s perspective) is that the Dalai Lama is replaced by nobody (I mean as a charismatic leader who enjoys tacit political support inside Tibet), because there’s never going to be a popular Tibetan leader who is more pro-China than him … not any time soon.

  12. wuming Says:

    I think this is a pretty reasonable starting point. It addressed the separation of church and state issue. This separation is important not because of the ideological precedents of the west but because it is a sticking point that made Tibetan problem intractable.

    As for the charade of living Buddha rebirth, it is hard for me to stomach anyway it is done. Vatican is no longer pretending divine inspiration in Pope selection except in a metaphorical sense. However I wouldn’t mind the institution continues since it will certainly be better than “democratically” selecting a living Buddha.

    On the other hand, the proposal seems to be much further from DL’s and TGIE’s position than that of the Chinese government position. Can something like this fly?

  13. Allen Says:

    @wuming,

    You wrote:

    I think this is a pretty reasonable starting point. It addressed the separation of church and state issue.

    Except Otto Kerner’s suggestions don’t address the separation of church and state at all…

    Read critically through the suggestions again – you’ll see this is a political solution – not one based on separation of church and state.

    If the DL doesn’t like his situation, he can simply violate the agreements, go back into exile, and start being a political figure (not that he’s not a political figure while he’s inside China, as he really is as the suggestions are currently written).

    If the DL truly is to be out of politics, does it make sense there will be demand of political control of the reincarnation process?

    I haven’t spent much time making comments on this thread because to me it’s an obvious no starter, so I have sat back and observed. But I thought your response deserve a short reply.

    If the DL had truly wanted to return as a truly religious and cultural figure, not only would the DL have been able to return, but would have been promoted and loved inside China. Unfortunately, that’s is alternative universe fantasy.

    Even if the DL personally changes his mind tomorrow, I don’t think he can. He’s got too much vested interests outside China to answer to to be able to do that.

    The DL may be god-king – but even god-kings cannot escape the basic laws of physics – such as the law of inertia.

  14. wuming Says:

    That’s why I said “starting point”. For the sake of argument let us assume that the parties started to negotiate along this lines, while put aside other issues. The government side could easily demand further strengthening the non-political nature of DL and turn it into a permanent separation between the position of DL and Tibet’s governance. Which will be a very good thing. I understand there are potential risks if these positions are accepted by the government as they are, but I think it is still worth it to obtain long term stability.

    I think the main weakness of the proposal is that it is a non-starter, I highly doubt that DL is willing to accept even these points, let alone further restrictions on him that may come as the result of the give-and-take during the negotiation.

  15. Allen Says:

    @wuming #14 – ok I guess I took “starting point” to mean something a little more substantive than you meant…

    Another thing that I think Otto may have unintentionally brought up is what is the meaning of the separation of religion and state.

    Obviously the meaning in the context of the West, the Middle East, traditional Tibetan culture, traditional Chinese Han culture, current Chinese political regime – would all be very different…

    And how this line ought to be drawn is not strictly a “cultural” or “religious” issue – but a political question as well…

  16. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen:
    “If the DL truly is to be out of politics, does it make sense there will be demand of political control of the reincarnation process?” – isn’t the reincarnation process a religious one? And if you allow the Dalai Lama to retain a religious role, shouldn’t he be involved in a religious process? In fact, isn’t it China that’s politicizing the reincarnation process by wanting to have a say in it?

    I agree Otto is not referring to separation of church and state. He’s talking about separation of the Dalai Lama and politics. Until China can tolerate an independent church, there’s no need to worry about its separation from the state. At the rate China’s going, that’s a question for the next generation, if not later.

  17. kui Says:

    @ Otto.

    Dalai Lama used to possess both political and religious power and he still does on a much smaller scale while he is in exiles. He is not happy to let the Dalai Lama position become a religious figure only. Dalai Lama has not learnt that church combining state does not belongs to this centurary. He has to learn or he waits himself out.

  18. wuming Says:

    @SKC, Allen

    I always feel uncomfortable adapting the concept of separation of Church and State to the Chinese case. The dominant religions are different and their functions in the societies are also different. If the concept has any relevance in the Chinese situation, it has to do with the spread of western religions in China. It would be sad to see China turn into another South Korea where strands of Christian fundamentalism become so pervasive.

    As for non-Tibetan form of Buddhism, I don’t see any restrictions on their practices now in China. In the recent decades, China probably has the largest expansion in religious life in the world. To see that, just count the number of giant Guan Yin statues erected all over China.

    Tibetan Buddhism is another matter. It is complicated by two factors: the first is the theocratic tradition and the other is its peculiar set of practices. Tibetan Buddhism is actually very popular in China, and my guess is that people are attracted to it precisely because some of the peculiarity made it somehow more exotic and pure in the believers’ eyes. I and others on this blog have written about the problems associated with dual nature (religious and political) of the Tibetan Buddhism, which as I stated above is one of the real obstacles for resolving the Tibet problem. I like Otto’s proposal because it attempts to peel this issue away by looking at a seemingly isolated issue of the status of Dalai Lama.

  19. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Wuming,

    I’m not sure that it makes sense to try to isolate the status of HHDL. He has in the past been offered various posts in the Chinese government, etc. as an inducement to return, all of which he has turned down. And he has himself renounced many of his political responsibilities within the TGIE. The sticking point isn’t his status but the rights of the Tibetan people as a whole.

    What are those rights? Basically, the right to choose their own leaders and speak their own language in all settings and practice their religion however the hell they please. Some would say that those rights aren’t granted to anyone else in China. But that’s the point—-Tibet should be, at the least, an autonomous region. Mao said so himself, in so many words, until he changed his mind.

    This really is a political issue no matter how you play it and not such a different issue from, say, the rights of Kurds in Turkey or Kashmiris in India or Puerto Ricans and Hawaiins in the U.S. That’s not to say it is impossible to solve (or that those hotspots are impossible to solve, either). The 17-Point Agreement has some merits. Hu Yaobang was on the right track in the 1980s.

    If we obscure the issue by focusing on HHDL or on Tibet’s past “feudalism” or the “theocracy” of the government in exile (which still has livelier public debates than the CCP) then we not only miss the point, we risk punting the problems into the future.

  20. Old Tales Retold Says:

    I should add, too, that focusing on the bigger issues in regards to Tibet doesn’t need to lead to paralysis, as in Palestine. One can still be incremental—as long as there is some obvious momentum toward change.

  21. Allen Says:

    @SKC #16,

    You wrote:

    isn’t the reincarnation process a religious one? And if you allow the Dalai Lama to retain a religious role, shouldn’t he be involved in a religious process? In fact, isn’t it China that’s politicizing the reincarnation process by wanting to have a say in it?

    Yes and no. Traditionally, the Lamas participated in religious rituals and ceremonies and the central government on the conferring of political power. In fact, despite the 13th DL’s call for Tibetan independence from a weak ROC, today’s DL actually recognized the weak ROC (he didn’t do this because he was afraid of Chiang-kai shek’s army) and obtained his legitimacy and power from the then gov’t of ROC.

    Today … the DL now wants to control the reincarnation process to such an extent as personally handpicking a successor – now that is against all traditional rules, rituals and processes. I don’t want to criticize the DL (there is no point), but I want to briefly touch on how it is the DL who has politicized the process.

  22. Allen Says:

    @Old Tales Retold

    You wrote:

    The sticking point isn’t his status but the rights of the Tibetan people as a whole.

    Yes and no. If the only issue were political rights as relating to the Tibetan people, the DL needs not be in the picture. There is already an internal process for Tibetans to assert political rights. The system may not be perfect as a whole, but China will evolve – and it is a more legitimate way to work for change in China through this mechanism than playing foreign policy.

    I still think the status of DL does deserves attention. It is the DL’s move though whether he wants to continue to play politics or begin a new era of promoting a new brand of Tibetan Buddhism that appeals to not just ethnic Tibetans – but Chinese from all over the country – and in fact truth as it relates to humanity from all walks of life.

    It is his move though…

  23. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Allen,

    I’m not sure that HHDL needs to be in the picture in such a big way at all. But he would make any future negotiating process easier, as he is so respected. As to the “internal process” for Tibetans asserting their rights, I’m not sure quite what you mean. Do you mean the National People’s Congress? The letters and visits offices? Internal Party channels? The Chinese media? Have Tibetans gained any concessions from these? Can you name a single concession?

    Have Tibetans been able to display pictures of their religious leader in their offices? Have they been able to redirect economic policy in a way that is more beneficial for them? Have they been able to kick out hacks like Zhang Qingli? And when they have even tried “internal” mechanisms, haven’t they almost always been arrested? Even low-key cultural preservation NGOs are routinely shut down. Let alone popular protests.

    Of course, things are better now for Tibetans than during the Cultural Revolution, but then China as a whole is very different from that time. In many ways, Tibetans enjoyed more autonomy in the 1980s than today.

    As to the legitimacy of internationalizing issues, I’m afraid we don’t see eye to eye.

    My general feeling is that every issue is an international issue and that there’s no shame in seeking global solidarity to solve local problems. South Africa would never have been freed and America would still be living with Jim Crow if it weren’t for the internationalization of the issue of racial inequality. Spain (unsuccessfully) resisted Franco through the International Brigades. Chile was able to finally shake of Pinochet through the success of its activists in gaining international support. China itself carried out a revolution with help from the Comintern.

  24. Old Tales Retold Says:

    The attitude by some toward Tibetans—and Palestinians and others—often seems to be: “We know things aren’t always great for you, but if you were just a little nicer in asking for your rights, I’m sure someone would give you a fair hearing, eventually. You just have to be patient. Maybe you could straighten out your own leadership in the meantime?”

    If you ask for patience and “internal processes,” you have to be specific or it sounds like a stalling maneuver.

  25. Allen Says:

    @Old Tales Retold #23 #24, here I’m afraid we’re going to slip from facts to made up facts and perceptions … but that’s ok. We’ll agree to disagree.

    As for your internationalization of every domestic issue – I completely disagree. Where would that leave self determination and effective governance? You know that in reality international law is really based only on international politics (those with the military power made the laws and the international bodies; the so-called international order is kept together only through an astronomically disproportional military spending by the West as compared to the rest of the World) …

    On a more philosophical level, we might ask: does the U.S. have the interest of the Chinese in mind more than the Chinese government? Does the EU? Does the UN? If not – why internationalize an issue?

    (Note: I personally see the South African case is a special case. South Africa is part of the Western polity. What the West want to do with one of its own – on moral or other grounds – is really up to the West…)

    We can even ask: are we bloggers really in the best position to make policy decisions of other countries? Do we even have all the facts? Is the comic soap box that is the supposedly free press of the West the place to air out political discussions of policies in foreign lands?

    Anyways – international governance can be a helpful ideal vision – but like communism, capitalism, etc., its ideological promulgation will only lead to ruins, loss of effective governance, destruction of lives …

    Here is an interesting op-ed in the NY Times today on national sovereignty and International Law (from a U.S. perspective, of course) that people may be interested.

  26. Wukailong Says:

    @Old Tales Retold, Allen: I think some things are mixed up here. On the one side, I don’t think every issue is an international issue (at least not if you look at what people take interest in), but at the same time I don’t think international attention or even some meddling is morally wrong. The latter (that “disturbing internal affairs” is always wrong) mostly seems to be the view of dictatorships as such, and I can’t really see how it can be justified. Of course it’s not justified invading other countries or deliberately destabilizing them, but then we are talking about matters on a different scale (it’s a bit different criticizing the rule in Tibet than invading Iraq).

    When there is international attention to an issue, it’s often because you have opposing forces of an ideological nature. South Africa wasn’t just the West criticizing itself but a visible struggle between the ones who didn’t care much (Reagan and Thatcher) and others who were against trade with the country. The latter forces were the successful ones if you consider the final turnout their merit.

    Bloggers are of course not the ones to make the policy decisions, but criticizing a country or providing input isn’t the same thing as making a decision for another country.

    “On a more philosophical level, we might ask: does the U.S. have the interest of the Chinese in mind more than the Chinese government? Does the EU? Does the UN? If not – why internationalize an issue?”

    That’s a good question, and one that I often believe has to be answered in the affirmative. I do believe people from other countries sometimes have more interested in the well-being of, for example, poor people in the US than the US government has itself. Even if it’s just a perception, it will be enough to gather international attention. Governments in the future will have to learn to cope with this situation.

  27. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen #21:
    “Traditionally, the Lamas participated in religious rituals and ceremonies and the central government on the conferring of political power.” – but if the point is to separate the Dalai Lama from politics, then there is no political power to confer. So if reincarnation is strictly a religious process, how can China justify a claim as a stakeholder? If China was keen to see the Dalai Lama (this one or any subsequent one) removed from the political arena, a good first step would be for her to get the heck out of the way. Or does China want to have it both ways?

  28. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen #21:
    “Is the comic soap box that is the supposedly free press of the West the place to air out political discussions of policies in foreign lands?”- maybe not the best, but can you think of a better place? Was the Chinese media, perhaps, what you had in mind?

  29. Allen Says:

    @SKC #27,

    I’m not sure if I got exactly what you are getting at… but my point is exactly what I thought I wrote: the DL is using culture and religion (e.g. religious rituals and ceremonies) as a pretext to play politics.

    I can give a legal analogy with unscrupulous judges who want to create outcomes that suit their desires / needs in the name of the law. Instead of actually upholding the law, these unscrupulous judges become partial umpires … part-time politicians in robes. They should no longer be called “judges” even though they still go to court, wear robes, and quote the law…

    If the DL really only cares “strictly” (I’ll take your definition) about culture and religion, he will get the full backing and support of the CCP as well as Chinese people like me … 🙂

  30. wuming Says:

    @OTR

    The bottom line for any Chinese government is that it will not allow secession or movement toward it. And the Chinese government is convinced that the bottom line of DL and TGIE is secession. I don’t think under the circumstance there is anyway to address the core issue until the parties can restore mutual trust.

    Paradoxically, I think resolving the status of DL and negotiating the degrees of religious freedom in Tibet can be one the ways to establish trust. As I stated above, I don’t think the government has any problem with the practices of the Tibetan Buddhism per se, only its link to the secessionist movement. Therefore a test case of depoliticizing of Tibetan Buddhism can be reassuring to both sides. Who better than DL himself to be the test case? If he is arguing for the interest of Tibetan Buddhism and even interest of Tibetan people from a non-political point of view, imagine how strong a position he will actually be in.

    Just to clarify myself, I have problem with dredging up the terms “feudalism” and “theocracy” to argue against Tibetan independence as well. I believe that old system in Tibet was a product of its time and history. When I use the term theocracy, I used it in a neutral sense that awaits further analysis as to its feasibility to the modern day Tibet.

  31. Allen Says:

    @SKC #28,

    “Is the comic soap box that is the supposedly free press of the West the place to air out political discussions of policies in foreign lands?”- maybe not the best, but can you think of a better place? Was the Chinese media, perhaps, what you had in mind?

    No .. not that Chinese media is meant to be a vehicle to disseminate public debate anyways – but through the full internal deliberation of the CCP – and the intellectual discourse of students in Universities, etc.

  32. Allen Says:

    @Wukailong #26,

    “On a more philosophical level, we might ask: does the U.S. have the interest of the Chinese in mind more than the Chinese government? Does the EU? Does the UN? If not – why internationalize an issue?”

    That’s a good question, and one that I often believe has to be answered in the affirmative. I do believe people from other countries sometimes have more interested in the well-being of, for example, poor people in the US than the US government has itself.

    I highly doubt this. Besides, if we really believe that a faraway people / gov’t in certain countries can actually care more and provide more for another people of another other country – we really ought to demand on normative grounds for the gov’t in these certain countries to take on these other countries as neo-modern colonies.

    I’m not being facetious. I seriously mean it. It will be for the benefit of humanity. It will be in the name of “human rights.”

    Fear not though. I’m not going to advocate this because I just don’t see how what you say can be true.

    A situation where a distant people in a distant land can actually care about and offer better solutions for another distant group of human brethren would be more a case of freakish accident than anything with enough permanence and substance to justify categorical internationalization of domestic issues.

    All this aside though, I also believe that learning from and criticizing each other in the context of genuine friendship – under the context of cultural exchange – is a very healthy thing.

    I believe in talking politics, social issues, religious issues with friends both within and across national and cultural lines.

    I just cannot say with a straight face that based on history and today’s political environment, in a world where international political power has been so closely based on national power, in a world where a people’s standard of living has been so inextricably been linked to international power, I can advocate that certain of humanity’s problems would now be better solved through some sort of international consensus (perhaps even, actually just Western consensus, if we are to take the normal “human rights” rhetoric at face value).

    Sounds more like opportunistic meddling than anything else to me…

  33. Wukailong Says:

    @Allen: Hmm, sometimes I wonder if I’m just bad at expressing myself.

    When you wrote this:

    “All this aside though, I also believe that learning from and criticizing each other in the context of genuine friendship – under the context of cultural exchange – is a very healthy thing.

    I believe in talking politics, social issues, religious issues with friends both within and across national and cultural lines. ”

    I resonate very much with this, and this was basically what I had in mind. Combine this with that I actually do think people from other countries can have ideas and criticism to contribute to another country’s situation. Obviously this is a hot potato, though (all your boldface indicates it), so I’ll just say this:

    I don’t think thinking in the lines of “do you really care about the people of X when you criticize its government” brings about any constructive dialog. And I don’t see how criticizing the idea that a government of a certain country always fundamentally cares most about its people is such an absurd idea. Sometimes, maybe not often, people from other places might play a more positive role. If you think it’s not, never ever, true about China, fine, I might even agree with you in some cases!

    It also seems you think in terms of faraway governments changing another country. I’m not in favor of that. Then we can seriously talk about “interfering in internal affairs.” I’m also not in favor of “categorical internationalization of domestic issues”, which is why I wrote to OTR that I don’t think all issues are international by default. However, what is a national/international question isn’t always so easy to delineate.

    Finally, here’s a philosophical question: what is really “caring”? What does it mean to care about a people? There you can give full play to culture, politics and economics – because there have been, and will be, many answers.

  34. Steve Says:

    Everyone here knows far more about the situation with the DL than I do, and I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s comments, even when they disagree. I’ve gleaned information from every commenter.

    I really agree with one thing Allen said, and it’s based on my own personal experience. I can read dozens of books about a foreign country, I can watch videos and TV specials, I can surf the net to get more information, I can even spend 2-3 weeks there on holiday to get a pretty good feel of the place. But none of this really allows me to understand that country unless I actually live there. It’s just different than anything you expect. Every country is that way.

    I have a pretty good idea of what China and Taiwan are about because I’ve lived in both places. I’ve never been to Tibet so all I know is what I read or see in the media, and quite frankly I don’t trust it. Richard Gere has never lived in Tibet, so how can he be so sure as to the situation there? Why should an actor, a person whose livelihood is dependent on pretending to be other people, have any greater influence than you or I? I can’t make the connection between the two except that he has money and is famous for a completely different reason than politics or religion.

    I think a foreign government can do its best work for another country by bringing together both sides as a sort of intermediary, such as Theodore Roosevelt between the Japanese and the Russians, or Jimmy Carter between the Egyptians and Israelis. But in the end, only the two sides can resolve their issues. Blatant interference is just that; resented by BOTH sides.

    Let’s be honest; right now it doesn’t seem that the CCP and the TGIE are really talking to each other. It might take an outside influence to bring them together. I’m not sure who would be best for that; isn’t the PM of Australia fluent in Mandarin? Would he be a good choice?

    Is it possible that the DL can have religious authority inside his own monastery and nowhere else? If what the Tibetans on this blog have said is true, then the DL has an innate political authority amongst the people that can’t be terminated by “agreement”. Wouldn’t that be the major stumbling block for the CCP when dealing with the DL?

  35. Allen Says:

    @Steve #34,

    Thanks for the support – at least in the context of seeing that the needs of peoples all over can be different from each other…

    In general, I really believe the proper exercise of both national sovereignty and international governance is important for advancement of the human condition across the world…

    The thing I am against is however for people to categorically think that for the case of China, because the CCP is somehow not a “legitimate” government, China’s national sovereignty ought somehow to be narrowed.

    I think the Chinese people deserve a sovereign government. I think the CCP – democratic or not – is the legitimate gov’t of China. The fact that the governance structure in China will almost inevitably have to undergo reform in the future does not argue that the Chinese sovereignty today ought to be diminished today.

    I am in the process of writing a post on the “legitimacy” of the Chinese gov’t (a topic you and many others here have shown some interest). Look forward to continuing our conversation there!

  36. Allen Says:

    @Wukailong #33,

    You wrote:

    I don’t think all issues are international by default. However, what is a national/international question isn’t always so easy to delineate.

    Finally, here’s a philosophical question: what is really “caring”? What does it mean to care about a people? There you can give full play to culture, politics and economics – because there have been, and will be, many answers.

    Definitely agree with this… will even note that for the independence-minded exiles who want to draw the domestic/international line at the border between Tibet and the rest of China, they can use all the arguments I made for China above to perhaps argue for Tibetan independence…

    Will also note that the exiles and Chinese like me all “care” very much for “Tibet” and “Tibetans” – albeit in radically different ways…

  37. Steve Says:

    @Allen #35: I completely agree with you that the Chinese government is both legitimate and sovereign. I don’t even see what there is to argue about, to be honest. That’s why I don’t understand all these discussions about the past. The only relevant issue about the past is that it’s gone and we’re where we are today, so the important thing in my mind is “where do we go from here?” Whether you think the current government structure should remain the way it is, change incrementally or change radically, it’s still legitimate since the Chinese people see it as legitimate, at least the Chinese I know.

  38. Otto Kerner Says:

    Is “legitimacy” a relevant concept here? The Chinese government is sovereign in Tibet because it is much stronger than anyone else there. What makes its rule there legitimate?

  39. Otto Kerner Says:

    Allen,

    Are you going to respond to OTR’s questions in the first half of #23?

  40. Steve Says:

    @ Otto Kerner: I guess we’ll wait for Allen’s new post on the legitimacy issue. Sounds like it’ll be a popular topic.

    I agree; I’d like to hear Allen’s reply to OTR’s questions in #23. They are really good questions.

  41. Wukailong Says:

    @Otto Kerner: “The Chinese government is sovereign in Tibet because it is much stronger than anyone else there.”

    Isn’t that true for any government?

    @Steve: Thanks for the description of understanding of a country based on living there. Despite some of my disagreements with Allen, I agree completely that the ones best suited to solve problems are the people of a nation, not outsiders, just because they know what’s important to them. Outsiders, depending on their knowledge and experience, can provide valuable input and/or criticism to help them in their work to achieve their goals.

    As for those in the West who question the legitimacy of the Chinese government because it’s not elected, I think their numbers are diminishing. The general trend seems to be towards more acceptance of the successes 30 years of reform have brought about.

  42. wuming Says:

    I will try to answer one of the questions by OTR #23:
    Have Tibetans been able to display pictures of their religious leader in their offices?
    The pictures of DL is banned not because DL is a religious leader, but a political one who put on the religious cap when convenient. For all his preaching of peace and non-violence, he was a leader of an armed rebellion, collaborated with foreign forces in an attempt to overthrow the rule of Chinese government over Tibet. He is still the political and spiritual leader of Tibetan independence. Would you have argued as strongly if DL is not a religious leader, but merely a national hero (Che for example) worshiped by some young monks?

    I think the banning of the picture is a stupid over-reaction by the government, but I can’t accept the implication of religious prosecution.

  43. Otto Kerner Says:

    Wukailong: Yes, it is true for any government. What I meant is that China’s sovereignty over Tibet is like any other government’s sovereignty, but I don’t see the point of talking about “legitimacy” unless a very specific context is given. The default sense of “legitimacy”, in Western discourse, at least, I guess is legitimacy through popularity, but I don’t think that applies in this case.

  44. Otto Kerner Says:

    wuming, what about a photograph of Gendün Chökyi Nyima, who some people call the current Panchen Lama? I wonder how that would go over?

    Actually, I don’t think it’s very important whether pictures of the Dalai Lama or any other lama appear in an office, per se, since that is a public area and religious displays don’t seem very appropriate (an inconspicuous religious image should be okay, but if none is allowed, that doesn’t seem like such a great atrocity).

  45. Steve Says:

    @ Otto Kerner #43: Otto, I saw it as something slightly different. For me, sovereignty is about control, and legitimacy is about recognition. Under that definition, as an example, Taiwan would be sovereign but would only be quasi-legitimate because of its international status and the “one China” policy.

    Since the DL has said he doesn’t want independence for Tibet but rather a greater degree of autonomy, isn’t he saying in effect that China is a legitimate government that he wants to negotiate with?

    I could be completely off on my definitions and look forward to hearing everyone’s input.

  46. wuming Says:

    Otto, what about a photograph of Gendün Chökyi Nyima, who some people call the current Panchen Lama?

    Then of course it is even more unnecessary. But once again it is a series of political actions and reactions whose merit I have no desire to argue. I agree with OTR that the ability to get rid of likes of Zhang Qingli is important, with or without free elections

    I have two personal reactions to the whole rebirth business:

    First, it is a pity that a religious function is tainted so thoroughly by politics.

    Second, the religious function itself is so dreadfully silly, maybe it is not such a pity after all. But that is really just my personal taste.

  47. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen #29:
    I thought my point was also abundantly clear. As pertains to Otto’s suggestions, if the Dalai Lama returns to China and stays out of politics, the Chinese government should likewise stay out of his religion, up to and including the reincarnation process. If your assertion is that, no matter what he does, and to what agreements he enters, the Dalai Lama will still one way or another embroil himself in politics, then, as you suggested earlier but for other reasons, this discussion is pointless, and I’m not sure why we’re having it. But with that mode of thinking, you might begin to understand why people may question the dependability of guarantees made by the Chinese government.

  48. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen #31:
    “not that Chinese media is meant to be a vehicle to disseminate public debate anyways” – you don’t say…

    “full internal deliberation of the CCP – and the intellectual discourse of students in Universities” – not that the fullest degree of the most probative navel-gazing in human history, in the course of such deliberation, would constitute anything even remotely representing Representation in a democratic sense, but I digress…
    So you do have a soft spot for “intellectuals” after all.

  49. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #48: You comment reminded me of an old expression: “Students have passion but no experience; working people have experience but no passion; intellectuals have no passion and no experience.” 😉

  50. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen #35:
    “I think the Chinese people deserve a sovereign government. I think the CCP – democratic or not – is the legitimate gov’t of China.” – absolutely agree; in fact, not sure how one wouldn’t agree with that statement.

    “China’s national sovereignty ought somehow to be narrowed.” – and because of the above, I obviously disagree. However, a sovereign nation is not and should not be immune to criticism. Look at the US with Gitmo and Israel with Gaza. The difference is that most nations don’t automatically reach for the “interfering with internal affairs” tagline every time they’re criticized.

  51. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    LOL. So what do you get when students engage in intellectual discourse? Lukewarm inexperience, i suppose.
    Actually, what I left unsaid (and am currently rectifying) is that, after you account for CCP members and university students, isn’t that leaving out a staggering number of great unwashed out of the discussion? That seems very paternalistic to me.

  52. Steve Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung:
    Good point. Under that same logic, CCP members pretty much have guaranteed job security so nothing like what normal working people go through, and university students aren’t yet in the workforce. Therefore, neither one really has a good idea of what most working people face in their lives.

  53. Allen Says:

    @OTR #23, Otto Kerner #39, Steve #40,

    By popular demand, I’ll reply to first half of #23 explicitly then (I will be earnest but hope I don’t sound too terse):

    In #23, OTR wrote:

    I’m not sure that HHDL needs to be in the picture in such a big way at all. But he would make any future negotiating process easier, as he is so respected. As to the “internal process” for Tibetans asserting their rights, I’m not sure quite what you mean. Do you mean the National People’s Congress? The letters and visits offices? Internal Party channels? The Chinese media? Have Tibetans gained any concessions from these? Can you name a single concession?

    Yes – by internal process I meant all of these – i.e. mechanisms including both political and social channels. The means for change and reform in China may not be perfect (which country’s is?) … but they exist. To think that the Chinese people need the help of foreigners to be liberated or to think the Chinese people can be so easily held hostage is condescending and propagandistic.

    I will ask again (from my previous comments): do people really think the CCP do not care about the Chinese people? Do people really think foreigners are in a better position to judge what gov’t is best for the Chinese people than the Chinese people? I personally believe the CCP’s finger more attuned to the political will of the people than standard Western democracies because their “legitimacy” is based on their competency at governance (not result of governance, just to be clear) not on political procedures as is in the West.

    As for the “any concessions” part – that to me is a pretty arrogant and simplistic way of posing the issue. No one doubts there have been a lot of changes that occur in Tibet proper over the last 30 years. No doubt, some of the changes have been good, some have caused problems. No doubt also some of the changes have benefited some segment of the population more than others.

    But to so blindly and categorically ask what concessions – if any – the Tibetans have gotten over the last 30 years demonstrates to me either an overly simplistic view or a simple lack of knowledge about the situation in Tibet.

    OTR also wrote:

    Have Tibetans been able to display pictures of their religious leader in their offices? Have they been able to redirect economic policy in a way that is more beneficial for them? Have they been able to kick out hacks like Zhang Qingli? And when they have even tried “internal” mechanisms, haven’t they almost always been arrested? Even low-key cultural preservation NGOs are routinely shut down. Let alone popular protests.

    As I have pointed out in various other places, the “ban” on display of the DL’s picture is political in nature – not religious or cultural. Sure the DL is supposed to also be a religious and cultural figure, but by playing international politics the way he has, the DL has made himself a political figure.

    To try to recast genuine political issues into religious ones (as OTR has in #23 and as Otto Kerner has in the original post) is, in my opinion, not helpful at the best … and disingenuous at the worst.

    As for Zhang Qingli – I don’t know what to say except to say that this type of questions does not promote substantive discussion. Judging by the tone of the question, OTR might as well have asked: has the CCP been booted out of Tibet (or even better the whole of China)?

    As for the existence of NGO’s – I know of many NGO’s – both domestic as well as international – that work hard on the ground to help people in Tibet improve their lives (I have a very good friend who is personally involved with Trace, as an example).

    Sure some NGO’s are agents of the DL and need to be shut down … but there are many others allowed to work with each other and with the government to help people in Tibet (as well as elsewhere in China).

  54. Steve Says:

    @ Allen: I follow your line of reasoning except in one instance where I’m not quite sure what you mean.

    “I personally believe the CCP’s finger more attuned to the political will of the people than standard Western democracies because their “legitimacy” is based on their competency at governance (not result of governance, just to be clear) not on political procedures as is in the West.”

    Since the CCP government is so competent at governing and enjoys the support of the vast majority of the population, why would they need to arrest and jail people who disagree with them? Why do they censor the internet? Wouldn’t the fact that they had a very high level of support make that criticism irrelevant? If so, why do they do it?

  55. Allen Says:

    @Steve, here is my short response: social stability and effective governance.

    Why jail political dissidents? In China’s current circumstances, there is probably less social costs involved in jailing rotten apples than to have society weeding them out. Keep in mind that according to a recent NY Times piece, in the U.S., 1 out of 100 adults are in prison. Is that for social stability? Is it politically motivated? Before you smirk, understand that as a lawyer in the U.S., I have come to see how the law can and have been written and applied in a way to legalize many “political” “policy” issues in the US …

    I agree with you that China is probably stable enough to not to have to censor the internet … but I personally would defer to the government for now. It’s a small issue in the overall scheme of things.

  56. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    I don’t think anyone really appreciates job security until they no longer have it. Right now, that type of experience is translating into reverse migration in China of historic proportions. Although I suppose it must be historic since reverse migration has never happened before.
    Often, a lack of sophistication of the stereotypical rural farmer is listed as a reason why Chinese are not ready for democracy, for they wouldn’t know how to exercise it properly (also very paternalistic POV, IMO).
    So I wonder, is everyone in China who is non-CCP and non-university educated (and I imagine that’s a large mass of humanity) really that dense? I wonder what the average level of education is in China, related to a North American metric. Grade 1? Grade 7? Grade 10? What level of education does one need in order to grasp the ethereal concept of democracy?
    So as these millions of big-city seasoned folks head back west, I wonder what effect, if any, that will have on the average level of sophistication in these vast rural areas.

  57. Allen Says:

    @SKC #48,

    “So you do have a soft spot for “intellectuals” after all.

    Only up to an extent. Students in Universities at least have the resources to devote time and energy to think through issues and policy ramifications than the average worker or farmer who work 70-80 hours a week. So their opinions carry some weight … though are by no means dispositive.

  58. S.K. Cheung Says:

    “social stability” – good god, if i had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that phrase…

  59. Allen Says:

    @SKC #58,

    According to Google search, there are 52 instances that the term “social stability” can be found in foolsmountain.

    For a nickel an instance, you now have $2.60! 🙂

  60. Wukailong Says:

    I’m curious about the point Allen raised about prisoners. The US indeed have a very large number of prisoners compared to its size of population. Here is a compilation of number of prisoners for more than 200 countries (as it says in the introduction, take the numbers with a pinch of salt as they do not necessarily show data from the same time frame, and practices vary):

    http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/pdfs2/r188.pdf

    The US leads the world with 686 prisoners per 100000 inhabitants which sets it apart from Europe or the other Western countries (China comes in at a humble 111). Does anyone know why this is?

  61. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen #58:
    interesting indeed, although my own google search didn’t turn up #55, #58, or #59. So maybe some are getting missed. And maybe I should seek a nickel not just for the phrase itself, but also for the euphemisms thereof, which, while different in a literal sense, elicit the identical visceral response.

  62. Tom Says:

    First of all, let’s get this one squared away, Capitalism is Not Democracy.

    Prior to the 1930s, the United States of America was rarely referred to as a democracy. It still isn’t.

    http://www.banned-books.com/truth-seeker/1994archive/121_3/ts213d.html

    Canada is a constitutional monarchy.

    Secondly, anybody can buy into democracy as a grand ideology, but does it exist????

    Take the MLM business scheme for example. Anybody can buy into the Amway dream.

    But how many wakes up the poorer from having gone to bed with thiefs and scoundrels? And where to scoundrels go for refuge? Politics.

    Now, uneducated ordinary folks have made it big with Amway’s Multi-level marketing system, just as highly educated folks have gained from it or rejected it or have failed to benefit from joining the scheme.

    As a matter of fact, Amway’s long “success’ history proves one thing more than anyyhing else, and that is that its so called free enterprise home distributionship system is totally useless, sometimes even harmful for the majority of any country’s popution.

    Now the retail business don’t suit everyone either, nor the wholesale or the Mom and Pop’s businesses. Academic training certainly ain’t the key nor the reason for any of these.

    There is only one system that has been at work in this world – And it’s called the system of “he who has the gun and gold makes the rules for everybody.”

    Who was it who hits the proverbial nail on its infinite head when he said,

    “Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”?

  63. Old Tales Retold Says:

    Any time Tibet is mentioned, this website has a long debate—and the debates are usually pretty good or at least have some pretty good moments.

    I may have overstated myself when I said that every issue should be internationalized. Perhaps I was trying to be provocative. At any rate, I meant something more specific: there is nothing illegitimate in a social movement mobilizing international solidarity for its mission. In fact, most successful movements have done just that.

    International solidarity, moreover, need not involve foreign governments at all. The 1997 UPS strike was successful because labor unions in Europe and Latin America joined their U.S. brothers and sisters in targeting an American company. Russian workers at a Toyota plant a couple years ago got a boost from workers around the world, who pressured Toyota to bargain. Ordinary citizens from across North and South America streamed into Nicaragua, Guatemala and El Salvador in the 1980s to support popular movements there in defiance of U.S. imperialism.

    Sometimes states do become involved, of course, as in the South African boycott (though not the West as much as other parts of the world, in truth). And the line between advocacy and becoming caught up in geopolitics is a line that requires constant vigilance.

    I don’t believe I or anyone else here has said that the CCP is not the legitimate ruler of China. But I did ask how change for Tibetans in particular could come about through CCP-approved channels (these channels, while always clumsy, are much more open to other aspects of Chinese society—just look at how effectively they were used after the Sun Zhigang incident). I don’t think you gave a full answer, beyond a general statement that things are better now in Tibet than 30 years ago, i.e. better than right at the beginning of reform and opening.

    As to Zhang Qingli, my point isn’t that the measure of Tibetan autonomy is whether they can kick out the CCP entirely—obviously, that is a tall order. My point is that if “internal” channels are the best bet for Tibetans, why haven’t those channels produced any results? Are they even accessible to Tibetans? And if so, why can’t Tibetans even succeed in replacing an incompetent local despot through these channels? Hong Kong, by comparison, was able, through a variety of methods—its legislator, street protests, internal Party mechanisms—to replace Tung Chee Hwa.

    Wuming’s point about HHDL having to play a role in any agreement makes sense. I may have downplayed his role a tad too much. There are more than a few exile Tibetans, though, who would prefer that he retreat to a largely ceremonial role. But that is a question for later.

    HHDL is, indeed, a political figure as well as a religious figure, so it is not surprising that his image is banned from public spaces. But from private businesses and homes? It seems like if people really want to put his picture places, this is precisely the sort of thing that an “autonomous” region would cave on. If people can’t even succeed in bending a rule like this to local circumstances, what can they succeed in? Then again, as Wuming says, perhaps pictures aren’t the best measure. I’m ready to concede that. But I’d like Allen to come up with a better measure—whether that measure is characterized as a “concession” or not.

    Finally, on the slightly unrelated question of prisons in the U.S., the reason so many people are in jail in America is racism, plain and simple. You can track the history of incarceration and you’ll see that prisons sprang up in the south in a big way with the end of the Civil War, the better to keep blacks and poor whites in line. Until recently, possession of crack cocaine (used in inner city neighbors, often by minorities) was sentenced more severely than possession of pure cocaine (used by rich kids). I’d love for some foreign countries to “interfere” with this! I mean it!

  64. Allen Says:

    @Old Tales Retold #63,

    You wrote, among others:

    I don’t believe I or anyone else here has said that the CCP is not the legitimate ruler of China. But I did ask how change for Tibetans in particular could come about through CCP-approved channels (these channels, while always clumsy, are much more open to other aspects of Chinese society—just look at how effectively they were used after the Sun Zhigang incident). I don’t think you gave a full answer, beyond a general statement that things are better now in Tibet than 30 years ago, i.e. better than right at the beginning of reform and opening.

    My point is that if “internal” channels are the best bet for Tibetans, why haven’t those channels produced any results? Are they even accessible to Tibetans? And if so, why can’t Tibetans even succeed in replacing an incompetent local despot through these channels?

    These are good questions – and you may ask the same question for every province. I’d still give the same general answers, however: that things are progressing, there have been reforms, and there will be more reforms…

    Political changes take place through persistent consistent efforts (in any system, I’d argue). But they must take place through legitimate domestic channels. The way the DL has played politics, he is more a divisive leader like Malcolm X than a promoter of peace and justice like Martin LUther King.

    The major thing I’d take issue with what you wrote here is again this tone that seems to come through often in your writing. You seem to presume to know what the Tibetans want. You seem to presume all Tibetans want the same thing. In particular, you seem to equate the demands of the DL to what the Tibetans want. You also seem to gloss over all the good things that have happened in the last 30 years.

    You also wrote:

    HHDL is, indeed, a political figure as well as a religious figure, so it is not surprising that his image is banned from public spaces. But from private businesses and homes? It seems like if people really want to put his picture places, this is precisely the sort of thing that an “autonomous” region would cave on. If people can’t even succeed in bending a rule like this to local circumstances, what can they succeed in? Then again, as Wuming says, perhaps pictures aren’t the best measure. I’m ready to concede that. But I’d like Allen to come up with a better measure—whether that measure is characterized as a “concession” or not.

    The official policy in Tibet today promotes education of traditional Tibetan culture as well as language. The official policy today promotes economic development of the entire Tibetan area. The official policy today in Tibet promotes the education of math and science. The official policy also promotes the preservation and study of traditional Tibetan philosophy, music, literature, and religion (to the extent it’s not politicized).

    I am not sure if this is what you are looking for as a “measure” of progress. It’s easy to focus on the bad and miss seeing the forest from the trees. One thing I do suggest for all here who want to gauge the progress in China is to go to China themselves.

    I have personally not been to Lhasa – though I have been to the peripheries of what the DL calls greater Tibet a couple of times. I have also been to China (Mainland) a few times (Taiwan I go periodically since most my families are still there). All I know is that the image that most foreigners hold of Mainland China does not match the realities of Mainland China.

    If you do not have the opportunity to visit Tibet, at least watch some of the more recent and more objective documentaries (not the pure political propaganda crap) on Tibet.

    Here are a couple I have recommended in the past:

  65. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Allen,

    I look forward to watching those documentaries, thanks!

    As to my presuming to know what Tibetans want… obviously I can’t speak for Tibetans anymore than I can speak for any people, my own people included. Like you, I have been to “the peripheries of what the DL calls greater Tibet” and I have lived in China in different provinces for several years—but none of that really proves anything. You can visit somewhere and not come away with any better understanding of the place … and maybe even some wrong impressions of it. Going back and forth about who is closer to a certain people or place in philosophy or experience is a distraction from the substance of arguments.

    The issues I focused on in my comments were ones that I thought had been particular sources of conflict between the Chinese government and Tibetans. They are probably not complete or even the best examples. And, obviously, there are conceivably areas of Tibetan-Chinese relations where there have never been problems, but then those areas wouldn’t be very good test cases for improvements, would they? So, again, what issues have you seen improvement on as a result of Tibetans using “internal” channels to the Chinese state?

    I understand that you think that the general sweep of history is more important than details, but surely “things are progressing, there have been reforms, and there will be more reforms” is a little TOO general. You get a tad more specific in the “policies” you describe, but you still don’t demonstrate any change in those policies or speak to the implementation of those policies. Have they always been there? If so, how do they show the efficacy of Tibetans using “internal” channels to right wrongs? Are they implemented better now than in the past? If so, is that strengthened implementation the result of Tibetans using “internal” channels? In other words, how do any of these things prove your point?

    In general, I would say that every movement needs both a Malcolm X and a Martin Luther King. I don’t mean that as a complete endorsement of X’s slogan “by any means necessary,” but I do think that moderates need radicals to contrast themselves against: the ruling power will then be more willing to compromise with the moderates. That was the case in India, too: Gandhi needed the more militant Subhas Chandra Bose to succeed. I would put HHDL more in the Martin Luther King mould (with others in the Tibetan movement playing the role of Malcolm X), but we can agree to disagree on that.

    It seems like our arguments are asymmetrical (is that how one should put it?). I am arguing about the best way to improve certain problems faced by Tibetans and, secondarily, how to come to some sort of agreement between Tibetans and the Chinese government. You are not really arguing about how the Tibetan movement should proceed in order to achieve X or Y, but are rather arguing that there are no real problems in Tibet, at least none that the CCP can’t solve alone, in its infinite wisdom, if mean bullies would just stop picking on it.

  66. Old Tales Retold Says:

    Anyway, I hope we don’t get into a rut with this discussion. The thread was supposed to be about Otto Kerner’s interesting idea. Others should feel free to direct things back there!

  67. Otto Kerner Says:

    re: Wuming #46,

    I think we basically agree. I agree that the PRC government doesn’t care about suppressing Tibetan Buddhism just to suppress it, but only when it is linked to sedition. However, the result is that the government is willing to seize control of religious affairs that have only a very indirect relationship to sedition, such as the Panchen affair, and do things like sending Chadrel Rinpoche, the abbot of Tashilhünpo, who had been thoroughly nonpolitical prior to the Panchen affair, to prison on some trumped-up bomb charges. All of that is certainly done for the benefit of the anti-sedition policy. This is one of the reasons that it’s important for the government to find some kind of modus vivendi with the Dalai Lama, because as long as the government’s choices are either “sedition” or “suppress religion”, freedom of religion will be unattainable.

  68. Otto Kerner Says:

    Wukailong,

    The U.S. certainly has a very large prison population. I would venture a guess that there are two main reasons for this: most importantly, the war on drugs results in a lot of people being locked up who have no real reason to be in prison, since they are not violent criminals; also, the U.S. has a fairly uneven distribution of wealth, with a large, disaffected, urban underclass. I won’t say anything in this thread about who or what is responsible for the existence of this social reality, but it’s pretty clear that it’s conducive to crime. In the late 80s and early 90s, violent crime rates in the U.S. were unusually high, and there was a conscious decision made in various parts of the country to deal with that problem by locking people up and throwing away the key. Crime rates then declined, although, as always, it’s hard to establish causation from correlation.

  69. Steve Says:

    @ Otto Kerner #68: Some numbers on the US Prison Population:

    State prisons: 1,296,700 total prisoners in 2005

    Violent offenses: 687,700
    Murder: 166,700
    Robbery: 177,900
    Assault: 129,200
    Rape & Other Sexual Assaults: 164,600
    Property Offenses: 248,900
    Drug Offenses: 253,300
    Public Order Offenses: 98,700

    Federal prisons: 179,204 total prisoners in 2007

    Violent Offenses: 15,647
    Property Crimes: 10,345
    Drug Offenses: 95,446
    Public Order Offenses: 56,237

    3.2% of Adults are in Federal, State or Local Prisons.

  70. wuming Says:

    @Otto

    Yes, for once, we agree to agree. In general, I think collectively the leadership of China could be quite smart, but there are some bad habits that die hard.

    You have not told us your own opinion on whether DL and his advisors can accept something like what you proposed. And if he does, will that drive a wedge between him and the leaderships of TGIE?

  71. Wahaha Says:

    Otto Kerner :

    Please read this :

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1052589.html

    He said he would tell Israeli leaders later in the day that the violence must stop. He also condemned Hamas’ actions as “irresponsible and unpardonable” for its attacks on Israel.

    Sarkozy told three Lebanese newspapers that Hamas bore “a heavy responsibility for the sufferings of the Palestinian people” and that its rocket attacks had to stop

    _________________________________________________________________

    I dont think I have to mention how Sarkozy and French media said about 3.14 riot,

    Now can you tell us what is the real reason that French media and Sarkozy keep bashing China for Tibet issue ? can you give us a good explanation why Sarkozy and French media treated two incidents so differently ? can you convince us that Sarkozy and French media really care about Tibetans, let alone human right in China ?

    As any person with half a brain can see, Chinese have very good reasons to be suspicious of the real intentions behind this human right BS by west media. (that doesnt mean China doesnt have human right issue, WE KNOW THAT, but that is our business, we will solve it by our way, not by some politicians with evil intentions. Nobel peace price ? laughable.)

  72. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #71: Wahaha, I’m not sure why you are comparing what’s happening in the Gaza strip with what happened in Tibet. Aren’t they two completely different situations? I have no problem with you questioning Sarkozy’s behaviour concerning the China/Tibet issue. But I’m not sure how that compares to what’s happening in Gaza.

    I’m not arguing with you here, I just don’t understand the connection. One involves bombs, missiles, tanks, etc. between two opposing forces. The other concerned local riots.

  73. Wahaha Says:

    Steve,

    they are comparable cuz on issue in Gaza, Sarkozy heavily blame Palestinians while Israeli is attacking; in 3.14 riot, he blamed Chinese government while Tibetans were attacking.

    by French media, Chinese government was like wolves over sheeps (Tibetans), what about the current situation in Gaza ? WHO ARE THE SHEEPS NOW IN GAZA ?

  74. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To OTR #65:
    excellent, measured response. Very much enjoyed reading it. I would agree that, when it comes to China (and perhaps lots of other places), the gulf between “official policy” and “reality” (whatever that means, or however it is to be measured) is wide. And it’s not good enough to say that things will be fine because official policy will render it so. You also asked great questions about measurables that these official policies have supposedly delivered.
    In fact, based on the link Steve supplied on the CHinese constitution (can’t remember if it was this or another thread), if China had followed through on her mother of all official policies statement, much of what’s discussed on this blog would be moot.

  75. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Steve and Wahaha,

    I do think there is a certain similarity between the Israeli occupation and Chinese rule in Tibet, though the comparison shouldn’t be stretched too far. In both cases, an inflexibility on the part of the occupier—whatever the occupier’s historical justifications and whatever the complexities of its victim complex—has resulted in the inevitable: violence. More violence in Palestine than in Tibet, but violence all the same.

    So, while I more or less agree with Wahaha’s point about the Palestinians being the sheep in Gaza (and Israelis therefore being the wolf), I can’t understand how he can, in almost the same breath, paint the Chinese as the victims in Tibet. Sure, they were victims for a day on March 14th, but not from the 10th to the 14th and not for the days and months afterward.

    It’s a little like saying that Israel is the victim in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because its victmization of another people has brought occasional outbursts of violence against it. I suppose France was the victim in Algeria then, too? Doesn’t make sense to me, but maybe I’m not reading the argument right.

    There is a tendency in the West, in America to a greater extent than France, to be more sympathetic to the Tibetan cause than to the Palestinian cause. Why? A thousand reasons, including cultural affinities with Israel, shared histories as colonialists, similar political frameworks, outright racism toward Arabs, the whole “war on terror” framework, guilt about the Holocaust, etc, etc. In the end, I think racism is the main reason.

    The mainstream American media (more than the French media) has bent over backwards to portray the recent violence in the Middle East as more or less equal or as slightly more understandable when committed by Israel—even as Israel is initiating an all-out bloodbath in Gaza, using cluster bombs, bombing schools, bombing mosques, killing hundreds to its own dozens…. It makes me crazy.

    But I’m not sure how we got on this topic. And I’m not sure how Sarkozy got into this conversation at all. He’s a supreme flip-flopper, obviously, and something of an opportunist, but I’m not sure where he fits into discussions about China’s negotiations with the TGIE and HHDL, beyond that he met with HHDL a little while back.

  76. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung,

    I agree that if the constitution was followed to the letter, we might not have these conflicts at all. The sections on autonomy aren’t bad. It’s a pity. There was a spurt of talk about constitutionalism during the early 2000s and, of course, the Qi Yuling case and the seed case. Now, it seems like the topic and has been dropped.

  77. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha:
    “but that is our business, we will solve it by our way” – so, considering that you live in NYC, who’s business is “our business”?
    Frame of reference aside, no matter who’s business it is, there is no prohibition on others offering their point of view. It’s high time to get over that sort of argument. As I’ve said many times over, people can complain, and that’s their prerogative. China can take it or leave it, for that’s her’s.

    RE: #73: the Tibetans were rioting. Palestinians have been repeatedly firing rockets into a sovereign nation. Those are hardly comparable provocations. Although IMO, both the Israeli and Chinese responses have been disproportionate.

  78. Allen Says:

    @Wahaha,

    Don’t worry about sleazy, hollow Sarkozy. Just as human rights, democracy, legitimacy, genocide, axis of evil, freedom, liberty … all good concepts … do not mean a thing when used on the International Stage today, what Sarkozy says or does not say carries no more meaning than International political maneuvering.

    Leave it at that … and get on with our lives. 🙂

  79. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha
    @ Old Tales Retold
    @ S.K. Cheung

    Thanks for each of your explanations. I’m not as “up” on the Tibet situation as you all are so that’s why I’m throwing out these questions. As far as the Gaza situation, my view is closest to S.K. Cheung #77’s. It’s kind of “a pox on both your houses” when it comes to unrest in Palestine.

    S.K. Cheung, you’ve mentioned before about how certain people have “stones”. When I was in Taiwan and China, we represented an Israeli ball valve company and I got to be pretty good friends with their sales and marketing manager. In fact, we did the Great Wall for the first time together at Mutianyu. Anyway, he was in the special forces for the Israeli army, I believe he was a Major or Colonel, and was involved in the invasion of Lebanon. Sharon kept giving reasons for that occupation, but when they got there they realized everything he said was a lie. So something like 200 soldiers and three officers put an ad in a major Israeli newspaper telling the nation what was going on. He was one of the three officers and figured he’d end up in jail for it, but felt it was necessary. As it turned out, the government couldn’t do anything to him and nothing bad happened, but he really stuck his neck out to do that. Even today, he is liberal concerning the Palestinians and feels they all need to learn to live together. He taught me a lot about the situation there.

    Too bad there aren’t more like him in Israel, Gaza, Tibet and China. The world would be a better place.

  80. Allen Says:

    Maybe this is way out of topic here – but I wonder if people here believe the best way forward is a 2-state solution (Jewish Israel and Islamic Paslestine side by side) solution or a 1-state solution (Israel becoming a multi-cultural state).

  81. Steve Says:

    @ Allen: Israel is petrified of the one state solution because demographically they’d be outnumbered by Palestinians in the relatively near future. That is one reason they split off Gaza and gave a degree of autonomy to the West Bank. It’s the main reason Likud has moved away from a one state solution which they pushed for many years, the “Biblical” Israel. So right now for Israel, the one state solution is a non-starter.

  82. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen:
    for me, (ie complete utter non-stakeholder), it should be a two state solution. That means (a) Palestinians and Arabs need to once and for all renounce all talk of death to Israel (b) Israelis need to abolish current settlements, stop expanding new ones, and provide territory for creation of Palestine (or whatever they want to call it. As for whether Gaza and West Bank should remain geographically separated – sorta like the lower 48 + Alaska; or if land should be handed over to allow formation of a contiguous state – I have no opinion) (c)any subsequent incursions by either side into the other’s territory – be they rockets, suicide bombers, IDF tanks, Israeli gunships, etc- should be treated as acts of war, and should invite appropriate reprisals. However, I have no idea how they’d split Jerusalem. But as long as Israelis and Palestinians claim (largely on what appear to be religious reasons) that the entire region is theirs and refuse to share (not unlike a pair of 3 year olds), the future looks bleak in terms of moving away from the status quo.

  83. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    it appears your friend is (or at least was) very well-endowed. Completely agree with your last statement.

  84. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Allen,

    Ali Abunimah, who co-founded Electronic Intifada, has written a book called “One Country: A Bold Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse.” I’ve heard it’s worth a read. Some Israeli and Palestinian scholars have been meeting to discuss similar ideas. However, like Steve, I just can’t imagine Israel agreeing to Jews being a minority. And, as the Israeli government has enough weapons from the U.S. to keep avoiding meaningful negotiations with the Palestinians (and is shooting itself in the foot in the process, endangering its own civilians and constantly deploying its young people in combat)… I’m feeling more and more bleak about the prospects for peace.

    Back in college, I used to join big demonstrations in support of Palestinians, but now I’m just worn out with the whole thing. I imagine that the people most directly involved—Israelis and Palestinians—feel even more jaded. Maybe someone on this list could give me some hope? Or we could return to the original topic…

  85. Leo Says:

    To many debaters here DL is still a holy cow. They talk about DL the way good catholics talk about the Pope.

    BTW, One State Solution is fantastic for Israel. One next thing they should do is drop the name of Israel and resume the former name of Palestine, abolish the Law of Return and trash the Judaic theocratic articles in their constitution.

  86. Wahaha Says:

    “Frame of reference aside, no matter who’s business it is, there is no prohibition on others offering their point of view.”

    SKC,

    In eastern culture, criticizing others with double criteria is very rude and unwelcome, even when you are right.

    ______________________________

    OTR,

    France has portraited itself as a protector of “sheeps that cant protect themselves” on Tibet issue.

    ______________________________

    I couldnt help but noticed that the solution by Otto is about “chinese government should accept..”, “chinese government will…”, etc. what about DL ? shouldnt he do something ?

    This solution implies that Chinese invaded Tibet and suppress religion, mistreatment of tibetan people by Han Chinese, etc. I was questioning if he is qualified to say that.

  87. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Wahaha,

    Calm down about the criticizing. This is a discussion. If the Chinese government was really as sensitive as some of its defenders online, it would have died of anxiety years ago. I’m not sure what double criteria you are talking about. Would you please clarify?

    I understand now why you wanted to add France to the discussion. You meant, basically, that because someone else (Sarkozy in this case) has a suspicious attitude toward Tibet, we should disregard anyone else who has anything to say about Tibet that is not in line with the Chinese government’s attitude. Why? Because, presumably, they are all exactly like Sarkozy. Better yet, we should all shut up and stop talking about this silly issue. Talk hurts feelings.

    In other words, you were not interested in debating the details of Chinese-TGIE negotiations or even the rights and wrongs of the Israeli invasion of Gaza. You just wanted to put everyone in line.

    As to HHDL having to accept things, too, that’s pretty obvious. In fact, Otto’s whole scenario was premised on the Dalai Lama giving up any political role he currently has and becoming the abbot of a monastery under Chinese rule. It might be that he would have to give up more, as you suggest. What ideas do you have?

  88. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #86:
    “criticizing others with double criteria is very rude and unwelcome” – I have no idea what single criteria I used in my criticism; so if I managed to use “double criteria” without my own knowledge, then hot dang, I’m better at this stuff than I thought….

  89. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To OTR #87:
    “If the Chinese government was really as sensitive as some of its defenders online, it would have died of anxiety years ago. “- LOL that’s a good one.

    “You just wanted to put everyone in line.”- again, LOL. That may be what he wants, but as the song goes, you don’t always get what you want….Now, if he tries sometime, he might just find, he’d get what he needs….any suggestion on what he needs???

  90. William Huang Says:

    @ S. K. Cheung #77, #88 and #89

    You said in post #77 and I quote: “As I’ve said many times over, people can complain, and that’s their prerogative. China can take it or leave it, for that’s her’s.” – So what’s the problem for Wahaha complaining about you view or anyone on this blog?

    You are stating a principle and then violating it yourself. Talking about overly sensitive…..

  91. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To William Huang:
    it is deeply unfortunate that the fundamental tenets of the English language appear to elude your meager grasp on a regular basis. However, if you applied your limited linguistic resources onto the text of #88, then you may one day come to realize that I did not rue the fact that Wahaha criticized me, but only sought clarification regarding the nature and specifics of said criticism.

    As for the lesson of the day: “Talking about overly sensitive…..” – what you actually want to say is “talk about being overly-sensitive”. Let me know when you are ready for your next lesson.

  92. William Huang Says:

    @ S. K. Cheung #91
    Below are two new tips for your improvement on English language:

    1) You always start your sentence with first letter being capital. They teach this kind of stuff in elementary school. What you should say is: “It is deeply unfortunate that the fundamental tenets of the English language appear…” instead of “it is deeply unfortunate that the fundamental tenets of the English language appear…”.

    2) I heard that in US, “LOL” is an acronym used by teenage girls for giggle in text message. You may want to check into it before using it too often, unless of course…..

  93. Allen Says:

    OK – this has been entertaining, but you guys are scaring me…. I hope you two never pay too much attention to what I write – because I don’t want to get me English 101 for every sentence I write!! 😈

  94. Wahaha Says:

    OTR,

    Why do you think I am ‘un-calm’ ? (sorry for my english)

    OTR and SKC,

    Where did you get infomation about Tibet ? From people like Sarkozy, and retell those information to us, to convince us how devilish Chinese government is, at least in Tibet. right ? do you believe Tibet before 1950 was a terrible place ? do you believe Chinese government has tried very hard to improve material lifes in Tibet ? maybe to you, those are just propaganda by an evil empire.

    Where do some westerners get the ridiculous idea that Tibetans are discriminated by Han chinese ? did Han chinese mind that chinese government spent so much money in Tibet and Tibetans were treated differently (like they are allowed to have more children)? Couple days ago, 9 muslin were kicked out of plane, simply cuz .. well, they are muslin. I dont see how Tibetans have been treated worse as long as they dont protest for free Tibet.

    The conflict in Gaza, (I am not trying to judge if israel should or shouldnt attack Hamas.) you can see west media has tried very hard to explain Israel’s attack was self-defense. Ok, then when didnt they mention that those monks who were arrested or mistreated were protesting for free Tibet ? Would a westener have sympathy to anyone or group who trys to divide his/her country ?

    Whether you accept it or not, when Westerners talk about Tibet issue, the assumptions have been made … based on the knowledge they got from people like Sarkozy. Dalai Lama giving up any political role ? What the heck is this ? It sounds like paparazzi forget who Britney Spear is.

    SKC,

    Compared to the native in USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Tibetans in China have far more political power, except those who are pro-west. The Human right BS propaganda by west is simply forcing China to give power to those pro-west, including those who signed charter 08.

    The double criteria means you dont believe anything said by chinese government (on tibet issue, actually most are by chinese people.) while you ask why the voices of chinese people are not heard by chinese government

  95. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Wahaha,

    You’ve put a lot of accusations into one comment, so forgive me if I don’t answer them all, but I’ll give a try.

    On your question about information on Tibet, I don’t think I’ve gotten any information from Sarkozy—where have I quoted him? In fact, if you read my previous comments, I have dismissed him as a flip-flopper and opportunist. What I did say was that you seemed to be including Sarkozy in the conversation only as a means to discredit anyone who is critical of China’s policies in Tibet. Your return to Sarkozy in your most recent comment has only strengthened this suspicion on my part.

    The broader issue of where to get reliable info on Tibet is a tricky one. As you know, the Tibetan Autonomous Region—and now, parts of Sichuan and Qinghai, too—is more or less inaccessible to journalists, at least if the journalists want to operate with any meaningful degree of freedom. Like everyone else who does not actually live in Tibet, I am left to piece together reports from the Chinese media , the media of India and Western countries, and the media of the Tibetan exile community to try to form an accurate picture of what is happening. Of course, each of these sources has its biases. As do you and I.

    I don’t think China is an evil empire or that everyone in the Chinese government is bad. I’m sure there are plenty of people in the CCP with good intentions toward the Tibetan people. I’ve always admired Hu Yaobang’s ideas about the TAR in particular, though I’d imagine you believe he was too soft. Nonetheless, I do think that China’s policies in Tibet have colonialist overtones, at the very least. In fact, grand “civilizing missions” (building infrastructure, resettling people, cultivating a native elite, fighting “superstition”) coupled with repression are staples of European and American colonialism. And I think that China’s current actions are ultimately counterproductive for Chinese and Tibetans alike.

    I agree that the “Western media” has been lousy in its coverage of the atrocities in Gaza, though I think you would do well to separate the European media from the U.S. media in this regard, as the U.S. media has been the worst of the worst. Unlike you, I DO “judge” Israel’s attack on the Palestinians and I find it morally wrong.

    On the subject of the monks arrested for protesting for a free Tibet, though not everyone might agree with the monks, I think plenty of people in the world—yourself excepted, clearly—think they should have the right to protest. I have sympathy for many people who protest to “split” their countries, including Puerto Ricans, Hawaiins and Native Americans who have protested to split from the United States. So do lots of other people.

    I’m not sure why you brought up the Muslims kicked from the plane, unless you just meant that things are bad in one place, so it’s fine if they are bad somewhere else. Or that Tibetans have it better than the Muslims? In which case, you should read up on how Beijing banned Muslims and Uyghurs from some establishments during the Olympics. Or maybe you were trying to start a new thread?

  96. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Wahaha

    If you would attack my arguments in detail, that would be useful. General accusations that I am “assuming” this or that or that I only have such and such experience of a country assume to much about me, in turn.

  97. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Wahaha 94

    You said. . .

    “Compared to the native in USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Tibetans in China have far more political power, except those who are pro-west.”

    I suggest you learn something about New Zealand history and society. You have no idea what you are talking about. Maori culture is central to New Zealand society, culture and identity in a way that no minority culture in China is central to Chinese identity.

    And what is the problem with Tibetans who are ‘pro-west’? Do they somehow lose their rights just because they aren’t waving little red flags?

  98. Netizen K Says:

    Maori central to NZ society. You better give some examples or otherwise no one knows what you talk about. A maori prime minister? A maori national anthen or dress? A maori sportsman of the year?

  99. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Willy-Wonka #92:
    Nicely done. Tip #1 is legit, so I will try to capitalize appropriately henceforth.

    Tip #2 is retarded. LOL is a common phrase in texting everywhere. Besides, how would you know that it is used by teenage girls? Are you one?

    “Below are two new tips for your improvement on English language” – although my English competency far surpasses your level, I would still not dream of improving upon the English language itself. As homework, you might try to rephrase your statement more appropriately. Class dismissed.

  100. Old Tales Retold Says:

    I must admit, I know next to nothing about New Zealand, so I won’t wade into this one.

    There seems to be a bigger problem with these discussions, though. Other countries’ examples aren’t used to make clear comparative points. Instead, they are used in a constant game of chess, albeit not a particular subtle one.

    It is as if every discussion about China is some sort of zero sum game with the rest of the world. So, if someone mentions a problem in China, a problem somewhere else must also be highlighted, as if there are teams, pro-China and anti-China, with one side getting a point and another side losing a point. The conversation becomes, “You think Tibetans are treated bad? I’ll see your Tibetans and raise you a Maori.”

    Obviously, an international context is useful—discussions of secessionist movements elsewhere, international law, concepts of national sovereignty versus human rights, historical examples of colonialism or of countries undermined by hostile outside forces or whatever. And it is always worthwhile to try to draw some larger lesson for the world from China, too. It would be boring without that thinking.

    And it’s good to have strong views. No problem with that. But why make your view the defense of some nation-state or culture? Why does it matter whether a particular country has a good image? How does that have any value? All this stuff kinda sends the discussion into a spiral. Of course, I get caught up in it myself, too…

  101. Old Tales Retold Says:

    Maybe I’m repeating myself…

  102. wuming Says:

    @OTR

    There is another point in bring up other countries as examples — to show that some of the problems are universal, intractable, unavoidable, price to paid for (fill in the blank) etc, etc.

    First, the most fundamental thing about the tolerance of other people and culture is to recognize the frailty of human being and their societies. This lesson should be apparent especially now.

    Second, rightly or wrongly, many of us feel that among many critics of China (or maybe any issues about the “others”,) perfectionism, idealism reigns.

    Third, solving hard and intractable problems always requires trade-offs. The criticism of these trade-offs will be much more convincing if it is clear understood that it is a value judgment on such trade-offs.

  103. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #94:
    Your first three paragraphs have formed the basis of many a thread on this blog in the last eight months. Since you’ve been around for most of it, I’m not sure why you bring the same stuff up again. Rather than repeatedly re-inventing the wheel, perhaps we can stipulate that not every Tibetan is dissatisfied with his/her circumstance, and wants to separate from China; at the same time, hopefully we can also stipulate that not every Tibetan is as enamored as you are with the status quo. Likewise, the “truth” about Tibet is a similarly nebulous creature. You believe the sources you want to believe, and I mine. I don’t claim to have the whole truth; but if you do, then have I got a deal for you on a bridge in Portland…

    I think many ideas have been put forth regarding improving the lives of Tibetans. Religious freedom in Tibet, representation at least within the TAR, are 2 ideas that I recall from prior discussions. How’s the CCP managing with stuff like that? Is it debatable that their progress is abysmal?

    As for assumptions, questions like “Dalai Lama giving up any political role ? What the heck is this ?” are similarly revealing.

    As for paragraph 5, I can only speak about natives in Canada, but this (“Tibetans in China have far more political power”) is ridiculous. What’s the source of said power if Tibetans have no representation? What avenues do Tibetans have to express such apparent power?

    “The double criteria means you dont believe anything said by chinese government (on tibet issue, actually most are by chinese people.)” – actually, Chinese voices to me are irrelevant. I’d much rather have Tibetan voices.

    To echo OTR, the Gaza reference is superfluous. I thought we’d done away with the notion that, hey, since Israel did it, so should China. BTW, I think Israel is wrong. And you already know what I think of the latter.

  104. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Netizen K 98

    I’m not going to write a history of race relations in New Zealand. I don’t have time, and in any case there is a bunch of material out there. But I’ll quickly respond to your questions, and then perhaps add another point or two.

    Maori prime minister: Not yet. Of course there are plenty of Maori MPs. There has been a Maori governor general (though that position is more ceremonial).

    Maori national anthem: The official version of the national anthem includes both Maori and English verses these days.

    Maori national dress: There is no ‘national dress’ as such, but it’s normal for traditional Maori dress to figure prominently in formal state occasions. A recent example would be the Olympic team in Beijing being led in by an athlete wearing traditional Maori dress (and they were wearing a genuine article of historical, tribal and personal significance, not something thrown together for the occasion by a non-Maori designer).

    Maori sportsperson of the year: I don’t follow sports awards closely enough to tell you off the top of my head. I would assume there have been multiple Maori sportspersons of the year. Certainly non-indigenous pacific islanders have won numerous titles. Amazingly the event doesn’t seems some colonialist white boys club.

    As a final sports-related note, I may as well comment that the ‘minorities’ component of the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony would have been very very different had it been a New Zealand production. Without a doubt Maori culture would have occupied center stage. I don’t know quite what form that Maori component of proceedings would have taken, but I am confident it would not have involved face blackened SAS commandos snatching the Olympic flag back from a dazed gaggle of grass skirted pakeha kids.

  105. Steve Says:

    @ TM!: One of if not the most popular (and my personal favorite) female singers in NZ is Bic Runga, she of a Maori father and Chinese Malaysian mother, born and raised as a Kiwi. Hasn’t seemed to hurt her career. 😀

  106. Allen Says:

    @Thing Ming!

    Anyone with cursory knowledge of Maori history will know that most of modern history is about marginalization of the Maori people and culture.

    I am not sure what your point is to try to so pathetically paint Maori culture as an essential, main stream element of modern New Zealand polity …

  107. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Wuming,

    Good points, especially about trade-offs. Your criticism of “perfectionism” rings true. Maybe those absolute expectations stem from an assumption that there is no one at the other end with whom to debate. If a society is seen as a monolith, then why be subtle oneself? And why not even take a brave, unequivocal stand? I deeply disagreed with some Chinese reactions to the Tibetan uprising last spring, but I hope those reactions at least had the effect of making people abroad conscious of what they were saying about China, making them realize that they have to engage in a conversation and a debate, that they couldn’t just play heroes to themselves.

    Beyond “perfectionism,” I think there’s also a tendency outside China—and I include myself in this—to project a lot of unrelated things onto the PRC, to replay old fights from elsewhere. For example, foreign leftists sometimes see today’s PRC as, first and foremost, a great betrayal of socialism, the worst form of capitalism imaginable wrapped under a red flag—or, embarrassed that they once supported Maoism, use criticizing China as an opportunity to make elaborate apologies for their own previous radicalism. Some liberals, on the other hand, see in China yet another opportunity to talk about institutions and markets, often in a way that sugarcoats China’s post-Mao experience, going on about the genius of “crossing the river by feeling the stones” or the inevitable march of the Chinese middle class. And conservatives can, of course, just rehash their Cold War glory days, bashing “Red China” or, if they’re more updated, getting into “clash of civilizations” mode. There’s often a stubborn refusal to see problems in China as problems, plain and simple.

    And, I guess, that gets back to your point about trade-offs. If something is a problem, then it requires engagement, not just the proper “attitude.” I get a little worried when we start talking about the “price” of this or that or of unavoidable problems, just because those phrases seem to always a precede a cold brand of developmentalism, where some groups have to get screwed over for progress, just have to, and they’re usually the poor. But if you get engaged in things, then you get into the mess of things and, like you say, into fundamental human frailties. And you have to be clear about what the results of various courses will be (for example, what exactly would really happen if you privatized farmers’ land in China?).

    Anyway, good points.

  108. William Huang Says:

    @ S. K. Cheung #99

    I cannot help to point out that you are making the same mistake again.

    What you should say is: “Although my English competency far surpasses your level, I would still not dream of improving upon the English language itself.” instead of “although my English competency far surpasses your level, I would still not dream of improving upon the English language itself.”

    Don’t give up. It’s not difficult at all. In a couple of years, you will get it right. For the time being, try word-processing software with error-checking features before sending out anything. It works for me. As for the point itself, I agree with you that I have rephrased incorrectly.

    I couldn’t find “LOL” in any dictionary so I asked my American friends and they told me that teenage girls like to use it a lot. I was trying to help you avoiding appearing too feminine (if you are a grown up man) knowing that you don’t care too much about sensitive people. But if you are not, it’s not a problem.

    My point here is that my English competency is not much better than yours and we can help each other to improve it. Just look at today, we both have learned something new.

    I can almost hear it from your side across the Pacific Ocean when you said: “Oh, sh#t!” right after reading the first two paragraphs of this post.

  109. Ms Chief Says:

    @Wahaha #94

    Re: “Where do some westerners get the ridiculous idea that Tibetans are discriminated by Han chinese ?”

    If you look harder at what you really think about Tibetans, this isn’t a ridiculous idea at all. On the surface, Han Chinese claim to present a united ‘We are all Chinese’ front with the minorities, but the reality is quite different. Within China, there is discrimination between its different peoples, whether it’s ‘vain’ Shanghainese, ‘Western Digitals’, ‘con-artists’ of Henan or ‘thieves’ of Xinjiang, just to name a few examples.

    Whether these are normal stereotypes found across most countries, whether it’s due to ignorance, racism, or whether it’s serious or harmful is another matter, but discrimination does exist.

    I’ll illustrate with an example. I was with Tibetan friends in Southern China, who came from Tibet. We met up with some of my Han friends, one of whom asked, shockingly, whether it’s true that Tibetans only wash a couple of times during their lifetime! Another asked them why they had hair because he assumed that all Tibetans men were monks. These were graduates who asked these questions. There was no malice intended, just genuine curiosity.

    From my experience, if you ask Han Chinese what they think of Tibetans, many would come up with descriptions such as postrating pilgrims, friendly, dark-skinned, innocent, simple, religious, illiterate, strong, backward… Probing a bit deeper, I was told that they thought Tibetans were a bit stupid for being so religious, and rather ungrateful for how they’ve responded to all the money thrown their way. It seems that the stereotype of Tibetans among Han isn’t very positive, with undertones of resentment after you scrape away the nationalist pride. Ultimately, it seems to me that the Han feel a slight sense of superiority over the Tibetans, though few would openly acknowledge it.

    I’d be interested to find out what the Han commenters here think of Tibetans.

    I think it’s difficult for Han and Tibetans to be able to reconcile their values when it comes to religion. If you aren’t religious, it’s because you’ve chosen not to be and I think you’d find it hard to understand why others would choose to make it such an important part of their lives. From what I’ve been able to gather, most Han support the way the CCP has been developing Tibet and believe they’ve been doing a good job as it would work very well for them. I think this is why many deny there are problems in Tibet. I feel that the development has used Han-centric values, focussing on providing schools, hospitals, roads, infrastructure, increasing material wealth etc., which has worked well pretty much everywhere else in China.

    To put it crudely, I think the problem is that not enough Tibetans are happy with just having their mouths stuffed with money, whereas enough Han are!

    Anyway, the point is, discrimination exists and is not just something fabricated by Westerners.

    Getting back to the original post, judging by the way many Chinese feel about the Dalai Lama, I think there’d be sweepstakes on how long he can avoid an attempt on his life if he were to return.

  110. Tu Quoque Says:

    @Ms Chief Says:
    “Whether these are normal stereotypes found across most countries, whether it’s due to ignorance, racism, or whether it’s serious or harmful is another matter, but discrimination does exist.”

    NO ONE can ever dispute that discrimination does exist ! This sort of thing works BOTH ways, and it is a fact of life: EXCEPTIONS aside, the strong bully the weak, the rich look down on the poor, racism, sexism, classism, dollarism, imperialism, capitalism, exploitation, superstition, reversed sexism, racism, blah blah blah…

    What we are talking about here is the legitamcy of CCP sovereignty. How the Yanks, i.e. the US Gov’t treat or mistreat the Native Americans, the despicable ultimate hypocracy of operating Gitmo, the inhumane sanction of Cuba, etc., are opened to condemnation, same with the Australian, the Kiwis, Zionism, the Cunnuck’s, the Brits’ of their colonies and their neo-Capitalist-colonialism etc….

    Why would some of these Euro-Yankees, if not motivated by geopolitical ambitions, would want to mind and aggressively fan the fire of Sino-Tibetan business when they are incapable or unwilling to ractify their own historical follies and wipe away & make right their condemned legacies of inhumanity towards those who ARE co- inhabitanting the land under their jurisdictions?

    Call it Tu Quoque or whatever, a condemned felon / person has no right to be in a jury in the business of the Court of law. So, China, knowing it’s own follies, strength and weaknesses, always advocate non-interference in foreign affairs.

    China is well aware of the sinister motives disguised in noble causes to undermine the CCP legitimacy and the Chinese people’s PC and faux pas etc… . Just as it is common knowledge that the French hates the snobbery of the English, and vice versa, as well as the English and Europeans general distaste for the affluence & naivetee of Americans. Similarly , it should be no surprise to anyone that the pragmatic Chinese can’t relate to the religious Tibetans and of course the Timetans of the Chinese’s materialistic pragmaticism, etc…

    Let us all just take care of our own disease spreading, smelly open sewer back yards before pointing fingers at others unfinished, Work-in-progess front lawns.

  111. wuming Says:

    @OTR

    As always, you stated these points better than I did.

    If something is a problem, then it requires engagement, not just the proper “attitude.” I get a little worried when we start talking about the “price” of this or that or of unavoidable problems, just because those phrases seem to always a precede a cold brand of developmentalism, where some groups have to get screwed over for progress, just have to, and they’re usually the poor.

    This goes back to the phrase which I resented but nevertheless found irresistible — “responsible stake holder”. For me, a responsible stake holder on any issue is characterized by three things: first, a realistic understanding in the trade offs and contradictions inherent in any problem; second, the willingness to take a stand based on a consistent but not rigid set of moral, logical or value judgments, and accepting the consequences thereof; third, the willingness to admit mistakes and make adjustments, corrections or even reversals on the initial stand. This is indeed a very high standard, being as frail as we are, very hard to achieve with any consistency. The sub-prime mortgage crisis that blew up the world economy is a textbook case of missing responsible stake holders in too many junctures of the product chain.

    I feel frustrated often in discussions about China because I think there are too few responsible stake holders in them (usually I am not either.) As such, it is usually not possible to get at the essence of the problem, more confusion than enlightenment.

  112. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Willy Wonka #108:
    well, the lesson continues…

    While I enjoy reading what I wrote to you twice, since it is quite funny, I would like to point out that, in your eagerness to cut and paste, you appear to have missed a minor punctuation detail….”-“…the dash signifies that I am not starting a new sentence, but simply continuing the related thought. Hence, no capitalization required. Now, perhaps you’re still on the vocabulary aspect of your beginner training, which seems clearly necessary in your case, but I’m hopeful that you will one day move onto the punctuation module. Good luck with that. Some day, we might actually enjoy a mutually-comprehensible discussion. For the reach should exceed the grasp, or what’s a heaven for…

    “As for the point itself, I agree with you that I have rephrased incorrectly” – actually, your phrase was incorrect, but I have yet to see you rephrase it properly. No hurry, I’ve got time….

    Of course LOL is not in a dictionary. Neither is TTFN, C U l8r, BTW, and all sorts of other texting phrases. If you don’t have a cell phone, or don’t know how to text, then I apologize for berating your ignorance. If you do, but still haven’t figured it out yet, then I suggest you get on with it. Maybe take a course or something. Help is out there if you choose to seek it.

    As for my response after the first 2 paragraphs, it was bellowing laughter and shaking of the head. No worries, though. I consider this brownie points in the Good Samaritan column. So when you’re ready for the next lesson, you just let me know, y’hear?

  113. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Allen 106,

    You said: “Anyone with cursory knowledge of Maori history will know that most of modern history is about marginalization of the Maori people and culture.”

    I’d argue that your view of history is a tad simplistic.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQi9znLNCEM&feature=related

    It’s never simple eh?

    Actually, initial contact between the two cultures was in many ways analogous to what occurred in Taiwan, not that you would know much about that because Chinese have not deemed it worthy of study. Hmm. . . could there be a lesson for you here?

    You said: “I am not sure what your point is to try to so pathetically paint Maori culture as an essential, main stream element of modern New Zealand polity …”

    How about you be honest and admit that your interest in New Zealand extends little further than wanting it to fit your pre-conceived ideas – specifically your fundamentally racist world view, dominated by the evils of western imperialism and the glories of Chinese manifest destiny? Given that we all know this to be the case, perhaps your calling my take on New Zealand ‘pathetic’ is a touch. . . err. . . ‘pathetic’?

    Why don’t you go and live in New Zealand for a spell and we’ll have this conversation again?

    In the meantime what else can I say? Really bro, things are pretty good kai pai down here for the tangata whenua!

    Really. . . My Aotearoa passport has te reo Maori all over it. Choice, eh! Te Torangapu Maori is part of the current government. Maori TV has a big audience among non-Maori, many non-Maori study and speak Maori, I went to kindergarten on a Marae, there are two newly established Marae on prime central city real estate within a stones throw of where I live, Maori culture was the focus of the opening ceremony of the 1990 Commonwealth Games (a marked contrast to the Han-centric wank-fest in Beijing), large slices of the nation’s fisheries and other resources are under Maori ownership, Maori get special input into resource consent processes, Maori etiquette is central to many national ceremonies, the Waitangi Tribunal works to redress historical injustices, anyone wanting to graduate with a law degree needs to pass courses on Maori legal concepts, and most importantly the All Blacks mark every one of their embarrassing defeats with a perfectly executed Hakka.

    Sure there are problems, but categorizing Maori as some victimized and oppressed minority is misleading. New Zealand was established through partnership between Maori and Pakeha. The relationship has been through some rough patches, but mostly it remains healthy, and it absolutely remains a crucial relationship to both sides.

    For you to sit in the U.S. and claim that Maori play no significant role in New Zealand life is stupid. Maori play an integral role here. Your preconceived ideas are wrong.

    End of discussion.

    Enjoy some more historical entertainment.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77gXDsxuAT0&feature=related

  114. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Tu Quoque 110

    Speaking about (among others) Kiwis, you said: “Why would some of these Euro-Yankees, if not motivated by geopolitical ambitions, would want to mind and aggressively fan the fire of Sino-Tibetan business when they are incapable or unwilling to ractify their own historical follies and wipe away & make right their condemned legacies of inhumanity towards those who ARE co- inhabitanting the land under their jurisdictions?”

    Quit the mindless generalizing about ‘the west’ you fool!

    What do you think the Waitangi Tribunal is about?

    You have seriously hurt the feelings of all of the New Zealand people!

  115. Netizen K Says:

    I love to see the two faces of people like Think Ming!. When attacked or they are in trouble, they are worse than people they wer attacking or critising.

  116. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Netizen K 115

    Think what you like.

    At least I know which of your thoughts are dumb and which are worthwhile.

  117. Otto Kerner Says:

    re: wuming #70,

    Good point, sorry I never discussed this question. In fact, I think that an arrangement like this would not be agreeable to either side. I think that the CCP is committed to its policy of waiting for the Dalai Lama to die, and I don’t think they are willing to give up the tactic of appointing a controllable child to be the next Dalai Lama, and I think they are willing to put up with the bloodshed that will result from the public reaction to that appointment. As with the rest of their Tibet policy, I don’t think that they want bloodshed just because killing Tibetans is fun or something, but they are willing to do it in order to achieve their other objectives; they will accept the international opprobrium and put it behind them. They also probably have a lower estimate of how much blood will need to be shed than I do.

    As for the Dalai Lama, I don’t think that he is actually interested in retiring from politics. I don’t really know what he meant by his comments, but I would imagine that they were intended to get a particular reaction from somebody in the Tibetan exile community (I couldn’t guess who or what reaction). If he really did retire from politics, I think he might consider going back to Tibet. If he felt comfortable that he would not end up in prison, what has he got to lose?

    I don’t think it’s possible to drive a wedge between the Dalai Lama and the TGIE. If anything, the exile parliament is often criticised for being too slavishly loyal to the Dalai Lama. If he actually went ahead and removed himself from their decision-making process, my guess is that they would start acting basically the same way they would if he were dead. There would be a lot of “the Dalai Lama would have wanted us to do such and such” or “We must do such and such to prepare for the arrival of the next Dalai Lama”. It would be interesting to see how the new leadership would develop in his absence. It’s worth noting that the prime minister of the TGIE, Samdhong Rinpoche, is not a young man, either. Another interesting point is that the constitution of the government-in-exile calls for three-person regency council to act as head of state in the absence of the Dalai Lama (the TGIE is a constitutional monarchy, but the monarch is not a figurehead. Incidentally, the Dalai Lama has said that does not want to see the monarchy restored in Tibet itself). It will be interesting to see interaction between the regents and the prime minister.

  118. wuming Says:

    @Otto and OTR

    Thank you very much for the discussion. I have learned quite a bit from both of you here. Although I don’t think we are any closer to see a solution to the Tibet problem, it is nice to know that we don’t have to be trapped in the most extreme positions even if we each has clear sympathy for one or the other side of this dispute.

  119. Netizen K Says:

    Think Ming! Stupid!

    Yes, think, and think again, and you’re still stupid!

  120. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Netizen K 119

    Rather than continuing with the name calling, I’ll just repeat something important. . .

    Speaking about Kiwis (among others) you said: “Why would some of these Euro-Yankees, if not motivated by geopolitical ambitions, would want to mind and aggressively fan the fire of Sino-Tibetan business when they are incapable or unwilling to ractify their own historical follies and wipe away & make right their condemned legacies of inhumanity towards those who ARE co- inhabitanting the land under their jurisdictions?”

    Now. . .

    What do you think the Waitangi Tribunal is about?

    Do you prefer to throw accusations around indiscriminately while ignoring reality?

    I guess you find it more fun to remain ignorant. Typing drivel must be more satisfying that way.

  121. Netizen K Says:

    Think Ming! Half-Brain!

    First of all, I didn’t SAY any of that. No wonder you’re dumb drivel.

    Second of all, I think what is quoted about “Euro-Yankees” made some sense. No need to jumpy about it because it has some truth to it.

    Finally, you’re ignorant hypocrite because someone tried to enlighten you about “west”. Your two faces are exposed: a jumpy and loopy and can’t-be-attacked attacker.

  122. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Netizen K 122,

    Ah. . . sorry. So many idiots here I get confused sometimes.

    The original moron was Tu Quoque @ 110.

  123. Netizen K Says:

    I only see one idiot, who is in front of me.

  124. Think Ming! Says:

    So you don’t find Tu Quoque’s lack of touch with reality idiotic?

  125. Netizen K Says:

    Whis part of his post is out of touch with reality?

    Even if that were true, he had a right to his opinion.

  126. Think Ming! Says:

    What part of his post is out of touch with reality? Must I repeat myself again?

    Speaking about Kiwis (among others) he said: “Why would some of these Euro-Yankees, if not motivated by geopolitical ambitions, would want to mind and aggressively fan the fire of Sino-Tibetan business when they are incapable or unwilling to ractify their own historical follies and wipe away & make right their condemned legacies of inhumanity towards those who ARE co- inhabitanting the land under their jurisdictions?”

    What does he think the Waitangi Tribunal is about?

    Oh. . . and back to your own dumb questions from earlier. . . Were you happy to hear that plenty of non-whiteys have won New Zealand sportsperson of the year? Did your Asian angst and anti-white racism make a big noise as they came crashing down? Were you overjoyed to find out that the New Zealand national anthem is actually sung in Maori? Did you rush to find Youtube footage of the New Zealand olympic team being led into the stadium by an athlete wearing a traditional Maori feather cloak, then bask in the excitement of having your preconceived ideas about the evil west spectacularly implode around you?

  127. Netizen K Says:

    Although I like kiwis, don’t exaggerate the importance of NZ. I don’t think “these Euro-Yankees” referred to kiwis. In the grand scheme of things, kiwis are small potatos. Your dumb reaction is just that, dumb. Until I saw a maori Prime Minister, I wouldn’t consider maoris fully accepted in the NZ society.

  128. Think Ming! Says:

    Netizen K. . .

    I am not exaggerating the importance of NZ. Here is a larger quote from Tu Quoque that shows he was very specifically including Kiwis when he said ‘Euro-Yankees”.

    He said: “How the Yanks, i.e. the US Gov’t treat or mistreat the Native Americans, the despicable ultimate hypocracy of operating Gitmo, the inhumane sanction of Cuba, etc., are opened to condemnation, same with the Australian, the Kiwis, Zionism, the Cunnuck’s, the Brits’ of their colonies and their neo-Capitalist-colonialism etc….

    Why would some of these Euro-Yankees, if not motivated by geopolitical ambitions, would want to mind and aggressively fan the fire of Sino-Tibetan business when they are incapable or unwilling to ractify their own historical follies and wipe away & make right their condemned legacies of inhumanity towards those who ARE co- inhabitanting the land under their jurisdictions? ”

    There, in line three, he specifically refers to ‘Kiwis’. So yes, he was talking about Kiwis.

    If New Zealand is such an insignificant country don’t call me dumb for reacting, call Tu Quoque dumb for specifically mentioning ‘Kiwis’ in his bizarre and nonsensical anti-western tirade.

    Finally, if you won’t consider Maoris fully accepted in New Zealand society until you see a Maori Prime Minister then you shouldn’t have been dumb enough to ask me all those questions about national anthems, national dress, sportsperson of the year and what not. Why ask irrelevant questions?

    Oh no. . . I get it. . . You are so completely prejudiced and ignorant that never expected I would be able to answer your ridiculous questions in a matter that showed up your world view as having marshmallows for foundations.

    Now sit amidst the rubble of your preconceptions and enjoy your marshmallows.

  129. Steve Says:

    @ Netizen K #127: I’d be careful with “Until I saw a maori Prime Minister, I wouldn’t consider maoris fully accepted in the NZ society.” That can be applied to a lot of other countries and minorities, if you know what I mean and considering the topic of this thread. I think you just said it in the heat of the moment since you and TM! have been going back and forth about this pretty heatedly. 🙂

    You might think them “small potatoes” but to a Kiwi, their country is the center of the universe! 😛

  130. Netizen K Says:

    Think Ming!

    I don’t know where to begin. Kiwis are small potatos are a objective fact. You may not like it but it is a fact.

    Then your stupid jumpy reaction to criticism of Kiwis is just stupid. People here did go to Kiwi blogs to critize Kiwis. You came here to comment on Chinese issues. Now you got some blowbacks, you got jumpy and loopy.

    Think! And don’t be stupid!

  131. Netizen K Says:

    Think Ming!

    I don’t know where to begin. That Kiwis are small potatos is a objective fact. You may not like it but it is a fact.

    Then your stupid jumpy reaction to criticism of Kiwis is just stupid. People here did NOT go to Kiwi blogs to critize Kiwis. You came here to comment on Chinese issues. Now you got some blowbacks, you got jumpy and loopy.

    Think! And don’t be stupid!

  132. Netizen K Says:

    Steve,

    That’s a problem when a little nation thinks it’s the center of the known world and builds myths around it.

    It is laughable when someone attacks others and when he is responded, he gets so jumpy and disoriented

  133. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Netizen K 130

    I never made any claims about the importance of New Zealand. Tu Quoque saw New Zealand as significant enough to rate a mention. I just responded to correct his false statements.

    Exciting isn’t it?

  134. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve and Netizen K:
    OK, I’ll bite.

    “Until I saw a maori Prime Minister, I wouldn’t consider maoris fully accepted in the NZ society.” – replace “maori(s)” with “Tibetan” and “NZ” with “China”, and what have you got? Probably something Net K would prefer to retract.

  135. Netizen K Says:

    SKCheung,

    I wouldn’t retract the earlier statement. Maybe I would rephrase it: “Until I saw a Maori Prime Minister, I wouldn’t consider Maori culture essential to the NZ society.”

    That was the original boast of Think Ming!’s: how much Maori culture is to NZ.

    I don’t think Tibetan culture essential to the Chinese society or identity. Their number is small and seeing a Chinese Tibetan becoming Chinese President will be a long wait. I’m not boast anything here or earlier. And I can wait.

  136. I don't have a problem with a Tibetan as the head of "ChinkyLand" Says:

    @S.K #134 and everybody else

    Hey, as someone who still maintains his PRC citizenship. I really don’t have any problem with a Tibetan (or any PRC citizen for that matter) being the head of state for China. The only requirement in my opinion is that he/she has the nation’s interest at heart.

  137. Tu Quoque Says:

    ” [Fool]…If New Zealand is such an insignificant country don’t call me dumb for reacting, call Tu Quoque dumb for specifically mentioning ‘Kiwis’ in his bizarre and nonsensical anti-western tirade.”

    ::LOL:: I love that, ending a critical statement with “Fool~!” That is what I hear a lot when hanging out with the original New Zealanders, not so much from the descendants of white colonizers, though. The Maoris and Samoans are great to hange out with. Gentle warriors they are, hard to beat on the rugby fields. The women are incredible sweet, soft and charming, I might add.

    Speaking of “bizarre and nonsensical anti-western tirade,” as you put it, I wonder why such tribute to Del Wihongi if not for what others see as Del Wihongi saw is going on with the powers that be in and is doing to her beloved homeland?

    “Last July NZ lost one of its strongest Maori guardians Del Wihongi …”[…]She was passionate in her advocacy for this [Zew Zealand’s natural heritage and history and fought to ensure future generations did not lose economic opportunities she knew could be provided by retention of Maori culture and the natural environment.” Mrs Wihongi was a leading opponent of genetic engineers who wanted to manipulate and register patents on New Zealand plants and lobbied the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification for a moratorium on GE research. She was also a spokesperson for the long-running “Wai 262″ Waitangi Tribunal claim to protect cultural and intellectual heritage aspects of New Zealand indigenous flora and fauna. She battled in social as well as environmental issues, and as a founder of the Waipareira Trust helped young Maori in Auckland take pride in themselves in a sometimes hostile urban setting,”

    How about just backing up a little bit to 1974-1976, those horrendous years known as the East Timor crisis or massacres, that so few people even have any inklings about. How is that possible? Well, it was much in part owing to NZ’s shameless complicity – This is a fact of history, albeit much covered up. NZ worked closely with Australia and other Wesrern powers to ensure that the US backed Indonesian government could carry out their massacres without over-criticism from friends and neighbors. Go read Maire Leadbeater’s “Negligent Neighbor – New Zealand’s complicity in the invasion and occupation of East Timor-leste.”

    Thanks Netizen K for drawing OUT this whitewashed FOOL so that we could help him see the light…::LOL::

  138. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Net K:
    fair enough. Although I’m not sure how a head of state of any culture can validate the importance of that culture within its society. For instance, I don’t think the importance of black culture/people in American society was not validated prior to November 2008.

  139. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To #136:
    to me, that’s a perfectly reasonable position. I’d be surprised/dismayed if someone disagreed with you.

  140. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Tu Quoque 137,

    Love the cut and paste.

    You do realize the Samoans you hang out with all the time are not, as you call them, “the original New Zealanders”, right?

  141. William Huang Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #112

    You said:
    “While I enjoy reading what I wrote to you twice, since it is quite funny, I would like to point out that, in your eagerness to cut and paste, you appear to have missed a minor punctuation detail….”-”…the dash signifies that I am not starting a new sentence, but simply continuing the related thought. Hence, no capitalization required.”

    William Huang:
    It is very unfortunate that your English competency is worse than I thought and I am sorry to say that you are wrong again.

    I would have agreed with you if you started out with a clause before the dash (“-“) but you didn’t. What you started out was a quotation not a clause. Dash (“-“) is not used for this kind of purpose. Worse yet, even you remove the quotation mark (on my statement) it still doesn’t work because there is no logical connection between the two. How do you combine (or relate) my statement (“Below are two new tips…..”) with yours (“although my English competency….”) into one sentence with a dash in between? You call this a continuation of related thought? You must be out of your friggin’ mind.

    I think you know that you have a problem but you are trying to bull-sh#t though it. So I did hear “Oh sh#t” from you and I am afraid that I have to hear it again. By the way, in your paragraph that I quoted above, you have made a number of punctuation errors.

    Maybe in Canada, English teachers can be fooled but not here. People like you are giving Canadian education system a bad name if it’s not bad enough already.

    As an added bonus project for you homework, please look into all the posts that you have written on this thread and check out how many of your posts are error-free on grammar. If I had a nickel for every time I ran into your mistake in grammar….

    Even in your latest post (#112) and punctuation error aside, you still have one error in grammar in addition to the problem that we are talking about here. That’s not end of it. There is also a sentence, how should I say, not properly phrased. I am not going to tell you what they are and you should figure it out yourself. You better do it and do it quickly though. Otherwise you will disappoint a lot of friends on this blog. If you simply deny it, they will laugh at you.

    I am going to say this to you once and once only, so please pay attention. To speak any language, crawl before you can walk and stick to the basics. Don’t bother with fancy moves and that’s how you got yourself in trouble in the first place. Have you heard of KISS? It means “Keep It Simple Stupid”. I do agree with you on one point. My vocabulary is very limited and I do need to improve. However, hearing it from you sounded to me like a cry in desperation.

    As a final note, I am just wondering, how would you like to rate yourself on your mental capacity, or the lack of it in the matter of simple grammar? I am not talking about honest mistakes that people make everyday. You seemed to have problem to grasp trivial thing and to think of something two steps ahead. Let’s say, we establish a mental disability scale from zero to ten with zero being “minor” and ten being “totally”. What score do you think you should get on the scale, taking into the account that you have said “Oh, sh#t” twice in a row?

  142. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Willy-Wonka #141:
    As per usual, you are an amusing side-show; a sporting diversion, if you will.

    “It is very unfortunate that your English competency is worse than I thought and I am sorry to say that you are wrong again.” – suffice it to say that the next time your opinion is of any import to me will be the first time. Keep plugging away, though, sport, for laughter is the best medicine, and you’re providing it in generous doses.

    I am quite comfortable with my abilities, thanks. And you? I would only ask myself this: would I rather my linguistic abilities and general intellect, or Willy’s? The answer is self-evident. Now, if you ask yourself a similar question but chose your own, then that merely illustrates the depth of your ignorance.

  143. Steve Says:

    @ William Huang #141 and S.K. Cheung #142: I ken unnerstan bowth of u jest fein, sew know kneed 4 u 2 kontinew 2 arrgghhhhh u. 😉

  144. Tu Quoque Says:

    #140

    I am glad you enjoyed reading the quoted (cut & paste) on Del Wihongi …

    The Samoans are from Samoa, no? ::LOL::

    Not unlike you, Maire Leadbeater loves New Zealand, and she loves her country, are ever proud the people (regardless of color or creeds) in it. But unlike you, she labors to help, and wants to expose and treat the poison that this beautiful land and its people are subjected to brought on by the same old Western and neo-colonial greed for power and wealth. Seriously, go read, “Negligent Neighbor – New Zealand’s complicity in the invasion and occupation of East Timor-leste,”before you do yourself any further harm by “Thinking Ming, ” and bleating at things you haven’t a clue about. Cheers.

  145. Think Ming! Says:

    What has East Timor got to do with race relations in New Zealand?

    So far as I am concerned race relations in New Zealand was the original topic.

    I’m not too interested in getting into New Zealand’s foreign policy, mainly because, quite frankly, I don’t think it has ever been very significant. At times New Zealand has stood out for doing the right thing, but it has just as often gone along with the wrong crowd or initially made a good stand but then backed down shamelessly (e.g. over those French murderers). Yes, New Zealand has a hypocritical foreign policy. If New Zealand really cared about human rights and democracy it would extend diplomatic recognition to Taiwan for starters. Unfortunately politicians are an unprincipled lot.

    But I’ve been talking about New Zealand society, not foreign policy.

    Of course if you need some really shiny ‘ammunition’ on the theme of New Zealand as a colonialist power I suggest you have your Samoan buddies (those “original New Zealanders” you are so in love with) talk to you about Samoa. Plenty of material for you there. If nothing else it will make a good topic for you to mutter to yourself about in the shower.

    Do we really want to get into foreign policy and negligent neighbors?

    Can you say ‘Khmer Rouge’?

    ‘Repatriated and tortured North Koreans’?

    ‘Vietnam’?

  146. Think Ming! Says:

    Oh. . . and don’t assume that I “love New Zealand”.

    I’m not at all sure that I do. I certainly don’t feel very patriotic about it. The place actually annoys me immensely.

    However, I do get pissed off at ignorant people mouthing off about race relations in New Zealand in order to promote their own hate-filled agenda, an agenda that depends on painting ‘the west’ as some kind of homogeneous, oppressive, colonialist bloc.

  147. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve:
    ahh, but it’s fun, no? Passes the time until my hockey practice.

  148. Tu Quoque Says:

    Yeah, Think Ming, I truly agree with you. Don’t ya just hate ’em self-righteous posters? Ya know the ones that has little to say but are full of vitriolic cliches?. The ones who judge people by their own narrowminded POVs, more thanoften relegating to name-calling, and worst of all, defending someone else’s idea against another’s concept, all of which are subjective and irrelevant when it comes to discussions aimed at moving cultural mountains? Duh. Don’t ya just despise the hell outta these nitwits? AS they say, “Ignorance is bliss and denial is not a river in Egypt.” Therefore, may I wish for you, many blisssful years ahead, and may you never drown pissing in the nile.
    Oooh, I see a new topic on the blog: On the Mind-Numbing, Sensationalistic Use of Emotionally Charged Words in International Politics. See you there. (Hoping not.)

  149. Wahaha Says:

    I suggest you learn something about New Zealand history and society. You have no idea what you are talking about. Maori culture is central to New Zealand society, culture and identity in a way that no minority culture in China is central to Chinese identity

    ________________________________________________

    Think Mings!

    Maybe you should think of the percentage of population first.

    Show me some example that Maori culture is ‘more” central than Tibet culture in China, please.

    Do you mean that chinese government should build tibet culture museum in every city along coast line ?

  150. Wahaha Says:

    OTR and SKC

    Just answer a simple question :

    Do you believe Tibet was a terrible place under those monks before 1949 ?

    If you dont, then you got your information only from West media and people LIKE Sarkozy, as almost all the chinese in mainland believe that.

  151. Wahaha Says:

    Ms Chief,

    Do han chinese mind their sons or daughter marry to a Tibetan, provided with similar financial and educational background ?

    Han Chinese never ask Tibetan people to give up their culture, they just dont like some of them who are pro-west trying to spliting China.

    _______________________________________________

    I’ll illustrate with an example. I was with Tibetan friends in Southern China, who came from Tibet. We met up with some of my Han friends, one of whom asked, shockingly, whether it’s true that Tibetans only wash a couple of times during their lifetime! Another asked them why they had hair because he assumed that all Tibetans men were monks. These were graduates who asked these questions. There was no malice intended, just genuine curiosity

    Acturally, I was told the same things 20 years ago when I went to Tibet. I also said that I couldnt find a place to buy tissueS during the time in Tibet so I have to use my diary papers. Actually this makes we believe how poor those people are, and how much they need help to improve.

    Deep down in our mind, we dont think they are inferior as human being, THEY ARE CHINESE !!

  152. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Wahaha,

    I haven’t been checking this thread for a bit. I know very little about New Zealand and am confused what it has to do with TGIE-Chinese negotiations.

    You asked a simple question. However, I’m afraid it deserves a complicated answer. Yes, I believe Tibet was a brutal place in many ways before the PLA rolled in: it was clearly a sharply unequal society, for one thing. But China as a whole was also a brutal place, unequal place in the 1930s and 1940s.

    Did both require the same revolutionary formula? At first, Mao set Tibet aside, saying that its problems were different and required different solutions. Sadly, though, autonomy and the 17-point agreement were more or less discarded, as Beijing and the military encroached on local decision-making and the disaster of the Great Leap Forward hit Tibet as hard as anywhere else in the country.

    I’m not sure that comparing Tibet now to Tibet before “liberation” is very meaningful, anymore than comparing China now to China before 1949 serves much purpose. It would be like making a big deal about how footbinding is no longer being practiced in China—of course it’s not! It hasn’t been for over half a century! A better comparison would be between the standard of living and self-determination of Tibetans versus other Himalayan peoples right now (Nepalese, Bhutanese, Northern Indians, etc.). Or, perhaps, between the lives of Tibetans and Han or Hui Chinese in the TAR.

    Why you want to reduce the whole argument down to “pre-1949 and post-1949” is beyond me, especially considering that your whole argument, as I understand it, is that outsiders shouldn’t be so black and white when they think about China.

  153. wuming Says:

    @OTR

    I agree that the contrast between pre-1951 and post-1951 Tibet is largely irrelevant. However, there are two points need clarification:

    First: the violation of the 17-point agreement. My rough understanding is that the 1959 rebellion started earlier in Amdo and Kham, not directly under the jurisdiction of TAR. The cause of the rebellion was the land reform in these regions (I am not clear whether 17-point agreement addressed reform these areas or not.) The rebellion eventually spread to Lhasa and the rest of Tibetan region, due in no small part to the support from CIA. If DL had supported the armed insurrection (which is not clear to me either,) then the 17-point agreement was null and void. I am not discussing the merit of the 17-point agreement or the communist land reform, but only the reason for “autonomy and the 17-point agreement were more or less discarded”

    Second, the post-1959 Tibetan history also belongs to a different category. CCP brought destruction to Tibet just like the whole China through GLF and later CR. Therefore in my opinion, this is again not directly relevant to the issue of independence or even the degree of autonomy.

    I think the fact that DL was a part of the 1959 rebellion and went into exile when the rebellion failed fixed the view of CCP and many ordinary Chinese regarding him. While the same event is conveniently ignore by pro-Tibetan commentators, especially in the west.

  154. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Wahaha 149

    You said: “Show me some example that Maori culture is ‘more” central than Tibet culture in China, please.”

    I can only really refer you to everything I have already said.

    Comparing the opening ceremony of the 1990 Commonwealth Games with the 2008 Olympics is a useful starting point. Yes, OF COURSE Maori culture is more central in New Zealand than Tibetan culture in China. It’s so obvious that trying to deny it is insanity.

    The differences between New Zealand and china in this regard are extreme.

    Of course this is partly because New Zealand is a small island with only one indigenous minority, but it is also partly because China is obsessed with homogeneity and Han superiority and terrified of ‘splittism’.

    Modern Chinese nationalists must at all costs preserve the borders of the Qing Empire the original Chinese nationalists were fighting to destroy! This is very important!

  155. Wahaha Says:

    OTR,

    The answer to the question is extremely important.

    Let us talk about CCP first :

    After 1949, CCP took the lands from landlords ang gave those land to the over-exploited peasants, by doing that, CCP gained the popularity or legitmacy in the mind of most Chinese. After 20 years of class struggles, plus GLF and CR, CCP almost lost their legitmacy, and wouldve lost their control of China if they had kept class struggle. Deng realized that, turned the ship towards economic development. The economic miracle in last 30 years plus the failure (to deliver) of democracy in India, Russia and other developing countries made lot of Chinese believe the slogan held by CCP : stability is paramount. As the result, the ruling by CCP is legitmized, at least temporarily.

    Now, if Westerners had been confronted by the fact ( I called it fact as you and I agree on this one), that Tibet was a brutal primitive society under those monks, what would make them believe that DL and monks are legitmate representative of the interest of Tibetan people ? Absolutely nothing !!! What have those monks done for Tibet people in last 50 years ? What they have done made Westerners believe that those monks will respect the human right (both politically and materially) of Tibetan people ?

    If you talk about the believing a living god by Tibetan people, then have a look of history of middle age in Europe.

  156. Flags of the repbulic Says:

    Hey Think Ming! # 154

    “China is obsessed with homogeneity and Han superiority and terrified of ’splittism’.

    Modern Chinese nationalists must at all costs preserve the borders of the Qing Empire the original Chinese nationalists were fighting to destroy! This is very important!”

    That is so untrue and full of wishful thinking. If you took a look at the national flag and naval jack of the republic from 1912-1928, could you tell me what the five colors represent?

    http://tmg110.tripod.com/china1.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_Republic_of_China

  157. Wahaha Says:

    Yes, OF COURSE Maori culture is more central in New Zealand than Tibetan culture in China. It’s so obvious that trying to deny it is insanity.

    _______________

    I dont see it. I saw Tibetan singers when I was only 7. I saw Tibetan dance when I was in high school when my family finally was able to afford a TV. I saw lot of books about Tibet 30 YEARS AGO and I was fasinated by their culture and beauty of Himalayas ( The reason I went there.)

    No, OF COURSE, Maori culture is LESS central in New Zealand than Tibetan culture in China. It’s so obvious that trying to deny it is insanity.

  158. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha: When did you go to Tibet? What areas did you see? How did you like it? How did it differ from your initial expectations? I’m always curious to get a first hand description! Would you have any recommendations for someone taking a trip there in the near future?

  159. FOARP Says:

    I hate to butt in on this argument, but Maori culture is obviously more central to New Zealand culture than Tibetan culture is to the Chinese culture, not least because the Maori make up a much larger proportion of New Zealand’s population, and enjoy full and equal political rights.

  160. Wahaha Says:

    Steve,

    I went to Tibet in 1986 summer time, to Lhasa and Xigatse. ( I took truck into Tibet, not like people now flying into Lhasa. it took 3 days and 2 nights.)

    The beauty of landscape and lake was beyond my wildest imagination, sorry to say, but yellowstone is nothing compared to the beautiful scenes over there.

    The society there is extremely primitive ( on the way into Lhasa, druing break, Women took sides that had big rocks, men took the other side. people used leaves …. you know, including Han chinese there. I heard there was one elementary school, one high school and one college ( which I visited there, smaller than a high school in New York). I was told those were bascially all the schools in Tibet. The main street in Lhasa was shorter than 42st of Manhattan from east to west

    I didnt feel I was noticed or treated differently, even when I visited tashilhunpo monastery in Xigatse while I was the only Han Chinese there. I didnt have much chance talking to tibetans as few of them could speak Mandarin.

    If you want to go to Tibet, TRY TAKING BUS SOMEWHERE INSIDE TIBET, the scene is unbelievable, give the bus driver some tips, so he will stop for you and let you take pictures. The highest point on qing-tibet highway is 5231 meters, but if you want to take picture there, make sure give LOT OF TIPS to the driver.

    Try to make friends with some Tibetans, like sitting next to them to have a tea, like ask them to have a picture with you, so maybe just maybe you will have a chance to visit their homes. I did it in qinghai, asking an old Tibetan woman who sold tea to me, but not in tibet, BEWARE OF THEIR DOGS, they will scare the hell out of you, dont try to be friendly to their dogs.

    If you can, find a guide taking you out of cities to their countrysides, their tents OUT OF CITY. Be ready to the smell of cooking in a small tent. (eating is ok, but the smell of cooking, I am sorry to say, is terrible.)

    BTW, check their times of celebration,( that was the mistake I made)

    Good luck.

  161. Allen Says:

    To the best of my knowledge, ethnic Tibetans today enjoy full and equal political rights as all other Chinese.

  162. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #160: Thanks for that description of your adventure! You were able to see a slice of life that I’m sure has disappeared since then. From your description, 1986 sounds like not much had changed since 1950, so when did the big changes start taking place? Was it shortly after your trip? I’ve looked at all the video clips that Allen and a few others have posted to try and understand the culture better, since I’m not that “up” on Tibet.

    One of my colleagues in Shanghai and another friend, also in Shanghai, have both been to Tibetan areas, but both were in Sichuan province. My colleague took a bus ride for something like 2.5 days from Chengdu southwest to get up into the mountains, and they also stayed in tents. She got some great photos! The other friend went with a group of her colleagues to Jiuzhaigou and then from there to a Tibetan area. I’m not sure how touristy and realistic it was (no tents) but she seemed to really enjoy her time there.

    Is it possible to travel these days on your own without a guide? I was wondering if only organized tours are allowed. I know to travel in Bhutan, you need to be on some kind of a tour. They’re trying to keep out the “Kathmandu Hippie Crowd”.

  163. Tu Quoque Says:

    Think Ming: “China is obsessed with homogeneity and Han superiority and terrified of ’splittism’.

    Flags of the repbulic: “That is so untrue and full of wishful thinking. ”

    Ming, told you to mind your bleating but there you go again. This time you bleat about Homogeneity, hegemony…

    Good Lord!

    Chinese in Hunan speak Hunanese, in Sichuan, Chongqing they speak Sichuanese, in Tibet their own,
    in Guangdong Cantonese, Hakka and all kinds of Chinese dialects. The Shanghainese have their own language and Beijing their unique form of Mandarin. The list goes on with thousands of variations, and we are talking about the Han tribal group alone. There are 55 other Chinese tribes with their own dialects and languages. Now this is language alone. We haven’t touched on food, customs and clothes, however, I regret to say, with regard to the general clothing habit, China is almost being completely Westernized. What a crying shame. Nowadays, the English Language is being highly promoted by the government. China, in general, has never been shown to be aggressive in spreading some superior “gospel,” in the King’s English for example, nor is it so inflexible that it adopt and encourage an incredibly large part of the population to learn a foreign language or insist on being an Easterner without compromise in forms and substance. The Chinese will always be proud to be Chinese, the Chinese are also pragmatic and individualistic – Ask anyone ESL teachers or Ol’ China hands. The Chinese are family oriented and also think in the collectives, again ask any ESL teachers or expat managers. As Bruce Lee, one of the greatest promotor of Chinese pride and philosophies, quoting from the most fundamental tenets in Daoist philosophy and paraphrases it to complement his famous “formless” form of fighting – Jit Kwan Do’s ultimate motto: ” Be water, my friend.”

    Again, the Chinese are proud to be complimented as the Jews of the Orient, enterprising and long suffering. The Chinese remains to these days, the best example, many without knowing it, a group of people who truly honors the true spirit of Mosiac’s fifth Commandment — Honor thy Parents, and in the most practical and endearing form of piety.

    I agree with FOARP, “Maori culture is obviously more central to New Zealand culture than Tibetan culture is to the Chinese culture, not least because the Maori make up a much larger proportion of New Zealand’s population, and [Today’s Maori] enjoy full and equal political rights.”

  164. William Huang Says:

    @ S. K. Cheung #142

    You said:
    “As per usual, you are an amusing side-show; a sporting diversion, if you will.”

    William Huang:
    Last time I heard “sporting diversion”, it was your excuse for contradicting yourself in a different thread. This kind of “sporting diversion” in Cantonese slang which you claimed having some knowledge, is equivalent to a slap on your face by yourself in public. Good for you.

    You said:
    “Suffice it to say that the next time your opinion is of any import to me will be the first time.”

    William Huang:
    I don’t know what you mean by “any import”.

    Nonetheless, I don’t expect you to value my opinion but I do think readers on this blog will form their own opinions about your linguistic abilities in which you have taken a great deal of pride (speaking of low standard of quality), and how you have used it as a diversion to avoid the real issue.

    You said:
    “I am quite comfortable with my abilities, thanks. And you? I would only ask myself this: would I rather my linguistic abilities and general intellect, or Willy’s? The answer is self-evident. Now, if you ask yourself a similar question but chose your own, then that merely illustrates the depth of your ignorance.”

    William Huang:
    Before I answer your question, here is my last tip for you on how-to-write-in-English. The English word, “rather” is an adverb in syntax but you used it as a verb. Your inability in writing has been a very frustrating experience for me and this is another sad day for Canadian education system!

    As for your question, the answer at first hand is no. I can’t really say that I am comfortable with my abilities because I have been running into a lot of very smart people. However, I think it’s all relative and it depends on your own expectation for yourself as an individual. As an example, to compare with majority of people on this blog, I am not comfortable at all, but to compare with you, I am very comfortable.

    I admit that I am ignorant about many things and it is not something to be ashamed of. Ignorance by itself is not a serious problem as long as I admit it and learn something new.

    You, on the other hand, have a much serious problem. It is your illusion of knowledge, which is particularly true in your case. It depraves you from having any chance to see your own ignorance and learn.

    As a postmortem for our interesting and educational exchange, some of your posts reminded me of some idiot who liked to wear sunglass at night. Somehow, he thought it’s real cool. The poor guy couldn’t see clearly where and when if someone’s throwing a knife at him until it landed on his azz.

  165. William Huang Says:

    @ Steve #143

    Thanks. I take your advice and end this exchange.

  166. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Flags of the Republic

    Yes, of course I know that Chinese flag, and I know what it represents.

    Actually I would like to see China go back to using that flag. It seems better than the ROC and PRC practice of essentially using party flags as the national flag.

    I still think Han chauvinism is a big problem in China, whether the PRC or the ROC.

    At least that flag is a reminder not to be so chauvinistic, even as it also reminds us how the non-Han people’s of the Qing Empire were robbed of their own rights to self-determination as Sun Yat-sen and others backtracked on earlier rhetoric about the rights to self-determination of all the races oppressed by the Manchus.

    Of course despite being a Han chauvinist Sun Yat-sen was still the last decent Chinese leader.

  167. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Wahaha 157

    I don’t doubt that you grew up seeing plenty of Tibetans singing and dancing (though I bet the singing would mostly have been in Chinese). Those minorities sure love to sing and dance!

  168. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Tu Quoque 163

    Loved your riff on Chinese as eternal victims a la the Jews. . . Nice!

    As for your rabbiting on about Chinese dialects, the CCP seems to me to have mostly been committed to replacing dialects with ‘putonghua’ – which I think is a great shame. There have been some signs of a swing back towards dialects in recent years, but the general trend has been to reduced dialect use, along with reduced ability of young people to speak their ancestral dialects.

    The CCP likes homogeneity.

  169. Tu Quoque Says:

    Think Ming: “I suggest you have your Samoan buddies (those “original New Zealanders” you are so in love with) ”
    So you finally admit that the powers that be of Kiwi land are often misguided and collude shamelesly with the worst of their kinds of a certain imperial West (France, Portuguese, USA, Britain, Australia) in their foreign policy. Thank you, you’ve just redeemed yourself from sounding like the Fool that you so easily brand others with.

    Tsk, tsk, tsk….Nevertheless, by repeating your own misunderstanding and putting words in other’s mouth is so unbecoming and politician like. Normal, common, ordinary New Zealanders, even the White ones I associate with are mostly fair, hardy, nice and honest folks, not the least like how you’ve impressed me to be.
    Nobody ever said that Samoans are as you keep trying to pass it to me as the “Original New Zealanders,” nor is your accusation of Chinese homogeneity, Han superiority and “fear” of splittism any more true. C’mon, dude, you can do better than that. The Maoris I know speak perfect Kiwi English and they complain about Whiteman colonialism just like anyone.

  170. Tu Quoque Says:

    Loved your riff on Chinese as eternal victims a la the Jews. . . Nice!

    LOL, You are so Whitewashed that I feel really sorry for ya.

    Enterprising and long suffering (patience) are virtues and compliments which the Chinese people are happy
    to accept —- not the victimization branding that you really love to force upon the Chinese, and the
    Jews for that matter.

    As a matter of fact, the CCP’s propaganda machine, the CCTV are forever promoting Multi-Culturalism.
    Putonghua simply means the Common or Ordinary or Official language of PRC (Also the ROC), just as English is the language of business. More and more Chinese people are speaking better English. Languages and dialects evolve with time. If you spoke and wrote your ancestor’s English, I wouldn’t understand half of it.

  171. Otto Kerner Says:

    Ah, yes, the Jews of Asia … after surviving for thousands of years as a stateless people, sustained by their intense religious beliefs, the Chinese now cling to a tiny strip of land surrounded by larger, hostile countries. Despite a lack of natural resources, China has been able to build a prosperous society with a free press and democratic elections. However, demographic realities make it unclear whether that nation will be around to see the end of 21st century. The parallels really jump out at you!

  172. Allen Says:

    @Otto Kerner #171,

    Good point!

    But if you look at the Chinese diaspora around the world (S.E. Asia, Polynesia, Europe, Americas) – the way they have been kicked down, mistreated, prejudiced, faulted, blamed, scapegoated, feared …. and the way they still crawled to some sort of success … it’s not different from the Jewish experience from around the world.

    With China being the weak state it has been over the last 150 or so years, the Chinese diaspora was treated much as a stateless people. Things only started to change in the last couple of decades…

  173. Flags of the republic Says:

    Hey Think Ming! 168

    I really love your use of half-truths to justify your arguments. Hey, if it is unintentional, I guess we can chalk it up to stupidity or ignorance. Otherwise, it is really slimy.

    If you really believe that the CCP’s intention in implementing mandarin as lingua franca is to homogenize and discourage / replace local dialects, all I have to say is that’s really stupid and, not to mention, gay.

    You really need to stop and listen to what comes out your mouth. Shouldn’t treat every word that comes out as the god-given gospel.

  174. Tu Quoque Says:

    Although there are Chinese Jews, just as there are Chinese Muslims, Chinese Christians, Chinese Buddhists, Chinese Communists, Chinese Anglophiles, xenophiles and xenophobes, etc., the compliment paid to the Chinese enterprising business community, in particular, is generally well received, and has nothing to do with similarity in religion or historical or geopolitical relevance, merely of their similarity in there admirable aptitudes for adaptation to survive and thrive where ever they find themselves.

  175. Otto Kerner Says:

    Allen — well, fair enough. The experiences of overseas Chinese communities does bear a notable resemblance to the experiences of Ashkenazi Jewish communities, and it’s quite admirable. China itself is admirable, too, but in a very different circumstance. I just wanted to point out that the metaphor “Chinese as the Jews of Asia” doesn’t make sense unless one specifies overseas Chinese people.

  176. Steve Says:

    @ Think Ming! #168: When I was in China, I paid particular attention to local dialects because I like to compare the sound cadences and how they differ from one another. I found that if you could speak even a few words of the local dialect, you got MUCH better service. In Shanghai, it makes a big difference and every Shanghainese I knew could speak their local dialect. In fact, they used to compare different areas that spoke Wu. Ningbo was the harshest and Suzhou was the sweetest. A true Shanghainese can listen to someone and tell you what neighborhood they’re from just by their Shanghainese accent. So from my experience, they don’t seem to be dying out at all.

    Everyone I met in southern China could speak putonghua, Cantonese and many could speak Hakka. Some could even speak the Chaozhou dialect. It seemed everyone could speak at least two and mostly three dialects.

    When I first moved to Taiwan, I bought the Lonely Planet guidebook as a reference. Unfortunately, it was probably the only crap LP guidebook out there; most of what the writer wrote was out of date. But I noticed he said that Hakka and other local dialects were dying out. In Miaoli, and FOARP can attest to this, knowing some Hakka was VERY helpful since that’s all anyone spoke at the open air market. All our nephews and nieces speak Hakka (and we have about 20 of them) so it’s not dying out with the younger generation either.

    @ all: I know Hakka call themselves the “Jews of China” and some here have used it on Chinese themselves but really, no other race can compare to the Jewish experience. They were forced from their homeland, persecuted for literally thousands of years, killed by the Ottomans, tortured in the Inquisition, murdered in Hitler’s gas chambers… while most of that time China was the most advanced country in the world. Let’s just let Chinese be Chinese and Jews be Jews. 😉

  177. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #150:
    you’ve belaboured that point often. But to me, how Tibet was or wasn’t prior to 1949 has little bearing on what Tibet may or may not become in 2009. Similarly, China pre-1978 bears little resemblance to China today.

  178. Allen Says:

    Of course history matters. History frames the political context of today and the future. Without history – there is no concept of civilization, or society, or sense of communities, or sense of purpose. With that said, I want to note that of course we have the power to change the trajectory of history … after all, we today have the power to make tomorrow’s history, and thus in that way history does not provide ALL THE ANSWERS. But to say we should disregard history altogether or that history has not impute on the future is … well silly.

  179. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Willy Wonka #164:
    1. Your Cantonese is worse than your English.
    2. You say “contradiction”; I say “lack of comprehension” on your part.
    3. As I said, I’ll take my abilities any day of the week, and twice on Sunday’s. I think yours should be left for the birds.
    4. Rather than worry about what you may or may not understand, I may have to leave you to your solitudes.
    5. You are clearly deluded. And the word you were looking for there is “deprives”, not “depraves”. You’re welcome. Nice attempt at writing with flare, however.
    6. As entertainment, you have been somewhat amusing. But for educational purposes, this experience has no redeeming qualities, at least for me.

  180. Wukailong Says:

    @Wahaha (#160): I like your travel descriptions. I’ve heard several times now that nature in Tibet is tremendously beautiful, and I love nature, so I’ll go whenever I have a chance (which, unfortunately, is not too often!).

    Btw, a Swedish friend of mine that’s the most traveled person I’ve ever heard of, said that Tibet was the most “exotic” place he’d ever been to.

  181. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Allen:
    yes, we can learn from history. But I thought the point of such learning is to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past. So when Wahaha asks what life in Tibet pre-1949 looked like, is he saying that the future Tibet, whether it be a part of China or not, should construct itself differently? Or is he suggesting that Tibet returned to “buddhist rule” would simply recreate pre-1949 circumstances? Perhaps I’ve interpreted it incorrectly (I am basing this interpretation on the tenor of his points on this topic over many months), but I feel he is implying the latter. And that to me is ridiculous.
    History is a frame, and at times makes for a pretty picture (though not always). And like a picture, it’s good for a thousand words if not more. But while those words might remind you of how you got to where you are today, they are by no means a mandate on where you’re going tomorrow. Rather than enslave yourself to someone else’s history, I suggest it’s better to go and make your own.

  182. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Allen and S.K. Cheung,

    Both of you put the question of history very well.

    I would just add—and maybe I’m repeating S.K. Cheung—that history serves little purpose if it is always used for broad rhetorical points, a la “What, you want autonomy for Tibet? Why do you want to return Tibet to the state it was in a century ago? Don’t you know how bad it was a century ago?” Or, alternately, “You think the Chinese government is right about X or Y? Well, don’t you know they messed up big time with the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution? Do you want that to happen again?”

    There has to be some plausible thread connecting the events in the past and the present that you want to highlight. Like both of you said in different ways, we can’t let people bludgeon us into submission with historical precedents, but we do need to know where an issue came from, how people’s historical memories of it differ, and what *useful* analogies it offers for today’s dilemmas. The last one of those is, of course, subject to debate—but hopefully it will be a real debate, not just slinging dead-end “facts.”

  183. Wahaha Says:

    “that history serves little purpose if it is always used for broad rhetorical points”

    Therefore, let us forget GLF and CR.

    By the standard for most people, except those who drive BMW, have nice houses and have plenty money in bank, CCP is one of the best, if not the best ruling governments on earth.

    Note, “most people” means “most of 6.6 billion people on earth.” not most in Europe and North America.

    ________________________________

    @FOARP,

    When I talked about political right for Tibetan people, I excluded those monks and free-tibet activitist.

  184. Wahaha Says:

    Steve,

    I dont know the current condition in Tibet. I heard private tour was allowed before 3.14 riot.

    I always believe that organized tour is the last way to travel, unless safety is a problem. If I go to tibet in recent future (assume I never went there before), I will fly to Lhasa, then take public traffic bus from Lhasa to Xigatse, not tour buses, so I will have plenty of chance having direct contact with Tibetans.

    If you want to know Tibet, one way is to go to their festivals or ceremony, the other way is to go to their tents (NOT BRICK BUILDING.) So IF SAFTY IS NOT A PROBLEM, you can go somewhere FAR FROM MAIN STREETS AND STORES, find some old Tibetan women, pretending that you need some foods, tibetan women are very very nice and gentle, that was the way you have chance to go to their tents. But it is very unpolite if you reject their foods, so there is problem if you cant eat their foods for whatever reasons, you know. So you better try before.

    I dont know the condition of roads in Tibet now. When I was there, the condition was so bad thad sometimes I was bumped up 2 feet and hit the top of the bus. so you better go the bus station early and find a seat in the front one third part of bus. BTW, you have to be very brave, cuz the bus moves right along the cliff on that road, and driver maynot slow down a bit as he is familiar with the road.

  185. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Wahaha,

    Perhaps I wasn’t clear. My point wasn’t that we should avoid discussing the Great Leap Forward or Cultural Revolution or pre-1949 problems in Tibet, etc. Instead, what I meant to say was that we shouldn’t bring up historical horrors just to stop discussion, such as by making a dramatic contrast, e.g. “things are better than half a century ago, so shut up” or “things were horrible half a century ago, so I don’t believe anyone who says they are better now.” That is obviously not productive. And I’m sure I’ve done that sort of thing myself on more than one occasion. We need to be more specific when we invoke the past and explain why exactly it has a bearing on the situation today.

    I’m afraid, though, that you’re not really interested in any of this discussion. Your aim seems to be simply to score a point in an endless battle between “China” and “the West,” with something bad discovered in one place counting as a point for the other side. In that case, getting historical analogies right is probably useless to you and a distraction. I’ll let you get back to your fun. If I have misjudged your perspective, feel free to correct me.

    As to your statement that “by the standard for most people, except those who drive BMW, have nice houses and have plenty money in bank, CCP is one of the best, if not the best ruling governments on earth,” I’m not sure what you mean.

    Do you mean that public opinion in the “Global South” is largely supportive of China? If so, I think you’re basically right. Though there has been a backlash against Chinese investment in some places, such as Zambia, I’d say most people’s impressions of the P.R.C. in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia (and South Asia, to a degree) are pretty positive, though I should re-read that Pew global survey everyone was talking about a bit back. That feeling of goodwill bodes well for the future of the world. China can do a lot of good development-wise in Africa and elsewhere.

    If you mean, further, that European and North American elites hate China (the ones in Europe and North America who presumably drive BMWs, have nice houses and money in the bank—or did until recently), I don’t think you’re entirely on target. Lots of “Western” capitalists love China. Many I’ve met think of China’s leaders as visionary go-getters, unconstrained by unions or environmental activists. Or, if they are little more to the left, they respect China’s judicious use of the state in the economy. Some have old, Cold War-era hang-ups about Communism, but I’d say they’re a minority. And, of course, there’s a bigger faction tied to production at home who, understandably, are worried about losing out to outsourcing competition. In other words, the elites are a mixed bunch, for better or worse.

    If you mean, instead, that the “West” in general dislikes China, while the “Third World” thinks that China is the best thing since sliced bread, to use an American expression, I think that’s an overly broad generalization. And I don’t know quite what it means, even if true. Should critics of a particular Chinese policy therefore shut up?

  186. Allen Says:

    @Otto Kerner #175, Steve #176

    Otto Kerner and Steve are right: of course China as a World Civilization is not – cannot be – Israel, but I want to venture that perhaps even Mainland Chinese do share many similar experiences with Jews.

    When China is war torn and sagged by foreign invasion, internal turmoil and poverty, many of the common people lived like refugees. They moved place to place, constantly looking for food, shelter, work. Families were often split; relatives were often killed. There were great prejudice against these migrants, who were often discriminated against, looked down up, and trampled. But many are nevertheless forced to move and become one.

    In the cities occupied by foreigners, Chinese were second class citizens consigned to menial jobs and to living in the worst part of the cities. The Japanese army not only tormented and mass murdered the populace, but also did gruesome experiments on Chinese civilians.

    Through all this, however, the Chinese persevered.

    I think the spirit to persevere despite tremendous hardship and odds – that is a common experience that both Jews and Chinese can relate to on a spiritual and emotional basis. That is why many describe Chinese as the “Jews of Asia.”

  187. Allen Says:

    @SKC #181 and @OTR #182,

    I will come to defend Wahaha. China has often been denigrated as destroying Tibetan culture, as not caring about the Tibetan people, as a foreign occupier. The DL has been depicted as a loving fatherly figure that loves the Tibetan people, that walks with the Tibetan people, that cares for and carries the unhappy burdens of the Tibetan people.

    A health dose of perspective on history can go a long way to dispelling many of these myths. That’s why history keep popping up… I guess…

  188. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Steve 176

    Sorry, but I take a big interest in Chinese dialects and I can only report my experiences.

    Young people simply don’t speak dialects as well as the older generation. This is the result of the promotion of ‘putonghua’.

  189. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Allen 186

    Honestly, you disgust me with your self indulgent ‘Chinese as holy victims of foreign aggression’ garbage.

    You fixate on the historical periods where China was at the receiving end of the imperialism and violence it spent thousands of years dishing out on others, raving on about Chinese ‘perseverance’ and victim hood.

    Grow the f&*k up!

  190. Think Ming! Says:

    @ Tu Quoque 169

    I just offered you the NZ colonialism in Samoa to give you another example of ‘whitey colonialism’ to get excited about. Don’t expect me to reach the same conclusions as you. You see I’m capable of having complex and nuanced thoughts. Also, I’m not a race obsessed, angst driven lunatic like you. Therefore the two of us can react very differently to identical stimulus.

  191. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Allen,

    I agree that some perspective is needed. Obviously, there are a lot of simplistic narratives floating around out there, on both “sides.” Also, as I said, I think it’s fine if history pops up—good even. But Wahaha has never, to my knowledge, really delved into history in his posts. He / she seems to just use it as a tool in some sort of tag team war over China’s image, propping up big, sweeping statements.

    No explanation is given for the examples Wahaha uses. For example, he / she challenges us to pass a litmus test about whether Tibet was good or bad before “liberation.” But he / she doesn’t explain what Tibet being good or bad fifty years ago says about the choices facing Tibet today, only that we are “like Sarkozy” or “not like Sarkozy” depending on our answer. What in the world does that mean? That if we think Tibet was bad in the past we are automatically unlike Sarkozy (whose opinion on pre-“liberation” Tibet I have never heard, but I suppose I could guess) and therefore must, absolutely, see everything in the past 50-some years as justified?

    Wahaha’s whole point seems to concern which country is worse than which. Why anyone would care about country X or Y’s image or “goodness” or “badness” is beyond me—whether that country be China or New Zealand or anywhere else in the world. Obviously, we all have biases and we all understand some countries more than others. And biases are worth exploring, but not to the point that all we talk about are each other’s biases and never the real issues.

  192. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #184: I’ve never taken an organized tour so we’re the same in that respect. I wouldn’t worry about my safety in Tibet. Fortunately, I can eat everything but my wife is different; she might not be willing to try yak. 🙂

    Crazy drivers don’t bother me; I figure since they’re still alive, my chances are good. It’s actually a feature of all developing countries. My wife likes to sit right behind the driver and maybe it’s for that reason. I’d assume the roads are way better than in 1986. Based on your description, there was little to no development in Tibet from 1950 through 1986, so I’m assuming the vast majority of investment has happened since that time and the roads would be better now.

    What is the main draw in Xigatse? I know the old castle there was destroyed during the CR and I have no desire to see a poorly rebuilt tourist trap. Is it just the best place from which to explore the countryside? Or is it a good place to see cultural festivals?

    Did you have any problems with the lack of oxygen? How long did it take you to acclimatize?

  193. Wahaha Says:

    OTR,

    When we argue about some big issues, the first thing to check is if we have something we both agree.

    Do we have anything on Tibet that we can both agree on ?

    The basic assumption made by west is that DL best represents for Tibetan people (did West ever mention materially who is the best for Tibetan people? NEVER !!!), and Chinese government did everything wrong since 1950s. Therefore, China should give the political power back to DL and those monks FOR THE SAKE OF TIBETAN PEOPLE, am I right ?

    I am sorry I disagree, I dont see how Tibetan people will benefit under rule of DL and monks except that they dont have to climb over Himalayas to get his bless (cuz of this, I love to see DL back to China as religious figure), CUZ NEVER, NEVER IN HISTORY, HAVE THOSE MONKS EVER DONE ANYTHING FOR TIBETAN PEOPLE.

    So to see what we dont agree on, I am asking : Besides the smile of DL, what he has done conviced westerners that DL and those monks BEST represent the interests of Tibetan people ?

  194. Wahaha Says:

    Think Ming!

    Honestly, you disgust me with your self-righeous Westerners as messagers of God.

    After hundreds of years of suppression where China was at the receiving end of the imperialism and violence, Westerners still try to keep China submissive to them.

    Grow the f&*k up!

  195. Wahaha Says:

    Steve

    I didnt have problem breathing cuz I took truck instead of plane, some of my chinese friends who flied to Tibet in last several years had trouble breathing after getting out of airplane cuz of sudden change of height, Lhasa was 3800 meters above sea level.

    I stayed in Xigatse for only one day, in a motel (the only motel) without bathroom and restroom, the main street was about as long as Wall street, very few people there except in front of Tashilhunpo monastery, most of them were from far far away just to pray. I was told by the motel owner there were lot of people gathering there during festivals, sometimes even more than in Lhasa cuz of Panchan Lama.

    There was basically no development since land reform in 1959 and 1960, I think there wasnt much until 1995 or 1996, when Chinese government had money, they started investing in the infrastructure in Tibet.

  196. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Wahaha,

    I don’t want to defend or argue about the “basic assumption made by west,” as I don’t have anything invested in “the west” being right or wrong—and I see this whole contest as on tangentially relevant to the future of Tibet.

    As to the actual issues, I think we may not be so far apart, after all. You say that monks and HHDL shouldn’t be the political representatives of the Tibetan people. I tend to agree, at least in the sense that Tibetans shouldn’t be ruled by unelected officials. A fair number of Tibetans agree, too, both inside Tibet and in exile (including, of course, many in the pro-independence camp who find HHDL too soft in his negotiating).

    Where we may disagree, though, is that I think the Tibetan people deserve to be much more the masters of their own political destiny than they are at present, that they should have much more direct input in the economic planning of the TAR and Tibetan areas and in the religious and cultural regulations that govern them. The Tibetans, moreover, are the best ones to decide the ultimate balance of temple-state that works best for them, not a bureaucracy in far off Beijing.

    You seem to have argued all this time that we shouldn’t even be discussing these things, though, as any discussion smacks of Sarkozy-ism. Instead of dealing with what makes sense for Tibetans—though you have started to in this most recent comment—you have focused on what the West does or doesn’t say, whether everyone in the world loves or hates China, etc, etc.

  197. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #193 & OTR #196: I can’t speak for OTR, but I think I can see where your sticking point is with each other. Wahaha said “The basic assumption made by west is that DL best represents for Tibetan people”. I think where OTR and some others are coming from is that who best represents the Tibetan people should be a decision made by the Tibetan people themselves and not by westerners or Han Chinese. As an existing autonomous region, there is already an acknowledgement by the PRC that differences exist between Tibetans and other parts of China.

    And there’s the rub. From what I’ve read on this blog (since I don’t have enough knowledge of the Tibetan situation to give opinions, just ask a lot of questions) the Han Chinese people feel the Tibetans are happy under the PRC government, while the exiled Tibetans feel that the Tibetan people in China are behind the DL as their spiritual and political leader. The Han Chinese point to material benefits and development under the PRC in the last 15 years as the major benefit of their rule. Tibetan exiles say that these benefits overwhelmingly favor Han Chinese immigrants and the destruction of their culture is too high a price to pay.

    What is the actual situation in the Tibetan regions? I have no idea since I’ve never been there. My guess is that everyone is correct in terms of their viewpoint. Tibetans are enjoying the benefits of materialistic progress; Tibetans have great respect for the DL and feel he represents many of their cultural, religious and political interests; many Tibetans are happy and others are not. What the percentages are is unknown. There are no “hard hitting news pieces” coming out of the region, either by Chinese or foreign media. Accurate polling is unknown. Chinese media won’t allow it and foreign media isn’t allowed. So in a way, aren’t we all just guessing to some extent?

    In the end, Tibet is a part of China and it doesn’t look to change so some sort of accommodation would be beneficial for all involved. No one wants the situation to explode; no one wants Tibetan culture to disappear. Someone’s going to have to think “outside the box” if a solution is to be found. The current negotiating positions on either side just don’t seem to be working.

  198. Tu Qouque Says:

    ” but I take a big interest in Chinese dialects and I can only report my experiences.Young people simply don’t speak dialects as well as the older generation.”

    Good for you, think ming. Yes, you could report from your own experience, and you could do some research. Frankly, with your problematic biases, ignorance and all, you are better off not trusting your own judgement. For one, young people don’t speak the older generation’s languguage. My language skills got better with age, and I speak 5 languages. See what I mean?

    “You see I’m capable of having complex and nuanced thoughts. ”

    Um, who can’t. Again good for you. However, I wouldn’t brag about it though, given your record here thus far.

    “Also, I’m not a race obsessed, angst driven lunatic like you. Therefore the two of us can react very differently to identical stimulus.”

    Like I warned you before, be careful of drowning in your own piss in denial. Talk about race obsessed and angst driven, think Ming, you’ve been exhibiting almost all the textbook case syndromes, not me. I am merely having fun here playing shrink for the benefit of others, and hopefully help you switch on some mental lights. Take care & good bye. Got a flight to catch.

  199. Tu Qouque Says:

    Tibet is a part of China and it doesn’t look to change so some sort of accommodation would be beneficial for all involved.

    – YES.

    “No one wants the situation to explode; ”

    -NO, not the Hans, not the CCP nor many Tibetans.

    “no one wants Tibetan culture to disappear.”

    -This is very true.

  200. Otto Kerner Says:

    Re, steve #197,

    Interesting comments, as usual. I was thinking about your statement, “the Han Chinese people feel the Tibetans are happy under the PRC government”. I wonder about that. Just as there is no reliable opinion polling coming out of Tibet, there is serious lack of data about what Han people think about Tibet. I think that blogs like Fool’s Mountain demonstrate that young Han people who are sympathetic to the CCP’s position on the Tibet issue and who are interested in talking about Tibet in English on the internet — those people tend to think that Tibetans are happy under the current government. What does the average Han person in China think? Geez, who knows?

    “no one wants Tibetan culture to disappear.” This sort of gets back to what wuming and I were talking about earlier. I’m sure that nobody important wants Tibetan culture to disappear just out of cruelty. As a means to an end, though … I can see where somebody might have reached the conclusion that China’s security would enhanced if Tibetan culture were no longer a factor.

  201. Otto Kerner Says:

    re: wuming, #153:

    I’m not really an expert on this matter, but as far as I’m aware, the scholarly literature in English is basically unanimous that the Dalai Lama was not involved with the 1950s uprising until after he had gone into exile. He was involved with the remaining guerillas in the 1960s (at one point, his brother tried to take control of the guerrilla headquarters, but it wasn’t very successful). It’s possible that the literature in Chinese has a different and perhaps more accurate description of these events.

    It’s not really clear to me that either side ever blatantly violated the 17-point agreement, despite accusations to the contrary. When the rebellion spread from Kham to Lhasa, I think it became basically impossible for the agreement to continue to be honored — it was never intended to be a framework for government in wartime. Nixing the 17-point agreement was perhaps the only thing both sides agreed upon at that point.

  202. Allen Says:

    @Otto Kerner #200,

    You wrote:

    I can see where somebody might have reached the conclusion that China’s security would enhanced if Tibetan culture were no longer a factor.

    I can see where you can get that … I can see how the DL would like to paint that picture.

    But Chinese who cares about Chineseness would never subscribe to that. That’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    What is this: destroying yourself to be yourself?

    I’d like to say I feel disappointed by your comment … but I think you are just being honest – so I’ll just leave it at that.

  203. Allen Says:

    @Otto Kerner #201,

    The DL has a long time ago unilaterally nullified and voided the 17 point agreement. See here:

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued a statement on 18 April 1959, explaining that the 17-Point Agreement was signed under duress and that the Chinese government had deliberately violated the terms of the Agreement. Thus from that day onwards, he declared that the agreement would be considered null and void, and he would strive for the restoration of Tibet’s independence.

    I personally have nothing against the 17 point agreement and would have supported it had the DL stayed in China – even if he had been put under house arrest or something…

    But now – with all that’s happened – I think the agreement is moot.

  204. Wukailong Says:

    @Allen (#202): “But Chinese who cares about Chineseness would never subscribe to that. That’s throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    What is this: destroying yourself to be yourself?”

    I think you said some time ago that if it was necessary to sacrifice the Tibetan brothers and sisters for the greater good of China, then so be it. I guess it was a misunderstanding on my part, or just related to some other argument?

  205. Allen Says:

    @Wukailong,

    Thank you for remembering…! 🙂

    I truly really appreciate this. SKC has called me on apparent contradictions in other threads before also – for which I was also very appreciative.

    Let me explain: when I made that argument you quoted, I was talking about politics. If some group of Chinese – whether it may Tibetans, Taiwanese, Japanese collaborators, capitalists, communists (whatever) – is plotting to destroy the Chinese nation, those groups will be dealt with as enemies of the China and persecuted accordingly. That’s what I mean by saying if the Tibetan brothers and sisters want to split China, I am ready to respond in kind with a full scale civil war. (If you read that same comment I wrote (the link is to the precise comment, but you need to wait for things to load), however, I would go on to suggest that this is really not reality. Tibetan brothers and sisters do not want to split. It’s only the DL that’s causing the trouble…)

    My comment in #202 above however relates to the Tibetan cultural entity. There is no way I would want to destroy Tibetan culture. I as a Chinese treasure and value the Tibetan culture. My mom has attended lectures by the DL twice (once in Taiwan and once at a Taiwanese temple in the U.S.) – even though we all hate his politics. My uncle is actually a Tibetan Buddhist.

    I may think of the DL as an enemy of the Chinese nation; that doesn’t mean however I support destroying Tibetan Buddhism – or or the broader Tibetan culture – or the Tibetan people.

    Hope that makes sense…

  206. Wukailong Says:

    @Allen: I have to admit that I get carried away with and interpret words like “sacrifice” very strictly – that is, to literally get rid of people. If you think of it as a political power to be quelled to uphold the union of the nation then it’s quite a different thing.

    I might not agree with that viewpoint (and my supervisor doesn’t agree with Lincoln’s decision to fight that war), but it makes sense to me. Thanks!

  207. Allen Says:

    @Wukailong,

    Yes – I understand your perspective. But when I meant “sacrifice” – I did mean to “get rid of people.” I.e. – during a civil war – brethren against whom you are fighting will die – will be gotten rid of…

    Of course, now looking back, and in light of your comment above, I guess people could have interpreted me as advocating some sort of “genocide” against the Tibetan people … that is to kill all Tibetan people simply on account of some advocate Independence – even thought that wasn’t what I meant at all.

  208. William Huang Says:

    @ S. K. Cheung #179

    Clam down, SKC, it’s just talk. You are goanna get anxiety attack if you don’t take it easy. I wasn’t going to continue this exchange (as I’d taken the advice), but seeing you like this, it breaks my heart.

    Let’s change the subject. You mentioned that you will take your “abilities” any day of the week, and twice on Sunday’s. It sounded like fun. Now, who is this handsome fellow? Does he have a real name? I hope he is a Canadian too.

  209. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Steve #197:
    excellent post, as usual. Your first paragraph sums up what I’ve been trying to say on this blog for 8 months, only better, and in a more concise fashion.
    And your last paragraph not only applies to Tibet, but also to Gaza, and probably to many other hotspots-du-jour.

  210. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #183:
    I can stipulate that we can learn from history, but that does not extend to the revisionist version thereof. So yeah, we can talk about history. But to me, the only relevance of such a discussion is to identify the errors of our forefathers, and avoid repeating them; or to identify their successes, and try to replicate those. So no, let’s not forget about the GLF and the CR, for those who ignore such history are bound to repeat it. But assuming that Tibetans are capable of such learning, pre-1949 Tibet need not have any resemblance whatsoever to how a future Tibet (within China or separate from it) might look like.

    As for the effectiveness of the CCP model of governance, you have your view, and clearly I have mine. But if you suggest that most people in the world would prefer it, then where are the hankering “non-Western” masses agitating for its implementation in their neck of the woods?

  211. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung,

    Good way of putting the history stuff. But I think there is undeniable interest in the “Chinese model” in many parts of the world. Wahaha exaggerates this, but it’s definitely there. I’m not sure, however, what exactly that interest means.

    Perhaps Beijing’s take on authoritarianism has appeal among developing country ruling elites looking for sources of strength or even ordinary people frustrated with inefficient governments, but I imagine the bigger draw is China’s refusal to go along with the Washington consensus in economics. Beijing made the right decisions during the East Asian financial crisis, while those who followed DC and the IMF to the letter got hurt—and that won a lot of converts.

    The details of this might not be understood well at a popular level in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, but there is a general and accurate sense that China hasn’t rolled over for international capital. Sure, like I said before, foreign businesspeople aren’t exactly at odds with Beijing—they love their cozy set-ups in Pearl River Delta—but China has blazed its own path (with inspiration from Korea and Taiwan). This position could just get more popular as the current world crisis deepens. Or it could be upended if China messes things up.

    Anyway, this is a bit of a digression.

  212. Wahaha Says:

    “OTR and some others are coming from is that who best represents the Tibetan people should be a decision made by the Tibetan people themselves.”

    Steve,

    A lot of children were taken away from their abusive parents against their wills.

    I saw an example on this board that some peasants were told to give certain answers before a poll.

    So, to let a group of people make decision, we must first determine :

    (1) if that group of people have the freedom of making decision,

    (2) How much do they know and are they given enough choices for them to pick ? like a lof of Americans dont like either candidates for president.

    Would White people in middle age of Europe have choices other than following the rule set by Churches ? When a society is dominated by religion, people dont have the freedom making decision, the same can be said about some remote poor village in China.

  213. Wahaha Says:

    “But to me, the only relevance of such a discussion is to identify the errors of our forefathers, …”

    SKC,

    I think that is what lot of Chinese did in last 15 years after Soviet Unions became democratic Russia.

    We identify the errors made by Russia : shock remedy is not good way for system change.

  214. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #212: Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

    I wasn’t trying to make the argument, I was just pointing out both sides of the argument that I’ve heard discussed over the last few months. I haven’t been there nor read any factual reporting so my knowledge of the actual situation is limited.

    However, I can address your points in a general way:

    1) For a group of people to have the freedom of making decisions, there has to be a political structure which allows them to do so. Since the PRC is the political structure in China (including Tibet), the success (or failure) would rest with them.

    2) Knowledge of the populace is based on education and accurate information availability. Concerning Tibet, China has been there for 59 years and so has controlled both those factors in that time. I’m sure you can tell me the rate of progress that’s been achieved so far since I personally have no idea.

    Europeans in the middle ages were uneducated and illiterate. Once the printing press was developed by Gutenberg, within a generation Europe was mostly literate. Once literate, the hold of the church on the people was quickly broken (Reformation). Educated societies are typically not dominated by a single religious view but uneducated ones typically are.

    The CCP’s success in the revolution was achieved with the majority of it’s fighters being from “some remote poor village in China”. From your previous comments, you seem to think that was a good thing. Why is it a bad thing these days? My guess is that the education level of Tibetans today is much higher than among those peasants who joined and fought for the CCP in 1949.

    If Tibet is an autonomous region, what exactly does that mean? Where do they exercise autonomy? If they have autonomy, why are they still unhappy with their situation? Until both sides can cross the bridge of understanding each other’s position and reach an accomodation that works for both, it seems the problem will continue to linger. Treating people like children just makes them more intransigent.

  215. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Wahaha,

    If the Tibetans were to be allowed a referendum of some sort, then all of those conditions that you lay out in comment #212 would have to be considered. I would clarify—and perhaps you meant this—that the question of whether a “group of people have the freedom of making decision” would be important not only in terms of religious pressures, but also pressure from the government on voters.

    I think we have to define what being “dominated by religion” means—does it just mean widespread religious belief? If so, I’m not sure that it necessarily is such a barrier to good decision-making, whether in Tibet or, as you say, in rural China. There is a danger in viewing the poor as hopelessly irrational or misguided because they have a faith. Obviously, every class and ethnic group has strongly held beliefs, whether “religious” or not. But I can certainly see how religious authorities could interfere inappropriately in a vote. And that should be avoided.

    In general, while a referendum would be good, I was thinking more of a general, day-to-day involvement in their government’s affairs by Tibetans, the ability the change laws to fit their own circumstances—not just wait for Beijing to decide that a law should be changed.

    I certainly agree with you that Russia’s capitalist shock treatment was a disaster. I tend to think that the problem wasn’t democracy but the wholesale destruction of state-owned enterprises, smashing of social benefits and illegal enrichment of former-state-employees-now-oligarchs. Those things weren’t a consequence of popular input in the state, but of a state that basically absolved itself of any duties to its citizenry, something that should be familiar to people who have lived through capitalist dictatorships (Suharto, Musharraf, etc.) as well as capitalist democracies.

    While China had some of the same problems at the end of the 1990s and early 2000s (for example, with the chaotic SOE layoffs and resulting protests in Liaoning and Heilongjiang in 2002), the country rightly went slower on the privatization.

  216. Wahaha Says:

    Steve and OTR,

    System cant control what people think as long as people can see something beyond their backyard.

    Every person has political life and material life. China changed dramatically when people knew there were much better material lives. Tibetan people are not given such information.

    I mentioned a report before by NYTimes : a Tibet girl working in a motel could earn lot lot more than her sister living in poor villige of Tibet, she hoped that her sister had leaned a little mandarin so she couldve lived much better, and she also had a picture of DL.

    Now, what choice does she have ? a government by monks or a government that can help her living better ? WHICH ONE WOULD YOU PICK if you are forced to pick ONLY one of them ?

  217. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Wahaha,

    I don’t understand why we have to pick “only one of them,” though I suppose I would prefer a government that can help people live better, whatever that means… who wouldn’t? I imagine we disagree on what such a government would look like. As you haven’t addressed my point about Tibetan people’s input in their governance, I assume that would not be a part of your ideal set-up. Perhaps you mean a TAR administered from Beijing but with the best interests of the local people in mind? I don’t see how that fits any meaningful definition of autonomy. Or maybe you mean things are fine right now, riots and protests and crackdowns aside?

    At any rate, the girl you mention points to a way out of such sharp binaries: she wants to earn more (I think we all want Tibetans to earn more; in fact, some of the best critiques of Chinese rule in Tibet focus on the *form* of the development there) and she maintains a religious life. Fine, the two are not opposed. The only missing ingredient is politics.

    A discussion of different possible political arrangements would be useful—-but not all this stuff about right and wrong, choose this or choose that, all capitalized letters, etc.

  218. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha #216: I’m not following some of your reasoning…

    “System cant control what people think as long as people can see something beyond their backyard.”

    I’m not sure how you’re applying this to life in Tibet. What are they seeing beyond their backyard?

    “Every person has political life and material life. China changed dramatically when people knew there were much better material lives. Tibetan people are not given such information.”

    If Tibetan people are not given such information, the only one you can blame for that is the government, whose mission is educating the people. So either they are not being well educated, or the opportunities present in the rest of China are not present in Tibet.

    “I mentioned a report before by NYTimes : a Tibet girl working in a motel could earn lot lot more than her sister living in poor villige of Tibet, she hoped that her sister had leaned a little mandarin so she couldve lived much better, and she also had a picture of DL.”

    There are two issues here. If all the “sisters living in poor villages of Tibet” learned a little Mandarin and went to the city to get a job in the hotel, most would go home emptyhanded, since there aren’t that many jobs in hotels. And isn’t Mandarin a required course in school anyway? Shouldn’t all people living in poor villages under a certain age speak some Mandarin?

    The other issue is working in a hotel while carrying a picture of the DL. One has nothing to do with the other. I’ve met a few engineers, physicists, etc that carry photos of the Pope (they’re Catholic) in their wallets. They don’t want the Pope to be a political leader, it’s strictly a religious thing. If her religious beliefs lead her to have his photo, what’s wrong with that? All you’re telling me is that though the DL is an enemy of the Chinese government, he seems to be well respected among people he hasn’t lived near for almost 60 years and who aren’t allowed to legally see or hear him. In a way, that’s pretty amazing.

    “Now, what choice does she have ? a government by monks or a government that can help her living better ? WHICH ONE WOULD YOU PICK if you are forced to pick ONLY one of them?”

    Wahaha, this is a logical fallacy called a false dilemma. You are trying to say there are only two possible outcomes and we forced to pick among the two. First of all, there are many possible outcomes. Second, a government by monks is not one of them, any more than another CR style government for China is. Third, more than one style of government can help someone live better. Fourth, there is a provision already in place for a degree of autonomy in Tibet, so it does not require a constitutional change. Fifth, everything is negotiatable except PRC sovereignty and military sovereignty. There’s a lot of room to maneuver and compromise without the PRC losing any control over the region. In fact, wouldn’t a Tibetan people who were happy and content being a part of the PRC, be the best possible outcome for both the PRC and the Tibetan people?

  219. Wahaha Says:

    “If Tibetan people are not given such information, the only one you can blame for that is the government, ..”

    Steve,

    You can pin the blame on government pre-1995. Now the government is doing that, or “genocide” by west media. so either way, chinese government is on wrong side.

    Actually, if you look at the pictures of free-Tibet protests, 90% of them are monks, what does that tell to an intelligent person ?

    __________________________________

    Steve and OTR,

    so it is about how many choices Tibetan people have.

    So the third one is “Hey, Han chinese, give me the F#$%ing money and get out of tibet.”

  220. Steve Says:

    @ Wahaha: If the government is showing people they have much better lives and the people believe the government because their lives are so much better, then the problem is pretty much solved, right? So are you saying that the only people protesting in Tibet these days are the monks? Why do people want to become monks if they can have much better lives by being laymen? (I’m not arguing, just curious.)

    I don’t think the “genocide” by western media remark is fair or accurate. Some editorialists have used the “cultural genocide” label but they’re editorialists and can say whatever they like. It’s not considered news, just opinion. I’ve heard both sides here so to state that there is a monolithic opinion in the west just isn’t true.

    Your third choice is certainly a choice, but I doubt the PRC government will decide to go along with that one. I’m sure if more autonomy is given, future investments by the government will look more closely at the rate of return. 🙂

  221. Old Tales Retold Says:

    @ Wahaha,

    Enough with the rhetorical questions and broad statements. No, the third option is not “Hey, Han chinese, give me the F#$%ing money and get out of Tibet.” It is a different model of economic development and more autonomy, which itself is a rather wide “third option”—this can go a number of different directions. Really, it’s more like four, five, six, tons of different options.

    I understand that you think the status quo is fine. OK. I don’t think it’s fine and I don’t even imagine that the CCP leadership thinks it’s fine. In fact, some people have suggested that Beijing is in the midst of a reevaluation and overhaul of their policies in the TAR and other Tibetan areas. My guess is that the region’s uneven economic development (one of the sharpest rich-poor divides in China) will be on the top of their list. But that doesn’t mean, of course, that it has to be on the top of yours. No problem. We can argue through the different paths available. Just stop reducing everything everything to absolutes and railing against foreigners.

    This thread may have outworn its use.

  222. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #213:
    it always comes back to “shock remedy” for you. Is that the only solution out there? Is the choice between “do nothing” and “shock remedy”? Can I tick the “other” box? Is there an “other” box in your mind? If you can conceive that the system requires change, and you’ve learned that “shock remedy” is not effective, then that’s great. But the response should not be “then let’s do nothing”; the response should be “let’s find another better way to make the changes we need to make”. So go and learn from history; but don’t get paralyzed by it.

  223. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #212:
    So if the problem with canvassing Tibetans for their opinion is that you’re concerned about their freedom to voice an unfettered opinion, and their understanding of the choices at their disposal, then my response would be to go and ensure that their requisite freedom is protected, and to adequately inform them of their choices. My response would not be to forgo their opinions altogether.

  224. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Wahaha #216:
    “WHICH ONE WOULD YOU PICK if you are forced to pick ONLY one of them ?”- whichever one I pick would be irrelevant. The only one that matters to me is what a Tibetan would pick. And you know what, that may not be your choice, or mine, but far be it for you or me to dictate to a Tibetan what would be best for them. In fact, isn’t this the same line of argument you and others have used regarding foreign criticism of China? “Westerners shouldn’t tell Chinese what to do; it’s for the CHinese to choose for themselves”. Well, ditto for Tibetans.

  225. Wukailong Says:

    I can recommend this Wikipedia article on the failure of Soviet reform:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perestroika

    It includes a comparison with China. Democracy isn’t even mentioned, and I think it has very little to do with it – the Soviet problems were economic, period, and they just got worse because of misguided national reforms and later, in Russia, because of even more misguided reforms (premature privatization among others).

    I think, when looking at the Soviet example, that we have to consider how other parts of the former union and even its former satellite states have fared. The results are mixed, to say the least. Just looking at Russia alone obscures the picture.

  226. Wukailong Says:

    I think I should add, too, that introducing democracy when the old elite is still very much in power is probably not going to make it very healthy. Russia has returned to an authoritarian government because the competing elites that are present in most democracies just aren’t there. If China is going to democratize in the future, this is something to consider.

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