other foot, form of flattery, crab meat
Tibetan Leader’s Secession Talk Stirs Furor
PARIS (AFP) — The Dalai Lama has touched off a political uproar by expressing sympathy for Tibetans who want to secede from China. His comments have made him a darling of exiled Tibetans, a target of abuse on Chinese state television and a target of criticism from regional Communist officials.
The Dalai Lama did not actually endorse the idea of Tibetan independence, but critics say his remarks, after an anti-government protest on Wednesday in Lhasa, came close. Seeking to quell the furor the next day, he told AFP that “I support genuine autonomy under China, I always expressed in this way.”
Still, Communist officials have pounced on the spiritual leader, saying he is stirring up talk of ethnic disharmony and secession, notions that for many Chinese conjure the specters of rebellion, serfdom and lamaist rule.
“Talk of secession is an attack on our country,” said Qiangba Puncog, Chairman of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. “It’s the ultimate anti-China statement.”
It has long been part of Tibetan folk mythology that because the region was once an isolated kingdom, it has the option to regain that status. But Chinese historians and law professors say there has been no serious argument since the Qing Dynasty on behalf of a legal basis for the region’s secession.
Like many other Tibetans, however, the Dalai Lama still treats separating from China as a possibility.
“Tibet and China in history had patron-priest relationship, with no political meaning,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “My hope is China and particularly Beijing government pay attention. Tibetans get material benefit from China, so they should [have] no reason to leave China. But if people continue to be unhappy, I cannot guarantee what may happen.”
The Dalai Lama has been aggressively courting Western governments to gain support for his movement against Beijing. He has positioned himself as the spokesperson for the Tibetan people. He has attacked the $3.687 billion Qinghai-Tibet railway, and last week he endorsed an EU Parliament resolution championing Tibetan rights.
While Tibetans inside China have generally declined to comment on Wednesday’s remarks, Zeng Qingli, the Communist Party Chief of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, spoke Thursday in a press conference, “He’s just staked his claim to the ‘dregs of Buddhism title,’ just the kind of publicity he needs to get funding from certain foreign governments.”
Du Qinglin, a minister of the United Front Work Department, said the Dalai Lama had not only opened himself to ridicule but also evoked a time most Tibetans would rather forget. “Tibetan monasteries have become a hotbed of Dalai-clique political activity,” Mr. Du said, “but I think even those Buddhist people of Tibetan ethnicity think this is over the top.”
Suppose the New York Times wrote about something similar. Oops, it did!
Texas Governor’s Secession Talk Stirs Furor
HOUSTON — Gov. Rick Perry has touched off a political uproar by expressing sympathy for Texans who want to secede from the United States. His comments have made him a darling of conservative radio hosts, a butt of jokes on television talk shows and a target of criticism from state Democrats.
“Talk of secession is an attack on our country,” said Representative Jim Dunnam of Waco, Democratic leader of the Texas House. “It’s the ultimate anti-American statement.”
Oh yes, one of these was made up.
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