Sep 05

I am an Englishman brought up as an atheist by my parents, but I attended a Christian primary school. I remember my father catching me at a very early age praying. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Praying to Jesus to help me at School” I replied. “Study”, he said, “it will do much more good!”

In fact my father had been a devout Christian in his youth, and had at one time even considered the priesthood as a career. Later he abandoned Christianity, as so many intellectuals do, because of the problem of evil.

Indeed, the presence of evil, pain and suffering in our world is the most persistent argument raised against Christianity. The argument runs as follows:

1. If God is perfectly loving, He must wish to abolish evil
2. If He is all powerful, He must be able to abolish evil
3. But evil exists. Therefore, an all powerful, loving God does not exist

The conventional Christian response is:

1. God created a world of free will
2. Although God therefore made evil possible, man makes evil actual
3. Eventually God will defeat evil
Continue reading »

Aug 28

Dalai Lama is set to visit Taiwan next week. The Dalai Lama has been invited a group of local DPP officials representing several southern counties – where DPP support is especially strong.

The Dalai Lama has visited Taiwan twice, once in 1997 and 2001. However, soon after Ma took office on a platform promising to amend ties with the Mainland, a request for the Dalai Lama to visit was turned down by Ma, citing the timing as not proper. A Dalai Lama visit then could have derailed Ma’s plan for closer ties with the Mainland – and still has the potential to do so the same. Continue reading »

Jun 16

China Internet

It seems the western media and Chinese blogosphere agree on one thing; Green Dam is not winning any popularity contests. Today, the Chinese government backed down on the mandatory usage of the software, though it will still come either pre-loaded or be included on a compact disc with all PCs sold on the  mainland from July 1st.

There are several problems associated with this software, each one an interesting topic in itself. I’d like to run down the issues associated with its release, one by one.

1) Why the sudden announcement of this invasive software with virtually no implementation time given to the manufacturers?
Continue reading »

Jun 02

Over the past year, we have had many heated debate on issues related to Tibet. Little has been discussed, however, on how to move things forward. To me, it is more important to address grievances of the common Tibetan people than to win historical or political debates. Furthermore, it should be recognized that the discontent of Tibetan people are genuine and the current governmental policies are at least partially responsible. Sticking one’s head in the sand or blaming the all the troubles on outside forces will not solve any real problems in Tibet.

I am the person who believes communication, dialogue and mutual understanding are the best route to solve complicated ethnic issues. So it gives me great hope that Gongmeng, a Chinese NGO, took the initiative to provide an in-depth analysis of the social and economical challenges faced by Tibetans. I think this report will signal the beginning of a new bottom-up approach to solve the mistrusts demonstrated on both sides. The initial steps will be small and the progress will probably be slow, but, let’s get started!
Continue reading »

Apr 01

Since this is the last day of what seems like Tibet month – I figure I’ll squeeze in one more post on Tibet before the end of the month.

Below is a translation by Allen of an article recently published by Han Fang Ming in Singapore’s Lianhe Zaobao. Han is a member of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). CPPCC plays an advisory role to the Chinese government.  Han is a businessman and an investment banker. Currently living in HK, Han specializes in issues involving Tibet, Hong Kong and Macao and overseas Chinese. Continue reading »

Mar 14

Thu, March 12 2009

At the food court in Vancouver’s Sinclair Centre, a young well-dressed Asian woman was last week handing out glossy leaflets promoting something called the Divine Performing Arts, or DPA.

She spoke softly, explaining to those who took her yellow pamphlets that the show, which is slated to hit a Vancouver stage next month, is about China’s culture and heritage. Continue reading »

Mar 12

I came across this opinion piece recently and thought it might engender a good discussion among us. I don’t agree with the author’s conclusions at all and will give my critique after his article. We’ve discussed China’s relationship with the “West” on numerous threads, but we haven’t talked much about the relationships with her neighbors. India has come into our conversation not directly but only in random comments measuring the relative progress of both countries.

This opinion piece talks about Tibet as it relates to both China and India, bringing up historical disputes between the two countries and recent developments that the writer feels could portend future troubles. I realize very few will agree with his Tibetan historical perspective but we’ve gone over that in other threads so I’d like us to concentrate more on the present relationship between the two nations.

Continue reading »

Feb 14

[Editor’s note: Previously we have translated Back to Lhasa (Part I) . The following are translations by Allen of journal entries 回到拉萨之六七八 Back to Lhasa (chapters 6-8)– originally posted on Jan 25, 2009]

Return to Lhasa (6): Drinking with the sky burial masters

North of Lhasa, in the Nyangri mountains, is a famed temple named “Pabongka.” Located on a turtle shaped stone, the temple surprisingly receives few outside tourists these days. According to legend, Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wen Cheng once lived there. The temple is also the birthplace of the Tibetan language. Stored in the temple are the earliest stone tablets of carved Tibetan alphabets known. Although the temple is small, it occupies a special place in Tibetan hearts for its historical importance both in the context of Tibetan language as well as Tibetan Buddhism. Continue reading »

Feb 11

[Editor’s note: The following are translations by Charles Liu (Introduction and Chapters 1-4) and Allen (Chapter 5 and overall editing)  of journal entries  Back to Lhasa (回到拉萨 (未完待续,超长慎入)) – Part I (chapter 1-5) posted on Jan 18, 2009.]


The author of this journal, Zhen Fu, then a college student, traveled alone to Tibet for the first time in 2003. It would be a life-changing experience. Not only did she fulfill her life-time dream of traveling to the mysterious land that is Tibet: to see its majestic beauty, to meet its remarkable people and to witness their remarkable culture, but Zhen also met her future husband, Mingji Mao, during her journey. Together they would write a book “Diaries from Tibet” based on their true love story. They made a promise to return to Tibet together.  Five years later, Zhen and Mingji fulfilled this promise. This article is about what they saw on their return to Lhasa at the end of 2008.

Continue reading »

Jan 24

On January 19, 2009, Tibetan legislators endorsed unanimously a bill designating March 28 as Serfs Emancipation Day, a day designated officially to mark the freeing of 1 million serfs from serfdom 50 years ago.

For many ethnic Tibetans, this day represents a celebration of freedom (from cast and class based oppression), economic empowerment, and social and political liberation that has been a long time coming.  The day has been held hostage for so long partly because the government, in hopes of trying to convince the Dalai Lama to return back to China, had not wanted to mark the occasion while the Dalai Lama was still in exile.  But one cannot hold back a celebration of freedom forever, and fifty years has been a long time… Continue reading »

Jan 19

The following article appeared in the BBC News Online today:

Serfs’ Emancipation Day for Tibet

By James Reynolds

China has declared a new annual holiday in Tibet called Serfs’ Emancipation Day, to mark the end of what it says was a system of feudal oppression.

The local parliament in Tibet has passed a bill which declares 28 March as the new holiday.

The announcement comes in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the escape into exile of the Dalai Lama.

The 49th anniversary a year ago led to widespread protests by monks and others in and around Tibet.

Continue reading »

Dec 10

The London 2012 web-site (www.london2012.com ) proudly proclaims that athletes staying at the Olympic Village will have easy access to the travel and leisure facilities of the adjacent Stratford City complex, and the High Speed Javelin shuttle service will link the Village to central London in just seven minutes.

Just seven minutes away – a young person growing up in a structured society like China’s being so suddenly exposed to one of
the most permissive in the world.

The following are Hogarthian moral disasters that are all too conceivable given the reality of original sin and the frailty of our human nature:

A young Chinese athlete from a traditional home could catch a sexually-transmitted disease in one of the brothels or lap-dancing clubs or sleazy pick-up joints that have become so flagrantly in your face in London.

He or she could acquire a taste for cannabis, so readily available on the streets of London following its reclassification. That is not as inconceivable as it sounds. A young athlete with time on their hands after being knocked out of their event could fall prey to the temptation to try something as manifestly non-perfor mance-enhancing.

He or she could get drawn into a peer-group of native teenagers who take them out on a drinking binge.

He or she could incur a gambling debt at the one of the tawdry casinos that the last decade has spawned and get sucked into a web of corruption leading them to throw their event in a deal with a seedy book-maker.

He or she, heaven forbid, could get involved in a knife-fight outside a night-club.Just seven minutes away for a young person with a soul to destroy and time to be killed.

The Chinese authorities would be advised to appoint the equivalent of a 1950s-style hospital Matron to keep an eye on the girls and for the boys the equivalent of a National Service Sergeant-Major. Though liberals may jeer that this comes straight out of an Ealing Comedy conjuring up images of Hatty Jakes tweaking some poor chinagirl’s ear, actually this is simply common sense.

Proper supervision of young athletes in London should be strongly supported by the Christian community in China. There are now estimated to be 130 million Christians in China, more than the population of the United Kingdom. There is a good chance Christians will be represented in Team China. If one of them were to get involved in moral corruption whilst in London and that were to get into the newspapers, both the deed and its exposure would be terrible for them and for their fellow Chinese Christians.

It would make life far harder for the Christian community in China who would get tarred with the brush of Western decadence. In fact, damage to the Christian cause would be bad for the Chinese nation as a whole because the growth of Christianity is its only realistic hope of developing a political culture of freedom under the rule of law.

London churches are in a position to provide support and hospitality in Christ’s name for Chinese athletes staying in the Olympic Village in 2012 and God willing that will be welcomed by the Chinese authorities.

In the Caligula film-set that 21^st century London is increasingly becoming, they would be well-advised to take the moral support that is being offered.

Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire www.oughtibridgechurch.org.uk

Nov 14

I’ve been resisting writing anything on Tibet recently because I think we’ve had more than our shares.  But I think the time may be right on this board for one small, limited discussion. Continue reading »

Nov 06

With its recent election of an African American president, the United States has continued to evolve into a more inclusive society. One of the reasons is that being “American” means buying into a set of ideas rather than belonging to a particular race, creed or color. What was once a society of European immigrants is now a culture with roots from around the world; a culture that celebrates and is proud of its multicultural heritage. Continue reading »

Nov 04

Recently we have had several good, vigorous debates on the proper role of human rights in the International Order – including in China in particular.  In a recent thread, I even got to argue in the comments that the Chinese government is right to focus on issues of general human welfare (as embodied by its calls for a “peaceful and harmonious” society) rather than ideologies such as “human rights” (as embodied by Western calls for democracy and freedom of speech). Continue reading »

Oct 30

As the U.S. Presidential Campaign reaches a climatic end, it is interesting to see that many Chinese, like others throughout the world, seem to have rushed aboard the Obama wagon. While pondering these observations, I ran across an interesting article on Asia Times titled “China falls for Obama’s ‘US dream'”. Here are some excerpts. Continue reading »

Sep 17

I had meant to post this sooner, but a quick Mid-Autumn Festival vacation trip got in the way. Admin previously provided me with several passages written by ksjqjy, the host of the Minkaohan forum, and I thought I would post some of them which dealt with religion, given the the timely relevance to Ramadan. Continue reading »

Sep 05

Two of the most commented threads over the last week relate to Tibet.  Even a neutral posting on the administration of the website has also somehow “devolved” into a debate over Tibet.

Continue reading »

Aug 28

Note from Editor (Allen):

[edited 2008-08-31 (originally I failed to attribute the source to Zhu Rui’s blog, for which I apologize)]

Here is a letter brought to our attention by guest blogger Skylight originally published in Zhu Rui’s blog.

A nation of 1.3 billion has many voices.  Here is a minority voice that I (Editor) do not necessarily agree with but that I still respect as legitimately Chinese.

The following is the complete post written by Zhu Rui.

Continue reading »

Jul 12

In response to Marc (who wrote in #189 “What Does It Mean to Chinese”)

“However, the reason that I brought up house church vs. Three-Self church initially has a lot to do with nationalism. You see, Three-Self church was started by some nationalistic Chinese Christians in the early 1900’s (way before communist took over power in China). Hence they called themselves Three-Self (meaning self-governing, self teaching, self supporting). They hated Western Christians in China then. They teamed up with communist government later in the 1950’s to start persecuting other Chinese Christians who didn’t see things their way. That’s when house church Christians started to emerge. Anyway, the whole conflict started out with nationalism.”

I am glad that you put Christianity in China in historical perspectives, but your interpretion of important, complicated historical events is a bit oversimplified and biased. Still, you are right, the Three-Self Patriotic Movement was initiated by patriotic Chinese Christians and endorsed by the government, not “created” by the government as the PBS article claims to be (http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/china_705/history/china.html, a companion piece to Frontline/World Jesus in China).

Continue reading »