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Jul 06

Once per year, Freedom House releases its annual report covering the levels of freedom throughout the world. I’ve included their reports for China, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore. They issue two scores, one for Political Rights and one for Civil Liberties, along with a Freedom Status. The lower the number, the higher the rating.

China (2010)

Capital: Beijing

Population: 1,331,398,000

Political Rights Score: 7
Civil Liberties Score: 6
Status: Not Free

Explanatory Note

The numerical ratings and status listed above do not reflect conditions in Hong Kong or Tibet, which are examined in separate reports.
Jun 23

Issues with India/China Relations

Written by: Steve | Filed under:Analysis, General, politics | Tags:, , , , , , ,
89 Comments » newest 2016-04-07 05:49:02

I came across two articles recently, both concerning India/China relations but one written from the Chinese point of view while the other was written from the Indian side. I thought it might be interesting to compare the two viewpoints to see just how far apart they really are.

The first article is from the China Daily while the other is from an Atlantic Council forum. The China Daily article feels there are ‘three gnawing issues’, as they put it. The Indian side looks at it historically, politically and diplomatically. They are both short so I’ll include them in their entirety.

Continue reading »

May 06

Amidst the accusations of China’s belated response to the devastating earthquake that hit Yushu county in Eastern Tibet in the early hours of April 14, the downplaying in the Chinese media of the key role that Tibetan monks played in the rescue efforts and mourning ceremonies, alongside reports of Chinese rescue workers who seemed more interested in posing for cameras than in saving lives, there is a small story that transcends it all.

There are few outside of China and Tibet who have heard of Tsering Dhondup, a ten-year-old Tibetan boy who saw his home and the homes of all his neighbors completely flattened in the 6.9 quake. Since then, he’s been living with his family in a temporary shelter in the local stadium in Jyekundo, the town most affected by the disaster, where 85% of the mud-brick houses like Tsering’s were destroyed.

Tsering volunteered to work as a translator for a Chinese medical team that was treating Tibetan survivors. The state-controlled national news channel CCTV, Chinese Central Television, aired a report about him that on April 17, three days after the earthquake….

Read full article and watch the Youtube video here:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-novick/chinese-media-courts-the_b_562163.html

Mar 26

On 3rd July 1914, as Ivan Chen made his way down the steps of the Summit Hall building in Simla, he must have been aware of mixed feelings rising up inside him.  He had done something which would have far reaching repercussions; and which would for years be remembered by many people on both sides of the Sino-Indian border, albeit in very different ways – He had just left the Simla conference.

After refusing to sign the agreement himself, he was made to sit in a separate room, and behind his back, was signed  one of the most controversial and bizarre treaties in human history – The Simla accord.

For over a century, the intricacies of the border between India and China/Tibet have baffled scholars. In fact, the plot leading to the Simla conference and beyond actually plays just like a thriller movie or book. The sheer complexity of this problem can be judged by the fact that 36 rounds of negotiations have taken place between India and China at different levels since 1981; but they have yet to reach a settlement.

Mar 10

The two Asian Giants are still not able to figure out the line which divides them – in the longest running border dispute in modern history. This dispute offers interesting lessons on how to, and how not to, handle boundary issues. The analysis of Chinese behavior in the negotiations is doubly important given China’s perception in the west of it ‘flexing its muscles’, and China’s theory of ‘Peaceful Rise’.

About a century ago, Sir Henry McMahon, the then British Foreign Secretary, took a think red pencil and sketched a line between India and Tibet on a map – a line which has resulted in the two most populous nations in the world going to war, costing more than 2000 lives; and which has created enormous mistrust on both sides, especially in India.

Consequently, on 3rd July 1914 was signed one of the most bizarre and controversial agreements ever known to man – The Simla accord, the complexities of which have yet to be unraveled.
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Feb 25

Prof. Bi Yantao: Greetings! I am very happy for having this opportunity to ask on issues which are closely followed by the people inside China.

When looking at the Tibet issue, I pay special attention to the term “Greater Tibet”. I have repeatedly read the text of your statement on ‘Greater Tibet’ (including the English version). You said, “Tibet is Tibet. There is no greater or smaller Tibet”. However, the fact of the matter is, during the dialogue process between the Envoys of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Beijing, the issue of one autonomous administration for all the Tibetan people has been raised. Obviously, it seeks to unify Tibetan areas in Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai Provinces into the present day Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR). Given the size of administration, it is indeed a ‘Greater Tibet’. Therefore, on account of that, the ‘Greater Tibet’ which Beijing asserts is not wrong because the reference was made from the present status of Tibet. You have, on one hand opposed the usage of word ‘Greater’ as in ‘Greater Tibet’, while on the other hand, maintained that ‘size should not matter whether big or small’. Are not these two statements contradictory?
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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 23

minipost-India: Friend, Enemy, or Both?

Written by: Steve | Filed under:-mini-posts, News, politics | Tags:, , , , , ,
424 Comments » newest 2010-06-19 15:11:57

This article was printed in the People’s Daily on June 19th. Since this is a state controlled publication, whatever is published will usually have the blessing of the CCP leadership.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and India PM Manmohan Singh recently appeared together at the BRIC summit in Russia. Things seemed friendly enough at the time. What has changed since then? And why would China have a problem with the Asia Development Bank financing development projects in Arunachal Pradesh? I would think economic development in an area that China considers to be a part of her territory would be viewed by China in a positive manner, as it would be beneficial to the people of that region.

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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?
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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!
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May 20

US Congressman Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced “Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 and 2011 (H.R.2410)” on May 14. It drew some criticism from the Chinese government about this because “It meddled in China’s domestic issues of Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong.” It can be accessed here.

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h2410ih.txt.pdf

Among most of this 320 page broad proposal, it has some interesting tidbits about about Tibet (sorry I didn’t properly format it yet):

22 SEC. 237. TIBET.
23 (a) TIBET NEGOTIATIONS.—Section 613(a) of the
24 Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 (Public Law 107–228; 22
25 U.S.C. 6901 note) is amended—
1 (1) in paragraph (1), by inserting before the pe2
riod at the end the following: ‘‘and should coordinate
3 with other governments in multilateral efforts to4
ward this goal’’;
5 (2) by redesignating paragraph (2) as para6
graph (3); and
7 (3) by inserting after paragraph (1) the fol8
lowing new paragraph:
9 ‘‘(2) POLICY COORDINATION.—The President
10 shall direct the National Security Council to ensure
11 that, in accordance with this Act, United States pol12
icy on Tibet is coordinated and communicated with
13 all Executive Branch agencies in contact with the
14 Government of China.’’.
15 (b) BILATERAL ASSISTANCE.—Section 616 of the Ti16
betan Policy Act of 2002 is amended—
17 (1) by redesignating subsection (d) as sub18
section (e); and
19 (2) by inserting after subsection (c) the fol20
lowing new subsection:
21 ‘‘(d) UNITED STATE ASSISTANCE.—The President
22 shall provide grants to nongovernmental organizations to
23 support sustainable economic development, cultural and
24 historical preservation, health care, education, and envi25
ronmental sustainability projects for Tibetan communities
1 in the Tibet Autonomous Region and in other Tibetan
2 communities in China, in accordance with the principles
3 specified in subsection (e) and subject to the review and
4 approval of the Special Coordinator for Tibetan Issues
5 under section 621(d).’’.
6 (c) SPECIAL COORDINATOR FOR TIBETAN ISSUES.—
7 Section 621 of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 is amend8
ed—
9 (1) in subsection (d)—
10 (A) in paragraph (5), by striking ‘‘and’’ at
11 the end;
12 (B) by redesignating paragraph (6) as
13 paragraph (7); and
14 (C) by inserting after paragraph (5) the
15 following new paragraph:
16 ‘‘(6) review and approve all projects carried out
17 pursuant to section 616(d);’’.
18 (2) by adding at the end the following new sub19
section:
20 ‘‘(e) PERSONNEL.—The Secretary shall assign dedi21
cated personnel to the Office of the Special Coordinator
22 for Tibetan Issues sufficient to assist in the management
23 of the responsibilities of this section and section
24 616(d)(2).’’.
1 (d) DIPLOMATIC REPRESENTATION RELATING TO
2 TIBET.—
3 (1) UNITED STATES EMBASSY IN BEIJING.—
4 (A) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of State
5 is authorized to establish a Tibet Section within
6 the United States Embassy in Beijing, People’s
7 Republic of China, for the purposes of following
8 political, economic, and social developments in9
side Tibet, including Tibetan areas of Qinghai,
10 Sichuan, Gansu, and Yunnan provinces, until
11 such time as a United States consulate in Tibet
12 is established. Such Tibet Section shall have the
13 primary responsibility for reporting on human
14 rights issues in Tibet and shall work in close
15 cooperation with the Office of the Special Coor16
dinator for Tibetan Issues. The chief of such
17 Tibet Section should be of senior rank.
18 (B) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIA19
TIONS.—Of the amounts authorized to be ap20
propriated under section 101(a), there are au21
thorized to be appropriated such sums as may
22 be necessary for each of fiscal years 2010 and
23 2011 to carry out this paragraph.
24 (2) IN TIBET.—Section 618 of the Tibetan Pol25
icy Act of 2002 is amended to read as follows:
1 ‘‘SEC. 618. ESTABLISHMENT OF A UNITED STATES CON2
SULATE IN LHASA, TIBET.
3 ‘‘The Secretary shall seek to establish a United
4 States consulate in Lhasa, Tibet, to provide services to
5 United States citizens traveling to Tibet and to monitor
6 political, economic, and cultural developments in Tibet, in7
cluding Tibetan areas of Qinghai, Sichuan, Gansu, and
8 Yunnan provinces.’’.
9 (e) RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION IN TIBET.—Section
10 620(b) of the Tibetan Policy Act of 2002 is amended by
11 adding before the period at the end the following: ‘‘, in12
cluding the reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism’’.

After reading this, it seems to be that the US government is running the TAR region. This proposal doesn’t mention much about Hong Kong and Taiwan though. I think that this bill was brought by Pelosi and company. I hope that this proposal won’t be signed into a bill.

May 19

Chinese think-tank (公盟法律研究中心/Beijing Gongmeng Consulting Co., Ltd. ) established by Beijing University law professors, and joined by several Beijing economics professors. Following the unrest and demonstrations in Tibet which started Mach 10th, 2009, they decided to see for themselves what was really happening in Tibet by visiting Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, and Labrang, outside Tibet Autonomous Region.

Their findings are astonishing. They find that a new Tibetan aristocracy has taken over power. This aristocracy is even worse than the old Tibetan aristocracy. In the old system the aristocracy was reliant on some sort of accord and agreement with the people, since they were dependent on the people to pay taxes. The new aristocracy get all their funding directly for Beijing (Central government) due to “stability” reasons, and thus they do not have any incentive to care about the well-being of Tibetans.
Continue reading »

May 10

Chinese-American Amy Yee is New Delhi correspondent for Financial Times. In this new article she explains how nationalism and facts can sometimes become contradictory, she gives the example of her own brother, and their dinner time discussion in Boston. I found the article interesting and think similar discussions happened in many Chinese homes during the last year.

“But I knew why my brother was so angry. We are Chinese. I believe my brother was mistaking protests against the policies of the Chinese government with some slight against him as a Chinese person.”

The whole article can be found below:

http://www.feer.com/authors-corner/2009/may56/Pro-Justice-Not-Anti-China

Pro-Justice, Not Anti-China
by Amy Yee

May 11, 2009

During the past year that I’ve reported on Tibetan issues from my base in India, one of the Dalai Lama’s recurring messages has struck a chord in me. It isn’t his well-known calls for peace, nonviolence and compassion. Rather, it’s his constant reminder that “We are not against Chinese people. We still have faith in Chinese people.”

The Dalai Lama repeated that again in March of this year, which marked the 50th anniversary of China’s rule in Tibet and his exile to India. That message has become his mantra as he travels the world and almost desperately tries to meet Chinese people.

His call has grown more urgent as he tries to defuse surging Chinese nationalism that peaked with the Olympics in Beijing. Official talks with Beijing broke down last autumn so the Dalai Lama’s outreach to Chinese people is the only way to advance the Tibet issue in China.

But I fear that his outreach to Chinese won’t work because reason is too easily obliterated by the flames of nationalism. Too many Chinese people confuse protests against the policies of the Chinese government with being anti-Chinese.

The Dalai Lama’s outreach to Chinese people isn’t lip service. I am Chinese, though born and brought up in the U.S. by immigrant parents. Even though I wear the face of the “enemy,” I have always been treated warmly by Tibetans during the considerable time I have spent in Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama and about 12,000 Tibetans. I have waited for a Tibetan to treat me bitterly or with scorn but it has never happened in dozens of interviews I have conducted here.

Many Tibetans can tell I’m Chinese and even call out “Ni hao!” as I walk through the streets of this hill town. Sometimes we converse in Mandarin, not out of any sense of obligation but because Tibetans still have an affinity with Chinese people even if their religion, language and culture have been repressed by the Chinese government.

After a four-hour prayer service in March, the Dalai Lama thanked the people in Tibet, the international community and “Chinese friends.” At a ceremony to mark the 50th anniversary of Tibet’s failed uprising against Chinese rule, the Dalai Lama shared the stage with 30 Chinese pro-democracy activists. Another group of 30 filmmakers and journalists from Taiwan were also present.

When Han Chinese travel to Dharamsala the Dalai Lama eagerly grants them a coveted private audience if they speak and write Chinese and can somehow convey his message into China.

Why this charm offensive with Chinese people? The Dalai Lama says that Tibetans and Chinese will have to live together in the future, no matter what happens. Communication and exchange is necessary, especially if official negotiations are fruitless.

Since 1994, the Tibetan government-in-exile has printed magazines and newsletters in Chinese. It also launched a Chinese-language website that attempts to convey his point of view within China to those savvy enough to get around Chinese blocks.

However, it is unclear whether the charm offensive is working. Chinese who support Tibet are suppressed in China and branded as traitors on Chinese blogs. When the Olympic torch passed through Canberra last year there were about 10,000 Chinese and some 1,500 pro-Tibet demonstrators.

When the Dalai Lama met with some Chinese in New York who were protesting his visit last year, he said five of the seven wouldn’t listen to him. Fortunately it was a large table or they might have slapped him, he admitted at a press conference last year.

Even overseas Chinese in the U.S., Australia and Europe where there is free media and access to information, waved signs that read “Dalai is a Liar.” I’m not sure what they accuse the Dalai Lama of lying about. He openly advocates autonomy for Tibet under Chinese rule, not separation as China insists.

Is he lying about human-rights violations in Tibet? Why not ask former political prisoners from Tibet who have sought refuge in India? Why not ask thousands of Tibetans who have been arrested since China began its harsh crackdown in Tibet a year ago? And if the list of those arrested is fake, as some claim, why not produce the Tibetan in question to show they are alive and well?

For all of China’s insistence that Tibetans are content and should be happy that they have longer life spans than 50 years ago, the forceful repression in Tibet indicates that something is terribly wrong. The wise thing to do would be to somehow come to the table to discuss how, at the very least, the plight of Tibetans in Tibet could be improved. Measures on improving education and access to jobs for Tibetans are well within China’s reach.

The Tibetans who rioted in Lhasa last year should not have resorted to violence and it is tragic that Chinese people died in the clashes, as the Dalai Lama himself has said. But why not allow an independent investigation into exactly what happened last year in Lhasa?

I know firsthand the effects of Chinese nationalism that can cloud reasoned judgment. Last summer my brother and I were at my parent’s house in Boston when the Olympic torch relay came up. My brother was angry and disgusted by the pro-Tibet protestors. I was taken aback by his response.

We grew up in a progressive part of Boston where activism and questioning of the establishment was de rigueur. U.S. policies were often raked over the coals during dinner table conversations.

But I knew why my brother was so angry. We are Chinese. I believe my brother was mistaking protests against the policies of the Chinese government with some slight against him as a Chinese person.

I didn’t start a heated debate. I simply told him what I knew from reporting in India, where I have lived since 2006. “They shot a 16-year-old Tibetan girl in the head,” I said, referring to Chinese security that shot and killed unarmed and peaceful Tibetan protestors in western China last year. “What’s wrong with protesting?”

I refrained from pointing out to my brother what he already knew: that I lived in China for two years, taught English to about 120 Chinese university students, learned Mandarin and traveled for nearly a month in Tibet in 1998. During that trip many Tibetans I met in Tibet were scared of me until I told them that I was American.

When I mentioned Lhundup Tso, the 16-year-old Tibetan girl whose body was photographed in a pool of blood, my brother’s face contorted. Perhaps his newfound sense of Chinese nationalism was battling with the education—based on reason, fact and analysis—that we both received. Fortunately the latter prevailed. “As long as it’s nonviolent,” he said grudgingly.

I glanced at my mother, who had threatened to disown me when I announced I was going to China after college partly because she feared what Chinese authorities might do to me. She prudently chose to remain silent.

It is easy to confuse protest against Chinese policies in Tibet with being anti-Chinese. But wanting a better way forward in Tibet is not anti-Chinese people or even anti-China. It is, as the Dalai Lama likes to say, pro-justice.

Amy Yee is a journalist based in New Delhi.

Apr 29

My Tibetan Students and I

Written by: Nimrod | Filed under:education, General | Tags:
326 Comments » newest 2013-07-13 15:25:29

The following essay (translated below) written by somebody named “Crystal” was posted to Woeser’s blog. I am not sure that is the origin of the article, as some attribute it to 《联合早报》 (their version here). But it has been slowly spreading since to other sites like Anti-CNN, MITBBS, and Minkaohan forums. I think it’s a very good essay, informative and incisive.

I will also post some comments from those other sites. Feel free to chime in.

Continue reading »

Apr 26

Amid the depressing news of the trial of Phurbu Tsering Rinpoche, a respected lama from Kardze (western Sichuan), is a hopeful sign: he is being defended by two Han Chinese human rights lawyers. They say that they have had some harrassment from the police, but they have not been prevented from serving as counsel to a man they believe was unjustly accused. They have helped him have his day in court, which is better than nothing. In my opinion, democracy and nationalism, etc., are less important than simple rule of law applied impartially. Is that something Tibetans and Hans can make common cause for? It ought to be.

Apr 18

other foot, form of flattery, crab meat

Written by: Nimrod | Filed under:aside, politics | Tags:, ,
58 Comments » newest 2009-04-28 02:49:06

Here is something interesting. Please read to the end.

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.

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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 29

Smurf Emancipation Day: 50 years of harmonious oppression

Written by: guest | Filed under:-guest-posts | Tags:
142 Comments » newest 2009-04-20 19:14:03

In light of the mega attention and millions of yuans that chinese government use to establish a new holiday in Tibet “Serf Emancipation Day”, and advertise this around the world, clever Tibetan youth in Tibet created the following cartoon: “Surf Emancipation Day: 50 years of harmonious oppression”.

http://woeser.middle-way.net/2009/03/blog-post_28.html

smurf chinese-1.jpg

Mar 17

minipost-Cultural Reflections on Tibet

Written by: sophie | Filed under:-mini-posts, Analysis, culture | Tags:,
158 Comments » newest 2009-04-30 00:17:30

In a previous thread, Steve asked why, with so much material improvement in Tibet region shown by MAJ, the Chinese government still can’t win Tibetan’s heart? I have been asking the same question too.

Following recent MAJ’s comments, I came across this article ‘Reflections on Tibet‘ by Wang Lixiong published in 2002. Wang Lixiong is the writer of ‘Roadmap of Tibetan Independence’ published last year. In the article, Wang Lixiong “considers some of the bitter paradoxes of Tibetan history under Communist rule, and their roots in the confrontation of an alien bureaucracy and fear-stricken religion”. It’s worth pointing out that the original article 西藏问题的文化反思 was published in Chinese in 2001 and therefore we need to be careful how relevant it is to today’s Tibet issue.
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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 »

Mar 08

Dalai Lama warns of looming violence

Written by: DJ | Filed under:General | Tags:, ,
251 Comments » newest 2013-05-26 06:34:25

As reported by the Reuters, Dalai Lama just issued an ominous warning in Frankfurter Rundschau on Friday:

I am very worried. Many Chinese citizens have armed themselves, and they are ready to shoot. It is a very tense situation. At any moment there could be an explosion of violence.

I suppose Dalai Lama was referring specifically to Han and Hui Chinese citizens, who were on the receiving end of  indiscriminate violences by Tibetan mobs freedom fighters a year ago. Leaving aside the plausibility question of Chinese citizens stocking up guns in China, I wonder why they would feel the need to arm themselves nowadays?

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