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May 30

Even more reader questions on Tibet

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:q&a | Tags:
20 Comments » newest 2009-06-16 22:58:42

On a previous thread, Otto Kerner poses some excellent questions on Tibet. (Here is an earlier thread with a reader’s questions about Tibet.)

I give an attempt at addressing these questions below. I hope others will contribute their thoughts as well.

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May 27

Questions for the Dalai Lama

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:media, News | Tags:, ,
87 Comments » newest 2016-03-30 08:04:42

It has now been more than 2 months since the Lhasa riots, and weeks since the Beijing government met with the Dalai Lama’s personal envoys in Shenzhen. The passions aroused by the protests associated with the Torch relay has cooled a little. Now, we can turn to deeper, less emotional consideration of the Dalai Lama and what he stands for.

The Dalai Lama’s recent trip to Europe is giving us a new opportunity to evaluate exactly what his position is, and whether he’s a potential partner for peace. A previous blog entry discussed the possibility of a new bargaining position for the Dalai Lama, and clearly positions have changed dramatically over recent weeks.

For the lack of a better option, we’ll have to rely on the Xinhua state news agency to ask the questions that are on the minds of many Chinese. Below is the translation of a blog entry from a Xinhua news reporter, about his experience at a Dalai Lama news conference in Germany.

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May 21

“Shift from feudalism no easy leap”

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:News | Tags:,
3 Comments » newest 2008-05-22 18:18:25

Insightful editorial from the Sydney Morning Herald, discussing the issue of Tibet, China, and the Olympics.

The recent demonstrations in support of Tibetan independence have been a carefully co-ordinated boutique public relations operation rather than an outbreak of mass demonstrations.

Video records of demonstrations in Tibet show an ugly, racist side to the unrest as ethnic Tibetans (but not monks) kicked, beat and stabbed Han Chinese, along with the ransacking and looting of Han-owned businesses. The Government had no choice but to intervene with force.

China has a long history of civil war. For more than a millennium, it has lived under a sequence of dictatorships, absolute monarchies and uncompromising feudalism. To move so vast a culture so quickly has required the Government to retain a firm grip on the centrifugal forces that could tear the country asunder.

The idea that China can simply jump from ingrained feudalism to a plural democracy in a single generation cannot coexist with the real world.

It also includes details on past Olympic boycotts I wasn’t aware of.

Few Australians even know that the 1956 Games in Melbourne was boycotted by Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland over the Soviet invasion of Hungary, and by Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and Cambodia over the occupation of the Suez Canal by Britain and France. In 1976, 21 African nations boycotted the Montreal Olympics because New Zealand had not been banned for playing rugby union against South Africa. In 1980 the United States and some allies boycotted the Moscow Games over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. In 1984 the Soviet bloc boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics in retaliation for the 1980 boycott.

None was effective. None achieved more than transient symbolism. To throw the 2008 Olympics into chaos over Tibet would thus be overkill, disproportionate and counterproductive, in support of a dubious moral argument.

May 20

More on Tibet and Wang Lixiong – Another reader’s questions

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:q&a | Tags:, , ,
44 Comments » newest 2016-02-16 03:42:51

One of our readers, JL wrote this in an earlier thread:

So Tibet is very similar to the European colonies. Researching this is my day job so I can provide you more references if you want. And I’m disappointed that you would deny it because you think “its dangerous” to do so. I thought you were interested objective reality?

My point here is not that Tibet should be independent, or even that it should be more autonomous: after all the Maori now have very little autonomy in New Zealand. But I would have liked to have seen some honesty regarding Tibetan history from Chinese netizens. Happily, there are Chinese scholars who are more honest about Tibet’s colonial past and present though. I suggest you check out 王力雄, a Beijing based researcher, whose work presents Tibetan history from a fairly neutral perspective.

Your “suggestion” that we read Wang Lixiong’s works is not only patronizing, but also misguided. I’ll respond to this below.

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May 18

Dalai Lama: “I can’t wait to be a Chinese citizen”

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Analysis, News | Tags:,
9 Comments » newest 2008-05-19 20:20:09

The Dalai Lama speaks with the Times (UK) as he begins his European tour. Very interestingly, he describes what might be a revolutionary change in position as far as a return to China.

In an unexpected shift of policy, he has four conditions which, if met, would permit him to return.

I analyze and discuss these four conditions below.

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May 18

“Fed Up With Peace” – Kristof writes again on Tibet

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Analysis | Tags:,
6 Comments » newest 2008-05-30 05:47:14

As a follow-up to the previously published column on Tibet, Kristof returns with some stinging criticisms of China’s policy in Tibet. Refreshingly, he also criticizes everyone else involved:

The recent uprising by Tibetans underscores the utter failure of Beijing’s policies in Tibet. But it also reflects the failure of the Dalai Lama and of America.

The Dalai Lama has played a waiting game, but as China gains global power — and as more Han Chinese flood into Tibet — that has been a losing strategy. The Dalai Lama has won acclaim internationally, but that acclaim triggers the deep Chinese sensitivity to foreign bullying and thus has antagonized the audience that may count the most: China.

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May 16

The Terrified Monks

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Analysis | Tags:, , ,
50 Comments » newest 2016-02-16 03:34:52

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times is traveling in Xiahe, Gansu. (We can safely assume his trip isn’t within the past week, or otherwise he would’ve been within a few hundred miles of the earthquake’s epicenter.)

The editorial adds little that is new to the discussion. It is a reiteration of monks claiming that they were assaulted while arrested, which correlated with a military presence, is finally translated into a “harsh crackdown”. The editorial ends with this line:

China is emerging as a great power in this century, and it is famously concerned with saving face. But it loses far more face from its own repression of Tibetans than from anything the Dalai Lama has ever done.

Kristof suggests on his blog that many Chinese will be outraged by the editorial, and invites comments. Mine are repeated here.

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May 14

Harvard: Tibetan/Han Panelists Probe Issues

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Analysis | Tags:
19 Comments » newest 2008-05-27 01:45:21

If there’s one positive that has come out of the recent conflict in Tibet (and subsequent echoes around the world), it has raised awareness amongst many Chinese that the problem exists.  I think many (including myself) have learned much more about Tibetan wishes over the past two months, and this type of understanding can only help.

Kudos to those at Harvard who organized a very interesting panel discussion discussing the issues.  From the Harvard Crimson:

Tibet Poverty Alleviation Fund President Arthur N. Holcombe said that a resolution would only result from dialogue between the two groups.

“It is important for all of us that solutions to the problem are not an either-or-situation,” he said. “The solution must come from joint collaboration with the Han and Tibetan peoples.”


“Ultimately we are here today to listen to different perspectives on this situation,” Holcombe added.

Senior fellow in East Asian Legal Studies at the Law School Lobsang Sangay—who showed photographs of violence in Tibet—praised the discussion for achieving what he said the Chinese government has done poorly.

“Finally, after the tragedy, one good thing has happened,” he said, referring to last night’s panel. “The Han Chinese have taken responsibility—shared responsibility.”

Zhongrui Yin ’11, organizer of the event, said that last night’s dialogue was a positive step in achieving harmony between the groups.

“I was very delighted that we were able to have a very respectful, yet very frank, dialogue,” he said. “I wish the speakers could have talked to each other more, but the overall attitude was very positive.

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May 12

Separatists kill 8 railway workers

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Analysis | Tags:,
4 Comments » newest 2009-06-21 01:37:39

This story just off the wire talks about more violence on the foothills of the Himalayas, resulting from a recent government crack-down on a long simmering separatist movement. Continue reading »

May 12

Tibet: Answers to a reader’s questions

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:q&a | Tags:, ,
62 Comments » newest 2016-02-16 03:29:06

A reader of our blog asked this question on a previous thread:

To Buxi and CLC:
Thanks for your replies. WRT Tibetan independence, some Tibetans seek it, presumably as they see it to be to their benefit. PRC opposes it, as they see it as a detriment. I would like to explore the second part. I’ve read the historical justifications for Tibet being within China, such as the territorial relationship dating back hundreds of years at least. There’s also the point that the PLA moved in to liberate Tibetan serfs and slaves. In moving forward, the principle of “One China” drives policy. My questions are the following:
1. If a majority of the residents of present day Tibet do not want to remain in China (I realize that is a major assumption, and the act of accurately determining that ie a referendum is not a realistic option for the CCP circa 2008), how does it benefit China to keep this territory in the fold? It’s like keeping a bad apple employee within a company: wouldn’t company performance, and the morale of remaining employees, improve by removing said bad apple, such that all who remain truly want to be there, and are willing to wholeheartedly contribute to the “business” of improving China?
2. “One China” is a euphemism I don’t understand. There was, is, and ever will be only one China. The question is what geographical parts you include. Does a region that at one time was considered part of China, need to forever remain so, for the present and future benefit of the whole?

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May 09

– written by  Brandon

It has been the case for well over 2000 years that with a huge population and rich diversities in custom, cuisines, dialects, culture, religions, ethnicities, and political views, it’s always a challenge for any Chinese government to unit its people. However, recent events provided the Central Empire another silver bullet in its arsenal to achieve just that, the butterfly effect.

It takes a real expert to explain the effect in details. The short and layman version is that a butterfly’s wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear. In other words, a small disturbance might have huge and unintended consequences somewhere and somehow.

Examining what happened since middle of March will better illustrate my point.

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May 08

Lodi Gyari, one of the Dalai Lama’s special envoys sent to Shenzhen, has issued the statement below in reference to the recent talks in Shenzhen. Most of the statement is a reiteration of the exile government’s negotiating position, which few Chinese find acceptable in full. The idea that those directly involved in murder, vandalism, and assault on 3/14 can be released is ridiculous.

Beyond repeating its position, the suggestion of shared common ground and the positive ending is most interesting:

Despite major differences on important issues both sides demonstrated a willingness to seek common approaches in addressing the issues at hand. In this regard, each side made some concrete proposals, which can be part of the future agenda. As a result an understanding was reached to continue the formal round of discussions. A date for the seventh round will be finalised soon after mutual consultations.

We welcome the recent statement of President Hu Jintao that his government is “serious” about the dialogue and his acknowledging that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is being “conscientious and serious”.

Statement in full after the jump.

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May 03

Written by Tang Buxi, May 4nd, 2008

Caijing is one of the best news magazines in China today. Its primary emphasis is on financial and economic issues, but it also touches upon social and political commentary. Its closest analogues might be the British Economist, or the American Wall Street Journal. I plan on making translated versions of Caijing articles a regular addition to this blog.

A feature article in this month’s issue discusses the challenges and opportunities behind the Beijing Olympics. The by-line reads:

The opportunities and challenges of the Olympics were always two sides of the same coin. Despite external pressures and internal worries, it’s not necessary, nor is it possible, to modify the direction of our future progress.
奥运会的机遇和挑战原本就是一枚硬币的正反面,没必要、更不能因为外部的打压和内部的疑虑,而改变我们前进的方向.

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May 03

Our Voice – Our Truth

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:Analysis | Tags:, , ,
3 Comments » newest 2008-07-06 05:33:45

Tang Buxi wrote this flyer the day before the Olympic Torch arrived in San Francisco.

Who are you?
We are human beings, first and foremost. Most of us are also ethnic Chinese; due to our personal ties and experiences in China, we more keenly understand why Beijing applied to host the Olympics, and why so many Chinese place significant weight on a successful Beijing Olympics.

Many of us are American citizens; most of us have lived, worked, and thrived in the United States for decades. We are your neighbors, your coworkers, your classmates, and your students. We are lawyers, engineers, housewives, grandmothers, and school-children.

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