Tibet WAS, IS, and ALWAYS WILL BE… well, what, exactly?

I saw the popular youtube video “Tibet WAS, IS, and ALWAYS WILL BE a part of China” a few weeks ago. Sent it from another source, so it’s clearly still making the news. The video is composed of several “facts,” each of which contain some truth but most nonetheless distorts the fact. So here are the facts behind the seven facts:

Fact #1: China is NOT a single Ethnic nation, in fact 56 ethnic groups make up China, including Han, Mongols, Koreans, Muslims, Tibetans, etc.

Evaluation. The number of Ethnic groups in China varies according to government whim (China’s flag was once five horizontal bands, to signify the five principle races). But the fact remains that many ethnic groups live under Han hegemony in China.

The Five Races Flag of China

Fact #2: Tibet has been part of China for thousands of years.

Well, maybe. The video appears to use text books from out of Chinese textbooks, which are notoriously innacurate. Still, for long stretches of time Tibet was part of the Chinese Empire (or Mongol Horde, or the Empire of the Great Qing, or whatever) but not one of the provinces of China. This status of China — in China but not of China — is what the Dalai Lama calls for.

The Empire of the Great Qing

Fact #3: 1903 AD, due to the weak Qing Dynasty, British gained control over Tibet as an colonial region and treated them as slaves

Of course, being part of the Chinese Empire but not of China leads to a question: how to deal with the fact that China did not historically exert control over Tibetans? The answer is to state that Tibetans were treated unfairly (which is true — Tibet was historically a feudal theocracy) and to blame foreign powers (which is odd — if British people are criticized for treating Tibetans badly, will the video creator say that Tibet was part of Britain? Probably not.)

Fact #4: Prior to 1950 when Chinese regained Tibet, Tibet was still in a slavery society under Dalai Lama’s puppet regime.

Two claims here, one arguable and the other strange. Chinese Communist historians often use the term “slave” for what western historians would describe as “Feudal,” so arguing that Tibet was a feudal society is as controversial as arguing that the Cultural Revolution was chaotic. I’m not sure how the Dalai Lama’s regime was a “puppet” — perhaps the video creator meant that the Dali was a client of Britain? (I have made a similar mistake, myself.)

Fact #5: DaLai Lama was, and still is, funded by the CIA to separate Tibet from China.

A source is The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet Photographs appear to be from the area of the so-called Democratic and Socialist Revolutions, from the late 1940s to 1950s. So this claim, based only on fifty to sixty year old facts, is precisely as accurate as me writing “Mao Zedong was, and still is, funded by the KGB to weaken American power in the Pacific Ocean.”

Fact #6: The Chinese government spends 200 millions (40 million US) a year develop Tibet, Building schools, hospitals, infrastructures.

True. The Communist Party’s lifting hundreds of millions throughout China, and that’s why it’s important to support China by protesting the Olympics.

The video contains other assertions, such as Canada should allow a reference on Quebec independence (?!?), but these are the six “facts” that anchor the video.

6 thoughts on “Tibet WAS, IS, and ALWAYS WILL BE… well, what, exactly?”

  1. My wife’s sister sent this to her last week. I agree it is bombastic and the F***ing references, tend to dilute it’s message. The Chinese believe they were justified, and for the most part,believe that they were just taming their wild west, by stamping out a backward feudal society.

  2. How sure can one be that this was produced by a Chinese patriot? Could it be someone pretending to be Chinese, having a good ol’ time F***ing with us readers? (What is the assessment of the rolling credits? Are they legit?)
    One other comment: the title of the slideshow reminds me of a Nazi-era platitude re: Danzig: “Danzig ist und bleibt eine deutsche Stadt…” More intentional F***ing or just an accidental similarity?

  3. historyguy,



    Interesting thought.

    The video is ether done by a Chinese with a working but not fluent understanding of English, or else someone impersonating such a person. The odd slide in which the first “T” is on one line, and “ibet” is on the next, is an example of this.

    That said, this is the most sophisticated pro-China video I’ve seen. Most tend to be just a positive collection of images of Chinese, and negative images of Tibetans.

    I didn’t know about the “Danzig is and remains a German city” phrase. Thanks for the enlightenment!

  4. The map is interesting. The rulers of Qing Daynasty were Manchuria (or Man in Chinese). How the british could think Manchu was not part of China? Do you think the Manchuria emperor would agree with this?

  5. Hug,

    Thanks for the comment!

    The map is interesting. The rulers of Qing Daynasty were Manchuria (or Man in Chinese). How the british could think Manchu was not part of China? Do you think the Manchuria emperor would agree with this?

    If you are interested in the subject and have university access, I strongly recommend the article, ‘The Limits of Tartary.’ [1] If you do not have university access, just ask and I can provide you a copy for your personal use.

    The term Man, Manzu, and North-East are neologisms coined by the Communist government to refer to what was formerly known as Manzhou, corresponding to the English terms ‘Manchu’ and ‘Manchurian’

    The Qing did not consider themselves Han. The Qing Empire practiced racial segregation, including for many years requiring that Manzhou who died ‘abroad’ (reaad: within the provinces of China) be ‘repatriated’ to Manchuria. Official proclamations by the Qing emperor were written in both the traditional chinese characters as well as in Manchurian, which (stranegly enough) had al alphabet related to that used in Aramaic.

    Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet, Turkestan, and the Han provinces of China were the five principal components of the Empire of the Great Qing. The Han were fifth-class citizens, and (from what I gather) suffered the highest morbidity of any of the groups. Han were forbidden from entering Manchuria, forbidden from holding a government office without a Manchu political officer watching his actions, and prevented from entering one of the imperial Banners.

    The Qing dynasty can be viewed as a long foreign occupation of China. [2,3]

    [1] Elliott, Mark C. “The Limits of Tartary: Manchuria in Imperial and National Geographies.” Journal of Asian Studies 59, no. 3 (2000): 603-4
    [2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_Segregation#Qing_dynasty_China
    [3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_Segregation

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