Tag Archives: Tibet

Tibet in Context

While China is often criticized for its invasion of Tibet (which had never been part of China, but had been part of the Chinese Empire for thousands of years), India is rarely criticized for its invasion of the princely states in the mid-to-late 20th century. Upon independendence, the Indian Union was one of many sovereigns in South Asia, some of which (Hyderabad and Kashmir, famously) did not wish to be part of India. India these complaints and used a combination of threats of force and force to compel its neighbors to join its socialist polity.

india_1950If Nehru was really has shocked at China’s invasion of Tibet as he seemed to have been, then his foreign policy really was a foolish as his disastrous economic policy, which held India back for two generations.

This is not to defend China. It is to criticize India.

Consequences of the Communist Party’s Reaction to the 314 Tibet Uprising

Learn When Its Easy.

The reason that it’s so important to embarras China on her backwards response to the 314 Tibet Uprising is that China is “young enough” to take risks now. As China’s population ages and her “charm offense” is exposed for the colonial resource grab that it is, China will need a competent government that responds to trouble in a more mature way than this:

But even as Beijing is promising to welcome 1.5 million visitors to the Olympic Games, public security officials are tightening controls over daily life and introducing visa restrictions that are causing anxiety among the 250,000 foreigners who have settled here in recent years.

The visa rules, which were introduced last week with little explanation, restrict many visitors to 30-day stays, replacing flexible, multiple-entry visas that had allowed people to remain for up to a year. The new rules make it harder for foreigners to live and work in Beijing without applying for residency permits, which can be difficult to obtain. The restrictions are also complicating the lives of businesspeople in Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore used to crossing the border with ease.

“I can’t begin to explain how serious this is going to be,” said Richard Vuylsteke, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. “A barrier like this is going to have a real ripple effect on business.”

and this:


The first refers to China closing itself off to the world by making it harder to get travel and work visas, as previously reported on tdaxp. The second is an anti-CNN (see the bullet holes?) banner from Sina.com, as noted on imagethief, the largest internet company in China and one whose violent anti-western-media graphics somehow escape censorship, even while pro-Tibet comments on Sina servers are removed.

China’s hurting herself a lot in her resposne to the 314 Tibet Uprising, alienating friends (including businessmen and, of all people, the French) while endearing herself to no one. The failure of China’s 314 reaction must be underlined, so the “next generation” of Communist leaders can react to similar events smarter than this one did.

Tibet should remain a part of China

Tibet should not be split from the rest of China. This is why the Communist Party should start the groundwork for welcoming back the Dalai Lama as the Head of State of Tibet. This is why all people who support China should support the Olympic protests.

The Flag of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile

It’s clear that China has done a lot for Tibet. As Catholicgauze notes, Tibet was historically “feudalistic with large ungoverned spaces featuring roaming bands of thieves.” Tibet is much richer today, and the recent completion of a train to Tibet promises even more economic intercourse with the outside world. Further, a quick look at the map shows that Tibet’s neighborhood is home to former-Soviet dictatorships, states suffering Maoist insurgencies, and general misery. Tibet is safer inside China than outside China.

Sadly, the Communist Part is now China’s greatest enemy in Tibet. Bursting into monasteries, killing monks, beating civilians, and behaving in a disproportionate, unsophisticated, and stupid way to the Tibet “314” Uprising. The Communist Party’s 1970s-era tactics of violence and intimidation are appropriate for a backwards country, like China was under Mao Zedong. They are increasingly dangerous for a developed country, like China is becoming. This risks the peaceful development of Tibet.

As China goes from being a weak country to being a strong one, she will gain friends who expect decent behavior (Britain, Germany, Australia, Japan, etc) and create enemies angered by her support for their enemies — the Burmese, the Vietnamese, the South Vietnamese exiles, the Darfuris, and others. If China’s solution to uprisings is to escalate the problem, Beijing will gain more enemies than friends. If the Communist Party learns to de-escalate problems, Beijing will gain more friends than enemies. How can Tibet development if it is part of a country that the world distrusts?

Olympic Tank

The Communist Party’s escalatory policy to social problems is echoed in the behavior of the fingqings, those angry young men who embarrass China and threaten violence to any who support for Tibetans. I read a post, for instance, where one Chinese student in America was hurled with insults calling for her death a thousand times, calling for an investigation of her parents, and reporting that one informed the National Security Bureau, the Chinese embassy, and the local government of her statements. This swarming of dissidents would not happen if China did not want it to happen. Chinese who stand up for good behavior by the government — Chinese who are most in turn with the behavior that China needs to have — are called race-traitors (literally “Han-Traitor,” often used for “China-traitor” because Han are virtually synonymous with Chinese).. It does not help China to oppress Chinese living in America. As the world learns about China’s oppression of Tibetans inside China — and how China does nothing to deter fingqing oppression of Tibetan activists abroad — China’s case in Tibet will be harmed.

A Chinese Patriot

Tibet should remain a part of China so that China can develop Tibet. For China to sustain this policy and retain its place in the world as a respected country, China needs to de-escalate the situation with the Tibetan people. The best way to do this is to invite the Dalai Lama (and his successors) back to Tibet as the Head of State of Tibet, whether in a continuation of the Tibetan Autonomous Region, the Central Tibetan Administration, a People’s Lamate of Tibet, or something else.

Tibet’s growth and development should be encouraged by all people who support those countries. The monks who call for the return are Tibetan patriots, and the Chinese students who support Tibet are Chinese patriots.

Support Tibet. Support China. Support the protests.

Support Chinese development of Tibet.

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.

The Human Wave

The plot to embarrass China is going well.

Torch relay a ‘public relations nightmare’ – CNN.com
“Despite nearly a year of planning and the deployment of 2,000 officers, the Metropolitan Police were unable to stop protesters breaking through the security cordon at vulnerable points,” the Times reported.

“It was a public relations nightmare for London, with images of Tibetans pinned to the tarmac by police, and demonstrators waving placards outside Downing Street.” Photo Watch a gallery of the torch relay in London »

The Daily Telegraph said the relay was nearly abandoned because of the “ugly and chaotic” scenes.

“Organizers, including Chinese officials, discussed “pulling out” of the day-long relay after just a few hours, as police fought running battles with wave after wave of anti-China protesters,” the newspaper reported.

The Daily Telegraph said police were surprised by the “relentless” attempts to disrupt the parade at “every corner” of the route.

The Mail said the relay turned into a “sinister and slapstick” event “which did Britain no favor in the eyes of the world.”

“Terrified athletes and celebrities carrying the torch were forced to run for cover,” it reported. Video Watch supporters, opponents of the Beijing Olympics show up at the London leg of the torch relay »

Downing Street was privately furious as the embarrassing fiasco — costing $2 million and likened to “Chinese police state tactics” in London — was beamed around the world on TV.”

The Mail described the Chinese guards helping escort the flame as a “mysterious private army.”

But some context of why this embarrasment is needed, and why processing it is hard for many Chinese.

In a thread, December wrote:

The Tibet issue is a very complicated historical and cultural problem, since 1300 ago, Tibet and Chinese had closed relationship from intermarriage to culture reform from Han and Tibet. It is a problem that started from inappropriate way of how Chinese government tried to bring something good but actually culturally-religiously insensitive way to treat Tibet people, and then the problem arose and finally big in later 19th century. The government has something to apologize, but this is not a simple game like most of your comments wrote, one country invade another, etc.,

December’s right. The situation is very complicated, and many of the problems in Tibet have their in past mistakes — both well-intentioned and poorly-intentioned.

Properly, from 1644 to 1912 the provinces of China combined to form one of the political units in the Empire of the Great Qing. The Han of the Chinese provinces were the most numerous race, and thus feared and oppressed by all the others. Other political units of the Great Qing were Manchuria, Mongolia, Turkestan, and Tibet. While the Manchuria-based Qing would eventually Hanize over time, to the end intermarriage between Han and other races were forbidden, non-Han garrisons were in every large town, Han officials were required to be monitored by a feather-bedded inspector from another race, areas outside of the Chinese provinces were closed to Han settlement, and communications from the Qing court were written both in Chinese characters and Manchurian (a script related to Hebrew).

Thus, when the Qing were overthrown in 1912, China effectively went through a process of decolonization — similar to the transition of Southern Rhodesia to Zimbabwe in the 1970s and 1980s. The race laws were ended, which led to the rapid swamping of most minorities. Inner Manchuria was the first to be settled (outer Manchuria since absorbed by Russia), and then Inner Mongolia (the Russians creating an Outer Mongolian puppet state soon after the Revolution), and lastly Inner Turkestan (Outer Turkestan, once again, having been absorbed by Russia). Inner Tibet was likewise swamped, though Outer Tibet (nearly absorbed into the Indian Empire at one point), high on its plateau, was resistant to non-genetically-optimized settlers, and so remains largely Tibetan to this day.

China would see many disasters between the Revolution of 1912 and Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms seventy years later. Many Chinese people judge their nation’s evolution as largely a matter of the difference in life between then and now. In 1912, there was institutional racism, widespread poverty, and national weakness: now there is a racially equal society, growing wealth, and national strength. Using the same standards on Tibet, in 1912 it was a feudal state: now Tibet is economically connected to the world and is enjoying sustained economic growth.

China deserves praise for elevating the material living standards of Tibetans, as well as creating a more just society throughout. In many ways, China has a smart and sophisticated government that is focusing on keeping the country together during a time of economic transition and growth.

A major exception to the Chinese government’s sophistication is its backwards strategy on Tibet. The Communist Party is able to subtly handle city-countryside conflict, and international border disputes, in a way that deescalates conflict and promotes economic development and growth. That is, everywhere but Tibet. In Tibet, the Communist Party’s strategy is still to kill and terrify a population into submission.

There are indications that the embarrassment is working. Articles like 為西藏問題尋找最大公約數 (Find a Common Denominator on the Tibet Issue) analyze the Tibet problem not as separatists-vs-patriots, but as a case of cultural conflict poorly managed.

It is important that the Communist Party move beyond their old-fashioned method of social repression in Tibet, and find a way to create a more “harmonious society.” China is too important to fail. Those who support the good that China is doing, both inside China and outside it, should help the Communist Party recognize their failure in Tibet, so in the future they can succeed.

“Public relations disasters,” like the protests against the Olympic Torch in London, are a great start.

I’m frigging Noam Chomsky

In an online discussion about TibetPedia, a website with the following headline:

If Tibet is separated from China …

People lose their homes, students quit their colleges, and couples get separated
Don’t spend the rest of your life blaming yourself

This snippet:

与乔姆斯基关于西藏的对话,及关于www.tibetpedia.org网站的建 – 未名空间(mitbbs.com)
3 NoamChomsky (2 days ago)
My friend, I’ve often been accused of being naive, but never simple. I do know a thing or two of history and politics; they’ve been an avocation of mine for a little while now.

Of course I’m keenly aware of the misdemeanors perpetrated by the US on behalf of its cynical and corrupt government, and I’ve protested them loudly for decades. I’m friggin Noam Chomsky, have you heard of me? Apparently not.

I can’t verify that it’s from the real Noam Chomsky, but later parts of the conversation:

First, I’m sorry; I wrote in haste. I should not have said China is “fascist” as that’s technically incorrect. I should have said “repressive,” ” tyrannical,” and “implacably hostile to the human spirit.” I think we can agree those terms are much less offensive than “fascist” so please accept my apologies.

Second, I do not share your antipathy to “anarchy” or rather, your implied preference for the centralized State. Your implication that lack of governance would lead to genocide neglects the plain fact that most (but admittedly not all) of the genocides of the last hundred years were meticulously planned and executed by sovereign states.

Two last things: first, my heritage and religious beliefs are not germane to this discussion. And second, it’s unnecessary to write “Midnat Yisra’el” in Hebrew if you’re not going to call China “Zhongguo” or “中國” (“中国”). Let’s not show off.

Certainly imply it is.

An argument between Chomsky and a Communist apologist has all the fascination of a debate between partisans of Kim Jung Il and Pol Pot. Read the whole thing.

Communist Apologetics

From drunkpiano’s blog comes this Chinese Communist apologetical nonsense that is, I think, pretty typical among defenders of the Chinese Communist crackdown against the Tibetan people. I blog this because some readers of my blog have difficulty in distinguishing between the intersts of the Chinese Communist Party and the interests of China. In the case of Tibet, it is in the interests of China to grant Tibet independence, so that Tibet can be a benefit for the Chinese people in the same way that Hong Kong benefits the Chinese people. However, the Chinese Communist Party is a 10% Marxist, 90% Mafia organization when it comes to political control.

Generally, when it comes to economics, the Chinese Communist Party is a “militant whig” organization, that beliefs in economic growth and national greatness. Good for them. But in Tibet, the Party is stuck in a 1970s backwardness that embarrasses all right-thinking people. The Communist Party’s policy Tibet injures China and Chinese people.

Hence, this fisking of Communist Apolgetics nonsense from Barry Sautman, a quisling who teaches in Hong Kong.

Recent protests in Lhasa and other Tibetan areas were organized to embarrass the Chinese government ahead of the Olympics. The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the major Tibetan exile organization that advocates independence for Tibet and has endorsed using violent methods to achieve it, has said as much. Its head, Tsewang Rigzin, stated in a March 15 interview with the Chicago Tribune that since it is likely that Chinese authorities would suppress protests in Tibet, “With the spotlight on them with the Olympics, we want to test them. We want them to show their true colors. That’s why we’re pushing this.” At the June, 2007 Conference for an Independent Tibet organized in India by “Friends of Tibet,” speakers pointed out that the Olympics present a unique opportunity for protests in Tibet. In January, 2008, exiles in India launched a “Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement” to “act in the spirit” of the violent 1959 uprising against Chinese government authority and focus on the Olympics.

Trivially true.

Several groups of Tibetans were likely involved in the protests in Lhasa, including in the burning and looting of non-Tibetan businesses and attacks against Han and Hui (Muslim Chinese) migrants to Tibet. The large monasteries have long been centers of separatism, a stance cultivated by the TYC and other exile entities, many of which are financed by the US State Department or the US Congress’ National Endowment for Democracy. Monks are self-selected to be especially devoted to the Dalai Lama. However much he may characterize his own position as seeking only greater autonomy for Tibet, monks know he is unwilling to declare that Tibet is an inalienable part of China, an act China demands of him as a precondition to formal negotiations. Because the exile regime eschews a separation of politics and religion, many monks deem adherence to the Dalai Lama’s stance of non-recognition of the Chinese government’s legitimacy in Tibet to be a religious obligation.

Sautman confuses two issues, whether the Dali recognizes Tibet to be part of China (which he does) and whether the Dali recognizes that there is no legitimate basis for Tibet independence (which he does not). It’s a reasonable point for Sautman to make, but instead he blends the two arguments together to paint the Dali as extremist, when he is not.

Reports on the violence have underscored that Tibetan merchants competing with Han and Hui are especially antagonistic to the presence of non-Tibetans. Alongside monks, Tibetan merchants were the mainstay of protests in Lhasa in the late 1980s and early 1990s. This time around, many Han and Hui-owned shops were torched. Many of those involved in arson, looting, and ethnic-based beatings are also likely to have been unemployed young men. Towns have experienced much rural-to-urban migration of Tibetans with few skills needed for urban employment. Videos from Lhasa showed the vast majority of rioters were males in their teens or twenties.

Trivially true

The recent actions in Tibetan areas differ from the broad-based demonstrations of “people power” movements in several parts of the world in the last few decades. They hardly show the overwhelming Tibetan anti-Chinese consensus portrayed in the international media. The highest media estimate of Tibetans who participated in protests is 20,000 — by Steve Chao
, the Beijing Bureau Chief of Canadian Television News, i.e. one of every 300 Tibetans. Compare that to the 1986 protests against the Marcos dictatorship by about three million — one out of every 19 Filipinos.

A strange argument that Sautman seems to rejecct later on. Tibet is a largely rural country, so a comparison to population size should compare with city dwellers (who can be easily mobilized) as opposed to rural folk far from population centers.

Tibetans have legitimate grievances about not being sufficiently helped to compete for jobs and in business with migrants to Tibet. There is also job discrimination by Han migrants in favor of family members and people from their native places. The gaps in education and living standards between Tibetans and Han are substantial and too slow in narrowing. The grievances have long existed, but protests and rioting took place this year because the
Olympics make it opportune for separatists to advance their agenda. Indeed, there was a radical disconnect between Tibetan socio-economic grievances and the slogans raised in the protests, such as “Complete Independence for Tibet” and “May the exiles and Tibetans inside Tibet be reunited,” slogans that not coincidentally replicate those raised by pro-independence Tibetan exiles.

Trivially true.

While separatists will not succeed in detaching Tibet from China by rioting, they believe that China will eventually collapse, like the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and they seek to establish their claim to rule before that happens. Alternatively, they think that the United States may intervene, as it has elsewhere, to foster the breakaway of regions in countries to
which the US is antagonistic, e.g. Kosovo and southern Sudan. The Chinese government also fears such eventualities, however unlikely they are to come to pass. It accordingly acts to suppress separatism, an action that comports with its rights under international law.

Sautman ties together criticism of Tibetan separatist with a (spurious) justification of oppression of the non-separatist supporters of supporters of the Dali Lama .

Separatists know they can count on the automatic sympathy of Western politicians and media, who view China as a strategic economic and political competitor. Western elites have thus widely condemned China for suppressing riots that these elites would never allow to go unsuppressed in their own countries. They demand that China be restrained in its response; yet, during the Los Angeles uprising or riots of 1992 — which spread to a score of
other major cities — President George H.W. Bush stated when he sent in thousands of soldiers, that “There can be no excuse for the murder, arson, theft or vandalism that have terrorized the people of Los Angeles . . . Let me assure you that I will use whatever force is necessary to restore order.” Neither Western politicians nor mainstream media attacked him on this score, while neither Western leaders nor the Dalai Lama have criticized those Tibetans who recently engaged in ethnic-based attacks and arson.

This is potentially a good point: Chinese police are incompetent in restoring order, and so the anti-Tibetan operations may have generally the same objective of public peace as western anti-Riot techniques: thus, the skew of deaths in Tibet as largely caused by security forces and the deaths in Los Angeles as largely caused by rioters merely show that the Chinese security forces are sub-par. Still, the US did not ban media from riot-strewn areas, which allowed others to see that the mobilized army was not attacking, say, Democratic party offices.

Western elites give the Chinese government no recognition for significant improvements in the lives of Tibetans as a result of subsidies from the China’s central government and provinces, improvements that the Dalai Lama has himself admitted. Western politicians and media also consistently credit the Dalai Lama’s charge that “cultural genocide” is underway in Tibet,
even though the exiles and their supporters offer no credible evidence of the evisceration of Tibetan language use, religious practice or art. In fact, more than 90% of Tibetans speak Tibetan as their mother tongue. Tibet has about 150,000 monks and nuns, the highest concentration of full-time “clergy” in the Buddhist world. Western scholars of Tibetan literature and art forms have attested that it is flourishing.

Whether or not “cultural genocide” is a good thing, China (under both the KMT and CCP) has encouraged large-scale Han emigration to Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, and East Turkestan. The same has been attempted in Tibet, but the high altitude of the Tibetan plateau and the genetically-optimized Tibetan genotype for this altitude has made colonization more difficult.

Ethnic contradictions in Tibet arise from the demography, economy and politics of the Tibetan areas. Separatists and their supporters claim that Han Chinese have been “flooding” into Tibet, “swamping” Tibetans demographically. In fact, between the national censuses of 1990 and 2000 (which count everyone who has lived in an area for six months or more), the
percentage of Tibetans in the Tibetan areas as a whole increased somewhat and Han were about one-fifth of the population. A preliminary analysis of the 2005 mini-census shows that from 2000-2005 there was a small increase in the proportion of Han in the central-western parts of Tibet (the Tibet Autonomous Region or TAR) and little change in eastern Tibet. Pro-
independence forces want the Tibetan areas cleansed of Han (as happened in 1912 and 1949); the Dalai Lama has said he will accept a three-to-one Tibetan to non-Tibet population ratio, but he consistently misrepresents the present situation as one of a Han majority. Given his status as not merely the top Tibetan Buddhist religious leader, but as an emanation of Buddha, most Tibetans credit whatever he says on this or other topics.

More confusion from Sautman. “Tibetan areas as a whole” encourage largely colonized lowlying regions that are outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region. The population increase is a result of the One Child Policy which applies to Han Chinese in areas where Tibetans are a minority. Han Chinese are colonizing the TAR in increasing numbers, though they are a minority there.

The Tibetan countryside, where three-fourths of the population lives, has very few non-Tibetans. The vast majority of Han migrants to Tibetan towns are poor or near-poor. They are not personally subsidized by the state; although like urban Tibetans, they are indirectly subsidized by infrastructure development that favors the towns. Some 85% of Han who
migrate to Tibet to establish businesses fail; they generally leave within two to three years. Those who survive economically offer competition to local Tibetan business people, but a comprehensive study in Lhasa has shown that non-Tibetans have pioneered small and medium enterprise sectors that some Tibetans have later entered and made use of their local knowledge to prosper.


Tibetans are not simply an underclass; there is a substantial Tibetan middle class, based in government service, tourism, commerce, and small-scale manufacturing/ transportation. There are also many unemployed or under-employed Tibetans, but almost no unemployed or underemployed Han because those who cannot find work leave. Many Han migrants have racist attitudes toward Tibetans, mostly notions that Tibetans are lazy, dirty, and obsessed
with religion. Many Tibetans reciprocate with representations of Han as rich, money-obsessed and conspiring to exploit Tibetans. Long-resident urban Tibetans absorb aspects of Han culture in much the same way that ethnic minorities do with ethnic majority cultures the world over. Tibetans are not however being forcibly “Sincized.” Most Tibetans speak little or no Chinese. They begin to learn it in the higher primary grades and, in many Tibetan areas, must study in it if they go on to secondary education. Chinese, however, is one of the two most important languages in the world and considerable advantages accrue to those who learn it, just as they do to non-native English speakers.

Also true.

The Tibetan exiles argue that religious practice is sharply restricted in Tibetan areas. The Chinese government has the right under international law to regulate religious institutions to prevent them from being used as vehicles for separatism and the control of religion is in fact mostly a function of the state’s (overly-developed) concern about separatism and secondarily about how the hyper-development of religious institutions counteracts “development” among ethnic Tibetans. Certain state policies do infringe on freedom of religion; for example, the forbidding, in the TAR (Tibet Autonomous Region), of state employees and university students to participate in religious rites. The lesser degree of control over religion in the eastern Tibetan areas beyond the TAR– at least before the events of March, 2008 — indicate however that the Chinese government calibrates its control according to the perceived degree of separatist sentiment in the monasteries.

True. The Communist Party oppresses the Tibetan people, and does so out of paranoia separatist.

The Dalai Lama’s regime was of course itself a theocracy that closely regulated the monasteries, including the politics, hierarchy and number of monks. The exile authorities today circumscribe by fiat those religious practices they oppose, such as the propitiation of a “deity” known as Dorje Shugden. The cult of the Dalai Lama, which is even stronger among monks than it is among Hollywood stars, nevertheless mandates acceptance of his claim that restrictions on religious management and practice in Tibet arise solely from the Chinese state’s supposed anti-religious animus. Similarly, the cult requires the conviction that the Dalai Lama is a pacifist, even though he has explicitly or implicitly endorsed all wars waged by the US.

Several errors here, including an unsubstantiated claim of “cult” and the comparison of the Dali’s religious office with the Party’s violent oppression of monasteries.

The Dalai Lama is a Tibetan ethnic nationalist whose worldview is — in US terms — both liberal and conservative. He and many of his foreign supporters have a pronounced affinity for conservative politicians, such as Bush, Thatcher, Lee Teng-hui and Ishihara Shintaro, but they can get along well with liberals like US Speaker Nancy Pelosi, because they are virulently anti-communist and anti-China.

The conflation of the Chinese Communist Party and China is made by almost no one except for the Party itself — and Sautman.

The Dalai Lama is far from being a supporter of oppressed peoples. For example, in 2002, when he visited Australia, the Dalai Lama, upon arriving in Melbourne, noted “he had flown over ‘a large empty area’ of Australia that could house millions of people from other densely populated continents.” The area is, of course, not wholly empty, as it contains Aborigines. To them, the Dalai Lama proffered the advice that “black people ‘should appreciate what white people have brought to this country, its development.’” (R. Callick, “Dalai Lama Treads Fine Line,” Australian Financial Review, May 22, 2002).

Here Barry Sautman appears to be arguing against himself, claiming that the Dali Lama opposes independence movements on the basis of benefits of development. And of course this is true: the Dali does not agitate for independence for China.

The development of the “market economy” has had much the same effect in Tibetan areas as in the rest of China, i.e. increased exploitation, exacerbated income and wealth differentials, and rampant corruption. The degree to which this involves an “ethnic division of labor” that
disadvantages Tibetans is however exaggerated by separatists in order to foster ethnic antagonism. For example, Tibet is not the poorest area of China, as is often claimed. It is better off than several other ethnic minority areas and even than some Han areas, in large measure due to heavy government subsidies. Rural Tibetans as well receive more state subsidies than other minorities. The exile leaders employ hyperbole not only in terms of the degree of empirical difference, but also concerning the more fundamental ethnic relationship in Tibet: in contrast to, say, Israel/Palestine, Tibetans have the same rights as Han, they enjoy certain preferential economic and social policies, and about half the top party leaders in the TAR have been ethnic Tibetans.

The comparison to “Israel/Palestine” is interesting as (a) Israel does not claim sovereignty over the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and both the Palestinian and Israeli governments have some basis for claiming electoral legitimacy.

I’m surprised there wasn’t a reference to “neocon,” for the Jew-baiting aspect of this paragraph.

Tibet has none of the indicia of a colony or occupied territory and thus has no relationship to self-determination, a concept that in recent decades has often been misused, especially by the US, to foster the breakup of states and consequent emiseration of their populations. A settlement between the Chinese government and Tibetan exile elites is a pre-condition for the
mitigation of Tibetan grievances because absent a settlement, ethnic politics will continue to subsume every issue in Tibet, as it does for example, in Taiwan and Kosovo, where ethnic binaries are constructed by “ethnic political entrepreneurs,” who seek to outbid each other for support.

An absurd and unsupported claim.

The protests in Tibet had no progressive aspect. Many who participated in the ethnic murders, beatings and arsons in Lhasa were poor rural migrants to the city, but the slogans there and elsewhere in Tibet almost all concerned independence or the Dalai Lama. There have been many movements the world over in which marginalized people have taken a reactionary and often racist road, for example, al-Qaeda or much of the base of the Nazis. The riots in Tibet also have done nothing to advance discussions of a political settlement between the Chinese government and exiles, yet a settlement is necessary for the substantial mitigation of Tibetan grievances. For Tibetan pro-independence forces, a setback to such efforts may have been their very purpose in fostering the riots. Tibetan pro-independence forces, like separatists everywhere, seek to counter any view of the world that is not ethnic-based and to thwart all efforts to resolve ethnic contradictions, in order to boost the mobilization needed to sustain their ethnic nationalist projects. They have claimed that China will soon collapse and the US will thereafter increase its patronage of a Tibetan state elite, to the benefit of ordinary Tibetans. One only has to look round the world at the many humanitarian catastrophes that have resulted from such thinking to project what consequences are likely to follow for ordinary Tibetans if the separatist fantasy were fulfilled.

This final paragraph is hilarious. Goodwin’s Law applies, bringing out the mandatory comparison to the Nazis. A communist regime built on peasant protests describe peasant protests as having “no progressive aspect.”

This nonsense has real consequences. Articles like this are part of a Communist agitation-propaganda campaign aimed at causing problems oversees. The Party’s handling of the Tibet crisis is beyond stupid, and is all the more flabergasting because the party has finally started dealing with Taiwan in a mature and grown-up manner.

Still, change comes from failure. China’s embarrassment in Tibet has the same potential for change that China’s idiotic arm-waving over earlier Taiwanese elections led to China’s mature Taiwan policy today.

Embarrass China. For the good of China.

Embarrasing China

Internal dissent:

The Weekly Standard
Tomorrow Beijing will put on trial one of its most ardent human rights campaigners. Hu Jia, 34, faces charges of “inciting subversion of state power.” Evidence to be used against him includes articles he posted on an overseas Chinese-language website and statements he made during interviews with foreign journalists.

For his work as an activist, Hu, a devout Buddhist, has been called “modern China’s conscience.” He called attention to the plight of AIDS orphans whose parents were victims of a scandal involving tainted blood at public blood banks. In June 2004, he was detained for attempting to lay a wreath on Tiananmen Square to honor the victims of the 1989 crackdown on democracy demonstrators.

In February 2006, Hu was abducted by agents of the Beijing public security bureau, driven with a hood over his head to a rural location, and held captive for 41 days. Although suffering from hepatitis-B, Hu was denied medication while his kidnappers interrogated him concerning a hunger strike he had joined to protest police brutality in China.

Upon his release, Hu was kept under house arrest until February 2007. During this time, his wife was tailed by security agents wherever she went. In May 2007, Hu and his wife were both put under house arrest for “endangering state security.” A video diary titled “Prisoners in Freedom City” depicting their life under surveillance

Tibetan Riots:

While the evil deeds in these stories are bad, the feedback they generate for Beijing is good. It’s important that the Beijing Olympics not be boycotted, but it’s also imported that the Chinese citizens who use the Olympics to magnify their voices be heard. The solution for China will ultimately be further liberalization, a more harmonious society that spreads opportunity.

That goodness for the Beijing Olympics, and the embarrassment its helping to generate.

Globalization, and our wise decisions, can help China give more to her citizens and the world

This much is true: China is a large country is well on her way to being fully integrated within the Core of functioning, global states.

Flag of China

The week started with news that the US was removing China from the list of the worst human rights abuses (from DU). This is good. The most fundamental of all rights is market freedom, which most of the Chinese economy has in spades. And likewise the week ends with Tom Barnett criticizing the Pentagon’s special watch report on China. Likewise, this is wise. While of course China must be “hedged” against, this must be done in a way that doesn’t place a wedge between Chinese and American interests.

Now, to the bigger news. Tibetans are rioting in Lhasa (from Soob), while Chinese are colonizing Africa. These are both symptoms of failure, but failure, after all, is nothing more than the difference between where you want to be and where you are. The Chinese Communist Party runs an oppresive state, especially for those who live in China who haven’t been Sinicized. Likewise, most African governments run incompetent states, from the perspective of supplying their citizens with a minimum of healthcare, police, and education.

The “people powered” unrest in Tibet won’t remove the Communists from that country, but it will demonstrate to the Party that their form of rule leads to international embarrassment and problems that are more typical of a Burma than a Great Power. Likewise, the “people powered” colonization in Africa won’t completely strip the sovereignty of those countries, but will do more to rollback the disaster of the 20th century.

Improved living standards for Chinese by economic growth, and improved living standards for Africans by recolonization, both look likely. These improvements will be partially caused by the mechanics for globalization. But also importantly, these improvements will be made more or less likely by our wise decisions, our not placing a wedge between ourselves and China, and our allowing criticisms of Chinese human rights to come from individuals and NGOs, and not states.