China’s view of Tibet

China’s view of Tibet is an informative article by Kishore Mahbubani — dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Educated westerners do have some knowledge of the past while most others that I have encountered do not have a clear picture of how China has viewed the western powers : UK, France, Germany, USA, Japan, etc. Of all the G8 nations, most if not all, had invaded China one way or the other. It is surprising that the perpertrators of the greatest evil in the world : Japan and Germany now have something to say about civility and respect for human rights, as if 60 years were enough of time to wash away the blood stains that are still fresh in the memory of those who had suffered. Other than the lack of moral high ground, western powers’ motives may be construed as bargaining chips:

The lions of human rights, particularly in European capitals, behave like poodles in Beijing. Virtually all of them spend their time trying to sell products to China. Then, in passing, they will whisper that they have to mention human rights issues because when they return home they have to say that these issues were raised.

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4 Comments

Filed under America, China, References

4 responses to “China’s view of Tibet

  1. Haha2007

    The link on the top doesn’t work…

  2. mitwildthing

    The link is fixed. For some reason, wordpress automatically replaces the url of an external link with wordpress.com.

  3. Jennifer

    Nine Points on Tibet, China and the Olympics

    In the interest of presenting a more rational viewpoint than is being offered by most Western or Chinese sources, here are nine points on the current controversy, with sources cited.

    1: In 2001, Liu Jingmin, Vice President of the Beijing 2008 Olympics Game Committee stated that, “By allowing Beijing to host the Games you will help the development of human rights in China.” However since that time, Chinese authorities have intensified repressive measures against groups they fear may embarrass them during the Games by drawing attention to human rights concerns. (1) In 2007, Yang Chunlin was arrested after sending an open letter to Chinese authorities entitled, “We Want Human Rights, Not the Olympics.” The letter was signed by 10,000 farmers whose land had been confiscated by the government. (2) Chinese dissident Hu Jia, best known for his work with AIDS victims, has also been jailed for “inciting to subvert state power.” He has repeatedly criticized the Chinese government for forcing Beijing residents from their homes to make way for Olympics related construction. (3) The Communist Party of China still has a long way to go before it can convince the world that it is taking its commitment to improving human rights seriously. (If you think that Amnesty International is biased towards China, please consider that AI condemns human rights abuses in all countries, including the US.)

    2: Chinese authority’s claims that Tibet is an integral part of China are based on a highly politicized version of Tibetan and Chinese history, conjured up to support the current occupation of Tibet. They claim that Tibet has been part of China since the Yuan Dynasty. During that time, both Tibet and China were subjects of the Mongolian Empire. Their assertion also assumes that the Mongolians considered themselves Chinese and their empire a Chinese empire. The assertion that Tibet became a part of China during this time is not substantiated either by ancient Chinese or ancient Tibetan records, the latter which is not given fair consideration. Official Yuan history excludes Tibet from all relevant chapters, and Chinese publications are either unable or unwilling to point to an actual act or decree that specifically designated Tibet as an official part of China. (4) Later sources, during the period of the Chinese Republic, are only vaguely referred to because they do not confirm their claims about Tibetan history. (5) The fact that such beliefs have taken such firm root among the Chinese is a testimony to the thoroughness of the patriotic indoctrination they receive from the Chinese Communist Party. Contrary viewpoints are not tolerated.

    3: It has been claimed by Chinese authorities that prior to the Chinese Invasion, conditions in Tibet could be described as “feudal serfdom.” This claim however projects a western sense of the term onto the Tibetan system and hence is not quite accurate. Chinese authorities claim that peasants in pre-1950 Tibet were treated savagely and inhumanely. This view is no doubt an exaggeration that serves their political goals. It is true that the poorest inhabitants of Tibet where subject to exploitation, but such is also the case in modern China. (See Fact1) Ignored by Chinese officials is the fact that the 13th Dalai Lama, beginning in 1912, had undertaken substantial reforms in Tibet, declaring amnesty for all runaway “serfs” and outlawing the severest forms of punishment, including eye gouging and the death penalty, which China still practices today. The PRC does not appear to in a strong position to criticize the old Tibetan society in this regard. (6)

    4: It is claimed by Chinese authorities that conditions today for the Tibetan people are more than satisfactory. Yet every year, 2,500 Tibetans attempt to escape to India. (7) Tibetans trying to flee to Indian are often gunned down. (8, see 7 as well). Efforts to assert control over Tibet are currently intensifying, particularly the forced “re-education” of monks to disavow the Dalai Lama. (9) The Chinese authorities do give citizens significant economic and social rights, including access to educational and health facilities. In practice, these rights are severely limited and ineffectual—to give one example, since 1992, criticism of PRC policies allowing Chinese migration into Tibet has been outlawed as a form of “narrow nationalism, feudal ideas and xenophobic mind set.” (10) In the book Requiem for Tibet, the author states, “Even if the Dalai Lama returned to Tibet, for short or long visits, even if some form of rapprochement were agreed with an arrogant China, what hope was there that this devastated nation could ever rise from the grave dug by a ruthless China? Tibet, as I had known it, was dead. The Tibet being shown to tourists by a hypocritical China was but the wreath on the corpse.” (11) For an account of conditions in Tibet today, see “Undercover in Tibet.” (ref.8)

    5: The Dalai Lama has often been referred to as “an evil separatist” who aims to disrupt China’s “national unity.” Such claims are completely unsubstantiated. Prior to receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the current Dalai Lama, made a proposal to the Beijing authorities. In it, he proposed that “the whole of Tibet … should become a self-governing democratic entity… in association with the PRC.” In exchange, Tibet’s claim to independence would be abandoned. (12) This proposal was met with derision not only by the CCP, but also from Tibetans who favor Tibetan Independence, particularly the Tibetan Youth Congress, which questions the Dalai Lama’s “middle way.” (13) Recently, the Dalai Lama has stated that he doesn’t support Tibetan Independence, nor does he support a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. He simply wants greater autonomy for his people. (14) In response to recent verbal abuse aimed at the Dalai Lama, the 1984 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu, said, “I learned that China has stated you caused violence. Clearly, China does not know you but they should. “(15)

    6: Both Pro-Tibet activist groups, and Chinese citizens abroad that do not share the ultra-nationalist views of their counterparts have been subject to verbal abuse. Malicious e-mails and other cyber-attacks on Tibet advocacy groups in the United States are linked to Internet servers used in past hacker intrusions traced by US law enforcement to China. (16) Duke University student and Chinese national -Wang Qianyuan, has received threatening emails, and even death threats for painting “Save Tibet” on the bare backs of Tibet supporters at a demonstration and trying to act as a medium between them and Chinese counter-demonstrators. A video of Wang soon appeared online, drawing condemnation and threats. “Makes us lose so much face. Shoot her where she stands,” one anonymous user wrote. Ms. Wang has stood her ground saying, “Human rights are above everything, even national pride.” (17)

    7: It is claimed by many Chinese that the Olympics are inherently not of a political nature. Yet, the 2008 Beijing Olympics are by no means the first to face controversy. The “holy” Olympic torch run began in 1936 Nazi Germany as a propaganda stunt. (18) In 1976, ten days before the Mexico Olympics, students rioted to demand more civil rights. In 1976, 28 nations boycotted the Montreal Olympics. Also, both the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of China boycotted the games, each protesting the legitimacy of the other. In 1980, the US and 60 other countries boycotted the Moscow Olympics. In 1984, the USSR boycotted the Los Angeles Olympics. It has also been suggested that China’s lobby to host the 2008 Olympic Games has been motivated by political considerations, not the mere love of sports. (19) Movie director Stephen Spielberg resigned as the artistic advisor to the 2008 games, citing China’s failure to intervene in the Darfur crisis, saying, “I find that my conscience will not allow me to continue with business as usual.” (20)

    8: CNN has been chastised by the Chinese as the “leader of western liars.” (21) The news organization falsely showed pictures of Nepalese police, but claimed that the pictures were taken in Lhasa. Such errors should not be condoned, yet it should not be assumed that CNN is the only source of news in the West, let alone the best source of news. The videos of the uprising in Tibet are now so numerous (see YouTube), it is easy for either side to use any number of select videos to state their case. Compare a video like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP9E9hWt_SM , which is from Sky.com, to a video like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG21V-JwWYs. The latter video seems to offer a relatively unbiased view. Where is the Tibetan side of the issue however? Tibetans can face imprisonment for speaking to Western journalists concerning how they really feel about conditions in Tibet. Why ??? (22) Furthermore, this is not the first time uprisings have broken out in Tibet in protest of Chinese rule. In 1959 and from 1987 to 1991, protests and demonstrations against Chinese rule took place on a regular basis. (23) History repeats itself. If you want to get news that is not distorted by either corporate or government interests, there are now many other places to look. Such sources tend to be much more critical of not only the Chinese government, but Western governments as well. See websites like Alternet.org (24) or CommonDreams (25), or IndyMedia.org (26). By the way, all references to the Dalai Lama as a Nazi or to CNN as Joseph Goebbels are insults not only to the victims of the Holocaust but also to those that gave their lives in order to defeat the Nazi threat. Those that use such terms, especially those that live in a country ruled by a Totalitarian government, should consider choosing their words more carefully. China ranks 163rd out of 169 in Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index. (27) (The US is ranked 48th.) It does not seem as if the people of China are in any position to criticize Western media for being biased.

    9: Pollution from China reaches California. (28) Products from China, including lead tainted toys, travel all throughout the world. (29) China’s spying is on the rise according to US intelligence sources. (30) News of human rights abuses inside China, affect the consciences of millions of people throughout the world. To dismiss criticism of China’s domestic policies as “interfering with China’s internal affairs” is to ignore the degree to which the world has become interconnected. “One world, one dream,” means to share a vested interest in the well-being of humans in all countries. Just as is the case with products and ideas, conscience cannot be contained within national borders. You can have “One world, One dream,” or you can have totalitarianism. You can have “One world, one dream” or you can have hyper-nationalism. You cannot have both. This applies to every country, not just China.

    1) http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/ASA17/043/2007/en/dom-ASA170432007en.pdf

    2) http://breitbart.com/article.php?id=070904062003.m7jreun7&show_article=1

    3) http://www.independent.co.uk/new/world/asia/hu-jia-chinas-enemy-within-804589.html

    4) Authenticating ..:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Tibet: answers to China’s 100 Questions./ edited by Anne-Marie Blondeau and Katia Buffetrille. University of California Press, 2008. (p.12-14)

    5) Ibid. p.293-298

    6) Ibid. P.38

    7) http://www.indiaenews.com/nepal/20071031/78087.htm

    8) Undercover in Tibet. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7982410976871193492

    9) http://www.straitstimes.com/Latest%2BNews/Asia/STIStory_230943.html

    10) Authenticating Tibet, p. 88

    11) Requiem for Tibet/ George N. Patterson, Aurum Press, 1990. p. 223

    12) Authenticating Tibet, p.122

    13) http://chinamatters.blogspot.com/2008/03/black-days-for-dalai-lama.html

    14) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24097313/

    15) http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/desmond_tutu/2008/03/statement_on_tibet_and_china.html

    16) http://www.upi.com/International_Security/Emerging_Threats/Analysis/2008/03/24/analysis_cyberattacks_on_tibet_groups/9260/

    17) http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24176485/

    18) http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/04/09/the-beleaguered-torch-now-with-nazi-origins/

    19) http://allafrica.com/stories/200804251107.html

    20) http://diversityinc.com/public/3354.cfm

    21) http://www.theinquirer.net/gb/inquirer/news/2008/03/27/chinese-website-accuse-cnn-lies

    22) Undercover in Tibet (see above)

    23) Authenticating Tibet, p. 319-321

    24) http://www.alternet.org/stories/81862/

    25) http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2008/04/11/8228/

    26) http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2008/04/395815.html

    27) http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=24025

    28) http://www.chinauseealliance.org/news_ap072806.asp

    29) http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,498602,00.html

    30) http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&sid=aqgFx0bVAX3I&refer=news

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