Monthly Archives: July 2009

Tibet is becoming strategically and ideologically important…

In 1949, the American foreign ministry said that: “Tibet is becoming strategically and ideologically important. Since Tibet’s independence could help us in our fight against communism, it is in our interest to recognize it as an independence state instead of as a part of China. The Tibetan population is conservative, religious and ready to fight for Buddhism and against communism. In addition, the ideological influence of the Dalai Lama reaches far beyond Tibet’s borders…/… It is not Tibet’s independence that we are concerned with instead, it’s the attitude towards China that we should adopt.

I guess now Xinjiang has joined Tibet and is “becoming strategically and ideologically important” for US foreign policy makers.

I found the above from a comprehensive interview Important Q & A of Tibet by Mick Collins back to 2008. It explains well the cause of Tibet riot last year. And I am pretty sure that the same dirty hand, I mean Uncle Sam, is behind the recent Xinjiang riots.

“It’s the same old song: we’ve heard it constantly since 1989 (with conflicts in Africa, the Balkans, Iraq, and those that went to breaking up the USSR). It should be noted also that at the heart of the Tibetan exile community, there is a scission becoming more and more apparent: on the one hand, there are the moderates, including the DL, who do not advocate violence (not openly, at least), and who do not even demand independence, but speak of ‘growing autonomy’, as we know. On the other hand, and at the moment it is a majority faction within the government in exile, there are the radicals who demand total independence and are ready to take up arms to achieve it. You can imagine that such discourse would be impossible to maintain without the support of their allies of 50 years: the US, which also continues to finance and arm the Tibetan community in exile. In reality, today the US has two war horses it can use simultaneously: the DL and his followers (in Europe, especially) from whom comes the pacifist line that serves to rally Western intellectuals around the themes of ‘democracy’, ‘Human Rights’, ‘Freedom of the Press’, etc., that must be imposed on China (what a bizarre idea: ‘a democracy’ that has to be imposed! . . . but it gets across 200% of the time), and then the ‘hardcore’ faction of the Tibetan government in exile, which is acquiring more and more adherents because of the tough talk of the struggle for independence at all cost. Apparently, these are the ones who have ignited and carried out the recent violence.”

The most interesting part of the interview, is about how the anti-China image has been established in the western world. Please allow me to quote some for you:

Public opinion follows the media, and the media obey the economic interests. Don’t we live in an economic dictatorship here at home? Censorship is as real here as it is anywhere, but just better hidden. In the West, you are not locked up in prison for your opinions, but rather in your head, then in the illnesses that ensue. I wonder sometimes which is worse. So your actual question becomes: “How do you explain the pro-Tibetan feelings conveyed by our economic system?” Neither the US nor Europe fully appreciates the dazzling advances made by China on the world stage. All the plans are in place to bring it down: “We have to raise hell during the Peking Olympics!” squeals Danny Cohn-Bendit in his speech before a plenary session of the EU parliament on how Europe must act toward China. And this, not even a week after the events that lit up downtown Lhasa! It is so monstrous, yet that shows in a very simple way that the “big world of diplomacy and high finance” doesn’t have a solution for the Tibetan problem, and what is really important for them is to “raise hell in China.””

“But how is it that everyone here (even the leftist intellectuals, the progressives, ecologists, health-food wonks, and all that) holds this highly contrasted idea in their heads, of such a sympathetic Tibet and such a horribly repressive China? It is the same question as: How come the whole world drinks Coke and wears Adidas? Advertising, it works and it’s dangerous, everybody knows it and yet they can’t help following it. Especially the sort of advertising on Tibet/China that we’ve been subjected to for 50 years now!

How can we talk about China being “repressive’—ok, maybe in a certain way it is—but explain to me how this could be when China has, proportionately, five times fewer prisoners than the US? We say here that China is “totalitarian”: ok, but to say it still remains communist, is this synonymous with “totalitarianism”? Besides, what bothers us is not so much that China is communist, but that it protects its “economic territory”: neither the US nor the EU do that, and that greatly displeases the multinationals. Foreign investment in China is less than 3%: this is not a great gift for the multinationals!”

“BP: The USA has taken China off its list of most repressive states. Hasn’t China become a capitalist country like the others?

EM: If the US does something like that, isn’t it for some strategic purpose? It allows for the organization of more riots in the Tibetan regions, which forces China to bring out its big guns of repression, and the US can then cry foul: ‘State Repression’…”

In a different interview, Jean-Paul Desimpelaere spoke out similar view:

“R86: Your wife has been quoted as saying in this regard that “Tibet is a battleground pitting the United States against China.” Do you share this opinion?
JPD: Yes, in my opinion, that’s what has become of it. The current geostrategic ambitions add to the tension between China and the United States. Earlier, Tibet was involved in the battle against communism, but now there is something more there. China is becoming an economic power, and getting too big. In less than 20 years’ time, China will have surpassed the US as the top country in terms of total production volume. China is already the third-largest economy and it is also the biggest backer of American debt. With the onset of the US financial crisis the Americans had to knock on China’s door last January, asking for help. In my opinion, the US plays a double game. They need to have economic relations and financial transactions with China, but at the same time they are quite uncomfortable with this fact. The two really are not the best of pals, the US would rather opt for partners that are a bit more “valuable,” ideologically more Western or more democratic… partners that could better fit into the Western camp. An orange revolution? No, I don’t think so. They “tease” China a bit with issues such as Tibet and human rights, or by supporting separatist movements. Economic ties, even if strong, have never been reason enough to end all rivalry.

R86: Did the United States in your opinion play an active role in the events that took place in Tibet?
JPD: Yes, something can be judged from the fact that immediately after the March 14-21 riots in Lhasa, the president of the US congress Nancy Pelosi (NB: she is the speaker of the US House of Representatives), number three in American hierarchy, traveled to Dharamsala for a meeting with the Dalai Lama, to congratulate him and to say “I am happy to see American flags wave here in the streets of Dharamsala”… This is not a coincidence! The United States financially supports Tibetan exiles, of which non-governmental organizations like the NED, New Endorsement for Democracy, or the Tibet Fund, headed by Bush’s sister-in-law, serve as proof. There are also other American non-governmental organizations which provide financial assistance to the Dalai Lama’s government in-exile and the international information network operating around all that. It’s been that way since 1959 and still continues today, but this is not an obstacle to financial and commercial interaction between the US and China. I think that the US hopes that their tactics will help bring about a collapse of the current Chinese regime and lead to it being replaced by another, more Western one.

R86: Do you think that the majority of Western media are “pro-Tibet?”
JPD: Yes, I think so. But this is nothing new. This has been the general attitude over the past 50 years, during which the media have ridiculed about what China has said or not said about the issue. In fact, people don’t want to know what China’s stance is. Quite contrarily, the position of the government of the Tibetan exiles, which counted 80,000 people in -59 and 120,000 now, has received backing from the US and its NGOs. So there is an entire network that feeds the public opinion through the press. Journalists invariably stumble onto websites such as the Tibet Information Network, which is a London-based institution that receives funding from the US, so it is not neutral even if it claims to be.”

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Occasionally, Truth Leaks Out

Most of the news reports about China’s ethnic minorities in the “free media” focus on the “tensions”, “unrest”, “discrimination”, “suppress”, “restrictions on religion”, etc. Is it true that ethnic minorities in China are living like in the hell? Occasionally, you can still find the truth if you are careful enough. For example, in this WSJ article China’s Ethnic Fault Line (don’t be fool by the title), you would read something quite different:

Surprisingly, it has now become popular, especially in Beijing, for people to “come out” as Manchus or other ethnic groups. While the Han population grew 10% from 1982 to 1990, the minority population grew 35% overall—from 67 million to 91 million. The Manchus, long thought to have been assimilated into the Han majority, added three autonomous districts and increased their population by 128% from 4.3 million to 9.8 million. The population of the Gelao people in Guizhou shot up an incredible 714% in just eight years. These rates reflect more than a high birthrate; they indicate “category-shifting,” as people redefine their nationality from Han to minority or from one minority to another. In inter-ethnic marriages, parents can decide the nationality of their children, and the children themselves can choose their nationality at age 18.

Why is it still popular to be “officially” ethnic in today’s China? This is an interesting question given the riots in Xinjiang recently and in Tibet last year, not to mention the generally negative reporting in the Western press about minority discrimination in China. By the mid-1980s, it had become clear that those groups identified as official minorities were beginning to receive real benefits from the implementation of several affirmative action programs. The most significant privileges included permission to have more children (except in urban areas, minorities are generally not bound by the one-child policy), pay fewer taxes, obtain better (albeit Mandarin Chinese) education for their children, have greater access to public office, speak and learn their native languages, worship and practice their religion (often including practices such as shamanism that are still banned among the Han) and express their cultural differences through the arts and popular culture.

Indeed, one might even say it has become popular to be ‘ethnic’ in today’s China. Mongolian hot pot, Muslim noodle and Korean barbecue restaurants proliferate in every city, while minority clothing, artistic motifs and cultural styles adorn Chinese private homes. In Beijing, one of the most popular restaurants is the Tibetan chain Makye-ame. There, the nouveau riche of Beijing eat exotic foods such as yak kabobs served by beautiful waitresses in Tibetan clothing during Tibetan music and dance performances. With the dramatic economic explosion in South China, southerners and others have begun to assert cultural and political differences. Whereas comedians used to make fun of southern ways and accents, southerners (especially Shanghainese) now scorn northerners for their lack of sophistication and business acumen. As any Mandarin-speaking Beijing resident will tell you, bargaining for vegetables or cellular telephones in Guangzhou or Shanghai markets is becoming more difficult for them due to growing pride in the local languages: Non-native speakers always pay a higher price. Rising self-awareness among the Cantonese is paralleled by the reassertion of identity among the Hakka, the southern Fujianese Min, the Swatow and other peoples now empowered by economic success and embittered by age-old restraints from the north.

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Why Every Article About China Have the Same Negative Tones About Chinese Government?

WSJ has an article titled Can Economic Sanctions Drive Democratic Change in China? today. The author, Raghuvir Dass, is a 2nd year History Student at Delhi University. He portraited China as the following:

“China is an authoritarian regime which violently suppresses any and all forms of political dissent. It affords virtually no rights to its citizens, working conditions are considered slave-like in nature and peaceful demands for rights such as the right to religion, movement and the freedom of association or expression result in disappearances, detentions and harassment. The use of torture is widespread and accepted by the Chinese state.”

Damn! We ought to sanction the evil China!!! Oh wait wait, should we also saction India since in terms of labor standard, “the most problematic countries are India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. China is actually slightly below the international average—about 15 or 16 [violations per factory]” — according to Auret van Heerden, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based Fair Labor Association?

To be honest, reading Raghuvir Dass’s article makes me feel really really boring. It is just the old word that have been repeated hundreds of thousands of times by the “free media”. As a commenter pointed out, “Raghuvir Dass is an example of the incredible brain washing that takes place in India, the kind of brain washing that can make him not able to smell the stink under his own nose but an expert about the stink in a country 1000s of miles away which he hasn’t even visited.”

Actually, the comments are the fun part of this article. And the questions of Jiyong Chen to the editor indeed shine the discussion. Please allow me to quote them below:

“Since you are here, and in public commentary area, I would like to ask so everyone can read. Every article wrote about China in WSJ have the same negative tones about Chinese government. Is it a procedure that required in WSJ article toward China? There is no single article writer who pro China, and write good option on China in WSJ? If say there is one who write good option on China, is it has to be changed first, then can publish for everyone to read?

If there is any pro China on article saying Chinese government did anything good, please post a link to it.

Please answer, so everyone can understand WSJ is either a truly free press, or it is controlled.”

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Al-Qaeda Group Vows to Avenge Uighur Deaths in China

Here is a news report from Bloomberg on July 14, 2009. I will quote the entire report below. So now Uighur riots have gained support from Al-Qaeda Group. Wow! Rebiya Kadeer and the World Uyghur Congress must feel great now.

BTW, please carefully read the text being highlighted below in this news report. Cross referring to other news reports, you can conclude what really happened in Xinjiang, and what actually caused the civilian casualties there. Many “free media”, as I pointed in the early article “How to Report Riots in China 1-2-3“, were making every effort to portrait the picture that the crackdown killed hundreds of people. This is a completely lie. Some other “free media”, when facing difficulties to distort the truth, tried to set many excuses for behavior of the rioters. My question for the media is: can any of these excuses justifies the brutal murder of hundreds of innocent civilians?!! Or can any of the actions taken by the US government justifies 911 attack? If the answer to the latter question is no, I do not see an answer yes to the first question.

” July 14 (Bloomberg) — Al-Qaeda’s North African wing vowed to avenge the deaths of Muslim Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang province by targeting Chinese workers in Algeria, a risk analysis company said in a report.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb said it will target the 50,000 Chinese workers in Algeria and Chinese nationals and projects across northwestern Africa, said Stirling Assynt, which has offices in London and Hong Kong.

“This threat should be taken seriously,” the company said, adding that three weeks ago the Islamist group ambushed a convoy of Algerian security forces protecting Chinese engineers, killing 24 Algerians.

Almost 200 people have been killed this month in clashes between ethnic Uighurs and Han Chinese in Urumqi, the capital of China’s westernmost Xinjiang province, in the nation’s worst ethnic bloodshed in decades. Violence erupted again yesterday as police shot and killed two Uighur men armed with knives and sticks after an incident at a mosque in which a man urged a jihad, or holy war, the official Xinhua News Agency said today.

When the mosque’s imam called for help to expel the man, people alongside the protester brandished knives, according to the report. The two men were shot dead by police as they chased one of the mosque’s security guards, Xinhua reported. A third man was wounded.

Thousands of paramilitary and regular police have been deployed in the city to maintain peace. The clashes that started July 5 weren’t caused by differences over religion or ethnicity, a Chinese government spokesman said today.

Seeking Retribution

“We hope the relevant Muslim countries and Muslims can recognize the true nature of the July 5 incident in Urumqi,” Qin Gang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry, said today at a briefing in Beijing. “It’s not an issue of religion or ethnic groups,” he said, adding that “The purpose is the sabotage of China’s unity and ethnic solidarity.”

Hundreds of Uighur protesters attacked Han Chinese, smashed businesses and set fire to buses in Urumqi on July 5. Two days later, thousands of local Han Chinese took to the streets armed with machetes, steel bars and other weapons seeking retribution.

Police fired tear gas and formed barricades to stop them from entering Urumqi’s Uighur neighborhoods.

The clashes killed 184 people as of July 10.

Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which wants to impose an Islamic state in Algeria, was founded in the mid-1990s. It pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden in 2003. The Maghreb is the Arabic name for the North African countries of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.

‘Avenge Injustices’

It is the first militant group to formally react to the violence in Xinjiang province, Stirling Assynt said. The company said there had been an increase in “chatter” on the Internet among so-called jihadists, or militants engaged in a holy war, about the need for action “to avenge the perceived injustices in Xinjiang.”

“Some of these individuals have been actively seeking information on China’s interests in the Muslim world which they could use for targeting purposes,” Stirling Assynt said, adding locations included North Africa, Sudan, Pakistan and Yemen.

Other militant groups may make similar threats and al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula “could well target Chinese projects in Yemen,” according to the report.

Oil, Gas Reserves

Ethnic Han Chinese make up more than 90 percent of the nation’s population. Muslim Uighurs, who make up less than half of Xinjiang’s 20 million population after years of Han migration, complain of discrimination and unfair division of the region’s resources. The landlocked province, about three times the size of France, has China’s second-highest oil and natural gas reserves.

Chinese President Hu Jintao cut short his trip to the Group of Eight summit in Italy so he could return to Beijing to deal with the unrest.

Urumqi residents were ordered on July 12 to always carry their citizen identity cards or driver’s licenses, Xinhua reported yesterday. Anyone found not to be carrying identification will be taken by police for interrogation, the Beijing-based news service said.

Last Updated: July 14, 2009 06:15 EDT”

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A Rare First-Hand Report of Police Force in China

Peter Foster, journalist of the Daily Telegraph, wrote his first-hand report of China’s police force in the Xinjiang riot. It is a quite rare report from the “free media” that shows the true professionalism of a journalist.

“For the first time since Sunday’s violence a sense of normality is returning to the streets here.

I went out this morning at 8am immediately after curfew was lifted and things were definitely feeling more relaxed – many more cars on the roads, people doing their tai-ji in the parks, women returning from the vegetable markets laden with fresh produce, even a few dog-walkers.

There is still a very visible police presence – helicopters circling overhead and massive convoys of armoured personnel carriers, water canons and trucks carrying paramilitary police winding slowly through the city as a constant reminder that the forces of law and order are ready to act at a moment’s notice.

A note on the performance of the Chinese police during this crisis: from what I’ve seen they have been highly disciplined and professional under extremely challenging circumstances and deserve real praise for this.

On the one hand, it could be argued that the police failed in the first instance. Certainly that is the view of many Han people we’ve spoken too who are deeply angry that Sunday’s killing was allowed to take place at all.

It seems that the police were taken completely by surprise. Having broken up the original demonstration around the People’s Square and the South Gate on Sunday night between 6pm and 8pm, they failed to anticipate the extreme violence that was unfolded along the side-streets after about 10.30pm.

Perhaps this was because Urumqi, unlike Kashgar, is generally felt to be a stable – I hesitate to use the ‘H’ word (harmonious) – city where relations between Uighur and Han are nothing like as tense as in other parts of Xinjiang.

Then on Tuesday, the police appeared to get caught out a second time when, having focussed on locking down the Uighur areas, they seemed unprepared for the huge number of Han who took to the streets with their clubs and other weapons to show their anger over what they say was effectively an anti-Han pogrom carried out by thuggish Uighur elements on Sunday night.

These are fair criticisms, but equally the Chinese police and paramilitaries must be given huge credit for handling the situations that did arise.

On Tuesday they walked a fine line between confronting the Han protesters – keeping them separate from the Uighur community at a time when there was a real sense of blood lust in the air – and allowing them they chance to vent their legitimate anger and frustration.

In the event, the Han crowds on Tuesday effectively were allowed to go round and round in circles, exhausting themselves in the hot sun while never actually being allowed to reach the objects of their anger. To my mind, this was very smart policing.

Then on Wednesday, after an overwhelming show of force, the police made sure that the Han protestors largely stayed off the streets.

Similarly on Tuesday when a crowd of Uighur women and children of the Sai Ma Chang (Racetrack) district led a protest against the arrest of their men, the police contained the protest – showing force, but judiciously withdrawing a few hundred metres just at the moment when it looked as if things might get nasty.

I don’t claim to be an expert in riot control, but I have reported on mass protests in many different cities around the world – in the UK (football riots in London), in Africa (Harare and Lagos), in Pakistan (Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar) and in several cities in India – and I’m happy to say that China’s police have showed far greater professionalism, discipline and restraint than I’ve observed in many of those places.

Riots are feverish and unpredictable things and it only takes one nervous recruit to lash out (and if you look behind the visors, many of the Chinese police are pretty young) and suddenly a controlled situation can turn very nasty indeed.

All credit to the Chinese foot-soldiers, therefore, who have shown great professionalism and must be applauded for preventing any major further bloodshed after Sunday night.

They are neatly turned out, quiet and orderly when off-duty – for example, they don’t leave a trail of litter after chow-time like India’s police always did. These are small things but they do matter, since they set the tone.

If there is any criticism to be made, as outlined in the two points above, it should be directed at the commanders and officials who failed to anticipate events.

The next test for the police is how they handle the cases of the 1,400 arrested people, mostly Uighurs. The innocent must be returned unharmed to their families, while the guilty must be punished. Both sides, Uighur and Han, need to be satisfied by this process. It won’t be easy.

On that note, I shall shortly be departing for London on a summer break, but my colleague Malcolm Moore will be keeping you up date on China news with tweets and blogs from Shanghai and beyond.

For now, it’s ‘zaijian’ from me.”

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MSNBC will be cancelled

OK. I lied but so does MSNBC.

Look at this.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31892617/ns/world_news-asiapacific/

MSNBC changed AP’s original title!! The original title is “China officials: Police kill 2 Uighur men”. And MSNBC changed it to “Chinese police kill 2 protesters; lawyers warned”.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090713/ap_on_re_as/as_china_protest

If these men are called protesters, we should expect the following title from MSNBC as well:

‘protesters in afganistan killed 4 american soldiers with bomb’

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The Alternative Name for “Free Media”

Since last year’s reports about riots in Tibet, the “free media” has obtained new explanation about their names. Now let’s play a game and come up with your best alternative name for the “free media”. For example:

CNN: China Negative News

BBC: Broadcast Bad China

MSNBC: Must Speak Negative aBout China

ABC: Always Bashing China

NYT: Never Yell Truth

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