Discussing Tibet, Without the BS

 

China’s Tibet? Autonomy or Assimilation
Warren W. Smith Jr.
Rowman and Littlefield. 313pp

For a book dealing with Sino-Tibetan relations Warren Smith’s new work takes an unusual standpoint. It refuses to assume the currently fashionable “a plague on both your houses” attitude; i.e. to regard the present problems of Tibet not just as originating from the harsh policies of the Chinese government but from the blunders of the Dalai Lama and the intransigence of exile Tibetans as well. Smith ignores such standard red herrings as Tibetan “failure to engage with China”, or Tibetan “hopes for American support” and instead sees the situation in stark and simple terms with Tibetans as victims and the Chinese as the victimizers. This is not to say that the book lacks objectivity or that Smith is taking sides. He is clearly aware of the numerous mistakes and even cupidity of the Tibetans in their dealings with China, but correctly sees these as secondary, sometimes even irrelevant to the overpowering reality of China’s brutal occupation and relentless assimilation of Tibet.

Warren Smith is well known to many Tibetan readers (of the Indian edition) of his masterful history, Tibetan Nation. For a book written by a non-Tibetan it is one that quite consciously attempts to understand and explain things from a Tibetan point of view. One Tibetan reader has claimed to appreciate Tibetan Nation because of its “tsampa smell”. Lhasang Tsering la of the BOOKWORM in Dharamshala, personally recommends Tibetan Nation to those seeking an up-to-date one-volume history of Tibet.

So it should come as no surprise that the introductory chapters in this new book, laying out the historical background, are impressively thorough. It is evident that Smith’s understanding of Tibetan history is not only broad and objective, but is appreciative of the Tibetan intellectual point of view. Quite a few experts tend to view Tibetan history largely from a Chinese or left-ideological perspective while some go to the other extreme of regarding Tibetan history and culture as largely a product of Buddhism. Smith’s work is a welcome corrective.

The first half of Smith’s book, which deals with China’s efforts to assimilate Tibet and to rewrite Tibetan history to conform to this new reality, is extremely useful because little has been published in this regard. Warren Smith’s accounts of Chinese propaganda efforts on Tibet are detailed and accurate. He provides extensive analysis of the works of China’s propagandists on Tibet as Anna Louise Strong and Israel Epstein. He also provides, on the book’s website, detailed critiques of Stuart and Roma Gelder’s The Timely Rain, Han Suyin’s Lhasa, The Open City, and also the Chinese government’s version of Tibetan history, The Historical Status of China’s Tibet. Although all of this is from a previous era it provides an important and clear picture of the continuity of Chinese propaganda effort and demonstrates how vital Beijing regards the contributions of pro-Chinese western journalists and academics in propagating and legitimizing the official view of “China’s Tibet”.

The book also highlights Beijing’s current propaganda programs and the varying degrees of success it has had in spreading its “China’s Tibet” message to the outside world through China’s own Tibetologists, pliant academics in the West, cultural festivals, theme parks, films, free DVD’s and publications. Smith discusses the seminal 1993 meeting of the External Propaganda Committee of the PRC Propaganda Department where China’s successful propaganda strategy on Tibet was worked out and launched.

Smith also tackles China’s propaganda efforts within Tibetan society, and the impact that such misinformation has had, especially on the younger generation. He provides detailed information of such propaganda institutions as the Museum of the Tibetan Revolution and it’s most infamous and exhaustively invented exhibition of the “evils” of old Tibetan society, The Wrath of the Serfs. Warren Smith devotes a chapter to propaganda films, especially the feature film, Serf, made by a PLA film company in 1963. This unapologetically racist, debasing and viciously false representation of old Tibetan society and culture was enormously significant for Chinese audiences in the formation of their chauvinistic views about Tibet and China’s role there. The movie was shown all over China and Tibet.

Smith’s coverage of the Cultural Revolution in Tibet is thorough and provides an exclusive window on events through selective highlights from the autobiography of Rinbur Tulku, who witnessed the destruction of temples, monasteries and monuments in and around Lhasa. Rinbur Tulku provides a detailed account not just of the destruction and desecration, but also of the deliberate process by which Chinese authorities systematically looted the shrines and temples of all valuable jewelry, precious metals and objet d’art that were all trucked to China before the supposedly chaotic destruction took place. Smith also demonstrates that the events were not spontaneous and chaotic as claimed by China’s apologists in the West, and that Tibetan participation in the destruction clearly came about due to pressure and coercion.

Smith’s coverage of the history of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue or negotiations, and the lack of any kind of development in this regard, is probably one of the most dispassionate, critical and detailed accounts we have to date. This alone will make the book worth reading for many students of Tibetan affairs. In a detailed and systematic exposition Smith makes it clear that there is no hope of “genuine autonomy” or “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet, as the Dalai Lama has been advocating. He further explains that the very idea of even a minimal autonomous status for Tibet was never one that had ever been entertained with any degree of sincerity by Beijing, even when the guarantee of autonomy was first undertaken by Chinese leaders at the signing of the 17 Point Agreement in 1951. Smith effectively underlines his contention with a hard-nosed exposition of the doctrinal realities involved. “The ultimate goal of Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist-Maoist nationalities doctrine was not autonomy, but assimilation. Autonomy in Marxist-Leninist theory and practice was a temporary tactic intended to reduce minorities’ resistance to incorporation into Communist states.”

Smith’s book lacks a clear narrative thread and certain chapters read like separate essays. This might be considered a virtue by those who find it heavy going to read an academic work all the way through, and prefer to sample sections of it at their convenience. Whichever way one goes about reading it, the fund of information and insight to be gained from this book ought to bring about a clear and disturbing appreciation of what China actually intends to do about Tibet.

Warren Smith is not an optimist regarding the future of Tibet. He nonetheless thinks that Tibetans might have a small (and only) chance if they were to give up their hopes for an autonomous status under China and assume responsibility for “the survival of their own national identity and their national destiny.” His final sentence is a slap in the face of those who hold that the Tibet issue can only be resolved through “negotiations”, “a change of heart in Beijing”, or on China becoming a democracy . Smith let’s us have it straight up. “The final result of the Tibet issue will be that Tibetans themselves will determine their fate, or they will be unable to do so.”

Comments

  1. Allen | August 12th, 2008 | 3:29 pm

    We have in the last few days seen what negotiation is possible with an imperial state. And China has the same benefit as any other large static entity. They can wait out their adversaries.

    And while they are waiting, they tell their version.

  2. Dawa | August 12th, 2008 | 6:04 pm

    SFT announces Free Tibet 2008 Television
    Posted August 11, 2008 at 5:43 PM

    Students for a Free Tibet has a new online video channel broadcasting from London throughout the worldwide uprising for Tibetan freedom during the Beijing Olympics: Free Tibet 2008 Television, or FT08.TV.

    With all the Olympic actions for Tibet taking place and particularly the incredible success of the ‘opening’ banner action outside Beijing’s ‘Bird’s Nest’ stadium on Aug. 6th and subsequent media storm here in the UK, it took some time to get FT08.TV ready for prime time.

    But with the dedicated help of lots of people, SFT’s new video channel is up and running, and filled with lots of must-see on-demand content, including inspiring Tibet activist video-profiles, action reports, video-blogs, and more.

    We’re also airing a nightly Windhorse Report live from London with SFT leaders Tenzin Dorjee and Han Shan – a roundup of reports from Beijing and around the world during the Olympics, with breaking news about protests, call-in interviews with news-making activists, episodes of SFT-TV (the efforts of SFT’s global grassroots), and info and analysis about the situation on the ground in Tibet.

    There will be more and more compelling content to watch every day and we’ll be improving the channel/website as we go (after all, this is but one small facet of our Olympic efforts right now). But please come check it out: surf around the many videos on the channel, or watch the stream (click on “Streaming Now” in the upper left-hand corner). Last but not least, you’re invited to submit video… check out the channel for more on what we’re looking for.

    Please help spread the word about FT08.TV– join the facebook group, blog about it, embed the videos, spam your address book – and of course, keep watching.

    And don’t forget to visit SFT’s Olympics Campaign website: http://www.FreeTibet2008.org and SFT’s blog: http://www.blog.studentsforafreetibet.org for more news and analysis from the frontlines of the current global effort to make Olympic history for Tibet.

    Note: many thanks to Nathan Dorjee, Shannon Service, Andi Mignolo, Alex Fountain, Thupten Nyima, Kala Mendoza, and many others for helping to make FT08.TV happen at this critical time.

  3. bodjong | August 13th, 2008 | 5:19 am

    China’s Tibet! Huh! Beijing should first of all hire a western PR agent. Sounds pathetic and unconvincing, China’s Tibet. Its like America’s New York or Canada’s Quebec.

    Smith needs to be appreciated for writing a book on Tibet-china crisis, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that Beijing’s final goal for Tibet is to assimilate and sinicize it completely rather than giving it “autonomy”.

    I don’t understand why the Tibetan leaders still cling to this illusion of securing “genunine autonomy” from the Chinese. Are their hopes based on careful and objective analysis of China’s political and strategic situations or do they have some vested interests in pursuing “dialogue and negotiations”?

    Tibetan leaders must ensure that Tibet’s vital interests are secured, no matter whatever heavy price we needs to be paid for it. Therefore the first step they need to take is to openly acknowledge that talks with Beijing has not yielded anything for Tibet. Instead these talks have tightened the noose further on Tibetans to strive for their legimitate right to seek freedom and independence for Tibet.

    Its still not too late for our leaders. We should not give up our struggle, our brothers and sisters have not given up. The other countries have done it. So why can’t we do it. We can do it. Former Soviet Republics, Balkan States, East Timor, Now South Ossetia. Tibet could be the next, if only we believe in ourselves and not succumb to pressures from outside…

    Always remember empires, even the mightiest of ones like that of Rome, falls. China is no exception!

    Bod Gyalo…

  4. Hugh | August 13th, 2008 | 6:36 am

    Bodjong,

    I suspect that the main reason why “Tibet’s leaders” especially the Buddhist authorities, have gone with the ‘autonomy’ hogwash is because they are being propped up by the immense support of western Dharma junkies. Such bliss-junkies are searching for the some spiritual enlightenment no matter that Tibetans pay the price for this. I find this to be evident when I run across statements by Western Buddhists who tell me that the benefit of the Chinese conquest is now that Buddhism is spreading across the west because of the Tibetan diaspora.

    My personal opinion is that I would rather have a free Tibet where Tibetans can live their lives out in dignity, in control of their own destinies than to have all these teachers running around building more and more dharma centers for spoiled Westerners who have existential angst and need to sit for hours reciting mantras in some hope that this will make them feel good about themselves.

    I don’t see where true Buddhism would lead to such passivity, and frankly, anyone who uses Buddhism as an excuse for such inaction is only deluding themselves. The term “spiritual materialist” here is an apt one for such fantasy-chasers and reality-avoiders.

    Warren Smith is using the Chinese terminology (China’s Tibet) in an effort to wake people up to what China intends to do ultimately with Tibet. My copy of the book is out on loan to various people now. I should buy another copy. hahahaha. But at least people are reading it.

    With regard to South Ossetia, while I feel certain that the Ossetians should be free, the situation there is not as reported so often. South Ossetians tend to carry Russian Federation sympathies and many are citizens of Russia. Georgia has broken its promise to leave SO alone. However, they are viewing this from the lens of the Abkhazian conflict in the 1990s when the Abkhazian liberation movement not only liberated Abkhazia but also murdered thousands of people from non-Abkhazian ethnicities. I am staying out of the present conflict simply because, knowing the history of that region, I know I am being lied to on both sides.

  5. bodjong | August 13th, 2008 | 11:04 pm

    Hugh,

    May be you are right. It could be the western junkies who are propping up this myth called autonomy. I know Tibet cannot be compared with South Ossetia, but what I mean is that when people do not give up their dreams, anything can be possible. I don’t have much knowledge of South Ossestia, but I think the South Ossetians have the right to self determination. If they don’t want to live under the Russians and the Georgians, and want to be an independent state, I think they have every right to do it.

  6. Dzorge Guru | August 14th, 2008 | 2:48 am

    The talk was not a talk. It was obvious from the beginning that the talk would not yield any tangible result, talking in a completely controlled room with some Chinese junior nobodies. Why Tibetan leaders still keep the illusion to solve the decade-old problem through some insincere talks? After all they have seen
    the first talk = 0
    the second talk = 0
    the third talk = 0
    the forth talk = 0
    the fifth talk = 0
    the sixth talk = 0
    the seventh talk = 0 or even < 0
    Throughout history we can see very few countries gained their independence through peaceful talk. Of course I don’t advocate violence specifically, I’d rather say we should use all necessary means to achieve our goal, the only goal, Independence rather than some Autonomy crap. One question to Mr. Jamyang la, why Tibetan government in exile is still not really democratic after all these years? I believe that’s also what they are fighting for in India, the world’s maybe youngest and biggest democratic country.

  7. Hugh | August 15th, 2008 | 6:32 am

    Dzorge,

    I have this nagging suspicion that the Dharamsala gov’t only continues to press talks with China, in order to maintain a sense of legitimacy. I mean why else would they keep beating on that dead horse? They must know by now that the talks with Beijing’s lesser underlings will broker nothing for Tibetans.

    Bodjong,

    The Caucasus region is so ethnically speckled and diverse that almost any country or ethnic territory has significant amounts of other groups living within it’s borders. Georgia and South Ossetia went to war in the early 1990s. And the result was a de facto independent South Ossetia which was to be respected by Georgia and Russia. Now, since Ossetians also live in Russia (North Ossetia) they feel closer to Russia, and in fact all Ossetians have the right to be Russian citizens and carry Russian passports. In this instance Georgia is in the wrong, no matter that Russian troops are there, defending the Ossetians.

    However, in the 1990s, the Abkhazians also fought a war with Georgia. They also are de facto independent. But in that conflict, the Abkhazians and their Russian allies, slaughtered the Georgian population in Abkhazia.

    It’s a puzzle to be sure. I would think that Georgia would just up and admit to letting Ossetians and Abkhazians alone. But they feel that those countries are integral parts of Georgia (which they are not, and haven’t been for at least the past several years).

  8. bodjong | August 15th, 2008 | 11:59 pm

    Hugh,

    thanks for the information on South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    I always feel sympathy to “ethnic minorities”, where ever they are. They always have to bear the brunt of big power politics, of empires.

  9. bodjong | August 16th, 2008 | 6:01 am

    dzorge,

    they are seeking autonomy through peaceful talks, not independence…

  10. erkinlik | August 16th, 2008 | 6:58 pm

    Okay, so no negotiations. What is plan B, then? I think that the Chinese government is quite prepared to ignore nonviolent resistance and to destroy violent resistance. Negotiations hardly seem like a good solution or one that is likely to work very well, but I don’t see the alternative. I’d prefer to see an independent, sovereign Tibet stretching from the Ladakhi border to Labrang, but an autonomous Tibet sounds better than the current situation, and half an autonomous Tibet sounds better than no Tibet at all.

  11. tsering topgyal | August 17th, 2008 | 10:33 am

    erkinlik
    You are right it does sound better.
    It would sound much better if it became a reality.

  12. Rich | August 17th, 2008 | 10:35 am

    Erkinlik, the question is not whether autonomy sounds better than no change at all, but whether autonomy is possible and whether seeking it does more harm than good by pacifying resistence and legitimizing China.

    Your claim that China is prepared to ignore nonviolent resistence is worth considering. If they truely are willing to do so, then Tibet has already won a great deal of freedom: for nonviolent resistence is not an act aimed at some potential future concession from the oppressor but an active reclaiming of the freedoms that have been denied. If Tibetans in Tibet can resist and organize resistence without being brutally stopped by the Chinese, then complete victory is just around the corner. We are not at that point yet, but it could come.

    Whatever happens, Tibet’s future rests upon the preservation of an identity independent of China and a readiness to take action in key moments. This time, the key moment was China’s failed engineering of fear just prior to March 10. Next time it may be massive unrest across China or the complete collapse of China. Whichever it is, after seeing all that has happened this year, I have little doubt that Tibetans will be ready when the time comes.

  13. bodjong | August 18th, 2008 | 2:28 am

    Erkinlik,

    sounds you are one of those who believe that human beings by nature are peaceful, reasonable and have the potential for buddhahood. that’s why you expect that the Chinese regime would grant autonomy for the Tibetans.

    But the fact is that the Chinese will not move an inch, as long as they are forced to do so, by non violent means of protest.

  14. Hugh | August 18th, 2008 | 6:17 am

    Erkinlik,

    Autonomy hasn’t worked for the past few decades, so why negotiate for something which China already claims it has granted Tibetans? The only reason China keeps up with the pretense is to persuade the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and legitimize the occupation. The only reason HH hasn’t done so yet is that China has stated that HH must say that Tibet was never independent of China.

    It’s not enough for China to rule Tibet, but they also want to erase the history of Tibet.

    You should also realize that “autonomy” in Marxist terms was always meant to be a way of pacifying various nationalities until they could be controlled and assimilated into a greater socialist entity.

  15. Maura | August 18th, 2008 | 11:08 am

    FANTASTIC WARREN! Keep up the amazing work

    China has all the money and all the medals and all that, but they don’t have any truth, and that is what drives them nuts

    BU GYA LO!

  16. erkinlik | August 18th, 2008 | 8:18 pm

    Rich, you’re right, I didn’t express myself clearly enough. The Chinese are well-prepared to destroy whatever resistance is necessary in order to continue ruling Tibet, violent or non-violent, and they are prepared to ignore anything else. If someone can explain to me a method of nonviolent resistance which cannot be destroyed or ignored by the Chinese, that will be quite encouraging.

    I don’t understand where resistance, if it is ineffectual, or delegitimising China get us, other than places nobody wants to be. No matter how much China is delegitimised, the UN or the Western powers are never going to help Tibet except by table scraps of moral support.

    In practise, Tibet will become independent the next time China is weak, if Tibet still exists then. The trouble is that we don’t know when that will be. It could be soon or it could be hundreds of years from nowel. I don’t see how negotiating now will prevent Tibetans from being able to seize opportunities in the future. I don’t see why it has to be one or the other.

    Bodjong, actually, I believe that people are naturally violent and untrustworthy. I don’t really think that China is likely to agree to a real autonomy for Tibet. But, if negotiations have a 2 or 3% chance of yielding substantial benefit, then let’s roll the dice. In time, maybe the political climate in Beijing will change and improve the odds a bit. It is never going to change to the point where they won’t push back when you push them. If someone has a better plan, I want to hear about it; and my follow-up question will be why that plan cannot be pursued concurrently with negotiations.

  17. Rich | August 18th, 2008 | 9:10 pm

    Erkinlik, negotiation and resistence are not inherently mutually exclusive, but if you look at the past 10 years of exile Tibetan history, you’ll see that in many practical senses they have been. Who is to blame for this is an open question, but blame is probably not worth nearly as much as getting past it.

    Have you stopped to think what a difference it would make for Tibet if they actual Tibetan leaders, both those democratically elected and HHDL, stood up and re-asserted Tibetan independence and requested other nations to recognize them? Not only would it have extremely serious political and economic consequences for China, in that world leaders could no longer pay lip service to Tibet while supporting China’s occupation, but it would also likely galvenize internal resistence to a level never before seen. Fear for what could happen inside Tibet when the time is not yet ripe may be one reason leaders have not pursued such a course of action. Regardless however of whether they have or should have tried such a plan, you must consider the possibility in asking whether negotiation and resistence conflict with one another.

  18. Hugh | August 18th, 2008 | 9:13 pm

    Erkinlik,

    I don’t see China as any less vulnerable than any other nation. They do have to maintain a substantial amount of soldiers in the region. This costs money and resources. And with other nations like East Turkestan vying for freedom, I don’t think they can keep at the game forever. The Chinese occupation of Tibet can be broken and disrupted by making it a waste of time for China. It can be a fallacy to assume that because China has such a huge population that they are invincible.

    At any rate, Tibet is not up against 1.2 billion Chinese people. They are up against the Chinese occupiers and settlers inside Tibet. This is much more manageable in terms of any national resistance whether violent or not. Another thing is that there is a marked racism towards Tibetans held by many Chinese, and perhaps when this is exposed for what it is, it would change Chinese popular opinion over what their government and national society is doing.

    China has many times in the past been thwarted in Central Asia. I don’t see how this time would be any different. As soon as there is any major outbreak of demonstrations or uprisings, many Chinese settlers tend to pack up and move home. They only settle in to try to make money and never intend on staying anyway. Chinese occupation and colonization may seem inevitable for the long term, but we shouldn’t get caught up in that illusion. It is what Beijing wants us all, whether for or against Tibetan freedom, to believe.

  19. Hugh | August 18th, 2008 | 9:16 pm

    Rich,

    Spot on. If HH actually was seen to be active for Tibetan Freedom like that Gandhi everyone compares him with, imagine.

  20. bodjong | August 18th, 2008 | 11:03 pm

    Erkilinik,

    Tibetans can rise up even when China is powerful, as was shown in the recent march protests. Imagine what would happen, when China, an authoritarian regime with contradictions, becomes weak.

    All I can say is that you seem to forget the year 1911, when Qing Dynasty collapsed and the Tibetans, under the leadership of 13 Dalai Lama, secured Tibet’s independence…I have full faith in my people; we don’t expect the rest of the world to come to our rescue. We have had learnt our lessons…

  21. bodjong | August 18th, 2008 | 11:10 pm

    Hugh,

    Even China as the nation of 1.2 billion itself is a myth created by the Chinese nationalists, led by Dr. Sun Yat Sen. There are many contradictions and differences amongst the so-called Han people.

  22. Hugh | August 19th, 2008 | 6:40 am

    Bodjong,

    Yes. And the Han uprising against the Qing dynasty was an attempt by Chinese to regain control of their own country. But when looking at the vast territories either controlled or influenced by the Qing empire, the Chinese nationalists decided upon the idea that all these other nations were really Chinese nationalities too. Ingenious and politically cynical, so they could claim all of the territory for themselves.

    One of the most absurd ways this is played out is in such boring fields as linguistics whereby people have to include Tibetan within a made up language family called “sino-tibetan” which is absurd because Tibetan cannot be shown to bear any relation to Chinese languages.

  23. Rich | August 19th, 2008 | 10:55 am

    This is a little off-topic, but Hugh’s comment about linguistics reminded me and I want to ask Jamyang-la: have you done any research on the etymology of the words momo and tingmo? I have even met some Tibetans who claim these are Chinese words (mo 馍 and zheng 蒸) but I have heard claims to the contrary as well, and I know you have a hobby of deconstructing false arguments that Tibetan words and ideas are Chinese-derived.

  24. Jamyang Norbu | August 19th, 2008 | 12:54 pm

    Probably the chinese ‘mo’ for steamed bread and ‘zheng’ to steam is where the Tibetans got their momo and zheng mo. Actually most Tibetans do acknowledge that the zheng mo is a fairly recent Chinese import. But Tibetans use the word ‘ting’ as in cloud for the ting-mo.

    Quite a bit of Chinese cooking has been adopted from neighbouring civilizations as in the Mongolian hot-pot. The basic momo dish is a very old Tibetan and Mongol favourite and could be a shared tradition rather than something imported from China.

  25. Bangle | August 21st, 2008 | 6:39 am

    How I wish that Tibetans can live peaceful with their brothers Chinese in one country. Is that too much to ask.

  26. Rich | August 21st, 2008 | 10:54 am

    Bangle, yes, it is too much to ask. What if someone asked the Chinese to live peacefully in one country with their “Japanese brothers” during WW2. How does that sound?

  27. Bodjong | August 23rd, 2008 | 7:05 am

    Bangle,

    No problem staying with the Chinese for us Tibetans. But it is the Chinese who do not let us live with them on equal footing.

  28. Sangay | August 23rd, 2008 | 2:06 pm

    Bangle, you need to get out of your colonial mentality, and start respecting other’s right to their property.

    Tibet belongs to Tibetans, just as China belongs to Chinese. You Chinese need to swallow that truth and reality. We Tibetans are not going to leave China alone (mark my word) unless it hands over Tibet to us, to whom Tibet rightfully belong. Mao’s China invaded Tibet, not ‘liberated’. All these words like ‘China liberated Tibet’, ‘Tibet is part of China’, Tibetans as “one of the ethnic minorities of China” are bunch of colonial mumbo jumbo cooked by your regime who has a long history of lying, falsifying records, torturing and denying freedom to its citizens, to “legitimize” the invasion, just as your regime calls “reactionaries” to those peaceful students who called for freedom and democracy at Tiannaman Square, to “legitimize” their massacre, or “famine” when Mao deliberately starved tens of millions of Chinese in late 50s and 60s.

    China may be on the path to becoming Superpower; your government maybe communist or the hybrid of communism and capitalism or changing towards democracy or whatever, they are none of our business. We want our Tibet back, even if it were a “feudal system”, “most undeveloped” or “half of its citizens were monks who made zero economic contribution”. Your wish to cohabit with Tibetans is dangerous. We may be “brothers”, just like Mongolians or Indians or Americans are “brothers” to us, but you got to realize that Chinese and Tibetans belong to two different stocks, almost nothing in common. You cannot espouse an idea of putting Wolfs and Horses in same cage.

  29. Tsering Choedon Lejotsang | August 23rd, 2008 | 8:50 pm

    Bravo Sangay!

    No matter what happens to China, the bottom line is that we Tibetans are Tibetans and not Chinese. Tibet belongs to Tibetans and we must be independant of China.

  30. Bodjong | August 24th, 2008 | 1:57 am

    Bangle,

    I really feel pity to you. You are one of those Chinese whose mind has been brainwashed by the Chinese communist party. You are another brick in the CCP pyramid.

  31. Bodjong | August 24th, 2008 | 2:04 am

    Sangay,

    Even His Holiness argues that Tibet would gain economically by living with the Chinese. so many Tibetans agree to this.

    so we need to set our house in order before we confront the Chinese colonialists.

  32. Rich | August 24th, 2008 | 7:25 am

    Bodjong, please don’t fall into the “we need to ser out house in order first…” trap. This is the story of the barefoot experts and running-dog propagandists, of how Tibet is messed up and its Tibetans’ fault that the situation is how it is, which JN-la has been working so hard to expose as a scam. In reality it’s the other way around: first the Chinese need to be confronted and expelled. Then, whatever problems remain are yours to deal with on your own terms rather than at the mercy of someone else.

  33. Tsering Choedon Lejotsang | August 24th, 2008 | 8:42 am

    I agree with Rich.
    The central issue is not how to live with the Chinese within PRC but how to gain right to self determination for Tibetans. In the order of things, Tibet’s independence comes first. Everything else is secondary to that.
    We should not be fooled by the “well intentioned” arguement about Tibet not being able to sustain itself on its own without PRC.

    Look at Mongolia. Although they had exactly the same socio- geo-political issues as we Tibetans at the turn of the century, they are an independent nation now. It is a democratic country and it is more than able to look after itself. Why should we Tibetans settle for anything less?
    We must keep our heads and our goal very clear…there can be only one goal–Independance.

  34. Bodjong | August 25th, 2008 | 1:23 am

    Rich,

    Looks like you misunderstood me. When I say “we need to set our houses in order first” I mean we must achieve internal unity, so that we can fight the Chinese in a better way.

    Lack of unity within the Tibetan people themselves has always been our achilles’s heel which the Chinese have exploited very well.

    When the Tibetan leaders themselves feel that Tibet would gain economically by staying with the Chinese, what can we expect from the Chinese?

  35. Rich | August 25th, 2008 | 6:43 pm

    Bodjong, this phrase “lack of unity” is one I’ve heard a lot, and one which I think is worth exploring. What do you mean by it? In the past, the most common usage I’ve encountered is by narrow-minded anti-rangzen people who fail to understand the principles of democratic society and who demand that everyone fall in line with the “middle way”.

    I respect the near-universal love Tibetan people have for HHDL and I respect His person, but the idea that Tibet will benefit economically or in any other way from being part of China is preposterous. To world leaders who don’t understand the Tibetan issue, it greatly distorts their view of the occupation and brings about inaction, and to world leaders who do understand the issue to some degree, it makes them sneer at and disrespect HHDL, which is of course very painful to Tibetans and people who love Tibet.

    If your intention is that the Tibetan leadership must acknowledge and follow the will of the people, I agree with you wholeheartedly. But I don’t call that unity. I call it democracy.

  36. Bodjong | August 26th, 2008 | 1:06 am

    Rich,

    When I say unity, I don’t mean the unity and stability that is propounded by the Chinese communist party, whereby every Chinese are expected hold similar views and lines.

    What i mean is that all Tibetans should be unified in preserving and securing the interest of the Tibet, which is regaining the independence of Tibet.

    In other words there should be unity in our goal, that is to totally free Tibet from China rather than hoping for some kind of botched autnomous status under the Chinese state!

    I guess when it comes to securing the national interests of America or Great Britian, I guess there is unity between the bipartisan political parties…!

  37. eyu | August 26th, 2008 | 5:04 pm

    “Tibet belongs to Tibetans, just as China belongs to Chinese. You Chinese need to swallow that truth and reality”

    American belongs to the indians and every white person should go back to Europe…This is just not gonna happen

    If you live aboard, yeah saying free tibet all you want is not gonna affect you, but if the Tibetians “unit” and demands indepedence they will be the next palestine, get f*** by every one, and remind poor for centries to come. Lamas will be the next suicide bomber.

    Imagine if Palestinians don’t fight for their own state and just try to live with the Jews?
    I mean yeah if chinese start killing Tibetians…f–k fight them to death, but culture genocide? wtf culture genocide isn’t gonna kill anyone.

    The only reason why there are so many conflicts around the world is because everyone want to maintain their own culture, is idiotic…you either assimilate to the majority or get f–cked and be poor forever.

    Plus isn’t all Tibetians Buddist, and doesn’t buddist believe in reincarnation…it would be most idiotic to fight for indepedence if you really believes in the buddlist philosophy, is like f–k, you might became chinese in your next life time, than you really are fighting with yourself.

  38. Rich | August 26th, 2008 | 7:34 pm

    The phrase “cultural genocide” has been a huge disservice to the Tibetan cause, as it is completely inaccurate. The word is plain “genocide”. When a campaign to erradicate a group of people based on religious, ethnic, or national identity begins with military invasion, mass torture and murder of civilians, you can’t go and say genocide has stopped just because the mass-scale killings have been replaced by smaller-scale killings and covered up more efficiently.

    Even by itself, population transfer into another people’s land with the intent of making them a severe minority is recognized as an act of genocide. Taken on top of the fact that Tibetans who identify themselves as the Tibetan nationality (for example, by raising their flag) are systematically round up and killed or nearly-killed, on top of the forced sterilizations and abortions committed against Tibetan women, and on top of the historical mass-murder of Tibetans by Chinese, any further act to marginalize Tibetans is a continuance of genocide, and not some wishy-washy “cultural genocide”.

    Most importantly however, it’s not for enemies of Tibet like you to decide what’s best for Tibetans. The decision is up to the people of Tibet. And they have spoken. It’s time for ignorant outsiders to either listen and learn from the people whose struggle this is, or get lost.

  39. Hugh | August 26th, 2008 | 11:38 pm

    Eyu,

    You compare apples to oranges. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has nothing to do with Tibet and China. So stop trying to push off such vapid statements as anything relevant unless you are going to support your arguments with evidence.

    If you think everyone should assimilate then why are you not becoming Western? Since it is clear by many accounts and opinions that traditional Chinese civilization has been bankrupt since the Ming dynasty and everyone now is playing the western game of Globalization.

    Actually I am well along in my support for Native American sovereignty and rights. I am one of the few here who support the independent Lakota nation which declared its independence just this past December. If you knew anything about Native rights you would perhaps not be so racist and absurd to think that their freedom means that the “whites” lose anything. But I forget, you are NOT concerned with reality. You are just seeking dumb arguments to support Chinese imperialism.

    Tibetans don’t want to be Chinese. And the fact that you say they must assimilate or be poor is stupid. My own people fought the British and won. We may have taken up the language (not all of us, and I still use our own language) but we retained our own identity. And now the Irish are pretty damned wealthy and prosperous. More wealthy than their British “peers” at any rate. So your argument is null. Again, you need to support your assertions with some evidence.

  40. eyu | August 27th, 2008 | 2:45 pm

    HUGE,

    I not only support Chinese imperialism, i also suport American imperialism and Russian imperialism. The strong survive the weak should be elimited by natural selection. If their culture is strong enough no matter how much chinese would wanna try to eliminate it, it will survive.

    By who’s accounts and opinions that traditional Chinese civilization has been bankrupt since the Ming dynasty, you mean the Eurocentric account? and what the hell is that suppose to mean anyways LoL

    Native americans are the poorest ethnic groups in united states. Untill few of them abandon their ways and take up casinos hahah

    “Independent Lakota nation which declared its independence just this past December” are you kiddin me, those nutjobs gonna end up in jail just like the other nutjobs that have tried the same thing before. They are just like the exile
    tibetians, forming their own “the exile government of tibet” is ridiculously funny.

    Is typically …i shoudln’t call you guys liberals, i dont’ know what to call you guys, always assume you know what’s the best of certain group of people.

    How much do you know about the people that declear the independent Lakota nation, are they the elected officals of Lakota tribe? Do they have the legal rights to acturally represent their tribe, their people ? Get you story straight first.

    The Tibetans don’t want to be chinese ? right, speaking for the entire people of Tibet, didn’t their spiritual leader Dali Lama just point out not long ago that they want autonomy not independence. I would think Dali Lama knows better than you westerners. At least his smart enough to not drive Tibet into another war-torn country like georgia lol

    and by the way, I do my best trying to assimilate to the west, that i why i moved to the united states, and now i’m trying my best to learn simplified chinese since chinese is a rising power. Smart people adapt to new envirnoments take up new nationalities, assimilate to new cultures, new relgion, inorder to better themselves, dumb people and dumb cultures close themselve up, like the natives, the Muslims, the blacks in america.

    By the way I’m from Taiwan, and my de fecto indepence country hates China too, as in few of those retards in the island wants to have “real” independence, they’ve tried so hard, even had one of their party leader elected as president of the island, still they failed. Just like the indepedence of all those weak country will fail, cause the majority of people doesn’t want it.

    But yeah you’ll never heard from those that doesn’t want indepedence, news media would only want to report conflicts. Who actually care about people that just want to live in peace and dont’ give a shit which sides they belongs to.
    Who give a shit how much Tibetian society have grown since the introduction of communist china.
    And when they try to futher improve living standards in Tibetians by builing railways, bunch of rich Tibetians that enjoy to comfortable life style of the west crys culture geneocide.

    Now you tell me, who actually is the one that doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the well been of Tibetian people that actually lives in Tibet ?

  41. Rich | August 27th, 2008 | 3:06 pm

    Ah, we’re dealing with a Randite. I don’t think we even need to respond…this sort of pig does a better job of painting China as a monster than we could ever do.

  42. Rich | August 27th, 2008 | 6:54 pm

    Dava, my use of the word pig here was in reference to “Objectivists”, not Chinese ethnicity or nationality. Randite flunkies are pigs whether they’re white, black, red, yellow, or even purple.

  43. Leland | August 27th, 2008 | 10:17 pm

    Hello. I met Mr. Norbu in 1989. I was on a semester abroad studying Tibetan culture thru the School for Intl. Training. I met you either in Dharamsala or Kathmandu I can’t recall. I use to have a book of yours but do not anymore and can’t remember the title…sorry. Something like Illusion and Reality??

    I’ve been fighting Chinese now for quite awhile in the Topix China forum and it is sometimes scary. They are often indoctrinated, irrational, etc.

    One thing some of them keep saying over and over again is how China freed all the serfs in Tibet per what I would refer to as the invasion of Tibet under Mao. Some of them talk about slaves and call the Dalai Lama a slave master which I know is absurd. Can a few of you perhaps comment on this serf thing that keeps coming up again and again with some of the Chinese.

    Frankly, I see nothing wrong with feudalism. It depends on the landowner. Like supervisors, I’m sure some owners were good and some bad. As an employee (serf), you would get shelter, food, protection, water, etc. I see nothing wrong with this.

    The Chinese talk about serfs in Tibet as though it was hell on earth. The Chinese disgust me by using this as an excuse for the invasion. I know Tibet was completely innocent and I know what China did to Tibet.

    I just would like input per this serf thing which some Chinese seem to be obsessed with.

    Thanks very much, Leland

  44. Hugh | August 28th, 2008 | 6:35 am

    Eyu,

    You use the term “natural selection” in ignorance of the scientific application and meaning of the term. Or did you not know that human empathy and cooperation are innate traits that were naturally selected within our species in our long evolution? Please, if you are going to bring up anything that resembles scientific ideas, do your research. Social Darwinism, which is what you imply, is a gross and ignorant refusal to confront the evidence of what Darwin’s theories actually state.

    By whose account is Chinese culture bankrupt since the Ming? Yes by the Eurocentric account which incidentally says a lot that is illuminating. You can call it Eurocentric, and think of it as wrong, and yet, China today only prospers because of its absorption of Western ideas and technologies. Tit for tat, my friend. This is the way the world works.

    The Lakota seem crazy until you realize they actually have US law on their side. I bet you didn’t know that fact.

    Funny you should mention Blacks as dumb. It exposes your racism. Also, you claim they should assimilate. Really? Forgive me for seeing how Jazz, RockandRoll, Hip Hop, Blues, and Soul music, which are now the foundations for the vast majority of worldwide popular music came from Black people here. So now, who is being dumb?

    You make yourself out to be the reason why many Americans dislike immigrants. But I don’t care about immigrants. I recognize human failure of reason among all groups. It matters to me little whether the racist is an immigrant or a native-born.

    Where all these rich Tibetans you say are crying about genocide? Rich?

    LOL. Yeah, sure. Jamyang Norbu is a billionaire and we are all under his employ, because Rangzen is such a lucrative game to get in on. HAHAHAHAHA.

    Silly silly silly.

  45. palden | August 28th, 2008 | 1:44 pm

    Hey Leland, I do understand what you have been encountered with Chinese. I don’t know much of feudalism in Tibet in the past, but I do remember reading a lot of earlier western travelers in Tibet, I did not really see it as “HELL ON EARTH” or “WORSE THAN SLAVERY IN NORTH AMERICA” as Chinese do claim and on this pretext they tend to exert their occupation of Tibet is justified.

    The other thing is, Chinese are not just over-exaggerating the “ngada rin lu” or “feadulism” in Tibet, they don’t have a specific time period or specific person who are responsible. They do charge Dalai Lama as “Owner of Slaves”, but don’t know which Dalai Lama. I am pretty they don’t even know that Dalai Lama is a title and the person who holds this title came from various levels of social strata in Tibetan society. There is no history at all that any Dalai Lama abused power for his own personal sake. So, next time when argue with Chinese, ask them which Dalai Lama and what time period, I am pretty sure they are just dumb-ass or merely the projection of Han chauvinism or han racial supremacy in the east who claim the invasion of Tibet as “Han Man’s burden To Civilize” as “Europeans” did in the so called “Dark Continent”.

    Other contradiction of Chinese claim is, they declared that they eradicated all “Ngada or Land-owner” in Feudal Tibet, the fact is they are keeping those aristocrats still in position in China for their political and legitimacy purposes. If CHina is true to its word, then there should not be any so called “slave-owners” in the new Chinese government. The fact is, they have “Ngapo” as a highest Tibetan official in PRC although he was an “aristocrat”.

    I do hope others shed some light in this regard and it will enlighten others as well.

    Thank You
    Palden

  46. Leland | August 28th, 2008 | 8:25 pm

    Palden,

    Thanks very much–very helpful! Your last name would not happen to be Dupjor would it? Thanks, Leland

  47. sebastian | August 30th, 2008 | 1:05 am

    I think for the Tibetans to achieve self-determination or independence, the current strategy is pretty much useless. All that has been done is to embarrass the Chinese, not just the CCP government. There is nothing tangible to show for.

    A more effective strategy could be to win over the ordinary Chinese. Winning over European and American sympathy has proven to be useless. It seems there is little chance to achieve independence by force since no one will go to war on Tibet’s behalf. The idea of weakening China to achieve Tibetan independence also seems to me a silly idea. China would have to become something of a failed state for that to happen.

    Even if by some freak accident, China becomes a failed state, would an independent Tibet be prepared to live next to a large failed state? Economic migration, legal or illegal, from China could easily overwhelm Tibet in an instance, turning Tibetans into a serious minority in their own homeland, this time not by government diktat but by economic forces.

    In the final analysis, The HHDL’s middle way is probably the most pragmatic. Independence is the ultimate goal but in the meantime, something else needs to be done because there is some urgency to address the problems currently facing the Tibetans.

  48. Rich | August 30th, 2008 | 9:54 am

    Sebastian, you are the perfect example of a barefoot expert, throwing out ridiculous “what if” scenarios about a situation you’re unqualified to speak on.

    The claim that Chinese migration into Tibet could be worse than it is now if China were a failed state and Tibet its independent neighbor is laughable. Chinese don’t move into Tibet because they find it pleasant. To most Chinese, the climate is harsh and unwelcoming, and the only motivation to go there is the massive government subsidies. In an independent Tibet with Tibetan as the official language, Chinese would be at a significant disadvantage trying to obtain jobs. I’m sure some illegal immigration would occur, due to extreme poverty in China, but the situation would be like the US and Mexico, not like the present situation. That is, the immigration would have no colonial overtones and no resulting subjugation of the people who belong in Tibet.

    The very fact that you consider Tibetans’ current struggle to be failing or achieving nothing speaks for your complete ignorance about the Tibetan issue. The only thing that’s been a failure is trying to appease and negotiate with China, and thankfully it looks like we’re almost past that phase. The fight for Tibet is multi-faceted, and certainly protest and slamming China is not the only important part of it. However, I can tell you from extensive personal experience that people across Tibet do not consider it ineffectual and ask us to keep doing more of what we’re doing.

    Finally, the judgement of what to do for Tibet’s future is not yours to make. Pretending it is shows you as a privileged individual who can argue in internet forums or academic settings but who fails to grasp that the result of your argument will have no bearing on (and won’t even be heard by) the people who make the decision, that is the people of Tibet. From afar, it is our responsibility as human beings who share in the crime of enabling the Chinese state to stand behind them.

    The type of action people like you commit is not without effect, however; this is why I take the time to reply to you and ask you to stop. What it does is to perpetuate myths that the Tibetan struggle is ineffectual or misguided, which in turn encourages passivity, inaction, and patronizing treatment from both ordinary people and world leaders who could otherwise be standing behind Tibet. So go learn something, go meet people from Tibet, go to Tibet and see the effects of this struggle, go develop some kind of relationship of working for Tibet rather than playing the barefoot expert from your ivory towers.

  49. sebastian | August 30th, 2008 | 12:07 pm

    Rich,

    I am simply presenting my view not determining what Tibetans should be doing for the cause.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I am not an expert on Tibet, China, anthropology, international relations, or economics. But as an observer of what has happened since March has me thinking that the Olympic torch protests has actually turned the ordinary Chinese, many of whom had no previous feelings about Tibet one way or another, into firm numbers for the other side.

    That, to me, is not just ineffective but moving things in the wrong direction.

    You may think that slamming China and the Chinese is the way to go but I disagree. If it had not been for the HHDL’s more reasoned, sometimes astonishingly profound approach, this whole new radicalism would garner so much negative PR even amongst people in the West.

    For instance, no one can come up with a reasonable explanation for young Tibetans taking down a Chinese flag at an embassy or consulate and trampling on that flag while raising the Tibetan one — I’ve seen one documented on youtube. I don’t get it. What’s the point of that? This is not about appeasement, it’s about wasted energy but more importantly, more anger amongst the Chinese directly adds to the misery the Tibetans (in Tibet) have to deal with. It’s not my intention to promote passivity or inactivity, I’m just saying that toning down a little may be actually advance the cause far more effectively.

    I can’t help thinking that Beijing is simply waiting for more excuses to impose even more restrictions in Tibet.

    But at the end of the day, you’re absolutely right, I am sometimes barefoot but certainly not an expert — you’re an expert I suppose?

  50. Rich | August 30th, 2008 | 1:30 pm

    Sebastian, I’m not an “expert”, but I have experience and connection with this movement. I speak Tibetan and have travelled extensively in Tibet, and perhaps most importantly I listen. I also know most of the people behind the strategy of this movement, and I can tell you that everything since March, aside from the violent retaliation by the Chinese army, has moved not only in the direction we hoped and planned, but much better than we could ever have hoped for, due largely to the bravery and sacrifice of people in Tibet, as well as the faith exile Tibetans have shown in the people organizing these actions through their generous donations.

    First of all, you should understand that the change among ordinary Chinese has been a huge step forward, not backward. If you don’t understand this then you miss the whole point. Before, Tibet was not even in their minds. Now, Tibet is a huge problem for them. Certainly they have a lot of misconceptions about why, and certainly they don’t like us. But the point is not to be liked. The point is to create a confrontation and a crisis. The civil rights movement in America could never have been won by trying to convince white supremacists to “like blacks”. All successful struggles, including nonviolent ones, are based on confrontation and crisis. You should read MLK’s letter from Birmingham jail for an elegant explanation of this truth which eludes so many of Tibet’s supposed supporters.

    The actions of tearing down the Chinese flags and raising the Tibetan flag were one of the best parts of this movement. On the one hand, they were a great symbolic assertion of Tibet’s true goal and a rejection of Chinese rule and of the legitimacy of the Chinese state. This symbolism became even more important when we found that Tibetans in Tibet were doing exactly the same thing to Chinese imperial offices in their own country, demonstrating to what degree Tibetans inside and outside Tibet are unified in their vision and aspirations.

    On the other hand, the flag-raising actions infuriated the Chinese and transformed Tibet from a non-issue for them into a huge embarassment and source of endless stress. These actions and the ongoing actions for Tibet have also caused Chinese all over the world to show their true colors and embarass themselves. And they have directly impacted the ability of Chinese embassies and consulates to carry out their normal diplomatic and consular functions.

    Before you accuse Tibetans or supporters of moving things in the wrong direction, you should understand something about what the desired direction is. It’s not friendship with the Chinese. Friendship while in an inferrior position just means subjugation and assimilation. The desired direction is towards respect. And respect begins with realizing that you have a problem. It’s a long road. Not something one sees with a shortsighted and casual look at this struggle, but it’s the only road with any hope of a good outcome.

  51. sebastian | August 30th, 2008 | 5:19 pm

    Rich,

    White supremacists, radical Islamists and other extreme elements cannot be turned — it would truly be a waste of time and effort to even try.

    What I am concerned about is the very large tract of middle-of-the-roaders who may not have already formed an opinion one way or another. To shock these people with a powerful display of “us against you” radicalism is easily counter-productive. The smarter way is to harness the sympathy of them to be on the side of the Tibetan cause — to get them to work outright for the Tibetan cause is of course, too much to ask — at least no one should create more resistance to the Cause.

    The assumption that every single Chinese is an extreme anti-Tibetan nationalist or something in that vein seems to me a fundamental mistake. Neither is it true that all of them are poor idiotic simpletons gullible to obvious manipulations of history and facts. Many of them are intelligent, thinking individuals who when presented with REASONABLE facts can be persuaded to appreciate the Tibetan side of this conflict.

    In straightforward terms casting the Tibetan Cause as the same thing as an anti-Chinese movement seems to me a very unwise and unnecessarily radicalizing (to the other side as well) act. Some Chinese think that Tibet should be part of China but ALL Chinese would be “patriotic” for China — it’s only natural. This isn’t about befriending the Chinese, it’s just the nature and reality of the “terrain”.

    “Giving it” to the Chinese, or as you put it, slamming the Chinese may feel very, very good but it yields nothing more than short term gratification.

    I have already opined that it is unlikely that China will become a failed state any time soon. It is far more likely for China to democratize — it’s a long way off but at least it isn’t going to be the near zero probability that it would fail catastrophically. When China democratizes, some estimate in 20 to 30 years’ time, wouldn’t it be easier to gain Tibetan independence from reform minded individuals in power who understand the Tibetan position than a distorted memory of anti-Chinese demonstration still deeply affecting their personal psyches? More importantly wouldn’t it be a better type of independence if it was a permanent one, without fear of being re-absorbed when China becomes strong again the next time round?

    Again, this is just a casual observer’s point of view. Pardon my ignorance.

  52. Rich | August 30th, 2008 | 6:33 pm

    Sebastian, nor was every single white person in the US prior to the Civil Rights Movement a white supremacist. Still, I think you would have an extremely difficult time making the case that the struggle could have been successful without radical confrontation against the system of white supremacy which all whites tacitly participated in. Despite being part of the system under fierce criticism, those who had good hearts saw the righteousness of the black struggle and often even joined in with it.

    Likewise with the Tibetan struggle, we have a significant number of non-brainwashed Chinese who recognize that Tibetans are right and either quietly or openly support Tibetans’ right to independence. Sure, we have a lot more nationalist pigs, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When pressure increases, it goes both ways. Also keep in mind you’re seeing a certain super-idiotic segment of the Chinese population. It’s very hard to gauge what the rest thinks, but if you bothered to read and research, you’d find that many western Chinese (living close to or in Tibet) are a lot more savvy about the real situation and not so brainwashed into the let’s-hate-Tibetans frenzy you seem to think pervaded China after the uprising.

    In almost any cause, unless the stakes are one’s own immediate self-benefit, only a tiny portion of the population will be active. It’s a mistake to think that the friendship of the Chinese masses would be a major asset. The people with the heart to stand up for something will do it even if it’s difficult and unpopular, as we’ve seen several prominent cases of this year (think of the Chinese girl who tried to mediate and whose parents in China got death threats). Those without it are not useful. I’ve heard the same ridiculous arguments about Western supporters again and again – “Don’t alienate the middle…” – but with no rational explanation of what “support” form the middle is supposed to buy you.

    I think you should come up with some sound theories on the social science of activism, change, nonviolence, and so on before you speak on these issues. And by sound, I mean scientific – backed by evidence rather than blind faith that “let’s make lots of friends” will somehow get you want you want. Study history. Study psychology. Study anything scientific. Stop playing the barefoot expert.

  53. Hugh | August 31st, 2008 | 10:10 am

    Sebastian,

    At what point, when your oppressor has taken your country and is colonizing it with the aim of making all memory of your independence (cultural, social, and political) disappear….at what point should you stop confronting and challenging them so you can win over the so-called “middle” population of your oppressor?

    Why should we be concerned about offending the sensibilities of people?

    You really should read Martin Luther King. Particularly about his ideas on truth and how even if it is impolite to speak the truth, one should do so. In cases like the Tibetan resistance, nations or groups of people should not tone down their message at all. You do not gain anything by waffling or by worrying about the sensibilities of your oppressors.

    If some Chinese people were to say that the Tibetan flag offends them, should Tibetans and their supporters stop waving Tibetan flags?

    You should really study up on resistance movements.

  54. sebastian | August 31st, 2008 | 12:35 pm

    Hugh,

    If you think that the current methods of protests can yield tangible results than by all means continue on. All I’m trying to say is that I don’t see an end game that yields independence for Tibet with the current path.

    Not once have I said anything about not offending the Chinese. I just thought it unwise to create unnecessary enemies just so we can feel good about slamming them.

    Look, no one likes to hear this, but an unadorned analysis shows that Tibet is at a severe disadvantage if we frame the struggle for independence in a zero-sum manner. In fact, the numbers for Tibet look absolutely bleak. I’m sure I’ll be attacked for saying this but that’s the reality I see.

    In a bare-knuckles fight, if we put it that crudely, the People’s Liberation Army has 4 million servicemen and women — I admit some of them are cooks and musicians under uniform, but probably all trained is basic combat. The total population of Tibetans is about 6 million. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.

    As much as we hate letting the Chinese, any Chinese, have a any small slice of respite from the protests, the stark fact is that this isn’t just going nowhere it may actually spark the final annihilation of Tibet as we know it.

    Many accuse the Chinese side of waiting for the HHDL to die. But we console ourselves by warning that we will get far more violent and radicalized after that, just wait and see, we tell the Chinese. I’m sure they fully understand the situation — we shouldn’t underestimate them — and they are just waiting for the violence to flare up. Perhaps, they are even waiting for terrorist acts. I can just see it coming.

    The thing is we need not do this. Being for Tibetan independence doesn’t have to mean being blindly anti-Chinese. As I said, since we don’t have the raw numbers, we can only frame the struggle differently unless we are prepared to start the next world war and get others to fight for us — even then we have an example of how it won’t work, the history of the Great War or the First World War shows us the Balkans became worse off than before.

    If the Chinese were really going to finish off Tibet, it would have been completed many decades ago under the cover of isolationist China during the Cold War. They haven’t and this tells me that there are some in the Chinese government that can be reasoned with. Some may even think that HHDL is too soft on China but I believe his may be the single most important force preventing China from doing more horrendous things to Tibet, despite the hateful things they say about HHDL.

    I found out that during the 80′s the Chinese, without prodding, actually tried installing Tibetans into the local government, especially in leadership positions, and gave Tibet more autonomy but rioting in Lhasa ended it and also helped to end the careers of the liberal Chinese leaders in Beijing. This history isn’t a fabrication of the Chinese government, independent news sources confirm this actually happened.

    Think about that for a moment. We actually had allies — maybe not, but reasonable leaders — in the Chinese government. Part of the problem is we want all or nothing. I believe the better approach is to incrementally take Tibet back.

    I am aware that the things I say here is unpopular but it’s just the way I see it. Let the scoldings begin :)

  55. Rich | August 31st, 2008 | 1:35 pm

    Sebastian, again, cut the barefoot expert nonsense. Not only are your numbers wrong (the PLA is at least 12-25 million, not 4 million), but you have no grasp of history, geography, international relations, and so forth. The idea that China can or would quickly wipe Tibetans off the face of the planet is a ridiculous joke used as a scare-tactic by opponents of Tibet, not any serious consideration. If the Chinese were capable and willing to do that, and thought it was their best move, they would have done so a long time ago, before anyone even heard of Tibet.

    The reality is that Tibet is a fortress, something like Afghanistan but much more difficult to penetrate. The majority of population is extremely sparse and able to hold out for long periods of time, and in fact DID hold out for centuries against Chinese border incursions and invasions. Modern weaponry changes this somewhat, including atomic, biological and chemical weapons, but even still Tibet would probably fare much better under a doomsday scenario than most nations could simply due to the vastness of the land that would have to be attacked.

    On top of that, you have to factor in the fact that China does not rule the world and can’t just haphazardly use whatever genocidal methods it likes. The evolution of China’s genocide strategy over the past 50 years has made it clear that they prefer slow killing which even “legimate” human rights authorities will play down as “cultural genocide” instead of calling it what it is. As of now, any change in this policy would be met with extreme repercussions. Of course with the kind of “tolerance” people like you advocate, we could very well reach a day where China does rule the world, and then we’re all screwed.

    In case you somehow missed it, we just witnessed the largest nonviolent uprising in Tibetan history, and also likely the smallest death toll of any uprising in Tibet. It’s not a cause for celebration because any number of killings is too much. It’s also true that China has worked to play up this image that they acted with “restraint”, while actually doing a lot of horrible things outside the view of cameras, but even if it’s just in some urban areas that Tibetans were protected from the worst abuses that China used in the past, that’s a major step forward.

    As for your final point, there is a lot of “incremental” taking back of Tibet as you describe, in many forms. None of it comes from Chinese benevolence, however, as you seem to imply. I suppose it’s somewhat commendable that you bothered to read some bit of Tibetan history about the 80′s, but it reflects even more poorly on you that you don’t seem to know what’s happened since then. We’re dealing with much different leadership in China now, particularly Hu Jintao who engineered the Tibet policy during the previous era of uprisings and who has a history of assassinating any Tibetan leader whom he finds too powerful – the 10th Panchen Rinpoche and Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok are 2 major examples.

    What it comes down to is that you need to:
    1. Be scientific, not ideological, about the methodology to use.
    2. Study history.
    3. Abandon your either/or thinking.

    In regards to the latter, the people who are taking Tibet back incrementally and the people who are confronting China are DIFFERENT PEOPLE. To suggest that one should behave as if they’re the other is ridiculous, and moreover it’s very difficult or even impossible for one to have success without the other. China was forced to allow activities which let Tibetans begin to incrementally take back the country out of a need to deflect international criticism and delegitimatize opponents’ claims that Tibet was ruled by Chinese. They especially wanted to influence their own citizens by giving the image that Tibetans are not only not-oppressed, but actually “privileged” over Chinese. Conversely, the forceful stand against China’s occupation of Tibet took root this year from the uprising in Tibet, which was certainly facilitated by the increased economic standing, education, and so forth which Tibetans have obtained by “incrementally” taking back Tibet.

  56. Rich | August 31st, 2008 | 2:22 pm

    By the way Sebastian, this is the last time I respond point-by-point to one of your unsubstantiated speculations. Debunking them gets tiring and unrewarding after a while. If you want to have a discussion, first learn your facts and history.

    Maybe someone would like to make a website or article with all of the ridiculous fears and criticisms of people who claim to support Tibet and why they’re wrong, so that in the future we could direct people like Sebastian there. Volunteers?

  57. Rich | August 31st, 2008 | 3:04 pm

    Actually Tendor’s explanation of the 3 types of people who encourage inaction sums it up nicely:

    http://freetibet2008.tv/2008/08/17/lhasa-calling-episode-6-august-16/

  58. sebastian | August 31st, 2008 | 5:18 pm

    Rich,

    Once again, quit characterizing my ideas as calling for inaction. I am only suggesting something more sophisticated than a street fight which I think we will lose very badly. I am determined to preserve the Tibetan culture by means other than self-invited annihilation.

    The analogy that a frog will jump out of a pot of boiling water but will allow itself to cook slowly in a incrementally hot pot of water serves as a useful analogy. I don’t know if that’s a scientific myth but it certainly is apt for my ideas presented here. People respond to crises and shocks far better than a slow but steady, nearly undetectable, attack. They won’t know what’s happening to them until it’s too late.

    None of your debunking has convinced me by the way, although I think you make some very good points but I am still convinced that my ideas will work better.

    Just so you don’t have to waste any more time on me here’s what I need to make clear –

    1. I am not calling for inaction, just a different kind of action

    2. I am not calling for friendship between the Tibetans and the Chinese. I just don’t want to make any unnecessary enemies.

    3. I don’t think ALL Chinese are unreasonable just like they shouldn’t think we are all monks with an untenable social structure, i.e., their “serfdom history” of Tibet.

    4. No one else will actually fight for Tibet except Tibetans themselves.

    5. Gaining independence is only half the goal, what do we do once we get independence? This issue impacts directly on how that independence is won because the Chinese won’t disappear suddenly and even if China as we know it today disintegrates there will be nationalists who will make re-taking Tibet as part of their credentials. Plus, how do we know that the Americans won’t be putting a base in Tibet? Or if a neighboring state other than China has designs on Tibet?

    Thanks for some enlightening facts and opinions.

  59. Jeff Bowe | September 1st, 2008 | 4:44 am

    Rich

    I agree with your analysis.

    Interesting how Tibetans are constantly fed, even by their own exiled Government, a message of despair, and hopelessness, no doubt to support the fossilized ‘strategy’, of abandoning independence as a goal, by appeasing China.

    Of course the challenges are formidable, the oppression of Tibetan culture disturbing, yet such odious realities will not extinguish the political aspirations of Tibet’s people, as witnessed during the Uprisings of March and April.

    It is a factor of human behaviour that opposition to tyranny can often harden, and become more organised, as a consequence of the most grim and depairing situations. Such a response of course was evident in the courageous war-of-resistance waged by Chushsi Gangdruk against the massed divisions of the People’s Liberation (sic) Army. It can be observed too in other theatres of conflict. Take for example the military strategy of aerial bombardment, occasionally raining-down upon the populations of Iraq and Afghanistan. NATO is re-discovering a lesson, previously learned during the bombing campaigns of the Second World War, that such brute violence and indiscrimate slaughter strengthens, rather than undermines, the collective resistance of people.

    Similarly the war of cultural genocide inflicted upon Tibetans, with its twin demogaphic assault of state-supported colonisation and programme of forced sterilisations, in combination with the arrests, torture, forced resettlements, and general oppression of Tibetan religion, rather than eroding a desire for freedom and nation, is generating a powerful and widespread sense of active opposition, and a determination to regain Tibet’s just independence.

    All struggles for national liberation, particularly those involving a nation illegally occupied by an overwhelming military and economic power, naturally raise questions of what is ‘realistically’ achieveable. Yet, as Ireland has shown in its struggle of 800 years against English domination, and more recently East Timor, pitted against the collective might of Indonesia, it is possible to overturn the oppressor and regain national freedom.

    Over one hundred nations have regained their independence since the end of World War Two, why should Tibet and its people settle for anything less!

  60. Jeff Bowe | September 1st, 2008 | 5:23 pm

    Admin…any idea what happened to my complete posting, it appeared to up in full earlier. Regards

  61. Jeff Bowe | September 1st, 2008 | 5:24 pm

    Dear Admin..clearly some technical gremlins having fun…

  62. Hugh | September 1st, 2008 | 11:21 pm

    Jeff,

    “Over one hundred nations have regained their independence since the end of World War Two, why should Tibet and its people settle for anything less!”

    EXACTLY

  63. Jeff Bowe | September 7th, 2008 | 7:42 am

    A moment to remember with respect and affection the dedication, patiotism, and active support for Tibetan independence, of Thupten Jigme Norbu (Takster Rinpoche). He kept alight the flame so others may follow. My sincere sympathies to his family.

  64. John | October 4th, 2008 | 3:49 am

    Jeff!
    You are one of the worst of enemies that Tibetans has to encounter straight away with Chinese made AK47. You have intellect of mice which is more cruel than the red Chinese. Your are absolutely baised and sick. To my opinion, the Tibetan Government in exile is one of the most sensible institution in the whole world.

  65. Rich | October 4th, 2008 | 6:03 pm

    John, get lost and stop talking about things you know nothing about. Ridiculous personal attacks, especially with no rational argument to accompany them, are not welcome here.

  66. cheme | October 14th, 2008 | 10:48 am

    JAMYANGLA
    You forgot to put “In my opinion.” in every article you published. Everything is personal opinion. The truth varies. It depends on which side you are. It is all about Point of view.

  67. Utube | October 14th, 2008 | 10:58 am

    IT is very funny. The most critical issue that we are facing right now is SHUGDEN issue, but Jamyangla is avoiding it. If SHUGDEN issue is solved, there is a greater chance for Tibetan to be united and greater chance for Free Tibet. I was shocked to see a footage at you tube that one of Tibet Government staff said “I only beleive that Dalai Lama is God, whatever he does is correct” Shocking revealation. How can we let those bunch of relgious fanatics to lead our government. It is scary!
    FREE TIBET???? WAITTTTTTTTTTT FRIST FREE TIBETAN FROM DHARAMSALA=D ..LA

  68. Rich | October 16th, 2008 | 2:46 pm

    “Utube”, if you think Shugden is an issue, get your mind out of Dharamsala and onto Tibet. There’s been a plenty of idiocy from both sides – both instances of some (but surely not all) Shugden supporters looking to the genocidal occupation of Tibet as a positive turn of events for their religion, and various fools in the TGIE establishment getting badgered into issuing inappropriate and irrelevant statement after statement about Shugden practice. None of this has anything to do with Tibet itself. JN-la is steering clear of all this idiocy, rightly so, and the TGIE would do well to follow his example rather than continually wasting their time on this non-issue.

  69. UTUBE | October 26th, 2008 | 5:06 am

    RICH
    You didnt get my point still??? I am not concerned about the SHUGDEN. I am more concerned about those people in TGIE who beleive Dalai Lama is God and whatever he does is correct said some of the high official of TGIE. It is preposterous. How could we Tibetan let these religious fanatics lead our Country. And also look at the so called Tibet constitution. It is like Bible and King Rules.

  70. Rich | October 26th, 2008 | 5:11 pm

    Again “UTUBE” your head is stuck in Dharamsala. If you want change then support the brave people of Tibet who are not caught up in such petty things. Don’t give importance to the people you disapprove of by dwelling on them when there are much more important things at stake.

  71. Jodie Hawthorne | February 18th, 2010 | 5:31 pm

    @ poster #51 Sebastian:

    yes! this is the problem with the type of campaigning going on within this crowd. This is precisely the reason why I cannot join the Free-Tibet brigade. I went to Tibet believing that it is “hell on earth” as suggested by campaigners. This is not what I found through personal experience. I also did not find the “Tibetan culture is Budhist Culture” that the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman and others are using to gain support for a Free-Tibet.

    It was only in 2007, after gaining access to a non-censored internet (out of China and Tibet) and other research that I have finally worked my way through the lies and deception that’s woven by the Free-Tibet parties. I couldn’t work it out for a long time and regardless of all the bad things that happened in Tibet and the inconsistencies I discovered I still had a deep respect for the Dalai Lama. In fact, in 2007 after a decade in China and Tibet my children and I met the Dalai Lama in Sydney airport.

    We had flown 6 flights from Tibet to Sydney especially to see the Dalai Lama as had many Tibetans flew from all over the country to see their spiritual leader. It was a special moment especially, I felt, for my son Sonam. Somehow it happens that he stopped to bless my daughter and she gave him a signed copy of my haiku collection. There were many Tibetans there that day offering all sorts of gifts and Khatas but he did not take any of the gifts and hopped into the awaiting car with only that copy of my haiku collection in hand. So please do not think that my opinions on the Dalai Lama have a pro-China connection.

    It is one thing to preach to westerners about peace, compassion, tolerance, democracy, freedom of speech and other nice words; but another to practice them yourself. When the Dalai Lama practices what he preaches, implementing these very ideas into his exile community and government then he will GAIN the respect and not be automatically entitled it as has happened with his UNEARNED and widely UNQUESTIONED status and reputation in the west.

    I am out of here now and I will not be returning, I promise, but would like to say one last thing:

    “Please do not use racism against Chinese people and their culture to fuel your campaign.”

  72. Sangay | February 19th, 2010 | 12:18 pm

    Her Tibetan bf who’s the father of her first child dumped her for her psychotic nature, and likely he isnt paying her child support. Her second bf who’s chinese and also the father of her second child, takes care of their baby and her, and she’s happy with him. This is where everything boils down to.

    Her hatred against HHDL and Tibetans is nothing but scapegoat of her personal bad experience with Tibetan boyfriend, which later found a fertile ground in chinese bf who naturally shared this. It snowballed from there, and then…here we go…all those diatribes against HHDL which are exactly what chinese use to denounce His Holiness – “wolf in monks robe”, “devil” “hypocrite monk”..etc, difference however is she ‘paraphrases’ them, and her contempt for people who support Free Tibet.

    It’s nothing but unfounded personal attack and hatred but delivered in a desperate effort to sound ‘neutral’ in “once I was also Free Tibet activist” facade.

    Here’s what she says in the end:

    “I am out of here now and I will not be returning, i promise, but would like to say one last thing…please do not use racism against chinese people and their culture to fuel your campaign”

    She’s finally talking. See, how she is defending people of her “extended family” by almost kneeling on the ground and pleading us. What she began writing about and how it ended, it doesn’t take Einstein’s brain to discern. Like as i said before, that’s what it is all about.

    PS: miss molly, you used to sign out with ‘free Tibet’, where is it this time?

    TIBET BELONGS TO TIBETANS, CHINA OUT OF TIBET NOW.
    LONG LIVE HIS HOLINESS THE DALAI LAMA
    DOWN WITH CCP AND THEIR ‘RUNNING DOGS’

  73. Tsering Choedon Lejotsang | February 19th, 2010 | 8:01 pm

    @ Jodie Hawthorne

    Thank you for your decision.
    Yes, please do not come back ever again. I hope you keep your promise this time.

    @ Sangay
    I came to the same conclusion too. She got dumped by her Tibetan bf and got picked up by a Chinese.
    Her anger, butterness etc is all a reflection of her personal problems.

    TCL

  74. Tenpa Dhargyal Gapshi | February 20th, 2010 | 5:36 pm

    wait…wait for it.

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