Tsering Shakya on “SERF EMANCIPATION DAY”

 


A Show of Hands for Serfs Emancipation Day. (china human rights)

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Tsering Shakya’s discerning analysis of China’s new Tibet offensive delves into his own childhood memories of such propaganda rituals in sixties Lhasa. Hence we have an authoritative yet entertaining and personal narrative of China’s colonial vision and policies “that denies Tibetan voice and agency.” Tsering Shakya is research chair in religion and contemporary society in Asia at the Institute for Asian Research, University of British Columbia. He is the author of The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet since 1947.

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TIBET AND CHINA: THE PAST IN THE PRESENT
Tsering Shakya

The Chinese government proclaimed in January 2009 that for the first time a festival called “Serf Liberation Day” is to be celebrated in Tibet, in commemoration of the events of 1959 when Chinese forces occupied Lhasa and established direct control over the country following the uprising of Tibetans against their encroaching rule.

The decision – a response to the widespread protests that engulfed the Tibetan plateau in March-April 2008 – was carefully crafted and presented as if it reflected the heartfelt sentiments of the Tibetan people. The announcement of this “liberation day” – 28 March 2009 – was made by the Tibetan members of the standing committee of the regional National People’s Congress in Lhasa, a body that represents China’s promise of autonomy to Tibetans but which in fact functions invariably as a conduit for the iteration of Chinese Communist Party directives rather than expressing local views.

It is indeed possible that such an initiative may have come from one group of Tibetans – senior party apparatchiks on the receiving end of internal criticism for their failure in 2008 to guarantee a loyal and docile populace.  But this itself is telling of the nature of the Serf Liberation Day initiative: for in an authoritarian regime, the failure of a client administration leaves performance as one of the few options available. It is natural then that authoritarian regimes have a love of public displays of spectacle, engineered to perfection, in which the people are required to perform ceremonial displays of contentment.

The phenomenon is most evident in North Korea. But there as elsewhere, the local logic of such events may be quite different from the external message they communicate. When a North Korean refugee once told me that he had liked taking part in these performances, I thought he might have been appreciating their aesthetic merit; in fact, he said, the reason he liked performing was because the participants were fed during the rehearsal and on the day of the performance.

For local Tibetan officials, the intended message of Serf Liberation Day will be the delivery of public mass compliance to the leadership in Beijing. A choreographed spectacle – in which former “serfs” will tearfully recount the evils of the past while locals in their hundreds march past the leaders’ podium, dressed in colourful costumes and dancing in unison – will both reinforce the party’s narrative of 1959 and convey the contentment of Tibetans today. This will allow the Tibetan officials to produce the performances required to retain their posts, and the local people to fulfil the needs of the local leaders so that they can be allowed to maintain their livelihoods. As Joseph Conrad discerned in his evocation of the native predicament under European imperialism in Africa a century ago, the local subject learns to savour the “exalted trust” of the colonial master.

The way to survive

There are other and more immediate precedents. China itself experienced a similar situation under the Japanese occupation, when local collaborators – such as Wang Jinwei, a official in the early 1940s now known to most Chinese as a hanjian (“traitor to the Han”) – were forced to carry out orders to coerce the people on behalf of their rulers. Today, the party in its dealings with non-Chinese needs such local intermediaries to provide a semblance of native acquiescence; it reportedly holds regular meetings of such officials where for hours they are alternately praised and admonished by apparatchiks sent from Beijing for the purpose.

Tibetans do not accuse these people of treachery, but rather mock them using a slang word that refers to their need to say different things to different people: go nyi pa (“two-headed men”). At the same time, the local leaders are sometimes seen as immensely skilful, because many of them retained their positions decades longer than any Chinese counterpart; no other leaders from the cultural-revolution era were allowed to remain in power after the ultra-leftists of that time were purged in 1976. But there are also instrumental reasons for their survival: the party could not operate without them in the “nationality” areas.

The routes of culture

This longevity has had its semi-comical dimensions, particularly in the cultural sphere. The party, for example, has maintained a roster of acceptable Tibetan pop stars whose songs are considered exemplary. But the list has never changed: the official diva of Tibetan song is Tseten Dolma, who has since the 1950s been decreed the most loved of all Tibetan singers. She appears regularly at every political event even though many people despise her music. The reason is plain. What the party finds enchanting is the symbolism constructed around her life: the fairytale saga of a poor serf girl who was liberated by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), brought to national status through her voice, seen as a vindication of class struggle and an authentic sign of native approval for the state.

The difficulty with elaborate performances of loyalty such as Serf Liberation Day is that local interpretations are always impossible to control. As a child growing up in Lhasa, I remember when the epic Chinese film Nongnu (The Serf  [1963], directed by Li Jun) was first shown in Tibet. The film depicted the harrowing life of a “serf” called Jampa whose parents are killed by an evil landlord and who is used as a human horse for his master’s child until freed from bondage by the arrival of the PLA. The film, meant to arouse indignation amongst the people against the Tibetan elite’s class oppression, is still seen in China as a powerful depiction of the Tibetan social system.

But when it was shown in Lhasa, nobody watched it with quite those sentiments. Many of the local audience had watched Li Jun and his crew shooting the film; they also knew the actors, and had heard stories that they were just following instructions and were not allowed to correct many of the inaccuracies in the film.

This didn’t affect the performance of sentiment. Everyone in Tibet was supposed to watch the film and cry; in those days if you did not cry, you risked being accused of harbouring sympathy with the feudal landlords. So my mother and her friends would put tiger-balm under their eyes to make them water.

In one famous scene, Jampa is shown being beaten by monks after hunger had forced him to steal food left as an offering on a temple shrine. Lhasa people at the time saw this not so much as a moment of class oppression but as the karmic reward due to a sacrilegious thief.  The film became known locally as Jampa Torma Kuma  (Jampa, The Offering Thief): even today hardly any Tibetan uses the official title when referring to the film. The risk for China’s officials is that Serf Liberation Day will face a similar fate in popular memory once the public spectacle is over.

The problem for the Chinese goes deeper, for the claims embodied in the 1959 anniversary commemoration require a cultural as well as a political rearrangement, where local gods are denigrated and local traditions are branded as redundant (even when being seen as “exotic”).

The homeland effort

The Chinese government has been unable to establish good governance in Tibet, and to appoint cadres who are attuned to the people.  The government’s primary goal is the “life or death” fight against “splittism” and “the Dalai clique”; local politicians must repeat the appropriate slogans and demonstrate their anti-splittist zeal. But to establish these as the only criteria needed for survival and promotion is to create an obstacle to the development of good policy.

For a long period – ever since the “anti-rightist” campaign in the late 1950s, and even earlier in eastern Tibet – local Tibetan officials who could have brought genuine accommodation between the two peoples have been edged out of position. This too is a feature that is typical of colonial administrations, where legitimacy is created through public endorsement by local intermediaries and maintained through mass performances of native compliance. At the heart of this project is denial of indigenous agency, though it is typically presented as the opposite: a local populace’s welcome to a foreign model of modernity.

This highlights the fact that a crucial priority in Chinese political calculations in Tibet is to convince a “home” audience (rather than the subject one in the occupied area). The act of possession – and the ritualised displays of power, ceremony and state symbolism that grow up around it – has to be explained and legitimated to key domestic constituencies.

The way this works can be transparent. The Chinese press, for example, often publishes articles about exhibitions (abroad as well as in China) that display the evils of Tibetan life before the Chinese arrived in the 1950s. The formula is to quote a Chinese interviewee attesting to the persuasiveness of the exhibits (rather than a Tibetan confirming their authenticity).

An official party paper, the China Daily, reported on a gory exhibition in Beijing of the Tibetan past hurriedly launched during the height of the 2008 protests in Tibet by quoting a Chinese visitor: “I feel in the exhibition the barbarianism and darkness that permeated old Tibet, and have a better understanding how the backward system of mixing politics and religion thwarted Tibet’s development and progress.” The uncertainty and anxiety that underlies the colonising project is indicated by the need to have the metropolitan centre persuaded of the merits of its mission.

This need to appease the home audience can have complications, however. When the protests in Tibet erupted in March 2008, Chinese state television repeatedly broadcast footage of Tibetans lashing out against innocent Chinese civilians in Lhasa and reported the death of shop-workers. The same images and the same reports were broadcast over and over again, arousing the wrath of Chinese people in China and around the world against Tibetans.

But the wave of support for the Chinese government and its crackdown that ensued also inflamed and licensed ethnic antagonism in China, further dividing Chinese and Tibetans, and undoing decades of rhetoric in China about the unity of nationalities and the harmony of society.

It also helped create tensions between aggressively nationalist and progressive Chinese citizens. A group of leading Chinese intellectuals circulated a petition criticising Beijing’s response to the protest, and the first point they urged on the government was to desist from one-sided propaganda. Zhang Boshu of the Philosophy Institute at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing wrote that “although the authorities are not willing to admit it”, the problems in Tibet “were created by the Chinese Communist Party itself as the ruler of China.”

A further complication in the Chinese government’s effort to ensure the consensus of the domestic audience is inscribed in the portrayal of the Tibet unrest as the work of outside forces – the Dalai Lama, the CIA, CNN, the west in general or other institutions. This deflective response – common to besieged administrations everywhere – allowed the government to avoid answering questions about its own policies. But it also insinuates a potent notion (again, one that echoes many other comparable situations): a denial of the “native’s” reasoning capacity and in its place an assumption of his inherently violent character. The spectators are not asked to consider why the natives are restless.

Again, the Chinese themselves were long the target of the very same depictions. The Yihetuan rebellion of 1900 – which can be regarded as the Chinese people’s first uprising against western imperialism – was portrayed by western powers as a kind of racial project of cruel, heathen masses. The reporting of Chinese residents in Lhasa applauding the government’s action and welcoming the police’s armed street-patrols echo those of the western press with regard to Europeans in Beijing in 1901: order is restored and life returned to normality.

But order and normality for whom? Today, citizens of Lhasa live under surveillance. Their houses are liable to be searched; every text they produce, every piece of music they record on a CD or download on a phone can be examined for its ideological content. Every local cadre has to attend countless meetings, and to declare loyalty to the party and the motherland. The central question is avoided: why are the sons and daughters of “liberated slaves” rising against the “liberator”?  The only permissible answers are foreign instigation and an inherent ethnic propensity for violence.

The naturalisation of violence

The discourse of Serf Liberation Day is revealing of how the Chinese government sees Tibetans. For in repeatedly using the words “serfs” or “slaves” (albeit in relation to past oppressions), official China also reduces Tibetans to the status of primitives, and authorises outside management of their lives.

Jiang Dasan, a retired PLA pilot who was stationed in the Qinghai region of eastern Tibet in the 1950s, wrote a tale on his blog that illustrates this view.  He was witness to an incident where Chinese army generals, realising that the initial attempts to win over local Tibetans through “education” had failed, invite the Tibetan leaders to witness a bombing display by their air-force. When Tibetans saw the PLA’s firepower, Jiang writes, “they really believed the PLA was ‘heaven’s army’”. A few people couldn’t take it and fainted; some urinated in their pants; others shouted slogans at the top of their voice: “Long live the Communist Party! Long live Chairman Mao!” The incident recalls similar accounts in western colonial literature where the natives fall to their knees and submit, awestruck by the white man’s techno-magical power and reified as emotionally driven simpletons without reflective capacity.

There are many parallels too in China’s presentation of the protests of March-April 2008.  The bloodiest early incident of these protests occurred on 14 March in Lhasa, when a number of civilians (official reports say eighteen) were killed, twelve of them after rioters set off fires in Chinese shops. It’s not clear if the arsonists had any idea that there were people hiding in the shops’ upper floors or backrooms, or that they were unable to escape.

The “Lhasa incident” resembled the anti-migrant urban riots familiar from elsewhere in the world: a crime of the urban dispossessed that reflects the failure of the local political process. It is not comparable to the ethnic cleansing seen in Bosnia in 1992, where crimes were meticulously planned, with weapons imported and hate-propaganda fomented; nor to the religious pogrom seen in Gujarat in 2002, when Hindu zealots murdered hundreds of Muslims. But the Chinese media did handle it in ways reminiscent of the United States media’s coverage of victims of 11 September 2001: in terms of what Paul Gilroy (in openDemocracy) called  “the imperial topography, which dictates that deaths are prized according to where they occur and the characteristics of the bodies involved.”

The death of these Chinese shop-workers was broadcast repeatedly on Chinese national television news and overseas Chinese-language stations, with little or no mention of the Tibetan shop-workers who died in the same fires (nor, later, of any Tibetans killed or injured by security forces). This silence is symptomatic: for as with all struggles by the powerless, the actual experience and voices of Tibetans inside China are regarded as unimportant. Where they are noticed at all, they are regarded as the effects of other forces (whether these be foreign powers, natural disasters or ethnic tendencies).

This argument has served the Chinese government well, and helped arouse nationalistic sentiments – on both sides. As the 2008 tensions escalated, the Chinese community in large part heeded its government’s call to defend the motherland against the west. As a result, every pro-Tibetan or human-rights protest tends to be countered by Chinese counter-protests. There have been persecution-campaigns too – just as a Chinese student at Duke University who publicly reached out to Tibetans on her campus was vilified by her compatriots and even Chinese state-owned media, an exile Tibetan student at Harvard who had spoken on American television in complex terms about the nuances of the current situation without demonising the Chinese as oppressors was viciously attacked by Tibetan nationalists (and in both cases the attacks extended to the students’ families). These experiences demonstrate the workings of a mindset where prejudice, blind nationalism, and an ugly anger in language transcend differences of political alignment.

The huge imbalance of power, however, means that the Chinese depiction of Tibetans can more easily reach and influence citizens’ attitudes. The period since March-April 2008 has seen a hardening of attitudes against Tibetans, which draw on long-standing attitudes that view them as primitive and “ungrateful” natives who are predisposed to violence. Even many young Chinese abroad and those who escaped the aftermath of the 4 June 1989 massacre supported their government’s actions and condemned the Tibetan protesters as “looters” and “hooligans” (the same words used to depict the Tiananmen protesters).

The idea of the Tibetan being luohou (backward) is entrenched in the official state discourse on Tibet; and the perception has penetrated the Chinese popular image of Tibet.  Yet it is notable how recent an invention this is: it has been systematised only after the conquest of 1959, as part of the process of transforming a conquered people into the uncivilised awaiting the gift of civilisation from the conqueror (and is a marked contrast to earlier centuries, when the Chinese acknowledged their copious learning from the Tibetans, particularly in matters of philosophy and religion).

A half-century of the Chinese mission civilisatrice has left Tibetans with what the social anthropologist Stevan Harrell calls a “stigmatised identity”. This is reflected in the requirement for Tibetans in China to propitiate the benevolent ruler in their speeches and writings; almost every published text opens with such ritual invocations. People become accustomed to performing their assigned roles in society; they internalise the logic that has made these roles, and the wider unequal relationship that fixes them, seem natural and necessary.

Many Tibetans have (as Emily Yeh has shown) come to believe the widely disseminated notion that they are “naturally” more idle than their Chinese counterparts; again, a familiar aspect of the experience of every colonised people. This makes it all the more shocking to the rulers when elements of this docile and indolent native population protest: like a fish speaking back to ichthyologists.

The limits of economics

The Tibetan unrest is a product of the paradox of modern China, in which the government wants the people to passively accept its programme of modernisation and its framing of Tibetan subjects as grateful natives. Hu Jintao’s notion of a harmonious society is tantamount to a call for passivity on the part of the citizens. The radical changes being introduced to Tibet – including large-scale infrastructural projects – are accepted as a facet of a modern Tibet but the people do not acquiesce, as they do not have a voice in this transformation of their lives.

The main discourse of modern China – albeit with somewhat less confidence as the severe effects of the recession are felt – is the economic-development paradigm, where the core issues are growth, efficiency, productivity and consumption.

It is true that material well-being is crucial for any society. But it is not enough. As Vincent Tucker has written: “without consideration of culture, which essentially has to do with people’s control over their destinies, their ability to name the world in a way which reflects their particular experience, development is simply a global process of social engineering whereby the economically and militarily more powerful control, dominate, and shape the lives of other for their purposes”.

This is a precise description of what is happening in Tibet. For the Tibetans, the imposition of the economic paradigm has aroused resistance. The resistance is also about the right to have a voice in the process, and wider dignity and recognition.  As long as these are denied, the conditions for people to take to the streets will remain. The Chinese state, with all its might, can and will be able to control the land, but will find underlying resentment harder to erase. The removal of the Dalai Lama’s pictures and the banning of songs will not remove the reasons why the people put the photographs there in the first place.

The Chinese government response to protest favoured by party hardliners is to combine nationalist fervour, colonial attitudes and brute force in shifting increasingly towards an agenda of control and rushed development. This approach, far from eliminating Tibetan opposition, will further alienate the Tibetan population.

The commemoration of “Serf Liberation Day” is a classic illustration of the nature of Chinese power over Tibetans. Until local voices are listened to and local memories understood, until issues of perception and language that surround the Tibetan situation are addressed, until a political settlement based on the devolution of power is considered, it is unlikely that any progress will be possible.

This article was first published on 18 March 2009 in openDemocracy.net under a Creative Commons licence.

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Comments

  1. Tearsfor Homeland | March 22nd, 2009 | 12:33 pm

    I enjoyed reading this piece on the so called serf emancipation day.
    I want to add a little to the part “Naturalization of Violence”:
    I know from accounts by people from the region that Tibetan protesters did not intend to kill anyone. Very few Chinese were beaten up by Tibetans and in these cases other Tibetans intervened on the Chinese behalf.

    No Chinese died directly at the hands of Tibetans. As far as I know the Chinese have not one case to show.

    Some protesters pulled out stuff from the shops to burn them on the streets and few shops believed to be empty of people were torched but the wind carried the flames and burned shops including those owned by Tibetans. Some people including Tibetans who were hiding died from the flames and the smoke. Later the Chinese counted those Tibetans as dead Chinese.
    China made huge deal of the few Chinese who died but they did not mention their police shooting indiscriminately into crowds of Tibetans. Some of them were innocent bystanders and pilgrims from outside Lhasa.
    Later the Chinese sent unmarked vans to collect the dead and the dying on the streets, and Tibetans believe it was to destroy evidence that they shot at innocent people. Anyway many Tibetans were cremated alive. Ask Tibetan refugees who have escaped in recent months about this.

    I didn’t expect people to believe this story including many Tibetans but now we have proof. It is the video of police beating and torturing Tibetans in Lhasa that is available on youtube and Phayul.com.
    You might have seen the section on this young Tibetan guy who worked for china mobile company. He tried to intervene police beating a monk when on his way to work. He was arrested for that and tortured. You saw what they did to his body. Do you know the rest of his story? His parents were allowed to search for him at the crematorium because they were influential. They found him still alive in a plastic bag with many others ready to be cremated alive. The only son of these influential people who had nothing to do with the protest suffered and died in the end because he was a Tibetan. His story is known because he was the son of wellknown people.

    What about the hundreds of others who were pilgrims or casual visitors whose family members are still waiting for them to return home? What about the peaceful protesters whose only offence is kicking down some doors and walls? No one in that event deserves death or such degree of torture.

    I think Tibetans shouldn’t be so blinded by nationalism that they act like the Chinese, at the same time, those of us who are in position to comment on Tibetan issue to media should not act too objective on the issue of Tibet either. No decent person should treat it objectively. The Tibetan question is an issue of colonization, it is subjugation of one people by another, it is an issue of violation of human rights. It is not right, especially of those who call themselves Tibetans, to be nuanced and about Tibet.

  2. Tearsfor Homeland | March 22nd, 2009 | 12:38 pm

    By the way I want to thank Tsering Shakya for this article. I appreciate every aspect of it.

  3. Pasang | March 22nd, 2009 | 3:57 pm

    I too appreciate this thoughtful article by Tsering skaya la. It was very useful and educational sunday reading. Perhaps all is not lost for Tibet when it has intellectuals of the calibre of Jamyang Norbu and Tsering shakya and supporting scholars like Warren Smith.

    Jamyang la carry on the discussion.

  4. Sera Jampa | March 23rd, 2009 | 12:04 am

    Thank you Tsering Shakya for your profound article on China’s propagandic programme called ‘Serf- Emancipation Day’ which is actually known as Invasion Period. I enjoyed every writing of yours and Jamyang Norbu, Lhasang Tsering and Tenzin Tsundue. Keep it up.

  5. Karma Zurkhang | March 23rd, 2009 | 10:33 am

    One sincerely wishes scholars like Tsering Shakya and his ilk were assigned to speak in New Delhi this March end of say ‘Thank You India’, and make us proud.

    Bod Rangzen

  6. Hugh | March 23rd, 2009 | 7:40 pm

    Spot on, Tsering Shakya! Hoo Rah!

    You understand and can articulate colonialism and its mentality. You remind me of Fanon.

    I particularly like that you point out the nature of colonialist views and how some of those are internalized by the colonized. But how the real “passion play” is for the citizens of the colonizing nation, to justify their project and pat themselves on the back, and give themselves the illusion that their “mission civilizatrice” is something of value to the world.

  7. independence | March 26th, 2009 | 6:34 pm

    however beautuful you may write, you absolutely distorted history by telling the media in london that tibetan protestors in tibet last march were merely asserting autonomy and not independence!
    how dare you say that!
    i demand an explanation for kowtowing to the middleway regime in dhasa by literally kissing the chinese asss in bejing.
    your silence will pronounce you as guilty in the eyes of tibetans worldover.

    the best scholarly writer so far has been prof. dawa norbu–dead or alive. the best flow of writing and ideas goes to editor tsering wangyal–dead or alive and then comes you and jamyang norbu.

  8. Tenpa | March 26th, 2009 | 10:56 pm

    Is this true, Tsering Shakya la, that you said Tibetans in Tibet are merely seeking Autonomy instead of genuine independence? I love your article here and I find it hard to believe somebody who can write this can say that Tibetans in Tibet are merely seeking autonomy when we can clearly and unequivocally say that it is not true. I am confused here. I expect a politician to say that but not a acadamician whose true purpose in life is to defend the truth and accuracy of history. Personally, I like your writings and respect you accordingly, but if it concerns the issue of Tibet, I am bound by duty to my nation to question your assertion, that is, if it is true and you indeed made that claim. Please enlighten me and all the young tibetans who are looking up to you and Jamyang Norbu and Lhasang Tsering la for guidance and integrity.

  9. Kirby Zhang | March 27th, 2009 | 9:33 am

    Thanks for this excellent and educational article. This is the best description I have seen coming from either side. It does enriches my personal perspective, which tends toward Chinese nationalism as result of the internet opinion wars.

    Hierarchy, paternalism, the priority of the central programme over local voices is not just a feature of China-Tibet relations, but it is a facet of everyday Chinese political life anywhere in China. I would like to say from the CCP perspective, it has been successful at creating the go nyi pa, and will look to enlarge this creation or to extend their influence, rather than to backstep and consider radical means from scratch. This approach will be more compatible with the pursuit for stability.

    I believe in some future Chinese will have to confront ourselves to the means and ends in the history of the CCP. We will have to look at this history both for its massive failures in the heartland, and for its colonial programs towards minority ethnic groups.

    However I would like to suggest this examination will not and should not happen now. The national mood of China is clear: China must be stable, focused, and it must develop. The duty to commit to this mission extends to not only the Han but in fact to every ethnic group in the Chinese nation-state. In this view, it can be necessary to obscure part of the sky to focus on slice that most needs it. In the CCP’s defense, it has made civilized efforts to create a cross-ethnic national unity throughout its governing history based on cultural appeal. Successfully or not, this history is far in contrast to European colonialism which has consisted of outright slavery, codified racial hierachy, and labor exploitation. Compare to this, the present resentment of Tibetans in China can be summarized as a feeling of “this some how isn’t right for me”. I would like to also point out full citizenship is given to every one in any Chinese territory, which cannot be said for USA, UK, France, or Israel, who all maintain second-class territories.

    The Chinese government needs to change, and it will change. I don’t think this is of doubt to anyone in China. But China does not change in a vaccum, it responds to the forces exerted upon it. The Tibetan exile group, the “free tibet” group, they have the job to develop their abilities to exert a constructive influence on China. Unfortunately the constructive scale so far sits at a very low level.

    I do wish to read more writings like the kind of Mr. Shakya because it is the best example of a communication that can reach both sides.

  10. Kirby Zhang | March 27th, 2009 | 10:36 am

    I have just read the reader comments.

    Maybe in some other life I can sympathize with your passion for some liberation struggle, but I have to tell you the struggle is just very irrational. It cannot have success for these reasons:
    - Tibetans in China DON’T HAVE IT THAT BAD. No matter how much you try to push your portrayal to western media, when push comes to shove, the truth comes out
    - China has every legitimacy in Tibet, legally and morally. China actually did free millions of slaves. We cast their bondage papers to the fire. Again, push comes to shove, this truth will come out
    - your tactics make it impossible for Chinese to accommodate your views. Your failure to appreciate this will equal to failure of your movement.

    No modern insurgency has ever succeeded without the acquiescence of the governing group. The British and French gave up their territory only due to an extremely unusual confluence of events. It was the support from Soviet union and China, combined with the threat of nuclear war, and the American pressure to win the moral and ideological battle, that made Europeans wake to their “guilt”. Even so Vietnamese and Algerians fought for years, they lost millions of people even while having super-power support.

    Any independence struggle for Tibet can possess none of the historical enablers. There doesn’t exist a radicalized population in Tibet, and it won’t come to exist. China has far too huge a majority population. It has unlimited ability to police its territories. China does not face an ideological battle that requires the giving up the legitimately owned, culturally integrated territory. And of course, no country will enter a military conflict with China to serve Tibetan nationalism.

    Perhaps some of you see Outer Mongolia as another model. That was again a very special set of circumstances, where you’d have to hope for a situation of extreme national weakness in China while faced with a super power neighbor. Out Mongolia was signed over when KMT controlled just a corner of the country, while Soviet troops occupied Manchuria.

    Even the threat of independence for Tibet can only solidify support for CCP around its current political methods. This will be the exact opposite of what you should want.

  11. Prescott | March 27th, 2009 | 9:23 pm

    Kirby Zhang,

    When can we box?

    I don’t believe in using gloves. And if you’re wondering why I don’t reply to the content of your message, the reason is that I do not have the habit of entertaining lies. Rather, I should simply like to schedule an exhibition match. When I hit you with a right cross, that will be for 1.2 million people killed. I’ll set you up with a couple of jabs for the nuns you rape with cattle prods. My left hook will represent 6,000 monasteries destroyed. Then I’m going to knock your scrawny Chinese ass out with an uppercut that simply hates colonialist Chinese lies. Do you think you’ll be able to get up?

    If you do, I’ll kick you and beat you like a dog, something I learned from the Chinese soldiers that you claim “liberated” Tibetans.

    The reason I want to do all this is simply because I have learned that Chinese people like you do not possess the discriminating wisdom or compassion to address reality, face brutality, and be accountable to speak truth to power. You’re a shameless imbecile, Kirby Zhang.

    -Prescott

  12. Prescott | March 27th, 2009 | 9:35 pm

    Dear Golok Ambum and Jamyang Norbu la,

    I am sorry for the graphic images. I want to make a point to Kirby Zhang:

    Kirby, can I hang you in the airplane position for three days while I put out my cigarette butts on your flesh? Can I beat the soles of your feet with a steel baton before I make you lie face down and call you a prostitute while I rape you, anally, with an electric cattle prod? Can I then discharge you to die in a shitty hospital and deny ever torturing you?

    You should understand the reality of your people’s occupation of Tibet.

    Get out of this forum, punk. You’re not welcome.

    -Prescott

  13. Prescott | March 27th, 2009 | 9:44 pm

    Kirby,

    By the way, I think you should understand the depth of my hatred for what your people have done to Tibet and Tibetans. I really want to make it clear to you. I think others share my feelings. Let me put it to you this way: if I thought it would save even one Tibetan woman from the tortures and rapes your police and soldiers inflict, I would happily cut the throats of every adult male member of your extended family, including you. And I wouldn’t blink.

    Now that you know that, you still want to talk?

    You are going to see a new face to the resistance, buddy, and you aren’t going to like it. I suggested you find a deep hole and go and hide there.

    Yours,

    Prescott

  14. Tearsfor Homeland | March 28th, 2009 | 9:27 am

    Kirby Zhang
    You say China gives citizenship to everyone? How about majority of the Tibetans who are not allowed to have travel permits, even to Nepal, let alone owning a passport.
    I can see you read quite a bit of Chinese propaganda literature but you haven’t been to Tibet or know any Tibetans. If you do you will have an iota of understanding of the realities in Tibet. YOu will have to understand when we get upset over such pompous proclamations from the likes of you whose brains are fed only with lies that your own government concoct.
    By the way, to understand yourself and people like you, you need not look into the mirror. George Orwell had prophesied about you all sixty years ago in his book 1984. Look at the brainwashed zombies in mao suits. There is no mistaking.

  15. Kirby Zhang | March 28th, 2009 | 11:19 am

    Until I get confirmation from more Tibetan that Prescott represent all of you, I’m going to ignore him and address the legitimate comments.

    Tears have you been to Tibet yourself? What would you describe life is like for the majority of Tibetans? What do you feel would most serve to improve their lives?

  16. Kirby Zhang | March 28th, 2009 | 12:15 pm

    Immediately after Tiananmen there were a flood of stories from student refugees, who painted a picture of massacre by drug crazed soldiers under the People’s Monument. The media was giving estimates of up to 20,000 dead.

    These stories were proved to be false. Ten years later the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review would acknowledge an account closely matching the original government account.
    http://www.studien-von-zeitfragen.net/Zeitfragen/Tiananmen/tiananmen.html

    It is the right of the oppressed to lash out at the oppressors. But it cannot be taken as truth.

  17. Prescott | March 28th, 2009 | 8:52 pm

    Kirby Zhang,

    I never claimed, nor will I claim, to represent Tibetans. I represent one Inji man who hates what China has done to Tibet and Tibetans. I also represent a man who will happily beat the living sh*t out of you, anytime and anywhere.

    Tsering Choedon Lejotsang and Jamyang Norbu can contest your lies. They are more educated than I, and moreover, are Tibetans more qualified to address these issues. I just want you to know that an Englishman like me hates you for your lies, and would just as soon see you dead. I hope you feel this anger, which is the result of your government’s more than 50 years of rape, murder and torture in Tibet. I meant it when I talked about being willing to cut your throat if it would save even one Tibetan. You go to hell.

    Regards,

    Prescott

  18. Prescott | March 28th, 2009 | 8:56 pm

    p.s. the closest comment I made to “representing” others was merely to say “I think other share my feelings.” In this open forum we are all free to speak freely, a privilege not known in your pathetic, disgusting, vulgar shitty homeland of China. Although I may be more expressive and vocal with my anger, don’t think there aren’t quite a few Tibetans who hate people like you, Kirby. Tibetans aren’t the Dalai Lama. They’re human beings, and you can’t brutalize them with impunity, and justify your occupation and brutality with lies, without one day paying a price. Be prepared for that.

  19. Prescott | March 28th, 2009 | 9:17 pm

    Kirby Zhang’s a Han Chinese, oppressor to the bone.

    He thinks he people have some right to be in the Land of Snows.

    He won’t address the torture. He can’t comment on the rapes.

    He’s a typical Chinese Commie, ignorant and two-faced.

    Kirby would dismiss me, and fabricate what I’ve said.

    But I think I’ve made it pretty clear, I give a f**k if he’s alive or dead.

    Chinese don’t belong inside Tibet, so go back to your own land.

    Kirby, when can we settle this, face to face, and man to man?

    That’s right, you’re a Chinese crook. You need 10 friends to face your foes.

    Just like the Chinese soldiers when they’re torturing Tibetan blokes.

    You’re a coward, you’re a bastard. You’re a pathetic Chinese sheep.

    Shut your mouth, open your eyes, and see the truth of your regime.

    I’ll tell you this much, and it’s true, these words are from the heart.

    Tibet is for Tibetans and you can never be a part.

    Shut up and get out of this forum. You don’t belong. No one wants you. We could give a f**k what you say, you Commie parrot.

  20. Prescott | March 28th, 2009 | 9:25 pm

    On the occasion of riots, I (a relatively peaceful man when not confronted by some Chinaman supporting government genocide) remarked with some sadness that Chinese people were getting beat up. A cherished Christian friend commented “Brother, that’s what they get. They don’t belong there.” I came to see his point. Each and every Chinese person inside Tibet is profitting and benefitting from Communist policies of repression and oppression. They are making a living off the Tibetans’ suffering. They don’t belong, and Tibetans have every right to drive them out by any means necessary.

    Kirby Zhang is a good example of a typical, ignorant and uncaring Chinese person. If someone like him has to get his ass beat for Tibet to make some headway, I don’t care.

    The scale of Chinese brutality is so unfathomable (earlier i have highlighted the nature of their torture and abominations) that even if Tibetans beat up or kill Chinese people, I just think they have it coming.

    I can’t say it makes me happy, but I can say that I understand. They have no business being in Tibet, and every war has its collateral damage.

    Sincerely,

    Prescott

  21. Christophe | March 28th, 2009 | 9:35 pm

    Kirby Zhang,

    Negationism is a putrid form of philosophical disorder that characterises totalitarian movements.

    On Sunday June 4th, 1989, the Chinese Red Cross estimated Tiananmen night’s fatalities at 2,600. This sharply contrast with your government official figure of 241 dead, uh…?

    Needless to say that the Chinese Red Cross’ figure doesn’t include those whose corpse didn’t make it to the hospital, those who died because they were denied medical treatment or those who were simply made to disappear during the purge that followed.

    For those interested by the Tiananmen massacre, watch The Tank Man, a very interesting program by Frontline.

  22. Lejotsang Tsering Choedon | March 28th, 2009 | 9:56 pm

    Kirby Zhang,

    Prescott represents our thoughts and wishes.
    Why don’t you respond to him?

    As for you peddling junk shitty propaganda of your government, no one believes it any more.

    Oh, yes, I have been to Tibet.
    The overwhelming majority of the Tibetans are living under unimaginable fear and poverty.

    Ofcourse there are those few who live comfortably by betraying their own country (Tibet) and countrymen/women (Tibetans). And these are the puppets that China parades to the world as “happy emancipated serfs”.

    Please note that the predominant economy in pre-1959 Eastern Tibet (Kham, Golok and Amdo) was nomadic. The people in the northern grasslands of Changthang too were fully nomadic.
    Kham, Golok, Amdo and Changthang together covers 70% of whole of Tibet in terms of area and population.Nomadic culture does not have a feudal system in the sense that you have for agricultural people. They migrate freely through the high grasslands, and there is no set boundary to the area that they migrate because the land was not a private property. It was the property of everyone who grazed their cattle/herd there.

    Apart from nomadism, men of Kham were engaged in trading. Trading along unfriendly terrains with hard conditions is a risky business involving loosing lives of whole caravan at times.
    The caravan were structured in such a way that they not only needed people who were motivated enough to work hard to enable making profits, but they also needed to be manned with people loyal enough to defend each other with their lives.
    Do you think serfs will be loyal enough to risk their lives for their masters?
    No!
    There were no such thing as serfs.
    Even if there were, they were the exception rather than the norm.

    Thus, your government’s story about emancipating the serf is all a huge bullshit cooked up to legitimize China’s colonisation of Tibet.

    “We cast their bondage papers to the fire”
    -> Why did you cast the bondage papers to fire?
    -> Why not put it on display in one of your propaganda museums?

    Let me reply to the above question for you.

    You claim to have cast it to fire because in reality there was no such paper.
    1. You say you liberated the serfs.

    My quesion to you:
    Where is the proof that the puppets that you paraded as emancipated serfs were really serfs?

    You and your government’s answer:
    There were bond papers to prove that they were serfs.

    My quesion to you:
    But where are the bond papers?

    You and your government’s answer:
    We cast them to fire when we liberated the serfs.

    How convenient!!
    By “casting it to fire”, you can conveniently lie about two things simultaneously.

    Bastards!
    TCL

  23. newgenerationtb | March 29th, 2009 | 1:21 am

    Regarding citizenship of China, Chinese constitution might have the phrase that everyone in China is entitled to citizenship. However, in implementation, it is just nothing more than furt. Even those so called Tibetan delegates sent by CHinese government to parrote on the goodness and correctness of Communist China’s beneficial policy and governance in Tibet including those academicians, once they return to Tibet. Their passport is kept by the government not by themselves.

    Therefore, Kirby Zhang is one of those Chinese who does not have a close understanding and relation with any Tibetans.

    NG

  24. Billk | March 29th, 2009 | 8:07 pm

    Kirby Zhang,

    Like many supporters of the Tibetan cause, I have friends from mainland China. One of my friends, Wang D, stayed away from Tiananmen Square on the night the PLA rolled in. (Understandably, he was afraid of what could happen to him.) The next day he went in search of the body of his best friend, who he knew had been in Tianamen Square. He attests that he personally saw hundreds of corpses – many crushed by tanks and many more shot in the back of the head with dum dum bullets so their faces had been blown off and they were unreconizable. Bodies were left lying in the streets for days to putrify. After that, Wang D switched to searching hospitals and morgues. His friend’s body finally turned up a month later in a morgue freezer.

    Unless Wang D had seen every last corpse, the death toll in Beijing alone must have been higher than 241. Given that the PLA also shot protesters in Gansu and a number of other cities, the total number of people killed in the crackdown is also likely to be much greater than just those killed in Beijing.

    BTW: A number of former PLA soldiers who drove the tanks and fired the bullets on that night are sorry for what they did and want a proper reconciliation process. They have my respect. Unfortunately some of them have recently been arrested and threatened with serious consequences if they don’t shut up.

  25. Sangay | March 30th, 2009 | 10:02 am

    Kirby Zhang

    Prescott wants boxing bout, and wants to knock you out after couple of rounds. I’m Tibetan, I find that waste time, energy, and almost doing a favor to despicable criminals like you.

    I would put my .45 caliber revolver into your mouth, bend it down 45 degree so the bullets go down your throat and unload everything inside your body. I would do this after i tie your hands and legs in your back, just like you fatally beat up handcuffed innocents Tibetans in that youtube video. I wont give you even one-tenth of a second to plead guilty. You see Prescott actually falls short of representing us. We have bigger plans.

    With that said, we now await your response. I know how you will defend and justify Chinese rule in Tibet. You will probably download a copy of ticket to museum exhibition that held couple of months ago in Beijing which showed “atrocities against common Tibetans by their masters and Dalai lama”, as a proof of witnessing the evils in pre 1959 Tibet. Go ahead, chinaman, if thats what you gonna do; beside that your Hu Jintao or CCP has hardly anything to ‘prove’. We need copy of the ticket for our own record also to show it to the world or International court(down the road, u never know) as proof of China’s act of re-writing Tibet’s history by putting on display footages from Li Jun’s movie “Nongnu” shot in 1963 every year to deliberately brainwash common Chinese. I’m not legal expert but i want to include in the persecution Chinese ppl like you for being complicit with your regime – watching the exhibits, believing in them without questioning its authenticity and validity.

  26. Tears For Homeland | March 30th, 2009 | 1:10 pm

    Kirby Zhang,

    You asked if I had been to Tibet. I escaped Tibet when I was a kid in the 80′s.
    Except for few business people and party members vast majority of Tibetans lead miserable lives. Go to the country side and you will see they still use water from the streams, streams which are pollutated by hosptial trash etc from the previous town or village.
    There are few things I can think of off the top of my ead that will help to improve people’s living in Tibet: By giving them their basic human rights, the right to protest, right to travel, right to buy back the land which were stolen from them in the first place, right to join monasteries or any institution of higher learning etc. And the right to go to Nepal and India for pilgrimage and education without getting shot in the mountain passes by target practising Chiinese soldiers would help too.

  27. Prescott | March 30th, 2009 | 9:00 pm

    I’ve noted with interest the range of responses to my post (albeit with a unique silence from Kirby Zhang). Sangay wants to put a bullet in this Chinese puppet. I find that a waste of time, Sangay. I’d really rather beat him up good so I can come back and beat him up again, and teach him what it is like to live in fear every day. Only then would he begin to understand what it’s like to be a Tibetan.

    I mean, I used to have this dream about changing the hearts and minds of the Chinese people, but men like Kirby Zhang make me feel like it’s a futile effort. Maybe that’s my weakness. Maybe that’s a glimpse of truth. You decide.

    Please forgive my indulgence in violent thought. Just take it for what it is: a genuinely peaceful man who is so fed up with Chinese lies and brutality, that he sometimes feels like he might break and just assault the first Chinese pig (I can’t bring myself to honor them with the term police or soldier) that he sees, in China or outside.

    Perhaps in this, I may represent some of the feelings of Tibetans, as Lejotsang suggested. But I make no such claim. I stand for no one but myself. I post here so that Tibetans will know that, despite the cowardice, manipulation and maneuvering of international governments, there are a few souls out there who support you, and who will support you come what may. That is the small offering I can make over the internet.

    I like to end on humorous notes. Humor is so important in the midst of pain. Let me conclude by saying, “Yes, Kirby, I can and would f**k you up.” I doubt I’m the only one.

    His Holiness the Dalai Lama stands accused by China of spreading “ethnic hatred.” In fact, he promotes nothing but brotherly love. It is from my own anguished witnessing of Tibet’s plight that I have come to hate people like you, Kirby. Feel it. Soak it up. Try to understand how and why we have grown to hate you, and then there might be room for your psychological, emotional and academic growth.

    -Prescott

  28. Prescott | March 30th, 2009 | 9:28 pm

    “Why I Want to Box Kirby, for Sangay the Sniper”

    Sangay la, I do understand your feelings when you read Kirby’s garbage. I imagine I feel much like you do. It is here that I am confronted with a genuine dilemma. Although I’ve always believed there are righteous wars, and Tibet’s cause surely justifies a righteous war, I will stand against torture, rape and murder until the day I die. This sets me apart from the Chinese. This makes me human. It is something I value. I don’t consider the sort of killing that would advance the Tibetan cause (strategic targeted assassination or warfare) to constitute murder, by the way.

    The reason I suggested a boxing match with Kirby was to make a point, and to express my emotions, while still maintaining the ground that sets me, as a western man, apart from the hordes of mindless Chinese government-backers. We stand for something. More than something. We stand for truth, freedom, faith — all those things that are of even more value than life itself. Indeed, we stand for the things without which life has no meaning, just as life is meaningless for one like Kirby. Kirby stands for nothing but the basest forms of brutality, and the most pervasive forms of ignorance.

    I don’t wish to preach to anyone. I surely am no man of the cloth, nor do I wish to be! Let me then, ask you a question, Sangay.

    Would you waste a bullet on one like Kirby? I think there are bigger fish yet to fry. I shan’t waste any more time on Kirby, unless he has enough connections to arrange a match with Hu Jintao! Now that one shouldn’t be a boxing match. I have too many plans for Jintao. I was thinking that for him, mixed martial arts, no gloves would be appropriate. After a few dislocated joints and a submission choke-out, he might understand what it’s like to be a torture victim.

    With enduring love for Tibet, and an abiding faith in the possibility of FREEDOM,

    I remain,

    Prescott

  29. Sangay | March 31st, 2009 | 12:40 pm

    I rather waste bullet, finish the job, go for another one than waste time with these animals. Because if you dont finish them, they will finish you.

    You have correctly identified – battle between Tibet and China is of good vs evil, right vs wrong. It’s a battle closely resembled by Indian epic Ramayan (i grew up watching it on tv in india), where god Ram had to kill Ravan for greater good. China for last 60 yrs has proved nothing less than Ravan – turned Tibet into hell on earth, demonise HHDL every single day, their interest to bring end to suffering in Tibet is zero, they are the people with zero in logic and rationality – its their way or no others way, they feed their citizens since infancy a cooked up graphic history of Tibet and Tibetans to make them hate us when they grow – China is actually world’s largest madrasa. And their rule in Tibet is worse than Taliban’s. In this good vs evil battle any chinese who supports CCP rule in Tibet and share its philosophy, is a ravan. Changing them dont work, i have been there and done it. And a ravan is a ravan, there is no big or small ravan. If you want to leave alone ‘small fish’ and go after only ‘big fish’, you do that. I’m a Tibetan and we are basically a warrior race, I know the art of war – am not taking any chances. But i am not that evil either, i am buddhist. Kill them i must, i will pray as i shoot them that they be reborn as a good human beings in their next life with lots of wisdom and serve mankind. Because in this life they have caused so much sufferings. Like the Ravan, killing them is liberating them from this evil body and mind, and for greater good and peace.

    But Prescott, you and I atleast agree that they are evil and must be defeated. I leave upto you what you do with ur prey after that. Humor is good. Atleast dont f**k them.

  30. Prescott | April 3rd, 2009 | 10:03 am

    “Casting bondage papers to the fire”

    The real bondage papers can be seen every time China lies and redraws a map to suggest that Kham and Amdo are part of China, and that such a thing as the “Tibet Autonomous Region” even exists!

    The real bondage papers can be seen whenever a Chinese man puts his stamp on a document that would govern the lives of a foreign people, the Tibetans!

    The real bondage papers are the insidious lies that Kirby Zhang has posted (thank God we appear to have driven him from this forum!)!

    I agree that the bondage papers must be burnt. In saying this, I suggest that anything and everything Chinese be promptly torched, from their maps of Tibet, to their government documents to each and every Chinese police station.

    It’s not that I’d advocate a riot. I am one who is saddened by violence anywhere and everywhere. However, I am so grieved by the abominations of the Chinese government that I would prefer wholescale violence in pursuit of truth and freedom to an appeasement policy that affirms and even congratulates the brutality of the colonialist masters.

    Tibetans are quite familiar with America these days. America fought a revolutionary war and so won its freedom against Great Britain. Imagine that a Communist government invaded America, torturing ministers, raping women, lying incessantly, destroying churches, murdering more than 20% of the population, and so on. Do you think the American people would craft an appeasement policy? To hell with that. Each and every red blooded American would take to the hills, or underground in the city, and would begin burning down every institution that fostered the occupation. The occupying forces would be sniped, car bombed and executed whenever possible. The Americans would make the IRA look nice. Rapist police officers would receive no notice or warning. They would be killed. Corrupt, torture-backing officials would turn the key in their Mercedes’ ignition. That would be their last act. Americans would offer the officials a free cremation, if you will.

    Therefore, its quite unreasonable to suggest that the Tibetan people should be restrained and behave peacefully, when the leaders of the free world, in their shoes, would do just the opposite.

    I realize this will not happen while His Holiness the Dalai Lama (God bless that man of peace) is alive. But let no one question the Tibetans right to do all this when His Holiness passes from this world. Indeed, they are possessed of the right to act this way NOW. It’s called a freedom struggle. It’s ugly, painful and sad…but not more than the Chinese policies. The difference is, at the end of the freedom struggle there is sweet fruit to be had. The occupation bears no such blessing.

    Bhod Rangzen!

    -Prescott

  31. Frank | April 4th, 2009 | 4:35 am

    I bet most people here condemning the disappearance of tibetan culture they themselves don’t put practice or preserve the said culture. I have yet to see a tibetan language forum or tibetan religious forum in the internet. Looking at the proficiency of the posting skill in this english forum, very soon these exiles will be absorbed into western society, talk about going back to rule tibet.

  32. Prescott | April 5th, 2009 | 4:40 pm

    Frank,

    You seem to believe that Tibetans must preserve their old culture at the expense of being modern or adept in English. That’s a fallacy. I wonder if you’d have the same Shangrila notion if everyone was posting in Sanskrit?

    There are a number of Tibetans who are not only fully involved in traditional culture and religion, but are also quite adept in English and a plethora of modern, academic areas. Are you the type who is disappointed by any Tibetan who doesn’t spend 24 hours a day reciting “om mani padme hum” and leaving his footprints in stone?

    Regards,

    Prescott

  33. Billk | April 8th, 2009 | 12:36 am

    Frank,

    Watch the video of Jamyang-la addressing a rally in Tibetan.

    Would you like us to post a list of Tibetan language websites for you? Or perhaps you don’t actually read Tibetan?

    I’m learning Tibetan. When I read Chairman Mao describe it as an inherently reactionary language, it sealed the deal for me that I was going to learn it diligently.

    Why don’t you learn Tibetan too? Or perhaps, like the Chinese Communist Party during the “Four Olds” campaigns (and right now for that matter) your objective is to see Tibetan language become extinct.

  34. Tsering Choedon Lejotsang | April 8th, 2009 | 5:31 am

    Frank,

    How does us Tibetans being proficient in foreign language equate to us losing our language and culture?

    Just because someone is proficient in a foreign language does not automatically mean that the person will lose his/her culture and language.
    May be we are simply intelligent enough to master several foreign languages without neglecting our own language and culture.
    TCL

  35. newgenerationtb | April 9th, 2009 | 6:44 am

    Frank, you can only talk to us through English language. If we talk in Tibetan, you cannot even smell our furt. So be grateful. Yea, there are many Tibetan forums either closed by PRC governments or detroyed by them. There are couple of Tibetan forums outside Tibet, I will leave it to you to do research. Let me check if you meant it or you simple try give a counter point to undercut us. La gya lo!

  36. Hugh | April 16th, 2009 | 9:03 pm

    Kirby Zhang,

    You are incorrect in your comparison of Chinese CP policy and European colonial policy. While Marxian theory claims to be more liberal in the “national question,” it was based off the European colonial project and practice, whereby smaller nations would be subsumed and superseded by larger and dominant societies. The European colonialists called in the civilizing mission. The post-colonial communists called it ‘liberation.”

    Half a dozen of one and six of the other, my chum.

    (didn’t think an american would know marxist terminology and theory, did you? but i have studied it, including that pseudo-marxist ideology calling itself “marx-lenin-mao” thought which poses its outcome as ‘people’s democracy’ or as the strict maoists call it “new democracy”)

  37. Hugh | April 17th, 2009 | 6:36 pm

    Frank,

    You are being silly. A mere cursory google search is all you need the shatter your pretension that there isn’t any Tibetan language on the internet.

    As for Tibetan religion, do you mean Buddhism in the Tibetan styles? You can find dozens of websites as well as forums.

    Most Tibetans I have run across speak Tibetan quite well, along with English and Hindi. I know some who speak good French as well. Some even speak Chinese. So what is your point? That Tibetans should not do as others in today’s world do and converse in other languages too? If you come to an English language based site, of course you will see English being used. So what? Is there a point for you to make? Doubtful.

    Many Western friends of Tibetans have learned or are learning Tibetan. But regardless, you don’t have to fully learn another people’s language to support their independence and survival. It can help, but it’s where someone’s heart is that matters. I don’t expect anyone I meet to learn Gaelic in order to help me keep my own people’s culture and language alive. It is enough that they support me in my own endeavors, personally and communally.

    So what is your point?

  38. Jeff Bowe | April 26th, 2009 | 3:53 am

    May we return to the matter of Tsering Shakya’s reported misrepresentation of the political demands featured during the Uprisings in Tibet in March/April 2008. This was touched upon by Tenpa on 26th March:

    “Is this true, Tsering Shakya la, that you said Tibetans in Tibet are merely seeking Autonomy instead of genuine independence? I love your article here and I find it hard to believe somebody who can write this can say that Tibetans in Tibet are merely seeking autonomy when we can clearly and unequivocally say that it is not true. I am confused here. I expect a politician to say that but not a acadamician [sic] whose true purpose in life is to defend the truth and accuracy of history. Personally, I like your writings and respect you accordingly, but if it concerns the issue of Tibet, I am bound by duty to my nation to question your assertion, that is, if it is true and you indeed made that claim. Please enlighten me and all the young tibetans who are looking up to you and Jamyang Norbu and Lhasang Tsering la for guidance and integrity.”

    Thus far Tsering Shakya has been rather silent on this issue, but anyone who has followed his activities on Tibet will not be that surprised to note a reluctance to acknowledge and report the true objectives of the struggle waged inside Tibet.

    Like his long-standing friends and associates, Robert Barnett and Kate Saunders, Tsering Shakya seems unwilling or unable to express the facts concerning the protests for Tibetan independence.

  39. Werner H. Fischer - Helsinki | May 16th, 2009 | 11:37 am

    Hello Jeff,

    could you please explain at least some of your personal impressions with further details – why does it seems to you -Tsering Shakya, Robert Barnett and Kate Saunders are unwilling or unable to express the facts concerning the protests for Tibetan independence
    thanks – werner

  40. Jeff Bowe | May 20th, 2009 | 4:45 pm

    Hi Werner,

    May I propose that, as an important first-step, you familiarise yourself with the archival/current writings and comments of these people, as the answer to your question is revealed by their words.

  41. Jeff Bowe | June 6th, 2009 | 3:17 am

    On the subject of misrepresenting Tibet and its struggle, please see the following:

    http://tibettruth.wordpress.com/2009/06/05/doctoring-the-facts-on-tibet/

  42. Jodie Hawthorne | February 15th, 2010 | 8:28 pm

    Poor Kirby, he was just having a say and you attack him with racist and violent words. I just shake my head when I hear the statements “Tibet is hell on earth” & “all Tibetans live in fear”. Yes, there is abuse, unfairness in China and Tibet and elsewhere and it is not at all acceptable. But the situation in Tibet is not what the people above are advocating. Kirby also had the guts to use his Chinese name. Shame on all of the people above who have no respect for the views of others.

    re:

    Werner H. Fischer – Helsinki | May 16th, 2009 | 11:37 am

    Hello Jeff,

    could you please explain at least some of your personal impressions with further details – why does it seems to you -Tsering Shakya, Robert Barnett and Kate Saunders are unwilling or unable to express the facts concerning the protests for Tibetan independence

    Answer is simple Werner; these people see reason and many other voices above do not.

    @ Bill King: I now find a lot of the anthropologists that I know and know of from Tibet who “should know better” have decided to hop on the free-Tibet bandwagon. Knowing the attitudes/likes of the people above I now understand why they have chosen to stand on that side-because the side I sit on is the uncomfortable and dangerous one.

    The Free-Tibet movement is not wrong Mr King. The issue is the racism and anti-Chinese sentiment that it encourages and breeds. It is foul and not acceptable. You may not hold racist sentiments against Chinese people, but I assure you that a large chunk of the Free-Tibeters do. Why don’t you learn the “language of the oppressors” (Mandarin) like I did and see what sort of reaction you get from your Free-Tibet friends.

    The Australian Tibet council has no shame when they boycott Tibetan performers, asking the public not to attend, to shout slogans. Wouldn’t you think the ATC would at least show some respect for the people they claim they want to “save”. This is why I cannot join this party of ignorant fools and lie my arse off.

    The stories I tell are true, just like the stories of torture of Tibetans by the Chinese are true. I guess you think it is o.k for the Dalai Lama and his dharma buddies to go travel the world demoralising westerners? I guess you think it is o.k for the likes of the crowd on here to demoralise and demonise Chinese people and their culture-juxtaposing it alongside Tibetan culture to make the Chinese look evil?

    I felt demoralised by Tibetans. That I am somehow inferior to them because I am not Tibetan and holy than thou. I promise you I am not alone on this. Many people have stakes in Tibet and they will not come out and speak their truth. Many are so dissatisfied with their own culture that they actually want to be Tibetan.

    Do you know that many Chinese people do the same thing? I know a few Chinese that have given themselves Tibetan names so they feel Tibetan and therefore special. It is trendy to be a minority in China now; especially a Tibetan, Mongolian, Nakhi or Miao(Hmong) etc are are some of the popular ones.

    But the people above want you to think that all Chinese people look down on ethnic minorities in China; calling the Tibetans backward and dirty, lazy etc. This is a gross exaggeration, misrepresentation and manipulation of the facts. By comparison as many Tibetans hate Muslims, have a complete disregard for westerners and black people as do the Chinese. The Free-Tibet people will not tell you this, Mr King.

    So many Indian children are demoralised by Tibetans. Why would these Tibetans deny and education to the very kids that labour for them? Many of the people above will justify this practice and make excuses for the Tibetans that commit this crime. Just like there is no excuse for physical torture of Tibetans; there is no excuse for Tibetans to physically and mentally abuse young Indian children and deny them an education and basic freedoms from childhood and well into their young adulthood.

    Because they are Indian (not Tibetan) this is o.k.

    Because I am just a dumb Western woman (not Tibetan) I am not worthy of respect and a voice.

    Why is it o.k to take the lives of Chinese people that personally did nothing to Tibetans? It’s not.

    Why is it o.k for Chinese troops to act with force against Tibetans that are in peaceful protest? It’s not.

  43. Tenpa Dhargyal Gapshi | February 16th, 2010 | 12:22 am

    the situation is not hell on earth if you are an apologist for the regime that runs it. If that is not the case, lets open up Tibet and lets see for real? Let Dalai Lama (wolf in sheep’s clothing) visit Tibet and you will see for real where the Tibetans fall. Don’t try to confuse irrelevant issues as if that makes it ok. Tibet is a colonized country. Tibetans don’t want Chinese in Tibet. Tibetans want to run their own destiny. If you can see through this lens, then everything else will fall in place.

  44. Christophe | February 16th, 2010 | 2:25 am

    Jodie,

    That’s funny, the last time you dropped here in early January, forty days ago, you said: “This issue is none of my business and in future I will stay out of it. I have more important things to do with my time than debate Tibet.”

    Do you already need some holidays or were you bitten by an apso puppy…?

    Go and get a life of your own instead of wasting the bandwidth with your stupid arguments. Your disillusion and bitterness have more to do with teen acne than anything else…

  45. Jodie Hawthorne | February 16th, 2010 | 5:12 pm

    Gorgeous and compassionate friends of all people inc. Western women and Indian children.

    @ Tenpa Dhargyal Gapshi

    you say: “Tibetans want to run their own destiny. If you can see through this lens, then everything else will fall in place.”

    Yes, I agree. But some Tibetans only want independence from China (the middle way approach by DL) and the people on here are against that. That is why they ran all over Choni; they want to recruit Choni to do the very thing they are not willing to do themselves-lose their life for a Free-Tibet. A lot of people on this blog want war, they want more violence, they want Tibetans to kill Chinese people. They are instilling more hate into Tibetan people’s minds with statements like Hugh’s here:

    “Your brothers and sisters in Tibet do not suffer because of RANGZEN. They suffer because they have been colonized by China. They suffer because they are Tibetan. Their very existence offends Chinese people. Should they simply slit their wrists and lay down for China in the interests of peace?

    Point blank, to hell with peace if it means slavery. The greatest weapon of the fascists is their tolerance of pacifists.”

    The very existence of Tibetans does not offend Chinese people. If you have spent any time in China or Tibet you would know that this is a lot of rubbish. I think that you would like it to be vice-versa and it is to some extent. It is certainly the case in your mind and in the minds of many Tibetan exiles.

    @ the lovely Christophe,

    I only came back on to let JN know that I have his book and am enjoying his writing style. Then “Sangay” wants to add in his 2c and say something to provoke me with this type of rhetoric:

    “When an innocent man is killed or tortured, his land invaded illegally, reduced him to minority in his own land, his culture and beliefs destroyed…,and all these done unprovoked, there’s no “grey” area…but unambiguous “black” and “white” or clear left or right. The perpetrator should be swiftly handed down capital punishment, period.”

    I had decided to keep my mouth shut but “Sangay” likes to have the last word. Let’s rewind the clock and I will say it again:

    “I respect your points of view, Mr Jamyang Norbu. I do not agree with all that you say because I am human like all of the complex people’s above and their various life experiences that led to their views. There is no “left” and no “right”; why do some people automatically and/or ignorantly put people into categories?”

    come on “Sangay” provoke me again and I will reply with more stories from Tibet. Did I ever tell you about the “Amdo boys night” in Gyalthang?

    Or would you like to hear some of the horror stories from the Indians that labour/ed for Tibetans in McLeod Ganj?

    Free Tibet

  46. Kalsang Phuntsok | February 16th, 2010 | 11:55 pm

    You are totally mistaken Jodie. We dont have a bone to pick with every individual chinese. Just so you know, we didn’t bring the fight to them; the fight was rather brought upon us by people and organizations who claimed to represent the people of China. We do accept the fact that we will have to live side by side with the chinese. But as long as this coexistence in OUR land, which we believe without any doubt is rightfully OURS, is under our terms we dont have to hold any animosity towards them. In fact we have already experimented back in the 50s coexistence with devastating results for us. And as for any recent improvements you might want ro claim, may I just remind you the 2008 uprisings all around Tibet.

  47. Kalsang Phuntsok | February 17th, 2010 | 12:20 am

    Jodie you asked Jeff the following question:

    “could you please explain at least some of your personal impressions with further details – why does it seems to you -Tsering Shakya, Robert Barnett and Kate Saunders are unwilling or unable to express the facts concerning the protests for Tibetan independence”

    I am confident Jeff has an answer but I doubt he would want to waste his time when the very people you are talking about are answering with deafening silence to this question. If you know the reasons, why dont you share with us? I would rather prefer debating along these lines rather than engaging in meaningless accusations and implications in which you seem quite gifted at.

  48. Jodie Hawthorne | February 18th, 2010 | 4:37 am

    @ Prescott Post #20 above, you say:

    “A cherished Christian friend commented “Brother, that’s what they get. They don’t belong there.” I came to see his point. Each and every Chinese person inside Tibet is profitting and benefitting from Communist policies of repression and oppression. They are making a living off the Tibetans’ suffering. They don’t belong, and Tibetans have every right to drive them out by any means necessary.”

    @ Sangay post #29; you say:

    “I rather waste bullet, finish the job, go for another one than waste time with these animals. Because if you dont finish them, they will finish you.”

    That may be your opinion or feelings Sangay and Prescott and it is racist. I am wondering what you think of Tibetans that are married to Chinese people that live in Tibet or outer-Tibet? Do you think they should piss off too? What about all of the Chinese that have lived in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan Tibetan areas for generations before the Dalai Lama was exiled; should they piss off too?

    I know you make no excuses for your racism and you may think that I am being racist toward Tibetans by telling the truth. The difference is that I am telling the truth and Kirby is telling his. Whose truth are you telling? Not the truth of all of the Tibetans in Tibet I can assure you. What is true is that most Tibetans love the Dalai Lama. What is not true is that Tibetans in Tibet all hate Chinese people and vice versa.

    My daughters father played in the Chinese National sports teams in basketball and other areas. He played with many Tibetans as they are also tall and strong. They do not hold the feelings that you are advocating on this forum.

    My girlfriend Drolma treats all people as human; not Chinese or Tibetan. Because she is not hung up on being Tibetan she does not feel the racist feelings that you are ranting above.

    Many Tibetans live in Chinese cities, many of them have businesses in China. What are they doing there if they hate the Chinese so much? Why do Tibetans marry Chinese?

    I hate it when you are so racist against Chinese people. You seem to think that a Tibetan life is worth more a Chinese life. I do not see your justification in that. Tibetan people are not any better or worse than any other person; this is what I am trying to get across to you. I guess you both belong to the group of misled foreigners that believe Tibetan culture and Tibetan Buddhism can save the world?

    Have a look at this article by John Powers from our National University!

    http://www.abc.net.au/ra/programguide/stories/200803/s2195357.htm

    You will love this as it mimics your propaganda. I especially love this comment; I can tell you that many Tibetans that I know would be very pissed off if they saw it. While it is true that many Chinese own businesses in Tibet there are also many owned and operated by Tibetans:

    “When I was in Tibet every business that I visited was owned by Chinese and staffed entirely by Chinese. Every employed person I met was Chinese. You see a lot of Tibetans begging at tourist sites and so forth, but it’s rare to see a Tibetan in a job.”

    What an insult!

  49. » On Jubilees and Anniversaries Rectified.name 正名 | June 3rd, 2012 | 9:30 pm

    [...] As Tsering Shakya writes: “It is indeed possible that such an initiative may have come from one group of Tibetans – senior party apparatchiks on the receiving end of internal criticism for their failure in 2008 to guarantee a loyal and docile populace.  But this itself is telling of the nature of the Serf Liberation Day initiative: for in an authoritarian regime, the failure of a client administration leaves performance as one of the few options available. It is natural then that authoritarian regimes have a love of public displays of spectacle, engineered to perfection, in which the people are required to perform ceremonial displays of contentment.” [...]

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