Running-Dog Propagandists

In response to my recent piece Barefoot Experts some readers wrote in to say that Tibetans should not fritter away their energy picking on experts and journalists in the West but should focus on countering propaganda from China. A reasonable request, on the face of it, but perhaps not too cued to the actual process by which propaganda from Communist China influences the outside world. Consider the most recent Chinese epithets hurled at the Dalai Lama: “a wolf in monk’s robes”, “a monster with a human face and animal’s heart” among others. No one in the West could possibly take such Cultural Revolution style denunciations seriously. So much of Beijing’s propaganda is so unrelentingly extreme that without considerable re-working and expurgation, even bowdlerization of sorts, by outside agencies, it would have absolutely no impact on public thinking in the West. In fact the effect would probably be negative.

The Chinese Communist Party has recognized this problem from its earliest days and cultivated left leaning journalists and writers in the West as Edgar Snow, Rewi Alley and others to present its version of things to the world. Quite often, as in the case of Snow and his bestselling book, Red Star over China, this method has proved very effective.

I am not going to discuss Western propagandists of the past who wrote on Tibet. A newly released book, China’s Tibet? Autonomy or Assimilation, by Warren Smith, (author of the masterful Tibetan Nation) 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. I intend to post a review of Warren Smith’s new book in a few weeks.

Smith also tackles China’s propaganda efforts within Tibetan society, and the impact that such misinformation 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

China’s propagandists on Tibet weren’t restricted to the Western world. The sub-continent produced its share. From Sri Lanka we had Ratne Deshpriya Senanayake, a leftist lawyer who was given a guided tour of Tibet in the mid- 60’s and wrote, Inside Story of Tibet. The chapter on Tibetan Buddhism is typical of the mind-bogglingly bogus scholarship that China’s propagandists get away with all the time. Take for instance his made-up-of-whole-cloth account of the origins of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (Chenrezig): “One of the mythical rishis of Kailasa who commanded the reverence of pre-Buddhist nomad tribes of Tibet was known as Chen Rishi. ‘Chen’ in Tibetan language means ‘great’ (it absolutely does not! JN). ‘Rishi’ is a Sanskrit term meaning ‘sage’. So, Chen Rishi mean the great sage.” Senanayake visited the propaganda exhibition in Lhasa attacking the Panchen Lama, and he enthusiastically retails the vilifications depicting the Panchen Lama as a cross-dressing child-molester without even a fleeting consideration that the charges could be entirely false.

Then we had the right-wing Hindu politician and friend of China, Subramaniam Swamy, author of Hindus under Seige (released by the RSS Sarsanghchalak Sri K S Sudarshanj in 2006) who also visited Tibet and who made it his personal crusade to see that the government of India sent the Dalai Lama and Tibetan refugees back to Tibet. In a number of articles in the eighties and nineties, Swamy attempted to persuade the Indian leadership and the public that Tibet was politically and culturally (in fact throughout its entire history) an inalienable part of China, and that even Buddhism had actually made its way to Tibet not from India but through China.

N. Ram

A more recent Indian propagandist for China has been N. Ram, editor of the very influential paper The Hindu, who the Chinese gave the full Tibet tour a couple of years ago and who in 2007 published two detailed articles where he compared the Dalai Lama to Ayatolah Khomeini, maintained that Chinese Communist rule in Tibet was benevolent and progressive, and prophesied that in twenty-five years (possibly even earlier) China would remake Tibet into a fully developed society. The Tibetan film-maker, Tenzin Sonam, in his sharp rebuttal, China’s India PR Guy, effectively demonstrated that Ram was just another propagandist for Communist China and a “useful-idiot”; a label Lenin had memorably attached to “starry-eyed Western sympathizers who made a beeline for Moscow to report on the glories of the ‘Soviet paradise’.”

This year when Chinese students in the US were bussed in by PRC embassies and consulates and paid to oppose the anti-torch rallies in San Francisco and demonstrations in New York and elsewhere, the Chinese counter-demonstrators handed out leaflets “proving” that Tibet had always been a part of China, and that before the Communist invasion it had been a brutal and inhuman “slave society.” The one Western authority consistently cited in these documents to prove their claims was the American political scientist, Michael Parenti.

Parenti is a residual American radical leftist, a throwback to the sixties. He characteristically describes himself as a “progressive”, the word being for leftists as sought-after a designation as “compassionate” is for Tibetan Buddhists. From Parenti’s website: “one of the nation’s leading progressive political analysts … unrivaled among fellow progressive activists and thinkers… etc etc.” His subscribes to the Leninist dictum that Western democracies are “bourgeois democracies,” a charade to mislead the people into thinking that they were free and self-governing. Since the late 80s though, he is said to have noticeably modified his position. He also strongly argues that western accounts of Stalins’s great purges are exaggerated, and like the former Trotskyist, Christopher Hitchens, has attacked mother Theresa as a fraud and “fast-track saint.” On a more bizarre level he has attacked US intervention in Yugoslavia, and now heads the United States chapter of the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milošević.

His main anti-Tibet screed is Frendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth, which he last expanded and updated in 2007. Starting off with this dramatic line “Along with the blood-drenched landscape of religious conflict…” Parenti embarks on a general smear of Buddhist societies throughout history and then settles on Tibet in particular, where he essentially regurgitates official Chinese propaganda, received through the writings of Anna Louise Strong, and Stuart and Roma Gelder, to which he provides a cover of scholarship by citing Tom Grunfeld and Melvin Goldstein.

He is so unbelievably ill-informed on Tibet that it would be laughable, if a generation of Chinese students in the US did not seem to regard him as the leading authority on Tibet. He writes that Kublai Khan (1215-1294) created the first “Grand Lama” or Dalai Lama (1391-1474) and a century later the third in line gave himself the title “Dalai” and then decided to “retroactively” recognize his two predecessors as Dalai Lamas. This would be on the level of nonsensical drivel as someone claiming that Napoleon Bonaparte appointed George Washington president of the United States, but that only till John Adams was elected did the title become official – or any claptrap along those lines. A more in-depth critique of Parenti, A Lie Repeated – The Far Left’s Flawed History of Tibet by Joshua Michael Schrei, appeared some years ago, and is well recommended.

Another propagandists for China with pretensions regarding Tibetan history is Tom Grunfeld of Empire State College NY, author of The Making of Modern Tibet. I have written a fairly long review essay, Acme of Obscenity on his anti-Tibet “history”, where I have also provided detailed information of his Maoist background and his lack of qualifications (no knowledge of spoken or written Tibetan or Chinese language – for starters). If a similar book appeared today about Blacks or Jews there would, without doubt, be universal public outcry. Tom Grunfeld writes that Tibetan mothers licked their babies as they emerged from the womb – like animals. He goes on to specify that Tibetan were cruel, dirty, ignorant, syphilitic (90% of the population suffering from venereal diseases according to TG) sexual degenerates who were observed making love on rooftops in full public view. Clearly this is intended to portray Tibetans as barbaric, subhuman, even bestial, thereby justifying Communist Chinese rule in Tibet as necessary and civilizing.

I have tried to find a suitable description or label for these anti-Tibet propagandists but Tibetan is a poor language for constructing political epithets. English, as Orwell has noted, is similarly inadequate when compared to the political language of the left in Europe, especially in Soviet Russia. Americans are also not very good at this sort of thing. During the cold war they came up with the weak “commie” and the pathetic “chicom” for Chinese Communist. At present the worst insult the right-wing in the USA can manage about China’s apologists and supporters is “panda hugger”; which only makes me think of my little daughter in bed with her toy bhiladomchen.

The Chinese have a rich vocabulary of words and phrases specifically to humiliate and insult, some of which were in use before the advent of Communist rule in China. For instance the word “running dog” (gǒutuǐzi 狗腿子 or zǒugǒu 走狗) meaning an unprincipled person who helps or flatters other, more powerful and often evil people, was in use in this sense since the Qing dynasty. Anyone who has gone through the pages of Communist Chinese newspapers (I have done so only in translation) will have noted its extensive use in official propaganda. So in the spirit of quid pro quo it might be fitting to confer on Parenti, Grunfeld and others the title of “running-dog propagandists”. An abbreviation “dog-prop” is offered, in the style of the Soviet “agit-prop” (meaning a person or organization engaged in disseminating official propaganda) but the contraction doesn’t appear to “take” all that well.

A distinction should perhaps be made between running dog propagandists and the barefoot experts discussed in an earlier piece. Though we might strongly disagree with the some of the writings and viewpoints of the latter, we should not regard them as propagandists for Communist China. In fact a case could perhaps be made that many such experts started off as supporters of the Tibetan cause, but drifted astray for various reasons, a crucial one possibly being the intellectual confusion and cynicism generated by the suicidal appeasement policies of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile.

The main running-dog propagandist to comment on events in Tibet this March has been Barry Sautman, Associate Professor, Division of Social Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Sautman appears to have taken on himself the task of playing down China’s repression of the people of Tibet and East Turkestan (Xinjiang). In the case of Tibet his essential thesis is that that claims of cultural repression against Tibetans by the Han Chinese are greatly exaggerated by Tibetan exiles in India and by the liberal Western press. And that even the term “cultural genocide” is a “straw man” that is used by exile Tibetans to malign China.

He makes his argument much more effectively than Parenti and handily dispenses a barrage of statistics and data his opponents appear unable to respond to immediately. Careful inspection reveals the dubious origins of many of his facts and figures, which he often presents only partially, to suit the specifics of his argument. For instance Sautman tells us that “Schools in Tibet promote the Tibetan language more than Indian schools do in ethnic Tibetan areas – in Ladakh, India, instruction is in Urdu, with a high dropout rate from Tibetans, but India is never accused of cultural genocide against Tibetans.”

The data that Sautman cleverly fails to include is that Ladakh (unlike Tibet) has traditionally had a mixed population of Buddhists and Muslims, and that education in Urdu is a legacy of Moghul rule, continued under the British by the princely state of Kashmir, and since independence by the Muslim majority state of Kashmir, of which Ladakh is a region. In point of fact Tibetan language education has actually undergone a resurgence in Ladakh in recent times, especially since 1995 with the formation of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council, whereby much of the actual administration of the region including language and education has been effectively placed in the hand of elected local leaders.

Sautman also challenges the description of Tibet as a colony of China. He argues, “The problems of Tibetans are typical of minorities in the era of large modern states.” He holds the same for East Turkestan (Xinjiang) disputing the view of some experts that the region is an “internal colony” of China. He is skillful in applying mind-numbing academic gobbledygook to gloss over flaws in his argument. Take this sentence for instance: “Its (East Turkestan’s) relationship with the PRC centre and the political economy of Han/minority interaction indicate, however, that none of the elements of the internal colonialist concept are sufficiently present to warrant characterising Xinjiang as an internal colony of China.” What on earth is the “political economy of Han/minority interaction” or for that matter, what is an “internal colonialist concept”?

On the recent events in Tibet, Barry Sautman has been sternly reproving. In an article Protests in Tibet and Separatism: The Olympics and Beyond, he declares that the Tibet protests “differ from the broad-based demonstrations of ‘people power’ movements in several parts of the world in the last few decades. They hardly show the overwhelming Tibetan anti-Chinese consensus portrayed in the international media. The highest media estimate of Tibetans who participated in protests is 20,000 — by Steve Chao, the Beijing Bureau Chief of Canadian Television News, i.e. one of every 300 Tibetans. Compare that to the 1986 protests against the Marcos dictatorship by about three million — one out of every 19 Filipinos.”

Note the impressive statistics, the media estimates. The only catch being that we know media presence throughout Tibet was near non-existent during that period, so the best estimates become essentially vague guesses. Steve Chao only made it to a remote village of Bora in Amdo (Gansu province) where he witnessed an invasion of over one thousand villagers and tribals on horseback and foot.

“They came over the mountain on horseback, and on foot. More than a thousand ethnic Tibetans, pouring into a remote Chinese town not far from the Tibetan border. “ They stormed the government building, and though repelled by tear gas, pulled down the Chinese flag and raised the Tibetan national flag … These are the type of protests being repeated throughout the country. People, mostly Tibetans, demanding their freedom. And their own country.”

Did Steve Chao write that only 20,000 Tibetans participated in the events throughout Tibet? I don’t know. I googled for the “20,000” estimate and all I got was Sautman’s article, or his Steve Chao quote repeated in many left wing and anti-Tibet websites. Nothing directly by Steve Chao. Anyway, such estimates are meaningless. 20,000 is as much a guess as 100,000 or 1000,000, under the circumstances. The only clear impression we actually have from Chao’s various interviews and reports is that he witnessed a dramatic and great uprising against Communist China at the remote village of Bora, that Chao realised “was being repeated throughout the country.”

Sautman also makes a very apples and oranges sort of comparison here. Tibet is an occupied country completely controlled by a foreign military and security forces, and sealed off to the international media and the world. Every Tibetan was fully aware that Chinese reprisals against any sort of demonstration would be brutal and massive. Also no one expected that the initial demonstrations in Lhasa would trigger of uprisings and protest throughout Tibet, including areas incorporated into Sichun, Gansu and Qinghai provinces. Considering the massive investment in security, intelligence and control the Chinese had made over the years in Tibet, the spontaneity, size and extensiveness of the protests caught Chinese authorities completely by surprise. I don’t think anyone in Beijing would go along with Sautman’s contention that the events in Tibet were small potatoes.

The Philippines, although under the authoritarian and corrupt rule of Ferdinand Marcos was, relative to Communist China, an open society with representatives of the world media, NGOs and US and other government agencies present and operating relatively freely. The protests Sautman mentions came about because democratic elections had earlier been held for the presidency but reports of voter fraud by Marcos soon circulated which precipitated the demonstrations. The movement grew over the days with such religious figures as Jaime Cardinal Sin and even the defense minister and Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces joining the protesters, which encouraged more of the public to join – swelling the numbers. The uprising in Tibet were entirely leaderless, spontaneous and unplanned, yet the vast extent of territory it covered, its unified nationalist message (the national flag and independence slogans) and its staying power – with protests still breaking out in Eastern Tibet – indicate the awakening of a powerful nationalistic and revolutionary spirit in the Tibetan people.

Satuman also declares, with not a shred of evidence or citation, that the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) and other exile entities responsible for the demonstrations were financed by the US State Department or the US Congress’ National Endowment for Democracy. It is almost certain that Sautman got his information from William Engdahl, well known for his views that both the 9/11 attacks and the theory of global warming are conspiracies. Engdahl’s Tibet article appeared in April 14th where he argued that the events in Tibet were engineered by U.S. government-backed organizations and funded by the US State Department, including the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Freedom House, as well as the Trace Foundation financed by the wealth of George Soros.

Sautman concludes “The protests in Tibet had no progressive aspect… There have been many movements the world over in which marginalized people have taken a reactionary and often racist road, for example, al-Qaeda or much of the base of the Nazis.”

When Tibetans, who are conducting probably the most peaceful struggle in the world for “national liberation” against a colossal totalitarian regime that thinks nothing of massacring thousands of its own students in the space of a few nights; when these Tibetans are accused of being reactionaries and racists operating in much the same way as Al Qaeda or the Nazis, it is imperative for Tibetans to realize that they are not just being criticized unfairly, or that their issue is merely being discussed, albeit unsympathetically, in a free or neutral forum. No, they are being set up. In this day and age being accused of anything related to Al Qaeda is highly undesirable. Just ask the Uighur freedom fighters locked up in Guantanamo.

It is important that Tibetan activist organization as the Tibetan Youth Congress or the Students for a Free Tibet, should not only challenge all such accusations and innuendos but should take anyone making them to court. I am not a legal expert but I think that Sautman’s charge that the TYC and other activist organizations took money from the State Department or the NED is clearly actionable.

At a time when more extreme societies and organizations think nothing of issuing death threats or pronouncing fatwa’s against their critics, and often go through the trouble of actually carrying them out, it is important that any Tibetan response to their detractors, critics, even proven agents of Communist China be civilized, measured and legitimate. Yet respond Tibetans must. No one could in any way object to a carefully considered and legal response by Tibetans to those who would spread malicious untruths about their country and cause. If the attacker in question were an academic or a journalist, I feel it would be the responsible thing for Tibetans to contact the institution the person works for, state their concerns and provide accurate information about the person’s bias, bigotry or lack of qualifications.

Tibetans should bear in mind that not only their struggle for freedom, but in fact their very history, culture – everything that has meaning for them – is coming under attack from what can only be described as propagandists and apologists for Communist China posing as impartial, even concerned, scholars and journalists; and, in a case or two (which will be discussed in the future) even from self-described philanthropists and some national leaders.

Holocaust denial has become an indictable crime in thirteen, mostly European countries. Whether one thinks such a law is too restrictive of free speech, or whether what happened in Tibet is like the Holocaust or not, everyone would surely agree that without the strenuous and determined efforts of Jewish organizations and individuals, in courts, the media, intellectual forums and academic circles around the world, the tragic history of modern European Jewry would most probably have been swept under the carpet in most countries, including the USA and Europe.

Tibetans need to move in a more resolute and organized manner to counter this assault on their cause and history. For a start a website could perhaps be created and the Tibetan public, supporters and friends regularly informed about the activities of running dog propagandists, and sometimes when warranted, the comments of barefoot experts. Some of our own politicians, lamas, scholars and others, attempting to appease Beijing to obtain a visa, to start or maintain a business or a project inside Tibet, have also unfortunately been sometimes persuaded to articulate Beijing’s propaganda regarding Tibet.

So much of the international impact of the tremendous revolutionary events in Tibet this year was simply neutralized by the comments of foreign propagandists and experts, and squandered away by the confusing and insanely self-destructive statements and actions originating from Dharmshala, and retailed in the West by the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) and others. Those who believe in Rangzen must reclaim the debate on Tibet so that the actual aspirations of the people inside Tibet are clearly represented to the world. It is also vital that this discussion be vigorous – yet open, honest and informed – and that it actively involves the Tibetan people and those who have the best interests of that nation at heart.

Before concluding I think it might be useful to familiarize readers with the “root guru” the tsawae lama, of nearly all these propagandists and “experts” on Tibet – especially since the late seventies. As I had occasion to mention earlier, most of these self-described “historians” and “scholars” writing on Tibet, nearly always had no command of written or spoken Tibetan and only superficial knowledge of Tibetan history or culture. If one studies their works it will be noticed that they generally tend to quote from each other in a sort of vicious circle, and also quote extensively from British travelers of the imperialistic pre-Younghusband expedition era, whose writings demonized old Tibetan society, in much the way as Communist propaganda does now, and for much the same reasons – to justify the violent military invasion of an independent nation and peaceful neighbour. No one I have noticed quotes from later, and significantly more accomplished British scholars on Tibet as Hugh Richardson or Alistair Lamb.

But the one academic, the Tibet expert that all running dog propagandists and barefoot experts unfailing cite and whose information and observations provide their work some appearance of scholarship and legitimacy, is the anthropologist, Melvyn Goldstein of Case Western Reserve University. Goldstein is not only fluent in spoken and written Tibetan, but has published a number of language books and dictionaries, that are useful, but which contain an underlying political message that the modernization and revitalization of Tibetan language was largely, perhaps even exclusively the doing of Communist China. I have discussed this contention in my four-part essay Newspeak and New Tibet: The Myth of China’s Modernization of Tibet and the Tibetan Language. Part I, Part II, Part III , Part IV & Part V.

Beijing appears to regard Goldstein as the premier Tibet scholar on its side. If one goes into the Chinese government white papers on Tibet and checks out The Historical Inevitability of Tibet’s Modernization, The first and key reference cited is Goldstein’s History of Modern Tibet: the Demise of the Lamaist State. This book is extremely important to China’s propagandists, because it is the only extensive account of pre-invasion Tibet and its government that is not only harshly condemnatory of Tibetans, but presents a very convincing appearance of meticulous research and authentic scholarship. In fact no Tibetan academic or the government in exile has thus far attempted to challenge it. I have undertaken a fairly long analysis of Goldstein’s book that I will post in two parts starting next week.

Goldstein has also written a major policy report on the Tibetan question. The Dragon and the Snowlion: The Tibetan Question in the 20th Century. In this he articulates his final solution for the Tibetan question, whereby the Chinese would retain political, military and economic control over Tibet, but would allow Tibetans to exist within “cultural reservations”. A few Tibetans wrote indignant letters when it first appeared in the Tibetan Review. I contributed an analysis, Atrocity and Amnesia in 1992. I later came to understand that Goldstein’s report contributed to easing the decision of many in Congress to go along with the Clinton administration’s de-linking of human rights and trade with China, and abandoning MFN. Tibet had then been the main sticking point in the MFN discussions. In fact June 3rd 1994, was the administration’s deadline for China to show progress on human rights in Tibet or face losing its most favoured nation trading status. Because of Goldstein’s various roles in Tibetan affairs then, as language expert, anthropologist, historian, and even statesman, some Western scholars jokingly referred to him as “Melvyn of Tibet”.

The report, now in pamphlet form, still has capacity to do damage and was recently quoted by Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times as “the best introduction to Tibet”. With the help of the pamphlet Kristof concluded that it was as much the Dalai Lama’s fault as it was China’s that the situation in Tibet was so terrible; and that Washington should not support the Tibetan issue even through “symbolic gestures”. The title of Kristof’s op-ed of May 18, Fed Up With Peace seemed to imply that Tibetans were moving towards the path of violence. Therefore, by supporting their cause Americans might well be encouraging, even sponsoring a potential but dangerous extremist movement (as the Taliban in Afghanistan?). He concludes with this alarming observation “… at this rate Shangri-La may become a breeding ground for terrorists.”

Goldstein himself made a small but direct contribution to the discussions following the recent uprisings in Tibet with a letter to the editor. It was in response to an op-ed, Don’t Know Much About Tibetan History in The New York Times by Professor Elliot Sperling of Indiana University, who made it clear that although the question was controversial, the historical evidence for Tibet as an independent nation was more substantial than China’s claims to the country. Sperling concluded with the blunt observation that “Tibet was not ‘Chinese’ before Mao Zedong’s armies marched in and made it so.”

Goldstein immediately responded with a brief letter saying that though Tibet may have been a de-facto independent country before 1950, the USA and Great Britain did not recognize it as such. I could practically hear Goldstein whispered “so there” at the end of the sentence.

Goldstein has made it a point in many of the conferences and forums he attends, to constantly attempt to establish American non-recognition of Tibetan independence. He did it at a conference in Harvard in 2002, The Cold War and its Legacy in Tibet, and poured cold water on some of the romance and excitement generated by the discussions of the CIA’s secret involvement with the Khampa resistance in Tibet. Of course Goldstein was right that the American government had never recognized Tibetan independence, but his way of expressing it, as a kind of put down of the Tibetan freedom struggle, nettled me somewhat. I managed to get in a comment that Goldstein’s view was America-centric; that things did manage to happen in this world without the blessings of the USA; and that Tibet had become an independent country in 1912 without America’s approval or recognition.


118 Replies to “Running-Dog Propagandists”

  1. When these so-called Western scholars of Tibetan history & culture–those who speak & write Tibetan–become runnning-dog propagandists for the PRC, there seem to be precious few Westerners who can confront them on their own turf: the halls of academe, the journals and quarterlies, the conventions, the classrooms. I had no idea that Goldstein’s work had had any influence in shaping Clinton’s foreign policy regarding the separation of human rights and trade agreements. Thanks for this information.

    My feeling is that those of us who know little Tibetan and less Chinese, and happen to be employed by American universities, are better off avoiding the kinds of pro-Tibetan discourse that lack the necessary authority to change the minds that need to be changed. What we can do is educate ourselves by reading the reliable histories, and pass this education on to our students; but even more importantly, it seems to me, we can let Tibetans speak for themselves–invite them to our classrooms, provide them local platforms in parts of America where those platforms haven’t traditionally been available, and leave the heavy-lifting, the confrontation of the real scholars and critics, to the heavy-weights. I have been working on a program along these lines for two years, and it’s had a tangible effect on our students and administrators.

    Much can be gained, long-term, by making certain that students currently enrolled in colleges and universities are given reliable information regarding Tibet’s history and its relationship to China. SFT, of course, has had real success in this area, but much remains to be done. It’s another front entirely from the one JN is addressing in this piece, and it’s not a front that’s nearly as important as the one discussed in this posting, but it’s one that the Chinese are extremely aware of and are cultivating in every way they can. American universities, now more than ever, are corporations presided over by CEO’s, and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by the PRC.

  2. What an insightful information? Thanks for unveiling the real propagandists. You are truly an expert on Tibet.

  3. JN is right about this breed of ‘experts’. Recently Mr. N Ram ran a cover story of the tibet riots in his fortnightly magazine Frontline which is published from South India. There were 18 pages (can you believe it !!) of biased information all supporting the communist rule in Tibet . In all of those 18 pages he had hardly a word of sympathy for the Dalai Lama or the Tibetans in exile or for that matter the Tibetans being clamped down on.The word he used like splittists and feudalist and dalai cligue was eerily similar to CCP prpaganda.Even the arguments he used for India to stay away was slanted. He mentioned Sikkim and Kashmir. He forgot to mention that the Chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh was told by the Chinese that he didnt need a visa as he was a Chinese citizen -clearly staking their claim on Arunachal. Mr. Ram conveniently gets away with in my eyes -treason against the Indian state and should be exposed for what he really is. A running dog of the CCP!!We dont expect all writers and journalists to support us or write favourable reports in our favour but somewhere you’ve got to draw the line. 18 pages i counted and the only favourable words he had to say was maybe some tibetans had economic problems.I remember reading a copy of the chinese state magazine on Tibet called Chinas Tibet.Well i could well have been reading an issue of that magazine!! I wrote the magazine a letter pointing out the facts and rebutting the points made. I didnt expect it to be published and it was’nt. Mr. Ram who owns the magazine and has visited Tibet several times at the behest of the CCP obviously has something to gain from his all out attack on the Dalai lama and the exile tibetans. It was a sad day for journalism in India

  4. I seem to recall that the recommended reading list offered to students by Robert Barnett, appears to prominently feature the aforementioned propagandists. Hardly a balanced or unbiased source for students of Tibet.

  5. JN La, i really admire your vast knowledge about Tibet and you’re articulate in comparing the different situations of Tibet and the other part of the world. I wish we could make short video documentaries for youtube as chapter division. So that lot of young people can see the truth. I do make short video documentaries but I really need a good knowledgeable writer for that. Anyway, keep on writing

  6. I too would recommend reading some of their works, under the proper level of skepticism and critical thinking which a good reader should always apply. It would be great to have students who can actually think for themselves reading these books, studying the authors’ backgrounds and motivations, and drawing their own conclusions. Sadly if the professor is presenting them as legitimate authorities, too few students actually have the thought (much less the guts) to do so.

    Jeff, do you perhaps have some copies of course syllabi or accounts from Robbie’s students to shed some light on your particular example?

  7. Rich…

    What I recall from the list I came across, is that Goldstein was given some prominence, no surprises there, and Grunfeld too.

    I see Barnett has been busy peddling his usual take on Tibet, this time to the Center for Foreign Relations.

    “..Mao, of course, was able to move in in 1950 with the People’s Liberation Army. And then he established what seemed to Tibetans at the time something that was really welcome, the idea of Tibet, which he defined just as the central and western areas of the plateau, as an autonomous area. That autonomy in a very real sense was allowed to exist for eight years” (Robert Barnett June 11th CFR Symposium).

    Well one imagines the Tibetan people were overjoyed by the benefits of such an ‘autonomy’ so tenderly imposed upon them by the invading Communist Chinese forces!

  8. Dear Jamyang la,

    Thank you very much for your insightful article, for exposing these propagandists. You are indeed right. This Barry Sautman is very smart, he almost brainwashed me with his comments that “there are as many discotheques and karoake bars in Dharamsala, as there are in Lhasa, Tibet”.

    There was a time when I was having doubts in my mind whether Tibet was independent or not in its history. The fact that the Tibetan leadership gave up its strugle for independence further strengthened this doubt.

    Then I started reading tibetan history, written not just by the tibetan lama historians, but by reknowned and respected Tibetan scholars like Sperling, Luciano Petech, Turrel Wylie and Hugh Richardson, although the latter seems to be too sympathetic to the “old” Tibet.

    One more book I would recommend to my fellow Tibetans is the one by Chirstopher Beckwith, a professor at Indiana University and a colleague of Sperlling. I think it is extremely important for every educated Tibetan youth to do a thorough study of thier country and be confident, through independent anaylysis, that Tibet indeed was independent nation for thousands of years…

    These Chinese propagandists have been very successful in penetrating the minds of educated Tibetan youth in exile. I almost became a victim of it, especially, as I mentioned above, of Barry Sautman.

    A freind a of mine (i don’t wish to name here), a higly educated and nice guy, who holds a masters degree from a prestigious American University, also told me that he didn’t think Tibet was historically independent country…I still know some other freinds, who hold high sounding posts here in India, who think that same way….

    Perhaps we didn’t realise and fully appreciate the inroads the Chinese government has been able to make into the mind of Tibetans through such propagandists. The most effective of them, as rightly noted by Jamyang la, is Barry Sautman. Thanks for your timely rejoinder, which even the Tibetan government in exile is not able to do it…

    I appeal all our Tibetan brothers and sisters to study thier country and people as much as they can so that we don’t waver on our just position that Tibet was an independent nation, brutally occupied by the Chinese….

  9. first of all, Chimeay, lets stay on topic. That’s an argument for another day.

    Secondly, JN: Great article again! I am always infuriated by the number of time that I, a westerner (yes, by not being a Tibetan I accept that I lose some credibility) who speaks Tibetan and some Chinese and has spend a year living in Asia studying Tibetan issues there as well, am forced to defend myself against the idiotic statements of people like Michael Parenti who, if I recall, may not even have a degree in the subject, does not speak the language, yet acts like he is a true professional.
    And then there is Goldstein. I agree with Rich: Read his books, but with a proper skeptical eye. If you can sift out the propagandist statements which litter all of the documents, then you might find a few facts of interest. Also, its important to know the “academic claims” that you are up against.

    Thank you for exposing these zougou for what they really are. Keep up the excellent work.

  10. Thanks Jamyang la for sharing the true color of these self proclaimed Tibet expert. Whenever I engage in discussion with Chinese on Tibet, these bare foot experts and running dog propagandist normally comes on their lips to prove their point. Many even don’t know other than Beijing’s version of Tibetan history. Suing these self proclaimed expert is indeed a very good idea. Jamyang la, the font you use in your website is too small and grey which is difficult to read. Can you increase the font and change the color as well please?

  11. Once we catch these running dogs, we’ll have a feast no matter if it’s not on the menu for the Olympic Village or is. (Who says we can’t bring our own food?)

  12. Seriously, R. & J., if you want to see R.B.’s syllabi, they’re up on the web for the whole world to see. Like this one for the class “Understanding Modern Tibet.”

    And J., lay off R.B. He’s a great guy and gets a whole lot right. Everybody knows you’ve had differences in the past. The ad hominem gets stale, heard it before… Attack the issues and not the person. At least learn this ‘academic’ courtesy or kindly be quiet.

    As R. says, profs. often assign readings they disagree with. Some *only* assign readings they disagree with. Get it? The students read things and in class they discuss them.

  13. Also watch out this lady, Louise MacBain, she once wrote an article in the Forbe, she propagate Chinese propaganda while still able to maintain to call Dalai Lama as “His Holiness”. Another hypocrite who try to make money in the name of non-profit and global thinking while forwarding one’s secretive agenda. Also trying to project herself as the only visionary and progressive person in this 21st Century.

    Let just say into her face, she is not welcome in Tibet and she does not have a credibility to talk about Tibet.


  14. Jamyang Norbu

    Tashi deleh, this is a very thorough report, well done. A minor critique is attached.

    “bangxiong” (帮凶) vs. “running dog“ (zougou, 走狗)
    The Chinese language indeed has a rich collection of phrases specifically to humiliate or insult specific targets. Considering there is only one word “cousin” in English to cover eight (2x2x2) possible kinship entities (paternal/maternal lineage, male/female, younger/older) where Chinese language have eight distinct terms to describe each of them, you get the idea why Chinese language can be quite specific sometimes.

    “Running dog” is the literal translation of “zougou” meaning one of your own people (same blood or cultural decent) sided with your enemy to harm your interest, for example when a Chinese person is accused as a running dog of American, this is an insult to this person’s entire family for all generations (can you imagine how many kinship entities involved?), the family/social pressure is immense on this person’s shoulder as a result; so for technical accuracy you guys may call Champa Phuntsok a “running dog” of Chinese government but not quite right to label those professors and journalists as “running dogs”. The right term to use for your purpose is “bangxiong” (帮凶) which carries the same meaning but reserved for someone who is not related to you in blood (non-Tibetan). However considering “running dog” and “bangxiong” mean the same thing only differ in application and for a practical reason it may be quite inhumane to ask your inji supporter try to pronounce “bangxiong”. I think “running dog” is fine.

  15. Rich

    I take your point about examining the motives and backgrounds of authors on the subect of Tibet. Read with awareness and careful scrutiny, there may well be isolated nuggets of useful information. Generally though the propaganda, distortions and lies outweigh any independent or balanced analysis.

    Take Grunfeld’s ‘The Making of Modern Tibet, which received a scorching examination from Mr.Paul Ingram in his masterful book, ‘Tibet: The Facts’ (Scientific Buddhist Association/TYBA 1990).

    As Ingram notes:

    “Mr Grunfeld, while giving the appearance of relative impartiality, has in fact weighted his material in favour of the Chinese to the detriment of balanced and accurate analysis of the Tibetan tragedy. He uses sources most selectively, employs a great deal of extenuating phraseology when examining the Chinese legacy in Tibet, which while appearing to be balanced, is in fact prejudiced, rarely gives insights into the suffereing of the Tibetan people….”.

    Such observations and critique could be applied to the writings and opinions of a number of academics and commentators on Tibet. Therefore, Jamyang la’s suggestion of website to feature/report on the comments and activities of such individuals would be an extremely positive development, a challenge that is long overdue.

  16. Not Very Mysterious London Tibetan,
    I’ve known Jeff for many years and he has never sucked up to me or anyone else I know of for that matter. The absolutely nasty tone of your comment is unacceptable in this forum. I have asked my webmaster to exclude you from all further discussions on this website.

  17. I don’t understand why people need to hide behind a pseudonym while commenting on this website.
    The very act of using a pseudonym gives you the impression that the person is not sincere.

    I wonder if it is possible for the webmaster to get people to use their full name. That will to some degree eliminate all the confusion and ill intentioned comments.

    For example, there can be any number of Tsering, but there will be fewer Tsering Choedon. And there is only one Tsering Choedon Lejotsang.

    Most Tibetans have 2 names (Lhakpa Tsering, Migmar Dolma, Tsering Choedon, etc).

    Thus, instead of using just one name like Migmar or a Lhakpa, people should use their second name as well e.g Migmar Dolma and better still add their family name : Migmar Dolma Khangsar, etc.
    It is very unlikely to have two people in the same family to have exactly the same name.
    Adding a family name to their full personal name will create a unique code for each person.

  18. Tsering Choedon Lejotsang,

    I’m afraid it’s impossible to ask people to use their full name unless we go for website registration (with password, valid e-mail, etc.). Even then, this wouldn’t refrain anyone from using a pseudonym — something widely accepted by Internet users.

    Golok Ambum

  19. Whenever we post in the forum or visit a site or log in a chatroom, our IP address get registered. And the webmaster has access to it giving him full rights to ban the user for further entry. I have also heard that people who hack the website also get tracked by cyber crime investigator. Am I right, Golok Amdum?

    I suggest the user to be polite in discussion especially in this forum as it is being written by our esteemed author.

    Keep up the good work Jamyang la. You are truely a norbu, a gem.


  20. Tashi la
    There is no need to go overboard. I am not a “gem”, this is not a sacred place, and we don’t need to be all polite and nice on this forum. We want real debate and discussion, the stronger the better. Lets just draw the line at low slimy personal attacks.

  21. While there may be some legitimate information of actual value in these running dogs’ writings, I didn’t mean to suggest that we should read them for the sake of that. Rather, we should simply know our enemy. Jamyang has done us an amazing service detailing the histories and involvements of these people in furthering China’s interests, but we could benefit a lot more from doing our own further research into their writing.

    What I was trying to say is that it’s even acceptable to recommend that people with little or know knowledge of Tibet read these books, as long as they can be trusted to have a common-sense level of skepticism. Just like you wouldn’t believe a credit card offer that arrives in the mail promising 0.1% APR, one should not take the contents of books or articles at face value, but instead question what interest the author might have in lying or misrepresenting information, whether they are qualified to report on the subject, and so on. Sadly, our schools (here I mean both my people’s schools here in the United States, and probably most Tibetan schools as well) do not instill this kind of critical thinking in kids at an early age, and too often it’s never developed at all. School should not teach you to respect the authority of poeple who managed to publish books and articles, but instead to question that. And what better topic is there than the misrepresentation surrounding Tibet as an exercise in critical thinking?

  22. In the course of doing battle with the fenqing on youtube I made cyberfriends with one and had some pleasant enough PM exchanges. He told me that the two Gs – Grunfeld and Goldstein – were independent writers on Tibet, who demonstrate that China’s position is objectively correct. I presume he is studying or has studied at a university in the West, although I don’t know if he has studied Tibetan history.

    I will make one comment about Robert Barnett’s webpage, quoted by Jeff Bowe on post 16. The very striking image, done in typical Chinese Propaganda Ministry style, gave me a visceral response the very second I saw it. Not a good one by the way. Given that there are contending views of what modern Tibet is and what it should be, isn’t it a little odd that this particular image should be the one offered up for prospective students to get their first impression of the course? Why not the Snow Lion flag? Or for those who like to provide balance (or acknowledge the contested nature of reality to put it in post-modern-speak), why not a pro-CCP image and a pro-Tibet one?

  23. Wow. A long work which starts at demolishing the Anti-Tibetanist propagandists. (Sorry for my mild term. You are right. English doesn’t do well for strong political terms unless we want to use the ubiquitous eff word a lot.)

    Parenti makes me throw up. That anyone outside of narrow fringe marxists would take him seriously is beside me. But people are easily turned into stooges by the likes of him.

    And Melvyn? blah. He is full of himself. (Sorry that I seem hostile towards these people, but I am hostile and not apologetic at all about it.)

    Anyway, good work. I’ll be rereading it for a while and trying to come up with more intelligent comments.

  24. Dear jamyang,

    i beg to differ with you on Tibetan language being poorly on possessing linguastic equipage of political epithets. Here is one: “tro pa lhak cho” [boatman sails on the directionS of the wind] and would it be, ironically, a suitable discription of yourself? The fact that you tergiversated [Tsok kong chi thoun] and stopped supporting “terrorrism” [i would have used the term ‘armed sruggle’ if i were you]after [am i right on time?] your immigration to America? Were you paraniod with the post 9″11 and “war on terror” political and social climate in the US and the prospect of likely restrictions imposed on you by us government owing to definite Chinese sensitivities and hung your boots up? or was there a better reason or reasons for such a sharpe turn? I heard you advocated total war on china almost back in India, was it true?
    why the change, dude?

    i hope i have not being of an annoyance [对你恼火]…..Kham sang!!!

  25. BILLK

    My thoughts too.


    Perhaps more hostile still is the assiduous and cynical misrepresentation of the truth.

  26. Jeff,

    Agreed. To hear Melvyn drone on pompously about how Tibet has been part of China for centuries just reminds me of the old voice-of-god narrations used in older anthro-prop films. That anyone still would give it credible weight is really the wonder in today’s memory-hole filled media world.


    Yeah. Grunfield and Goldstein are often cited by fenqing. I can only say that they tried their hand with me this past Spring too. It was absurd of them. It’s like they were saying “these folks are westerners, and you should agree with them.” Funny how Chinese people complained of being discriminated against and misrepresented in their recent past, but now are so quick to latch onto anyone who supports their own practice of discrimination and misrepresentation.

    I wonder if such deniers of truth will be prosecutable under Nuremburg laws. Several Nazi supporters who had simply wrote articles which contributed to mass appeal towards vicious racism and genocide were hanged at Nuremburg for this.

  27. Dear Jamyang la,

    I must say that I found this blog to be very astute and of high quality. If you do not mind, I will reference it in a bibliography for a text that I am writing now.

    Thank you for differentiating ‘us’ from the running-dogs, as you call them, although again, I do find your insistance to lump together all of the barefoot experts into one basket to be about as simplistic as the argument from the other side that because the NED funds the TYC, neocons in Washington orchestrated the recent protests in Tibet. Each person has their own story and their own strategy, and many of us have not ‘strayed’ away from supporting Tibet. It is simply that the way many of us have chosen to support Tibet (i.e. by maintaining support for the Middle Way Approach as most exile Tibetans do, to take one example) does not meet your approbation. So rather than focusing on cheap pop psychology and personal attacks, it might be better to stay focused on the ideas instead.

    Also, on Barry Sautman, you write that he ‘handily dispenses a barrage of statistics and data his opponents appear unable to respond to immediately.’ Again, I would encourage you to read my work, particularly my 2005 book, because if you had, you would know that my book actually engages with and refutes the central arguments of Barry, also using official Chinese stats, albeit much more comprehensively and systematically than him. I have also continued using him as a target in some of my more recent writing. So, perhaps you yourself have some research and reading to do before you set your blogging targets, rather than making poorly informed insinuations and accusations.

    On a last note, the only part of the blog where I strongly disagree with your analysis is when you lump in Mel with the rest. Even if you disagree with Mel’s political positions, all of us are highly indebted to him for the groundbreaking work he has done and continues to do, whether it be his language work, his histoical work, or his efforts to understand the rapidly changing rural economies of Tibet. He has committed his life to Tibet, in many more ways than just career. So, I think the guy deserves far more respect than many of you on this blog serve him, even if he does not receive your political approbation.

    And a quick note to Jeff Bowe – I take it that you have something against Robbie. However, in university teaching, we usually try to offer to the students samples of all perspectives so that they can practice their own critical acumen, come to their own educated conclusion on which perspective is most valid and their own educated understanding of what is wrong with the various other arguments. So in this case, I am sure that Robbie was not promoting the views of Barry Sautman or Grunfeld. You are mistaking teaching for propaganda.

    All the best to you all, from your barefoot expert in sandals.


  28. Dear Jamyang Phuntsok la,
    I wrote that Tibetan organizations as the TYC or the SFT should challenge insinuations by running dog propagandists that they were associated with terrorism, because they are absolutely not. I think it is just common sense to be extra careful about these thing in this day and age. It is not a question of courage.

    I would like to make it clear that I have never advocated any kind of terrorism or “total war on China”, as you have heard from rumour-mongers in India. I am proud to have been, even if only for a brief while, a member of the Tibetan resistance in Mustang. I always made it a point of mentioning this in all my resumes and bios, although my contribution is only a small one. If you subscribe to Beijing’s description of these freedom-fighters as bandits and terrorists, then perhaps I could also be described as such.

    Could I ask, just out of curiosity if you are in any way related to the late kashag minister, Kapshoba Chogyal Nima.

  29. Mr. Fischer,

    Sorry but I need not respect Melvyn. The fact that he reportedly did a lot of groundbreaking work is disqualified by his distortions of what China is doing to Tibet. He also has yet to back up China’s claims to Tibet with any evidence, all the while speaking with this pretentious and highly arrogant attitude.

    I need not respect the scientists, researchers and developers from the Third Reich either, though they gave us modern highways, rocket-propulsion, and other technological and scientific breakthroughs.

    You could be the most groundbreaking and creative person in the whole world, but if you tell lies or make unsupportable assertions (repeated ad infinitum per Mao’s saying), you are discredited from being respected, no matter what good you do.

    You imply that those of us who see through Melvyn’s work and criticize his arrogance are simply disagreeing with his “political” stance. As if what China is doing to Tibet is simply a political affair, much like the current American race between Obama and McCain. A disigenuous ploy and a very nice attempt at it. Sorry, but no cigars for you, Andrew. It won’t work this time.

  30. Forget Mel for a moment. What about Tsering Shakya? Given his latest in the New Left Review from which I quote:

    NLR: “Was the issue of Tibetan nationalism the overriding one, or were some of the protests focused on economic or social issues?”

    T.S.: “People talked about many things, but if you look at the slogans and banners the protesters were carrying, there was no explicit demand for independence; I think the main issue was getting China to allow the Dalai Lama to come back to Tibet, as well as human rights.”

    If he’s going to be tarred, I suggest that he ought to be tarred with the same brush as the other North American running dogs and barefoot profits.

    Many people with limited footwear choose to focus on human rights and economic issues, in part because those things are quite significant factors in the March events that nobody (outside Beijing) would deny. (You can go on to argue that if Tibetans had their independence, those inequities would walk away. I won’t necessarily disagree at the moment. But we ought to talk about it, not shout about it.)

    I do disagree, like many of you, with what T.S. says about the explicit demands for independence. Not only were there banners explicitly reading “Tibet Independence,” but I would see the widespread displaying of the Tibetan flag itself as meaning nothing less.

    Still, I would suggest that rather than revising the shitlist, just throw it out. And confront each person that holds ideas you find mistaken, doing your level best at convincing them of their errors. I would expect nothing less for myself if I were one of those unfortunate ones to fall under the fatal slashing of J.N.’s almighty pen (so far so good. Whew!).

    You don’t have to be a Lojong practitioner to recognize the wisdom of the ‘walk a mile in my moccasins’ routine.

    I sure am happy that some of the print news people were smart enough to ask T.S. to speak about the events in Tibet. He has a lot more insight than I ever will.

  31. Dear Andrew Fischer,
    Glad you liked the blog, do include it in your bibliography. I will certainly read your 2005 book, especially if as you say you have taken on Barry Sautman and demolished his pseudo academic posturing.

    I don’t “lump Mel in with the rest” as you put it. I said he was the “root guru” and he clearly stands above the others in terms of his work, especially his voluminous output. But in terms of quality, especially his historical work, it is deeply dishonest, on the level of David Irving’s writings on the Holocaust – though Irving is without doubt a more accomplished historian. Check out my review essay of THE DEMISE OF THE LAMAIST STATE which will be on this blog and on Phayul this coming Sunday.

    ps: most exile Tibetans do not support the Middle Way. that is Dharamshala propaganda. The referendum that was held years ago on this was entirely bogus.

  32. Dear Jeff,
    Could you please email me Paul Ingram’s review of Grunfeld’s book. I am collecting all such material for that prospective website.

  33. Dear Jamyang Norbu,

    I look forward to your review.

    Dear Hugh,

    Ah, the Nazi comparisons… it is the ultimate trump card to shut someone up, isn’t it? And ‘politics’ means much more than the facade of pseudo-democratic competition between, in the words of Chomsky, two wings of a single business party. Rather, when we say that the Tibet issue is fundamentally political, we mean that it is fundamentally about who should rule and how they should rule, who is a rightful citizen of Tibet and how they should be treated, and how the freedoms of anyone else should be restricted or protected. Framing Tibet as a human rights issue is a double-edged sword because it implies that, if the Chinese were to improve their treatment of Tibetans according to human rights standards, the Tibetan issue would be resolved. But it would not be resolved, because it is only partly about human rights, unless of course you maintain that the right to secede is an inalienable human right, but then the rest of the world would start to get very messy if you assert that.

    Of course, if you continue to assert that the Communist Party is equivalent to the Nazis, if that is your non-negotiable position beyond which you absolutely refuse to concede anything, then there is no use discussing anything with anyone besides your own choir. I am not sure how this would help anyone in Tibet.


  34. Dear Andrew,

    I do not see any basis for claiming that JN’s basis for writing what he has about you and the so-called barefoot experts is because he disapproves of your program of autonomy. It has been abundantly clear since the “Barefoot Experts” article that the disapproval is of blatent misrepresentation of the demands and struggle carried out by people in Tibet, and as you have just now done, misrepresentation of the majority of Tibetans in exile. As JN pointed out, the “referendum” was hopelessly flawed, as is any voting process with more than two candidates. For detailed mathematical explanations of the reasons I would refer you to look up Arrow’s Theorem and voting methods (Wikipedia has an abundance of “voting geeks” writing articles on the topic), since the Tibet “referendum” was the perfect example of where the pathologies arise.

    As for the question of politics and human rights, I agree that it’s an important distinction you make. Tibet is a political struggle in the sense that it’s a question of who will rule Tibet, who is a citizen, and so on, but underlying this are principles of human rights and international law: the fact that Tibet was illegally invaded, Tibet’s deep-rooted historical identity as a people, and the right of all indigenous peoples under colonial rule to self-determination leading to internal autonomy or independence.

    This is unlike a political struggle within a nation of people who largely agree upon a process for transferring power (e.g. Obama v. McCain). It’s a struggle for human rights which includes the rights to political freedom and self-determination. Given China’s vast crimes, advocacy or support for China’s continued presence and control in Tibet is a crime itself against humanity.

  35. Dear Jamyang Norbu la,

    pionts taken. Cheers!

    However,may i sugest that you refrain from asserting that you do not advocate “terrorism”,in Tibetan context,for the fact that you and me both agree that it does not exist!Matter of impression do counteracts!

    Here i would like also to salute to you for your many outstanding contributions to Tibet, and in the intellectual lives revolving Tibet and China and beyond although i do not agree with you on certain points and arguments!

    ps: yes, i am indeed the grandson, with regards.

  36. Jamyang la, thanks for you very illuminating article. It is not uncommon to find people in this world who prey on the fallen like vultures; were else can they get their meals from?

    As far as the common Tibetan, such as myself is concerned, the question of historical ownership of Tibet is a mute point. Tibet belongs to Tibetans and no political mumbo jumbo, no CCP propaganda, or boot-licking by the “running –dogs”, can change our will. We got to remember that geopolitical status of many nations in the Middle East and Asia were non entities before the advent of the 20th century. We see no sovereign government or so called scholars disputing their status as countries, even the status of Israel for that matter, which was carved out of Palestinian control. Therefore only when we can take physical control of our lands will the questions and debate on Tibet’s sovereign status and ownership die.

  37. JAMYANG, many thanks for your latest on the Running Dogs. I have written to your blog on several occassions expressing my concern that these “experts” ARE the guys who get the calls from CNN, BBC etc, but you and Palden Gyatso DON’T get booked on TV often enough. Outing genocide apologists IS doing something “positive” for Tibet. If they peddle the CCP spin without any debate, it will infect all reporting, all discussion and all historical records about “China’s Tibet.”

    For example, I recently met a group of Indian software guys who are doing business in China. They said that their CCP hosts on several occassion presented films and books about how much they’ve done for the Tibetan people. And the Indian guys were snowed by it. It took me a good 45 minutes to turn their heads back to reality.

    Thanks for posting the photos too.

  38. This is a real intellectual discussion where dishonesty and lies are exposed! I come back to this site every now and then to see some perspectives.

    As JN stated about creation of a websit to start out to record the racial charges and hate crime they committed, I also have been harbouring the idea of creating a website too, especially after reading Mr Parenti’s outright lies and racial charges, but I am not actually sure how to put the entire things together. Now I am ever determined to make one to check the activities of these running-dog-propagandist for hate-crime and maybe someday must be take to the court. If someone is in the processing of making a website for it, I can lend my hands out!

    As always, we do debate a lot, there is always the tendency that people who argue are loosing the essential meaning of the debate, which is the question of Tibet’s legal status and the asperation of Tibetan people both inside and outside. The most topics that people are distracted are, Tibet issue is a human rights issue, Tibet issue is economic issue, Tibet issue is the problem of glabalization, Tibet issue is created by Tibetans in exile, Tibet issue is orchastrated by wester powers, China did a lot to develop Tibet ect ect ect….There are some facts in all these arguments, but the main argument is China’s occupation of Tibet. With occupation, all above minor-arguments unfold. The most dangerous thing is, these arguments have a tremendous injection of truth manufactured out of lies by ministry of propaganda in Beijing. Therefore, those people who tries to trivialize and isolate Tibetan issue to mere an insignificant issue should be exposed and challenged.

    Someone above mentioned that American Universities do provide samples from all sides, therefore, there is ample space and rights for students to form their own intellectual decision. I found this kind of argument bit non-sense. Whether one likes or not, a professor grades the students’ understanding according to the text book that he is using. Therefore, if a professor using Melvin’s distorted book, then that is the fact for students. Let cite an example, few months back, there was a some sort of sympathetic programs for Tibetans in Tibet in Stanford, a Tibetan student was interviewed. He was completely nullified for being stupid and ignorant about Tibet. Most of these attackers are westrners whose only citation is either Melvin, Parenti, or Tom. They did not even have an actual Tibetans testimony, I am sure they will not find anyone. The qustion is, shall we listen to outright propagandist or Tibetans whose nation is enslaved by China?

    As Jamyang la categorized so called western experts on Tibet into two general categories, the barefoot experts and running-dog-propagandists. I feel there is another addition to these catefories, the people in this third category who does not write publicly either about Tibet or China, however, these people who has the pretension their admiration for Tibetan Buddhism for this and that reasons, at the same time they do support whatever Chinese political and historical claim over Tibet, even little amused and bought into Chinese and western propagandist racial charges against Tibetan people. I did put up this category, because they do influence un-informed students with lies. This third group is, Propaganist in the mask of religion.


  39. although i am not at all for boxing and compartmentalise people and their views, there is certainly elements that masking their cynical religious intends with political smears as well as seemingly friendly or neutral stance as regards to the Tiebtan issue. They saw Tibetan Buddhism as the danger from the East!!!

    Protectrs of the Doctrine step up the struggles!!! kyi he heeeeee!!!

  40. I think the dangerous people with religious motives are the ones who see the occupation of Tibet as a blessing which has spread Tibetan Buddhism throughout the world, and who are much more concerned with the “purity” of passivity and nonviolence than with the fate of Tibet itself. To them, Tibet was a vehicle for bringing wisdom into the world, after which Tibet no longer matters.

  41. Rich

    Indeed, how often do such people ritualise the value of all sentient beings, yet sit in cross-legged indifference to the suffering of the very culture which provided the path they now follow?

  42. 走狗-[literary translation:walking dog. Translated as: running dog]

    Gyu Kye-[Tibetan, both literary and understood translation: running dog]

    slightly diffrent prescriptions between Gya kye[Chinese dogs] and Bod Kye[Tibetan dogs]

  43. Dear Mr Fischer,

    The Nazi comparison is apt in that it illuminates various things, seeing as i have read quite a lot of the extent writings of that time and know how there were some who held to the opinion the Hitler was the new way, that Germany was to once again take its rightful place on the world stage and that it would be best all around if people just shut up about that whole “aryan supremacy” thing. No, such a great culture could never be responsible for the massive slaughters. That must simply be the opinions and propaganda of those who have bones to pick. LOL. and yet….

    Funny you should mention Chomsky. Since he denied the validity of Cambodian refugee accounts of the Khmer Rouge mass murders. His only reason for doing so was because he felt that the West was being unfair towards regimes that called themselves communist. Thus to him it was a linguistic game of acceptable victims verses very real atrocities committed by the US and her allies which are ignored. And in all of his diddling in intellectual gymnastics he saw fit to discount that Pol Pot was doing as many Cambodians then claimed he was doing.

    In my opinion, Chomsky discredited himself then. He shows his true pen pusher colors and interestingly enough, his theory of “acceptable victims” makes him out to be an asshole since we can see this theory working in his own writings, with victims he deems acceptable verses those he discounts.

    But I digress….

    I didn’t say that the Tibetan struggle wasn’t political, I merely wanted to prevent it from being placed in some fantasy land of “politics” which is what many mean when they say a people’s struggle is political. If you refuse to be astute enough to see that, i don’t fault you. You have other concerns. However, I will not let anyone’s struggle be denigrated or limited by any so-called experts trying to control people’s opinions of the matter.

    Yes, Mr Fischer, the Communist Part is very much like the Nazis. Or do you not think that exterminating a class or style of social group is less horrible than exterminating a group by race. Or have you forgotten that the CCP attempted to exterminate those they deemed “landlords” or “bourgeois”? Was that any less like the Nazis?

    I seem to recall that Poland was almost extinguished by both the Nazis and the Russians. And yet, there it is. A free country today. Not an inalienable part of either Germany or Russia, as many have claimed to excuse the slaughters and invasions of Poland.

    As for the right to secede, even according to the Marxist theory of nationalities, that is a right. Or have you not studied up on your Marx, Lenin or Mao, or the movements such thinkers inspired?

    Anyway, Tibetan Independence is not a secession, silly. It is a re-emergence from being colonized. National liberation. Otherwise, would you have the Irish independence fight characterized as a secession from Britain? Or India’s liberation is merely a secession? You know what “secede’ means, especially for Americans, and so you know that such a word is not to be applied in this case.

    Show me where Tibet was ever willingly part of a Federal Chinese nation and is thus now wishing to secede?

  44. Jeff and Rich,

    Bravo. I know many who think the Chinese genocide against Tibetans to be a spiritual boon for the world. Yet those same navel gazers have no idea what it is like to actually practice compassion or to even meditate. They think that sitting there with legs crossed is meditation. Such fools, they may as well just do drugs since all they want is a rollercoaster ride.

  45. So much debate about what the Tibetans want. The chinese government says “Tibet is part of China”, Dharamsala says it seeks “genuine autonomy”. Experts say something else, something very difficult to understand for a common Tibetan like the “fact that Tibetan protestors were holding national flag didn’t necessarily mean they were Tibet’s independence.

    My only question is do they really represent the views of the majority of the Tibetans inside Tibet. What do they want in actuality?

    I think the best solution for Tibet is to conduct a plebiscite in Tibet under a non-partisan international organisation or body. I guess Tibetans like any other nationality and people in this world, have the right to determine their own future and status.

  46. Hugh

    Racism too was a chilling component of the Nazi terror, as was a state engineered policy of forced sterilisations, both of which brutalize the Tibetan people.

  47. Dear Jeff,

    Yes. I know. I mentioned it and asked whether exterminating a class of people, as the communists attempted to do, was any better than exterminating a group based on racial definitions.

    Population transfer was also a component of the Nazi regime’s plans, and some of that was almost carried out. Also, allowing a subset of the original population, such as the plans for the Ukraine and western Russia, to remain as slaves to the new masters, was also planned for.

    In Poland, at the beginning of the war, both Russia and Germany colluded, and in each of their respective zones of control, almost wiped out the Polish intellectual classes as a way to prepare for colonization. Of course, Germany eventually attacked Russia and drove it out. But until then Germany had formed formed the “General Government” area, which was where all Poles, Jews and others would be deported as a floating slave population before extermination. This was because the German military wanted some of them around for the labor that could be extracted.

    In other areas, such as Ukraine and Russia, there were dedicated units of soldiers whose only task was to destroy Jewish people and they sent in reports of numbers killed as a sort of twisted “progress” report.

    China today engages in population transfer because they see Tibetans in much the same light as both the Russians and Germans once saw the Polish. Any argument against Tibetan national liberation on the grounds of settlers is exposed as silly, because after WWII, when Poland was liberated, the Allies did force German settlers back to Germany. They even forced Germans who had long colonized and settled areas hundreds of years before (east Prussia) to go to Germany. Obviously that was a horror in itself since much went wrong with that practice. But I raise it to show that populations who settle/colonize are not irreversible.

  48. Hugh

    Let us not overlook too, another significant aspect which is shared by Communist China and Nazi-Germany, a psychotic nationalism.

    I recall reading somewhere (Jamyang could it have been from one of your 1988 essays?) that unlike Russia, which embraced communism within a European intellectual tradition and principle, China’s communist founders embarked upon the socialist road with a primary objective of making China a great nation once again.

  49. it seems to me a more accurate understanding of history would be that, a psychotic naionalism was indeed shared by, the Chinese communist party elites and the national socialist party of Nazi Germany.

  50. jamyang phuntsok kashopa

    When Chairman Mao was interviewed by American journalist Anna Louise Strong In 1946, he proclaimed that all reactionists are “zhi laohu” (紙老虎), an idiom in Chinese without English equivalent, his translator chose “scarecrow” to describe it. Mao disliked this expression at all so the translator changes to a word-for-word translation “paper tiger”. This term strikes a lively mental image of a seemingly threatening tiger but can’t hurt anyone because it is made of paper, it received wide acceptance in the west ever since. Imagine the power and the difference between these two terms and tell me if you want to tease flip-flopping Mr. Sarkozy a “paper tiger” or a “scarecrow”.

    Gyu Kye-[Tibetan, both literary and understood translation: running dog] maybe appropriate to express the meaning of “running dog” but lacking (for non-tibetan) the power of immediate mental image of a dog running up and down for his master with 100% loyalty. Use of Gyu Kye will make us Gya kye [Chinese dogs] and Inji Kye hard to understand. I support the term “running dog”.

  51. religion is poison,

    i will pop “栏上之猫”[ cat sitting on the fence] at Mr Sarkozy and his diplomacy if i am Chinese.

    Ps: the religion is indeed opium of the mind. As long as you take it, it keeps you high!!!

  52. as far as conjuring mental images goes dogs are indeed most eager when stand and walk on two legs. However, they cant stay too long.Running dog is a great translation!

  53. having said that Gyu kye in Tibetan conjors up images of vomit on the dog, running after wealth with a doglike loyalty and eagerness and ofcus running on all fours obeying orders, from outsiders ofcus. [an arrangement over sounds, tones and meanings] Lost in translations, more than you think, perhaps.

  54. Jeff,

    I can see many parallels between the Chinese communists and the Nazis since both use hyper nationalism tinged with a sense of being victimized by both outsiders and internal enemies. It is very psychotic. It is funny too, since neither Nazi Germany nor Communist China was ever really threatened by outsiders – but with the caveat that only when Nazi Germany kept up its offensives in other European countries was their a counter invasion by the allies. Had Germany stopped at Poland, no one would have cared. China today has Tibet, East Turkestan and Inner Mongolia, and since they have stopped (except for that ruckus with India in the 1960s), no one seems to care….and everyone seems eager to appease them.

    Funny. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, all the West was in a furore. And there was talk about not appeasing him ever. Funny how the double standard is applied.

  55. Hugh

    The perfidy of realpolitik, I seem to recollect that a private trip was undertaken to meet the communist Chinese regime by Lawrence Eagleburger, just several days after the blood-bath of Tiananmen square. Principles do not figure very highly within international politics

  56. Double standard is no stranger to anyone in real world; principle and justice do not always prevail. One can dodge behind religion and hope things will turn around by itself, the cool heads workout a future base on reality (my favorite: focusing economic development).

    A not quite exact quote from Revelation has become a well known phrase which paint a picture on the earth after the Christ returns “the lion and the lamb lying down together in peace”, a cool head US lawmaker (forget his name) goes “shall that day come I still rather be the lion, just in case”.

    Religion is poison.

  57. poison,

    well,for the argument, if that day comes you or your lives to come will not be around to see the great harmony, i dont think, for you believe it all to be poison. Smething fitting for blasphemy, Christian style, no doubt!

    The essence of my religion is about active, deligent and joyous efforts to change and better oneself, within and without, mainly spiritually!
    Ofcus, our nation had indeed somehow neglected material development. This can be mended without much difficulties. A crucial point i must stress here is this that it is the people who make materials wealth, and thus many comforts,but not the other way round, Gyukye and souless asides. In another words, you can make make lots of money in oneday if you are able but a good nature and good heart takes much longer, much much longer, dude!

    hers is a joke came to mind:

    a Russian and a chinese are discussing the idea of peaceful co-exixtence. according to the russian , it is entirely possible for capitalism and socialism to live peacefully side by side. The chinese vehemently disputes this.

    in order to prove his point, the russian takes him to Moscow zoo, where a lamb and a wolf are kept together in the same cage.

    “just as the lamb and the wolf lie down together”, says the russian, “so two opposed social systems can live peacefully together on the same planet”.

    the chinese is deeply impressed.
    “but how on earth do you manage it?” he asks, “a wolf and a lamb in the same cage!”

    “it is simply a question of organisation,” answers the russian. “we put a new lamb in each
    morning, comrade.”

    poison is given to rats world over!!!

  58. Dear Andrew Fischer,
    I read your article of March which bequeathed you the title of ‘barefoot expert’ couple of times and compared with another ‘barefoot expert’ Patrick’s in nyc time. Honestly, i didnt find yours was as bad. Your ideas were naive and painfully misguided, but i sensed to some extend honesty in it. Now it appears where you got all wrong: you ‘ve been referring to Mel’s works and buying his ideas. Silencing Tibetans and TSGs from protesting against China is typical Mel’s double-edge sword strategy to protect CCP in the name of preventing ‘backlash against innocent tibetans inside Tibet’. Readers who have no idea what it is like living under foreign colonial regime may agree with you, but, sorry, not us. Your idea of appeasing China will only ensure continuity of foreign rule over Tibet and eventual disappearance of Tibetan’s culture and heritage, and race.

    If you really want to help find solution to our cause, here’s what you should do. Dont discredit our right to protest (unless you dont believe Tibet was an independent country), that’s only way we exile Tibetans can demand our country back and end sufferings of our brethren inside Tibet. On your part, tell the world (with your pen) why we are protesting, and also tell what China might do to Tibetans inside Tibet as a result of such protests overseas. If China did escalate clampdown on their lives, demand that China give unrestricted access to press and int’l fact finding groups to witness and report on the situation. Simple, honest and moral approach. You put pressure on China with the power of your pen and expertise, we will put pressure with the power of our voice! Can we do that? Chinese regime is a tyrant, and a threat to world peace. If you want to see Tibetans and over a bilion chinese live in peace, and ofcourse peace in the entire region and beyond, the regime must be confronted and demolished, not appeased.

    But, if you think that by doing so, you ‘re jeopardising your ‘projects’ and the lives of your ‘contacts’ inside Tibet, then please…keep quite, and like Rich said somewhere in his prior comments, pass the microphone to nearest Tibetan and let him do the talking, should press ask for your opinion. A handful of nomad’s lives may become tougher, but what we are losing in return is far more important and greater than those few lives. Majority of Tibetans inside Tibet are not happy even with those so-called developments. Their protests are getting bigger with each passing year. We just saw that.


  59. just felt the urge to make the most obvious double kicks of the joke for everyone, so here you are:
    1, the art of creating false impressions!
    2, being fooled by false impressions if you dont dig deep and suss stuff out.

    eg: like marx’s claim that religions are opium of the mind without indepth study on world religions and fools ake it for truth, largely on the back of his undoubtedly extensive studies and writtings on politics and economics, without finding out themselves, eirther

    the ones prone to paranoia can also easily see the sextet of the joke as told to poison above.[dont think too much, i must warn you. leave it when fitting.]

    my grandfather used to say ” dont joke too much as it often hurts most easiy” i dont mean to, ofcus.

    kashopa, junior

  60. “zay mo thyen shii mang ma tahk, mang na Pohk theye ngam” My Pola’s advice earlier. Seems like a prophecy now. Thangggg….

  61. thang…..”rang thang shanye” [yours and others’s, you and others.”

    excuse, it was his styling of teaching us. we had to think upon his “thang”[and]….and he would later listen to our most rediculous and childish musings and then laugh while unfolding what was behind that, forever tiring but fun, Thang!!! and then he would order us to leave and go out to play. How i wish he is here with us!!!

  62. I had the opportunity to see a lecture by Mel last winter, and any hopes I had that he might actually be a good person vanished. He was talking about all the improvement in the wealth and standard of living in three villages in rural Tibet. The first error in his methodology was apparent immediately: that these were not randomly chosen samples, but samples chosen for his study by an extremely biased party, the Chinese. However, what was more interesting to me was his way of explaining himself.

    Mel acknowledged that these were the villages he was specifically allowed to see, but defended his decision to participate in the research anyway on the basis that it was better than having no research at all into contemporary development in rural Tibet. He also acknowledged that the majority of the material progress was due to Tibetan initiative, for example local people’s establishment of a brick-making facility, rather than due to any Chinese benevolence.

    Unfortunately, even if Mel mentioned these aspects in his published work, they would be very small points lost among the sea of “facts” he obtained. In his view, it seems, self-critique of his methodology as a major point of the paper would be “anti-China bias”, despite the fact that any good scientific research would treat actual or potential limitations of the methodology as central to the result.

    Mel’s work against Tibet is extremely insidious because it’s not based on telling lies. It’s based on selectively telling pieces of the truth in such a manner that a naive reader will naturally develop an erroneous conclusion. Mel is an extremely smart man, so I can’t explain away this behavior as naive or inept; the only conclusion I’m left with is that he intends for his audience to reach a pro-China conclusion. And of course Mel keeps his own hands clean the whole time.

  63. My opinion of Mel is that he needs to impress his Chinese patrons, otherwise, he has no living to make at all. He tries to present his material as objective or unbiased, yet the bias rings out loud and clearly. I am not sorry for people who get fooled by it, since everyone should practice thinking for themselves. And if someone is going to cite someone else, they had damned well check that person’s sources. Most people who take the whole “Tibet is much improved under China” perspective cite people like Mel without actually checking for themselves. Lazy at best, dangerously destructive at worst, since such ideas lead to a stifling of Tibetan views of themselves and of their own history. Mel is simply playing the role of a crypto-colonialist. He would have been a good anthropologist working for one of the European colonial powers not long ago. Now he works for the Chinese colonial power. All the same.

    Anyway, I care nothing for Mel and his imperious droning on when he speaks. Nor are his writings all that factual or good. He browbeats the reader into submitting into an abdication of free thinking. Such blathering is only designed for one thing, as Rich implied at the end.

  64. Mel’s work is not objective at all, because why only Mel get the objective about Tibet when everyone else is denied? Isn’t he distorting fact and serving as running-dog-propagandist? The truth is, if he has any humanity for Tibetan suffering in Tibet, he should write these dark part instead of colorful deceit and lies. If he did write it, then he will be banned from doing further research in Tibet.

    Mel of Tibet? Melvin of Chakpa!


  65. Pola’s complete logical compound on “Rang thang Shanye”[yours and other’s, you and others,you and others’, others’ and you, you and yours and others’ and others]

    ps: thang also means by, although rarely deployed to construct such a meaning!

  66. Jamyang Phuntsok, I’m interested in what you’re saying but lost your line of thought and how it relates to your previous messages. Could you fill us in a little bit?

  67. oh, i have indeed lost my line of thoughts. hope this will make it clearer, post77 refers to post 71 which was the continuation of post 70, the Tibetan original of my Grandpa’s[pola’s] advice: “dont joke too much as often it hurts most you may kick in the content of the post 77! A full circle, MANTRA RECITING! wISHING EVERYONE A BIG OM!

    Basically try not get hurt by your own joke first and foremost!

  68. jamyang phuntsok kashopa

    Points taken, Thank you.

    Chinese people are not atheistic; most of them believe the existence of supreme beings in the back of their minds (including myself) but the religion is irrelevant to the real world that Chinese experienced. Being religious or not he world is totally Darwinian, the USSR and the US invaded so many countries as long as they see it fit in their national interest and nobody can do a thing about it, of course China is very guilty in that regard as well.

    One lesson learned by Chinese individuals is to be very pragmatic and adaptable, once I was shouted by a redneck that “you Chinese is soulless people live like rat and cockroach”, I believe the humble pragmatic rat and cockroach outlive dinosaur, didn’t they? I have been doing contract research/manufacturing work in China for many years, the better off city white collar workers and the less fortunate small town people alike see unfairness a given, they deal with it. China is a huge country, people in pro- and anti-China camps can find plenty of evidence to reinforce their entrenched believes, my experience made me to believe rat and cockroach will survive another five thousand years.

  69. Rats and cockroaches may seem pragmatic, but not as individuals, only as masses of organisms that reproduce. As individuals, they are easily destroyed by the millions. So I wouldn’t use either as a comparison with any group of people, no matter that you feel such a comparison an act of reclaiming from being insulted.

    Also, vermin, which would include pests such as rats and roaches, was a name also applied to various human population groups before being exterminated. In Rwanda, the victims of genocide were referred to as cockroaches. In Germany and Poland, the Jews were referred to as rats.

    Anyway, back on track,

    What do you think about the distortions of people like Melvyn Goldstein and other researchers and writers? Does anyone else here see him as a bit of a colonialist who would fit in well as a commissar for any conquering regime?

  70. Rich, Hugh
    Edward Said said that “Of all the modern social sciences, anthropology is the one historically most closely tied to colonialism”.Claude Levi Strauss himself referred to his chosen profession as “the handmaiden of colonialism”.

  71. Jamyang,

    I agree with that. Since anthropology developed out of the need for overlords and imperial rulers to study and categorize their subject peoples. This is best exemplified by the Spanish records taken during the first decades after the conquest of Mexico and Tawantinsuyu (the Inca state). Even in more recent times, such studies were done so that a colonial or imperial regime could better control or rule its subjects.

    But I could go on and on and on with this….

  72. I think ‘anthro-apologist’ is better suited as a term to Goldstein, this is the man, who activeley echoed Xinhua’s propaganda by denying the brutal realities of China’s birth-control programme inside Tibet.

    I recall he conducted some state-approved and stage-mannered ‘research’ on population control measures, along with Cythia Beall, in a village in Western Tibet.

    Only to resurface in the media, declaring that, having orbitted the Earth, he could now announce with all certainty that it was indeed flat!

  73. PIOSON,

    yes, they are people livig like rats and cockroachs the world over and in all shapes and forms, fortunately they being a minority, as we all believe, i hope.

    Insulting a whole people as rats and cockroachs is nothing short of being evil racists and they must be dealt with and hopefully reformed, and i see it a task for all who have humanity in their herats. Their jokes arent funny, i tell you, dude!!!

    indeed, “老天爷” [the devine above] is a near equal term to the christian concept of ” all mighty” and is indeed in the back of the mind of great majority of Chinese, he or she being religious or not.

    May well all live for another 50 years, at the best. How old are you jeff Bowe?

    ps: i like anthropology!!!

  74. I don’t see him as a Beijing agent. Not really, I think he’s a cowed American, eager to deliver to his own government the truths it needs in order to continue its money-making romance with Beijing. Without troublesome Tibetans getting in the way…

    That did bring us full circle, didn’t it?

  75. Anthropology research indeed carries connotation of colonialism because the angle of rationalization is from the strong to the weak, there are plenty anthropologists who study Native American but you never heard any anthropologist who study America. I don’t know much about Melvyn Goldstein’s work so I will refrain from comment but I don’t think “objectivity” is possible in cultural anthropology work.

    I am familiar with Cynthia Beall’s work in physical anthropology, a discipline sometimes people feel uncomfortable about, especially when scientific evidence is found and used by people to justify superiority over others; I think her work is quite harmless though. I have a vendor in Shanghai in his 30’s, a very fit former athlete, knows a lot about history; he told me the outcome of many Tang-Bod battles in the 7th century was all predictable, he claims high altitude sickness is the single most critical factor for Tang army’s defeat. He himself once tried to drive his SUV to Tibet from Chengdu in 2006 via national road 318; he couldn’t even pass beyond Litang because of high altitude reaction and need to come back despite drinking bottles of 红景天. I told him according to Cynthia Beall’s work he doesn’t have as high concentration of nitric oxide as Tibetan have, so he better prepare lots of oxygen tanks or something else before his next attempt.

  76. POISON!




  78. Jamyang Phuntsok Kashyopa,

    In principle, yes, anyone can do anthropology on anyone else. But the root of the science comes from colonialism. Not saying it can’t be made more unbiased or less racist, but seeing how it has roots in such things, I dunno where it could be improved at this point in my knowledge of the science. (Which I am acquainted with somewhat.)

    Anyway, to get to know anyone and their culture, we don’t need museums or institutions to fund us. Simply go out and spend time with people. Learn and share.

  79. jamyang phuntsok kashopa

    I am aware of this history; I stopped short of telling my conversation with my friend because I don’t believe his interpretation about why Tibetan army only had a short stint in Chang An then retreat, his explanation was Tibetan army had a hard time to adjust higher air pressure environment.

  80. Poison, If Tibetan armies could not resist the external air in China as your logic goes, then Chinese Princesses Wencheng and Qingchen burst their instestines and blood vessels out into the air due to strong air pressure from inside their bodies, maybe burst out like a human body on moon without astromaumical suit.

    Poison, how do Tibetan students survive in China today? Are they wearing some kinds of unknown Chinese mysterious clothes by the glorious CCP headed by blood hunger Hu JinTao to protect them from being crushed in?


  81. hugh,

    dont know much,but western anthropology emerging as a science in 18century may have served colonilsm well. But it has never been invented as science for subjugation.It was and still is, some of the manners in which the science applied are racist and nagative. Many great knowledge, science, and technologies has roots in this period of great European advancement and i wil not dismiss them as colonial evils. And, today, upon meeting an anthropolgist hardly anyone, i can safely say, will assume he or her to be a colonist or a racist!!!

    Organised voilence was most closely associated with colonilism and it’s sucess!!!

    Ps: Aburayan al-Biruni [973-1048] is considered as the first anthropologist in the world for his extensive anthropological studies and researchs across Arabia and Asia.

  82. Colonialism plus psychotic Marxist ideology, its about as ugly as it gets. Not exactly hard to chose sides on this one.

    How about a letter writing campaign targeted at the “experts” who persist in defending totalitarianism? Make them feel some heat, since they clearly sleep easy at night.

  83. posion

    an old saying for you “Gya pang gouy, zay ran Jong”[ Chinese must be defeated, but rule our own land] expressing an unwillingness to be the overlords of aliens!

    the spirit of the saying was clearly demonstrated on victory pillars in the acient time, some of them still stands in Tibet. A segment of the inscription reads: gya gay youl la kyi, Bod bod youl la thae. [Chinese are happier in China, and Tibetan are more comfortable being in Tibet]

    i dont hav problems living in England, a beautiful land, on sea level, and i am from Tibet, dude!

  84. I think if I’m not mistaken Herodotus,* in 5th century BCE, or about 2,500 years ago, was the first anthropologist (a compound of two Greek words) was the first anthropologist. See his famous survey-ethnography of the Libyan tribes. Could’ve been Adam, Yima, Yid-smon or Panku, too.


  85. Dava,

    While Herodotus of Halicarnassus (Ἡρόδοτος Ἁλικαρνᾱσσεύς) made a study of other peoples he had heard about, he was not the “first” anthropologist. He is considered the “father of History” for Western civilization and in fact his word ἱστορίαι (istoriai) “Inquiries” is where the word “history” came from. He was the first historian to be credited with a systematic collection and analysis of materials and of weaving them together into a narrative story. He also reported on his travels through the mediterranean area and does state that he is only repeating what he has been told, where he has no first hand accounts. His reports of India were probably the first accounts left in writing by any outsider to that civilization.

    His work, now known as “Histories,” earned him the twin titles of “Father of History” and “Father of Lies” from the Romans (especially Cicero). Even then, there were questions about his reliability. Hahahaha. Sounds much like history of today.

    Please do note that some people see Thucydides (Θουκυδίδης) as the father of History in the West, since he wrote earlier about the Peloponnesian War (ended 411 BCE), which was when Sparta and Athens drew much of their societies into what may be the first total war in Western history. He was credited with the concept of ‘realism’ in attempt to explain why societies go to war. And many see him as being more scientific in his accounts and analysis of them.

  86. Sorry,

    I meant to add that the word anthropology was not known to the ancient Greeks or to Hellenic civilization. It is a modern confection to describe a branch of humanities and history which arose out of the European colonization of the world. Most of our terminology based on ancient Greek is actually modern in origin.

  87. I take your point Hugh, but isn’t Anthropology also an old branch of theology? Theology studies the nature of G)d, but Anthropology studies the nature of humans as a theological concern.

    And when you are talking about things, you are not always talking about the words used to refer to them! You might be talking about the things. In the case of Herodotus, what he was doing was perhaps rather sketchy, but in large part very like what modern Anthropologists do.

    I think today there are no anthropologists. They have all become historians (of themselves, largely) and literary critics (of their anthropological books, mainly). In short, philology has taken them in. (They think the opposite has happened, but that only goes to prove they aren’t able to distinguish reality when confronted with a set of other options.)

  88. Dava,

    Anthropology has no relation to theology except in coming to terms with how cultures relate to such ideas expressed by their own theologians, if such exist in the specific cultures. It was never an attempt to study the nature of people as a theological concern.

    As for Herodotus, you cannot bend what his work “Histories” meant to your own meaning simply because you would wish him to be an anthropologist. Herodotus wrote extensively about other peoples, but mostly through second hand accounts and indirect sources. Much like a person would today read travel guides and such and then go on to tell others about countries and peoples he himself has never met. For history, this is fine, since that is research. But for the anthropologist, (at least the branch of socio-cultural anthropology most think about when they say “anthropology”), fieldwork and contact with the actual people is a must.

    So no, Herodotus wasn’t doing what modern anthropologists do. I would hope you study some of ancient classical Western history, particular Hellenic history and literature to fill in the gaps in your knowledge there, since it is clear you need to do more studying of it if you are to make claims about such figures as Herodotus.

    Ethnographic anthropology may now be in the state you describe, but linguistics and especially how language relates to human cognition (how language is actually inherent to us as a species and not merely a cultural attribute), is exploding with new insights and research.

  89. Palden,

    I just re-read your comment from July 15th. I propose that your 3rd category be called “Lotus Eaters” since that would describe those westerners caught up in maintaining fantasies of Tibetan Buddhism while not caring for the situation of actual Tibetans, much like the mythical lotus eaters from ancient Greek stories who avoided any contact with reality.

  90. Hugh, Now I’m convinced you’re suffering from the modernist fallacy. Which is, to pretend to make some huge break with the past when in fact continuing in the same old cultural thinking grooves. Anthropology, psychology and even cosmology were all branches of theology before the achieve their ‘modern’ meanings (that they didn’t really chop of their roots is just the point I’m making). The university was originally a theological school (as in Paris, and much later in Harvard, too). Get over it. There never was a modern world except in the correct sense of ‘what’s happening these days.’

    And Herodotus did go to Libya. And yes, today all anthropologists talk about people they have never visited. Every last one of them. Herodotus made a big effort to make a systematic survey of a very large region. He apparently used something that might be called a ‘checklist,’ which might have been the first sociological survey form, I’m not sure about it.

    Don’t take my word for it. Look at the first words of an article by a famous anthropologist of your modern times, James Redfield, who published in Classical Philology, 1985:

    “Herodotus as we know is both Father of History and Father of Anthropology.”

    But I’m sticking by my guns and maintaining that the first anthropologist was the first human who was aware of another. Nothing that has happened since then has really made all that much difference.

    If you’ve got JSTOR you can read Redfield for yourself:

    I recommend this book, which is widely considered one of the standards in the field of the history of anthropology: Margaret T. Hodgen, Early Anthropology in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1964. Chapter 1: The Classical Heritage.

    Now go crawl back into your nominalist historicist hole.

  91. Dava,

    I can list some ethnographies written by anthropologists who did do field work while living amongst the people they were researching. So, yes, there are some anthropologists who do actually write from first hand contacts and connections. The intelligent ones actually even admit their own biases and perceptions which come across in their accounts. This is good since it gives readers the space to make up their own minds.

    I still stand by my premise regarding Herodotus. I do think it is imperative that we not be so quick to read modern motivations into ancient writers and thinkers. The ancient Greek take on such studies doesn’t seem to be what we modern people would think, even at first glance. For the ancient Greeks, it was about studying so better to know how to defend or attack other peoples. And much of the thinkers in Greek civilization would probably be highly offended at branding their explorations as “theology” since they viewed such things to be mythical at a time when they were going against myths.

  92. Hello, Jamyang la,

    Recently I read a review by George Fitzherbert of a book by one Dibyesh Anand, Geopolitical Exotica: Tibet in Western Imagination, in the June 20th issue of TLS. Have you come upon that book and if so do you recommend it. Thanks. And I also would like to second the gentleman who was suggesting a darker font.


  93. Jamyang phuntsok la ,
    You are quite irritating.
    I have a feeling your pola would not be too proud of you. The stuff you write is incoherent . Mebbe i am too thick in the head or something. Whats the poiunt of writing something just for the sake of writing it?

  94. Cheme Dorjee,

    I understand you are irritated. But let’s try to keep things more on the plus around here. There are many engaging responses to Jamyang’s articles. Let’s focus on those if we can….and on the articles too.

  95. This thread just keeps on going doesn’t it? That’s because the blog is gold!

    I have just shelled out on a copy of Sun Shuyun’s “A Year in Tibet,” which is on all the new titles stands here in sunny Melbourne.

    I know you can’t judge a book by its cover but the cover situates it in the same genre as “A Year in Provence,” “A Year in Tuscany” etc. I’m not sure if Provence and Tuscany are police states run by maniacs, because I don’t know much about European politics. However, I’ve got a feeling that Sun Shuyun might not be interested in uncovering the brutality of China’s occupation. This is because I previously read her “The Long March” and it was sickening CCP propaganda.

    Anyhow, I have dipped into the book’s bibliography and it is chock-full of the running dogs mentioned in the blog, being proffered as experts on Tibet that interested readers could follow up.

    Can’t wait to read the book and I hope Jamyang La will write a review of it.

    BTW: The book is a companion piece of a BBC series that I think has already hit the screens in the UK.

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