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Tibet’s Olympian opportunity

April 11, 2008

Protests
China has played into Tibet’s hands by hosting the Olympics. The Tibetan cause has never got as much attention from the world as it has now.
What surprises me is that the politically savvy China did not anticipate it. What about China’s Intelligence agencies? Could they not have sniffed out what was in the air? The Tibetans must have been planning this for months.

Perhaps China fell victim to its own propaganda. News about Tibet and the dissidence and hatred of the Chinese government in Tibet has been effectively suppressed in China. So much so that ordinary Chinese folk are not aware of the magnitude of the problem. And even where the government officials are concerned, most of them will see the whitewashed news. Sure, at one level they may know what’s happening but when one is not reminded of it daily through the news, it becomes easy to ignore it. Easy to use brute force to suppress dissidence. Easy to pretend that it’s a minor problem that can be handled…is it any wonder then China did not see what was coming?

China cannot control what happens outside and the Chinese government is finding out the hard way. It is certainly putting up a brave front but they are extremely humiliated. In fact the pompous statement of the Jiang Xiaoyu, executive vice president of BOCOG, that “any attempts (to disrupt the torch relay)…will not win hearts and minds of people and therefore are doomed to failure” rings hollow now after the protests in Paris, London and San Francisco.

Just look at the facts:
In Paris, there was a lot of slogan-shouting from pro-Tibetan protestors. Thousands of armed police hovered around the venue and police patrol boats were pushed into service across the Seine. There were helicopters over the crowds and the media called the Olympic torch the “Torch of Shame.” The torch had to be hidden inside of a bus, and the flame extinguished multiple times to transport it!

In London, there were thousands of protesters. Some managed to break through the police and security cordons and tried to extinguish the flame with fire extinguishers! Here too the journey was cut short and the torch transported by bus.

In San Francisco, there was utter confusion. The torch relay was rerouted and shortened, the closing ceremony at the waterfront was canceled and moved to the Airport. The flame was placed on a plane and was not displayed! There was heavy security with the place swarming with police and SWAT teams and police officers on motorcycles and in vans. In fact even before the torch relay hundreds of protesters walked through the city’s streets signs and chanting “Shame on China.” The fact that San Francisco was chosen precisely because it has a large Chinese American population seemed to have backfired. Although many Chinese are pro- Beijing, there are sufficient numbers of anti-China protesters as well.

Sure, the Olympic flame had little trouble in Kazakhstan, Turkey and Russia, but that was to be expected. These countries do not have a significant Chinese or Tibetan presence. In any case these are countries with little sympathy for the Tibetan cause at the government level. For example the Russian Olympic Committee spokesman Gennady Shvets has clearly said that the Olympics and Politics do not mix. “The flies and the cutlet are separate” he said to CNN.

O.K, So now what? If there are protests in some of the western countries what does it mean? Does it mean that they will take up Tibetan cause with China once the Olympics are over?
I doubt it.

Take the Prime Minister of the U.K, Gordon Brown. He said that he would not attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic games in China, but at the same time he said that he was not boycotting it! Clearly the U.K. government is not going to get itself into a mess over Tibet.

And even if George Bush does skip the opening ceremony of the summer Olympics, he is going to make similar meaningless statements. Sure, the U.S. lawmakers did pass a resolution criticizing China for its “crackdown in Tibet and urging Beijing to hold direct talks with the Tibetan religious leader Dalai Lama on the future of the region” but it I doubt that this will continue after the Olympics is over.

So far the only gutsy person is this lady Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. She not just met exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama despite strong disapproval from Beijing, she has decided not go to the Olympics. Ms Merkel ignored her advisers who had told her to cancel the meeting rather than “incur the wrath of Beijing which could damage the two countries’ thriving business relationship.”

What about India?
Tibetan march Well, we like to believe that we are on Tibet’s side and like to give ourselves credit for the fact that we have given the Dalai Lama shelter for the last almost 50 years and the Tibetan government-in-exile is in India. India is also host to more than 100,000 Tibetans the largest number of Tibetans in any country except for Tibet itself. But we are playing both sides. For example, we did not allow a protest march of by 100 Tibetan exiles protesters who had planned to march from Dharamshala to Tibet’s border. Shamefully all these protesters were manhandled and thrown into jail. All they wanted to do was protest peacefully and as a democratic country we should have allowed it. But we are finding it difficult to withstand Chinese pressure. Looks like China does have control outside its own borders!aamir

I admire our soccer star Baichung Bhutia, for refusing to carry the torch. Even Kiran Bedi, ex-IPS officer has refused to take part, after first committing herself to it. But I think the reason she gave (she said the massive security build-up had robbed the event of the spirit of freedom and harmony that the Olympics stands for) was a political and diplomatic one. Any non-sports person who carries the torch is likely to garner negative publicity and I wonder if Bedi realised that. Aamir Khan is carrying the torch but when he made the decision I’m sure he had no idea that it would get him negative publicity.

The torch will arrive in New Delhi in less than a week. Considering the large Tibetan population in India, a serious security problem is anticipated and well, the protesters are determined to disrupt the march. I can’t help but wish them the best of luck, because all they want to do is stop the march. They don’t intend to indulge in any violence. They are simply using the Olympics to draw attention to their cause. Which is not necessarily a separate homeland for Tibet, although some radicals demand this. It is important to remember that the Dalai Lama has agreed that Tibet is a part of China. All he is asking for is autonomy but the Chinese are not agreeable to this either.

All these protests are symbolic. They won’t stop the Olympics. Everyone knows the Olympics will go on. Why even the most powerful nations in the world are not going to boycott the games. And as to why the Olympics will roar on is explained very well by Allison Kilkenny of the Huffington Post. These are the reasons she gives:

(The first photograph is from telegraph.co.uk, the second from cnn.com, Aamir’s is from the bbc and the last from Huffington Post)

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53 Comments leave one →
  1. April 11, 2008 9:53 am

    Being geographically closer to Tibet, India has a role to play in Tibet and has to behave like a responsible democratic country. But what is happening is something different. The tactics applied on Taslima to leave the country, are being tried gradually on Dalai Lama also.

  2. April 11, 2008 9:59 am

    China has played into Tibet’s hands by hosting the Olympics. The Tibetan cause has never got as much attention from the world as it has now.

    VERY TRUE …… even if Tibet can’t get the issue resolved this time, its going to get the international attention .. which in coming days will help them to make it a big issue .. lets wait until U.S takes it on …:) China has made things more complicated..

  3. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    April 11, 2008 10:17 am

    Nita,

    //If there are protests in some of the western countries what does it mean? Does it mean that they will take up Tibetan cause with China once the Olympics are over? I doubt it.//

    You don’t have to doubt it. You have provided — by citing Allison Kilkenny — THE convincing reason for dispelling any doubt. The stakes of the global corporates in the games are simply too high. It has to be business as usual. And when it comes to profits, the ideological or ethical colour of the money just does not matter.

    What amazes me is the silence (whether genuine or through exclusion by the media) of the intellectual community of the world — especially the fellowship of Nobel laureates, of which the Dalai Lama himself is a distinguished member.

  4. April 11, 2008 10:17 am

    Nita,

    Wonderful post !!! This is the right time for the whole world to make the (Han Chinese) People’s Republic of China give the peace-loving Tibetans their rights.The (Han Chinese) People’s Republic of China is as bad as Uncle Sam when it comes to double standards with regard to human rights.Shame on such governments !

    I salute Bhaichung Bhutia,Kiran Bedi,Angela Merkel and others for expressing solidarity with the oppressed Tibetans.The (Han Chinese) People’s Republic of China thinks it can bully the world by talking about trade ties.But there are people who are wise enough to see right through such non-sense and courageous enough to express solidarity with the oppressed Tibetans.May their tribe increase !

    I loved the film “Seven years in Tibet”.I think it is a perfectly neutral film.Except for Brad Pitt’s pathetic Austrian German accent,it is a great movie !

    Personally,I will watch the Games,but I have decided to boycott the Opening,Closing Cermonies and any other propaganda dished out by the government of the (Han Chinese) People’s Republic of China.

  5. April 11, 2008 10:21 am

    I forgot to add this.The Indian governments (central and various states) should not disrupt the protest by the peace-loving Tibetans ! Tibetans in India have the same rights as the citizens of India except for voting rights.It is a real shame if peace-loving people are thrown in jail !

  6. April 11, 2008 1:42 pm

    wondering if a similar outrage would have occured against the US, if the games were held in sanfransisco, over the occupation of Iraq?

    Destination infinity

  7. April 11, 2008 1:44 pm

    kiran bedi and Bhaichung had different reasons to opt out of the torch relay.

  8. April 11, 2008 2:04 pm

    Rahul, absolutely right! Frankly I don’t think very highly of Kiran Bedi’s reasons.

    Destination Infinity, I too had wondered something similar and even thought of writing it in the post! I do think that there would be protests but I don’t know whether they would be on this scale. But I do know that a lot of Americans now are against the war in Iraq.

    Raj, thanks. I too share the sympathy you have for Tibet. And yes I saw 7 years in Tibet. Good movie.

    Vivek, yes everyone seems silent don’t they! I too wonder why.

    Dinsan, I really wonder if the US will take it on. The EU however is showing some signs of boycotting the Olympics. Just saw it on TV.

    Old Sailor, I hope that never happens. If Dalai Lama has to leaves the country India will never be able to hold her head high. We might as well secede to China!

  9. April 11, 2008 2:05 pm

    I think the cause will remain in the limelight only till the Olympics are going on. Then it will pass into oblivion like thousands of other causes have passed untill and unless some country sees an oppertunity to exploit it.
    I know what I have written is the crudest form in which all this can be presented, but is it not true?
    How many causes of a free land/country have been resolved? Do we have a single positive example? We are still fighting over Kashmir. Aren’t we?

  10. April 11, 2008 2:47 pm

    FREEEEEEE
    TIBEEEET!!!

  11. Joss permalink
    April 11, 2008 3:58 pm

    Seven Years in Tibet is quite a good film, but much better is Kundun. I think it is directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and is even more beautiful to look at. It is entirely about the Dalai Lama, so there is no boring backstory with Brad Pitt to sit through! I thoroughly recommend it.

    Thanks for a beautifully simple summary of this topic, Nita. I wasn’t aware that the Indian government was starting to look at the Dalai Lama as another Taslima. Surely it isn’t so confident of its economic power that it could take the world’s opprobrium so lightly?

  12. April 11, 2008 5:16 pm

    Nita, this was bay far the best summation of Tibet-China affair. I really liked this article and I completely agree with your conclusion. Timing for Tibet couldn’t have been better.

  13. April 11, 2008 5:27 pm

    well i think India should be wise and support the Tibet movement…the chinese are breathing down our neck in AP…also China seems to have a lot human rights problem…i wonder what people will say if it was India in the same position….

  14. April 11, 2008 5:46 pm

    Nita, the funny part in the whole Olympic torch issue is that Pakistan which is considered an unsafe place is the safest place for the Olympic torch relay. London,Paris and San Fransisco proved to be unsafe.

  15. April 11, 2008 6:11 pm

    It’s nice to see the West’s conscience stirred up. They’re real good about such things, when the target is not one of their own, particularly against a communist country. In 1980, 62 nations — including the United States, Canada, West Germany, Japan, and Israel — boycotted the Olympics in Moscow because the previous year the Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan. Four years later, the Olympics were held in Los Angeles. Not a single member of “The Free World” boycotted it, even though the previous year the United States had invaded Grenada and overthrown the government, with a lot less political justification than the Russians had for invading Afghanistan. The Grenada invasion was as much lacking in legality and morality as the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

  16. April 11, 2008 6:15 pm

    Nita,
    really interesting post!

    Although I see the situation a bit different, I really like the last piece of your post “They won’t stop the Olympics. Everyone knows the Olympics will go on. Why even the most powerful nations in the world are not going to boycott the games. And as to why the Olympics will roar on is explained very well by Allison Kilkenny of the Huffington Post. ”

    GREAT. that is it.

  17. April 11, 2008 6:18 pm

    This is gonna be a really tough fight as China and it’s people will not allow their country be divided just like Soviet Union.

  18. April 11, 2008 6:35 pm

    Bharath, you are right ofcourse, the west is certainly being hypocritical. And well these countries do stick together as we have seen during the American invasion of Iraq. They are more likely to support each other rather than a communist regime like China. As for Russia, that country has been the traditional enemy of the west. So can we really blame the west for this? For example India’s traditional enemies are Pakistan and to some extent China, and it is likely that if they slip up and fall we will make the most of it. On the other hand if a friendly country makes the same mistake we might turn a blind eye. All countries behave in a similar manner and I am not justifying it. Just saying that this is what happens because for all countries self interest is paramount. Self interest is the key word and to hell with human rights! Well for most government it is like this although some govts in the EU might score better here. India doesn’t score despite it being a democracy.

    Axinia, you know you are welcome to be frank here. Makes for an interesting discussion!

    Prerna, I doubt whether anyone in Pak is bothered about Tibet. They have too many problems of their own!

    Vishesh, I think India should avoid hosting the Olympics for some time!🙂

    Amit,
    I too think this cause will slowly sink into oblivion. But the Tibetans should strike when the iron is hot, pressure govts to pressure China to talk to the Dalai Lama before the Olympics starts. Once the Olympics are over, its over.

    Joss, Poonam,
    thanks.🙂
    Joss, we aren’t really trying to get rid of the Dalai Lama like we did Taslima. That will never happen. That is because Taslima had become a thorn the west bengal’s communist side because muslim fundamentalists wanted her out and they were the constituency of the communists. However India needs the Dalai Lama. China and India are not exactly on friendly terms and Dalai Lama is a big card that we can play at any given time. The presence of the Dalai Lama in India is very important to India. at the same time India doesn’t want to tilt the balance too much and upset China too much. The game will go on…

  19. April 11, 2008 7:28 pm

    Nita, it is something like Bharath said:
    This is gonna be a really tough fight as China and it’s people will not allow their country be divided just like Soviet Union.

    Seeing what is happening with the former Soviet Union i opose any devision and prefer countries not to devide, especially if they have been so inter-dependent economically and culturally. Any division makes my heart bleed, for I think it is the hight time people should go for GOHEGION (unity).

    All these kind of political games have never done from the heart, only for the reason of greed and power. NO normal human being like to fight, unless heated from the outside. And this is what mass media are really great in. hats off!

  20. April 11, 2008 8:39 pm

    axinia, u have rightly expressed. We all seeking Unity n Love for changing this man made hell.

  21. April 11, 2008 11:08 pm

    Very well posted, especially the end. That the Olympics seem to have lost their original intent and become another major business opportunity makes me ill. Aside from that, I have nothing to add to the previous comments.

  22. Guqin permalink
    April 12, 2008 8:58 am

    A Gangster-turned-Christian apparently is trying to convert another Gangster, here is their dialogue:

    Christian: You gangster is doing all bad things no good! You got to convert in order to save your soul.

    Gangster: What you are saying about me isn’t entirely true. More truth will come out.

    Christian: The whole world believes what I say.

    Gangster: That’s because you control the world. However, even if what you are saying about me is true, you still can preach to me like this.

    Christian: Why?

    Gangster: You were worse regarding what you did to that red Indian girl and that black boy. You were a white colonist and a slave owner.

    Christian: That doesn’t count. It was only in the past.

    Gangster: You seem very forgetful and self-forgiving. Well, you are still doing the same, see what you are doing to that Iraqi girl. You are an invader and a war profiteer.

    Christian: That is different. It isn’t about me, it is about you, you!

    Gangster: That seems very indifferent of you.

    Christian: No, I am full of passion, it aches my heart when I think of that poor Tibetan boy! I hate any injustice! It is my duty to do justice to this world!

    Gangster: But that Hindi guy took Miss Sikk Kim too…

    Christian: You shut up, I don’t know who Miss Kim is, the Tibetan boy aches my heart whenever I think of him! Behides, that Hindi guy is basically a good man but you are such a bad person!

    Gangster: What?…! Why?!

    Christian: Because that Hindi guy is a democrasy and you are not. Democrasy is good. No democrasy no good, period!

    Gangster: All democrasies must be good?

    Christian: Yes.

    Gangster: Tell me why…

    Christian: Because they are like me.

    Gangster: Man… I am almost wordless. So far, I must say that you are unreasonably self-centered.

    Christian: Shut up! I know the Truth, I speak to God! You don’t do what I say, I am going to boycott your f**king Olympics!

    Gangster: ……Wait a minute……Gosh! Be respectful to yourself! man… the Olympics is yours! It is your tradition, I am hosting it for you to spread your culture. YOUR culture!

    Christian: Mine is universal! Serving my universals is your honor! Failing it is your shame!

    Gangster: You got to be kidding me! Only very un-cultured, confused, rude people would think and act that way. You seem very arrogant too. I used to worry how I could catch your guys up, but if this is the character and quality of your men, I am no more worried. Your men are no match of my men! Failing your stuff is my shame?? It is your shame! Don’t you get it?!

    Christian: It is your shame! Your shame!! I insist !!

    Gangster: What a logic. Just plain stupid.

    Christian: Shut up! You are just such a bad person. And you are stubborn!

    Gangster: You are a hypocrite!

    Christian: I condemn you!

    Gangster (angrily): I contempt you!

    Christian: The contempt is mutual!

    Gangster: Let it be!

    (A moment of silence)

    Gangster: Maybe I don’t need that stupid Olympics any more. I am going to cancell it.

    Christian: You can’t do that either.

    Gangster: … … How come? Don’t you want to stop it anyway?

    Christian: I still need it to make money in you!

    Gangster: Money!? I thought your concern was the Tibetan boy…

    Christian: Yes, I still love that poor boy, it aches my heart whenever I think of that poor boy, but we can talk about him some other time. It is about me this time.

    Gangster: But… but…you just said that it is all about me! The bad person…me?

    Christian: It is about me now.

    Gangster: So confussing… When will it be about me again?

    Christian: When I say so again!

    Gangster: You are such a Moral Paper Tiger !

    (The End)

  23. April 12, 2008 12:12 pm

    Axinia, I do agree that China should not be divided. However there are conflicting views on whether Tibet was ever a part of China. It is believed to have been annexed. In any case, the Dalai Lama is not even asking for a separate country.

    Mish, thanks. Yes the games are a commercial circus!

    Gugin, well, you have in a very creative manner summed up the hypocrisy of the western powers. However remember that the protesters are mostly Chinese and Tibetans! And the western powers are only giving lip service to Tibet. None of them have sent any strong signal that they support Tibet.

  24. rootsonwings permalink
    April 12, 2008 12:50 pm

    This is a chance for India to be strong on issue of refugees. If not they have some other intentions ..

  25. vish permalink
    April 12, 2008 4:03 pm

    Chinese: Mine is universal! Serving my universals is your honor! Failing it is your shame!

    Tibetan: You got to be kidding me! Only very confused people would think and act that way. You seem arrogant too.

  26. April 13, 2008 12:35 am

    This post is becoming very interesting.I’ll add my two cents-a dialogue between a (moral paper) tiger and a (mythical fire-breathing) dragon:

    Dragon: Tiger,you must stop those Tibetan protestors !

    Tiger: I cannot do that,I am a democracy !

    Dragon: So you think your constitution is flawless?

    Tiger: Not at all.There are plenty of flaws in me.But atleast I am a democracy,I am involved in the process of constantly improving myself.Unlike you.

    Dragon: What do you mean I am not a democracy?We hold elections,we have a parliament.

    Tiger: The Great Hall of the People is a misnomer.It should be called the Great Hall of the China Central Communist Party.I know what you did to those who wanted real democracy in Tianamen Square !

    Dragon: That is a propaganda of the bald eagle !

    Tiger: Truth never lies.Truth cannot lie.Truth alone triumphs in the end.Tell me,was there nothing called the Tianamen Square massacre?

    Dragon: Well yes,a few lives were lost in the People’s interest.As if you did not kill anyone in your life.

    Tiger: I agree that I did.But I regret it.I want to improve myself.

    Dragon: Listen Tiger,I am your brother.Let us join hands and rule the world !

    Tiger: Ha . . . ha . . . ha . . . how can a mythical creature be a brother of a cat?Tigers are cousins of other cats.Tigers have nothing to do with dragons or eagles.

    Dragon: But if you join me,you will become a great power.Much greater than what the eagle promised you.

    Tiger: Both of you are scoundrels ! I want to remain equidistant from both of you !

    Dragon: We are Asians,aren’t we?Why do you suspect a creature from your own continent?

    Tiger: It is because of your fire-breathing tactics.You want to form a string of pearls to contain me,don’t you?

    Dragon: I have to be friendly with everyone in my neighbourhood.

    Tiger: Yes,an enemy of an enemy is your friend.

    Dragon: We can still be friends.There is enough space for both of us to grow.

    Tiger: Enough space for you to sell your weapons to creatures in my neighbourhood.Enough space for you to support the military junta in Myanmar.They have similar characteristics as you,don’t they?Crush pro-democracy protests and torture peaceful monks?

    Dragon: Religion is poison !

    Tiger: It maybe,but everyone has a right to believe in religion.As long as it is kept in the personal space,I see no problems with it.

    Dragon: We allow religion now.

    Tiger: You allow only your own puppets ! Like puppet Buddhist monks and puppet Christian priests apart from your own Taoists and Confucians.

    Dragon: We don’t want people to forget their duty to the People’s Republic.

    Tiger: Then why did you crush the Falun Gong like that and torture them?

    Dragon: Western propaganda !

    Tiger: I am a tiger.I can see through the grass at what I need to see.

    Dragon: I think we can still be friends.

    Tiger: What kind of friendship would that be?You want my iron-ore,don’t you?You want to dump your low quality goods in my market and wipe out my manufacturing industry,don’t you?

    Dragon: But that is just business !

    Tiger: Yes,and those who choose to do business with you suffer.Like the poor boys of Africa.You have dumped your inferior goods on them and wiped out their fledgling manufacturing industries.You are taking all their oil and iron-ore and copper and other minerals.You are a dangerous fellow !

    Dragon: I am not half as dangerous as the bald eagle !

    Tiger: That may be true.But you are still the potential threat number one as far as I am concerned.Your intentions are not good at all,fire-breathing dragon !

    Dragon: Listen,Tiger,we can be friends.I am a friend of the Siberian Tiger !

    Tiger: Aha,I know your motives,Dragon.You are eyeing the whole of the Russian Far-East and all its rich mineral wealth,aren’t you?

    Dragon: Shhhh ! Don’t tell this to the Siberian Tiger !

    Tiger: The Siberian Tiger is my cousin,I will let him know ! Not that he does not know,he is a very clever cat.

    Dragon: So you don’t want to be my friend?Bad for you ! I am going to rule the whole world with my deadly fire !

    Tiger: Not so fast,dear mythical flying lizard ! People are smart enough to look at the truth and courageous enough to fight your evil intentions !

    Dragon: You mean,the EU?Those fellows are declining,they are on the verge of losing their individual identities !

    Tiger: Not at all.They have formed the most perfect supra-national federation in the world so far,even better than the ancient Greek city states,who were all fighting each other from time to time.They have given the concepts of Liberty,Equality,Fraternity and Human Rights to the world and they are courageous enough to zealously safeguard those precious concepts.They are courageous enough to stand up for Human Rights.I would be better off if I become a friend of the EU and Latin America apart from the African Lions and the Siberian Tiger.

    Dragon: It is still your wish.If you don’t want to misuse money and power for your own interests,that is not my problem.

    Tiger: True Buddhist philosophy originated in my lands,Dragon,and spread to the rest of Asia.You cannot conquer the world with your hate and greed.I will conquer the world with the True Buddhist philosophy which is in perfect harmony with the concepts of Liberty,Equality,Fraternity and Human Rights and (ethical) Greco-Roman science ! I am a natural ally of the EU,Latin America,Africa and the CIS.I cannot join hands with you or the bald eagle.Both of you are very dangerous creatures !

  27. April 13, 2008 12:26 pm

    Dear Guqin,

    I hope you do not misunderstand my previous post as a dialogue between you and me.Please look at it as a funny dialogue between a moral paper tiger and a mythical fire-breathing dragon,because whether we like it or not,only strength respects strength and only strength gets respected by strength in this imperfect human world.

  28. Guqin permalink
    April 14, 2008 12:23 am

    Dear Raj,

    Don’t worry about it. I may not agree with you, but your sincerity is advident. We can discuss this more, but I don’t have home internet access any more. Posting the last dialogue already cost me $13.00.

  29. April 16, 2008 11:40 am

    The Tibetan cause has never got as much attention from the world as it has now. This is the moment the Dailai Lama shall speak to the world and try to convince the main powers to interveen on Tibets behalf.

  30. April 17, 2008 2:01 am

    ‘China has played into Tibet’s hands by hosting the Olympics. The Tibetan cause has never got as much attention from the world as it has now.
    What surprises me is that the politically savvy China did not anticipate it. What about China’s Intelligence agencies? Could they not have sniffed out what was in the air? The Tibetans must have been planning this for months.

    Perhaps China fell victim to its own propaganda.’

    I disagree with your stance on China being politically savvy first off and secondly it falling victim to anything. China was well aware of what it was getting itself into. It also was aware that no big players in the world politics have the guts to stand up to it in today’s economy. It also was aware that no matter what anguish is world-wide, it’s not going to give up Tibet or any other such illegal/immoral activities it’s involved in. It was well aware that Olympics meant big money … and well, it is making money. A year from now .. Tibet will still be under Chinese control and world might not even be talking about it. China will snuff it out nicely again.
    🙂

  31. Guqin permalink
    April 21, 2008 6:25 am

    There was a large Chinese protest outside CNN yesterday, and many more in Europe against BBC, both on the dishonesty of these two media. If truly care about Tibet, should do some research. Of course, the English speaking world is downplaying its magnitube and importance, so it may take a while to find related articles and videos. One can also do some research on how they reported the Iraq war and even the LA riot in 1992. See if you can still trust them. Sorry, I am not interested, so can’t provide any links. Of course, if one only wants to use Tibet to shout at China in pretension of moral superiority, then, never mind.

    I don’t recommand India hosting the Olympics, Sikkim and other regions may get attention, if not, it is only because the west doesn’t think India can someday be strong enough to challenge them.

    For sure, China is not going to host that game again. Who would? Let western nations host it and boycott each other like when Hitler or Stalin were around.

    Hoping Beijing cancel the Olympics if possible. Whose loss?

  32. Guqin permalink
    April 21, 2008 7:06 am

    By the way, mainlanders and Taiwanese went to the protests together.

    Thanks to the west in helping us to unify ahead of schedule.

  33. April 21, 2008 8:19 am

    Roop, sorry for the late reply, but had missed this comment. Thanks for that perspective. You have a good point, China knew very well that no western power would actually do anything, all this is just the fringe elements who are doing the protests.

    Gugin, I think it is important to realise that the western powers are not supporting the Tibetans. Chinese pride may be hurt but I think they should understand that most of the western world is standing by and watching as Tibetans shout themselves hoarse. At the same time it is important for the western nations to give lip service to the cause of Tibet because of the values of freedom that they stand for.
    As for Sikkim, even if India hosts the Olympics, India will never have this problem, but not for the reasons you have outlined. There will never be a sufficient number of Sikkimese to spearhead the protest as Sikkim has a fair amount of autonomy (what Tibetans are demanding) and there is no feeling in Sikkim that India is swallowing it up. There is no cultural genocide as the Tibetans feel is being done in Tibet by China. You have to acknowledge whether you like it or not that Tibetans are up in arms against China.
    In fact even in Kashmir (Pakistan took half of it and now they want the other half) has been given autonomy. That is the only way that India keeps protesters in check. I think China’s strategy is wrong, and as long as it is communist they will be able to survive this way. Once it becomes a democracy as it is sure to one day, it will become a big problem.

  34. April 21, 2008 1:44 pm

    Dear Guqin,

    I think you keep misunderstanding me.I am not a saint and I don’t want to preach any morals.I am a true patriotic citizen of my country.That means I will always question the actions of the central government (and my state government,too) if they do things that are against the concepts of Liberty,Equality,Fraternity and Human Rights !

    You (and some others) are real patriotic citizens of your countries.That means you will accept the actions of governments even if they obviously go against Human Rights ! Real patriotism is not good as it can morph into pseudo-patriotism (false patriotism) ! Governments and law and constitutions do not constitute a country ! Countries are made of human beings ! That is why the concepts of Liberty,Equality,Fraternity and Human Rights are so important !

    I don’t say I am anywhere near perfect or even good,for that matter.I can lose control of myself quite easily as I am going to do in this post.

    Nita,

    I know you don’t want to offend our dear friend Guqin,so if you allow me,I will do the unpleasant job in this comment.

    You mentioned Kashmir.I know why you did not mention Aksai Chin.

    Aksai Chin and the territories ceded by Pakistan to China belong to India !

    The Karakoram Highway is a piece of **** ! So is the Qinghai-Tibet Railway !

    FREE TIBET !

    The rightful place of Tibet is as a full and independent member of the SAARC !

    The fire-breathing Dragon has illegally occupied Tibet ! I always call a spade a spade !

    The crouching Tiger is capable of fighting the hidden Dragon on its own !

  35. April 21, 2008 2:08 pm

    Nita,

    Though I don’t completely agree with your views on Kashmir and Sikkim and the North-East, that is something we can discuss later as this post is about Tibet.

    FREE TIBET !!!

  36. April 21, 2008 6:34 pm

    This is an insightful editorial.

    China’s New Nationalists

  37. Guqin permalink
    April 22, 2008 6:37 am

    I guess I happened to have mentioned Sikkim and got all your attention, but if you bother to look at my comment again, I was talking about the dishonesty of CNN and BBC. I meant to say that if necessary, CNN and BBC can forge their version of Sikkim and other regions. No, I don’t know specifics of Sikkim. However since questions have been raised, I could share some of my thoughts, but they will be random and brief:

    Tibet seems to have enough elements to claim independence, but the claim is more inpure than it is portrayed.

    Beijing has justifiable claim of Tibet, but the claim is not absolute.

    Beijing’s Tibet claim is stronger than India’s claims over several regions. (Mogols and Manchus in their dynasties considered themselves Chinese, but the British didn’t consider themselves Indians).

    Both cases are infinitely stronger than the mere existence of nations like USA, Canada, Australia, which are the true, complete Tibets.

    Over similar issues, India is morally pretentious, but flexible. China is bold, but rigid. West is hypocritical and in heart indifferent.

    Not sure if I am a patriot myself, especially having seen its blindness in US.

    Raj, I didn’t misunderstand you at all since I wasn’t thinking of your ideas at all.

    The main historic theme is that India rejected Colonialism but wanted to inherite the “benefit” of it since it would unify and strengthen India. But any Chinese since the Opium Wars would consider it a moral duty to disrespect a line drawn by the British. I believe Mao called on Nehru several times over the issue, but no genuine responses. As a parallel phenomenon, the English language is another Mcmahon line of the mind, it unifies, strengthens India. India rejected the British but didn’t reject their language for this reason. But that means India’s transformation from a traditional civilization (collection of free kingdoms) into solid nation-state in the modern western fashion. The border conflicts and language issues are different expressions of the same historic theme. In general, as it seems to me, most Indian people do not understand the essence of this transformation and most of time present it morally (as I stated, that would lead to moral pertension.).

    Indian people have way too much prejudice for China. Among the wars foungt by PLA, I can only question the one with Vietnam. The ones with US and Soviet were heroic. “Evil Dragon” and the like are very sloppy terms.

    Regarding the Olympics, “Chinese pride hurt” is a very superficial way of looking at it. Beijing may get pants pulled off, an embarrassment indeed, but pride is a different thing. As it seems to me, the hypocrisy and clumsiness of the west have strengthened the Chinese self-asurance and identification between mainlanders and Taiwanese. Olympics is a western tradition as I pointed out, it isn’t China’s loss. This will be edvident over time.

    China’s mistake is applying for hosting the Olympics at all. The last Chairman (Jiang) was a vain person, it was his idea.

    Just like the Olympics, Communism is a western invention, the west boycotting the Olympics and fearing Communism is boycotting and fearing themselves. This is the level of the ethics and vision of the west. Again, China’s mistake is to “apply to host” Communism at all. If interested in why, need to understand China’s history since the Opium Wars.

    Just like you, I hope Beijing drops the Olympics and China drops Communism, but that doesn’t mean China will be absorbed into the Capitalistic-Democratic west. I think India is in such danger.

    The above are my random observations, may be wrong or inaccurate. They are not intended as arguments.

  38. Guqin permalink
    April 22, 2008 6:54 am

    Nita,

    It is not true that the west just stands by and watches. Thinking so only shows how little you understand the complex of this issue. CIA was envolved. Regarding the torch thing, the west’s plan already surfaced in May of 2007 in Germany. Even in San Francisco, the mayor was involved, seeing lots of Chinese protesters, he ordered the torch to take a un-planed path as to avoid the supporters and to meet the bashers.

    Enough Olympics.

    Conspiracy theory eh!🙂 Well, I don’t subscribe to it! No offense intended. – Nita

  39. April 22, 2008 8:04 am

    Gugin, true India will be capitalist but as I am a capitalist myself, I welcome this change. I see it the only way to get out of the poverty here. Yes, we have to guard against the dangers of capitalism, not go to the extreme. I think we will manage that as we have a lot of socialists thinking people in our country to keep the balance.
    I think China has turned capitalist too though, if you take their economic system. Democracy and capitalism do not necessarily have to go together. They are separate things. I feel capitalism works best with democracy but then that is my opinion.

    Also if you read my post and comments carefully Gugin you will understand that I do not support independence of Tibet. Nor does the Dalai Lama. I am disappointed at your aggression in defending in your country. I can see the faults of my country, but you see China doing no wrong, and if anything is wrong with China you believe the west is to blame. You feel the west is the root of all evil, but I don’t. I love many things about the west and I feel India can learn from the west just as the west can learn from India.

  40. Guqin permalink
    April 22, 2008 9:08 am

    Nita,

    If you read my whole post, I said Tibet has suffient reason to be independent. Dalai Lama seems like a respectable person to me. Never had I made any assumptions about your suporting Tibet independence or not. In fact, I didn’t even say that Tibet shouldn’t be independent. My focus is how the west uses Olympics and Tibet and turn them into something else. At the end that would discredit the Tibetans too.

    Regarding “conspiracy theory”, you could verify it. Some patience with googling would do.

    I wasn’t criticizing India for “the transformation” (Civilization of collection of small kingdoms to modern solid nation-state), I was trying to point out the main theme of this part of history. If to criticize, I blame China first. The whole Communist movement and cultural revolution are the biggest “transformation” perhaps ever in history. I thought pointing out the Indian part may help to see the border issue more netrually (as I pointed the langague issue as a parallel phenomenon).

    I don’t understand how I gave your the impression that “China does no wrong”. I believe from the begining, I held the opinion that China’s mad capitalism, Communist movement, Olympics vanity.. are all wrong.

  41. Guqin permalink
    April 22, 2008 9:14 am

    Nita,

    And I didn’t mean that India can not make that “transsformation”. It is a choice, a decision (just like China decided to become a “republic”).

  42. April 22, 2008 11:20 am

    Guqin,

    I am happy to find out that you don’t seem to be too offended by my comments.I do not preach morals or anything else,for that matter.Unless one happens to be a true saint,one can never preach morals.It would be hypocrisy.

    Broadly speaking,there would be nothing such as “right” or “wrong” in this imperfect world.But if everyone thought that there were no such concepts,the world would turn into hell.That is the drawback of Eastern civilisation and art.In their eagerness to be as “real” as possible,they lose sight of the fact that anything that exists can be improved.So it leads to a decay and inevitable collapse before a “renaissance” and the cycle gets repeated.

    Western civilisation and Greco-Roman science,on the other hand,know that anything can be improved and new and better things can be invented or discovered.That is what makes them so successful.

    Ofcourse,not everything that comes out of the West is good.A few of them are outright bullshit,like ‘free trade’ and ‘free market capitalism’.Oxymorons,if ever there was such a thing!

    But the West (I mean the EU and not the US) is showing the way forward to the rest of the world in modern times.I really admire Western concepts,like democracy,Liberty,Equality,Fraternity and Human Rights.The West does know how to improve itself,something that the East usually does not know.So the only way forward for the East is to implement those Western concepts after getting rid of the nonsensical parts.Eastern philosophy can be kept in the personal domain.Countries that do this are extremely successful,like Japan.

    But yes,I too thought you were unaware of China’s troubled relations with almost all her neighbours since your textbooks would have taught you only what your government wanted you to know.My textbooks,too,did not present an accurate picture of so many events.I had to find the facts from other sources.That is why I don’t hesitate to criticise what I think is not the way forward for my country.If people want to call me names for doing so,so be it.Brushing the dirt under the carpet will not get rid of it.It will only lead to the accumulation of more dirt.Only if we acknowledge the dirt,can we get rid of it.That is what true patriotism is all about.The West usually has more true patriots than the East.The saddest part is that,in any country,the true patriots not only have to fight stupid concepts and ideas and their own governments but also have to tolerate name-calling by (otherwise wonderful and very intelligent) people who think that patriotism is the preserve of a few.But despite their sensitivity,they (the true patriots) can be quite thick-skinned when they want to.They are capable of giving as good as they get!That is what makes them what they are!

    P.S.: I never mentioned anything about any “evil” dragon at all.I was only talking about dragons that breathe fire.Dragons are mythical creatures.Unlike others,I don’t give labels to even mythical creatures! 🙂

  43. Guqin permalink
    April 22, 2008 11:08 pm

    Raj,

    I don’t get offended easily. To be frank, much of your shouting seemed surface if not sometimes irresponsible. But you seem like a good person, which is good enough.

    Among those western concepts, I only admire “equality”, the rest can be deceptive. In fact equality exists in eastern concept too, but hardly comprehensive enough, especially in the secular level.

    Regarding improvement, one should look at it as a whole. The destruction of nature is a consequence of the improvement in men’s homes.

  44. April 22, 2008 11:29 pm

    Guqin,

    Thanks . . . I know my flaws . . . I only try to be a good person,that’s all 😐

  45. Guqin permalink
    April 23, 2008 12:25 am

    Nita,

    You intreprated my comments that way as it seems to me mainly because you don’t believe in the dishonesty of CNN and BBC, and the west’s envolvement. You can simply google two words “CIA” and “Tibet”. You can judge over informations from all sides, and see if it is only a product of my imagination.

    Regarding dishonesty of BBC and CNN, there are videos on Youtube, again, from all sides.

  46. April 23, 2008 12:43 am

    BBC – Bush Brown Corporation

    CNN – Cable Nonsense Network

  47. April 23, 2008 7:35 am

    Gugin, as you can see Raj will agree with your more.🙂 However I am not saying that the CNN and the BBC is not biased or one-sided, but no, I do not think they are dishonest. BBC specially tries very hard, but it is difficult to be entirely objective for any news corporation. The BBC has reported in a one-sided manner about many Indian issues as well but I don’t think they are dishonest.
    All media is one-sided and some are terribly biased. Some are mouth pieces of the government. We have these in India too and as compared to the Indian media, I think the BBC stands as a shining example to emulate. Govt. sponsored but not a mouthpiece of the government. I have high regard for the BBC’s professionalism but ofcourse I am not saying that anyone should share my view. I believe in looking at my own country first and comparing. We in India fall way behind I am afraid.

  48. Guqin permalink
    April 23, 2008 8:22 am

    Nita,

    I think you are being terribly general here. We are talking about that on Tibet. The relation between Britain and China makes this very specific, from Opium War to Hong Kong. Perhaps most of time BBC is a shinning example, yet precisely the brighter a sun is, the darker a shadow it casts when there is an opaque object under it, and a more effective harm it does. You suggested China’s “mouthpiece”, indeed true, at least often enough, but that shouldn’t imply its better counterpart is telling the truth. This is usually the format of higher prejudice. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to reveal my thoughts. I have valued this opportunity.

  49. April 23, 2008 9:22 am

    No, I don’t think I am being general at all. I have clearly said I do not think that either CNN or BBC is dishonest, and if it is, certainly not with regard to Tibet. I thought that was clear from my comment. But I think I prefer not to talk about this any longer as my views are clear and so are yours. I think you too are tired of this subject, so lets move on.
    Thanks for all your inputs.

  50. Guqin permalink
    April 26, 2008 7:26 am

    Nita,

    Sorry for making you feel that way…

    Due to the domination of west’s media, demonization of China has been a constant theme for decades and Chinese people didn’t even used to be able to talk back due to the language barrier and the isolation. Now there are more Chinese people who could speak English, but we could only use vehicles like Youtube without our BBC or CNN in order to have our voices heard. Since I happen to be able to speak English, so naturally I revealed my ideas here, whether or not they are effective are less of my concern at this momment. I am happy enough with the opportunity alone. Thanks for your post of this topic. I am grateful.

  51. mikeklashinko permalink
    July 7, 2008 9:02 pm

    @Raj, “Wonderful post !!! This is the right time for the whole world to make the (Han Chinese) People’s Republic of China give the peace-loving Tibetans their rights.The (Han Chinese) People’s Republic of China is as bad as Uncle Sam when it comes to double standards with regard to human rights.Shame on such governments !”

    Maybe you should actually study the situation in Tibet before commenting. Before 1949, the Tibetan theocracy under the Tibetan nobility were just as oppressive as the communists in the 1960’s. The Tibetan commoners lived as slaves.

    So far, Tibetans and Ughirs are the main ethnic groups complaining about autonomy. The other ethnic groups, Manchus, Arabs, Muslim Hui, Zhang, Viet, Austro-Aborigenes, etc have integrated and are working to expand representation, instead of just asking for their own slice of private land.

  52. Guqin permalink
    July 7, 2008 9:47 pm

    During 1960s (cultural revolution), the whole country suffered, it wasn’t aimed at the Tibetan group.

    I came across a post by a Tibetan while visitting newsweek.washingtonpost.com in the site “Pomfret’s China” under the title “China Bashing: It is Back”. Here I quote the whole post below. I hope Indian China bashers be a bit more fair and more open-minded:

    Namjagbarwa, From Eastern Tibet :
    I’ll use the name of my hometown’s pride as my user ID here,—Mt. Namjarbarwa.

    My English is not good so pls pardon me if you see any typo and mistake.

    I am from Nyingchi Region, Eastern Tibet. 70% of my beloved homeland are under Indian military occupation. All Thanks to the British support in 1962. But that’s another story.

    During the past month, I’ve witnessed alot protests here in U.S. and been told about riots back at my homeland. I think it’s my duty to clear on some FACTS that are obviously and selectively omitted by the media and protesters.

    1. His Holyness the Dalai Lama DOES NOT represent Tibet. Our Tibetan Buddhism has 4 schools:Gelug, Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu. HH the Dalai Lama is ONE of the TWO most respected living budda of Gelug(Yellow Hat Sect), another one is Panchen Lama. HH the Dalai Lama can only represent farmers and town living Tibetans from North Central Tibet(Centered with City of Lhasa), which is about 20% of entire Tibetan population at the most. Entire South Central Tibet(Centered with City of Xigaze) worship Panchen Lama only, as well as we who are from Eastern Tibet only believe NyingMa Sect, the Red Hat.

    2. Example: If the President of Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, fled to Europe after the Civil War was lost. Can he represent all Americans? I don’t think so. He IS qualified to represent all the slave masters though.

    3. Since 1980, We Tibetans have not paid ONE cent of Tax to the central government. We Tibetans have NOT paid ONE cent on fertilizer and seed. We have promotion access to housing, education, birth, employment and all kinds of other social benefits. The name of this promotion policy is called the Affirmative Act in the United States. I don’t know what it’s called in Tibet and honestly I didn’t really care. It’s been there since I was born. When I realized that policy only applies to minority groups in China, I am already 13. I got 10 points raise on my average score when I graduated from elementary school. And I know my brother got 20 points when he graduated from high school. There are 10 Million high school graduates competing to get into college every year. Can you imagine how many advantages this 20 point can make?? BTW, I have 3 brothers and 2 sisters, and there goes so-called “Forced Birth Control amoung Tibetans”.

    4. Just like 95% of other Tibetans, my family was farmer-slaves before 1959. We’ve always been slaves till HH the Dalai Lama and his slavery government escapted from Tibet, along with most slave masters. Though the Chinese Army already stationed in Tibet in 1950, the reform, the abandon of slavery system was not carried out by central government. One story is that in 1954, Chinese Army was hiring in my village to help them building concrete roads. After they found out that their payments to the villagers are all robbed by slave masters, they were angry and started paying merchandise and goods directlym, just to make sure the masters can’t take them away. That was 4 years after People’s Liberation Army entered Tibet.

    5. I am kinda tired telling these stories now. I don’t know why the world outside Tibet had so many misleadings and understanding to our homeland. I really appreciate that you said you were speaking for Tibetans. But there are 3 million Tibetans living in Tibet now and you are only listening to those around HH the Dalai Lama??? Our living conditions are much bettern than those in exile and much much better than 50 years ago. and none of these was the effort of exile Tibetan government,ZERO. We earned it by our sweat drops and promotion policies from central government. Not a living budda who was randomly picked by HH. And we want our life to be better and better. Talking about moral standards and religion freedom, we Red Hat Sect can practice all traditional customs everyday. I don’t know what happened to Yellow Hat and I don’t understand why they seem like the only trouled ones in Tibet and mostly I don’t see how can HH the Dalai Lama become the Representive of Tibet?!

    Long live Tibet, Long live Peace, Long live China.

    April 27, 2008 12:53 PM | Report Offensive Comments

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