Chinese Bloggers on Tibet

While discussion of the recent riots in Tibetan areas and their aftermath is being strictly policed on the Internet inside China, a number of Chinese bloggers (many of them living overseas) have started to weigh in. Responses range from the rapidly nationalistic to the supremely even-handed, with those living abroad tending towards the latter. The following posts were selected and translated by CDT:

(1) Snail’s Shell, a Beijing-based blogger on MSN Spaces who describes herself as a “railroad worker,” seethes over the tone of foreign media coverage, in particular the linking of Tibet protests with the Olympics (translated by Zhaohua Li):

Over here, we build sports venues and subway lines and airport terminals, working ourselves ragged to prepare; over there, people use Darfur one day and Tibet the next to fan the flames of protest and boycott. What’s the deal? We Chinese love being treated with disdain, is that it? This is a hot face pasted on a cold ass (热脸贴在冷屁股上, Beijing slang used to refer to an unrequited relationship). No. It’s not just a cold ass. A cold ass with thorns.

Watching CNN today, I was filled with rage. If you want to wail over a corpse when a wedding is about to happen, you have to pick an appropriate time and keep your voice down, no? Mention Tibet and immediately it’s an Olympics issue. “At a time when China is seeking the world’s admiration, the sudden eruption of riots in Tibet has cast serious doubts.” What the hell tone is that to take? It’s pure gloating. Did Chinese people provoke this disdain? Sure, we’re hosting the Olympics for the sake of foreigners, so they can see our country’s progress and development. When you’re a host, you want to put your most beautiful face forward—nothing wrong with that, right? Step by step, we’ve moved smoothly towards realizing that goal. But these dog shit foreigners aren’t willing to see what’s good about you. They have to portray you like a bunch of incurable stick-thin African famine victims. After that, all you can do to make them happy is let them come in like God and bestow their patronizing charity on you so they can satisfy their superiority complex. Seeking truth from facts and reporting the Tibet situation straight-up isn’t enough. They have to lie and spin the story to vilify the Chinese government. They have to link it with the Olympics and hint between the lines that the Games should be boycotted.

Dalai Lama, I don’t believe any of the bastards who say you didn’t start this. What it is about you, so close to lying down in your own coffin, that makes you crave public enemy status? Are you capable of accumulating a little merit for yourself? One moment, you pretend to support the Beijing Olympics (“It will make millions of people proud”); the next you’re spewing evil (“I hope an independent organization will investigate whether or not the Chinese government is deliberately acting to extinguish Tibetan culture.”) What Nobel Peace Prize winner, what Buddhist figure sits idly watching as his homeland is ruined and his compatriots bleed just so he can collect a few political chips? No wonder the Buddha punishes you.

One picture on CNN made me feel especially sick: What looked to be a bunch of Korean co-eds carrying a Free Tibet sign while parading around with surgical masks on. You whores! Don’t you know your own nation is split apart? What the hell does Tibet have to do with you? Or are you just following your American father? You can go to Iraq and be your daddy’s cannon fodder for all I care. Just don’t provoke China. What, you get pleasure out of riding other people’s coattails?

So everyone wants to boycott the Olympics. Maybe we should do it first. How about we cancel it, keep everyone out of the country and hold a national sports event just for ourselves—use the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube for ourselves, keep the medals in the family, save that precious jade inlay from flowing out of the country. In the fall we’ll send the Shenzhou 7 back up to the sky, welcome the double blessing, and in the winter we’ll celebrate a new year.

Aren’t we supposed to live life for ourselves? In the future, we’ll do less of this attention-getting, fruitless crap. If you foreigners want to protest, go ahead and protest. If you want to find fault, then find fault. You can kick and scream all you want. Who cares what you cry about? This is how my country is: Living large!

(2) A somewhat more measured response from blogger A Dai. His blog is Desert Sand Storm. (Translated by Kate Zhao):

Recently, whenever I watch TV or read news online, there are Tibet riot stories from Chinese mainland media and foreign media. Regardless of the standpoint, at least, there are some true facts: someone protested in the street, someone lost financial assets, someone died in the riot.

Chinese media reporting suddenly raised nationalists’ patriotic enthusiasm. Some blamed foreign media for intentionally distorting stories; someone criticized violence, even some of the overheated discussions appeared on the portal’s news discussion column. Everyone knows that in China, commercial news websites are under severe censorship nowadays, so if even the overheated discussions can pass the tightened scrutiny, we can only imagine about the blocked ones.
After reading domestic news these days, I still have the following questions:

The Chinese government contributed millions of dollars every year for Tibetan construction, so why do Tibetans still go protest in Lhasa?

How could the Dalai Lama, who was regarded as worthless in China, win the Nobel Peace Prize? And why can he meet frequently with top officials from the U.S., UK, Germany and Canada?

If it was an organized, premeditated riot with violent damage, why didn’t we let foreign media report and win their sympathy?

Before clarifying all these questions, can we give up our anger first? I don’t want to be the hunter with evil hands and blind eyes.

(3) Blogger Bingmao is a 22 year-old Chinese student who has been studying in Finland for the last three years. The following post was published on his blog on March 26, entitled “My Take on Tibet.” (Translated by Linjun Fan):

Tibet has once again attracted the world’s attention. What is disturbing the peace of the Tibetan Plateau and the stability of the Chinese government? It’s easy to blame the Dalai Lama and some western countries for the problem. In my view, however, it’s an issue of how an atheist ruling party finds a way to co-exist with a highly religious ethnic group.

Looking back on Tibet’s history, the Dalai Lama and his followers fled China and established an exile government in 1959. He has garnered international support and used it as leverage to negotiate with the Chinese government. China has designated the Dalai Lama and members of the exile government as separatists. Who is right? There are conflicts of interest between the Chinese government and Dalai Lama, who are trying to attack each other. No information from either side is reliable. But we are clear that Tibet is now in the control of the Chinese government, whose economic and military power far surpasses that of the Dalai Lama, and that it’s almost impossible for the Dalai to seek Tibet’s independence now.

Dalai recently claimed that what he pursues is not Tibet’s independence, but real autonomy for Tibetan regions. The idea sounds peaceful. Why does the Chinese government still regard it as seeking Tibet independence? The Greater Tibetan Region proposed by the Dalai Lama includes not only Tibet, but also regions in Gansu and Sichuan provinces where Tibetans live. The land accounts for nearly two fifths of China’s total territory. This request is far beyond what the Chinese government can offer.

A majority of Tibetans’ living conditions and their level of education have been considerably improved since its liberation in the 1950s. To the envy of many Chinese provinces, the Central Government of China has been giving large amounts of economic assistance and a series of favorable policies to the Tibetan Autonomous Region. However, it seems that the expenditures of the Chinese government hasn’t won Tibetans’ heart. As we all know, Tibet has its unique culture and religion, and the Dalai Lama has a significant spiritual influence over Tibetans. In the hearts of Tibetans, all financial, military and political power are dwarfed by the power of their spiritual leader. Therefore, it’s not hard to know which side Tibetans will stand on when a conflict between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government erupts.

The Tibetan problem is complex because Tibetans have strong religious beliefs; they are unconditionally obedient to their religious leaders, and the exiled Dalai Lama is their spiritual leader. If the Chinese government reconciles with the Dalai Lama, his influence over Tibetans would only grow stronger, while the influence of the Chinese government over Tibetans would dwindle. Tibet will probably go back to its old system, combining its religious institutions and government together.

What kind of measures should the Chinese government take to allow religion and socialism to coexist in this unique land? Giving Tibet complete autonomy would lead the road back to the old system of unity between church and government. How dark and horrible this old system was during the Middle Ages! On the other hand, the current political control by the Chinese government has largely deprived Tibetans of their rights, and obstructed the continuation of Tibetan culture. Government officials are stationed in temples. Monks are not allowed to support the Dalai Lama. The new Panchen Lama was selected by the Chinese government and has to follow the leadership of party officials. The functions of Buddha, Buddhism, and monks in Tibetan life are all curtailed to various degrees, harming the spread of Tibetan Buddhism. Once people lose a true understanding of the religion, they can only stay on the level of superstition. The temples are reduced to a place for people to burn incense and seek blessings, and Tibetan Buddhism would gradually lose its true meaning.

This is a conundrum, especially to a big developing country as China, which has more to worry about and to fear. The Chinese government is waiting for the Dalai Lama, who is in his 70s, to die in a foreign country, and reincarnate into a new Dalai who is obedient to the Party. However, there are many uncertainties in this wait-and-see plan, because Tibetans follow Dalai, monks are willing to die for him, the exile government is in his control, and the western world is pouring out support for him.

This keeps the Tibetan region, which has high international support and strong religious beliefs, always on the edge of an explosion. If the Chinese government can’t tackle its relations with the Dalai Lama well, any problem between the Taiwan Straits or any social unrest in China, might present an opportunity to the acutely-tuned Dalai Lama. He might exploit all his power and influence to take the advantage, and the possibility of Tibet’s independence will greatly increase.

The Dalai Lama is not merely a form of address. Any slight towards him could cause deep-rooted hatred from Tibetans. A ruler needs to win people’s hearts. All regimes in history have needed the support of the people to survive. As a party whose mission is to “Serve the People”, the Communist Party of China needs to respect Tibetans’ religious beliefs and cultural traditions. The Chinese government should actively seek dialogue and cooperation with Dalai Lama. Only by doing so can it win the heart of five million Tibetans, and help Tibetan Buddhism spread far and wide.

One side (the Dalai Lama) wants to preserve its religion and culture; the other side (the Chinese government ) wants Tibet to remain part of China. Because of a lack of trust, conflict arises between them even though their goals are not directly contradictory. Tibetans’ living conditions have been improved considerably since its peaceful liberation, but the racial immigration policy and a series of anti-Dalai polices have damaged Tibet’s religion and culture, causing Dalai’s distrust towards the current Tibet autonomy given by the Central Government of China. On the other hand, the Chinese government is reluctant to give a large area of territory to such a favored religious leader.

Fortunately, the two sides don’t have contradictory goals. Conflicts between them arise just in the process of the achieving the goals. As a centralized government, China can not tolerate the splitting of its territory. However, it needs to be careful in dealing with Tibetan unrest, since Tibet has its unique religious beliefs and nearly 40 years’ history of independence.

The issue is extremely sensitive because it concerns relations between two different ethnic groups. It’s not just about relations between Chinese and Tibetans, but also between Chinese and Uighurs and 53 other ethnic groups. The pressure from the outside world on the Tibetan issue is indeed high, but it should still be regarded as a conflict among the people, rather than a conflict between two enemies. It is critical for the two sides to find a way to establish trust, and allow atheists and Tibetan Buddhists to coexist on this magic land.

(4) The Following post is from a Hong Kong-based blog: Collecting Memories. (Translated by Kate Zhao):

When the motherland forces out all foreign journalists from Tibet, TV channels in Hong Kong don’t have first-hand footage, so they have to transmit China’s state-run news. They copy the news totally (at least TVB, I don’t know about other channels), and are willing to be the mouthpiece — What else can they do?

I don’t really doubt the violence, robbery, and fire on camera, nor do I suspect the existence of a ‘foreign influence’, but our government/police are not vegetarians and I would never underestimate their power to clamp down on the “criminals” “according to the law.” So I believe that what we see from the TV screen is part of the truth, while other important information (or even more important information) was blocked from the news. When I see policemen forced to open fire, surrendered Tibetans expressing their regret, innocent civilians in tears, I feel more confused on the definition of “lies.”

A sentence comes to my ears: lies can be comprised of facts.

(5) This one is written by a blogger who calls herself The Girl With A Cat; she is studying in Germany. (Translated by Kate Zhao):

I just came back from Paris, and accepted a call from a friend: What’s your opinion about Tibet?
Is this a question? Or is it a new question?

eek, it doesn’t matter East or West, Chinese, German, or English, people everywhere are debating the same frequently-used words: riot, independence, suppress, military army, boycott Olympics, nationalism etc.

OK, my opinions are:

1, It is Tibetan’s rights to protest peacefully.

2, Revenging Han Chinese with violence rather than peaceful protest is barbaric.

3,Crackdown on the unrest is the duty of the police, but deploying the military changes the whole nature of things. No excuses for that.

4,It’s very stupid to force out all foreign media from Tibet, and it’s evidence of the lack of transparency of the news and the lack of freedom of expression. Can you rely on the evicted foreign journalists to say good things about you? Can you let the world believe the Xinhua agency’s press release? To tell you the truth, even I do not believe it.

5,As for common sense, an open society’s media under freedom of expression is more credible than the media under the one-party rule, and one voice propaganda system. Western people were brainwashed by western media, just like Chinese people were always brainwashed by party newspapers, and CCTV. The question left is: domestic brainwashing vs. foreign, which one is better?

6,What do Tibetans really think ? I don’t know. At least before a democratic vote in Tibet, no one knows. Similarly, do Chinese people support their government? Before we have true voting rights, there is no answer.

7,After decades of brainwashing, at least most Chinese equate the Chinese government with China. Then if western media criticizes the Chinese government, Chinese people will be excited and eager to fight back, or feel guilty. But, in fact, why we should react like that?

8,Like writer Yishu said: When a man doesn’t love his woman any more, her crying is wrong, her silence is wrong, breathing is wrong, even her death is wrong.” Modify this a little bit. The attitude from the western media to China: when the western world believes China’s politics are undemocratic, its harmonious show is wrong, its silence is wrong, its police clampdown is wrong, everything is wrong.

9,When we have no rights to choose our government, when we gave up our rights to protest for freedom, we should bear every prejudice from the western world. It’s painful, but it’s what we deserve.

10,At last, I don’t think it’s a special problem of nationality. Above of all, it’s a question of democracy.

(6) This one is from Italy-based blogger Ero Fang’s blog:

the riot itself is a well organized one for the delicate moment before the Olympics to mess up the situation, and i would say it’s a clear case of political blackmail with the sacrifice of civilians lives. unfortuantely our government just falls into the pit dug for it each time and every time.

the tibetans’ dissatisfaction and hatred towards our government or the Han people are tangible. it is time for our government to all-roundly review and readjust its Tibet policies, to truly practice Tibetan autonomy and truly respect and protect the Tibetan language and culture institution wise. meanwhile we people need also review their viewpoint of Tibet’s history and its status. although there will probably hardly an absolute correct answer to the Tibet territorial issue, we should make an effort to find out the objective history of Tibet and make our choice after independent thinking. and all need to be aware of the fact that in this modern era no high pressure policy or violence will work for long.

on the world’s stage (or the western world), Dalai speaks louder than all 1.3 billion Chinese. currently western people hear only what the Tibetan say but won’t listen to Chinese government which is so completely defeated by the former that in Europe nobody would imagine the fact could deviate from what has been reported (again, our own ignorance of international communication and PR skills, such as calling Dalai a separatists, banning foreign reporters in Tibet, and calling the anti-riot action “waging a people’s war”. on the contrary, the exiled Tibetan are not only fluent in western languages and vocabulary but also know all too well how to entertain his audience).

it does not seem a good idea to avoid the challenge from maestro Dalai. if it was a boxing game, then our government is cornered everytime by dalai. the disrespect to Dalia’s actual status and the effort to weaken his leadership will lead only to the disorder in Tibet and more violence (is this what the gov want?)

they say the police beat up monks, but come on even beating up football hooligans in uk could be harder. some police-beat-civilian photo taken in the riots in Nepal are used for riot in Tibet, some other photos of police and soldiers rescuing civilians in disasters are also used, some photos speak otherwise after they were cut and processed. the mass media are as much keen on setting up another Tienanmen square scenario as the chinese shopping departments building up christmasy or saint-valentiny atmosphere. apart from increasing their sales and the misunderstanding of people from different worlds, the media is not doing much as an fair and calm observer.

last but not least, as a result, Olympics is the candy for only “good” kids in the kindergarten. china and the Olympics games designed for all people in the world, are going to become the test paper to people’s political correctness, “with us or against us”. while the condemnation towards the violence that will be tolerated in no modern countries is just absence. few people accused the brutal behavior such as burning people to death and cut flesh from live body, few people used their senses to think that despite its stupidity and bad record, this government would rather use restraint than violent repression at the critical moment before Olympics unless no other way, and few people are scrutinous enough to spot the problems in the photos. people’s passion is making moral trials and demanding a Moses or a saint figure and sensational hero stories.

March 26, 2008 10:52 PM
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