Tibet: China blocks YouTube, protests spread, bloggers react

* Above left: phonecam snapshots of protests in Amdo, Tibet, over the weekend; at right, phonecam video of the same.

* According to Shanghaiist (and now, mainstream news outlets), YouTube was blocked in China over the weekend, likely because of content related to the flood of pro-Tibetan-sovereignty protests in Tibet and elsewhere:

International news channels such as CNN and BBC are also getting routinely blacked out. While we think this is a really poor way to deal with all the shit that's going on, we have been there many, many times, and survived. Time to turn on your VPN again, people! An
* John Kennedy at Global Voices confirms the YouTube block:
As Tibet transitioned into total lockdown and videos of the violent situation proliferated on YouTube, people began noticing Saturday afternoon in China that the video-sharing website could not be accessed. Tech blogger Rick Martin on the CNET Asia Little Red Blog has done some tests which confirm what many have assumed:

* Rebecca McKinnon at Global Voices has an excellent roundup of reactions in the Chinese blogosphere:

For those living in the West who didn't realize that there's little sympathy for Tibet independence among ethnic Chinese in the PRC, this blog post on Global Voices will be a shocker. John Kennedy has translated chatter from Chinese blogs and chatrooms that generally runs along the lines of: those ungrateful minorities, we give them modern conveniences and look how they thank us... where have we heard this before? Reuters has a roundup on the Washington Post that begins: "a look at Chinese blogs reveals a vitriolic outpouring of anger and nationalism directed against Tibetans and the West." (...)

"Davesgonechina" at the Tenement Palm blog has been translating the chatter coming from Chinese netizens on Fanfou and Jiwai - Chinese versions of Twitter. Click here, here, and here, specifically. Dave has done more than translate: he points out that this Tibet situation is a real challenge to all people who believe that the Internet can help foster free speech and bring about better global understanding.  Here is his challenge to all of us...

* On Friday, protest in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, erupted into violence when police, army troops, and ethnic Tibetan demonstrators clashed. Some accounts place the death toll at 30, some at 100, some at 300. It's hard to separate rumor from truthful first-hand account, and hard to know exactly how many have been killed or injured, because communication in the region is so difficult. Foreign journalists are not allowed in, unaccompanied by official escorts. Internet and phone communications are routinely blocked by Chinese authorities when unrest occurs; some blogging tourists in Lhasa wanting to upload photos of what they witnessed have reported the presence of authorities inside 'net cafes. Pro-Tibetan-sovereignty sites like TCHRD, SFT, and Phayul are posting first-person accounts online. Some of those reports are difficult to independently confirm, given the circumstances. The website of the Central Tibetan Administration (part of the government in exile, led by the Dalai Lama, based in India) posts this update.

* The unrest spread this weekend to regions outside Lhasa: police and protesters also clashed in China's Sichuan and Qinghai provinces, and Gansu province, all of which have large ethnic Tibetan populations. On Saturday...

Demonstrations erupted for the second consecutive day in the city of Xiahe in Gansu Province, where an estimated 4,000 Tibetans gathered near the Labrang Monastery. Local monks had held a smaller protest on Friday, but the confrontation escalated Saturday afternoon, according to witnesses and Tibetans in India who spoke with protesters by telephone.

Residents in Xiahe, reached by telephone, heard loud noises similar to gunshots or explosions. A waitress described the scene as “chaos” and said many injured people had been sent to a local hospital.

* China's government has declared a "people's war" against the Tibetan independence movement, in "propaganda and security" measures, and has implemented what amounts to martial law in Lhasa.
"Fight a people's war to oppose separatism and protect stability ... expose and condemn the malicious actions of these forces and expose the hideous face of the Dalai clique to broad daylight," senior regional and security officials announced after a meeting, according to the official Tibet Daily on Sunday.
* China's governor in Tibet promises harsh consequences for protest participants who do not turn themselves in by Tuesday.

* Speaking to reporters today in Dharamsala, India, the home of the Tibetan Government in Exile, the Dalai Lama called for an international inquiry into the current human rights conditions in Tibet.

''Whether intentionally or unintentionally, some kind of cultural genocide is taking place,'' said the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader. He was referring to China's policy of encouraging the ethnic Han majority to migrate to Tibet, restrictions on Buddhist temples and re-education programs for monks.
* George Bush removed China from a human rights blacklist just three days before the bloodshed in Lhasa.

UPDATE: Boing Boing reader Adam writes,

I am visiting Beijing on business, and staying at a hotel that caters to Westerners. There have been reports that China was loosening controls on the media ahead of the Olympic games, in order to give visitors the impression that the media is unrestricted, but that is not the case in the last day.

While watching CNN in my hotel room, the station goes dark during the top-of-the-hour news flash on the riots, then returns when the synopsis of "what's to come" is given about other stories, and then goes dark again while the coverage switches to Lhasa.

Coverage returns with the anchor asking users to send in their first-hand reports to ireport.com, after all mention of the incident is over. Same results for BBC as well.

The China Daily newspaper I grabbed from the lounge has a small article on the bottom of the front page, titled "Dalai Lama behind sabotage", and states that his "clique" has "organized, premeditated, and masterminded" the beatings, looting, and arson, which "has aroused the indignation of, and is strongly condemned by, the people of all ethnic groups in Tibet."

* Reports estimate that 20,000 Chinese troops have now been deployed to Lhasa (thanks, Christal).

* UPDATE 2 (8pm PT Sunday March 16): BB reader Nick Dobson says,

Besides Youtube, it appears The Guardian and Boingboing have been added to the blocked list in China. ([I'm in] Suzhou, Jiangsu, China)


  1. And how many months from now are we all supposed to develop amnesia and applaud China’s government at the Olympics?

    Besides the gag orders, the censorshp, the violence, the crackdowns, are we just to be impressed by the big shiny buildings and wonderful public displays?

  2. WTF is China’s problem?

    They (government, not necessarily the people) are always pulling dumb crap like the above. The internet chatter from the people of ‘those ungrateful minorities’ is probably going to turn around to ‘f*ck the government’ now that China has turned off YouTube.

    Also, what is with China contributing massively to that big pile of toxic trash in the ocean? They are saying in these articles that a large percentage of the of the trash has Chinese writing all over it. Yeah, I know we all contributed to that major screwup but China sure did more than its part in screwing over the environment.

    China’s government = FAIL. They need to step down before the people realize they’re bigger than them and step up.

    Chinese people, please make ur guvvernmints to stop ruining teh wurld, and has a cheezburger with no cardboards in teh meatz. In return we will try make our guvvernmints do teh same, kthxbai.

  3. I’d like to say I’m boycotting the Olympics because of this, but then I can’t recall watching any of the previous 3 or 4 Olympics (Hell– I don’t even know where they were held), so I can’t honestly say this will effect my viewer-support of the Olympics.

    The fact that ethnic Chinese aren’t concerned and are more angry at “ungrateful” Tibetans should serve as a mirror to our own past in the west– pretty much every country that was colonized by Europeans went through a similar phase of anger at “ungrateful” natives who didn’t want “civilization.”)

  4. Weren’t the first deaths caused by rioters who burned shops and people? Focusing all of the blame on China seems simplistic.

  5. WTF is China’s problem?

    China’s goal is to take over the earth and eradicate all non-Chinese. If you think that’s histrionic, you haven’t been paying attention for the last five decades. There is no more racist and chauvinistic nation in the world. China has nukes and absolutely no morals, ethics or compassion. They’ve been pushing the human rights envelope for decades while we followed a policy of appeasement. Their economy, military and world standing have grown immeasurably while their human rights record has grown worse. We’ve fed the monster and it will tear us limb from limb.

  6. I was in Lhasa last summer for a while and the Chinese military presence was overwhelming. When you look outside your hotel, they’ve got soldiers doing drills 30 feet away. Soldiers on every street corner, and police pretty much everywhere else.

    When I talked to Chinese people in Beijing and Xining, and Lhasa, they didn’t understand why the rest of the world wanted Tibet to be free. They honestly believed that they were saving the Tibetan nation (at least the civilians did). They thought that China was doing Tibet a favour by bringing industry to the nation, since one of the few exports is Yak related stuff (meat, clothing, rugs etc).

  7. Regarding poster #7, there is some truth to what you say. Although I have met many Chinese, and in fact have three close friends who were born in China, the fact remains that China is very much out to take and hold the position the US has enjoyed this last 15 years or so.

    Humans in general are so susceptible to demagoguery and manipulation, but China exemplifies this to a cult-like extreme. Again, I reflect on stories told to me by friends who actually lived through such wonderful times as the Cultural Revolution, or another favorite: Mao declared Sparrows and Mosquitoes to be “evil”. Adults and children alike took to the streets banging pots and pans to drive the poor birds to exhaustion from constant flight away from the noise. The bird’s bodies were then rendered to local posts for accounting. Villages that had the highest counts were rewarded with extra rations of meat and such. Of course, there is the whole Communist thing, more of Mao’s insanity, this new wholesale shift to “wealth accumulation” at any cost whatsoever. They are a billion-headed automaton. Furthermore, the Chinese are fiercely Nationalistic. This pride will override all common sense and free thought in pursuit of “respect”.

    Given the sad, sad behavior of the US, we’ve pretty much inspired the Chinese to follow in our footsteps of domination. Unfortunately, as bad as the US has been, China will be much, much worse.

    To paraphrase my Chinese friend, “China is a sociopath. It’s once beautiful soul has long ago died”.

    Btw, your CAPTCHA is practically unusable.

  8. China’s goal is to take over the earth and eradicate all non-Chinese.

    Ok, the PLA/CCP military/government commits some pretty heinous acts, but I’m utterly sick of all the bi-partisan xenophobic jingoist propaganda that “Evil Chinese are going to conqueror the world!” or “Evil Mexicans will overrun our culture!”

    When I talked to Chinese people in Beijing and Xining, and Lhasa, they didn’t understand why the rest of the world wanted Tibet to be free. They honestly believed that they were saving the Tibetan nation (at least the civilians did).

    Yes, China is “civilizing” them, just as every colonial power does to its indigenous people. (like Ill Lich said.)

  9. I suppose some utility will have to be developed to help people more easily find and select products not made in China. I imagine something already exists but there is five months to make one of them a household word.

    One side issue to the good then; I have become increasingly concerned about the sheer volume of counterfeit products coming out of China that are inherently dangerous because of forged standards markings. For instance; electrical circuit breakers bearing false UL/CSA/CE ratings being installed in new construction of hospitals. Would you want your life support on such?

  10. I have become increasingly concerned about the sheer volume of counterfeit products coming out of China that are inherently dangerous because of forged standards markings. For instance; electrical circuit breakers bearing false UL/CSA/CE ratings being installed in new construction of hospitals. Would you want your life support on such?

    Excellent point. Apparently one can verify with the Underwriters Laboratories whether the use of a UL mark is legitimate or fraudulent.

  11. Pro-Tibet riots spread as Lhasa in lockdown

    Benjamin Kang Lim and Chris Buckley, Reuters Published: Sunday, March 16, 2008

    Tibetan capital quiet after Chinese show of force

    Jonathan Kay: The double standard on China and Tibet
    China sets ‘surrender’ deadline in Tibet

    Tibetans in India seethe with anger at China crackdown

    Tibet’s government has declared a “people’s war” to erase support for the Dalai Lama and end any independence aspirations of the people there, Chinese state media said, saying the blitz will involve both security and propaganda campaigns to counter the message of the exiled Buddhist spiritual leaderAFP/Getty ImagesTibet’s government has declared a “people’s war” to erase support for the Dalai Lama and end any independence aspirations of the people there, Chinese state media said, saying the blitz will involve both …

    BEIJING — Rioting erupted in a province neighbouring Tibet on Sunday, two days after violent protests by Tibetans against Chinese rule in Lhasa that the region’s exiled representatives said had killed 80 people.

    “They’ve gone crazy,” said a police officer in Aba county, Sichuan, one of four provinces with large Tibetan populations, her voice trembling down the telephone even as the main government building there came under siege.

  12. I am correct in suspecting this is the same Chinese government that I’m supposed to feel all so good about having the tacit internationally recognized approval of building something like 300 dirty coal fired energy plants according to the Kyoto Agreement?
    I hope they have a wonderful Olympics..alone, except for the huge parasitic beaurocracy of communist party officials with their families and sexual escorts who will be there free of charge. Oh, and the 30 thousand dead each year from mining accidents…well, their families can watch with pride China and her friends win all the medals..since no other country with any self respect will be going at the rate at which they are being exposed for what they are in fact attempting to do.
    Oh, and Tibet? Well, it will be a wonderful place to mine from environmentally responsible open pits, strategic materials and to equip their ever growing high tech defense forces to protect them from all the countries that are trying to invade them…though I can’t think of any at the moment…and with which they can build even more and bigger sky scrapers to house their shell corporations.
    If they really wanted more energy, they should hook a motor to Mao’s body which no doubt is spinning happily in its grave.

  13. Regarding Will Shetterly’s second link, India was pretty bad off in terms of oppression when the British took over. Tibet wasn’t a shining pillar of morality, but that fails to defend Chinese Colonialism any more than Saddam Hussein’s Iraq being totalitarian defends the US invasion.

    This whole “critical of both sides” viewpoint is not really going to help resolve things. China is being colonialist, and is violently and lethally crushing any form of dissent. They’ll keep doing it as long as it takes. The Tienanmen square massacre shows that it’s not even an ethnic issue. Any form of dissent that shames the Chinese ruling party is met with lethal force. Chinese citizens are taught that this s a good, and proper response. They’re taught from childhood that the ruling party has the right and responsibility to kill anyone who it deems a threat.

    This is what billions of Chinese are being taught. This is Maoism in action.

    If these are the people the Olympic comity has decide were worthy of holding the Olympics, I’m not interested in watching. I’ll send a letter to all US athletes asking them not to go, or if they do, to protest.

    I hope someone other than me remembers the Black Power Olympic protests

  14. There simply isn’t a whole lot of difference between the major world powers. Just the luck of the genetic lottery puts us somewhere. From the beginning of the human earth interface we have been a dual species. Like same but different spins. Spin in service of other or spin in service of self. Neither can really understand the other. I simply cannot conceive of the notion that it is enjoyable to profit from pain. Mine or any sentient beings. If China wants to get some face going they got to grow up.

  15. They’re taught from childhood that the ruling party has the right and responsibility to kill anyone who it deems a threat.

    I’ve been stewing on this in between crying jags. China is Marxist-Leninist-Maoist in form, but simply tribalist in content. Communists are supposed to take over the world and make everybody Communist. That’s just the basic ideology. It’s pretty similar to evangelical Christianity or radical Islam in this sense.

    In the classical commie model (or the Christian/Muslim model), anyone can be converted and enter the clique. In reality, Communism has tended to be about spreading one’s own ethnicity around the globe. The Russians did it, seeding ethnic Russian technocrats throughout their empire. The Chinese have done it in various parts of East Asia. The problem with ethnic imperialism is that you can never be converted and become part of the clique because you just don’t have the DNA.

    I also believe that the Soviets were a lot more ideology driven than the Chinese. Greed and corruption seem to be the driving forces in Chinese politics in a way that most countries can’t rival. Promotion of self, then family, then clan, then ethnicity is antithetical to Communist values, yet is the national ethos. Complicating this is the absolute disregard for humanity.

    In most of the world, human life has no value. Humans outside one’s own family or tribe are just commodities to be used for profit until they’re dead. China not only has one of the worst national ideologies vis-a-vis human rights, it’s one of the largest nations on earth. Bad combination.

    I don’t mean to suggest that there’s anything wrong with Chinese people. And I really hope that nobody starts fire-bombing the local dim sum restaurant. But it is the national culture in China at this time, in the same way that Nazism was the national culture in Germany during the holocaust. Germans, mostly, woke up from their self-inflicted national nightmare (with a little help) and are a largely positive force in the world. Hopefully China will do the same.

  16. Sky Burial , An epic love story of Tibet By Xinran may give some insight into into the brain washing. The political mind of China has been sucked into the same notion as liberating Muslims. From what? For what? Why bother? I don’t want to be liberated is never considered. Gonna kill you for your own good puts food on the table of the person in uniform. Also stimulates the global economy. Nothing like a useless War to get the money flowing. The middle way is the only way to our future. Much harder than using the hammer of death. Quit taking the easy way.

  17. I really don’t see it as anything but a grab of the natural resources of the Treasure House of the West.
    Tibet is rich. Or was rich

    The Chinese just see Tibetans as sitting on all that metal, oil, timber etc.

  18. Well of course if we really wanted to hurt China we would have to boycott Chinese made goods, which is realistically now impossible, as I type this on a Chinese made computer (Apple) sitting on a Chinese made chair, no doubt lit by a Chinese made light bulb! We have made ourselves dependent on cheap goods which are supplied by an effectively enslaved under-paid workforce. We have only ourselves to blame for Chinese economic power in the world. As of June 2006, Chinese ownership of U.S. securities totaled $699 billion, making China the 2nd largest foreign holder of U.S. securities (after Japan). To read more on the implications of this see http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/99496.pdf
    You can bet that there will be no official US reaction to the behaviour of China in Tibet!!!

  19. May I just interject that there are many upsides to not buying crap that you don’t actually need? Like not being poor, not creating landfill, not cluttering up your own house, not ingesting lead and pesticides. It is demonstrably hard to live without buying any Chinese made goods. However, cutting consumption by 5% would still be a devastating boycott. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing to make a point.

  20. Yes Antinous, exactly that.

    I WILL do the work. It is not much work, I will do it.

    Time to closely read some labels.

  21. # 21 Sigh. I blew a big bang and lost perfection with the Quarks. Just too many variables. Never could get this creation stuff right, Need your help. If perfection includes unnecessary pain the concept of perfect sucks big time. Happy delusions. Tibet as a focus of love has been easy. Gets your mind off of Washington. The devil is in the church. Course that doesn’t bother perfect people.

  22. #7: That viewpoint seems a bit extreme, and goes almost directly against thousands of years of Chinese history.

    For almost as long as it has existed, China has been one of, if not *the* most introverted civilizations on the planet. Although I’m sure that the communist government has done a great deal of “cultural engineering,” I simply don’t foresee any sort of massive world conquest.

    My hypothesis is that the communist government is playing things by the book. Marx predicted that every civilization will go through a period of successful capitalistic growth. The Chinese government is currently allowing this to happen, milking the country’s vast supply of cheap labor in the process. Once the balance of trade even remotely begins to shift against China, they’ll close their doors, and begin to focus inward once again.

    Marxist theory, and the remainder of China’s history as a civilization both predict this.

  23. @21 Noen

    The world is perfect as it is.

    What a load of privileged bullshit!

    Last I checked we’re grappling with scarcity; in many places fundamental scarcity like food, potable water, and shelter from the elements. Unless you’ve got a Star Trek replicator or a way to convert the naturally existing heavy water into a sustainably controlled fusion reaction, our world is far from perfect.

  24. Boycott the Olympics? Hell no!

    The country is going to be filled with the world’s media and hundreds of thousands of spectators bearing all sorts of gadgety goodness. There’s no way that the the Games are not going to expose all sorts of totalitarian nonsense. Watching the Government try to cover it up is going to be more entertaining than watching the athletes wheeze and compete!

  25. if the Games go on , Beijing will have something to spin, if the Olympic venues stand empty – they won’t be able to hide that.

  26. #29 . I feel deeply honored with the notion that we can be in each others physical space as friends. The simple truth is that I am alone in my love . I don’t see this as a problem. Reading your posts on this forum has convinced me that you have an active brain. That is a problem for The Bush world. Permission has been given from the highest levels of control for the next demonstration to be suppressed, as if it were a local in your face gathering in Washington. The healthy emotional response is to say no. We got a load of ignorance that makes money. Probably will work for China. Don’t buy into any thought that we are evolving. Learn to plant stuff.

  27. The real question is, not
    What’s China’s problem…” Its what the United States problem is. We are quick to stomp into a country and declare democracy, yet we have not ( as a government) lifted a finger to help out Tibet in the last 60 years since China has sporadically wreaked total genocide on a population. China is in Tibet illegally,…and what is our government going to do about it. NOTHING, why…because there is no oils in the blood of monks.

  28. Boycott the Western corporations sponsoring the Olympics.

    1.Get list of Olympic sponsors.
    2.Write letters stating that they’re being boycotted for aligning themselves with an oppressive totalitarian government oppressing the Tibetan people (and more besides).
    4.World Peace

  29. I was thinking more of slopping nut brown nectar all over the keyboard – as is my wont. Cheers!

  30. if the Games go on , Beijing will have something to spin, if the Olympic venues stand empty – they won’t be able to hide that.

    The games are going on with or without a boycott. For every televised event, there are dozens of non-televised ones, so they can fill air time with archery trials if they have to. As for empty venues…if there’s one thing that China is not lacking, it’s people to fill the stands.

    What would happen if athletes took off their jackets at the opening ceremony to reveal Free Tibet tee shirts? I almost believe that the army would open fire on them. Realistically, a lot of athletes will wear pro-Tibet garb throughout the two weeks. Will they be detained and harassed? Is China capable of resisting the temptation to repress someone who gets on their nerves? They have yet to demonstrate that kind of restraint.

  31. Does anyone have a clue how to buy electronics that don’t have significant MIC (Made In China) content?

    I’m in full agreement with Antinous @24 that not buying crap you don’t need is the best way to go, and buying non-Chinese equivalents is frequently possible. But not so with electronics, which for some of us are necessities of life–not toys but business and scientific tools, as necessary to the good we try to do in the world as a hammer is to a carpenter’s.

    It seems to me that a good place to start with the whole boycotting China thing might be to starting writing Dell, Toshiba, HP, Motorola, et al and asking them for certified non-Chinese products.

    I would happily pay more for non-Chinese electronics, but as near as I can tell they simply aren’t available at any price.

  32. The purpose of an economic boycott is to coalesce an effect that is clearly evident in a drop in overall revenues to China, but not necessarily attributable to any precise sector or product.

    What a boycott tries to achieve is a shift in consumer attitude. Even if Chinese products are unavoidable, the timing of the the purchasing decision is still significant. Our complex global economic life is also vulnerable to when things happen, not just if they do finally happen. Money is always lent and borrowed at interest. Delays in moving product because your customer is exhausting other avenues has just as much impact as them not buying at all.

  33. At least the Olympics provide China with an incentive to shape up…not the best reason to…but at least they’re trying to de-pollute and such.

  34. I agree that when a full boycott is not possible a partial boycott will do, but it is important to commit as fully as is possible.

    As far as electronics go, I have not checked recently but LG products used to be entirely Korean made with Korean componentry. I know that doesn’t help with computers and the like, but it’s a start.

    Published: March 16, 2008

    MCLEODGANJ, India — The Dalai Lama said Sunday that he would not instruct his followers inside Tibet to surrender before Chinese authorities, and he described feeling “helpless” in preventing what he feared could be an imminent blood bath.

    “I do feel helpless,” he said in response to a question at a wide-ranging, emotionally charged news conference here in what has served as the headquarters of the Tibetan government in exile for nearly 40 years. “I feel very sad, very serious, very anxious. Cannot do anything,”

  36. They’re only trying to “de-pollute and such” precisely because they have won the Olympic contract. Otherwise they wouldn’t give a damn whether their people are breathing fresh air or not.

    I’m boycotting. It’s hard to figure out exactly how to go about it (very smart people like Takuan help), but I will do what I can. I’m starting today.

  37. Yur, dat’s me, “I am so smart! I am so smart! “S” “M” “R” “T”! I am so smart!”

  38. You know, it comes off as trolling doesn’t it? It was not my intent. This… position that “the world is already perfect” is one that I am advised by certain people in my life to consider, to think about and possibly to adopt.

    And so I put it out there because I see places like this as a space in which one can try on different ideas like you might try on a coat, see if it fits you. I’m a visual person, I literally visualized putting on a coat. Also, because I can be a bit of a drama queen sometimes, I tend towards stark statements. The single sentence “The world is perfect as it is” surrounded by white space sort satisfied my personal aesthetic.

    The irony is that “The world is perfect as it is” is a very Buddhist concept and seemed appropriate to the subject at hand. But as I understand it it does not mean assuming a lotus position, rolling your eyes into the back of your head and tuning out the world. It means accepting the world for what it is, not as we might wish it to be. Nor does it advocate passivity, far from it. It’s saying that if you wish to be effective in the world you need to come from a place of acceptance.

    It is ineffective to be in a constantly reactive stance, careening from trauma to trauma. Whether it is the current troubles in Tibet or Darfur or Chiapas or wherever the latest horror is. If we really want to help we need to see the totality of the situation and to do that we need to remove our own prejudices. We need to come from a place of detached engagement if we truly wish to make a difference. Simply reacting in horror “Those horrible Chinese! Nuke ’em!” will only perpetuate the very things we say we want to eliminate.

    When you love someone you accept them for who they are warts and all, the good and the bad. “Love does not alter when it alteration finds”. If you love the world then you accept it as it is and it’s all beautiful. All of it. When you say yes to the world this is what you are doing and you had damn well better be aware of that.

    It is a beginning, a first step, but a necessary one. So yeah, it’s a bad thing what is happening in Tibet. I don’t know that boycotting the Olympics will help. I’m pretty sure that romanticizing the Tibetans and demonizing the Chinese won’t help. I wish I knew.

  39. Shut up. This is a serious issue. All the inside interwebs jokes are played like 8-ball jackets. Joker.

  40. Let us, then, keep it as simple and straight forward as possible: We want the Chinese government to stop killing Tibetans. The Chinese army has huge numbers and guns. The protesting Tibetans have their voices and maybe rocks.


    If we can convince the Chinese government to immediately stop the use of lethal force, then perhaps dialog may follow.


  41. Ah-ight!


    You are not going to achieve your goals that way. Learn from the past. It has never worked in history and it will not work now.

    (Oh shit, am I on some list now?)

  42. Those horrible Chinese! Nuke ’em!

    Appealing as that sounds at first, most people in China aren’t really having happy fun time. Slavery exists on a mass scale in the provinces. Most people are impoverished. Food and water and air are poisoned. But the peasantry holds the same hateful mindset as the party leaders. The eventual collapse of the economy will sharpen the contradictions, fascism will grow worse for a while, then – either nuclear war or things will get better.

  43. @40

    What would happen if athletes took off their jackets at the opening ceremony to reveal Free Tibet tee shirts? I almost believe that the army would open fire on them. Realistically, a lot of athletes will wear pro-Tibet garb throughout the two weeks. Will they be detained and harassed? Is China capable of resisting the temptation to repress someone who gets on their nerves? They have yet to demonstrate that kind of restraint.

    What makes you think it’s the Chinese that’s going to be doing the repression? UK is voluntarily doing that for China already.

    The Chinese don’t have to do anything. The Western government will kowtow for because they don’t want to anger their multinational corporate masters that are reliant on the cheap Chinese labor.

  44. The Chinese handling of Tibet is a lot like it’s handling of its own environment.

    According to the Foreign Affairs journal, China is out of control in polluting their country to the point that there are 1000 protests a week. If Red China doesn’t turn Green it will have an epic environmental disaster on its hands. Greed and corruption in China, like it exists elsewhere, are the perfect conditions for pollution. On any given day, 25% of the pollution in Los Angeles blows over the ocean from China.

    In Tibet, greed and corruption are taking their toll as well. In an effort to exploit resources and grow economically, they are ruining life for Tibetans.

    The Chinese plan has been proven already: in Southeast Asia, Laos, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, they go in and create infrastructure, control it, and then run the country economically. They are now expanding this trick in Africa. Yes, they are helping poor countries with new roads, etc, but their motivation is for money and resources.

  45. What makes you think it’s the Chinese that’s going to be doing the repression?

    I saw that bit about the UK. It’s been interesting to watch the UK giving blowjobs to repressive regimes since Tony Blair got in. I was hoping that Brown would be better, but it’s not looking good so far.

    The US has taken a marginally more lenient stance on political expression at the games. Of course, US athletes are pumped so full of steroids, you’d have to be mad to get in their way.

  46. Those are bold statements, but most are true as far as I know (I’ve traveled to China quite a few times and have done business with Chinese organizations–which of course does not make me, in any way, an expert)

    “Slavery exists on a mass scale in the provinces.” Slavery?

  47. You never heard about the brick factories? One factory had hundreds of slaves, malnourished, nearly naked, covered with burns from the kilns. Many of them didn’t even know their own names because they had been enslaved as children. Some of them couldn’t even speak. Even the Chinese officials admitted their suspicions that there were many such operations in far-flung rural areas. Slavery.

  48. No, I had not heard about the brick factories. That’s horrifying. Maybe your posting it here on BB might have an effect somewhere. We know that the Chinese government knows about it. Let’s hope.

  49. Eh… before posting your angry comments, can we at least try to find out whats going on first? Here is an eyewitness account from the Guardian:


    It looks like we have verified reports of tibetans killing han and muslim chinese, torching and looting their stores. Meanwhile, we still do not have a single independent report of abuse from the Chinese military/police so far. Soldiers killing random people on the streets? Nope. The tibetan rioters did that, though.

    The Chinese government did a lot of wrongs to Tibet (and other parts of China as well), but in this case, I suspect it is the rioters should be condemned. Car burning is not a very effective way to improve human rights in Tibet/China.

    Reading the China-bashing comments here makes me feel like two wrongs can indeed make a right.

  50. I think that was a mantra, not a statement of fact.

    The irony is that “The world is perfect as it is” is a very Buddhist concept and seemed appropriate to the subject at hand. But as I understand it it does not mean assuming a lotus position, rolling your eyes into the back of your head and tuning out the world. It means accepting the world for what it is, not as we might wish it to be. Nor does it advocate passivity, far from it. It’s saying that if you wish to be effective in the world you need to come from a place of acceptance.

    Sorry Noen. I guess I consider “perfection” a rather anthro-centric concept; a kind of “word game” as Wittgenstein might say. But indeed, the world is as it is, and accepting that is the first step towards whatever changes are then attempted.



    Yes. Though, as others said, this isn’t a matter of commanding China to stop, so much as giving Chinese people good reasons to not join the PLA or to not believe people telling them that they need to kill other people “for the good of their country”.

    “Don’t fight forces; use them.” as R. Buckminster Fuller said.

  51. .” Meanwhile, we still do not have a single independent report of abuse from the Chinese military/police so ”

    see all those links in blue? over the past three threads? follow them and read them. It is obvious you haven’t

    The situation is chaotic. Based on past experience, my best guess now a minimum of 50 to as high as one hundred Tibetans killed by Chinese guns.

    We may never know. What we DO know is China REFUSES to let the world see what is happening.

    We all know WHY.

  52. Car burning is not a very effective way to improve human rights in Tibet/China.

    Dumpster fires, however, are a panacea. ^_^

  53. Crab,

    Of course the Tibetans are killing Chinese. That’s what happens in uprisings and revolutions. The Chinese have killed as many as a million Tibetans since the occupation. Chinese in Lhasa are settler colonists. When you settle in somebody else’s country and start swaggering around, stealing their shit, you have tattooed a bullseye on your own forehead.

  54. Okay, this is preposterous. I have stayed out of the fray since I was vilified as a troll when this first hit Boing Boing.

    Let me preface this by saying my BA is in Asian Studies–emphasis on Chinese history. Granted, it’s just a bachelor’s, but I’m not speaking from a position of abject ignorance.

    The Chinese government responds brutally to dissent. They understand how dangerous it is, being that they were created by dissent. The KMT were kicked out of China down to Taiwan simply because Mao was able to rally the support of the rural farmers who felt like they were being used by the current regime (they were). They have always done so, and I don’t expect them to ever stop. Remember that China is simply a very old collection of individual states forcibly incorporated, mostly during the Han Dynasty. This activity is par for the course. The new boss is always the same as the old boss.

    That being said, and this was wholly misconstrued last time I said it, Chinese governments, when operating at capacity, are very good about raising the standard of living for the entire gigantic country. It’s just that it comes at a price. Tibet has benefited from incorporation with China. The fact that they don’t want to be is not to be ignored, but overall, having a real government has been a step forward for them.

    NOTE: I am not defending the actions of the PLA in this case. I am merely trying to put it in historical context.

    Now, what irks me about all this anger over Tibet are the following points:

    1) Western liberal respect for the Dalai Lama and Tibet is just dressed up Orientalism. The idea that there was this magical Shangri-Lah run by a benevolent philosopher king is just plain madness, largely spread by guys like Gary Snyder, Philip Whalen, and Jack Kerouac in the 50s. Read Dharma Bums to see if you think these people were anything other than ignorant Americans who were looking for a religion that let them fuck and do drugs sans guilt. How people can simultaneously venerate the DL and his theocratic legacy in Tibet and vilify Ahmadinejad in Iran is beyond me. Iran is a democracy too.

    There is no such thing as the noble savage, and there is no such thing as the mysterious East. The West has done terrible things, continues to do terrible things, but we do get some things right and all cultures get a lot of things wrong.

    And that leads me to my second point:

    2) We are talking about a crackdown that will probably have a body count in the hundreds when all is said and done.

    Our nations have murdered approximately 1 MILLION PEOPLE in Iraq since 2003 in what can only be called a vicious oil and power grab, with no benefit to the people whatsoever.



    It doesn’t matter if you don’t support it–very few people do!–the simple fact of the matter is that we bear the responsibility for the wholesale slaughter of the Iraqi people–a truth made all the more horrific when you remember that we are a democracy. At least the PLC is a one-party state and the people don’t have much say in what happens.

    Write letters about China? Boycott China? Oh, you arrogant fools. Is the log in your eye so large as to have struck you blind?

    WE are the evil empire. WE are the bad guys. China is no paragon of justice or civility, to be sure, but there is one world injustice which towers over all, and that is Iraq. If you want to be angry at someone (and you are a citizen of one of the countries in the “coalition of the willing”), be angry at yourselves.

    The Tibetan situation is unfortunate, for sure, but you have no power and no right to tell China what to do. Not true of your own nations.

    Every day those responsible for plunging us into Iraq walk free is another day you (we!) have failed.

    Divert this energy elsewhere, for the love of all mankind.

  55. Kyle,

    The people here who support Tibetan sovereignty are the same ones who are trying to get the US out of Iraq. The ones who are apologizing for China’s genocidal program in Tibet are the ones who support our invasion of Iraq.

    Tibet has not benefited from being owned and used by China any more than African-Americans benefited from being housed and fed by their masters before abolition. That comment is shameful and profoundly racist.

  56. Crab, Tibetans have killed eighty and the Chinese soldiers stationed on every street have killed none? My, what paragons of self-restraint the PLA have become since the events of Tianenmen Square.

  57. What the Buddhas taught and what’s happening in Tibet, by both Chinese and Tibetans, are two completely different things. I have never ready any Sutra or text by Buddha that said “The world is perfect as it is.”

    He did, however, say that
    “In this world, hate never dispelled hate. Only love dispels hate. This is the law,ancient and inexhaustible. You too shall pass away.Knowing this, how can you quarrel?”

    As a concept, “the world is perfect” is too simple. Buddhism would say something similar like being born as a human is well-favored. He would say that everything changes.

    The Chinese would argue that things should remain permanent within Tibet, that change should not exist. They would say being born a human is better if you’re a Han Chinese.

    Still, I write this with no anger. Just the observation that suffering exists unless you can change your dualistic (self-cherishing/ other negating) perceptions.

    Shantideva said all the suffering there is in this world comes from thinking of oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from thinking of others. China, please reflect on the power and truth of this statement.

  58. I was vilified as a troll when this first hit Boing Boing.

    That sounds unfortunate. I’ll read your piece with an open mind…

    you arrogant fools

    Um, OK. Now I see. Thanks for clearing that up.

  59. Kyle: It would seem that the log is in your eye.

    It is offensive to suggest that all who support HHDL and “his theocratic legacy” are naive orientalists. Perhaps you have studied East Asia generally but not Tibet specifically. The theocratic legacy of the TIBETAN PEOPLE was established long before the fourteen Dalai Lamas. It is certain that the way in which the people of Tibet lived before the Chinese invasion would not be ideal in the current world. This is why HHDL has stated on any number of occasions that he wishes for a democratic government for the people of Tibet. I hardly think that you can chastise him or those who came before him for not knowing more about the governments of the world as they existed outside the isolated borders of Tibet.

    To imply that “we” have acted in some way regarding Iraq (the last time I checked I was outspoken against the Iraq war from the start–unfortunately I was not an elected official at the time the war began and so did not have voting rights in Congress) is not only asinine it is irrelevant to this discussion.

    An economic response to the brutality of the Chinese government is perhaps the only way that WE can have a voice in this matter. By boycotting the Olympics and goods manufactured in China WE can send a message that WE will not support such actions with OUR hard-earned money. Like it or not, money talks in our modern world.

  60. This has simultaneously cemented my decision to boycott the Olympics, encourage the friend I have who may be able to attend to avoid, and lose all respect for Communism. It’s never worked, so forget about it.


    Ditto Antinous. Which is getting really annoying on my part. I’m going to start ignoring you (Ant) and Takuan as well because I’m -always- agreeing with you.

    Just because we’re more farked up doesn’t mean we can’t get angry with other people being farked up. -I- didn’t vote for Bush. -I- didn’t advocate Olympics in Beijing. -I- would like both of those things to be fixed, and though I won’t be voting in November because I’ll be three months too young, I will be encouraging those I know to vote Obama, and fundraising if I can escape my Right parents. I will boycott the Olympics and try to work up public opinion in my home county. For both causes.

    Because both causes need rectifying.

  61. Reading today’s comments is fresh air comparing the comments I read yesterday. While there are still people who thinks the rest of the world lives in America, and people who doesn’t know any facts then jump to their imagination, there are more open-minded comments this time.

    The two articles quoted by #8 summarized the whole situation very very well. From the article Tibet Through Chinese Eyes, Most people in the West thinks that Tibetans are suffering because 1) They discovered human rights, and they think the rest of the world should totally do it; 2) the exile society is always in the media (if Dalai Lama never speaks in public about this, I doubt you can make it an issue). But the problem is that there are some millions of Tibetans working every day for their life, happy with their literacy, stability, electricity, and all sorts of modernized things.

    The Chinese in this very decade is not very different from the American a century or two ago when they begin cultivating Indian’s land. And of course, the rest of the Chinese developments in recent years, it’s happening at much faster pace.

    For those who are angry about the current Chinese situation, it is not very different from being angry at your own nations’ mistakes – i.e. the concepts of racial equality and human rights are learnt through the painful mistakes of slavery and African/Indian genocides.

    And for those who likes to force China to accept your ideology of human rights, you are not very different from the Chinese who likes to force Tibet to accept their ideology of modernization and national unity. The same kind of “saving the world” colonialist heroics.

    And this blog entry is not very different from amplifying the angst of the son in the house next doors, complaining about how his mom and dad are not really loving each other, as they don’t show the same kind of love displayed in the novels he read.

    A few responses:

    #4 said that “The internet chatter from the people of ‘those ungrateful minorities’ is probably going to turn around to ‘f*ck the government’ now that China has turned off YouTube.” but unfortunately most Chinese people who have Internet access would not give a f*ck about Youtube. They have a bunch of Youtube clones already. He thinks the Chinese pollute the environment a lot but he did not know that China supplies most of the solar panels right after Japan, and has heavy investments in environmental technologies.

    #7 claims that “China’s goal is to take over the earth and eradicate all non-Chinese.” I would like to let you know that there is a province (equivalent of state as in the US) that is designated autonomous region for Muslims. I don’t recall Amish has its own state. And #18 should know too.

    #5 did not read the links and demonized all ethnic Chinese comments as the one quoted in the blog. There are comments who are concerned as well, please go read.

    #52 claims that most people in China aren’t really having happy fun time. I don’t know how he knows, but probably because he thinks that a lot of workers work as cheap labor in very polluted place. I cannot prove the otherwise, but I met some illegal immigrant Chinese workers in a Chinese takeout a couple years ago. Some of them thinks that they are better off in China. In fact, I don’t understand why one would like to work 365 days a year in the crowded kitchen – but I accepted the fact that some people accept their own situation.

    I don’t understand why some would jump to conclusions without getting the facts straight, but I hope these facts can help them understand better. (I had read enough about Tibet in books and Wikipedia these days, my brain exploded.)

    The comment by #48 (Noen) is the most impressive and enlightening comment in Boing Boing I’ve ever read by date. He quoted the Buddhist “The world is perfect as it is” in a few posts above, and later explained that “It means accepting the world for what it is, not as we might wish it to be. Nor does it advocate passivity, far from it. It’s saying that if you wish to be effective in the world you need to come from a place of acceptance.”

    Such philosophies that focus on harmony bring relative social peace to those 1.3 billion people squeezed in that relatively small piece of land. A land of 1.3 billion rebels would be quite a disaster. That was called Cultural Revolution.

  62. Hope after all.

    Pay attention Tenn. Almost all here will be long dead before you. Sorry for making such a fucking mess of it. Please, never give up.

  63. Such philosophies that focus on harmony bring relative social peace to those 1.3 billion people squeezed in that relatively small piece of land.

    You are an apologist for genocide. Repression is not social peace. Ethnic cleansing is not progress. There is nothing more important than independence and freedom. If Vietnam could kick the United States’s ass, don’t put all your money on China.

  64. Almost all here will be long dead before you.

    Speak for yourself. I’m only 50, and I’ve got relatives who lived well past 100.

  65. Takuan- Maybe I should become a politician. Which is weird. Because I’m a cadet and I’ve always thought I would go on into the Army.

    Conversion to Buddhism and the realization that I could not raise a gun to harm someone less I knew exactly why I was doing it dampened that for me. The realization that if I support the US Army as a desk-jockey, I stand in support of our practices, has dampened that prospect for me.

    Sometimes it seems like single persons cannot make a difference. But if there are enough people speaking out, talking to others, explaining, like you, Noen, Antinous, Ellsmiley, and so many others- even people I don’t agree with- hell, maybe we can.

    Is it bad to think that the internet could save us all?

    Antinous- hey, hey, almost! Besides, 50? That means you’re halfway to the mortuary already. Or about 45% of the way there. Then again, I’ve got bad jeans. At least the Levis fit, I’ll be buried nicely at a very young age from cancer or heart problems.

  66. “And for those who likes to force China to accept your ideology of human rights,”

    Human rights are not “ideology”. Human rights are absolute, unshakable, non-negotiable, immutable, self-evident FACTS (if such a weak word could contain the meaning) of the universe.

    I do not admit any compromise in this area. No politics, no ideology, no debate, no philosophy and certainly no money.

    I will ALWAYS fight and if need be die for human rights.

    Here, there, China, Tibet. a human has these rights. You can kill him, but you haven’t killed the rights.

    Don’t ever, ever talk to me about the “ideology” of human rights.

  67. Oh, and by the way, hope? You flatter me.

    “I do not agree with what you say, but I would die for your right to say it.”

    To anybody who says that we can’t spread democracy, those words speak at you from Voltaire’s long-dead mouth. I might have mutilated them a bit, but there we are. I think democracy should be spread- but not like we tried with Vietnam, and not like we’re ‘trying’ with Iraq.

    With humanitarian effort. The Peace Corps has done more for human life in recent years than the Army Corps. The Army protects us, but we have not faced a significant threat since the World Wars. If you fight the war by helping the indigenous population, the indigenous population will take up arms and change their own world- and do it in a good way, rather than falling into terrorism and fundamentalism like we’ve forced young Iraqi males who do not agree with our presence there.

  68. This situation reminds me of the Rodney King riots. A community gets fed up with injustice and attacks anyone they associate with the race/class of the enemy.

    A lot of white Americans couldn’t understand why blacks were so outraged over Rodney King trial verdict. After all, we were doing so much to help them.

    I situation like this shows how important a free media is. The extensive coverage and discussion of the riots opened many people’s eyes about the experience of blacks in America and their view of the police. I know we have a long way to go in this country but at least in some degree we are trying to look at our problems and deal with them. We are willing to sacrifice an little “peace and unity” in order to address injustices.

    Tibet is just the little problem. What happens when Taiwan gets a little more independent? Stonings and stabbings are going to seem pretty minor.

    I hope the Chinese people and their government can learn to handle a little independence among their people, otherwise they are headed for another empire wide breakdown. Taiping rebellion…

  69. You make some very good points Kyle. Though I am as helpless to do anything about Bush as the Dali Lama is about Tibet.

    Thank you Zuzu. That is how the phrase is presented to me, I don’t like it either.

    “If Red China doesn’t turn Green it will have an epic environmental disaster on its hands.”

    Isn’t that as it should be? Ever hear of Love Canal? The only reason we didn’t have more is because our system of government is somewhat more responsive to the needs of the people. Present administration excepted of course. People only change when the pain of staying where they are is greater than the pain of moving.

    “Yes, they are helping poor countries with new roads, etc, but their motivation is for money and resources.”

    I don’t see a problem with that, it’s how the roads we all drive on got built.

    Re: Slavery.
    Slaves exist in America right now and our past is none too pretty on that point. Those slaves in China and in the rest of the developing world are for all practical purposes ours. They serve our needs which sort of reinforces Kyle’s point.

    This story is going to fade into the background pretty fast anyway. Monday morning looms, all hell will break out.

  70. These media blocks happens to China all the time, it’s just the world are watching this time…

    Almost all the Taiwan election, Hong Kong’s demonstration for democracy, and even segments that includes people from the Hong Kong Democrats are being replaced by advertisements in the Hong Kong stations that aired in the Mainland of China (which is directly ruled by the People’s Republic of China).

  71. I was wondering how the mainland was dealing with losing the HK election. Pretending that it didn’t happen would be SOP for the PRC.

  72. Kyle Armbruster is a respectable guy. I’ve got to turn in or I’d say more. For now, I’ll just say that he’s neither a troll nor an unreflective wingnut.

  73. Riding the tiger with a billion heads.

    Beijing intends to crush Tibet as all similar uprisings before. They misread the situation. China’s rulers live in constant fear of making the one critical mistake , of letting the single, irreplaceable bit of control slip away.

    A new middle class of perhaps three to four hundred million – still almost a billion have-nots. They know all too well how quickly all can slide into chaos if the illusion of a prosperous life is lost to the huge majority underclass.

    The fact is, if Tibet had not “happened”, Beijing would have had to have invented it. The Games serve to divert attention and instill hope in a future that is more advertising then possibility.

    What may happen now is that once again, the law of unintended consequences will prevail. Crushing Tibet could lead to an Olympic boycott. The imminent American economic recession could spark fears of American default on the trillion owed to China, teh failuret of the Olympics together with a collapse of American consumer purchasing could balloon the Chinese underclass beyond any control,

    who knows what can happen?

  74. @Kid

    Do you know that many North Koreans love their life in a way that they worshiped Kim Jong Ill as their god as they nearly starved to death, while Kim himself is actually one of the worlds largest customer of red wine?

    Accepting the situation doesn’t mean that a person doesn’t deserve to live better.

  75. And now China is asking the media to leave Lhasa for the sake of their own safety…

    How caring is the government…

  76. That reminds me of Henry V. “I love France so well that I will not part with a village of it.”

  77. Antinous @ #66, you repeat what many people claim without thinking: “The Chinese have killed as many as a million Tibetans since the occupation.”

    According to Tibet’s official census in 1953, the population was a little over 1.2 million people. Since the Tibetan population was not wiped out, we have to conclude that those numbers are wildly inaccurate.

    Seriously, read the Parenti article I linked to at #8. It’s not a pro-China diatribe; he says many harsh things about China as well.

  78. RE: #86 by Takuan

    (We disagree on much of this Tibet business, but you’re still one of my favorite chronic posters.)

    Are you really sure the future is “more advertising than possibility?” The world–not just the US–relies on China not only for manufacturing, but for food. Here in Japan there was a recent problem with poison gyozas coming in from a single Chinese factory (it was a pesticide which is banned in most countries–that’s the bad news–the good news is that someone had to have put it in there on purpose, so it’s really just a run-of-the-mill tampering case). The public was, of course, outraged and terrified. Only then did it become clear how much of our food here in Japan comes from China. Many people have tried to just stop eating Chinese exports, but it is nigh impossible. Without China, I don’t think Japan could feed itself.

    What would happen if the US defaulted? No matter, China just opens the RMB to public trading instead of pinning it at 8 to the USD. The RMB is, as you may know, artificially devalued to keep doing business there cheap. China doesn’t want to raise it (yet) because right now they’re just soaking up the world’s money. When they time is right, they are going to open the currency and the RMB is going to squash every other currency on the planet (save, maybe, the Euro).

    Suddenly we won’t be able to afford Chinese products, but will rely on them totally. Suddenly the tables will be turned and the US will be the once-great nation reduced to poverty, forced to beg for crumbs from those who have–while we sat idly by–taken over the world. The payback is gonna be a bitch, but I don’t see any way out of it.

    So that very likely informs my unfashionable forgiveness of many of the PRC’s many sins. I assume I will be pulling their rickshaws before I make it out of this life of ours.

  79. scratching through the gravel;

    “Since the Chinese invasion over 1 million Tibetans were murdered by the Chinese. Six million Tibetans lived in Tibet before the invasion. So it was over 17% of the entire population of Tibet that the Chinese killed. For example, in the Amdo region of northeast Tibet, of the 100,000 people of the nomadic Golok tribe who lived there before the invasion, as of 1979 there were left only 4,700 survivors!”

  80. BoingBoing April 2007

    And so began the physical genocide. In 1950, the People’s Liberation Army “peacefully liberated” Tibet, something akin to saying that Adolf Hitler was a good friend of European Jewry. From 1950 to date, 1.2 million Tibetans have died as a result of mass slaughter, imprisonment, or starvation; 7.5 million Han Chinese have migrated into historic Tibet, now appended to Sichuan, Yunan, and Gansu provinces, and the more recently chartered province of Qinhai; over three thousand Buddhist monasteries have been razed and their cultural properties destroyed or plundered; and iconic religious leaders — the recognized figureheads of traditional Tibetan culture — have been forced into exile, imprisoned, executed, or kidnapped.

  81. July 2002 Globe and Mail

    What we are seeing is the disappearance of a nation and civilization,” Samdhong Rinpoche said of the alleged settlement of millions of Chinese in Tibet.

    China, claiming Tibet as part of its territory, sent troops there after the 1949 Communist victory and has controlled the region since 1951.

    Samdhong Rinpoche said during a visit to Toronto that 7.5 million Chinese have been transferred to Tibet from China proper since 1949. “They [the Chinese] see Tibet as a good place to release people from its overpopulated areas.”

    Tibet’s own population stands at six million.

    “There’s demographic alteration, disappearance of Tibet’s language, identity and culture…. Tibetans are marginalized economically,” he told a news conference. Asked whether it was a genocide, he replied: “a kind of cultural genocide.”

    Samdhong Rinpochi also accused China of conducting a “physical genocide” in Tibet over the years.

    The Chinese Embassy denied the settlement allegation.

  82. I have observed that several of the voices in these Tibet threads are too calm, and I don’t mean in a Buddhist kind of way. I mean in a paid spin doctor kind of way. I’m not a conspiracy theorist (except for the reptilian overlords), but I smell bad fish. Or fragrant grease.

  83. There is a certain style in traditional communist Chinese denunciation (as in show trials during the Cultural revolution), certain word choices, patterns,even words avoided. It is like telegraphers “fist”… I grew up surrounded by many cultures, including Chinese. I am quite satisfied that many posting here against Tibet are either paid or ordered to do so, or feel inclined so due to natural loyalties. Moreover, I have noted a certain over-identification with adopted culture among many Sinologists.

    Any who think I dismiss unfairly opponents with legitimate scholarly credentials and intent may go fuck themselves. I wasn’t born yesterday. Yes, there are some who genuinely feel that all matters, including the spilled grey matter of inconvenient Tibetans, is up for the cut and thrust of witty repartee and patriotic pantings.
    I don’t. This is real. People are being killed.

  84. I am sick of this reporting here as it just amplifies the mainstream meme. PLEASE get the facts straight – most tibetans believe nowadays that there is no path for them for political freedom and they would be happy if they can preserve their spirituality, culture and religion – yes the dalai lama believes the same things and if you have been to tibet and have been more then a tourist (by actually speaking the tibetan people, monks and the chinese living in the tibetan quarters) you will understand that what is happening now is their own suicide and I know that the majority of the Tibetans living in Lhasa and in the country side are getting along with the chinese rule and that things had gotten better (monestaries recieved money – back in 2000 that was when I was there – for rebuilding the damage that had been evaporizing them 50 years ago). Things where on track – not to restore a Tibetan independant nation – but a Chinese province with their own culture.
    Just the fact that there are living more Han-Chinese in Tibet nowadays then Tibetans should open your eyes to the fact that there is simply no way to return Tibet into the romantic dream some “FREE TIBET” lovers in California are seeing. The more there is reporting about how great the uprising is the more people will die and you are complicit more so then the mainstream media because you a) have been there b) should have a clear realpolitical understanding c) should express a solution – personal as you are a person with its own publishing power.

    I am deeply ashamed of this blog.

    The Chinese Dragon has awaken and there is just no way anyone can stop him at this point – other then the protests ebbing down as fast as possible – otherwise there is no Tibetan culture, spirituality or religion left to admire. You have not understood that China will not bow to anything – they do not have to – the world economy is depending on them, they still have 98% authority over their population, things are getting better statewide so their own 1billion people won´t desert them. And if you ever spoke to a chinese person about tibet you will see that 99% of them believe tibet is was and will be part of china.

    So you think 1000 or even 10000 protestors will be able to anything? Look at Burma where the movement was ALL monks (that can not be said of Tibet – I am very sure about that) and most of the population and it ended with a tragedy.

    I know how good Tibet is controlled – or at least was 8 years ago – there is no way for foreign media to get the full scope of what is happening – only accusations and more violence and more death and in the end the only people loosing are the tibetans. I see the Tibetan quarter in Lhasa completely destroyed (quote me) after this and monestaries becoming pure tourist attractions with no practicing monks in them anymore – this was the fear 8 years back by a lot of monks – that if the small group of violent tibetans (which exist – the “old” warriors) will do something stupid their own existence is threatened. Its exactly what is happening now (peacefull protest, overhyped media coverage, rouge elements lay fire in chinese shops, mob takes advantage and loots, chinese military comes in – and clears out all trouble makers – making no distinction between those that are violent and those that are peacefull (like in any other conflict in this world – iraq for example). Expect the number of killed to be in the thousands by the end and expect the Tibetan Culture on the extinction list and feel very guilty you who have just spread a meme without questioning the consequences.

  85. Kyle @ 95 – Looks like your scenario is unraveling as we speak. If I were Bush, I’d hightail it to Paraguay and phone in the rest of my term.

    Falk – How does

    “I was in Tibet in 2000 and spoke to monks – especially one particularly young one who was a very good english speaker.”

    translate into

    “most tibetans believe nowadays that there is no path for them for political freedom and they would be happy if they can preserve their spirituality, culture and religion”

    Seems kind of odd to me to generalize from one conversation 8 years ago. Still, I do agree that it would probably have been best to ask for recognition rather than independence. Though you have to wonder if it really would have prevented anything. They were probably screwed no matter what they did.

    I’m also really confused about this idea you seem to have that the victim is somehow guilty of their own abuse. That’s a pretty messed up place to come from.

  86. If you want a non-China made computer go with Panasonic. Very reliable and they stand by their product. They have a nice extended warranty that covers accidental damage and theft (yes, theft- file a police report, give them the case number and you’re on your way to a replacement laptop) too.

  87. Antinous (103), if one of the people you’re talking about is Will Shetterly, he’s not getting paid. He’s just like that.

    I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in the political blogosphere. If you’re perceived as a left-of-center weblog, you can sometimes get influxes of right-wing ground troops who’ve been pumped full of the message of the moment and set loose on the public discourse. They’re who taught me how to ban users, ban IP addresses, and delete messages via the Movable Type user interface, back when I was still getting to know it.

    Sometimes you can spot them because you’ll get a dozen guys in a morning doing a short slogan-rich drive-by on one of your threads. Other times you’ll see a wingnuttish commenter who doesn’t seem like the sort to have a long detailed opinion about some hotly topical but otherwise rather arcane subject delivering himself of said long detailed opinion. They can’t discuss or extend it well, and their defense of it tends to consist of repeating the same points, only louder. It’s a bit mysterious. Then you get another wingnuttish guy wandering in who has a very similar set of opinions, and the mystery goes away.

  88. Falk, your post is interesting but you are not well informed (-ing?), nor you are expressing a solution.
    1) Being Informed
    You claim one should know what is talking about: you must know that China owns a huge quantity of USdollars (China feeds American debt). This apparently gives China a lot of leverage, but in fact if China decides not to buy Dollars anymore (this should be China’s powerful blackmail toward USA), she will be hurt because suddently the value of credits toward american bak system will drop as well, Chinese “savings” in USDollars will lose their value, China will fall in a terrible financial crisis together with the rest of the planet. Since the majority of Chineses are still living on the edge of poverty and the country still has poor infrastructures China will be hurt more than any other country.
    For this reason Hu Jintao is not all-powerful: more realistically, he’s a cold blooded bright man living a scaring paranoia.
    At least for this reason pressure can be applied to China in order to reduce its aggressivity.
    2) Expressing a solution
    You claim one should express a solution but you don’t…
    Here it is (Dalai Lama’s one)
    The statute of TAR (Tibetan Autonomous Region) is quite good even by Democratic standards. The Dalai Lama is asking to apply what Mao wrote on paper decades ago.
    3) Being able to Express the Solution
    The Dalai Lama is committed to peace but rebellion is the only way to get Media attention.
    Today, thanks to Chinese Army repressing Tibetan protests, everyone outside China knows Dalai Lama middle way to achieve Tibetan people freedom: Free Tibet doesn’t mean a secular independent State, it means a place (TAR) where Tibetan can express themselves freely, without restrictions from Beijing.
    a) 99% of Chineses don’t even know where Tibet exactly is and what it is!!!
    b) Hu Jintao controls 100% of top offices (he’s head of the Party, the Gov’t and the Army) but since there are daily unrests all over China, obviously he doesn’t control 98% of Han and minorities as you claim.

  89. I think there is more then one reason to boycott the Olympics why we should boycott Beijing Olympics 2008 then the occupation and repression of Tibet. Human rights are practically non-existent in Communist China. Specially the ill-Treatment and torture of prisoners and the forced organ harvesting.
    This has nothing todo with the Olympic Charter which emphasizes respect for the individual and the harmonious development of human personality and upholding of human dignity.


  90. Falk (107):

    I am deeply ashamed of this blog.

    That’s okay. We’re not very proud of you, either.

  91. It’s a pity the blogosphere didn’t exist back in the dying days of the Cold War, or we’d have names for these arguments now.

    1) “You are not informed”. This is an old Soviet-apologist favourite, going right back to “I’ve been over to see the future, and it works!” It is a lovely blanket dismissal that only works on the conscientious and honest, who are genuinely interested in being part of a reality-based community. It has not effect on the people who deploy it, because of course their consciousness has already been raised so they are “informed” in the only way that matters: on the official party line of the dominant ideology.

    2) “Worse has been done by someone else somewhere else.” Again, pure Soviet-era stuff, hardly smelling musty at all. No one has ever been able to explain to me why this “argument” is anything other than a non sequitur unless you accept collective identity and collective guilt, which I don’t. But in a global forum like BoingBoing, the accusation that it is “us” who are guilty of some undoubted crime is simply wrong. For example, I am a Canadian, and to blame me, even a little bit, for the American atrocities in Iraq is just wrong.

    Please do go ahead and blame me for the state of native reserves in Canada, though, which is pretty appalling in some places. But show me how such conditions, subject to daily hand-wringing and detailed articles in our national media, and to open and informed debate both within and without Parliament at both the national and provincial level, in any way relates to the violent suppression of news about ethnic protests in Chinese-occupied Tibet.

    3) “Tibetans should be grateful for the modernization of their country by the Chinese occupying power.” This is the last-gasp argument of colonial occupiers everywhere, and very similar to the late-stage claims of the that talking head from Princeton at the very end of the Cold War that the industrial modernization of Russia under Party control would stand as a lasting positive legacy that justified the tens of millions dead in the gulags no matter what happened. This claim that gratitude is required does not in itself constitute anything resembling an argument, of course, but the unstated premises seem to be that:

    a) If the Chinese occupying power had not killed a million Tibetans in the past fifty years Tibet would still be locked in a medieval theocracy.

    b) Not being locked in a medieval theocracy is a better thing than being alive.

    c) Dead people ought to be grateful for getting better things.

    d) Grateful people ought not to riot or protest against the people who killed them.

    e) Therefore Chinese occupying power should be free from riots or protests by the million dead Tibetans they have killed in the course of the past 50 years.

    I might have left a few steps out, but I think that’s the gist of it.

    No one is defending the state of Tibet as it was in 1950, any more than Gandhi was defending the situation in India prior to British imperial rule. Gandhi was indeed grateful, as were many Indians, for the benefits of British civilization, just as many children are grateful for all they have received from their parents.

    Today, ethnic Tibetans are asking for their country back, just as Indians did half a century ago. Perhaps that makes them ungrateful. The Chinese occupying power has responded by blacking out news from the region, and doing god knows what beneath that darkness.

    None of the apologists here have done anything that comes close to justifying the actions of the Chinese occupying power in Tibet.

  92. Last BBC television report; many Tibetans in Lhasa are hiding in their locked-down homes. Chinese troops march through the streets, the Chinese government is demanding that any protesters be informed on, on threat of collective punishment, wounded, sick Tibetans are afraid to go to seek medical aid, food is running low.

    Meanwhile, Beijing insists everything is fine, all is for the good of the Tibetans and the Games are going to be fun, fun,fun.

  93. Will Shetterley isn’t Chinese.

    Falk@ 107

    what is happening now is their own suicide

    Suicide is killing yourself. Genocide is killing others. If this is truly, as you say, the extinction of the Tibetan culture, it’ll be done because its a deliberate policy of the PRC. They had a choice. They could have not killed people.

    The PRC are not a force, like gravity. They’re human beings who can make choices. They’re choosing to exterminate Tibetan culture, which you acknowledge will happen if the Tibetans protest.

    Monks in Burma committed what you call “Suicide”. Were you just as sympathetic to them?

  94. an old Soviet-apologist favourite

    One of the reasons that I am not swayed by the argument that Tibetan monks spent their days torturing peasants is that I heard it all as part of my own revolutionary indoctrination.

    Falk – What are you? Borg?

    Teresa – I always get suspicious when comments sound like examples from a neurolinguistic programming manual. And why is he gunning for the Dalai Lama?

  95. Link to list of companies who are major sponsors of the censorship in Tibet.

    Coca Cola.




    Panasonic (so much for buying electronics from them!)



    And the list goes on…

    I can appreciate that these companies genuinely have an interest in promoting themselves as good corporate citizens, and I know for a fact that some of them are, having worked for them and seen from the inside what kind of corporate culture they have, at least in the medical devices areas I’ve been associated with.

    But the fact remains that they are enabling and helping to legitimize the current behaviour of the government of China. They have mostly said they are promoting sport, and hope to keep politics out of it. But companies do listen to their customers, so perhaps this is the time to let them know how you, as a customer, feel.

  96. Tibet borders sealed in advance of surrender deadline
    Aileen McCabe , Canwest News Asia Correspondent
    Published: Monday, March 17, 2008

    SHANGHAI – China has effectively closed Tibet to foreigners as it prepares to deal with protesters in the aftermath of last week’s riots in Lhasa.

  97. China March 17, 2008, 8:51AM EST text size: TT
    China Blacks Out Tibet News
    YouTube was was down over the weekend, while Baidu and the Chinese versions of Yahoo! and MSN are sticking with the party line

    by Chi-Chu Tschang

  98. All of the actions discussed here will have the net effect on China’s suppression of Tibet that the millions of people around the world pouring into the streets to oppose the US invasion of Iraq had on Bush administration policy. Still, it’s good to think about how things might be shifted in a better direction. While people still want ‘leaders’, we will be subject to their whims. And remember:

    “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” —Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

  99. Teresa, yes, I am obsessive about truth.

    Takuan, quoting people who uncritically accept the Dalai Lama’s numbers does not help your cause. From Parenti: “The official 1953 census–six years before the Chinese crackdown–recorded the entire population residing in Tibet at 1,274,000.” He footnotes that, if you want to check his sources. (See link @8)

    Michael Parenti, Peter Hessler who wrote the Atlantic Monthly article, and I are not Chinese.

    Tom @114, your claim, “ethnic Tibetans are asking for their country back,” suggests there are no class issues at work here. Here’s something from the Washington Post, a conservative paper that has no love for the Chinese:

    Tibet’s former slaves say they, too, don’t want their former masters to return to power.”I’ve already lived that life once before,” said Wangchuk, a 67-year-old former slave who was wearing his best clothes for his yearly pilgrimage to Shigatse, one of the holiest sites of Tibetan Buddhism. He said he worshiped the Dalai Lama, but added, “I may not be free under Chinese Communism, but I am better off than when I was a slave.”

  100. The answer is simple: a democratic vote for Tibetans to determine the future of Tibet.

    China never asked. China permits no vote. China kills any who suggest a vote.

    What do the uncritical China supporters have to say about voting?

  101. Teresa, a p.s.: Maybe I should get more heated in these discussions. Sometimes I wonder if calmness just makes angry people angrier, as though they believe only anger can find truth, and truth must be furious to be true.

    But what I conclude is that when people get angry and have no facts to offer, they’ll resort to implications about what a calm tone must imply.

    And, if it helps at all, I did study Buddhism when I was younger. I greatly admire the Buddha’s teaching, and I try to live by it. My complaint with Tibet’s old regime is they changed a philosophy of simplicity to a philosophy of slavery.

  102. For all the times that American wrong-doing has been used as a justification for China’s actions, America was a slave society. It liberated itself.

  103. calmness includes facile dismissal of all opposing statements? I thought it just was supposed to mean no yelling and screaming.

    Vote. For. Tibetans. Yes. Or. No.?

  104. Will,

    You still haven’t explained why you’re gunning for the Dalai Lama. I assume that you don’t think that he’s trying to free Tibet from China in order to enslave its peasants. The collection of out-of-context quotes attributed to him on your blog appears disingenuous to my admittedly jaundiced eye. The DL has described himself as half-Marxist, half-Buddhist. He has also suggested that the Tibetans should elect their next leader. So why the grudge for things that happened in his name when he was a teenager? Because he eats meat? So did the Buddha.

    No matter what you think about the DL or the Tibet of fifty years ago, China is one of the world’s most repressive, fiercely racist countries. Their interest in Tibet is not the liberation of its people from feudalism, but the exploitation of its resources at the expense of its people and culture. Dancing around that central fact makes all your arguments seem specious.

    If you were a regular (by which I mean obsessive- compulsive and otherwise lifeless) BB comment reader, you would know that I have spent quite a bit of time criticizing the Dalai Lama for some of his positions. Implicit in your comments is the notion that those who do not agree with you do not use critical thinking skills in formulating our positions. I assure you that nothing could be farther from the truth.

    Remaining preternaturally calm while people are being murdered is not Buddhism. Maybe a dissociative disease, but definitely not Buddhism. I am grieved and angry. Grieved by the repression and murder. Angry at the racist, genocidal occupation being carried out in the name of Communism.

    Om ah hum vajra guru padma siddhi hum

  105. @128

    Antinous, while it is certainly true that the sponsors don’t want a boycott, staging one would indeed hurt the athletes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sickened by “The Commercials brought to you by The Olympics” just like anybody else.

    However, please consider that for many Olympic sports, the window in which one can compete at the world class level is quite small. This may be the only chance at an Olympic gold medal for some of these kids.

    There can be no doubt that the Olympic Committee made a mistake in the selection of China. I’ll never forgive the Chinese government for Tienanmen Square. Never. Chinese behavior in other matters, especially Tibet, is even more deplorable.

    Still and all, the kids who will run the races just want to run. They should be allowed to run while they may.

  106. I don’t support a government sponsored boycott of the Olympics. I would leave it to the conscience of individual athletes. Having said that, any athlete who holds up a gold medal that they won in a country that was murdering monks while they played their sport will never, ever be a true Olympian.

  107. Yes, a boycott could very well ruin the once in a lifetime chance for an athlete to win gold. All that training, sacrifice and in some cases subsidy would be wasted.

    How important is that? The Olympic ideal is so tarnished I would never hold it up to my own children as something to respect or strive for. It’s about money, drugs, politics, advertising, status, money… did I mention money?

    What loss to humanity if these Games are canceled?

    What loss to humanity if Beijing is allowed to a “final solution” to the Tibetan “problem” behind closed doors?

  108. the even-handed views of an informed people

    I almost posted that one. I tend to forget how close it is to North Korea in ideological consistency.

  109. I kept off this thread because I don’t think I can positively contribute, but just because people keep bringing up the olympics, Id like to reinforce the idea the olympics are mala in se:

    For China:


    and…hmm…the london one seems to have been taken down…

    stay tuned…

  110. Will @125: Neither ethnic Tibetans nor anyone else are asking to return Tibet to the medieval state it was in before the Chinese occupation. They are asking for their country back, not asking to re-enslave former slaves.

    What we are arguing for, as Takuan has suggested, is the freedom for Tibetans to vote on their country’s future. Here in Canada, people have this freedom and have used it as recently as the ’90’s. Do you oppose that freedom? If not, why shouldn’t Tibetans have the same right?

  111. An article about the disaster that was athens:


    Article about Professor Lenskyj, a Canadian anti olympics activist:


    A long academic PDF on the economic impact:


    I could also post independent research I did which unsurprisingly shows corruption in the London bid, but that would mean organizing my notes, which lets face it, isn’t about to happen.

    Apologies if this seems OT, but they /are/ bulldozing half of Beijing to do the stupid games.

  112. Takuan @131: Democracy for everyone!

    Antinuous @132, I’m not gunning for the Dalai Lama. I’ve praised some of his positions. I do worry that some Tibetan exiles are like some Cuban exiles, not wanting to return to the abuses of the old regime, but still wanting to return to positions of privilege.

    Whether the Buddha ate meat is debated by Buddhists; many scriptures say he did not, as noted here. It’s a bit like the question of whether Jesus ate fish, or whether John the Baptist ate locusts or bread: the records are contradictory.

    Whether China wants to exploit Tibet is an extremely complex question; did you read the Atlantic Monthly article I linked to above?

    “Implicit in your comments is the notion that those who do not agree with you do not use critical thinking skills in formulating our positions.”

    Uh, no. But when you ignore evidence, I become suspicious. If you think China killed a million Tibetans, you should be able to point to a census saying there were that many Tibetans to kill. You probably should be able to point to some evidence of killing fields: in the 20th century, it is extremely hard to kill a million people and completely hide the evidence.

    “Remaining preternaturally calm while people are being murdered is not Buddhism.”

    I haven’t check the papers today, but yesterday, the people being murdered were Han Chinese citizens living in Tibet. Yes, the Chinese government has done horrible things in the past, but are they guilty now? Evidence, please.

  113. Will @148: The population of Tibet was 1.2 million in 1950. Typical population growth for the region (in Nepal in the 1950’s, for example) is 2% per year. This is a modest estimate, given the great benefits that China brought to the ethnic Tibetans that the Nepalese did not have. Also, Nepal’s population growth has been higher than this recently, and China’s own population growth was somewhat higher than 2% per year between 1950 and 1980.

    Population doubling time with 2% population growth is about 36 years, so the expected population curve for Tibet looks like 1.2e6*(2**(N/36)).

    In 2007 the population of Tibet was 2.6 million, of whom 90% were ethnic Tibetans, for an actual ethnic Tibetan population of 2.4 million.

    Using a 2% growth rate over those 57 years, we would expect 3.6 million ethnic Tibetans. So some of our Tibetans are missing.

    There are a variety of reasons one might put forward for this discrepancy of 1.2 million Tibetans. Extreme out-migration is one. Another is the imposition of a “one child” policy by the Chinese occupying power. Another is that about a million Tibetans were killed over the course of the past fifty years by the Chinese occupying power, which is what the Free Tibet campaign is claiming. It is a moderately plausible claim, based on the data.

    The median estimate for Tibetans killed by the Chinese occupying power, based on various sources, is about 600,000 dead Tibetans over 50 years. The relevant figures are at the very bottom of the linked page.

    So the claim that “there have never been enough Tibetans for the Chinese occupying power to kill 1.2 million of them” does not hold much water, and it does not give the person making it a great deal of credibility.

  114. why bother? you could slap him across the face with the femurs and he would say “plastic”.

  115. Evidence, please.

    If you tell me how to obtain evidence during a suppression event by a totalitarian state, I’ll be happy to provide it. I invite you to search for evidence on Iranian websites stating that the holocaust happened or that homosexuality is not a sin. Information is power. Withholding and suppressing information is power. It’s also something for which China is noted. Your arguments skew constantly away from the point and remain disingenuous. You are doing something referred to as “fiddling while Rome burns.”

  116. Tom, thanks for that. I wasn’t speaking of a span of 50 years; as recently as 2007, the Dalai Lama was claiming here that a million had died by 1959.

    The census of 1953 was 1,274,000, if Parenti’s source is correct.

  117. “China ‘peacefully liberated’ Tibet, and Tibetans today are happy under Chinese rule”

    Beijing’s line is that the Tibetan people, and particularly the peasantry, welcomed the “peaceful liberation” of Tibet and that it was they themselves who “overthrew the landlords.” In fact, China’s People’s Liberation Army decimated the 5,000-strong Tibetan army in October 1950 at Chamdo, eastern Tibet. There’s no question that some Tibetans initially greeted the Chinese (the communists claimed they were only there to “help develop” Tibet); that such welcomes were in the vast minority is equally clear. Tibetan histories of Tibet, such as Tsering Shakya’s Dragon in the Land of Snows and W.D. Shakabpa’s Tibet: A Political History, corroborate this. The late Panchen Lama’s courageous 70,000-character secret petition to Chairman Mao summarizes how the “liberation” negatively affected Tibetans of all walks of life.

    Indeed it was the Tibetan peasantry, the very group the Chinese “liberation” was said to have helped, who formed the core of the popular resistance to the Chinese occupation. By 1959, a guerilla resistance movement called Chushi Gangdruk (“Four Rivers, Six Ranges”) that started in eastern Tibet had spread nation-wide. The resistance reached a symbolic culmination on March 10, 1959, when thousands of Tibetans surrounded the Dalai Lama’s Norbulinka Palace to act as human shields to protect him from a rumored Chinese kidnapping plot (hardly the acts of a people longing to be rid of an oppressive Tibetan regime).

    The armed resistance ended in the 1970s, at the urging of the Dalai Lama, but substantial popular resistance remains. This resistance has taken many forms over the years: pro-independence demonstrations, postering, mass non-cooperation, economic boycott, and risking the perilous Himalayan crossing to live as refugees self-exiled from their own homeland. Ronald Schwartz has written a book, Circle of Protest, analyzing ways in which Tibetans have used religion to express covert political messages. Chinese writer Wang Lixiong provides another analysis in an article entitled Tibet: The People’s Republic of China’s 21st Century Underbelly. Wang opposes Tibetan independence, but believes there is a risk of Beijing succumbing to its own propaganda. He recognizes the strength of Tibetan nationalism and pro-independence sentiment, and writes, “the military[‘s] role in sovereignty is only like a rope, which can tie Tibet to China, but cannot keep our bloodlines together over the long term.”

  118. Tom, I’m back after a little poking around at that site. It’s a great resource, and I love White’s comments, especially about democracies warring on democracies, but his data has weaknesses. Here are the references for Tibet:

    # Tibet (1950 et seq.): 600 000

    * Chinese occupation. (For the most part, it’s already been included in the numbers above.)
    o Free Tibet Campaign [http://www.freetibet.org/info/facts/fact1.html]
    + Tibetans killed by the Chinese since 1950: 1,200,000
    + Died in prisons and labour camps between 1950 and 1984: up to 260,000
    + 1959 Uprising: 430,000 died
    # K. in Reprisals: 87,000
    o Our Times: 1,200,000
    o Courtois: 600,000 – 1,200,000
    o Walker, Robert: 500,000-1,000,000 (all ethnic minorities)
    o Rummel: 375,000 democides inflicted on etnic minorities
    + … incl 150,000 Tibetans
    o Porter: 100,000 to 150,000.
    o Eckhardt:
    + 1950-51 War: 2,000 civ.
    + 1956-59 Revolt: 60,000 civ. + 40,000 mil. = 100,000
    o Harff and Gurr: 65,000 Tibetan nationalists, landowners, Buddhists killed, 1959
    o Small & Singer say that China lost 40,000 soldiers in Tibet between 1956 and ’59.

    The only link he provides is to the Free Tibet site, which consists of unsubstantiated assertions that Parenti demolishes with many footnotes. Our Times simply repeats the number that the Dalai Lama and his brother like to use. I don’t know when or if I’ll get time to check out the rest—if anyone else wants to, I’d be grateful. But it looks like White simply took the range of available numbers and picked one in the middle.

  119. Parenti:

    Again, I am a firm believer in people’s history. And the core problem with Parenti’s position is that it is simply at odds with the statements, testimony, and shared history of the Tibetan people themselves – the people Parenti is supposedly defending. The view of Tibet that Parenti ascribes to has been commonly put forward by Chinese government officials – particularly the ones in the ministry of propaganda. Once upon a time it was a view embraced by a handful of British historians – most of them turn of the century explorers and colonists in their own right. But it has always been an outsider’s view, completely divorced from the reality of how Tibetans of all walks of life view their own society and their own history.

    In his descriptions of old Tibet, Parenti predominantly draws on the work of four historians – Anna Louise Strong, A. Tom Grunfeld, and Roma and Stuart Gelder. The fact that all of these historians had a romantic predilection towards Maoism and drew mostly on Chinese government statistics should surely be cause for concern as far as their legitimacy as source material. One certainly wouldn’t trust the Indonesian government’s party line on Aceh or East Timor. Or, for that matter, the U.S. government’s continued assertion that the Iraqi people welcome the current American occupation. Such manipulations of public sentiment, in which an occupation is presented as ‘the will of the people,’ are – as a rule – only employed to further the agenda of the occupier.

  120. there is a certain irony here, the most ardent defender of the butchery of Tibetans is, under the veil, an unreconstructed communist. Get the joke, Wil. Marx wasn’t even close to right. Or right.

  121. Antinuous @ 161, fortunately, we’re not in Iran. The average Chinese person may not know about Tienanman Square, but we do. We have evidence that was smuggled out. Smuggling out the evidence for the massacre of a million people in the 1950s should have been possible, had it happened.

    And you haven’t addressed Parenti’s heavily documented evidence for his positions. Shouldn’t you be able to match them?

    Takuan, the Dalai Lama only urged the rebels to stop fighting in 1974, after the CIA quit backing them. This isn’t hard information to find on the web. There’s a great documentary about the CIA in Tibet in six parts on youtube. The facts are available for those who care to look.

    Well, time to let this drop. I realize you want to think you’re on the Dalai Lama’s side and I’m on China’s, but I’m in between, saying both have made great mistakes, and if you want a peaceful resolution to the problems in Tibet, you have to accept its complicated history and move forward.

  122. It is hard for me to leave, I confess. Takuan, have you read Parenti? You say he’s an apologist for China, but no apologist would say this:

    Most Chinese live close to the poverty level or well under it, while a small group of newly brooded capitalists profit hugely in collusion with shady officials. Regional bureaucrats milk the country dry, extorting graft from the populace and looting local treasuries. Land grabbing in cities and countryside by avaricious developers and corrupt officials at the expense of the populace are almost everyday occurrences. Tens of thousands of grassroot protests and disturbances have erupted across the country, usually to be met with unforgiving police force. Corruption is so prevalent, reaching into so many places, that even the normally complacent national leadership was forced to take notice and began moving against it in late 2006.

    Workers in China who try to organize labor unions in the corporate dominated “business zones” risk losing their jobs or getting beaten and imprisoned. Millions of business zone workers toil twelve-hour days at subsistence wages. With the health care system now being privatized, free or affordable medical treatment is no longer available for millions. Men have tramped into the cities in search of work, leaving an increasingly impoverished countryside populated by women, children, and the elderly. The suicide rate has increased dramatically, especially among women.

    There is plenty of blame to go around here, and Parenti knows it.

  123. Takuan, if you’re going to charge anyone of being responsible for innocent blood, you have to show the blood. Or the graves. Or photos of the massacres. Or census figures that show a loss of life. Or something that resembles evidence.

    Did Tibetans die cruelly when China came in? Yes. Did Tibetans die cruelly while the Dalai Lamas ruled? Yes. Do Tibetans today deserve better than either has given them? Yes.

    Choose your stand based on evidence. Otherwise you’re no different than the people who claimed they knew where Saddam Hussein buried the WMDs. Screaming that you’re taking a stand on rock will not change a thing if you’re on sand.

  124. Big of you to admit that you’re on China’s side and then give those damning quotes. Not, perhaps, much of a recommendation for your motivations.

  125. Did Tibetans die cruelly when China came in? Yes. Did Tibetans die cruelly while the Dalai Lamas ruled? Yes.

    Comparing apples and genocide. Specious. Disingenuous. Deadly.

  126. Antinuous @177, was that to me? Where did I say I was on China’s side? China is a one-party state, and I believe in democracy. Right now, they’re controlling journalists in Tibet the same way the US controlled journalists during the Iraq War, and that makes me very, very worried: I believe in a free press.

    I realize it’s comforting to think that either someone is on the Dalai Lama’s side or on China’s side. But reality is not binary.

  127. Will @163 and 169. Thanks for the Dalai Lama link. It’s interesting what he actually says:

    So, one Chinese military person, we received a Chinese paper, in it, it stated between March 1959 and September 1960, the number of people who were killed through military action, in surrounding area, 87,000. So, the open clash with Chinese forces started early 1956. And it remained until 1962, 1963.
    In some places, more dense populations. So we roughly estimate, a half million Tibetans killed. And more than half million death through starvation. And that took place during 1958, 1959. So, all together, we believe, more than one million Tibetans perished. So, no use using violence.

    So he gives hard figures from the Chinese occupying power that are close to 100,000 over about a year and a half, and guesses at a million total over half a decade. Being honest and objective in the best Buddhist tradition, he is explicit that his method is estimation or guesswork, and describes the resulting figure as a belief, not knowledge or fact. And he concludes from that one million figure that violence is a bad thing.

    On this basis alone you can understand why those of us who aren’t abject apologists calling for “balance” between murderers and their victims think he’s a great man, and think that anyone who spends a lot of time and effort claiming the Dalai Lama is using the one million estimate as a hard-and-fast figure is severely challenged along a number of important dimensions.

    “Picking a figure in the middle” is known as “taking the median”. It has a lot of formal and empirical justification as a robust estimator. Given the range of values and the obvious political interests involved–the Chinese occupying power want to convince people that they’ve killed tens of thousands of Tibetans, the democratic Tibetan government-in-exile wants to convince people that the Chinese occupying power has killed a million–it is doubtful that there is a going to be a better estimate without going to Tibet and doing a full survey of the dead.

    But the Chinese occupying power is not about to allow that to happen, any more than it is currently allowing news coverage of whatever atrocities are happening in Tibet. This is how we know that the Chinese occupying power is without question in the wrong here: it is the agent of censorship and suppression. Somehow apologists have neglected to mention that element of this situation at all.

    In summary, it is clear that the Chinese occupying power killed tens of thousands of Tibetans in the early years of the occupation, and plausibly many more than that in the following decades. Students of mass killings know that it is extremely difficult to put a precise value on the number of the dead, but the number of Tibetans killed by the Chinese occupying power over the past fifty years almost certainly lies between 100,000 and 1 million.

    As Aristotle said, “the student should not expect more precision than the subject matter admits of”.

    Meanwhile, the Chinese occupying power continues to do god knows what on the streets of Lhasa, behind a cloak of censorship and clouds of fog thrown up by their apologist fellow-travellers.

    With that, I am done with this thread. My heart and hopes go out to the Tibetan people, within Tibet and elsewhere.

  128. Doubts over Sino-Tibetan dialogue following crackdown
    18 Mar 2008, 0803 hrs IST,AFP
    Print Save EMail Write to Editor
    WASHINGTON: China’s bloody crackdown on protests in Tibet has plunged the dialogue between envoys of the Himalayan territory’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and Beijing into uncertainty.

    The two sides met for their sixth round of talks last summer, in China, and in all the discussions the Dalai Lama’s envoys made clear he only wanted “meaningful autonomy” instead of independence for Tibet, one envoy said.

    They also clarified many of the concerns on the Chinese side over the territory, but Bhuchung Tsering, a member of the Tibet leader’s negotiating team, said China’s recent violent crackdown on protests in Tibet meant there was now “uncertainty on where the talks are heading.”

    He said in Washington that the Dalai Lama’s side “continues to be committed to the middle way approach.”

    “While our side is committed, we see the Chinese not going in the same direction and in fact, that is creating a sort of challenge on the future course of the dialogue process,” he said.

  129. If you looked at “The Wall Street Journal” on March 17, 2008. Vol 63. Page
    A1-A3. You will find an interesting combination of news. One is about J.P.
    Morgan buys Bear Stearns, one is about “Iraq, 5 years on, A nation of
    Refugees”, and there is also a long story about Tibet, about how Tibet has
    been suppressed from democracy by China. It is interesting because US media
    said exactly the same thing about Iraq 5 years ago that Iraq has been
    suppressed from democracy. The truth is if US thinks it will ever lack of
    targets for robbing resources such as oil to satisfy its greedy bankers and
    its mafia-like government and etc..(think why the subprime crisis happened
    again if it is not greediness), they will make up excuse to break up the
    other countries shamelessly! US ruined Iraq, US backed up the breakup of
    Kosovo from SerBia, US backed up Chechen against Russia, US backed up
    opposite leader Buto of Pakistan. So you think US is going to save all those
    “democracy suppressed region” like they save Iraq?….big joke, To break
    up the other country and suck the benefit out of those chaos they created
    and trash them at the end is the only purpose of US. As if US knows what is
    the best for Iraqis, I am sure they know the best for Tibet and the rest of
    world. Shame on some US idiot that you think you can fool the whole world.

  130. Here’s the analysis from a friend who was until recently living in China:

    Anyhow, I’m sure all of this is coming out of the Tibetan’s frustration with the huge swell of Han Chinese with the opening of the recent train into Tibet across the Qinghai Plateau. This is what they mean by the sudden swell of ethnocide… it’s simply people using the train… looking for more work. I fully suspect is really a local problem about migrant labor disputes, as opposed to Beijing suddenly cracking down on protests.

    China is stupid in that they don’t have anyone really explaining this sort of thing to the world… as their knee-jerk reaction is to always suppress news and hide the situation. I wish someone could get the friggin’ story straight. And, even H.H.D.L. said this is not a reason to boycott the Olympics. I fully agree, this is a domestic dispute, and he’s not going to do anything to stop it, nor should he.

    China very much deserves to host the Olympic games. It’s the first time since the 1968 Olympics were held in Mexico City that a developing country hosted the games. As an event, it’s been a tremendous boon to the environmental “movement” in the country and has brought the infrastructure in Beijing up to where it should have been. I really only see it as a good thing. And for cripes sake… considering the list of human rights abuses perpetrated by the U.S. in another countries and in the name of democracy… you honestly think we could stand up to the same scrutiny? Where do you draw the line? So, don’t think for a second China doesn’t deserve to host the games… it’ll be a defining moment for China and a point of optimism for a lot of other developing nations.

  131. 1968 Summer Olympics
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The 1968 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XIX Olympiad, were celebrated in Mexico City in 1968. Mexico City beat out bids from Detroit, Buenos Aires and Lyon to host the Games in 1963. The Games were preceded by the Tlatelolco massacre, in which hundreds of students were killed by security forces ten days before the opening day.

  132. Beijing Says It Is Showing Restraint in Tibet, Even as Outcry Grows
    Cara Anna/Associated Press

    Defying a Chinese government directive not to gather in groups, monks at Tongren in Qinghai Province burned incense on Sunday to protest a crackdown against demonstrations in Tibet.


    Article Tools Sponsored By
    Published: March 18, 2008

    BEIJING — China raised the death toll from the violent anti-Chinese protests in Tibet last week to 16 on Monday, but said its security forces had avoided using lethal force, countering Tibetan exile groups that said at least 80 had been killed.

    China Tries to Thwart News Reports From Tibet (March 18, 2008)
    Times Topics: Tibet

    Scattered protests by ethnic Tibetans continued in the neighboring Chinese provinces of Qinghai and Sichuan, as well as in Gansu. As the paramilitary police and troops were deployed to quash those protests, international pressure mounted on China to show restraint in dealing with dissent in advance of the Olympic Games, to be held in Beijing in August.

    Demonstrations also reached Beijing, with about 80 students at the Central University for Minorities staging a sit-down protest on the campus late Monday night.

    University officials were negotiating with the students, witnesses said, but failed to persuade them to disperse.

  133. The tragedy of Tibet
    Tarini Mehta
    Tuesday, 18 March , 2008, 10:22
    Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March , 2008, 10:27

    The author, a member of the Friends of Tibet organisation, rues about the why Tibetans living in India are not allowed to protest against China and why are they being held as prisoners by the Indian Government for their clamour of human rights and freedom. A Sify exclusive.

    Over the past few days over a hundred Tibetans protesting Chinese rule over their country have been killed. In the face of this crisis the world has once again woken up to the reality of the Tibet issue. Can we say that the age of colonialism has ended when there are nations still controlled against their will by another?

    Tibet, once a sovereign state with a unique system of government, culture, language and religion was invaded in 1949 by 35,000 Chinese troops. What followed was a large-scale massacre of the Tibetan people and their traditions. Over 1.2 million Tibetans have been killed from 1949-79. And now while we watch more numbers will be added to the list. It is also important to note that the Fourth Geneva Convention, which China has ratified makes irrelevant China’s claims to sovereignty over Tibet.

  134. Bartlett urges Olympics boycott over Tibet

    By Jane Cowan

    Posted 1 hour 38 minutes ago
    Updated 1 hour 37 minutes ago
    Unrest spreads: a pro-Tibetan rally in Sydney’s inner west.

    The Chinese crackdown in Tibet has sparked a call from Democrats Senator Andrew Bartlett for Australian athletes to boycott the Beijing Olympics.

  135. Tibet plays role in Taiwan election

    By Kathrin Hille in Taipei

    Published: March 18 2008 02:00 | Last updated: March 18 2008 02:00

    Ma Ying-jeou, the frontrunner in Taiwan’s presidential election, yesterday declared the island a sovereign country as he tried to limit potential damage to his campaign from the violence in Tibet, writes Kathrin Hille in Taipei.

  136. Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 March 2008, 04:58 GMT
    China premier attacks Dalai Lama
    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao 18/3/08
    Mr Wen says the protesters are trying to sabotage the Olympics
    Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has accused the Dalai Lama of masterminding recent violence in Tibet’s main city, Lhasa.

    Speaking at the close of parliament, Mr Wen also said that the exiled Tibetan leader’s claim of “cultural genocide” in Tibet was nothing but lies.

    China’s response to the violence had been restrained, the premier said.

    China says 13 people were killed by rioters in Lhasa. Tibetan exiles say at least 80 protesters were killed in a crackdown by Chinese security forces.

  137. Dalai Lama offers to resign, Tibet exiles say 19 more dead in China

    4 hours ago

    DHARAMSHALA, India (AFP) — The Dalai Lama vowed Tuesday he would resign as leader of Tibet’s exiles if violence back home worsened, just hours before his aides said 19 people were killed in new demonstrations.

    The Buddhist leader, speaking in the Indian city where his exiled government is based, insisted he was opposed to the violence that erupted in Tibet last week, which saw Chinese shops and banks torched and smashed.

    Chinese authorities responded with a virtually total lockdown of Tibet and other areas of China with large Tibetan populations, blocking reporters and making it difficult to verify diverging accounts of the disturbances.

    (AGI) – Dharamsala (India), Mar. 18 – Another 19 Tibetan protesters would have been killed today by Chinese security forces in another province of the China, Gansu: the Tibetan government in exile said this from its headquarter in Dharamsala, in the north of India. According to the government in exile, the total number of “certain” dead in one week of chaos would amount to at least 99. The Chinese government claims that no more than ten people were killed. Premier Wen Jiabao admitted for the first time that from Tibet the protests have spread to other parts of the country. In Gansu, the western endpoint of the Great Wall of China with numerous Buddhist temples, lives a big Tibetan community.

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