Tibet: nearly 1,000 jailed in Lhasa, Dalai Lama offers to resign


* Above: cellphone video of thousands of monks and laypeople protesting at Labrang monastery Xiahe, Gansu province in China. March 15, 2008.

* Left: The dead bodies of eight protesters were brought into Ngaba Kirti Monastery yesterday, in the Ngaba area of Tibet. The caption on this image from phayul.com indicates that observers are throwing money on the corpses as a customary expression of grief. Students for a Free Tibet posted reports that more than 20 protesters were killed at Ngaba. Here are photos of the dead (warning: graphic). Copies of the same photos are here.

* Here is the first-person account of Spence Palermo, a sound technician and filmmaker from Oregon, who was on location at that monastery working on a TV program for National Geographic last Saturday when the protests erupted. He sent this email to friends from China, where the crew is finishing production: Link

* Nearly 1,000 Tibetans have been detained by Chinese authorities in Lhasa, after two days of patrols by China's Army and police:

Sources in the city said 600 people had been detained on Saturday and another 300 had been picked up on Sunday. They said it was not clear where those rounded up were being detained because the main Drapchi prison in Lhasa is believed to be virtually full.

Those detained could be taken to the old Number One prison in the Sangyip district in the northeast of Lhasa that is not currently believed to be in use. They may be held in the nearby Number Four detention centre and the New Lhasa prison in the same district that has recently been used as a re-education-through-labour centre. They could even be taken to the new Chushur prison some distance outside Lhasa where most political prisoners are believed to be jailed after sentencing.

These prison facilities are as notorious for human rights violations in Tibet as Abu Ghraib is in Iraq.

* The Dalai Lama says he will resign as head of state of the Tibetan Government in Exile if the violence continues:

"If the Tibetans were to choose the path of violence, he would have to resign because he is completely committed to nonviolence," [aide] Tenzin Taklha said. "He would resign as the political leader and head of state, but not as the Dalai Lama. He will always be the Dalai Lama."
* Here's more on the unavailability of YouTube in China right now -- it appears to be systematically blocked, along with Google News, because of the explosion of material related to the Tibet uprising.

* Erick Schonfeld at TechCrunch asks,

What will Google do to restore access to YouTube and Google News inside China? China is a big market that Google needs to be a player in. Will it voluntarily strip out all videos or news items about Tibet? Or will the Chinese government just figure out how to strip them out itself? There is a precedent here: in China you cannot find a lot of information about the 1989 Tiananmen Square uprising on the Web, including the famous image of the lone man standing in front of the line of tanks.

* US president George Bush removed China from a list of top world human rights violators just 3 days before the violence erupted in Tibet. Snip from today's New York Times editorial, "China Terrorizes Tibet":

In its annual human rights report on 190 countries, the State Department conceded that Beijing’s overall performance remained poor. But in what looked like a political payoff to a government whose help America desperately needs on difficult problems, the department dropped China from its list of 10 worst violators.

Whatever gain China may have gotten from being elevated above the likes of North Korea, Myanmar, Iran and Sudan was lost by the crackdown on Tibet.

China had a chance to shine for its Olympic coming-out party and is blowing it. Its leaders will continue to have to battle protests and unrest – and endure international reproach – until they ensure more freedom for all their citizens, including greater religious tolerance and freedom for Tibet.

* Many Boing Boing readers in China have written in to report that they can no longer access our website without censorware workarounds, because of the Tibet-related content on Boing Boing. Chris in China explains:
Just letting you know that since boingboing started reporting on Tibet it's been routinely blocked here in China. I don't think it's a very specific block as in "youtube is blocked", but rather that the Great Firewall is finding "Tibet" as a keyword and blocking it then. It's been better today, when I can load most of the page before it switches to "Connection Reset", but what bits I can load are really barebones without youtube (which, as you reported, is blocked) and flickr (which seems to be blocked AGAIN here).

I can access the site through a web proxy ( gladder for firefox comes as a strong recommendation ) however, videos still won't work, and this is exceptionally slow.

One more interesting point, I saw briefly on boing boing where you wrote about Native Chinese antipathy to those "ungrateful" Tibetans. This seems to be the consensus of my students as well. I had them read an article from the NY Times that I had printed that showed the difference in quotes between Chinese authorities ( 8 people dead, no soldiers, no guns) and what Tibetans and reports have confirmed (80 confirmed dead, soldiers, tanks, gunfire throughout the day). My students' response to this was, "well of course they say that. They are foreign. They do not know." (paraphrase). Put it simply-- even when confronted with such blatant contradiction, the students still believed their government.

This is nothing unusual for the multitude of students I've talked to about censorship. They honestly believe that governmental censorship protects them from foreign lies and "The Bad Things" (as one class a year ago referred to it. When I asked what "the bad things" were, they really had no answer. Finally one student piped up, "we don't know because our government protects us from it!"). I know this is not a universal attitude here in China, but I think it is an interesting anecdote, and important to keep in mind when contemplating the average Chinese Netizen and her response to blatant censorship.

* There is a flood of reports today about new protests, new arrest sweeps, and new deaths and injuries related to Tibetan independence protests throughout the Tibetan Autonomous Region and elsewhere around the world. Some Tibet-specific blogs and news sites I'm following to keep up with that news: Phayul; Canada Tibet Committee newsroom; SFT, TCHRD; this blog from a tourist in Tibet. Wired's Threat Level blog has a comprehensive roundup of first-person accounts here.

(thanks, Christal Smith, monkey, and others)

Previously on Boing Boing:

  • Tibet: China blocks YouTube, protests spread, bloggers react
  • Tibet: more deaths, injuries in Lhasa as crackdown grows
  • Tibetan protests in Lhasa turn violent as Chinese forces crack down
  • China sends in troops to quell monks' peaceful protests
  • Police attack peacefully protesting monks in Tibet
  • Protest inside Tibet captured on tourists' cameras
  • Hacking the Himalayas: Xeni's stories and trek-blog from Tibet and India
  • Boing Boing tv: Miss Tibet/Eames Elephants
  • Google, China, and genocide: web censorship and Tibet
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    1. “in what looked like a political payoff to a government whose help America desperately needs on difficult problems, the department dropped China from its list of 10 worst violators.”

      Another classic case of Bushian truthiness: it doesn’t matter what China actually _does_ do; all that matters is what George Bush _says_ they do.

      I’m finding BoingBoing a little depressing today. You?

    2. from the film crew link;

      DEAD PEOPLE TALKING

      By Tsoltim N. Shakabpa

      You can tell we were shot to death

      By the holes in the back of our heads

      You can tell we were buried alive

      By the mud in our noses and mouths

      You can tell we were bludgeoned to death

      By the cracks on our skulls and bones

      You can tell we were hung to death

      By the marks on our bare necks

      You can tell we were electrocuted to death

      By the burns on our naked bodies

      You can tell we were drowned to death

      By the fluid in our collapsed lungs

      You can tell we were starved to death

      By our stomachs devoid of food

      You can tell we were tortured to death

      By the torture instruments lying in the prisons

      You can tell we cry out for justice

      By the voices of our living brethren

      By the thousands we have been killed

      By the thousands in death we speak out

      So you can bear witness to the atrocities

      Committed by the murderous Chinese

      Against the innocent Tibetan people

      Copyright: Tsoltim N. Shakabpa – 2008

    3. The reader who sent in the report about his students’ attitudes should also take into account that there may be some in his class that are open minded and can think for themselves, but are merely too cautious to express this in public. We all know what happens to those who speak openly there.

      However, being married to a well-educated, modern, young Chinese woman, I still hit brick walls on some matters, in spite of my ongoing “re-education” and the “age of enlightenment” in our home :) It is still very difficult for her to accept the concept of freedom of speech and that someone who disagrees with her has the right to do so and be vocal about it. Given that I see America right beside the other top human rights violators, for each example of Chinese human rights violations, I try to show her something equivalent done by the Western powers, so at least she does not immediately become defensive when such topics are discussed.

      I think that Chinese persons can open up and accept that some wrongdoings are perpetrated by their government as long as we can accept that our governments are just as bad. We need to be fair.

    4. I’m finding BoingBoing a little depressing today. You?

      Nope. Depressing is when BoingBoing posts juvenile stuff like zit popping movies. As harsh as it is, this stuff is BoingBoing at it’s best; using it’s connectivity and soul. This is BoingBoing grown up.

    5. I think it’s quite weird to assume there would be only one “evil” nation. Unfortunately, there are far too many “evil” nations. Noone is free of guilt, and being German I won’t throw too many stones.
      However, I consider it very interesting how China is handling this conflict. They are not afraid of consequences, they don’t care what the rest of the world thinks. They only know one reaction to an uprising: the famous Tiananmen-Tactic. Accusing the Dalai Lama they are giving quite the handbook act of “How to be an evil emperor”.
      And unfortunately, they are right.
      Nothing will happen. The Olympics will go on, their economy will continue to boom. In several months, quite a lot of people wearing sponsored cloithes by McDonalds, Adidas and Coca Cola will act as if nothing happened.
      I don’t know if that is fatalistic or realistic yet. Either way it’s depressing.

    6. BBC

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7302021.stm

      “Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has accused the Dalai Lama of masterminding the recent days of demonstrations against Chinese rule in Tibet’s capital, Lhasa.”

      “Mr Wen defended China’s handling of the violence, accusing protesters of robbery, arson and violence. He said Tibetan exiles had instigated the violence.

      “There is ample fact and plenty of evidence proving this incident was organised, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai clique,” he said.

      “This has all the more revealed the consistent claims by the Dalai clique that they pursue not independence, but peaceful dialogue, are nothing but lies.”

      There is ample fact and plenty of evidence. Mr. Wen, please present this evidence to, oh, say, the Hague, the UN,… Let the world see the evidence. Let the world decide.

    7. Our governments are not just as bad.

      Do we have our problems? Yes.

      Do we (I’m a Canadian) take over whole nations and systematically destroy the indigenous culture? No, not for a century or so, and we’re doing what we can to put right the wrongs done by our ancestors. We’re doing it imperfectly and more slowly than we ought, but we’re making progress and most importantly of all, we acknowledge that our ancestors were not always right in what they did.

      “All people do some bad things” does not mean “No crime is worse than any other”, and believing that no crime is worse than any other is to my mind a form of severe moral degeneracy.

    8. I feel the world leaders (those who give a damn) must boycott the Olympics in China. If China wants to appear civilized, they have GOT to STOP this, and if they won’t, we’re not allowed to come play at their house.

      I’m sure the US will still go, though, because our government really doesn’t care that much (in fact, they may be paying special attention to see what works and what doesn’t.) So every individual American needs to stand up and vote with their voices and their dollars: if McD and Nike act as though nothing happened, then don’t buy their product and tell them why, with emails and even complaints to store managers.

    9. Thank you BoingBoing for your continuing coverage of these events. This sort of wide spread information dispersal of the human rights offenses committed by countries such as China, may help to curb such criminal actions in the future.

    10. The fact is most of the world just doesn’t really care.

      Is it possible to emigrate from the planet? i’m sick of these atrocities being accepted by humankind. I’m ready to leave.

    11. disclaimer: I’m an American, and the comments I’m putting forth are my reflections on American culture.

      If I was anticipating competing in the Bejing Olympics, I would be inclined to boycott. Its difficult to boycott China entirely. However, declining to perform on their stage is a powerful act, much more than an individual not-buying an XYZ, and it would come at great personal expense.

      However, we can’t expect our athletes to live up to a higher moral or ethical standard than we do. They are athletes, not thinkers. We are to blame for putting them in position to wield such influence.

    12. @Tom: That’s not what I meant. I was saying that China does not have the exclusive rights to being the only evil empire ever.
      Violence is always wrong, no matter if it happens in the Iraq, against Chinese in Tibet or against Tibetans in Tibet.
      Chinas retoric brings back old memories of the German Democratic Public before the Wall came down, they seem so full of hatred. I’m quite interested in seeing proof that a Nobel Peace Price winner actually masterminded several global violent protests. Ridiculous.

    13. @#4- Takuan, thanks for posting that. All too often, this sort of thing gets shuffled off into “theoritical” land, and we forget, that at the heart of this all is people, real live human beings who are being abused and hurt. When you think in terms of actually humanity, you begin to focus on what is really important.

      @# 7- Teapunk, maybe we need to look at the whole structure of nation-state, and see what is wrong with it, not just individual nations. Let’s face it, more and more we are dealing with similar sorts of state and economic structures. I think perhaps Fukuyama was right in stating that liberal states are going to become the hegemonic paradigm (see, I bitch about theory and then use theory to prove my point). Fukuyama asserts that this is “natural progression” and has nothing to do with choice and power dynamics. I disagree with him here… Nothing is inevitable. Ernesto Laclau says in his book on populism, “History is not a predetermined process.” Also, “History cannot be conceived therefore as an infinite advance towards an ultimate aim.” So, what causes the nation-state to be so brutal, even in it’s more liberal and democratic forms.

      I think that if we really respect human rights, as we claim, we would pull out of the Olympics. Not that anyone here really pays attention to them anyway.

      Mindy

    14. While the PRC certainly has its share of evil deeds in Tibet and
      elsewhere, don’t forget that most of the reports coming out (from
      private citizens in Lhasa) spoke of _Tibetans_ beating up ethnic Han
      and Hui civilians, even children, and destroying their shops and
      places of worship.

      I will balance that to say that the Han visitors in Lhasa with whom
      I’ve spoken received nothing but friendly welcomes from the locals.
      This ethnic violence is clearly the work of a small minority. It’s a
      shame that the whole country will suffer for it.

      For Tibetans to stand up for the Dalai Lama is like Italians standing
      up for Pope Pius IX. He’s too busy making book deals and sipping tea
      with starry-eyed Hollywood celebrities to have anything meaningful to
      say about the plight of “his people.”

    15. Estimation of amount of people killed or jailed is always a game to make either side of supporters more angry.

      Chinese government news will always report a lower number, while the Students for Free Tibet will always report a higher number (of how many of them had been killed), even though they were the ones burning down the city.

      But either way, it means that there were plenty of violence. And violence can’t solve this problem.

      And then, the whole debate will degenerate into a chicken fight of who committed more violence.

      Good for Dalai Lama resigning. Now the Chinese government can rightfully rename the “Dalai clique” to “Xizhang separatists”.

      #14: Athletes are not thinkers? Discrimination?

      #1: Yes, BoingBoing has been depressing for the whole week, due to over-reporting of depressing issues. I’m organizing a movement/petition to detach all Civlib and politics to its own BBPolitics site. Now let’s see how the moderator army would react.

      #5: I feel bad for your wife. She does not need to be “re-educated”. Just for this I can already see a potential problem in the relationship.

    16. @KID – Perhaps you missed my meaning of the term “re-educated”. That term was used by Chairman Mao and his clique after the 1950s to describe the act of sending Chinese intelligentia and city high-school graduates to the countryside as forced labour to learn how to farm and hence become one with the people and so forth and so on.

      Here, I tongue-in-cheek imply the reverse process. I certainly see nothing wrong in helping someone expand their intellectual horizons after growing up in a monoculture.

    17. for the Boycottchina.org site; toys for your kids without blood on them:

      “We are attempting to locate stores and cooperatives that do not carry Made In China products. We also welcome names of products that are not made in China, and where they are available.

      Send us your own stories and experiences in this matter. We will put them up on this section.

      Products Made in USA

      Made in USA Products
      BuyAmerican.com
      Justice Clothing
      Still Made in USA
      The Union Shop Online
      The Union Mall
      U.S. Stuff

      Non-MIC Toy Stores

      StoryBoards
      ImagePlay
      U.S. Made Toys

      Roy Toy Manufacturing, Maine, USA

      Non-MIC Toy Brands

      Ajafield
      Bear Creek Toys
      Gardenkids
      Kathy’s Kreations
      KNEX (construction sets)
      Lauri
      “POOF” (foam Products)
      Smethport
      Toys N Things
      Turner Toys
      Woodlinks

      Non-MIC Toys

      Aaron’s Balloon Animals
      Amazen Marbles
      Anadex Bead Roller Coaster
      Antlantis
      Bimini Ring Game
      Berlin Flyer Wagons
      Blues Clues Coloring Books
      BoNZ Wooden 3D Dinosaurs
      Breyer Horses
      Briarpatch Games
      Bubble Party
      Bubble Tumbler
      Bubble-Go-Around
      Claytoon
      Colorforms
      Crayola Crayons
      Creativity for Kids
      Curiosity Kits
      Dino Works
      Easel Paper
      Eye Witness Kits
      Fabulous Fiddlestix
      Fun Ride
      Francis Family Toys
      Great American Puzzle Factory Jig Saw Puzzles
      Holdale Baby Bingo Bed
      Holdale Big Wooden Beads
      Hug-A-Planet
      Lauri Travel Packs
      Magic Cloth Toy Collection
      Magic Science
      Marshall Brodien Magic kits
      Monster Puppets
      Nature Net
      Paint-A-Tyra-Dino and Wooden T-Rex kit
      Perler Beads
      Pipsqueak Playhouse
      Playground balls
      Play Doh (the original by Hasbro)
      Radio Flyer wagons and vehicles. (not Flexible Flyer sleds)
      Remo Brand Drums
      Replogle Globes
      Rock Tumbler
      Sand Castle Creations, doll clothes from soggy Newport, Oregon
      Scientific Explorer Kits
      Sculpy Brand Clay
      Simplex Play Board Wooden Puzzles
      Slinky
      Sportsfun Hi Walker Stilts
      Sportsfun Hop-A-Roo Hoppy Ball
      Sportsfun Scooteroo (skateboard/scooter)
      Sportsfun Pogo-A-Roo (pogo stick)
      State to State Game
      Stomp rocket
      Toobers and Zots
      Tweber Backyard exploring gear, Children’s nature products.
      University Games
      Visible Man or Woman Anatomy Models
      Volcano Kit
      Wild Goose Science Kits
      Wild Wood of West Virginia (wooden figures on rockers)
      Wonder Board Magnetic Set
      WoodKrafter Kits”

    18. Hey Teresa! Whatever they’re paying you,it’s not enough. Apparently you’re worth a whole army – something at least we can agree on.

    19. @23, I would also suggest that buying anything stamped “Made in the USA” at WalMart is an almost guarantee that you’re buying something made in China…

    20. #1: I’m organizing a movement/petition to detach all Civlib and politics to its own BBPolitics site. Now let’s see how the moderator army would react.

      I’d totally agree with this notion. That or make a BBFuhShizzle where everything that might end up creating “issues” for places like DIA could go. Fark was smart enough to create foobies.com to keep things happy.

    21. For Tibetans to stand up for the Dalai Lama is like Italians standing
      up for Pope Pius IX. He’s too busy making book deals and sipping tea
      with starry-eyed Hollywood celebrities to have anything meaningful to
      say about the plight of “his people.”

      What makes you say that? He has had much to say on the subject. Are you saying he’s not doing enough? What should he be doing exactly?

    22. I can’t believe that this is the same place I was hiking through last year. Lhasa had so many tourists, I have to wonder how the government removed the international visitors so fast.

      Lhasa’s a sad place. The Tibetans are treated poorly and are placed in the “old part of town” while Chinese had taken over the “new part of town”. It was obvious such a situation wouldn’t last.

    23. Oy. After I had my students chant the Avalokiteshvara mantra on Saturday, one of them showed up in a PRC tee shirt today. Clueless.

    24. Buy Indian.

      Given a choice between the two emerging super powers I know who I’d rather send my business to.

    25. The global reach of the heart as power is just coming on line. To be reactive with pain and death in the face of love can no longer be spun into self serving rewards. It worked to stamp out the summer of love because it was local. Now our hearts can go out to victims anywhere. Grow up China and teach Bush a lesson. Use your power with ancient wisdom as Your guide. Forgive yourself for killing your young. Put the old ones back to work in service. A Lama is a simple Monk. Titles mean nothing. Just something to be located by. That scares the socks off of leaders with a Military. What happens if annihilation doesn’t kill THEM???

    26. @ #15 “I’m quite interested in seeing proof that a Nobel Peace Price winner actually masterminded several global violent protests. Ridiculous.”

      Henry Kissinger and Yasser Arafat are both laureates. I agree it’s ridiculous the Dalai Llhama was some kid of mastermind but let’s not imagine the nobel peace prize is an authentication of pacifism.

      Tibet is a cause celebre in the western world thanks to the mystique around its religion and culture but isn’t this essentially another fight for self-determination?

    27. Henry Kissinger and Yasser Arafat are both laureates.

      Oliver! winning the Best Picture Oscar rather pales in comparison to those decisions.

    28. In the interests of intelligence as a force for survival, Please entertain the notion that it is a process. Completely value neutral. Every notion in intelligence that serves somebody’s agenda diminishes the beauty of the process. Makes you really dumb and ugly if you are selling it. Not intelligent at all. As a fall back position for hope that humans can evolve, the flicker of life dose occasionally show up to justify the billions. The race is on. The already dead are going to win this one. They are simply beyond intelligence .

    29. #29: Not stirring up Tibetans to call for independence. I don’t think he’s some kind of violent mastermind, but if he’s all for peace and love, shouldn’t he discourage “his people” from fruitless political agitation and focus on their souls?

      The PRC is less likely to let go of Tibet than it is Taiwan, since Tibet has more strategic value and unexploited natural resources. So constantly protesting and getting stomped down by PRC cops and troops isn’t going to do Tibetans any good — whereas the huge amount of food aid (remember that you can’t grow much of anything in Tibet because of the altitude — the federal gov’t send them food aid even during the famine caused by Mao’s so-called Great Leap Forward), subsidized housing (which only ethnic Tibetans can get) and college education from the PRC central gov’t (there are special quotas for minority ethnic groups) actually helps Tibetans get educated and participate in the global marketplace.

      Would you rather than they stay a nice quaint impoverished ethnic zoo at which fancy white tourists can gawk?

      Penn and Teller’s “Bullsh*t” episode on the Dalai Lama was quite informative. Despite their rather high bias towards debunking, it’s a good summary of why you shouldn’t trust the DL any more than you should trust the PRC gov’t.

    30. #36: from what I’ve heard, the Lamas don’t even get off their couches when you go to do business with them. They don’t consider you worthy enough of their time for them even to sit up in your presence.

    31. @40. He does discourage fruitless political agitation. And there are no souls to save. Only sentient beings. Now.

    32. @40. He does discourage fruitless political agitation. And there are no souls to save. Only sentient beings. Now.

    33. @ # 41

      from what I’ve heard, the Lamas don’t even get off their couches when you go to do business with them.

      Yeah. It’s at this point that I’m going to dismiss you as a simple troll of some sort. Not sure if you’re some sort of PRC propogandist, but you’re clearly trying to stir up a fight by lying and being insulting.

    34. #34

      “Buy Indian.”

      The Southern tip of the original Tibet, Arunachal_Pradesh, is now occupied by India. Talk about cultural genocide: More than half of the population is replaced by Indians, and they changed the official language of the area into English.

      * * *

      #21 Takuan:

      I read enough of your comments to see flaws and bias in them that I can disagree with, but I would never attack the person who said it.

      The difference between you and me here is that I discussed and stated the other facts that is not mentioned in this otherwise one-side blog entry, and I did not spend the time disagreeing another person enough to attack them.

      If this is translated to a political scale, that would be the difference between the US and China: the former allows you to speak up but not attacked, while the latter would attack if it touches something sensitive.

      For the whole time on this Tibet issue, I was pointing out the bias reporting of this blog, and the violent nature of the riot by the Students for Free Tibet. That does not translate to me supporting the Chinese government prosecuting political prisoners. And in my point of view, these independence movements of Tibet had hardly anything to do with human rights condition in China.

    35. #44: last I heard, the DL doesn’t even think 10% of those souls are worthy of heaven. Even Pius IX didn’t name a fraction, though he was equally annoyed at the loss of his secular power.

      Good for the DL to discourage fruitless political agitation — he should continue along this route. I doubt that he’s actually behind all of this business. This has rather the smell of typical hooliganism about it — it starts with honest and peaceful protesters, then all the bad and hateful people come out of the woodwork and work their evil deeds, and then finally the gov’t shows up and beats heads of the unfortunate peaceful protesters who didn’t get away in time.

    36. I have a question for China:

      Why? What’s it all for? What do you really think will be accomplished by all this bloodshed?

      Certainly Tibet has rich treasure. Certainly China is riding the razor’s edge trying to keep social stability in the face of enormous inequity and ongoing corruption.

      But why do you have to bring the hammer of oppression down so mercilessly on a tiny minority trying to hang on to the shreds of a decimated culture? What is the point? You have already won by sheer force of numbers. Why do you need to erase every vestige of Tibetan culture and history?

    37. I heard Hilbert has never read the Dalai Lama’s draft constitution for a free and democratic Tibet. But he sure has a good line in non sequiturs. Also, I heard the Dalai Lama picks his nose. Is it ok to invade Tibet now?

      Really, is China’s position so utterly lame that they are reduced to paying people to saying they’ve heard the Dalai Lama won’t get up to talk to someone?

      KID: censorship is a popular topic on BB. What is biased about pointing out that the Chinese occupying power in Tibet is engaged in massive censorship regarding any news of the atrocities they are perpetrating in Tibet? And if they are not perpetrating atrocities, why are they engaged in censorship?

      It would be biased if both the Chinese occupying power and the Tibetan protesters were engaged in censorship, and only the censorship by the Chinese occupying power was being mentioned here. But that is not the case, so it isn’t clear where the bias is.

    38. oh, and Hilbert:”hooliganism” is a term foreign to the audience you intend to reach. It has the earmarks of communist propaganda to educated ears and should be avoided as a dead give away. I can easily afford you this advantage since nuance always escapes the type of people that shoot the unarmed and torture the innocent.

    39. On Politicoid Hooliganism:

      I don’t agree with the description of this event as hooliganism because of the specifics of this situation. Hooliganism masquerading as political action is very common. If we were talking about Northern Ireland, Palestine or the Balkans, I would give it serious consideration. When an area had been involved in clandestine warfare for a period of decades, children grow up in a milieu in which violence is normal. Their parents commit the acts of violence with ideals in mind. The children may mouth the ideals, but it’s frequently the lure of violence itslef, rather than ideals, that motivates them.

      In the case of Tibet, there has been no clandestine warfare. China has been quite effective in suppressing resistance and Tibetans have been extraordinarily passive in accepting it. When you consider the Basque Provinces, Wounded Knee, Chechnya, it’s hard to miss the fact that Tibetans have done very little to resist, and done almost nothing violent.

      Without the milieu of violence to indoctrinate the Tibetan people, there’s no basis for accusing them of hooliganism. It’s not an unreasonable hypothesis. It’s a very common situation in national liberation struggles worldwide. But the idea is misapplied here.

    40. Not easy stuff. Before your personal breath goes three times in and out a human being has been killed by a gun. We have a long way to go to claim membership in the human race. The interesting thing is that the human race will survive our current leadership. Maybe.

    41. #52 (Tom): I don’t think it is biased to point out China’s censorship either, but the bias here is the choice of articles that Xeni picked to illustrate her point.

      For example, concerning the number of deaths, she quoted the Students of Free Tibet, who are the riots themselves. For first person accounts, she used one who is irritated being locked up in a hotel during the riot – though there were hardly anything about the riot except trucks filled with soldiers. Meanwhile, there were articles in Guardian and blog articles from those who live in Tibet that she could use, if she really wants to report anything there in details. Here she quote a whole response of BoingBoing reader in China, but she missed other blog articles also written by other BoingBoing readers in China, in which links were posted in the comments.

      If you read the comments from her few previous articles, you will find links posted by readers that illustrate other points of view.

      The other time she quoted from an article that talks about blog reactions in China, she picked the one that has a Han Chinese who is indifferent to the situation, while she did not point out that there were also comments who cares about the people living there.

      If you really spent enough time reading all the history, commentary and news articles concerning Tibet (like I did), you know that this report has its bias and objective. Note that this is different from me saying that I disagree with everything that is reported here – there are points here that is agreeable, say, China blocking Youtube.

      #50:

      I think China did exactly that because it knows even though there would be people like you protesting or questioning it, most of the world wouldn’t care. Therefore, taking the experience of the June 4th massacre, the solution to protests with aims that can potentially overthrow/undermind the central government is to eradicate it quickly, and cover it with a layer of propaganda.

      I may sound nihilistic to you, but that is only because I don’t believe in revolution in a day, but rather evolution through generations.

      I’m not sure where your sources are to form those last 3 questions. I don’t know if you can prove them unless you had lived in Tibet for 7 years. In fact, even if you had lived 7 years in Tibet, I would still take it with caution.

    42. “rather evolution through generations.”

      and if a great many inconvenient people die and get out of the way,so much the better?

      Tibetans have families.How do you feel about your family?

    43. HilbertAstronaut:
      You refer to several programs that are intended to benefit Tibetans, including (1) “subsidized housing (which only ethnic Tibetans can get)” and (2) “college education from the PRC central gov’t (there are special quotas for minority ethnic groups) actually helps Tibetans get educated and participate in the global marketplace.”

      With regard to point number 1, the subsidized housing program sounds reasonable and may indeed be beneficial in some cases, but it is also a way to force a nomadic population to settle in one place, making them easier for officials to govern. The new homes are sometimes located miles from the lands that Tibetans use to graze their herds, making it difficult and inconvenient for them to subsist as they traditionally would. Also, when the resettlements are near urban areas, Tibetans are living among Hui and Han peoples, and are therefore required to compete with them in the new market economy. Given that many Tibetans cannot speak or read Mandarin Chinese, they are naturally at a disadvantage when trying to compete in the urban environment.

      With regard to point number 2, I would suggest that you look at some of the scholarship (for example ‘State Schooling and Ethnic Identity’ by Zhiyong Zhu) on Inland Tibetan Schools. Partly because the educational system in Tibet is generally poorly funded and partly because the Chinese government wishes to ensure educated Tibetans are taught specific ideologies, special boarding schools have been established all over China specifically for Tibetans. The top Tibetan students are (voluntarily) sent to these schools to study and are not allowed to return home until they are finished (a period of at least four years). The education in these schools is virtually all in Mandarin Chinese, and many of the students begin to lose their Tibetan language abilities. Also, according to the study mentioned above, the schools have been very successful at transmitting state-approved ideologies (including the condemnation of the Dalai Lama) to the Tibetan students. Thus, while such programs may indeed help Tibetans participate in the “global marketplace” it seems that such education comes at a very large price. In the face of such educational initiatives, it is therefore understandable why many Tibetans are concerned about the preservation of their language and cultural values.

      So when you ask: “Would you rather than they stay a nice quaint impoverished ethnic zoo at which fancy white tourists can gawk?”
      I would reply, no, I would not prefer that and I don’t think that’s a choice people are being asked to make. I do not think that the Tibetans who are currently protesting view the situation so narrowly either. I think they are unhappy with current Chinese policy and the situation has simmered to a boiling point and has unfortunately become violent.

      I have lived in China and I do not agree that everything is rosy in Tibet, nor do I think that everything is utterly awful. The situation is complex, but I hope I have made it clear that economic and educational development do not necessarily result in a stable, satisfied populace. Having spoken to Tibetans both in and outside of China I would say that the effects of Han Chinese governance have been decidedly mixed, and that economic development has tended to be more beneficial for the Han Chinese in charge of the development than for local Tibetans.

      The biggest problem is the lack of respectful dialogue between the Chinese government and average Tibetans. The relations between the two are too often marked by Han chauvinism and paternalism. And certainly, many Western countries are guilty of similar mistreatment of minority peoples, but that doesn’t make the China/Tibet case either ethical or justifiable.

    44. I work in France, but have a few Chinese colleagues.
      One of them has the same type of reaction as discussed earlier: cannot believe what is happening/ believe Tibet is the attacker/ Tibet is part of China/ believe what Chinese government says.

      Following one of our discussions, here is the video he sent me (hope you enjoy)

    45. yes,same old. Every point easily rebutted by common reference materials and what has long been posted at various Free Tibet websites.

      That is the problem with real life; you have to fight the same battles over and over.

      Wonder what the world would be like if Beijing got its favourite wet dream: total control of the globe.
      No more repression and paranoia? I mean,everyone would be under their roof. Right?

    46. Well, since religion HAS taken over the world and oppresses more people and causes more paranoia than the Chinese ever could, what do we have to lose?

    47. yes,same old. Every point easily rebutted by common reference materials and what has long been posted at various Free Tibet websites.

      That is the problem with real life; you have to fight the same battles over and over.

      Wonder what the world would be like if Beijing got its favourite wet dream: total control of the globe.
      No more repression and paranoia? I mean,everyone would be under their roof. Right?

    48. “I don’t think he’s some kind of violent mastermind, but if he’s all for peace and love, shouldn’t he discourage ‘his people’ from fruitless political agitation”

      He has. Every indication is that he believes what he’s been saying all these years. As for “concentrating on their spirits,” I believe HH might reasonably say that that is all he ever does.

      “But why do you have to bring the hammer of oppression down so mercilessly on a tiny minority trying to hang on to the shreds of a decimated culture? What is the point? You have already won by sheer force of numbers. Why do you need to erase every vestige of Tibetan culture and history?”

      Because they remember, and what they remember is shameful. And because the oppressors believe that the way they are is the only way to be. If history is any guide, no amount of suppression of Tibetan culture will be enough, because the Tibetans are not the problem; the Chinese are. As for the talk of “hooliganism”, I am just old enough to remember what was said when the Freedom Rides began in the US South. It was not so very different. The Chinese say they are victims. Perhaps they are. But they must look in a mirror to see their abuser.

    49. While everyone is saying “Step up, Chinese. Don’t listen to the lies from the Chinese government.” I would also ask him/her to question the American media. They are not restricted by the government, they speak freely, but they are driven by sales. Bad news sells, angry comments sell, and of course celebrity dirt sells too.

      Ask yourself, did I see what happened with my own eyes? Whose opinion do I choose to believe? If you were born and raised in China, you tend to believe the Chinese media. Likewise, if you grow up here, it’s your second nature to believe what the American media says. It’s true that all the international media is blocked by Chinese government, so how can you tell that the report you see is true? When we can’t trust either side of the story completely, we can at least look at the history: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9QNKB34cJo

      If you still don’t believe in this video, just keep questioning yourself, and stay open minded.

      Another fact, my parents live in Chengdu, which is close to Tibet. They told me the protest was violent, and two Chinese people were killed by the protesters. The troops came in after that. I wonder if that’ll be considered terrorism if it were in the U.S.

    50. Use this opportunity wisely. Don’t let China get away with this kind of brutality with the Olympics on the horizon. One of the conditions of China being awarded the Olympics was free and unrestricted by the press. Also, the IOC promised that they would “monitor” human rights issues and “act” if they thought that the situation required it. ANyone think THIS situation requires it.

      HOLD THE IOC TO THEIR PROMISE!!! Contact the IOC directly, contact your local Olympic committee. For an excellent action campaign, visit http://www.freetibet.co.uk.
      Also search to see if there is a Free Tibet committe in your country. Send postcards. Sign petitions. China must know that the secret is out and we are all seeing what is happening in Tibet. They can’t hide behind their press censorship and internet blackouts anymore.

    51. #64

      You make a valid point about the willful blindness of Americans in regards to their own domestic media.

      However, the video you linked to could have helped validate your point if it wasn’t littered with swears and lack of actual references within the video to sources to allow for people to validate what they are seeing.

      That and the video fails to include Wales, which is also a nation that could very well achieve independence. It compared Quebec to others, without realising that Quebec is one of few places with the democratic means of superseding; it just never got enough votes.

      Plus then there is the “go back to Europe bit”… the producer of the video has no concept of interracial relations and marriage.

      The video is a nice little slice to add to the equation.

      I prefer to use Wiki. As it can be edited by ANYONE, it makes for a good source and links to numerous other ones.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibet

      It seems straightforward and doesn’t omit nasty bits about the west’s involvement. But I gather from it that Tibet was only marginally part of China throughout history.

      I don’t buy what any media outlet is saying. I check different sources. One thing is for sure, never listen to the people who are saying that X-region is part of their nation. Look at Serbia, they’re claiming that Kosovo is the cradle of their motherland yet the ethnic Albanians say otherwise. Who do you listen to in that case?

    52. “Likewise, if you grow up here, it’s your second nature to believe what the American media says.”

      An important difference between US and Chinese media is that US media are allowed to oppose the government and have done so on many occasions. Chinese media may not do so without risking the freedom and lives of their people. That US media have, for the moment, given up some of their independence, is a source of much concern for many of us here in the USA, including our proprietors here, for whom this a major subject. Even so, just about anything that is not outright libel may be published in the USA. Could you imagine anything like boingboing.net being left to itself in China?

      As to the broader question, the philosophers of both cultures have throughout history advised reading, listening, and watching critically, and warned that wealth and power are no reliable source of truth for centuries. I can only add my voice to this long chorus.

    53. “They told me the protest was violent, and two Chinese people were killed by the protesters.”

      Here in Seattle, we recently had a protest at a WTO meeting. There was indeed violence, most of it initiated by the city police. And, yes, there was a tiny minority of violent protesters, but it was a small minority, condemned by the overwhelming majority of the protesters. Guess who showed up on the television news? Funny thing about that. But, the television news was not the only source of information on the protests, and the record has been, for anyone who wishes to know, set straight.

      The pattern of mistreating a group until someone breaks and commits a violent act, and then using it as an excuse to rob, imprison, and even kill, many members of the victim group is a common one. Sometimes agents provocateur (French for police agents who are sent to provoke a violent confrontation) are even used to precipitate the conflict. From my distance, it looks to me that this is what has occurred in Tibet. I am open to correction, but you are going to have to stop sounding like our own violent authoritarians before I will pay much attention.

    54. And may I just mention that when your country is occupied by a foreign invader, you have the right to expel them by any means necessary.

    55. The coverage showing China in the wrong is coming from all nations media – not just the USA.

    56. What we are seeing is almost identical to the dynamics behind the riots in the late 1960s in Watts, Newark, etc.

      Take the attitudes of the Deep South, 1950s, add that to the systematic dispossession of Native America in the 1800s–and you got what’s going on right now in Tibet. The sense of arrogant entitlement.

      The Dalai Lama’s response to this colonialization is to engender worldwide sympathy. And Tibetan Buddhist thought and practice will survive, subject perhaps to alteration for fit to a degree.

      But to this crisis, which was inevitable given China’s expansionist, colonialist intentions, he is responding as did Gandhi in 1947 to the violence between Hindu and Muslim.

      If he continues to seek accomodation, the most he could hope for is that his people, as they are ground down, will hew to their spiritual path so transcend their destruction. If he maintains his ideals he will be globally exalted; his people, destroyed; but violence as a tool, rejected.

      The only hope for his people at this juncture is exodus. Unless the Chinese leadership experience a metanoia on the way to a party meeting, the Tibetan people face either diaspora (with no guarantee of success) or decimation.

      The Chinese will use the Olympics to show themselves off, and will alienate the world. It is a toss up as to whether they care at this point.

      Shanghai only appears to have skyscrapers. If you squint hard enough you can see that they are plantations. The Chinese were our “coolies” in the 19th century, the Tibetans are theirs in the 21st.

    57. Some day the Chinese people will realize that the 29 intellectuals and scholars who published an open letter to the Chinese government urging a reform of Tibet policy are heroes. I am deeply concerned about their welfare, as these brave moral leaders will almost certainly be punished by the Chinese government for their outspoken criticism of the government’s brutal Tibetan policy.

      Olympic sponsors include McDonnalds, VolksWagen, CocaCola, Lenova (watches,) Samsung, Adidas, Omega. I don’t know about you, but I will think of the Tibetans being repressed, beaten, tortured, and killed every time I consider purchasing a product produced by these companies. Every time.

      Webmasters, bloggers, blog posters and BBS posters, please use the following code on your website, blogs, and posts, substituting ‘v’ brackets for “L” brackets. [a href=”http://www.freetibet.org/”] “I support the Tibetan people in their struggle for religious freedom and human rights [/A]

      I support the Tibetan people in their struggle for religious freedom and human rights

      Viral marketing for Tibetan rights can help!

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