Photo of pro-Tibet protest on Golden Gate Bridge

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As Xeni posted earlier, pro-Tibet protesters climbed San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge today to hang a banner reading "One World, One Dream, Free Tibet '08." BB pal Jason Weisberger took this beautiful photo from his car's sunroof while crossing the bridge. (Fortunately, he wasn't driving.) Link to Happy Exposure post, Link to BB post with more background


  1. While I doubt I can easily convince the few hardcore extremists around here, I would urge anyone who are interested or curiously concerned people to begin a conversation instead of getting highly emotional on a foreign subject matter.

    Though Americans are as hyper-provocative as they always are, it’s easy to scream slogans across the oceans, yet I think most are pretty shy to actually start a conversation:

    A. Get a Chinese friend, or two. While it’s unlikely for the first chat to be politically-charged (though be surprised by pretty open-minded Chinese people), see if the interaction gets you any further with your understanding with China.

    B. To make it less human, let’s just say if anybody would ever IM/private-message up people who think the otherwise.

    I had done so with some more provocative friends, while the goal had never been to convince the others, acceptance and understanding is a much further step forward than presumptions and aggression.

  2. hardcore extremists

    Is that a dare? What are you on about? I know Chinese people and I know what they think about China. That’s why they live here. Oh, you mean people living in China. I’m not sure that, as someone living in a society that has at least maintained a free press, that I’m going to get much valuable information from someone living in a society where nothing can be reported without state approval.

  3. I know Jews who love Israel and all that the country symbolizes, but at the same time they hate the bullying and the human rights violations against Palestinian citizens that the government continues to commit with impunity.

    Chinese Americans that I have spoken to likewise express the same sentiment; they love their homeland but hate its practices.

    Chinese nationals are never allowed access to incriminating information about their government, and so of course they would approach any conversations about Tibet with an equivalent of “No, you’re wrong, no you’re wrong”.

  4. I wonder… how many Chinese can remember the Japanese invasion…and of those, how many can see Chinese boots in Tibet as Nanking?

  5. too bad the consequences of this protest are so extreme.
    they said that the golden gate bridge sidewalks are closed indefinitely because of this.
    that’s really too bad because, walking on the gg bridge is one of san francisco’s greatest things to do.

  6. my friend laurel was up on that bridge today. he was also on everest last year when they unfurled the banner at some ungodly altitude, and was later detained by chinese authorities for days. he was with me in new orleans after katrina. he is a brave and wonderful activist, whose heart is perhaps purer than any i have ever known. i have never known him to be on the wrong side of a socio-political argument, and his views are as complex, nuanced, and well-reasoned as any other person you would expect to hear on npr, see on the bbc, or read about in national geographic. this is more than a simplistic shout across an ocean. this is a small step in a much longer journey towards individual determination and a world where “human rights” are more than just a catch phrase.

  7. I usually agree that there are several different truths to every story but in this case – China and Human Rights violations – it’s all too easy because the KP makes it all too easy.
    They’ve closed Tibet.
    If they wanted the world to know what’s happening there, they wouldn’t have. So my educated guess is they are doing things that they don’t want to be seen.
    I don’t think getting a Chinese friend would help me here. Some Chinese you meet on the ‘net tend to be a bit aggressive when it comes to this topic, shouting at the top of their lungs what they’ve learned from the KP at home. Aggressive shouting never makes a good discussion.
    That goes for the Chinese rethoric against the “Dalai Clique” as well. But maybe it’s because I’m german that aggressively shouting men seem more than just a little suspect to me.

    @Tuktuk: Thank you and your friend for everything you do. I think it’s wonderful.

  8. Is it just me or is there something a bit hypocritical about Americans and Brits complaining about China’s treatment of a foreign nation while our own soldiers are engaged in the illegal slaughter of Iraqi civilians (and militants) in a war which had little or no moral, legal or political justification?

    ‘People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.’

  9. it’s just you. All these people also complain about the Iraq war,they just don’t tell you about it. They tell me though, all of them.

  10. @Fergus:
    That’s one of my favourite arguments.
    Just because one thing is wrong and another thing is wrong, too, it doesn’t make anything less wrong.
    It’s illogical.

  11. Again, the Chinese invasion of Tibet was in 1950. There isn’t a huge cry from the Tibetans – this is just the Lamas stirring up trouble.

  12. Oh, please, Moon, make it more obvious that you’re a shill for the Chinese government, why don’t you?

  13. Faith based political action has been shown to be effective. In cities where people gather in circles on the full moon, hold hands, and chant to drum beats, their prayers are heard loud and clear and reverberate. Individuals can make a difference.

  14. @15: Most people are a shill for whatever they learned when they were 5. “Jeesus loves me yes I know, cause my Mommy told me so”. At least 40% of the population is not capable of altering the views that they aquired during these formative years.

    This goes also for those that believe in the mystical powers of democratic free will.

  15. @17, Good thing you’re one of the privileged few who can see through everyone else’s bullshit! Tell us, what percentage of the population is unable to move beyond the egocentric idea that everyone else is an irrational mystic incapable of rational reasoning?

  16. to #18:50% of College Students Think We See Like Superman, Despite Perception Course

    I didn’t pull the 40% figure out of my poop hole. If you are familiar with Piaget’s classification of cognitive styles, people tend to grow through organizational patterns. One young pattern is called pre-rational, or magical thinking. Some folks don’t grow out of it. Roughly 40% of adults are overgrown children. They believe bible stories. Or democracy stories.

  17. If Moon isn’t shilling for the Chinese government, he/she is doing a phenomenal impression of the “historically-illiterate American” stereotype.

    *closing my eyes, channeling Bill Hicks from beyond the grave*

    People come up to me: ‘Bill, quit talking about the Chinese invasion of Tibet, man… It was a long time ago…’ And I’m like alright, then don’t bring up Jesus to me. As long as we’re talking about shelf life here.

    Or there’s Eddie Izzard’s characterization:

    I grew up in Europe, where the history comes from…. You tear your history down, man! Thirty years old, let’s smash it to the floor and put a car park here! …I saw something in a program on something in Miami, and they were saying, “We’ve redecorated this building to how it looked over 50 years ago!” And people were going, “No, surely not, no. No one was alive then!”

    [I hate it when I hit “post” before I notice I’ve gotten logged out. With luck the previous anonymous comment will get permanently stuck in the queue.]

  18. The trick to not losing your post is to log in in another window, then refresh the unsuccessfully added post.

  19. I get the sense that many people think Tibet is some tiny kingdom with incense and monks. It is the size of Texas and California combined. An immense chunk of land with all the attendant resources. I abhor communist dictatorships, like Cuba, but I think, to the Chinese government, there’s much more at stake here than a resistance to cultural independence.

  20. NELSON C and LEXICA, who are you shills for, the CIA?

    If you want to refute my point, do it!

    Why aren’t you rising up against Castro’s regime to give Cuba back to the Cuban exiles in Florida? It’s the same thing!

    I agree with Bill Hicks – stop bringing up Jesus.

    This is all happening because the Dalai Lama has been on a world tour of bullshit for 50 years, trying to sell somebody on “Help us! We’re holy!” and finally ran into the gullible Richard Gere.

    Paul M Tibet is mostly uninhabitable, though. They have less population than the greater Dallas area. 2.5 million or so.

  21. Moon,who are you shilling for, the PLA?

    The issue is far more complex than that and your dismissal of facts you wish not to have entered does not make them disappear.

  22. OK, then, Takuan, make it more complex, rather than just being all mystical. Are you saying “We must support the Dalai Lama in his effort to return Tibet to a serfdom ruled by the Lamas”?

    I’m not shilling for anybody. I’m just call bullshit on the whole “Lamas are great and holy and peaceful and we should return Tibet to their rule, because it would be Shangri-La all over again” and I’m getting attacked for it, instead of defending your position.

  23. Good point PaulM has about the resources in Tibet. It might largely uninhabitable, but with any possibilities of mineral, fresh water,and/or hydroelectric wealth the Chinese government will cling to it fiercely for those reasons alone. Still, maybe the global attention the Olympics is helping to focus on Tibet will help bring the right pressure on China.

    Laurel, Hannah and Duane are still in jail, as of 10am this morning. I am really concerned about those “felony conspiracy” charges they’re facing.

  24. I think that China would like the Tibet Autonomous Region to be a buffer zone between India and China. It seems to me that the resources of this area barely support the population already there.

  25. Yes, yes, we’ve seen what the Dalai Lama has written. We also all know that the Dalai Lama has been trying to get back in power in Tibet for 50 years, for a long time using the CIA to accomplish it. You’ll forgive me if I don’t trust him that much.

    His goal is to re-establish religious rule in Tibet: Under Tibet’s Kings and the Dalai Lamas, we had a political system that was firmly rooted in our spiritual values. As a result, peace and happiness prevailed in Tibet.

    That is, unless you were one of the serfs doing all the work for no money. He fails to mention that.

    You’ll forgive me if I don’t think that rule by religion is a good idea.

    Here’s a little propaganda from the other side:

    What truly happened in Tibet before 1959 when it was ruled by the Dalai Lama who claimed democracy was his ideal? Before 1959, lands and people in Tibet were fiefdoms of institutions of Tibetan local governments, monasteries and nobles, who sustained the Tibetan feudal serfdom as the three major estate-holders. With less than 5 percent of Tibet’s total population, the three major estate-holders owned almost all the arable lands, pastures, forestry, mountains, rivers and most livestock. They not only were entitled to the blood-sucking exploitation of the serfs but also held a dominating power over them. Serfs and slaves, who accounted for 95 percent of the population of Tibet, had no basic human rights or freedom. From birth, serfs belonged to an estate-holder. Their life, death and marriage were at the disposal of serf-owners. Being treated like livestock, serfs could be sold, bought, transferred, offered as dowry, given to other serf-owners as gifts, used to pay off debts or exchanged for other serfs.

  26. well now Moon, you claim to know what the Dalai Lama intends (and what everyone in Tibet intends it seems), you won’t actually read what he says he wants to do, you ignore anything anyone else says about he might do – and you quote Chinese propaganda as propaganda – as if it made a contribution.

    There is no reasoning a person out of a position they did not reason themselves into. I don’t see much point in trying to talk to you.

  27. I think it’s a treat that the China shills are being bitter and sarcastic. It’s a nice change from the robotically reasonable, scientology-sounding comments that they usually make.

  28. “I believe that in future, Tibet should have a multi-party system of parliament, and that it should have three organs of government – legislature, executive and judiciary – with a clear separation of powers between them, each independent of the other and vested with equal powers and authority. As I have often said, Tibet belongs to Tibetans, and especially to those who are in Tibet.”

    Dalai Lama

  29. get this bit (clearly the man is an evil dictator)

    “Personally, I have made up my mind that I will not play any role in the future government of Tibet, let alone seek the Dalai Lama’s traditional political position in the government. There are important reasons why I have made this decision. There is no doubt that Tibetans, both in and outside Tibet, have great hope in, and reverence for, me. From my side too, I am determined to do whatever I can for the well-being of my people. The fact that I am in a position to do this is due to my karma and prayers over past lives. However, in future I will not hold any official position in the government. I will most likely remain a public figure who may be called on to offer advice or resolve some particularly significant and difficult problems which could not be overcome by the existing government or political mechanisms. I think I will be in a better position to serve the people as an individual outside the government.”

  30. just plain crazy talk!

    “Renunciation of Violence and Military Force:
    Tibet will be a zone of peace, based on the principles of nonviolence, compassion and protection of the natural environment. Tibet will remain nonaligned in the international communities and will not resort to war for any reason.

    Fundamental Rights:
    All Tibetan citizens will be equal before the law. They are entitled to equal rights without discrimination on grounds of sex, race, language, religion, social origin, etc.

    Other Fundamental Rights:
    All Tibetan citizens will have the right to life, liberty and property; and freedom of speech and expression, freedom to form associations, to publish and disseminate news and views. They will have the right to be gainfully employed, whether in the government or in any institution or department under its authority.

    Right to Vote and Hold Public Office:
    All citizens of Tibet, men or women, will have the right to hold public ofce and vote in accordance with the law.

    Ownership of Land:
    For the benet of the people and their habitat, the lands within the territory of Tibet shall be distributed appropriately according to the nature of the land. The distribution of lands will be for the purpose of residence, farming, buildings, factories, business and other livelihood purposes. Lands not privately owned will remain with the state.”

  31. SPROING3:

    You seem to be displaying an irrational belief in the mystical powers of academic case studies.

    Look up from the bar charts and the science journals, please, and remember that humans, the natural world, and the universe are not tidily enclosable in your or anyone else’s quantification schemes.

    Leaving aside the fact that Piaget’s theories of childhood development have been modified by later research, I’d say that it’s silly to catagorize people in that all-or-nothing way. As if the brain and the personality are that simple!

    Conclusions like some of yours remind me of over-simplifications of research like, “The left brain handles language, the right brain is visual” and others along those lines.

    Any neuroscientist will tell you that both hemispheres handle both, and that the relationship is not that black-and-white. There’s a complex system of interactions and distributions of tasks that we are only beginning to map.

    Drawing conclusions about society and people in general from specific research is not science, it’s opinion. Your opinion. You can’t support them empirically. Stop pretending you can, and that it’s not just your own extrapolation from current data.

    Leave room in your calculations for the many variables and unknowns in the world, and the gaps in our knowledge of it.

    Knowledge is not wisdom.

  32. Let me re-post this:

    His goal is to re-establish religious rule in Tibet: Under Tibet’s Kings and the Dalai Lamas, we had a political system that was firmly rooted in our spiritual values. As a result, peace and happiness prevailed in Tibet.

    He wants to return to the time of Kings and Dalai Lamas and spiritual values.

    That’s his own words, from your link, Takuan.

  33. I think it’s a treat that the China shills are being bitter and sarcastic. It’s a nice change from the robotically reasonable, scientology-sounding comments that they usually make.

    I fail to see that. It seems like I’ve been putting a lot of arguments why the rule of the Lamas might not be all that the religion lovers think it will be and I’ve been called a shill for the Chinese multiple times.

    The Dalai Lama has tried to use EVERYTHING he can to get back in power in Tibet, including using the CIA. He’s decided now that it’s in his best interest to appear mystical and appeal to Hollywood. He’d probably say that Tibet would be the first Scientology based theocracy if he thought it would help him.

  34. try very hard now, Moon, to read the entire thing, in what is known as CONTEXT.

    if you cannot grasp this, there is nothing more to be said.

  35. Moon,

    It’s a statement of historical nationalism which you have pulled out of context, not a call to monarchy and religious rule. You are a malicious liar.

  36. I am in agreement with Moon.

    And also the point about Cuba: most Liberals swooning over the supposed wonderland of “Communist” Cuba, Socialist liberation for the people, and Che Guevara? Read history– we are allowed to do that here (U.S.) unlike in Cuba.

    By the way, my wife is a Cuban-born American who still has family in that TOTALITARIAN nation and it is no Socialist nirvana.

    Tibet? Personally, I am tired of hearing about this. Seems to me like another bleeding-heart bandwagon to jump upon along with the free-thinking Hollywood types and pseudo-intellectuals, hipsters. Please.

    The primary point about Tibet should be the focus on China: blockade all goods and services from China from entering our nation until they collapse from the inside. Stop all trade with any country that does trade with China. This action includes severing all diplomatic ties with China via the U.N. and any votes in World trade councils that we are involved in. We are the most powerful country in the world but the world would never know it, now.

  37. Oh, please, you have no arguments and now you are calling me a malicious liar? And you are the one who said that I was being shrill? Wow.

    And yes, Takuan, I’m taking the WHOLE thing in context. You notice he didn’t mention his use of the CIA in that propaganda. You are willing to accept anything this guy says, aren’t you?

  38. #46: most Liberals swooning over the supposed wonderland of “Communist” Cuba,

    Oh, bullshit.

    That’s as valid as saying that “most Conservatives long for the days of slavery.”

  39. On the contrary, Matty D.

    Bush has done everything good Conservative presidents have always done historically: give tax cuts to the rich, encourage religious interference in politics, run up a huge budget deficit for his Democratic successor, demonized dissenters as unpatriotic, etc.

    Maybe you should vote Libertarian. Unfortunately, there is no fascist candidate on any of the tickets at present.

  40. Look, if you want to argue that China is a despotic, controlling, non-democratic nation, fine.

    But, if you want to say that Tibet would be better off under the Lamas, I call BS. And I say, you haven’t been paying attention.

    Cause of the month.

  41. No, wait! I want to hear more about how we limp-wristed Commie sympathizers are stopping the rock-ribbed, granite-jawed defenders of freedom on the Right from saving the world for democracy!

  42. Oh, yeah, because it’s “liberal” to support religious rule by a mystical magical leader chosen by what? Swords in a lake? A prophecy?

  43. @46 – I doubt the US is in any position to “blockade all goods and services from China” China owns a large hunk of the US national debt, and has tremendous influence on US currency prices. China has many powers and influences over the US. I’d argue that they have much more influence in Washington than do protestors.


    The Associated Press

    April 8, 2008 at 4:21 PM EDT

    Beijing — They wear bright blue tracksuits and Beijing Olympic organizers call them “flame attendants.” But a military bearing hints at their true pedigree: paramilitary police sent by Beijing to guard the Olympic flame during its journey around the world.

    Torchbearers have criticized the security detail for aggressive behaviour, and a top London Olympics official simply called them “thugs.”

    “They were barking orders at me, like ‘Run! Stop! This! That!’ and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, who are these people?”’ former television host Konnie Huq told British Broadcasting Corp. radio about her encounter with the men in blue during London’s leg of the relay Sunday.

    So far, the “29th Olympic Games Torch Relay Flame Protection Unit” — as the squad is officially known — has kept the flame from being seized during chaotic, protest-filled runs through Paris and London.

  45. hmm,sounds like – in proper Chinese government tradition- someone has driven a bus over protesters in San Francisco….

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