- The article also said:
Students argue that China has spent billions on Tibet, building schools, roads and other infrastructure. Asked if the Tibetans wanted such development, they looked blankly incredulous. “They don’t ask that question,” said Lionel Jensen, a China scholar at Notre Dame. “They’ve accepted the basic premise of aggressive modernization.”
- It is not hard to see that the reporter was skeptical about the views of the students. I have participated in many forums on Tibet, and I never heard any westerners questioned the Tibet independence supporters or sympathizers: ""Do the majority of Tibetan people need and care most about independence, religion and culture?" I have never heard anyone asked this kind of question. Here, most westerners' assumptions are: These lofty political rights, culture and pursuit of values are obviously more important than the quest for basic economics, existence and materials!" Of course, they have never done any public opinion polling in Tibet. Instead of being supported by facts, their ideas are propped up by their belief values. With these beliefs, they will obviously give even more sympathy to the Tibetan independence movement.
People who have read this blog know that I do not trust the state propaganda (and am critical on any media in general), I also assume the Han Chinese I met are biased to a certain extent (what they said are pretty much in line with the official lines, which is not surprising. Though I was able to extract some inference myself -- more later). I wanted to hear with my own ears what the Tibetan think of me (a Han Chinese), Han Chinese in general, and if possible, what they think about the issues of D-L, T-I, and more specifically, the event from March 10-15.
Of course, what I observed in this short trip is only illustrative. In Chinese we call it "viewing a leopard view a pipe" (管中窥豹）. i.e. If it is indeed a leopard what I saw could extrapolate reasonable, but if what on the other side of the pipe is an elephant then I might have only shown you its trunk. (瞎子摸象）. I think my observation is more of the former (as I did try to triangulate and I viewed a few different part of the animal's body) but I really do not have enough data. Since I am a Han myself and spoke Mandarin to them (even though I managed to "speak" to a few people who could barely speak Mandarin) they should be naturally careful when speaking to me (I made it clear that I am not from mainland so better my chance to gain their trust, and I know I suceeded in a couple times -- see below). Nevertheless, I could still be the photon which might have unknowingly killed Schroedinger's cat in a few of my 'interviews' (i.e. my data point was changed because of who I was).
From the extremely small (and insignificant statistically) sample of interviews. Here is what I gathered:
1) People are friendly in general, to me and to Han people
- I tried to look into all Tibetans in their eyes. Occasionally I met a few looks which seem to be suspicious or hostile (a couple young / middle age men). Many people are, of course, indifferent to a curious (and perhaps stupid looking) tourist like myself. So I would also assume a similar proportion of these people are "hostile". My estimate is perhaps 10-15% of the Tibetans detest the presence of Han Chinese there. The rest do not really care (or accept the fact that there is little they could do, or just wanted to mind their own business) -- overall, they are in general friendly to me
- Of those who gave me a suspicious look. I tried to smile at them, about half of them actually smiled back
2) Most people are willing to talk about 3-14 briefly, but stopped when I inquired further (eg the taxi driver who told me about how his car was spared in the riot because he has hada on the side mirrors). Nevertheless, from what they said nothing contradicts with what I have understood or what has been reported by Kadfly and James Miles. I heard nothing that supports the pro-Tibetan claim of a crack down or death of protestors/demonstrators, i.e. include those who told me they love DL and they had sent their kids to India (Dha-lam-saaaala). (But my sample is small and they may be afraid to talk)
3) (Now Re: Chairman Rabbit's question)
- I cannot answer for those in Lhasa city. I have seen both people who care about only improving his live and also a few who are DL followers. It seems (from both Tibetan and Han) that people from Kham/Chamdo area tend to be more loyal to DL. However, the caveat is that DL follower are not necessarily TYC-ideology supporters, though among the youth I suppose there is a high correlation.
- In the rural area (and the more recent migrants from rural into Lhasa), I can pretty comfortably say that most people care only about their livelihood
- This is hardly surprising. You get the same answer when you ask about how urban and rural people think of democracy in 1990 (as we know, % who care about propserity is much higher today)
Below are pictures related to some of my interviews.
Taxi driver who said, "[3-14] is not to be talked about". Before we talked a bit about everything, and how his car was spared of the fire/etc. Picture show we drive into 2_bridge_1_tunnel (the newly built bypass which cut through Lhasa River, Yaluzangbu River and a mountain and shortened the trip to airport by 30km.
Girl under the glacier - who was eager to sell me a couple crystals, invited me into their little hut. Very friendly, and quite industrious. (in selling stuff. The way she behaved and talked was still pure and innocent, even when she was asking for money/candy you never feel the greediness you see in the businessmen in Lhasa or other Chinese cities)
Lady turning dharmawheel north of Jokhang Monastery Wall in N. Barkhorn Street. Amused at a lone tourist who ventured into thsi forbidden area.
Lady turning dharmawheel north of Jokhang Monastery
Tibetan old man (one of those in this picture) - who did not hesitate to reveal his support for DL. A lady (also in this picture) showed me a photo of her two sons, said "India". When I asked "Dhalam-s-aa"? They nodded with happy approval.