Is this what you want for the Tibetan people?

I had refrained from commenting on the Tibet issue, as I really had nothing new to add. I think I am with the mainstream and informed rationals, Chinese or Western. After my Lhasa trip, and seeing the continued media distortion (e.g. 1, 2), I feel there is something I need to say.

1) The Tibetans have the right of self determination. Their freedom and their rights supersedes whatever history argument. Even if it would mean that T1bet will become a satellite state of the American or Indian imperialists like Mongolia had become of the USSR, it is their choice

2) PRC has legitimate claim to Tibet (just as legitime as UK over North Ireland, Canada over Montreal, France over New Calendonia and other Pacific islands, USA over the various Indian Reserves and every single other inch of land it owns, and more legitimate than Israel over Gaza and West Bank), however, refer to (1) above.

3) Western media, people and governments apply double standard toward PRC vs the other cases above

4) There might have been brutal crackdown in 1987-1989. But what happened in March 2008 is really no different from Los Angeles in 1992

  • One of the arguments is what the West was not able to see all of Lhasa during that week (Mar 10-17). Bloggers and reporters like James Miles disclaim that they can only talk about what they saw. And "PRC is to be blamed because they do not know about what happened in areas that they were not allowed to see"
  • Well, after my Lhasa trip, I was quite certain that there is nothing Mr James Miles and blogger Kadfly/etc had not seen. Because, if you look at the maps in my previous post, we have seen photos and witness accounts on almost all of Lhasa where there was demonstration and riot, except a few alleys. There was actually not much that the PRC government had been able to hide (just examine the map)
  • Furthermore, so far no picture or video had been provided to prove any brutality of PAP during that week in Lhasa. On the contrary, we had seen pictures of wounded PAP and violence from the demonstrator. and stones thrown at PAP shield formations, plus shield phalanx being broken through with PAP heads bleeding
  • While there had been claims of 80-100 dead in Lhasa from pro-Tibetan organizations/individuals, they had not been able to provide a single name or picture! (not to say picture or PAP beating up demonstrators -- I am sure some demonstrator had the handphone to take such picture. It is surreal no western reporter or commentator has asked such question (had they done so they may risk being lynched by the Richard Gere's of this world)
  • In Kadfly's pictures, we can see clearly that the PAP has been very restrained, and let the demonstrators stoned through the alley
  • All the above, is not to say that Freedom of Speech should be violated. I am just saying the PAP approach was not "brutal", which seems to be the word every western media had chosen to use automatically
5) Of course, the ideal situation is for PRC government to hold dialogue with the demonstrators and allows for a referedum. But we all know that this is not possible, not in the near term, unless something drastic happens in China, which is also extremely unlikely

6) What the western media, and the Richard Gere's have done now, by ignoring or distorting the improved and restrained efforts by the PRC, is to deny its effort to adopt a relatively restrained approach to the demonstration and demonise it

7) Now try to put yourself into the shoes of the PAP commanders. You have two options.
  1. stay back and act like a civilize western anti-riot police, use tear gas and your bare hands, perhaps suffering some casualties
  2. use force, bats, or even gun -- the most convenient way to gain control

What would you do if the result is the same anyway. i.e. you would be condemned as people shooters in either case, whether you are black or white (most likely you are light gray) you will still be painted black. Is there still such need to "pretend"?


When I was in Lhasa, just when I became fairly convinced that the PAP had been restrained (listening to words from both Hans and Tibetans). My Blackberry showed a news article from Apple Daily that a few were killed in Sichuan (Chamdo area). At first I doubted the credibility. But I saw victim names were quoted for the first time. Then the reasoning above (#7) came to my mind. I am starting to worry about these Tibetan people.


I doubt if TYL cares about the death of a few fellow Tibetans. After all, "Revolution is not taking your guests to a dinner" (Mao Zedong quote). But I suppose such an outcome (PAP choosing the convenient approach) is certainly not what Dalai Lama wants. If this is not what Dalai Lama wants to see, I suppose this should not be what the Richard Gere's want to happen.

Now I don't give a damn about the Olympic torch relay in Paris or San Francisco. Such shows are rather silly and I do not think the disruption means much to the majority of the Chinese people who do not even see it on their TV, perhaps the government would care but I do not care what it cares. What such silly ascts achieve is to feed fodder for quarrels (For the TYL/Geres it could mean gaining support over from Dalai Lama). But I care about the aftermath to the Tibetan people, they are our cousins. So I urge the western media and the Richard Gere's, to give some credit to what PRC has done between March 10-17. Tell them the 2 approaches are different, with your action.


I met an old man while touring Potala. He has some difficulty walking up and down the steps. I offered to hold his hand down the stairs and we were together for rest of the tour. We talked little as his Han is not very fluent but we were able to communicate in simple sentences. I know he is from Chamdo and lived in Lhasa for about 20 years. At the end of the trip he mumbled next to my ears something like "Dalai Lama Ho--". I do not know what exactly he meant but I could guess. Another lady who have been walking with him then showed me a faded picture of his 2 sons (in mid-teen) and said they are in India. I asked "Daramsala?" and they nodded and smiled at me.

I know they would do whatever Dalia Lama tell them to do. They had perhaps burned their fur a few years ago.

But this is what they think and believe in. And all I know is they are nice and kind people not unlike our aunts and uncles. I do not want them to sacrifice and suffer for the gain of some politicians, Han or Tibetan politician, or European/American pseudo-politicians. It is easy to talk about freedom and democracy when you live in mansions on Hollywood hill. But it is a crime to sacrifice the lives of the people you claim to love and save, even indirectly and unintentionally.


P.S. Reading what I have written again, I realize this is just one way to reason for a non-violent, less-confrontative approach. But I do believe such approach is the more productive (and perahps the only) option available to the Tibetan -- because of the imbalance of power, and demography, the confrontational approach will get you nowhere.


草示儿 said...

The torch relay incidents in London and Paris have big impact on the mood of the Chinese people. Today the picture of some Tibetan attacking the disabled torch relay girl are all over the Chinese forums, and people got very angry over it. Some friends of mine who used to be sympothetic toward Tibetan movements are changing their attitudes. The things in London and Paris hurt their feelings, and they think it was insults towards the Chinese people. It's funny that the French president said that the protests were common. I guess that the west don't really understand the logic and reasoning of Chinese. Maybe they really don't bother to try to understand.

Anonymous said...

thanks, this is a nice post. A few days ago, PATRICK FRENCH also expressed the same view in NYT that Daramsala and its western supporters need to re-think their strategies and be more practical with China.

here is a Chinese blogger that has many intelligent discussions on Tibet and China


Anonymous said...

Sun Bin,

Your 1) 2) are very thoughtful. They actually reflect the question raised by Goldstein.

However, IMHO, like many people, you are still falling into the trap of mixing ideal with reality.

In an ideal world, there would be 1) and only 1) existing. However, we never lived and will live in an ideal world. To GENERALISE the idealistic notions in a real world could easily result in tragedy. We have seen too many of them.

You need to realise that neither 1) or 2) should be taken for granted without taking the other into consideration. The judgement is highly contextual.

Somehow, it is a paradox.
2) refer to 1) refer to 2)

Anonymous said...

re the first commenter: I think the pro-Tibet camp should take the opportunity to make sure their voice is heard ... but try to grab and extinguish the torch seems to go too far. It is very upsetting to see the Tibetan protester try to grab the torch from the disabled Chinese torch bearer. Targeting a disabled girl is not fair.

Anonymous said...

here is a question i don't understand: why the Olympic protest is only about Tibet vs China? There are many other human rights abuses (exaggerated or not) in China as well.

Yiu-cho Chan said...

From what I've read from varied sources including both Western and Chinese sources (the ones that seem to be treating the situation with a very even-hand, and not the misinforming ones) is that this entire situation of the rioting in Lhasa had to do with a varied range
of reasons, and not just the urge for independence. I recall James Miles from the Economist, the only Western reporter in Tibet at the time, reported that from what he had seen and heard, the riots had just as much, if not more, to do with racism between Tibetans and Han Chinese (and Hui Muslims caught in the middle).

Of course, then everyone else picked up the ball and started to run with it, as can be seen with all the protesting of many groups, despite having absolutely zero knowledge of what's going on. Commentators harbouring extreme views on both sides of this issue aren't stepping back and trying to understand the situation, only using it to promote their own concerns. I think that's one of the worst things to come out of this ethno-political-crisis: that people on both sides are using the deaths of innocent people (on both sides) to further their own goals.

Because of this, the Tibetan and Han Chinese people will not see peace between each other for a very long time. So much for "One World".

Joseph said...


It's true that some Westerners aren't really interested in understanding China. Just like a lot of Chinese find if easier to rant about Western bias than to try to understand the complex multiplicity of different perspectives people have in "the West".
A tragedy on both sides really, like Yiu-cho Chan says: "so much for One World"

Anonymous said...

""1) The Tibetans have the right of self determination. Their freedom and their rights supersedes whatever history argument. Even if it would then become a satellite state of the American or Indian imperialists like Mongolia had become of the USSR, it is their choice""

I mean, just what the f*** are u thinking? Are you even Chinese, and to say something as crazily outrageous as "Even if it would then become a satellite state of the American or Indian imperialists" Seriously, despite your "rational and kind words" for world peace and the Tibetans, but please don't insult the sensibilities of the Chinese people. Why don't you offer your mother to the American or Indian imperialists for the sake of world peace? Holy s***, what are you smoking, to even suggest that you wouldn't care if Tibet becomes a satellite of America. you can't be Chinese.

Anonymous said...

Sun Bin, this is the first time I've visited your site. And you say u're sun bin, what school of geopolitical school are you from, to even suggest that you wont care if Tibet becomes a satellite of the US. I guess the fact that the 1959 uprising, funded and trained by the CIA, and that the Tibetan Exile "government" is supported by funds from the US National Endowment of Democracy.

You are really a moron to say something so flippant and asininte as that. Man, you've really pissed me off. You are the type that has no problem with your sister or mother married to a white dude. You idiot.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, to have a refenderum for Tibetans to determine their own future - in an ideal world.
In this ideal world, China will be secure within her borders, free from fear at last from the enemies who seek her destroy her. Taiwanese (even natives) would be proud of their ethnic identity, in this ideal world, and join the mainland in a democratic federation.
Tibet would realise the benefits of sharing nationhood with China, and its people will vote to retain semi-autonomy or opt for full autonomy.
But ours is not an ideal world, is it, and ppl are never grateful.
It's human nature. Despite 50 years of affirmative action (I like this term, we use it a lot where I live) Tibetans are resentful of other people who create and build opportunities to improve their own lives.
Give Tibetans a referendum now, and of course, the outcome is almost certain ( I think).
They will deliver all the right soundbites - freedom, oppression, genocide - to foreign observers, because these are the things foreigners want to hear.
So I don't think self-determination is right for Tibet - until it becomes that Shangri-la, ideal world, that the Richard Geres of this world dream about.

Sun Bin said...

Well, here is my 2 cents.
The world is not ideal. And there are problems to solve.
It is up to the PRC government, and the Chinese people to influence the referendum results.
Because, it may come in such a way (and such a timing) that you cannot help. Remember the USSR.

And, there are ways (many ways) for you to influence the results. Just don't be complacent and blame the ungratefulness / uncooperativeness or your people, Tibetan or Han.

As for the timing of the referendum. New Caledonian got a deal with the French colonists in 1988 (revised in 1998) of a referendum in 2013/2018, i.e. 25-30 years later.


Anonymous said...

sun bin,

It seems that you, like many others, have so much faith in the instrument of referendum in term of self-determination. Let me ask you a question:

Since "x" independence is such a sensitive and emotional issue that many people care so much. What happens if the outcome of this holy referendum is 55vs45, or 60vs40 or even 80vs20? Do the 45, 40 or even 20 percent of people have their right to self-determination? Yes, they do, but only in an ideal world. Well, given the likely outcome that these people usually won't have the chance to self-determination because they are now the "minorities", it just shows again that the generalisation of self-determination, usually through the instrument of referenda like you are glorifing, is highly questionable, even theoratically.

Anonymous said...

Agreed the USSR. The minister's language may be archaic, but it really is a life-and-death struggle. Tibet is only a proxy war; its outcome decides China's fate, and ultimately, its people, which is why there is so much emotionalism over this issue.
It is not just nationalism, but vested interest. A country with foreign proxies on both sides, inland and across the straits, has to struggle so much harder to stay alive, rather than developing a better lifestyle for its people, i think.
It doesn't matter whether China remains one-party or goes democratic; outside forces just want it divided and weakened. Pre-1949 history remains a recent lesson.
I honestly wish China has a Plan B, ie a referendum, for Tibet. But it's impossible for now (or a delayed process like NCaledonia, maybe never), because too much interferences swaying them away, keeping the exile movement active, persuading them of their ethnic difference (does anyone promote an Okinawan consciousness or Kurdish movement, I wonder) and promising them to be masters of their own land. The process will be flawed, whatever happens.
Plan A has to move into faster gear: faster development and building up a Tibetan middle-class whose economic interests are bound to China, and shared with the other communities in Tibet.
When people are well-off and make $$$, they wouldn't want emigres coming back and bossing it over them, do they.
My mind is very simple. That's the best I can think of. Otherwise, all I can say is that Tibet is part of China.

Anonymous said...

hello sun bin,

i'm the anon who asked you about your trip in Lhasa yesterday..
Regarding your point 4, as you may know CTA released several days ago (26 march) a partial list of 40 names of allegedly death tibetans (as far as i know, it has not been updated till now), but the list was promptly rebutted by chinese media and police. here are the links, in case you don't have it yet..
i can't make up my mind which side is telling the truth and who's cheating, here is where MSM could be helpful, but they are forbidden to go to Tibet, do you think there is a way to check the credibility of that list?

Sun Bin said...


I think the ratio has to be over 67% in most cases. but countries like the US also has rules that requires approval from Senate (i.e. other states), i believe.
What PRC needs to do is to play by the same rule. But we all know this is impossible now since China is not a democracy today.

Sun Bin said...

(and partially re Momo's question about emotion)

I have an advice to the emotional youth, if they really mean it -- migrate to Tibet, and cast your vote when it is needed.

beautiful sky, nice weather, little competition, full of opportunities... as for the oxygen level, it just takes a couple days to adjust. (speaking from my own experience)

Anonymous said...

On 2nd thot, the USSR example is not resonant with the chinese experience.
Ussr was bad decision-making, by a man who now has to model for louis vuitton followed by a bumbling drunkard (sorry to speak evil of the dead).
political and economic liberalisation were too much, too fast, at the same time. It again allowed outside forces to undermine what could have been an evolutionary process.
china has fast tracked its economy but remains in the political slow lane. Perhaps Chinese people are OK as long as the basic human rights - food, shelter, clothing - are delivered, and made better, one day at a time.
perhaps China will mature into a multi-party democracy a long day down the road, but that's when it can be defended by a strong, powerful military from external forces, and internal control maintained.
Martin jacques wrote in a guardian editorial that, following tiananmen, the West expected that centripetal forces would tear china apart.
It didn't. As long as the party stays on course with development policies and can fight all the fires on all fronts (not just put hands in the till), it will have support, and china will remain china. (PS: I really, really am not a CCP agent).

Sun Bin said...

@anon re:name list

i think the chinese govt needs to repsond to this. perhaps asking some independent foreign scientist to visit.

the dharamsala 'clique' tend to be sloppy, as demonstrated by patrick french critique on the 1M+ dead claim.

we could then check the details of each person. however, it would be impossible for us to know the truth even if we got a 3rd party researcher. because, if i were dharamsala, i would simply publish names of someone who had fled to India (and have that guy change a name).

Anonymous said...

Dalai and his Tibetan exiled government have totally lost their credibility this time as a sensible, level-headed entity advocating internationally for self-determination, but nothing more than a propaganda machine on the opposite side of the CCP. Dalai failed to condemn violence by the mastermind behind the riot, the Tibetan Youth Congress, which he now has no control over with, as inferences were made that the Tibetan Youth Congress could very likely be involved. Instead, he went totally over board with the word "cultural genocide". What the Spanish did in Latin America to the Indians, Mayans etc was cultural genocide. Assimilation (policy) is by no means cultural genocide, albeit such policy has been doing more harm than good and could be said as fairly unsucessful. Genocide was the Holocaust. Genocide was the tragedy in Rwanda. Making claims that Tibetans had died from the "brutal" hands of the CCP but failed to come up with list of names of any victims further discredited his appeal.

What I'd like to see, but probably never will, is Tibet functioning as one of the states, such as that seen in the US, for I don't see how Tibet could survive on its own without foreign aid. I could care less if it turned into one of America or India's satellite states after independence. But then, should it ever happen, I think CCP has every right to demolish every development done by the CCP since Dalai left e.g. demolish all flushing toilets and houses so when the Tibetan exiled government returned they could live in their traditional or "cultural" tents, removing cellular networks, telecommunications etc, just as what the Israeli did to the Jewish settlement before returning to the Palestinians; also to ask for repayments plus interests CCP spent on the development of Tibet. See Peter Hessler's 1999 articles in the Atlantic monthly.

What I'm interested in though is what's CCP's policy towards Tibet after 314. Would it reopen dialogue with Dalai, which I wish they would or remain in the wait-and-see till the Tibetan Buddhist's Arafat passed away and the TYC rising into Buddhist's Hamas so (bloody) crackdown would then become legitimate.

Re: Your recommended reading "Interview with Frank Sieren" by ESWN. FINALLY! a gweilo TALKING some SENSE!

Anonymous said...

Sun Bin,

You are missing my point. I am not questioning the exact percentage per se that is needed for a referendum to yield a result, but the paradox generated by the veneration/generalisation of self-determination using a referendum without taking your 2) into consideration.

In other words, if the majority decides on self-determination through a referendum, can the losing minority initiate their own referendum to break away from the newly self-determined state? This process can go on and on, theoretically. Where to stop? Who decides where to stop? Another referendum? The paradox remains. The place where it is decided that "enough is enough" is exactly where 2) kicks in.

What I am saying is that your 1) should be upheld, but not venerated/generalised as the holy bible (somehow, that is the way you are suggesting).

Anonymous said...

Thanks Sun Bin.
I don't think the Chinese realise what a PR disaster the Tibetan riots and Olympic torch disruptions have been for their country. Before, many poeple had increasingly favourable views of China. Now the outside world see all the worst aspects of China rolled out again - echoes of 1989 and with some very ugly nationalist hatred spewing out over the internet. Doesn't matter how much propaganda or PR work the Chinese put out, Tibetans will always be a sympathetic cause for westerners. Doesn't matter what the facts in Tibet are. The west has no real geopolitical interest in Tibet, so why make all this fuss about CIA plots etc? Just sounds daft.

Anonymous said...

>>Western media, people and governments apply double standard toward PRC vs the other cases above

I've always had the theory that if the CCP merely changed its name and "declared" it was a democracy tomorrow - without actually changing anything - most of the negative press that China gets in the West would disappear. See Russia.

(You could say the press Russia gets isn't "positive," but it is more restrained and sober. Now the media narrative on Russia is muddled. Ask any American about Russia and you'll see what I mean -- they don't know what to think. That is a positive.)

There is a double-standard -- and it will always be applied as long as the Chinese government calls itself "communist" and as long as there is a picture of Mao hanging in Tiananmen Square. No one in the West will ever have a positive view of that "brand image," no matter what the Chinese government does.

Re Tibet, most people in the West do not understand that the CCP showed restraint in Tibet. That doesn't mean what it did there was "right"..blah blah blah. But the CCP is under enormous pressure from nationalists (i.e., especially the young and students). Sound familiar? The problem is that the CCP walking a fine line, inflaming nationalism while trying to keep it under control. (That probably sums up the entire post-Deng period.)

master_of_americans said...

Excellent post, Sun Bin. I agree that the PAP response to the protests in Lhasa seems to have been relatively quite restrained (there seemed to be more credible accounts of deadly force used by the PAP in protests outside of Lhasa or Xiahe). But this is true in the short term. In the long term, the government's security apparatus will continue to operate and there is no reason to think it will be less brutal than it has been in the past.

On the surface, then, the Lhasa 2008 riots and the Los Angeles 1992 riots are quite similar. In both cases, the simmering racial or national antagonism that lead to the violence is based on real grievances, but, once the violence gets moving, the government has no choice but to do something to restore order. This is true, but I don't think we learn a lot from this comparison, because it looks at a few days in isolation from what comes before and after. The history of Lhasa in the 20th century bears no resemblance at all to the history of L.A. in the 20th century.

Sun Bin said...

i am not saying this is the only way. i was just clarifying the basic principles and rights and wrongs
that does not necessarily mean the practical solution should be as such

I think the governement is very frustrated right now. yes, they did an extremely lousy job. but as 88 said, the result would probably still be the same as long as they do not change their name.

i agree with most that you said. the only thing i am not quite sure is 'inflaming nationalism' part. true this was done pre-1980, and continuously. but it is often exaggerated by the west. C.cp does not need the people's endorsement and hence the nationalism. it can do whatever it wants. IMHO the west has put too much value to the power of the people in China (or how much the government needs the people's endorsement)

yes. i thinkn u r right.
there is always caveats and overgeneralization in such comparisons

Unknown said...

Sun Bin,

Always enjoyed your blog, though never posted. You went inside Potala palace right? When I was there three years ago, I was amazed at the golden lama pogodas. I thought where did they get so much gold. I found out a while ago the gold was donated by Mao as an act of Han/Zang unity.

Like you, I was amazed at how friendly the lamas were to us and many without asking offered us some of their milk tea. This provided a sharp contrast to my trip to Xinjiang where you can just feel the disdain from the Ughers. I saw many Tibetans conversing with the Han because I guess it was easier for them to learn the language. I didn't see any social mixing in Xinjiang. I was puzzled as to why there was a heavy PLA presence in Tibet while you can hardly see them in Xinjiang.

With regards to the recent protests, I have an innate disdain for the Western protesters, I feel many are living an empty life, desperately searching for a cause. The Dali Lama appeals too much people like Gere and not to moderates Chinese like myself. Speaking as a Chinese, recent protests feels like a personal assault, especially considering how restrained the PAP was. Now I will definately go to Beijing in Aug even if I don't have Olympic tickets. I like the Dali Lama and is intriqued by Tibetan culture, however, now I wish it to be assimlated into the Han majority. I hope the overseas Tibetas realize just how much harm they are doing to their own interests and culture within China in the future.


Anonymous said...

OK, I finally get your point about swaying referendum results. Silly me.
A couple of years back, Cathay Pac Discovery mag ran an article on Tibet Chic among China's urban youth. More are travelling there, esp with the new railway. Hopefully, more also stay on extended sojourns. ;-0
It's possible that CCP's ``re-education'' programme can include incentives to persuade Tibetans of the advantages of Chinese leadership.
Over the nxt few years, Tibetans - of all races, of course - will see the perks of economic interdependence with China, from the Taiwan example. The voting was influenced by that factor.
Taiwan, of course, will always be Taiwan. Taiwanese identity, Chinese nationality.
Ditto Tibet. It's in the country's constitution. Chinese is a nationality, not a race.

Anonymous said...

So the people are in the streets everywhere. London - stiff upper lip protests and Brown decided not to touch the torch. France - pull off a riot and put out that flame like only the French could. San Francisco - hanging off the bridge to stop the hanging. Maybe we should create a special Oh-Limp-Pics for those not-so-free societies to be paraded every four years. It will give us all a chance to show how we feel about injustice around the world. It is obvious that the media will only report on it if there is a sound-bite and a photo opportunity. Maybe something for tyrant to carry the torch of torture every four years. Mm, I think I have an idea… http://angryafrican.net/2008/04/09/oh-limp-pic-games-celebrating-tyrants-everywhere/

master_of_americans said...


I was interested in your comments, but skeptical on a few points.

I would not suggest going too far in assuming that people's outward reactions to you can tell you much about their inward opinions. Although I have minimal firsthand experience with this, I have heard it said several times that the Tibetans tend to be particularly cheerful and friendly, and I don't recall hearing the same thing about Uighurs, so maybe that's what you witnessed. It also appears that Tibetans don't hate you just for being Chinese, which is nice; they oughtn't.

Your comments about the Western protesters, that "many are living an empty life, desperately searching for a cause", might be right, but, so what? If that is their motivation, it doesn't tell you very much about whether it is a good cause or not. Someone might feel empty inside and then decide to get involved in a good activity, like helping starving children, or they might get involved in a bad activity, like joining a dangerous cult. But the fact that they felt empty inside doesn't mak it bad for them to help children. So, protesting in favour of Tibet is either good or bad, and it it's irrelevant whether the protesters have personal problems.

What's your point in bringing up this donation of gold by Mao to the Potala? I don't know if that story is true or not, but surely no one believes that the Mao period was anything but a disaster for Tibetan religious institutions, right? I realise that the situation has improved a lot since the 1960s, but it was during Mao's cultural revolution that the monasteries were razed. The Chinese author Öser (唯色) writes that, while the Potala itself was, luckily, not destroyed during this period, "the Potala was almost robbed empty.."

You say, "I like the Dalai Lama and is intriqued by Tibetan culture, however, now I wish it to be assimlated into the Han majority." You said you were a moderate, but this does not seem like a very moderate response. You say, "I hope the overseas Tibetans realize just how much harm they are doing to their own interests and culture within China in the future." You may be right, but I hope you realise that they are in a very difficult position. No one wants to go along with things on the basis of threats and violent demands, because this will only encourage others to threaten more and take more -- for instance, China resented being forced to go along with the unequal treaties in the 19th century. And yet, the Chinese government refuses categorically to negotiate with Tibetans -- not only with the exile government, but they also refuse to allow Tibetans in Tibet to democratically elect a government. Since there are no negotiations or democracy, China's control of Tibet is based entirely on the fact that they are stronger and can make effective threats. It should not be surprising that some people find it very difficult to accept that it's a good idea for them to go along with that.

Unknown said...


With regard to your first point, please see this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twHzXN3kNTs and tell me how I can respect these none tibetan protesters. I have had discussions with Western Tibetan supporters. When their main points heads in a circle back to the word genocide, how can we talk?

About the gold, it was just a comment, nothing less nothing more. I sort of wanted a verification because I read this online and was suprised. Recently I read a scholarly article online written by a Westerner who claims that the most radical red guards were often "serf class" Tibetans though the ideology was spread obviously by the Han. It was extremely difficult for Han red guards to travel to Tibet back then.

With regard to my moderacy, I have to say as a Chinese I have been brainwashed to a certain extent even though I have been completely educated in the US. As a Chinese we are taught the greatness of the past but this is in contrast to the utter humilation of the past 200 years. The Chinese national anthem is about not wanting to be enslaved and the possibility that the 5k year old culture is on the break of extinction. So for many the olympics is a restoration while putting the final chapter to the past 200 years. Of course this is combine with a realization, though the Chinese government was amazingly restrained in the initial riot in Lhasa, violence by Tibetans is characterized in the 24 hr West media as peaceful protests against a violent communist crack down.

Since this is a strategy blog I think we should dispense with the moral arguments and consider real politik. The Tibetans should make people like me feel they are harmless, though culturally Tibetan, they still identify with the Chinese nation. They should also realize Tibet independence is impossible unless China breaks apart. I think the Chinese government should talk to Dali, but to be fair he wants autonomy for Greater Tibet, carve out from provinces that the Dali Lama in the Qing didn't even have jurisdiction over. The majority of Tibetans actually live in these mixed Han/Hui/Tibetan areas in outer Tibet. He also wants Tibet ethincally pure, a goal that restricts my freedom in my own country.

I don't want to talk about elections because I realize it is part of being an American just like maybe my irational sense of Chinese history. But consider this, if democratic elections are the cure all, then Iraq should be a much better country to live in then China or even Singapore or Japan (the last two countries have had single party rule though with elections). Also can Han or Hui(Chinese Muslims) vote in these elections? I know American state residency requirements are usually 30 days, so even if one percent of a neighboring province Sichuan decided to move to Tibet a month before elections, Tibet would elect a slate of 100% Han officials. I am a assimilated Manchu, hell it is hard not to be even assimilated by Americans culture. Being such a miniscule minority, less then .4% of the population, with complete passitivity of the PRC government, it is likely Tibetan language and much of its culture will die off within the next 100 years. Currently the government. Only proactive affirmative actions will protect Tibetan culture, like the current Chinese restrictions on residency permits in Tibet, complete government financial funding of Tibetan monastaries or unequal enforcement of the one child policy with regard to minorites. If I lose my sympathies to Tibet, within the framework of Western values, all I have to do is to demand equal treatment from my oppressive Communist government, demand my tax dollars not be funneled into Tibet and effectively in 50 or 100 years, the so called "cultural genocide" would be realized.

Unknown said...

Another point, I realize the irony of being Chinese and the feeling of enslavement and fear of the culture dying in relation to Tibetan feelings. So I understand the sympathy expressed by Westerners, just as I sympathize with other indigenious cultures. The US and Canada are willing to extend measured autonomy to these tribes but the situation is different with regard to Tibet. First the native americans are mostly assimilated already, only speaking English and many are of mixed blood. Also even if these groups declared independence, I don't think these groups will be loyal to communist China. The Dali lama was on the CIA pay roll for about 20 years and can I believe as a Chinese he will have any sense of loyalty to the Chinese state if autonomy is granted.

I am curious to see Canada's response to the Inuits in the Yukon/Northwest, if they are willing to allow about all the oil/mineral resources of about 40% of the Canada to be given to about 60 thousand Inuits. If Canadians are so magnanimous, I willing as a Chinese to allow for Tibetan independence.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Mike, Master of Americans, Sun Bin and other interested commenters,

I do not know what a strategy blog is supposed to mean, or function. But if you mean real politik, my question is (as in my previous post):

What would be CCP's policy towards Tibet after 314. Would it reopen dialogue with Dalai, which I wish they would or remain in the wait-and-see till the Tibetan Buddhist's Arafat passed away and the TYC rising into Buddhist's version of Hamas so (bloody) crackdown would then become legitimate.

P.S. 88: where has your blog gone? It's turned into some Eastern European language.

Sun Bin said...

@ recluse

well, i cannot predict what the c'c;p government will do, as it often takes very dumb moves. (eg taiwan) -- though the current leadership seems to be a lot smarter.

but i think they were smart at taking a light hand between mar 10-15, knowing what the demonstrators wanted. (unfortunately that costs many innocent lives)

policy in the future. the best one, or rational ones may not be what it will adopt. but i would venture some guesses
1) after such PR disaster from dharamsala (inside China the government won in landslide) the government can now do whatever it wants. it will enjoy full support of the han people. so expect full scale migration, "colonization", incentive (eg education benefits, flexible double Hu-Kou for migrants, plus the tax benfits that were already there) -- this would be further faciliated by the much improved infrastructure (rail, road, cheaper cars, etc)

2) it will probably start talking to Dalai if he is marginalized in dharamsala (even yield a bit to satisfy his conditions). this will split the dharmasala crowd. as we know, c-c.p excels in splitting its enemies.
so i would predict it re-open dialogue if and only if Dalai seems to lose control of TYC. it will play in such a way that the 2 poweres in dharamsala will be about equal (i.e. help the underdog)

3) i personally do not think c-c.p govt is worried about dalai's passing and TYC in control. because (a) dalai is still 'young' and healthy. (b) if TYC in control, it is precisely what C=c.p would like to see. it would then make the tibet problem the same as xinjiang -- i.e. an anti-terrorist one.
of course, we average citizen would not like this to happen, because it would mean loss of innocent lives. but you asked me to speculate from C-C.P's perspective. i would say they are not worried at all. in fact, they were happy that it turned this way. (as this would be an easy (though cold blooded) way to solve the problem
what an irony that the TYC people will never understand, when they started all this, or even 10 years later.

4) but i would advise c-c.p not to take this way. as hatred will be planted and stay for generations to come, this will never really solve the problem. a more sensible way is to reconcile and perhaps a bit of "assimilation" (which is unavoidable).
as i stated in an earlier post. for whatever reason, promoting better understanding or Sunzi's "knowlede prevails" (�m�Ȓm��), the cadres NEEDs to learn Tibetan to start.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response, Mr. Sun Bin.

I hold similar views to yours.

In regards to your Point 2, what's unclear is Dalai's relationship with the TYC. I read that half of the Cabinet in the Tibetan Exiled government are former TYC's committees (?) or members (?). Then I would question if Dalai had given them his silent approval to the violence on 314 or did Dalai indeed losing control on them. Or did Dalai only approve of protests but not violence. Was the violence staged (allegedly, the TYC) or it just happened to take on its own course as any riot would have. The mysterious marks on Hans' shops are worth some investigation. There are still many mysteries behind the riot.

My speculation on CCP's policy towards Tibet is, it would depend on the power dynamics between Dalai and the young and radical TYC, how close they are, how much influence Dalai is able to exert in Dharamsala.

master_of_americans said...


What does realpolitik have to do with Tibetans? They don't have any power, so they can't engage in realpolitik. China is much more powerful than Tibet. If China wanted to, it could completely destroy Tibet and erase it from the map. Your "realpolitik" suggestion seems to be that Tibet should simply surrender and hope that by doing so, China will choose not to destroy them. Sunzi would not be proud.

So, no, I'm not very interested in talking about realpolitik. I'm more interested in talking about civilised behaviour, which is the basis of law, which is the basis of peace and stability. If you don't have that, then you are really stuck with 大虫吃小虫 indefinitely. I can't plan on always being the big worm, so I do find it in my strategic interest to worry about law and civilised behaviour.

China could seize some serious moral high ground by making a deal with the Tibetans. Does that figure into the realpolitik? I don't know, and the security liabilities of doing that would probably outweight the direct benefits. (By the way, Mike, I never meant to say that democratic elections are a cure-all. I think they're overrated. But, in this case, they would give the CCP a group of Tibetans to negotiate with other than the Dalai clique).

Anonymous said...