VIOLENCE IN TIBET


VIOLENCE IN TIBET

 

Last Saturday, March the 15th, was a workday for me. I had my lunch later tv01 than usual. At lunch I was watching the CCTV news channel. The 13:00 hours news reported heavily on the two ongoing Chinese political conferences. Just before the news reader turned to international news, she briefly read some message from Xinhua News Agency concerning what had been going on in Lhasa, Tibet. A video clip followed her reading. I was shocked by the footage – A mob of Tibetans, some monks included, are setting ablaze some buildings, axing the Bank of China office, kicking shops and vandalising public facilities. In the background of the scene, heavy smoke was billowing into the air.tv04

 

MY ANGLE

 

I am an ethnic Han person. I have never been to Tibet. I met a number of Tibetans in some provinces. I read and learned about this part of the country both in school and at work.

 

The news on CCTV news channel got me following the developments in Tibet both on tv03 Chinese web media and on overseas media. I read on Mirror, the New York Times and Timesonline.

 

I have no prejudice against the Tibetans. I am proud to live in an ethnically diverse nation. China has 56 ethnic groups, of which the Han group are the majority. I don’t think the Chinese government is perfect but I do think it is a government doing a hard and good job running the huge country.tv02

 

WHAT HAPPENED?

 

There was violence definitely. Some Tibetans expressed their hatred and anger by targeting the ethnic Han people and the central government. There have been horror stories on China Daily. A victim was burned to death by the rioters after being poured over with oil. A soldier was knocked into a coma and someone cut part of his bottom out using a knife.

 

As far as I can recall, the video clip I happened to view on CCTV is the first that China Central TV has ever broadcasted. What those Tibetans did is CRIME. In any country in the world, such acts would not be tolerated. Would the USA government tolerate people if they burned houses, looted shops and destroyed public facilities in Washington DC?

 

THE DALAI LAMA

 

On Chinese media, the Dalai Lama is reported to have been behind the incidents in Lhasa.

 

The Dalai Lama has quite successfully won sympathy from some western countries by preaching non-violent solution to “the Tibetan question”. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

I found quite a thought-provoking photo on line. In this photo the Tibetan on the right of Chairman Mao is the Dalai Lama.dalai with mao

 

This photo was taken in 1956. Chairman Mao was meeting the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama.

 

Chinese history should give readers a clear picture of why the Dalai Lama left Tibet later on when he was back in Tibet. Why would he not come back to his native land although the Panchen Lama had invited him over and over again?

 

The relationship between Tibet and the Central government has been a strong one since ancient times. The Yuan emperors (the Mongolian dynasty) actually gave the title “Dalai Lama” to the then spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism.

 

dalai lama The second photo is a more recent one.

 

If the Dalai Lama has been behind the violence which shocked the Chinese nation, then he should be a ridiculous figure. The following are his words.

 

It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance.

 

No matter what part of the world we come from, we are all basically the same human beings. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering.

 

We know our cause is just. Because violence can only breed more violence and suffering, our struggle must remain non-violent and free of hatred. We are trying to end the suffering of our people, not to inflict suffering on others.

 

The footage that I saw is in complete contradiction of what he preaches. His words “We know our cause is just. Because violence can only breed more violence and suffering, our struggle must remain non-violent and free of hatred. We are trying to end the suffering of our people, not to inflict suffering on others.” should be a lesson to those Tibetans who committed crime on the streets of Lhasa.

 

WHAT DOES THE GOVERNMENT DO?

 

A lot of coverage of Tibet on overseas media is not objective. When I was reading those reports, it suggested to me that the Chinese government is persecuting Tibetans and bringing regression to Tibet.

 

Is it really so?

 

In the 1950s, serfdom was abolished in Tibet. What does this abolishment mean? Ordinary Tibetans started to enjoy rights and freedom unheard of in Tibetan history. Will African Americans wish to have slavery reinstalled in American society?

 

A lot of national policies favour the autonomous regions where ethnic minorities live, Tibet included. Did the central government invest in infrastructure construction there? Do Tibetan students enjoy preferential admission to universities? Yes.

 

Have living standards there been improving or falling sharply over the years since the Dalai Lama abandoned his folk back in the 1950s?

 

Was the Chinese government a fool to spend a fortune building the Qinghai-Tibetan Railway? Was the railway constructed solely to exploit the Tibetans and their natural resources?

 

CULTURE

 

A term “genocide of Tibetan culture” is found on foreign media. Actually the Tibetans are one of the most distinctive ethnic minority groups in China. They have their own language. They have their own language radio and TV. They have their own religion. They have their own festivals.

 

No society would survive in today’s world without contact with the outside. Inter-racial communication does good to the parties involved. Who changes whom? Does the Chinese government plan to replace Tibetan culture with Han culture? Is the government fool? Could the government do so? I don’t think the government would lose the unique Tibetan culture – a sparkling jewel of Chinese culture and world culture at large.

 

ECONOMY

 

To develop economy and to protect the environment are two tasks any government has to balance. The Tibetan economy has been picking up and ordinary Tibetans have now access to facilities and modern conveniences past generations would never have dreamt of. The eco-system on the plateau is one of a sort in the world. To destroy it would be a mistake and a loss to humanity. The Chinese government and the people living there would not turn a blind eye to it should it occur.

 

BACKFIRE

 

With today’s media, the world will see better what things really are in Tibet. What those criminals did, once shown to the world, will backfire. They were violent and cruel. If the Dalai Lama has anything to do with it, what he preaches eloquently will weigh little in essence.

 

WILL THE DALAI LAMA’S CAUSE BE FULFILLED?

 

What the Dalai Lama preaches and what the government does there actually overlap a lot. Both parties would see a better tomorrow for Tibet. Without the Dalai Lama back in Tibet, a better Tibet will still be there. In a sense, his cause will be fulfilled, but the doer will be the Tibetan people and the government.

 

WESTERN IGNORANCE AND THEIR SUPERIORITY COMPLEX

 

A lot of westerners know little about China. Their ignorance contributes to their arrogance and their superiority complex. Some point an accusing finger at this rising giant. It seems that they are teacher to China. Who teaches whom? The Chinese nation is not a nation of idiots. It is a nation of talents. It is a nation of modest yet diligent people. It is not the Chinese way to practise hegemony.

 

All roads lead to Rome, as the western saying goes. There is more than one solution to a human issue. When those westerners feel superior to their Chinese counterparts, they should reflect on their own society, which sees no absence of trouble and problems.

 

Who teaches whom? Only time tells.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. hunter
    Mar 28, 2008 @ 02:48:28

    Shengliver,my dear teacher and my good friend, I am sincerely to tell you that your blog now become an e-magzine that I must read every week. As a common employee in a realestate company, I often read some big man ‘s blog in this industry to learn their points of view, such like Pan Shiyi ‘s blog and Ren Zhiqiang ‘s blog. Your blog is unique. It is interesting, good-designed and of great thought. I can touch a noble soul here, which is at the bottom of a common English teacher’s heart, however, above the top of most of the so-called "main-flow-media".yours student for ever, Liu HangFrom Beijing.

    Reply

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