Dousing the Dream

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  1. If Chinese people wanted to be a little more informed, they would/should find a way out of China and then use any country’s internet, to read about truth and lies. Chinese people actually believe all the *expletive* they read or see on the news…however reading the Xinhua news is like reading garbage…being spoon-fed information makes you completely vulnerable…change in Tibet starts with educating the masses of China…This process of re-education is the best form of coercion…think Cambodia and you realize what is happening in China today.

  2. Harry:
    It’s nice to say that Chinese people should become “more informed” by reading the media from other countries, but you have to understand that 1) Chinese people already do that, and 2) they generally don’t believe a good bit of foreign, specifically “Western”, media. You can read more about this in any of the recent newstories about “anti-cnn.com” or at any of the following links: China: Bloggers declare war on Western media’s Tibet coverage, Anti-CNN and the Tibet information war, Bias over Tibet cuts both ways. (There’s so much more to be said about this, such as the awful nature of Chinese discourse that means that one can only be right or wrong, even in opinion; that if any little part of an argument [or news report] is wrong, then it must be 100% wrong and totally biased at that [anti-cnn especially comments on pictures]; and so on.)
    You can see this already in the response to the Tibet protests. (See above and China: Responses to the Dalai Lama’s appeal, Protests May Only Harden Chinese Line.) Most Chinese believe that 1) China has a claim to Tibet (and Xinjiang/East Turkestan and Inner/Southern Mongolia and Arunachal Pradesh and Taiwan) due to “historical reasons”, 2) Tibet wasn’t all that great before China took it over, and 3) China has poured a lot of money (and people — the big problem) into “helping” the economy of Tibet and therefore the Tibetans should all just shut up and be happy, gosh darnit! (Sound familiar?) It’s only logical that they would feel this way given that this is how the subject is taught in school and how pouring so much money into Tibet was justified. When people visit Lhasa, or view footage from Lhasa, how could they know that the majority of the business there is run by Han and Hui Chinese, rather than Tibetans? That Tibetans generally aren’t encouraged to speak their language or keep their culture? And so on. And then when reading media from abroad, or hearing comments from foreigners, or seeing anti-China or pro-Tibet protests, what else can they do but defend that which they believe they know?
    People citing Xinhua as being reliable will generally get a laugh. (Though it should be said that the Xinhua articles put out for local consumption and those put out for international consumption are completely different in tone and quality. Even the Chinese versions for the audience abroad are different.) It’s said that reading a (state-run) paper (e.g. People’s Daily), the only thing real is the date — even the temperature could be falsified in order to keep people working. (Temperatures too high or too low, rain, and people wouldn’t have to work.) It’s not like Chinese people — and Chinese media — don’t believe that Chinese people deserve free and open press, internet, and speech in general. An editor at the outspoken and comparatively liberal newspaper Southern Daily, for example, just wrote an opinion piece calling for a free press: China: Nanfang Daily anti-China? (a direct link to the translation is here, but I think that the reactions of the commentors at GVO are worthwhile).
    I don’t mean to sound like I’m defending the Chinese response to the Tibet and anti-Olympic protests — I fully support the protests and am actively involved in the movement. However, I believe that comments such as “the Chinese should look at other media to get a better idea of the truth” are unproductive.

  3. Therese — thank you very much for taking so much time with your thoughtful comments…. and in particular for sharing the links. Things are always more complex than they seem on the surface, and clearly this situation qualifies for many reasons.
    Fascinating input. I’m continually amazed by how little one can learn about another culture from the MSM.

  4. The following is what I tried to send to CNN as a comment but turned out to find there is a “No comments” sign long after my sending the comment:
    _________________________________
    So far ordinary Chinese (majority of are of Han ethnics of course) have said nothing against ordinary Tibetan Chinese, as we know clearly that we are a family. Those exiles who are dreaming of the taking back what they have lost forever, brutal slavery in Tibet, is only a very small portion of Tibetan, even though they are yelling loudly. If they are believing in “a lie repeated a thousand times will become truth”, I will tell them: “no freedom for you, you decedents of slave keepers! If you have enough freedom, ordinary people will suffer!”.
    I did not regard myself as pro-government for many issues for a long time before this event and regard myself a general friend of democracy. However, through your coverage on Tibet issues I have witnessed how facts have been distorted and Chinese people’s voices have been screened and how “free” public opinions have been manipulated in your GREET and FREE country! I am telling you, I am now very proud to live in China and I am not now caring a dime on the so called “human rights” you are advocating. Don’t label me as a communist, you would become a communist yourself if you were abused by some foreign “freedom lovers” in the name of human rights. When you are shading so much spotlight on the exiles Tibetan, have you paid due attention to what ordinary Chinese are viewing all these chaos? Is it a conspiracy against Chinese and China.
    No matter who are governing China, paying due respect to China and Chinese should be a correct way in dealing with China. If I were Mr. Hu Jingtao, I would for my life time give no chance to any exiled Tibetans, as they are paying little respect to a nation which are tolerant to them for so long a time. For a long time, they are allowed to staying in India to slander Chinese government and Chinese as a whole. If in your country, CIA would send some one to do the assassination, or kidnapping, or send a squad to do a “surgery”.
    I generally support the idea of dialogue, but the good way to achieve a dialogue is to give up some fantasy of taking whatever they lost 50 years ago. The good days have passed by. Those greedy enough monks can be the most brutal under the sun!. Believe me or not. If you are really ignorant, send some one to Tibet and stay there for 3 years he will know the answer. But the question is to even if there is such a man, he will not dare to tell people under the sun the truth there as it is not politically right, judging from what is happening in your free world, just as you are questioning whether I have been paid by some one to send you this message. First of all, not trying to press Chinese (if you like, put it as “Han people”) to accept their ideas with violence. After the rule by Communists for so long a time, most Chinese would like to pay their lives to retain their dignity when we feel abused by foreignors. A nation with dignity will outlive those living on lies.
    If the whole world has decided to save the “freedom loving” exile Tibetans with terror, with humiliation, with media bombing, with “word game” and censored images, then come on. Chinese have lived in this planet for 4K years and has ruled Tibet for over 600 years, and have been boycotted by you for more than 30 years. If we like, we can rule Tibet for another 600 years, as long as Chinese have not been extinguished by you peace loving and freedom loving people.
    For a long time, we deem you Western journalists as unbiased, but you deserved to be censored this time, as you are too “unbiased” this time. However, after realizing Ordinary Chinese are willing to stand with the Government this time, even very Westernized mature intellectuals, after observing independently for several weeks, our government has almost opened up all the internet resources available.
    There is a say: “justice dwells in one’s heart”. When you are lieing, people can perceive it, even if we are living in a generally speaking censorship country, we can still listen BBC and CNN, just like me this time.
    If you are trying to advocate democracy in China, stop lieing about what had happened about Tibet, and try to be more sincere about your way of choosing “truth”. If you are accusing Chinese government for fabricating stories, show us evidence. If you are accusing Chinese government for screening, stop screening yourself.
    Keep what I have said, as it would be an evidence of freedom of speech in your country and Western world in general.
    Chaoyang
    ________________________________
    Now I have a suggestion, how about holding a debate between the decedents of slave keepers and some Han Chinese. You will say Chinese are slandering the slaver keepers. I have never lived under Slavery so I have no imagination about what it was like, but I went to Lahsa in 1996 sawing two monks were kicking a begger without mercy in front of many tourists, which could not be witnessed elsewhere in China. Chinese do kick thieves but not beggers.
    If those freedom loving exile Tibetan loves freedom and human rights so much, how could they beat a girl in wheelchair? All of you great peace loving nation would like to turn blind to this sceen? Chinese government is making friends with its used-to-be very silent fellow citizens this time. They should broadcast what has happened in Paris.
    Thank God, not difference could be gapped between you and us. We are living in different planets as long as you believe in very firmly that yours are much better and it always be, even if with so much media screening from your side.
    Then, let’s get it straight: yours is yours, ours is ours, from now on, if you are trying to deliberately ignore Chinese (Han people) voice.
    Let me tell you freedom lovers: stop meddling the affairs in China and elsewhere in the world. If you are accusing communists for occupying Tibet by force, do you know that we were taught from we were very young that the communists were there for freeing Tibetan slaves from slavery? Have any of you has made a response to Chinese government’s the above-mentioned claim? Why you great human rights guardians turn to be silent on this issue? If is it because you are too ignorant about history? If you don’t buy the communists’ story, submit your own, please. Has you ever said that was like in Tibet 50 years ago. You have not, so you can convince me. My government has given its version and so far no evidence has overturned this version and I will buy it. If you are trying to tell free Americans that Iraqis are happier than they were before 2003 US invasion, show them the evidence. If you are accusing why our government refused to tell us why Tibetans are trying to drive Han Chinese and other national people in China out of Tibet with suggestions that our government has nothing to tell on this issue because it is lieing, but do you know that there is already an official version of reply. Why have you not conveyed this version to the rest of world? What are you afraid about free speech. Official speech is part of free speach and it could be true as well. Let me tell you, we Chinese have bought this story. Why not challenge it with yours, with some pictures, some memo and quotations. What I have learned is that the slave keepers are much more brutal than their counterparts in 18th century in the States. They were said cut people into pieces alive. Is this the dreamland Dalai has dipicted for you? Is this the dreamland Dalai is trying to restore?
    The story we’ve been told is that what a highly autonomous Great Tibet Dalai is bargaining from Chinese government is an area with all Tibetan population included. I know in my home town Sichuan Provice, where Mr. Deng Xiaoping was born, in some areas, Hans live side by side with Tibetans for hundred years? Do you suppose How Austria and Switzerland would react if Germans ask for an “autonomous Tibet” with no non-Germans? Is it possible?
    One of my friends told me that his father, being a Muslim working with Chinese Nationality Affairs Department, many years ago by accident witnessed a secret meeting between Dalai and Pan Cheng Lama in a foreign a country when the Muslim escorted Pan Cheng Lama for his overseas visit. It shows that Chinese government, at least once, maintained a contact with Dalai. And it is reported by what you’ve been putting “free speech free” Chinese media that the Central government leave Dalai’s position as Vise Chief Leader in our National Congress untouched till 1964, 5 years after he fled from his country after the failure of his “uprising”. Another story you have not learned? Should be more from us, though I know there could be some from you side too.
    For this time only, pay a little attention to what has been conveyed from the other end of the earth, even if it’s ruled by communists. The government won’t be able to rule a country for so long just for lies, just as we Chinese got to know many years ago that the “dying Western imperalists” would survive our government’s curses, Communists in China would survive a much longer time than your imagination could perceive if you are so arrogant that you believe that you can tarnish Chinese government so easily in an information society.
    I used to be a not very active activist in 1989, and I am not an anti-Westerner person. What am fighting against is justice and equality. As you are believing Tibetans are not inferior to Han Chinese, ordinary Tibetans should not be inferior to those loudly yelling monks who could be the governing class if it’s not for the sake of communists. Last, even those real communists in China and in other parts of the world should not be regarded as inferior to your freedom and human right lovers, until it’s proved that they are indeed eviler than you, just because it believed that it had the right to free some ones from slavery, especially in a land subject to its control for hundred years, just as you Americans are sacrificing your young guys lives in a remote country to save those people who have never been “effectively” governed by your great and peace loving government and army.
    Please stop waving human right whips over the heads of Chinese people. If we are seeking more democracy, that is because we believe it, not because of your teaching.
    Mind your own business, don’t trouble until troubles you! Generally speaking Chinese (again, mostly Han people and other brothers and sisters in our family) are very mild, but who knows? There is a saying in China: “overdone is less than insufficiency”. Chinese in and outside China this realize how much it is been overdone by those “peaceful protestors”.
    These words may sound harsy but there is a saying in China: “no loud drum deserves hard punching”. I have been trying to punch your drum for several weeks with a gentle approach, but I find that it is true that Rome was not built within one day. So this time I punch it with all my strength to see if this sound is really too tiny to be heard by your truth loving Westners.
    Chaoyang

  5. China has not ruled over Tibet for “600 years”. The People’s Republic of China only came into existance in 1949. Before that, in the area now known as China, there was the Republic, and before that the Qing Dynasty, ruled by the Manchus, who were and are not Chinese. Prior to that, during the Chinese-ruled Ming Dynasty, Tibet was under its own rule. However, as you well know, Chaoyang, prior to that, during the Mongol-ruled Yuan Dynasty, Tibet was conquored under its rule. Tibet was thus never under the rule of a “Chinese” dynasty, nor was it ever under the rule of the Republic. I’m sorry that you don’t wish to admit that to yourself.

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