Three weeks from what happened in Lhasa, Tibet. I didn’t post anything about it. Why?
As one rule I setup from the day one of this blog five years ago, I only want to post something I personal experience and I never post something that I know it is not true. For what happened in Lhasa, it does not match either of the criteria.
Personal Experience Matters
I am often criticized for not mentioning something that all media is talking about, but this blog is not a media. I want to add value by telling people what I, this person, see, and experience, instead of repeating what I read. I want to give facts, instead of opinions – especially opinions based on no-so-solid facts.
I Don’t Post Something I Know is Not Truth
What is going on in Lhasa, to be honest with you, I really don’t know. I watch TV everyday, and read news on Internet everyday, but I am still not sure what is happening there.
The last thing I believe is official news for situation like this. I believed in exactly 19 years ago, when I was just 12, but it turned out that it was not truth at all. The terms, and the way the official media broadcast it is very familiar to me – if I replace the city name with Beijing, it should be almost the same news many, many years ago.
I don’t believe in CNN and other media. I believed 19 years ago – at that time, we only have Voice of America. But it turned out that many of the news are biased, and very far from the truth. If the official media in China is intentionally “creating” an imagine, western media sometimes use the western angle to see something much more complicated than their knowledge can cover, like this one.
What I Need
What I need is just time. I want some time to understand the issue better, including a planned trip to Lhasa myself (I haven’t done it yet, although I have been to some Tibetan area). I want to be humble to learn first before I talk with big mouth, pretending I know something. I will definitely talk about it, when I get more information.
My Question on US Constitution
I am not a big fan of the government, but I am not as extreme as many “angry youth”. What I need is just a balanced view. Before I do my homework to research, I think I can add a little bit value by offering some insights about how people in China think about a “united country”.
Last Saturday, in the lobby of a hotel on Hengshan Road, I chatted with the delegation of the U.S.-China Relationship Working Group of the United States Congress. I asked one question that I always wanted to ask:
If one day, for whatever reason, the dominating majority of people in a U.S. State, say, California, or Texas, decide that they would rather be an independent country, can they do that? If they can, what is the process? If they don’t have the right, why?
The reason I asked this question is, after hours of study of the U.S. Consitutation, I had the impression that it is allowed, since the Constitution seemed to specify how a State can join the Union, and how to depart from it. Correct me if I am wrong, since to pretend I know U.S. Constitution, or I am a researcher in this field is deadly wrong.
My question behind it is, in a country like U.S. who claim to respect everyone’s freedom, and their choice, shall the “country” honor the request for being independent? If the answer is no, my third question is, who grant the right to the “country”, to reject the will of the people of the land? I think no one in the country can answer my question better than people from the Congress.
The Price of being United in US – a War
Well. It seemed to be a tough question. Someone (respectfully removed his name) told me:
This is the question presented to the Federal during the civil war, and the question was solved using a war.
I assume it means “Before that war, the answer is Yes, and after that, the answer for my question is No.
We continued to discuss about the impact of the War to the States. This echoes to a piece I happen to watch in recent movie: National Treasure: Book of Secrets. In the film, there is a saying:
Before Lincoln, we use the sentence “United States are ….”, and after the war, we start to use “United States is“
I was pretty impressed by the feeling of being a “united” country by Americans, and I respect it lot. As the gentleman said, American paid the price of a war to keep united in 1860s. That price is the lives of 600,000 people.
The Price of being United in China – Thousands Wars?
Regarding to Chinese history, what is the price of being a united country? A war? Hundreds of Wars? Even Thousands of Wars is a understatement. I can easily list 20 wars (I really did) that cost more people’s lives than US civil war, just to keep the country united.
China was a united country since the Qin dynasty in 221 BC, and in the next 2000 years, imagine how many attempts by different part of the country, or from outside the country, to try to seperate the country. Although there is no solid proove that a united country is more meaningful than thousands of millions of people’s life, the tradition of being united has been firmly ironed into the mind of every Chinese – we never thought of a country that is not united. The very unique history of China created a group of very unique people, and they think, from the western’s point of view, “differently” than many of them.
I didn’t expect people in U.S. also treasure united so much before I heard the “war as the price of being united” statement, then I suddenly understand why people in China want united so badly – it is because of history, including wars.
Again, don’t be hurry to give me evidence about Tibet, or even Taiwan – I read a lot about it, although may not as knowledgeable as my readers, my point is, it is important to take it as an important background knowledge that vast majority of people on this land believe China should be a united country.
So Tell Me about What You Know
If you have solid experience (please, not something you read, or hear), please feel free to share. I am humble and opened my ears. I want to learn more about it. I always take reading comments as an educational experience for me, so I see many perspectives, and start to form mine.