Grace Wang Called a Traitor

GN posted an article on Washington Post about the recent indent of Grace Wang.

Caught in the Middle, Called a Traitor (I think it is important to readers on this site to read this.)

By Grace Wang
Sunday, April 20, 2008;

I study languages — Italian, French and German. And this summer — now that it looks as though I won’t be able to go home to China — I’ll take up Arabic. My goal is to master 10 languages, in addition to Chinese and English, by the time I’m 30.

I want to do this because I believe that language is the bridge to understanding. Take China and Tibet. If more Chinese learned the Tibetan language, and if Tibetans learned more about China, I’m convinced that our two peoples would understand one another better and we could overcome the current crisis between us peacefully. I feel that even more strongly after what happened here at Duke University a little more than a week ago.

Trying to mediate between Chinese and pro-Tibetan campus protesters, I was caught in the middle and vilified and threatened by the Chinese. After the protest, the intimidation continued online, and I began receiving threatening phone calls. Then it got worse — my parents in China were also threatened and forced to go into hiding. And I became persona non grata in my native country.

It has been a frightening and unsettling experience. But I’m determined to speak out, even in the face of threats and abuse. If I stay silent, then the same thing will happen to someone else someday.

So here’s my story.

When I first arrived at Duke last August, I was afraid I wouldn’t like it. It’s in the small town of Durham, N.C., and I’m from Qingdao, a city of 4.3 million. But I eventually adjusted, and now I really love it. It’s a diverse environment, with people from all over the world. Over Christmas break, all the American students went home, but that’s too expensive for students from China. Since the dorms and the dining halls were closed, I was housed off-campus with four Tibetan classmates for more than three weeks.

I had never really met or talked to a Tibetan before, even though we’re from the same country. Every day we cooked together, ate together, played chess and cards. And of course, we talked about our different experiences growing up on opposite sides of the People’s Republic of China. It was eye-opening for me.

I’d long been interested in Tibet and had a romantic vision of the Land of Snows, but I’d never been there. Now I learned that the Tibetans have a different way of seeing the world. My classmates were Buddhist and had a strong faith, which inspired me to reflect on my own views about the meaning of life. I had been a materialist, as all Chinese are taught to be, but now I could see that there’s something more, that there’s a spiritual side to life.

We talked a lot in those three weeks, and of course we spoke in Chinese. The Tibetan language isn’t the language of instruction in the better secondary schools there and is in danger of disappearing. Tibetans must be educated in Mandarin Chinese to succeed in our extremely capitalistic culture. This made me sad, and made me want to learn their language as they had learned mine.

I was reminded of all this on the evening of April 9. As I left the cafeteria planning to head to the library to study, I saw people holding Tibetan and Chinese flags facing each other in the middle of the quad. I hadn’t heard anything about a protest, so I was curious and went to have a look. I knew people in both groups, and I went back and forth between them, asking their views. It seemed silly to me that they were standing apart, not talking to each other. I know that this is often due to a language barrier, as many Chinese here are scientists and engineers and aren’t confident of their English.

I thought I’d try to get the two groups together and initiate some dialogue, try to get everybody thinking from a broader perspective. That’s what Lao Tzu, Sun Tzu and Confucius remind us to do. And I’d learned from my dad early on that disagreement is nothing to be afraid of. Unfortunately, there’s a strong Chinese view nowadays that critical thinking and dissidence create problems, so everyone should just keep quiet and maintain harmony.

A lot has been made of the fact that I wrote the words "Free Tibet" on the back of the American organizer of the protest, who was someone I knew. But I did this at his request, and only after making him promise that he would talk to the Chinese group. I never dreamed how the Chinese would seize on this innocent action. The leaders of the two groups did at one point try to communicate, but the attempt wasn’t very successful.

The Chinese protesters thought that, being Chinese, I should be on their side. The participants on the Tibet side were mostly Americans, who really don’t have a good understanding of how complex the situation is. Truthfully, both sides were being quite closed-minded and refusing to consider the other’s perspective. I thought I could help try to turn a shouting match into an exchange of ideas. So I stood in the middle and urged both sides to come together in peace and mutual respect. I believe that they have a lot in common and many more similarities than differences.

But the Chinese protesters — who were much more numerous, maybe 100 or more — got increasingly emotional and vocal and wouldn’t let the other side speak. They pushed the small Tibetan group of just a dozen or so up against the Duke Chapel doors, yelling "Liars, liars, liars!" This upset me. It was so aggressive, and all Chinese know the moral injunction: Junzi dongkou, bu dongshou (The wise person uses his tongue, not his fists).

I was scared. But I believed that I had to try to promote mutual understanding. I went back and forth between the two groups, mostly talking to the Chinese in our language. I kept urging everyone to calm down, but it only seemed to make them angrier. Some young men in the Chinese group — those we call fen qing (angry youth) — started yelling and cursing at me.

What a lot of people don’t know is that there were many on the Chinese side who supported me and were saying, "Let her talk." But they were drowned out by the loud minority who had really lost their cool.

Some people on the Chinese side started to insult me for speaking English and told me to speak Chinese only. But the Americans didn’t understand Chinese. It’s strange to me that some Chinese seem to feel as though not speaking English is expressing a kind of national pride. But language is a tool, a way of thinking and communicating.

At the height of the protest, a group of Chinese men surrounded me, pointed at me and, referring to the young woman who led the 1989 student democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, said, "Remember Chai Ling? All Chinese want to burn her in oil, and you look like her." They said that I had mental problems and that I would go to hell. They asked me where I was from and what school I had attended. I told them. I had nothing to hide. But then it started to feel as though an angry mob was about to attack me. Finally, I left the protest with a police escort.

Back in my dorm room, I logged onto the Duke Chinese Students and Scholars Association (DCSSA) Web site and listserv to see what people were saying. Qian Fangzhou, an officer of DCSSA, was gloating, "We really showed them our colors!"

I posted a letter in response, explaining that I don’t support Tibetan independence, as some accused me of, but that I do support Tibetan freedom, as well as Chinese freedom. All people should be free and have their basic rights protected, just as the Chinese constitution says. I hoped that the letter would spark some substantive discussion. But people just criticized and ridiculed me more.

The next morning, a storm was raging online. Photographs of me had been posted on

the Internet with the words "Traitor to her country!" printed across my forehead. Then I saw something really alarming: Both my parents’ citizen ID numbers had been posted. I was shocked, because this information could only have come from the Chinese police.

I saw detailed directions to my parents’ home in China, accompanied by calls for people to go there and teach "this shameless dog" a lesson. It was then that I realized how serious this had become. My phone rang with callers making threats against my life. It was ironic: What I had tried so hard to prevent was precisely what had come to pass. And I was the target.

I talked to my mom the next morning, and she said that she and my dad were going into hiding because they were getting death threats, too. She told me that I shouldn’t call them. Since then, short e-mail messages have been our only communication. The other day, I saw photos of our apartment online; a bucket of feces had been emptied on the doorstep. More recently I’ve heard that the windows have been smashed and obscene posters have been hung on the door. Also, I’ve been told that after convening an assembly to condemn me, my high school revoked my diploma and has reinforced patriotic education.

I understand why people are so emotional and angry; the events in Tibet have been tragic. But this crucifying of me is unacceptable. I believe that individual Chinese know this. It’s when they fire each other up and act like a mob that things get so dangerous.

Now, Duke is providing me with police protection, and the attacks in Chinese cyberspace continue. But contrary to my detractors’ expectations, I haven’t shriveled up and slunk away. Instead, I’ve responded by publicizing this shameful incident, both to protect my parents and to get people to reflect on their behavior. I’m no longer afraid, and I’m determined to exercise my right to free speech.

Because language is the bridge to understanding.

Grace Wang is a freshman at Duke University. Scott Savitt, a visiting scholar in Duke’s Chinese media studies program, assisted in writing this article.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/18/AR2008041802635.html

GN thought it is important for readers on this site to read  this article. I also think so. So I copied the article in this entry to share Grace’s thoughts.

Called a Traitor? Don’t Worry

It is so common to be called a traitor in China. I, myself, was called a traitor many times in BBS or blogs. There are many versions of the story. No matter what you do, the easiest way to get everyone to get to the same side of the line is to tell people the guy betrayed  China. Just to list the logic of the criticizer who said I am a traitor.

  • Anyone who  writes in English forgot their motherland already. He is a traitor. Sometimes, people may call people who can read English as a traitor. I saw this situation, although not common.
  • Anyone who didn’t boycott Japanese goods is a traitor
  • Anyone who didn’t show strong emotional reaction to Torch Relay is called a traitor
  • Anyone who said there are true report in western media is a traitor.
  • Anyone who said Chinese government is good is a traitor, or in other cases, anyone who said Chinese government is bad is a traitor.
  • Anyone who think the Party has done something wrong is a traitor.
  • Anyone who tried to help foreigners is a traitor
  • Anyone who work in a foreign company is a traitor…

The list is endless. The point is, if you have anything to do with something "foreign", or you talk about politics, you are called a traitor by someone, publicly, with name and, in Grace’s case, private information. For many people, if they heard from any source that someone is a traitor, they will try everything to fight against this person, including personal attack, forward the mail/post to other places, add a comment to condemn the person, even threat to kill the person.

Grace?

I don’t know Grace, and I don’t know whether I agree with what Grace said or not – I agree for most part, but I worry that I only hear one-sided story. Grace is just 20 years in age, and she may also did something immature in the sensitive time, which is completely acceptable and understandable. But it may cause strong reaction from the Chinese student group and netizen in China, which is also pretty understandable. However, I feel so bad and ashamed that she got death threat, and rude personal attack (and physical attack in her home). How I wish I have a country that is more open  to different opinions, and tolerate diversity. To follow the law is the basic way to show one’s love to his country.

I know if I post the entry in Chinese, and if I am lucky, I will be called traitor again, just for this article. Even in English, I believe I will receive many critics for this entry, and the next entry I am planning to write. It is OK. I never expect everyone agree with me. Call me whatever people want to call. A blogger needs some courage, right.

PS. When you attack, please just attack the opinion, not the person hold the opinion. Even if you want to attack a person, attack myself (and I am pretty tolerate, and understand that is the cost of running a blog), however, I will take action if I saw personal attack to other readers (and they shouldn’t be insulted).

69 Comments

  1. So far, what we’ve got here is her version of the incident. We can always Youtube out the episode, I’m sure.

    But… she is entitled to her opinions and so are her detractors. To get death threats for speaking out? For her parents to be harrassed? That is unacceptable.

  2. Dear Jianshuo,

    It might be interesting for you to know that I first saw this piece of article on Chinaren’s BBS in English with a completely different version “translated” into Chinese side by side. What is even more interesting is that whoever who posted this article added in (brackets) his/ her own interpretation of the situation and Grace’s frame of mind at that time, of course, in attempt to influence the readers.

    This is how the masses went out of control. Some smart ass adding “salt and pepper” to Grace’s original letter.

    LOL…as usual, its something commonly seen in China. Else the game “Chinese whisper” would not be called “Chinese whisper”….

  3. I am Chinese living abroad. Based on the information I obtained from both sides, I believe Wang is doing a right thing that I don’t dare do. If I do this, I will not be able to get my Chinese passport renewed when it expires. However, I may think about it when I can throw away this bloody Chinese passport.

  4. It does not matter what she said, death threats and harassment of her and her parents is wrong. This will reflect terribly on China and the Chinese. It will remind the West of the stifling of thought that has so often been seen in Communist nations and will allow the West to claim that nothing has changed in China since Mao Zedong’s period of leadership. This is unfair to China since lunatic none sense like this happens in America and Europe, for China to gain the respect as their equal, China has to be better then them. Honestly, why wouldn’t you want to be better.

  5. I admire Grace’s courage. I also agree with Peter. This reflects very badly on China and the Chinese people.

    Besides, it does not matter what Grace said. It’s called freedom of speech. I know there is no such thing in China, but we cherish that here.

  6. @BO:

    Thank you for your cheap shot.

    Idiots.

    China has enough idiots for all causes.

    We had them in Tiananmen Sq foolishly trying to overthrow the establishment.

    Now we have them waving the flag.

    Thankfully ,(?)

    They exist in every culture and on every side.

    Choosing to take the view of some to represent the majority is no less idiotic.

    Hopefully you are not one of them.

  7. grace wang。 even how terrible he has been treated in what her saying . i will not support her.donot always pretend she was the most rational people in this world. try to think it over before what you gonna do. i personally think please take more care about breakhearted chinese. try to read what they have suffered,please never always think you can just make it through with you rational logic.

    i donot hate west people. but as it is said. when you get hurt badly at the age of child. no matter how i struggle to forget the pain. but that is there anyway. donot and never to touch the pain there,we prefer to let go by.

  8. First, I agree with you, it is shameful for the death threats. Ms. Wang should have freedom to express her opinion.

    But, I think Grace will regret for she have been done. It is totally immature. And the Western press did need such immature voice to persuade themselves that China holds wrong position to against Tibet independence.

    Let’s consider the wording:” If more Chinese learned the Tibetan language, and if Tibetans learned more about China”. Does you really agree that Tibet and China should be 2 difference country so they are supposed to learn from each other?

    If she really want to initiate some dialogue then shey need to think about the situation from both side.

    I’ve ever been to Tibet before and I met some Tibetans there. I am touched by their religious but I don’t think they want to be a independence country. Only those politic guys will benefit from such “independence”….

    So I hate all those politics. all Tibetans and other Chinese are caught in the middle. Someone dead, someone’s life was ruined but they just don’t care!!!

  9. Please don’t abuse kids’ naive response. Skipping the content and broadcasting the so-called “death threat” is a sin because the kids are not serious and Chinese as a people are usually very peaceful.

  10. Let me ask you “freedom of speech” cherishers this:

    Is there any person in U.S. who can claim “Bin Laden is good” in public domain without any quick response of being questioned or “hated”? And this 20 something girl can “moderate” the debate of the two groups? Holy crap.

  11. Complex situation really, humans are naturally irrational creatures that follow their whims and emotions. Especially for Chinese, ironically, who pride ourselves for intellect, humility, and milleniums-old culture…but when things like this get out of hand, whats left for us to prideful of?

    The facts are everywhere, people should choose to read more widely and get the facts from both sides…but eventually, what should come out of this is not blood-thirst, but the awareness that there are different ways to approach the problem, not just shoveling through anything that involves death threats, xenophobia, or cultural isolation. Being Nationalistic is one thing, but we need to be a heck lot calmer if we’re to show the world we’re a gracious host, served with Chinese hospitality.

  12. Wang Jianshuo, I admire your courage.

    鲁迅《热风.随感录三十八》1918.11.15 (in Chinese).

    http://www.1921.org.cn/CN/library/books_r.jsp?s=04ce1c7601d2469eb2a13e28459dbced&bookid=30135813d50c4c1e9dc133bf356f023f

  13. I am one of those Tibetans living in exile. Like many Tibetan youth in exile, I received good education from one of the Tibetan schools established by His Holiness The Dalai Lama. I received scholarship from exile government to study in India. However, I came to US to study and received numerous scholarships from the University.

    I thoroughly read the book “Wild Swan” 3 Daughters of China by Jung Chang. I loved the book and also came to understand Chinese culture better. As much as I hate Mao Tsetung for his crimes against humanity, I also noted that he helped Chinese Women’s Rights in certain way. I openly shared my ideas to other Tibetans about 1% of Mao’s good deed for Chinese Women. No Tibetans labelled me a “traitor” and definitely, not any dead threats. Recently, while protesting against Chinese government, on our posters, I even wrote “Free Hu Jia” and “Free Falun Dafa”.

    Some Tibetans asked me who they were, and I explained to them that Hu Jia is a Chinese political prisoner and that Falun Dafa are victims of Chinese government as well. They showed nothing but sympathy and further encouraged me to write “Human Rights For All” on the poster.

    So, I feel bad for Grace wang that she has to go through such ordeal. I think she is entitled to express her opinion. Besides, she was just trying to facilitate the two groups to get across each other to talk and discuss. On a bigger picture, wouldn’t it be nice if Chinese government atleast once try listening to His Holiness The Dalai Lama without all those preconditions and sit across each other to talk?

  14. @TibetanLady, please keep on to share your thoughts about Tibet, since obviously, not many people who talk about the topic, including myself have been to Tibet or understand the culture and history enough. To have Tibetan to tell people their perspective on this blog can bring a lot of value to everyone. Thanks for the two comments you made. We are listening.

  15. @GN, thanks for the link. I laughed when I read about what Luxun said in 1918 – Angry Youth is not new, and it is like today in his time, even before CCP was formed.

  16. I can not understood Grace wang so exciting when she reading letter from parents about they can not stay in home and need protection.So crazy.

  17. Basically, I agree with you that communication is the better way than boycotting.

    For better understand tibet,I sugguest you read this website if you have free time.

    http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html####

  18. A brilliant analysis on Grace Wang’s article

    http://my1510.cn/article.php?6f6b01ca5410aa7c

  19. Regarding the http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html####:

    I have read Parenti’s article and it seems to be repeatedly cited by many Chinese as somehow revealing some truth about Tibet. I would like to make some comments regarding this article.

    1) Parenti is not a Chinese or Tibetan scholar. He is a Marxist theorist without any training or expertise in Chinese or Tibetan history. If you look at the sources he cites, they are all in Englsh, they are not based on any direct research. As a lawyer, I know how easy it is to make an argument relying just on books — you cut and paste the parts of the books you like and you

    come up with an “argument” that supports your case.

    As a Marxist, Parenti views the world through a very specific lense especially regarding religion — “religion as the opiate of the masses” —and so what he is doing in the article is basically applying old Marxist theory to Tibet. But alas reality is always more complicated than a theory about the world. I am sure that Tibet was no spiritual paradise (I dont think any country is) but Parenti only emphasises what was wrong with Tibet. It would be like writing an article about China today and only talking about what is wrong with China and never examining all the positive aspects of China.

    2) Even if what Parenti says is absolutely true, I am not sure what the relevance of this article is to any discussion about Tibet today. Should we judge China, United States, India, by what the country was like more than 50 years ago? 50 years ago in the US, African Americans could not go to the same school as Whites, could not even marry a white person. This has obviously changed. More than 50 years ago, China was also a very differend country with many social problems as well. Why would we imagine that Tibet, even without the Chinese invasion, would remain unchanged, while the rest of the world changes?

    Also even if Tibet was a “corrupt feudalistic theocracy” it does not justify anything that China has done to Tibet in the past or today. If you disagree, I would ask you to consider that many people today and in the past have considered China to be a “corrupt, communist dictatorship” should the world– or maybe Japan– plan on a massive invasion to civilize China? Obviously not.

  20. Here is the English version of that analysis mentioned in my previous post.

    http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20080423_1.htm

    search for

    (My1510.cn Blog) An analysis of Grace Wang’s essay in The Washington Post. By ‘Chairman Rabbit.’ April 22, 2008.

  21. @TibetanLady

    Lots heated debates and ideals were exchanged here, But very few, if any, are actually from the Tibetan themselves. I encourage you to share your thoughts constructively on the issues related to the future of Tibet. It is even better if you can invite your Tibetan friends to join in. After all this is all about Tibet and Tibetans.

    Regarding to the Grace Wang’s case; next time, when the pro-Free Tibet group demonstrates, you, the TibetanLady, can try to put out a sign – “Tibet is part of China!” in front of that group for the purpose of testing the ‘freedom of speech”. What would you think what would happen to you.

    Would you like to give it a try?

  22. @王健硕:

    我经常读你的blog,虽然我不很赞成你的某些观点,但是大体上我还是很支持你的。关于王千源,你应该越多更多的与她有关的资料,单单阅读一面倒的资料很难了解事实。其实我认为她这么做很大可能是为了美国居留权,所以某种程度上,称她为叛徒不为过。至于现在随着事态的发展,她越来越表露出了反华人士所具备的特点了(你可以看看她最近指责中国学会生的言论)。有一个比较全面的站点是popyard.org。

    @TibetianLay

    你好,我真的很有兴趣知道你是不是大法人士,我认为按照我对大法人士的了解,你是大法人士的可能性极大,嘿嘿。

  23. PiccoloPartigiano

    April 24, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    I’m saddened to learn of what has happened to Grace and her family in the aftermath of her innocent but naively flawed dissenting opinion and “peace-making” efforts. Obviously, neither she nor her family deserves all this.

    But I’m equally saddened to learn of this action of hers to “speak up” by publishing an article in a foreign media, which action is, in my opinion, while innocent, equally naive and flawed.

    By so portarying herself or having herself portrayed an innocent victim of CPC Dictatorship and a noble hero standing for the ideals of Democracy and Civil Liberty, i guess she is knowinlgy or unknowingly playing into the hands of “blood-seeking” western media and politicians. And this, apparently for her entire life.

    Indeed, whether you look at the ongoing US presidential election campaigns, or think about the current massively successful China-Bashing movement ignited by the well-orchestrated Lhasa riot, it is clear that politics can and should necessarily be ugly, dirty, treacherous and merciless, regarldess of the nobility and extravagance of our purported morality, convictions, ideals, or purposes.

    Already, in the case of the politics of the latter, it has so far claimed, based on our official account, 20 lives in Lhasa and elswhere, and, according to the above article, a Grace Wang at Duke University.

    However, if the Bush administration and the Dalai Lama think-thank and media sympathisers on the one hand, and our CPC rulers and our youth convinced in the greatness and uniqueness of China on the other hand, are still keen on carrying on the ruthless, Machievellian politics of sabotaging and anti-sabotaging, one may need to expect many more lives and Grace Wangs, in the coming days, weeks and months…

    Amen,

    P.S.: This post is being reposted to correct certain omissions in my previous post. As such, I would highly appreciate if the administrator could take out the previous one at his convenience.

  24. Grace is not a traitor.

    Intimidation of her parents is wrong.

    BUT…

    I am impressed by her galliant stupidity.

    There is a time and place for negotiation.

    Running into the battlefield between two adversaries in the midst of gunfire will endear you to no one. You are collateral damage of no value to either side and merely a distraction.

    “A lot has been made of the fact that I wrote the words “Free Tibet” on the back of the American organizer of the protest, who was someone I knew… I never dreamed how the Chinese would seize on this innocent action. ” why ? are you really that dumb ? what the heck are they teaching you at Duke ?? master 10 languages ? are there any limits to your vanity ?

    She deserves to be villified, not for being a traitor but for simply being stupid. If you choose to dive into a caudron of fire, don’t expect sympathy when you get burned.

    besides… your claim of innocence is suspect.

    But if true, I’ll say welcome to the real world Grace, feel free to exercise your naivete and don’t complain about the consequences. Continue your quest and hopefully one day you can walk on water.

  25. 王千源的这篇文章是值得引起注意的,因为随着这篇文章的登载,加上她接受其他西方媒体的访问(包括某些政治性极强的反华媒体),已使事情升级。她已明确”站队”了。这种选择可能由于,a) 国内外华人对她的批评使她的行为更为激进;b) 到西方媒体是要寻求一个发声的地方表达抗议; c) 此人在政治上非常幼稚。

    王的文章在我看来属于政治自杀行为,按照过去的话,有点讽刺说,那就是彻头彻尾地走到党和人民的对立面去了。客观上看,走到这一步确实可以说是人民公敌了。

    原来国内外还有一些人对她表示同情,表达的观点主要有两类,一是我虽不同意你的观点,但誓死捍卫你说话的权利(言论自由说);二是对一些过激的侵犯人身的行为的批评,主要是针对公布其全家私人信息、发布死亡恐吓、家被泼粪等行为的批评)。我觉得随着她发布这些文章和讲话,至少持第一类观点的同情者会减少。

    我就讲几点。

    (1)首先,我认为王文是错误的。文章的负面影响可能远要超她本人的想象。她完全被西方媒体利用了。并且她主观上希望迎合这种利用的需要。我们会在下文探讨她文章的这种迎合性。

    (2)其次,在文章中,她是摆着一个理性的、温和的姿态出现的;她把自己描述成一个中间人、调停人,希望以理性的姿态做桥梁沟通作用,最后化解矛盾。这是多么高的一种姿态啊。我们姑且不说她在这次事件中是否扮演了这种角色。但如王千源所说,她要学习语言,促进知识与视角交流,调解华人与藏人之间的矛盾;同时她还要学更多的语言,我们假定她要做更广泛的传播与交流。但是她的行为有没有这种效果呢?我看是没有的。我们要看大形势。西藏目前是中国与西方矛盾的一个聚集点,反映了两种政治文明及利益的对抗。我们在这次事件中看到什么呢?无论怎么说,无论原因如何,双方确实在交流上有严重的问题。

    在这次事件中,西方媒体对中国西藏事件进行了有强烈误导性、选择性的报道,传播了许多不正确的信息,误导了民意,强化了偏见,甚至生成仇恨。而多年以来,西方媒体中很缺乏代表中国视角的声音的,是很少能以中立的、客观地态度看待中国崛起与发展。在这个平台里,中国非常缺乏自己的声音。

    王如果确实想解决问题,是爱国的,那么应到西方媒体去发更客观的描述中国的图景,而非片面地迎合西方媒体的既定偏见与想象;这样才能有助于中西交流,甚至在西藏问题上帮助中国;这样才和所谓的调解、调停角色拉上一点关系。相反,王利用自己在这次事件中的特殊身份,唤起西方媒体的同情,发表了迎合西方偏见、政治需要的言论,加强了西方的成见、偏见、扩大了中国与西方民众的误解与矛盾。这是一种理性的、调停的态度么?

    王的文章不只是个人感情的抒发,从其内容和组织来看,是下了相当工夫的,它无论从内容和影响来看,都具有很强的政治性。

    我还是认为这个姑娘年纪太小,不要看她有这样那样的想法,在政治上是极其幼稚的。她尚不知道自己在做什么,也不知道自己做的事的后果。

    下面我们来看看她的文章。我觉得这篇文章的构思在每一处都很巧妙;她并不仅仅是对这次事件的描述,而表露了她对中国和西藏问题的看法;其政治倾向是很明显的;也正因为它巧妙的结构,才使它的危害性更大。这里我实在忍不住详细评论一下。

        

    以下引号/斜体部分为网友中文翻译,”评”字后面的为本人评价。

        

    《MY CHINA, MY TIBET–Caught in the Middle, Called a Traitor》

        

    Grace Wang Sunday, April 20, 2008; Page B01

      

    “我学过意大利语,法语和德语。而在这个我似乎无法再回到中国的夏天,我计划把这段时间用来学习阿拉伯语。我的目标是:在我30岁的时候,除了汉语和英语,再掌握10门语言。 ”

    评:这个部分表明了这个姑娘是个很爱学习,并且抱有很好意愿的学生。读者会表示同情,有的可能还会肃然起敬。    

    “我如此(饥渴地学习外语),因为我相信语言是通向理解的桥梁。拿中国和西藏来说吧。如果更多的中国人学习藏语,而更多的西藏人学习中国的更多事情,我相信,我们这两个民族(peoples)能够更深地彼此理解;而现在我们之间的危机,我们也能够和平地克服。 ”

    评:这一段实际上强化了读者这样的一种感觉:中国与西藏是两个民族、社群、文化,语言都是不同的不怎么相互交流来往。中国人对西藏人很无知。西藏人也对中国人很无知,比如说不会汉语。这里要问,其一,中国的概念是什么?她不采用中国人爱采用的”多民族”的政治性的中国概念(56个民族),或者采用”汉藏”关系这种基于民族的叙述方式,而是谈”中国”与”西藏”的关系,把中国称为一个单一的、独立于西藏之外的民族,这是一种什么样的考虑?

        

    “当我试图在中国的和支持西藏的校园游行者之间调停的时候,站在中间立场的我被中国人抓住、诽谤和恐吓。游行结束之后,这种恐吓仍然在网络上继续着,而且我开始收到恐吓电话。然后事情变得更加糟糕:我在中国的父母也被威胁,不得不躲藏起来。我在自己的祖国成为了”不受欢迎的人”。 ”

        

    “这是一段令人恐惧不安的经历。不过我决定,即使冒着威胁和辱骂,也把它说出来。如果我保持沉默,也许同样的事情将来什么时候会发生在另外一个人身上。 ”

    评:这一段是在抢占道德高地。这个叙述非常容易引起西方读者同情:她是代表言论自由这种价值的;而且她的立场恐怕要接近许多不少西方读者的立场,这让西方读者想到,在中国,王也是代表真理的少数一部分人;只不过由于同胞的恐吓和压制,不得发表自己的言论与意见。不是我们西方听不见这种声音,而是这种声音被压制了。那么好了,你现在到了美国还不能说话么?你可以随便发表意见,把真相说出来!

        

    “下面是我的故事。

        

    当去年八月我第一次来到杜克大学的时候,我曾担心我不会喜欢这里。杜兰姆,杜克所在的地方,只是北卡州的一个小城, 而我来自有430万人口的大城市青岛。但是最终我适应了,而且现在我深深地爱上了这里。这里的人们来自世界各地,构成了一个复杂的环境。圣诞假期时,所有的美国学生都回家了,但是对中国学生来说回家的旅费太贵了。因为宿舍和食堂都关门了,我在校外租房子住了三个多星期,和四个西藏同学一起。  

    虽然我们来自同一个国家,可是在此之前,我从来没有亲眼见过一个西藏人,更别提和他们交谈了。在这段时间里,我们每天一起做饭,一起吃饭,一起玩牌和下棋。当然,我们也讨论我们在中国的两端长大所经历的不同的生活。这种交流开阔了我的眼界。”

        

    我一直认为雪域高原是个浪漫的地方,很久以来都对西藏怀有好奇和向往,不过我从来没有去过那里。现在我了解了西藏人怀有一种和我们不同的世界观。我的西藏同学们是信仰坚定的佛教徒,他们的信仰启发了我去思考自己生命的意义。就像所有的中国人被教育而成为的一样,我曾经是一个唯物主义者。不过我现在看到了更多的东西,看到了生命还有灵性上的一面。 ”

    评:这一段是一个关键。它是全文的一个关键铺垫。这里试图解释 a) 她思想转变的过程; b) 比起其他”无知的”中国人而言,她在这个问题上的发言权。

    她这里描述的西藏完全符合西方想象的浪漫化的、香格里拉式西藏的原型:神秘的、浪漫的、宗教的、超脱的;这里没有涉及任何西藏历史、社会、现行政策、现实挑战(如发展与扶贫)。西方人对西藏的看法是很片面的,带有很强的感情色彩;强调宗教神秘之类的因素,而不谈经济社会发展等现实挑战与机遇。王的描述加深了这一成见。另外一方面,王称所有的中国人都被教育为(或者要求成为)”materialism”,这是一个相当严重的指控。这给人的感觉一是中国没有宗教自由;二是中国完全是一个物质的、世俗的社会。(中国目前是世界上拥有基督徒、穆斯林人口最多的国家之一,除此以外,还有大量的信仰程度不同的佛教徒)此外,王可能指的是唯物主义,采用了materialism这个词,但这个词在英文的含义有所不同;它有负面意味的,意指人是追求利益的,没有精神价值追求的。

    这个叙述很有力,对于读者来说,一个来自世俗的、庸俗的、现代的、粗糙的、专制的、从来缺乏精神自由的社会的人,被来自西藏这样有崇高精神追求的社会的人感化了、升华了,重新找到了人生的意义。这简直是一种恶的力量被善的力量克服了。这种叙述对美国读者而言,可能有强烈共鸣。(美国是发达国家中宗教情绪最浓的国家之一,信教人为大多数;对于普通美国人而言,”世俗”几乎是一个坏的字眼)

    几句话,王就用个人经历构造了我们前面所说的西方人想象的”西藏”与”中国”的两元对立。

        

    “在三周里我们谈了很多,当然我们交谈时都是用的中文。在好一些的中学里藏文都不是教学的语言,藏语现在已经是一种濒危的语言,面临着灭绝的危险。西藏人必须接受汉语教育来在我们的极端资本主义化的文化中胜出。这让我感到很难过,让我产生了愿望去学习他们的语言,既然他们已经学习了我们的。 ”

    评:这里有非常多的事实断言。比方说,藏语是不是一种濒临的语言?我想任何谨慎的学者都会认为这是需要深入探讨的问题。我个人经历,似乎只有西藏流亡政府和藏独运动的人才会大胆做此断言。中国有许多的少数民族;其复杂性远超出西方的想象;除国家认任的外,还有许多汉民族下面的”子民族”,也有自己的语言–如粤语、吴语、闽南语之类,这些语言几乎没有任何文化政策进行保护,但不是照样被保存了么?这些语言濒临灭绝了么?另外,西藏人学习汉语也是一个很复杂的问题。粤语学生还要学习普通话,在高考的语文考试中回答各种复杂的普通话发音题目;中国人还要学习英语才能在全球化中胜出;这是一个更广泛的全球化与竞争问题,没有简单的答案,更不是简单的人权问题,不能简单地政治化。严肃的观察者都会意识到,需要对它们进行谨慎地探讨。正因为问题的复杂性与政治性,在并不了解中国、成见很深的外国人面前谈论它们时,要尤其的谨慎。但争论都是次要的,我们看王千源选择了什么样的观点,这些观点是不是全面的?还是偏颇的?她为什么片面地选择这些观点,而不探讨问题的全部?为什么这些观点刚好与西方的简单化的想象完全一致?我认为王很大程度地加深了西方对西藏的一些既成偏见。在这样的公共媒体上发表这种意见,是不负责任的。

        

    “4月9日傍晚发生的事情让我想起了这些回忆。当我走在从餐厅去图书馆学习的路上时,我看到了广场上举着西藏旗和中国国旗的对峙的人们。在此之前我没有听说有关游行的任何事,所以我感到好奇,想去看个究竟。在两群人之中都有我认识的人,我在人群之间穿行,询问我的朋友们的看法。两群人站得泾渭分明,互相完全不交谈,我感觉这样很愚蠢。根据我的经验,这种局面经常是由语言障碍造成的,因为很多在这里的中国人是科研人员和工程师,他们都对自己的英语能力没有自信。”

    “我认为我应该试图让两群人走到一起,开始一些交谈。让每个人能够用更宽的立场去思考问题–这也是老子、孙子和孔子教导我们的。我的父亲也曾经教育过我,观点分歧没有什么可怕的。不幸的是,现在的中国人里面有一种被广泛接受的看法:批判性思考和不同政见总是会造成问题,所以每个人应该保持沉默,营造和谐。 ”

    评:这里,王首先把自己放在一个超越双方争论的制高点。加上前面的铺垫,人们认为,大多数中国人和王一样不了解西藏,而王通过其个人机遇了解了西藏,所以她是掌握真相的少数人,所以她是清醒的;加上她的理性,使她能够脱颖而出,成为调解人。这又让读者肃然起敬了,而且对王为什么能成为一个如此不同的中国人有了初步理解。

    王又描绘了某种中国社会与文化的图景:缺乏理性、缺乏宽容、不容异见,这再次迎合了西方人既定的负面想象。当然了,王不属于这群人中的一个,她是少数的清醒人。

    王另外做了一个评价,说中国人都是理工科的,英语不好。同时表明她自己的英语水平比较高,所以能承担这个角色。我们看到,她反复的贬损她人,抬高自己,这种优越性是很明显的)。毫无疑问,这句话又会激怒很多人。

        

    “很多事情都是由我在支持西藏活动的组织者后背上书写标语”解放西藏”引出来的,那位组织者是一个我认识的美国人。事实上我这么做仅仅是出于他要求我这样做,并且以我帮他写了之后,他才会和中国游行者对话为交换条件的。我怎么也想不到中国人会如何抓住这件清白无辜的事情作为把柄。双方的组织者确实一度进行了沟通的尝试,但是并不是很成功。 ”

    评:这个事情当然是很严重的,第一,既然她声称理解时下中国青年的倾向与特征,那么为什么会对旁人对她做法的反映”怎么也想不到”呢?全然不可信;得二,这个抗议的美国人提出这样的要求是否是合理?这是不是一种带有冒犯性的挑衅?我们看,王想出来做”中立的调停人”,他意识到王的这种”身份”,而且王是中国人的事实,却提出这种要求,我看是有恶劣的挑衅色彩的。我们换位思考一下,现在中国人和藏独人士对话了;现在有一个藏人走出来说要挑停。支持中国的示威者对他/她说,你首先给我们写我们的标语”一个中国”,否则不和你谈。反过来看,这个藏人及其示威群体会有什么样的看法?会不会把它解释为一种挑衅?如果藏人接受了这一要求,会不会在他们的群体里造成反弹?所以,第三,王千源为什么要接受对方提出的无理的、带有冒犯性的要求?这是不是代表了某种倾向?我想这里是有原则性的问题。在中国示威群体看来,王这样的做法使之丧失了”调停人”身份的合法性。这种反弹我觉得是很正常的。

    其实这些都是常识。王这么聪明的一个中国人,为什么会对此”怎么都想不到”呢?答案只有一个,就是她在淡化这个事情,把它轻描淡写地带过。而且不光是淡化,还是在狡辩。

        

    “中国游行者们认为,作为中国人,我应该站在他们的一边。支持西藏游行者们大部分是美国人,他们并不真正了解问题的复杂性。事实上,双方都是闭目塞听的,每一方都拒绝考虑另一方的立场。我觉得我能够帮助大家,试图把一场吼叫的比赛变成一场意见的交流。这就是为什么我要站到中间,力劝双方心平气和、相互尊重地走到一起。我相信大家有更多共通的地方。求大同,存小异。

    评:这个描述的客观结果是把中国的示威者对问题的了解程度下降到和支持西藏的美国人一个水平:双方都很无知,都不了解问题的复杂性;另一方面,则继续把自己描绘一个超越双方的调停人角色。

        

    “然而中国游行者们–可能有100人或更多,远大于藏@独游行者的数量–变得越来越意气用事、大喊大叫,不让另一方说话。他们步步紧逼,推挤得对方–只有一打人的藏@独游行者群体–抵在了杜克大教堂的门上,高喊着”骗子,骗子,骗子!”这让我感到很难过。这太盛气凌人了,所有的中国人都该知道这句谚语的:君子动口,不动手。 ”

    评:她这个描述离事实如何,只能由参加过扎个事件的目击者来评价了。她的情感当然是支持藏独游行者的,觉得他们是”弱者”。可是事实上,在西方不少国家,包括美国,支持西藏独立的示威者一度人数远超于支持中国的,呈一边倒之势;在示威活动中(如火炬接力),也不乏暴力冲突。她是否有种同情心呢?很难说。但她是不是应该在叙述这一具体事件时,对此有所铺垫呢?

        

    “我感到很害怕。但是我相信我是在试图增进双方互相的理解。我在两群人之间来回穿梭,大部分时间都在和中国人用我们的语言交谈。我一直力劝每个人冷静下来,但是看上去只是令他们更愤怒了。一些中国年轻人–我们叫他们”愤青”–开始对着我叫骂。 ”

        

    很多人不知道,在中国人这一边,也有很多人支持我,说着:”让她说话。”但是他们的声音被少部分丧失冷静者的叫喊声淹没了。 ”

    评:继续贬损支持中国的示威者。使用”愤青”这个词尤其表现出一种优越感、高姿态。愤青是盲目的、缺乏理性的。”他们”是愤青,而”我”自然不属于愤青,所以我理性、冷静。这里当然只字不提支持西藏独立的美国人中有多少是愤青。我们在这里也看不到他们使用了什么样的言论,有什么样的行为。

        

    “因为我说了些英语,中国这边的一些人指责我,叫我只说汉语。但是美国人不懂得汉语。一些中国人认为不说英语是在体现民族尊严,我认为这样想很奇怪。语言是一种工具,一种用来思考和交流的工具。 ”

    评:我觉得这个问题是这样的。其一,如果在没有外国人的场合中,比如美国人并不在旁听他们对话的时候,她当然应该使用中文;我不知道当时有没有这样的情况;其二,作为中国人群体,突然在自己阵营里出现了这么样的一个所谓”调停者”,那么当然要去先和她采用自己人的方式去勾通,了解她究竟是什么立场,摸摸她的底。这里使用中文也是正常的需求。总之,我觉得这些想法都很自然。而她对旁人心理的描述是一面的,”不说中文就不能体现民族尊严”,这就把问题简化为民族主义问题了,让读者感到这群人怎么如此的狭隘啊?

        

    “在游行的最高峰,一群中国人围住我,指着我, 说: “记得XX吗?所有的中国人都想用汽油烧死她,你看上去就正像她那样。” 他们还说我精神有问题,我应该下地狱。他们问我是从哪个地方来的,我是哪所学校毕业的。我告诉了他们。我没有什么好隐藏的。但是然后情形开始感觉起来就像一群愤怒的暴徒快要攻击我了似的。最后,我在警察的陪同下离开了游行。”

    评:前面的继续,就不评价了。     

        

    “回到我的宿舍,我登录了DCSSA(杜克华人学生学者联合会)的网站和邮件群,看看人们怎么说。Qian Fangzhou, DCSSA的一名干部,沾沾自喜地说:”我们确实给了他们点颜色看看!” ”

    评:我想这个论坛不是内部的,也是准内部的,是中国人群体的内部信息网,用中文在小众传送,指定特定的读者。这很大程度决定了文风和内容。把这样的信息连带作者的姓名都公开了,是否征得了人家的同意?我估计是没有的。这是尊重他人么?是尊重权利么?同时这种引用也是剥夺语境的。”给颜色”是什么颜色?是指终于有中国饿声音了,出来示了一下威,还是指打了人?这完全不清楚。结合上下文,读者容易联想,中国人打了人,然后会内部网站发文息庆祝,Qian Fangzhou这个人可能就是参与者之一。

        

    “我贴了一封公开信,解释我没有支持西藏独立,就像一些人指责我的那样。但是我支持西藏的自由,就像中国的自由一样。所有的人都应该有自由,基本权利受到保护,就像中国政府宣称的一样。我希望这封信能够引发一些实实在在的讨论,但是人们只是更厉害地指责和奚落我而已。”

    评:王千源前后的行为已经使其在学生群体内丧失了可信性,或者说,别人基本已经她定性了。她在这篇文章中写则还有特别的意图,如继续使用”自由”这种刺激西方读者兴奋点的词汇,来博取认同、同情、支持。这段叙述也会创造这样一种感觉:其他中国学生对自由并不感兴趣,更倾向于支持专制。这当然迎合了西方读者的一些既有成见。

        

    “第二天早晨,一股风暴席卷了网络。我的照片被贴在了网上,我的额头上打印着”卖国贼!”的字样。然后我看到了令人惊恐的事情:我父母的身份证号都被贴了出来。我非常震惊,因为这些信息只能来自中国警方。”

    评:这个指控就更严重了,王把中国政府也拉进来了:中国政府是”幕后黑手”。

       

    “我看到了我父母在中国的家的详细地址,和号召人们去给”这个无耻的狗”一点教训的帖子。然后我意识到了事态的严重性。我收到很多电话恐吓我的人身安全。这很讽刺:我努力去阻止的东西,全部加诸我的身上了。 . ”

    “我第二天早晨和我母亲通了电话,她说她和我父亲要去躲藏起来,因为他们也受到了生命恐吓。她说我不该打电话给他们。从那时开始,简短的电子邮件成了我们唯一的联系方式。另一天,我在网上看到了我父母家的照片:门口倒扣着一桶粪尿。更加频繁地,我听说玻璃被打破和门被贴上猥亵标语的消息。并且我被告知,在集会讨论对我的制裁之后,我的高中撤回了我的毕业文凭,并且加强了爱国主义教育。 ”

    评:我认为这种上述死亡或安全恐吓的做法、泼粪的做法都是不正确的,而且也是违反中国的法律。但很可惜,中国人理性爱国主义从来得不到正面宣传,出现这样的很让人遗憾的事件,立即被西方媒体抓住成为靶子。王千源当然提供了珍贵的素材。

    最后一句话则是点睛了:高中撤销其毕业文凭,加强爱国主义教育,这当然又完全符合了西方的想象:”中国的青年爱国主义都是专制政府进行宣传洗脑导致的”。这一一手例证不正是西方媒体千方百计想要捕捉的么?

        

    “我理解人们如此情绪化和愤怒的缘由:在西藏发生的事情确实是悲剧性的。但是要把我钉死在十字架上,这是不可接受的。我相信独立思考的中国人明白这一点。因为那些人彼此煽风点火,表现得像暴徒一样,所以事情才变得这么糟糕。”

    评:这里,王千源当然又是”独立思考的”,掌握真理的少数中国人了。

    在叙述事件上,她的偏向性是惊人的。从来看不见一个全面的图景。比方说,在西藏发生的事情确实很不幸;中国与西方在该问题上的冲突也很不幸。但是在这些问题上,她从来没有任何尝试从西方身上找问题,做一点公允判断地努力,而是一面地批评中国。

    一方面看她选择讲了什么,另一方面要看她选择不讲什么。这种选择说明了什么倾向?

        

    “现在,杜克大学&#356

  26. “现在,杜克大学警方保护着我的人身安全,而中国网络上的打击还在继续。但是和那些诽谤我的人预期相反,我没有束手无策,偷偷逃跑。而我的回答,就是公开发表这件令人羞耻的事情,为了保护我的父母,也为了让人们能够反思自己的行为。我再也不害怕了,我决定检验我言论自由的权利。”

    评:这里又打出了关键字:言论自由。非常能引起读者的共鸣。读者想:好了,不管怎么样,你脱离了专制的中国,到了自由的美国,这里有真正的言论,你总可以说了吧?

    “因为语言是通向理解的桥梁。 ”

    评:从现点题。语言、沟通、交流,这些是她的卖点,也是文章的主线。在一群不讲道理、野蛮、非理性的人面前,这当然都是多么与众不同的品质啊。

            

        

    结论:

    王千源的文章确实让人吃惊,无论是在其偏向性上,还是在其结构上。

    偏向性:

    1) 文章通篇没有引述任何来自中国视觉的对西藏问题的看法;对中国处理西藏这一历史与现实问题上没有任何正面的评价

    2)一个多月来,文章在中国与西方在这次问题上的冲突,对西方的偏见、责任没有任何的触及,没有任何的批评;对中国也没有任何正面的评价;

    3) 对中国社会多年来的发展没有任何的触及,更没有正面的评价;

    4)对海内外爱国者运动没有任何正面的评价;对爱国者也没有任何的正面评价;对其性格则一边倒的描述为偏执、狭隘、非理性、野蛮、暴力;对Duke大学留学生的支持中国的活动–当然都是负面的评价。

    其一边倒的彻底性让人吃惊。这比西方媒体对华偏见极深的报道可谓有过之而无不及。

    其次是逻辑、结构上的巧妙编织:我们说,传达信息观念需要构建有力的两元对立,对读者造成强烈冲击。我们看她所构造的图景:

    1) 西藏 对 “中国”

        

    西藏:浪漫的、美好的,神秘的、自由的,温馨的,有精神价值追求的,人生充满意义的;

    中国:世俗的、物质主义的、价值空虚的、赤裸裸的资本主义、拜金主义的、专制的、压制言论自由的、一元化的、单一的、枯燥的、强迫教育/洗脑的、个人不自由的;

    2)藏人 对 “中国人”

    藏人:亲切的、友好的、温馨的、有精神追求的、饱满的、平和的、宽忍的

    中国人:世俗的、物质主义的、对西藏无知的、野蛮的

    3)支持西藏的示威者 对 支持中国的示威群体

    支持西藏的示威者:愿意对话的、弱小的、无援的、寡不敌众的、被殴打的受害者;另外没有什么不良特性

    支持中国的示威者:从小受物质主义、爱国主义灌输的对西藏不了解的无神论者;无理性的、野蛮的、暴力的、压制不同意见的、专制文化的代表、难以对话的

    王的这种勾画,是认真负责,客观理性全面的,还是偏颇的?

    王千源的事迹与文章完全迎合了西方媒体的想象;王千源的出现简直是神来之笔,在西方媒体最需要的时候,为它们提供了最完美的素材,第一手地验证了他们既有的对中国的种种想象,以及他们所期望看到的对中国民族主义运动的解释–宣传洗脑。

    王千源本人当然也利用了西方媒体出了一下名,泻了一下愤。

    之前如果有人对她的立场还不清楚的话,我觉得这篇文章基本上就是她比较明确的摊牌了。

    无论如何,从动机和结果上看,王发这样的文章都是错误的。从客观结果上看,她的文章验证、加深了西方媒体的既有的偏见。它的作用当然就远谈不上什么调停、调解了;这是对中国一面倒的攻击与丑化;它只能继续缩减中国在西方媒体本已不多的话语影响;最终的,它只能加深中外的误解、隔阂、矛盾;

    从这个角度看,只能说王千源是虚伪的、机会主义的。

    到这个份上,在老百姓心目中,她的汉奸这个帽子恐怕是摘不下来了。

    当然,西方媒体很快会忘记她。但是中国人民是会记住她的。

  27. @lin, thanks for posting the popular (if not the most popular) article about Grace’s article. However, after reading the analysis, I just feel sad. The tone of the critizing article is familar to me, and the logic is very familiar to me, with those back in 1920, back in 1960s. I would say, I completely disagree with what is stated in the article you quoted. I will talk more about it in the coming blog.

  28. wonton, she tried to make peace and try quiet down the situation. Acts like this should be commended, not pitied. Collateral damage never has a purpose. She should be encouraged, not made fun of for trying to help.

  29. To reaver 81

    Can’t apporve ur point. it’s too naive.

    Wang jinwei(汪精卫), if you know the name, also “tried to make peace and try quiet down the situation” in his point of view, but he is still remembered by the history as a “traitor”.or “cooperator”. So was Mr.Petain in France. A theorically goodwill action at a wrong moment, or a wrongdoing at a defining moment, would be much more harmful than hostile fires. Grace wang tried to look cooler or smarter than her classmates,but she is shockingly ignorant. She further helped demonizing Chinese people by talking her one-side story to those people already hostile to China, and a propaganda radio of US government. Should such kind of traitorous behavior be encouraged?

  30. First of all, I must say bravo to Ms. Wong. It’s so easy to slander and write 1000 comments from desktop, but to be on field and facing all these criticism is not an ordinary act with parent still there in China and having uncertain future ahead. I must thank her for following her heart.

    I am Tibetan. Every time I tried to join protest against Chinese govt. even sacrificing my day job and salary with motive my participation will affect death sentence and torture of political prisoners still in Tibet. I go with this motive and not with motive to denegrade any Chinese. HH the Dalai Lama always advised to talk and engage with common Chinese and also hardship Tibetan endured for all these years is because of Communist regime, but not of ordinary Chinese.

    Even this latest uprising, Chinese govt. has accused HH the Dalai lama for organizing this protest, but HH welcome international fact finding delegation to be allowed to go Tibet and investigate, but Chinese govt. still refused. Even 2 times staged visit of foreign journalist were disrupted by Tibetan protesters. As a Chinese you will surely know what will be your consequences in China if you protest against your ruler.

    Hope day will come when people in my country can live free from fear and suspicion.

  31. to rat

    a traitor gives out state secrets or goes against a person or entity they gave loyalty to in a oath. This is not that situation. Of coarse what she said is one sided, she was giving her thoughts and opinions on the situation, just as you have. Maybe it was naive of her to think she could help but to slander her for trying because you do not like her position, that is just shameful. That is what should not be encouraged.

  32. To reaver

    Ask French who was Mr.Petain. The WWI hero turned to traitor by merely signing a peace treaty with German and joining a cooperative government to keep south France unoccupied. He did all this after France’s defeat and he defended his doing as “trying to save the country”. But still no forgiveness.He was sentenced to death(changed to life-in-prison later) after the war.

    As for Grace Wang,there is no official condemnation on this little wicked figure. What she suffered is just what she protested to deserve: the right of free speech, this time of other people. People are just expressing their anger, perhaps sometime vocally violent,but not as bad as wildly broadcasted “goons”,”thugs” and “ChiNazi”(it’s definitely popular word on the net if you search the goolge). See, we ChiNazi has our little traitor. it’s fair.

    Mob behavior could be destructive(like culture revolution in china) or constructive(like French revolution). Something deeply hide behind such sentiment,basically anxiety for change. A strong government here keeps elite class( including Grace wang) feeling superior to those struggling hard for daily meals. Situation is complicated and sensitive,far beyond the torch relay or Tibet. If don’t understand politics, just stay far way from it. at least don’t be provocative at a wrong moment.

  33. @Tsering:

    Thank you for your post.

    Do understand that during the years of “Tibetian hardship” the rest of our country was not wallowing in excess.

    China is doing better now and Tibet also benefits.

    Please don’t deny the efforts.

    Yes, perhaps the tibetians are not satisfied from a religious point of view. But this is an unacceptable reason for breaking up our country. I agree that the government do have a roll to play in opening a dialogue with the people representing your community and I have written before if it needs to be the Dalai Lama, so be it. In this sense, I think more had to be done.

    By not allowing foreign delegations to investigate, China is not doing anything wrong. Please remember that we are a soverign nation and not Iraq. No soverigh country would allow this.

    I happened to read the Dalai Lama’s defination of autonomy under China and realised that his terms are really quite unattainable. I don’t know if he is simply starting at an extreme position first. Perhaps it turned off the government.

    The people of tibet can live free from fear and suspicion if they stop burning down shops and beating up innocent people on the streets. For a people advocating peace and harmony, they sure had a strange way of showing it.

    Are you saying that they are not accountable ??

    When I hope for a better life for China, I include everyone, including the people of tibet. It gives me no pleasure to see them harmed.

  34. @Jianshuo: Would you please consider deleting messages calling people “idiot”?

  35. @wonton

    pls,no deal with devil

    Negotiation with Dalai lama is politically impossible. That’s why the government refuses to fell into the trap. It’s nothing to do with human rights. It’s because of the cold reality of Geopolitics.

    1)Would Dalai lama abandon his 100k plus Tibetan in exiles, or his so-called government in exile? very unlikely

    .

    2)if China welcome Dalai,together with his clique in exile,back to Potala, what to do with such huge population of former exiles,most of them independence minded,including TYC? Let them roam freely and spread the flames of independence among the whole population?

    3)If so,when the time is ripe,maybe before or after “his holiness”‘s “next reincarnation”, there would be real threats of armed rebellions within the region,which Dalai lama includes not only Xizang,but Qinghai,part of Sichuan,Gansu and Yunnan as great Tibet.

    4)If China then complied with his other 2 conditions for so-called autonomy;withdraw troops and Han Chinese people from Great Tibet, then not only Tibet,but 1/4 of China’s current territory would turn to a hostile foreign land which is supported by western aids,both economically and militarily.

    5)Then China is in danger of collapse.

    6)Then we go back to poverty.

    7)Then westerners prevail again with no more threat of “yellow peril” or “red surge”.

    Can you figure out another picture for any dovish talk?

    don’t be too naive.

  36. @rat in hat:

    Hi, thanks for your comments.

    I have to disagree with you on some points simply because I think we cannot continue in this present fashion. Tibet is an issue we must deal with, and peacefully. A solution must be found and it must be one acceptable to all and not just non-tibetians. Otherwise a threat of rebellion will always be there.

    Our refusal to address the issue and deal with it is not a strength but a weakness.

    The terms set by the Dalai Lama can all be negotiated, as long as we come to the table. I believe that the west would be more concerned if we were to settle the issues and becomes stronger because of it. Right now it is a chink(sorry I can’t find a better word) in our armour exploited to the maximum by our enemies.

    Come on ! we are all one people. Stop being so divisive.

    And no, I am very sure there is NO danger of collapse of China. If ever we go back to poverty, it will have the least to do with Tibet.

    You can’t convince anyone if you are unreasonable.

    Please not give me the nonsense about not needing to be reasonable in dealing with traitors.

    Cutting you nose to spite your face is stupid.

    If you need to be a hawk, at least be a sensible one.

    I consider myself a patriot regardless of what others may think.

  37. @wonton

    No one doubt your patriotism but don’t try to play with politics with ignorance.

    A simple question:how many times have you been to Tibet? hv u read anything in dpeth about Tibet,not Chinese,but those serious english ones including their free tibet bible “seven years in Tibet”. I hv been to Tibet for 2 times and another 3 times on the nepal side of himalayas. I met many tibetans,no only in Tibet,but also many brought up in exiles. I think i understand them better than you. My opinion on tibet has been brewing and changing for more than 10 years. while i feel sorry for their rich colors going to fade in waves of globalization, I think Tibet should not become another isolated “human zoo” or “culture village” on the earth. Tibet deserve to be mordenized.

    I saw tensions were high and low at times. This year the noise was at its peak just because of Olympics.

    All ordinary Tibetans I met on the way,including those exiles,were peaceful and friendly with Chinese, the silent majority. Only some lamas,not all, were arrogant and sometime hositle. Presume they want back their lost priviliges.

    Time is on our side. Their anger will lose its steam when the dalai lama,now at his 73, soon begin his next reincarnation. why hurry? we belive in evolution,not revolution.

  38. I also have a post on my blog, I don’t think Wang is in the middle

    http://factschina.blogspot.com/

  39. @nyy,

    Regarding “Would you please consider deleting messages calling people “idiot”?” I won’t do it immediately when I see personal attack. I made it clear that attacking an opinion is absolutely OK, but attacking a person, like calling “idiot” for a named person is not acceptable. If there is a tendency that the flaming keep on, I typically will jump in and ask people to stick to the basic rule. I do reserve the right of deleting a comment if it breaks this rule, but in the last 5 years, I almost haven’t exercised this right.

  40. @nyy,

    Regarding “Would you please consider deleting messages calling people “idiot”?” I won’t do it immediately when I see personal attack. I made it clear that attacking an opinion is absolutely OK, but attacking a person, like calling “idiot” for a named person is not acceptable. If there is a tendency that the flaming keep on, I typically will jump in and ask people to stick to the basic rule. I do reserve the right of deleting a comment if it breaks this rule, but in the last 5 years, I almost haven’t exercised this right.

  41. rat,

    Petain and Ms. Wang has no link or connection. Death Threats and intimidation are not an acceptable response to protest. Calling someone goon is worse then breaking things and hurting people? No, violence is worse, that is why in laws of nations murder gets the highest punishment.

    You don’t like her opinion, fine. Defeat the opinion instead of demonizing Ms. Wang and justifying the vulgar actions taken against her.

  42. To reaver

    If breaking glass is a serious form of violence,then China must be a very very violent country. People break glass, slam each other everyday everywhere,probably just for minor disputes. Smashing a piece of glass needs a mob? come on. U can criticize somebody of short-tempered,but there is no mob. it’s merely one man’s expression,and we do not bother to comment. smashing glass is something cultural rather than political. Should we discuss the culture of smashing glass later?

    about hurting,so far i hv not heard any news of physical hurting. I presume her parents are hiding from shame rather than fear. I don’t think we hv young men patriotic enough to brave his own life for such passion. If talking about mentally hurting, i can say there are thousands of people feeling hurt more than her. Besides those angry youth,her provocation also caused anger to many peaceful and non-political hearts. Anger is no comfort,while arguing with her defenders is more painstaking.

    meanwhile, calling someone a goon might be OK. Calling a nation “goons” in public is certainly much worse than merely smashing a piece of glass. remember, you are among the “goons” ,and you think the glass is bigger?

  43. rat,

    you are saying the culture is violent and that is okay because it is the culture? You are also saying it is okay to threaten to kill someone, intimidate them and their family members and be violent because they made someone mad? Again you continue to justify of angry youth and demonize someone for having an opinion that does not agree with your particular point of view.

  44. Having watched the YouTube video, this is my take on it.

    The situation appears different from what she painted. I can’t make out too clearly the voices over the horrible music, but I heard a couple of Pro-tibetans, one shouting ” … China kills, China oppresses, China…..” Then a Chinese, for want of a better retort, shouts ” Liar, Liar…” etc.

    But in general, it seemed quite peaceful. Then in she came, making some kind of hand sign, looking back at the Pro-tibetan team (for assurance?) addressing the masses of Pro-Chinese in English (!!!) She takes centre-stage and lectures about knowledge, the use of knowledge, the need for independent judgment to the Chinese group in English (knowing full well that they are weak in English- in her own words)

    I don’t know what to make out of this and I don’t want to speculate. All I can say is that at this point, she has lost her role as a mediator (if there was one to begin with) and chosen her stance. There is to me, a question mark over her actions. Naivety? Calculated? Or a mixture of both?

    Whatever it is, I’m sure she did not anticipate the kind of backlash she’d get from her countrymen. And their angry response to her, unfortunately, has closed all doors for reconciliation, barring humiliation.

    I can only hope that she focuses on mastering 10 languages, grows in wisdom and not be a pawn to some anti-Chinese, Free Tibet, human rights brandishing organization.

    Time will tell.

    Whilst I detest the death threats to her, I must add in fairness, that death threats (Die, Chink die…. Etc) have been sent to many Chinese posters on YouTube as well. While it is not so close to home as in Grace’s case, the venom and spite is no less and equally abhorrent.

  45. I have this to say to Grace Wang.

    Why settle on only ten languages? Do not sell yourself short!

    I met a priest, in a church function, who can speak at least 18 different languages. The world record is 24 languages, I think. I also personally know a girl who was capable of five different languages at age of 12 and she was fluent in all of them. She and my kids attended same school.

    Please take some time to study the subject before you want to get involved in that subject. There are many places you can learn. An easy place for you to start to learn – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6aUEV9-MC4&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6QTb35douw&feature=related

  46. @rat in hat:

    Tibet deserves to be modernized on whose terms ? your’s ??

    You understand them ? so where are the chorus of Tibetian support for your stand ? Yeah, silent majority… sure is deafening.

    Do pay attention to yourself.

    Don’t play politics with ignorance.

    Anyways looks like there might be some talks so I’ll just wait and see the results first.

  47. @mei: I think she was either not too bright and looked for attention at the wrong arena or her saw a good chance of getting a US citizenship by pleading persecution. But whatever it is, she going to get her green card fast ! I am not too concerned bout those death threats. She’ll probabily be still alive ten years from now and probabily has a cushy job waiting for her at Amnesty International or something like that.

  48. @PeDu,

    Whilst there is a lot of expose on the ills of communist China, there is very little corresponding examination of the true nature of Tibetan culture. Or if there is, it is promptly dismissed as some mindless propaganda by the brainwashed Chinese.

    The Pro-Tibetan human rights activists believe what they to believe. They root for the underdog, but forget that sometimes the underdogs were once top dogs of the most oppressive kind.

    Read this book: The Shadow of the Dalai Lama by Victor and Victoria Trimondi, pen names of Herbert and Mariana Röttgen, an e-book available on http://www.iivs.de/~iivs01311/SDLE/Index.htm

    This book corroborates with my understanding of the Tibetan buddhism, of which, together with Hinduism and Christianity once ranked high in my youthful fascination and quest for God.

    Much of the Tibetan’s bloodthirsty culture today is whitewashed , sanitised and spiritualised to cater to Western sensibilities.

    To me, there is NOTHING, spiritual about the abasement, defilement and bondage that the ordinary Tibetans have to go through in the past.

    It baffles me to know that a religious culture that has such incredibly lowest of the low regards for human rights, is now the poster boy culture for the human rights activists.

    The Tibetans do not deserve this kind of abuse, not in the past, not today. They deserve to live as humans. Cultural genocide, you say? What aspects of the culture do you want to sustain or revive?

    For the sake of the Tibetans themselves, it is all the more necessary (for us including the Tibetans) to flick away the halo over the Dalai Lama today; scrutinize his professions and actions in reality.

    Is this possible with the kind of teachings they get in Exile schools? I bet you my last dollar they are no less ‘brainwashed’ than the ‘villainous Commies’.

    Human rights? Tell me if there is anything truly democratic about the Tibetan parliament in exile. The constitution passed in 1963, “based on modern democracy” is a sham. The Dalai Lama remains the political and spiritual God King, his family members and clansmen are appointed executive positions in government. Internal dissent is suppressed, rival sect believers “excommunicated”.

    For an autonomous Tibet to exist peacefully, the Dalai Lama has to relinquish his political role ala Catholic pope (Strasbourg Declaration 1998).

    However, it is purely speculation and on a hope and prayer that it will come to pass. Nepotism doesn’t reform itself; despite the Dalai’s outward calls for separation of the religious orders and the state, he knows full well that he will be conferred full and absolute powers. The Dalai himself said that it is not possible for resolutions to be passed against him.

    At this moment, the Tibetan Youth Congress is advocating violence. The Head of the Congress, under internal criticism (for going against the Dalai’s middle road stance), pointed out that the Dalai himself had called upon him to pursue this hard-line stance.

    Beijing is not far off when they point to the Dalai for the cause of the violence in Lhasa. Scoff at them, deride them, but the high powers in Beijing are no dimwits, just folks with crude PR skills.

    It is a sleek political double play by the Dalai whereby he positions himself as a moderate voice whom Beijing will have to listen to. And this is precisely what is happening right now. It may seem like a good thing, sounds like a good thing, but I’m very, very concerned.

  49. “How I wish I have a country that is more open to different opinions, and tolerate diversity. “I also sincerely wish that too.As a Chinese University Student borned in 80s,I’m quite familiar with that so called patriotic passion.Without deep thinking,without tolerance,we can too easily get angry with different views。I personally suppose it’s a result of the education system.We have indoctrinate the exclusive concept for too long a time and became a little narrow minded and lose some of the capabilty of thinking comprehensively.

  50. If you guys spend sometime googling “Scott Savitt”,you will know this stupid girl is completely used by a veteran.

    Wang Jianshuo, don’t be naive.

  51. @ Mei

    You seem so confident that you know the “TRUTH” about Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduisim.

    I wish I was that confident. I wish that by just reading one book I would understand everything about Tibet, Tibetan Buddhism, Christianity, and Hinduism.

    It is sad that you see only the negative about Tibetan culture/buddhism. I would never generalize about an entire group of people and their history the way you do. I could list for you the way China’s culture is “debased” “bloodthirsty” etc… but that would not be a true picture of China or Chinese people since there are very beautiful aspects of Chinese culture in the past and in the present.

    For me, I appreciate many things about Tibetan culture. I think the art is beautiful — the buddha statutes, the thangka paintings, the sand mandala, I think the music is very lovely, and the ritual dance. I think Tibetan buddhism is also a very beautiful way of living based on non-violence, compassion, forgiveness — I am not saying that every person who is Tibetan or a Buddhist has achieved these goals but at the very least these ideals exist in the culture — which to me is preferable than a society based on solely on selfish materialistic goals of consumption — a big house, a big car etc…

    (Mei, if you are sincerely interested in buddhism, I would suggest you practice buddhism not just read about it. For example, although I do not consider myself a buddhist, buddhist meditation practices have created much peace in my life. Try Zen or Vipassana if Tibetan Buddhism is not to your liking)

    It seems that in every discussion of Tibet or Dalai Lama it is always a black and white description. The Dalai Lama is either an angel or a demon. Tibet in the past is heaven or hell. One does not need to believe that Tibet was paradise, however, in order to support more autonomy for Tibetans.

    As you are probably aware, both Mao and the Dalai Lama were contemporary of each other. If I had to choose (thankfully I dont), I would pick the Dalai Lama over Mao any day. But that’s just me…..if you prefer Mao then that is your choice but you should allow Tibetans their choice as well.

    Peter

  52. Peter.Can’ agree with you. Tibetan tankas might be colorful,but life there was not hollywood like. While the “godking” singing his Medusa songs of next life in his golden palace, common people there had to make their miserable lives in this cruel world. That’s why this land of “Myths” , or “lies” if you think the other way :), was so isolated to outside before 1950( see “7 years in Tibet” by “H.H “the dalai lama’s dearest Nazi friend)

    Tibetan Buddhism is the most barbarian form of “Buddhism”, given nowhere else had such a theocratic (god king) regime in the name of Buddha, and even worse, it was built on slavery. Buddha was a human,merely an enlighten human. then we hv the dalai lama,the GOD,created by a Mongolian khan. We just see the ugly lion flags of secular ambitions in their course,and nowhere for the flags of Buddha’s compassion.

  53. whathappensabove

    April 28, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    i think there’s a saying that says something like “as it is above, so it is below” referring to the notion that things on higher levels in some sort of ‘hierarchy’, are often mirrored in lower levels (such as at a company/country)

    does anyone else see the parallels comparing the lack of communication between the leaders of China and the leaders of Tibet (HH the DL) on the one side, and the lack of communication between the Chinese protest groups and the Tibetan/Westerner groups?! Maybe if the leaders of the World got their 5hit together, so would the rest of the World :) peace please, we don’t need another Israel/Palestine on this Planet.

  54. Hi Rat in hat

    I am not a Tibetan Buddhist but I have read many books by Lamas such as Chogyam Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe and Pema Chodron. None of these books are about politics in China or Tibet and but about their views on buddhism, and I don’t agree with you that Tibetan buddhism is barbaric. The teachings are very similar to other types of buddhism including Zen and Therevada which I am also familar– the truth of impermanence, not killing, not lying, not stealing, not drinking, compassion, and nonviolence etc….

    As for the Dalai Lama being a god-king — that is the tradition of Tibetans — China had many god-kings in the past as well under its emperors — “the son of heavan” — and under Mao, which was a communist god-king. So not so sure I see much of a difference.

    You seem to think that because Tibetan society was not perfect that everything was wrong with it. Do you think we should judge Chinese culture by Mao? Is that the standard we should apply?

    Do you think it would be fair to say that everything in Chinese culture is despicable based on the cultural revoluation. Also many people including yourself always seem to reduce Tibet to what happened in the past. Would you judge China by its own past? Do you think China before the revolution was much prettier than Tibet? Do you think China after the revolution was a paradise?

    Finally, we live in a world where societies can appear very different from us and many socieites have practices that we think are very barbaric and would like to change. But does that give us the right “to liberate” people from what we think of as slavery? I don’t have the answer and it is hard question.

    Most of the time, when one society liberates another society it is never for the real reason of seeking to help. I am thinking of America’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. Afghanistan under the Taliban could arguably be said to be very much like Tibet in that it was a feudalistic theocratic state. But I am not convinced that therefore the United States because it has “modern” ideas can justify its occupation and invasion simply for that reason.

    Peter

  55. Sorry this “his holiness Dalai Lama” really makes me laugh! (Sorry this is just so funny!) So do you think “his holiness Dalai Lama” is skillful enough to administrate a province? What’s more, tell him that politics is dirty (let’s assume he doesn’t know it yet), does he still want the political power over Tibet?

  56. By “administrate a province” I mean does “his holiness Dalai Lama” know what is regional infastructure and how to make a region economically prosperous? Has he shown this sort of skill or gift before? Religion is sometimes not a bad thing but a religious leader (if he is) is not necessarily qualified to be a government officer or (hopefully not) a conquerer. Nobody wants all tibetans become beggers whose only way to survive is to beg money from human rights organisations or the US government.

  57. To Peter:

    People should not judge China according to its past because it is already changed a lot economically–so is Tibet nowadays. If you don’t want people to look at you in the old points of view, the simplest way is to show them that you bring changes. What about “his holiness Dalai Lama”? As far as I know he has a small town under his control in Indian. I have seen the pictures for people’s life in that town. Oh…..my…..god!

    And did the riotors in Tibet burn down the supermarkets and beat people? Even “his holiness Dalai Lama” himself admits this. I don’t know much about Buddism, but I know one golden rule: in a political battle, neither of the two parties are innocent.

  58. @PeDu,

    That one book is about what lies beneath. It is easy to be seduced by words of peace.

    You can have the eight fold noble paths and four noble truths but for all the dharma, actions ought to speak louder than words. Is compassion that is professed shown? Is love manifested?

    WJS mentioned in his current blog entry, “When people’s life is not in the control of human, religion is the very powerful to help people.”

    Yes, it is powerful to help them cope because they believe it is their karma; they are suffering the consequences of their incorrect thoughts, incorrect actions, incorrect speech, incorrect understanding.

    In other words, grit your teeth and get along with your samsara. Go on your grueling pilgrimage, donate your silver and preferably gold to the more enlightened ones reborn as lamas, for it is also their lot in life to enjoy these. Que sera sera. A powerful opiate it is.

    So ironically, the mother who prays for her child’s safety also has no second thoughts about a 2 year pilgrimage to Lhasa, fully prostrating at every other step with her child begging on the way.

    It is a very powerful imagery. It makes you think. It makes you wonder at the stronghold their religion has in their lives; body, mind, soul and spirit. A total submission. Can the non- Tibetans who go on ‘pilgrimages’ ever be at the same point of total submission and extreme vulnerability to manipulation? To be meek fodder for greed and cruelty? Can you?

    You may find it spiritual, but if it happens to me, I might as well not live. Is there even the notion of free will?

    Yes, the sand mandalas are beautiful as art and so are the Tibetan sculptures. I can appreciate them for their texture, form and colours, I can even marvel at the artist’s skill and analyze the way the artist expresses his world view (even if I don’t agree with his world view). I love art, I love architecture. But what happens when art is debased by the way it is used as a tool for manipulation in Tibetan Buddhism? To put it mildly, it is not amusing. It happened in the past, may not be happening now, but will it happen in the future?

    Perhaps reformation (like the Protestant reformation) is in order? Will it be tolerated by the Dalai Lama, given that there is already suppression of internal dissent? As long as Buddhocracy is upheld, there is no running away from abuses.

    ***

    Pardon me; I need to go to sleep. Too much caffeine, that’s why I am up at this hour, but now fatigue is setting in. Discuss later.

  59. @Cheng

    I dont know if the Dalai Lama is skillful or not to govern a province. It takes more than one person in any case to goven a province — I dont think Hu Jintao rules China by himself and I dont even know if the Dalai Lama would be the governor — they have a prime minister in addition to the Dalai Lama and other officials in the exile government.

    Your comment about how Tibet would become beggars under the Dalai Lama is also speculation. Even the Dalai Lama has stated in public interview has stated that Tibet needs China for its modernization and perhaps is the reason he is seeking autonomy instead of independence. But again this is all speculation and I would prefer not to comment on things I dont have direct first hand knowledge.

    Regarding the uprising in Lhasa, I dont think theres any dispute (at least for me) that it was violent and caused suffering to people.

  60. @Mei

    This is really not the forum to discuss Tibetan buddhism and I am not here to convince you to become a follower of Tibetan buddhism or that it is a perfect religion.

    You point out some flaws of buddhism — like how ideas about Karma can be used to justify cruelty and injustice. But any system of belief can be used to justify cruelty and injustice– not just religious beliefs.

    Let’s look at Marxism which I am also a great admirer of — it teaches international solidarity, rights for working class, gender equality, racial equality — Now has Marxism always been applied correctly — do you think Stalin or Mao or Pol Pot applied Marxism in its noble form? — does that mean there is “no value” to all Marxists ideas and that they should be thrown away — I dont think so. And just as there are sincere Marxist who try to follow ideals of Marx for the benefit of others there are sincere Tibetan buddhists who try to follow the ideals of Buddha —

    anyway, my whole point was to respond to your blanket condemnation of an entire religion and an entire culture. I have known many tibetan buddhists and I find much that is admirable and beautiful about their culture — not perfect — but show me any society that is flawless…

    and again i’ll also point out that it is always tempting to stand outside a culture and judge the culture for its imperfections without being inside the culture — isnt that why Chinese people are so upset at Western criticism about how barbaric China is today, its lack of sanitaton, pollution, corruption, human rights abuse? Should there be a mass invasion of China so that it can be a “respectable country” like the West?

    Peter

  61. @mei

    “So ironically, the mother who prays for her child’s safety also has no second thoughts about a 2 year pilgrimage to Lhasa, fully prostrating at every other step with her child begging on the way.”

    You use an abstract example and an extreme example to prove your point. Do you know this pilgrim woman who did this or is this from the same book you read again?

    I can tell you from my direct experience that my Tibetan friend, Pema, has three children, and is also a devout Tibetan buddhist, and she lives a pretty normal life and loves and cares for her children no different than an American or Chinese mother.

    “It is a very powerful imagery. It makes you think. It makes you wonder at the stronghold their religion has in their lives; body, mind, soul and spirit. A total submission. Can the non- Tibetans who go on ‘pilgrimages’ ever be at the same point of total submission and extreme vulnerability to manipulation? To be meek fodder for greed and cruelty? Can you?”

    You seem to think that only Tibetan people are involved in a cult that can brainwash them into submission. First, I dont think that its true for the Tibetans I know. Second, have you ever considered that we are ALL part of one “cult” or another. Some of us belong to religous cults. Some of us belong to Marxist cults. Some of us belong to capitalist cults.

    Each of these cults have a way of shaping our views of the world and if we let them can brainwash us into doing fanatical things. Again think of the Marxist Pol Pot in Cambodia who killed their own people — was that not an extreme example of cult activity — even though it had nothing to do with buddhism.

    Think also of the “United States democracy right wing cult” where Americans will voluntarily send their children to fight a needless war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is that not worse than going on a pilgrimage with a child? At least, the Tibetan woman is not killing other people’s children. So before you judge Tibetans as the only people who can be brainwashed into becoming “meek fodder” for greed and cruelty– look around the world — sheeps are being slaughtered every day.

    Peter

  62. I find the whole Grace Wang story very interesting for several reasons.

    1) Why is there such a big deal about this girl? Let’s assume for now that her views are wrong, ignorant, and mistaken regarding Tibet and China I don’t understand the overwhelming anger at her. Has no one ever made a mistake, or have a wrong or ignorant opinion? From the outcry, it would seem like she killed someone rather than just expressing her opinion. Is this just western media hype or are Chinese people truly upset at her?

    2) Green Card Issue. I have worked for several years as a lawyer in the US helping people get greencards based on political asylum. I can tell you this, especially after September 11, it is not as easy as people seem to imagine. The cases that I have worked on that usually win involve more than just death threats but include physical assualt, rape, torture, imprisonment. Although I think Grace may have a case, it is not necessarily a sure winner, especially since in a month, no one will probably care about her.

    Also, getting asylum status is not the same as getting a greencard. After she gets asylum status she will have to wait a year to apply for a greencard and then will have to wait for several more years to get a Greencard. If Grace really wanted to have a greencard I think she could have found an easier way like marrying one of her fellow American Free Tibet protestors — she would get a greencard in six months.

    Also, one of the problems with getting asylum status is that you cannot return to your homeland after you get asylum. So no trips back to China to see her parents.

  63. @peter

    I had direct experience in contacting with those pilgrims and beggars in Tibet. What Mei said is true. Tibetans go to pilgrimage in family unit,with all their boys and girls( there is no strict “one child policy” on Tibetans,especially rural population). They hv professional equipments for the prostreting, a leather apron and wood “gloves”.And most of them are rural peasants,not lucky enough as ur friend to get proper education,nor likely for their children.

    Back in 1990’s when I fist visited Tibet,Lhasa was flooded by beggars,among them lamas,pilgrims,children,together with sheep and dogs roaming free everywhere,just like a medieval bazaar. Little children sitting in the connor of monasteries,very shy of begging.But they begged me for a used ticket,which had beautiful pics on it. It was heartbreaking to look through their big crystal eyes on dirt-covered faces. They were curious about everything,just as other children in the world. But their future is denied by their traditionally “pious”, poor and illiterate parents who only believe in getting life better by “good rebirth”, not hardworking.Yes,the imagination in camera is powerful, but the reality is just too cold.

    You christens also had bad stories of inquizitions,crusades,St.Bartholomew’s day massacre. You should understand that religeons are always spiritually oppressive, unless they become more secular and apolitical,just like what you christens hv achieved through centuries of progress in the way of science.

    In science and education we believe. Leaving somebody alone in the darkness just for richmen’s curiosity,is no less inhuman than keeping animals in the zoo. If something is not adapted to today’s world, let it go in nature’s choice. It’s evolution. oh,forget you are an opponent of Mr.Darwin :)

  64. @PeDu,

    My posts are not about the comparison of Marxism and Tibetan Buddhism. It is not an issue about who is more oppressive than the other, or which has more value than the other. Cults are everywhere. Does one need to be a _______ devotee to understand ______? If so, then, nobody has the right to critique anything to that is not personally produced or experienced. Having a first hand experience is important. But facts do not make up the truth. Doesn’t detachment brings about certain objectivity?

    I am very happy that your friend Pema is living a normal live, presumably in the USA? Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise for the Tibetans in exile to be out of old Tibet, because, the bondage of absolute tyranny is being broken. Perhaps Tibetan Buddhism can be practiced untainted by the abuse of the elites.

    It will be interesting to hear the points of view of Tibetans who have lived a certain period prior to 1950, instead of the usual born and bred in Dharamsala, or in the West.

    Cruelty and hardships suffered under past Marxist China (which has undoubtedly happened) should not be a veil for the historical reality of the years under old Tibetan buddhocracy.

    Let the Tibetans be informed. They have a right to know. Let the Tibetans in exile be informed of the bad AND the good that is currently in Chinese Tibet and not dismiss it as hell on earth as a conditioned reflex and dream on of ShangriLa. Do not whitewash away the past and the past past. Then if they wish to be subservient to the Dalai Lama, I have nothing else to say. Peace.

  65. “靈 台 無 計 逃 神 矢 , 風 雨 如 磐 瘖 故 園 。 寄 意 寒 星 荃 不 察 , 我 以 我 血 薦 軒 轅”

    Quoted from local daily.

  66. @Mei

    You and I share much in common. It seems that you feel sincere compassion towards people whom you see as suffering from being brainwashed by their culture, their religion, their government. You want to relieve them of their suffering, their misguided opinions, their ignorance. You don’t like to see people being exploited in the name of religon or communism or for any other reason. There is no disagreement here.

    I think perhaps the crux of our disagreement is that you believe that it is possible to be a “detached” observer and that there is an objective truth. I disagree because we are not talking about some empirical scientific observations like whether water is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen. We are talking about history and politics– which is always debatable, contestable, full of biases and prejudices on BOTH sides. As they say, history is always written by the victorious.

    One thing I find interesting is that your view of Tibetns resembles remarkably the condescening view that many Westerners have about China today: if only those communist brainwashed Chinese with their red-flag waving mob knew the “TRUTH” they would have a revolt against the Beijing regime and instill democarcy and human rights and freedom and be a modern society “just like us.”

    The reason I brought up the comparsion with China under Marxism is not to play a game of debating which is worse: a communist dictatorship or a corrupt theocracy. I bring the Marxist example to point to you, how using your logic with Tibet, we can make also make the same blanket generalization about how barbaric Chinese people/Chinese culture. It is easy to take a partial snapshot at any culture, Tibetan or Chinese or French or American, and generalize about an entire group of people and their culture.

    My point is that the issue is more complicated than you present –certainly, Tibet was no Shangri-La, but neither was China nor many other places in the world. if you are going to judge Tibet by its past then it is only fair that you judge China by its past. China and other countries have evolved in the last fifty years and I see no reason Tibet would not have evolved even without China’s invasion.

    As for your criticism of the Dalai Lama’s nepotism with respect to the exile government, do you think China’s current political system is a model of openness and democratic participation? Do you recall that recently Hu Jia, a political activist involved in AIDS/HIV issue, was sentenced to 3 1/2 years for criticizing the government. (Even the US which claims– ridiculously– to be the leader of democracy — has the son of former president as the current president, the wife of a former president running for presidency) So again I bring in these comparison because I find it very lopsided to harp on the failings of the Dalai Lama without considering the full context of the Government that is currently in control of Tibet.

    The image you seem to have of Tibetans is that they are all these religously brainwashed people who are ignorant about their own history and the current state of affairs in Tibet. That has not been my experience at least with the Tibetans I know who live in the Bay Area. Some of them — like my friend Karma– still have family in Tibet and know what is going on in Tibet from their family.

    Peter

  67. @rat in hat

    Thanks for your post. I agree with you that religion can sometimes be used as a tool for oppression, but it can also be used for liberation as well — many of the people involved in the American civil rights movement like Martin Luther King were devout Christians, Nelson Mandela in South Africa who led the fight against apartheid in S. Africa is also a devout christian. It depends on the person.

    Oh and I have no problems with science or Darwin or evolution. I am NOT a christian. I dont have a religion unless you consider sleeping a religion. ;-)

    Peter

  68. I thought I was reading a passage from my uncle’s writing during the Cultural Revolution. Have we as Chinese learned nothing in 30 years? The same ignorance, the same hate-mongering, the same demeaning words. Whether you agree with one side of the Tibetan issue or another, it does not matter but how you treat other people’s ideas as you would like your own ideas to be treated. We have learned nothing and I am ashamed of us all.

    And, by the way, yes, my uncle was a teacher killed during the Cultural Revolution for being a “traitor” and “too western”.

    “Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds.”

    –Albert Einstein

  69. It might be interesting for “rat in hat” to learn that many of the stereotypes about Tibetans and Tibetan buddhism which he/she seems to be influenced by, was created by Cristian Missionaries throughout centuries and later exploited by British occupiers of Tibet. How it was revived decades later together in the 1960s with a Marxist concepts of Serfs by the Chinese occupiers of Tibet is another story.

    If you know Mandarin, you might find this call-in show on Tibets “serfs” interesting.

    从前西藏是不是农奴社会

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33vgtUsxGGs

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