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.
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.
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).
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.
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”….
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.
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.
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.
Thank you for your cheap shot.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
Wang Jianshuo, I admire your courage.
鲁迅《热风.随感录三十八》1918.11.15 (in Chinese).
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?
@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.
@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.
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.
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.
A brilliant analysis on Grace Wang’s article
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.
Here is the English version of that analysis mentioned in my previous post.
(My1510.cn Blog) An analysis of Grace Wang’s essay in The Washington Post. By ‘Chairman Rabbit.’ April 22, 2008.
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?
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…
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.
Grace is not a traitor.
Intimidation of her parents is wrong.
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.
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。
《MY CHINA, MY TIBET–Caught in the Middle, Called a Traitor》
Grace Wang Sunday, April 20, 2008; Page B01
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。
“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。”
“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！” ”
“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。 . ”
1） 西藏 对 “中国”
2）藏人 对 “中国人”
3）支持西藏的示威者 对 支持中国的示威群体
@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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
@Jianshuo: Would you please consider deleting messages calling people “idiot”?
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.
@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.
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.
I also have a post on my blog, I don’t think Wang is in the middle
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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
@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.
@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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
“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.
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.
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 :)
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.
“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.
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.
@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. ;-)
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.”
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.