As China shouts its line on Tibet, is anybody listening?

By David Bandurski — Tibet is a touchy tinderbox of a subject — not to mention an incredibly complex one — and so we have long avoided mention of the “T” word on our project Website. Sifting through Chinese news coverage, however, is our raison d’être at the China Media Project. And as we’ve gone about minding our daily business in recent days, the headlines have doggedly clamored for our attention:

In People’s Daily: “Treasuring the fruits of democratic reform: celebrating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of millions of Tibetan serfs”
In Guangming Daily: “Treasuring the fruits of democratic reform: celebrating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of millions of Tibetan serfs”
In Economic Daily: “Treasuring the fruits of democratic reform: celebrating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of millions of Tibetan serfs”
At Xinhua Online: “Treasuring the fruits of democratic reform: celebrating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of millions of Tibetan serfs
In Sichuan Daily: “Treasuring the fruits of democratic reform: celebrating the 50th anniversary of the liberation of millions of Tibetan serfs”

. . . and in Zhejiang Daily, People’s Daily Online, Gansu Daily, Beijing Daily, CPPCC Daily, CCTV.com, Qinghai Daily, Science & Technology Daily . . .

megaphone3.JPG

[ABOVE: "Megaphone" by Just Marc, available at Flickr.com under Creative Commons license.]

The list goes on and on. The above article, amplified across scores of official newspapers yesterday, even got a steroid injection of pre-publicity on Sunday’s official nightly newscast at China Central Television.

You can’t buy that kind of publicity — unless, of course, you’re an authoritarian government.

We don’t mean to dredge up that old wisdom — Vladimir Lenin’s, wasn’t it? — about how, if you repeat a lie often enough, people will begin to believe it. This isn’t a provocative post about whether the CCP has its facts right or wrong. (For that, we refer you to the latest English-language coverage of protests in Tibet, a rather stark counterpoint to the carnival atmosphere in the official media).

But when we sat down yesterday to sort through a cross-section of Chinese coverage of Tibet in the last few months, it was eye-opening to realize just how much there was. There have been 3,087 articles with the keyword “Tibet” in Chinese newspapers this month according to our database, and 817 of these have had “Tibet” in the headline.

These numbers actually pale in comparison to coverage in March and April last year, when Chinese media heaped scorn on the “Dalai clique” and the “hostile foreign forces” sowing unrest in China after large-scale riots in the region. But last month, even as the CCP was gearing up for the sensitive anniversary of the 1959 uprising, there were half as many articles with “Tibet” in the headline as there have been so far this month — with days yet to go until the 28th, which the CCP has designated “Tibetan Serf Emancipation Day”.

This spring surge in Chinese coverage of Tibet is entirely understandable given the historical significance of this month and what are clearly ongoing political sensitivities in the region.

What struck me, however, as I read through People’s Daily coverage of Tibet yesterday — my database print-out gave me a 183-page tome of coverage in this official paper alone going back to March 1 — was just how insulated and pointless China’s attempt to push its own message seems to have been so far.

There has been a great deal of coverage this year about how China plans to launch its own international media ventures with the (greatly misguided, I think) hope of upping its “share of global public opinion.” Judging from the international response to all of the CCP’s noise on Tibet, it seems they could really use the help. But if these new international outlets play the same game, offering one-sided coverage, they can probably expect the same results.

If you go back just a few weeks, China has spoken volumes about Tibet, the “true situation” in Tibet, the CCP’s cultural contributions to Tibet (gainsaying the “Dalai cliques” supposed slander about the “destruction of Tibetan culture”). It has published supposed personal accounts that testify to progress wrought by the CCP in Tibet. And of course it has peddled the usual propaganda tropes: “Only in the embrace of the socialist national family, upholding the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, cleaving to the socialist system . . . has Tibetan society been able to achieve continued development and the Tibetan people enjoy a prosperous today and an even brighter tomorrow!” (That’s from Sunday’s People’s Daily).

But nothing speaks better to the seeming pointlessness of this public relations effort than the reception given to a flesh-and-blood delegation to the U.S. and Canada recently, which included NPC delegate and “Living Buddha” Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak.

People’s Daily covered the delegation again yesterday, with an article on page 3 that quoted Tenzinchodrak as saying:

“Right now many people in the West have misconceptions about Tibet and basically fail to understand Tibet. I and the other four members of the delegation are all Tibetans, born and raised, and we all come from the grassroots. We are officials, doctors, village cadres, and we understand Tibet and represent the Tibetan people. We have made this journey with the hope of connecting with them face-to-face and having a discussion. I am confident this will help them better understand Tibet.”

Tenzinchodrak was in Toronto, where he hosted a “forum” on Tibet and later, said People’s Daily, gave “exclusive interviews to several major Canadian broadcasters.”

Strangely, though, this official delegation, “Living Buddha” notwithstanding, seems to have gotten no coverage where it counts — zero, zip, ling (零).

The delegation traveled thousands of miles, straight into the milling media hives of North America (Washington, New York and Toronto), with all the propaganda power and determination China’s government could muster. They endured jetlag and bad airline food. And for what?

That’s right. Resounding silence.

A search of the last week for “Tenzinchodrak” in Google News brings up only one small piece from Canada’s National Post , which maintains a sceptical tone about the China delegation and focusses mostly on an October 2007 meeting between the Dalai Lama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The article’s headline refers to Tenzinchodrak as “Beijing’s ‘living Buddha’.”

The rest of the news coverage stays entirely within the family:

* Xinhua News Agency, in English (also in French)
* China Daily
* Radio China International (also in Polish)

The delegation did manage to earn this story from Epoch Times, but it hardly makes the scoreboard — it is about how certain journalists were allegedly ejected from the Toronto forum by Chinese consulate representatives.

Was it necessary for the delegation to travel so far to get such “positive propaganda”?

The delegation fares no better in a Lexis-Nexis database search for coverage over the last week in major U.S. and international media (including broadcast transcripts).

zzzzz.JPG

The articles on the roster are basically: Xinhua, BBC Monitoring Service regurgitation of Xinhua (identified as Xinhua), Xinhua, and China Daily.

Further down there is a brief article from Voice of America, which tags onto Tenzinchodrak’s comments an unflattering “meanwhile” about the ongoing “security clampdown in Tibet”:

A Chinese official has downplayed expectations for further talks between Beijing and the Dalai Lama’s envoys on Tibet. Meanwhile, China has launched a security clampdown in Tibet and neighboring regions to prevent protests marking the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule. Tibetan rights groups have reported small protests in Tibet and nearby areas in recent days . . .

The last bit of coverage is an item that appeared in the White House Bulletin on March 17. As it reports the delegation’s activities in the U.S. capital, the item sums up very well both the significance of China’s aggressive public relations campaign on Tibet and its enormous challenges:

A delegation of five Tibetan deputies in China’s National People’s Congress said Tuesday morning that economic and social conditions in the troubled region — wracked by political violence last year — are improving across the board.

The group spoke at the Chinese Embassy, and the event was probably more remarkable for what it represented than for what was said. By bringing the deputies to speak in Washington, the Chinese government is showing a far greater willingness to be active in Washington public relations efforts on a deeply sensitive internal issue.

This engagement may for China mark the beginning of a long, arduous and productive lesson in how to build real international credibility. First, of course, they will need to learn from their mistakes.

[Posted by David Bandurski, March 24, 2009, 12:26pm HK]

FURTHER READING:
Chinese in UK mark reforms in Tibet,” China Daily, March 23, 2009
West ‘lacks information about Tibet’,” China Daily, March 23, 2009

128 Comments to “As China shouts its line on Tibet, is anybody listening?”

  1. Dan Evensen says:

    Thanks for those links, John. I don’t know why they’re not part of your post anymore. The Huffington Post link won’t open up here in Qingdao — it appears to be blocked by the firewall, which is a real shame. I can get to it by using a web proxy, of course. I’ll leave the points about the CCP’s blanket censorship policies unsaid.

  2. John says:

    Chowenlie: your argument is about the CCP. It may sound reasonable from your and Western perspective. But my argument is not about the CCP, rather is about Tibet. I don’t care who is in power, the communists, the nationalists or the democrats. I don’t care how they use media for propaganda or not to use it. Whatever they have done and do is no justification for special treatment of Tibet that foreign powers demand China to give. Even China had all the requirements you talk about in a political system today, the Tibetan issue would not go away. This is because there is another argument, the argument of some exiled Tibetans led by the Dalai Lama. Their argument is not about Chinese political system, rather about Tibet’s autonomy-disguised independence. Therefore, China’s argument is about national unity. Are you clear now?

  3. John says:

    I recommend two articles that came out recently, which I believe are fairly balanced in terms of both sides of views.

  4. Dan Evensen says:

    One more note before you respond. I would prefer it if you refrain from projecting a strawman on me. I am not in favor of Tibetan independence, nor do I care much for the movement. Like you, I am searching for objective reporting on modern China. Before you respond, please make sure that your response does not include a claim that I represent a viewpoint any different from what I’ve said already. The moment I feel that my views have been misrepresented by you is the moment that I leave this discussion. I say this because I see how you have treated others in this thread.

  5. Dan Evensen says:

    Fine, I’ll admit the mistake in word choice.

    By quoting your first post, you’re only restating my own point. Nothing in this article was about the Free Tibet movement. I thought we were talking about China’s new “soft power” strategies (i.e., how China wants to increase its “popular perception” abroad), not about the merits of the Free Tibet movement. I’m not interested in the Free Tibet movement, nor do I support it. I’m trying to get you to talk about something different (i.e. the actual article) for a change. Otherwise, you’re just trolling.

    Blogspot apparently took my blog down. Oh well.

  6. Wei says:

    Dan,

    Okay I will humor you…Looking up Rebuttal:

    In law, rebuttal is a form of evidence that is presented to contradict or nullify other evidence that has been presented by an adverse party.

    You wrote:

    -> Where is the rebuttal of the CCP’s strategy…

    So this is where I am confused…why are you looking from me a rebuttal of CCP’s strategy?

    For the record, below was my first comment on this topic:

    -> The American coverage of Tibet is laughable at best.

    -> In this case anyway, whatever news media publish will not make one iota of difference in Tibet because it would have the same effect as someone launching an effort to return California and Texas to Mexico because they were “unjustly” taken on the action of the US government.

    -> I read whatever on line as entertainment, because unless someone is willing to go to war against a nuclear power over Tibet, Free Tibet movement is going no where fast.

    -> A democratic China would not make a difference, just as a democratic US is not going to return California to Mexico.

    -> Enjoy your debates but do accept and deal with that reality

    Of course, then I did follow the conversation…but I am interested, who have I falsely accuse of supporting Free Tibet? ALL of the people I addressed here are of the Free Tibet Crowd.

    Honestly, over a dozen years, only one article published in the main stream Western media I have read which is remotely “fair and balanced” concerning Tibet and China. So in my eyes, as well as many Chinese, you guys have lost complete credibility in objectivity in reporting on this topic…So pardon me if I don’t observe your little rules of etiquette on the boards :)

    BTW, your link is broke…you might want to fix it.

  7. Dan Evensen says:

    Wei, I hate to tell you this, but your reply just confirms my suspicion. If you don’t understand what I’m asking for, you might want to take a refresher course in the English language. I’m asking why nobody here comes out to support the CCP’s strategy AS OUTLINED IN THIS ARTICLE. All of your comments have been about how horrible the Dalai Lama is. Where are the comments about the article itself?

    In other words, your two points have absolutely nothing to do with the article itself. Why is there no commentary about the propagandist strategies being studied here? Isn’t anybody going to defend the Communist party on its control of the media and popular opinion? That, in my mind, is much more interesting than these flame wars about Tibetan independence.

    The Free Tibet folks may have shouted “Communists” in your face, but, honestly, you haven’t done much better on the posts here. How does it make sense to read an article like this and then accuse everybody of supporting Tibetan independence?

  8. Wei says:

    -> Perhaps the heart of the issue is the CPC’s wish to retain absolute political power in the PRC. If it granted similar rights to the Tibetans as enjoyed by the residents of Hong Kong, every other area in the PRC would want to be similarly treated, and the CPC’s monopoly of power would necessarily end.

    No silly, it is about Chinese national interest.

    Take a look at the current Chinese map and the map Free Tibet people propose and you can find your answer there. The issue won’t change if there is a change of government.

    Dan Evensen, I couldn’t help but chuckle a little when I read your post. Pretty ironic that when my family turned out to support the Beijing Olympics in SF, the Free Tibet folks literally shouted Communists in front of our faces; which is pretty funny in a sick way considering my family’s background.

    -> Where is the rebuttal of the CCP’s strategy, of the need to maintain a harmonious society, or even an attack on the “irresponsible” Western media (ala anti-CNN)?

    What are you trying to say there? This does not make any sense.

    -> If you can’t respond to a single posting even tangentially concerned with Tibet without a tirade about how awful the Dalai Lama is and how all those who follow him are liars, how am I supposed to take anything else you say seriously?

    Read my posts. Yes, I mention dismissively about Dalai lama(he is another Arafat in Buddhist robes); but there are two central points:

    1) Tibet for Tibetans is an DOA idea.
    2) Free Tibet is a dead movement. They can not achieve their stated goal without military intervention from a foreign power; and no one is going to do that.

  9. Dan Evensen says:

    Good article, and a pretty good discussion. David’s replies have been the hallmark of this discussion, by far. Before I begin, let me note that I haven’t read through all the posts on this website. I’m talking to some of you, but not others. John’s latest post, for instance, is not an example of what I’m talking about here.

    I’m a little bit puzzled as to why certain obviously pro-Chinese (perhaps pro-CCP is the better term here) posters come here to attack the Dalai Lama specifically, and not the way China’s propaganda campaign has been interpreted in this article. This may sound ironic, but it really reminds me a lot of the extremist pro-Taiwan independence crowd (I’m talking about the good folks over at blogs such as Taiwan Matters!, not the reporters for 自由时报). Both groups are good at taking every single discussion and twisting it into “so-and-so is a liar, and so is everybody who supports him.”

    Now, I’m not in the mood to begin a debate with any of you, though you may think otherwise. What disturbs me is that I do not see an actual intellectual response in any of these posts. Where is the rebuttal of the CCP’s strategy, of the need to maintain a harmonious society, or even an attack on the “irresponsible” Western media (ala anti-CNN)? If you can’t respond to a single posting even tangentially concerned with Tibet without a tirade about how awful the Dalai Lama is and how all those who follow him are liars, how am I supposed to take anything else you say seriously?

    For this reason, I’ve found it extremely difficult to be sympathetic to China’s official positions. It’s a shame that John Fairbank is no longer alive. He could come up with a much better argument than the ones I’ve read here.

  10. chowenlie says:

    John: Well, if members of the CPC aren’t greedy for power and wealth, then they must be pretty special. I am just assuming that CPC officials are ethically no better or worse than anyone else. Without a system which is constantly checking officials’ activities there will always be many which abuse their positions, perhaps unintentionally. Without such checking how can even honest officials be sure where the line is? I know I am repeating myself, but the only way to keep government and political officials honest is have a free press, independent courts, transparent accounting, and elected officials.

    And with regards to the press, the PRC wanted to play in the big sandbox, and the rule in the big sandbox is that there is open debate. If you think the PRC is getting unfairly kicked about, you should haven’t spent enough time reading the overseas press. Nothing unique about it at all. People are talking about charging Bush and Cheney with war crimes! (That seems fair to me) So, don’t take it personally. If my country’s government is out of line, I am happy for the pressure from overseas. Doesn’t mean my country is a bad country. But every country has people doing bad things and they should be stopped.

    I am not sure what you meant by “The Tibet issue started with the Olympics”. I’m not sure what issue you are talking about. The issue, as most people overseas saw it, was the excessive crackdown by the PRC after the protests, which in Lhasa got out of hand. And even that wouldn’t have happened if the riot police hadn’t ran away and had done their job (they disappeared for three crucial hours).

    In the Americas and Europe, we like to have riot and burn a few police cars after winning (or losing) a football game. No big deal. The police know how to handle drunken mobs (to start with, don’t run away). A dozen or so punks will end up in jail for a few days and have pay a fine or do community service. If we want to protest, we phone the police and they come down to protect us from people who disagree with us, and to make sure the traffic isn’t disrupted. No big deal. Time the PRC learned new crowd management techniques.

  11. John says:

    Chinaa: It is a nice article. But, I don’t think that it is the negative news per se that upsets the Chinese people if it is factual. It is the inflammatory clichés, jargons and unfounded citations against China in the news, especially news that are related to national unity that upsets them the most. In other words, it is the bias in the news that is most upsetting.

  12. John says:

    Chowenlie: I don’t think so. The Tibet issue started with the Olympics. On other issues, you sound reasonable. But with the CPC, you sound a little paranoid, and have lost your objectivity. But, I am not going to persuade you, and you are entitled to your partisan opinion.

  13. chowenlie says:

    John: The whole issue of Tibetan “separation” is a reasonably successful propaganda ploy by the CPC to get Chinese citizens to oppose Tibetans and support the CPC. I have never seen any, and I have done my homework.

    Perhaps the heart of the issue is the CPC’s wish to retain absolute political power in the PRC. If it granted similar rights to the Tibetans as enjoyed by the residents of Hong Kong, every other area in the PRC would want to be similarly treated, and the CPC’s monopoly of power would necessarily end.

  14. Chinaa says:

    An interesting article on LATimes about western media on Chinese matters:

    “As they compete fiercely for readers and viewers, mainstream Western media tend to stick with stories that are familiar and interesting to them. They report about Tibet not because they are ideological China-bashers but because their consumers are fascinated by and care about Tibet.

    Yes, their news stories on China’s domestic politics tend to the sensational and the negative — so do their stories about the domestic politics of their own countries.”
    and much more!
    http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-garton_ash16-2009apr16,0,646361.story

  15. Wei says:

    -> Got to careful what similes one uses. When one talks about keeping people out of a closet I think alot of people immediately think that there are skeltons in that closet they are trying to hide, which implies they know they are doing something they shouldn’t.

    *chuckle*

    Please tell me your name, address, income source, etc etc…

    What? It’s none of my business? What, do you have something to hide? ;)

    Case in point: Not everything hidden are bad; and somethings are NONE of your business. Having a reporter’s badge does not change those things.

  16. John says:

    Chowenlie: I am not here arguing with you for the sake of arguing. You can ask the questions about the resettlement. If the purpose of asking these questions is good for the environment and for China, I want to know the answers, too. What I want to say is this: you have to put things in appropriate perspective, and see the bigger picture. For example, you mentioned free press, good transparent accounting practices, independent courts, elected officials. Well, these things, just like big houses and beautiful cars, are nice to have. I think that China has improved in these areas. But you just cannot compare the Western countries with China in these areas in real time. You mentioned that culture determines politics. China’s particular culture and development stage determine what level and what kind of these things China should have. Let me give my personal insight. It may be wrong. For example, the Westerners tend to be adventurous and direct, so they want more personal and press freedom. Fine with me. On the other hand, the Asians tend to be collective and indirect, so they want stronger governments and less confrontational media. I think that this should be fine with you, too. I am sure the Chinese government has priorities of things, and step by step, will eventually achieve what the Chinese people desire in these areas. Reasonable enough?

    Chinaa (I don’t why you use this name): When you talked about “50 cents army”, were you talking about the exiled Tibetan organizations that pay people to post messages online for 50 cents apiece? If you think that I am paid by someone, that is kind of insult to my intelligence.

    Although I don’t major in journalism, I do know to check the government is one and only one function of journalism, but the major function, though, is to report the news unbiased, fair and balanced. There is no absolute press freedom in any country. Do you remember American journalist Judith Miller? She was jailed for what she wrote. If you want to look at China’s press freedom, you have to look at the bigger picture as I talked about above.

    As for why there is only one truth about Tibet, maybe that is only truth out there in China. It all depends on the question. There are maybe more truths for other questions, but for this one, there may be just one truth. To help you understand, let’s say, you ask the Americans or any country for that matter, “Do you want to break up your country?” I am sure that there are a few people who think “yes” in their heart, but majority of people will say “no”. Do you see the similarity here? The Chinese people are not known to be politically active. But, they really see the injustice China has suffered on the Tibet issue and really see the danger of breaking up of their country if they did not voice their opinions. Fair enough?

  17. chowenlie says:

    Got to careful what similes one uses. When one talks about keeping people out of a closet I think alot of people immediately think that there are skeltons in that closet they are trying to hide, which implies they know they are doing something they shouldn’t. Keeping reporters out of Tibetan areas suggests the CPC is trying to hide something they know they shouldn’t be doing.

    I also don’t agree with the comment that journalists come to Tibet with preconceived ideas. I’m not a journalist, but my own experience there led me, until March last year, to believe that things were gradually getting better. I often would take the PRC’s side in discussions. But the behaviour by the PRC government this last year has done away with that. It forced me to study the matter more deeply, and reevaluate my opinions. I like China, its culture and people, but it looks to me that the Tibetans are getting seriously mistreated by the government.

    How do we compare this mistreatment to, for example, Israeli execution of unarmed Palestinian civilians, of the U.S.A.’s unjustified invasion of Iraq? I don’t know, but one crime does not justify another.

  18. Wei says:

    -> John seems to like to keep matters simple indeed (or is he one of the 50 cents army members?) . He doesnt have the faintest idea about the function of journalism in the western world, which is (sorry folks I have to explain this again it seems) : to check the government.

    China should have more press freedom, for Chinese journalists. On the other hand, it is just pure arrogance of foreign journalists to expect China to bend to their will and go anywhere they feel like. They are guests to the country, they must observe local rules when in that country. Someone’s closet is just that, someone’s closet. It is not their closet. They know the rules when on private properties in this country(US); why do they think they are special in other countries?

    As far as one opinion on Tibet; actually there are many Chinese who feel the Tibetans are being given too much…Imagin people in the States complain that all the “good” jobs are given to people who speak English. Sorry, like it or not, the region of Tibet is a part of China; and the very least people should know how to do is learn the official language.

    On the so called cultural genocide, when asked why there are still monks and monesteries around after 50-60 years of “ruthless” repression, a Free Tibet guy told me, a little naively, that he was sure there were mountain hide outs for monks and secret monesteries.

  19. One Chinese says:

    I have some friends from western countries discussing Voilence of Media. To be honest, I do not know its exact meaning…Unfortunately, I found here some self-perceived morally right person refuse to acknowlege that they had make many huge mistakes on the Tibet issue, which actually have worsened many things with regard to Tibetan-Chinese, Han Chinese and many kind westerners. I personally think that is Volience of Media.

    To prove my opinon, I give another case: one of my friends is a Tibetan who can speak Tibetan, Mandarin and English fluently. He told me he often felt embarrassed when his western friends called him “Tibetan”(in English). When he tried to correct them “I am a Chinese” (in English), they refused to accept it and said “no, you are a Tibetan.” In reality, Chinese in Chinese Mandarin is Zhong Guoren. Tibetan is Zang Zu. And Han Zu (Han Chinese) is a equal term with the Zang Zu. That he treats him as a Chinese does not conflict his own Tibetan identity. I tend to believe this resulted from Volience of western Medias.

    I do not mind some westernized Tibetans here will try to correct me as their receive education in western countrie or India. They have no Chinese identity as they do not understand Chinese language and have received all westenized ideas. However, few Tibetans living in China have no Chinese identity (in Chinese language). They are proud of being a Tibetan and a Chinese, but refuse to accept the Han Chinese (Han Zu) identity.

    Some linguists and psychologists think that is the soft power of China.

    I repeated again and again that someone above should study Chinese civilization. I do not mind that I remind you here again.

    Nobody doubts that people have rights to blame their governments. In this case, Chinese have common ground with westerners.

  20. chinaa says:

    John says: The reason to keep foreign journalists is as simple as journalists were kept out from the welcome ceremony for the American dead coming back from Iraq. Beside, most of these journalists already have perceived opinions about Tibet, and what they do there is to collect evidence. If things are OK, fine, come on in. If things are bad, why does China need them to make them worse?

    John seems to like to keep matters simple indeed (or is he one of the 50 cents army members?) . He doesnt have the faintest idea about the function of journalism in the western world, which is (sorry folks I have to explain this again it seems) : to check the government.
    Ofcourse the western press makes mistakes. But they are allowed write stories freely without government interference, and can at least learn from its mistakes.
    John, have you ever thought about this strange phenomenon: the Chinese government allows just one truth about Tibet – and to tell this truth one book is enough; while in the west dozens of library shelves can be filled with all kinds of opinions and research?
    Or do you really prefer to let the government do all the thinking for you?

  21. chowenlie says:

    David: I appreciate that you are concerned. I trust that you are sincerely working to promote open dialogue and are aware that if people held the belief that CMP was internally monitored by the CPC’s cyberpolice this would interfer with people’s openness. The way around monitoring of course is to construct an email address especially for the purpose of commenting. Call me a cynic, but I had assumed the cyberpolice could get my email address if they wanted it. After years of reading about the PRC’s government’s interference in the internet, and more recently, the information made available by the Munk Centre at the University of Toronto and the Computer Lab at the University of Cambridge (links to both these reports is available at a Wikipedia article on “GhostNet”), I had assumed that CMP was hacked already, and I was assuming because I am just little folk, I don’t belong to any organization, or have any post, or have any stake in it except I care about human rights and the environment, and I care about China and Tibet, that they’d just watch and record. But the attack was targeted, and who ever sent it had gone to the trouble to create a profile of me, including an organization I had once (note “once”) sent an email to. Perhaps CMP should ask the Munk Centre to take a look at its computers. But really, this is a small issue, the bigger one being control of the flow of information in the PRC, your subject, but also the subject for people everywhere in the world who care about their rights and freedoms.

    A couple of points for the other commenters. About resettlement, from the English People’s Daily on line March 11, 2009:

    “Starting this year, Qinghai will complete a settlement program for nomadic people within five years. By then, more than 112,000 households, or over 530,000 nomadic people, in the Tibetan-inhabited areas of Qinghai Province will leave their nomadic lives.”

    The article doesn’t even try to justify it. So why not just let people be? Why not spend all that money on free health care and education for the Chinese people? Talking about money, why does the PRC government invest trillions in the U.S.A. rather than help the people of the PRC, who earned it. Where is the free health care, free education, why not spend some money on cleaning up some of the ecological messes, make mines and factories safer, …?

    These contradictions, numerous news reports of corruption, my own research into WFOE’s, and the wholesale abandonment of Maoist dogma, are what have driven me to the opinion that corruption is a significant political force in the PRC. Not that the Chinese are unique in this respect, which is why a free press, good tranparent accounting practices, independent courts, elected officals,… are required for any culture, Chinese, American, English, Tibetan,…to come to its full potential.

  22. David says:

    Chowenlie:

    Please let me know the specific nature of your cyber-attack. I certainly did not send you an e-mails from a CMP account or any other account, and never ever have we shared e-mails provided through this forum. But I have not yet detected anything suspicious myself necessarily linked to the CMP site. I am checking with my technical person.

    If you can share specifics, please do.

    Best,
    David

  23. John says:

    Chowenlie: You sound a little paranoid. I hope that you are blaming CCP for your computer trouble. Instead blaming Cyber police, you should ask David Bandurski. This is his forum, and only he has your email.
    I know exactly what you were talking about. I just went to the root of the problem. You wonder around the problem, complaining about what the government says about the problem (you call “propaganda”). If I were a nomad, somebody gave me a house that would be worth, lets say, $150,000 in the US, I would be an idiot not to take it. The Tibetans in exiles and Westerners tend to speak for the Tibetans in China. What do they care? If the Chinese government is doing the right thing, I don’t care how much they glorify it. At least, they are not lying. The reason to keep foreign journalists is as simple as journalists were kept out from the welcome ceremony for the American dead coming back from Iraq. Beside, most of these journalists already have perceived opinions about Tibet, and what they do there is to collect evidence. If things are OK, fine, come on in. If things are bad, why does China need them to make them worse?
    The Chinese people are not stupid. They know for themselves whether the government is doing the right thing not. Corruption is everywhere, and it is not system-specific, and no need to surprise. I am not speaking for the Chinese government. Everybody has some complaints against its or any government for that matter, but the Tibet issue is not the place. On this one, nearly all Chinese, whether China’s citizen or not, support the government.
    The world has changed. Therefore, the ideas should change, too. This is not the world where the Western ideals are the only ideals. Learn other ways to adapt. Instead of promoting this right or that right, why can we just promote understanding among peoples? If we do that, the world would be much a better place. Everybody has a vendetta against something. We already have enough wars and killing in human history, do we need more of the same for those so-called rights? Both China and the West are part of human culture diversity. Maybe we should introduce good things from one to the other, instead of pitting one against the other. Let’s have world peace now.

  24. Wei says:

    -> As the old Tibetans saying goes, “Tibetans are doomed by hope and Chinese are doomed by suspicion”.

    If “Tibet for Tibetans” is really what Tibetans want, Tibetan’s “hope” is really a fantasy with no basis in reality and Chinese government’s suspicion is well founded.

  25. chowenlie says:

    I must have touched on something the cyber police dislike because apparently CMP was hacked, and the email address I gave was used to attack my computer. The attackers went to some effort to construct a fake email and link that I would fall for. Nice to be noticed.

    Silencing criticism is one of the CPC’s main strategies. It is the foundation of the propaganda activities re Tibet. This takes advantage of Western Media’s unwillingness to publish unproven reports. Just keep out journalists, and all the journalists can say for sure is that they are being kept out. On the otherhand, the CPC controlled media in the PRC will say anything it is told by the party. Sometimes this control is indirect, but when your career, reputation, and even life, depend on it, you will say almost anything.

    John: I wish I was as fluent in Chinese as you are in English, but you obviously don’t understand what I have said, which was about propaganda. I remarked that the environment and poverty relief were used to divert attention from the real issues of forced resettlement of Tibetans into a context they don’t know how to make a living (this is not poverty relief but poverty creation), and the destruction of the environment in Tibet by mines, dams, roads, railways, etc. To restate that, the government is following a path which destroys the environment and impoverishes the people, yet is claiming to do the exact opposite. The CPC has kept out journalists and others so they can’t see for themselves what is really going on. Because most Western journalists have a code of ethics, they will not report on what they believe to be happening, but only what they feel they can prove.

    Ultimately, why is this happening? Why doesn’t the CPC serve the people of Tibet and thereby gain their approval hence political control? Probably the same reason they do a lousy job serving the people of China: corruption. If things are much better now than they were thirty years ago it is because things were so bad thirty years ago. Why do you think they want all those foreign companies in Tibet? China has all the money and expertise necessary. Why give the resources away? With foreign companies come foreign bank accounts and a place to run if you get caught. I think if you dug a bit you’d find just about every foreign mine or enterprise was particularly profitable to some CPC official somewhere.

  26. John says:

    Chowenlie: I agree with you that culture is stronger than politics. As for the Dalai Lama, we have different opinions. I respect yours. However, there are two comments I want to make. First, you keep mentioning CCP. I don’t think that it is the party rather it is the government that makes the policy no matter which party is in power. The GMD even considers Mongolia as China’s territory. Second, you said that the Chinese government is just waiting for the Dalai Lama to die. I don’t think that it is true. China has no incentive to negotiate with him right now because of his inflexible attitude. Instead of talking about autonomy, he should talk about returning the exiles to Tibet. I don’t think that he wants to return himself. He already considers himself the son of India.

    With regards to the resettle plan you were talking about, you gave more information. Based on your info, both China and Westerners agree that it is a good idea for the environment. Then who is against it, the Tibetans in Tibet? I am sure that the Tibetans in Tibet want to live a good life, too. I know that there are some in the West who want to keep Tibet as it is just like they want to keep African as it is so that they go over there and enjoy the safari. When China goes to help Africa, they label them as new colonizers or resource grabbers.

    Understanding is the most important thing. There three kinds of people when it comes to the Tibet issue: Chinese, Tibetans or Westerners who have contact with people in Tibet, and foreign borne Tibetans and Westerners who have never been to Tibet or do not care about Tibet. I think that you belong to the second category, which tend to be reasonable and can be talked to. You may argue that the Dalai Lama may also belong there. The third category is the Tibet independence crowd, which includes the Tibet Youth Congress and the Vermont State Senate (http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Diplomatic-recognition-to-Tibet-Senate/articleshow/4369346.cms).

    Lastly, I wan to mention that this forum has becomes some of kind of watch dog for Chinese medium. For example, Chinaa Says: “April 8th, 2009 at 10:54 pm ah China is trying to shout its line on Tibet now, in … Malawi”. In my opinion, it should be opposite. It should be the forum monitoring biased reporting in the West on the Tibet issue. We should definitely discuss the Vermont story shown above.

Leave a Comment