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,, Qinghai Daily, Science & Technology Daily . . .


[ABOVE: “Megaphone” by Just Marc, available at 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).


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]

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:


    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!,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.


    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:


    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.


  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 (

    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.

  27. One Chinese says:

    An extremely interesting thing is that few people outside of China could discuss this issue in Chinese language when we talk about in English.

    Logically and ethically, that China is a stupid and full of nationalism cannot justify that the Dalai Lama and his government’S lies and some westerers’ ignorance.

    That is all.

  28. Chinaa says:

    ah China is trying to shout its line on Tibet now, in … Malawi
    12 pages of advertorial texts !

  29. chowenlie says:

    John: Seems to me that culture is stronger than politics. It, for example, survives political movements. I think China is an example: as China drops the failed attempt at being a communist country its ancient culture is quickly reasserting itself. Not that it ever really went away, as I suppose can be seen from how the idea of communism played out in China.

    People often say that the CPC is just waiting for H.H. the Dalai Lama to die. I doubt his passing will give the CPC control of Tibetans. Tibetans are proud and independent people. They have historically been almost as ready to fight Lhasa as Beijing. That the vast majority (99%) of Tibetans at this time support the Dalai Lama is largely due to their mistreatment at the hands of Chinese troops and officials. If Beijing didn’t treat Tibetans so badly the Dalai Lama might be thought of by them as just one religious leader among many. Instead he is the object of adoration. Ironically, it is largely the CPC which has made the Dalai Lama as powerful as he is. Of course, this Dalai Lama is a saint, so even if the CPC didn’t work so hard to make him look good in comparison he would still look good.

    The difference in the character of Chinese and Tibetans became vividly apparent last time I was there. It is just not a theory. The differences are palpable once you see them. This is my main point. What works so well for the Chinese population of the PRC just doesn’t play out the same way among Tibetans. No point blaming the Dalai Lama, it goes much deeper than that.

    Getting back to the subject of CPC propaganda re Tibet: it has been the butt of jokes and insults by everyone I’ve known that is familiar with it. CPC propaganda about Tibet is like a parody of propaganda about Tibet. It’s like the guys writing it are trying to tell the world they don’t really believe it. “Ha. Ha. We’re just kidding.” I suggest they go study PR or marketing in the U.S. or Europe if they want to do a good job. I suppose it is a measure of how successful the CPC is at keeping the population of PRC in the dark that it goes over at all there.

    On another level, the CPC propaganda re Tibet has been profoundly successful. The CPC has presented environmental protection and poverty reduction as justifications for forced resettlement of hundreds of thousands of Tibetans. Westerners are big on the environment and poverty reduction, and will fall into a dumb silence when told that the resettlements are necessary to protect the environment or to pull Tibetans from poverty. Similar things can be said about the so called economic development of Tibetan areas, which is really a resource grab, and I suspect is mainly intended to fill officials’ overseas bank accounts. If there was an Academy Award for Best Propaganda Campaign these would have to be on the short list.

  30. One Chinese says:

    One more thing: I do not deny that the Dalai Lama could play an important role in dealing with the Tibet issue. Based on my reading, I suppose the Dalai Lama is hard to give any comprise if Wang Lixiong”s analyzing is right.

    The point is the Dalai Lama and his government have strong secular goal and try to realize it in the name of religion. The Chinese government is a secular government and no doubt it would not tolerate the Dalai Lama’S SECULAR goal. Even if China would have established a western democratical system, the Dalai Lama”s secular goal was still a HUGE challenge toward the legitimacy of the Chinese government. The Dalai Lama and his government should be solely reposible to seperate their secular goal and religious mission.

    Unfortunately, few people gave insigt in it and keep shouting at Chinese people.

  31. One Chinese says:

    Who is spreading Tibetan language and its script since 1950s? It is not the so called Tibet government in exile. On the contrary, it is done by the Chinese government. It is extremely ironical topic as the government is accused of culture genocide…The modern secular education system is established after the Dalai Lama fled to India and most ordinary Tibetans could receive the secular education in Tibetan language. Yet, it is not perfect and need to improve, for example, most courses taught in college level are mainly conducted in Chinese language. But we should analyze it from pratical perspercitve as staffs qualified to use Tibetan language to teach students are inadequate.

    In other words, it does not mean the Chinese is doing culture genocide in Tibet as the Dalai Lama and Tibet in exile said to the whole world. Before 1980 China was still a poor country and could not let Tibet become a very modern society. Even today, only Beijing, Shanghai and other a few modern cities could enjoy modern education paralling with the modern world. I want to know: what is the effect of accuation of culture genocide? Why do you mislead the whole world? Do you really do any productive work for those Tibetans living in the TAR and other parts of China?

    When Tibetans become rich, at least they tend to travel in China proper (I have a reservation on this term CHINA PROPER). My tibetan friends bought their second or third houses in Chengdu close to the TAR.

    I have no intension to offend any real Titetan. What I stress is productive work rather than empty slogan. Thank you for your understanding.

  32. Khechog says:

    One Chinese,

    Thanks for your response. No offence but again I find a lot of Chinese just don’t understand Tibetan culture, history, psyche. Without it it’s hard to grasp the root cause or the grievances of the Tibetans. I don’t expect them to know that quickly since they just woke up to Tibet just last March after the ‘riot’ from the March 14th incident in Lhasa which was made into like the US New York 9/11 incident in China by the PRC CCP media and outside Chinese language media. Of course the subsequent Olympic Torch relay just snow-balled. So study more and if you can talk to real Tibetans outside and go to Tibet to gain the Tibetans trust. Then they will open up slowly but again with heavy repression and fear, they may not share all their feelings.

    Amongst the Chinese, I said Wang Lixiong has the best grasp of the Tibetan issue. As he recently said that there is Dalai Lama in the heart of every Tibetan. The CCP leadership knows but its hidden from the mass and will continue paint a rosy, happy Chinese Tibetans. Wang Lixiong’s old best-seller ‘Sky Burial’ written a couple of decades ago is quite han chauvinistic but his recent writings in the last 5-6 years are very good.

    I am not going to respond to each point but will respond to a couple trivial points you have: 1) I know and met Weoser in Beijing. She is from Kham region and speaks her dialect fluently but not Lhasa dialect. So if Cantonese speaker doesn’t speak Mandarin that well, I wouldn’t say, a person can’t speak Chinese.

    This whole ‘greater Tibet’ ‘one quarter China’ is just moot point as I firmly believe CCP leaders under Hu Jintao will not make any concession and if Tibetans just ask for the autonomy of current TAR boundary or even a small district in Lhasa, they will not let HH Dalai Lama in nor give Tibetans any autonomy. Like I said CCP leaders know how powerful HHDL is to the Tibetans and they think that allowing him to China or Tibet is going to create stronger identity to the Tibetans but they don’t realize that flip side that you have one person who Tibetans will listen and who want to compromise and truly believe in middle-way to stay within PRC but given geniune autonomy. PRC CCP leaders know. So why should the Tibetans give in more concession after concession when the other side clearly has no interest and think that they can win this. If they were successful with their policies in the last 60 years of all different methods such as: repression, economic development etc but have failed and still Tibetans are as determined as ever to express their feelings. So why not try working with one invididual HHDL and give him the task of convincing the Tibetans to be part of PRC. I strongly believe only he can do it considering how much he means to the Tibetans. BTW, this Collins report which I never heard of the author and report is absolutely BS. As I have said I have travelled all over Tibet and more outside TAR, Tibetan identity is stronger and don’t see hardly any inter-marriage with non-Tibetans. There is also very few Tibetans living outside their indegenious region. I’d guess less than 1000 in Beijing, then 10,000 in Chengdu and perhaps 5000 scattered in the rest of PRC. Tibetans don’t have desire to settle in China proper.

    Tibetan culture has absolutely no influence from the great sage Confucius which guides a lot of the east Asians mostly Chinese and also Koreans, Vietamese, and including Japanese. So really Tibetan culture and language has less influence from Chinese than Chinese to Koreans, Japanese, Vietanamese. So there is very little of cultural, inter-marriage and also lack of understanding from the majority Hans.

    However I should also mention that there are many Chinese (mostly well-off, educated including some party officials) who are showing great interest and respect this deep and rich Tibetan spirituality including converting to Tibetan buddhists but it’s still small number.

    The current situation benefits few elites officials and some well-connected businesses in Tibet and some in China such as United Front officials who have benefitted enormous financial but not for China nor the taxpayers with billions of Renminbi wasted on Tibet with little return and tarnish their reputation in the world.

    For a true expert opinion, I would recommend read Professor Tsering Shakya of University of BC. Robbie Barnett, Columbia Universtiy is good as well as they speak Tibetan.

    I don’t mean to be so direct but sometimes truth is painful to hear but I also strongly believe that Tibet can benefit more to be part of the stronger PRC as envisioned by HH Dalai Lam middle-way proposal. I just don’t see this happening under CCP rule and especially in a closed society where media is controlled, there is no open discussion on topics as Tibet, lot of the information is state secret, when the CCP progaganda geniuses are so intent educating their views to their citizens and suprisingly the citizens seem so gullible in digesting all of the spoon-fed information from the CCP on Tibet. So I am not surprised at the utter lack of understanding from the majority Chinese on Tibetan grievances. Like I said CCP likes it this way and surprised that the majority of the Chinese believe in and support this view on Tibet including many supposedly pro-democracy Chinese who supported the Tianneman square student protests but not on Tibet (disappointing and not sure if it’s racism that as if Tibetans don’t deserve their freedom). It’s as if we are from different planets.

    However listening to the Tibetan grievances and seeing from my travlels, their determination to preserve their identity Tibet, I am hopeful that they will get their freedom but it’s going to be long time.

    As the old Tibetans saying goes, “Tibetans are doomed by hope and Chinese are doomed by suspicion”. This is so true with lack of trust and understanding of the situation on ground.

    I am sure I will get tons of ultra-nationalists response but won’t have time to respond to all.

  33. My Land! says:

    One Chinese:

    Ofcourse, “Woeser herself is not fluent in Tibetan Language”, and thanks for proving this here.

    Due to China’s Occupation of Tibet, many of the New Generation Tibetan, both inside and outside of Tibet have been deprived of an education in their own Language: Tibetan. And this is ene of China’s key attempt to abolish the Tibetan Identity. But, despite such an effort, the Chinese government has failed to change the minds of the young Tibetans, The New Generation Tibetans both in Tibet and in exile have proved the Tibetan within them!

  34. One Chinese says:

    Sorry, please me correct one mistake: Woser herself is not fluent in Tibetan Language.

  35. One Chinese says:

    Unfortunately, Mr. Wang Lixiong also pointed that most of senior officials and advisors are from aristocratic class rooted in regions outside of the Tibet autonomous region where the 14th Dalai Lama had resided. He pointed out that it is likely the Dalai Lama HAVE TO support a goal of establishing a GREAT Tibet otherwise he cannot gain support from his followers. Ironically, few members of former aristocratic class residing in the TAR followed the Dalai Lama’ action.

    According to the Tibet history, since a few generations of the Dalai Lamas were killed by their Tibetan colleagues(no Tibetan study experts deny this), we must realize that even if the 14th Dalai Lama would have agreed to return as a buddhist, his followers would not agree, unless they could achieve their goal. It surely can explain something.

    An australian scholar Collins quoted a research report conducted by a Hongkong group, pionting in Tibetan areas there are over 70% are willing to marry with Han Chinese. This research was done several years ago. Furthermore, if you visit big cities like Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu etc., you will see more and more Tibetan migrant and enjoy their lives there. I do not understand why politicians alway think they reprent their people? And they provoke people”s negative feeling toward their Han friends, even lead their people devote their lives? Is this buddhism?

    By the way, Woser herself is not influent in Tibetan language (I suppose the new generations of Tibetans outside of China cannot either, they think in English way. Ironically, it is not culture genocide.). To express what he or she believe in is one thing, yet to do productive work is another thing.

  36. Khechog says:

    Excellent analysis David as I saw this link from a Daily Telegraph link.

    Around mid March last month, I was also doing a quick research on the Tibet coverage in the media. I Googled and clicked ‘News’ then typed ‘Tibet’ and then ‘Dalai Lama’ separately, I was amazed at the amount of coverage. There were 6100 articles under one heading and then 1500 in another heading within a week. Iraq and Afghanistan had 1600; Middle-east 2000, Obama 2600; Wen Jiabao 1900; Hu Jintao 4200 (mostly in reference to Tibet articles). Quite remarkable considering PRC is more powerful than ever before and do not hesitate to use its power to muzzle the Tibet issue.

    As a Tibetan who had lived in Tibet and continues to visit Tibet frequently from the comfort and freedom of a foreign passport, I managed to stay in touch with both the Tibetans in Tibet and in diasparo.

    The Tibetan issue is finally being addressed seriously and widely and will not go away despite what PRC wishes. So the struggle continues as the will and spirit is strong amongst the Tibetans especially and more importantly inside Tibet amongst the younger generation.

    Attn: PRC CCP apologists

    I am not sure why the Chineses diaspora population as in these blogs who has probably never experienced a life under the CCP nor suffered during the cultural revolution seem so offended when CCP policies on Tibet and its treatment of the Tibetans are questioned or criticized. Tibetans are fighting for their freedom through steadfastly non-violent means despite huge repression and suffering on the people. Yet few are speaking up as in the last March Uprsing where CCTV showed only the violence in Lhasa after 4 days of peaceful protests that were brutally crackdown but there were also protests at 100 other places. So did you know and why are Tibetans on the ground feel so unhappy and also desperate if they treated so well and happy.

    If you believe PRC CCP propaganda why is the Chinese government so afraid to open up Tibet for international media and scrutiny. Why does it have to lock-up Tibet (quarter of Prc) and deploy thousands of troops to intimidate and silence the Tibetans. PRC-CCP has done a super job to fool the Chinese population using nationalism that ‘outsiders anti-China forces using Dalai clique to take Tibet away from China and any patriot Chinese must defend the motherland’. Let’s hope this issue doesn’t turn into violence then it’s lose to lose for both people.

    If you truly want to understand the Tibetan issue and their grievances, you can read Tibetan writer in Beijing Woeser and her blog and her famous Chinese writer husband Wang Lixiong.

    Wang Lixiong is one of the few Chinese intellectuals whom I have great respect and understand the Tibetan psyche and the issue having lived in Tibet for many years and now married to a famous Tibetan activists Woeser.

    Constant fear continues to dominate the Tibetan people in Tibet and they will not share their true feelings to Han Chinese and with heavy state media propaganda, the Chinese people absolutely do not understand the true feelings of the Tibetan people. That’s what suits the CCP rulers just fine to stroke the Chinese nationalism and han chauvinism against the Tibetan people. Read Dalai Lama’s 10th of March speech and press conference to undertsand the issue a little better. (sorry blocked for readers in China)

    Dalai Lama plays a unique and special relationship with the Tibetan people for hundreds of years that perhaps only a very few Chinese like Wang Lixiong understand.

    Finally I agreed with Wang Lixiong that without the help of the Dalai Lama, the Chinese government will not be able to win the hearts and minds of the Tibetan people to stay within PRC willingly and therefore will not be able to solve the Tibet issue. It’s opportune time for the PRC leaders to negotiate seriously and sincerely to solve the Tibet issue with the Dalai Lama who represents the Tibetan people.

  37. One Chinese says:

    By the way, obviously, when China shouts its line on Tibet, someone are surely listening. But they attained different conclusion.

  38. One Chinese says:

    If people sit down and take a look at Chinese reality, they will get a conclusion that Chinese governments since its very beginning never strike any religion if it does not threaten its governance and unity, which indicates China has the tradition of accomodating multi-religions and explains the reason that there is no war in the name of religion in Chinese over 5000 years history.

    If my understanding is not wrong, the Chinese government has repeatedly said that the Dalai Lama could return as a Buddhist if he could gave up his goal of independance or establishment of a GREATER Tibet. The fact is if a Tibet lama does not involve in the Dalai lama’s political activity (of course, most westerners treat his behaviors as religious and peaceful actions), the lama will not encounter any trouble. This can explictly explain that the Dalai Lama is a politician rather than a religious leader. Yet, most western medias accused of the Chinese government stubborn and not giving any compromise. I am estremely curious that why a religious leader have so strong interest in a secular goal, based on my understanding of Buddhism?

    Let me add more: the current Dalai Lama claims that the 11th Panchan Lama is fake. Yet he forgot that he also once had refused to accept the previous Panchan Lama and had appointed his own Panchan Lama. In 1950s he changed his policy and the Panchan Lama appointed by the Dalai Lama reportedly went to India. It looks that the His Holiness Dalai Lama also could change his religious law when he needs.

    One more thing is there was a massacre of ethnic Chinese in Indonesia in 1999. It seems that the whole civilised world claimed by many western government, journalists and human rights fighters have no interests in this horrible issue.

    I hope those westerners could master Chinese language and script. Do not forget, since 221 BC it has been continously recording its history and civiliaztion with a unitary scipt. The Daolism with 1700 years old claims that the best governace is no government. This idea is treasured by westerners as their own great and one of most modern democratical theories. I use it to remind you that some people should ask yourself how much you understand Chinese civilization.

  39. John says:

    It is an interesting theory that culture determines politics. Although I don’t major in social sciences, I believe that it is true from the anthropologic point of view. I also believe that politics may also have feedback effect. Reforming political systems to conform the standard of democracy may have adverse effect on some cultures. I also believe that cultural diversity is as important as biodiversity that also needs to be preserved.

    Coming back to the Tibetan issue, most of the problems China has and will continue to have in Tibet are not so much related to the domestic polices (of course important and can be improved), rather is related to external factors. The first factor is the Dalai Lama. As long as he is alive, he will continue to travel the world, preaching peace and compassion, and playing up the good guy image while some of his followers and supporters will instigate instances, promote independence, and be wiling to be the bad guy. Second, as China rises politically and economically, people see the new “United States” in China. They think the Han People suppress the Tibetans. It has thus become some sort of fashion trend for some people in the West, who range from royal family members, politicians, actors to students, to support the Tibetan movement, although few of them know what exactly they want. As long as China does not sponsor another Olympics, it won’t get out of hand.

    The Dalai Lama can play a role in solving the Tibetan problem. But I think that he is too old to learn any new tricks. All he needs to do is to put on hold his autonomy demand. It is obvious that won’t work because China will say that we have Tibetans in charge, and why we need the exiles to come back to take the power. He needs first to concentrate his effort in returning the exiles to China, and make any suggestions. That is my opinion about Tibet. Feel free to debate.

  40. chowenlie says:

    Politics is one lens through which the world can be seen, but there are others. I am also interested in what ultimately distinguishes cultures, and I suppose that what can distinguish people (who are of course essentially the same) of one culture from those of another is how they choose to interpret the world, and the decisions they make as a result. This is deeper than language, history, environment, education, or biology, though these all come into it. You know you are dealing with people from distinct cultures when, presented with the same facts, they sincerely interpret these facts differently. Tibetans and Chinese are a good example. People have written books on how people from these two cultures see things differently (for example see “History as Propaganda” by John Powers). My own experience has confirmed this many times. Of course, one’s culture (in this sense) affects one’s political views and actions, so politics can be usefully viewed as culturally determined. Useful in the sense that it can reveal solutions to real political problems. For example, I can say with a high degree of certainty that unless the PRC’s government takes a different approach to dealing with its Tibetan population it will continue to have problems in the region, and the source of these problems are cultural in the sense that most Tibetans see the world quite differently than the Chinese who make up the majority of government officials. If the government wants to get Tibetans on their side, officials are going to have to listen to Tibetans and act according to Tibetans’ wishes, i.e. the government has to serve the people. Strictly as an administrative technique, to achieve this goal, you need to to have a free press, active NGOs, open debate, good accounting practices, independent judiciary, and elected officials.

  41. John says:

    Chowenlie: thank you for your reasonable comment. Finally, you have come to consensus. The consensus is that all your concerns and problems are boiled down to the political system, which can be debated, but are beyond this forum.

    But I do want to mention the Tibet issue. People have misunderstandings, which attribute all the problems to the political system. What other people are saying is to look beyond this. Is Tibet going to fair better under a system similar to the Western one? What I say is no. Under the Western system, people will inevitably question why they can have unlimited number of children while we have one, why the central government pumps some much money into the temples and monasteries while some monks make much trouble. The double standard shows towards China on the Tibet issue since the Western countries never question, for example, the way how the Kurds are treated in Turkey. I don’t know which country has more preferable policy for minorities than China. Nether do I know what human rights they are talking about. The Tibetan population has doubled over time. Their GDP is 12%/year. Their living standard has increased significantly. They can openly practice their religion. Their language has been computerized by Han Chinese. Their cultural heritage has been written in books, songs and plays. Bilingual is practiced in Tibetan areas. I don’t what to sound like propaganda, but all these are true based on my understanding from both Chinese and Western media. You often see report saying massive Chinese migration to Tibet. I don’t what this is based on. Based on my calculations from public data, there are probably 100K Han Chinese in Tibet, less than 5% of the population (95% Tibetans). This number is only about one tenth of the Chinese in California, about 1 million. They can move into a foreign county, why can they move within their own country?

    When the Western media talk about Chinese minorities, they always sound like these people are superior over Chinese (for example, when they talk the Uyghurs, they keep mention they look like Europeans), and they are some kind of rarity that needs to be preserved. That is offensive to the Chinese people. There are a lot of free Tibet organizations. They say they want freedom for Tibetans. I don’t know what they mean. But, this is my understanding: they want to get rid of Han people. They want Tibet ruled by Tibetans. If you want to further analyze, it is a racial thing. In today’s world, that is not right thing. It’s like that African Americans want their own government. The Dalai Lama’s friend Richard Gere mentioned that since America has Obama as the president, he wishes someday China would have a Tibetan president. Since race is becoming more and more irrelevant, that is entirely plausible and is not offensive to Chinese people as long as he maintains the unity of the country. That is my opinion of Tibet. Please feel free to debate.

  42. chowenlie says:

    John, thank you for taking the trouble to reply to me. The first rule, I believe, is that if something is true then it is true. So if you see the US or Britain, or the CPC commit some crime you have every right to say so. I have every right to say so. Anybody does. Personally, I welcome criticism of my own country, which tends to be pretty smug and too often hypocritical, by people from other countries. Keeps my government on its toes.

    Logic, valid reasoning, is something that we all need to pay attention to. The nonsense that the CPC puts out is mirrored by the nonsense of other countries’ leaders. The difference is that in most other countries a relatively untrammeled press, independent justice system, an education system which encourages skepticism and debate, NGO’s that shout out alternative views, and opposition political parties work to keep this nonsense in check. The debate engaged in on this blog is the type of activity that eventually brings out the truth, though we fail many times before we get it right.

    Personally my concern with is with the CPC, which, as far as I can see, is running China more for its own enrichment rather than serving the people. Many politicians in Western governments would do the same thing if they could get away with it.

  43. John says:

    One annoying fallacy that keeps showing up is: if the US (or Britain) once committed some crime then it is Ok for the PRC to now commit the same crime.

    It’s wrong to justify crimes based on whether somebody else has done the same crimes or not. However, if you have committed some crimes and turn around, lecturing others, there is nothing wrong for these people to remind that you have committed the same crimes. I am sure that you know the saying: “if you live a glass house, don’t throw stones at others”. Basically, they are telling you to back off, and don’t use the double standards, which the Westerners tend to do toward China. Let me give you an example of double standard, when it comes to personal relationships in the Western society, the common etiquette is don’t judge others. However, when it comes to international relationships, the Western countries constantly judge others. Let me give another example, it comes to domestic problems, it takes years and years to solve. However, when it comes to international problems, these countries expect other to solve right away by passing resolution one after another. That is how a lot of wars have started. I hope that you see my point.

  44. John says:

    I just cannot resist providing a rebuttal to chowenlie. It is interesting that you keep using yak instead of ship. I don’t know much about the resettle plan you are talking about. If you can make scientific and ecological assessment of that plan, it is good for you. But, I hope that you are not doing it for some political reasons.

  45. chowenlie says:

    bachelorette, you told it like it is. Well done. Generally, there is no point trying to reason with Chinese netizens. Unlike in Europe, India, Tibet, and the Middle East, logic has never been a subject of study in China (yeah, there were the Mohists but they never amounted to much). One annoying fallacy that keeps showing up is: if the US (or Britain) once committed some crime then it is Ok for the PRC to now commit the same crime. Yawn! We’d have had the backs of our heads slapped if we said anything so stupid after grade six.

    But generally the strategy is to repeatedly point at a yak and call it a wolf (and that’s the wolf talking!). The ecological resettlement of Tibetans in Qinghai is one example. Tibetans lived for thousands of years on the Tibetan Plateau without degrading the environment. A few years back the PRC realized that it was having water problems. While initially some the initiatives were worthwhile, these quickly morphed into blaming overgrazing by Tibetan herds for the Yellow River drying up and the Yangtze flooding! Within this propaganda environment, over the last few years over 60,000 Tibetans have been forcibly resettled from the new Sanjiangyuan National Nature Reserve in Qinghai. The irony of the propaganda line was really driven home for me over the past few weeks scanning Qinghai in Google Earth. While Chinese dams, oil wells, mines, and other sources of pollution were easy to find, the worse Tibetan intervention in the environment was to place prayer flags over a river. This exactly coincides with my own first hand observations. Having removed Tibetans from their ancestral homelands, the PRC is replacing them with domestic and foreign oil, mining, and hydroelectric companies and their imported employees with their dirty industrial towns. What was once a clean landscape will be made filthy beyond repair. Truly a case of a wolf calling a yak a wolf.

  46. Wei says:

    It is perfectly normal for people to migrate in their own country for better oppurtunities.

    It is also the row of the government to attract people to poorer areas to allow economic growth. The government wouldn’t be doing its job if it does not.

    I saw plenty of Tibetans and muslims from Xinjiang province working in Shanghai last time I visited; why can’t the reverse be allowed?

  47. Chinaa says:

    Zyzyx says: ‘Tibet, like the rest of China, is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural’.

    Yes multicultural, especially after the invasion of Han Chinese. Of do you mean to be cynical?

  48. Wei says:

    -> Can you imagine living in a country in Europe and never have seen an image of say the Pope on tv or in newspaper?

    You exaggerate much the influence of Dalai lama over Asian religious scene.

    -> Why is it a big deal with a girl not recognizing the Dalai Lama?

    Because to some people’s mind, Dalai is their center so it must at least be on everyone’s radar. It is to some extent hurtful to see the truth – that their icon is really a nobody in the eyes of many.

  49. Wei says:

    -> Tibet is for Tibetans. Simple as that!

    Define terms Tibetans or Tibet please…there is nothing “simple” about that 😉

  50. John says:

    Chinaa: Why is it a big deal with a girl not recognizing the Dalai Lama? People in China recognize him because he fled China as an armed rebel, not because he is a Pope like figure. The girl does not recognize him, indicating China’s “propaganda” campaign is not as serious as people think. A good thing for you, right?

  51. John says:

    Tenzin Wangmo: 1) it looks like that you want independence, at least as the ultimate goal. Apparently, people like you use the Dalai Lama’s autonomy as the first step. You see, this is a perfect example of circumstances that he does not have to say himself. That is what the Chinese government is worried and talking about. Therefore, they will not give you that. 2) “Tibet is for Tibetans” is like America for African Americans. African Americans can integrate with the rest of America, why can Tibetans not integrate with China? Your mind still dwells in the past. You cannot practice racism today, no mater what race that is. If you are in America, please learn some American values: be tolerant and try to get along with other races. Forget your pure Tibetan country dream.

  52. Zyzyx says:

    Tenzin Wangmo is forgetting something in the equation. The number of Chinese getting educated in het West is far greater. The number of Chinese in the West supporting China is far greater. The silent majority in the West is not supporting “Free Tibet”. China is improving on a fast scale, both economically, socially, etc. Time is not on the side of the Tibetan exile “Free Tibet” group. The time has come that Tibetans in China have a better life than those in India. He says “Tibet for Tibetans”. What a scary rightwing thought is that. Same as saying “Germany for Germans only”, and everyone growing up in the West knows that such views are strongly rejected. Tibet, like the rest of China, is multi-ethnic and multi-cultural. Advocating ethnic cleaning or other ethnic nationalism should be condemned.

  53. Chinaa says:

    @wei who wrote:
    So no one can address Dalai lama as the old monk these days? Must one always screams with ecstasy like teenage girls watching the beetles in the 60s?

    Does he also walk on water these days?

    OK one more try: the young woman did not recognize the dalai lama because she nver SAW him on tv or in newspapers.
    Can you imagine living in a country in Europe and never have seen an image of say the Pope on tv or in newspaper?
    I agree with Bachelorette: it is , well, almost, an Orwellian situation as far as media concerns.

  54. On the contrary the Indian government benefits from the Tibetans in India and the Tibetan community there are working on developments and providing for all the Tibetans escaping from China. Also, the Tibetan movement is not carried only by the Tibetans in India, Tibetans in the US, Europe, Canada regions are getting educated and the YOUTH of Tibet, the new generation is taking control as you can see. I am a perfect example of this. Tibetans will be FREE!

  55. John says:

    There is one more thing that I want to say before I sign off. In a few years, while the Tibetans in the Dharamsala, India, hill station still live a miserable life, Tibetans in China will live a prosperous and modern life. At that time, the ordinary exiled Tibetans will be eager to desert their government, and to go back to China. There will be no Tibetan movement (this is my prediction).

  56. You don;t have to be a Tibetan in exile.. India, US or anywhere to understand. I am not telling you how to think, certainly not. I’m simply suggesting that you look at Tibetan History from the Tibetan people’s eyes and listen to us so that you can be more open minded towards what we are asking for. You dialogue is important, please do not misunderstand me. I have published articles saying it is Tibetan Freedom i want. Meaning, freedom to be Tibetan in Tibet and carry our cultural, religious, traditional values so that we are identified as Tibetans and can think for Tibet, work for Tibet and develop Tibet on our own, not by China’s rules. Every opinion is important, but just because freedom of speech exists does not mean you should abuse it by carelessly writing all your thoughts without research. Informative is that my dear. And John, i never stated i was for Autonomy or Freedom, i think this discussion is far better when i don’t exactly go into the two narrow political views you all are familiar with. Tibet is for Tibetans. Simple as that!

  57. Wei says:

    1) Actually, he will be quite safe. CCP is, like Dalai lama, not stupid.

    2) What does my discription of FLG has anything to do with what Tibetans believe? Do you really know what they actually do and why they are despised by lots of ordinary Chinese?

    3) thats more lols. I don’t think anyone thinks he is stupid.

    4) We shall see in a few years. If people choose the way of the Palestinians, all I can say is that Tibetans will be far worse off than the Chinese.
    Do you think there will be UN peace keeping force in Tibet if there is bloodshed that Chinese armies won’t hit? Keep dreaming.

    5) As I said before, if I am a Tibetan(esp if I am a Tibetan in India), I might think differently; but alas I am not. As for informative dialogue, this is informative, as is with sites like Phayul, global voices, etc…but our dialogue is not so important now is it? We are just the peanut gallery 🙂

  58. John says:

    Tenzin Wangmo,

    If Dalai Lama goes back to China, I cannot guarantee anything, but I don’t think that he will be killed. If everything is safe, why do you need a hero? If he cannot be a hero, how can he be a leader?

    Who is the dictator you are talking about? President Hu Jintao? Does he look like a dictator?

    When you say “their country is more important than another, apparently you are thinking of China and Tibet are two different countries. Do you still want your autonomy? Your name is linking to place indicating who you are. But Chinese people still consider you their brother or sister.

    By the way, we got our news from the Western media, OK?

  59. You did a wonderful job in changing the subject matter into something else.

    1- No guarantee on his safety in Tibet correct? If not please respond correctly.

    2- “demigod” you speak of, is explained in a ignorant way from an ignorant outside perspective of someone who has no knowledge of the “religion” and “culture” that Tibet dealt with. We are talking policies and human rights, not what “norms” were believed to be acceptable back in the day. I can go on for hours detailing different ludicrous beliefs carried by Tibetans, Chinese, American, Africans etc. Does not make it true, what is believed culturally by a few cannot be accepted by all. End this for now

    3. Thank you for clearing out the fact that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not stupid, i hope you spread the word 🙂

    4. There are many Tibetan organizations that want Freedom “Rangzen” as we say it in Tibetan, which His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not associated it. If it was not for the Dalai Lama and his non-violent teachings, one can only imagine how the Tibetan people’s struggle over Tibet could be. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a devoted practitioner peace and compassion.

    5. CNN is good, try listening to a Tibetan on the inside scoop of what WE Tibetans believe, then you might be able to carry on a informative dialogue.

  60. Wei says:

    -> The whole purpose of him fleeing China in 1959 was due to the pressure from the Tibetan people fearing for his safety.

    You speak of truth, here is a dose of it with no sugar coating. In 1959, he did what most leaders of people who start wars that they can not finish do, he ran away.

    -> …FLG…

    More truth with no sugar coating? They are lead by a “demigod” who preys on the weak and the infirm with modern snake oil treatments for terminally ill.

    -> Why do you think he does not publicly come out and declare independence if he really is thinking only for the Tibetans and himself?

    That be political suicide and best way to endanger foreign diplomatic support. While I am certainly not his fan, stupid the old monk is not.

    No need to speculate where I get my info from…I grew up with CNN 😉

  61. John, If the Dalai Lama goes back to China, what guarantee do you have that he will be safe there? The whole purpose of him fleeing China in 1959 was due to the pressure from the Tibetan people fearing for his safety. His exiled government is one of the main reasons that we are here still talking about Tibet. Granted we might not need any more countries in your view, but in my view, we don’t need any more dictators believing that somehow their country is more important than another. Human Rights in China does not seem to exist and you could view many reports from the UN and Human Rights Watch groups to support this statement. It is not just Tibetan, its even present within the Chinese people, especially the Falung Gong. Why would a country with so much power block YouTube because of one video supporting “no human rights in China” if it was not true? I understand that people have the right to determine their own opinions and not listen to the media all the time but, how accurate is your views on China and Tibet? Where do you get your information from? This might be a good place to start searching for the TRUTH behind your views, before you preach to others. Lastly, The Dalai Lama seek autonomy because it is the most peaceful way to resolve this Tibet-China issue according to him, he is a Buddhist monk and supports non-violence. He is thinking in terms of Universal peace as a leader. Why do you think he does not publicly come out and declare independence if he really is thinking only for the Tibetans and himself?

  62. John says:

    It looks like China critiques on this board are giving up. I think that this is because the truth is not on their side. Chinaa: you are disappointed because you have made some assumptions. Your assumptions are: Chinese policies in Tibet are all against human rights and anyone that supports these policies is also against human rights. That is the same argument the Dalai Lama and his Western supporters have made. You all can not make scientific and objective assessment of theses policies.

    Don’t get me wrong. We are all for human rights, which are universal values of human race. China’s struggle with the Dalai Lama is not about human rights, religions or ethnicity. This struggle is about the unity of the Chinese nation. Sounds like a propaganda? No, I truly believe in this. Let’s say that we give him his so-called autonomy. What about other minorities? We give them all? Then, what’s the next step. He declares independence? There are enough countries in the world. Do we need more? Also, in today’s world, why do you give somebody something for nothing other than trouble? Who is that stupid?

    If the Dalai Lama was truly for human rights, he could do differently. He had chance to go back to China to continue his struggle. He could be another Martin Luther King or Nelson Mandela, which could win aspirations. But, he never showed any interest. Instead, he set up the so-called exiled government, and colluded with his foreign sponsors in sabotage activities against China. I don’t think that he could go anywhere.

  63. bachelorette says:


    Obviously you don’t understand Orwell’s books.
    Maybe you should read them again?
    As for your interpretation of the slogans, you need more practice in “doublethink” 😉
    I give up this “debate”, it turns useless…

  64. Wei says:

    So no one can address Dalai lama as the old monk these days? Must one always screams with ecstasy like teenage girls watching the beetles in the 60s?

    Does he also walk on water these days?

    Also Chinaa, I am for democracy and human rights; but not when it is used as a guise for something else. The Western credibility on that front is wearing extremely thin these days, esp. on the issue of Tibet.

  65. Chinaa says:

    I Can’t help feeling very dissapointed that so many pro Chinese government people here take side against human rights. I give up.

    just one more sample to show that the Chin. gov, propaganda efforts indeed seem to have effect:

    last year after the riots in Tibet I was in China, watching an interview with the dalai lama and others on some foreign tv channel. In the room also a 28 year old Chinese woman, a university graduate. After a while she asked: what does the old monk mean to say?
    She didnt know the dalai lama at all, didnt recognize him.
    For me a sign that propaganda really works . …

  66. Wei says:


    Both 1984 and Animal farm was required reading in highschool so, not so much of shock value…and…you didn’t think too deeply about your own slogans


    A failed armed rebel reinvents himself as a leader for peace, while gives tacit approval to violent uprisings…


    Serf lords want their old ways back in the name of freedom.


    Dalai lama champion for religious freedom? LOLs.

    As I said before, pretty slogans, but they cut both ways.


    I’m sure I’ll feel differently if I am a Tibetan Lama, but I am not. Such is the way of this world 😉

  67. Zyzyx says:

    Let’s look at the BBC. They have 2 articles: China’s view and Tibetan View:

    China’s view:
    What does the Chinese government think about reports by the Western media about the recent events in Tibet?

    It is unfortunate that a few Western media outlets, including some from the United States, are ignorant of the obvious truths and are basing their reports on distorted facts and unfounded claims.
    (Zhang Yun, Chinese consul general for Los Angeles, Xinhua, April 2008)

    Tibetan view:
    What does the Tibetan government-in-exile think about reports by the Western media about the recent events in Tibet?

    The Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) thinks that the international media coverage about the recent events in Tibet is the most extensive. The media reports were, by and large fair, accurate and balanced.

    These comments clearly illustrate the Western bias in reporting in favor of the ‘Tibetan view’. Something is off in the reporting, and it would be nice, David, if you could explain why that is.

  68. German in Beijing says:


    I do not understand why you fall into this black/white categorization trap? someone who critizises the chinese government has to be anti china? what kind of logic is that? what in the world do you even mean with ‘anti-china’? anyone voicing an opinion about ‘china’ that you don’t agree with is anti-china or what?

    seriously dude, i love this country. i get along with a lot of people here and going to china is definately one of the best things i have ever done. yet i do find myself disagreeing with one or the other policy of the chinese leadership (as do impressive numbers of chinese i encounter). now how is that anti-china?

    i really do not get what trip you’re on…

  69. bachelorette says:

    Wei: When it comes to “good slogans” here are 3 ‘Ministry of Truth’ (see “1984”) ‘doublethink’ slogans for you to
    deeply think about:


    The above looked through some of the issues of the Tibetan question can (also) be thus interpreted:

    By military and armed force social “harmony” and peace will be implemented.
    Autonomy and having so-called “human rights” means to return to feudal serf system.
    We are implementing censorship for your own good. (i.e. We can decide what you need to know and what is the Truth)

  70. John says:

    There is a lot of the veiled anti-China rhetoric on this board. They use the Chinese Communist Party as a surrogate to attack China. The term “ethnocentrism” is racial and ridiculous. But, with Europe disintegrating into thousand pieces and politicians dog fighting (by the way, we should charge them jet carbon tax for going to summits like going to school), and America embroiled in economical crisis, a centralized system like that of China is beginning to show advantages. It can solve some difficult problems of today. People are starting to realize that.

    Bachelorette: A very nice “review” of the celebrations in Lhasa. My answer to your riddle is none of A and B (none of the above), because they were all from the past. You are either a delusional non-curable chronic Western critique of China or Martin Lee.

  71. Wei says:

    Interesting that the so called human rights activists are also convienently forgetting who Dalai llama(and his associates) really is, and the obvious and balatant lack of religious freedom still practiced under Dalai lama’s current so called government.

    As it is, if you argue that ending the serfdom is a convenient argument for the Chinese, so is human rights then now for the Tibetans in India.

    It is interesting you mentioned Mog. Rep. There are yearly petitions to come back to China…which is interesting…but as it is, had the Tibetans found a strong foreign backer like MR did and split from China formally while China was weak, they probably would have succeeded; but they didn’t or the British was not as capable a master as the soviets. In any case, I have stated somewhere else but I will say it here: History has no do overs.

  72. Chinaa says:

    At that time, China’s main interest was not ending serfdom, but to secure Tibetan area as to prevent them separating from China, as happened in Mongolia. Realpolitik so to say.
    That they in this process ended feudalism, is coincidence and a convenient argument for now.
    Ofcourse I applaud ending of serfdom anywhere, but one must not forget this all was 50 years ago, and now it is 2009 and I have the feeling human rights for Tibetans are not very well respected.
    Just basic human rights, like real freedom of religion, should be the central point here, I think. Not ‘ending serfdom’ or ‘independence’, just: human rights.

  73. Wei says:


    It is interesting that some people in the West like to use a view of relativism on some issues and absolutism on others. It makes good slogans but the hypocrisy is pretty thick.

    Of course I do believe most activists really believe they are doing something good and been sincere about it; but really, they are just pawns for cultural/political expansion of the so called “Western Values” in the grander scheme of things. Tibetan culture is the in thing right now; but really, that is just a tool for politics.

    it is rather amusing to see people here go to bat for a bunch of serf lords and think they are doing a good thing.

  74. David says:


    These are interesting comments. If you can provide further sources these would be much appreciated.


  75. Jim says:

    One particular group, the foreign fundamentalist Christians missionaries, is clearly listening to the official noise coming from the Chinese state media org. The drastic Tibetan resettlement policy, as proudly touted by the Chinese state media orgs, is allowing missionaries greater access to this displaced and concentrated Tibetan population. Between August 2008 and early mid-March 2009 there have been three stories in official daily newspapers concerning the official movement of 1+ million Tibetans from the grasslands of Gansu, Sichuan and Qinghai provinces by 2010. A new school consolidation policy that is moving forward in Hainan TAP in Qinghai – as a model for further ‘consolidation’ efforts throughout the TAPs in Qinghai – is also dramatically changing the social landscape and exacerbating tensions. Hu Jintao has been at the center of the last 20+ years of dismantling the Tibetan culture, an effort that can easily be defined as cultural genocide. In the past year efforts have shifted into an even higher gear as cultural development and preservation advocates have been systematically hamstrung, at best, or, as has been too often the case, tossed out of the country if they were foreign passport holders.

    Fundamentalist Christian missionaries, on the other hand, by being such good listeners and followers of the party line, have been faring quite well with officialdom, as compared to those who do not have “soul harvesting” as their goal. Since missionary efforts are specifically aimed at the conversion of Tibetans from Buddhism to their particular brand of Christianity, they have been given freer reign and a much wider berth by the CCP. It is quite odd how these two groups stroll so happily together. But then again, maybe not. Cultural genocide comes in a variety of packages, though the results are still the same. Much of the cultural demolition work currently underway has its beginning in the churches in the Christian West, under the guise (and fundraising efforts) of “spreading the Word of God.” The Chinese government is happy to work with whoever will help to wrangle Tibetans from their “heathen” ways, and, at least for now, they are both marching along in-step. What the fundies will eventually learn is that once they have served the CCPs greater purpose, they too will become pariahs. But by then the damage will have been done. But maybe not. Many in the Tibetan communities are aware of what their new false friends are after, and quite often the relationships go sour, as well they should. But the stealing of native lands under the ideal of education and language preservation is mendacity at its highest level. This is how it has always happened under imperial rule.

  76. sr says:


    Very good post.
    My answer to your riddle is both A and B (all of the above). Because they are essentially the same thing.

  77. bachelorette says:

    The self-righteous (Imperialist/Colonist) appologetics rhetoric that someone (in this instance, Han China) has the moral right to ‘enlighten’
    and “liberate” forcefully someone else on the grounds of the former’s presumed moral, cultural, etc. superiority and the latter’s
    inferiority and backwardness is something that is called ethnocentrism, or in this particular instance Sinocentrism.

    a comment by ‘daxiongmao’ after another Tibet-related blog post on another website very relevant I think:

    “The natives were behaving like heathens and savages living under
    feudal rule prior to our arrival.
    Under our influence the natives were tamed, learnt to read and write
    OUR language and their ancient traditions
    stamped out. We built train lines for them and improved their economic

    Am I a) A British colonialist or b) A CCP spokesperson? You decide.

  78. bachelorette says:

    David, very good post and the debate in the comments is as much worth the read as the article.

    I follow (for my own “amusement”) the recent Chinese media Tibet-related propaganda campaign and the
    almost surreal impression it leaves me with reminds me of George
    Orwell’s books “1984” and “Animal Farm” to an extend that is simply
    supernatural in its uncanny sameness.

    The “jewel” of the recent Chinese Tibet-related Propaganda campaign –
    “50th Anniversary of Democratic Reform in Tibet ” exhibition in Beijing
    apparently has an online version.
    To be “educated” on the “terrible past”, “harmonious present” and “bright
    future” of Tibet go to:

    I make it a point to find time and go and see it next week.

    Yesterday Tibet “Serf’s Emancipation Day” was celebrated for the first time. The speeches (going on for an hour) are amazing
    in their surreal absurdities! There are lenghty and indoctrinatory speeches made by a former serf, a former PLA “liberator” from 50 years ago,
    a perky military guy (the list of his ‘accomplishments’ is amusing to tears), a highschool “youth reprecentative” and Party “apparatchiks”…
    The audience (animal-fur clad and hatted sunbrowned severe looking Tibetans of all kinds are seated on little colourful plastic stools (like those in a kindergarden)
    in raws of thousands, listening with severe seriousness to the stage speeches,with the view of the towering behind Potala Palace.
    Interestingly when the camera shows a vider view it is to be noted that with the exception of those seated in such neat rows Tibetans
    there is not a soul to be seen moving in the near visitity, no cars, no people.

    At the end of the last one (by Tibet Party secretary Zhang Qinglin) by all means was the climax and I didn’t know should I laugh or cry and had the strong wish to do both

    (stream video of the official ceremony in Lhasa as shown live on CCTV)

    The conclusion we are (presumably) to make (one can assume) is:

    “Without the omnipresent, wise and advanced guidance and benevolent
    rule of the Chinese Communist Party and the liberating forces of the
    People’s Liberation Army (PLA) modern Tibet is apparently impossible
    to exist.
    Believe it or not, but the cute old monk in crimson robes (i.e. the
    Dalai Lama) who is apparently shamelessly lying to the whole world and
    deluding everybody (the West is so muddle-headed that even gave him a
    Nobel Peace Prize 20 years ago) is in fact a disguised cruel and
    despotic serf-owner who used to gauge peoples eyes with a stone-like
    (Here is the moment to imagine the teenage bespectacled monk in crimson robes running in the
    corridors of the Potala Palace with the torture instrument enjoying chasing the
    not yet “emancipated” serfs).
    His motives in speaking up on Tibet, human rights, etc. are by all
    means “ulterior”. In fact (apparently)he aims and plans (somehow that
    MUST become obvious after you see the exhibit) , to split Tibet from
    the “motherland” (dear old nationalist rhetoric) and to restore the
    old backward theocratic serf-owning, people-torturing, feudal rule .”

    For the sake of history and fact it is also to be added:

    It is to be noted and reminded that only 30-40 years ago extreme famine killed
    millions in China and even led to cannibalism. That happened under the
    “glorious guidance” of the same Party.
    Under the same Party and with the direct guidance of its leader, Chairman Mao, a cultural genocide against his
    own people’s religious believes and other traditions let to the almost complete cultural and religious annihilation of the Han Chinese culture.

    It is also to be noted for the sake of “amusement” that communist doctrine is an atheist one. Comrades Lenin and Chairman Mao
    had much to say in the line of how “Religion is the opium for the people” and is merely a backward superstition not to be tolerated.
    The absurdity that the Chinese Communist Party should see itself qualified and up to the task to appoint “living Buddhas” and
    select incarnate lamas is, to say the least, lidicrous.

    As for instruments of torture and the “art” of torture, I believe
    history has a lot to say about the Chinese people’s “contribution” and
    “inventiveness” in that area…

  79. John says:

    I am not going to present evidence to refute you. It is irrelevant. But, I do have comments on your points A, B and C.

    A. Whatever CCTV and Xinhua are doing is not a propaganda campaign. They are not chanting slogans, using loud speakers or posters, and far from it. Whatever is presented are facts. There is nothing wrong to spread the truth. If you cannot define these activities, let me give you a term. It is called Tibet related public relation initiative. China is now at serious opinion disadvantage over Tibet. Even people like Desmond Tutu are coming out to support the Dalai Lama (Maybe your next project should be what Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama have in common. I believe that they all live off the money from the West, and use religions and non-profit organizations to conduct political activities). In face of such challenges, it is about time to lunch an information campaign.
    B. Since there is tremendous misinformation about Tibet in the West, and so far I have not heard many overseas Tibetans coming out to support China, China should send more such delegations in the future to explain China’s positions to the West, and to seek out overseas Tibetans.
    C. It will take time for such a campaign to be effective. But I do believe that if China is persistent, it will produce results in the future.
    D. I am none of those you mentioned. However, as I watch both local TV and CCTV, and have an independent mind to think, I do recently come to realize that liberation of Tibet is nothing short of an equivalence of the ending of slaves in the US. Have you not seen the cruelty of the serfdom? Are they fabricating evidence? In some aspects, Chinese system is far superior and fair over the old Tibetan system and for the matter, the neighboring Indian cast system (it is called democracy). Whatever happened afterwards in China is not unique to Tibet, and does not diminish the significance to any extent of abolishment of the serfdom. Nobody pretends that everything is OK in Tibet. The point here is improvements and progress.

  80. David says:


    If you are going to comment, you should at least give us the courtesy of actually reading our article. Nowhere, ever, have we made any statements supporting the Dalai Lama or advocating Tibetan independence. We have made no statements at all, in fact, on the Tibet controversy itself. I challenge you to find them.

    What we have said, and I’ll lay it out as basically as I can for you, is that:

    A) China has launched a major propaganda campaign to promote the idea that everything is fine in Tibet. (We make no statements concerning whether the facts in these reports are accurate or not.)
    B) China has sought to influence global public opinion on Tibet through new initiatives, such as this delegation of the “living Buddha.”
    C) These “soft power” efforts have so far not been effective.

    In order to deny A) you will have to convince me that there have NOT been thousands of news reports (all from Xinhua and other state media) over the last two months, that there has not been an official documentary airing on CCTV about “serf liberation,’ or a national exhibit.

    In order to deny B) you would have to deny not only the fact that the Tenzinchodrak delegation DID travel to the West, but that statements about influencing global public opinion have not appeared from state leaders such as Hu Jintao and Li Changchun (December last year).

    In order to deny C) you will have to produce proof, in the form of Western media reports or other statements (from governments, academics, etc.) to suggest China’s message on Tibet is getting through to Western countries.

    Your mental process so far has been this, John: see an piece of analysis written by “a Westerner” that deals (in any form) with the issue of Tibet and assume it MUST be written from a “typical Western perspective.”

    I can’t teach you to think. But I can certainly challenge you . . . So here goes.

    Assume, please, for the sake of argument, that I, the writer of this article, actually DO NOT believe Tibet should be independent. OK. Now assume that I don’t think the Dalai Lama is a saint, that he is not a “Ghandi.” OK. Now assume that I am a member of the Chinese Communist Party and hold a lower-level government position in, say, Fujian. OK. Are you with me? . . . Now, assuming all of these things, imagine that after I watch the official CCTV documentary about the liberation of the serfs in Tibet, I think it is ridiculous to portray Mao Zedong, whose policies resulted directly in the death of millions, to Abraham Lincoln.

    Does the fact that I am taking issue with a standpoint expressed in official propaganda mean necessarily that I am holding a “typical Western perspective”? It is possible, John, to believe that Tibet should not be independent and still THINK.

    Why do you assume so much about what I believe rather than just looking at the tangible facts I have presented?


  81. John says:

    When it comes to Tibet, it seems that nobody is open-minded. As a person who lives in the West, I don’t have even one iota of sympathy for the typical Western perspective. It is ignorant with regards to the Dalai Lama. It deliberately not mentions the fact that he was appointed by the previous Chinese government, and all his powers are fully vested in China. On the contrary and as a betrayal, he fled China, and thus, a traitor of China. Based on this simple fact alone, why should China talk to him? Instead, he should be extradited to China to face charges in the uprising. He cannot be compared to any historical human right figures like Ghandi, Mandela or King since he conducts his activities from abroad. You hear the Western view on this issue day in and day out everywhere except in China, why would Hong Kong need another platform with this so-called China Media Project to express the typical Western view on Tibet?

  82. […] As China shouts its line on Tibet, is anybody listening? [China Media Project] “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’.” […]

  83. whatsis says:

    There were violent outbursts by Quebec separatists, notably in the 60s and 70s. There was a bombing campaign that targeted sites across the province, notably the Montreal Stock Exchange. The federal government was called in to deal with it. Members of the Quebec Liberation Front, an extremist separatist group, did kidnap a then-prominent Canadian politician named Pierre Laporte and the British trade commissioner James Cross in 1970. Note that even though there was violence, the entire province was never sealed off to outsiders. They called for (and many still do) an independent French state, completely separate from Canada. These calls are made publicly, the liberties of supporters of an independent Quebec state are not curtailed, access to their information blocked to the public, etc.

    The point is, in the end, to find a solution to the problem that encourages the least amount of violence possible. People, when feeling surpressed, unheard, and unable to do anything to change their situation, often feel that violence is the only answer. I don’t think that the problem is whether or not Tibet should be free from China, but whether or not people involved (including Han Chinese) should have open access to information about the situation, be able to discuss it freely amongst themselves and with others, and choose to take or not take legal action with an aim to produce the desired results

    From most of the information I see, there is less pressure on China to free Tibet and let it become an independent state than to let up on the people living there. It’s not about the world telling China to let go of a part of itself, it’s more of a plea to let people speak their minds without fear of repercussions.

  84. Wei says:

    I wonder what if the Free Quebec people lead an arm rebellion, lose and then set up a run away government in the States(pretend for a sec); then with CIA try to smuggle weapons into Canada; then afterwards when CIA loses interest, suddenly reinvents itself as a peaceful movement…

    I wonder what would happen? I also wonder what Canadian’s reaction is if EU etc suddenly apply pressure to the Canadian government to let Quebec go. I am sure Canadians would say sure, please, do make decisions for us.

  85. whatsis says:

    Just as a counterpoint, Canada also has separatists. But instead of being banned from the country, or having their cellphones shut off, or themselves followed, or rules governing when they can and can not be in the street in place, they are allowed to run for government, advertise for their cause in public, and the public is allowed to vote or not vote for them.

    Engaging someone “out of mere courtesy” or “diplomatic protocol” is not the same as actually engaging someone for the purpose of a mutual resolution.

  86. MAC says:

    “Why do you keep harping on the Tibetan issue so much while totally ignoring the tremendous human sufferings on the Palestinian West Bank & Gaza?”

    This is RIDICULOUS. Tibet might seem like an issue that gets vastly more press if you get all your news from China blogs and anti-CNN, but not if you actually keep up with the news. Not that this is the only problem I have with any of your posts, but this stands out as the most absurd.

  87. Wei says:

    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 😉

  88. SE Asian Chinese says:

    Hey! You Western so-called samaritans, may be, perhaps just may be, please contemplate this scenario:this Dalai political monk & his entire so-called govt-in-exile, may have been more willing to really sit down with China & work out the nitty-gritty of their so-called self-rule agenda if they are denied the international limelight which gives them the self-inflated but yet unrealistic illusion that they day dream about ‘independence’ is afterall literally a dream deemed achievable. So, in this sense, are you guys aiding the resolution of such a complex issue or you simply complicate the matter? Actually, for all you know, Chinese are willing to engage with you guys on this issue just out of mere courtesy or the so-called diplomatic protocol. We can very well just say: f@#* the hell out of my internal affairs & mind your own bloody business!!

  89. whatsis says:

    @SE Asian,

    I wouldn’t say that Tibet looms larger in the western media than what is going on in Israel and Palestine. There are reports daily in most major newspapers that carry reports on the conflict there.

    You have a point that major media tend to focus on certain areas and issues – this is a problem that does need to be addressed. You also have a point that the balance of the world’s resources is horrendously unequal – although you seem to have no problem reaping the benefits of that inequality yourself through your western education and life in the US.

    If you could provide examples of how reporting on Tibet, Darfur, Zimbabwe, Iran and North Korea and their relevant issues is a method of deflecting attention from the real issues of these countries, that would be much appreciated.

  90. SE Asian Chinese says:

    The world is, in fact, crying out loud & perhaps in despair : hey, you Western guys, you have your days already where you almost dominated almost every aspect of human endeavour, especially our eyes & ears, for more than 500 years, isn’t it time you start listening to alternative voices from the other 84% of the rest of humanity? Does it occur to you at the slightest instance that your world views may have been distorted just for a refreshing change?

    Why do you keep harping on the Tibetan issue so much while totally ignoring the tremendous human sufferings on the Palestinian West Bank & Gaza? Are the Tibetans subjected to the same degree of human insults & degredation compared to the Palestinians? What is your motive for playing up the Tibetan issue while conveniently ignoring the Gazan atrocities? It is because of your Israeli lobby or you simply think that Muslim Arabs are sub human?

    Do you know why the Muslim world hate the West so much? What have you done to them to derserve such distain & hatred? Search your soul & conscience, mate!

    If the West is so fascinated with injustices around the world, such as Zimbabwe, Dafur etc…., why have you not champion causes like the pogroms of Chinese diaspora in Indonesia & the naked racism in Malaysia?

    Of course you would very much wish to carry on your good life where your tiny 16 % of humanity are enjoying the the bulk of the world’s resources, but the rest of the world is saying:enough is enough! It is time you enjoy only what is rightfully your worth, no more & no less!! So, this is the crunch of the whole damn thing:Tibet, Dafur, Zimbabwe, Iranian/NKorean Nuclear issues are just attempts to deflect pressure from the developing world in demand of a more just world order. See how panicky Obama & his Finance Secretary appear when there is a challenge to the supremacy of the US Dollar hagemony!

  91. David says:


    I assure you I am quite at ease — fourth cup of coffee notwithstanding. I did not label your views as “hatred,” “totally wrong” or “pro-China.” Should I have?

    I completely agree with you about the need for multiple perspectives, and I’m all for maturity. What I’m waiting for is the substantive alternative view you’re advertising.

    That is why I take issue with your chronic use of what S.I. Hayakawa would call “snarl-and-purr words,” which convey emotions and prejudices rather than ideas.

    [“both media are craps”]
    [“craps like democracy, freedom and human rights”]
    [“I hate your system!!!”]
    How can anyone respond to such “viewpoints”?

    Another fallacy you constantly fall into is the “two-valued orientation,” an extreme form of reductionism.

    [“you harshly criticised us during Asian financial crisis”]
    [“You kept lecturing us”]

    Engaging in mature conversation, as you put it, requires moving past simplistic oppositions like this. If both parties in a conversation fail to do this, the result sounds like something on a gradeschool playground:

    A: “You harshly criticised us during the Asian financial crisis”!
    B: “No, we didn’t.”
    A: “Yes, you did.”
    B: “Did not!”
    A: “Did so!”
    B: “Uh uh!”
    A: “Yeah, huh!”

    On the “censorship” issue, I shouldn’t have to point out to you how logically untenable it is to equate the thoughts of a single person to the policy actions of an entire government. The very existence of your rebuttal comment, of course, invalidates this statement too (I refer you to the simple but instructive comment from whatsis).

    I am delighted that this post has elicited thoughts and responses from you, and I hope you take my comments in the spirit intended. I assure you that your comments here are most welcome.


  92. whatsis says:

    Disagreeing with someone’s views is not censorship. Deleting your comments and not letting anyone else see them is.

  93. sr says:

    Very interesting article David.
    Now I have some insight into why some Chinese people all spew the same vitriol about Tibet…because they have all been drowning in it, especially for the last year.

    “May Tibetans be happy in Tibet, and Chinese be happy in China
    -from The Great Treaty of 812

  94. kwc says:

    Dear David,

    You seem to be the only one who is getting tense up here. I am not arguing for china or is pro china. I am just giving you an alternative view. You on the other hand is fond of labeling all views against yours as hatred, totally wrong, imaginative, and pro china. Lets be matured and debate the issue on all perspectives.

    Those that argue for you are also equally angry, passive aggressive. If you listen only to people who agree with you then whatever I say here is of no use. I see you are just the same as the Chinese government who censored all other alternative views. So, why bother criticising others when you yourself practice it?

  95. chowenlie says:

    For over 2000 years children in Western countries have been told the story of the boy who cried wolf one too many times. When I grew up every child knew it. Then we all read “Nineteen Eighty-Four”, “Animal Farm”, and similar books.

    I suppose you could say we’re all brainwashed to think lying propaganda by oppressive oligarchies (the CCP) is evil, but that’s what we believe and we can’t help but feel we should put an end to the deceit. Rather I should say “attempted deceit”, because the PRC government has so many times cried wolf when clearly it is not a wolf but a lamb, that we scarcely believe anything they say any more.

  96. David says:


    You write suspiciously like SE Asian Chinese — or is this strange use of “craps” a new universal idiom? Anyhow, that’s neither here nor there.

    I would suggest, first off, that you are not a careful consumer of so-called Western media products. It sounds like you need to read more widely and critically. Anti-CCN played it’s role, and many of its specific criticisms were well-founded, but it is not a good prism through which to get an accurate picture of how media work or report. China watchers engage in this kind of criticism of professional issues in “Western media” all the time:
    As do Western media themselves. They reported on the Anti-CNN phenomenon last year, in fact.

    I’m not your enemy. I would say “WE” are not your enemy. But there is no Western “WE”, kwc. That is a false notion right out of the CCP playbook — a “people’s war,” a struggle against “hostile forces.” Nor do you represent the “Chinese view.” If you imagine that you do, you’re not reading carefully enough in Chinese, and not doing any justice to the strength of Chinese ideas. In fact, I was about to paste a link to a post from Caijing that included a very good discussion of recent coverage of China in The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs and other publications — that post seems to have been removed, however.

    Please, let’s keep this forum about ideas, and not about imagined mega-cultural points of view that don’t actually exist.

    And for goodness sakes, kwc, the answers to your rhetorical questions above are right under your nose. Why don’t you take the time to actually read press coverage of Guantanamo and the varying views in the U.S., not to mention the rest of “the West.” Try following the ongoing debate about how media in the U.S. went soft after 9/11 and failed to ask tough questions. Who do you think is asking serious questions about Guantanamo? The Global Times? The answer is obvious: the press (imperfectly, of course) and an active civil society. The answers to your questions on Tibet have to begin with access — how can we possibly get credible facts otherwise?

    I know this post is about Tibet, but let’s keep our blood pressures low, PLEASE.


  97. kwc says:

    What the Chinese government is doing right now is following the path of al jazeera by providing an alternative coverage to those who would like to have a different view from those biased western media such as CNN. I believe both media are craps as they are biased in both extremes. They are either pro China or pro western media.

    We urgently need a true media which is unbiased in reporting real events happening around us. So far, we have none as all the media coverage are channeled towards their own country’s propaganda and benefit. How many of us here have really seen an innocent tibetan been killed by chinese police? I bet none of us here have ever step foot in tibet before. All the stories we get are from people claimed to be inside tibet. How would you be sure that these people are not lying and maybe they have bad intentions after all?

    Those whom are caught by CIA and held up in Guantanamo Bay have you question their validity like how you did to tibetans? How about those so claimed to be Chinese spies? Are they really a spy or just a bluff by US government?

    I would urge everybody not to be hypocrite by instilling values and believe that you yourself do not practice. There are many instances where the western government do not practice what they preach. An example is globalisation which you have been fighting for decades earlier and abandon now because it does not in favour to you. The second is Protectionism where you harshly criticised us during Asian financial crisis. Now, you are lobbying for a protection bill to be passed. Lastly is the bailing out of rotten companies. You kept lecturing us about the danger of giving life line to unscrupulous companies that will defeat the free market economy. Look at what you are doing to all the bailouts!

    Just for the sake of argument, if in the near future your country would be in the midst of collapsing, your territory is divided, only then, we use the same medicine you gave us by instilling hatred to break your country, would you still hold to your believe? Will you praise us and let your country split up?

  98. warped0ne says:

    In my last comment, I said, “…(according to the rest of the world)…” I was referring to people from England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, Belize (who fled Taiwan when China started pointing missiles in their direction), Kenya, Zimbabwe, The US, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, and New Zealand that I have discussed history with … both before moving to China and after.

  99. warped0ne says:

    With the global economy like it is now, who cares about human rights? You can see every country in the world bowing to China’s wants and demands (Dalai Lama’s visa denial in South Africa being the latest) because China is one of the few countries that has money left. So, to me, a propaganda campaign to convince the “Imperialists” in the west that they are wrong and China is right seems like a mute point to make. Going the other way is even more of a mute point. Trying to convince my Chinese wife that everything she sees on CCTV and read in her text books isn’t historically accurate (according to the rest of the world) is like trying to move Mount Everest (珠穆朗玛峰) with a pair of chopsticks.

  100. tomany says:

    Too many overseas chinese in an identify crisis use the Tibet issue to prove their patriotism, how misguided they are…

  101. One Chinese says:

    Actually I have no interests in reading so long article. To be frank, I am customed to the style of article: accusation of Chinese nationalism, communism, not open-minded,……..Yet, in my eyes, the author and those who share the same style make a mistake: they do not understand Chinese language and do not realize the His Holiness Dalai Lama is also a big liar. For example, he repressed his religious opponent. His believers killed Han Chinese and musilim Chinese last March. If this behavior could be acceptable in western democracy, “911“ would have been right thing though innocent people lost their lives.

    To be a prefessional jounalist, he or she must show his or her qualification. At least they must realize many English-speaking Chinese diagree with them. They must think why? as those Chinese keep silence on other issues accused by western medias and government.

  102. […] government was building to facilitate jacking up prices to visit the historic and bustling temple. -David Bandurski (China Media Project) analyzed whether or not anyone was listening to China’s publicity blitz on Tibet, and Mutant […]

  103. howard says:

    It is obvious the PR machine of the Chinese government is not working properly, or they just keep barking on the wrong tree.

    Insead wasting so much coffer’s money for these pointless oversea PR campaign, just
    1. to put a full page paid Ad every Monday on NYTimes & Washington Post to state your agenda (if they refuse to give you a full page ad, acquire them), or
    2. buy a 30 minutes broadcasting time every week in CNN & BBC for your documentary and official propaganda (if they refuse to sell you the time slot, acquire them), or
    3. give official “fact” brochures together about Tibet with small gifts in the street and subway of New York, Los Ageles, Sydney and London on every X’mas, FREE! or
    4. put the “officially correct” materials into the textbooks for elementary, secendary, and college, printed in mandarin, tibetan and english. (the last fatal PR weapon for 1.3 billion ppl!).

    If the above are possible, that will be much better than the big spending of the pointless and toothless forum of delegations. And Doing so will also help the dooming media industry and American economy…

    Stupid, period.

  104. Jeremiah says:

    Thanks David for this excellent post and analysis. Perhaps your larger argument could best be summed up by the Bard: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”

  105. […] though. They put it nicely at the “China Media Project“, with a lengthy analysis of media sources and the inevitable question: What’s the point??? Why putting so much effort […]

  106. michael says:

    I had a converastion about this with my Chinese teacher this week. “Why do westerners always believe the Dai Lama and not the Chinese government?” she asked, in all innocence. Despite living in Australia for ten years she did not doubt that the Chinese government’s media reports on Tibet were the truth and that the DL was a trickster.

  107. David says:

    SE Asian Chinese:

    Apparently, my “Western” mind cannot penetrate your “Eastern” one. But I think we’ve both survived this conversation with all of our sums intact, right?

    Your homework assignment for tonight is to order in a pizza (with corn on it, if you must), burn your copy of Samuel Huntington, and sit back with a pitcher of margaritas while you watch Japanese animation.


  108. Chinaa says:

    Richardlee wrote:
    “Western media has the control of discourse. so a pro-China demonstration with more ten thousand Chinese in NY or LA went unreported . but a dozen of Tibetan protesters, let say, in front of Chinese embassy or the headquarter of Coca Cola, were indeed reported by many Western newspapers.”
    And SEAsian Chinese obviously is supporting him.

    @ both: I wonder why you insist on supporting a government which is not representing you at all, is not chosen by you at all. It is an interesting phenomen to me, a westerner.

    I just like to quote here the words of the former 1989 Tiananmen soldier Zhang Shijun, who was detained last week after publishing an open letter to the government:

    “I’ve discovered that the party that works “for the common good” and the government that is “for the people” are actually very hypocritical, numb, and cold-blooded!” …
    “This is every Chinese person’s motherland, and belongs to everyone of Chinese descent. It does not belong just to one person, one family, one party’s private holdings. It cannot be taken by any organization or power as its country, people, or ideology. Comrade Hu Jintao, do you agree?”
    and so on.
    He too is a patriot, SE Asianchinese and Richardlee, but a different one!

  109. whatsis says:

    @SE Asian Chinese-

    Your descriptions of past atrocities perpetrated in China at the hands of foreign invaders are not examples of insurmountable differences between civilizations. They are examples of war and colonialism – neither of which, unfortunately, is a unique experience to China. I notice as well that you have conveniently left out atrocities perpetrated by Chinese on their own people, Tibetans, and other minority groups. China is not completely free of its own mistakes, either.

    It’s unfortunate that you have had to stay in a system so long that you despise, without ever giving thought to its possible merit. No system is perfect, granted, but the system under which you have benefited so enormously, as you yourself have stated, can be beneficial for many. I also think you may be confusing national interests and racism.

    I disagree with the idea that “personal friendship or some fringes of cross cultural goodwill, however, does not change the cold fact that, the Occidental & Oriental Civilisational differences, let alone national interests, simply dictate that ours are realistically a zero-sum relationship.”

    Conversely, I think this is precisely where cross-cultural understanding on a national and global scale begins.

  110. SE Asian Chinese says:


    Don’t get me wrong, I am no racist, no irrational fenqing & therefore have no particular hatred against the Caucasian people. In fact, when I first landed in the West for my 1st Degree course, it was a very amicable Caucasian family who hosted me for a long period of time & I still keep in good contact with the family even after more than 20 years. I am a beneficiary of your tax payers’ generosity which gave me a excellent Western Degree & therefore guaranteeing me a prosperous life for the rest of my life. Personal friendship or some fringes of cross cultural goodwill, however, does not change the cold fact that, the Occidental & Oriental Civilisational differences, let alone national interests, simply dictate that ours are realistically a zero-sum relationship. Ask yourself honestly, when Western imperialism was stripping our Summer Palace, or when the bombs started to fall on Iraq in the ‘shock & awe’ campaign, or when Japanese were ‘enjoying’ the rape of our women during the Nanjing Massacre & host of other historical episodes…. , were there any sense of remorse or voices of compassion/reason or the fear of your Christian Lord in the hearts of these perpetrators? The answer is a definite ‘NO’ ! All in all, the point is there are a diversity of world views, Chinese, Caucasian, Indian, African etc. Nobody is absolutely correct as we all pursue our own individual national interests. So, in this endeavour, if we can persuade someone onto our side, so far so good. Otherwise, just let it be, as John Lenon would have us do in his famous song.

  111. […] March 25th, 2009 at 11:51 pm (Uncategorized) […]

  112. David says:

    SE Asian Chinese:

    When I read angry, passive aggressive posts like yours, my first response — for a flutter of a second — is to feel deeply concerned for the China I know and love, where there are wonderful minds (despite a repressive system) fighting to do the best journalism possible, to produce honest films, to push for justice in their own homeland, to grow their businesses, or even, yes, to advance institutional reforms. I know many of these people personally, not as some “Caucasian” goblin ex machina bent on the destruction of the Chinese people.

    But I am fundamentally an optimist, and my alarm over your remarks (to characterize them kindly) passes quickly.

    Just as with my “Western” friends (a category I don’t actually have), my Chinese friends and colleagues and I agree on some things and disagree on others. As mature, rational adults, our friendship is based on a code of openness and intellectual honesty. Disagreeing isn’t just OK — it’s natural, inevitable and even exhilirating. Moreover, our disagreements never fall along China/West lines, which are intellectually dishonest to begin with.

    I respect their views and endeavor to understand them; They extend me the same courtesy.

    This sort of honesty, SE Asian Chinese, is how you build meaningful relationships, and that includes international ones. That kind of openness is something the Chinese leadership needs to learn.

    As for yourself, I hope the shameful face you just showed is something you reserve for fits of online rage. If you ever make it to Hong Kong, drop us a line through the Website — I’d love to sit down and be rational with you. I’ll even buy you a cup of coffee.

    I hope you don’t find it impertinent — speaking as a “Caucasian” — but I’ll be having green tea.


  113. […] China: Official story on Tibet David Bandurski from China Media Project reports on the Chinese government's propaganda campaign on Tibet and the trip of “Living Buddha” to north America, but all effort seems to be in vain. […]

  114. […] propaganda campaign on Tibet and the trip of “Living Buddha” to north America, but all effort seems to be in vain. Cancel this […]

  115. SE Asian Chinese says:

    If Chinese views do not get heard in the West, so be it. At least, its voices are heard loud & clear in SE Asia & most of the developing world. Look at how warm the Chinese leadership are being received in , say, Venezuela (where the Chinese national antherm was deliberately sung in Chinese by the army band), Iran, Peru, Chile, Cuba, Saudi Arabia etc…..this clearly shows how effective our propaganda machinery really is. As far as the evil West is concerned, is there any surprise for their skepticism? It is just like you try preaching Christianity to Osama bin Laden & his fundamentaltic Jihadis & the outcome is so very well predictable. At least, whether or not we can gain any covert is besides the point, we can console ourselves that we have indeed tried. You choose not to hear is is your right. You know what? You may regard your mainstream media like NY Times, Economist, CNN, BBc etc as authoritative & trustworthy, but to us the intellectuals outside the Caucasian world, they are just trash. We read them just to entertain ourselves & to prove to ourselves how deviant they are against our Chinese world views. We only read them for the news content, especially their breaking news, for , no matter what you might dislike them, they realistically have had many local bureaus & they can report events faster. Look also at your VOA, RFA etc which are inherently hostile to China, how many coverts have they achieved within the Mainlanders & among the Chinese diaspora? Do they stop trying even when faced with tremendous failure? Of course no, they perserver non the less. I happened to studied, lived & worked for more than 20 years in the West. Am I converted to your cause of these craps like democracy, freedom & human rights? Not a wee bit! In fact, the more I stay the more I hate your system!!!

  116. I know China puts a lot of thought into developing “soft power.” It must know that this sort of tour won’t be particularly successful in Canada or anywhere else. But what can the propaganda officials do? They can’t really transform themselves, so they’re stuck doing half-efforts.

    Of course, it’s also possible that sending that delegation abroad was more about showing Chinese at home that Beijing was ready to back up its claims abroad than it was about convincing foreigners.

  117. Matthew A. Sawtell says:

    As it stands, the powers to be in Beijing’s efforts are squarely geared to minds and hearts of the people could be a direct threat to them – the people of P.R. China. As such, all questions in relation to the politburo’s efforts should be framed with that in mind. If there is any positive responses from overseas, it is a bonus on top of the domestic return on investment.

  118. richardlee says:

    who cares? it is a war that Chinese will never win. the game rules have been imposed by westners. Western media has the control of discourse. so a pro-China demonstraion with more ten thousand Chinese in NY or LA went unreported . but a dozen of Tibentan protesters, let say, in front of CHinese embassy or the headquarter of Coca Cola, were indeed reported by many Western newspapers. So you want to discuss Western media coverage with me? Talk to my dog!!!

  119. The truth will prevail. These ‘delegates’ from Tibet who ‘represent’ the Tibetan people in Tibet should have gotten more media coverage for unbiased purposes by my instinct (through knowledge and experience) tells me that they are just being used as tools from the PRC to try to turn the story another way into their ‘liberation’ story with the “Serf’s Emancipation Day” coming up and would not reflect the overall struggle of the Tibetan freedom fighters in Tibet. Blunt truth of the matter is that though there might be some few Tibetans who have been raised in Tibet/China accepting the “democratic” reforms that China has supposedly instituted, many more have proven to fight for their “freedom” which they have been denied. There are many compelling evidence leaked out of Tibet that weigh heavily on the fact that the majority of the Tibetans in Tibet are not happy and need and crave their birth rights as Tibetans and not as Tibetan/Chinese.

    China can do as they please and try to work through the media with their state run media team but the truth will always prevail. It is my hope that the journalists/reporters, and people in the field of media relations who have dedicated their career on truth, as accurate as possible, will remember the core principals of journalism that i admire dearly.

    Thank you David.

    P.S. overseas Christian: Your comment does not offend me because it is your view, yet it saddens me BUT the major point is; please don’t overstate your view by labeling yourself with “everybody” because i strongly do not agree.

  120. kailing says:

    For those who do not have cable or satellite television and follow CCTV news (all of them, english and mandarin) and other chinese channels… the propaganda machine with tibet is really awesome. The good think… it is the perfect time to go to the kitchen for that cup of tea, yogurt or pee. I think they do it with this in mind, a moment of release!

  121. David says:

    Overseas Christian:

    Thanks for stopping by. I approved your comments because I could find no compelling reason to delete them that didn’t offend my own convictions against censorship.

    But next time, please, can you show us a sign of intellect?


  122. overseas Christian says:

    Can his Holiness stay put in India and stop running around like a second-rate actress asking for a role in a low-budget movie? Is it too much to ask? everyone is sick and tired of seeing him on TV. Just read the scripture and play house with Richard Gear. He’ll listen. 🙂

  123. overseas Christian says:

    how about just asking this old monk to just shut up and the whole world will be in nirvana again! It’s like the Miss World Contest each year. What’s your “goal” in South Africa? World Peace. Definitely falling on my “deaf” ears….gee…just shut up and pray to Jesus or ……

  124. Bill says:

    Of course we listen and watch what the Chinese government is saying. That’s how we know how scared the Chinese government and CCP are.

  125. Chinaa says:

    The Chinese government might try No jetlag there!

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