Dalai Lama sows seeds of selfish plan in Tibet

Partly because of his own mysteriousness and partly because of the time-honored Western romanticization of Tibet as an unpolluted Shangri-La, the Dalai Lama’s popularity has increased tremendously over the past five decades. He took full advantage of every opportunity to appeal to the media with benevolence, resulting in a Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

But despite his popularity, beneath the Dalai Lama’s romantic aura we can only find violence covered by well-calculated political propaganda and maneuvers. Three press releases issued by the Dalai Lama regarding last weeks’ riot in Tibet distinctly reveal his true political cunningness and hypocrisy.

The Dalai Lama always praises compassion as “the core of all the religions, all our humanities and all our existence.” Contrary to his own preaching, however, the Dalai Lama expressed no sympathy to the victims of the Tibet riot, nor to their families; nor to the innocent passersby killed in Lhasa; nor to the foreign service employees attacked in Chinese consulates-general in Munich, Toronto, San Francisco and London; nor even to the 18-year-old Tibetan girl, one of his “fellow countrymen,” who was swallowed in the brutal fire set by the mob in a fashion store on March 14.

Instead, in his press release on the same day, the Dalai Lama called the wild riot in Tibet “peaceful protests” and pressed the Chinese authority to “stop using force” even before any forceful measures had been taken by the local government.

In a subsequent statement made on March 18, the Dalai Lama continued to avoid denouncing the violence by depicting the demonstration “a spontaneous outburst of public resentment built up by years of repression.” Knowing the importance of seizing the moral high ground, the Dalai Lama was smart enough to urge his fellow Tibetans not to “resort to violence” at the very end of the statement; he even threatened to resign as leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile “if the majority of the Tibetans resort to violence.”

This well-dressed political appeal to nonviolent resistance seemed perfect, but its timing and diction leaked the Dalai Lama’s true intention. It’s worth noticing that the gesture only came after his ludicrous insistence that the Chinese authorities sit back, relax and let their police force go on vacation during an impossible situation. In addition, the implausibility of more than four million people (half of Tibet’s population) fighting in the streets at the same time guaranteed the Dalai Lama’s resignation a sheer political play. Had he been sincere and responsible, he would have resigned back in 1987 when much blood was spilled in Lhasa during a riot on Chinese National Day.

The Dalai Lama uses the bulk of his three press releases to condemn the Chinese authority’s “cultural genocide” in Tibet. He said the “distinctive Tibetan cultural heritage” is “fading away” due to the deliberate measures by the Chinese government. While the Dalai Lama and his elite priestly class might think otherwise, those “cultural heritage” points that dictate that serfs can be beaten at their masters’ will, that one-third of one’s personal income must be contributed to the temple and feed the labor-free monks, and that only selected males (and no females) can have access to education, are inconsistent with basic human rights, and thus it is legitimate that they be eliminated.

The rest of Tibetan culture, contrary to the Dalai Lama’s description, is well-preserved under the current authority. His claim that “Tibetan monasteries … have been severely reduced in both in number and population” was based on no evidence. Not only do monasteries in Tibet, including the Zeban Monastery in which the riot originated, receive more than 200 million RMB in funding each year, but the number of Tibetan monks has hovered around 2 percent of the entire Tibetan population through the years. Anyone who has ever traveled to Tibet could tell that the recently renovated Potala Palace, the holy place of Tibet, is a perfect counterexample of the “destruction of Tibetan culture.”

Patrick French, former director of the Free Tibet Campaign in London, published an article in The New York Times yesterday admitting that the Dalai Lama’s long-claimed 1.2 million Tibetan casualties in 1950 were supported by “no evidence.” Moreover, the Dalai Lama deliberately let the Tibetan Youth Congress use his popularity to spread violence and do the dirty work, while keeping his own image as a peaceful, Gandhi-like god of Tibet.

The Dalai Lama has always portrayed himself as a pure religious leader, but in reality he’s never abandoned the dream to seek a combined spiritual and secular power in a so-called “Greater Tibet,” including Qinghai, Gansu and Sichuan provinces, which have never even been under the control of the Lhasa authority. In order to achieve that goal, he has become a great actor attracting the spotlight of the international community. As the old Tibetan saying goes, “Watch whether the dog barks, but also whether it bites.”

Robert Li is a sophomore in Ezra Stiles College.


  • say WHAT???

    I am shocked that a respected paper like the Yale Daily News would publish such a slanderous, false and frankly ludicrous piece that is nothing more that badly regurgitated Chinese government propaganda. I am not even going to get into all the things are wrong with this article, because that would mean somehow honoring all these politically motivated lies, but all I can say is - I have lost all respect for the Yale Daily News for publishing such a piece of rubbish. And to Robert Li: You live in the US now. Please find the courage to look behind the lies your Chinese government feeds you. You may not like what you find, but at least you'll be a bit closer to the truth.

  • Anonymous

    Seriously, are you working for the Chinese government? It's hard to find such a positive assessment of the Chinese government's handling of the situation in Tibet--except, that is, on the state-run media. If the the Tibetans are the perpetrators of all the wrongs in the recent riots, why has China forbid all foreign journalists from working in the area? It seems like there is something they are trying to hide--i.e., brutal oppression, which is the Chinese government's favorite tool for controlling its population.

  • Anonymous

    To begin with, this argument is convoluted… It's mostly opinion… Furthermore, a facebook search reveals the author's from China… Now, everyone knows China censors information like crazy… This argument would be more believable if he was a different nationality…

  • Lisa

    It's very apparent, both from this article and the last two articles you have contributed to this publication, that you are a patriotic Chinese willing to go great lengths to defend your countries lack of basic morals and utter disregard for human rights. The Chinese government must feel very lucky to have you contributing to a western newspaper: You are able to spread it's hate-mongering propaganda throughout a media in which it has no control over.

  • Yalie 09
  • 09yalie

    This op-ed is a laughable case of the pot calling the kettle black. How can the author, who is apparently an apologist for Communist China's regime, criticize the TIBETANS for human rights violations and irredentism?

    What China has been doing in Tibet is tantamount to colonization--Tibet is a culturally, legally, and historically distinct nation governed by a viceroy from Beijing and under cultural assault by a government that clamps down an Buddhist religious practice and encourages the region's "Han-ization" in order to marginalize ethnic Tibetans in their own land.

    Maybe what happened in Tibet was gratuitously violent. And even more likely, maybe the Chinese military response was more brutal. But I don't know, because Beijing kicked all the foreign reporters out and we can't rely on Xinhua to tell the truth on the matter.

    The crisis in Tibet offers yet another reason why the 2008 Olympics will be a mockery of the spirit of human dignity and unity that the games are supposed to represent. And as the YDN rightly noted, the crisis in Tibet is yet another reason Yale must not look the other way in the face of China's human rights record.

  • outsider

    I am sure Mr.Li will be bashed hard again this time. But before you doing so, I strongly encourage you to first question yourself on the basis of your judgement about Tibet. News reporting and history narrative are two hugely different sources of information, and the reliability of the former should be subject to careful examination. Here is an article about Tibet's history, written by a Yalie, that I recommend as a starting point. http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html
    Tibet has an extremely intriguing history. It provides us, the outsiders, abundance of materials to ponder about the conflicts between religions, ideologies, ethnic groups and political powers. It also gave us a chance to peek at the chinese communist party's policy evolution in the past 50 years and America's strategy during and after the Cold War in this area. Neither side, the Chinese and the Americans, should be fooled by their emotions fanned by bias and propaganda.

  • Anonymous

    Obviousness of Chinese propaganda aside: the Chinese government actually has been much more open with the foreign press this time than they have in the past, largely because it is true that the Tibetans have (unusually, for them) committed some atrocities of their own against innocent civilians. I don't think anyone will accuse the Economist of being a mouthpiece for foreign propaganda, and their correspondent (who was actually in Lhasa when this happened, and who didn't have his visa revoked) reports that nearly every Han owned business was destroyed and that the government's initial figure for 13 civilian deaths in the infernos (including a 5 month old baby) are plausible. See: Trashing the Beijing Road, The Economist, March 18, 2008. Even the Dalai Lama himself has threatened to step down as their leader if this continues. Where Mr. Li, and the Chinese government, seem so tragically wrongheaded is in their desire to smear the Dalai Lama, who is probably the region's best hope for peace at the moment.

  • Josh Schrei

    And here is a response to Michael Parenti's ridiculous article:


  • JS

    I just finished the article introduced by #7 outsider… Great article. Since both American and Chinese governments seem to be biased on this topic due to their own interests, it is nice to read such a more or less unbiased essay.

  • TonySu

    Why some people here couldn't even tolerate different opinions.
    The violence and atrocity in Tibet committed by those monks were
    terrible and horrible, and it's already backed up by eye witnesses
    and western reporters. If you think ordernary Chinese are all under
    Chinese government's propaganda, well, that's not a good way to
    start a conversation with Chinese, because they would say you are
    under similar influence of proganda of the western media.

    I don't understand why no one here reprimand those criminals and
    their activities? If Indians in this country commit such crime,
    would the US government sit idle to see innocent people get killed?
    No wonder Chinese see the hypocrisy in the western country and media
    when they talked about human rights but ignoring the human rights
    of others (those killed innocent Chinese people during the riot).
    At least serve some lip service to reprimand the horrible criminal

    The Tibetan Youth Congress and its members has a bloody hand behind
    that, and guess what, the radical Tibetan Youth Congress is under the
    direction of Dalai Lama. So, I do not see wrong about the logic and
    accusation that Dalai Clique (it may not be Dalai himself) has caused
    the violence. Anyone who claimed it's purely peaceful demonstration
    was telling a lie.

    There has been a deep distrust between Chinese government and western
    media. The western media like CNN, which cropped out the violent scenes
    from their reported pictures was particular partial and biased against
    China. This deep distrust is the reason that Chinese government didn't
    let the western reporters to get in initially, because they know those
    people would most likely care more about the cause of the radical
    Tibetans than the interest of China, and titles like "repression"
    are all over the places when all you see was riot police and soldiers
    moved in to restore law and order. If a riot happened here in US and
    riot police moves in the restore law and order, would you call it
    "repression"? It's government's duty to restore the law and order in
    such a situation.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, that's right. The US kidnapped a successful Chinese civil rights lawyer who was investigating Party officials. That's high on the priority list.

    The go-to argument for apologists seems to be that China can't be bad because the United States is also bad. This, of course, is based on the assumption that the people who are critical of China's policies are somehow permissive of the US's policies and don't want them to be reversed.

    This is not the case.

    We can, and must, hold all of our governments to higher standards, and need to do so sooner rather than later.

  • Outsider2

    #9 By Josh Schrei (Unregistered User) 11:23am on March 27, 2008
    And here is a response to Michael Parenti's ridiculous article:


    hmmm… this actually sounds like a very neutral source of information. Oh, BTW, it is written by "Joshua Michael Schrei",(Unregistered User).

    for those of you who have some serious interest in this matter, you can find articles/books written before 1949 when the communist china was founded. much propaganda, from both the west and the east, is rooted in the anti/pro-communist sentiment which may obscure subjective views on the issue. Many documents, interviews and photographs published before 1949 provide us with the rare opportunity to understand the true situation in Tibet under the lama's rule. Blind to the historical facts is intellectual dishonesty, and blind to the conflicts in Tibet will not help with the irreversible coexistence of the Tibetan and Chinese people.

  • tsetop

    All I want to say is Robert Li, you got everything wrong. And the line you took out from Patrick French's article shows how bias one can get in discussing the Tibet issue. Patrick French also writes about Tibet being an independent nation and people there does not enjoy real freedom.

  • annoyed

    Communist propaganda typically explains government brutality as a response to a provocation, or anarchy. So, by definition, anyone in China, or previously in the U.S.S.R., who protested against tyranny was a violent anti-revolutionary about to topple the state. This justified cracking down hard on this sort of thing.

  • Ab

    First free his country and give it back to him, then find faults. Its sad that people from your country( i am assuming Mr Li your are chinese, as evident) would walk into someone elses house, and then criticise him for not keeping a good house somewhere else.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. LI,

    When you grow up in a propaganda state as you clearly have, your view of things become very distorted.
    Thus, this ridiculous article.

    You show the world just what China teaches the poor Chinese people who have endured oppression all these 50 some years. People who are feed what ever the government wants them to know.

    China's tyrannical Communist Government is pathetic! They have killed, tortured suppressed, and committed cultural genocid on the Tibetan people, how dare Li accuse them of starting trouble?


    Mr. Li you should be ashamed of your self, enjoying the benefits of living here in a democracy, you must really miss the mouth piece media your country controls and the BS they feed the people. You have lost face, I think you country would require you to walk with your head down.

    I wish for you to have a safe trip back to China as soon as possible where you will not be able to write what ever you want.
    You don't deserve to live here and defiantly don't deserve to go to a school like Yale.

    Free Tibet, Free the Chinese people.

  • visitor

    #16 By diane G wirtes:

    "Mr. Li,….You don't deserve to live here and defiantly don't deserve to go to a school like Yale.

    Free Tibet, Free the Chinese people. "

    diane G, you really don't understand what "freedom of speech" means. You just acted like an ugly dictator who is oppressive and afraid of different opinions.

    Free USA, Free the American people!

  • Anonymous


    To #13 tsetop (Unregistered User):

    You said Robert Li got everything wrong. Do you have anything solid to back up your accusation? Just a quick few references of Robert Li:

    Robert Li said Dalai Lama called the wild riot in Tibet on March 14th "peaceful protests" and pressed the Chinese authority to "stop using force" even before any forceful measures had been taken by the local government.

    True or false? True!

    Did Dalai Lama threaten to resign as leader of the Tibetan government-in-exile "if the majority of the Tibetans resort to violence."?

    True or false? True!

    Anyone who has ever traveled to Tibet could tell that the recently renovated Potala Palace, the holy place of Tibet, is a perfect counterexample of the "destruction of Tibetan culture."

    True or false? True!

    Do you want me to list more truth?

    The line he took from Patrick French's article was used to make one point, that Dalai inflated numbers before, which is pretty sound, unless you really believe 1.2 million Tibetan casualties in 1950?! Raise your hand if that's the case.

    So stop saying he got everything wrong! He got most if not all things right!


    To #14 annoyed (Unregistered User)

    When you tried to use "Communist propaganda" to explain which might have happened in Tibet, did violence happen before or after restoration of order by Chinese riot police and troops?

    Well, guess you won't really bother to check the fact this time, since your feeling about "Communist propaganda" already taught no matter what happened, it's always the "Communist" to blame. In this case, you probably meant Chinese government.

    BTW, many people don't think Chinese government really follows communism any more, they have been pursuing capitalism.


    To #15 Ab (Unregistered User):

    Your comment about "people from your country( i am assuming Mr Li your are chinese, as evident) would walk into someone elses house" … You probably consider Tibet as a different country than China? I understand a lot of people in West have such thought, well, all the countries in the world currently recognize Tibet as part of China. So this "walk into someone elses house" thing is stupid, it's more like "walk into kitchen from bedroom" thing.


    To #16 diane G:

    Every Chinese will hate your first sentence without finishing reading the article. "propaganda state", China? Is US a "propaganda state"? You probably say no, well, if someone does a survey outside of US about US media, the result would shock you! Since Western media is often criticized in the rest of the world (including eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East) as being pro-Western with regard to a variety of political, cultural and economic issues. So, your assertion in the beginning earns you no credibility!

    If you found Robert Li's article as "ridiculous", I would consider yours as even more ridiculous. He made some good points, well, you have made none. Zero.

    You apparently know nothing about China, the 30 years of late reform and development. There is no need to debate about your lies that "They have killed, tortured suppressed, and committed cultural genocid on the Tibetan people", do you have evidence to back up that? If no, then shup up, if yes, we could debate on your "evidence".

    You said "how dare Li accuse them of starting trouble?", ha ha ha! Maybe the violence they started on March 14th that killed many innocent Chinese witnessed by western reporters is not trouble in your eyes at all! How pathetic is that!

    Ms diane G, you should be ashamed of your self! I am sure Robert Li will enjoy studying in US, because not everyone here as stupid as you. I am sure he could enjoy the benefits of living in China too, someday. BTW, more and more people are moving to China to find work there, including foreigners … when you lost your job here someday, Robert Li might have pity on you and give you a job. You would have no face to lose at all.

    BTW, You don't deserve to live here and defiantly don't deserve to go to a school like Yale.

    Tibet was, is, and always will be a part of China.


  • Anonymous

    Robert Li is a joke. He doesn't even write under his real name…

  • Li Z

    To #16 diane G:

    What's funny about you is that you grow up in a state where media are so distorted by anti-China sentiment, and you are ignorant enough to think that everything you are fed by the the media about China is "objective".

  • the truth of tibet.
  • rm


    Not even worthy of a sophmore. Maybe it was intended for the Onion and ended up in the Yale Daily by mistake.

  • s.

    you may disagree with Mr.Li, but to say that "You don't deserve to live here and defiantly don't deserve to go to a school like Yale."defies the freedom of speech that Americans so cherished and probably proves that you don't deserve to go to Yale either.

  • Couldn't believe such an honest article is being so brutally attacked. It will take decades before the "conventional westerners" realized how much they have been brainwashed.

  • adif

    It is really interesting to see those negative comments here. I just wonder where did they get the conclusion from? Any solid fact guys?

    For me, I don’t mind noble winner, propaganda or what. As long as the original article based on the true facts, it should have its credit.

  • sq

    good for you robert li!! i thought about writing a column at my own university too, but apparently it's not even that big of a deal as no article or column has been published on the matter.

    isn't it funny how americans are brainwashed to think that chinese people are brainwashed? yeah, like "communist propoganda" really affects me in the US.

    "Government news is like having a cockroach in your drink. You can spot it easily and remove it. Western media is like having arsenic in your drink. You think it is clean until a few hours after you drink it."

  • mm Z

    people reading thousands of books as you,allow me to say "it's time you travelled out to see what really happened in Tibet,in China "
    The capitalist gives you bread ,Socialism gives chinese rice.

  • AJ

    As an American, I personally believe that this story does give us another
    view on this issue….It is good to
    see different opinions anyway….So pls.
    don't attack the author with words and if you have different opinions, maybe you can write an article as well..

  • Anonymous

    "Americans are brainwashed to think that Chinese people are brainwashed"? Really? Have u ever spent an extended amount of time in China? I have lived in China since leaving Yale three years ago. At the moment, the government is taking great lengths to create a feeling of hatred and resentment within the Chinese towards the Tibetan monks and the Dalai Lama and it's very disturbing! What is more disturbing is that this sick tactic that the Chinese government is employing within China's mass media is working, and you can see this hate every time you open up a china based newspaper, turn on the state run TV, or go online to the many China based blogging sites. And instead of questioning these tactics and trying to grasp the deep seeded reasons why these riots occurred in the first place, news groups (government), and in turn bloggers and the general public, begin attacking the Dalai Lama and now even the United States for its apparent biased coverage of the Tibet unrest. This article reads right out of a state run newspaper within China. Full of hate and an utter lack of addressing the real issues at hand, because addressing the real issues might mean that what the people have been fed for decades may not be the case. Unfortunately it appears Mr. Li, and millions of other Chinese prefer to take the easiest road: to lay blame and seek out a scape goat, whether it be the Dalai Lama, or now America. The real issue is Chinas ongoing disregard for human rights. I thought I should clarify that, as many people are attacking the Dalai Lama and the USA in a sad attempt to overshadow it. Why don't you write an in depth article about that Mr. Li? Preferably unbiased of course.

  • BZ

    True or not, the author did make his points with specific quotes/numbers, while most of the negative comments are void of any concrete evidence. If you disagree with the author on any of the points he made, refute it with some evidence. It seems many people jump into attack just because the author is critical of Dalai Lama and is therefore on the Chinese government's side. They are accusing the author being brainwashed by the communist propaganda while themselves displaying the symptoms of be brainwashed. Isn't that ironic?

  • ardif

    Regarding to the propaganda and brain wash, I saw a interesting comment from the economist.

    "Euphonium wrote:
    March 24, 2008 10:58
    A side note from my experience and observation, not directly related to Tibet:

    Over the tens (if not hundreds) of years of propaganda Chinese people have gone through, they have developed very trained eyes to immediately filter out the propaganda part and get the truth part of every official report (I'm
    not sure they have developed the same skills against western media though).Propaganda actually doesn't work for Chinese now. Believe it or not, neither does the government expect it to work. It becomes more a ritual, or
    the "Chinese way to say things" if you will. If the Chinese government suddenly speaks without propaganda, most Chinese people will get confused and wonder what's really going on. Hilarious it may sound, but that is the
    status quo. Nobody knows better than Chinese that "the truth is always somewhere in between".

    Speaking of westerners, or particularly Americans, most people did not have the "privilege" to get so much training about propaganda, and the result is a rather naive attitude towards media reports: either it's complete truth,
    or it's complete propaganda. In that sense, they don't have any immune system against skilled propaganda, a good portion of which is from the western media (which to Chinese eyes aren't skilled at all). I found it
    amusing how the two American young people in the TV documentary got so completely converted to pro-China in a 10-day trip to Tibet. You can't convert a Chinese that easily, no matter which direction it goes. On a side
    note, what was shown in the documentary is basically consistent with what I saw in Tibet when I was there, I make no further generalization though."


  • student

    to #29 By (Anonymous)

    "Americans are brainwashed to think that Chinese people are brainwashed."yes,it is clear.

    thank you for living in china and feeling the government's propaganda.but you havn't " ever spent an extended amount of time in China"yet.

    the different between american and chinese is that : the chinese people dont think their media free and unbiased,and they know how to find the truth from other media,no matter the cnn or bbc ,or other chinese media or english media.

    but unfornately,the american think their unstate-owned-media is free and justice and unbiased and always tell you the truth.the american always think they are the best in the world,yeah,maybe.en,human rights,democracy is important to american civil,not iraq,not palestine,not tibetan-chinse or han-chinese.sadam was a czar,i dont know how many people had been killed by him,but i know 650000 innocent persons dead by the invading of american.
    how greatful and democracy of american people!

    thanks!have a good time in china.and remember ,few chinese will read people daily or watch cctv'7 o'clock news as bible.all chinese know that's just a symbol and know how to find the truth from them or other media.but the amerian dont know clearly.

    thanks again.非常高兴能认识你!have a good time in china.

  • Anonymous

    Most of these comments are more than a little ridiculous. If anything, Americans are overly skeptical when it comes to digesting their own news sources--90% of Americans believe that news is systematically biased. There's a really good Eric Alterman piece on this in the current New Yorker.

    Secondly, just because Mr. Li uses facts does not make his argument intellectually honest, because those facts appear to have been cherry-picked from the information available on the issue. The bias in favor of numbers and other things that look scientific over that which is less quantifiable (or, in this case, simply can't be obtained due to censorship) but more accurate or true is a much more worrisome trend for me than the alleged pro-Tibet Western bias.

  • Anonymous

    diane g is a joke

  • a chinese from mainland

    1.4 billion chinese do not like dalia lama and this truth is much more important that should be noticed by all of you

  • visitor

    Guys, many of you got it all wrong. It was the communist army, the PLA that liberated millions of Tibetan slaves from the brutal regime headed by Dalai Lama. You think those former Tibetan slave masters in exile will be happy? Do you know your noble Dalai Lama stands shoulder to shoulder to his Nazi friends?

    Evidence here:

    Tibet was freed from slavery long time ago. Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    Americans saying that other people are buying into propaganda… now if that isn't the pot calling the kettle black, I don't know what is. Our country, though full of fantastic qualities, has a less than stellar civil rights record. I think we should first focus on our own country shipping people to Guantanamo Bay, the Patriot Act, and the fact that pretty much everything we wear is made in a sweat shop (our buying such clothes makes us complicit in human rights violations, as far as I'm concerned) before we start setting our sights on human rights in China

  • BZ

    To #33 By Dara L, who said:

    "The bias in favor of numbers and other things that look scientific over that which is less quantifiable (or, in this case, simply can't be obtained due to censorship) but more accurate or true is a much more worrisome trend for me than the alleged pro-Tibet Western bias."

    I have to admit this is powerful stuff, I mean, powerfully ridiculous. Censorship or not, if you cannot obtain the evidence, how can you argue it is more accurate or true than numbers and other things that look more scientific? You should worry more about your thought process than criticizing others.

  • Still in Highschool

    I'm looking at this from the eyes of a Junior in High School and all I can see is a lot of accusations of bias and propaganda. Several of the comments have been extremely bitter and uncalled for.

    diana G., what right do you have to decide who enters this country or not? Are you God? No? So stop playing at being God.

    There's a lot of information out there, but no matter what, people will argue that the information is biased propaganda. After all, there's no such thing as a nonbiased report. It's human nature and often unintentional.

    In the U.S., many people simply believe what the news tells them; few look deeper. After all, why research an issue in a country so far away? Looking at one side of an argument rarely gives a good view of the full picture. Each side is biased in its own way.

    Personally, I feel the U.S. shouldn't get involved. How would the continental U.S. feel if Hawaii tried to gain independence? Granted, that's an unlikely scenario, but it's how many mainland Chinese feel in regard to Tibet. Besides, we interfered in the Middle East and things aren't looking so good. Should we really be sticking our noses in issues of a country so much older than our own? China has "owned" Tibet since before the U.S. even became a country, before the English even came over.

    I understand the many problems China has, but the country as a whole has become much better than it started out. It's still on the road to becoming a first world nation, and it's still dealing with the poverty of a third world nation. America wasn't perfect when it began, how can we expect China to be?

  • ybin

    My two cents on why Dalai Lama is well regarded in the Western world. On one hand, he has a gargantuan PR machinery courtesy of the CIA of the United States of America.

    A more important reason however, is that there have always existed palpable anti-China sentiments in the West. This is pointed out by Michael Parenti, a renowned expert on Tibet who in an interview published on YouTube says this: “…Dalai Lama was made into a hero because it was the Chinese communists who kind of unseated him. So he is seen as somebody to be much admired…”

    Therefore Dalai Lala (and what he represents) is regarded by the West as the “enemy’s enemy”.

    One need to understand the political under-currents in today’s Western world in order to understand the pro-Tibet independence discourse so prevalent in the West.

    The link to that Youtube clip is as follows:

  • A.B.C.

    When a person in exile, seclusion, and hiding incites followers to take part in suicide bombings, ethnic violence, and rioting (all of which is currently defined as terrorism as applied to Lebanon and Al Quaida), we usually fault them for being evil and put a price on his head (see Bin Laden, Osama). Now, I am not implying that the Dalai Lama has had a direct hand in instigating the ethnic violence that claimed the lives of many innocent Chinese people (btw, Han-Chinese are at least 50% of the Tibet population--or at least, they were), but if things are a little suspicious, then any country would have a just right to investigate the source of such terrorism (see Bin Laden, Osama, who claimed that he was not responsible for the 9/11 attacks, although he was glad that they took place).

    I don't see how we can live in this Bush White House inspired, media-led bullshi** frenzy about the war on terror while simultaneously jumping ship onto Tibet when most people don't understand the issue. Then again, I also don't see how we could've taught Osama Bin Laden everything he knows and given him everything he owns, then 15 years later, put a death penalty on his head if we ever find him.

    What I do know is that when people are killing over ethnic tensions, when people are suicide bombing, we here in America tend to call it terrorism. How can we justify going after Osama Bin Laden, launching two wars on terror in Afghanistan and Iraq when at the same time, we say nothing about violence that is meant to get the same kind of media attention in the build up to the Olympics as a suicide bomber in Iraq on the 5th anniversary of the Iraq war.

    Furthermore, how can we call the post-McCarthy era anti-Communist rhetoric anything but propaganda-fueled? If you have a problem with human rights abuses (as I do), call it human rights abuses, don't invoke anti-Communist rhetoric. Go back to the 60's if you're feeling so nostalgic. If you wanna talk about religious oppression, by don't you talk to the really Lamaist Buddhists who realize that the Panchen Lama (the one who is in China) is actually higher up on the command hierarchy than the Dalai Lama, but not being universally recognized as such because the Dalai Lama has rejected the Panchen Lama's existence and legitimacy (all because he's been living in China, a country where he'd been living in since the 1700's because a former Dalai Lama had won a power struggle and forcefully banished him there).

    So way to go, Western media and your lackeys who hang onto your every word like they were the words of God. Way to attack an issue, a country, a proud people even though you don't understand the full history, the full culture, or the full issue.

    I'm sorry that these days, our standards for getting into Yale are so low. I'm sorry that these days, we can disrespect free speech, righteously make straw-man arguments against an editorial, and personally attack someone because of their nationality and background. I'm sorry that Tibet and China are in this mess.

    I'm sorry that people who don't fully understand the issue are fully prepared to give an opinion and attack those of others.

  • Peter Duong

    I work as a human rights attorney with Tibetan monks who have escaped China seeking asylum in the United States. I also have read many books on the history of Tibet, Amnesty International Reports, Human Rights Watch Reports, regarding China's treatment of not only Tibetans, but also Christians, Falun Gong. I dont rely on CNN or BBC for my information. I would like to respond to some of the points made here by defenders of China:

    1) Western Media is Biased Against China
    No one disagrees that western media is biased. Look at Fox News for example and its political reporting. Obviously, any educated person knows that the media (Chinese or Western cannot be trusted). My information, however, about China does not come from CNN or BBC. It comes from talking with people.
    Yet in working with Tibetan monks, Falun Gong, and Christians, I have heard numerous horror stories of torture, imprisonment because of even having a picture of the Dalai Lama in your house. I doubt that all these people are lying. they appear to me sincere and credible witnesses to atrocity in China. I also highly doubt that Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have a "pro-American" agenda. Both of these organizations have also condemned the United States for its policies as well.

    2) Tibet was a feudal society and is better because of Communist invasion.

    Even assuming for the sake of argument that Tibet was an uncivilized fedualistic exploitive society, this does not justify China's genocidal policies against Tibetans, now and in the past.

    This 19th century logic that one should "civilize" barbarian societies for their own good is the basis of colonialism. This is the same reason used to justify Japanese colonizatin of Korea, French of Vietnam, United States and Australia against its indigenous populations.

    I am shocked that defenders of China would resort to such outdated justification for colonization. The British may have built railroads, introduced democracy into India, but could not justify India's right to self-determination.

    The Chinese defenders reliance on Michael Parenti's article is misplaced (btw: Michael Parenti is a marxist theorist who is not an expert on Tibet or China, if you look at his sources they are all secondary sources in English language, not Tibetan or Chinese). Even Michael Parenti is clear in stating that debunking the romantic notion that Tibet was some spiritual paradise does not justify China's brutality in Tibet.

    If you want another perspective on Tibet, check out Jung Chang's book, "Mao-the Untold Story" (She is also the author of Wild Swan--Three daughters of China) http://www.tibet.com/NewsRoom/jungchang1.htm

    According to Jung Chang, while writing the biography of Mao, she learned a lot about Tibet, "and about the Chinese Communist regime’s misrule of this precious land". She said, "Mao was the man most responsible for the destruction of Tibet".

    An emotional Jung Chang said that although her own father and grandmother had died during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the Tibetan people had undergone tremendous suffering even before the so-called Cultural Revolution of 1966 to 1976.

    "As I discovered one horrific fact after another, I felt my heart was crying out for Tibet. It makes me angry to hear some people say that old, pre-communist Tibet was not exactly paradise. This may be true. But I know that Mao’s rule was far, far worse. Jon and I wanted to make the facts known to as many people as possible, both in the West and in China. We have a chapter in our biography of Mao about Tibet. Writing this chapter has given me tremendous anguish. I am glad to say that the facts in this chapter have opened the eyes of many Chinese readers, who have been subject to brainwashing by the Communist regime about Tibet. They have told me how shocked and how much pain they felt reading it",

    3) China's other human rights abuses:

    China's treatment of Tibet is hardly surprising giving its treatment of its own citizens including the infamous Tiananmen square massacre (or is that just another western bias?)

    Even more recently, China senteneced a Chinese human rights activist, Hu Jia, to serve 31/2 year for speaking out about human rights.


    Then there is persecution of Falun Gong members, Christians, relationship with North Korea and Sudan, bullying of Taiwan, the list goes on and on. Giving this background, I am skeptical when I hear apologist for the Chinese government talk about how great it is for Tibetans in Tibet. Please, the same government that can massacre Chinese students in Beijing is not going to worry about killing Tibetans.

  • Jacob

    Let me tell #42:
    Your judgements most based on the conversations with the escaped monks and others. How can you prove that all words from them are in most degress are right and not biased? If you insist your opinion on these limites source, just think about that extremist Muslims. It is suggested that you should travle to china and listen around. Stay in one piece of land , you can only view one piece of the sky. I am a Chirstian in China and I often go to the church. We celebrate the Christmas Day with others in church together. No secret policeman wants to arrest us because we are Christians. Let me tell you the truth what your said escaped Christians. In my childhood, all my family memebers are Christians. Someone called them Christians but Do they trust in God? Absolutely not! Some leaders of secret 'christian' oragniazations didnot read bilbe never. Why did they say they are Christians? Because if you are the leader of these organizations, you have chance to collect money and rape the females! May you think I am talking with no evidence. The Truth is many people in China are poor-educated and they are easily cheated by someone who should be penalized in Criminal Law.

    Regardless of political issues, I am a lawyer and you should be penalized if you killed a innocent cilian. It is easy to comment on the Riots in tibet of China.

  • HuangJiu

    The resolutions in the US Congress and the European Parliament passed urged China to stop “repression” in Tibet, release the “non-violent” Tibetan protesters and have a dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

    Obviously, they are ignorant of the fundamental fact that the Tibet issue is an internal matter of China and other foreign countries should not interfere or comment.

    There are always some people with malicious intention in the international community who are upset by China’s rise. They attack Chinese-made goods at one time and attack China’s human rights record at another. Right after criticizing China’s air quality, they turn to attack China’s policy toward ethnic groups.

    Those who protest loudly simply because they have not seen Tibet. There are four million tourists visit Tibet every year. The past five years saw the income of farmers and herdsmen increasing by 83.3 percent. In, 2006, there were more than 1,000 schools with 500,000 students. In this autonomous region where 92 percent of the population is Tibetan, there are 1,780 temples, or one for every 1,600 people – more than in England. Plainly, Tibet is now a prosperous place enjoying freedom of religion.

    The Dalai group is undoubtedly a terrorist organisation. The Dalai Lama’s brother said that “terrorist activities can reap maximum efforts with minimum costs”. One of his fellows clearly states that it did not rule out gaining independence through suicide bombing. Massive quantities of weapons are confiscated from the residence of monks by the police after the riots proved the violent nature of the monks - 178 guns, 13013 bullets, 359 knives, 3504kg explosive devices, 19360 primers and 2 grenades.

    The Dalai Lama is not even qualified for a dialogue. To have a dialogue with China’s central government, the Dalai Lama should at least have sufficient political capital. If he has sufficient political capital, he should have enough authority among the domestic and overseas Tibetans. However, the reality does not point that way. The Dalai Lama claimed that he is an advocate for non-violence but the riots staged by some of his believers in Lhasa and a few other Tibetan areas in China were violent. He claimed that he has the best wishes for the Beijing Olympics. But his supporters in Western countries have been trying to hijack the Olympic torch and spoil the first Olympic Games to be hosted by China. These all suggest that either Dalai is a liar or he has no control over those who follow and support him. Then, what political authority does he have to request a dialogue with the central government?

    The current Dalai Lama used to rank among the Chinese leaders – for people of the whole country – as the vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislature, in the 1950s. He had the power to represent the people’s interest at that time. Yet he did not treasure this honour and power and left the country without saying goodbye. His departure has lost the trust of all the Chinese people.

    Most people like him because he is non-violent. Is that reason enough for the central government to meet him? My mum is also non-violent. Does that mean I can arrange a meeting with her and President Hu? Surely not.

    Boycotting the Olympic Games can never be justified. To even suggest that all this will help force China to improve its human rights situation by boycotting the Beijing Olympic Games is absolutely ridiculous and an insult to athletes, who have every right to live their dreams in Beijing.

  • Andy
  • Victoria

    I am, frankly, quite pleased in this display of intellectual pluralism. Although I myself have nothing against the Dalai Lama, we, as humans, should take nothing as face value and delve further into statements uttered by a man that even Westerners consider quasi-holy. Those who claim your statements are abusive and false should note that statements to the contrary are just as valid as yours are; in fact, I applaud your willingness to disrupt the status quo and peoples' blind allegiance to a (at best) shady religious leader. So Kudos to you, Mr. Li.
    Although it is a little funny, I suppose, that the author of this is Chinese.

  • Tong

    I have to agree with Victoria that it's nice to see people observe both side of this situation for once. As a Chinese-Canadian who has lived in Canada for over 17 years, I'm not a mere "government puppet" for the PRC. Contrary to popular western beliefs, most individuals of Chinese decent in either China or any other country are very critical of the Chinese Government. As far as I know, no one in my family (whether it's my parents, grandparents or distant cousins) has ever accepted anything stated by Chinese media at face value. Having said that, it's unfortunate that because of my background, my opinions will still be ignored as baseless communist propaganda.

    Regardless, I do want to implore people to look deeper into the matter than what's simply shown in the media - regardless of which side of the story you support. While I'm sure many Americans and other westerners don't really give much thought into the matter, those who choose to protest or take part in demonstrations need to consider the possibility that what they are fighting for may not be an entirely just cause.