Guest Post: How Chinese Intellectuals Perceive the Tibet Issue

The following is a guest post and translation by Mindy Zhang. Obviously, as the original email was just private correspondence, the professor was just making some basic points, not writing something he expected to be published. Accordingly, we will not publish his name, the name of his university, and the original Chinese text will not be available for this article.

However, readers should be aware that the author of the email is a major figure in the study of International Relations in China.

Two years ago, when I was in D.C and saw some Tibet activists in person, I found myself utterly ignorant of the issue, and I wrote an email to a professor in my college. He replied in length. The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend from Britain, who was very curious about China’s Three-T issues and his question reminded me of this email. So, I decided to pluck it from my personal mailbox and translate it into English.

Translation

  1. Here is my opinion: what makes Tibet an issue is mainly that some Tibetans, backed by strong international factors, are seeking independence. There have been two major independence-seeking/Anti-Han movements, one happened during the Revolution of 1911, when the British attempted to negotiate with central government (ROC) as a representative of Tibet. The other occurred in 1949, also supported by the British, along with some Indian intervention. It failed and the DL, as a local delegate, signed the Seventeen Point Agreement with the central government (PRC). The 1959 riot was backed up by the CIA and India. Most of westerners’
    essential knowledge of Tibet is mainly from propaganda by Britain and U.S. One particular case in point is that the 1959 suppression was often distorted as an invasion (at least, some westerners I knew consider it as an act of invasion). The Seventeen Point Agreement, which had a clear regulation of Tibet’s autonomous status and its relations with central government, is barely mentioned in books published in western world.
  2. The management of Tibet since 1949 was based on autonomous system and the Seventeen Point Agreement until 1959. Some major changes then were made and the traditional theocracy was completely abolished. The cause of the 1959 uprising can be partially explained by land reforms and ownership reforms implemented in some Tibetan-inhabited areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. However, those reformed areas has nothing to do with the Tibet Autonomous Region, where the DL was in charge. That being said, the central government did not necessarily break the Seventeen Point Agreement. Some Tibetan separatists and Americans took advantage of this situation, but it doesn’t make any sense that some [regular] Tibetans did the same thing. (The ultra-Leftist trend during cultural revolution was also a contributing factor to their resentment)
  3. Personally speaking, the current situation is not fully an outcome of central
    government’s religious and ethnic Policy. There is indeed a substantial force in Tibet wishing for secession from China. There is no problem with central government’s policies after the reforms and opening up period; in fact, I personally feel like Tibetans have been quite favored, making some lamas feel they can act above the law. Insurgences like this happened before, in 1987 and 1989. The pattern is quite similar——demonstration, still unhappy, violence in use, suppression.
  4. The whole thing is for sure deliberately plotted and prepared. First, peaceful demonstration (March.10th), violence next (13rd), then there comes the Olympic torch relay. The perfect timing and media’s one-sided response are not a coincidence. I am not suggesting here that it was plotted by a specific government; the international community is increasingly complicated as
    globalization evolves. All the above is just my personal judgment, it would take time to verify.
  5. In regard to western media, they interpret theTibet issue based on their own perceptions, which is a problem that will take time to solve and might be insolvable. Don’t take their comments seriously and let them make noise. The more attention you pay, the more swelled their heads will be. Some Chinese care too much about their comments/evaluation, thus giving them a sense of superiority. Also, media itself is amplifier capable of making a simple word into big news. Those trouble-makers are not a big deal. The Beijing Olympics will work out regardless of all kinds of resistance. Hard-working Chinese athletes will get more golden medals if some western ones are absent [because their nations choose to boycott], and some reception fees, i.e. taxpayers’ money, will be saved if some of them choose not to attend the opening ceremony. The world is a big place; each of us is just utterly insignificant.
  6. Check out Prof. Zhang Zhirong’s International Relations and the Tibet issue (《国际关系与西藏问题》). Tibet is not my specialization and the latest research is not something I am aware of. I have been studying in the international sphere for years and my personal experience is westerners are unaware of many issues. Explain to them if you were in a good position, if not, just forget it. Young people will change as you grow up. The way of displaying patriotism varies from person to person, some are impulsive and some restrained. In all, try to make yourself high-minded. Your upbringing/character also matters, because sometimes you are being judged not just as an individual but as a Chinese.
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0 thoughts on “Guest Post: How Chinese Intellectuals Perceive the Tibet Issue”

  1. Interesting that someone with so much clout would believe that it’s all as simple as this: feudalism + CIA + foreign activists + misunderstanding.

    If you asked him why Tibet is still the poorest part of China and the most unequal internally in terms of income, I suppose the professor would say that there’s something frustratingly backward in the folk soul of the Tibetan people that resists the selfless efforts of the Han, that feudalism in Tibet has been hard to root out, etc, etc. If you asked why Tibetans flee across the Himalayas to India and Nepal in significant numbers, he would return to the end of feudalism half a century ago and, again, to Tibetan backwardness. And if you asked him why anyone should be punished (re-educated, tortured) for singing certain pop songs / writing certain articles / xeroxing certain posters, he would probably say that tough measures are needed for backward people.

    Of course, all of my guesses above are just guesses and therefore unfair. In fact, I doubt he would use the word “backward,” come to think of it. Too rough.

    But there’s a thread throughout his numbered response of NEVER relying on the opinions of Tibetans themselves to round out his argument. Whereas the professor might be skeptical of official lines on other issues of the day, in regards to the Tibet issue there is no “second” opinion, because Tibetans are seen as incapable of an opinion. Basically, a colonial attitude.

    Anyway… not unleash a firestorm of argument…

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  2. Thankfully, I should add, I don’t think the professor represents all Han Chinese intellectuals. And I don’t just mean that there are Han dissidents out there who want an independent Tibet.

    There are also plenty of thinkers who agree with the official government line on some aspects of the Tibet issue, but depart in other areas, who are more nuanced.

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  3. While I admit I don’t have a thorough enough understanding of Tibetan/Chinese relations to be able to comment on the issue with much confidence, I do take issue with the professors comment that “my personal experience is westerners are unaware of many issues.”

    I was teaching English in China on the 20th anniversary of the June 4th “Incident” and I asked some of my students (in private) if they were aware of the day’s historic significance. A large majority of the students were unaware or, at best, vaguely familiar with the events of that day.

    If this professor thinks westerners are unaware of many issues then he must think Chinese are utterly clueless about their own history.

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  4. Despite how much good Han Chinese have provided the Tibetans, I feel like it is yet to see how many Tibetans vs. Han Chinese occupy important functions in provincial administration. Doesn’t that speak more than anything else?

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  5. “Don’t take their comments seriously and let them make noise. The more attention you pay, the more swelled their heads will be.” — so true, and I don’t want to argue with anybody.

    But, professor Custer, where did you get the map of China up there? Xinjian shouldn’t be that close to Beijing, should it? Did they have a big earthquake recently that moved Xinjian next to the capital?

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  6. This so-called professor reads like reactive member of the fenqing. Basically, China is on the wrong side of history on this one, just like Xinjiang.

    Also good case of blowback. As literacy has spread in Tibet after the Chinese invasion, Tibetans have begun to imagine their own distinct identity vis a vis their overlords. Literacy enables Tibetans to engage with the global community, argue their case, and also build an imagined virtual social identity via the net…a la Benedict Anderson.

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  7. @ tc: ahahha, yeah, that is interesting! Xinjiang is apparently a city slightly to Beijing’s southwest. Who knew!

    This was the ONLY picture that came up unblocked on the first page when I searched for Tibet on my work computer (no VPN). Rather than trying to find anything else, I just posted this one without really paying too much attention. Didn’t even notice that. Weird.

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  8. Huh, this particular intellectual perceives the Tibet issue the exact same way the propaganda department does? Go figure.

    I was hoping we could have a few Chinese intellectuals- I know for a fact that this opinion isn’t the only one they collectively hold on the subject.

    RE: the map- Haha, funny that they put Xinjiang there. Also funny that only the TAR is colored in as Tibet, ignoring the contiguous Tibetan autonomous areas that would more than double the size of Tibet, and which were especially active during the 2008 unrest. I suppose the existence of Tibetans outside the TAR is the fault of fuedalism or anti-Chinese media or terrorist cartographers or somesuch, though.

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  9. My point of view is, who controls Tibet controls most of chinese drinking water, and who therefore controls the whole China.

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  10. Chinese scholars, unlike their Western counterparts, have yet to accept that nationalism and objective scholarly inquiry are generally incompatible. As the great British historian Eric Hobsbawm once said, one cannot be both a nationalist and an intellectual, as nationalists are commited to ideas which are patently untrue.

    This all reminds me of an essay that appeared in the NY Times last fall by a Korean graduate student at Tsinghua university named Sonny Lee. Writing about his classmates in the journalism program at Tsinghua, he indicated that every last one of his Chinese peers believed that it was just fine for a journalist’s reporting to be informed by patriotism. On the other hand, every last one of the foreign students believed that is was not okay for a journalist’s work to be influenced by patriotism. (Sonny Lee was later “invited to tea” by the journalism school’s lead administrator, during which he was criticized for making the program look bad.)

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  11. “If you asked him why Tibet is still the poorest part of China and the most unequal internally in terms of income”

    First of all, Tibet is not the poorest part of China. People from poorer parts of China come to Tibet to look for jobs just for that reason.

    Second, I find it odd that Tibetans tend to skip over the biggest reasons why they are poor: They don’t learn the language which most businesses are dealt in. If you are an American Indian and refuse to learn and speak English, of course you will be put at a severe economic disadvantage. If you are in Shanghai and you know English, you will make more than those who don’t. Tibetans who made the choice of not learning Chinese should only blame themselves.

    Of course, there are other career choices which Tibetans make which show that they don’t care about income: If you choose to live as a farmer rather than moving into the city and look for jobs which pay more, of course you will end up poorer than others.

    Do some Hans discriminate? Of course, just as many Tibetans discriminate against Hans by refusing to offer any services to Hans. Needless to say these businesses will fail because those who discriminate stand only to lose additional business opportunities. If Tibetans are willing to work more for less, why wouldn’t anyone want to hire them? Of course, the reality is that many Tibetans don’t want to speak mandarin, want to work less, and want to get paid more. Life unfortunately is not that easy.

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  12. “have yet to accept that nationalism and objective scholarly inquiry are generally incompatible.”

    That you saying that all of the Free Tibet folks (who are really tibetan nationalists), the Free Taiwan folks (who are just taiwan nationalists), and majority of the those who work in the conservative/neoconservative US think tanks such as the Heritage fundation (who are American nationalists) are incapable of being scholarly?

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  13. lolz You missed the point. Work on the following distinctions.
    Nationalist @ Patriotism. Scholarly Inquiry @ Polemic

    Scholarly inquiry is necessarily objective and analytical. If informed by nationalism it is not worth a cracker like your 3.47 superficial treatment of the Tibetan issue.

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  14. OTR,

    This person is arguing about what he thinks of foreign meddling in the Tibetan region, not what the Tibetans think of China running the Tibetan region. I’m sure there are other intellectuals who thinks otherwise. Of course Western Media are more than happy to to point out that. However, they are a minority and according to the Western Media, they are not.

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  15. KT, let’s keep things simple:

    1)Do you agree that the Free Tibetan, Free Taiwan, and Conservatives/NeoCons are nationalists?

    2)Is it possible for these groups conduct scholarly inquiry?

    What I see are often are scholars who are obviously enamored with and openly advocate Tibetan nationalism and Taiwan nationalism being taken seriously as scholars. While the Chinese scholars who are remotely pro-government will automatically be dismissed. That is silly.

    At the end of the day it’s not the person but the message. Who cares if the person is a nationalist, neocon, liberal, communist, or anarchist? Most people have their own political beliefs. In this case, other than the usual ad hominem attacks I don’t see anyone going after the prof’s message. Are what the Chinese prof said true? Do most Americans have any idea of the Seventeen Point Agreement? What do Americans know about Tibet other than what the Tibetan nationalists have advocated through hollywood? Do Americans know about China’s affirmative action programs? Do they have any idea why Tibetans are poorer?

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  16. lolz-

    I didn’t go after the message in the post because much of it is taken, almost word for word, from articles in People’s Daily. These articles are of course designed to contain the same version of history which is taught in Chinese schools, of which this professor is clearly a part. That his email contains the same talking points which the Chinese government always seeks to put forth is thus completely unremarkable.

    If you want refutations of these talking points, you need only to use the internet (ahem) to find them.

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  17. “I didn’t go after the message in the post because much of it is taken, almost word for word, from articles in People’s Daily. These articles are of course designed to contain the same version of history which is taught in Chinese schools, of which this professor is clearly a part. ”

    The Free Tibet message has been taken almost word by word from Dalai Lama and his PR team, has gone completely unchallenged by the “scholars” elsewhere (not because it can’t be challenged, but because anyone challenging DL would be instantly labeled as “communist supporter” and “beijing lackey” and everything they say will be dismissed), and hence represent what the Western folks’ knowledge about Tibet.

    “If you want refutations of these talking points, you need only to use the internet (ahem) to find them.”

    1) These refutations, such as ones against the validity of the Seventeen Point agreement, when they do exist come from obvious Tibetan nationalist sites. Now if you are telling me not to believe the Chinese nationalists because nationalists are incapable to produce scholarly work, why should I to believe Tibetan nationalists any more?

    2) There are things which the Chinese scholar said which have yet to be refuted. For example, the western media rarely covers CIA’s involvement in Tibet rebellions. If you search Associated Press, CNN, NYT, sites for the terms like “Tibet CIA” you will not find many matches. The Western media often mention about the poverty of Tibetans in Tibet, but rarely about the poverty of Hans who have migrated to Tibet. This is because doing so would create a sympathetic view of the Han migrants in Tibet. Affirmative action in China is rarely ever talked about at all by both the Chinese and the Western media.

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  18. re: 1- What? The Seventeen Point Agreement was written entirely by the Chinese side, and was signed while the Chinese army gathered on the borders of Tibet. Does that really strike you as a reasonable situation? I’m not asking you to believe one set of ‘nationalists’ over another, but to use your own judgment on what seems to have happened.

    If things are so great for Tibetans, why did they rebel in the late 80’s, and why did they rise up in 2008? Why have over 120,000 of them walked through the Himalayas to leave Tibet? And how high would that number be if China didn’t spend so much time and effort to keep them in Tibet? Would there be a single one left, beyond a handful of Chinese Communist Party employees and provincial adminstrators?

    Think about that number- the ratio means that roughly one in every fifty Tibetans have chosen to leave their homes with nothing more than what they can carry, and travel through some of the most forbidding terrain on earth to leave the country. This isn’t smoke that indicates a fire? And will you honestly tell me that the number wouldn’t be twenty or thirty or forty times higher if Beijing wasn’t doing everything in its power to stop this exodus?

    2. The media rarely covers the CIA’s involvement in Tibet because it ended decades ago, and was secret at the time. Since then a number of books about it have been released, but given that CIA involvement isn’t a factor in why protests shook the entire Tibetan plateau two years ago, I’m not sure why you keep bringing it up.

    Affirmative action in China- China has created a system in which Tibetans can’t even get jobs using their own language, and you’re really going to gripe about a handful of AA programs that have trouble even making it off of paper and into the real world? When companies from China come and strip-mine mountain ranges, leaving pollution and cancer clusters as their only benefit to the locals, you’re going to make it seem like this is somehow Tibetans own fault?

    I have no idea if you’re just really big into being contrarian, or if you have some reason to ignore some of the most basic and obvious facts about the situation, but this isn’t some ‘my flag versus theirs’ kind of thing. If you’ve traveled in Tibetan areas and spoken to the people and seen what’s happening there and aren’t on some level perturbed, I don’t know what to say to you.

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  19. “Tibetans can’t even get jobs using their own language” — This is a false statement.

    They should be able to find jobs using their own language in their own community, just like American Indians can find jobs using their language in their “reservations”. If a Chinese American doesn’t want to learn English, he can still find a job as a busboy in a Chinese restuarant. A waiter? Maybe not. That requires talking in English.

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  20. “What? The Seventeen Point Agreement was written entirely by the Chinese side, and was signed while the Chinese army gathered on the border …”

    When the Japanese signed the agreement to surrender, did they sign it without Foreign armies gathered on their border?

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  21. tc- I’m sure you aren’t trying to argue that speaking solely Tibetan isn’t an impediment to finding a job in the PRC, right? I don’t think ‘find a job as a waiter at a Tibetan restaurant’ is really an answer…

    And haha are you comparing Tibet in the 1940s to Japan at the end of the second world war? China was forced to sign treaties by colonial armies too, armies which we all (hopefully) agree shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Do you support the Chinese annexation of Tibet and the foreign colonial adventures in China, or what?

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  22. My point is.. armies gathered on your border doesn’t make what you signed invalid. What did you haha about?

    “China was forced to sign treaties by colonial armies too, armies which we all (hopefully) agree shouldn’t have been there in the first place” — you are right. But does that matter? Hong Kong was occupied for how many years? Did Japanese surender or not?

    Tibet has been annexed as part of China since Yuan dynasty, long before Europeans invaded America and wiped out all their culture. What do you mean 1940? You can dream up your own history book. Who cares.

    If finding a job as a busboy (not a waiter, sorry) in a Tibetan resturant is not an ‘answer’ for you, you should learn the common language of the land or you can learn English and move yourself to Shanghai. Or Hindi, and move to India, whichever place you like better. Nobody would stop you.

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  23. King Tubby on July 23, 2010 at 05:21

    Scholarly inquiry is necessarily objective and analytical. If informed by nationalism it is not worth a cracker like your 3.47 superficial treatment of the Tibetan issue.

    Indeed.

    This particular intellectual’s views on Tibet are so CCPesque-come-Qin Gang party mantra that poor Mindy Zhang’s wish to elevate herself beyond self-confessed ignorance on Tibetan issues was dealt a death blow.

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  24. tc- Ohhhh, ok, I didn’t know that you’re part of the “learned history from People’s Daily editorials” crew. No further explanation needed.

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  25. J – I was born and grew up in Taiwan and have never lived for one day in the mainland. I have never read People’s Daily in my life.
    Your response is very typical. It is very convenient for western propagandists to tell people anyone having different opinion from theirs must be “wu-mao-dang”, must be “People’s Daily editorials crew”, must be brain-washed by the communists, must be ….. “CCPesque-come-Qin Gang party” (although i have no idea what this one means). I can guarantee you that majority of the Chinese people, in mainland or overseas, have the same view as the professor’s. Especially overseas Chinese, who knows better about the real world. You can all masturbate yourself thinking whatever the political monk wants you to think. That’s your business.

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  26. tc- So are you in favor of the forcible reintegration of Taiwan back to the motherland? Also, lol if you think GMD policy would have been much better than Communist Party policy towards Tibet- remember, the Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs Commission has frequently asserted the same claims towards Tibetan sovereignty that you hear on the mainland, which is I suppose why you believe them.

    stuart- haha yeah, trying to make sense of any of the historical claims predating 1790 always gets hilariously crazy.

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  27. This ‘intellectual’ reads a lot like Pan Wei, a genuine bonehead with tenure if ever there was one.

    Love the classic 5-Cent-ism: “Actually I is Taiwanese/ABC/Honkie, has never read People’s Daily in life, not in mainland internet cafe being neither. But is fact all Chinese ever-where feel exactly same on all issues (as in recent statement by People’s Politburo No 138596.) All loser white people go mastubate you own Monkey Mothers, if need job don’t come to our China! P.S. I is Amerycan writing this from home in Picket Fence, Ohio.”

    Subtle.

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  28. Calm down with the personal crap, rldh, or I will have to delete some of your comments.

    And for the record, as someone who can see his IP address and other info, I’m pretty sure tc is not in China, unless you know of somewhere in China where one can subscribe to Verizon FiOS internet service.

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  29. tc wrote:

    They should be able to find jobs using their own language in their own community, just like American Indians can find jobs using their language in their “reservations”.

    Whoah, a pro-Chinese commenter brings up American Indians in response to a discussion about Tibet, but doesn’t actually know anything about American Indians! Shock! Horror!

    Which reservations in the U.S. have any significant number of jobs available for people who speak an indigenous language but don’t speak English? The situation is, if anything, worse than you think it is, tc, but that’s not my point. You couldn’t be bothered to actually know one way or the other.

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  30. This guy doesn’t know as much about the subject as he apparently thinks he does, which is disappointing coming from a professor.

    There have been two major independence-seeking/Anti-Han movements, one happened during the Revolution of 1911, when the British attempted to negotiate with central government (ROC) as a representative of Tibet.

    This is confused. The 13th Dalai Lama declared Tibet’s independence unilaterally in 1913, in the immediate aftermath of the revolution that overthrew the Qing (in fact, what he declared is that Tibet had been independent all along). The professor is presumably thinking of the Simla Accord of 1914, in which the British prevailed on the ROC to hold three-way negotiations with Tibet and Great Britain. They actually did not merely “attempt to negotiate” with the ROC, they really did negotiate for quite a while, although in the end the Chinese did not sign the accord.

    Why would the British have negotiated with the ROC during the revolution in 1911, anyway?

    The other occurred in 1949, also supported by the British, along with some Indian intervention. It failed and the DL, as a local delegate, signed the Seventeen Point Agreement with the central government (PRC).

    If this corresponds to anything that actually happened, it would be Tibet’s desperate (and very tardy) efforts to get international recognition by the UN and the powerful states in order to stave off a Chinese invasion. However, the British did not support that effort, which is one of the main reasons that it failed. The main reason the British didn’t support it was because the recently independent government of India actively opposed it. If the professor wanted a talking point, he should have claimed that Tibetan independence was supported at this time by the Americans, who were somewhat more interested in the idea. In fact, Tibet’s only active supporter at that time was actually El Salvador.

    The 1959 riot was backed up by the CIA and India.

    False but getting warmer. The riot and general uprising in Lhasa in 1959 occurred on its own. The CIA had been providing some support to the Khampa rebellion, which also began on its own, for at least a year or two beforehand, and they quickly moved in to support the rebellion in central Tibet which followed the uprising in Lhasa. I can’t imagine what would be dishonorable about accepting outside aid at that point.

    I’m not aware of any evidence that the rebellion was ever supported by India, so he apparently made this up. In fact, Pakistan was helping the CIA supply Tibetan rebels for a while in the 1960s.

    One particular case in point is that the 1959 suppression was often distorted as an invasion (at least, some westerners I knew consider it as an act of invasion).

    That’s true. A lot of not-so-knowledgeable people in the West think that China invaded Tibet in 1959. In fact, they invaded in 1951 (after seizing eastern Tibetan territories with very little resistance in 1949-50). Western people tend to be very confused by the period of tense cooperation in the 1950s.

    The Seventeen Point Agreement, which had a clear regulation of Tibet’s autonomous status and its relations with central government, is barely mentioned in books published in western world.

    The main reason people don’t spend much time talking about the Seventeen Point Agreement is that, overall, it was not very important. It was never an agreement, since once side was forced to “agree” to it. I don’t think that either side ever really intended to live up to their side of the deal: the Chinese government intended to abrogate the Seventeen Point Agreement by gradually replacing it with a party-controlled administration, and the Tibetans intended to keep as much autonomy as possible regardless of what the Seventeen Point Agreement said.

    The management of Tibet since 1949 was based on autonomous system and the Seventeen Point Agreement until 1959.

    Both sides were attempting to undermine that system all along. The Chinese created PCART, the Preparatory Committee for the Autonomous Region of Tibet, in 1956, at which point their plans were no longer a secret.

    The cause of the 1959 uprising can be partially explained by land reforms and ownership reforms implemented in some Tibetan-inhabited areas outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. However, those reformed areas has nothing to do with the Tibet Autonomous Region, where the DL was in charge.

    And yet, Chinese sources very consistently argue that the 1959 uprising was instigated by nobles who opposed land reform. The professor is correct that land reform actually had nothing to do with it, but he doesn’t seem to realise that this undermines his own government’s propaganda.

    That being said, the central government did not necessarily break the Seventeen Point Agreement. Some Tibetan separatists and Americans took advantage of this situation, but it doesn’t make any sense that some [regular] Tibetans did the same thing. (The ultra-Leftist trend during cultural revolution was also a contributing factor to their resentment)

    Understatement of the decade! But his point here is very unclear, since obviously the uprising in 1959 happened prior to the Cultural Revolution.

    Personally speaking, the current situation is not fully an outcome of central government’s religious and ethnic Policy. There is indeed a substantial force in Tibet wishing for secession from China.

    The whole thing is for sure deliberately plotted and prepared.

    Pure gullibility. If the Chinese government had any evidence at all, even circumstantial evidence, that the Dalai Lama had planned, surely they would have made it public by now and would use be using it as a talking point ad nauseam.

    First, peaceful demonstration (March.10th), violence next (13rd), then there comes the Olympic torch relay.

    He is confused about the sequence of events. Peaceful demonstrations did begin on March 10, but violence also began the same day, when Chinese security forces arrested and severely beat a group of peaceful protestors. Apparently, violence by the Chinese government is invisible to this writer. Violence by Tibetans began on March 14 in Lhasa and on the 15th in Xiahe (not sure how he managed to get this part wrong, since Chinese sources often refer to these events as 3/14 – the events of the preceding days having slipped down the memory hole).

    The perfect timing and media’s one-sided response are not a coincidence. I am not suggesting here that it was plotted by a specific government; the international community is increasingly complicated as globalization evolves.

    Not at all clear what he is suggesting here.
    In regard to western media, they interpret the Tibet issue based on their own perceptions

    I guess everyone tends to interpret issues based on their own perceptions. The Western media’s coverage was deeply flawed, but this professor might want to take a good long look in the mirror himself.

    Those trouble-makers are not a big deal.

    I agree that the Tibetan resistance is not a big deal – for the foreseeable future – as long as you don’t care what sort of tactics Beijing has to use to keep a lid on things.

    Tibet is not my specialization and the latest research is not something I am aware of.

    Damn straight it isn’t.

    I have been studying in the international sphere for years and my personal experience is westerners are unaware of many issues.

    Total strawman. Most people anywhere are unaware of many issues. However, at least most people are not professors who try to put themselves forward as informed commenters on those issues.

    P.S. – Charles, I’m still going to answer your comment on Tibet Talk from a long time ago at some point in the future. Really!

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  31. LOLZ You just don’t pick up on the point I am making. I am neither here nor there on Tibet and have a miniscule understanding of the China-Tibet situation in the 1950s forward. Serious divisions within Tibetan society, CIA stirring the pot, etc.

    I was talking about the role and expansion of literacy and how it engenders new national identities. Go to wiki, type in Benedict Anderson Imagined Communities, do so demanding reading, cogitate some, and then you will grasp the type of argument I was advancing (albiet in extremely truncated form). It sidesteps the recitation of facts advanced by either side and provides a highly credible argument. Everyone benefits from a bit of advanced reading.

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  32. Oops, must be the word “masturbate” I used metaphorically that generated the uproar. I apologize for the bad word I used. Should have said “… enjoy yourself thinking whatever ….”. I am sincerely, deeply sorry about that.
    Bad words like that are reserved for some people to use against ethnic Chinese, I forgot. What a big mistake.

    Mr. Custer, please delete my comments in the future, if you see any bad words in it. Thanks.

    To answer J’s question ” are you in favor of the forcible reintegration of Taiwan back to the motherland? – I am not in favor of anything forcible.
    My family, relatives, friends are not at all concerned about the question. Majority of the people are not as far as I know. Not sure why foreigners are more emotional than majority of the Taiwanese. I have a relative moved to the mainland for more than a decade now, a neighbor working there for over 2 decades. Hope that answers your question. I don’t think there will be a “forcible reintegration”, I do see a peaceful reintegration is underway. Isn’t that a good thing?

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  33. “If you asked him why Tibet is still the poorest part of China”

    Yunnan, Guizhou and Gansu are poorer. In fact the TAR is richer than all over its neighboring regions (Bhutan, Nepal, India) except Sichuan and Xinjiang.

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  34. I don’t think even the Chinese government denies that those numbers are more or less accurate- Indian government and the UN agree. Oh, but the CIA mentioned it once, so it must be a lie. Tibetans are all extremely happy, thats why so many are in prison and border security has to be ramped up to keep them in and entire provinces were paralyzed in 2008 by protests- the CIA. The CIA did that. I’m very stupid.

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  35. Wow, one post about Tibet really still has the potential to rile people up.

    I am a little disappointed that this professor didn’t have anything interesting to say about Tibet. While you can debate the specifics all you want, one need only look the ethnicity of people in power in the TAR to know that some inequality exists (hint: it isn’t Tibetans).

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  36. @ Otto

    If any pro-Tibet people out there who wants pro-China stance people to not use propaganda then you should have known that the Seventeen Points agreement was never forced upon as they were free to suggest alterations, according to well-known Tibetologist, Melvyn Goldstein. He also states that the Chinese did not threaten the delegates with physical harm to make them sign. The delegates were free not to sign and to leave Beijing.

    It’s funny that pro-Tibet can get away with fiction so much easily hence Jona Smith’s sheeple stance.

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  37. Jason,

    Many Tibetan participants who actually participated in the 17 point agreement (unlike well known China apologist Dr. Goldstein) disagree with Goldsteins interpretation of historical events. Tibetan historians clearly state that the agreement was signed under threats and duress.

    Goldsteins book about Tibetan history is approved by China, and you can buy it in China. However, you cannot buy other historians books on Tibet which disagree with the official view of history.

    Like

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