Shamir: Yeti Riots
by Israel Shamir
Additional articles, Reader Responses included
The Chinese authorities did their civic duty by forcibly suppressing the pogroms in Tibet , for the “Tibetan protests and demonstrations” were essentially just pogroms against immigrants, mainly but not exclusively Han Chinese and Uygur Muslims. Some two dozen people (Chinese immigrants, Tibetan rioters and security forces) lost their lives; five immigrants were gruesomely burned alive in their shop. More people would have died but for decisiveness of the Chinese commanders.
The Tibetan case is not without merit. Tibetans want to preserve their unique culture: so do the people of France and Sweden , of Palestine and Iraq . So probably did the Yeti, the true aborigines of Tibet . We all are threatened by globalizing forces that obliterate the beautiful variety of the world. The Dalai Lama has called this process “cultural genocide”. Welcome to planet Earth, Your Holiness. Indeed, every McDonalds, every Starbucks is a part of the “cultural genocide” we are all living through. Still, we do not grill Americans alive. Immigrant-bashing is equally unacceptable in far-away Lhasa , in Toulouse or in Liverpool .
The native people of Tibet have equal rights with other peoples of China . If they want to have all of Tibet for themselves, sorry, it does not work this way. Whether we like it or not, we have to share our land with those who came before and who will come later. Likewise, Indians, Nepalese and Chinese share their cities and villages with Tibetan immigrants without complaining too much.
The case of Tibet is much overstated, for Tibet is hardly unique: it is a region of special character related to China like Bretagne to France ; like Wales to Britain , like Catalonia to Spain , like Sicily to Italy , like Dixie to the US . In all these places, local patriots may dream of more autonomy or even independence, they may resent the influx of strangers. Bretons may hate Parisians, the Welsh snarl at the English who buy their homes, the Alabamans could dislike New York Jews who dictate to them the rules of the game – even before they object to immigrants from farther-away lands. But they rarely dream of rolling history back. This is a dream of the far nationalist Right, which is practically outlawed in Europe and the US .
Could it be that Presidents Bush and Sarkozy, the editors of the New York Times, Le Monde and Haaretz, human rights activists Bernard-Henri Levy and Daniel Cohn-Bendit (calling for a boycott of China Olympics) have become supporters of Le Pen, David Duke and Horst Mahler, and that after regaining national character of Tibet, European and America counterparts will follow by asserting their own uniqueness? However, I doubt these luminaries would approve of pogroms against Jews; why are the pogroms against Chinese so warmheartedly applauded?
If Tibet were not an issue, another reason would be found for this anti-Chinese campaign. Christopher Caldwell quipped in FT (March 29/30, 2008): “Boycotting Beijing Olympics is the solution that has long been in search of a problem”. “The problem” could be Darfur , Burma , human rights, mistreatment of prisoners and animals, or late abortions. Israeli newspapers daily produce new reasons why China should be boycotted, usually because of “human rights violations”. The precise reasons vary, but the bottom line remains the same: ostracize, isolate and punish China , for it is too independent.
The Chinese leadership is not weak-kneed; they have witnessed too many horrible examples of what happens if the central government shows weakness. The Soviet Union went down because Gorbachev did not deal with separatism in the Baltic republics, Ukraine and Armenia . The Chinese leaders are made of sterner stuff. Sometimes, hard decisions have to be made, and they call for people of strong will.
Such a hard but wise decision was that of Tiananmen riots’ suppression in 1989. Without it, China would have disintegrated in a flood of blood and tears; it would have been recolonised by the Western powers. Now, the suppression of Lhasa riots was relatively a small-time event, hopefully soon to be forgotten. The Tibetans were misled, now they may readjust their vision. So have many secessionists: Ibo of Nigeria fought a long war, but eventually settled for equality. So did the people of Dixie after the defeat.
The Chinese are within their rights to fight secessionists and preserve the integrity of their land, including the region of Tibet . A few days ago, the Pink Panther of a president, M. Sarkozy, said in the UK : “We shall never surrender Afghanistan ”. If that French clown wants to keep faraway Afghanistan and is ready to send French soldiers to die for it, there is no reason for the Chinese to give up Tibet , a part of China for one thousand years. (French readers may be comforted: the main alternative to this clown, Segolene Royal, was even more outspoken in her calls to boycott China . Indeed if there is anything more miserable than the Gaullists of Sarkozy, it’s the Socialists of Royal.)
The Western ideologues wish to shape the world according to their preferences, and an independent China , (or Russia , Iran , India ) is not their cup of tea. That is why they sow strife and dissent -- promoting separatism and secession in the independent countries. This is an old game of undoing empires, and afterwards creating a new empire on their ruins. In this game, the leftist hypocrites and the rightist imperialists work together.
They do find local nationalists, often sincere people, who accept their support. These nationalists usually are duped; unless they are cynical crooks who are aware of the game they play. Nothing good comes out of these separatist secession causes: usually, the seceded lands became a part of the Judeo-American Empire. The recent case of Kosovo (probably an inspiration to the Tibetan rebels) is a clear example: the Albanians of Kosovo regained freedom from Serbia and became a colony of the EC serving as the biggest American military base and the oil terminal.
An independent Tibet would also become a US base against China , India and Russia . The bloody and cruel Tibet rebellion of 1959 was fully prepared and paid for by the CIA in order to undermine China . We know it now, because two bad guys - Kenneth Conboy of the Heritage Foundation and James Morrison, an Army veteran trainer for the CIA – boasted about it in a book called The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet (Kansas University Press, 2002). Gary Wilson has correctly compared it with the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba .
Marx and Lenin were reluctant to speak in general categories. Instead of calling for freedom, they asked “freedom from what? Freedom for whom? Independence from what?” They did not absolutise freedom, independence, self-determination, but instead considered whether it was good for them or for their adversaries. If a small nation turns into an imperialist tool, it should be fought against, they said. Indeed, it is impossible to say whether “independence is good in general” or not.
Often, independence is a piece of cheese in the mousetrap. Gandhi was asked what he thought of European civilization. “It would be nice!” he exclaimed. Likewise the idea of independence: If a country like Tibet – or Chechnya , - could be independent, instead of serving as an advance base for an American invasion, it would be nice. But such an option does not exist. In the words of G W Bush, you are either with them, or with us.
It is right time to give up the chase after “self-determination” , for this noble sentiment has been abused far too often. Instead we should demand equal rights for all. Alexander the Great was famously even-handed with the subjects of his vast empire, and his own Macedonian warriors complained that he preferred the defeated Persians to the victorious Greeks. “For me, there is no difference between a Greek and a Persian”, - he replied – “both are subjects of my state”. This is the right attitude.
The idea of independence and self-determination has failed everywhere; and now it is failing in Palestine , too. The vestiges of this concept are now being used to perpetuate apartheid and to keep in power some corrupt and powerless politicians. Native Palestinians do not need independence; they are not going to get it either, but every day this fiction is nurtured just postpones the day of true equality, of all and for all, in Palestine/Israel.
The Tibetans should understand this too. The way to preserve the uniqueness of Tibet – and of France , England , Palestine – lies through our victory over Empire and over its tendency to globalise and homogenize. In this battle, China is a protector and friend, not an enemy.
If the Americans are keen on independence and self-determination, let them give independence to California, Texas, Dixie, - and afterwards we can discuss Tibet again.
Appendix: interesting pieces on Tibet
(1) China will not easily be cowed
By Christopher Caldwell
Friday Mar 28 2008 14:20
Boycotting the Olympic Games scheduled for Beijing next August is a solution that has long been in search of a problem. A year ago, Mia Farrow, the actress, called for a boycott on the grounds that the government of Sudan , a close ally and major oil supplier of China , was committing "genocide" against rebels in the province of Darfur . Others have sought a boycott in solidarity with Burmese democracy activists, repressed by a junta that China supports. Only now has a consensus cause been found - the pro-independence demonstrations in the Chinese province of Tibet that have turned into violent riots and led to a crackdown. Read more on http://us.ft. com/ftgateway/ superpage. ft?news_id= fto0328200815270 66019
(2) Tibet and the March 10 commemoration of the CIA's 1959 'uprising'
By Gary Wilson http://www.workers. org/2007/ world/tibet_ 0327/
24/03/08 "Workers World" -- - Has Tibet become the front line of a new national liberation struggle? Or is something else happening there? The U.S. news media are filled with stories about events unfolding in Tibet . Each news report, however, seems to include a note that much of what they are reporting cannot be confirmed. The sources of the reports are shadowy and unknown. If past practice is any indicator, it is likely that the U.S. State Department and the CIA are their primary sources. One frequently quoted source is John Ackerly. Who is Ackerly? As president of the International Campaign for Tibet , he and his group appear to work closely with the U.S. government, both the State Department and Congress, as part of its operations concerning Tibet . During the Cold War, Ackerly’s Washington-based job was to work with “dissidents” in Eastern Europe, particularly Romania in 1978-80.
Read more on http://www.workers. org/2007/ world/tibet_ 0327/
(3) Eyewitnesses Recount Terrifying Day in Tibet
How a Protest Became a Rampage
By Jill Drew
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, March 27, 2008; Page A01
BEIJING, March 26 -- In the moment, Canadian backpacker John Kenwood recalled, he was "young and stupid, and it was all adrenaline." He was running, one in a mob of 200 or so, screaming, "Free Tibet!" and chasing riot police down a narrow street in downtown Lhasa in the early afternoon of March 14. It was a heady feeling, being part of a howling pack that had forced police to turn tail and run, some dropping their shields as they fled a barrage of rocks. Then the Tibetans in the crowd slowed and began turning back, grinning and patting one another on the back. The ebullient mood did not last long. The pack broke into smaller groups, gathering rocks and pulling out knives, looking for the next target.
"There was no more crowd to be part of. It looked like they were turning on everybody," said Kenwood, 19, describing the scene to reporters last week when he arrived in Kathmandu , Nepal , after 10 days in the Tibetan capital. "It wasn't about Tibet freedom anymore."
What he witnessed next was a violent rampage unlike any in decades in Lhasa, a city where Tibetan Buddhism's most revered temples sit among office buildings and concrete markets built by Chinese bent on developing the remote Himalayan region. Hundreds of mostly young Tibetans broke up into roaming gangs and attacked Chinese passersby and vandalized shops, killing 19 people and injuring more than 600 over two days.
During the riots, looters set fire to a clothing store, burning to death five young employees who were huddled on the second floor. Most police officers kept their distance while the center of Lhasa descended into chaos.
Nearly two weeks later, there are still more questions than answers about what sparked the violence. But several witness accounts suggest that what began as a small protest by Buddhist monks on the morning of Friday, March 14, turned quickly into ethnically charged rioting, possibly fueled by rumors that monks had been roughed up by police. Some outside experts cite another factor behind the uprising: Tibetans' awareness that the world is following news of their cause more closely as China prepares to host the Olympic Games in August.
Police and paramilitary troops have blanketed Lhasa , looking for ringleaders. Hundreds of Tibetans have been arrested or turned themselves in to police in a bid for leniency. There are rumors that outsiders orchestrated the attacks, echoing the official Chinese government claim that the Dalai Lama, the exiled Buddhist leader, is to blame. For his part, the Dalai Lama has condemned the violence and said repressive Chinese policies fueled the explosion.
Whatever the reasons, the people of Lhasa have been left to deal with the repercussions.
Ethnic Chinese, who were the main targets of the attacks, are mourning their dead and rebuilding what's left of their homes and businesses. Buddhist monks are confined to their monasteries, where telephones go unanswered.
Few Tibetans in their homeland have been heard from since the riot, and the tally of their dead is hard to confirm. Friends and relatives from outside the region say they are afraid to telephone out of fear that Chinese authorities will monitor the calls and arrest anyone who discloses information.
Chhime Chhoekyapa, secretary to the Dalai Lama, said Tibetans call and ask that their dead be remembered in the spiritual leader's prayers. "Our information is based on this," Chhoekyapa said. The Dalai Lama's office has released details of 22 people who died in Lhasa on March 14 and is checking unconfirmed reports of dozens of others.
(4) Tibet Riot Blow by Blow
Tibet Riot Documentary
This is a blow by blow account of the riot in Lhasa and shows that the supporters of the so-called Free Tibetan movement were the perpetrators of gruesome violence.
The riots in Lhasa last Friday are the most serious incident in the region for decades. Local residents are still reeling from the aftershock, even as they try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. In the following documentary, we look back at the events to see how they've impacted the people in Tibet .
11 a.m., March 14
( Ramoche Temple , Lhasa ) At eleven o'clock on the morning of March 14th, rioters gathered at the Ramoche Temple . On the temple roof, about a dozen monks stood and threw stones at police.
2 p.m., March 14
The situation escalated in the afternoon as more rioters gathered at the Ramoche Temple . Others, some armed with knives, began to arrive from the streets in downtown Lhasa . As the riot intensified, a group of people tipped over a police wagon, and then flipped a nearby car.
An amateur cameraman recorded the scene as members of the mob stopped a motorcycle on the road and bludgeoned the rider's head with rocks. As the violence intensified, some people caught up in the riot suffered severe injuries. This innocent man was blinded in the right eye, and his left ear was cut off.
An amateur cameraman recorded the scene as members of the mob stopped a motorcycle on the road and bludgeoned the rider's head with rocks.
3 p.m., March 14
From three o'clock in the afternoon onward, the mob moved along Yutuo Road , Beijing East Road, and Duosenge Road , smashing businesses and setting fires.
They stormed into shops, hospitals and news agencies. Nearby public facilities, transportation and electric power lines were damaged.
Seven banks operating within the area failed to escape the mob. Rioters smashed ten ATM machines to pieces leaving those branches in a complete mess.
Rioters set fires in the areas around the Jokhong Temple , Ramoche Temple and the Chomsigkang Market. In the city centre, fires started in the Si Fang supermarket, Lan Dun Plaza and Wen Zhou Plaza .
Rioters even attacked schools, setting Lhasa 's Number 2 Middle School on fire. The smoke from these fires covered the city.
When firefighters arrived, two of their fire trucks were torched and four firefighters were injured.
13 innocent civilians were burned or stabbed to death in the riots. 56 cars were damaged or burned. Dozens of public security officers and scores of armed police were injured, 10 in serious condition. Rioters have set fire to over 300 sites, and burned down over 200 residential houses and shops.
After the riots began, Party and government officials of the Tibet Autonomous Region reacted quickly. They deployed the police to disperse the violence, and firefighters to put out the fire and evacuate those trapped inside burning buildings. The wounded were rushed to hospital for treatment.
Local authorities say more than 580 people have been rescued by the armed police, including three Japanese tourists, as well as teachers and students in a primary school and a middle school. There were no foreigners among the casualties.
China 's public security and armed police have exerted the highest restraint.
In their handling of the incident, China 's public security and armed police have exerted the highest restraint. They did not use any deadly weapons, not even when their own lives were threatened. Some riot police were cornered and beaten. Others were stoned. Armed police on duty outside the gate of the Romache Temple were surrounded and attacked by rioters. None of them fired on their attackers.
One day after the riots, vehicles were restricted from entering the city's main roads. But the streets were still littered with roll-over cars, burned motorbikes and bicycles, and smoldering reminder of from violence from the day before. Local officials in Tibet say there is plenty of evidence to prove that the incident was masterminded by the Dalai clique.
Baema Chilain, vice chairman of government of Tibet autonomous region, said "The Dalai clique used various means to contact and issue orders to their co-conspirators in Tibet . They also resorted to all sorts of tricks to stir up trouble among the people, hiding the truth from them. All this shows that the Dalai clique has never stopped its efforts to disrupt national unity and seek Tibet independence. "
"I am outraged!" a Lhasa resident said. "My heart is very heavy. A small group of secessionists has unleashed great violence on Lhasa . They've destroyed our happy life. We can't go to work. Our children can't go to school." another resident said.
"If there should be similar incidents in the future, we will definitely be against them. It's absolutely necessary to punish the culprits in accordance with the law. This is for the interests of the people, for social stability, and for national unity."
Many places were attacked and burned down to the ground. The Youth Road in the downtown area suffered the most. Businessman Peng Xiaobo said "After an explosion, heavy smoke was everywhere. My uncle was over there with the woolen blanket -- he jumped down from the second floor. Then he urged us to jump, too. He said, 'Don't worry about the money. Life is more important.' The explosion shattered all the glasses, and heavy smoke covered up everything."
Peng Xiaobo's four shops were all set on fire. His family had to jump down from the second floor in order to escape. His wife hurt her back during the jump. But the worst was yet to come.
Peng said "I had a younger sister. She just had her 18th birthday in December. She didn't dare to jump from such a height. She tried to find another way to escape, but the stairs under her collapsed. She fell through to the first floor and was burned to death."
18-year-old Chen Jia came from the southwestern province of Sichuan . Last Friday, the clothing store in Lhasa , where she and five other girls worked, was targeted by rioters. The door of the store was destroyed. Trapped inside, the six girls were forced to flee to the second floor.
In shock, Chen Jia sent a text message to her father, saying, 'Father, the rioters here are very brutal. We're hiding in the store and don't dare to leave. Don't worry about me. You tell Mother and Sister not to go out.' Several minutes later, the store was set on fire. Five of the girls were burned to death. The tragedy broke Chen Jia's father's heart. He said "My daughter was so girlish. We all loved her."
Chen Jia, Cering Zhuoga from Xigaze, Yang Dongmei and Liu Yan from Sichuan , and Han Xinxin from Henan were also burn to death. Zhuoma was left shocked at being the only survivor. Days after the violence, Zhuoma still can't accept that her friends are no longer here.
She said "I never thought about that. We were happy together that morning, but it suddenly changed hours later. I can't believe it, I can't accept the truth that they have left me. I want to ask the rioters why they did it. I really can't understand why the rioters killed innocent civilians... why they killed our sisters. We're just employees, we don't have much money. If they wanted money, why did they rob us of our lives?"
Violence in Lhasa broke out on March 14th, and took a heavy toll in innocent lives and property. Businessman, Wu Guanglin, can't forget what he and his son suffered that day. Rioters targeted him and his six-year-old son. They stamped on the little boy's chest, sending him into shock.
Businessman Wu Guanglin said "I searched all over for him, at last I saw my son was lying on the ground without clothes and shoes."
Wu Guanglin stopped an ambulance, and doctors gave his son first aid. But the ambulance was targeted shortly after driving off. He said "My son's only six years old. I really feel sad. The rioters even beat the doctors with stone and sticks. The doctors directed me to cover my son with my body, the rioters even destroyed the face guard. I was really sad. My son was in serious condition for two days after the incident. I went to hospital twice to thank doctor Lobsang, but he told me that was his duty."
Wu Guanglin says he will always remember the Tibetan doctor, Cering Lobsang, who risked his life to rescue the boy. Lobsang is still recovering from his wounds at Lhasa People's Hospital.
Tibetan doctor Cering Lobsang said "We picked up the Wus on our way back. The boy wasn't breathing, and had no heart beat. The rioters stopped us. We told them we are medical workers, but they didn't care. They targeted the ambulance, and beat us."
Local authorities took control of the situation shortly after the violence broke out. They also took effective measures to restore peace and order. Local residents also volunteered clear away debris and clean up the streets.
Vice chairman of Tibet autonomous region Dorje Cering said "We are working to gather enough materials for people's basic needs. Tibet is at such a special moment. We have to guarantee that every citizen lives a stable life here in Lhasa . At the same time, we're working hard to arrest those behind the violence as soon as possible."
By Wednesday, more than 150 rioters had turned themselves in to police, and handed over what they had looted.
In downtown Lhasa , the shells of stores and homes can be seen everywhere. But as people start putting things back together, the city is on the way back to normal.
(5) Tourists describe 'merciless' beatings of Chinese in Tibet
KATHMANDU, March 18, 2008 (AFP) - Rampaging Tibetan youths stoned and beat Chinese people in the Tibetan capital and set ablaze stores but now calm has returned after a military clampdown, tourists emerging from the Himalayan region said Tuesday.
'It was an explosion of anger against the Chinese and Muslims by the Tibetans,' 19-year-old Canadian John Kenwood told AFP, describing an orgy of violence that swept the ancient city of Lhasa .
Kenwood and other tourists, who arrived by plane in Nepal's capital Kathmandu on Tuesday, witnessed the unrest, which reached a climax on Friday when they said Han Chinese as well as Muslims were targeted.
They described scenes in which mobs relentlessly beat and kicked ethnic Han Chinese, whose influx into the region has been blamed by Tibetans for altering its unique culture and way of life.
Kenwood said he saw four or five Tibetan men on Friday 'mercilessly' stoning and kicking a Chinese motorcyclist.
'Eventually they got him on the ground, they were hitting him on the head with stones until he lost consciousness.
'I believe that young man was killed,' Kenwood told AFP, but added he could not be sure. He said he saw no Tibetan deaths.
Tibet 's government-in- exile said on Tuesday the 'confirmed' Tibetan death toll from more than a week of unrest was 99. China has said '13 innocent civilians' died and that it used no 'lethal' force to subdue the rioting.
The Tibetans 'were throwing stones at anything that drove by,' Kenwood said.
'The young people were involved and the old people were supporting by screaming -- howling like wolves. Everyone who looked Chinese was attacked,' said 25-year-old Swiss tourist Claude Balsiger.
'They attacked an old Chinese man on a bicycle. They hit his head really hard with stones (but) some old Tibetan people went into the crowd to make them stop,' he said.
Kenwood recounted another brave rescue when a Chinese man was pleading for mercy from rock-wielding Tibetans.
'They were kicking him in the ribs and he was bleeding from the face,' he said. 'But then a white man walked up... helped him up from the ground. There was a crowd of Tibetans holding stones, he held the Chinese man close, waved his hand at the crowd and they let him lead the man to safety.'
Reacting to the tourists' accounts, Thubten Samphel, a spokesman for the Tibetan government-in- exile in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala , called the violence 'very tragic.'
The Tibetans 'have been told to keep their struggle non-violent, ' he told AFP by telephone.
The unrest began after Tibetans marked on March 10 the 49th anniversary of their failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. Then, Tibet 's Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama trekked through the Himalayas and crossed into India , making Dharamshala a base after the revolt.
By last Saturday, Chinese security forces had locked down the Tibetan capital.
The Chinese military ordered tourists to stay in their hotels from where they said they could hear gunfire and tear gas shells exploding.
On Monday the tourists were allowed some movement but had to show their passports at frequent checkpoints.
'Shops were all burnt out -- all the merchandise was on the street in a bonfire. Many buildings were gutted,' said Serge Lachapelle, a tourist from Montreal in Canada .
'The Muslim district was entirely destroyed -- every store was destroyed,' said Kenwood.
'I was able to go and eat in a restaurant (outside the hotel) this morning (Tuesday). The Tibetans were not smiling anymore,' he said.
(4) Roof rights of the world
By Sandhya Jain
[abbreviation] … Pakistan was created, not merely to give the West a foothold to overlook the oil-rich Gulf and Afghanistan , but to provide access to the Tibetan Plateau to checkmate the Soviet Union and Communist China.
Like Pakistan , Jammu and Kashmir was also a pawn in this game. Western neo-colonialism would have been perceived in other world capitals also; hence Kremlin's rush to bring the Baltic and Balkan nations under its sway. Chairman Mao, possibly prodded by Moscow , probably decided to avert Western presence in Lhasa by occupying Tibet .
It was a wise precaution. Tibet is a large nation, with borders touching Myanmar , Bhutan , Nepal , Sikkim , India ; its boundary with China is gigantic. No government in Beijing , regardless of ideology, could risk the presence of troops of hostile civilizations in such close proximity. Beijing built the Karakoram Highway courtesy Pakistan , not merely to outflank India , but to reach out to the West-oppressed Gulf and Afghanistan . Its friendship with Iran is also a reason for the unrest in Lhasa .
I think once Nehru realized that loss of critical Kashmiri territory made it impossible for India to access, let alone protect, Tibet , he acquiesced in a civilizational sister assuming this responsibility. It was realpolitik – the holding of Asian territory by Asian powers. Whatever the demerits of such occupation, the Sons of Heaven are more acceptable than the sons of Abraham.
Analysts say the current violence by Drepung Monastery monks coincided with the regular session of the All-China Assembly of People's Representatives, embarrassing Beijing and compelling it to use force. Simultaneous eruptions in Tibetan dominated regions of Gansu , Sichuan and Qinghai show the protests were coordinated. Andrei Areshev notes a parallel with the way western media covered Kosovo in 1998, before the NATO aggression –information comes from Tibetan émigrés in neighbouring countries and western human rights NGOs.
Interestingly, India has permitted two Israelis, Yahel Ben David, a Silicon Valley technocrat with Mossad training, and Michael Ginguld, with a background with international developmental agencies, to settle in Dharamshala and create in 2005 a Wi-Fi network connecting over 2000 computers with broadband internet access, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone services, and video conferencing. News about the unrest was disseminated through Tenzin Norgay, Personnel for UN Affairs at the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy, Dharamshala.
Tibet must be seen in the backdrop of the Dalai Lama accepting the Gold Medal of US Congress in October 2007. This parallels the award of the 1996 Nobel Peace Prize to East Timorese Catholic Bishop Carlos Belo and secessionist émigré leader Jose Ramos Horta. The US Catholics Bishops Conference in 1998 asked Bishop Belo to make the promise of the Peace Prize a reality and sent a copy of this missive to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright! A few months later, riots broke out and UN announced a referendum on autonomy for East Timor ; riots intensified and the August 1999 UN-sponsored referendum voted for independence.
Now, the Dalai Lama has obliged his American friends by calling for an international inquiry into the "cultural genocide" and accusing New Delhi , his host for nearly five decades, of timidity towards China ! Washington 's involvement goes back to CIA's "secret war" after the annexation of Tibet in 1949 and Hamand and Amdo in 1956. In October 1957, Tibetans trained by the CIA were airlifted to Lhasa from Dhaka to make contact with local insurgents. The Lhasa uprising started soon afterwards and the Dalai Lama fled.
Hundreds of Tibetans were trained in Colorado . From 1958, CIA flew in weapons, ordnance and trained militants from a secret base in Thailand . By the early 1960s, CIA annually spent $1.7 million in Tibet , and $180,000 for the Dalai Lama's personal needs. If America succeeds in landing troops in Tibet , Moscow expects it to exert further pressure on China 's unity, notably in Xiangyang-Uighur and Inner Mongolia .
Reports suggest the "Friends of Tibet" met in Delhi in June 2007 and proposed a march of Tibetan exiles in India and Nepal to Lhasa to coincide with the opening of the Olympic Games. US under secretary of state Paula Dobryansky, involved in the coloured revolutions in former Soviet republics, met the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala last November. Recently, US Congress Speaker Nancy Pelosi met him. As he is functioning as a politician and engaging in politics on Indian soil, he should be asked to leave along with his people.
(5) Why They Hate China , by Justin Raimondo http://www.antiwar. com/justin/ ?articleid= 12585
Pelosi is a longtime opponent of Beijing - not just the Chinese government, but China itself. Pelosi and the unions she depends on for political support despise all things Chinese for the simple reason that China , today, is more capitalist than the U.S. - in spite of the Chinese Communist Party's ostensible commitment to Marxist ideology. Thinly veiled racist-chauvinist bilge is routinely directed at the Chinese people by union bosses and right-wing paleo-protectionist s, who stupidly claim that the "chinks" (or, as John McCain would put it, the "gooks") are stealing "American jobs" - as if Americans have a hereditary right to the very best salaries on earth, a "right" that doesn't have to be earned by competitive business practices but is conferred on them by virtue of their nationality. Like hell it is.
I know we are supposed to believe that the vast majority of the Chinese people are groaning under the weight of Commie oppression and sympathize (albeit silently) with the downtrodden Tibetans, but that is hardly the case. Indeed, the exact opposite is closer to the truth. Every time the West gets up on its high horse and lectures the Chinese government about its lack of "morality," the tide of anti-Western Chinese nationalism rises higher.
After all, what if Chinese government leaders constantly reminded the world that the American Southwest was stolen from Mexico ? Imagine the Chinese and Mexican ambassadors to the U.S. demanding independence, for, say, California - or better yet, its return to Mexican sovereignty! Shall the Olympics be forever barred from Puerto Rico, which was forcibly incorporated into the U.S. "commonwealth" in the invasion of 1898?
Of course not. Yet the Americans and their international amen corner are daring to criticize China for preserving its own unity and sovereignty. It's a double standard made all the more insufferable by the self-righteous tone of the anti-China chorus, whose meistersingers are mainly concerned with celebrating their own moral purity.
Yes, Tibet was forcibly incorporated into the Communist empire of the Han, but this was just an episode in the long history of Sino-Tibetan relations. The popular narrative of the pacifistic Buddhist Tibetans as the good guys and the Han Chinese as the bad-guy aggressors is the stuff of pure myth, pushed by union propagandists, lefty Hollywood do-gooders, and trendy sandal-wearing Western camp followers of the Dalai Lama, who has become a secularized yet "spiritual" substitute for Mother Theresa.
If the Chinese are wrong to hold on to their province of Tibet, then Lincoln was wrong to insist that the South stay in the Union - and we ought to immediately either grant the American Southwest (and California) independence, or else give it all back to the Mexicans.
The same goes for Taiwan - China's rulers are no more likely to give up their claim to that island than Lincoln was inclined to let the Confederacy hold on in, say, Key West, Fla.
Why do politicians of Pelosi's ilk join hands with neoconservatives in a concerted campaign to antagonize China , and even threaten sanctions and possible military action when the occasion gives rise to the opportunity?
To begin with, China 's is a success story, and there's nothing that attracts opprobrium like success, unless it's success of the wrong color - in this case, yellow. A crude racist collectivism of a specifically anti-Asian character has long been a tradition of the War Party in this country: see the anti-Japanese Dr. Seuss cartoons from the World War II era for a particularly vivid example. Yes, he was attacking the "Japs," but to Americans, it's all the same Yellow Peril. This kind of sentiment is easily invoked in America , and don't tell me Pelosi and her ideological confreres aren't aware of it - yes, even in "liberal" San Francisco , where anti-Asian sentiment is part of the city's history.
Never mind the first black president, or the first female president - what I'm waiting for is the first chief executive of Asian-American descent. I'm not, however, holding my breath.
Relations with China are cloudy, at best, and those may very well be war clouds gathering on the horizon. The reason is that Sinophobia is a point of unity between the Left and the Right: the union of the Weekly Standard and the AFL-CIO, and perhaps even the majority of my paleoconservative friends, who quail before the rising Chinese giant and see it as a potential threat on account of its sheer scale - a third of the world's population, and a land-mass that rivals our own. Surely such a stirring titan will knock us out of the way as he takes his place at the center of the world stage.
Finally, a word or two about this nonsensical demand, raised by the "Save Darfur" crowd, that China must somehow "extinguish the flames of genocide" supposedly carried out by the government of Sudan . What does China have to do with Sudan and its government? Well, you see, the Chinese have oil interests in the region, that is, they are engaged in competition with Western oil companies in opening up new fields - and, well, that just isn't permissible.
The Chinese, we are told, have a moral responsibility to either pressure the Sudanese to let up on Darfur , or else abandon their Sudanese assets. As if Sudan were a Chinese colony, and the Sudanese authorities mere sock-puppets of Beijing .
A more arrogant and self-serving argument would be hard to imagine. Presumably Western interests will fill the vacuum left by this spontaneous display of Chinese moral rectitude - and that alone should tell us everything we need to know about what's behind the "Save Darfur" bloviators and their high-horse moralizing.
If our professional do-gooders of the "progressive" persuasion are so concerned about the fate of Darfur , let them campaign for the granting of mass asylum to the survivors of this latest African catastrophe. Give them sanctuary and green cards, but keep U.S. troops out of Africa, specifically out of Darfur - and get off Beijing 's back.
~ Justin Raimondo
From Come Carpentier, Delhi
Dear Israel Adam,
Thanks for these thought-provoking pieces. In the eighties in America when I was associated with the organizing committee of the University of Colorado 's annual World Affairs Conference I invited to Boulder the King of Zingack-Gyalrong, the Canada-based, exiled monarch of a once-independent state located in the East of Tibet. His Majesty gave a speech and we also talked a lot in private about the situation in Tibet . At the time I was surprised to learn that he of course resented the Chinese Communists who had abolished his rule but was also quite critical of the Dalai Lama's government in exile which, according to him, had taken sole control all the Tibetan refugee community and prevent the recognition of the political diversity which existed before the Chinese takeover. He pointed out that Tibet had been a loose federation of kingdoms and monastic domains under the political suzerainty of the Dalai Lama who had been given paramountcy by the Mongols and the Chinese Emperors over the respective supreme lamas of the other religious orders.
This brings to the fore the complex issue of national independence which you raise in your essay. How many "free" nations should exist? All states can be broken up into several, even hundreds of units, if we look at the Kosovo case. In fact, every town or village could claim the right to nationhood, whether or not it is economically autonomous and has demographic and geographic "critical mass", The UN might end up consisting of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of independent countries if we go by that arbitrary notion. Like the atom of subparticle- physics, the atom of a nation is infinitely fissiparous and divisible. Predictably this would cause in many cases endless bloody civil wars and ethnic purification campaigns, as we have seen in the Balkans...
From Ken Freeland, Texas
You write: "Tibet is hardly unique: it is a region of special character related to China like Bretagne to France ; like Wales to Britain , like Catalonia to Spain , like Sicily to Italy , like Dixie to the US ." I question the validity of these analogies, and I am hard-pressed to find a historical analogy of my own, though I think that the Basques of Spain (vs. the Catalonians) might come closer than the ones you offer. But please note that they, too, are embroiled in separatist controversy.
The question here is one of national sovereignty and/or autonomy. The Basques never voluntarily relinquished their sovereignty to Spain (they assert), nor, to my knowledge, has Tibet to Beijing . The very fact of the existence of a Dalai Lama, and the long succession he represents, and the fealty of the people towards his theocratic throne, suggest that there is something more here than a regional variation... we are talking about a different state in many respects. Perhaps I am in error on this history (I admit to having scant knowledge of it), and you can set me straight. But you cannot simply undermine the aspirations of independence- minded Tibetans with an assertion of Chinese suzerainty here. You will FIRST have to provide the historical ground for it.
From Roger Tucker,
Israel , it saddens me that you buy into the Chinese propaganda so easily. Not that the situation is as simplistic as some Tibet supporters would have it, but it amazes me that you don't see the parallels between Tibet and Palestine . You could just as easily be writing hasbara for the Israeli government.
I will write hasbara for the Israeli government :-) if and when the Palestinians will have equal rights with the Jews. This is the meaning of One State solution.
From Margit Alm, Melbourne , Australia
My sympathies rest with the Tibetan people because they see their ancient culture and ancestral lands lost to a culture they do not want to embrace. Or, if they would want to embrace it, then in their own time and by their own decision but not through invasion.
My sympathies rest with the Palestinians because their ancestral lands and culture were forcibly invaded and destroyed by 'aliens', to the point where they are now virtually dispossessed, demoralized, and of course massacred - with no end to their misery in sight despite all the rhetoric.
Globalization leads to the loss of cultural diversity. That is a great pity. A few hegemonic countries impose their values and views on the rest. It is no surprise that people fight back as they seek to preserve their traditions. There are definite benefits from globalization, but loss of cultural diversity is a negative and must be resisted.
It would be nice if these differences were sorted out peacefully and rationally, leading to a win-win situation for all parties concerned. Alas, humans have not reached this enlightened stage of rationality yet.
Margit Alm, Melbourne , Australia
From: Lille Singh, New York-Delhi
Shukraan and salaams for all the articles, sick of the overblown coverage here. Do you recall a world prior to the putrid incessant propaganda of CNN? Ratiocination was still in vogue now, alas the concept is archaic. Excellent selection of news and your own assessment is always so cogent.
From Dr. Siegfried E.
RE YETI RIOTS:
when I heard that Steven Spielberg is dumping the Olympics, I "tuned out". The entire topic is for me (someone who has lived with Chinese people on and off for a quarter century!) not a "topic".
That is the POLITICAL connotation of it all. The entire "thing" is a staged event to try and create a dialectical nightmare from which the usual "winners" - who always manage to have themselves bemoaned as the "victims" - make fat profits....
I look at HISTORY and simply fail to see (with two exceptions: the 1421 Treasure-Fleet adventure of Zeng He and his fellow eunuch admirals and the recent "excursion" into Vietnam) any FOREIGN adventures /aggression of China against anyone. TIBET and the entire region are the "backyard" of the biggest ethnicity on Earth that has managed to live pretty "quietly" and prosperously for thousands of years.
The Chinese have had a FOREIGN religion (Buddhism) forced on them and this does not "sit well" with them. It may be "good" for the peoples of India - but why should the Chinese be "happy" with it? The Tibetan Mahayana "Buddhism" (note the inverted commas: since the counsil of Asoka Mahayana is NOT real Buddhism anymore...) has been proselytizing in China for some 2 Millennia and has supplanted Taoism/ Confucianism to a large degree.
That is the religious connotation of it all
The pic you sent (of the Chinese soldiers in monks’ robes) is neither here nor there! Even if it was REAL (as in pertaining to the present situation ... which it may well not be ... but again ... does not matter. A picture says more than a thousand words! Well, ever since John Dewey and his gang of consciousness cybernetics experts, people BELIEVE in this SHIT! A picture is only a REFLECTION of REALITY .... and what happens on ("BY") the MIRROR? So what? Soldiers get to play monks for a movie ....? Guess who John D. Mills "used" as Roman soldiers in Ben Hur? GOTCHA! This is all MEDIA HYPE in order to sow discontent!
I VERY MUCH AGREE with what IAS had to say on this topic.
BUT - for a final comment on it all ... ask me in another 25 years ... when I have HALF a CENTURY of LIFE with Chinese under my belt ... maybe THEN I feel more comfortable to comment. As for now: WHERE IS THERE A PROBLEM???
All the people that got killed in those Riots are 2-3 days "harvest" of American criminality .... and THAT goes on EVERY DAY .... a little hullaballoo in a far recess of the biggest country of the world .... come on! What is wrong? People will be people!
MY SALUTE to the "dictators" of China ... they have managed to keep their people well fed, educated and in jobs! More than what can be said for the "democratures" ...
From Marek Glogoczowski, Krakow
During the summer of 1989 I participated in a Himalaya climbing expedition, which had as a departure base, the small city of Padum (circa 4 000 m above sea level) in the remote Zanskar valley inside the Indian part of the Tibet . Soon after our departure from Zanskar, in autumn 1989 there were riots in Padum, local Buddhist merchands there were figting against immigrant Moslem merchands, which arrived into predominantly Buddhist Padum valley, following the swarm of Western tourists, interested in Zanskar Tibetan culture. In all evidence the same kind of commercial competition, between Buddhists and Moslems, has contributed to the recent violence in the Chinese part of Tybet, in particular in Lhassa, which is at present very popular among Western tourists. See below.
PS. MY ERROR.
In previous email I suggested, copying the longer text pasted below the photograph of soldiers holding buddist monks orange outfits, that this photo was made from a sattelite. One of my friends remarked that:
"I'm not sure this is a satellite picture, at least not from 1000 km up. Also, the soldiers don't seem to look Chinese."
And the second friend added the text pasted just under the photo of soldiers-actors, which text I overlooked:
"This is not an uncommon 'tactical move' from the Chinese government, as could be seen on the back-cover of the 2003 annual TCHRD Report This photo was apparently made when monks refused to play as actors in a movie, so soldiers were ordered to put on robes."
Plese, excuse me for this error.
From Mrs. Olwen Baumgart , Berlin
Good day to you Mr. Shamir,
I hope you are well.
I generally agree with your viewpoint and found your artikle "Yeti Riots" as usual very interesting and honest.
You do err on one point though. "the Albanians of Kosovo regained freedom from Serbia and became a colony of the EC serving as the biggest American military base and the oil terminal". They did not regain they usurped. They are traitors to the country that took them in.
Kosovo was almost purely Serbian up until about 50 years ago then they started admitting Albanians to work.
The Albanians are muslims, they had multiple wives and had many children.
The Serbs, who are the true Kosovars who fought against the muslims on the Amselfeld, only had 2 to 5 children, they are a mixture of orthodox christians, catholics, and probably multiple religious minorities.
They mix-married and generally got along with each other.
The Albanians had 5 to 15 children and probably more if they had more than one wife and, abracadabra, within 50 years they had the democratic majority and took over the country, well on their way to "Greater Albania" their dream of the past. The formation of satelllite colonies is just another form of conquest. Let's see when conflict breaks out between the US-block and Albania with Turkey probably firmly behind it. The war-maschine must be kept rolling!
Just for your information Mr. Shamir.
with all respect and admiration
Mrs. Olwen Baumgart
PS I have this information from a "Zeitzeuge", my 70 year old Kosovo-expatriot neighbour.
She is living in distressed conditions here in Berlin . She is a widow, has gigantic difficulties at all European borders when she travels home to visit her family because there is still some kind of blockade on the poor people of Serbia .
Her family and the families of other Serbian neighbours cannot get Visas for their families to visit.
She says the situation in Kosovo is abysmal. No running water often no electricity, very little medical care and constant fear for their lives. Sh said she would be dead inside a year if she had to live there and she is still a healthy woman. Communication between her and her family is almost impossible. She is from an enclave in the south.
From Olsi , Albania
As I have told you before, in Kosova there is an organized effort from Vatican to convert the Kosovars into Catholics. Profil magazine of Russia has a news about it. Please distribute it.
http://profile. ru/items/ ?item=25807
From Ian Buckley, the UK
Dear Israel Adam,
Possibly not a piece to win new friends ;-)
While my own sympathies remain (mostly) with the Tibetans, deep suspicion should be aroused by the ostentatiously pro-Tibetan coverage delivered by the Establishment media.
As with the Ukrainian elections, they pushed one viewpoint hard to the exclusion of alternate opinions.
If Tibetans were Palestinians, the same media would eagerly turn the Dalai Lama from living saint into a 'fanatical Buddhist cleric'.
From John Spritzler
I am forwarding this collection of articles on Tibet that Israel Shamir sent because they include eyewitness accounts that are informative, and because Shamir's own analysis is provacative and worth discussing.
My reaction to Shamir's "Yeti Riots" is that some of his points are very good--like equality and human rights being a better goal than "independence" or secession. Some of his other points (like praising the Chinese authorities) seem to make some sense, but only conditional on two premises that Shamir seems to hold but which I reject: that an international working class revolutionary movement is NOT a realistic option and, related to this, that government elites in China etc. are not worried about such a movement.
There is, however, tremendous conflict between the Chinese working class and the Chinese government, sometimes violent, because the Chinese peasants who are now forced to work in sweat shops to survive are treated like dirt. Reports like this one and this one are probably just the tip of the iceberg. It may very well be the case that the Chinese government wants, and will increasingly make use of, a "foreign enemy" like the U.S. or Japan for the same reason that the American government wants and needs a foreign enemy like "communism" in the past and now "terrorism"- -to use it as a pretext for clamping down on its domestic working class.
It would be wrong to praise the Chinese government for "standing up to U.S. imperialism" when in fact what is going on is like WWII when the Allies and Axis governments used the war as a means of controlling their own populations that were growing revolutionary at the time. Remember that after 55 million people died in WWII and the Allies were victorious over the Axis nations, the Allied leaders kept the very same capitalist elites in power in the Axis nations. There's no reason to believe that the goal of the Allied leaders was to free workers anywhere from oppression. Nor is there any reason to believe that the Chinese elite would use their victory against the U.S. in any confrontion to make life easier for the Chinese workers in the sweatshops. During the war FDR told American workers they should not go on strike because the people FDR once called "economic royalty" were now the "good guys" since they were fighting the "real enemy"--Hitler and Tojo. But had there been a revolution in the U.S. the entire world would have been far better off today. Lesser evilism was a huge mistake then.
Before 9/11 and the War on Terror de-railed it, there was a growing international working class revolutionary movement that had staged one huge demonstration after another in cities like Seattle and Genoa, and in fact even the mass media had begun to characterize the movement not simply as "anti-globalization " but "anti-capitalist. " We should be working to build and strengthen that movement, but we can't do that by praising its enemies, like the Chinese authorities, whenever they seem to be at odds with U.S. imperialism. This is "lesser evilism" on a global scale and it is as damaging as the domestic "anybody but Bush" version that told us to support the likes of John Kerry in the past and will soon be telling us to support Obama next.