With us, as always, is eminent historian Joe Hung of Taiwan's China Post, to explain the complex constitutional rationale behind China's exploitation and genocide of Tibetans, Uighurs and Falun Gong adherents:
With us, as always, is eminent historian Joe Hung of Taiwan's China Post, to explain the complex constitutional rationale behind China's exploitation and genocide of Tibetans, Uighurs and Falun Gong adherents:
The Tibetan monk who was arrested by the police for allegedly inciting at least  people to self-immolate protesting against Beijing's hardline rule might have been tortured to make a confession, rights groups said on Monday.
This humble blogger is, quite frankly, astonished. And he's beginning to wonder if there's a trace of a possibility that there might be a human rights problem in Chinese-occupied Tibet.
(Image from the Daily Mail)
Been a while since I last checked the blog, and I noticed a comment on my Tsai Eng-meng post.
For those unfamiliar with Tsai Eng-meng, Tsai Eng-meng is a Taiwanese food magnate. Got his start in Taiwan, but made it big in China.
Upon returning to Taiwan, Tsai bought up some Taiwanese news media organs. And changed their editorial stances to more Communist-friendly positions.
But around the beginning of 2012, Tsai caused a stir in an interview with the Washington Post, remarking that the Chinese Communists were jolly good fellows who just couldn't possibly have killed very many people at Tiananmen Square. His reason for thinking so? Because the driver of a single tank hesitated to run over the iconic "Tank Man" of Tiananmen Square.
(As I recall, he also expressed scorn for Taiwan's hard-won democratic freedom, which he derided as a poor substitute for a walletful of Chinese redbacks.)
And so, without further ado, I submit my replies to one of Tsai's comradely supporters.
Jon: Not to side with Tsai here...
The Foreigner: Here it comes...
Jon: ...but he was citing the fact that the "Tank Man" lie [sic], which is often perpetuated in western media.
The Foreigner: Can I interrupt to say that it suits you? The whole passive-aggression routine, I mean.
If experience is any guide, I do believe you're fishing for some kind of groveling apology.
Jon: For example a supermajority of Americans believe falsely that the "Tank Man" at Tiananmen was run over by those tanks.
The Foreigner: Bullshit.
A cursory web check of the New York Times, Newsweek and Time reveals nothing of the kind. NONE of them declare that Tank Man was definitely run over by tanks at Tiananmen.
(Image from Filmatica.wordpress.com)
Furthermore, I find it exceedingly difficult to believe anybody wasted good money to poll Americans about "Tank Man". But, assuming for the moment that it IS true, you forgot to mention that the Chinese DID run over at least one man (Fang Zheng) with their tanks. (To this day, the Communist propaganda ministry maintains that Fang Zheng lost his legs in an everyday, run-of-the-mill "traffic accident".)
So perhaps Americans' beliefs are a perfectly understandable result of mistaken identity:
But here's a crazy PR suggestion: if the Chinese don't want Westerners to think they run people over with tanks...MAYBE they should stop running people over with their tanks!
Jon: He is still alive according to most accounts and the "conspiracy theory" sites claim he died months later.
The Foreigner: It is, of course, a red herring to bring up the fate of any one single individual (Tank Man) in the face of a massacre of thousands. Tsai's hasty generalization is that since Tank Man MAY have survived, then "not that many [Chinese demonstrators] could really have died."
And if Anne Frank were to turn up alive tomorrow, would this Communist quisling then argue that the Jewish Holocaust never happened?
Also, it's patently untrue to say Tank Man is still alive according to "most accounts". Wikipedia -- hardly a "conspiracy theory" site -- points out the conflicting stories on that score.
If he IS alive, let him come forward to say so to the media.
Oh, that's right. He can't. Because if he comes forward, the Chinese government will kill him.
Golly. Maybe the Butchers of Beijing really AREN'T the nice, harmless guys Tsai Eng-meng claims they are. Ya think?
(Image from The Independent)
Jon: As for "democracy-hating", there is nobody who truly loves ALL democracy. For example, the Weimar Republic elected Hitler.
The Foreigner: The "Weimar Republic" didn't vote for Hitler. The political system known as "democracy" didn't vote for Hitler.
MEN voted for Hitler. Men who hated democracy, and wanted it abolished.
Men such as Tsai Eng-meng. And yourself.
It was Germany's great misfortune that these men got what they wished for.
Jon: The French Republic massacred women and children (guillotined them).
The Foreigner: Straw man. Democracy, as a term describing a form of government advocated in the modern world, does not include the French revolutionary model lacking constitional safeguards (formal and informal).
But allow me to make a further rebuttal to your line of thinking. Around the time of the French revolution, doctors carried out a host of unproven treatments, some of which were either ineffective or even downright harmful to their patients (blistering of the skin or confinement for psychological problems, bloodletting, enema use, frontal lobotomies, "spermatorrhoea" prevention, homeopathy, and purging).
On the other hand, they also pioneered procedures which have stood the test of time, such as vaccinations, percussion-based diagnosis, and various surgical techniques.
Only an ignoramus would argue that modern doctors should be loathed and present-day medicine rejected out-of-hand simply because doctors of the past once used some questionable practices.
By the same token, only the genuinely infantile reject modern liberal democracy simply because 200 years ago, some long-dead Frenchmen didn't recognize the importance of checks-and-balances, the necessity of constitutionalism, and the limits to the perfectability of man.
(Image from CartoonPictures5.com)
Jon: The US Republic genocided...
The Foreigner: Excuse me while I look that up in the latest edition of the Oxford Chinglish Dictionary.
Jon: ...a million Filipinos in the Philippine-American War, where the US conquered and annexed an independent nation, destroying their Republic, even though the Philippine Republic used the US constitution.
The Foreigner: I believe the number is closer to 250,000...and it's debatable whether it was a deliberate genocide.
But rather than argue about numbers, I'd like to point out that most of the casualties were caused by out-of-control military officers who went far beyond what the civilian leadership ever intended. It's a cause for celebration that modern democracies have matured and figured out that their militaries need to be kept on a much tighter leash.
Why and how did this maturation take place? It occurred because democracies are blessed with a built-in feedback mechanism: the free press. In short, American anti-imperialist papers were free to report atrocities, and thereby helped bring them to an end.
Which is something that doesn't ever happen in Tsai Eng-meng's glorious Communist utopia.
Or in Tsai Eng-meng's pro-Communist newspapers, for that matter.
Oh, one last thing before we move on...you neglected to mention that America went to the Philippines with the ultimate goal of granting it its independence. Which it did, in 1946.
Poor Tibet should be so lucky!
Jon [referring to dead Philippinos]: Rather funny. Democracy is a joke.
The Foreigner: Number of Chinese murdered (or, in your parlance, "genocided") by the anti-democratic doctrine within the last 50 years: 36,000,000. Number of Chinese killed by democracy within the last 50 years: 0.
Which of those two numbers is greater than the other, Jon?
I'll allow you to take your time to figure that out. Math is hard.
But since you're fond of jokes, here's a riddle for you:
Q: What do you call an Uncle Com who tries to bamboozle people into thinking the Chinese don't run their citizens over with tanks, when he's fully aware that they DO run their citizens over with tanks?
A: A lying asshole.
But I guess you've probably heard that one before.
Jon: If you go to any of the 200 democratic countries of the world...
The Foreigner: Which "world" are you referring to? Here on planet Earth, there are only 78 democracies.
Jon: ...everyone on the street will say it's a democracy, but ask them if they can be president or a congressman, and the average folk always say "no", and ask why, and they say because they lack money or influence.
Basically democracy only elects the aristocracy (wealth or fame).
The Foreigner: Have you ever heard of a guy named Barack Obama (D)? Or Bill Clinton (D)? Or Ronald Reagan (R)? [Apr 10 / 2013 Update: Or Richard Nixon (R)?]
Word on the street is that they all came from fairly modest beginnings...
But you labor under a misconception. Liberal democracy entails the consent of the demos. It does NOT mean that everyone gets to be president for their fricken' birthday.
Money and influence help in life. If you don't have 'em, you may have to set your immediate sights a little lower. Run for dog catcher. Or the PTA. Or city commissioner.
Bust your ass at it. Do a good job. Don't steal from the public purse. Don't get caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.
Do all that, and you just might get further than you ever thought you could.
But even should you fail there's one final thought you may yet still console yourself with: your well-meaning efforts have not landed you in a urine-soaked Communist political prison.
Jon: Aristotle hated democracy for this reason and preferred monarchy.
The Foreigner: Was that the reason? Or was it because he was born an aristocrat, and was quite naturally predisposed towards the form of government under which he was privileged? (Or, along similar lines, was it because he worked for Alexander the Great, and knew which side his bread was buttered?)
Nevertheless, I understand Aristotle also believed that there were some men whose very natures destined them for slavery. Never much cared for the notion, although I'm perfectly willing to admit he may have been right..about individuals such as yourself.
But let's examine your contention that "Aristotle HATED democracy" by allowing the man speak for himself:
Aristotle: "The principle that the multitude ought to be supreme rather than the few best is one that is maintained, and, though not free from difficulty, yet seems to contain an element of truth. For the many, of whom each individual is but an ordinary person, when they meet together may very likely be better than the few good, if regarded not individually but collectively, just as a feast to which many contribute is better than a dinner provided out of a single purse. For each individual among the many has a share of virtue and prudence, and when they meet together, they become in a manner one man, who has many feet, and hands, and senses; that is a figure of their mind and disposition. Hence the many are better judges than a single man of music and poetry; for some understand one part, and some another, and among them they understand the whole."
-- Politics, Book 3.11
I'm not sensin' any of that "hate" you were talkin' about. He may have had his druthers, but unlike Tsai Eng-meng, he was at least honest enough to give democracy its due.
(And he certainly deserves credit for his intuition about the Wisdom of Crowds, long before anyone ever coined the phrase.)
Jon: And ALL of the Greek philosophers disagreed with elections, but rather preferred representatives to be chosen at random.
The Foreigner: It should then be a relatively simple matter for you to name at least five of them who held this opinion.
Citations of original sources, please.
"All he had was 50 cents, 50 cents, 50 cents..."
(Shaky camera-work alert. To listen, click PLAY and scroll the video off the screen.)
Update (Nov 8/2012): Tsai Eng-meng finds himself in the fine company of notable ancient Greek philosopher Mahmoud Fraudmadinejad.
Update (Dec 7/2012): What's that, Ari? You'd like to weigh in on the subject of democracy again? Why certainly, be my guest...
"The basis of a democratic state is liberty; which, according to the common opinion of men, can only be enjoyed in such a state; this they affirm to be the great end of every democracy."
--Aristotle, Politics Book 6.2
So, to paraphrase Jon's philosophical hero, Aristotle: "Liberty is the great result of every democracy."
Which just might be why would-be tyrants hate it so.
Update (Jan 9/2013): Jon averred:
"Basically democracy ONLY elects the aristocracy (wealth or fame)." [Emphasis added]
I gave 3 examples disproving this assertion. But this refutes the claim even more convincingly:
(Image from BostonReview.tumblr.com)
The chart plainly shows that half those in the U.S. Congress AREN'T wealthy. That works out to about 267 people (535 members of Congress / 2 = 267.5).
If someone has evidence that these 267 non-wealthy people are all incredibly famous (and yet, for some reason, not millionaires), then I'd be very interested in seeing it.
Update (Mar 11/2013): This just in -- 85 billionaires have seats in Communist China's top political chambers.
Number of billionaires in America's democratically-elected congress?
(To put this into more perspective, there are a total of 95 billionaires in China as of 2012. Which means that 89% of China's billionaires have positions in China's top legislative bodies. By contrast, the U.S. has 425 billionaires, and 0% of them have positions in America's top legislative bodies.)
So it seems that there is a system in which only the rich and famous obtain political power. However, the evidence shows that that system is not democracy, but the one beloved by Tsai Eng-meng: Chinese Communism.
Update (Jul 24/2015): Yet more evidence that Communists always lie. What was that Jon said?
"the Philippine Republic used the US constitution"
The style of the document is patterned after the Spanish Constitution of 1812, which many Latin American charters from the same period similarly follow.
Sweet baby Jesus, Jon. You've an even poorer grasp of the facts than Comrade Joe Hung.
Clashes broke out between Tibet support groups and Grand Hotel staff in the lobby yesterday after the management canceled a room reservation made by the groups in preparation for the arrival of a delegation headed by Sichuan Province Governor Jiang Jufeng (蔣巨峰).
“We have signed a [room rental] contract with you and it was clearly written on the contract that the room would be used to hold a press conference. How can you cancel our reservation at the last minute? Is this how the Grand Hotel honors its business contracts?” Taiwan Friends of Tibet (TFOT) president Chow Mei-li (周美里) asked Grand Hotel manager Michael Chen (陳行中) after being informed of the cancelation. [emphasis added]
Granted, it's understandable that the hotel management would want to avoid unpleasantness under their roof. The type of unpleasantness that might ensue after renting rooms to antagonistic parties. However, a contract is a contract, and having signed it the hotel was obligated to manage the situation as best it could.
But instead, hotel management decided to compound their error by plunging themselves into a public relations fiasco:
More serious verbal and physical conflict broke out when Tibetans accompanying Chow grew impatient and took out banners and Tibetan flags that were to be used to decorate the news conference venue. They shouted slogans calling on Jiang to release the more than 300 monks arrested from Kirti Monastery in the predominantly Tibetan area of Ngaba in Sichuan Province and to withdraw troops and police that had placed the monastery under siege.
The manager and other members of the hotel management tried to take the signs and banners from the Tibetans by force.
The two sides pushed and shoved, while hotel management and staffers chased Tibetans running around the lobby with Tibetan flags in hand. [emphasis added]
What a lovely picture that makes -- tourism workers in democratic Taiwan reduced to acting as paid goons of the Chinese Communist Party.
"Room service? This is the C.C.P. delegation. Someone here spotted a cockroach and a Tibetan on the premises. Would you kindly send somebody up to remove them?"
(Operating under the theory that "no publicity is bad publicity", thugs in the employ of Taipei's Grand Hotel set upon an unarmed Tibetan dissident in full view of press photographers. Image from the Taipei Times.)
But the hotel's antics were was all for nothing, because when police arrived, they took one look at the rental contract and admitted the Tibetans had a point. After which management conceded, grudgingly allowing the press conference to go forward . . . in a different room in the hotel.
Heaven forbid anyone should ever label Michael Chen, manager of Taipei's Grand Hotel, a collaborator.
But one really does have to wonder at the new paint job he's given the place . . .
UPDATE (May 24/11): Taiwan's premier communist-funded newspaper, The China Post, spikes the story.
Tags: Chinese Communist Party, Chinese occupation of Tibet, contract-breakers, Grand Hotel, Jiang Jufeng visit to Taiwan, Michael Chen, racist shit-hole hotels, sinofascist repression, Szechuan governor, Taipei, Taiwan
Dalai Lama Heads for Washington As Beijing Seethes (Feb 18, 2010)
Seething? Certainly the image China's been trying to project. But you'd hardly know it from the next headline:
Five U.S. Warships Dock in Hong Kong (also Feb 18, 2010)
Be a shame if anything happened to its accreditation...
Three months [after awarding an honorary degree to the Dalai Lama], the University of Calgary [in Canada] was dropped from the Chinese Ministry of Education’s accreditation list of universities for Chinese students desiring to study abroad, the Calgary Herald newspaper reported on Thursday.
The Hotline for Overseas Studies Service Center in Beijing had the following advice for Chinese students: “If you don’t already go to that school, it is better not to go because you will face risks.”
About 600 students from China and Hong Kong are enrolled at the University of Calgary. [About 2.5 % of the student body -- The Foreigner]. On average, tuition for foreign students is three times higher than for local students.
Which has absolutely nothing to do with Taiwan. Except for the fact that the Chinese Nationalist Party government has previously stated it wishes to "flood" Taiwanese universities with students from China --rendering Taiwanese higher education prone to similar political domination. Not over the Dalai Lama -- the Communist Party collaborationists within the KMT will make sure THAT one never steps foot in Taiwan again. More likely over curricula or the presence of China sceptics within the halls of academe.
Set a course for the Borg tractor beam, Number One.
Full speed ahead.
The ruling Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) of Taiwan has made it abundantly clear that foreign activists devoted to the cause of human rights in China are NOT WELCOME in the island nation. First, there was the sorry case of the Dalai Lama last month, who was originally told not to visit, and finally slapped with a government-issued gag order when he was grudgingly permitted to enter the country. Then to top things off, only a few weeks later the KMT placed the head of the World Uigher Congress, Rebiya Kadeer, also on their rapidly-growing blacklist.
Contrast that with the KMT's treatment of PRC zoo animals with annexation-oriented propagandistic names. Why, those are hailed and welcomed by the current Taiwanese government with open arms. Because THEY'RE not political !
Tiananmen Square demonstrators, can you take the hint? In Ma Ying-jeou's Taiwan, Orwell's dictum now applies. Four legs good, two legs bad.
On September 25th, Taiwan's Chinese Nationalist Party attempted to rationalize their blacklist in this way:
KMT spokesman Lee Chien-jung (李建榮) said US President Barack Obama had recently decided not to meet the Dalai Lama during his trip to the US to protect the country’s national interests. Japan had also prevented visits by former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) for the same reason.
“The decision made by the government today [to bar Rebiya Kadeer] is based on national and public interests,” he said.
Gee, only three days before Confucius' birthday, and the KMT demonstrates that it has a firm handle on the ethics of eight-year olds:
"Chinaaa hit me in the hallway! But he was too BIG for me to hit back, so that's why I hit little Rebiya instead!"
Perhaps though, they were merely following the Confucian Silver Rule. For who among us is unfamiliar with the Great Sage's moral imperative:
"Do unto others, as the Chinese Communist Party would do unto you."
Or something like that. The Analects tend to lose a little in the Chinese Nationalist translation.
UPDATE: LOL. Taiwan's Mainland Affair Council (MAC) announces, "Taiwan can help accelerate democratic development in China."
Left unexplained is how this is to happen when the KMT MUZZLES Chinese democracy advocates. But I'm sure somebody smart can explain it to me.
According to the Washington Post, the Chinese were apparently resigned to the American president meeting with the Dalai Lama in October, but in an act of Picardian sensitivity, Obama called the whole thing off.
Money quote from web page 2:
"We've got the classic case of a Western government yet again conceding to Chinese pressure that is imaginary long after that Chinese pressure has ceased to exist," said Robert Barnett, a Tibetan expert at Columbia University. "The Chinese must be falling over themselves with astonishment at what Western diplomats will give them without being asked. I don't know what the poker analogy would be. 'Please, see all my cards and take my money, too?' "
If it's any consolation, Western governments ain't the only ones doin' that . . .
UPDATE (Feb 20, 2010): The Weekly Standard describes the Dalai Lama's visit when it finally went through:
It takes a special talent to aggravate the Chinese government, the White House press corps, and the followers of the Dalai Lama all in one fell swoop. But the Obama administration managed to pull off that trifecta on Thursday with its poor handling of the Dalai Lama's meeting with the president.
By Ma-llah, the Compassionate! No wonder the KMT begrudged the Dalai Lama's granting succor to typhoon survivors -- why, that Tibetan outlander was stealing the limelight from their Sultan of Sympathy, their beloved Ayatollah Ying-jeou. (Holy Keeper of the Sixteen Percent Approval Rating.)
Step aside, Dalai. Taiwan's Second-Handsomest-Man is out to spread the love. Sixteen Percenters everywhere can rest assured that the mere appearance of the Ma-ssiah's golden visage will turn those typhoon showers into September flowers.
(President Ma Ying-jeou image from the China Post)
* A relative of mine called me one week after the typoon hit, and asked me why Taiwanese were still trapped up in the mountains. "Doesn't Taiwan have loads of helicopters to transport troops to the beaches in the event of a Chinese invasion? It's been a week already -- why aren't they USING those?" he asked.
No answer from me. I was outside the country and internet-less. Imagine my surprise though, to read last week that Taiwan's Commander-Of-The-Faithful only dispatched ONE rescue chopper the day after the storm . . . and took FOUR DAYS to authorize the use of the big helicopters.
No, not all of 'em. (Duh!) But the reaction of a number of them to the Dalai Lama's visit last week following Typhoon Morakot left a lot to be desired. From the Aug 30th edition of the Taipei Times:
This is not an appropriate time for the Dalai Lama to come,” said Master Ching Liang (淨良法師), chairman of the Buddhist Association of the Republic of China.
Cheng Ming-kun (鄭銘坤), vice chairman of the Jenn Lann Temple (鎮瀾宮) in Taichung County’s Dajia Township (大甲) . . . said that while many local religious groups have been working diligently to help victims, the move “erases local religious groups’ credit.”
Fo Guang Shan Monastery (佛光山), a Kaohsiung-based Buddhist monastery that helped many storm victims, declined to comment, while the spokesman for the Buddhist Compassionate Relief Tzu Chi Foundation (慈濟), another organization that has been helping victims, could not be reached for comments as of press time.
Granted some of these may be Sino-imperialists in the Chinese Communist Party's pocket, but Taiwan's China Post alluded to another dynamic at work -- good old-fashioned religious parochialism:
Buddhists in Taiwan are Mahayanists, not tantric Vajrayana followers. They, along with the Taoist majority, do not think tantric mantras and mudras would bring peace to the dead as well as the living. They are not pleased because they believe their priests can do a much better job than the Dalai, who could have stayed in Dharamsala and said as many masses as he pleased for the people of Taiwan.
Here the Post suggests opposition on the part of the laity where little actually existed, since it turns out that 75% of ordinary Taiwanese supported the Dalai Lama's mission to bring comfort to the survivors of the deceased.
Still, it stands to reason that the local CLERGY would believe that they could "do a much better job" than an outsider. Which reminds me of a story:
About a week after returning to the Old Country, an elderly uncle of mine died. Now, in his will he stipulated that an old fishing buddy of his (who happened to a minister) should be the one to give the service. These last wishes were complicated however, by the appearance of another minister, the man who apparently took excellent care of my uncle at the hospice. (I understand that the last few weeks were agonizing, once the cancer began attacking the nerve endings.) So this minister too, seemed to have good grounds for wanting to say a few words at the funeral.
The two might easily have come to an accomodation had it not been for yet ANOTHER minister. My uncle lived in a small town, where there was only ONE church of his denomination. And the head of this church was bound and determined that neither of these two interlopers would be given the opportunity participate in a ceremony on HIS home turf.
This crazy situation was only resolved when the family grew completely disgusted by the local minister's intransigence, and threatened to hold the service in the community center instead of his church. THAT made the local guy see reason -- real fast.
True story, that. Seems to me that Taiwanese Buddhist clergy (and Christian preacher-men!) bring discredit upon themselves during times of tragedy when the best they can do is act like mutts peeing on fence posts to keep the other dawgs out of their territory. A quick reminder to clerics of any religion: When people die and families are grieving, it's not all about YOU.
A while back, Taiwan's China Post took one of its usual swipes at the Dalai Lama, calling him a "one-time theocrat." True enough, I suppose, but it got me to thinking: Couldn't the "theocrat" appelation be applied with equal accuracy to Taiwan's current Chinese nationalist president, Ma Ying-jeou?
After all, in November of last year, Ma refused to permit the Dalai Lama into the country for the simple reason that the Tibetan religious figure doesn't kneel at the sacred high altar of Sino-imperialism. Then last week, when Ma was forced by political reasons to allow the Dalai Lama to visit on a religious mercy mission, Taiwan's Supreme Leader again assumed the role of religious tyrant by issuing a government gag order on the Buddhist pontiff.
Politics and economics should be separate, Ma tirelessly preaches from his pulpit. But politics and religion? Not a word from hizzoner on that score . . .
Taiwanese Falun Gong followers -- I'd be afraid if I were you right now. There's no telling how many of your rights Taiwan's self-declared high priest of religious orthodoxy is prepared to sacrifice in the name of enjoying "good relations with Beijing".
So the Dalai Lama left Taiwan on Friday, after a religious mission for the five hundred souls lost in the wake of Typhoon Morakot.
Seemed like a pretty innocuous mission. The man comes to Taiwan, says a few prayers for the dead, comforts the surviving kin. Who'd object to that?
Beijing, it goes without saying. But to outsiders it would appear remarkable that the governing Chinese Nationalist Party of Taiwan ALSO objected to a visit by his Holiness. Taiwan's China Post had this to say:
But the timing [for the Dalai Lama to come to Taiwan] isn't right for Taiwan, this time around. Taiwan is trying what it can to improve relations with China. It is relying ever more heavily on the other side of the Taiwan Strait for getting out of its current economic downturn and the global financial crisis.
Fortunate it is for the China Post that the KMT recently legalized prostitution in Taiwan. Now the paper's editors can rent themselves out to the Communist Party nightly -- without any fear of ever being arrested!
So my question for the Post is this: If 500 dead Taiwanese aren't ENOUGH reason for a religious mercy mission from a world-renowned religious figure, what would be?
1000? 10,000? 100,000?
Exactly how many MORE bloated corpses buried in the fetid mud would the China Post and the KMT have liked there to have been before they'd have welcomed the Dalai Lama without reservation?
Well, actually, its been going on since 1958. The short version of the PRC's most recent efforts to wipe out the plateau pika in Tibet can be found at the Taipei Times, while a longer version is on the Guardian's webpage.
For those interested, Answers.com has a one paragraph explanation of the plateau pika's ecological role (scroll down one screen). For greater depth, one could read this article from in the English version of China Daily.com, but readers are cautioned to use this link at their own risk.
(I've removed the direct link to the China Daily.com story, and replaced it with a Google search link instead. See update for the reason.)
(Pikachu image from a French medical website)
UPDATE: Yeesh. "Use at your own risk" ain't the half of it. From today's Guardian:
A mystery electronic spy network apparently based in China has infiltrated hundreds of computers around the world and stolen files and documents, Canadian researchers have revealed.
The network, dubbed GhostNet, appears to target embassies, media groups, NGOs, international organisations, government foreign ministries and the offices of the Dalai Lama, leader of the Tibetan exile movement.
GhostNet can invade a computer over the internet and penetrate and steal secret files. It can also turn on the cameras and microphones of an infected computer, effectively creating a bug that can monitor what is going inside the room where the computer is. Anyone could be watched and listened to.
UPDATE (Apr 1/09): From yesterday's Taipei Times:
Although the reports [on China's hacking] paid special attention to Chinese spying on Tibetans, in the process the authors determined that of 986 known infected IP hosts in 93 countries, Taiwan had the most — 148 — including its embassy in Swaziland, the Institute for Information Industry, Net Trade, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council and the Government Service Network.
And that's no April Fool's joke.
From the Dec 30th edition of the China Post:
But that's not the end of the story. Because what Ma does is much more important than what he says. You wanna send a message, send a telegram. Or better yet, a few days after issuing your "sincere invitation", demonstrate just exactly HOW welcome the Buddhist leader is -- by violating the rights of Tibetans. Maybe it'll make him feel right at home!
From the Dec 12th edition of the Taipei Times:
Mi casa es su casa, indeed. You can spot a phony like Ma a mile away.
From the China Post's Nov 19th editorial, Chinese Reunification: The Moral High Ground
Exhibit A: A Taiwanese president orders the Taiwanese police to confiscate the Taiwanese flag from Taiwanese citizens in order not to give offense to a visiting Chinese Communist Party representative.
Courageous enough for ya?
And Exhibit B?
That would be Taiwan's lion-hearted president, Ma Ying-jeou. Who BOLDLY and STEADFASTLY defended that moral high ground -- by blacklisting a Nobel Peace Prize winner. (A Peace Prize winner who, if you'll recall, China routinely refers to as, "A wolf in monks robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast.")
But don't you doubt for a minute Ma's indomitable spirit:
And there you have it. The Butchers of Beijing didn't even need to pick up a phone for Ma Ying-jeou to RESOLUTELY anticipate their wishes. After which, he FIRMLY -- and DARINGLY -- and INTREPIDLY . . . uh, complied with them.
All kidding aside, I think we can put a new twist on an old J.C. Watts quote here. Character is doing the right thing -- even WHEN China is looking.
Postscript: A hat tip to Notes from a Former Native Speaker for reminding me of the China Post editorial.)
UPDATE: Despite what Bevin Chu from the China Post may think, NO political party in Taiwan has a lock on the moral high ground.
[KMT] Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) yesterday urged the president to
reconsider his decision.
“From a religious perspective, it is a positive thing for the Dalai Lama to visit Taiwan ... His visit to Taiwan would mean something in the world,” Wang said, urging the government to reconsider the matter and make arrangements for a visit.
DPP spokesman Cheng Wen-tsang (鄭文燦) expressed regret and condemned Ma for
rejecting a potential visit by the Dalai Lama.
Noting that former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) had both received the Dalai Lama, Cheng said leaders from democratic countries such as the US, France and Germany have also met with the Dalai Lama as a way to exert pressure on China.
UPDATE #2: Michael J. Cole wrote a good column about this. Especially liked the conclusion:
Ma has often talked about creating “win-win” situations. Inauspicuously for him, he’s about to get a taste of the “lose-lose” by having to choose his poison.
Last year, Prime Minister John Howard of Australia initially refused to meet the Dalai Lama under pressure from China -- then reversed himself when public pressure mounted. Since Ma's approval ratings are pretty low, there might be some leverage there.
From Saturday's Taipei Times (scroll one page down):
Just another part of the cultural revival that began when Tibet was benevolently absorbed into the Chinese race-nation:
You know, the kind where you're too gutless to even open your mouth. From yesterday's Taipei Times:
Vice president-elect Vincent Siew (蕭萬長) arrived in China yesterday for the [economic] Boao Forum and is scheduled to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) today.
Meanwhile, the Taiwan Friends of Tibet group has issued an open letter to Hu and asked Siew to bring it to the Chinese president.
The letter urged Hu to “stop repression and all kinds of aggressive actions against the people of Tibet and start a sincere dialogue with the [Tibetan] government-in-exile led by the Dalai Lama.”
The group said an electronic copy was forwarded to [Siew's spokesman] Wang [Yu-chi], who accompanied Siew on the trip.
“I haven’t seen it because I don’t have Internet access here,” Wang told the Taipei Times via telephone. “I’ll probably not have it throughout the trip.” [emphasis added throughout]
Yeah, I can see that. After all, what cause have we to think that a technologically-backward country like China could provide INTERNET ACCESS for business travelers in any of its FIVE-STAR HOTELS?
(Or maybe China's upscale hotels DO have web access, but Taiwan's future V.P has gone a bit down-market, hoping to pinch a few pennies on his hotel bills. Staying at the local YMCA then, is he?)
Guess the Chinese are hell-bent on showing the world a thing or two about crowd control:
China’s blue-clad flame attendants, whose aggressive methods of safeguarding the Olympic torch have provoked international outcry, are paramilitary police from a force spun off from the country’s army.
The squad of 30 young men from the police academy that turns out the cream of the paramilitary security force has the job at home of ensuring riot control, domestic stability and the protection of diplomats.
The guards’ task for the torch relay is to ensure the flame is never extinguished – although it was put out three times in Paris – and now increasingly to prevent protesters demonstrating against Chinese rule in Tibet from interfering with it.
But the aggression with which the guards have been pursuing their brief has provoked anger, not least in London where they were seen wrestling protesters to the ground and were described as “thugs” by Lord Coe.
The Olympic medalist and organiser of the 2012 Games was overheard saying that the officials had pushed him around as the torch made its way through the capital on Sunday. He added that other countries on the route should “get rid of those guys”.
“They tried to punch me out of the way three times. They are horrible ... I think they were thugs.” [emphasis added]
Not seeing much criticism coming from the International Olympic Committee about the Chinese goon squad. What we DO get is this, though:
"I'm definitely concerned about what has happened in London and in Paris," Jacques Rogge said. "I'm deeply saddened by the fact that such an important symbol has been attacked. We recognize the right for people to protest and express their views but it should be nonviolent. We are very sad for all the athletes and the people who expected so much from the run and have been spoiled of their joy."
Sorry to rain on your parade, Jacques. I'd feel sorrier for you and your pals if you'd pressed the Chinese harder on free speech. As it was, I saw an official from the committee on CNN International a few weeks ago telling viewers that he was engaged in silent diplomacy with Beijing with regards to human rights. [UPDATE: It might even have been Rogge himself on CNN; today's Taipei Times says, "Rogge has refrained from criticizing China, saying he prefers to engage in 'silent diplomacy' with the Chinese."]
OK, so maybe English isn't his first language, but c'mon. SILENT diplomacy kind of makes it sound like you're . . . Not. Saying. ANYTHING.
(As for the Chinese government, hey, this is what happens when you outlaw all expression of dissent in your country. Those who make peaceful protest impossible make violent protest inevitable, to spin the old phrase. And let's keep this thing in perspective -- the violence of which Rogge speaks are a few attempted cases of TORCH-SNATCHING.)
More from another IOC muckety-muck:
Other senior IOC officials who are in Beijing to prepare for the August Games spoke bitterly of the demonstrations that have marred China’s efforts to stage the most ambitious torch relay ever.
“All I can say is we are desperately disappointed,” IOC board member Kevan Gosper said.
“[Activists] just take their hate out on whatever the issues are at the time,” Gosper said.
Kevan Gosper . . . Now where have I heard THAT name before . . . Could it be the same Kevan Gosper who condescendingly slammed Taiwan last year for refusing Beijing's Olympic torch route offer? Let's set the dials on the Way-Back Machine to April 28th of the year 2007:
"Given the special position we've delivered to Taiwan's national Olympic committee, to sustain their position in the Olympic movement alongside China, I think it behooves Taiwan to accommodate matters Olympic and particularly something as important as the torch relay," Mr Gosper said.
"They should go beyond how they feel about their regional position, recognise they have a special place in the Olympic movement and be gracious about being included in the relay."
Yep, that would be him. Well Mr. Gosper, in retrospect it looks as though Taiwan did your organization a BIG favor and spared it a heap-load of embarrassment. And as for your suggestion that Taiwan ought to just suck it up and take it like a man, well, you might want to consider following a little of that advice yourself!
(Meanwhile, Andrew Stuttaford at the National Review impishly proposes that if the IOC doesn't like Olympic torch protests, they could always make Pyongyang the Games' permanent home. 'Cause for a hitch-free relay, Kim Jong-il's your man.)
. . . the only flame Tibetans carried Tuesday was the Tibetan Freedom Torch, which is passing through 50 cities from March 10 to August 8 — reaching Tibet on the day the Beijing Olympics begin, which should provoke an unseemly and badly timed response from China.
As protesters ranging from monks to Irishmen marched with the Tibetan torch — which, I might add, no one was chasing with a fire extinguisher — motorists going the opposite way on Van Ness Avenue stopped in lanes to take pictures, honked and flashed peace signs or, in the case of one Chinese woman I walked past, gave demonstrators the evil eye.
On a related note, John Derbyshire takes on the argument that the Chinese were liberators of Tibet.
From yesterday's editorial in Taiwan's One-China Post:
Tibet has been a part of China since ancient times. In the seventh century, princess Wen Cheng, daughter of Emperor Tang Taizong was sent to Tibet, then called Tufan, to marry a Tibetan king in a political marriage aimed at cementing ties between suzerain China and the faraway dependent state.
I was going to write a snarky comment to the effect that Gordon Brown should start insisting France is British territory, because back in 1420 Henry V happened to marry Catherine of Valois, the daugher of the French king of the time.
But then a bit of fact-checking revealed:
Princess Wencheng ... was a NIECE of the powerful Emperor Taizong of Tang of Tang China ... [emphasis added]
So, was she the emperor's daughter as the China Post claims, or his niece? The sources I checked on Google seem to disagree, so I'm from Missouri on this one.
However, the Post's claims that the marriage was "aimed at cementing ties" seems a half-truth at best. Again, from Wiki:
In 635 - 636 the Tibetan king's forces attacked and defeated the 'A zha people, who lived around Lake Koko Nor in the northeast corner of Tibet, along an important trade route into China. After a campaign against China in 635-6 (OTA l. 607) the Chinese emperor agreed to marry a Chinese princess to [Tibetan] king Songtsän Gampo as part of the diplomatic settlement.
Wikipedia also states that a large quantity of gold "accompanied" the princess to the Tibetan court.
And the China Post says THIS was a "political marriage aimed at cementing ties between suzerain China and the faraway dependent state"? Balderdash! The Chinese were defeated in a series of military campaigns -- and chose to sue for peace by sending WOMEN and GOLD to the throne room of the victor.
Obviously, my initial sarcastic reaction was completely misplaced. Perhaps instead, Nicholas Sarkozy should start asserting FRENCH sovereignty over Britain. In this, he could follow the China Post's lead, arguing that 600 years ago, the English were forced by their SOUND DEFEAT at Agincourt ... forced, into giving Henry V's hand to the daughter of France's triumphant Charles VI!
From Wednesday's Taipei Times:
Asked to comment, Hsieh Kuo-liang (謝國樑), acting secretary-general of the KMT caucus, said that the DPP's draft resolution [on China's crackdown on Tibet] was too harsh.
"The KMT supports the DPP's position, which is that violence and violations of human rights should be condemned...," Hsieh said.
So you AGREE Chinese brutality in Tibet should be condemned? Surely then, we'll hear about that in the KMT's resolution, won't we?
The KMT's draft, meanwhile, states that: "The human rights of Tibetans should be defended. The Chinese government should respect the value of human rights and ensure that human rights are protected in Tibet."
Nope, not a word there from the brave, the brave, Sir Robin!
From Monday's Taipei Times:
Armed with nationalism and the Internet, young Chinese abroad have launched a wave of attacks accusing Western media of bias in reporting on unrest in Tibet and defending Beijing's crackdown.
One [pro-communist Web site] complained that several news outlets showed photos of police in Nepal scuffling with protesters and misidentified the security forces as Chinese.
It accused US-based CNN of improperly cropping a photo of Chinese military vehicles on its Web site to remove Tibetan rioters who were pelting the trucks with rocks.
Those young 'uns might want to re-direct some of that criticism a little closer to home. 'Cause it turns out their government has been distributing photoshopped pictures to news outlets (after a machete-wielding "Tibetan" in one shot was positively IDed as a Chinese agent provocateur).
* With apologies to the author of The Commissar Vanishes. A great book, by the way.
Taipei City Hall prepares a delegation for a big Beijing
pow-wow kowtow for a couple of pandas. No word yet as to whether Taipei will offer sanctuary to members of that other rare Chinese species, the endangered saffron-robed Tibetan monk.
The Foreigner wants to know: couldn't these "One China"-obsessed pols at least have had the decency to wait until AFTER the blood had dried in the streets of Shangri-La?
UPDATE: Taipei's High Court dismisses the City Zoo's bid to import panda bears from China. For now.
Found this one on Ezra Levant's blog - apparently a 15 year-old Tibetan teenager protesting outside a Chinese consulate in the Great White North climbed over a fence and was held for 45 minutes before police arrived:
“[The Chinese security staff] blew smoke in his face..."
Sorry, but I'm not hyperventilating yet.
"...and he was ordered to sign a letter apologizing..."
Doesn't say he actually SIGNED the confession.
"...they handcuffed him and twisted his hands..."
OK, now I'd call that possible torture territory. But surely the self-proclaimed keepers of 5000 years of Chinese civilization and culture wouldn't stoop so low as ... sexual molestation of a minor?
"...they tore apart his pants.”
Lovely. Wonder if anyone has stopped to ask former KMT chairman Lien Chan of Taiwan if he approves of the Chinese crackdown. (Lien, for those who don't remember, is the Taiwanese politician who pledged to join hands with the Communist Party of China in order to oppose "splittism.")
...is that it blinds people to the fact that other people have other values. And so it is with the Chinese single-minded obsession with the economy über alles. From the International Herald Tribune:
[A Chinese political scientist from Tsinghua University] added that Beijing's leaders were probably also mystified at any suggestion that their policies [in Tibet] have been unfair.
"They think they are doing something right, something good, because they give a lot of financial aid to the Tibetan region," he said.
Speaking of blindness (tone-deafness, actually), how about this quote from Zhang Qingli, Communist Party Secretary of the Tibet "Autonomous" Region:
"The Central Party Committee is the real Buddha for Tibetans."
The State is God. I'd say that's about a hundred times more offensive than any of the Danish cartoons - and I'm not a Buddhist.
Chinese ultranationalists in Taiwan must be having conniptions right about now - all their efforts to rehabilitate the notion of "One China" shot to hell by the outbreak of violence in Chinese-occupied Tibet. And only a week before the presidential election too, when the KMT was already feeling the heat for advocating a "One China" common market.
As for Taiwan's younger generation, the ones for whom Tiananmen Square is ancient history, current events must be a bit of an eye-opener. We're all children of the Yellow Emperor, the KMT propaganda machine tirelessly drummed into their heads...
C'mon, admit it. You too, raised an eyebrow when the Dalai Lama proposed that his successor might be democratically chosen from a field of monastic candidates.
In today's paper, Beijing plays the part of reactionary:
"The Chinese government has a policy of religious freedom and respects Tibetan Buddhism's religious rituals and historic conventions," said [Chinese Foreign Ministry] spokesman Liu Jianchao.
"The Dalai Lama's related actions clearly violate established religious rituals and historic conventions and therefore cannot be accepted," he told a regular news conference, without elaborating.
It's a bad thing to violate established religious rituals and historic conventions? Well then, I'm sure Mr. Liu is outraged by Beijing's recent decision to ban reincarnation without government approval. Yes sir, any day now we can all expect Mr. Liu to publicly denounce that little violation of "religious rituals and historic conventions", can't we?
Mr. Liu, you say Beijing believes in religious freedom? THEN BUTT OUT. If Buddhists want to change their traditions, let 'em hash it out amongst themselves. The State has many legitimate jobs - but micromanaging religious affairs isn't one of them.
The Drudge Report featured a photo of the Dalai Lama shaking hands with President Bush a few days ago with the headline, "Take that, China!" Meanwhile, yesterday's Taipei Times detailed China's calm, measured response to the U.S. Congress' decision to award the Dalai Lama with the Congressional Gold Medal
"The move of the United States is a blatant interference with China's internal affairs which has severely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and gravely undermined the relations between China and the United States," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao (劉建超) told a regular news briefing.
He said Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (楊潔箎) had summoned US Ambassador Clark Randt to express a "strong protest to the US government."
"China urges the United States to take effective measures immediately to remove the terrible impact of its erroneous act, cease supporting and conniving with the separatist activities of the Tibet independence forces ... and take concrete steps to protect China-US relations," Liu said.
It'd be nice to think the Chinese over-reaction gives Americans some insight into what Taiwan faces whenever its gargantuan neighbor hyperventilates over trivialities. The next time China hyperventilates over some supposed Taiwanese "provocation," Taiwanese leaders and overseas representatives need to remind Americans of the 2007 Dalai Lama affair, and tell them China's tantrum de jour is all par for the course. As Michael Turton says, for China, acting provoked isn't an honest reaction, but a policy choice.
Saw the CNN footage of PLA soldiers gunning down Tibetan refugees a few hours ago. Sunday's China Post also covered it.
They also carried a report a few days earlier:
A [Communist Chinese] official told Xinhua news agency that a small squad of soldiers found nearly 70 people attempting to illegally cross the border from Tibet into Nepal on Sept. 30 and "persuaded them to go back to their home."
"But the stowaways refused and attacked the soldiers," the state news agency said, without stating whether they were ethnic Tibetans.
"Under the circumstances, the frontier soldiers were forced to defend themselves and injured two stowaways," the unnamed official was quoted as saying.
Busted. The refugees were trudging through the snow single-file, not being transported as "stowaways" on a truck. Furthermore, we don't see any hostile action coming from the Tibetans; instead, we see PLA soldiers firing on them from a ridge.
But then, one doesn't really need to see the footage to know that the Chinese story was bogus from the get-go.
If we're to believe the editorial writers at Taiwan's China Post, that is:
"[China's railway to Tibet] is key to development and modernization. So Beijing hailed its opening "a route to civilization".
The railway could double Tibet's tourism revenues by 2010 and cut transportation costs into the region by 75 percent, lifting its 2.8 million people out of isolation and poverty.
The changes lamented by Tibetan nationalists and Shangri-La dreamers are largely the inevitable price of progress.
It's a poor accountant that only adds up the credit side of the ledger. Yes, increased tourism revenues are a good thing, as are cheaper consumer goods. Needless to say, it will also bring in more Han Chinese migrants. Exactly how does it benefit Tibetans if they're reduced to a second-class minority within their own homeland? Furthermore, it's a safe bet that none of those freight cars will be bringing in pictures of the Dalai Lama along with all those inexpensive cans of corn. Which is to say, there are some Tibetan needs those trains won't be fulfilling, and they won't be purely for political reasons.
That alone puts the lie to the China Post's claims of Chinese altruism in the matter.
The real question though, is whether Tibet's problems stem from its "isolation and poverty" or from its freedom deficit. The Tibetan railway may or may not end up reducing poverty, but it will never, ever, give Tibetans a greater say in how they live their lives. Now it's fine for the China Post to argue that Tibet suffers mostly from poverty, and for guys like me who argue that their problems are due to a lack of freedom. It's fine, but it's all a bit beside the point.
Because the point is, that the Tibetans were never consulted about whether THEY wanted the damn thing to be built in the first place!
That's the true obscenity. The Tibetans were never free to debate the pros and cons of the issue, never free to choose their own destiny. In the end, they might very well have CHOSEN to build that railway, or they might have chosen a pastoral or monastic life instead. We'll never know however, because the communist mandarins of China arrogated that right to choose for themselves. And the editorialists at Taiwan's China Post picked up their pom-poms, and they cheered.
UPDATE (Jul 13/06): Didn't have time earlier to comment on this portion of the editorial:
But 210 years ago in America, Indian tribes were subjected to a similar "process of civilization". George Washington selected in 1796 the Cherokee Indians, living in the western regions of North Carolina and Georgia, for a pilot scheme in integration. The reluctant Indians were taught ways to build log cabins, till the land and accept Christianity.
Like America's scheme, China's new railway to Tibet is designed to put the isolated Himalayan plateau on a fast track to economic development and integration with the country's other 55 ethnic tribes, to avoid disparity and instability.
So America's treatment of the Indians 200 years ago justifies Chinese oppression of the Tibetans here in the 21st Century? Holy smokes, what fate for the Tibetans will the China Post endorse next? Slavery?
After all, two hundred years ago, America had THAT, too.
Since the China Post is so blase about "acculturation", I guess they won't mind if the government requires schools here to drop the teaching of Mandarin in favor of Taiwanese. Surely after 50 years, it's about time for Mainlanders to become "acculturated" to the Taiwanese language, isn't it?
LOL. Cultural imperialism can sure be a bitch...when it's YOU who's on the receiving end of it.
UPDATE (Jul 14/06): More pro-communist blather from a July 5th China Post editorial:
[The Tibetan railway] completion is good news for Tibetan economic development, human rights and cultural protection.
The first point's debatable, but the last two? Open a window to the newsroom guys, you've been huffing a little too much of those ink fumes.
Besides being an engineering marvel, it is a dream come true for Tibetans who deserve a better life.
Shangri-La admirers have long educated the Tibetan people to reject integration with others and preserve their unspoiled natural beauty, unique way of life and spiritual purity, even at the cost of isolation and prolonged poverty.
Ooh, straw man time. Sorry, but most decent folks think Tibetans ought to decide for THEMSELVES how much integration they oughta have. In contrast, the China Post waxes lyrical when those decisions are instead made a thousand miles away by communists in their latest Five-Year Plan.
Like its predecessors the Euro-Asian rail link and the ancient Silk Road, the Tibet railway leads the modernizing take-off of the vast snowy highlands, benefiting everybody on the way.
Walter Duranty, watch out - somebody's gunnin' for your Pulitzer!