Posts Tagged ‘Media’

Difficulties in finding the truth about Tibet

March 20, 2008

The Tibetan protests have reached my little university town in Germany. Yesterday a Taiwan friend told me that there were some 30 or 40 people demonstrating to “free Tibet” and even had flags of the movement. The New York times runs an interesting article about “parallel worlds” that are now colliding. Han Chinese and Tibetans have lived side by side but a Han Chinese is quoted saying that “there’s been this hatred for a long time [and] sometimes you would even wonder how we had avoided open confrontation for so many years. This is a hatred that cannot be solved by arresting a few people.” State controlled media however suggest, that only a tiny minority of people (极少数人) are responsible for the disorder.

Children in Aba county
Tibetan children 2007 in Aba county (Sichuan) where riots have been reported, as well.

A Chinese friend of mine asked me to spread the following post on message boards. However, only when I was asked, I noticed this big difference on the Internet culture between China and Germany, since there are web sites like Tianya which basically don’t have an equivalent in Germany. I don’t know why it is like this but in China these forums are widely used to spread news on the Internet and make it available to many people. Sometimes this includes posts that are seen critical and will be deleted but there are ways around it, e.g. writing comments under a seemingly harmless article.

I am going to post the article here, as a voice that might not be heard in Germany too often. An own comment will be added below the post.

What is the truth?!!!
Since the turbulence of Tibet, almost all western medias think it is the fault of Chinese government who violates the rule of human rights. No matter what the truth is, it seems that it becomes a fashion to criticize China and if who will not do so, who is already out of the trend. However, as a native Chinese, I must speak out what I have seen and heard since I was a child.

The development of economical, cultural and social rights in Tibet from 1950s is so obvious that only blind person can’t see. The central and local government of China never discriminate Tibet people on the all kinds of human rights. Instead, Tibet people enjoy all kinds of support and privileges. Each year billions of RMB are constantly sent to Tibet as financial support without any refund. Each year thousands of youth go to Tibet as volunteers for promoting primary education. Every year series of public service and device are offered and developed by government.

As to the political and civil rights, the Tibet people, especially those common and low-status members of the Tibet society, are living in an golden era never showed up before. All Tibet people have the voting and voted rights to determine their representatives of government, have rights to determine all affairs of their lives, and have rights to monitor government, which, under the rule of Dalai Lama, could just be heard as a myth. In the duration of Dalai’s rule, Dalai was actually the dictator of the Tibet society. While poor Tibet people suffered from the worst lives, Dalai and high-classes Lamas lived a tremendous luxury and lechery lives. They even create systems and religions encourage people to scarify their eight years old daughter to Lama as Padmini, young girls would raped by Lama. We could easily find paragraphs in Lama’s doctrine as follows: disciples must scarify their sisters, wives or daughters to the Rinpoche. (see, Alex Wayman: The Buddhist Tantras, New York 1973). Let alone their personal rights, dignities and wealth. Will you still think the Tibet’s people live better under the rule of Dalai Lama than live in nowadays China?

Let’s come back to nowadays and see what really happen in recent days. There is no better word to describe this event than TERRORISM.
The days before, in the turbulence many citizens such as students, common staff, and some tourists including European and American encountered the life danger, the bus was burned, the peaceful life was broken, and the economic loss is uncountable. Why the adherents of Dalai Lama living there are so eager to destroy their own lives?! Or why NOW?

As far as I can see, this would be quite a representative view from exchange students. When I had a glance at a bulletin board where Chinese exchange students post comments, I noticed that the “Tibet problem” (西藏问题) is dominant. There are threads with a poem about Tibet as “China’s backbone” and its beauty and that one would be ready “to play military marches” for a possible war, while another page calls for a high vote for YouTube videos claiming to tell the truth about Tibet.

So far I have read a lot of comments and articles on the Internet and the more I read, the more complex it gets I think. When you just have a glance at the reports you will think that Chinese authorities are cracking down (more or less) peaceful demonstrations and the Chinese propaganda is not telling the truth – as always.

There is an interesting interview with the well known German sinologist Eberhard Sandschneider (should be available in English or German, as well, but I have only found a little excerpt at Xinhua yet). He reminds us to not only have this perspective but have a look in the mirror and to also take in consideration how Germany reacts on riots e.g. on May 1st in Berlin, even though he admits that this relation might not be fully suitable.

I think a problem outside China at the moment is that there is very little “clean” information from inside Tibet. The problem is “what is the truth”? As of now, there is only one (!) foreign correspondent in Lhasa, so the news about the status of Tibet are either from Xinhua or the Tibetan government in exile. I am sure, both are using this uncertainty and filter news to their own favor, but the Tibetans are doing a better job in getting their message into the mass medias in the West. This might be because people know that in the past Xinhua was not always telling the whole story and while the Dalai Lama and it followers have set up quite a big lobby group.

It is strange the only foreign journalist in Tibet writes about an “orgy of anti-Chinese rioting” not about the violence by police and army in the first paragraph of his report from Lhasa. However, he also reports about massive searches and arrests in the city. And if everything was fine, why does the Chinese government not allow foreign journalists to cover the events from Lhasa? China must know that such reaction will cause media to speculate that there is strong repression against Tibetans and the block of Youtube was not in favor of the reports either. Instead foreign journalists are reporting heavy armed military rolling into Tibet

Tibetan architecture in Jiuzhaigou, northern Sichuan
Tibetan architecture in Jiuzhaigou, northern Sichuan.