A Conversation for Tibetan Diaspora

Tibet and China

Post 1

Researcher 192513

I would like to first say that I am not trolling.
I'm just going to touch lightly on a few topics.

A Free Tibet:
Free, a word that provokes.
Its meaning empties and fills and in the end, to know it one must forget it.
Tibet, a land long associated with the mystical, the spirtual and the philosophical. A land of poverty, ignorance and barren, bleak existance. A feudal society? Is that freedom?
They may not be "free" now, but what is freedom to the Tibetans, would they know it if they had it?

The Dao of things:
It is the Han "Dao" to make others Han, this is the method by which the Middle Kingdom has been resiliant for thousands of years. If they had a motto, it would be. We came, we saw, we assimilated. If you look at Chinese culture, it is a hodge podge of rituals, traditions and knowledge from all the cultures it has consumed. This is a method by which China remains dynamic and non-stagnant. Ironically this is different from the european/judeo-christian/dogmatic western way of conqueor, destroy, reperation and apology.
China in a view has offered Tibet a opportunity to join one of the most resiliant, powerful and sophisticated cultures in the world. If it were the Cowboys and the Indians, it would have been just another massacre. In the eyes of the west, perhaps Tibet will die, but in the eyes of the Chinese; they will live on as Chinese. What the Chinese will do is going to be very different then what has happened in the west.

Materialism, I find your use of the term to be quite different then mine. Democritus was a materialist, so were many Daoists, Heraclitus, a case could be made for Nietzsche and many many other prominant philosopher. Materialism is merely the belief that all that is the world is natural.

And Tibet has mostly likely made a impression on China, it made that impression many hundred and thousand of years ago. Buddahist philosophy, Daoist philosophy are part of every day existance, it is within the fabric of the cultural subconscious that exist today in China. To say that it will disappear is to look upon the atrocities of the west through guilty eyes of the west.

Tibet and China

Post 2

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

You're quite right to draw a comparison between the atrocities of the West and those being perpetrated aganst the Tibetan people. You might also have mentioned Palestine. You are quite wrong, however, to use that arguement to support the idea that the destruction of Tibet is in any sense justifiable. 'Freedom' does mean different things to different people. But there are commonalities shared by all human beings; and to suggest that Tibetans were less capable of comprehending freedom than people anywhere is simply foolish.

The Dao of Tibet is for the Han is to return to their own land, a place where their lungs function more efficiently, and leave the Tibetans in peace.

I don't care to debate the philosophical nuances of the word 'materialism'. In the context of this Entry it is used to contrast the worldview of the Chinese Communists, which is decidedly more materialistic than that of the Tibetan Buddhists.

As a student of Chinese history, it may be of benefit to reflect upon the periods when the Han people were oppressed by Manchu, Mongol, and sundry Turtic overlords, not to mention the terrible injustice and humiliation at the hands of the European colonial powers. Perhaps they ought to feel more compassionate towards the Tibetans.

Once again, you are right to say that Buddhism has it's place in the hearts of many Chinese. But the brutal truth is that many people - Han, Uyghur, Tibetans, and others - are suffering unjustly at the hands of an oppressive government.


Tibet and China

Post 3

Jimi X

One might also argue that the traditional model of Chinese culture has been modified somewhat by a certain Marxist philosophy?

Tibet and China

Post 4

Researcher 192513

I'm not drawing merely a comparison between the atrocities of the West and what the Chinese are currently doing. I am also speaking of the differences of methodology and the experience that the Chinese have gained at social engineering through out it's history. You bring up destruction/etc. I don't believe in justification/moral absolutism or moral high ground, so for me to be trying to justify is probably meaningless. I'm merely point out that the Chinese are doing what they naturally do. Freedom is very different concept in Eastern philosophy then in Western Philosophy, and I have to say a much less important concept. Appealing to the Chinese government on the premise of the western concepts of freedom leads to a failure to communicate and reach common ground.

And in my view, Tibet is not being "destroyed". It is undergoing a transformation.
Yin/Yang transformation. Death and Rebirth.

Materialism is a concept that has been the root of much of chinese philosophy for thousands of years. Your example of materialism in your disertion is rather inaccurate in relation to the actual tenents of materialism. I do not call on you on what materialism is, but on your misrepresentation of what it is. Your representation of materialism is akin to a strawman argument. And certain flavors of Buddahism is materialistic.

The Mongols/Manchu and etc were assimilated by the Chinese Culture just the same, this process has happened many times over.

This European injustice is a sign of our own weakness, and in strength such a situation would not happen, which is why China will strive for strength instead of pity.

To China, justice is what keeps stability not what puts a smile on a human rights activist's face. To talk about the situation in China without becoming patronizing, you have to reach common ground or this will merely be a ideological dispute. In a ideological dispute, there is no diplomatic solution and rarely a solution at all.

The Chinese Government as a oppressive force seems to be a strawman arguement since it invokes images of little red books and Mao. It is a changing organism that exists within the cultural and social constructs of the Chinese people.

I'm not saying what the Chinese Government is doing is right, I'm just saying it's not wrong either. Since it's not a right and wrong issue, unless you want to get into moralizing. They're a soverign state and if you wish to stop them from assimilating the Tibetans, you will have to change their mind or encroach on their soverign status. That doesn't make you right, it just makes you powerful if you succeed.

Traditional Model for China

Post 5

Researcher 192513

Not really, it hasn't been changed so much that it is not a natural product of cultural evolution. I would hesitate to say that China is more like China now then before the European incursion.

What is a free Tibet?

Post 6

Mr. Legion

While Tibetans want the Chinese out, most of them don't want to go back to the theocracy which ruled the country before the Chinese invasion either. So the argument would be for a democracy, no doubt (although I have my doubts that this is a magic pill you can give a country to suddenly bring peace and prosperity). But, ironically, the problems of setting up a democracy in a recently-feudal country have been reduced by the efforts of the Chinese, who have modernised, mainly through their road-building. Tbetans enjoy a higher standard of living, and there is a tentative middle class.

This is not intended to in any way justify the invasion; the rape of any country by its neighbour is repugnant. It just occured to me, the irony that, despite their brutal methods and suppression, the Chinese Communists have been a lot more akin to Western democracies than to the power structure that existed in Tibet pre-1950.

"All Chinese, even those I met in Taiwan, even those educated in the United States, think of Tibet as a part of China". So said the Dalai Lama in a National Geographic interview this month. I hadn't realised that most Chinese, rather than seeing Tibet as a conquest, actually and genuinely believe that they have a historical and territorial right to govern it. Faced with that mindset, is there any hope for a fully independent nation?

Tibet and China

Post 7

Shaunak - who loves to swim in chilly water

"China in a view has offered Tibet a opportunity to join one of the most resiliant, powerful and sophisticated cultures in the world"

Ah, but there was no opportunity offered. The choice was akin to 'become chinese or die'.
That, in my opinion, is no choice at all - definitely not an offer/opportunity.


Tibet and China

Post 8

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

We tend to reduce all complex situations to philosophical models. Whether or not the Chinese Communist system offers improvements over the social structure of Tibet prior to the invasion is not really the issue. No doubt many French, Dutch, Polish, etc... profited by the German invasion of their homelands. And, if the Nazis had been allowed half a century to consolidate their gains, no doubt the European map would show certain improvements, such as a sophisticated Autobahn system, for example. But those improvements would have come at a price that most of us would consider to be unacceptable. Would we accept the deaths of one fifth of the populations of those occupied countries as a fair price for progress? I think not. But that is the price Tibet payed: 1.2 million dead, as a direct result of the invasion and occupation. Cultural relativism, especially as it is applied to China and the countries of the East is a cosy way of disguising racism, or at least mitigating our level of discomfort with a situation that we would otherwise find intolerable. Ask yourselves whether a Tibetan mother forced to suffer a third trimester abortion finds solace in Chinese history. Are the parents of a young nun who has been tortured in prison less likely to share her pain than the mother and father of a European girl? Of course not!


Tibet and China

Post 9

Mr. Legion

I was only pointing out the irony that, despite the official brutality and murder present in the state, Tibet today is a lot closer to what Western democracies would think of as a 'modern' state. Despite the loss of a millennia-old cultural tradition in little over fifty years, a couple of roads and television aerials can make us believe there has been an improvement. That China's presence has been a disaster for Tibet was never in question. Clearly progress is in the eye of the beholder.

Tibet and China

Post 10

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

Sorry, perhaps my response seems more confrontational than was intended.

You're dead right. The growth in infrastructure and investment opportunities is resulting in Tibetans becoming a dwindling minority, living on the margins in their own land, as Han immigration proceeds apace with the economic growth. The place that is becoming prosperous won't be Tibet; sadly, it will be an indistinguishable region of China where Tibet used to be.


Tibet and China

Post 11

Researcher 192513

Well you should know that moral/cultural relativism is de facto standard method by which most eastern philosophical concepts function.

Even buddahist philosophy. I wouldn't really consider China "racism" in the same way I would consider the racism in the west. It is much more.. culturally motivated and tradition/ritual oriented then the western skin color issues. They are very different because of the way people view race. The gap is as different as a tribal culture vs a non-tribal culture. This is why China is one of the most "ethnically" diverse countries in the world but most of them consider themselves Han.

I will say that the techniques that the Chinese Government have used are amoral and not benevolent to the Tibetan people, but note that it is the Chinese Government, that means it's for Chinese people, Tibetan or whatever. Enforced nationalism and assimilation, that's what they are doing. Painful, yes.. Un-Civilized? I think you will find that it is quite sophisticated.

As much as the Tibetans want to be free, the Chinese have settled and incorporated themselves in every facate of Tibetan society, economy and political structure. To displace the Chinese would require a force equal if not superior to the original force. This would result in further bloodshed. And the Tibetan culture will still exist, in the Tibetan who are Chinese.

All of this has been done very purposefully and methodically, and the very reason they have succeed well in the past is because of cultural relativism.

Tibet and China

Post 12

John the gardener says, "Free Tibet!"

No one would dispute that the techniques used by the Peoples Republic of China to erase Tibet as a distinct society are sophisticated. The degree to which they should be considered uncivilized depends on your definition of civilization. However, most would consider that the ideals expressed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (A224623), and other documents generally held to represent an advancement of humanity, are not being well served in Chinese occupied Tibet.

Whether you call it cultural relativism, Han chauvinism, or simple greed, the Chinese flag flies over Lhasa because the People's Liberation Army was strong enough to put it there, and is strong enough to keep it there. No sensible person would suggest that it is in anyone's interest to try to force the Chinese out of Tibet. The emerging global society is making old concepts of nationhood obsolete. The traditional distinction of nationalities is becoming less meaningful, as our interdependence increases. The ability to communicate freely across national boundaries, as we are doing, also reduces the value and significance of our national identities, as we become accustomed to relating to each other as fellow human beings.

China must make a choice: If it truly considers Tibet to be a part of China, then it should respect Tibetans for who they are and stop treating them like a conquered people. Otherwise China must acknowledge that it rules in Tibet unjustly, and give the Tibetans true autonomy within China, if not actual independence.

Key: Complain about this post