Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Death threats in Canada show what democracy and human rights advocates face in China

Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column
Tuesday April 15, 2008

Remember China's dissidents


You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.

- Rosa Parks, American civil rights activist

I have deeply underestimated the amazing courage of democracy and human rights advocates in China, who stand up fearlessly to overwhelming repression and heartless punishment.

That understanding came last week, when I received three death threats by e-mail over Tuesday's column outlining the Chinese government's crackdown on activists leading up to the Beijing Olympic Games in August.

The death threats, which are under investigation by the Vancouver Police Department, were the culmination of a series of increasingly vicious and sometimes stunningly obscene e-mails received following the column.

What prompted such vitriol?

My suggestion that perhaps boycotting China, not just the Olympics, would be an appropriate response to the violent Chinese military repression in Tibet, ongoing attempts to denounce the Dalai Lama, increasing human rights violations, efforts to isolate Taiwan and attacks on Falun Gong practitioners.

But if it's offensive to threaten me for simply being an outspoken columnist in Canada, what do you call what happens daily to Chinese citizens who attempt to oppose a dictatorship?

Think about Ye Guozhu, a housing rights advocate serving a four-year jail term because he applied for permission to hold a demonstration against forced evictions and demolition of property in Beijing to make way for Olympic construction.

Amnesty International reports that Ye Guozhu was convicted of "picking quarrels and stirring up trouble" after his restaurant and home were seized without compensation.

Amnesty says Ye is reported to have been tortured by being suspended from the ceiling by the arms and beaten by police before his trial. He was also beaten with electro-shock batons in Chaobai prison, Beijing.

Ye was then sent twice to Qingyuan prison for periods of "discipline", most recently in February 2007 for 10 months, apparently for trying to appeal his conviction. His son and brother were also arrested on suspicion of "inciting subversion,"

Think about Hu Jia, a Chinese dissident who fights for human rights and defends AIDS patients, displaced farmers and women opposing forced sterilization. Hu got three and a half years in jail for "inciting subversion of state power."

Ye Guozhu and Hu Jia are true heroes because they are not fearful about doing what is right, as Rosa Parks said.

It is an honour for me to write about their terrible treatment by the Chinese government and to encourage readers to voice their opposition through groups like Amnesty International. And I will not be silenced by threats.

The Chinese people deserve to live in a society where people like Ye Guozhu and Hu Jia are celebrated, not jailed and tortured. A great nation and culture will only flourish with democracy.


Anonymous said...

Aside from Beijing Olympics evictions, how about people evicted from their homes in Zhongshan City near Hong Kong?

Police in Zhongshan City killed several people facing eviction for road construction in 2005. Here is a feature article in Time...

Why should you care about Zhongshan City? This is where BC politicians such as Victoria mayor Alan Lowe and Vancouver councillor Raymond Louie originally hail from. Alan Lowe is even a member of the Hook Sin Tong of Zhongshan City.

Although Zhongshan is named after the revolutionary Sun Yat Sen, this city has huge tracts of industrial zoning and is home to tens of thousands of migrant workers toiling away in sweatshops. In fact, the documentary "China Blue" was filmed at a Zhongshan City blue jeans fatcory.

Do you want a mayor who is a member of an organization that promotes sweatshops and forced evictions?

Johnny Damon said...

Let's boycott Bill Tieleman altogether!

Anonymous said...

Just remember that China has the most hijacked computer networks of any connected nations. When something seems coming from China may be from as far away as Vancouver Canada. So it's more credible if the threat comes from Vancouver.

By the way, do anyone read the 24Hours in China? I didn't know 24 Hours hands out papers in China. Which city?

Anonymous said...

Linking Death threats to democracy and human rights is just absurd. We have many death threats in Canada everyday so does that mean we are not democratic?

You wrote something, one or two readers gets carried away and starts flaming. It's just that. It happens all the time online.

If we take all the online threats seriously, the RCMP will have to double the force every day and we end up have more police than regular people on the street.

Besides, have you ever shouted to "kill" someone when you lost your cool? ever in your life?

Anonymous said...

Although Bill Tieleman speaks well to the ongoing issues in China, it is probably futile to expect that Chinese attitudes (whether here or "at home") will evolve into something approaching tolerance and flexibility anytime soon.

Until people who threaten our journalists for daring to comment critically on their "homeland" are categorically condemned and shunned by their compatriots, it should also be considered that such cowards might even have some latent support from within the Chinese-Canadian community.

This possibility represents a serious long-term danger and challenge to all Canadians.

Anonymous said...

I'm responding to this article at the request of a friend of mine. i only had a quick glance and honestly didnt have the time to go through all the articles on the page. as unsurprising as it is from another ignorant "advocator", it still infuriates me how people feel so rightly about something they don't really have a clue.

i have to agree to most of the comments here. first, given today's technology, is Mr. Tieleman so ignorant and even stupid not knowing how easy it is to breach a computer to pretend it's from China or wherever? one of our office computers was breached once by someone from Africa and the person was apparently trying to do some credit card fraud. this kind of hacking is everywhere, so how can you say for sure that it's from China? i don't think chinese people know 24 at all. don't think too big of yourself, mr. Tieleman. you may show off here with the pix you have with some "big shots", but nobody in China would give a rat's behind who you are and what you say. i'm from Toronto and since i relocated a couple of years ago to a smaller town, i never even touched 24.

2) i also agree that people say "kill" when they are very angry without truely meaning it. i don't know exactly what the wording was like in your alleged death threats, but it might very well be just a way people showing how furious they were when they read your ignorant and even pretentious article. if i were really going to kill someone, i wouldn't tell the person. would you? having said all this, Mr. Tieleman, i really wonder how reliable your claim was. i'd not be surprised if you just made it up to get the attention and spotlight.

3) i kept saying "ignorant", because that's what you really are. tell me, Mr. Tieleman, how much do you really know about Tibet, its history and its current situation, how much do you know about Fa Lung Gong and the activists you mentioned. now i'm asking how much you know through your personal expereince, not all the hearsay from the so called "official" channels, because if you learned all about it from the western media, let me tell you, it's seriously biased and skewed. i was listening to CBC radio on the way to work the other day and was deeply disappointed how they heavily covered and reported the protest from Tibetans, without mentioning the protests from the Chinese people. i always thought CBC was objective, professional and truethful, but this time, it led me to have a second thought on it. I have personally been to Tibet as an independent journalist and did interviews with people. i also have a relative who practiced Fa Lung Gong before. so what i'm trying to say, Mr. Tieleman, grow up and think more independently on controversial issues, unless of course, you're doing all this just to get more attention, which is really pathetic, but still is very popular among "celebrities".

4) i'd also like to say something about "boycotting olympics". your title just said it out loud, if you're to do that, you're not boycotting the Chinese gvmt, you're doing it against all the atheltes in the world, to a lot of whom this may be either the only chance or the last chance for them to compete and win. what a lot of people, including you, Mr. Tieleman, does not seem to understand is that you're mixing up, first, Olympic games in general and BJ Olympic this year; second, you're mixing up the chinese gvmt and chinese people. to have this game is a wish long overdue for the chinese people, which is 1/6 of the whole world population. now tell me, Mr. Tieleman, what is wrong to grant this dream to all the chinese people, if it was through a fair competition years ago? are you trying to say that the chinese people don't deserve it, simply because YOU feel that they have a terrible gvmt?

5)i don't know if you've noticed, Mr. Tieleman, whenever there is any issue involving the chinese gvmt, whether it's activists, or cults like FLG, or Tibet, or whatever, the western media and a lot of population would automatically assume, without any kind of thinking whatsoever, that it must be the chinese gvmt that's "repressing". it simply cannot be those "repressed" that are actually violating human rights, such as burning and killing people this time in Tibet by Tibetan people. having said this, i gotta say, Mr. Tieleman, it's not completely your fault for being ignorant of what has happened in Tibet, because our media here didn't mention anything about it. they just mentioned that the chinese gvmt sent in troops there, though it's to control the situation. would you want to be killed by the "activists" if you had been there or you'd rather the gvmt sent the troops to intervene so that people don't die? i'd be all for a gvmt that can intervene, just like the situation in Quebec in Pierre Trudeau's time.

lastly, this posting is turning out to be long, so i'd like to mention one more thing. mr. Tieleman and people alike, quit your typical knighthood idiosyncracy and ideology. be wise when there is a "crisis" in the world. don't rush to put on your shiny armor to rescue. this ain't fairy tale. issues like Tibet is way more complicated than you know (if you actually anything about it). it is simply pathetic to see how ignorant and arrogant we are, thinking that we are the best in human rights and democracy and whatnot and that we can teach other people in these. i'd suggest that Mr. Tieleman, take a trip to China and spend some time talking to the ordinary people there. they're not SUFFERING, mr. Tieleman. instead, i know a lot of chinese immigrants decided to return to China, as canada disappointed them in terms of economic properity, opportunities, people's ignorance about the other parts of the world (of course we're not alone in this) and at the same time, unreasonably hig ego.

BTW, this posting is from Canada, or ontario specifically, not China, just in case you're wondering. :)

Anonymous said...

Why is that in Canada there are people who are so ignorant of societal norms that they think death threats are a normal reaction to getting angry?

The comment of Anonymous 4:55 should be featured on the Ugly Chinese Canadian blog.

North Van's Grumps said...

Actully Anon 4:55 PM, I can't recall anytime where I shouted that I would "kill" someone, especially if we had both lost our cool!

If the RCMP can track down the IPS for the guy who has threatended Bill, in China, they can certainly do it again, and again, when it comes to someone on this blog that claims that he has lost his cool and threatened someone with the word KILL.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Bill!
Activists supporting Tibetan human rights, democracy in China, Falun Gong, etc have also been receiving abusive and threatening phone calls and e-mails. I have received them, as have many other people I know.

Though, friends in Tibet are facing far worse, so I'm not complaining. This is clearly a sensitive issue for China, as it should be. The human rights situation there is horrific. I only wish that the response were sincere, adult dialogue and movement towards change, rather than childish threats and insults (hopefully the threats are childish rather than serious - though how can we know when the sender doesn't identify him or herself? We have to assume that anonymous threats are serious).

Re: the previous "anonymous" writer - personally, no, I have never lost my cool and threatened to kill someone. Many people have never uttered a death threat. And, "uttering a death threat" is illegal, and it is taken seriously by the police, as it should be.
There are many other, far more constructive ways to respond - threats are the cowards way of trying to silence others.

Thank you Bill, for refusing to be silenced.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Bill Tieleman: You are not worthy any chinese to kill you. You think you are at the high of morality, but your dead and words, which committed in the name of freedom and democracy, trying to stir up hatred and prejudice between chinese and other nations, prove you are a criminal,a rascal. My words are as such, if you think freedom and human rights are just for the 5% or even less percent of the population (you ignore the fact that the situations are improving for more and more Chinese, including tibetan), then shut up, you are not qualified to even talk about them! If you don't know that there were no freedom and human rights at all for the 95% percent of the tibetan before 1950, then shut up and go to hell yourself, and i think you will.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Bill Tieleman: You can dislike china or chinese, but pls not in the name of freedom and/or democracy or human rights, as you are not qualified to even talk about them. Chinese have a saying, if you want to be respected by others, you should respect others first. I'm sorry to look down on you, but you really disgust us.

Anonymous said...

@ 4:55 if the person the threat is directed at believes the threat is credible charges are applicable. The exact words used and context could decide it one way or the other though. Cops will make judgement calls on the spot.

Don't use a dependent on legal aid hack to defend you if you allegedly feck-up. Why? Contrary to the dominant discourse about how competent they all are, this is straight BS.

Folks with short fuses take note, or try a good anger management program. Preferably not the one offered by the Corrections Department LOL...

DL said...

So now somebody is saying the threats to Teileman really came from here in BC rather than where the police say they came from.

Seems to me since this is basically a democratic country rather than the mess that exists as government in China, the cops could find who was doing the threats if they were local. But I figure its a red hearing to try to shift the threat emails from China to here. Death threats investigations are taken seriously by the cops in this country and rightly so.

Anonymous said...

I saw your article in 24 Hours and thought "argh", but also, China needs to feel uncomfortable about all this - but why all the bloodshed?

A point for the people who think Canadians who support Tibet don’t know what they’re talking about: I have been there and spent extensive time there. The first time was 20 years ago, and I have maintained my involvement since then. I speak enough Tibetan language to manage, and understand what’s happening there. The destruction of Tibetan culture is a major problem, but the poverty of Tibetans contrasted with the wealth of the Chinese settlers is an extreme problem. Chinese settlers are paid substantially more than Tibetans for the same jobs, and only Chinese have access to the best paid jobs. With very few exceptions, Tibetans are effectively shut out of the growing economy. Why is the Chinese Government (and many Chinese citizens) surprised that Tibetans are resentful? I was resentful just watching the situation! My Tibetan language didn’t help me when taking taxis because 95% of the taxi drivers were Chinese (taxi driving is a relatively good job there), and none had bothered to learn the Tibetan names of significant locations in the city. Hundreds of Tibetan were fired from their jobs as tour guides and were replaced by Chinese brought in from Beijing and Shanghai who spoke no Tibetan, didn’t know anything about Tibet, and appeared to have little interest in Tibet. If Chinese people were treated this way, and were left in poverty while newcomers got rich in their land, I think they would also be angry.

Since March 10 I’ve have a persistent knot in my stomach due to not knowing if my Tibetan friends are alive, and if they are, are they in a situation in which they'd rather be dead? I lost a dear Tibetan friend to torture in 1995 (her “crime” was participating in a non-violent protest against tax increases). Other dear friends will never sleep through the night because of the torture they survived. Typical “crimes” were refusing to denounce the Dalai Lama, or possessing a copy of the “Universal declaration of Human Rights”.

I sent the note below to Canadian friends yesterday –

Subject: Hi from me and update on Tibet

I have not heard directly from anyone I know in Tibet, but I assume that many of them are in prison or dead. We've had reports that people who've previously studied in India were arrested early in March. We cannot call or e-mail them because people caught communicating with the outside world have been arrested (communication systems are all monitored). Those not in prison are living in constant fear, and are hungry (see report below). So, if you have Tibetan friends in exile who still have family in Tibet, send them a hug. No Tibetans are sleeping easy right now. The fact that even trying to contact people inside puts those people in danger is crazy-making for the worried people outside.

All information that is known about what's happening inside Tibet was obtained "illegally". Some info comes from escapees. Activists outside Tibet (Tibetan and non-Tibetan) have been receiving floods of abusive and threatening e-mails and phone calls. It's so widespread (global -- from Canada to Australia) that it looks very coordinated. Websites have been hacked/attacked, and computers and cell phones (text messaging) of organizations and individuals have been specifically targeted with virus attacks. The Chinese Government is panicking right now, though with the current mess in Tibet they do have reason to fear people finding out.

This report published today is a compilation of the bits of info that have come from Tibet over the past week or so.

Authorities acknowledge 4,000 detentions: thousands 'disappear' in
ongoing Lhasa crackdown

Unrest at Drepung follows new patriotic education campaign

ICT report, April 14, 2008

Raids on people's houses and disappearances are continuing every day during the ongoing crackdown in Lhasa, and there are new fears for monks at Drepung monastery after more troops were deployed following unrest there over the past few days.

Details of the incident at Drepung are unclear, although it is known that the unrest followed the arrival of a 'patriotic education' team at the monastery last week. There are also serious concerns of a humanitarian crisis in Lhasa's monasteries, as food and water supplies are running low and monks prevented from leaving.

Mary Beth Markey, Vice President for Advocacy at the International Campaign for Tibet, said today: "Chinese authorities claim they are conducting political campaigns against the influence of the Dalai Lama to restore order in Tibet, while Tibetans are risking their lives to call for the Dalai Lama's return. This wrong-headed approach by the Chinese state creates more resentment and risks provoking further dissent and an increase in brutality from force now surrounding many monasteries in Tibet."

Since March 10 when Tibetan protests began in Lhasa, one or more instances of protest have been reported in each of at least 52 county-level locations in Tibetan areas of China, as well as in Chengdu (the capital of Sichuan), Lanzhou (the capital of Gansu), and Beijing, according to a report today by the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (www.cecc.gov).

China's state-run media has acknowledged the surrender or detention of nearly 4,000 "rioters" in Lhasa and in Gannan (Kanlho) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (TAP), Gansu province (Xinhua, April 9). The disclosure raises by more than 2,000 the previous total of officially acknowledged surrenders and detentions in Lhasa and Gannan. Authorities have released more than half of the nearly 4,000 persons and formally arrested more than 400 persons on undisclosed criminal charges. (www.cecc.gov).

Disappearances and intimidation in Lhasa described as 'Second Cultural Revolution'

In Lhasa, people are sleeping in their clothes "in case of a knock on the door in the middle of the night", according to one source. Someone has disappeared from almost every Tibetan household in the weeks since March 14, according to one reliable Tibetan source, while another described the situation as a "second Cultural Revolution". At neighborhood committee meetings, Lhasa citizens are warned to tell people that everything is fine if they receive calls from outside Tibet.

Some Tibetans rounded up in raids are being removed from Lhasa to detention facilities elsewhere. A source reported seeing a large group of Tibetans being herded onto a train by armed police at Lhasa station bound for Qinghai. According to the eyewitness, there were several hundred Tibetans in the group, including many monks, and many of them
were not wearing shoes. In an apparent further incidence of detained Tibetans being removed from Lhasa, around 300 prisoners arrived at the train station in Xining, Qinghai, last week, according to Tibetan sources, who told ICT: "Every prisoner seemed to be hurt badly and some had blood on their faces. There was an old lady in the group with heavy shackles on her feet, and no shoes. She was being beaten by the police."

Some Tibetans detained after March 14 are known to have been released, some are believed to have been detained while they were shopping for groceries, while others appear to have been detained simply for being found or living in Tibetan areas of Lhasa. A Tibetan writer reported that at one point more than 800 people were locked up in a large warehouse area at Lhasa railway station where many of them were beaten severely and deprived of food. One report indicated that some Tibetans had been detained for speaking on the phone to relatives in exile.

ICT has received further reliable reports of Tibetans being taken from Lhasa to detention facilities in Sichuan. A young monk who was detained in Lhasa for having no identity card was taken to a local detention center and beaten severely every day over a period of
several days, according to one report. "Four men beat him at the same time, each time," ICT's source reported. "During the torture, he had no comprehension of night and day. With one arm up over behind the neck and the other under and behind the back, they tied his wrists together behind his back. The food at the prison consisted of one small bread roll per person and about 20 ounces of water that was shared between four to five people. People were sleeping in the area where they went to the toilet and they were not allowed to wear shoes." The source said that last week, he was taken to Mianyang Prison in Sichuan, and was released later due to fears that he might die if he remained without medical attention. He can now hardly walk or talk and his breathing is labored. The same source said that there were many Tibetans from Lhasa in the same prison.

The restrictions on movement due to the crackdown in the city mean that many families are suffering from difficulties in obtaining food, and the situation in the monasteries is particularly acute. Food supplies have been running low in the city's major monasteries,
Drepung, Sera, and Ganden, which have been under lockdown and sealed off since the wave of protests begun by Drepung monks on March 10.

The Tibetan government in exile cabinet, the Kashag, issued an urgent appeal for help from the international community on April 9, saying:
"Due to very strict restriction on movements, Tibetans, particularly in the monasteries, are unable to get food supplies. Therefore, we also appeal for help to ensure that those confined in the monasteries where shortage of food is causing great suffering, and may cause death due to hunger, are supplied with timely provision of food and other required needs." According to one report received by ICT, monks from Sera are not even permitted to fetch water from outside the gate of the monastery.

Crackdown worsens at Drepung after arrival of patriotic education team

Although details of what happened at Drepung in the past few days are unclear, reports indicate that a number of military vehicles were seen moving towards the monastery on April 10, and on April 11, the road to Drepung was closed again. The Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported that a number of monks from Drepung were detained at the weekend following unrest in response to the arrival of a 'patriotic education' work team at the monastery (TCHRD, April 14, 2008). The Chinese state media reported last week that the work team had arrived at Drepung in order to "restore religious order after violence involving lamas ravaged the city last month." (Xinhua, April 11). The report stated that progress of the work team at Drepung had been "smooth", and that:
"Similar work groups have also been sent to some other monasteries, to help maintain social stability, socialist legal institutions, the public's fundamental interest and normal order of Buddhist activities."

There has been increasing resentment in monasteries in Tibetan areas following the arrival of patriotic education teams in monasteries that are already under lockdown with an intimidating military presence. There is evidence that in some areas this is leading to a new wave of protests or dissent in response to the hardline implementation of ideological campaigns which generally require denunciations of the Dalai Lama. Tibet Autonomous Region Party Secretary Zhang Qingli is particularly known for his harsh rhetoric against the Dalai Lama and insistence on the intensification of patriotic education in the wider
community as well as in monasteries and nunneries.

A further source said that the unrest at Drepung over the weekend may also have been linked to armed troops preventing monks from attempting to leave the monastery to obtain food. The same source said: "The news has spread to the entire Lhasa city, thus, all the Tibetans are heartsick now."

A new campaign of political education began in Meldrogungkar county (Chinese: Mozhu Gongka) in the Lhasa Municipality on around March 19. When monks and nuns in one monastery and nunnery of the county refused to participate in denouncing the Dalai Lama, according to a report, the authorities responded by sending truckloads of soldiers to prevent monks and nuns leaving their religious institutions. According to the same report, all of the monasteries in the Meldrogungkar valley are now sealed off. At a local political meeting, Tibetans were warned that anyone with relatives in exile should encourage them to return to the area. The same source said that at meetings in the county, "Villagers are called on to make denunciations at frequent meetings,
but they just sit there in silence with heads bowed."

As a matter of urgency, ICT appeals for international support in securing:

Visits by independent human rights monitors to religious institutions
in and around Lhasa (Sera, Drepung, Ganden, the Jokhang, Ramoche, and
Chubsang nunnery) to carry out an evaluation of the welfare of monks
and nuns;

Access by international medical corps to medical facilities in and
around Lhasa in order to evaluate the conditions of care for those
injured in the demonstrations;

An account from the Chinese authorities for all the missing and dead
by name and location and assurances that detainees will be processed
according to international standards of due process and rule of law.

Anonymous said...

Tibet to China is exactly like Quebec to Canada. I did not see any article from Mr. Tieleman talking about "Free Quebec". Looks like Mr. Tieleman has double standard, or the bottom line is he hates China, hates Chinese?

Anonymous said...

I have to say this again, especially in response to Anonymous 10:01.

The word logic (louji) only came into the Chinese language after the May 4th Movement in 1919. The language reforms that have taken place in the last 90 years have been truly revolutionary, but still the extent to which Chinese people are taught to write logically and reasonably is undermined by an emphasis on rote memorization.

Anonymous said...

When you saying human rights, do you have a common standard? Mr. Tieleman, can you please tell us the human rights from the facts of Korean war, Vietnam War, Afghanistan War, Iraq War. Can you please tell us the human rights from the facts of Chinese Head Tax, Black Slaves, Detention Camp in Guantanamo. Before you let people convince your point, you need to build some level of credits. Otherwise, if they know more history than you, how they can trust you and take your points? You are either having a bias or using double standards.

Miranda said...

i dont want to argue with u, cuz i dont think u will listen to any chinese's explaination. but do u feel comfortable when all 1,300,000,000 chinese say " free Quebec"? and how about we say "boycut Vancouver Winter Olympic" when many ppl in this city work so hard on it?
Jesus say: u have not right to judge others since u also have sin. Do u really think Canada have no human right issue?

Anonymous said...

this is so hilarious...nobody knows about this small newspaper 24 hours, not to mention unnamed Mr.Bill Tieleman. This interesting thereat must be produced by someone hanging around GVRD area, or, this can be something manipulated by Mr.Bill Tieleman himself to create the so-called "eye-catching" effect. I suggest next time you should claim you received death threats from Mars and that can be more astonishing.

Anonymous said...

For people who comment about human right issues in China. I suggest that they visit China and check out the daily lives of people in China.
Bill Tieleman, have you ever visited China? When was your last time there?
In today’s China, people enjoy their lives with much improved standard of living and great opportunities to economic prosperity. People are happy and thankful to the government in China.
The human right issue is an entertaining subject for Canadians. As the Canadian society has evolved and become a socialist society, its monopolistic economy and high-taxation policies have eliminated any opportunity for regular Canadians to dramatically improve their standard of living. So, by talking about the human rights issue in China, we can forget about our hopeless financial future, such as our 40 year mortgage and under-funded retirement plan and feel good about ourselves for a while.
Bill Tieleman, instead of commenting about the human right issues in China, can you talk about our rights here in Canada?
As we all know, Olympic is a sports event that provides people an opportunity to celebrate, enjoy, forget and forgive, and promote peace and global unity.
Bill Tieleman, Why do you want to turn it into a political event that promotes anger and hatred?

Posted from Vancouver Canada

Anonymous said...

it's interesting to see some idiot complaining that nobody speaks Tibetan language in Beijing or Shanghai...how funny you are!! We have more than 1000 dialects in China and Tibetan language is just one of them. The official language in China is chinese mandarin!! How can you draw a conclusion that Chinese government is destroying Tibetan culture just because nobody speaks Tibetan language in Beijing or Shanghai? Do you or Mr. Bill Tieleman speak Canadian first nation language? If not,then you guys are destroying the culture of first nation people!! Do you guys offer the best jobs to Canadian first nations? If not, then you guys are discriminating Canadian first nations. Free Canadian first nations, Free Quebec, Protect first nation cultures!!

Anonymous said...

Mr.Bill Tieleman has never been to China, but he used his imagination to describe China as an evil empire. Very nice..no wonder for the Americans who have never been to Canada believe the parliament building in Ottawa is an ice-house. Good work Bill Tieleman, next time imagine something from outer-space

Anonymous said...

Taken beyond the "China File", free speech is under assault around the world from the Left & Right via the device of globalized BIG MEDIA.

Through the pervasive efforts of government, corporate interests & religious extremism . . . Free Speech and even Free Thought live in fear of being denounced as politically incorrect.

Once a person for whatever their views is publically labelled . . . "politically incorrect", it is a licence for any extremist to attack the denounced one as an . . .enemy of the people.

Move over Anti-Semitism and Homophobia the new scapegoat on the block is anyone who dares to think and then speak their own mind.

Our consent is no longer being manufactured it is being dictated !


G West said...

Strange isn't it - that people trying to defend the Chinese government actually make the situation worse by continuing to cite the same bankrupt ideas and excuses over and over again.

Thanks again Bill for speaking out and providing Canadians with an opportunity to make their views known about what's happening in China.

The Chinese academics (teaching at Universities in China) I know would never feel free to actually make their views known in China (they'd lose their jobs or worse)- but it never stopped them from speaking about conditions there privately.

I think the behavior of your interlocutors has proved your case beyond all doubt.

Sad really.

Gary E said...

If it is proved that these death threats originate in Canada as has been suggested then the originators are in deeper ka-ka than they thought. You see under the constitution you are in almost as much trouble for uttering the threat than you would be for carrying it out.

I think the same way as Bill. ANYONE who threatens me with physical harm better be ready to accept my self defence. And further don't be a coward and hide behind "anonymous". Give me your name and adress.

Anonymous said...

It is time to call an end to the Olympic games. They have been hijacked by greed. The public are not watching these games as in the past, tireing of the commercialism around the games.

I heard one statistic that 25% of attendees are politicians from all levels of government from various countries. Yup, you and me paying for all these idiots to be there.

Anonymous said...

Computer Geeks, Alert!

Please explain to some of the commentors on this thread that it's not necessary to live in Vancouver if they want to read Bill Tieleman or 24 HOURS.

If anybody Googles certain subjects from anywhere in the world, Bill's name shows up.

Good grief, there are even translator buttons to press, if people need to read the stuff in Mandarin.

Sheesh. Such silly arguments.

BC Mary


noto said...

George Orwell said it best when he said, "Nationalism is the last refuge of scoundrels." No bigger ones than the thugs who control the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). There are no intellectual freedoms allowed in China, certainly no free speech. With no ideology left, the CCP are clearly not Communists anymore, yet still retain all the other instruments of control and repression. They have since draped themselves in the flag of ultra nationalism; the people of China are allowed to vent their feelings in 2 and now 3 officially sanctioned arenas: anti American, anti Japanese and now anti Tibet/Dalai Lama sentiment. The managed crowds outside the US embassy in Beijing who threw rocks during the spy plane and Belgrade embassy bombing, the burning of Toyotas during the sanctioned anti Japanese demonstrations and now the concerted anti Tibet, anti western media attacks are proof of the hand of the CCP.
All Chinese people should rightly be very proud of their culture and heritage, but not be confused into thinking that the object of this loyalty should be the CCP. The ingenuity and determination of the Chinese can be seen in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan and in the communities across South East Asia and indeed across the world. Canadians have seen these traits first hand. These people did not have the CCP hindering them and could flower as they have. All the people being critical of your blog and parroting the CCP line need to work on righting the CCP first.

great leap forward said...

okay gwai loh white devil boy tielman you diss China maybe not such good idea maybe surprise next home time deliverd of the Chinese food open fortune cookie maybe big surprise for white devils maybe picture there of Gordo inside fortune cookie! HaH!
great moving and leaping forward clearly...hah picture of Gordo maybe Rich Coleman up your cookies white devil spoil dinner you ding ho guy

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:13 pm

Thank you for your perspective as someone who can speak Tibetan.

One thing we can and should, if one can use the word "congratulate" the Communist Party of China for not cracking down on the scale as June 4.

I would recommend people to listen to this:
it's most instructive as John Kamm of the Duihua Foundation has a very unique perspective with dealing with the CPC on the hhuman rights issue. What's more important is that he gets results...


Anonymous said...

Great Leap Forward,
It's people like you that make ALL Chinese people look bad, ignorant and intemperate.
This is a forum, Canada is a country where freedom of speech is guaranteed as long as one doesn't threaten or utter hateful language.
Grow up and use proper language.

Tang Ran

Anonymous said...

You're ugly

Anonymous said...

Took a picture with "The Law" does not make you The Law, or representitive of the law.

Anonymous said...

Many of the Chinese posters here remind me of an incident that I experienced as an ESL teacher in Vancouver a few years ago. I taught a mixed class of int'l students, especially from Korea and Japan.

Many of these students expressed surprise at the extent of the Chinese population in the Lower Mainland and wondered why Canada has invited so many Mainland Chinese to emigrate here.

I had assumed that, as East Asian neighbours of China, these students would have approved of Canada's approach re: China. To my surprise, most Korean and Japanese students expressed their dislike of China, generally citing cultural and political issues. Some even told me that Canada should review our approach re: Chinese immigration.

At that time, I believed that my students were myopic and alarmist in their opinions, but now I can appreciate just how justified their comments really were...

G West said...

Not sure this will make you feel any better Bill...but I think you've become th 'target' of some nasty and - given the story linked to here - probably coordinated action by a group of people for whom debate, discussion and free speech are just meaningless words.

Have a look:

Anonymous said...

Be patient and let me make my point.
I just saw on CBC's National's re-broadcast of the 2006 March broadcast of Mark Kelly's piece "Behind the Hunt", the seal hunt: "Mark Kelley visits Newfoundland, the Magdalen Islands, and Washington, D.C. to see all sides of the seal hunt debate. First aired March 22, 2006"
You can see the video here:

The similarities between the seal hunt and the China-Tibet-Beijing Olympics is astounding.

As in the C-T-BO, there's also 3 sides to this story and all 3 sides are just as passionate.

What is in question are the believes and the way of life of two peoples and the outside world. In the case of the seal hunt, they are the Newfoundland sealers, the celebrities against the seal hunt and the protesters.

In the C-T-BO case, they are the Tibetans, the Chinese and the rest of the world, esp. the democracies of the world including the UN.

The imagery is strikingly similar. The Chinese government beats up on the Tibetans, the majority of the Han Chinese diaspora all over the world came to defend the honour of the Motherland.

There are differences too, obviously. Tibetans are not eaten by anyone except that their way of life, their religious believes, their religion leader and their Autonomous Region's autonomy which are all guaranteed by the Constitution of the People's Republic of China are stomped on by the Beijing government.

And as Anonymous 9:13 wrote, the Tibetans' are seriously discriminated against and subjugated in their own homeland by the Han Chinese that Beijing is sending there to achieve a cultural hegemony.

No matter how much money Beijing spend on the infrastructure in Tibet, as long as they are being told that the DL is evil and the source of all the turmoils in Tibet, then the Tibetans will not "heel."

It's just like the rest of the world is telling Beijing that in spite of the fact that China is a member of the UN, it is assume that they would abide by all the rules of the UN including the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

But then as evidence shows that the rulers in Beijing are not abiding by the PRC's own Constitution, what chances are there of them abiding by some piece of paper there were signed by the Republic of China.

Maybe I'm just naive to hope that the Beijing rulers would listen to the world and lose face.

Tang Ran

dmc said...

Lets talk human rights violations here in Canada. Like when I learned I was a victim of identity thieft, I went to legal aid, only to learn that the BC govn't CLOSED down their offices, shortly after I made an application? Then, there was the time I told BC police that I believed I am a victim of crime! 3x's, RCMP showed me the door, then my local dept. threw me into the psyc ward! It was only 10 days which is for observation, that I'm sure left the Dr.s undecided, as the arresting officer said to me,'you are more articulate then most of them'!? But, still no respect for my rights, safety and justice! THIS IS THE CANADA THAT I KNOW!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that.

Here's something on YouTube:

Caveat: This is Mr. Nebe's company's website:
These are the reasons the video has this bias:
"On January 8, 2007 Mr. Nebe was appointed International Business Advisor to the Information Office of the Provincial Government of Xinjiang and Xinjiang Electronic Media in the People's Republic of China."

You decide if this video is THE TRUTH or just the Xinjiang government's "version of the truth."


Anonymous said...

No country, Canada include is perfect.
I sympathise with the treatment you received, but please blame that on the Gordon CAMPBELL's BC Liberal government's policy:
They have left the laws on the books but cut the funding for the enforcement arm of the ministries eversince they came to power.
If you want to complain about the unfortunate treatment you received, write to the Hon. Gordon Campbell, write to your MLA, write to your MP.
If you want to complain about how the RCMP treated you, file a complain to the RCMP Complaint Commissioner.
Yes, in Canada, the treatment of the First Nations is a huge blemish on the country's record. But at least in Canada, there is a process to hold the 3 levels of government to the Human Rights laws. We can talk about it, write about it, complain about it without the fear of having the Armed Police coming to take us away in the middle of the night. That's why we have to work hard to fight against the erosion of the CDN Charter of Rights of Freedoms that the federal Conservative government are doing now.
Learn about what they are doing with Bill C-50, re the Immigration Act and how they want to get the one-word change to the Act passed by embedding it in the Federal Budget...
"Stand up! Stand up! those who don't want to be slaves..."


Anonymous said...

China Rebel Is Denied Chance to Appeal in Subversion Case

New York Times

Published: April 18, 2008

BEIJING — One of China’s most prominent human rights advocates has missed the deadline to appeal his recent conviction for inciting subversion after prison guards denied him the chance to meet with his lawyer to discuss whether to proceed, his wife and his lawyer said Thursday.

The advocate, Hu Jia, 34, had faced a Monday appeals deadline. His lawyer, Li Fangping, said he went to the detention center on Monday afternoon intending to learn Mr. Hu’s decision on whether to appeal — a move his family encouraged.

But Mr. Li said he waited for several hours as prison guards prevented a meeting. He said he eventually drafted a motion for an appeal, but a guard refused to forward it to Mr. Hu for his signature. Instead, the guard instructed Mr. Li to mail the motion to the responsible court authorities — which he did a day later.

“I definitely can say that my work as a lawyer has been seriously restricted,” Mr. Li said. He said guards had told him that Mr. Hu was not available because he was undergoing a medical examination.

On April 3, Mr. Hu was sentenced to three and half years in prison after a Beijing court determined that his critical essays about the Communist Party threatened the state and incited subversion. His conviction elicited international condemnation, including from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Mr. Hu’s case was raised by reporters on Thursday at the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s regular news briefing. Jiang Yu, a ministry spokeswoman, said, “the case has been dealt with according to the law of process and the law of China.”

Mr. Hu is a well-known human rights crusader who helps AIDS patients. He also wrote a blog that provided information about other dissidents and social problems. His conviction was based on a handful of essays, often blistering, in which he criticized the party’s failure to improve its human rights record.

His wife, Zeng Jinyan, said she was uncertain if he wanted to appeal. She said she had tried to call the judge in charge of the case, but no one answered the telephone. “I don’t think we can do anything about the situation right now, unless the judicial system in China makes changes,” she said.

Ms. Zeng, a blogger, has been under virtual house arrest for months as she cares for her infant daughter. Two cars and eight security agents are posted outside her apartment building and follow her if she visits her parents or goes shopping, she said.

Mr. Li said Mr. Hu had also been considering seeking a medical parole because of health problems, including hepatitis B.

Anonymous said...

Reading the comments on this post really brings home to me how important, and yet fragile, freedom of speech is.

Thank you, Bill, for the courage you bring to your job every day and your perseverance in the face of the threats and insults exhibited in the comments.

Anonymous said...

From China Digital Times:
Student blogger Mengsha, a member of the Zhuang minority, writes her thoughts about ethnic relations in China and the Tibet issue on a blog, partially translated by CDT:

I suddenly remembered this event. In the summer of 2005, seven of us, all from a student theater group, went to Chengdu to attend a college student theater festival. After the performance, we took a train from Chengdu to go back to Lanzhou. There were only a few passengers in the car, almost all of whom got off within the borders of Sichuan province. After dark, there were only a few Tibetans and seven of us in our car. Soon a railway conductor came and asked us to sit in another car for safety reasons. We took our things and left the car. Now looking back, if I were one of those Tibetans at that time, how would I feel about this? Where did this feeling of “us” being threatened [by “them”] come from?
In my sophomore year I was in a dance group at the university. Our teacher especially invited two Tibetan students from the University of Nationalities to come to teach us. After they gave us lessons, they invited us to come to dance parties in their university. I really wanted to go, but no one else wanted to, so I did not go - because I dared not go there by myself. This psychology is interesting; most of us have never seen any unusual or bad behavior by students of other ethnic groups. But we are afraid of them for unknown reasons.
To me, it is even more puzzling, because I am part of a minority ethnic group myself. I am Zhuang. But my classmates do not seem to think very much of this. My roommates only noticed the difference when we were given “student aid for living expenses” each month: I got one Yuan more than them. How much can you really buy for one Yuan? Two steamed buns. But they will protest exaggeratedly: “This is not fair! You are not poorer than us!” They were just joking with me, and this is because they see me as part of “us.” I was not really being treated differently. We discuss such issues openly. One roommate said, “That is because you look just like us, (I insert: ‘but you always say I look Vietnamese’) and we have similar habits and customs in daily life. If you wear strange clothes, don’t eat this, don’t eat that, and get up in the middle of night to pray, than we may not get along that well.” Another roommate was even more direct: “You are too short. You can’t win if you fight with us.”
…Later in my college life these were small events. Because we had many Muslim students, our university has a special dining hall for Muslims. Last year, the university assigned a Han Chinese as the manager of the Muslim dinning hall, so some Muslim students protested. The result was that some Han Chinese students got really pissed off. Some wrote on BBS: The government has been very accommodating to you people, why are you still not satisfied? Why should we accommodate your customs, instead of you accommodating ours? The government has given you a privileged policy and you still want more? (Please note, there are many such viewpoints in online commentaries about recent events in Tibet.) And the rebuttal post (from Muslim students) then asked, Why does the government consider its policy toward ethnic groups as a “special favor”? Maybe the government itself thinks that’s a “special favor” [not us]? Why whenever we demand something, is it immediately considered as “rebellion”?
These are my experiences of relations between different nationalities in the university. Simply put, the gap comes when both sides cannot communicate with each other.
But if I have to look for more reasons in other areas, I gradually realized that the government and some Han people think of it as charity to give ethnic minorities “favors,” and that these minorities should stay in their place after being given such “favors.” They should not misbehave, or be so different [from Han]. But the problem is, the cultural and religious traditions of minority groups have far deeper historical roots than the government. You cannot expect a little “favor” could change that. As for the gap between people in different ethnic groups, I think they come from the following two aspects:
First, under the current political system, ideology is almost as important as sovereignty. To the Communist Party, it would be best if every Chinese believed their official ideology - so-called Marxism with Chinese characteristics. But there are still many people who believe in religion. And for those who do not believe in religion, the official ideology is not very attractive to them either. Therefore there are three different attitudes: those who loyally believe the official ideology (I really do not want to call it “socialism” or “communism”); those who do not believe but at least do not openly oppose it (I am one of them); and those who do not believe [the official ideology] but have their own beliefs. For the Communist Party, which based its legitimacy to rule on economic performance and nationalist ideology, the last kind is most terrifying. The state’s distrust of those who do not believe in the state ideology diffuses into the society, creating the gap between different ethnic groups.
Second, Chinese political culture has never been interested in protecting an individual’s rights and freedom, because it considers individual rights to be created by the state, and they can be taken back [by the state] at any time. The natural extension of such disrespect for individual rights is disrespect for minority’s rights. People believe it is normal if you are just like others; otherwise, you are abnormal. People always sided with the majority and are afraid to be different from others. There even some people who distance themselves and mistreat minorities in order to show their identity with the majority. This is not limited to the area of relations between nationalities. Also, if we take a serious look at the numbers, we will see many times that those “minorities” are actually a very large group of people.
I think that if the government still insists on impossible goals such as “unifying thoughts,” there will be only more friction between different cultures and people. The best policy is to allow different cultures to co-exist. If a society cannot tolerate different thoughts and different cultures, if it cannot tolerate minorities and independent individuals, then its development is very problematic. Even if one can temporarily suppress those dissatisfactions, it is even worse when those suppressed dissatisfactions accumulate. If I have to say that what I hope China will learn from all these events this year, it should be: more tolerance, more openness, more freedom.

Anonymous said...

forget tibet--boycott because of pollution! 600.000 people die each year in bejiing from air pollution! tens of thousands more from toxic water!--17 of the 20 most polluted rivers in the world are in china---and I buried my cat because of toxic food a year ago! from 2004 to 2005 chinas emissions went up more in one year than all the emissions in canada! and the fact that china is going to turn off its pollution fot 2 weeks for the olympics,and when everyone has left --go back to killing their own with pollution! thats the reason to boycott china--for health concerns!

Anonymous said...

Han Chinese intolerance towards their own ethnic minorities puts Chinese-Canadian allegations of "bias" and "prejudice" in appropriate perspective.

Anonymous said...

The fact that so many people from many different countries are protesting should send a message to the believers. Ask yourselves, why so much anti-China sentiment? HOw is it that you are all so misunderstood? The same goes for Americans. So many anti-Americans around the world, and they just don't get it.

dmc said...

ANON 11:50, you suggest that I write to my local authorities... BEEN THERE, DONE THAT! That's why I write about it... You as well have made comments in paragraph 3, where you come across as a know-it-all? As for Ottawa, I'M HERE! STANDING UP FOR THE CHARTER OF RIGHTS! Now, kindly get up off your ass, and practice what you preach!

Anonymous said...

I do agree with at least one posting above, from Anonymous 7:09:

Bill Tieleman is a rascal.

Anonymous said...

FYI, The NEBE YouTube piece has been blocked in the PRC according to my friend living there.

Tang-Ran 唐人

MaKina said...

Thank you Bill for not looking the other way and spreading the truth.

I agree that China's appalling human rights abuses can no longer be ignored and human rights have to take precedence over China's political agenda making a farce of the true Olympic spirit.

The intensified crackdown on Falun Gong since Jan. 1--2000 were arrested--and counting, hasn't been publicized at all. The cover up is huge--if you think that the crackdown on Tibet is huge--think again.


Anonymous said...

I find it fascinating that these Olympic torch protests are being twisted as anti-Chinese, surely a propaganda coup for the Chinese Communist Party. Beyond that, I am dismayed when I see educated people from China have no curiosity to learn more about their own country. Surely it is worth trying to understand why Tibetans and Uighurs show disagreement with Chinese government policies.

No country teaches history perfectly and all countries put a slant on their history. But at least in places like Canada, US, EU there is a lot of criticism of past events and policies taken. It is normal to go into a history class in such countries and discuss past atrocities as well as past successes. It seems that the Chinese people must accept that now they are on the international stage, there will be additional call for self-criticism. I hope they will eventually welcome this call and not see it as anti-Chinese.

DL said...

It was interesting to watch on TV the torch thing in Thailand. Lots of new little Chinese flags on one side and protesters on the other side. In the middle, a huge number of cops and inside them , a bunch of so called Chinese volunteer runners, who I happened to notice have discovered a way to run sideways. Now that takes some training I should think.

This whole Olympics is getting a bit silly. Keep hauling out the local cops and the support group and the protest folks will get bigger crowds.
What a lead up to athletic competion.

Anonymous said...

I received this email via a friend.
It was from Grace WANG, she's the student at Duke University who tried to be the "peace-maker" between the two camps of pro-China and pro-Tibetan protesters. For her trouble she was vilified and ...
I'll let you read her own words.

All I can add is "Shame on those who vilified her."

She now joins the honoured ranks of Chinese university students who can not return to the Motherland ...

Vancouver. BC



Caught in the Middle, Called a Traitor
By Grace Wang
Sunday, April 20, 2008; B01

I study languages -- Italian, French and German. And this summer -- now that
it looks as though I won't be able to go home to China -- I'll take up
Arabic. My goal is to master 10 languages, in addition to Chinese and
English, by the time I'm 30.

I want to do this because I believe that language is the bridge to
understanding. Take China and Tibet. If more Chinese learned the Tibetan
language, and if Tibetans learned more about China, I'm convinced that our
two peoples would understand one another better and we could overcome the
current crisis between us peacefully. I feel that even more strongly after
what happened here at Duke University a little more than a week ago.

Trying to mediate between Chinese and pro-Tibetan campus protesters, I was
caught in the middle and vilified and threatened by the Chinese. After the
protest, the intimidation continued online, and I began receiving
threatening phone calls. Then it got worse -- my parents in China were also
threatened and forced to go into hiding. And I became persona non grata in
my native country.

It has been a frightening and unsettling experience. But I'm determined to
speak out, even in the face of threats and abuse. If I stay silent, then the
same thing will happen to someone else someday.

So here's my story.

When I first arrived at Duke last August, I was afraid I wouldn't like it.
It's in the small town of Durham, N.C., and I'm from Qingdao, a city of 4.3
million. But I eventually adjusted, and now I really love it. It's a diverse
environment, with people from all over the world. Over Christmas break, all
the American students went home, but that's too expensive for students from
China. Since the dorms and the dining halls were closed, I was housed
off-campus with four Tibetan classmates for more than three weeks.

I had never really met or talked to a Tibetan before, even though we're from
the same country. Every day we cooked together, ate together, played chess
and cards. And of course, we talked about our different experiences growing
up on opposite sides of the People's Republic of China. It was eye-opening
for me.

I'd long been interested in Tibet and had a romantic vision of the Land of
Snows, but I'd never been there. Now I learned that the Tibetans have a
different way of seeing the world. My classmates were Buddhist and had a
strong faith, which inspired me to reflect on my own views about the meaning
of life. I had been a materialist, as all Chinese are taught to be, but now
I could see that there's something more, that there's a spiritual side to

We talked a lot in those three weeks, and of course we spoke in Chinese. The
Tibetan language isn't the language of instruction in the better secondary
schools there and is in danger of disappearing. Tibetans must be educated in
Mandarin Chinese to succeed in our extremely capitalistic culture. This made
me sad, and made me want to learn their language as they had learned mine.

I was reminded of all this on the evening of April 9. As I left the
cafeteria planning to head to the library to study, I saw people holding
Tibetan and Chinese flags facing each other in the middle of the quad. I
hadn't heard anything about a protest, so I was curious and went to have a
look. I knew people in both groups, and I went back and forth between them,
asking their views. It seemed silly to me that they were standing apart, not
talking to each other. I know that this is often due to a language barrier,
as many Chinese here are scientists and engineers and aren't confident of
their English.

I thought I'd try to get the two groups together and initiate some dialogue,
try to get everybody thinking from a broader perspective. That's what Lao
Tzu, Sun Tzu and Confucius remind us to do. And I'd learned from my dad
early on that disagreement is nothing to be afraid of. Unfortunately,
there's a strong Chinese view nowadays that critical thinking and dissidence
create problems, so everyone should just keep quiet and maintain harmony.

A lot has been made of the fact that I wrote the words "Free Tibet" on the
back of the American organizer of the protest, who was someone I knew. But I
did this at his request, and only after making him promise that he would
talk to the Chinese group. I never dreamed how the Chinese would seize on
this innocent action. The leaders of the two groups did at one point try to
communicate, but the attempt wasn't very successful.

The Chinese protesters thought that, being Chinese, I should be on their
side. The participants on the Tibet side were mostly Americans, who really
don't have a good understanding of how complex the situation is. Truthfully,
both sides were being quite closed-minded and refusing to consider the
other's perspective. I thought I could help try to turn a shouting match
into an exchange of ideas. So I stood in the middle and urged both sides to
come together in peace and mutual respect. I believe that they have a lot in
common and many more similarities than differences.

But the Chinese protesters -- who were much more numerous, maybe 100 or
more -- got increasingly emotional and vocal and wouldn't let the other side
speak. They pushed the small Tibetan group of just a dozen or so up against
the Duke Chapel doors, yelling "Liars, liars, liars!" This upset me. It was
so aggressive, and all Chinese know the moral injunction: Junzi dongkou, bu
dongshou (The wise person uses his tongue, not his fists).

I was scared. But I believed that I had to try to promote mutual
understanding. I went back and forth between the two groups, mostly talking
to the Chinese in our language. I kept urging everyone to calm down, but it
only seemed to make them angrier. Some young men in the Chinese group --
those we call fen qing (angry youth) -- started yelling and cursing at me.

What a lot of people don't know is that there were many on the Chinese side
who supported me and were saying, "Let her talk." But they were drowned out
by the loud minority who had really lost their cool.

Some people on the Chinese side started to insult me for speaking English
and told me to speak Chinese only. But the Americans didn't understand
Chinese. It's strange to me that some Chinese seem to feel as though not
speaking English is expressing a kind of national pride. But language is a
tool, a way of thinking and communicating.

At the height of the protest, a group of Chinese men surrounded me, pointed
at me and, referring to the young woman who led the 1989 student democracy
protests in Tiananmen Square, said, "Remember Chai Ling? All Chinese want to
burn her in oil, and you look like her." They said that I had mental
problems and that I would go to hell. They asked me where I was from and
what school I had attended. I told them. I had nothing to hide. But then it
started to feel as though an angry mob was about to attack me. Finally, I
left the protest with a police escort.

Back in my dorm room, I logged onto the Duke Chinese Students and Scholars
Association (DCSSA) Web site and listserv to see what people were saying.
Qian Fangzhou, an officer of DCSSA, was gloating, "We really showed them our

I posted a letter in response, explaining that I don't support Tibetan
independence, as some accused me of, but that I do support Tibetan freedom,
as well as Chinese freedom. All people should be free and have their basic
rights protected, just as the Chinese constitution says. I hoped that the
letter would spark some substantive discussion. But people just criticized
and ridiculed me more.

The next morning, a storm was raging online. Photographs of me had been
posted on the Internet with the words "Traitor to her country!" printed
across my forehead. Then I saw something really alarming: Both my parents'
citizen ID numbers had been posted. I was shocked, because this information
could only have come from the Chinese police.

I saw detailed directions to my parents' home in China, accompanied by calls
for people to go there and teach "this shameless dog" a lesson. It was then
that I realized how serious this had become. My phone rang with callers
making threats against my life. It was ironic: What I had tried so hard to
prevent was precisely what had come to pass. And I was the target.

I talked to my mom the next morning, and she said that she and my dad were
going into hiding because they were getting death threats, too. She told me
that I shouldn't call them. Since then, short e-mail messages have been our
only communication. The other day, I saw photos of our apartment online; a
bucket of feces had been emptied on the doorstep. More recently I've heard
that the windows have been smashed and obscene posters have been hung on the
door. Also, I've been told that after convening an assembly to condemn me,
my high school revoked my diploma and has reinforced patriotic education.

I understand why people are so emotional and angry; the events in Tibet have
been tragic. But this crucifying of me is unacceptable. I believe that
individual Chinese know this. It's when they fire each other up and act like
a mob that things get so dangerous.

Now, Duke is providing me with police protection, and the attacks in Chinese
cyberspace continue. But contrary to my detractors' expectations, I haven't
shriveled up and slunk away. Instead, I've responded by publicizing this
shameful incident, both to protect my parents and to get people to reflect
on their behavior. I'm no longer afraid, and I'm determined to exercise my
right to free speech.

Because language is the bridge to understanding.


Grace Wang is a freshman at Duke University. Scott Savitt, a visiting scholar in Duke's Chinese media studies program, assisted in writing this article.


Anonymous said...

The Chinese "runners" accompanying the Olympic Torch are actually elite paramilitary police officers, not athletes. China's decision to use such "runners" testifies to Beijing's fear and anxiety re: global protests.

Anonymous said...

Differing levels of education among Chinese have little relation to their ability (or lack thereof) to understand or appreciate the necessity for open debate and honest criticism re: China.

It's frustrating and worrying to see so many Chinese who have immigrated to Canada (presumably for a better life here) react blindly and intolerantly towards any discussion of Tibetan issues.

Such inflexible attitudes should be confronted by more enlightened leaders of the local Chinese comunity, but these seem to be few and far between - or perhaps such leaders don't even exist?

Anonymous said...

generational brain washing--the chinese can`t handle the truth!-if the claims of tibetan abuse were false, the chinese wouldn`t be freaking out! I have read comments on this blog about (canada and quebec) and I admit that QUEBEC HAS BEEN TORTUING THE REST OF CANADA! the truth hurts ---and I realize that the chinese are taking the position of what about-darfur--afganastan--congo-native americans--hitler--etc etc etc thats what people do to try and shift blame!--------sorry china,you have a long way to go--the IOC should have never given the olympic games---I liken it to giving money to a teenager before they have done their chores!

Anonymous said...

I am From main land china....My Chinese Brothers and Sisters in and around the world is worrying of loosing our identity..being chinese i would like to remind you the Why We Have 1989 crack down by our Government and Our Communist Govt is alway against Human Rights and Freedom of Speech... i hope everyone one of you Know it..because you left our main land and settled in foreign Courtries.... and still you are saying something about our brothers and sisters in china.....i love democratic.. like you all but We Dont Have those Freedom...so Support our cause and be with our freedom

tinaz said...

Anonymous wrote:

"Tibet to China is exactly like Quebec to Canada. I did not see any article from Mr. Tieleman talking about "Free Quebec". Looks like Mr. Tieleman has double standard, or the bottom line is he hates China, hates Chinese?"

Bill may not have referred to Québec because the people of that province do not want separation. And Québec can hardly be placed in the same category as Tibet.

What I find strange is the Dalai Lama saying on CBC that he is considering stepping down and he is of the mind that people should not boycott the Chinese Olympics. Sometimes you wonder on which side of the fence people are really on?

Tina Z

Anonymous said...

I think the Canadian government should start to check out the newcomers to see how many of them
end up on welfare after moving to our country. Furthermore, they also take full advantage
of our healthcare system. These people flock to our fair nation to piss on our streets (sic)
because they do this at home. They should follow our ways and our cultures or go back
to where they come from. We already cater to Bilingualism which is a farce in itself, and we
will just end up catering to other religions and culture.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to believe, considering their population numbers at home and abroad, how any Han Chinese could credibly be "worrying of loosing our identity " (sic). That is more likely to be true of Tibetans and other ethnic minorities within China. As a non-Chinese resident of Richmond, it's also a claim that I might make in my own community.

Anonymous said...

We spend way too much time kissing the visible minority's arse, and they in return bite the hand that feeds them. There are far more important things to worry about. Minorities aren't as hard done by as they let on. It's always something. They're never satisfied, and they never will be as long as they practice a different religion or of a different skin colour than their neighbour, co-worker or teammate. It's become a silly little game
that cost taxpayers. My advice: learn to cope people.

Anonymous said...

The suggestion for Canada to screen newcomers more closely is a valid one. Social welfare and health care abuses, as cited previously, are potential issues which should be investigated further.

A less serious, but possibly more annoying, aspect of Canada's multicultural approach to immigration and settlement is the relative ignorance of Canadian customs and expectations.

For example, I recently drew my condo building manager's attention (again) to ongoing illegal social practices committed by other residents of my strata complex, the vast majority of whom are ethnic Han Chinese.

The manager (who is also Chinese himself) told me that he was well aware of my concerns (hygiene, garbage and security volations) but that he was powerless to change the situation due to "cultural differences" between the strata council and Chinese residents. When I pressed him for a solution, he actually suggested that I consider "moving to another building".

It is such daily social realities (and political issues like the Tibet question) that seriously make some Canadians wonder about the wisdom of Chinese immigration.

Anonymous said...

gordon campbell will be on the bill good show--april 22 -on cknw 98 am--between 8 am 12 I am not sure what segment--let campbell know what you think

Anonymous said...

Well said 12:36 PM. We have allowed our country to be taken over by so called "visible minorities". Many are great people and welcome but their bretheren bring many of their problems with them. Many do not respect Canada. Many are here for the free healthcare and child benefits. We must stop granting citizenship after just 3 years. Immigrants must be made to wait at least 25 years for citizenship, Canada Pension, Unemployment insurance, and healthcare benefits or noone will have these benefits in the future.

Anonymous said...

Canada's on strike, Canada says "no more!", thats right, no more immigrants from mainland china (excluding Tibet, Taiwan and British Hong Kong)
Hey Red Commies, If you don't like Canadian Culture GO HOME!! or go to Quebec we don't want them either!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry and am shocked to hear about threats Bill. You want to know who the real minorities are turning out to be. Those of us whose families have been here for generations and founded this country. Immigrants are moving here now and exploiting Canada and its traditions. When I was living in Calgary, I felt all alone as a Caucasian in my neighbourhood. If it was up to me, I'd lock down the Immigration system and send them all back. A lot of them are coming here and joining gangs, upping the crime rate, murder, prostitution and the drug trade. It's very concerning.

Anonymous said...

One possible measure to combat newcomer social ignorance might be a "Cultural IQ" test to be administered to all potential "new Canadians" prior to granting of Permanent Resident status. Further cultural assessment should be applied when citizenship is sought. Failure to score highly on these tests should result in the withdrawal of residency privileges.

Fei said...

Regarding what the last "anonymous" writer wrote, it's the typical white supremency mentality. That's all we need to say, there's no point in even responding to his/her pathetic point of view.

Anonymous said...

Bill Tieleman, I wish you sleep with nightmares at night, hahahahaa!

Anonymous said...

Labelling legitimate dissent as "typical white supremency mentality" (sic) neither negates nor invalidates the actual idea being proposed. Such conditioned responses simply suggest an inability to meet the original proposal with any substantial rebuttal.

Bo Yang said...

To last anonymous speaker:

Actually, Fei's got a point. The individual had said: "If it was up to me, I'd lock down the Immigration system and send them all back. A lot of them are coming here and joining gangs, upping the crime rate, murder, prostitution and the drug trade. It's very concerning."

Even elementary school children can detect the unflattering and prejudice tone within this passage.

And oh, regarding your "Such conditioned responses simply suggest an inability to meet the original proposal with any substantial rebuttal." I'd say
"Your play with semantics obvious shows your lacks of interest in the topic at hand", and that throwing "big words" like that around makes you even more foolish than you may realize.

Bo Yang said...

Furthermore, a lot of violence instigated between the gangs here are because of drug trafficking and prostitution indeed, but perhaps you neglect the contributions that immigrants make to this country. This country was built by immigrants, some who have been here for a long time, while some who have only recently arrived. These immigrants come from all continents of the world. Your "earlier arrival" does not give you more right or more precedence over any other majority or minority group. It's shocking to see that no one else as responded to this anonymous individual's view on "kicking out the immigrants". As a foreigner who's grown up here, I am truly sickened by this remark. This is EXACTLY the reason (such mentality) Why so many immigrants find it hard to be assimilated into the, oh let me put it this way, "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant" majority.

Bo Yang said...

Actually, I find it quite funny; nobody here has been on Wu Jia's blog and read his words in Chinese, right? If you do, you'll find much hatred and language in there, that by no odd chance would get the government's forces down on him.

He is lucky already. The fact that in today's China, the worst thing he gets is ONLY imprisonment him.

Furthermore, he is not a stranger to demonstrations, he has been in quite a few anti-Japan and anti-West demonstrations. He also focused his work on the Chinese democracy movement, which is a sore thumb for China.

But what really ticked many Chinese off this time (authorities or otherwise), is that fact that he has been denouncing China's ability to hold the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

These actions of his has been condemned by many Chinese bloggers (he has removed condemnatory postings by Chinese on his Windows Live Spaces blog: http://hujiachina.spaces.live.com/default.aspx

Anonymous said...

Bo Yang...I think you mean Hu Jia, not Wu Jia.

Anonymous said...

bo yang is lying...
bo yang is lying...


Anonymous said...

Anti-Japan protests in China are prefabricated "demonstrations" instigated by the CP to distract people from the real source of China's problems - the Beijing regime. This is known to most people outside China, except for expatriate Chinese, who follow their innate tendency to blndly believe Beijing propaganda and blame others - Japan, the West, Caucasian people, etc. - for their own misery.

Anonymous said...

Bo Yang confuses my "Cultural IQ" posting with other "white supremacist" pieces here. At no time did I suggest that immigrants are unwelcome here or that only some nationalities should be invited to come here. If you read my "Cultural IQ" posting carefuly, you won't find any "racist" sentiments there.

Thus, I took offense when I was attacked by "Fei" in such a way and that's why I posted my response, which you then described as "foolish" because of my "big words".

I'm sure that you wouldn't agree if I considered all Chinese posters to have a monolithic (sorry - "big word") opinion on this blog, so I would also appreciate not being labelled unfairly.

If my actual ideas were addressed in a civilised manner, I would be happy to discuss them here with anyone, Chinese or otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to whoever made my history very miserable
In my next life, I don't wanna be a Chinese. i'll cease being Chinese.