Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Tieleman responds to critics of column on China Olympics and boycott suggestion

There has been an overwhelming response to my column in 24 hours newspaper on Tuesday titled "Let's boycott China altogether" and I want to respond to the many critics as well as make some additional points and answer questions.

First of all, let me make clear that I am not against the Chinese people. I oppose the actions of the Chinese government dictatorship and hope that eventually people in that country will have a real democracy, full human rights and civil liberties.

Second, I am deeply disappointed that many of those criticizing my column have sent me emails that can only be described as obscene and vicious. There is no place for such language and I will not respond to anyone who resorts to offensive words in place of reasoning and logic.

But I do welcome all posts and emails, including those that disagree with me vehemently, as you can see from some of the items below my column on this blog.

Third, to clarify, I personally do not buy products from any military dictatorship if at all possible, including China. This can be a challenge but I do not want my money helping to maintain an undemocratic government anywhere.

An interesting recent book titled: A Year Without "Made In China" by Sara Bongiorni, a reporter whose family did not buy any products from China for all of 2005.

And yes, I boycotted South African and Chilean products for many years as well. But I have not, despite the headline on my column, called for a Canadian government sanctioned boycott of China.

Fourth, no, I have not travelled to either China or Tibet. I believe there are more than enough credible and diverse sources of information to draw conclusions. I also have no interest in visiting dictatorships.

Fifth, there have indeed been many defective or contaminated products imported from China. I agree wholeheartedly with some postings that say the American or western companies responsible for importing them must be held to blame as well but that does not alter the fact that Chinese companies produced and exported them without proper quality control.

Sixth, the gratuitous insults aimed at the Dalai Lama are obviously copied from the Chinese government's laughable attempts to discredit a man the world recognizes for his non-violent approach and his humanitarian efforts.

Seventh, the status and history of Tibet as an independent nation is far from settled in China's favour, despite some of the claims of posters here and emailers. Tibet's future should be decided by Tibetans.

Eighth, many comments say: "Don't threaten or berate China or the situation will be even worse." Others say: "Trade with China will bring democracy and human rights." I disagree. These arguments are of great benefit to China and its interests but do not make sense, since the human rights situation has continued to deteriorate or fail to improve during a period when the world increased trading with China exponentially.

The other opponents of criticizing China are multinational corporations taking advantage of low wages, substandard working conditions and lax environmental regulations to produce goods there and boost their own profits.

Ninth, as one poster noted, Tibet is not Quebec. Quebec can democratically vote to leave Canada, separatists can openly run for both provincial and national office and can campaign for independence. Try that in Tibet and see what happens.

Tenth, China may claim Taiwan but that does not make it a province of China. Taiwan has an independent, democratically elected government. Taiwan's future will be decided by its own people, not the Chinese dictatorship.

Eleventh, some have said my opinions are "naive". So be it. Some also thought a prisoner named Nelson Mandela would never become the democratically elected President of South Africa in a vote by all citizens.

Twelfth, anyone who thinks the Olympic Games have no room for politics should do some research. China is using the Beijing Summer Games to attempt to legitimize its government and obscure criticism with a giant circus. However, I have not called for a boycott of the Games.

Thirteenth, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he is not "boycotting" the opening ceremonies but is obviously not attending without a given reason. He is diplomatically sending a message that is unmistakeable, as he did by meeting the Dalai Lama.

Fourteenth, I find it highly ironic that many posters who attack me have come to Canada from China - a place where they would find themselves quickly in jail for expressing opinions contrary to those published in a Chinese newspaper! Welcome to democracy and free speech, my friends.

Fifteenth, almost none of the approximately 100 or more negative emails and posts I received even mentioned the Amnesty International report on China's deteriorating human rights situation as the Olympics approach. Almost none could care less about the arbitrary jailing of Chinese citizens like Hu Jia who are standing up fearlessly for democracy despite the terrible price they must pay.

Contrast Hu's courage with many of my critics, who send vicious messages but hide behind fake email addresses or anonymously post their comments.

Lastly, I do apologize for an inadvertent error in referring to Chinese Ambassador to Canada Lu Shumin and Chinese democracy dissident Hu Jia on second references as Shumin and Jia, when it should have been Lu and Hu.

Once again, thank you for the attention this column has received and I will write in the near future again about China and the Beijing Olympics. All reasonable comments, against or in favour of my position, are welcome.

84 comments:

Anonymous said...

I THINK YOU ARE THE BIGGEST CONTRIBUTOR TO THE BIASED WESTERN MEDIA. LET' US BOYCOOT YOU, BILL TIELEMAN

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous:

you kind of slapped your own mouth by responding, instead of boycotting...

Jeff Barkley said...

The Olympic Games are now, more than ever, being used by sleezy governments to cover up, or put a nicer face on, their misdeeds. Witness the use of the 2010 Olympic Games here. Billions of dollars spent to provide a super spectacular party for the wealthy, while people sleep on the streets in horrible poverty. Lie after lie about how high the cost is, in dollars, people, and the environment. You, Bill, as usual, provide a breath of fresh air in the polluted stench of the mainstream media. You are to be commended for standing up for human rights, both here and abroad.

The individuals that attack people like yourself are either misguided by the manipulation of Television and the mass media, or, hopefully many fewer, are just thoughtless greedy people who only know the charity called "ME".

Thanks again for your "voice in the wilderness".

Anonymous said...

You have no idea of what is happening in China and you are just blinded by what you THOUGHT to be the truth. You want human right, you want democracy. What will you get? That is 1.3 billion Chinese people will regard you as a liar and SOB. Yes, that is right. 20% of the entire population on the earth don't like such a pathetic lose like you. Shame on you

Franklin Liao said...

I find it amazing how that the Chinese lobbying and persuasion efforts are serving an opposite effect. By sending vulgar threats to commentators and 'foreign' media, mounting verbal offensives on someone as visible as Dalai Lama and by a lack of transparency while using the 'only China understands' card, the pro-Beijing stance is rather hard to win over the hearts and minds of the observers.

As it is right now for Beijing, the dilemma of appealing to nationalism versus appearing to be tolerant seems to be on the nationalism side. That nationalism paints the Chinese as being oppressed and unfortunately leaves an ironic impression as the world compares the reaction of Han Chinese to the Tibetan... making it even harder to be more sympathetic for Beijing.

Regarding the issue of product quality, the Harper government has moved to place more liability on the importers and the manufacturers over the Canadian end apparently regarding product safety. Let us see how that goes.

(By the way Bill, your point number seven is missing out words to the entire sentence)

DPL said...

Turn on yout TV's right now and watch the mess unfolding in S.F right now. Torch parade cut in half, lots and lots of cops with a innercircle of Chines guards inside the cop lines. Cops of Jet skiis, a Duck in the middle in case somebody has to drive it into the ocean. I cannot believe it's just folks from Tibet in those massive crowds. when was the last time that much police present at a simply torch run. Sorry folks even writing in capitals telling us to boycot the poster of the article isn't going to change anything. I do beleive as well tha boycot picked up an extra O. Democratic countries simply don't usually get upset over Olympic parades but they sure are rilled up now. Back to the US News to see what's happen8ing right now. 14.40 local Wednesday. I go along at least partly with Jeff Barkley but don't believe Bill T. is the only voice in the wilderness. Listen to TV and radio from Europe, the US and elsewhere. a lot of upset folks.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,

Thanks for an interesting and reasoned response to critics of your column. I was one of the earlier commenters yesterday (I was concerned that your initial column was a bit too anti-Chinese people and not enough anti-Chinese government).

After I posted, I watched as the vicious, nationalistic, frightening comments piled up on your blog, and I was truly disturbed. I have been watching this happen all over the internet. It has been happening even (or especially) to Chinese citizens who voice opinions about Tibet that are different from the views presented by the Chinese media. Such Chinese people have been attacked as traitors.

Having lived and studied in China, I have a great deal of respect for Chinese people and their culture, but I do not respect this kind of behavior. I am sorry that you have been on the receiving end of it.

On an unrelated editorial note, your point number seven in today's response seems to have been cut off? I hope you'll be able to add in whatever is missing. Thanks! I always enjoy reading your columns so I hope this won't get you down.

Best wishes, M.

melva said...

what is number 7 supposed to be?

Chris said...

Great post Bill. I've noticed the pro-China crowd is extremely vocal and quick to denounce any criticism of their homeland. Don't let them get you down.

Anonymous said...

Back in 1936, the Hitler butt-kissers in North America (yes many in Canada too) attacked anyone who dared to write anything negative (concentration camps, mass deportations & executions) about the 1000 year German Master Race.

The same old "for the good of the Olympic sports & athletes" crap was being cranked out for the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Seventy-two years later, the Chinese Corporate-Communist elite has its Canadian stooges lining to B.J. for the same good $$$ excuses & reasons.

Keep up the good work Bill, six-million Jews and a few thousand Tibetians would understand.

Maybe a few secret police millionaires and their siblings in Canada need to lose even more face on this one.

The GREAT SATAN

Bill Tieleman said...

Sorry that point 7 was cut off - it has been fixed - thanks for notifying me.

Ryan said...

Bill,

I'm glad that you said what you did. We don't realize that buying goods from China has a horrible environmental and social effect on that country (not to mention that the shipping from there to here is idiotic and is a huge contributor to global warming).

It doesn't look like trade liberalization has helped China become "free," but the economic benefits have helped to keep the government in power. It's funny because I'll bet a lot of the people with nasty words for you are the same people that bitch about how Kyoto is unfair because China won't be forced to curtail their co2 while we are. News for those people: they are polluting to make products for us.

I'm no rabid nationalist, but what happened to Made in Canada? Shouldn't we be producing goods for our own market, rather than exploiting people who can barely afford the products they are making themselves? Doesn't it just make more sense from an economic and environmental perspective for both us and the Chinese?

Great job and keep up the good work.

Raymond said...

To Bill Tieleman

In response to your article written on April 8th, 2008 about Boycotting China. I would like to argue on some points that you've brought to attention. Starting from your first paragraph which you stated. "A country run by a vicious military dictatorship should never have been awarded the 2008 summer olympics." In what way is China run by vicious military dictatorship? Is China having armed forces patrol the street? Is China drafting people to the military, just so they can enforce its military force? To those questions, I give you the answers - No. For what reason stated from your quote, should China not be allowed to host the Summer Olympics? China has reached a new level and has become a strong political and economic power.
You also point out that China is not allowing journalists the freedom to report on the Olympics, but in reality, are the reporters actually reporting about the Olympics? You said how CBC was not able to access websites that China blocked, do you think that CBC was trying to access information about the olympics? Or were they trying to access something else? So what I'm trying to say here is that CBC might be the official broadcaster of the Olympics, but it is not the official broadcaster of China and has no right to access other information.
Another point you've brought up is how Taiwasn is a democratic "country." Please tell me how many countries actually recognizes Taiwan as a legitimate Country? No more than 23 third world countries who are paid to claim Taiwan as an independant country. But regardless how many countries that do or do not think Taiwan is a country, China still has history as proof. There was a civil war in China from 1927 to 1950, that occured between the communist party and the nationalistic parties of China. In the end, the communist party took over the mainland while the nationalistic party fled to Taiwan. Are the people of Taiwan not Chinese? People support Taiwan independance as if China is the bully who is trying to prevent separation. What do you think about the American Civil War? Should the Confederates suddenly claim that the southern states of America is not an independant country? In regards to the Dalai Lama, I think China has every right to accuse him because they have legitimate evidence. Just because somone wins a Nobel peace prize does not mean he does not have evil intentions. How else does Tibetans start up an uproar and start attacking innocent Han and Muslim ethnicity who resided in Tibet?
Also, using Stephen Harper (who isn't attending the opening of the Bejing Olympics) as an example to the reaction of Tibet, in my opinion, I say who cares? If Stephen Harper doesn't feel like showing up because of this, I say, why don't you don't go to China at all. Too bad for China, Stephen Harper is not going to show up. Big deal!
As for your last paragraph, I found your sarcasm quite ironic. If China stops trading with Canda, we'll be seeing more of 10 dollar stores rather than the conventional 1 dollar store. Lead covered toys? It'll still show up whether you trade with one country or the other. As long as you have the same greedy, cheap, foreign entrempeneur who wishes to use cheap materials to sell to his own people. These are just small consequences that Canada might face, for bigger consequences will include Canada's economy having a severe recession before the day is over.
That was my original response before realizing that others like I have commented on your work.
I would also like to question some of your responses you have posted after the responses.
For your 4th remark: You said you have never been to China or Tibet. So you state other sources. Have those authors been to China or Tibet? Are they writing a non biased western article.
For your 6th remark: You say the things against the Dalai Lama come from China's "laughable" comments. For what reason do you deem those examples laughable? Should I deem your 6th remark as "laughable" for not stating legitimate reasons? Like stated above, I can act like a complete angel, until the last 5 minutes of my life, and i could still grab a gun, and shoot the first person I see. A peace prize can never determine whether a person is good or bad.
As for your 14th remark: It is complete bull. And besides, I'm born in Canada who did not happen to come from China? And besides, they weren't targeting Canada, they were specifically targeting you. I wonder what kind of chaos would occur trying to hold an election with 1.4 billion people. I wonder how many times it might take to recount.
Now all in all, I hope I have not used any comments that personally attacks you (which you claimed others have done to you). I hope you'd right back to me about your thoughts and comments. One more thing, can you respond back on how the recent commotion in Tibet is justified? (Tibetans targeting random chinese ethnicities through the use of violence) Thank you very much.

kootcoot said...

This comment has to do with both this post and the previous one, but I thought I would be "up to date."

dl sez:
"For the ones who figure China is doing great, maybe i'ts time to give your heads a shake."

Or relocate perhaps? If China is as attractive a place to live as some of the commentators above suggest, why do so many choose to move here and everywhere else? Of course with the one child per family policy generation reaching reproductive age, a shortage of chicks (sorry all you women, couldn't resist the term) might be one good reason.

BTW when did the population of China hit 13 Billion?

"do agree with anonymous that your idea is naive. Bill, as a canadian, you don't and never will understand the real situation of the country that has more than 13 billion people and more than 5000 years of history."

I must have just woken up from a Rip Van Winkle moment/decades/centuries, or maybe something more severe than a one child policy is in order. The last I heard the entire population of the planet was less than half that amount. So much expertise, so little application, too bad, so sad.

By the way, the Chinese discovered gunpowder, but for some reason, much to their regret, no doubt, never quite refined its application to the degree of the European Imperialist Powers of the day - and we're still paying for the old time Imperialism all over the world, not to mention the more recent occurances of Imperial hubris, in the Middle East especially.

These kinds of discussions and wars will rage on until the world is truly a level playing field (and not the Flat World of Tom (Metaphor/Analogy Milking World Champion - uncontested) Friedman's fevered imagination

Gary E said...

I was going to respond to your main article Bill. Probably a good thing I waited. I really like your response #7. Here they are yapping off about your column and not even thinking about what would happen if they responded like this in China.
And their bogus anonymous e-mails. What a trip.

Anonymous said...

Just remember folks that the Chinese communist government is supported by the world's biggest business - the Chinese military. They receive no tax money. What the military doesn't own outright they 'charge' huge fees to independents for their services. What they don't get legally they steal through piracy in SE Asia. Those COSCO containers (along with others) are all 'owned' by the Chinese military. They also rival the US of A in arms sales around the world. The facts are all there for those who really care to look.

North Van's said...

China's 2007 population estimate 1,321,851,888.... that's 1.3 Billion folks, roughly one-fifth of the world's total population.

Raymond's comment of "In the end, the communist party took over the mainland while the nationalistic party fled to Taiwan"..... the "armed forces" comprised a talent pool of:

Nationalist Party of China/ Chiang Kai-shek / Strength4,300,000 (July 1945)

Communist Party of China / Mao Zedong / Strength 1,200,000 (July 1945)

North Van's Grumps said...

Sorry about that, slip of the Enter key, and I was cut off by "Publish Your Comment".

The point is, with a population of 1.3 billion and combined civil war armies strengths of 6 million, where is the democracy today?

China's armed forces today numbers at 2.4 million compared to the USA with 1.49 million (303,755,274).

Where is the need for a "Tiananmen Square Massacre" in the United States of America to keep the civilians at bay? Only in China you say? Pity!

Anonymous said...

@ raymond please expand on these nuggets below that you deposited on this thread


Is China having armed forces patrol the street? Is China drafting people to the military, just so they can enforce its military force?
For what reason stated from your quote, should China not be allowed to host the Summer Olympics?

You also point out that China is not allowing journalists the freedom to report on the Olympics, but in reality, are the reporters actually reporting about the Olympics?

You said how CBC was not able to access websites that China blocked, do you think that CBC was trying to access information about the olympics? Or were they trying to access something else?

So what I'm trying to say here is that CBC might be the official broadcaster of the Olympics, but it is not the official broadcaster of China and has no right to access other information.

I think China has every right to accuse him because they have legitimate evidence.
I wonder what kind of chaos would occur trying to hold an election with 1.4 billion people. I wonder how many times it might take to recount.

Budd Campbell said...

And yes, I boycotted South African and Chilean products for many years as well. But I have not, despite the headline on my column, called for a Canadian government sanctioned boycott of China.

An absolute trade boycott with China, enforced by the government, would deprive BC origin exports of about 5% of their total market. Not a crushing blow, but nonetheless something that would have some impact.

Anonymous said...

Personally I am very surprised that a column author writing such kind of article.

I want to point something to bring your attention.

In your point fourth: “there are more than enough credible and diverse sources of information to draw conclusions.” Do you really think so?
I have a question for you here, actually this is a question for me as well. Why many western people supporting Tibetan? They even overlooked Tibetan actually killed people in Tibet. I believe those western people (including you) are doing that they think it is correct. But look at these two days, how many Chinese people volunteer to protect the Olympic touch and shouting for justice almost all over the world. Do you think they are insane? Are all these people were brain washed? I don’t think you would make this conclusion. So, people on both side are think they are doing a correct things. What’s wrong?
You and most western people think you are getting credible sources of information. I think we have to put a question mark here. This is one point I want to bring you attention. Do you think you really have freedom to write whatever you want? At certain level, you are. But may not be always. Many people already realized that US don’t like a strongly united China. They don’t want a balance world; they want to be continuing as a world police. How many western countries joining this effort, I don’t know. But for sure, there are some. Before CIA releases their archive, did you already know Dalai was supported by CIA? Do you believe Dalai is not supported by anybody now? Do you know who are those rioting person? There are too many confliction in this world, why Tibet bring this world’s attention. If Tibet become independent, who will be beneficial? Do you think it will be those rioters? Do you how many Tibetan will become slave again? I believe the religions of Tibet is not fully reserved as what it was, but most of them is being protected. All Tibetan can do what even practice they want to. But, no more slave now. Some privilege level’s people are not happy.

Argue is not a good way to solve problem, we need more dialogue and communication. I believe you have much more friends than I am in Canada. You will not have any difficult to find a friend know more about China in person. Last time when I went back to China, I met a young Vancouver lady who was applying working permit to China. She told there are many Canadian are working and living in China. I believe the comments from these Canadian people will be accepted between you and me. Why not spending some time to know more about China before you writing more about China. To know the truth. At my working place, I have colleagues from Germany, France and many other European countries. We are all good friends. We are talking a lot about the thing happening. One important piece of information for you, I was told all the information they have, they believed about China are from their media. The media repeated say something is evil, they then believe it is. Imaging this situation, if all the information sources say Bill Tieleman retired, do you think a normal citizen will think you are still writing? Maybe you will ask me why those media will only report something against China, I have to say I don’t know. I feel there is a big black hand behind and taking control. Only thing is very obvious this time, western media didn’t tell the whole truth. They selectively report about Tibet.

Many of other arguments, we may discuss later if there is an opportunity.

email: blues989@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

The propaganda offensive being organized by the People's Republic of China's against the Free Tibet Movement and any other critics of Sino Imperialism reminds me of the Soviets' PEACE OFFENSIVE in the 1970 & 80s.

During that bit of theatre, the KGB had its fellow-travellers doing concerned citizen's interviews and op-ed pieces trying to defend its record in occupied eastern Europe and its invasion of Afghanistan.

I recall seeing the "unofficial" Pro-China demonstrators gathering at UBC just prior to the APEC 1997 riots. The entire bunch was hearded off a rented bus in front of the UBC Student Union Building and given prepared scripts by certain official looking persons. One should remember very little of anything ad hoc and personal ever happens when it involves Chinese foreign policy & security issues.

I bet if someone was to keep track of the PRC's Vancouver Consulate they would find a lot of voice & text communication going out across BC to its local apparatchiks.

I don't think anyone should be surprised since Mao (the Great Helmsman) learned it all from Stalin.

The GREAT SATAN

G West said...

This:
"...what kind of chaos would occur trying to hold an election with 1.4 billion people. I wonder how many times it might take to recount."
has to be the most pathetic excuse for not holding 'real' elections I've ever read.

Give your head a shake.

Raymond said...

In response to G West. The recount thing was a joke. And by "real" elections, do you mean by using democracy?

Bill Tieleman said...

This is the latest news on Tibet protests and the China Olympics:

Dalai Lama says he supports Beijing Olympics

Associated Press

April 10, 2008 at 10:59 AM EDT

NARITA, JAPAN — Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said he supports China's hosting of the Summer Olympics, but insisted Thursday nobody had the right to tell protesters demanding freedom for Tibet “to shut up.”

“We are not anti-Chinese. Right from the beginning, we supported the Olympic Games,” he told reporters outside Tokyo on a stopover on a trip to Seattle.

“I really feel very sad the government demonizes me. I am just a human, I am not a demon.”

Protests have been held in cities around the world in a show of sympathy for Tibet, where anti-government riots erupted last month. The Olympic torch relay has faced massive demonstrations, most recently in San Francisco.

The Dalai Lama said the demonstrators had the right to their opinions, though he called for nonviolence.

At a Tokyo news conference, the spiritual leader discusses urges peace during Olympic protests but also defends right to be heard

“The expression of their feelings is up to them,” he said. “Nobody has the right to tell them to shut up. One of the problems in Tibet is that there is no freedom of speech.”

michele said...

aah aah ah !!!
Still talking about this!?
Maybe China don't deserve to held the next Olympic Games, but.. WE LET IT HAPPEN! So now, let's enjoy what we did, let's China reach its welfare.

I'm not against these games, just against our hypocricy.

dmc said...

Sensitive subject Bill, you say it well! Your 4th point of view; SANCTIONS! You know like how the US put sanctions on BC's softwood lumber,again and again!? Point 8; Canada too, EH! Point 11; Take that! Point 14; Well said, my friend... See you at 2010? PS: Jeff Barkley's opinion is much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Bill highlights important problems and I applaud his courage in bringing it up. People need to stick to debating the issues and stop shooting the messenger - personal attacks simply discredit the poster and detract from building an understanding of where Bill's arguments might be right on or off base.

From all I see and read in the free media, there are serious human rights abuses and violations in China. These things are by no means unique to China (and one could say many of the problmes are typical of most developing countries, apart from the question of scale).

We need to stand strong in defence of those in China, Tibet or elsewhere who are abused and don't have the freedom or rights to defend themselves. We also have an obligation to support the many Chinese people -- at home and abroad -- who are fighting to improve the situation.

We also need to recognize our own complicity in terms of creating and maintaining the global economic structures and imbalances that perpetuate abuses in Asian factories, for example. Why aren't we holding to account the factory owners and importers who are Canadian citizens, living high off the fruits of Asian slave labour in their Shaughnessy mansions? Or the North American housewives who demand the cheap goods they provide through their local suburban Wal-Mart?

We must hold these abuses up to the light wherever we find them, including our own back yards.

We also need to walk a mile in people's shoes before judging them and accept that it is not reasonable to demand that China could or should transform itself overnight into an Asian version of Canada.

On the whole Olympic question, sorry, I have no sympathy or tolerance. People should go out and run, jump, throw, spin or dance their hearts out to be the best they can be, and celebrate it if they wish on their own dime. The whole franchise was long ago taken over to serve political and economic ends, inviting the inevitable political responses. If it were just about Joe & Jane running like the wind, no one would care who came to watch. It's become a ridiculously expensive troublesome anachronism that needs to be dumped entirely. Pull out all the money and sponsorship and hoopla and let the athletes just line up and run their best, which was all it was ever supposed to be about.

G West said...

Raymond:

As for 'real' elections...I agree the Chinese ones are definitely a joke.

Sadly, the democratic impulse and its apparent reality here in Canada seems to be on life-support as well.

I think a boycott is a great idea, because, far as I can tell, the only Chinese who've benefitted from the 'Communism with a human face' movement are members of a small party elite.

Remember Orwell: "If you want a picture of the future," O'Brien tells Winston as he tortures him, "imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever."

Anonymous said...

I would support a consumer boycott against China and a sports diplomacy boycott against them as well - not just for the Olympics but any international sporting event.

That said, I think ordinary British Columbians should go to China and learn a bit of history of where your neighbours escaped from. Learn a little bit about the language too so you can tell the difference between a first name and a last name in Chinese. And realize your white stock broker is aiding the snake heads who operate Chinese factories with slave labour.

Thanks for the info on COSCO, previous poster.

z said...

Let him go, he has to write something for living. If being a moron will make everyone happy he will write how moron he is. So what do you expect from him?

Let's boycott my comment, Bill

Gary E said...

An earlier anonymous questions whether we think we are getting the right information. We on British Columbia know for a fact we are not getting the right information on some sensitive (to the government) things that are going on here. The question is do you as a citizen KNOW that you are getting the right information?
We beleive you are not. There is a vast Chinese Comunist Chinese propaganda machine happening in this world. And you can witness that by what is going on in this blog. If they can't baffle us with their bullshit, then they will attempt to inundate us with their e-mails.

I am with Bill on this. I am not against the Chinese People. I am against any oppressive dictator ship that uses lethal force to subdue their population and the population of neighbouring states which they have attempted to Annex.

Anonymous said...

Bill:

Thanks for your rational approach and reasoned response to so many idiotic war-mongering comments.

Indeed, China needs to be held accountable for its militarization and lack of human rights. But if holding them to account means we either engage in dialogue or go to war, I vote for the former.

And thank you, Bill, for posting the Dalai Lama's words. His name is often invoked by people who simply don't understand the principles of non-violent protest or progressive humanitarianism.

Anonymous said...

Here are some interesting links about Tibet and the Dalai Lama, mostly from the Western media and US State Dept.

Edmonton Journal: The CIA + Tibet

http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/news/letters/story.html?id=af6a9864-d94c-43ea-aa71-b0d4c7ca9e46

********
US State Department Website : On Tibet Operations

http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/vol_xxx/337_343.html

******
Of the Dalai Lama and a witch-hunt --
-Tibetan Exiles suffer Religious Repression from Dalai Lama Sect

http://www.frontlineonnet.com/fl1726/17260840.htm

******
A different Tibetan Buddhism
http://republic-news.org/archive/123-repub/123_nenonen.htm

*******
CBC News & Reuters: Dalai Lama supports Fascist Dictator Augusto Pinochet & and ' Butcher of the Balkans' Slobodan Milosevic and lobbied for their release from prosecution.

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/1999/04/11/pinochet990411.html

Dalai Lama: "West Should Forgive Milosevic" EXCERPT

LONDON, May. 10, 1999 -- (Reuters) The West should forgive Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for alleged massacres in Kosovo but it is too late now for a diplomatic solution to the conflict, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama said on Sunday .
-----
"At the initial stage there is a greater chance to prevent (crises such as Kosovo). But then you see it was neglected. Then when things really become explosive then (it is) too late," he said in an interview with Reuters during a visit to Britain.

"There is no place (for) reasoning. Although the intention is to use limited force for the protection of the ethnic group's human rights and to stop ethnic cleansing once you commit (violence), it is unpredictable," he said.

And Milosevic, like former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet who is languishing under house arrest in Britain while he fights extradition to Spain on torture charges, should be forgiven for alleged crimes against humanity in Kosovo, he said.
"As a person I think we should give forgiveness (to Milosevic). I think it's important to make a distinction between the person and a person's actions," he said. "The person you have to give an opportunity to change."

"Whether it is the president or ex-president or anyone, under law all people...are the same," he said.
**********
Various links: Bad news for democracy: China, Tibet, the 'great game' and the CIA

http://saltspringnews.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=17433

***********
Israeli Author Uri Averny on Tibet & Palestine:

http://www.counterpunch.org/avnery04072008.html

**********
More about NED which funds many free Tibet Groups:

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/CIA/National%20EndowmentDemo.html

Anonymous said...

Some of the links above were cut off by the blog formatting, you can copy and paste URL in your browser address bar:

Edmonton Journal: The CIA + Tibet

http://www.canada.com/edmontonjournal/
news/letters/story.html?id=af6a9864-d94c
-43ea-aa71-b0d4c7ca9e46

********
US State Department Website : On Tibet Operations

http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/
vol_xxx/337_343.html

*******
CBC News: Dalai Lama supports Fascist Dictator Augusto Pinochet

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/1999/04/11
/pinochet990411.html

**********
More about NED which funds many free Tibet Groups:

http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/CIA/
National%20EndowmentDemo.html

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill, I think you're a coward.
You don't dare to publish all the comments and posts. You purposely chose the comments.Shame on you!By the way, if you've never been to China, how chould you put your imagination publicly on the newspaper?

Bill Tieleman said...

To Anonymous 3:12 - wrong. All comments received at my blog have been published. I will only reject defamatory or obscene comments.

But I have received a great many of those through 24 hours, mostly with fake email addresses.

Cowards are those who are afraid to put their names to their views.

Get it?

Raymond said...

To Bill Tieleman: You still have not answered my question, and you still continue on with things about Tibet protests. What are the protesters protesting about now? Do you think this violence exhibited by the Tibetans on innocent Chinese citizens is ok?

To Gary West: I think you are making an embarassing mistake by saying that the Communist Party of China did not help its citizens. Without the communist party, it's people would have starved literally or by the other opressing countries.

To Gary E: As for your last paragraph, Tibet and Taiwan, were all part of China before the Communist Party came to power.

And before I leave this post, I would like to say something I made up, "I rather not give the people any information, than have the correct information be twisted and then given to the public." Western media = biased.

Anonymous said...

Honest to say, I was totally shocked when I first read the article you wrote on Tuesday's 24 hours. I just can't believe that how you dare to put a title "boycott China" for the article. Because it's not only against Beijing Olympics, not only against Chinese government any more, it's against China, against Chinese people. That's racist's point! I just want hit you on face!
And then, you published your responds (15 items) last night. I don't want to argue with you about those 15 items here ( lots of rational and preservative comments are already there, like: raymond's ). From your responds on your blog, I can tell that you are not so "evil". In my opinion, the deepest root in this argument is : most Chinese (actually not only Chinese, also including some people who really have been to China recently) and those who claim "Free Tibet" or "Boycott China" like Bill have different sources of information. In that case, of course they will have different opinions and then they will argue or even fight for what they own believe. The only question is whose source is more reliable? I can't help myself laughing at Bill's comments like "government dictatorship", "slave labor" etc..Why could someone has such a strong belief on those "facts"? The fact is that he even never been to China himself. I think we have to thank you those distorted media reports. Because you were filled with those information when you grow up. The effect is so strong that nowadays you strongly believe that other points against your belief are not true. Really pathetic!! Don't you agree that it's ridicious that a bunch of people shouting for "free Tibet" who even don't know where Tibet is; people asking for boycotting China who have never been to China. Why taking Chinese as your enemy just based on those "biased" education you had. I sincerely invite Bill to come to China, I'm sure the truth you will learn is: Chinese people, or even the current Chinese government, do have some 'dark' sides, but they all improved a lot. It's a procedural process, democracy and human rights or whatever issues can't be solved one day, but it's heading the right direction in China nowadays. Don't just say that I'm brainwashed by Chinese government or whatever. I'm already a Canadian citizen and I'm free to speak any thoughts I have. In short, the possibility that you are brainwashed is much higher than mine. Just go to find out the truth youself, otherwise you don't have any rights to write such an article.

Lindy19 said...

Thank you for your quick response, Bill. I am sorry that you have been the victim of various flames, many of whom support China, but are hurting their own arguments by going on angry tirades.

However, I just have a few comments to make. China has never been a democracy in its long history - its people are not used to the concept. I'm not saying that a democracy would be ideal, but it would be extremely tough - most of its population are not educated, especially in remote rural areas in the Northwest and Southwest. That said, I don't see democracy coming to the country anytime soon. So if democracy is the prerequisite for meaningful relations with China, then we are headed down a dangerous road.

I was born in China, but raised here in Vancouver. I've been back on occasion and the general attitude of the average person is that the government is raising their standards of living compared to a mere 10 years ago, in fact a lot of new electronics and fashion are available there sooner than in North America. This is the sort of stuff that the average citizen looks at and associates with the government. Their lives are better, that means the government is doing something right. It's this mentality that has to be changed before China can move toward a real democracy.

I admire your personal choice in purchases, but I do say this, Western consumption is the driving force behind factories with poor work conditions, yet it's also these factories that are giving local people jobs that pay better than what they might get otherwise. This is a purely economic argument - but it's a valid one nonetheless.

If you have no interest in travelling to China and Tibet to see what it really is like, then I would suggest being more responsible in qualifying your arguments. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been characterized as a vicious oppressor in the media. And us in North America gasp every time we hear that people's liberties are being violated because they can't access certain sites or political activists are being jailed. Yes, those are bad policies. But we also have to give the CCP a little credit for smartening up and opening up to the world. China is learning to be a global country - it's entered into the international market with an acceptance of the rules of the game. Its oil companies are not state-owned and the oil they extract are being sold freely on the world market, not going into China at all. China is learning to rise peacefully - without changing the status quo of the world or antagonizing other countries, which I think we have to give it credit. In fact, it's the US that got cold feet and blocked the CNOOC bid for UNOCAl.

Here's one link that has a very well written article that may inform you a little more about Tibet's history: http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html

And really, the CCP is more worried about appeasing its own citizens than clamouring for more power on the world stage. There has been gradually more freedom in China - there's an officially reported 587 000 protests last year (or 2005, I can't remember correctly which year).

Actually Tibet was conquered early in China's dynastic history and its leaders had promised to be a part of China when the CCP leaders were still fighting the civil war with the GMD. It was only when they realized that they weren't getting as much autonomy as they bargained for when the Dalai Lama left. I'm not supportive of China's demonization of him, but I don't think that the media is portraying that side of the story very well. The CCP is very concerned that its minority policies might push these border peoples to violence, and in order to maintain its own legitimacy and central power, saying that the CCP is oppressing the Tibetans all the time is not a valid argument. Recent violence WAS started by Tibetan rioters who had targeted Han Chinese and Hui Chinese (other ethnic groups in the area) - and so if I ask you this, if the Chinese-Canadians in Vancouver decided to trash Kerrisdale, would the police NOT take active action to prevent it?

I'm not saying that Canada should just keep quiet, however, I think there're tactless ways that won't achieve anything. And if the Canadian government does what you are currently doing as an individual, then that would be a tactless way to effect change. The only way in history where economic sanctions have worked is when ALL nations did it together. If sanctions are imposed by only some nations, there will always be other nations there to undermine the action. And since with China on the UN Security Council, it would be impossible for that to happen.

As for the entire Taiwan issue - historically, it's been a part of China since the Qing dynasty. If the GMD hadn't ran over to Taiwan, it would still be a part of China. So actually China does have a legitimate claim over it - or else, why would most countries in the world be willing to recognize PRC and not ROC? Why would the UN kick ROC out and let PRC take its place?

I think that Mr. Harper would do a lot more in benefit of the Chinese people IF he actually did more talks with Chinese leaders. By meeting with the Dalai Lama, he had alienated the Chinese higher-ups and so lost his voice in affecting China. I was recently at a meeting with the Asia Pacific Foundation and they have revealed that the current government is not doing anything tangible in negotiating with China. There is not concrete goal and no concrete directions. So Mr. Harper's highly satisfying comments on TV mainly for the benefit of his voters have no real impact except in closing Canada's doors to greater political and economic leverage in China. His message is clear to us Canadians, but is it clear to the CCP? I think not. His message to China is really hostility and if change is to be made in China, hostility won't get us very far. And no, I don't think engaging China in meaningful discussion is condoning their policies. Being hostile is turning China into an enemy, rather than a friend. With all the Chinese people who are living in Canada, friendship should be a goal. Most people listen to reason from their friends, not hostile remarks from their perceived enemies. The CCP is no different.

The Law Society at UBC has gone to China and helped them with their law-making and made significant changes to their judicial system, such as the assumption of innocence. This was done before Harper made those ridiculous comments. Now there's no meaningful lower governmental level relations between the two countries and so we have no means to affect them.

Lastly, and I apologize for the length, it is really counterintuitive to think that Canada can influence China if we refuse to have anything to do with them.

Anonymous said...

Ten Reasons Why China Matters To You
By Thomas P.M. Barnett

Don’t be scared of China—the country is perfectly positioned to be our most powerful ally (lack of democracy notwithstanding, of course). But if there is anything to worry about, it’s not China’s massive military; it’s the economy, stupid.

http://www.goodmagazine.com/section/Features/ten_reasons_why_china_matters_to_you

Thomas P. M. Barnett is a policy and foreign affairs expert, author of the New York Times bestseller The Pentagon’s New Map and Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating, as well as a contributing editor at Esquire.

DL said...

Anon takes issues with Tieleman.
Why do people hide behind "Anon" So now it seems Bill has been brainwashed. By whom may I ask? He has an opinion and in this country he is free to have one . You might not like it, I may not like it, but lets get real. You say you are here as a citizen and can have any thoughts you like but it seems that same standard for any thoughts doesn't apply to Tieleman.

I doubt that most of us go through life accepting that a government can slaughter it's own people and say it's OK as China has been repressed by others. You mention that China's government has a dark side. Wow, so you noticed.

China has moved up in the word and have things to sell so that makes it OK for some. A number of Chinese products have been removed from store shelves as they are unsafe. Oh that's OK because China is flogging the junk to others and paying their own folks minimum amounts to produce it, and at the same time allowing the pollution to get worse. Pollution that with the prevailing winds, ends up over here.

From some of the postings I sort of wonder what drives the folks to trash someone with an opinion they don't like. Sure you may be new to Canada and legally here, but get with it folks we have some standards and we simply don't accept shooting people we don't agree with. Nor chuck them in prision for numerous years simply because they don't toe the party line. We actually vote for our politicians, and sould they go wild, they can be votes against to remove them.

A number of world leaders will not be at the opening events including the UK which gets the next summer games. I find it insulting that our Premier will be setting up a selling booth on the same square that many many Chinese citizens were ran over by tanks or shot to death for defying the local government policies, and Gordo will be there to flog business interests. If there were no businesse set up to make money the Olympics would have faded away years ago. The real not paid athletes are the pawns in the mix. DL

Anonymous said...

Correct Link :

Ten Reasons Why China Matters To You
By Thomas P.M. Barnett

http://www.goodmagazine.com/section/Features/ten_reasons_why_china_matters_to_you

G West said...

To raymond,
Kindly tell me where I said anything about what the CPC has done for or to Chinese citizens?

I really don’t think you want to get into that debate.

China is no democracy by any accepted definition of the word and I defy you or anyone else to prove that it is.

If you think China is a functioning democracy I have several bridges in excellent repair and I'd appreciate getting your offers for them.

As for the central matter here, please don't take my word for it - or Bill Tieleman's for that matter.

Consult, if you wish, the statements today (in Beijing) of Jacques Rogge, the head of the International Olympic Committee, on the subject of China and HUMAN RIGHTS.

Or, if you prefer, the equally caustic statements of Ban Ki-Moon.

If you prefer to believe that China should be immune from criticism or that the past 20 years haven't happened - so be it. Please don't expect others to practice such purposeful blindness.

And it’s G West, not Gary.

Thanks

Kristy Yao said...

Bill, I respect your opinion on whats going on with China and Tibet right now. I am an Chinese-Canadian and I believe that Tibet is part of China. I do agree that China's government can be improved for example the strict cencorship. This is a sensitive subject. If you are unwilling to see both sides of the story, it's not wise to discuss this topic.

Anonymous said...

Lindy19,

Your response is interesting and I appreciated reading it. I do, however, have some comments.

1) If you're going to suggest Bill read up on Tibet, I don't feel that Michael Parenti's article is the best choice. If you look at his credentials you will find that he is neither a Tibet expert, nor a historian. In the lists of his more substantial works you find nothing about Tibet, nothing about Buddhism and very little concerning Asia at all. This could explain why his version is far removed from the picture given by the overwhelming bulk of Tibet scholars, who usually give a far more nuanced description of Old Tibet. Many of them have actually written detailed refutation of the naïve Tibet-was-like-a-Shangri-La myth without feeling the need to back their criticism with all these cruel propaganda creations.

I would instead suggest that Bill look up work by some of the numerous Tibetan and Chinese scholars who signed a recent open letter to Hu Jintao: http://www.tibetopenletter.org/

2) With regard to your question, "If the Chinese-Canadians in Vancouver decided to trash Kerrisdale, would the police NOT take active action to prevent it?"
Of course the police should take action, but I would hope they would do so non-violently and in full view of the international press. Also, I would hope that there would be thoughtful, reasoned attempts to understand WHY and WHAT MOTIVATED the Chinese-Canadians to behave that way. Currently it seems that China's response is to totally ignore that there are simmering resentments among Tibetans.

3) Taiwan was part of the Qing dynasty at certain times, but at other times it was held by Ming loyalists, and even before that it was controlled by the Dutch. Later, it was controlled by the Japanese. At the same time it has also always had non-Chinese indigenous inhabitants. Thus, numerous groups can make a case that they have a historical claim over the island. History is not cut and dried – it is messy and complicated and it cannot always be used to justify the present.

You say: "So actually China does have a legitimate claim over it - or else, why would most countries in the world be willing to recognize PRC and not ROC?"
First of all, maintaining diplomatic relations with a country does not imply total agreement or disagreement with that country’s political situation! So stating that much of the world recognizes the PRC instead of the ROC doesn't really mean much in terms of justifying (or not) the PRC's claims to Taiwan.

4) “And really, the CCP is more worried about appeasing its own citizens than clamouring for more power on the world stage.”
I think the CCP is worried about appeasing SOME of its citizens, but definitely not those who have less economic or social power. The last time I was in China (in Xi’an) I watched a group of people with a sign asking for the money they lost from government treasury bonds to be returned to them. They had just started walking and within a few minutes police were all over, some with video cameras, and they started herding the protesters into a police van. It was rather disturbing and certainly didn’t seem like appeasement to me.

I do agree that it is always best to approach people and countries in a friendly manner and that “it is really counterintuitive to think that Canada can influence China if we refuse to have anything to do with them.”

In a similar vein, it is really counterintuitive of the Chinese government to think that it can influence Tibetans by refusing to have anything to do with the Dalai Lama and by refusing to think about or discuss what might be causing their anger.

Thanks for reading this lengthy reply! M.

Loy said...

To support my opinion I sent you this afternoon, here is another youtube video link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsACG7NYmlQ&feature=related

I won't say that every reports on western media are distorted. However,
on Tibet issue or human rights etc.., definitely those reports are seriously biased. A lie which has been repeated for thousands of times will be considered as a truth. That's why so many western people have such a bad impression about China, about Chinese government.
Of course, China government has its own problem. On one hand, PRC government don't trust western media (of course, from what those medias reported before: CNN, CBC etc.. they shouldn't be trusted ). That's why they block western journalists from certain areas. This will arouse their curiosity and spur their creative imagination for sure. Maybe it's not that bad, people usually make a worse picture if you block them. On other hand, there are some reliable resources about China even you don't want to go to China. Just try to make some Chinese friends here (you have a lot in Vancouver). Sure, most Chinese immigrants don't have perfect English so that it's funny that you guys always hang around together and people from different countries prefer to group/bundle together while not actively communicating with other communities. Chinese community should show more passion and friendship to their new neighbors. Meanwhile, why don't you learn some Chinese? If you are so eager to comment on their country, judge their lives. Even Jesu needs to be a human so that he could understand people's thoughts. Why don't you pay some efforts to understand those real Chinese around you? If you are not interested in them, you don't want to understand them, that's fine, that's your choice, that's your life. BUT, please don't be so interested in making critics, judges or comments on our life. Even God needs to be among ours so that he could understand us, you made judgments like a God but don't behave like a God.

G West said...

Seems to me, Kristy Yao, that Mr Tieleman is more than willing to discuss the issues.

In fact, I'd suggest this statement could be turned back on your own contribution:
"If you are unwilling to see both sides of the story, it's not wise to discuss this topic."

I think the one-sidedness is with China and her defenders.

Until the people of Tibet themselves have some “meaningful” input in this debate - and the current Chinese dictatorship appears totally unwilling to let them vote about what country they see themselves belonging to - (something that Canadian citizens in any province have the right to do - by law) - it isn't too surprising why China's defenders don't 'really' want to talk about it.

Perhaps that’s why they – and some of the people who’ve commented here – seem more interested in hurling ad hominem remarks.

Bo Yang said...

Dear Mr. Tieleman:

How are you? Upon reading your article in the 24hrs titled “Let’s Boycott China Together” and “Tieleman responds to critics of column on China Olympics and boycott suggestion”, I thought I’d provide a few suggestions/feedbacks of my own. I wrote much of the following in a hurry, early in the morning, please excuse any bad grammar or faulty logic, I tired my best :)

A country run by a vicious military dictatorship should never have been awarded the 2008 summer Olympics in the first place - and that was before its repressive attacks on Tibet.

What are your basis for describing the current Chinese leadership (under Hu Jin Tao) as a “vicious military dictatorship”?

Furthermore, you have repeated used that term in your posts, please be so kind as to provide reasons for that label.

Then there is the ongoing Chinese effort to isolate and intimidate Taiwan, a democratic country it claims as its own property.
Actually, legally, Taiwan is part of the Republic of China, the legal entity which lays claim to all of Mainland China and Mongolia. And in the most recent Taiwanese presidential election, 58% percent of Taiwan (pan-Blue coalition) has supported the Kuomingtang candidate, Ma Ying-jeou. Though not fully-identifiable as a unification-ists, it seems the majority of Taiwan is open towards better economic and social relationship with mainland China. I think you’d be surprised how many Han-Chinese (the majority of ethnic group of Taiwan) is open or pushing for one-China reunification.

Perhaps it's threatening to the communist dictatorship if Taiwan newspapers and television tell the country's 23 million people about illnesses like the avian flu that know no borders.
Taiwan, along with Hong Kong, were one of the first locations stricken by the avian pandemic, which was widely reported by the local media.

We mustn't forget Tibet, where the paranoid Chinese government blames the Noble Peace Prize winner, the Dalai Lama, for Tibetans protesting the ongoing occupation of their country.
Regardless whether a direct link can be drawn between the Dalai regime and the violent riots, looting, and killings in Tibet, it IS his separatist ideology that sewed the seed for the violence tactics employed by the rioters. By now, even Dalai Lama himself admits that Tibet-independence is not possible, and is urging other separatists to adopt more peaceful methodologies. Unfortunately, the deed is already done and there’s no way for those people to turn back. For many Tibetan separatists, Dalai given them a false promise.

Ambassador Shumin actually went on Canadian television to call the Dalai Lama a "liar" and compare Tibet's government prior to the Chinese takeover with the Nazis.
The majority of Tibetans were still serfs prior to 1951 annexation by the People's Liberation Army (Communist China). These serfs ("mi ser") were often bound to land owned by monasteries and aristocrats. Actually no that does not sound like the Nazi, but more like the Taliban. After annexation, much of the land were taken away from noblemen and monasteries and re-distributed to serfs. As a result, a rebellion led by noblemen and monasteries broke out in June 1956 (aided by American CIA), which was crushed by 1959. Isolated resistance continued in Tibet until 1972 when the CIA withdrew its support due to US normalization with China. Prior to the rebellion, greater autonomy had been granted for most of Tibet. After the Lhasa rebellion in 1959, the Chinese government lowered the level of autonomy of Central Tibet.

Perhaps Shumin would enjoy another TV appearance to explain his government's appalling treatment of Falun Gong practioners and other dissidents as well, but I doubt it.
Yes, Falun Gong, even the Quebec Superior Court Justice Jeannine Rousseau wrote that “the teachings promise supernatural and healing powers, purification with a wheel in the stomach, and reject science.” She further said Falun Gong is a controversial movement which does not accept criticism. Numerous American anti-cult activists (Rick Ross, Margaret Singer, Steven Hassan, etc) have criticized Falun Gong as "a cult." They further comment Li Hongzhi (founder of Falun Gong) as a "manipulative cult leader." Academics like Patsy Rahn have also published their concerns about Falun Gong in cultic studies journals (btw, these scholars and activists were strongly condemned by Falun Gong activists).

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has rightly decided not to attend the opening of the Beijing Olympics to send a clear signal that China's behaviour is offensive to the world.
Yes, perhaps only to a narrow segment of the world. Sure, you can ignore what North Korea and Venezuela said about China’s crackdown, but reading international reactions from countries such as India, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Brazil, Colombia, Russia, etc, in support of the Chinese government’s actions, definitely counters what you indicate as an “offended” world.

And if China, our second largest trading partner, retaliates? Yes, we'll just have to make do without poisonous lead toys for our children and contaminated food products. That will be tough.
Unfortunately, Matel and all the big Toymakers are still selling big and standing strong. This really show how “cheap products just sell” in a country like Canada, eh?

First of all, let me make clear that I am not against the Chinese people. I oppose the actions of the Chinese government dictatorship and hope that eventually people in that country will have a real democracy, full human rights and civil liberties.
Thank you very much for your concerns for the future of the Chinese people. Each country has its own developmental path; for some countries, it’s rougher and filled with more pitfalls. Thank you for your concerns, and you can sleep well tonight, knowing that your voice has been heard by the Chinese people here in Vancouver, that reads 24hrs.

Second, I am deeply disappointed that many of those criticizing my column have sent me emails that can only be described as obscene and vicious. There is no place for such language and I will not respond to anyone who resorts to offensive words in place of reasoning and logic.
It’s unfortunately that some people would respond that way; personally, I recommend a smart tactic: carefully chosen words and phrases can go a long way! It’s amazing, that the same meaning can always be conveyed in less condescending and provocative ways.

Third, to clarify, I personally do not buy products from any military dictatorship if at all possible, including China. This can be a challenge but I do not want my money helping to maintain an undemocratic government anywhere.
Once again, another place where you use the phrase “military dictatorship”, please elaborate.

And yes, I boycotted South African and Chilean products for many years as well. But I have not, despite the headline on my column, called for a Canadian government sanctioned boycott of China.
Wow, you boycotted South African products too? What bone did you have to pick with them?

Fourth, no, I have not traveled to either China or Tibet. I believe there are more than enough credible and diverse sources of information to draw conclusions. I also have no interest in visiting dictatorships.
Furthermore, I believe the technical term for the government in the People’s Republic of China is a “one-party dictatorship” or “socialist republic”. More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Government_of_the_People%27s_Republic_of_China. Did you know that there’s also a National People’s Congress, full of delegates from all around China who are politically aware? I know, It’s never too late to learn :)

Fifth, there have indeed been many defective or contaminated products imported from China. I agree wholeheartedly with some postings that say the American or western companies responsible for importing them must be held to blame as well but that does not alter the fact that Chinese companies produced and exported them without proper quality control.
Last I recalled, quality control should exist on both the export and import portals. It’s unfortunately that a developed country such as Canada or the US lacks the quality control that also is lacked in a developing country such as China....worrisome indeed.

Sixth, the gratuitous insults aimed at the Dalai Lama are obviously copied from the Chinese government's laughable attempts to discredit a man the world recognizes for his non-violent approach and his humanitarian efforts.
“His humanitarian efforts” can be easily described as: “excellent marketing towards Western countries regarding the toils of the Tibetan populace under the Chinese regime.” Unfortunately, nobody heard about the anti-secular and theocratic regime he would plan to install if he were given control of Tibet, which includes legalizing serfdom and slavery.

Seventh, the status and history of Tibet as an independent nation is far from settled in China's favour, despite some of the claims of posters here and emailers. Tibet's future should be decided by Tibetans.
“Tibetans”, which now includes 6% ethnically Han Chinese (this statistics is back from 2000, one can only imagine with the migrate workers influx, what a huge percentage this would be now!), many who have been living in Tibet since 1950s. I ask, since Israel minority groups create settlements within Palestinian land, should those who have been living there for over 4 or 5 decades simply be “moved out”? What if it’s sometime longer, say for example, as the European settlers had done in North America and other originally colonies, should the voices of new immigrants not be heard? Would new immigrants simply OK the installation of theocracy?

Eighth, many comments say: "Don't threaten or berate China or the situation will be even worse." Others say: "Trade with China will bring democracy and human rights." I disagree. These arguments are of great benefit to China and its interests but do not make sense, since the human rights situation has continued to deteriorate or fail to improve during a period when the world increased trading with China exponentially.
I’d love to see your “continued to deteriorate” or “fail to improve” statistics. Last time I checked, the Chinese GPD has risen by

The other opponents of criticizing China are multinational corporations taking advantage of low wages, substandard working conditions and lax environmental regulations to produce goods there and boost their own profits.
That’s all part of the “modernization” process, tactics and strategies learned from successful Western capitalists, no doubt. So how long did it take before “savage Capitalism” turned into the more regulated and much more healthy “market economy” we have in North America today?

Ninth, as one poster noted, Tibet is not Quebec. Quebec can democratically vote to leave Canada, separatists can openly run for both provincial and national office and can campaign for independence. Try that in Tibet and see what happens.
Democracy! Ah, the Silver Bullet, you got me there Sir!

Tenth, China may claim Taiwan but that does not make it a province of China. Taiwan has an independent, democratically elected government. Taiwan's future will be decided by its own people, not the Chinese dictatorship.
OH yes, did I mention in the above that legally, Taiwan (the Republic of China) considers Mainland China, and Mongolia to be “China”?

Eleventh, some have said my opinions are "naive". So be it. Some also thought a prisoner named Nelson Mandela would never become the democratically elected President of South Africa in a vote by all citizens.
Some have said that my opinions are “full of hate”. So be it. Therefore chickens can fly...
I’m sorry, the logic here is just baffling!

Twelfth, anyone who thinks the Olympic Games have no room for politics should do some research. China is using the Beijing Summer Games to attempt to legitimize its government and obscure criticism with a giant circus. However, I have not called for a boycott of the Games.
Hum, a circus, so the athletes are the animals? All jokes aside, can you please explain to me the so-called “political purpose” of the Vancouver 2010, then.

Thirteenth, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said he is not "boycotting" the opening ceremonies but is obviously not attending without a given reason. He is diplomatically sending a message that is unmistakeable, as he did by meeting the Dalai Lama.
Yes, we all love Harper for it, and for all the conservative reforms he has planned for Canada.

Fourteenth, I find it highly ironic that many posters who attack me have come to Canada from China - a place where they would find themselves quickly in jail for expressing opinions contrary to those published in a Chinese newspaper! Welcome to democracy and free speech, my friends.
Unfortunately, you may have failed to realize, that the opinions of these “would-be jailed people” would express opinions in FAVOUR of the local Chinese newspaper! It’s called, “voice of the masses”.

Fifteenth, almost none of the approximately 100 or more negative emails and posts I received even mentioned the Amnesty International report on China's deteriorating human rights situation as the Olympics approach. Almost none could care less about the arbitrary jailing of Chinese citizens like Hu Jia who are standing up fearlessly for democracy despite the terrible price they must pay.
Lastly, perhaps you have subtly neglected to report the benefits and improvements the Communist regime has brought to the Tibet region (http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/population/database/chinadata/tibet.htm, and numerous other sources will show that). Although I never studied journalism full-time, but I do believe that un-biased reporting is still a merit.

Contrast Hu's courage with many of my critics, who send vicious messages but hide behind fake email addresses or anonymously post their comments.
One of the reasons people use anonymous postings, is because many Chinese people have gone under attack here (yes, in Canada) due to their pro-China ideologies. Unfortunately, it’s not the government here that is prejudice against individuals, but rather its citizens, many of whom have been vigorously anti-China, pro-Separatist, and Nationalistic (for Canada). Many of the Chinese here are new immigrants, eager to start their lives in Canada. They are afraid of the backlash from the local populace against their culture and ideologies.
I, on the other hand, grew up here, and have posted my contact information for your reference.

Lastly, I do apologize for an inadvertent error in referring to Chinese Ambassador to Canada Lu Shumin and Chinese democracy dissident Hu Jia on second references as Shumin and Jia, when it should have been Lu and Hu.
That’s all right; Chinese people read Last Name first, and First Name last. It’s part of our culture heritage. I would hope in your endeavors of support for the Chinese people, that you learn more of the culture, and to understanding the shaping of a nation that withstood the testament of 5000 years.

Thanks for reading my email. Pease feel free to post this email on your blog (if you do so, I kindly ask you to please REMOVE my telephone number ONLY – I prefer email responses). This is not a work of literary art, but it’s certainly entertaining to read, I hope!

Furthermore, I have done detailed research regarding the topic at hand, and can provide a bibliography/source list at anytime.

Best regards,

Bo Yang

Anonymous said...

When you write about our local corruption for example Basigate you get 6 or 8 comments.

But when you dare to question the honour of the "Middle Kingdom" it doesn't take long for their army of fellow-travellers to go at you.

This goes to show that for many of these new "Canadians" hockey is not their official language.

Suggestion, throw in a few quotes from the little Red Book and you will win friend$ and influence enemie$

The GREAT SATAN

Anonymous said...

Bill, I heard reports on the CBC that the Tibetans were angered over their loss of control over economic policies, thus sparking the latest uprising. Could you please comment on this.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bo Yang,

I enjoyed reading your reply, even if it did sometimes have a rather condescending tone to it. I have some responses:

1) Your comment “Taiwan, along with Hong Kong, were one of the first locations stricken by the avian pandemic, which was widely reported by the local media.”
What you’re saying is a bit unclear. Do you mean that the local MAINLAND media reported on it, or do you mean that the local medias in HK and Taiwan did? If you mean the latter, well, I don’t understand what your point is. Bill was implying that the MAINLAND media often doesn’t report on such issues.

I was in Shanghai during the SARS outbreak and I can assure that the mainland media did NOT cover the issues until WAY too late. Media in Canada and other countries began reporting about it in late January 2003, but the Chinese media kept generally silent until at least March! This required both myself and my friends (Chinese and foreign) to rely on rumor and general panic in order to try to figure out what was going on and whether or not we were at risk. You are welcome to criticize the so-called ‘Western media’ (which, by the way, is not one monolithic thing), but I hope you also recognize that the topics covered by the Chinese media are still very much controlled and limited in their scope.

I would also mention that when negative things happen in the USA, I often notice that Xinhua is among the first agencies to pick up on the stories. One could complain about biased reporting from this perspective.

2) You said, “Regardless whether a direct link can be drawn between the Dalai regime and the violent riots, looting, and killings in Tibet, it IS his separatist ideology that sewed the seed for the violence tactics employed by the rioters.”
I would emphasize that, for a long time now, the Dalai Lama has called only for greater autonomy, not independence. I think that there are many other potential motivations behind the riots that should be examined and better understood. It is simplistic to suggest otherwise.

3) “The majority of Tibetans were still serfs prior to 1951 annexation by the People’s Liberation Army (Communist China).”
So what? The majority of Han Chinese citizens were lowly agricultural workers bound to landlords (very much akin to serfdom too!). What difference does this make in terms of negotiating with the Dalai Lama? Why on earth would you think that he would suddenly impose a theocracy? The government-in-exile and the community in Dharamsala are not living under a theocracy. There is no reason to suppose this would happen and it’s nothing more than fear-mongering.

4) You said, “Wow, you boycotted South African products too? What bone did you have to pick with them?”
Wow, that’s an embarrassing response on your part, demonstrating a great deal of ignorance of contemporary history. Have you never heard of Apartheid?

5) You say, “Did you know that there’s also a National People’s Congress, full of delegates from all around China who are politically aware? I know, it’s never too late to learn ☺”
Just like it’s never too late to learn about South African history?
It’s good that there are diverse opinions encompassed in the NPC, but as far as I understand it, it seems that their function is often just to rubber stamp pre-approved work reports or candidates. They do not have much political power. However, I agree that development can be slow and I hope eventually China can develop a political system that allows for a political opposition and for better freedoms for people from less-privileged social and economic backgrounds.

6) You said regarding the Dalai Lama, “Nobody heard about the anti-secular and theocratic regime he would plan to install if he were given control of Tibet.”
That’s because he hasn’t said it! There is nothing to indicate that the Dalai Lama is interested in reinstating an outdated social order. You are fear-mongering and spreading inaccurate information.

7) You said, “I’d love to see your “continued to deteriorate” or “fail to improve” statistics. Last time I checked the Chinese GPD has risen.”
Have you looked at recent reports on human rights violations that were put together by organizations like Amnesty International? Just to clarify, stating the Chinese GDP is not helpful in this case. It’s nice that the country is doing so well economically, but that doesn’t tell me anything about how it treats its citizens.

8) You said, “Unfortunately, you may have failed to realize that the opions of these “would-be jailed people” would express opinions in FAVOUR of the local Chinese newspaper! It’s called, “Voice of the masses”
I’m sure that some people would express the same opinions as the newspapers, but I know for a fact that not everyone feels the same way. What about Wang Lixiong and his wife, sitting under house arrest in Beijing? What about Yang Chunlin, imprisoned for putting together a petition? It is irresponsible of you to imply that everyone in China shares the exact same opinion! Have you seen these articles? http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2008/03/tibet-her-pain-my-shame/
http://chinadigitaltimes.net/2008/03/twelve-suggestions-for-dealing-with-the-tibetan-situation-by-some-chinese-intellectuals/

9) You said, “I would hope in your endeavors of support for the Chinese people, that you would learn more of the culture, and to understanding the shaping of a nation that withstood the testament of 5000 years.”
I recognize that China has a long history, but it is inaccurate to claim that it has existed as a homogenous nation for 5000 years. There is still so much regional and cultural diversity in the country that is evidence for different regional evolutions and histories throughout those 5000 years. The territories of various the dynasties varied greatly and the people considered ‘Chinese’ have also varied with those dynasties. I think it is unhelpful to present China as a monolithic, historically and culturally static entity.

I agree that it’s important to be open to learning about other cultures, but I don’t think that everyone must be an expert in order to hold an opinion.

Thanks for reading my post, Bo Yang. Wo renwei taolun xiang zhe yang shi hao shi. I think that discussions like this are a good thing.

Regards, M.

North Van's Grumps said...

Bo Yang - "Born Guo Libang (郭立邦) in Kaifeng, Henan Province, he later changed his name to Guo Yidong (郭衣洞), apparently as a result of a falling out with his father and stepmother."

Lindy19 said...

Dear M,

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Trashing Kerrisdale was a mere hypothetical situation, as you probably inferred. However, though I hope the VPD/RCMP would take care of it in a non-violent manner, but the destruction of businesses and houses would definitely illicit a government-sanctioned (and rightful) violent response from the RCMP. And though I have all the respect in the world for our police, it doesn't seem to take much lately for them to take "action" (i.e. Robert Dziekanski).

I believe that the central government knows exactly what is going on in Tibet and why the Tibetans (and indeed the Uyghurs in Xinjiang) are resentful. However, there has been a lot of decentralization going on in China in the recent past, so that what local governments do (in terms of corruption and oppression) cannot be attributed to bad policies by the central government, but rather, bad enforcement of those policies. Abiding the law is rather tenuous in China - from ignoring traffic laws by pedestrians and drivers alike (I would never want to drive in China!) as a minor example to blatant breaching of environmental regulations as a major problem. I am not saying that the CCP should not be taking heat for this, but that it's not as simple as it looks from the outside.

Believe me, I'm just as big a critic of the CCP as the next person.

I totally agree that history is messy. However, by the same token, how are we justified in being in Canada at all if that is the argument you are trying to make? Shouldn't all the historical claims on Canada be reviewed then as well? Self-determination is nice Wilsonian ideal, but it opens a whole can of worms that is messy and potentially dangerous for those concerned. Think Bosnia, Kosovo, and the general history of the Balkans. I am not saying that people's claims aren't important, but from the CCP's perspective, you can hardly expect them to agree to Tibetan self-determination because that will justify Taiwan's claim on independence as well as Xinjiang, and maybe even Inner Mongolia...

"The CCP is worried about appeasing SOME of its citizens, but definitely not those who have less economic or social power."

Yes that is probably the case - I was born in Gansu, probably the poorest province in China. And I get sick of seeing Beijing dominate CCTV's broadcasting.

However, with the Tibetan situation creating such an international uproar, I think China is learning to deal better with its minorities. I was recently writing on the Hui minority population and (this is true for all minorities) they are entitled to having more than one child (sometimes even in urban areas) and get better access to promotion, wage increases, housing, etc. So in response to some people's arguments that China is putting its minority population down, this is really not the case.

And also, as a Christian, I hear stories of house churches being routed and its leaders arrested often and it pains me to see China still being so paranoid. However, this paranoia of anything remotely political activist is a direct result of its need to maintain legitimacy in the eyes of the people. I would suggest reading Susan Shirk's book, China: Fragile Superpower. She does a really good job outlining some of the insecurities of the Chinese government, how they incorrectly gauge people's responses through media outlets and how these media outlets sensationalize in order to broaden readership. The press has been gradually given some freedom in reporting, however, because it knows that the Chinese people want dramatic stories (kinda like in Canada too eh?) they play up anything that may be seen as a 'slight' on China - and in doing so, forces the CCP to retaliate even for the smallest diplomatic faux pas, such calling Taiwan the ROC in the presence of Chinese officials or something. If the CCP doesn't do something to retaliate, then it's scared that the Chinese people will see them as weak.

So it's really a vicious cycle you see.

I do agree with you that the CCP needs to start talking with the Dalai Lama - it will probably diffuse a lot resentment. However, given its past record of bashing the DL and raising nationalist anger against the guy within China, it can hardly be expected that they will talk with him anytime soon. Talking with him now would be in the eyes of some patriotic nationalists (and in CCP's opinion of how the Chinese people would react) traitorous.

So really the CCP is more controlled by the people's perceptions of the government than the Western media would care to admit or understand.

Anyhow, there are a lot of nuances in Chinese politics that aren't understood here in Canada and it grieves me that people are so quick to jump to conclusions. Some of the anti-China comments are frightful.

Not every government is perfect, the CCP just has some serious flaws - but that does not mean it hasn't been evolving or adapting. Under Hu Jintao, the internal politics of the CCP has diffused so that there aren't anymore political allegiances to particular leaders. Let's hope that there won't be another Mao to screw China over.

Anonymous said...

Compare how the media covers China's Olympic Torch Run: CNN reports thousands of jubilant Argentines lining the route. The BBC article only mentions protests and only hundreds in the crowd. What is Truth in the media?


CNN: Peaceful olympic torch run in Argentina

CNN: Runners flanked by rows of security carried the Olympic torch past thousands of jubilant Argentines on Friday as China supporters in red windbreakers tried to reverse weeks of bad publicity for the host of the Summer Games.


http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/
americas/04/11/argentina.torch.ap/
index.html


BBC: Protests at Argentine torch rally

Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri lit the torch and held it aloft on Friday as hundreds of sporting enthusiasts applauded.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/
americas/7343138.stm

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindy19,

I really appreciated and enjoyed reading your response and I will read your book recommendation. Thanks for taking the time to respond!

Here are my comments:

1) You said, “However, though I hope the VPD/RCMP would take care of it in a non-violent manner, but the destruction of businesses and houses would definitely illicit a government-sanctioned (and rightful) violent response from the RCMP.”
Since this is a hypothetical situation I don’t think either of us can say for certain what the response from the police would be. Certainly I was also unimpressed with the tasering of Robert Dziekanski, but it still doesn’t tell me how the police would respond to a Chinese-Canadian riot. Whatever the RCMP’s reaction might be, one would expect that it would be in full view of the international press, something that has not occurred with the riots in Tibet.

2) You said, “I believe the central government knows exactly what is going on in Tibet and why the Tibetans (and indeed the Uyghurs in Xinjiang) are resentful. However, there has been a lot of decentralization going on in China in the recent past, so that what local governments do (in terms of corruption and oppression) cannot be attributed to bad policies, but rather, bad enforcement of those policies… I am not saying that the CCP should not be taking heat for this, but that it’s not as simple as it looks from the outside.”

I totally agree that decentralization and regional corruption are major problems all over China, not just in Tibet. I also agree that situations like this are absolutely never simple, although they may seem so from the outside. I hope I didn’t give the impression that I felt it was totally simple.

However, I don’t think it makes sense to attribute the problems in Tibet more to corruption and decentralization than to the CCP’s policies. I think that many CCP policies ARE properly enforced in Tibet and that these policies (resettlement of nomad populations, inland Tibetan boarding schools - one of the main options for obtaining a decent education, etc.) are not well-designed or well thought-out. Thus, they do indeed contribute to Tibetan dissatisfaction.

In the same vein, it was the central CCP that made the decision to ‘develop’ Tibet, and it is the central CCP that appoints the generally Han Chinese people in charge of Tibet (people like Zhang Qingli, a Shandong native who has been vice chairman of the Xinjiang government, as well as more recently, the acting secretary of the TAR, despite being unable to speak either Tibetan or Uyghur). Previous CCP leaders in Tibet like Hu Yaobang were able to make progressive changes that many Tibetans approved of, but since 1989, the CCP has consistently appointed hardliners to be in charge of Tibet. If the CCP is truly aware of what is happening in Tibet and why Tibetans are resentful, this seems to me to be a crazy way to approach the problem.

Still, I agree that the CCP’s policies are not the ONLY problem in Tibet.

Hope my response makes sense! It’s a bit wordy.

3) You said, “However, by the same token, how are we justified in being in Canada at all if that is the argument you are trying to make? Shouldn’t all the historical claims on Canada be reviewed then as well?”
In your original comment you stated that “historically [Taiwan] has been a part of China since the Qing dynasty.” By saying this, I assumed that you were trying to use history to imply that the PRC’s present claims to Taiwan are entirely legitimate. My response, then, was simply intended to point out that Taiwan’s history is complicated, and that it is a place that has been colonized by many different groups. Who is to say WHICH group’s historical claim is the correct one?

I wasn’t making an argument either way about who is CURRENTLY justified in inhabiting Taiwan, I was just trying to point out that trying to use “history” in order to legitimize the PRC’s claims over Taiwan is not as simple as it may seem, nor is it a very helpful argument.

4) You said, “From the CCP’s perspective, you can hardly expect them to agree to Tibetan self-determination because that will justify Taiwan’s claim on independence as well as Xinjiang, and maybe even Inner Mongolia.”
Absolutely. I can understand their perspective and I can understand why they don’t want to talk with the Dalai Lama for exactly this reason. However, if these regions are so fragile and have the potential to be easily removed from China as a nation, then perhaps the CCP’s conception of what China is composed of, is somewhat problematic. This problem can be traced back to Sun Yatsen’s view of the ethnic groups of the Han, Manchu, Hui, Mongolian and Tibetan as the ‘five fingers’ of the nation, whether or not those ethnic groups felt that they belonged in that nation.

5) You said, “I was recently writing on the Hui minority population and (this is true for all minorities) they are entitled to having more than one child (sometimes even in urban areas) and get better access to promotion, wage increases, housing, etc. So in response to some people's arguments that China is putting its minority population down, this is really not the case.”
I agree. Still, sometimes these entitlements are not enough to make up for other restrictions, contributing instead to a sense of loss of identity of culture (as, for example, with the provision of government housing for Tibetans nomads who are often strongly encouraged to settle permanently, changing their entire way of life and forcing them to compete in a new capitalist economy and with other ethnic groups who may be much better at speaking Putonghua than them). I would also include the example of the policy of Inland Tibetan Schools (Neidi xizang ban), which are boarding schools in major inland cities like Chengdu or Changzhou for the top TAR secondary students. This policy sounds ok on paper as it provides Tibetans access to a much better quality education, but this often comes along with a lot of negatives. For one, although attendance at the schools is voluntary, once the students are enrolled, they are not permitted to return home until they graduate (a period of 4 to 7 years, depending on how much school they complete). Also, because the instruction is in Mandarin, with the exception of Tibetan language class, many of the students begin to lose their Tibetan language skills. Also, the students, by virtue of living in a totally non-Tibetan culture, often experience discrimination (such as being called dirty or weird) by the locals. This must be a difficult experience.

If you’re interested, there is a full-length book by Zhu Zhiyong on the Changzhou neidi ban.

So, minority policies are difficult in any culture/country - even when they sound good on paper, there are often negative issues that need to be dealt with. If these negative issues are simply ignored, the implications can be very serious.

6) You said, “So really the CCP is more controlled by the people's perceptions of the government than the Western media would care to admit or understand.”
I think you’re right to an extent. But I also think the CCP underestimates their citizens. While there is definitely an ultranationalist contingent, I find it hard to imagine that if the CCP suddenly announced that they were going to negotiate with the DL, that the entire population would revolt. Perhaps I am wrong, but I think that there is a diversity of opinions among the Chinese and that they can deal with change. I mean look at all the gigantic changes they have already dealt with over the past 100 years, at times well and at times not. If the CCP would have the courage to break out of that cycle, I feel like maybe some positive changes could occur.

7) You said, “Anyhow, there are a lot of nuances in Chinese politics that aren't understood here in Canada and it grieves me that people are so quick to jump to conclusions. Some of the anti-China comments are frightful.”
There definitely are a lot of nuances, and I can understand the annoyance of some Chinese people over the simplification of the issues by some journalists. Also, just as I find some of the ultranationalist comments by some Chinese people frightening, I am also really disturbed by some of the racism I have seem expressed in SOME internet comments. In neither case are such comments helpful…they only contribute to further anger and hatred, which can never be a good thing.

In contrast to such anger, I really appreciate reasoned, calm discussion as I think that is the only way such issues can be resolved. So thanks, Lindy19, for participating in an interesting exchange! I am not Chinese, but I study the language and culture and I have so much respect for the culture and the people.

Take care, M.

Raymond said...

To G West: Heh, sorry? Might of misinterpreted. Sorry about the name mix up. Quite embarassing indeed. Unless by an error, I never said China was run by democracy. One more thing, I don't believe I have mentioned a single thing stating that China should not be criticized for certain things. However, when criticized, I hope that the media uses non biased statements, and not mix one thing with another.

G West said...

Thanks Raymond - no offence.

China's hardly the only country I criticize.

Don't take it too hard - when President Hu Jintao gives the Tibetan people a chance to decide their own future - as the people of Quebec have done and may do again - I'll give him all the credit he's due. When he stops trying to exert hegemonic influence over the people of Taiwan – who fled the depredations of the Red Army more than half a century ago – perhaps you don’t remember that – and when he stops suggesting that matters of human rights and self-determination are only 'internal' matters and when he and his defenders stop lying about the fact that China 'does not interfere' in the internal affairs of other countries such as Burma and the Sudan - to mention only two of a much longer list I could draw from - I'll give him all the credit.

Until then, sadly, the record speaks for itself.

DL said...

Well it's all settled folks. The ex drug tzar of the IOC Dick Pound tells the Canadian athletes to shut up if they don't like what China is doing. The Dali lama said . You arn't supposed to tell people protesting to "shut up". It would seem that Dickie doesnt like any one rocking the boat either. After all Pound , if the Olympics fades away would have to get a job and no longer be wined and dined with the rest of the folks on the IOC.

Way back when ,the games were about sport and now its a political show with paid athletes in some sports competing against other folks are there to reach the top of their sport. Sells TV time too and has sure brought out the Chinese PR team.

Lindy19 said...

Hi M,

Thanks for responding. I think it was a fruitful exchange indeed!

I think we both have come to the conclusion that things aren't as simple as the media have put it and I appreciate your comments. There are definitely a lot of things to think about.

Let's just hope that there will be positive change. And I really do think that since the Olympics have been given to Beijing, it should be allowed to carry forward.

And I do agree that minority policy isn't that great, some of the present minorities have been purely creations of state recognition, as you mentioned starting from Sun Yat-sen's wuzu gonghe time. We are all united in the fact that we want things to be better for Chinese people, minority or not.

Anyhow, I enjoyed this discussion a lot.

-Lindy

North Van's Grumps said...

How was anyone to know who would be in power in Germany in 1931 when the IOC awarded the games to Berlin? " By 1936, the Nazis had control over Germany and had already begun to implement their racist policies. There was international debate as to whether the 1936 Olympics in Nazi Germany should be boycotted. The United States was extremely close to boycotting but at the last minute decided to accept the invitation to attend."



Does this sound at all too familiar now that China is about to have the spotlight put on itself?


The 1936 Olympics (men only permitted) was comprised of about 4,000 athlete participants, representing 49 countries.

2008 Summer Olympics will have over 200 "countries" (actually there are only 192 countries, but adding in twelve territories, commonwealths, and protectorates brings it over 200).

In 2010, will the Chinese leader boycott Canada's 2010 Winter Olympic invitation?

Does anyone really care?

Bo Yang said...

First, @North Van's Grumps:

Unfortunately, I am NOT the author of the book "The Ugly Chinaman", nor am I the same Bo Yang, who is also the national policy advisor to the Chen Shui-Bian government. Unfortunately, wikipedia, where you got your information by searching for my name (Bo Yang), is NOT the whitepages, nor was it intended to be. In actuality, I am an undergraduate student who studies physics at the University of British Columbia. I have been living in Vancouver since I was ten years old.

@Dear M., thanks for reading my comments, here are my responses:

"I enjoyed reading your reply, even if it did sometimes have a rather condescending tone to it."
I apologize, if you believe I had adopted a militant stance to Mr. Tieleman's posts; I simply tried to mimic the same air as Mr. Tieleman's original 24hrs commentary.

"Bill was implying that the MAINLAND media often doesn’t report on such issues."

Indeed, I mis-understood Mr. Tieleman's comments. He is of course right. The Chinese government officials did not inform the World Health Organization of the outbreak until February 2003, and only through restricted media coverages did the public learn of the pandemic (the first case, patient 0, was already died in January).

The PRC has since officially apologized for early slowness in dealing with the SARS epidemic, whereas a number of PRC officials were fired from their posts, including the health minister and mayor of Beijing. Since then, the PRC has taken a much more active and transparent role in combating the SARS epidemic. The government did learn its lessons, albeit at a heavy human cost.

"but I hope you also recognize that the topics covered by the Chinese media are still very much controlled and limited in their scope."

Yes, I am fully aware of that (so do most Chinese, although many can not do much about that). Not to jump to too great a scale, openness is something that is acquired gradually. China did not have the advantage as the US or Canada to "begin the Canada with democracy from scratch", as one could put it. The de-centralization and de-socialization of China, as you will mention later, has already put a great cost to the nation. One can only imagine the lawlessness that would result, if policies such as 'perestroika' and 'glasnost' were thrust upon the nation like it had been done by Gorbachev in the USSR. Altough the USSR is no more, and the Russia today is on route towards more or less Western democracy, the lasting impact of policies such as "shock therapy" is much more obvious in Russia. I will end this comment by citing a wikipedia article on the beginnings of the Russian Federation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russia#Russian_Federation.

"I would also mention that when negative things happen in the USA, I often notice that Xinhua is among the first agencies to pick up on the stories. One could complain about biased reporting from this perspective."

As, and would the CBC and many other Canadian networks as well. Notice how bad-mouthing of the US goes on in this country as well. There's no point in discussing the biased nature of the Chinese media, since all media are inherently biased.

"I would emphasize that, for a long time now, the Dalai Lama has called only for greater autonomy, not independence. I think that there are many other potential motivations behind the riots that should be examined and better understood. It is simplistic to suggest otherwise."

Yes, other points including the influx of non-ethnic Tibetans as migrate workers and businessmen, the socio-economic issues can not be dismissed. However, the Dalai Lama at one time was adamant about Tibetan independence, and one can only imagine how many Tibetan youths grew up listening to such indoctrination. Rather than working with the Chinese to build a secular, and secure Tibet, they choose to instead raise arms and attack other ethnic groups. Why, because from the perspective of pro-Independence Tibetans, Dalai Lama has sold them false hopes! No wonder they are so pissed!

"The majority of Tibetans were still serfs prior to 1951 annexation by the People’s Liberation Army (Communist China)."
"So what? The majority of Han Chinese citizens were lowly agricultural workers bound to landlords (very much akin to serfdom too!)."

You are absolute right, that's exactly WHY the Chinese people were in support of Mao and the Communists, because Mao effectively broke the shackles of serfdom endure by many ethnic Han Chinese, by liberating the masses, and re-distributing the land back into the hands of hardworking peasants. And that's what the communist did in Tibet as well: they transformed a backward feudal society into a modern one, where the Tibetan enjoy equal, if not MORE protection and (e.g.: cheaper education fees and lower university examination score requirements than the typical Han Chinese) rights than the Han Chinese. I'm glad you mentioned that.

"What difference does this make in terms of negotiating with the Dalai Lama? Why on earth would you think that he would suddenly impose a theocracy? The government-in-exile and the community in Dharamsala are not living under a theocracy. There is no reason to suppose this would happen and it’s nothing more than fear-mongering."

Yes, and did you ever read or know of the Dalai government's strategy and/or policies if they were to rule Tibet? Thought so; you see, the Dalai government-in-exile has only one purpose: to inform people of the world of the "toils" of the Tibetan people. I doubt they EVEN know what they'd like to do with Tibet, if they are given the opportunity. Furthermore, if the Dalai government were to become the government of Tibet, there would be no separation of State and Church (or in this case, Monastery). Give me a few example of States run by Theocratic bodies, that are not theocracies.

"Wow, that’s an embarrassing response on your part, demonstrating a great deal of ignorance of contemporary history. Have you never heard of Apartheid?"

Hahha, thanks for mentioning that. Undoubtedly the apartheid (lasting effects which are still felt strongly today in South Africa), institutionalized by Imperialistic Colonialism of the British and Dutch. But hey buddy, as long as I recall, universal suffrage exist in South Africa today. Sure the Whites are usually richer, but the Blacks have had rights to vote since 1994 (who do you think voted Nelson Mandela into power?). So it seems, that Mr. Tieleman's logic (and yours) goes like this: a country DID evil deeds in the past, therefore we boycott it. So, rather than giving you a long list, let me give you a short list of very internationally prominent countries we should therefore boycott:

>Japan: WWII crimes, such as the Nanking Massacre, and Korean Massacres
>Germany: WII crimes, holocaust et al
>Canada and US: forceful relocation and slaughter of numerous native Indian tribes

Need I go on?

"Just like it’s never too late to learn about South African history?"

Actually, I already learned about the Apartheid in high school here in Vancouver, but thanks anyways.

"It’s good that there are diverse opinions encompassed in the NPC, but as far as I understand it, it seems that their function is often just to rubber stamp pre-approved work reports or candidates. They do not have much political power"

Actually, my friend, you are quite wrong about that. You see, if you had said that before 1990's, you might have been right, but nowadays it's quite different. I personally sees the NPC as a forum, where legislation is debated before being put to vote. It's a forum for mediating policy differences between different parts of the Party and the government. I definitely recommend you to learn more about Chinese politics. Good primers exist on wikipedia. In fact, a good once exist on this NPC exactly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_People%27s_Congress

"However, I agree that development can be slow and I hope eventually China can develop a political system that allows for a political opposition and for better freedoms for people from less-privileged social and economic backgrounds."

Yes, it's true that less-privileged social and economic groups tends to be segregated more in less-democratic environments. I hope such better improvements can appear soon as well.

"You said regarding the Dalai Lama, “Nobody heard about the anti-secular and theocratic regime he would plan to install if he were given control of Tibet. That’s because he hasn’t said it! There is nothing to indicate that the Dalai Lama is interested in reinstating an outdated social order. You are fear-mongering and spreading inaccurate information."

Haha, actually, perhaps you've been reading the articles put out by Xinhua and its affiliates too much yourself! I'd recommend non-partisan sources such as Michael Parenti (e.g.: http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html). You can learn much more about what "Tibetan Theocracy" truly entails. I doubt the Dalai Lama would mention anything of this sort as well.

"Have you looked at recent reports on human rights violations that were put together by organizations like Amnesty International? Just to clarify, stating the Chinese GDP is not helpful in this case. It’s nice that the country is doing so well economically, but that doesn’t tell me anything about how it treats its citizens."

GDP is an excellent measure of NOT just how well the country is doing, but how each individual citizen is putting more money into their own pockets. And yes, we all know what Amnesty puts out, they already bombard us with enough stuff (nice to see they have a few human rights violation issues for Canada and the US as well). I certainly hope you are not supposing that China's human rights has deteriorated since the Mao era?

"I’m sure that some people would express the same opinions as the newspapers, but I know for a fact that not everyone feels the same way."

Dissenters are always marginalized, even in a country such as the US and Canada (perhaps not to the extend of imprisonment, such as in the PRC). I believe you should check to realize that it's not "some people would express the same opinions as the newspaper", but rather the MAJORITY of Chinese citizen (even those who are overseas, just look at the number of people showing up at pro-China rallies across Canada, or the US).

It's unfortunately that China still imprisons political dissidents. Old habits do die hard. True Chinese patriotism is revealed, in the sense that people do understand the political, social, and economic problems plaguing China, but rather than shouting and marching about, they sit down, plan, work, study and create ways to better the country and themselves. The CPC, for example, has laid down serious rules and regulations against corruptions, and executions serve as pretty good methods to scare mis-doers.

"I recognize that China has a long history, but it is inaccurate to claim that it has existed as a homogenous nation for 5000 years. There is still so much regional and cultural diversity in the country that is evidence for different regional evolutions and histories throughout those 5000 years. The territories of various the dynasties varied greatly and the people considered ‘Chinese’ have also varied with those dynasties. I think it is unhelpful to present China as a monolithic, historically and culturally static entity."

Agreeable that the "nation of China" (with nearly equal geography as its modern phase) has only existed since approximately 1400's (a good wiki link is here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Territories_of_Dynasties_in_China.gif - to see china throughout the ages). The definition of Chinese is one of 56 different ethnic groups (Tibetans included), I hope this definition is more "helpful".

What I was stressing with this point, is that there are much cultural, historical, ethnic, and socio-economic issues one must consider, before posting an article with a title such as "boycott China" (if you were pan-Blue or as they call, "mainlander" Taiwan citizens, you might even think Mr. Tieleman is anti-Chinese in totality, by reading that title!)


Lastly, I would like to ask why had you not responded to "every single topic" of my discussion as I had to Mr. Tieleman. It seems interesting that you are picking ONLY on paragraphs of mine of which you can obtain fallacy. I'd like to see you rebuttal (with facts) topics including the CPC's rebuilding of Tibet, modernization and secularization of Tibet, and the current modernization, privatization and generally "opening-up" of the so-called "militant dictatorship" of the Chinese government.

Bo Yang said...

@ North Van grumps.

No offense to you logic (although considering you think I am a 88 year-old Chinese writer, rather than a 22 year-old physics student, one might question that "logic" of yours), but I think it's quite unfair to draw a direct connection to boycotting the 2008 Olympics to the one held in Nazi Germany.

In fact, this boycott is more similar to 1996 Atlanta games' boycott (due to homophobia), as well as the 2000 Sydney games over Australian aboriginal rights.

Bo Yang said...

@ Mr. M:

In regarding the "integrity" of the current Dalai Lama, it may also be interesting for you to review this piece of writing from Mr. Christopher Hitchens:http://www.salon.com/news/1998/07/13news.html

Mind you, Mr. Hitchens is no supporter of the Chinese Communist Party, but nor is a strong adherent of religious practices as well:

In other words, the fellow is an atheist. But his argument spring from facts.

Anonymous said...

Christopher Hitchens bio

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,

After reading your article, what your said is a proof that your are also brain washed by the so called "Free" Western Media, just like the comment usually made to Chinese. It is very clear that your voice of wildness is nothing more than a "Frog in the bottom of the well", which is a Chinese saying that a frog sitting in the bottom of it's well, and claims that he has seen all the sky there is.
I have the following questions/comments correspondent to your comments in the same order:
1. Don't you think boycott Olympics is boycott Chinese people?2. When you say the email you received are "obscene and vicious", then your words like "Chinese bully" and "Boycott China" is the worst of them all.
3. You don't buy anything that's "Made in China", then do you buy anything from Wal-Mart? I suggest you watch "Wal*Mart Nation", a film by Andrew Munger. Maybe you can share your comments after watching the film.
4. Seeing is believing? If you don't see, how do you know it is the truth or false?
5. So everything that's produced by the Western World is perfect?
6. Please note there is something called "Freedom of speech" in the Western World, therefore, opposite to what Dalai has to say should also be allowed.
7. Tibet is part of China, therefore, the future of Tibet will always decided by people of China.
8. Human Rights is the best weapon invented to win the cold war. It is never used to justify what happened in North America two hundred years ago.
9. If Quebec separates from Canada, what will happen to Canada?
10. Taiwan has always been part of China, it is not a separate country just because it claims to be one.
11. "naive"? maybe not. But "misled" would be more close to the truth.
12. Right, boycott 1980 and 1984 summer Olympics has accomplished everything, the world is a much peaceful place after all the athletes have been sacrifised.
13. Harper is helping Canadian athletes all he can by not attending the opening ceremory, what a gutsy guy. Go Harper, go!
14. Thank you for your warm welcome! Please check Canada's immigration policy!
15. After searching the internet, found all the posts claim he is a "activist". But unable to find what he was accused for, therefore, unable to comment on him.

Bill, behind all of these argument regarding China's human rights issue, I wonder if you understand what's the purpose of all the accusation? Remember USSR? It was the biggest threat to the free Western World. Now it is gone, the next one is China. So, get rid of China just like USSR, then the free Western World will be able to do whatever to whoever in the name of "freedom".

Anonymous said...

Dear Lindy,

I also really enjoyed our discussion and I think we probably agree more than we disagree. Whatever happens in the future, I hope that it eventually helps to improve the lives of everyone in China.

I’ve put in a request at the library for the book you recommended, and I’m looking forward to reading it. Thanks again for suggesting it.

Best regards, M.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bo Yang,

Actually, I am a woman, so you can dispense with the Mr. address and just call me M.

1) You said, “I apologize, if you believe I had adopted a militant stance to Mr. Tieleman's posts; I simply tried to mimic the same air as Mr. Tieleman's original 24hrs commentary.”
I never said the word ‘militant’ I said ‘condescending.’ If you felt Bill Tieleman’s article was condescending you have every right to say so, but I generally find that responding to someone in a condescending way is not that effective.

I would also like to say that I found your response to me rather condescending. Please don’t bother using words like ‘friend’ and ‘buddy’ when you obviously consider me to be neither.

2) You said, “Since then, the PRC has taken a much more active and transparent role in combating the SARS epidemic. The government did learn its lessons, albeit at a heavy human cost.”
I used the SARS epidemic as only ONE example of many issues that are not well-reported in the Chinese media. The reporting, or lack thereof, on many issues to do with the current Tibetan situation is just another example of that. I do not think that the SARS epidemic helped the Chinese government learn all that much about the benefits of an open media.

3) You said, “Not to jump to too great a scale, openness is something that is acquired gradually. China did not have the advantage as the US or Canada to "begin the Canada with democracy from scratch", as one could put it.
I agree that development is something that can be quite slow, as you might see from my previous conversation with Lindy19 on this blog. However, one can still be critical and acknowledge the current problems in the PRC.

4) You said, “There's no point in discussing the biased nature of the Chinese media, since all media are inherently biased.”
I entirely disagree with this statement. I think when people see bias or problems in a certain media those problems should be discussed. If people refuse to discuss global problems because they haven’t fixed all the problems in their own countries, then no one would ever criticize anything, and change would be very difficult to achieve because everyone would be silent.

5) You said, “However, the Dalai Lama at one time was adamant about Tibetan independence, and one can only imagine how many Tibetan youths grew up listening to such indoctrination. Rather than working with the Chinese to build a secular, and secure Tibet, they choose to instead raise arms and attack other ethnic groups.”
Which Tibetan youths are you referring to? Those who grew up in India or those who grew up in the TAR? If you are referring to those in the TAR, then I think you are incorrect. Tibetans who have grown up in China and who have had access to education have been ‘indoctrinated’ by curriculum written by the Chinese government. The fact that some of these people chose to react violently was definitely unfortunate, but I think you need to consider why, in spite of the government’s investment in development, these people were so unhappy. I think this indicates that there are some major problems with the government’s current minority policies and that not all Tibetans are benefiting from them. Feel free to read my past discussion with Lindy19 for more details.

6) You said, “You are absolute right, that's exactly WHY the Chinese people were in support of Mao and the Communists, because Mao effectively broke the shackles of serfdom endure by many ethnic Han Chinese, by liberating the masses, and re-distributing the land back into the hands of hardworking peasants. And that's what the communist did in Tibet as well: they transformed a backward feudal society into a modern one, where the Tibetan enjoy equal, if not MORE protection and (e.g.: cheaper education fees and lower university examination score requirements than the typical Han Chinese) rights than the Han Chinese. I'm glad you mentioned that.”
First, the Communist revolution was largely a Han-led revolution. It was not an organic Tibetan revolution so I think that’s an important distinction. If America suddenly had a Communist revolution and then decided they needed to ‘liberate’ Canada, I think many Canadians would like to be consulted first.
Second, you have a very idealized view of what Mao did in China. You don’t mention the suffering caused by the Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution. You don’t mention the incredible human costs that have accompanied recent development.
Finally, you have idealized the minority policies in Tibet. The educational opportunities for Tibetans come at a price. In order to obtain a decent education, many Tibetan kids attend secondary-level boarding schools in Inland China. While such schools provide them with a better education than they might obtain in Tibet, they come at a price. Once the students go to these schools they have to remain there for 4 to 7 years, depending on how much schooling they wish to complete. The classes are largely in Mandarin, and many of the students begin to lose their Tibetan skills. The students are also living in largely Han communities, and they sometimes experience discrimination and racism.
There is a book on this subject written by a Chinese scholar named Zhu Zhiyong. It’s very interesting.
Minority policies might look good on paper, but they are often more complicated in practice. Not everyone in Tibet is benefiting from the government’s policies there and it seems that thus far their voices are not being heard, leading to resentment and anger.

6) You said, “Did you ever read or know of the Dalai government's strategy and/or policies if they were to rule Tibet? Thought so; you see, the Dalai government-in-exile has only one purpose: to inform people of the world of the "toils" of the Tibetan people. I doubt they EVEN know what they'd like to do with Tibet, if they are given the opportunity.”
Have you ever read about the Government-in-exile’s strategy and/or policies if they were to rule Tibet? I looked at the government-in-exile’s website and they have extensive future plans for what they would do. One statement from the Dalai says, in part: “I believe that in future, Tibet should have a multi-party system of parliament, and that it should have three organs of government - legislature, executive and judiciary - with a clear separation of powers between them, each independent of the other and vested with equal powers and authority... Tibetans in Tibet shall bear the main responsibility in future Tibet's democratic government” He also states, “Personally, I have made up my mind that I will not play any role in the future government of Tibet, let alone seek the Dalai Lama's traditional political position in the government.”

Whatever you believe, they HAVE made plans and have obviously thought about the issues more deeply than you seem to assume.

7) You said, “But hey buddy, as long as I recall, universal suffrage exist in South Africa today. Sure the Whites are usually richer, but the Blacks have had rights to vote since 1994 (who do you think voted Nelson Mandela into power?). So it seems, that Mr. Tieleman's logic (and yours) goes like this: a country DID evil deeds in the past, therefore we boycott it.”
Don’t bother calling me buddy when you mean it sarcastically.

You misread Bill’s original post. He said he ‘boycotted South Africa’ in the PAST TENSE. This means he is NOT still boycotting the place. Thus, your subsequent points are invalid.

8) You said, “Actually, my friend, you are quite wrong about that. You see, if you had said that before 1990's, you might have been right, but nowadays it's quite different. I personally sees the NPC as a forum, where legislation is debated before being put to vote. It's a forum for mediating policy differences between different parts of the Party and the government.”
Again, please don’t bother calling me ‘friend’ when you are being so insincere.
It’s nice that you can quote sections of Wikipedia to me….here’s what Wiki says, “Although the membership of the NPC is still largely determined by the Communist Party of China, since the early 1990s it has moved away from its previous role as a symbolic but powerless rubber-stamp legislature, and has become a forum for mediating policy differences between different parts of the Party and the government.”
What a coincidence that you personally see things with almost EXACTLY the same wording as Wikipedia.
Although I don’t think Wikipedia is a very good source, I’ll quote a bit more of the article for you: “The constitution of the National People's Congress provides for most of its power to be exercised on a day-to-day basis by its Standing Committee. Due to its overwhelming majority in the Congress, the Communist Party has total control over the composition of the Standing Committee, thereby controlling the actions of the National People's Congress.” This doesn’t sound like much of a forum for political opposition or debate to me.

The situation is more complicated than you imply. And, without any offence intended, I wonder how much research you have actually done into the role and effectiveness of the NPC. I particularly wonder this since you have grown up in Canada, and are a physics major, not a political science major. I am not an expert on the NPC, but I would imagine that you are not either.

9) You said, “I'd recommend non-partisan sources such as Michael Parenti (e.g.: http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html). You can learn much more about what "Tibetan Theocracy" truly entails. I doubt the Dalai Lama would mention anything of this sort as well.”
As I have already said in a previous post, I don’t feel that Michael Parenti is the best source for learning about Tibet. If you look at his credentials you will find that he is neither a Tibet expert, nor a historian. In the lists of his more substantial works you find nothing about Tibet, nothing about Buddhism and very little concerning Asia at all. This could explain why his version is far removed from the picture given by the overwhelming bulk of Tibet scholars, who usually give a far more nuanced description of Old Tibet. Many of them have actually written detailed refutation of the naïve Tibet-was-like-a-Shangri-La myth without feeling the need to back their criticism with all these cruel propaganda creations.

I would instead suggest that you look up work by some of the numerous Tibetan and Chinese scholars who signed a recent open letter to Hu Jintao: http://www.tibetopenletter.org/

10) You said, “GDP is an excellent measure of NOT just how well the country is doing, but how each individual citizen is putting more money into their own pockets.”
The GDP is an average. If the rich start to make more but the poor get poorer, the average might look higher overall, but it doesn’t tell us exactly who is benefiting. It also says nothing about the average quality of life for people.

As I said earlier, it also says nothing about how people are treated by their governments.

11) You said “I certainly hope you are not supposing that China's human rights has deteriorated since the Mao era?”
It is interesting to note that earlier in your post you indicated that Mao liberated the Chinese people but now you indicate that human rights were terrible during that era?

I have never been trying to debate WHEN in time human rights were the worst in China. I have been talking about what things are like RIGHT NOW, and there are definitely human rights problems in China right now.

12) You said, “I believe you should check to realize that it's not "some people would express the same opinions as the newspaper", but rather the MAJORITY of Chinese citizen (even those who are overseas, just look at the number of people showing up at pro-China rallies across Canada, or the US).”
It’s impossible to say whether or not it would be the majority of people who would express such opinions, but that still doesn’t make it right for the majority to oppress the minority. It is wrong to punish people who express dissent, but that is what has been continuing to happen in China. And the continued jailing of dissenters is itself evidence that not everyone in China has the exact same opinion. Indeed, I don’t think that there is anywhere on earth where everyone shares the same opinion!

13) You said, “The definition of Chinese is one of 56 different ethnic groups (Tibetans included), I hope this definition is more "helpful".
But whose definition is this? It is the current PRC CCP definition, but it has not always been this way. My point was that, when you told Bill to learn more about the 5000-year-old ‘nation’ of China, you were incorrect to imply that the nation in its present state has existed for 5000 years.

14) You said, “What I was stressing with this point, is that there are much cultural, historical, ethnic, and socio-economic issues one must consider, before posting an article with a title such as "boycott China"
Yes, just as one might consider the many cultural, historical, ethnic and socio-economic issues that motivated the choice by some Tibetans to react violently in the TAR.

15) You said, “In regarding the "integrity" of the current Dalai Lama, it may also be interesting for you to review this piece of writing from Mr. Christopher Hitchens”
It was an interesting article and I’m glad that Christopher Hitchens has the ability to express non-mainstream opinions in public. It doesn’t change my opinion that the CCP’s decision to utterly demonize the Dalai Lama is not reasonable or responsible.

16) You said, “Lastly, I would like to ask why had you not responded to "every single topic" of my discussion as I had to Mr. Tieleman. It seems interesting that you are picking ONLY on paragraphs of mine of which you can obtain fallacy. I'd like to see you rebuttal (with facts) topics including the CPC's rebuilding of Tibet, modernization and secularization of Tibet, and the current modernization, privatization and generally "opening-up" of the so-called "militant dictatorship" of the Chinese government.”
Wow, I responded to a lot of your original post and I have responded point-by-point to your rebuttal. Do I have to respond to everything in order for you to consider my points valid? I have already given my views on some of the problems with the CCP’s development projects in Tibet in my other debates with Lindy19. Have you read those? There is a wealth of literature written by many of the scholars in the link I provided (http://www.tibetopenletter.org/) that give detailed facts on the current situation in Tibet. Just because I have not posted a footnoted essay with a bibliography does not mean that my ideas are invalid.

I’m happy that many people in China are benefiting from the CCP’s economic reforms. However, a lot of people, all over China, are not. Criticism is not a negative thing, nor is it an anti-Chinese thing.

M.

Bo Yang said...

Dear Bo Yang,
“I never said the word ‘militant’ I said ‘condescending.’ If you felt Bill Tieleman’s article was condescending you have every right to say so, but I generally find that responding to someone in a condescending way is not that effective.”
Thanks, point taken.

“I would also like to say that I found your response to me rather condescending. Please don’t bother using words like ‘friend’ and ‘buddy’ when you obviously consider me to be neither.”
Actually I do. It is the reason why I have the courtesy to write such long replies to address your concerns.

“I do not think that the SARS epidemic helped the Chinese government learn all that much about the benefits of an open media.”
I beg to differ on this issue; the Chinese government was much more open to the avian flu issue. I think their much more opened media coverage policy regarding the avian flu issue is an excellent example of Hu Jintao’s leadership learning its lessons.

“I agree that development is something that can be quite slow, as you might see from my previous conversation with Lindy19 on this blog. However, one can still be critical and acknowledge the current problems in the PRC.”
Absolutely nobody has understated or discredited the serious environmental, political, and economical issues within China. Even with such political and media censorship in China, the average citizen (with the rising education coverage in China) is learning more and more about the country and its environment. Criticism and dissident of government policies and such open discussions, albeit curbed, are commonplace (in fact, I recommend a very popular show, which airs nightly on the government-sponsored television station 1 – CCTV Channel 1 – it’s called “Jiao Dian Fang Tan” – which translates to “investigation and discussion of important issues”. This show frequently broadcast cases and incidents regarding government corruption, local government mismanagement, environmental issues, etc).

“I entirely disagree with this statement. I think when people see bias or problems in a certain media those problems should be discussed. If people refuse to discuss global problems because they haven’t fixed all the problems in their own countries, then no one would ever criticize anything, and change would be very difficult to achieve because everyone would be silent.”
You misunderstand my point: I mean to say, many people rally their arguments by labeling specific people and or affiliations to the Chinese government as biased. I did not mean to say people should not EVER mention the fact that China has media censorship. I only mean to say, that in order to BE FAIR, we should also mention things such as the US FOX network is pro-Republican, and that the Moral Majority in America was pro-Republican, and that many networks and hosts from the US and Canada are very much anti-secularism and pro-Religion.

“Which Tibetan youths are you referring to? Those who grew up in India or those who grew up in the TAR? If you are referring to those in the TAR, then I think you are incorrect. Tibetans who have grown up in China and who have had access to education have been ‘indoctrinated’ by curriculum written by the Chinese government. The fact that some of these people chose to react violently was definitely unfortunate, but I think you need to consider why, in spite of the government’s investment in development, these people were so unhappy. I think this indicates that there are some major problems with the government’s current minority policies and that not all Tibetans are benefiting from them. Feel free to read my past discussion with Lindy19 for more details.”
I will read upon your posts. I think it’s VERY VERY important for us to examine those details, details of which, are promptly left out of Western media coverage. Did you even hear Mr. Tieleman mention anything regarding those “details”. All I’ve been hearing from Mr. Tieleman and similar Western media personals can be summed up in one sentence: “China is currently a dictatorship run by the Communist party, they are ruthless and violates human rights. Let us boycott them.” I have heard NOTHING so far, regarding the serious riots, damages to properties, damages and causalities suffered by non-Tibetans in Tibet.

“First, the Communist revolution was largely a Han-led revolution. It was not an organic Tibetan revolution so I think that’s an important distinction. If America suddenly had a Communist revolution and then decided they needed to ‘liberate’ Canada, I think many Canadians would like to be consulted first.”
One thing I must point out, is that Canada was NEVER a satellite or colony of the United States. Indeed the Communist revolution was largely Han-led (since Han Chinese made up of nearly 80% of ethnic Chinese even as early as 1945, who else would start a revolution), you can definitely argue that Han Chinese were in err to annex Tibet; they did so on the basis that historically, Tibet had lacked individual state sovereignty since about 1400. Furthermore, with the backward and Feudal conditions in Tibet, modernization and secularization would never have caught on among the serfs in order to empower the people to revolt against the ruling class (the Tibetan Buddhist monks and rich landlords).

“Second, you have a very idealized view of what Mao did in China. You don’t mention the suffering caused by the Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution. You don’t mention the incredible human costs that have accompanied recent development.”
No, I am fully aware of the human causalities in the Great Leap Forward, the Five Year Plans, and the communist cleansings. I can equally argue that you have a very un-idealized and negative view of what Mao and his comrades did in China. It’s good that we both bring this issue up, so we can look at both the good and bad parts of the Chinese communist party (I strongly recommend reading about the CCP on wikipedia and related sources).

“Finally, you have idealized the minority policies in Tibet. The educational opportunities for Tibetans come at a price. In order to obtain a decent education, many Tibetan kids attend secondary-level boarding schools in Inland China. While such schools provide them with a better education than they might obtain in Tibet, they come at a price. Once the students go to these schools they have to remain there for 4 to 7 years, depending on how much schooling they wish to complete. The classes are largely in Mandarin, and many of the students begin to lose their Tibetan skills. The students are also living in largely Han communities, and they sometimes experience discrimination and racism.”
Yes, as would all minorities face in countries dominated by majorities. It’s good of you to point such things out. Similarly, I can equally argue that all nations around the world, in order to adopt the Western lifestyle, have had to given up on their traditional roots and heritages. I myself, no longer wear tradition Chinese (or Han-Chinese, if you prefer) outfit when I go to school in Canada. It’s the price of globalization.

“Minority policies might look good on paper, but they are often more complicated in practice. Not everyone in Tibet is benefiting from the government’s policies there and it seems that thus far their voices are not being heard, leading to resentment and anger.”
Yes, it seems religious persecution and pressure still exists in Tibet. That’s indeed a shame. I am an atheist myself, but I still believe people should be able to practice what they believe, WITHIN REASON. The Chinese government obvious has its own reasons to crack down on religious and political/economic dissent, actions which I do not wholesomely support. But I believe in stability, regardless.

“Have you ever read about the Government-in-exile’s strategy and/or policies if they were to rule Tibet? I looked at the government-in-exile’s website and they have extensive future plans for what they would do. One statement from the Dalai says, in part: “I believe that in future, Tibet should have a multi-party system of parliament, and that it should have three organs of government - legislature, executive and judiciary - with a clear separation of powers between them, each independent of the other and vested with equal powers and authority... Tibetans in Tibet shall bear the main responsibility in future Tibet's democratic government” He also states, “Personally, I have made up my mind that I will not play any role in the future government of Tibet, let alone seek the Dalai Lama's traditional political position in the government.”
Yes, and the government-in-exile also has their only democratic vote, I recall they currently have a prime minister as well. Notice how he avoids talking about the role of religion in his future government. I believe, even currently, that the government-in-exile can be considered a monarchy or constitutional theocracy. I believe that there exist Tibetans unhappy with the current state of affairs, but I also doubt that ALL Tibetans would accept Dalai Lama, in its least, as their figurehead.

“Whatever you believe, they HAVE made plans and have obviously thought about the issues more deeply than you seem to assume.”
I have made no such assumptions; even a layman can “think up” plans for a country. The KEY difference is carrying them out. The Communist Party has carried out such governance of Tibet for the past 5 decades. Sure, you can say that they didn’t do a perfect job, but that DOESN’T MEAN the Tibet government-in-exile would do a better job. The least reason of which, is because they have never governed a sovereign state, ever! Yes, as you said before, everything “sounds good” on paper, doesn’t it?

“You misread Bill’s original post. He said he ‘boycotted South Africa’ in the PAST TENSE. This means he is NOT still boycotting the place. Thus, your subsequent points are invalid.”
Actually, if Bill is to standby his comments, he should STILL be boycotting Africa. Although no longer official policy, much invisible and unavoidable blockades in that country still ensures the White minority controls all the wealth and power.

“What a coincidence that you personally see things with almost EXACTLY the same wording as Wikipedia.”
“Although I don’t think Wikipedia is a very good source, I’ll quote a bit more of the article for you: “The constitution of the National People's Congress provides for most of its power to be exercised on a day-to-day basis by its Standing Committee. Due to its overwhelming majority in the Congress, the Communist Party has total control over the composition of the Standing Committee, thereby controlling the actions of the National People's Congress.” This doesn’t sound like much of a forum for political opposition or debate to me.”
Actually, it is true that the significant majority of the NPC politicians belong to the Chinese Communist Party, but that DOES NOT mean all such politicians take the same stance on issues within China. Let me quote another part of the article for you: “For the NPC to formally defeat a proposal put before them is a rare, but not non-existent event, and the NPC has been quite active in being the forum in which legislation is debated before being put to a vote.” So it seems that the entirety of NPC, has political power to debate and veto legislations. I think that sounds MORE than a forum to me, even.
And no, wikipedia is NOT a good source, a better source is the hundreds if not thousands of discussion forums in China. Please read some of them if you have time.

“The situation is more complicated than you imply. And, without any offence intended, I wonder how much research you have actually done into the role and effectiveness of the NPC. I particularly wonder this since you have grown up in Canada, and are a physics major, not a political science major. I am not an expert on the NPC, but I would imagine that you are not either.”
Thanks for pointing out that we are both amateurs regarding this matter. No, I am not a political sciences major, I am just an active participant in my high school debating club, and was a member of the Marxist-Leninist Study Group here at UBC (and no, I am not a leftist by any means). I only true channel of experience with Chinese politics is from reading Can Kao Xiao Xi (a Xinhua-sponsored newspaper that draws its articles from foreign press), CNN, other Western Media, and the World Wide Web. But again, I definitely recommend reading up on forum posts in Chinese (although the official policies of nearly ALL Chinese forums, is that: no political bashing of the CPC, but many people still write a lot of insightful ideas).

“As I have already said in a previous post, I don’t feel that Michael Parenti is the best source for learning about Tibet. If you look at his credentials you will find that he is neither a Tibet expert, nor a historian. In the lists of his more substantial works you find nothing about Tibet, nothing about Buddhism and very little concerning Asia at all. This could explain why his version is far removed from the picture given by the overwhelming bulk of Tibet scholars, who usually give a far more nuanced description of Old Tibet. Many of them have actually written detailed refutation of the naïve Tibet-was-like-a-Shangri-La myth without feeling the need to back their criticism with all these cruel propaganda creations.”
Actually, if you read up on the sources were Michael Parenti draws his information from, you’ll find many of which are religious scholar and even Tibetians-in-exile! I’m not sure where you get the idea of “cruel propaganda creations” from, I’d like to see exactly what you refute Mr. Parenti’s words by using actual textual means, rather than word-of-mouth.

“I would instead suggest that you look up work by some of the numerous Tibetan and Chinese scholars who signed a recent open letter to Hu Jintao: http://www.tibetopenletter.org/”
Oh yes, may I add, that this is a pro-Tibetian group? I’ve been trying to find literally searches on some of these so-called “Tibetian scholar” yet I have not been able to find any prominent papers. Would you enlighten by pointing me towards some?

“The GDP is an average. If the rich start to make more but the poor get poorer, the average might look higher overall, but it doesn’t tell us exactly who is benefiting. It also says nothing about the average quality of life for people.”
I think it’s very arrogant to say that the says NOTHING about the average quality of life for people. I can find a handful of economics professors in my school who can rebuke that on a dime.

“It is interesting to note that earlier in your post you indicated that Mao liberated the Chinese people but now you indicate that human rights were terrible during that era?”

I find it most laughable how your only tactic of “logical attacks” against me is by digging for “apparently” logical fallacies within my arguments. This is such a childish trick, please do not insult the intellect of myself and others reading these posts. You should know damn well that Mao did both good and bad things to China.

“I have never been trying to debate WHEN in time human rights were the worst in China. I have been talking about what things are like RIGHT NOW, and there are definitely human rights problems in China right now.”

Agreeable. Like I said, I only said so because you used the exact words that “human rights are detoriating in China”. Please clarify your sentences for now on as to avoid confusions.

“It’s impossible to say whether or not it would be the majority of people who would express such opinions, but that still doesn’t make it right for the majority to oppress the minority. It is wrong to punish people who express dissent, but that is what has been continuing to happen in China. And the continued jailing of dissenters is itself evidence that not everyone in China has the exact same opinion. Indeed, I don’t think that there is anywhere on earth where everyone shares the same opinion!”
And I have strongly agreed with you on this point. I think, as long as dissents do not compromise the political and economic stability of a nation, they should be able to voice their concerns, within reason. I strongly standby this.

“But whose definition is this? It is the current PRC CCP definition, but it has not always been this way.”
Actually you are wrong; this definition has existed AS LATEST as the Ming Dynasty. I will find a source of this to show you.

“My point was that, when you told Bill to learn more about the 5000-year-old ‘nation’ of China, you were incorrect to imply that the nation in its present state has existed for 5000 years.”
And I had expressed regret in this overstatement. I meant to say he should read-up about the intricacies of political, social, economical, and religious dynamics within histories which can be associated with the country knows as China, since AT LASTEST, 1250 B.C.E.
“Yes, just as one might consider the many cultural, historical, ethnic and socio-economic issues that motivated the choice by some Tibetans to react violently in the TAR.”
Yes, which Bill and yourself has failed to address, upon so many re-iterations of this point.

“It was an interesting article and I’m glad that Christopher Hitchens has the ability to express non-mainstream opinions in public.”
Actually, Mr. Hitchens mentioned many idea, which are not, for a lack-of-better-word, “non-mainstream”, but rather, historical FACTS. You should read about what he wrote on Mother Teresa.

“It doesn’t change my opinion that the CCP’s decision to utterly demonize the Dalai Lama is not reasonable or responsible.”
Yes, the propaganda warfare. Your arguments, on the other hand, doesn’t change my opinion that the Dalai Lama and Free Tibet Moment’s decision to utterly demonize the Chinese Government (and the ethnic Han Chinese population), which, when often passed from one person to another as hearsay, is not reasonable or responsible. I find it most interesting, is that whenever I confront a pro-Tibetan activist, non of them can provide hardcore fact and/or evidence on some of the most outrageous hearsays about the Chinese government (and if you want to resort to the Epoch Times, I just want you to know, that that newspaper has been official recognized by its outrageous and obvious propaganda tactics.)

“Wow, I responded to a lot of your original post and I have responded point-by-point to your rebuttal. Do I have to respond to everything in order for you to consider my points valid?”
Un, no, I simply like for you to respond regarding my topics. It seems that you only pick topics of interest to you to argue against me. I haven’t heard a single grunt of agreement from you so far.

“I have already given my views on some of the problems with the CCP’s development projects in Tibet in my other debates with Lindy19. Have you read those?”
No but I intend to, once I finish my finish examinations.

“There is a wealth of literature written by many of the scholars in the link I provided (http://www.tibetopenletter.org/) that give detailed facts on the current situation in Tibet. Just because I have not posted a footnoted essay with a bibliography does not mean that my ideas are invalid.”
Actually, I’d read upon these “wealth of literature” more closely than just looking at the “title” of the poster who submitted their names. This tactic is basically equivalent to the Epoch Time’s tactic of “Nine Commentaries on the CPC”. Perhaps these fellows should learn from Michael Parenti, and actually provide links and/or readings to their “wealth of information”.

“I’m happy that many people in China are benefiting from the CCP’s economic reforms. However, a lot of people, all over China, are not. Criticism is not a negative thing, nor is it an anti-Chinese thing.”
Unfortunately, the glaring words of “Boycott China” are quite anti-Chinese, regardless how you want to argue against that. Educated Chinese people are discussing key issues and problems in their country all the time. You just have to know where to look.

Thanks for your wonderful and insightful ideas.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Bill, I wonder where your gut is developed from. You blatantly condemn dictatorship that our Chinese people adore. I saw most of the west celebrities are very cautious about mentioning China's despotic state. You are THE man. Keep the good work.

A mainland Chinese

Anonymous said...

Dear Bo Yang,

I disagree with your opinion that the government learned much from SARS. You disagree with me. Fair enough.

Just to be clear….I have never once in any of my posts said that I want to boycott China or the Olympics. I have also never defended those sentiments, so do not accuse me of doing so.

I would say that part of the reason there has not been that much reported about the riots in Tibet is that the international media is not allowed in.

The debate over the history of Tibet is not as clearcut as you imply. Take a look at this article, just one example, which discusses and criticizes both sides of the argument: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/13/opinion/13sperling.html?em&ex=1208232000&en=a8bef49369fdb8ed&ei=5087%0A

You feel that cultural homogeneity is the price of globalization and you see no problem with that. I disagree. Fair enough.

When you say, “The Communist Party has carried out such governance of Tibet for the past 5 decades. Sure, you can say that they didn’t do a perfect job, but that DOESN’T MEAN the Tibet government-in-exile would do a better job.”
Well, there’s no way to know since the government-in-exile has not had an opportunity to demonstrate how they would rule either way. Thus far I can only judge by what they have on paper.

As for the people who signed the open letter, they are not a pro-Tibet group, they are people from all over the world and it is silly to dismiss them so quickly. To start, try reading work by Emily Yeh or by Tsering Shakya. Try also reading the work done by either Dru Gladney or Stevan Harrell discussing how the CCP relates to ethnic minorities.

As for your GDP argument…it still tells me nothing about how the government treats its people.

You’re very rude by calling my response childish. I spent a lot of time composing my response and thinking about how to respectfully reply to you. You obviously did not do the same.

I never, ever used the words “human rights are deteriorating in China”…I believe that was a quote from Bill Tieleman which you used in your intial post to him.

When you say, “as long as dissents do not compromise the political and economic stability of a nation,” you imply that it’s ok to crack down on dissent if it threatens the government’s power. That is a very dangerous line of thinking.

You are wrong about that definition existing since the Ming dynasty.

I HAVE addressed some of “the many cultural, historical, ethnic and socio-economic issues that motivated the choice by some Tibetans to react violently in the TAR.” Take a look back through my posts.

I have never said I was a ‘pro-Tibet’ person…you have assumed it. This entire time I have been arguing that the situation is complex and that many Chinese people seem to be taking the situation so personally that they do not seem open to examining what motivated the Tibetans to riot. I also have not said anything about the Falun Gong or Epoch Times, which I know is connected to the Falun Gong. I did not feel I had enough knowledge about the FG. I think it’s unfair of you to label me and to make assumptions about who I am and what I will do outside of what I have written to you.

If Zhang Qingli’s statement that “The Dalai is a wolf in monk's robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast,” isn’t enough to convince you that the CCP is demonizing the Dalai Lama then I have no idea what else to say.

Although you feel you haven’t heard a single ‘grunt’ of agreement from me (what lovely, flattering language you use to describe me!) you should look back at my responses and see that I did write ‘I agree’ to certain points. However, I do largely disagree with your point of view – would you like me to pretend otherwise? I wouldn’t say you’ve been ‘grunting’ with much agreement at my point of view either.

When you say, “Actually, I’d read upon these “wealth of literature” more closely than just looking at the “title” of the poster who submitted their names.” I actually have read a number of the scholars listed and I name a few of them above. How do you think I knew to even suggest that you read their work?!

You said, “Unfortunately, the glaring words of “Boycott China” are quite anti-Chinese, regardless how you want to argue against that.”
When did I ever say those words? Bill Tieleman did, but I did not. And actually, I responded to his original post expressing exactly the same concern. Go ahead and look back at the responses. I didn’t sign that post as ‘M.’ but in my post I told him that I was worried that his comments were a little too “anti-Chinese people” and not enough “anti-Chinese government.”

I am not anti-Chinese. I love studying Mandarin. I loved living in China. But I still recognize that there are problems in the country and I feel that your response had and continues to have some major problems.

Finally, if you think that you used the words ‘friend’ and ‘buddy’ in a nice way then you are mistaken. You only used them when you seemed to particularly disagree with one of my statements.

Also, your new closing comment thanking me for my “wonderful and insightful” ideas, when you quite obviously agreed with nothing I said and pretty much dismissed it all is also rather odd and certainly comes across as sarcastic.

M.

Anonymous said...

First off @ jeff barkley, are you F**KING STU*PID?! how the FU*K is the media manipulating people into criticizing the boycotting of China?! If anything, the western media has been portraying the Chinese government as the antagonist. I dont think any of you white people can truly understand the perspectives of mainlanders. Though the Chinese government has commited countless crimes against its people, we still hold our nation with great pride. You have NO idea how great of a gift the olympic games is for us, nor do you understand what it means. Almost everyone I know from China are sincerely looking forward to the olympic games; their eyes filled with hope and enthusiasm. To them, it's almost like another revolution. I dont think you truly understand what you are saying when you claim that china should be boycotted as a whole. Perhaps you only intend to target the chinese government, however, that is not all you are targeting. In return, the wrong people would be punished for their government's wrong-doing. I cannot forgive you for wanting to boycott my home.

edncda said...

Looks like the tiger's stripes are starting to show. And such a little stick he was poked with.
But never mind. It won't make any difference. At the rate Canada's going economically and socially, we'll be empathizing with the Tibetans in about 50 years - maybe sooner - unless the elephant "saves us" in the meantime.
There's a war going on all right - not the uncivil one in Afghanistan - the economic one in North America. But there aren't any guns so that means we're all friends doesn't it?
And of course, becoming a Canadian citizen doesn't require forswearing allegiance to the country the "proud" new Canadians are presumed to be renouncing; so we carry on the charade at our peril.
Reminds me of a quote by a famous person whose name escapes me for the moment: "What fools those Capitalist Roaders be."
Oh! there's someone at my front door - and - isn't that strange; he's holding an umbrella but there's not a cloud in the sky. I'd better see what he wants. Or not.

Bo Yang said...

To M:

"I disagree with your opinion that the government learned much from SARS. You disagree with me. Fair enough."

To reiterate, my disagreement is based on the facts I have provided regarding the government's policies regarding SARS (towards the end of the pandemic's run) plus the avian flu situation.

"Just to be clear….I have never once in any of my posts said that I want to boycott China or the Olympics. I have also never defended those sentiments, so do not accuse me of doing so."

To draw from your first post towards Bill Tieleman: "I was concerned that your initial column was a bit too anti-Chinese people and not enough anti-Chinese government". I do not believe I have ever suggested YOU to be anti-Chinese. I believe I expressed concerns very similar to yours when I addressed Bill Tieleman's original post.

"I would say that part of the reason there has not been that much reported about the riots in Tibet is that the international media is not allowed in."

A few points regarding this;
1) surely, not all journalists appreciate the dangers of a hot-zone or conflict area, until they are in one. You may suggest cover-up, I would suggest it's the government's method in ensuring the safety of the media and journalists, by adhering to prescribed itinerary. Furthermore, people did speak up during the itinerary, didn't they?
2) There is still the concept of "the internal affairs of an nation", isn't there? I do not suppose all aspects of the America War on Terrorism is transparent to media scrutiny (esp. after enacting the the Patriot Act), Guantanamo Bay? Iraqi compounds?

"The debate over the history of Tibet is not as clearcut as you imply. Take a look at this article, just one example, which discusses and criticizes both sides of the argument: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/13/opinion/13sperling.html?em&ex=1208232000&en=a8bef49369fdb8ed&ei=5087%0A"

Although the author highlights key historical issues, he also misses out on a few, such as Tibetan autonomy during even the ROC period is under debate. The only sure thing you can say is that Tibet had its greatest autonomy and sovereignty, during the Ming dynasty, much of which were lost during the Qing dynasty (ethnically Manchu Chinese rule); "back to square one", I suppose.

Now I have to say, what's even more hilarious is the author's marginalized view that Han Chinese is an ethnonyms. Did he ever read the fact that even the Manchu rulers of China called the country "the Middle Kingdom", where its subjects included "Middle Kingdom citizens"? The name "China" possible draws its roots from the porcelain art or the prefix "Sino-"; "Chinese" people (include the Yuan and Manchu rulers) described its subjects as "Middle Kingdom citizens" (of which the Han of course falls as a ethnic subset). His argument regarding this aspect is utter nonsense.

"Well, there’s no way to know since the government-in-exile has not had an opportunity to demonstrate how they would rule either way. Thus far I can only judge by what they have on paper."

Indeed, things always appear better on paper than in practice. As a scientist, I simply value experimentation (carrying out of theory) much more valuable than just supposed ideas on paper. I do know that the Tibetan-government-in-exile did hold their elections to elect a prime ministers. That's a good step, but they would have to prove much much more before they can be given the responsibility of an entire State.

"As for the people who signed the open letter, they are not a pro-Tibet group, they are people from all over the world and it is silly to dismiss them so quickly. To start, try reading work by Emily Yeh or by Tsering Shakya. Try also reading the work done by either Dru Gladney or Stevan Harrell discussing how the CCP relates to ethnic minorities."

Okay, thanks for those names, I'll be sure to look them up (see my response to a similar topic of yours near the end)

"As for your GDP argument…it still tells me nothing about how the government treats its people."

I never said it would reveal to you how a government treats its own people; it's simply a very controversial economic index, which is widely used by the economists to probe a country's average citizen's capital power.

"You’re very rude by calling my response childish. I spent a lot of time composing my response and thinking about how to respectfully reply to you. You obviously did not do the same."

The tools of this trade requires logic and reason, I appreciate the fact that you are catering to my sensitivity, but I do not appreciate the fact that you had used a very amateur tactic against my argument, let me re-iterate:

1) You had said, regarding one of my prior posts, that I had "a very idealized vision of Mao's influence on China
2) I then said I am aware of the bad parts (and I provided a short list of Mao's Communist government's misjudgments and subsequent consequences), and I said it's great we are both bringing up both sides of the spectrum, providing a less biased view of the Communist government.
3) Now here's where your subsequent comment fails to stack up: you said that since previously I had provided a very idealized vision of Mao, now for me to provided the negative side of Mao's actions amounts to logical fallacy (if you find your exact words, you'll see that's exactly what you had meant to say).

I beg to differ: I am simply summing the greater picture; we should always understand that there are never just black and white to a story or piece of history. For example, Joseph Stalin can be thought of as the great strategist who was pivotal in the war against the Axis Powers, successful politician and brilliant leader that industrialized Russia (and numerous other previous Soviet States) from generally backward countries, and had brought the USSR nearly on par with the USA (regarding industrial output). However, at the same time, he was a paranoid man who drew up a cult-of-personity around himself, and sent 10's of millions of his own countrymen to Gulags and worse tortures beyond. Stalin was great and yet despicable at the same time; so was Mao.


"I never, ever used the words “human rights are deteriorating in China”…I believe that was a quote from Bill Tieleman which you used in your intial post to him."

OH yes, the posting rendered away the punctuation marks I used to segregate our comments. Apologies.

"When you say, “as long as dissents do not compromise the political and economic stability of a nation,” you imply that it’s ok to crack down on dissent if it threatens the government’s power. That is a very dangerous line of thinking."

Actually, nearly all national constitutions (even Canada's) carry at least one line similar to this. I can quote it from the Canadian constitution if you wish.

"You are wrong about that definition existing since the Ming dynasty."

I'm sorry, what "definition" are you referring to?

"I HAVE addressed some of “the many cultural, historical, ethnic and socio-economic issues that motivated the choice by some Tibetans to react violently in the TAR.” Take a look back through my posts."

"I have never said I was a ‘pro-Tibet’ person…you have assumed it."

Actually, if you refer to my posts, I never said YOU were pro-Tibet. I simply stated, that I have been very successful in rebutting a lot of pro-Tibet and anti-CPC arguments due loopholes in their so-called "facts".

"This entire time I have been arguing that the situation is complex and that many Chinese people seem to be taking the situation so personally that they do not seem open to examining what motivated the Tibetans to riot."

I totally agree with that. I have also said, that Bill Tieleman's single worst failure in composing the original article, is that he ignored all of the details attributing to the current Tibet situation (namely uprising against secular Chinese rule), and had instead focused on critiquing other unrelated aspects of China and Chines culture. I think it's great that you have brought up quite a few of them (ethno-social, economic, religious, etc) in your subsequent posts.

"I also have not said anything about the Falun Gong or Epoch Times, which I know is connected to the Falun Gong. I did not feel I had enough knowledge about the FG. I think it’s unfair of you to label me and to make assumptions about who I am and what I will do outside of what I have written to you."

Once again, you should realize I have not labelled you in any way, I simply wanted to warn you so you do not fall victim to propaganda warfare from disgruntled religious/spiritual zealots here in the West.

"If Zhang Qingli’s statement that “The Dalai is a wolf in monk's robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast,” isn’t enough to convince you that the CCP is demonizing the Dalai Lama then I have no idea what else to say."

I never said the CPC (the CPC - Communist Party of China, is its formal English name) did NOT demonize China, I'm just saying that the propaganda warfare is heated on both sides. The Dalai Lama is especially a very good salesman of his ideas to the West. Regardless of whether he still directly spurts propaganda against the Chinese government (because he definitely did).

"Although you feel you haven’t heard a single ‘grunt’ of agreement from me (what lovely, flattering language you use to describe me!) you should look back at my responses and see that I did write ‘I agree’ to certain points. However, I do largely disagree with your point of view – would you like me to pretend otherwise? I wouldn’t say you’ve been ‘grunting’ with much agreement at my point of view either."

Oh, you mean those "I agree, however..." statements right? It's the most commonly used "guise" prior to an obvious rebuttal (that's why I try to minimize the usage of this device). And no, please, grunting is only metaphorical, I'd much rather hear the usage of human dialogue! :)

"When you say, “Actually, I’d read upon these “wealth of literature” more closely than just looking at the “title” of the poster who submitted their names.” I actually have read a number of the scholars listed and I name a few of them above. How do you think I knew to even suggest that you read their work?!"

Yes, there are a selective few notable authors there, but notices the layout of the site: anyone with access to the site can attach their "name" and "salutation" to the site. Not to name names, but some of the individuals on there have never even published a single paper (by doing searches online)! I think if you want to present a wholesome movement or collection of "scholars", having a website that any joe-blow can add their name does not lend much credibility.

But thanks for your recommendations, I'll go haunt after those genuine articles and authors you mentioned.

"I am not anti-Chinese. I love studying Mandarin. I loved living in China. But I still recognize that there are problems in the country and I feel that your response had and continues to have some major problems."

I'm glad to heard your rebuttals; I would be very surprised if I had heard none.

"Also, your new closing comment thanking me for my “wonderful and insightful” ideas, when you quite obviously agreed with nothing I said and pretty much dismissed it all is also rather odd and certainly comes across as sarcastic."

Actually, I sincerely thank you for these ideas; it gives me more incentive to look for facts and data to debunk them with (that's exactly what the scientific method is about). As a physicist in training, it's always nice to get canonical ensembles and Fourier optics off your mind sometimes with some healthy logical exercises :)

Thanks for your time!

Bo Yang.

Anonymous said...

Expert says China twisting truth about Dalai Lama

Tue. Mar. 25 2008 8:46 PM ET

CTV.ca News

An expert on Tibet and China says the Chinese Ambassador to Canada "intentionally conveyed the wrong impression" this week when he accused the Dalai Lama of being a slave owner.

On Monday's edition of CTV Newsnet's Mike Duffy Live, Ambassador Lu Shumin said: "The Dalai Lama (was) the largest owner of a serfdom society and owner of slaves" before the Chinese communists overtook Tibet in 1950.

Lu said, "These are facts and no one can distort these facts."

But the principal of St. John's College, a graduate school at the University of British Columbia, says that's exactly what the Chinese are doing when it comes to portraying the history of the Tibet. Timothy Brook, who has written extensively on Chinese history, says Tibet did have a system of bonded service in its past, but so did China and many other societies around the world.

Brook said the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, and his predecessors took in many poor people who had no other way to survive.

"This was often a strategy to keep children alive ... These were not slaves on a plantation," said Brook.

"The reason the ambassador is saying that is because he is trying to find an excuse to explain to the Western world why China should control Tibet."

Brook said that the ambassador is making a weak and archaic argument.

"The ambassador really has a 19th century mentality, which is the civilizing mission. You civilize the barbarians," Brook said.

He added what is important is Tibet's recent history -- after China's takeover. Brook said the Chinese have forced Tibetans out of their homeland, brought ethnic Chinese into the region, and started a process which is about to destroy Tibetan culture altogether. He also said the Chinese are exploiting Tibet's natural resources at an unsustainable rate, drying out lakes, and creating "huge environmental problems."

Brook noted Ambassador Lu's remarks appear to be part of a larger propaganda strategy from China to reduce the status of the Dalai Lama.

"If I were the ambassador, I would be very careful about using language like that. It is neither historically accurate, nor is it a way to deal with the current situation," Brook said.

Lu, Chinese officials, and state-owned communist newspapers have all referred to similar talking points in the wake of demonstrations in Tibet in the past few weeks.

Foreign reporters and media outlets have been told that the protests, which turned deadly in mid-March, were orchestrated by the "Dalai clique." One Chinese official even scolded Western media for treating the Dalai Lama "as if he's God."

But the Chinese attacks on the exiled Tibetan leader have not gone unnoticed.

"China must stop naming, blaming and verbally abusing one whose life has been devoted to non-violence, His Holiness the Dalai Lama," said retired South African archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu.

Bo Yang said...

In response to: "Expert says China twisting truth about Dalai Lama"

by Bo Yang

"On Monday's edition of CTV Newsnet's Mike Duffy Live, Ambassador Lu Shumin said: "The Dalai Lama (was) the largest owner of a serfdom society and owner of slaves" before the Chinese communists overtook Tibet in 1950."

Whether the Tibetan Lamas were the largest slave owner, this is arguable. But the fact that

"Timothy Brook, who has written extensively on Chinese history, says Tibet did have a system of bonded service in its past, but so did China and many other societies around the world."

That is exactly it: one of the the Communist Party of China's political, economic, and social agenda was the obliteration of old-world Feudal systems within China and in Tibet (such as serfdom). Perhaps Brooks forget to mention, that China, at the time of the Communist take-over, was moving away from the Feudal system for the very first time in its history.

"Brook said the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, and his predecessors took in many poor people who had no other way to survive."

Yes, and by turning them into serfs? That's definitely on the road towards salvation.

""This was often a strategy to keep children alive ... These were not slaves on a plantation," said Brook."

This is definitely arguable. There were many serfs who were children (that's usually how serfdom propagates: younglings born of serfs continue to be serfs, generation after generation).

"The reason the ambassador is saying that is because he is trying to find an excuse to explain to the Western world why China should control Tibet."

There is no real excuse why China should control Tibet or not. The FACT that China does control Tibet today changes irrelevant of that.

"The ambassador really has a 19th century mentality, which is the civilizing mission. You civilize the barbarians," Brook said.

Yes, breaking people of the bonds of serfdom (as were the Communists' mission in the 1950 annexation of Tibet) is exactly of such nature.

"He added what is important is Tibet's recent history -- after China's takeover. Brook said the Chinese have forced Tibetans out of their homeland, brought ethnic Chinese into the region, and started a process which is about to destroy Tibetan culture altogether. He also said the Chinese are exploiting Tibet's natural resources at an unsustainable rate, drying out lakes, and creating "huge environmental problems."

Those are problems indeed (although their extent is arguable). Yet Mr. Brooks forgets to mention positive facts, such as bring secular education, healthcare, modern economic policies (this did not start, arguable until the late 70's), protecting ancient architecture (such as the Potala Palace; but of course, AFTER a lot of the Communist regime's purge and destruction of ancient structures in their earlier reign). Furthermore, lest we mention current policies including "Development of the West" which is intending on drawing numerous skilled and highly educated young (many of which are Han Chinese) people into undeveloped parts of China, such as Gan Su province, Tibet AR, Xin Jiang AR, places where typical educated Chinese (regardless of their ethnic group) would never go, without government incentives.

"Brook noted Ambassador Lu's remarks appear to be part of a larger propaganda strategy from China to reduce the status of the Dalai Lama."

Um, ya think? Does it really take a scholar to come up with this determination?

"If I were the ambassador, I would be very careful about using language like that. It is neither historically accurate, nor is it a way to deal with the current situation," Brook said.

The historical accuracy of your facts (Mr. Brooks) carries nearly the same amount of inaccuracy; esp. when it's regarding pre-Communist Tibet.

"Foreign reporters and media outlets have been told that the protests, which turned deadly in mid-March, were orchestrated by the "Dalai clique." One Chinese official even scolded Western media for treating the Dalai Lama "as if he's God."

It's debatable whether the Dalai Lama group is involved directly in those protests. But the fact that these protests stems from his original push (which is no longer) of Tibet independence is a fact.

"China must stop naming, blaming and verbally abusing one whose life has been devoted to non-violence, His Holiness the Dalai Lama," said retired South African archbishop and Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu.

Indeed, China's propaganda warfare on the Dalai Lama only succeeds so far. What they need to demonstrate is how Dalai Lama's teachings of non-violence can become taken runaway by extremist groups, who purposefully warp those teachings and exert violence upon the secular world in the name of religion.

Lastly, I would like to point out, that this article, like most other typical pro-Tibet articles, aside from stressing their debatable toils, never addresses the benefits that the Tibetan people have come to cherish, since the 1950/1 annexation. It's funny, that the authors of most pro/con articles try to list both positive and negative aspects of a particular topic, but not the pro-Tibet or anti-CPC (Chinese government) ones. Even anti-US or anti-War articles frequently note the economic reconstructions of Iraq or Afghanistan. What a joke!

Anonymous said...

Prominent Tibetan Figure Detained in China
New York Times

By ANDREW JACOBS
Published: April 18, 2008

BEIJING — The Chinese authorities have detained a high-profile Tibetan television reporter who is also a popular singer, suggesting that the government crackdown after the disturbances in and around Tibet has yet to run its course.

The reporter, Jamyang Kyi, an announcer at the state-run television station in Qinghai, a western province bordering Tibet, was escorted from her office on April 1 by plainclothes police officers in the city of Xining, according to colleagues and friends. The authorities also confiscated her computer and a list of contacts, they said.

Her husband, Lamao Jia, said he had received no word from his wife for more than a week and did not know where she was being held. “She is in serious trouble,” he said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “I’m very worried for her safety. I’m very sorry. I can’t say more.”

There has been no official confirmation of the detention.

Although she has worked in the Tibetan language division of Qinghai Television for two decades, Jamyang Kyi is better known for her singing and song-writing, especially among overseas Tibetans. She has made several trips abroad, and in 2006 she toured the United States, appearing with other Tibetan performers, some of them prominent exiles.

She is also a blogger and writer who has focused on women’s rights and the trafficking of girls.

Chukora Tsering, a researcher at the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy in Dharamsala, India, said he knew of nothing in her music or writings that might have provoked the authorities. “She is completely apolitical, but she is a proud Tibetan,” he said. “Still, given her background, we are not entirely surprised she has been detained.”

The Chinese government is always sensitive to public expression that could be construed as advocating Tibetan independence, but its vigilance has intensified since the outbreak of disturbances in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, and other Tibetan-populated areas of China last month. The riots have been followed by a spate of protests and clashes in neighboring provinces that have heavily Tibetan populations.

According to Xinhua, the official news agency, 2,200 people, 519 of them monks, have been taken into custody since the riots began in mid-March. The agency said 1,870 of those had been released after questioning, but officials are still seeking scores of people who took part in disturbances that the government contends killed 19 people, nearly all of them Chinese. Tibetan exile groups place the figure at 140 and say most of the dead were Tibetan.

In recent weeks, the government-run media have featured a steady diet of articles detailing the crimes of “Tibetan separatists” who they say are being led by the Dalai Lama. On Wednesday, the police said they had discovered dynamite, weapons and satellite dishes at 11 Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Gansu, a northwestern province. And on Thursday, Xinhua featured the confessions of two “riotous monks,” Garzang Samdain and Garzang Samzhou, who it said had admitted to setting a government building on fire in Gansu, tearing up the Chinese flag and holding aloft the Tibetan flag, which is banned in China. “After their vandalism, they held an illegal parade,” the agency said.

In her music and writings, Jamyang Kyi has avoided themes or language that could be construed as challenging the Communist Party’s hold over Tibet, according to those who know her. Many ethnic Tibetans complain of government policies they say favor Chinese culture over the traditional religion and language of Tibet, an accusation Chinese officials deny.

In her music videos, Jamyang Kyi dresses in traditional Tibetan robes and sings her blend of pop and Tibetan folk ballads at Buddhist temples or in fields of flowers set on an arid plateau.

Asked about her detention, a foreign ministry spokeswoman said she was unaware of Jamyang Kyi’s case. She insisted, however, that the Chinese legal system dealt fairly with all its citizens. “China is a country under the rule of law,” she said when asked about Jamyang Kyi during a regularly scheduled news conference on Thursday. “The law protects freedom of speech and other rights of its citizens. Only when a person goes against the law will they be punished by the law.”

Bo Yang said...

The bottom line is, that if that popular singer/TV reporter had anything to do with the people who caused those violent and destructive riots, she should be brought to justice, like anyone else.

Anonymous said...

this guy has completely brain washed by his envorument--media and source of information. he has lost any attempt and ability to listen to the another side of story.Now i understant why the chinese can't win the debate over any issue with guy like him.

Bo Yang said...

Dear "Anonymous":

For your information, I have lived in Vancouver since I was 10 years old, and I AM a Canadian citizen. Before you make any prejudice remarks like that, perhaps you should figure out my background, rather than blindly labeling people. I feel ashamed to live in a country with people like yourself.

Furthermore, I believer everybody will agree that national security matters come before "personal comfort". If a citizen of a country has connections with terrorists, it's more than fair to detain them for questioning. For your information, please look up the American Patriot Act.

Yes, if you are wondering, I personal DO believe that freedom of individuals should be curbed, when it comes to the security and integrity of a nation.

Anonymous said...

Uhhh Bo Yang,

I think the anonymous was referring to Bill Tieleman, as evidenced when he said, "Now i understant why the CHINESE can't win the debate over any issue with guy like him."

Bo Yang said...

To anonymous:

Thanks for clearing that up for me. I can't believe I missed that, unfortunately all this debating with the eggheads on this blog has really worn me out!

Anonymous said...

Bo Yang,

You're welcome.

You're very rude to refer to people with whom you've debated as eggheads. Very ungracious.

Bo Yang said...

To Anonymous:

First of all, I'm not even sure who the heck you are.

Second, there have been a lot of smart people on here (like M), but there have also been a lot of bigots here as well.