Serf Liberation Day, One Year In

To read most major news sources, you’d think today hadn’t been a holiday. Xinhua ignored it, the China Daily ignored it; who was going to report on the joyous celebrations on Tibetans on this, the first glorious anniversary of Serf Liberation Day?

As usual, the hard-hitting journalists at the People’s Daily go where others fear to tread. Among the exciting stories you can read in the special section they’ve built on their website to celebrate the holiday (under the headline “Latest News”):

Or, you could read this article: American experience fails to help them understand Tibet.

It actually starts off a lot less crazy than you might expect. Via Steven Wong, director of the U.S.-Japan-China Relations Research Center, the article points out that “Americans have little knowledge of China’s history and the feudal serfdom of Tibet before Tibet was liberated.” Which, let’s face it, is pretty damn true. Most Americans don’t know anything about Tibet except that the Dalai Lama comes from there and that they should be “free”. (Full disclosure: I have, in the past, expressed the opinion that Tibet should not be free and that most Americans don’t know what they’re talking about).

Tibetans celebrate Serf Liberation Day...?

That’s more or less where the article heads South, though: “As long as religion, culture or language protection is mentioned, many Americans will compare the U.S. Indian reservations with China’s Tibet.”

Ah, yes. I see where this is going:

what the U.S. did to the Indians in history was so unfair and cruel that even Americans cannot forgive themselves anymore. The misery of the Native Americans started when the English colonists stepped onto the American continent, and spread all over after the American War of Independence. During the Westward Movement caused by the industrial revolution, millions of Indians were cruelly slaughtered, and the Indian race and their religion and language almost all became extinct. Though the number is not large, some U.S. filmmakers have focused their attention on this dark period of human rights. For example, the movie “Dances with Wolves,” which won many Academy Awards in 1990, and the TV series “Into the West” created by Steven Spielberg, both reflect this period of history. Especially in “Into the West,” many historical facts which made people extremely sad and angry were represented, such as the genocidal policy, the Grattan Massacre, the “Chief Sitting Bull” Incident and the Americans breaking the treaties between them and the Indians, such as the “Treaty of Fort Laramie.” Currently, the population of the American Indians, who were the native people of the American continent, is only about 2 million, and they have only 225,000 square kilometers of land. Now, they are living in the scattered “reservations” with poor social conditions.

Yes, yes, this is all stuff we’ve heard before. Come on, People’s Daily. Take us to Crazytown!

In 2008, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized to the nation’s native people for “a sad chapter in our history.” So, we assumed that the U.S. would also deeply rethink and repent their own misdeeds and vowed to prevent them from taking place again. In the face of the cruel misdeeds, anyone who abides by basic moral principles cannot feel at ease, let alone Americans who regard themselves as the chosen people of God. We respect the Christian culture in the U.S. and thus understand the prejudices some Americans have against China on the Tibet issue. But, after confessing to God, can Americans restore their self-confidence and believe that they are superior to others and that others deserve their suffering? Can God’s love become a premise of cultural hegemony?

[…]

If the U.S. has really learned from the past, it should not regard itself as the guide in human history and hold that others should repeat its own mistakes. Instead, it should show more respect for different cultures and unfamiliar countries.

Uh, what? First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that Americans are “the chosen people of God.” After all, Americans aren’t really a “people”, we’re a collection of immigrants. As far as I understand it, “the chosen people of God” refers to the Jews. But beyond that, why does the US’s “Christian culture” mean that Americans would side with Tibetans, who are, after all, not even a little bit Christian? And isn’t the point of Americans protesting about Tibet that they don’t want others to suffer? Americans aren’t saying others should repeat their own mistakes, they protest in Tibet because they don’t want others to repeat their own mistakes.

So, OK, People’s Daily, you’ve taken us to Crazytown. Can we swing by Outrightliesburg on the way home?

Today’s China is a confident and open nation which allows tourists from all parts of the world to tour Tibet. Any tourist can witness the difference between Tibet and the Indian reservations in the U.S. So, the prejudice from some Americans resulting from their sense of superiority is a misunderstanding of China’s intention.

Yes, tourists from all parts of the world may tour Tibet. Assuming, of course, that they apply to travel there via a travel agency, hire a government-approved guide at around 1000RMB/day (last I checked), and don’t venture outside of Lhasa or a few other designated tourist spots. Yup, nothing says confident and open quite like requiring a government-vetted tour guide at all times and forbidding foreigners to travel on their own.

Who is this stuff for?

Anyway, everyone knows the People’s Daily is crap, so tearing apart an article of theirs is, admittedly, a bit of a soft target. My question is: who is this stuff actually for? Who do they think they are fooling? I have said it before, and I will say it again: China could really stand to hire some decent Western PR folks. Someone who can tell them that articles like this — and stunts like Serf Liberation Day in general — are never going to be convincing to the Western public (even if the Western public did read the People’s Daily).

The thing is, the Chinese government does have some legitimate things to say about the situation in Tibet. Obviously, the reality isn’t nearly as black-and-white as they make it out to be, but there’s a case for Tibet-as-China to be made using actual, real facts. Why fake it?

Why is China afraid to admit wrongs?

By my estimation, the biggest reason the Chinese government won’t enter into an actual discussion of the Tibet issue is that it knows to convince the West, it would have to admit that some mistakes had been made, and wrongs — perhaps even atrocities — committed. But in all honesty, I think a bit more transparency could buy the Chinese government some much needed credibility abroad and also bolster support at home. Chinese people know that the government makes mistakes, and while they’re used to the government claiming the contrary, wouldn’t it be something like a breath of fresh air to hear them say: “You know what, we have done bad things in Tibet in the past, and the situation right now certainly isn’t ideal, but we think Tibet remaining under China’s control is the best thing for Tibet and its people and here’s why…”

Still, don’t hold your breath waiting for the Chinese government to admit its mistakes in Tibet or make actual effort to convince anyone outside its borders. As Captain Mal Reynolds once said, “That’s a long wait for a train [that] don’t come.”



74 Comments

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  • Some HTML can be used to format your comment.
  • Add a picture to your comments with Gravatar.
  • Please be civil. Comments may be moderated.
  1. friendo

    Uh, what? First of all, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that Americans are “the chosen people of God.”

    Really? I have. You must live a very sheltered life. For one Manifest Destiny itself did say that it was “God’s will” for the Natives to be ground into the dust. That piece, aside from being slightly insulting, is actually excellent especially considering it is People’s Daily.

    they protest in Tibet because they don’t want others to repeat their own mistakes.

    No. That is an ad hoc argument crafted on the spot by morons when they are taken to task on the Indian issue. Tibet and Americas genocide of the Natives are nothing alike, and I’m sure you’ll take another cheap shot with Japanese invasions… but hey, if Japan were to give China 3 trillion dollars a year in subsidies, and limited their own birth rates/movement with a one child policy, it wouldn’t be so bad a deal.

    • No, I agree, that native Americans and Tibet are totally different situations, just saying that that is how Westerners would argue it.

      As for “the chosen people of God”…yes, God was invoked by the government in the fight against the native Americans, but that phrasing comes from the Bible and it refers to the Hebrews, i.e., today’s Jews. Google “the chosen people of God” and check it out, it’s really never used to refer to Americans.

      I think there IS a difference between saying “God is on our side” and “We are God’s chosen people” anyway, but either way, that specific phrasing (“the chosen people of God”) is incorrect and does not generally (or ever, in my experience) refer to Americans.

      • maotai

        I have not heard of Americans refering to themselves as “God’s chosen people” but the USA as God’s chosen country. Which also makes it much easier for bible belt americans to hate godless commies, gays and such…

  2. All day long, I felt like today was a holiday, but I couldn’t figure out which one. Who knew?

    BTW, ‘Mal Reynolds’? You are a total fanboy geek.

    • You have no idea how long I have been waiting to find a good excuse to work some Firefly quotations into my blogposts. Also, the floodgates are now open. My next post will consist entire of quotes from Firefly and The Wire strung together to form some sort of commentary on China’s street criminals and/or space program.

    • Josh

      If only holidays, besides the spring festival, actually existed in China. I had to work this past weekend in order to make up for 清明节. Not a holiday in my book.

  3. Bin Wang

    Hey Custer:

    IMHO, let me analogize it this way.

    Suppose they’re trying to convict you for 20-30 (and chomping at the bit to do so), and maybe you did do something that’s worth 5-10, but you don’t think they’ve got proof of it. If you admit it now, they’ll definitely hang the 20-30 on you, maybe even more, make you a lifer even. If you don’t, maybe, just maybe, you might even get off without doing the 5-10. It’s a long shot, but worth it considering you’ll probably get crucified if you admit ANY wrong-doing now, that’s how badly they want to pin something on you, cause you think they’re convinced you oughta ride the lightnin’ or something. Objectively, you’d probably do the 5-10, if that’s all they’d go after you for after you admit to it. But you know that ain’t the case. They’re looking for ANY excuse to throw the book at you, and you can’t afford to give them any.

    Makes sense right? Not clearly rational perhaps, but makes sense.

    • Bin,

      If I understand the analogy correctly, I’m not sure it is applicable. The people chomping at the bit to convict the Chinese government for 20-30 over Tibet have no power to do so whereas the people who do have the power (the Chinese population) aren’t chomping at the bit over Tibet.

    • Yeah, Kai got it right, I think. I would argue this is a clearer analogy.

      Let’s say you’re Kobe Bryant, and you cheated on your wife with some skank, who then accuses you of raping her (you didn’t). There’s no physical evidence to prove rape, so you’re not concerned about jail time, and since there was no conviction you can still play basketball, so this is purely a PR thing. The media is going nuts, and since there’s proof you checked into a hotel room with this girl on the night in question, if you outright deny that anything happened, people are just going to yell louder and everyone is going to assume you raped her. However, if you do the tearful-confession, “I cheated on my wife but I didn’t rape this woman, there is no evidence to indicate rape,” then you’re big news on SportsCenter for two days, on day three they run the “Does the pressure of a pro sports job lead to infidelity?” think-piece, and on day four they’ve moved on to someone else (Tiger Woods, anyone?) and you go back to playing basketball.

      But if you keep denying it, ten years later there are still going to be people holding up signs that say “RAPIST” at your games.

      Obviously, this analogy isn’t perfect, but I think it’s better because China really has nothing to fear from the West other than harassment and condemnation — no one is going to actually do anything. The worst thing that Westerners can do to China is what they are already doing. The government likes to piss and moan about the bias of the Western media, but if they occasionally admitted “yup, we f*cked that one up”, I think that the media would respond similarly to how I described above: a firestorm for a few days, then a few “understanding how this happened” pieces, then back to news about Iran.

      • Bin Wang

        Maybe so Custer, but I think the American public would give the benefit of the doubt and the grace of forgiveness MUCH more readily to cheating athletes than to a government they’ve been told is suspect from day one.

        I don’t think China sees a lot of good faith in American public perception. Perhaps if it saw a little bit more, it might start traveling down that road you speak of, a realization that it’s less painful to get it out than to drag it through the long haul. At this point, I think China doesn’t believe that that’s the case.

    • Bin Wang

      Kai–I think you underestimate the power of Western public perception, which in turn forms the constituency of Western politics. Admissions would only serve to add fuel to the fire of the “Free Tibet”–Hollywood mantra. We’re talking about people so charged by emotionally-satisfying topics that they’ll limit Obama to 1 term for giving them healthcare. And right now, fewer things are so emotionally satisfying on a bipartisan level than lambasting China for everything from tainted toys to eating dogs.

      Americans of any other heritage can put a sticker of the country of their ancestors on their car, but when was the last time you saw a Chinese flag sticker? And you regularly see Free Tibet flags. All the more reason the pro-China rallies during the torch relays were so incredible.

      My point is, there’s a full-blown PR war going on. China’s already pretty much ill-equiped to win it, and the last thing it’s going to do is to shoot itself in the foot and gift-wrap the win to the flag-waving, sabre-rattlers. They can smell the blood without China having to cut itself.

      Honestly, transparency is more likely to come if the rest of the world would just back off a little bit. The current approach is as if we’re interrogating a suspect or something, of course they’re going to lawyer up and plead the 5th. If the Chinese didn’t think that the West was out to support a “Free Tibet” at every turn (to the extent that it can tactfully do so), you’ll have a better shot at increased transparency and accountability over time. Some folks think that’s just being easy on China and that you need to press Beijing, play hard-ball, and apply leverage via international politics.

      I don’t think Beijing responds well to that. Beijing’s never been afraid to be obstinate when approached that way.

      • Bin, I still disagree and I refer back to my comment as well as Custer’s. China’s already getting the worst treatment foreigners can throw at it. Persisting in denial is not going to change this. What’s that saying about the definition of insanity?

        If China seriously thinks being obstinate is going to eventually convince the rest of the world that they haven’t messed up some things with Tibet, that’s one hell of a Hail Mary play. There is no reasonable pragmatic purpose to this denial as I see it thus far. Foreigners don’t buy it whereas the Chinese government being honest when the Chinese government has already trained them to expect lies might actually cause them to stumble and blink for a moment. Chinese people don’t buy it either except through ignorance and a willingness to suspend disbelief for other reasons (nationalism, sovereignty, foreign resentment, etc.). This is one of the great examples of how China’s government (or at least how it handles its PR) is behaving like a child when it needs to grow up and learn to play with (and play like) the big boys.

        • Bin Wang

          Don’t disagree, and perhaps it is juvenile, but I honestly think China does not believe there’s anything positive or advantageous to be gained by presenting Chinese wrongs to the rest of the world on a big silver platter and saying “have at it!” Also, I think, in another juvenile manner of thinking, China simply doesn’t want to give them the satisfaction of knowing all their prying into Chinese internal affairs made Beijing kow-tow, pragmatism be damned.

  4. nongnu

    If this is the first anniversary of Serf Liberation Day… Does this mean that just over a year ago today there were still serfs in China? Amazing!

  5. Some Guy

    Stephen Harper, the Canadian Prime Minister, was apologizing for the Residential Schools issue, not for massacring natives and stealing their land, which didn’t really happen here. And I thought the newspapers in Canada were bad…

    On a side note, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine called the situation of native people in Canada and Tibetans “similar”, and he was attacked for that remark. I was one of the 20% (according to polling) of the people who agreed with him. Both Canada and China on the surface tried to have an enlightened policy, but the “we know what’s good for you” ideology failed the same way in both places. Native Canadians don’t have to pay taxes either, which gets people in a lather, probably the same way the extra test points get Han Chinese upset in China.

    • friendo

      “Native Canadians don’t have to pay taxes either, which gets people in a lather, probably the same way the extra test points get Han Chinese upset in China.”

      90%+ of Tibetans don’t pay taxes either. They aren’t limited to 1, or 2, or even 3 or 4 children. They receive several billion dollars in subsidies. There is a policy favoring them in employment. Fees for education are often waived for them. Public housing is provided in spades. The government coordinates with several NGOs to improve their living standards and extend credit. They benefit greatly from “rural solar” projects. Their kids get extra points on the “gaokao”. A huge chunk of the TAR is slated as a nature preserve where non-Tibetans cannot settle. There is a policy of “less arrests/prosecution” and relaxed sentences for crimes committed by minorities, especially against the Han.

      It isn’t perfect, but it’s far superior to America/Australia/Canada’s policies. They at least recognize that Tibetans are native to Tibet, whites simply push natives off their land as soon as something valuable is discovered. They don’t make any effort at all to preserve their language and culture and think they are racially/culturally inferior.

      • Jones

        Got a question: Are First National in Canada barred from living in “white Canada” or whatever you (or, atleast, Friendo would) might call it…or are they allowed to live and work anywhere? Can a First National become Prime Minister?

        Is it like in the US in that people generally take pride in their Native American heritage and ancestors? Almost everyone around here who’s family has been in country for enough generations knows which tribal nation (Apache, Cree, Caddo, etc) their ancestors were from. Also, do people in China take the time to learn theirs? Or, in policies of claiming land against a peoples’ will, do they teach about it in school? Just curious as I never went to school there.

        • Teacher in C

          Hey Jones
          No, they are not barred from living in “white Canada”, they can live anywhere they want. And yes, a First Nations person can become Prime Minister.

          As for the pride in ancestry thing, I think that really depends on the person. But in general, I think most people would treat it in the same way other people treat their heritage, whether it’s Irish, Polish, Chinese, whatever. If it comes up in conversation, you discuss it, if someone insults it, you take issue with it.

          • Jones

            That’s what I figured. It was semi-rhetorical.

          • Teacher in C

            Yeah, I kinda wondered that, but I figured I’d reply anyways, since I was in procrastination mode at work.

          • friendo

            Yes they can live anywhere they want as long as they aren’t pushed out by inflated prices or ostracized by racist whites.

        • friendo

          Americans don’t take “pride” in their Native American ancestry. It’s just a nominal concession to the laughable ideal of the “melting pot”, usually just made up on the spot and not substantiated with any evidence.

      • Teacher in C

        “whites simply push natives off their land as soon as something valuable is discovered. They don’t make any effort at all to preserve their language and culture and think they are racially/culturally inferior.”

        I have to take issue with that. There’s some truth to that if you’re talking about the past, but not so anymore. You clearly have not been to Canada. Aboriginal history, culture, and art are highly respected in museums and art galleries all over Canada, and I would say there are enough people who also respect all of those things to make a blanket statement such as yours untrue.

      • Zuo Ai

        If you think only minorities in China can become exempt from the one child policy (and do so on a relatively large scale), then I would say it is you who leads a sheltered life. Which also happens to be separated from reality.

        “Whites” do not recognize NATIVE Americans as being native? Good job on that one. Are you aware of the Chinese revolutionary period? You know, the period where China was all gung ho about Han Chauvinism? Ever heard of Sun Zhongshan?

        • friendo

          He was mostly anti-Manchu, oh yes those poor 1900s Manchus ruling over everyone with a bloody iron fist. Lets feel sorry for them.

          If you think only minorities in China can become exempt from the one child policy

          Rural Han are at most allowed 2, and in exceptionally rare cases 3, children. It’s still below replacement, while Tibetans can have 5+ children subsidized by the state.

      • lolz

        Outside of interracial marriage I don’t think there is any single affirmative action types of policy which would work. Hans are generally open to marrying people of other cultures, as long as they have money. The more religious cultures are a lot more strict about marrying outsiders. I think this is the single reason why some Chinese minority groups have not fared as well as others.

        Singapore is the only place where people of different types and cultures seem to integrate okay. Sure there are still some bitterness among different races (Malays and Indians tend to complain about the Chinese making more $$$, and Filipinos are generally regarded as maids by everyone), but it’s probably the best I have seen.

    • Bryan

      I agree there are some parallels between the situation of Many First Nations people in Canada and that of the Tibetans, especially within the context of a ‘civilizing’ effect/misguided responsibility…but one could argue such similarities are fairly inherent in most conqueror/conquered relationships.

      However, in Canada, we don’t have a nationally-endorsed holiday celebrating the day we brought wonderful civilization to the savages.

      • Bryan

        Friendo wrote: “whites simply push natives off their land as soon as something valuable is discovered”.

        Very true. However, there has been some fairly progressive land-claim initiatives in British Columbia. The 1999 Nisga’a Treaty (Nass Valley, Northwestern BC) comes to mind which transferred substantial true self-government rights and true natural resource control to the Band. The band development corporation even sells timber products to China. The Mcleod Lake Indian Band (near my home town, in BC) also is in advanced stages of signing their own similar self-government treaty.

        Such treaties are a long-time-coming, and most are still slogged down in seemingly never-ending negotiations, however, the opportunity for such initiatives does exist in Canada…something which (I’m sad to say) doesn’t in Tibet.

        • Bryan

          heh heh heh – one more comment.

          The awful situation plaguing many Canadian First Nation communities is a national disgrace. However, but where the parallels with Tibet end for me is in the idea that this disgrace is recognized and action (although effectiveness is debatable) is occurring. Like I mentioned in a previous comment, some of this action is quite ground-breaking in terms of treaty negotiations, public participation and grass-roots decision making involving all major stakeholders. It’s long, it’s controversial. But it’s really the only way to proceed.

          What often bothers me about many China forums is how quick people love to accuse foreigners of having zero understanding of China, it’s history, it’s present and it’s future. They way I often see many in China use the First Nations argument is a brilliant example of such accusations reversed. This isn’t the 19th century, it’s not even the 1950’s circa-residential schools. It’s a pretty different ball game.

          • friendo

            “However, but where the parallels with Tibet end for me is in the idea that this disgrace is recognized and action (although effectiveness is debatable) is occurring.”

            China invests far more into the future of the Tibetans than Canadians do in the future of First Nations. Period.

            Canadians can talk once they have thousands of volunteer teachers and doctors in Canada staying in First Nations territory for 8 year stints, once social discrimination against First Nations is diminished, and once white Canadians are no longer permitted to have more than one child.

            The comparison was drawn up because we have “progressives” bringing up their faux guilt over the First Nations/American Indians as some kind of argument against China’s Tibet policy. What? The Tibetans are simply treated as other PRC citizens, with special grants for culture, education and reproductive rights. Tibetans are free to do business all over China and access the Chinese market and import essentials like machinery and agricultural products.

            For your enjoyment:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_endangered_languages_in_North_America

            Look at the “Canada” section. The only endangered Tibetan dialect is Ladakhi- under Indian control.

          • Teacher in C

            “Canadians can talk once they have thousands of volunteer teachers and doctors in Canada staying in First Nations territory for 8 year stints,”

            You forget the population disparity between our two countries, and the fact that many graduates in China are so desperate for a job that they’ll go anywhere and do anything. You also don’t know anything about life in the reservations in Canada, and if you did you may realize that in a lot of cases these are really difficult places to live.

            As far as the languages thing goes, you do realize that a lot of tribes fought each other, right? Especially in the times before 1900. So, some of these languages may have become endangered simply because the tribe that spoke it became too small, or joined with another tribe and was assimilated. There’s also the fact that the younger generation of Aboriginals now have a choice, and many of them choose to ignore their heritage and traditional language. Are we supposed to force it on them? I’m not saying “the whites” were blameless, but to just point to a list of endangered languages and say “see? hahahaha” is a little silly, as there are obviously a lot of other factors at play here.

            I think we need to stop these comparisons before things get out of control here. No country is perfect, we’ve all made mistakes in the past. Canada fucked up and is trying to fix it, as is China. Can we let it go at that?

          • friendo

            You forget the population disparity between our two countries

            What is your point, that Canada has an excuse for centuries of horrific abuse? Because white people are that greedy for resources and short term personal gain?

            and the fact that many graduates in China are so desperate for a job that they’ll go anywhere and do anything.

            The pay is absolute shit, and there are no benefits. China’s unemployment is generally low, and it’s not just recent grads that go there.

            and if you did you may realize that in a lot of cases these are really difficult places to live.

            Tibet is literally the most difficult place to live outside of the Sahara and Antarctica. High altitudes, rocky, dry as hell, frozen 75% of the year- it isn’t the paradise Hollywood nuts make it out to be. Aside from being visually stunning it’s hell on earth- like much of the rest of East Asia.

            As far as the languages thing goes, you do realize that a lot of tribes fought each other, right? Especially in the times before 1900. So, some of these languages may have become endangered simply because the tribe that spoke it became too small, or joined with another tribe and was assimilated.

            You’re grasping at straws here. No, most of these languages were exterminated because Europeans caused the vast majority of their people to die. The assimilation took place long, long before then- and yes, “some” of these tribes fought, but rarely did they ever exterminate each other.

            There’s also the fact that the younger generation of Aboriginals now have a choice, and many of them choose to ignore their heritage and traditional language.

            Because you don’t make it an option. We hear this same nonsense about Tibetans all the time too- the fact is many of them choose to learn Chinese. Except the difference is China is actually building an indigenous economy from the ground up, Canada throws scraps and crumbs even as a wealthy nation. Utterly shameful, especially for people who love to posture and point fingers at “unprogressive” non-whites.

            I think we need to stop these comparisons before things get out of control here. No country is perfect, we’ve all made mistakes in the past. Canada fucked up and is trying to fix it, as is China. Can we let it go at that?

            Okay, have Western MSM acknowledge this (as well as the legions of brainwashed posters on China blogs) and we’re set.

          • Teacher in C

            “You forget the population disparity between our two countries

            What is your point, that Canada has an excuse for centuries of horrific abuse? Because white people are that greedy for resources and short term personal gain?”

            My comment was not talking about centuries ago, it was talking about right now. You made the comment and the suggestion that China was more concerned about Tibet and Tibetans than Canada is with its Aboriginals because of the thousands of people you have volunteering in Tibet. My suggestion here is that the massive population disparity between our two countries could account for the fact that we have only hundreds of people doing that instead of thousands. It was in no way attempting to excuse what has happened in the past, and I think you know that.

            “and if you did you may realize that in a lot of cases these are really difficult places to live.

            Tibet is literally the most difficult place to live outside of the Sahara and Antarctica. High altitudes, rocky, dry as hell, frozen 75% of the year- it isn’t the paradise Hollywood nuts make it out to be. Aside from being visually stunning it’s hell on earth- like much of the rest of East Asia.”

            I’ve been there, and I would disagree with you. All of those things your body acclimatizes to relatively quickly. Besides, I wasn’t referring to environmental issues, but social ones. Lack of resources, high crime rates, and dishonest chiefs are not uncommon in Aboriginal reserves. And, understandably, white people aren’t always exactly welcomed there. All of those things, in addition to the fact that the further north you go in any province (especially in the prairies) the colder it gets and the longer the winter gets, make it a very difficult place to live, so it may account for there not being “thousands” of people volunteering to go there and work.

            The languages issue.
            I have to admit my historical knowledge is lacking and I’m a little too lazy to go and look up every single instance of an aboriginal language disappering and what the causes are, but I know for sure that there were enough wars between tribes that, even if it happened rarely, you can’t blame whitey for everything. Sometimes they wiped each other out, and their languages along with them.

            “Because you don’t make it an option.”
            Do you realize how impossible this is? There isn’t some over-arching Aboriginal language that we can just teach in schools. Again, some of the blame has to go on their own society, it’s not all whitey’s fault. The way many of the world’s cultures are going these days is that people are ignoring their heritage and concentrating on living in the modern world. As a parallel to help you understand what I mean, more and more Chinese young people are forgetting about the traditional holidays because they’re more interested in modern China and modern life. It has little to do with not offerring choice. If a kid doesn’t want to learn, he’s not going to learn, it doesn’t matter how much choice you give him.

            “Except the difference is China is actually building an indigenous economy from the ground up, Canada throws scraps and crumbs even as a wealthy nation.”
            Completely free university education for any aboriginal student is hardly throwing “crumbs”, when you consider that some people can spend anywhere between $10,000-$50,000 or more on a complete university education. Addressing land claims is a tricky issue, but more and more tribes are getting land back, and complete self-governance of that land and the people on it. Some of them choose to build casinos, which earns them a whole ton of money. Clearly you haven’t looked into any of this.

            “Utterly shameful, especially for people who love to posture and point fingers at “unprogressive” non-whites”
            And you’re being just as shameful, labeling everyone with white skin as someone who calls every other colour “unprogressive”. If this is going to degenerate into a name-calling session, then count me out.

        • friendo

          Right, several hundred years after the fact- the main thing here is that the Tibetans are given equal share to everything China offers, the First Nations in Canada are not- they are barred via many legal and social hurdles.

          • Teacher in C

            And what, may I ask, are these “legal hurdles” that stop Aboriginals in Canada from getting their equal share?

          • friendo, not a smart comment. We know that there are many preferential policies in force for Tibetans, but we also know they too are barred from many things “via legal and social hurdles” as well.

            In other words, you’re going too far and thus hurting your own position.

          • friendo

            Are Tibetans beaten and lynched by random Han Chinese mobs? No. They aren’t discriminated against for job applications either, TYC propaganda and hysteria aside.

            “Visible minorities” in progressive utopias like Australia and Canada, however, are.

          • we also know they too are barred from many things “via legal and social hurdles” as well.

            What you responded with does not disprove this above statement, does it?

          • Teacher in C

            Visible minorities are discriminated against in job application policies in the west? Are you serious? Haven’t you ever heard of “affirmative action”? While I’m not going to say everything is perfect 100% of the time, it’s certainly gotten a lot better in the last 50 years. Where do you get this stuff from?

        • maotai

          who knows… maybe in a hundred years but since it is China, it will happen much earlier.

        • friendo

          that we have only hundreds of people doing that instead of thousands.

          Actually it’s because the Canadian government doesn’t put as much effort into it. Canada gives a pittance to real Canadians, despite their ill-begotten wealth.

          I’ve been there, and I would disagree with you. All of those things your body acclimatizes to relatively quickly. Besides, I wasn’t referring to environmental issues, but social ones. Lack of resources, high crime rates, and dishonest chiefs are not uncommon in Aboriginal reserves. And, understandably, white people aren’t always exactly welcomed there. All of those things, in addition to the fact that the further north you go in any province (especially in the prairies) the colder it gets and the longer the winter gets, make it a very difficult place to live, so it may account for there not being “thousands” of people volunteering to go there and work.

          Why aren’t there any First Nations in the verdant and hospitable parts of Canada? Canadians kicked them off and will never let them back in force. As for Tibet, where in Tibet exactly? You do realize I’m comparing the entirety of Tibet (including the interior where remote mountain villages are located) to all of Canada, right?

          even if it happened rarely, you can’t blame whitey for everything.

          Almost everything. I didn’t bring up the fact that Kham was split into 10+ little Kingdoms and the fact that the Dalai Lama and the Gelug sect had no control over them for centuries. Nor did I bring up conflict between the various sects of Tibetan Buddhism or between the Bonpo and the Buddhists.

          This is because pointing out minor conflicts to smear a larger group is distasteful and doesn’t absolve anyone of their guilt. Jews fought among themselves too, does that make Hitler great? Whites in Canada and America always play this sickening card. One tribe was violent so they all deserve to be exterminated, wow.

          Do you realize how impossible this is? There isn’t some over-arching Aboriginal language that we can just teach in schools.

          Why not teach 80+ dialects of 60+ languages like China? Again, developing and struggling China has a better minority policy than rich, callous and greedy Canada.

          their own society

          Who is THEY? I guess because some Southeast Khampas are known (by other Tibetans) as violent and wild, we should persecute all “Tibetans”- even though they themselves don’t recognize that grouping? What do the Dena’ina have to do with the Inuit? The vast majority of First Nations tribes were more peaceful than the warlike Europeans who slaughtered each other over nonsense like religion.

          ore and more Chinese young people are forgetting about the traditional holidays

          Same can be said of Tibet. Except Hollywood thinks its the dictator of the world and can tell Tibetan youth how they are supposed to live.

          labeling everyone with white skin as someone who calls every other colour “unprogressive”.

          As far as I can tell, you were saying that “the Indians” “deserved it” because sometimes a few tribes would fight each other. Well…

          • Teacher in C

            Congratulations for twisting my words, making incorrect inferences and generally just making stuff up. Congratulations also for taking what could have been a civil and polite argument and filling it with insults.
            In fact, congratu-fucking-lations all around Friendo, you win. You defeated the evil, greedy Canadian white man.
            Enjoy your new-found success.
            I can’t believe I got baited by this guy.

      • friendo

        “we don’t have a nationally-endorsed holiday celebrating the day we brought wonderful civilization”

        Because you didn’t. The West is only arguably civilized itself. China doesn’t claim to bring “civilization” to Tibet- they claim to have overthrown a feudal system, through the lens of Communist historiography- not racial triumphalism as in the case of Canada.

  6. xian

    Why is China afraid to admit wrongs?

    Face politics. Too sensitive to criticism. Also true for other Asian countries.

    I think the real question is, if China feels that they haven’t wronged Tibet in any way, why compare the situation with the genocide of Native Americans?

    • friendo

      “Face politics. Too sensitive to criticism. Also true for other Asian countries.”

      What do you mean by “Asian”? I guess “Asians” might avoid “admitting wrongs”, but Westerners cover them up. Then deny. Then dismiss.

      “I think the real question is, if China feels that they haven’t wronged Tibet in any way, why compare the situation with the genocide of Native Americans?”

      It’s to show, basically, that their minority policy is great compared to America/Canada and other chest beating, obsessed nations.

      • All countries avoid admitting, deny, dismiss, and cover up, including “Asian” ones.

        The comparison to Native Americans is first about “shut up, you self-righteous hypocrite” and only then second “our policy is better than what was your policy”. Invoking for the first does depend on the attitude of the foreign criticizer. Invoking the second evidences the discussion going down the wrong path.

        • friendo

          Not was. “Is”. American aboriginal policy is an abomination. Canada’s is little better, though it is better. They are starting to pick up the pieces- but not nearly fast enough. China didn’t break things that badly to begin with.

          The future of Tibetans looks bright- the prospects for First Nations and American Indians is troubling.

          • maotai

            Yes and I don’t think there is any pure blooded native American left in the US or Canada.

  7. friendo

    BTW Custer, when you talk about restricted movement do you mean the TAR itself?

    Because I know movement in Kham and Amdo is much less restricted. Jiuzhaigou, for example, is in Kham.

    For the TAR itself there are at times foreigners involved with QNNP (Qomolangma National Nature Preserve)

    http://www.future.org/news/20080107/cbc-video-saving-tibets-great-rivers

    There are a few foreign NGOs involved with Kham and Amdo such as:

    Trace Foundation – http://trace.org/home.html
    Kham Aid – http://www.khamaid.org/alternate_index.htm
    Ventures in Development (Shokay and Meixiang Yak Cheese) – http://www.venturesindev.org/

    All of these are organizations “on the ground” in Tibet who have to deal with local and central government on a day to day basis and spend many consecutive months, years with both Tibetans and the CCP.

    So I guess if you really wanted to see Tibet you could get involved with some NGOs. There is less activity in Western Tibet, where most of the rioters were from.

    • hanhu

      friendo, argue what you will, but don’t make up facts that just aren’t true.

      Travel for ALL Tibetans is restricted — do you have any idea how hard it is for a Tibetan (even a party-educated, model citizen) to get a passport? Forget the TAR — it will takes years and lots of bribes to get one there, but in Amdo and Kham is nearly impossible now too. While different provinces have different rules, Qinghai and Gansu, for example, require Tibetans to get a Tibetan relative abroad to send a copy of his/her greencard and an invitation letter in order for someone to get a passport. And even then, they sometimes say, “Sorry, we’re not processing passports for your ethnic group.” (Passports are also issued to those who are invited to go to academic conferences, but that’s a very small number of people who are going. Otherwise, if Tibs want to travel out of country, they might be able to get a special temporary document.) Compare this to the passport situation for Hans — they can get theirs in a matter of days or weeks (as long as they’re good citizens).

      The situation in Tibet for foreign NGOs is also not good. Generally speaking, the Chinese gov’t can be very suspicious of NGOs (let me know if you need some proof of that), nevermind foreigners operating NGOs in Tibetan areas. After 2008, numerous NGOs were kicked out of Tibetan areas (or restricted in some way), including TAR, Amdo and Kham. For example, the English Training Program for Tibetans in Xining was shut down (after 25 years), and the missionary English school that runs there was no longer allowed to have foreign teachers teach Tibetan students in classrooms.

      Have you even spent much time in Tibet? It seems like you don’t know how things work there.

      • friendo

        I meant travel within the nation, of course.

        • hanhu

          Many Tibetans flying to other cities are stopped and questioned when they arrive at their destination airport. They are interrogated as to what they are doing and what their intentions are and how long they are going to stay. Were you aware of this?

      • friendo

        “The situation in Tibet for foreign NGOs is also not good. ”

        This is why I said “deal with” the CCP- not cooperate with the CCP

      • lolz

        “Travel for ALL Tibetans is restricted”

        Understandable. Isn’t that what countries usually do when a group has rebellious tendencies? Muslim Americans are looked upon with suspicion and reported when they do something as simple as praying at airports. Muslim charities are being observed by the CIA, and when the money don’t add up Muslim Americas will be arrested with aiding terrorists.

        If a large portion of Chinese Americans dream about overthrowing the government, or are actively engaged with foreign groups who want to overthrow the American government, of course the American government will take additional measures towards Chinese Americans as a group. You can call it collective punishment, racial profiling, or whatever, but every nation practices this to some extent.

        Maybe Dalai Lama should vocally announce to his western supporters to stop supporting Tibet independence. Because as long as people associate Dalai Lama with Tibet Independence (rightfully or wrongly), and that the Tibetans worship Dalai Lama, then Tibetans will always be suspected as separatists in China.

  8. Jones

    Serf Liberation Day – SLD (pronounced “sold”) is my favorite holiday EVER.

    What exactly does one do in China, traditionally, to celebrate this glorious holiday?

    Here in Texas, we pretty much took Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Chinese New Year, everyone’s birthdays, and President’s Day and rolled it all into one. It’s like a month’s worth of celebrations rolled into one.

    It was especially humorous this year because grandma dropped the LSD in the punch bowl and no one knew. Even the toddlers were tripping balls.

  9. lxjx

    Xinhua ignored it, the China Daily ignored it.

    Actually both Xinhua and ChinaDaily have news on the Serf Liberation Day on their English front page.

  10. hm

    I seriously don’t get why Tibet’s such a big issue. Nobody really cared about Tibet until recently. It’s my understanding that some English guy took it and England said, give it back! Or was it British? I don’t really get the difference. Anyway, when did people start to care about Tibet?

    • friendo

      When the CIA basically told the exiles to create this whole utopia myth to peddle as part of base anti-China invective

      • Friendo, Psycho, Comrade!

        what the hell! 不好汉

        谁敢诬蔑五毛党红旗,我们就一拳头把他砸到地底下去!

        U would! you little 愤青

        ….

        I was having a chat with an old friend of mine, a party princingling, a real former, 小皇帝 mofo!
        now Big time involved with in the “Ministry of Love”

        anywho, I said, “what I am I suppose to tell the next eager young 外国人 who wants to “free tibet” asks, “So, like, why did china invade Tibet?”

        He responded, “water” that is the only reason, need I say more?

        One of the most embarrasing things the CCP did in Tibet after LIBERATION was attempted to plant rice. Could you imagine some dumb ass party memeber on his stint in the countryside, trying to explain how important it is for motherland for U to grow rice!

        pyscho, this happened during the “3 year National Natural Disaster” 你都知道中国历史??

        Unleash the Red Skeleton Baby!


        I know alot about Canada and ROL (rule of law)

        so it is best not to reveal ANY personal info or educational background here,

        I have never seen nor heard about any Canadian #2 #4 #12 Communist Ideological Detention Prisons, like in TAR.

        Nor do I hear about first nations, having there mail both electronic and paper “lost in the mail”

        There are also “residential schools” in TAR. I guess the term translated from chinese would be “National Minority Ideological Training Centers” they even have computers…

        Psycho, the Tibetan Surfs HAVE far more legal and social hurdles…

        but dont worry 你和我 are still waving the red flag from the highest point on the earth

        always keeping it
        Red and Real
        五毛党万岁

        • friendo

          Clearly, because everyone who disagrees with retards is a fenqing. Awesome.

          I guess I’d rather be a fenqing than a Western-cock-sucking house slave, but that’s just me. Now this is productive, isn’t it?

          Are Tibetans outnumbered 19 to 1 in their homelands? No. Are Tibetans kicked off of their most productive and fertile lands? No. Is the Tibetan voice crushed under the 500 pound, wrinkly ass of white corporate greed? No.

          The First Nations are strictly limited to their fate of accepting rule by distant white parasites, on the worst land Canada has. Awesome.

        • friendo

          He responded, “water” that is the only reason, need I say more?

          Missed this gem. The real reason is because it was part of the ROC-

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:LA2-NSRW-1-0148.jpg

          Officially recognized as such, McMahon’s nonsense notwithstanding.

          No one has recognized Tibet as an independent state for nearly 100 years.

          [Please, no more phallus hoovering. — Kai]

          • 鞠躬尽瘁的同志Friendo

            Attention Attention

            the struggle meeting has started!

            Think where all the rivers in 大亚洲 start?

            thats why we are there.

            not this petty nationalistic 愤青 nonsense,

            You quote wiki
            I quote 铁人
            Who is more Red!

            What was that quote from Firefly, “you dont fix the bible, the bible fixes you”
            -the Preacher

            am really referencing the 小红书

            Friendo革命精神发扬光大!!

            50c …

          • friendo

            Incoherent train-of-thought nonsense isn’t good writing. Learn English

  11. lolz

    The tight media censorship around Tibet is one of the dumbest thing CCP is doing in terms of PR. Granted, most of the Western journalists are ONLY interested in the story from the suffering Tibetans but then looking at the recent coverage from NYT and LAT on the Uighur riots it is obvious that when journalists are allowed more freedom they will eventually cover the other side of the story. Clearly, by not allowing any major independent media outlets in the region the China will also not receive ANY positive coverage on this. Though my gut feeling is that any foreign journalist who dares to cover anything positive about China will still be ostracized at least at the beginning.

  12. That Peoples Daily post is an obnoxiously stupid mind-boggling pile.

  13. Sam

    “Americans aren’t saying others should repeat their own mistakes, they protest in Tibet because they don’t want others to repeat their own mistakes.”

    What mistake? When the American liberals try to convince the Chinese that granting the Tibetans more “meaningful” autonomy, a.k.a., de facto independence, the punch line is that otherwise the Tibetans would rebel, would make trouble, and that’s bad for China, blah blah. But where are the rebellious, trouble-making Indians? They’re all dead, I reckon? Or never existed, according to the bronze sculpture “Allies in War, Partners in Peace” in Smithsonian.

    Only judging by the outcome, the past US policy towards indigenous people can be considered quite a success for the vast majority now living in the US, albeit a difficult to imitate success. I wouldn’t argue if you say that’s immoral, but a mistake? Not quite convincing.

Continuing the Discussion