The Chinese authorities did their civic duty by forcibly suppressing the pogroms in Tibet, for the “Tibetan protests and demonstrations” were essentially just pogroms of immigrants, mainly but not exclusively Han Chinese and Uygur Muslims. Some two dozen persons (the Chinese immigrants, Tibetan rioters and security forces) had lost their lives; five immigrants were gruesomely burned alive in their shop. More people would die but for decisiveness of the Chinese commanders.
The Tibetan case is not without merit. Tibetans want to preserve their unique culture: so do people of France and Sweden, of Palestine and Iraq. So probably did Yeti, the true aborigines of Tibet. We all are threatened by globalizing forces that obliterate beautiful variety of the world. The Dalai Lama called this process “cultural genocide”. Welcome to planet Earth, Your Holiness. Indeed, every McDonalds, every Starbucks is a part of the “cultural genocide” we live through. Still, we do not grill Americans alive. Immigrant-bashing is equally unacceptable in far-away Lhasa, in Toulouse or Liverpool.
The native people of Tibet have equal rights with other peoples of China. If they want to have all of Tibet for themselves, sorry, it does not work this way. Whether we like it or not, we have to share our land with those who came before and later. Likewise, Indians, Nepalese and Chinese share their cities and villages with the Tibetan immigrants without complaining too much.
The case of Tibet is much overstated for Tibet is hardly unique: it is a region of special character related to China like Bretagne to France; like Wales to Britain, like Catalonia to Spain, like Sicily to Italy, like Dixie to the US. In all these places, local patriots may dream of more autonomy or even independence, they may resent influx of strangers. Bretons may hate the Parisians, the Welsh snarl at English who buy their homes, the Alabamans could dislike New York Jews who dictate them the rules of the game – even before they object to immigrants from farther-away lands. But they rarely dream to roll history back. This is a dream of far nationalist right, which is practically outlawed in Europe and the US.
Could it be that Presidents Bush and Sarkozy, the editors of the New York Times, Le Monde and Haaretz, human rights activists Bernard-Henri Levy and Daniel Cohn-Bendit calling for boycott of China Olympics had become supporters of Le Pen, David Duke and Horst Mahler, and after regaining national character of Tibet, Europe and America will follow into asserting their uniqueness? However, I doubt these luminaries will approve of Jewish pogroms; why the pogroms of Chinese are so warmheartedly applauded?
If not Tibet, there would be some other reason for this anti-Chinese campaign. Christopher Caldwell quipped in FT (March 29/30, 2008): “Boycotting Beijing Olympics is the solution that has long been in search of a problem”. “The problem” could be Darfur, Burma, human rights, mistreatment of prisoners and animals, or late abortions. Israeli newspapers produce daily some new reasons why China should be boycotted, usually because of “human rights violations”. The precise reasons vary, but the bottom line remains the same: ostracize, isolate and punish China, for it is too independent.
The Chinese leadership is not weak-kneed; they have witnessed too many horrible examples of what happens if the central government shows weakness. The Soviet Union went down because Gorbachev did not deal with separatism in the Baltic republics, Ukraine, Armenia. The Chinese leaders are made of sterner stuff. Sometimes, hard decisions had to be made, and they call for people of strong will.
Such a hard but wise decision was that of Tiananmen riots’ suppression in 1989. Without it, China would disintegrate in flood of blood and tears; it would be re-colonised by the Western powers. Now, the suppression of Lhasa riots was relatively a small-time event, hopefully soon forgotten. The Tibetans were misled, now they may readjust their vision. So did many secessionists: Ibo of Nigeria fought a long war, but eventually settled for equality. So did the people of Dixie after the defeat.
Chinese are within their rights to fight secessionists and preserve integrity of their land, including the region of Tibet. A few days ago, the Pink Panther of a president, M. Sarkozy, said in the UK: “We shall never surrender Afghanistan”. If the French clown wants to keep Afghanistan and is ready to send French soldiers to die for it, there is no reason for the Chinese to give up Tibet, a part of China for one thousand years. (The French readers may be comforted: the main alternative to the clown, Segolene Royal, was even more outspoken in her calls to boycott China. Indeed if there is something more miserable than Gaullists of Sarkozy, that’s Socialists of Royal.)
The Western ideologues wish to shape the world according to their preferences, and independent China, (or Russia, Iran, India) is not their cup of tea. That is why they sow strife and dissent; promote separatism and secession in the independent countries. This is an old game of undoing empires, and afterwards creating a new empire on their ruins. In this game, the leftist hypocrites and the rightist imperialists work together.
They do find local nationalists, often sincere people, who accept their support. These nationalists usually are duped; unless they are cynical crooks who are aware of the game they play. Nothing good came out of separatist secession causes: usually, the seceded lands became a part of the Judeo-American Empire. The recent case of Kosovo (probably an inspiration to the Tibetan rebels) is a clear example: the Albanians of Kosovo regained freedom from Serbia and became a colony of the EC serving the biggest American military base and the oil terminal.
Independent Tibet would also become a US base against China, India, Russia. The bloody and cruel Tibet rebellion of 1959 was fully prepared and paid for by the CIA, in order to undermine China. We know it now, because two bad guys – Kenneth Conboy of the Heritage Foundation and James Morrison, an Army veteran trainer for the CIA – boasted about it in a book called The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet(Kansas University Press, 2002). Gary Wilson correctly compared it with the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba.
Marx and Lenin were reluctant to speak in general categories. Instead of calling for freedom, they asked “freedom from what? Freedom for whom? Independence of what?” They did not absolutise freedom, independence, self-determination, but rather checked whether it is good for them or for their adversaries. If a small nation turns into an imperialist tool, it should be fought against, they said. Indeed, it is impossible to say whether “independence is good in general” or not.
Often, independence is a piece of cheese in the mousetrap. Gandhi was asked what he thinks of European civilization. It would be nice! – he exclaimed. Likewise the idea of independence. If a country like Tibet – or Chechnya, – could be independent, instead of serving an advance base for an American invasion, it would be nice. But such an option does not exist. In words of G W Bush, you are with them, or with us.
It is right time to give up the chase after “self-determination”, for this noble sentiment has been abused by far too often. Instead we demand equal rights for all. Alexander the Great was famously even-handed with the subjects of his vast empire, and his own Macedonian warriors complained that he prefers the defeated Persians to the victorious Greeks. “For me, there is no difference between a Greek and a Persian”, – he replied – “both are subjects of my state”. This is the right attitude.
The idea of independence and self-determination failed everywhere; and now it failed in Palestine, too. The vestiges of this concept are being used now to perpetuate apartheid and to keep in power some corrupt and powerless politicians. Native Palestinians do not need independence; they are not going to get it either, but every day this fiction is being nurtured just postpones the day of true equality of all and for all in Palestine/Israel.
The Tibetans should understand that too. The way to preserve uniqueness of Tibet – and of France, England, Palestine – lies through our victory over the Empire and over its tendency to globalise and homogenize. In this battle, China is their protector and friend, not an enemy.
(1) Tibet and the March 10 commemoration of the CIA’s 1959 ‘uprising’
By Gary Wilson http://www.workers.org/2007/world/tibet_0327/
24/03/08 “Workers World” — – Has Tibet become the front line of a new national liberation struggle? Or is something else happening there? The U.S. news media are filled with stories about events unfolding in Tibet. Each news report, however, seems to include a note that much of what they are reporting cannot be confirmed. The sources of the reports are shadowy and unknown. If past practice is any indicator, it is likely that the U.S. State Department and the CIA are their primary sources. One frequently quoted source is John Ackerly. Who is Ackerly? As president of the International Campaign for Tibet, he and his group appear to work closely with the U.S. government, both the State Department and Congress, as part of its operations concerning Tibet. During the Cold War, Ackerly’s Washington-based job was to work with “dissidents” in Eastern Europe, particularly Romania in 1978-80.
A private international security agency in Washington, Harbor Lane Associates, lists Ackerly and the International Campaign for Tibet as its clients, along with former CIA Director and U.S. President George H.W. Bush and former Pentagon chief William Cohen. AP, Reuters and the other Western news agencies all quote Ackerly as a major source for exaggerated reports about the clashes that have just occurred in Tibet. For example, MSNBC on March 15 reported:
“John Ackerly, of the International Campaign for Tibet, a group that supports demands for Tibetan autonomy, said in an e-mailed statement he feared ‘hundreds of Tibetans have been arrested and are being interrogated and tortured.’”
Qiangba Puncog, a Tibetan who is chair of the Tibet Autonomous Regional Government, described the situation quite differently at a March 17 press briefing in Beijing. According to china.org.cn, China’s state Web site, the Tibetan leader said that allies of the exiled Dalai Lama on March 14 “engaged in reckless beating, looting, smashing and burning and their activities soon spread to other parts of the city. These people focused on street-side shops, primary and middle schools, hospitals, banks, power and communications facilities and media organizations. They set fire to passing vehicles, they chased after and beat passengers on the street, and they launched assaults on shops, telecommunication service outlets and government buildings. Their behavior has caused severe damage to the life and property of local people, and seriously undermined law and order in Lhasa.
“‘Thirteen innocent civilians were burned or stabbed to death in the riot in Lhasa on March 14, and 61 police were injured, six of them seriously wounded,’ said Qiangba Puncog. “Statistics also show that rioters set fire to more than 300 locations, including residential houses and 214 shops, and smashed and burned 56 vehicles. …“Qiangba Puncog also claimed that security personnel did not carry or use any lethal weapons in dealing with the riot last Friday. …“The violence was the result of a conspiracy between domestic and overseas groups that advocate ‘Tibet independence,’ according to Qiangba Puncog. ‘The Dalai clique masterminded, planned and carefully organized the riot.’ “According to Qiangba Puncog, on March 10, 49 years ago, the slave owners of old Tibet launched an armed rebellion aimed at splitting the country. That rebellion was quickly quelled. Every year since 1959, some separatists inside and outside China have held activities around the day of the rebellion. … “Any secessionist attempt to sabotage Tibet’s stability will not gain people’s support and is doomed to fail, he said.”
Meeting in New Delhi
Whatever is taking place in Tibet has long been in preparation. A conference was held in New Delhi, India, last June by “Friends of Tibet.” It was described as a conference for the breakaway of Tibet. The news site phayul.com reported at the time that the conference was told “how the Olympics could provide the one chance for Tibetans to come out and protest.” A call was issued for worldwide protests, a march of exiles from India to Tibet, and protests within Tibet—all tied to the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
This was followed by a call this past January for an “uprising” in Tibet, issued by organizations based in India. The news report from Jan. 25 said that the “Tibetan People’s Uprising Movement” was established Jan. 4 to focus on the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The beginning date for the “uprising” was to be March 10.
At the time the call was issued, U.S. Ambassador to India David Mulford was meeting with the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala, India. U.S. Undersecretary of State Paula Dobriansky made a similar visit to Dharamsala last November. Dobriansky is also a member of the neocon Project for a New American Century. She has been involved in the so-called color revolutions in Eastern Europe.
Phayul.com reports that the Tibet “Uprising” group’s statement says they are acting “in the spirit of the 1959 Uprising.”
The 1959 uprising
Knowing more about the 1959 “uprising” might help in understanding today’s events in Tibet. In 2002 a book titled “The CIA’s Secret War in Tibet” was published by the University Press of Kansas. The two authors—Kenneth Conboy of the Heritage Foundation and James Morrison, an Army veteran trainer for the CIA—proudly detail how the CIA set up and ran Tibet’s so-called resistance movement. The Dalai Lama himself was on the CIA payroll and approved the CIA’s plans for the armed uprising.
The CIA put the Dalai Lama’s brother, Gyalo Thodup, in charge of the bloody 1959 armed attack. A contra army was trained by the CIA in Colorado and then dropped by U.S. Air Force planes into Tibet.
The 1959 attack was a CIA planned and organized coup attempt, much like the later Bay of Pigs invasion of socialist Cuba. The purpose was to overthrow the existing Tibetan government and weaken the Chinese Revolution while tying the people of Tibet to U.S. imperialist interests. What does that say about today’s March uprising, that’s done in the same spirit?
Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World
Tibet Riot Blow by Blow
Tibet Riot Documentary
This is a blow by blow account of the riot in Lhasa and shows that the supporters of the so-called Free Tibetan movement were the perpetrators of gruesome violence.
The riots in Lhasa last Friday are the most serious incident in the region for decades. Local residents are still reeling from the aftershock, even as they try to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives. In the following documentary, we look back at the events to see how they’ve impacted the people in Tibet.
11 a.m., March 14
(Ramoche Temple, Lhasa) At eleven o’clock on the morning of March 14th, rioters gathered at the Ramoche Temple. On the temple roof, about a dozen monks stood and threw stones at police.
2 p.m., March 14
The situation escalated in the afternoon as more rioters gathered at the Ramoche Temple. Others, some armed with knives, began to arrive from the streets in downtown Lhasa. As the riot intensified, a group of people tipped over a police wagon, and then flipped a nearby car.
An amateur cameraman recorded the scene as members of the mob stopped a motorcycle on the road and bludgeoned the rider’s head with rocks. As the violence intensified, some people caught up in the riot suffered severe injuries. This innocent man was blinded in the right eye, and his left ear was cut off.
An amateur cameraman recorded the scene as members of the mob stopped a motorcycle on the road and bludgeoned the rider’s head with rocks.
3 p.m., March 14
From three o’clock in the afternoon onward, the mob moved along Yutuo Road, Beijing East Road, and Duosenge Road, smashing businesses and setting fires.
They stormed into shops, hospitals and news agencies. Nearby public facilities, transportation and electric power lines were damaged.
Seven banks operating within the area failed to escape the mob. Rioters smashed ten ATM machines to pieces leaving those branches in a complete mess.
Rioters set fires in the areas around the Jokhong Temple, Ramoche Temple and the Chomsigkang Market. In the city centre, fires started in the Si Fang supermarket, Lan Dun Plaza and Wen Zhou Plaza.
Rioters even attacked schools, setting Lhasa’s Number 2 Middle School on fire. The smoke from these fires covered the city.
When firefighters arrived, two of their fire trucks were torched and four firefighters were injured.
13 innocent civilians were burned or stabbed to death in the riots. 56 cars were damaged or burned. Dozens of public security officers and scores of armed police were injured, 10 in serious condition. Rioters have set fire to over 300 sites, and burned down over 200 residential houses and shops.
After the riots began, Party and government officials of the Tibet Autonomous Region reacted quickly. They deployed the police to disperse the violence, and firefighters to put out the fire and evacuate those trapped inside burning buildings. The wounded were rushed to hospital for treatment.
Local authorities say more than 580 people have been rescued by the armed police, including three Japanese tourists, as well as teachers and students in a primary school and a middle school. There were no foreigners among the casualties.
China’s public security and armed police have exerted the highest restraint.
In their handling of the incident, China’s public security and armed police have exerted the highest restraint. They did not use any deadly weapons, not even when their own lives were threatened. Some riot police were cornered and beaten. Others were stoned. Armed police on duty outside the gate of the Romache Temple were surrounded and attacked by rioters. None of them fired on their attackers.
One day after the riots, vehicles were restricted from entering the city’s main roads. But the streets were still littered with roll-over cars, burned motorbikes and bicycles, and smoldering reminder of from violence from the day before. Local officials in Tibet say there is plenty of evidence to prove that the incident was masterminded by the Dalai clique.
Baema Chilain, vice chairman of government of Tibet autonomous region, said “The Dalai clique used various means to contact and issue orders to their co-conspirators in Tibet. They also resorted to all sorts of tricks to stir up trouble among the people, hiding the truth from them. All this shows that the Dalai clique has never stopped its efforts to disrupt national unity and seek Tibet independence.”
“I am outraged!” a Lhasa resident said. “My heart is very heavy. A small group of secessionists has unleashed great violence on Lhasa. They’ve destroyed our happy life. We can’t go to work. Our children can’t go to school.” another resident said.
“If there should be similar incidents in the future, we will definitely be against them. It’s absolutely necessary to punish the culprits in accordance with the law. This is for the interests of the people, for social stability, and for national unity.”
Many places were attacked and burned down to the ground. The Youth Road in the downtown area suffered the most. Businessman Peng Xiaobo said “After an explosion, heavy smoke was everywhere. My uncle was over there with the woolen blanket — he jumped down from the second floor. Then he urged us to jump, too. He said, ‘Don’t worry about the money. Life is more important.’ The explosion shattered all the glasses, and heavy smoke covered up everything.”
Peng Xiaobo’s four shops were all set on fire. His family had to jump down from the second floor in order to escape. His wife hurt her back during the jump. But the worst was yet to come.
Peng said “I had a younger sister. She just had her 18th birthday in December. She didn’t dare to jump from such a height. She tried to find another way to escape, but the stairs under her collapsed. She fell through to the first floor and was burned to death.”
18-year-old Chen Jia came from the southwestern province of Sichuan. Last Friday, the clothing store in Lhasa, where she and five other girls worked, was targeted by rioters. The door of the store was destroyed. Trapped inside, the six girls were forced to flee to the second floor.
In shock, Chen Jia sent a text message to her father, saying, ‘Father, the rioters here are very brutal. We’re hiding in the store and don’t dare to leave. Don’t worry about me. You tell Mother and Sister not to go out.’ Several minutes later, the store was set on fire. Five of the girls were burned to death. The tragedy broke Chen Jia’s father’s heart. He said “My daughter was so girlish. We all loved her.”
Chen Jia, Cering Zhuoga from Xigaze, Yang Dongmei and Liu Yan from Sichuan, and Han Xinxin from Henan were also burn to death. Zhuoma was left shocked at being the only survivor. Days after the violence, Zhuoma still can’t accept that her friends are no longer here.
She said “I never thought about that. We were happy together that morning, but it suddenly changed hours later. I can’t believe it, I can’t accept the truth that they have left me. I want to ask the rioters why they did it. I really can’t understand why the rioters killed innocent civilians…why they killed our sisters. We’re just employees, we don’t have much money. If they wanted money, why did they rob us of our lives?”
Violence in Lhasa broke out on March 14th, and took a heavy toll in innocent lives and property. Businessman, Wu Guanglin, can’t forget what he and his son suffered that day. Rioters targeted him and his six-year-old son. They stamped on the little boy’s chest, sending him into shock.
Businessman Wu Guanglin said “I searched all over for him, at last I saw my son was lying on the ground without clothes and shoes.”
Wu Guanglin stopped an ambulance, and doctors gave his son first aid. But the ambulance was targeted shortly after driving off. He said “My son’s only six years old. I really feel sad. The rioters even beat the doctors with stone and sticks. The doctors directed me to cover my son with my body, the rioters even destroyed the face guard. I was really sad. My son was in serious condition for two days after the incident. I went to hospital twice to thank doctor Lobsang, but he told me that was his duty.”
Wu Guanglin says he will always remember the Tibetan doctor, Cering Lobsang, who risked his life to rescue the boy. Lobsang is still recovering from his wounds at Lhasa People’s Hospital.
Tibetan doctor Cering Lobsang said “We picked up the Wus on our way back. The boy wasn’t breathing, and had no heart beat. The rioters stopped us. We told them we are medical workers, but they didn’t care. They targeted the ambulance, and beat us.”
Local authorities took control of the situation shortly after the violence broke out. They also took effective measures to restore peace and order. Local residents also volunteered clear away debris and clean up the streets.
Vice chairman of Tibet autonomous region Dorje Cering said “We are working to gather enough materials for people’s basic needs. Tibet is at such a special moment. We have to guarantee that every citizen lives a stable life here in Lhasa. At the same time, we’re working hard to arrest those behind the violence as soon as possible.”
By Wednesday, more than 150 rioters had turned themselves in to police, and handed over what they had looted.
In downtown Lhasa, the shells of stores and homes can be seen everywhere. But as people start putting things back together, the city is on the way back to normal.
(3) Tourists describe ‘merciless’ beatings of Chinese in Tibet
KATHMANDU, March 18, 2008 (AFP) – Rampaging Tibetan youths stoned and beat Chinese people in the Tibetan capital and set ablaze stores but now calm has returned after a military clampdown, tourists emerging from the Himalayan region said Tuesday.
‘It was an explosion of anger against the Chinese and Muslims by the Tibetans,’ 19-year-old Canadian John Kenwood told AFP, describing an orgy of violence that swept the ancient city of Lhasa.
Kenwood and other tourists, who arrived by plane in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu on Tuesday, witnessed the unrest, which reached a climax on Friday when they said Han Chinese as well as Muslims were targeted.
They described scenes in which mobs relentlessly beat and kicked ethnic Han Chinese, whose influx into the region has been blamed by Tibetans for altering its unique culture and way of life.
Kenwood said he saw four or five Tibetan men on Friday ‘mercilessly’ stoning and kicking a Chinese motorcyclist.
‘Eventually they got him on the ground, they were hitting him on the head with stones until he lost consciousness.
‘I believe that young man was killed,’ Kenwood told AFP, but added he could not be sure. He said he saw no Tibetan deaths.
Tibet’s government-in-exile said on Tuesday the ‘confirmed’ Tibetan death toll from more than a week of unrest was 99. China has said ’13 innocent civilians’ died and that it used no ‘lethal’ force to subdue the rioting.
The Tibetans ‘were throwing stones at anything that drove by,’ Kenwood said.
‘The young people were involved and the old people were supporting by screaming — howling like wolves. Everyone who looked Chinese was attacked,’ said 25-year-old Swiss tourist Claude Balsiger.
‘They attacked an old Chinese man on a bicycle. They hit his head really hard with stones (but) some old Tibetan people went into the crowd to make them stop,’ he said.
Kenwood recounted another brave rescue when a Chinese man was pleading for mercy from rock-wielding Tibetans.
‘They were kicking him in the ribs and he was bleeding from the face,’ he said. ‘But then a white man walked up… helped him up from the ground. There was a crowd of Tibetans holding stones, he held the Chinese man close, waved his hand at the crowd and they let him lead the man to safety.’
Reacting to the tourists’ accounts, Thubten Samphel, a spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile in the northern Indian hill town of Dharamshala, called the violence ‘very tragic.’
The Tibetans ‘have been told to keep their struggle non-violent,’ he told AFP by telephone.
The unrest began after Tibetans marked on March 10 the 49th anniversary of their failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. Then, Tibet’s Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama trekked through the Himalayas and crossed into India, making Dharamshala a base after the revolt.
By last Saturday, Chinese security forces had locked down the Tibetan capital.
The Chinese military ordered tourists to stay in their hotels from where they said they could hear gunfire and tear gas shells exploding.
On Monday the tourists were allowed some movement but had to show their passports at frequent checkpoints.
‘Shops were all burnt out — all the merchandise was on the street in a bonfire. Many buildings were gutted,’ said Serge Lachapelle, a tourist from Montreal in Canada.
‘The Muslim district was entirely destroyed — every store was destroyed,’ said Kenwood.
‘I was able to go and eat in a restaurant (outside the hotel) this morning (Tuesday). The Tibetans were not smiling anymore,’ he said.
Some of your interesting, provocative, even brilliant responses to Yeti Riots:
Yeti Riots Follow Up