Things are happening.

Chinese are talking about Ti bet, but not in any major way. Most of my students think what's happening is wrong, but believe they don't have the resources or ability to do anything about it. Ti bet, even after it was no longer an independent kingdom has always been considered far and remote for most Chinese. People who live in nearby Sichuan province have far more experiences with Ti bet ans, and maybe I'd feel more angry reactions if I were there. To the average Beijinger, news on the conflict came very late and was heavily opinionated. On CCTV9 they called it the "La ma clique separatist movement" and voiced that the Ti bet an people were being misled. I think most people believe this to a degree, but also view the Ti bet an plight sympathetically.

Due to all this and more, the Olympic torch was extinguished many times on route through Europe with thousands of protesters. Now that the torch is coming to San Francisco, there will be many more. Mainland Chinese are mostly unaware of this, and the reporting on the torch relay is totally positive with smiling faces and interviews with happy athletes. Even Hilary is calling for a presidential boycott of the opening ceremony, but I'm sure Chinese don't know this.

Like anything, this is complicated. I understand the anger, but I also see how excited and prepared Beijing and the Chinese are. Most mainlanders are totally unaware of what really happens in China, and they may not understand anti-China protests. Many cannot separate people that are anti-Chinese government vs. anti-Chinese. I've had Chinese ask me, "why do Westerners fear China?" or "we are a poor country, so why are we a threat?," etc.

Truth be told, the 百姓 (common people) ARE poor and have almost zero control over anything in government, so using the Olympics as protest is a way to give voices to the voiceless. However, a total boycott (not just the boycotting of the opening ceremony) will harm the potentially vital relationship between China and the Western world. It's true that China has a million problems, but the progress that's been made is astounding. Millions of Chinese died from the worst famine in history, horrific cultural cleansing and terrible misguided policy in this century. To see a China where things are beginning to drastically change is beyond impressive and important to note. You cannot compare China's human rights, politics, etc. on equal footing with Germany or America or France; it's unfair and impossible. The West is 40+ years ahead in development and China just recently showed up at at the race. More time is needed to see a fairer, more democratic China.

(To avoid my blog getting shut down, if you post about Ti bet, leave a space between or use a different spelling, like Teebet.)


Silvia Elena said...

Great post, Ross.
It is very true that most Chinese people don't know much about the aforementioned situation. It seems that when they do know of the situation, they don't quite understand it.
I've had Chinese ask me, 'Why is Tibet so angry?'.
After reading 5 newspapers, you should know the answer to that question. Smells like a case of poor media to me!

harumi said...

every country have good and bad.
I wonder if boycott is a way to show the opinion since dalai lama (spell??) said not to do so.

Anonymous said...

Ross is correct. You have to give the Chinese peopletime to learn what true freedom is. And then they have to learn how to use it.
They have come a loooooong way.

Anonymous said...

I'd just emailed you asking about this subject. Good to hear your take on things.
Love, Dad

Anonymous said...

More thoughts:

I have yet to hear a single Chin ese official address any of the issues raised by ti betans. The only thing they do is trash a certain r eligious leader. If ti betans have no voice, and their collective concerns are never addressed, how does Chin a expect them to feel a part of the greater country?

The latest U.S. administration has tried the "policy" of not talking with governments/people they disagree with and met with complete failure. How is Chin a any different? They only way you can successfuly cut off a peoples voice and also quash all dissent is if you act as a repressive, dictatorial regime.

Obviously this is not the impression Chin a is trying to give to the world. Democracy and freedom need open and free communication, and the ability to express dissent within the system.

No doubt Chin a is moving towards this goal, but they haven't gotten there yet. Just because they are making progress dosen't mean we shouldn't see China as it actualy exists today. Much progress has been made, but making progress dosen't preclude criticism.

If you are interested in joining an established club, you try to learn and practise it's rules. You'll be resented and resisted if try to change the club's rules to reflect the way YOU want to do things...just look at how much the U.S. has been resnted in recent years.


Anonymous said...

Of course they are a dictatorial regime. That's what communism is in practice. The people who are not in the "party upper circle" are so busy trying to survive in this kind of system that any other concern might not be as important in their everyday life.But the fact that they are opening their country somewhat is a good sign for the Chi nese people. We do talk to the government, but it is in commerce language. This administration is providing their factories to produce "all" our products, even the last administration sold them weapons. The question is what can we do as a world community to keep reporting and talking about the injustice to certain group of people in this world.