Hans down ?

China says it’s showing restraint in the face of the Tibetan protests. They also claim the Dalai Lama is orchestrating the trouble and it’s an attempt to wreck the Beijing Olympics.

I’ve been struck by the restraint, too, in the press.

Martin Jacques in the Guardian talks about China’s policy in Africa, for example, 

 “certainly no worse than that of the west, and, historically speaking, is hugely better than the latter’s miserable legacy” and this article about Tibet in the Observer by Ed Douglas argues :

” there’s no question that the Chinese have done a huge amount to improve the economic conditions of the indigenous population ” and that when he first visited Lhasa in 1993 “…people still defecated in the street. Now it is a modern and much bigger city, albeit a largely Chinese one.”

Some of the tone of other articles suggests that Tibetans should – almost- be a little more grateful and, despite the many protests around Chinese embassies , i don’t detect a great upsurge of opinion for a an Olympic boycott, (not even the Dalai Lama says that) though clearly everyone with an axe to grind with the Chinese authorities will be using the next few months to step up the pressure.

By the way, it’s hard for the BBC this one- we are jammed in China, our correspondent in Beijing, the excellent James Reynolds, can’t get near enough to Tibet, and we are very reliant on James Miles, who used to work for us, but his wages are now paid by the Economist.

There are two stories we find it hard to verify; the police “crackdown” as claimed by one side , the violence aimed at Han Chinese by Tibetans, as claimed by the other.

This article is a good background piece, and it helps to pose questions for us : Should the world leave the Chinese to get on with dealing with Tibet as they see fit ?    

The selling of Bear Stearns at a knockdown price, and the US central Bank’s attempt to bring confidence to the financial system is understandably exercising a lot of commentators , never mind scaring consumers around the world. 

Some of the phrases i’ve heard or read this morning..”like Northern Rock on steroids “, “the stuff of nightmares” , “like treating cancer with aspirin” and “race to the bottom“.  I even heard someone on a BBC programme, when asked what would solve the problem he answered “Barrack Obama” ! 

Is this a U.S issue or are you feeling it where you are ?

18 Responses to “Hans down ?”

  1. 1 Lubna
    March 17, 2008 at 10:55

    Hi. Next Thursday will mark 5 years since the Coalition forces have invaded my Iraq and overthrown Saddam’s regime. May be it’s worth stressing on one particular point : Getting rid of Saddam was a good thing. He was an evil dictator and brutal criminal and thank God that we got rid of him. But then what ?!

    Everything simply just went wrong, and everyone has let Iraq down, including Iraqis themselves. A majority of ordinary Iraqis really wanted Saddam to leave NO MATTER OF WHAT THE ALTERNATIVE IS. But we were wrong.

    We should’ve cared so much about what that AlTERNATIVE would be. Iraqis have fallen in the trap of SECTARIAN DEMOCRACY where one gets elected only because he/she belongs to a particular sect.

    We convinced ourselves that democracy in Iraq can be applied on sectarian bases, and we went to the polls and elected our MPs in 2005 also on sectarian bases. But in fact we were committing the most evil crime against ourselves and our Iraq. And as a result our country was torn apart.

    The 1st victem was the IRAQI NATIONAL IDENTITY. Iraqis have lost the sense of belonging to their Iraq. God, how cruel we were towards our precious country when we accepted that our fate would be decided in the White House ! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  2. 2 VictorK
    March 17, 2008 at 11:32

    I stopped reading the Guardian years ago because I was sickened beyond endurance by its flagrant leftist bias and the lies and hypocrisy with which it supported that bias. The piece you linked to was a reminder of why I despise that newspaper.

    I have yet to see anything more ridiculous than Jacques’ claim that the problem in Tibet is that the Chinese are not sufficiently appreciative of multiculturalism. A visiting professor at Mickey Mouse U. would have been ashamed to make such a claim but Jacques is affiliated to one of the world’s foremost academic institutions! He asserts that China’s policy on Africa is no worst than the West’s record on Africa, and is even better. Western government’s have indeed supported genocidal regimes (such as the British government’s support of Nigeria in its genocidal war against Biafra). But in recent years Western policy in, for example, Sudan, has been to bring moral considerations to bear, even at the expense of profits (how do you think the Chinese got into the position of being Sudan’s main trading partner – because of the disinvestment by Western corporations that left the field clear for them). There is no moral equivalence. African governments know it. They have stated clearly and repeatedly that they prefer dealing with China rather than the West because the Chinese never try to pressure them about democracy and human rights (how could they, neither exist in their country), while the West was always trying to link aid to improvements in one and the establishment of the other. The BBC has reported on this, so why does WHYS see fit to link to an article that makes such a disingenuous claim?

    Jacques refers to ‘China’s military intervention in the autonomous region.’ He actually means China’s invasion and conquest of an independent country. It’s just that kind of thing that put me off the Guardian for life. He refers to Tibet’s incorporation into China, meaning its continued occupation by hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops and the policy of flooding it with Chinese migrants in order to reduce Tibetans to a minority in their own country. All of this euphemism and newspeak is intended to convey a false impression of China’s role in Tibet that will neutralise the criticisms of people such as the Dalai Lama. But let’s be clear about one thing: this is propaganda, not journalism.

    His historical claims are also more or less drivel. The suggestion that Tibet has been a part of China for centuries does not sit well with such real facts as the expulsion of all Chinese from Tibet and the declaration of independence after the Manchu revolution of 1911. But the Guardian and others are content to put such misrepresentations into the public arena knowing that they are, in effect, making the case for China.

    I’m too nauseous to read the Observer piece too (the Observer is, for your worldwide listenership, the Sunday companion paper to the Guardian – they are owned by the same company and take the same left-liberal line). The extracts and precis from the Douglas piece indicate that like all his brother leftists he also believes that the ends justifies the means and that the highest ends a human being can aspire to are material ones (somehow, though, the Americans are never given the benefit of this view: their supposedly over-materialistic society is thought by the liberal-left to be a reason to condemn them out of hand). Of course, implicit in this line of thinking is that the Chinese are to be congratulated for having destroyed a deeply religious and conservative nation and dragged them into the modern world of flushing toilets and mobile phones. Douglas and his kind seem oblivious to the fact that this is not and never was the issue: the invasion and continued occupation of a sovereign state against the will of its people is what Tibet is all about – whatever the apologists for Beijing may have to say.

    The question ‘Should the world leave the Chinese to get on with dealing with Tibet as they see fit?’ is as mistaken as it is immoral. The BBC would not even think of putting such a question in the case of the US in Iraq or Afghanistan, even though the US invasions of those two countries had at least a shadow of right compared to China’s barefaced and naked aggression in Tibet (though the Western media seem bent on never using the words ‘invasion’, ‘occupation’ and ‘imperialism’ when talking about China). Under apartheid South African blacks had a higher standard of living than any Africans living anywhere else on the continent. The Western media was not in those days so morally obtuse or so eager to defend the white regime as to try to make an argument for retaining the status quo out of purely material considerations, or to pretend that economic improvement meant that other matters ought to be forgiven or ignored, and the white South Africans left to get on with things ‘as they see fit’.

    Tibet is as clear a case of right and wrong as we will ever see. Stop trying to manufacture artificial debates where the issues – to those at least who bother to inform themselves – are so clear and unarguable. Imperialism, aggression, occupation, forced demographic transformation, cultural genocide, racism, human rights abuses, and the refusal to restore a people to their sovereign rights are all wrong. It doesn’t make for a good debate, but some things are above mere chatter.

  3. 3 Brett
    March 17, 2008 at 11:49

    In regards to the credit issue in the US:

    I have felt no effects whatsoever on this issue yet. The only problem I have is higher gas prices. Which only encourages me to ride my bike or moped a bit more considering work is just miles from my house, and its also encouraged me to get on with replacing the battery pack in my EV so I can get the range I need to dump the ICE VW and put it in the garage, leaving the only impact of high gas prices as higher commodity prices due to transport costs.

    The benefits to this credit crunch for me though are many. The scare factor has prompted me to finish paying off my credit card and student loans (over $7,000 payoff in 6 months), now making my debt free aside from my mortgage. I have began shopping at the grocers alot more instead of eating out, this has saved me tons and actually left me better off both health-wise, and $-wise than before the credit scare.
    Now I’m not saying things won’t get worse and I wont be hurting in the months to come, but as of now, the problem hasnt directly impacted me yet. In fact, I just recieved a raise last week.

    As far as “Barrack Obama” being the end-all solution to this problem, I don’t agree with that, theres plenty of issues at hand here, one person will not solve them. America needs to wake up and a financial-cultural revolution needs to take place. The greed and impatience of Americans will make that difficult.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  4. 4 Mark Sandell
    March 17, 2008 at 12:18

    Victork, i link to a whole variety of articles, including one on this post to Al-Jazeera. I linked to those articles because the Guardian is renowned as a left-leaning, liberal paper and here was an article trying to take a different view about China.
    Do you really think asking a question is immoral ? – i am struck by a kneejerk reaction in some parts of the media to – rightly or wrongly- condemn China at every turn, and i think in other countries where a local population turns against incomers (if that is indeed what has happened), the press condemnation would be different.
    After a long meeting we will be discussing the Bear Stearns story, but we may come back to China- and yes, may ask that “immoral” question too.

  5. 5 Xie_Ming
    March 17, 2008 at 12:37

    The BBC yesterday had a very knowledgeable fellow from the LSE who gave an extraordinarily good appreciation of the Tibet situation in the few minutes allowed. Bravo! and can we hear more from him?

    Historically, Tibet was a part of China. This sovereignty issue is neither clearcut nor, I suspect, relevant.

    Note that foreign do-gooders are being expelled. Could it be that they have been fostering the unrest? Another CIA operation to take advantage of the Olympics?

    The Dahli Lama policy was one of dialog and compromise- not of rioting.

    Yes, Mark, the World needs more views and information. Bravo!

  6. 6 VictorK
    March 17, 2008 at 13:16

    Mark: my problem is that the Guardian article certainly, and the Observer one probably (from what I’ve read second-hand), are basically propaganda pieces. The Guardian still retains a world-wide reputation as a high quality newspaper, employing journalists of an admittedly liberal-left bent who, whatever their opinions, can at least be relied on to report the facts accurately. When you add this to a position at the London School of Economics, an institution that only Harvard can compare to in distinction when it comes to treating politics and international affairs, what is the result? It’s a piece of pro-Beijing propaganda that comes dressed up with more plausible credentials of objectivity and competence than the Chinese Communist party can have dreamt of.

    Most people considering the Tibet issue either don’t have the inclination or lack the resource to independently inquire into the factual background concerning Tibet. They will take on trust information coming from what they will assume to be reliable and honest sources – such as when the BBC links to a piece in the Guardian by an academic at the LSE. But I know of the Guardian’s casual way with objectivity from my experience of having once read the paper and I knew even before I looked at the Jacques piece what to expect. It’s not just a question of giving a different view. It’s a matter of giving a link to an apparently respectable writer who is in reality passing of propaganda and misinformation as factual and honest journalism (such as the absurd suggestion that in 1950 the Chinese ‘intervened’ in an ‘autonomous’ region that was, he’d like his readers to infer, already part of China) .

    I think that the BBC generally holds ‘balance’ in too much regard. In journalism there canvsometimes be no honest ‘balancing’ of a true story. Earlier today your World Service colleagues interviewed a North American academic specialising in Asian affairs at the University of Hong Kong. As with Jacques all the circumstances suggested that this man would have somethig to say that was serious and reliable. Amongst his observations was a claim that every country was entitled to maintain law and order and what the Chinese were doing in Tibet was comparable to the American government dealing with the Los Angeles riots. I caught my jaw just before it hit the ground. And the BBC interviewer hadn’t a word to object to this nonsensical comparison that Beijing itself would not have had the impudence to make. Presumably because this was the long-hoped for balance against the one-sided torrent of criticism of China. The issue in such cases is not a spurious balance but the actual truth. Some issues can only be balanced by lies and misrepresentations and Tibet is one of them. (I fear that the Hong Kong fellow will sooner or later turn up on WHYS as one of your studio guests).

    You also observed that ” [I] think in other countries where a local population turns against incomers (if that is indeed what has happened), the press condemnation would be different,” in relation to what you call a kneejerk reaction to condemn China. But Mark: where in the world have ‘incomers’ who are are in fact more accurately described as invading colonists, where in the world have such invaders ever been welcomed by a local population, especially when that population knows that the intention is to overwhelm them as a matter of policy with ‘incomers’ and reduce them to a minority? The BBC has no difficulty seeing that locals may have good reasons for disliking or even hating ‘incomers’ when reporting attacks by Palestinians on Jewish settlers in the West Bank (on which occasions the word ‘occupation’ and ‘illegal’ will be used very freely). But when Chinese settlers in an illegally occupied country are attacked (and there is no point in denying that this has happened), as they deserve to be, by the only people with a legitimate claim on the soil of Tibet, you think that there is scope for condemnation? Not at all. An occupier and colonist has no rights that an indigenee is bound to respect. It’s only by supposing that somehow there must always be ‘balance’ that anyone could make the mistake of thinking that the Chinese in Tibet are in anyway entitled to comparable consideration to the Tibetans. They aren’t because they have no business being in Tibet in the first place.

    The bottomline is that Tibet is not a part of China. It’s occupied territory. And the Tibetans are entitled to defend themselves against occupation and invasion, by any means necessary.

  7. 7 Jay Hoge
    March 17, 2008 at 13:51


    Thank you for providing forum where no point of view is allowed to be pushed aside by Ad Homonym argument. I can give you no greater compliment than to say that you operate in the Jeffersonian tradition of “the Free Marketplace of Ideas.

    Thank you.

  8. March 17, 2008 at 14:16

    only after lot of struggles china got to host the olymbics .even they missed to host 2000 olympics due to their poor humanrights record and on the threshold of hosting beijing olympics the ageold problem of tibet to be raised when the olympic torch has to go through tibet its no good for whoever has raked up the issue to be seen throughout the world and the sections opposing chinese regime giving every support in print and electronic media is also ethically not correct .
    on the chinese part they adress this problems and highlight this before the world instead of oppressing the tibetans.
    on all fronts humanright violations are the norm of the day .
    if all are true to heart raise all the humanrights violations being done in the universe during this olympic year?

  9. 9 Will Rhodes
    March 17, 2008 at 15:20

    “But events in Tibet have served to expose the achilles heel of modern China: its inability to recognise and respect ethnic difference within its own borders. As it emerges as a major global player in a world characterised by exactly such ethnic diversity, this seems destined to cast China in a rather more negative light, not least in the developing world.”

    From the same article.

    And you will have to forgive me for this – but I do believe it to be very true, any country that blocks the BBC either reporting or broadcasting from inside their nation has something to hide.

  10. 10 Will Rhodes
    March 17, 2008 at 15:30

    “But events in Tibet have served to expose the achilles heel of modern China: its inability to recognise and respect ethnic difference within its own borders. As it emerges as a major global player in a world characterised by exactly such ethnic diversity, this seems destined to cast China in a rather more negative light, not least in the developing world.”

    From the same Guardian article.

    And you will have to forgive me for this – but I do believe it to be very true, any country that blocks the BBC either reporting or broadcasting from inside their nation has something to hide.

    Will you please delete my previous incorrect entry. Thanks.

  11. 11 Justin from Iowa
    March 17, 2008 at 15:33

    I…. basically agree with VictorK. Perhaps its because its “old news” and doesn’t sell advertising slots to talk about Tibet, compared to palestine/israel, Iraq, Serbia, etc. but Tibet’s invasion, occupation, and colonization is ignored by the media at large. And as the media actively works to forget about it, the world forgets about it, and the wrong doers here win.

  12. 12 eric aka eks321
    March 17, 2008 at 15:50

    perspective: everyone in the civilized world has rallied around the tibetan’s desire for independence from china. however, last weekend’s events in tibet turned into a mindless mob scene. the tibetans do nothing to advance their cause by burning, looting and murdering ethnic chinese shop owners. since the Dalai Lama promotes peace, how do these violent events support him or his cause? frankly, i am surprised that he has not distanced himself from the violence by speaking out against it and reemphasizing that he is not promoting separatism. the bottom line is that the chinese communist government will just retreat into an even harder line stance. this will mean even more suffering and internal isolation of the tibetan people as independent media are expelled. the chinese communists do not care about world opinion in the face of violent disorder. they have already been given support from russia, because russia has an eye on its own ethnic groups that may start to aggitate for independence. these major powers understand that the world community is not going to do anything to really support ethnic minorities who strive for independance. the best way to help the tibetans is through worldwide peaceful pressure, which embarrass the chinese communists. senseless violence just gives them the justification to ramp up their oppression.

  13. 13 Jeff Minter
    March 17, 2008 at 15:59

    I love the pun.

  14. 14 Ros Atkins
    March 17, 2008 at 16:34

    Don’t encourage him Jeff. Much more of the Tibet story, and he’ll be wheeling out ‘China in your hands’ again.

  15. 15 Xie_Ming
    March 17, 2008 at 21:04

    There is either authoritarian/totalitarian government or there is not.

    Those who have experienced life on military bases will understand perfectly.

    People who disturb “good order and discipline” will not be given a platform and will likely be silenced.

    With 1.4 billion people to feed and otherwise care for, there is not much latitude possible.

    Ethnic minorities are an ancient problem in China. It will be telling to see how the leadership tries to solve it.

    People do not seem to be aware of the “human rights record” of the BJP/RSS recent national government in India. Why do you suppose it did not get the same attention as China?

  16. March 18, 2008 at 02:17

    Dear International Friends,

    Tashi deleh.

    The Tibetan Association of Northern California is planning some peaceful events in San Francisco on April 8th and 9th to support justice and freedom.
    Their website is: http://www.tanc.org

    Please show the world that the people of San Francisco value peace, freedom and justice for all. Help spread the word about the Olympic torch, meant to symbolize good will and peace between nations. The Tibet Team is calling on Mayor Newsom to revoke his official welcome of China’s torch and to take a stand for freedom and human rights. The website is: http://www.sftorch2008.com

    To ti jee

  17. 17 George USA
    March 18, 2008 at 20:32


    Historically, Tibet was a part of China.


    Historically, North and South America were a part of Europe and Africa.

    Continental drift.

    Historically, China was divided up to the European powers.


    Selective history- we all use it.

  18. 18 fred
    April 12, 2008 at 03:25

    VictorK:” The bottomline is that Tibet is not a part of China. It’s occupied territory. And the Tibetans are entitled to defend themselves against occupation and invasion, by any means necessary.”

    Are you encouraging suicide Bombers and Other form of terrorism in China? I know your countries got lots of them so you want them for others too? so you are saying the People in Iraq can do anything to rid the USA army? That the Palestinians are doing the right thing? Is this a sick sense of humor of some? Or some barbaric mentality left in you?

    As for the Historical truth of a country being invaded, since its arguable, the point is moot. Anyway, when in history have you seen the peaceful side win? It is always the big bully that wins and writes the history. USA USA USA. CHINA, RUSIA, USA. USA UK FRANCE SPAIN. China. Portugal UK.

    As for countries that deserve independence, aren’t the Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria entitled to the same? The inhabitants of Western Sahara, whose territory is occupied by Morocco? The Basques in Spain? The Corsicans off the coast of France? Who is reporting them? Sorry mate, we won’t be reporting too much about you poor chaps, maybe in a 2 inch small column, because your colonizers are OUR allies. Ha ha! You choose the wrong side.

    And why don’t return the robbed land to the Native Americans, Native Australians, the many other natives first? Oh sorry, I forgot, you genocided them all or else you get them (those little not killed in gun vs knife fights) all so drunk the sign land transfers to ‘legally’ give you their ancestral lands. Btw, give us back the stuff you looted now so proudly displayed in your Museum. And the resources you robbed to become a first world country. and why not pay back the interest in full? Or you were ‘liberating us’ then like China ‘liberating Tibet’ from ‘feudalism/slavery’ now?

    And sorry to inform you that i am not even from PRC, and never seen any PRC propaganda shit. I just don’t condone terrorism. I ‘m a Malaysian.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: