To draw reference to the coming Tibet talks with China, here’s a opinion piece from the Guardian last year in 2009.
The Tibet issue certainly stirs up many things, for one the West likes to take sides with Tibet to find legitimate human rights reasons to pressure China, whilst it has a counter effect – it really bothers Chinese pride (both internal, and more strongly so, Chinese overseas and the Overseas-born Chinese, and it rouses nationalism in Chinese all around the world, loathe to bow to Western standards and demands after a century of bowing down to them.
The end product? Massive hysteria by the people on both sides over what is a matter between two neighbours.
I have seen it, my friends from the mainland, many travelled to Canberra for the Olympic Torch relay in full force, red flags waving, et al, a blast from the past – mainly galvanized by the Tibet issue. Their consensus? Tibet has belonged to the Chinese for centuries. But what I feel is this – the CCP inherited land won by China’s last dynasty, the Qing who actively expanded China’s borders, and now has a simple pride issue (beyond the land mass, extensive border buffer to China proper, and vast resources).
How dare you tell us what to do? Is the key underlying message.
I will be eager to hear the outcome of the ninth round of talks.
Quotable Quotes – “It was a very clear signal to Beijing, that Britain won’t seriously push the Tibet issue, and one that delighted China…“
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Tibet is off the agenda
In this crisis, China, the US and UK will rise or fall together. But this new camaraderie leaves little room for debate on Tibet
Source – The Guardian, 06 March 2009
Noel Gallagher isn’t the sort to wring his hands about the future of the planet. This is, after all, the man who told Bono to ‘Play One, [and] shut the fuck up about Africa.” So when China announced this week it was banning Oasis from playing two gigs there because Gallagher supported a Tibet benefit in 1997, it was tough to decide what was more surprising. China’s petulance? Or Gallagher standing up for a cause?
China’s hypersensitivity is certainly confusing. One moment, its leaders are saying Tibet is an increasingly harmonious and prosperous corner of the Motherland and any dissent is caused entirely by foreign-based “splittists” like the Dalai Lama.
Next they turn purple and start foaming because Bjork, bless her pixie socks, shouted out the “T” word at her own Beijing gig. Forget Oasis, if Bjork can do that to the government of the most populous nation on Earth, then you get the feeling it’s not just a small clique surrounding one ageing monk who are unhappy about the situation in Tibet.
Fury at western support of Tibetan culture or autonomy isn’t confined to China’s leaders. No issue unites the Chinese people more quickly than Tibet’s sovereignty, a factor China’s leaders exploit again and again. But however much critics of China’s conduct in Tibet are dismissed as ignorant or naive, the awkward fact remains that after almost 60 years of occupation, Tibetans inside Tibet still cling to their identity, their culture and, most of all, their religion.
A week ago, just before the Oasis gig was canned, a Tibetan monk called Tapey is reported to have doused himself in oil and set himself alight near his monastery in Sichuan province. Authorities had told monks at Kirti monastery they wouldn’t be allowed to perform a prayer ceremony called Monlam, held soon after the Tibetan New Year.
The only way this young monk had to express his anger and frustration was self-immolation. As he burned, he held up a picture of the Dalai Lama and chanted. Reports from Kirti say police then shot the monk. China’s state media has said the monk was taken to hospital suffering from burns.
This is far from an isolated case. Across Tibet, the riots that prefigured last summer’s Olympics have turned into barely contained resentment at China’s continuing repression. This month sees the 50th anniversary of the Lhasa Uprising and the Dalai Lama’s flight into exile. In the face of an unremitting security operation, protests continue. The International Campaign for Tibet says 1,200 Tibetans remain unaccounted for, and will publish a list of more than 600 names on Monday.
Tibet’s pop stars, along with writers and artists, are detained if their work so much as hints at a separate Tibetan identity. But despite this, bloggers continue to post accounts from inside Tibet, including Woeser, a Beijing-based Tibetan who must be just about the bravest woman in cyberspace. In the absence of independent reporting, it’s all we’ve got that isn’t state sanctioned.
If there’s a new sense among Tibetans that following the global attention paid to China during the Olympics they are now on their own, there’s plenty of evidence for that. Last November, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, quietly changed the UK’s long standing policy on the legal position of China’s relationship with Tibet.
What the UK government got in return is anybody’s guess, but with a deepening world recession, the appetite to press China on Tibet has obviously withered.
During her trip to China in February, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, warned that issues like Tibet couldn’t interfere with solving the economic crisis. “We are truly going to rise or fall together. We are in the same boat and, thankfully, we are rowing in the same direction.” It seems the issue of Tibet has already been tossed overboard to keep the ship afloat.
Filed under: Beijing OIympics, Charm Offensive, Chinese overseas, Guardian, Han, Human Rights, International Relations, Overseas Chinese, The Chinese Identity