Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 22, 2008

Taiwan Election and Tibet Protests

The current Tibet rebellion was launched by young monks in Lhasa in coordination with five groups of exiles in India. These groups are sponsored by the U.S. government via the National Endowment for Democracy and other 'western' institutions.

Even though it were the Tibetan who hunted Han-Chinese people through the streets, killed some and burned their shops, the 'western' media is doing all it can to blame the Chinese for this.

This weekend there are elections in Taiwan. Until a few days ago the China friendly Nationalist Party seemed to be able to get a majority. That may have changed due to the current propaganda onslaught.

Meanwhile the U.S. Pacific fleet has put everything it has to sea and ordered two Carrier Strike groups next to Taiwan.

Are we to believe that all of this is uncoordinated?

Posted by b on March 22, 2008 at 6:48 UTC | Permalink


State Department urges Americans to be on guard in Beijing

The State Department is advising Americans planning to attend the Olympic Games in Beijing to take care and be mindful that they could be under surveillance...


State Dept. privacy practices seen as 'satisfactory' in OMB report to Congress (March 1, 2008)

hahaha....Since when does ESPN send out warnings on behalf of the State Dept.

Surveillance in China = Bad
Surveillance in America = Good

me so confused.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Mar 22 2008 11:53 utc | 1

Well, Nationalist Party got 58% for the presidency, so at least this bit has utterly failed. That doesn't surprise me much. With time, people in Taiwan see that China could become a massive powerhouse and it might be better not to antagonise it that much. Yes, I know, it's realpolitik, but at the same time, there's a bit of survival involved.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Mar 22 2008 13:36 utc | 2

Delai and Pelosi:
Let me kiss the hand of the White Man, please.
(via Angry Arab)

Posted by: rudolf | Mar 22 2008 17:38 utc | 3

Easy China bashing, roiling up the ‘free tibet, save darfur, support kosovo' crowd.

The Quing controlled Vietnam, Korea,Tibet. France and Japan changed that picture. (...)

From 1912 on, Tibet and Mongolia became de facto independent in some measure, as the Chinese left. Both had their own Gvmt, army, etc. and they recognized each other mutually. No other country recognized them, and China continued to claim.

Mongolia and Tibet were in the same situation as Kosovo until the Kosova decl. of independence. Sort of.

Mongolia turned to the USSR who helped it defeat Japan in 39.

Stalin pressured China for Mongolian independence. In 49, China recognized Mongolia as independent, Mongolia recognized China. Other countries followed, Mongolia became a member of the UN in the early 60s. (it turned ‘democratic’ after the fall of the wall.)

Tibet was under the wing of GB. No Western country, or any other (?), ever recognized it as ‘independent’, to this day.

The US and GB have always affirmed in public that Tibet was part of China. Afaik.

In 1950, Salvador (!) raised the question in the UN, as Chinese troops were ‘invadin’ Tibet. The US and India stated categorically that Tibet is Chinese, thus it was an internal matter, not to be taken on board by the UN.

Last chance for Tibet independence lost, China took control, slowly.

Then The Tibet resistance found support - Bingo! Bling! The US (light arms only.) Today teens agonize about those poor oppressed Tibetians (often confusing them with the Nepalese, better tourist industry, it has all to do with prayer wheels and the spiritual life...)

Heh, no one in the US has car stickers saying FREE PALESTINE, right?

note: i’m no historian, this is ‘potted’ history with a personal slant, all of it can be seen as rubbish or wrong, i have no deep knowledge, but this is the kind of thing ppl in the EU discuss, storm of letters to the papers, on the internet, etc.

Posted by: Tangerine | Mar 22 2008 19:43 utc | 4

Tangerine #4--

The Quing never controlled Vietnam, though they might well have claimed it, and certainly had influence. A small distinction, perhaps, but the Vietnamese have always been clear on this, and in a practical sense the facts are with them.

The Tibetans are not Chinese in any sense of the word. Separate group, culturally, religiously, and ethnically. Attachment to the Chinese empire, even if real, never changed that.

The arrival of the Chinese Communists was another matter. Cultural destruction has been real and ongoing. Cultural annihilation is the plain goal.

The current Chinese practice of settling Han outposts in Tibet to enhance control has led directly to the current anti-Han outbursts. Not enviable to be attacked as Beijing's tools, but the transplanted Han could hardly expect otherwise, even if it seems unfair. After all, THEY are the invaders.

Is the US exacerbating the trouble to frustrate China? Absolutely. The only odd thing in this is the Chinese planning the Olympic Torch route through Tibet. We usually think of the Chinese as being strategically very smart. Not this time! It was a move worthy of America's own GWBush. Somebody should be facing a firing squad for this one, and probably will be.

rudolf #3--

The Angry Arab is plainly unacquainted with Buddhism, not even the basics. Courtesy eludes him utterly. Just clueless.

Posted by: Gaianne | Mar 22 2008 23:30 utc | 5

Small quibble (IIRC) Mongolia came directly (1912ish) under the wing of first Tsar Russia then Soviet Union (first satellite of the Soviet Union).

If not for the ww1, I think China would have been divided wholesale between the imperial powers. It was already divide into 'spheres of influence' and those had a tendency to turn into colonies. And it was sort of the last frontier of colonialism.

Posted by: a swedish kind of death | Mar 23 2008 2:12 utc | 6

Tibet is classified by the CCP as an autonomous region. The other is Inner Mongolia.

British govt representatives celebrate 40th anniversary of Tibetan Autonomous Region with the Chinese govt, 2005:

A reception in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Tibet Autonomous Region was held on 19th of October at the Chinese Embassy.[London] Some 200 people, including UK government officials and MPs, local intelligentsia, British Chinese and Tibetan compatriots in the UK were present at the reception.

Ambassador Cha Peixin remarked that dramatic changes have taken place in Tibet since the establishment of TAR 40 yeas ago. Marked progress has been made in fields of economy, culture, education, telecommunication and social welfare. Tibet has been an inalienable part of China and the ethnic group of Tibetans is an equal member of the big family of the Chinese nation. Ambassador Cha is convinced that with the joint efforts of people of all ethnic groups in Tibet and the support of people from all parts of the country, Tibet will surly enjoy a much brighter future.

Pasang Wangdu, head of the visiting China Tibetologist and Tibetan Buddhist delegation introduced the latest development and achievement in the preservation and protection of Tibetan culture. The delegation met with and answered questions from British and Chinese media before the reception.

Wonder which MPs attended.

The CCP have selected a child as "incarnation" of the Panchen Lama for some time now, who has been trained in Beijing. When the current Dalai Lama dies, the CCP will consolidate its position via this mechanism.

The current unrest, coming on the heels of the calumnies of Steven Spielberg and Daniel Libeskind, suggests a psy op intended to embarrass the hosts of the 2008 Olympics for domestic US purposes. The presence of a US celbristocrat in the mix, be it Mia, George, Angelina, Richard, makes it fundamentally self-reflexive.

The US citizenry can boycott any time they feel like - 80% of stuff on the shelves at Wal-Mart is Chinese-made.

Posted by: Dismal Science | Mar 23 2008 12:46 utc | 7

A fresh WaPo outlook piece points to uneven economic development as reason fro the recent rebellion: RAILROADED
What They're Really Fighting for in Tibet

Six years ago, on my first visit, Lhasa could still be described as a quaint city brimming with Chinese influence but largely characterized by its ancient Tibetan architecture, Tibetan goods and, of course, Tibetan people. The Chinese who did reside there often left in the winter, when temperatures drop below freezing and the 12,000-foot-high city is whipped with winds off the Himalayan plateau.

I was dumbfounded, on four subsequent visits, to see how much had changed. The population exploded -- from 250,000 to 500,000 -- and despite official figures that insisted otherwise, few of the newcomers were Tibetan. And they stayed in Lhasa year-round.
in interviews with Tibetans, I heard a different thread: Many had been eager for modernization and had anticipated its perks -- higher living standards, more education and better jobs. At first, they had welcomed the promised price drops and opportunity the railway was supposed to bring. But as the perks failed to materialize, they lost faith in a system that seemed blatantly designed to leave them out.

On a cold winter night in the capital, a young Tibetan entrepreneur gave me his perspective. "This is the universal trend," he said, gesturing to the thriving rows of lit storefronts and bustling commerce around us. "It would be happening whether China was doing it or Tibetans were doing it."

This man was trilingual, educated at one of Beijing's best universities. But he was having trouble making it in the new economy, and he was not alone.
In October 2006, several hundred young educated and otherwise "modern" Tibetans gathered in front of the local government administrative offices in Lhasa in what may come to be viewed as the precursor to the widespread unrest of March 14. The protesters didn't take aim at religious persecution or human rights complaints but at the unfair rules of their new economic world. They were upset that, despite their own education and middle-class standing, jobs were going to Han Chinese instead.

Posted by: b | Mar 23 2008 15:13 utc | 8

Chinese news service points out propaganda in western news.

N-TV, BBC, CNN using misleading pictures like from riots in Nepal and India to "report" on Tibet.

Posted by: b | Mar 24 2008 14:10 utc | 9

NYT participates too. NYT recently printed another photo of Nepalese police beating demonstrators on its front page, to illustrate that day's story about Tibet. Caption correctly identified photo as showing Nepal, with no explanation, and Nepal was mentioned nowhere else, neither in the story on Tibet nor anywhere else in the paper.

Makes one wonder who is coordinating and disseminating the Tibet narrative. And the "paper of record" runs a correct caption, yet still uses the photo with Tibet story. This cannot be carelessness. Planting images with emotional associations. What does such blatant news tampering signal?

And why does US want to ruin China Olympics?

Posted by: small coke | Mar 24 2008 15:41 utc | 10

asia times online: Tibet, the 'great game' and the CIA

Given the historical context of the unrest in Tibet, there is reason to believe Beijing was caught on the hop with the recent demonstrations for the simple reason that their planning took place outside of Tibet and that the direction of the protesters is similarly in the hands of anti-Chinese organizers safely out of reach in Nepal and northern India.

Similarly, the funding and overall control of the unrest has also been linked to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, and by inference to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) because of his close cooperation with US intelligence for over 50 years.

Indeed, with the CIA's deep involvement with the Free Tibet Movement and its funding of the suspiciously well-informed Radio Free Asia, it would seem somewhat unlikely that any revolt could have been planned or occurred without the prior knowledge, and even perhaps the agreement, of the National Clandestine Service (formerly known as the Directorate of Operations) at CIA headquarters in Langley.

Respected columnist and former senior Indian Intelligence officer, B Raman, commented on March 21 that "on the basis of available evidence, it was possible to assess with a reasonable measure of conviction" that the initial uprising in Lhasa on March 14 "had been pre-planned and well orchestrated".

Could there be a factual basis to the suggestion that the main beneficiaries to the death and destruction sweeping Tibet are in Washington? History would suggest that this is a distinct possibility.

Posted by: b real | Mar 26 2008 19:31 utc | 11

Finally some eye witnesses from Lhasa - looks like the riots were instigated from outside of Tibet:

Eyewitnesses Recount Terrifying Day in Tibet

In the moment, Canadian backpacker John Kenwood recalled, he was "young and stupid, and it was all adrenaline." He was running, one in a mob of 200 or so, screaming, "Free Tibet!" and chasing riot police down a narrow street in downtown Lhasa in the early afternoon of March 14.
"There was no more crowd to be part of. It looked like they were turning on everybody," said Kenwood, 19, describing the scene to reporters last week when he arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal, after 10 days in the Tibetan capital. "It wasn't about Tibet freedom anymore."

What he witnessed next was a violent rampage unlike any in decades in Lhasa, a city where Tibetan Buddhism's most revered temples sit among office buildings and concrete markets built by Chinese bent on developing the remote Himalayan region. Hundreds of mostly young Tibetans broke up into roaming gangs and attacked Chinese passersby and vandalized shops, killing 19 people and injuring more than 600 over two days.

During the riots, looters set fire to a clothing store, burning to death five young employees who were huddled on the second floor. Most police officers kept their distance while the center of Lhasa descended into chaos.

Nearly two weeks later, there are still more questions than answers about what sparked the violence. But several witness accounts suggest that what began as a small protest by Buddhist monks on the morning of Friday, March 14, turned quickly into ethnically charged rioting, possibly fueled by rumors that monks had been roughed up by police.
Zhang Bing Quan saw it, too. The 38-year-old Beijing native was standing on the roof of the hostel he owns in Lhasa, watching the tendril of smoke rise, when one of his guests ran in, breathless, from the street. He told Zhang he had just seen a Tibetan man wielding two knives jump on top of a police sport-utility vehicle, shouting and slashing. The man quickly jumped down and was whisked away by two women while others upended the vehicle and set it on fire. Then another. Then another.

The crowd in the square grew to more than 100, including five or six people in monks' robes, according to two Swiss tourists who later compiled a timeline of what they had seen. The crowd began pelting a nearby fast-food restaurant with rocks, then surged inside, throwing boxes of restaurant supplies onto the street. "Join us!" the tourists heard some in the crowd cry.

Firefighters arrived to douse the flames but ran away after the mob took over their truck. The Swiss tourists decided to leave, and as they headed out into the street, they came upon the mob that was confronting riot police. They saw several people injured by rocks.

James Miles, a correspondent for the Economist magazine and the only accredited Western journalist in Lhasa at the time of the riots, was walking in the same area a short time later but did not see the mob attack police. Indeed, he did not see any police anywhere.

"That's what astonished me," he said in an interview after he returned to Beijing. "There was a complete absence of security or any uniformed presence on the street."

Claude Balsiger, another Swiss tourist, said he saw an elderly Chinese man clawed off his bicycle and thrown to the ground, where a rioter smashed his head with a large rock. "Some older Tibetans went to try to stop them, but others were howling like wolves. That's how they supported" the rioters, said Balsiger, 25. "Everything that looked Chinese was attacked and beaten up."
Then, about 3 p.m., he heard a "strange, high-pitched sound." He looked down to see a gang of 30 to 40 people swing into his street, howling. He was surprised to see that most in the mob were young women, who had masks over their mouths and were wearing backpacks. "They were attacking even more fiercely than the boys," he said.

The mob began kicking down doors and wrenching open shops, including the offices of the state-run Tibet Daily newspaper and the local bureau of the official New China News Agency. Zhang saw a man in his 30s shouting into a megaphone and a woman nearby, pointing. They appeared to be directing the mob where to attack, he said.

One group grabbed a white barrel of gasoline, poured the liquid into the doorway of a shop and ignited it. In the space of about 30 minutes, seven fires were blazing on the block, including one in the building next door.
They did, discussing Friday's chaos and swapping stories of rioters they felt certain could not have been local Tibetans; many of the guests said they had heard different dialects. They questioned how the government could have allowed the city to get so out of control.

Posted by: b | Mar 27 2008 7:56 utc | 12

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