Originally posted by AThousandYoung
I'm waiting for the Tibetan referendum.
There's ample Western hypocrisy about Tibet and Kashmir.
First of all, ignorant Westerners like to act as though the Communists were the first Chinese
to claim sovereignty over Tibet. In fact, Chiang Kai-shek claimed China's sovereignty
over Tibet, and the USA accepted it. (Indeed, the Republic of China on Taiwan still
claims sovereignty over all China, including Tibetan. There was a Chinese appointed
to represent Tibet's interests in Taiwan's parliament.) No one recognized Tibet as an
independent country. It's true that the fact that China was fighting two major wars, a
civil war and a war against Japan's invasion, made it impossible for China's government
to enforce its rule over Tibet. But the USA ,for instance, would refuse to admit that it
had lost sovereignty over any part of its territory simply because it had been unable to
enforce it during the US Civil War. During the Second War, the Tibetan nationalists
collaborated with Japan. (The young Dalai Lama then believed that the Axis were the
morally right side in the war.) Given Japan's genocidal actions in China, the de facto
Tibetan nationalist support of Japan did not endear the Tibetans to most Chinese.
In my view, neither China's government nor Tibetan nationalists should be trusted to be
accurate or objective about the facts. But Western journalists almost always uncritically
accept every claim (often lies) of Tibetan nationalists. Patrick French, a British writer
who had been passionately pro-Tibetan since childhood, once attempted to find evidence
to support a popular Tibetan nationalist claim that China has committed genocide in Tibet
by killing 1.2 million (or 2 million in some versions) Tibetans. This claim has been swallowed
by Westerners on account of its uncritical repetition in the Western media. Eventually,
a senior Tibetan leader admitted to Patrick French that the magical 1.2 million figure
had essentially been fabricated because Western journalists typically never asked for
any evidence. Western journalists typically were happy to take the highest figures thrown
out by Tibetan nationalists and run with them, so the higher, the better--it's all for the cause.
As far as Patrick French could tell, the Tibetan nationalists had taken the highest rumored
numbers of deaths (from all causes) in many areas (some overlapping), added them
together, and rounded up very generously. This kind of methodology would not be
accepted in most other conflicts, but Western journalists typically lack basic standards
of fact-checking or objectivity when it comes to Tibet (or demonizing China).
In fact, Tibetan nationalist resistance to China has been far from always pacifistic.
For many years, the USA and India armed, trained, and financed Tibetan fighters against China.
(Tibetans were trained in the USA's Rocky Mountains to fight China.) The USA and
India sent military and intelligence advisors to help Tibetans fight a guerrilla war.
In the 1960s. Buddhist monks burned themselves to death to protest oppression in
the USA's client state of South Vietnam. But the Dalai Lama (who was receiving money
from the USA and CIA advisors) kept silent about the South Vietnamese Buddhist monks.
Some of China's harshness toward Tibet could be excused on the grounds that it was
fighting a war against Tibetans being armed and supported by major foreign powers.
There's some awareness among well-educated Chinese that government propaganda
about Tibet may not be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But about all Chinese
regard Western condemnations as ignorant, hypocritical, dishonest, or even racist.
The Chinese note the contrast between Western outpouring of sympathy for Tibetans
and Western general lack of sympathy for China's worse sufferings at the hands of Japan.
The Chinese note that the Western media may prefer not to report that China has
brought modern infrastructure (roads, schools, hospitals, etc.) to Tibet. Chinese
public health programs have helped decrease infant mortality and raise life expectancy
among Tibetans. (If a Western colonial power had done the same, Westerners would
be heaping praise upon it.) So if the Chinese were intent on the genocide of Tibetans,
they must be extremely incompetent about achieving it (sarcasm intended).
Many ignorant Westerners seem to subscribe to the fantasy that life in Tibet was a
Shangri-La (a work of fiction) utopian dream. In fact, when Tibet was a Buddhist
theocracy, it was rife with the typical ills of backward superstitious societies, including
intolerance of its minorities. (Some Muslims have preferred rule by the secular Chinese
to a Buddhist theocracy.) Were Buddhist monasteries in Tibet attacked during the
Cultural Revolution? Yes, but so were Buddhist monasteries in other parts of China.
it's not as though the Red Guards were singling out Tibetan Buddhists for attack while
sparing Chinese Buddhists. The Cultural Revolution attacked all traditional culture.
I would add that when the first Tibetan earned a PhD from a Chinese university, it was
an accomplishment celebrated in the Chinese media. There are some Tibetans who
believe that their future should be with China, which can offer many more opportunities
than the dream of a poor landlocked Buddhist theocracy. In general, I would say that
the Tibetans who wish to integrate into broader Chinese society are encouraged, with
the Chinese authorities hoping to see more Tibetans with advanced educations.
To sum up, the historical and present reality in Tibet is much more complex and nuanced
than conventional Western narratives presenting everything Buddhist Tibetan nationalist
as wonderful and everything Chinese (particularly Communist) as evil.