<3 Grace Wang

Alright, normally I would tackle Chinese current events commentary over at Lost Laowai, but as I just wrote a post there on the stupidity of the Carrefour boycott, I figured I’d spread the as it were.

It seems I’ve had nothing to say lately but for commenting on the waves of stupidity surging higher and higher as the Olympics draw ever nearer. I wish I could say it was because I’m a cynical dick that likes to focus on such things (I am), but really… it would appear there’s NOTHING else going on in the world.

So, the latest is Grace Wang. Wang, a Chinese student at Duke University, has quickly become the poster child for the censortive word protests – lauded as the Great Yellow Hope by Western media and scorned as the “Most hideous Chinese student abroad” (according to CCTV, China’s national television station) here at home.

Grace Wang @ Duke ProtestAnd what did Grace do to deserve such attention? Stood her ground against her compatriots. Last week when the torch travelled through San Francisco, protests were held around the US. Split between people protesting to free censortive word and the hordes of Chinese out waving the PRC flag to show their support for their homeland.

Grace, it would seem by happenstance, walked into the middle of the fray and attempted to negotiate cooler heads and real dialog. Something mobs are prone to do – that and listen to reason.

For her involvement she was immediately branded a race traitor, had her picture and personal info (address, phone #, parents’ address) smeared across the net. Her parents home in Shandong was pelted with rocks and she has been threatened and warned never to return to the Mainland.

Now, there’s and endless number of conflicting reports about Grace, and it’s impossible to decipher the real from the raunchy. But Grace’s story isn’t really about Grace. It’s about what happens when you break from the hive.

Grace isn’t standing up and shouting that censortive word should be free. She’s simply voicing her opinion that both sides need to cool the fuck down and talk about things. Sadly, that’s just not acceptable. Apparently, when you’re Chinese you either side with the crowd, or go to hell.

Now, I’ve written lately about the mishandling by Western media of news about China and the whole censortive word thing, and feel pretty damn strongly that China got the short end of the stick. When people are talking stupid shit, you’ve got ever right to be upset about how the country is being mis-labeled (with headlines) to the world.

China was given the moral high ground. It was handed to them. And what was done with it? They shat on it like it was Grace Wang’s parents’ doorstep.

Seriously. Yelling nationalistic slogans with your arms in the air and denouncing the first Chinese to stand up and speak her mind (as opposed to her nations), and speaking reason no less, is not the best way to illustrate to the world that China isn’t the brainwashed, stormtrooping, Red Guard of yester-year.

If China wants less criticism from the world and wants to dim villainous spotlight from the global stage, then it’s going to require a bit more than simply demanding it with a fist and flag in the air. To borrow from Ms. Wang, “take away your anger, and your heads will become clear, your minds will become sharper, and then your judgments correct (消除怒气,头脑才会清晰,思维才能敏捷,决断才会正确).”

N.B.: The one great thing about all of this lunacy is that despite all the Chinese uber-nationalists that fill their fragile egos with pseudo-patriotism, there seems to be a growing number of Chinese that are showing the maturity and confidence to not allow Western bias offend them personally, and illustrating the intelligence to discuss it all with thought and pause.

35 Responses

  1. Well said.

    Having one’s national, government-run TV network label someone like Grace Wang “hideous” leaves me unable to criticize CNN and Jack Cafferty anymore.

  2. Grace wang spoke out her opion at a wrong place and wrong time.

    Ryan: you won’t be supprised why oversea chinese were so outraged by biased media if you read G&M, thestar.com, etc, and comments labled those pro-china as CPC chills, brainwahed, ….

  3. Is there a reason I see this weird censored box over what I presume to be the word Tibet? It’s kind of freaky and I can’t imgine it’s happening on my end.

  4. Ryan:

    Please read this:

    美国人是不能容忍自己人在国外批评政府的,前有克林顿,后又Maines。
    “Maines’ remark sparked intense criticism; many Americans believed that she should not criticize George Bush on foreign shores.”

    人家道歉以后还受到这样的待遇呢:
    “The degree of hatred directed toward the Chicks – including death threats[15] – provoked concern among the band about their safety and that of their families.”

    ——————————–
    Dixie Chicks

    invasion of Iraq, the band performed in concert in London on March 10, 2003, at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire theatre. During this concert, the band gave a monologue to introduce their song Travelin’ Soldier, during which Natalie Maines, a Texas native, was quoted by The Guardian as saying, “Just so you know, […] we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.”[7] Though this is the official circulation of the comment, the full text of the statement Natalie Maines made was as follows:
    “ Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas. ”

    —Natalie Maines, [8]

    Directly after Natalie’s statements on stage, co-band member Emily Robison reportedly remarked that the band supported the American troops 100 percent.[9]

    The comment about President Bush, who served as the 46th Governor of Texas from 1995 to 2000 before his election to President of the United States, was reported in The Guardian’s review of the Chicks concert.[7] Shortly thereafter, the U.S. media picked up the story and controversy erupted.[10]

    Maines’ remark sparked intense criticism; many Americans believed that she should not criticize George Bush on foreign shores. Maines insists, however, “I said it there ’cause that’s where I was.”[11]

    The comment angered many country music fans and was financially damaging. Following the uproar and the start of a boycott of Dixie Chicks’ music, Maines attempted to clarify matters on March 12 by saying, “I feel the President is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world.” [12]

    The statement failed to quiet her critics, and Maines issued an apology on March 14: “As a concerned American citizen, I apologize to President Bush because my remark was disrespectful. I feel that whoever holds that office should be treated with the utmost respect. We are currently in Europe and witnessing a huge anti-American sentiment as a result of the perceived rush to war. While war may remain a viable option, as a mother, I just want to see every possible alternative exhausted before children and American soldiers’ lives are lost. I love my country. I am a proud American.”[13][14]

    While some people were disappointed that Maines apologized at all, others dropped their support of Dixie Chicks and their sponsor Lipton. In one famous anti-Dixie Chicks display, former fans were encouraged to bring their CDs to a demonstration at which they would be crushed by a bulldozer, evoking comparisons to Nazi book burnings.[citation needed] The degree of hatred directed toward the Chicks – including death threats[15] – provoked concern among the band about their safety and that of their families. Bruce Springsteen and Madonna even felt compelled to come out in support of the right of the band to express their opinions freely.[16] (Although Madonna herself was pressured to postpone and then alter the April 1 release of her “American Life” video in which she threw a hand grenade toward a Bush look-alike, after witnessing the backlash against the Chicks.)[17]

    One significant exception to the criticism of Dixie Chicks from the realm of country music was country music veteran and strident Iraq war opponent Merle Haggard, who in the summer of 2003 released a song critical of US media coverage of the Iraq War. Haggard said the attack on the Chicks was a “witch-hunt and lynching.” On July 25 2003, the Associated Press reported him saying:
    “ I don’t even know the Dixie chicks, but I find it an insult for all the men and women who fought and died in past wars when almost the majority of America jumped down their throats for voicing an opinion. It was like a verbal witch-hunt and lynching. ”

    —Merle Haggard
    The Dixie Chicks featured on the May 2, 2003 cover of Entertainment Weekly.
    The Dixie Chicks featured on the May 2, 2003 cover of Entertainment Weekly.

    On April 24, Dixie Chicks launched a publicity campaign to explain their position. During a prime-time interview with TV personality Diane Sawyer, Maines said she remained proud of her original statement. The band also appeared naked (with private parts strategically covered) on the May 2 cover of Entertainment Weekly magazine with slogans such as “Traitors,” “Saddam’s Angels,” “Dixie Sluts”, “Proud Americans,” “Hero,” “Free Speech”, and “Brave” printed on their bodies. The slogans represented the labels (both positive and negative) that had been placed on them in the aftermath of Maines’ statement.

    President Bush responded to the controversy surrounding Dixie Chicks in an interview with Tom Brokaw on April 24:
    “ The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say … they shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out … Freedom is a two-way street … I don’t really care what the Dixie Chicks said. I want to do what I think is right for the American people, and if some singers or Hollywood stars feel like speaking out, that’s fine. That’s the great thing about America. It stands in stark contrast to Iraq…[18] ”

    At the first concert of their nationwide Top of the World Tour Dixie Chicks received a positive reception. The concert was held in Greenville, South Carolina on May 1, and was attended by a sell-out crowd of 15,000 (tickets for most of the shows had gone on sale before the controversy erupted[19]). The women arrived prepared to face opposition — and Maines invited those who had come to boo to do so — but the crowd erupted mostly in cheers.

    Nevertheless, a Colorado radio station suspended two of its disc jockeys on May 6 for playing music by the Dixie Chicks.[20] On May 22, at the Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards ceremony in Las Vegas, there were boos when the group’s nomination for Entertainer of the Year award was announced. However, the broadcast’s host, Vince Gill, reminded the audience that everyone is entitled to freedom of speech. The Academy gave the award to Toby Keith, an outspoken critic of the group who had received criticism for displaying a backdrop at his concerts showing a doctored photo of Maines with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein[21].

    In the fall (autumn) of 2003 Dixie Chicks starred in a broadcast TV commercial for Lipton Original Iced Tea, which made a tongue-in-cheek reference to the corporate blacklisting and the grassroots backlash. In the commercial, the Chicks are about to give a stadium concert when the electricity suddenly goes out. They continue anyway, performing an a cappella version of “Cowboy Take Me Away” to the raving cheers of the fans.
    Dixie Chicks performing at Madison Square Garden on June 20, 2003 during Top of the World Tour.

    In a September 2003 interview, Maguire told the German magazine Der Spiegel: “We don’t feel a part of the country scene any longer, it can’t be our home anymore.” She noted a lack of support from country stars, and being shunned at the 2003 ACM awards. “Instead, we won three Grammys against much stronger competition. So we now consider ourselves part of the big rock ‘n’ roll family.” However, in an open letter to fans on the Chicks’ website, Maines said Maguire had been misquoted.[citation needed]

    Also in 2003, the American Red Cross refused a 1 million USD offer from the Dixie Chicks. The organization did not publicize the refusal; it was revealed by the Chicks themselves in a May 2006 interview on The Howard Stern Show on SIRIUS Satellite Radio.[22] According to National Red Cross spokesperson Julie Thurmond Whitmer, the band would have made the donation “only if the American Red Cross would embrace the band’s summer tour,” writes Ms. Whitmer, referring to the group’s 2003 U.S. tour after the London incident.

    The Dixie Chicks controversy made it impossible for the American Red Cross to associate itself with the band because such association would have violated two of the founding principles of the organization: impartiality and neutrality…Should the Dixie Chicks like to make an unconditional financial donation to the American Red Cross, we will gladly accept it.[23]

    This relationship with the Red Cross proved unfortunate, when little more than a year later, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita battered the gulf States, with their home State of Texas directly in the wake of the disaster. Thus, in September 2005 Dixie Chicks debuted their song “I Hope” in a telethon: the Shelter from the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast, along with a star studded line-up, including Alicia Keys, Mary J. Blige, U2, Sheryl Crow, Patty Griffin, Neil Young, and many other celebrities. The Chicks subsequently made their new single available as a digital download single with proceeds to benefit hurricane relief.[24][25]

    In October 2004, Dixie Chicks joined the Vote for Change tour, performing in concerts organized by MoveOn.org in swing states. While Dixie Chicks’ artistic collaborations with James Taylor went well, sharing the stage on many occasions, Maines’s comments during the concerts revealed a certain amount of nervousness over the future career path of Dixie Chicks.

    In June 2006 an article in the Telegraph quoted Emily Robison on the lack of support from other country music performers, “A lot of artists cashed in on being against what we said or what we stood for because that was promoting their career, which was a horrible thing to do.” Robison continued, “A lot of pandering started going on, and you’d see soldiers and the American flag in every video. It became a sickening display of ultra-patriotism.” Maines commented, “The entire country may disagree with me, but I don’t understand the necessity for patriotism. Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country … I don’t see why people care about patriotism.”[26]

    At the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, Cabin Creek Films, the production company of award-winning documentarian Barbara Kopple, premiered Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing. Distributed by the Weinstein Company, the documentary follows the Chicks over the three years since the 2003 London concert remark.

    At the 49th Grammy Awards Show in 2007, the group won all five categories for which they were nominated, including the coveted Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year, in a vote that Maines interpreted as being a show of public support for their advocacy of free speech and their early disapproval of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[27]

    In 2007 Natalie Maines appeared in the documentary Pete Seeger: the Power of Song. She gives commentary on Seeger’s censorship throughout the 1950s and 1960s from the perspective of her own experiences with censorship.

  5. @Thea: Sorry, was an issue with my Censortive censorship plugin. Thanks for letting me know – should be working now. It simply replaces words that will trip up the censors and get my blog blocked with the image eqiv… some permissions were set wrong I guess.

    @From Toronto: When is the right place and right time to speak your mind?

    I’m not at all surprised the Chinese are outraged. They’ve every right to protest and speak their point of view.

    Vilifying a 21-year-old girl and terrorizing her parents because she asked for conversation not fights is just wrong.

    And using Natalie Maines as an example strengthens this. You can’t use the patridiotic response of one nation to justify the patridiotic response of another.

  6. These are the sorts of topics I wish I could discuss with my students. Unfortunately, not all of them are willing to have the mindset of not being easily offended. I did have one intelligent question from a student concerning everything that has been going on… more or less, the question was “Why is this happening?” I always appreciate those students who don’t understand or agree with other viewpoints, but are at least willing to listen.

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  8. Great post, Ryan. I find it absolutely hideous that this young woman has been totally vilified on the mainland for simply holding a point of view and I’m surprised that many overseas Chinese don’t know better, especially those studying in US universities! If you can’t embrace clear headed debate you have no business being in an academic institution. It’s this sort of blind nationalism that causes people to act in truely evil ways. I also like the quote “take away your anger, and your heads will become clear, your minds will become sharper, and then your judgments correct”. People just need to clam the fuck down and enjoy the olympics.

  9. Not only is Grace Wang cute, but has the brains, compassion, level head and guts to make her a total package of awesome. Wo ai Grace Wang indeed.

  10. Ryan: my point is, you don’t reason with people when they are outraged, at least when they calm down right? and I am not saying that those happened to Ms Wang and her family are justified.

    You can find different voices regarding Ms Wang’s incident on lots of oversae bbs.

    Using Maines example just wanted to let you know that this is not something that only Chinese have.

  11. I seem to forget stories where Americans called for Natalie Maines and the Dixie Chicks to be cut into 10,000 pieces; argued that their views were the product of being “fucked by Iraqis”; posted the home addresses of their parents and called for harassment; and asked for them and their families to be liquidated. Let me guess: this behavior is acceptable because China is “still developing.”

  12. Ryan, great post.

    I’m a critic of both sides when it comes to Tibet, but this nationalist reaction is a bit much. It’s all twenty-somethings who have a lot of passion and energy but absolutely no ability for reasoned debate and dialogue. So a big thanks to Gracie for her attempt at mediating.

    The 20-somethings are, I suppose, the men and women of action, as all young people are. Trouble is most of them feel repressed and swaddled in their daily lives and need to express themselves somehow. Plus, tens of millions of them are ‘educated’ but unemployed or working jobs that stiff corpses could do. Hearts on MSN and boycotts are permitted by the authorities (at least for now), so in a way I can see why they’d be all into it – they can finally shout out about something.

    But where is the so-called leadership of this country? Can’t they open their mouths to speak out against the excesses and have the police and all those net nannies crack down on the ones issuing death threats? Oh, I forgot, that would take real leadership. Wen Jiaobao, where are you now? Don’t you know nationalist sentiment can be a useful tool (a distraction from other ills), but can get out of control?

  13. I followed Grace Wang’s argument with other Chinese fellows on video. She basically held up her political viewpoint which is to split Tibet from China. Grace argued her support of Tibetan flag, on the ground that Hong Kong has her own flag. She did all this during the time when China was attacked by biased western media and when the Olympic torch relay was repeatedly attacked by politically inspired protestors. Make no mistake. There is no middle ground on this issue. Grace declared herself to be on the wrong side against her own people and her family now shares the shame she brought to her family. She deserves this treatment from her fellow countrymen, in the same way European traitors were treated after WWII.

  14. Sorry ABC but there is middle ground on every issue just as there are different points of view. Only the extremist believes there is no middle ground.

    This whole situation makes me think China needs to pass a law against the human-flesh search engine.

    J.

  15. What’s ABC’s name, address, family members names, home address and phone numbers? Where do they live? Study? let’s get the “human flesh search engines” out and ask ABC if they like it.

    We can ask them how they feel when they sold out their nation, people and family and shamed them by being a dumbass that lets petty jingoism color the reality that none of this helps China domestically or internationally.

    In fact, ABC is no different than the Black Squadron 731 in their justification of death threats, harassment and potential, actual death.

    Using ABC’s logic:

    Let’s get ABC tried for war crimes.

  16. There’s a million things to say about all this and I, like a lot of people here, am also very critical of both sides of this mess.
    This kind of shit, however, is the biggest shame of it all.
    Like Ryan said, they were given the highground. (At least by a lot of people…)
    But it’s ruined. It’s just going to get worse and any good point that could have been made will now be swept away in madness.
    Speaking of 9/11…
    A lot of bad shit has happened because of people’s fear and aggression surrounding those events. You know, like people’s rights being taken away. Considering that many of these rights weren’t even here in the first place, I fear what can be done with similar fervor…

  17. I know some people here like to glorify Grace Wang as the fighter of free speech. If you investigate this matter thoroughly, you know Grace’s intention was not to negotiate for a middle ground. She wanted to show off her “out of box” thinking during the confrontation. She had plenty of time to work things out, before the planned protest and before the confrontation. She didn’t. She chose to wait till the last minute to stand out in spot light and humiliate her countrymen in the public. She created the publicity at the expense of her own countrymen. I did not condemn her “out of box” thinking to negotiate with Tibetans. Tibetans, as part of Chinese family, should be treated nicely and with dignity. However, her real intention was very disgusting. She sold herself to those China bashers so that those China bashers can quote her as a contrasting example and promote her heavily in the world of biased western media. Chinese people have the historical burden to show unity in front of western humiliation. Grace Wang chose the wrong side and joined the evil force to bash her own country. On this issue, there is no middle ground. I support the negotiation with Tibetans and give them more freedom and dignity. But this is a separate issue and should be negotiated when there are no external interferences. The entire China bashing thing is part of a bigger conspiracy, part of inevitable tensions and conflicts when new powers emerge. We have enough lessons to learn from World War I and World War II when the existing powers failed to accommodate for the new rising power – Germany. The western powers suppressed Germany and literally put the country in a pressure cooker. Bad things happened when pressure didn’t get released properly. In the same token, when we look at how the feelings of Chinese people are hurt in waves of China bashings: from human rights, to African problems, Iran and North Korea, toy safety, currency undervaluation, freedom of religion, pollution, Tibetan issue, Taiwan issue, East Turkistan, IP protection, world inflation, job loss in manufacturing sectors, trade with African countries, etc., the western countries are literally putting Chinese people in a pressure cooker. Chinese people should firmly unit together against this western agenda, focus on internal development, and deliver a peaceful rise of the nation. When I see people like Grace Wang who entertains more her personal gains at the expense her country, I have no sympathy for her.

  18. @ABC

    I have one question for you, and some advice. First the advice:

    Please try using some paragraphs every now and then. It’s fairly obvious that English is (probably) not your native language, which is certainly no crime, but it would help us better understand your perspective if you would only consider formatting your comments a little. It’s difficult, literally, to read your words.

    Also, your debate methodology is classically Chinese, and it’s sometimes hard to follow. By that I mean to say that you are repeating yourself, frequently, confusing ad hominem criticism for empirical evidence, and ultimately failing to “lead” readers through to the crux of your arguments. This “style” of intellectual discourse is entirely ineffective, especially on a blog with other Westerners. I encourage you to pick another.

    You are free to express yourself as your wish, of course. But if your intention is to sway the opinions of the Humanaught community, then I strongly urge you to think about the way in which your craft your message. I shouldn’t need a secret decoder ring to understand your ideas.

    Here’s my question:

    How, specifically (and spare me no detail here), has Ms. Wong benefited from this entire debacle? What exactly are her “personal gains?”

    Your condemnation of Ms. Wong reminds me, frighteningly, of the language used during the Chinese “cultural revolution.” Can you tell us how she “…sold herself to those China bashers?” What does that even mean?

    Thank you,

    rynsa

  19. @RYNSA: Thanks for your advice. My writing sucks. My debate skills suck a big time. I am here to give you a different viewpoint only. When you don’t understand why Chinese hates Grace Wang, don’t assume that it is all because of blind nationalistic fever.

    I do not want to sway the opinions of the Humanaught community. Westerners always come down onto Chinese from a higher moral high ground and frame every value according to western values. Anything that is deviated from western values is labeled as against the “universal” values. If you want to understand Asian perspective on the World affairs, I would recommend you to read Kishore Mahhubani’s “The New Asian Hemisphere: The Irresistible Shift of Global Power to the East”. Also check out Parag Khanna’s research on the geopolitical marketplace (Waving Goodbye to Hegemony, The New York Times Magazine, 1/27/2008), you will understand why the west has every reason to demonize China.

    I really thought Grace Wang was innocent until I watched the video of protest. She acted like as a manipulator who wanted to show off how she is different from the rest of her fellow countrymen. She did not negotiate for China. She stood on the Tibetan protestors’ side all the times, always faced to her own fellows, and only argued with the Chinese. She did not seek for a middle ground by explaining Chinese viewpoints to others. She stood there to show that she held higher moral ground than the rest of Chinese by arguing with them in front of Tibetan protestors. What did she want to achieve? It was not the way to build a bridge among people. She wanted to have this spot light of showing dissents when it is high time for Chinese to unite together. Sure, she got this spot light at the end. Western media seized the opportunity to publicize her act. Everyone knows Grace Wang now.

    Cultural Revolution is a disaster. People got manipulated by the politician to do evil things. I detest a politician who only pursues of an objective by seizing opportunity and manipulating people. Grace Wang has been inspired to be a politician. It was shown in her profile (on a local newspaper) even before she went to America. For this reason, I have no good feelings toward this young lady. She sold herself out to the China bashers in exchange of instant fame.

    (On a side topic, when I chatted with an Indian friend, he really thinks that Cultural Revolution is a good thing Mao did to China. He refers India as an open society with closed minds and China as a closed society with open minds. This is not my viewpoint. But you can think about it.)

  20. RYNSA said:
    “Also, your debate methodology is classically Chinese, and it’s sometimes hard to follow. By that I mean to say that you are repeating yourself, frequently, confusing ad hominem criticism for empirical evidence, and ultimately failing to “lead” readers through to the crux of your arguments. This “style” of intellectual discourse is entirely ineffective, especially on a blog with other Westerners. I encourage you to pick another.”

    Is there a bit of racism here?

  21. What has Tibet ever done for anyone? Answer: nothing.

    For most Americans, if Richard Gere had decided to be a plumber or a carpenter, no one would ever have heard of Tibet…

  22. @Dale: I don’t disagree.

    One of the biggest thing that Westerners in the FT protest circles tend to ignore is that no matter the debate, life for your average Tibetan, as it has for your average Chinese, has improved by leaps and bounds in the last 10-20 years.

    For an indigenous culture stuck atop a high-altitude plain devoid of water and much in the way of usable resources – that’s a feat. And in no small part due to economic incentives put into place (as a matter of control or not) by the CPC government.

    However, my feelings are that we can’t say who “deserves” independence and/or whether that independence would be a benefit to them. It’s just no one’s call but the people fighting for it.

  23. @Ryan

    Well, the general mainland Chinese view on Tibet is awfully similar to that of ‘the white men’s burden’ back in the days… I’m not sure we have the right to just go in and so-called ‘civilise’ them…

    As to Grace Wang, I mean, just looking at the clip on youtube is pretty telling. She jumped into the fray when the two grShe’s started off speaking English, which already says a lot about who her intended audience is (she couldn’t have failed to notice all the cameras, etc. around her).

    Nonetheless, of course that doesn’t excuse the total invasion of her and her family’s privacy.

  24. @Little Alex: However, this isn’t China going to far-off continents and attempting to bring civilization to the “savages” through imperialism.

    The ruling of the Steppe has continuously changed hands for over a thousand years. Nomads to Chinese, Chinese to Mongols, Mongols to Tibetans, Tibetans to Mongols, Mongols to Manchus, Manchus to Han… it’s not quite as simple or clear cut as a uni student at a sit-in might hope.

    And aside from historical rights being called into question, the biggest factor in it all is who is in charge now.

    That tends to hold sway the world over.

    Israel isn’t giving up the West Bank, never mind the rest of “Palestine”. Canada’s in no rush to have Quebec be its own nation (referendums a plenty or not). And last I heard California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico aren’t clamoring to help create the great nation of Aztlán.

    All places that have been annexed to their current ruling nations in much more recent history than Tibet.

    I’m not saying it’s right. Who gets to draw the lines on maps is not for me to say. I’m just saying it’s often left out of the discussion.

    I also think that not a great deal of thought is put into what would happen to the country if it did get independence.

    Nor are we really dealing with the opinions of your every day Tibetans. But rather a group of people (and their supporters) who lost all their power when the CPC strengthened their grip on the far-off region in the late 50s.

    Again, not choosing sides here, simply pointing out that there are more sides to all this than just pro/anti indep. Tibet.

  25. We know that the concept of a nation was forcibly brought into China during Qing dynasty. The founding father of Modern China Sun Zhongshan adopted the concept of nationality and grouped all different peoples under the name “Chinese” regardless how diversified those peoples are. The concept of westernized Nationalism is strength for national unity but it is also the root of many conflicts in this World.

    Ever since the big migration of the ancestors of Mongoloid Asians arrived in Southeast Asia at about 10,000 years ago, the place we called “Zhong Hua” has been a giant melting pot for mongoloids like Chu, Qi, Wu, Yue, Eastern Yi, Manchurians, Huns, Turks, Mongols, and Tibetans. Most people in Northern China are genetically closer to Tibetan people than their counterparts in Southern China. It is fair to say Zhong Hua people are as heterogeneous as people in Europe.

    With such understanding, we can say that the Tibetan problem is really politicized by all sides: Westerners, Dalai Lama clique, and Chinese government. We should put politics aside and let the melting pot of Zhong Hua take its natural course. Future of the History is dynamic. The concept of “nationalism” (and “independence”) goes against the flow of History.

  26. Obviously, the attacks on her parents are to be condemned but Grace’s actions are naive at best, and cynical at worst.

    Think about it, she wrote “FREE TIBET” on the back on the Tibetan crowd locked in a counter-demonstration against the Chinese crowd.

    She explains this by saying that she only agreed to write it so that the Tibetan side will come to the negotiating table, this is extraordinarily silly.

    If we flipped the situation around and the Chinese crowd got a Tibetan supporter who wanted to mediate to write “ONE CHINA” on the backs of one of the Pro-China Demonstrators as a precondition for negotiation, it would be the same situation but reversed.

    Mediators must never assert themselves as anything but neutral, or even allow themselves to be perceived as non-neutral. By writing “FREE TIBET” on the back of the Tibetan Supporter, she effectively killed off any chance of her mediating.

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