By China Watcher
Yesterday, I read an English paper from China (in which the West will not hesitate to label it as pure Chinese government propaganda) about an interesting report on the allegations against the Dalai Lama of having conspired to wreck the Olympics Games by masterminding a series of protests, both in Tibet and in a few Western nations friendly to the Tibetan cause, with a peaceful rally that began on March 10, 2008. As this is deemed an allegation, without any circumstantial evidence, I choose not to read further.
Then a friend prompted me of the date – March 10 – which is the anniversary date of the 1959’s failed uprising against the Chinese government. Now it is starting to make some sense. If you analyze the waves of protests which spread to the surrounding Tibetan population, there is a certain element of truth in the allegations.
If we were led to believe that the Dalai Lama was not the initiator of the wave of protests then the Tibetan exiled government headed by its so called PM jointly with the Tibetan youths, funded and supported by the Human Rights activists, called for the simultaneous March 10 peaceful protest in Daramsala and at one of the monasteries in Tibet. Unfortunately, the protests turned violent which resulted in the loss of lives of both the Tibetans and the Han Chinese. Using wireless communications network via the mobile phone, the exiled Tibetan government directed its “provincial” leaders in other parts of Western China to come out in protests against the Chinese government. Similarly, the protests also turned violent and the Han Chinese was the targeted victims in the process. If there is no proper coordination and financing from the West, I doubt the series of protest could take off so smoothly?
The objective is obvious, that is, to try to encourage the West to boycott the Olympics by portraying the Tibetans as the victims of suppression arising from the “brutal” crackdown and ultimately, to pressure China to allow Tibet to be independent.
The exiled Tibetan government together with the human right groups continued to churn out the death figures from 70 to 99 and the latest is at 140. I am amazed at their monk to monk interconnected network, which by far is more efficient than the Internet. On one hand, they claimed that the Chinese has cut off all communications to Tibet and the surrounding areas in which the mobile phone is not reachable currently, but yet they can offer us the unconfirmed death figure. The death number also did not state the racial origin of those who died from the violent protests. I believe a large number of those who died are of Han Chinese origin. Officially, the Chinese government death figure is at 22. The continuous whipping of the death figures confirmed my suspicion that they are trying to evoke the natural human compassion to react especially from the many sympathetic Westerners so that a partial boycott of the Games be taken, if a total boycott is unsuccessful.
The Chinese government would not sit still when all the negative publicity was created to tarnish its image. Over the past 3 days, the state-owned media began its broadcast to show its versions of the violent protests and how the Tibetans carried out the premeditated killings and the vast destructions of government buildings. Chinese nationalism was played up with the theme that Tibet will always be a part of China. A “YouTube” video clip on the same theme attracted 1.6 million hits since March 15, 2008.
With the many anti-China bashing articles by the Western media (8 out of 10), it is of no surprise that China is viewed in the negative light especially in the West. China is more widely accepted in Asia (excluding Japan) and Africa as there are less anti-Chinese commentaries in their national dailies. According to the Chinese media, there are now 104 foreign governments who have voiced their support of the direct action taken by Chinese government to restore law and order in its rebellious provinces.
I have also taken the liberty to review certain comments by some participants of Chinese origin in forums on the Internet – both from China and overseas – and I gathered most of them are supportive of a stronger action against the violence in Tibet. One blogger was disappointed by the poor knowledge of the Westerners on Tibetan history and the bias reporting against China. Another one added that the Tibetan being a minority race enjoys far better government care than the Han Chinese in that there are not restricted by the one-child policy and they have an easier passage to secure university places at the prestigious Beijing University as quota is reserved for the minorities. There is another participant who said that it is a natural survival instinct for the Han Chinese to seek greener pastures by moving to Tibet when there are already limited small business opportunities in the Eastern coastal provinces but instead the West choose to call this migration a threat to the Tibetan livelihood. Despite the many pro-China comments underlying the broad support the Chinese had towards their government in handling the Tibetan issue, it nevertheless failed to convince the western participants. As usual non Chinese participants choose to ignore it by merely saying that the Chinese people are brainwashed by the state media and its government. Just a note here - China has one of the largest Internet communities numbering 300 million to date and they can actually surf various political news and I was informed last night that the BBC website which was banned earlier in China is now unblocked.
Some western media commented that China “brutal” crackdown of the Tibetan protests and the eviction of the Western reporters from Tibet has tarnished its image and reputation. One point I wish to illustrate here is, in the eyes of the many Westerners does China still have a reputation to protect – given the various unfair reporting like the Darfur crisis in Sudan, the poor quality and safety of its goods, the allegations of dumping of its goods, the manipulation of its currency, the threat of its military, the Taiwan issue, the persecution of Moslems and Christians, the very bad pollution in Chinese cities, the forced repatriation of Chinese residents and more recently, the erosion of Tibetan culture etc. When you start from ground zero, there is only one way for your reputation that is to go up regardless of what action you take.