Archive for Tibet

Monk Flambé

Was he a drummer in a heavy metal band, by any chance? [Via James Taranto]

A monk who set himself on fire in an ethnically Tibetan region of western China has been cremated.

The Free Tibet campaign in London says 29-year-old Tsewang Norbu died Monday after dousing himself with gasoline and setting himself on fire in Daofu county.

The official Xinhua News Agency says the monk’s body was cremated Wednesday in accordance with Tibetan rituals. It says family members and monks attended his funeral.

It was the second reported self-immolation by a monk this year.

In March, a 21-year-old monk set himself on fire, also in Sichuan province, in an apparent protest against Chinese government rule over Tibet.

One of our founding principles in Bloodthirstan is that anyone with a Free Tibet bumper sticker is a dink. The next time Premier Hu blanches at the sight of that stern warning on the back of your Prius will be the first.

So, to the combustible monks I say in my best Ali G voice, respec’.

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Smashing Success

Remember how the experts said to wait for the next generation of Chinese leaders to come along? Not tied to the paranoid resentment of outsiders and cults of personalities past, these Wi’s kids would make a gleaming new ship of state out of the old dhow.

Well, looks like we’ll have to wait another generation or two:

The man expected to be China’s next president has promised to “smash” any attempts to destabilise Tibet.

Xi Jinping, who is due to succeed President Hu Jintao in 2013, said he would fight against “separatist activities” linked to the Dalai Lama.

He was speaking in Lhasa as part of a trip to mark 60 years since the communists took over Tibet.

Analysts say the speech suggests Mr Xi is unlikely to veer from the policies of his predecessors.

Xi is 58 years old—you’d think far enough removed from the old fossils to have a mind of his own.

But he had a dad:

His famous lines include, “We need to reform China and implement this economic zone even if it means that we have to pave a bloody road ahead and I am to be responsible for it.” which he uttered to Deng Xiaoping when trying to convince Deng of the necessity of market socialism in China.

You can’t make egg foo young without breaking eggs. Curiously, dad was critical of the Tianaman crackdown, and was once accused of disloyalty to Mao. Junior’s setting all that straight.

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Good for Him

Obama told China to pound sand, and met with the Dalai Lama at the White House:

President Obama met with the Dalai Lama this morning at the White House, despite objections.

Just like last year, the Dalai Lama came in and exited the White House through a door that is not accessible to reporters or cameras.

The meeting took place in what is considered the White House residence, the Map Room on the ground floor.

As I say: good for Obama. Although let’s hope His Holiness was shown a bit more respect than last time.

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Speaking of Chinese Morality

As we were.

This story actually makes me smile. No people were oppressed, no human rights were violated. Just pure greed and venality.

Thousands of corrupt Chinese government officials have stolen more than $120bn (£74bn) and fled overseas, mainly to the US, according to a report released by China’s central bank.

Between 16,000 and 18,000 officials and employees of state-owned companies left China with the funds from the mid-1990s up until 2008.

The officials used offshore bank accounts to smuggle the funds, according to the study posted on the People’s Bank of China website this week but which has since been removed.

It said the officials smuggled about 800 billion yuan into the US, Australia, Canada and Holland through offshore bank accounts or investments, like property or collectables.

The stolen funds were covered up by disguising them as business transactions by establishing private companies to receive the money transfers.

The study said corruption inside China was severe enough to threaten the nation’s economic and political stability.

Welcome to capitalism, my Chinese friends. Ain’t it a bitch…

But speaking of oppression and human rights (as we were):

China has closed Tibet to all foreign tourists until the end of July, say travel agents in the region.

The move is being seen as an attempt by Beijing to prevent unrest ahead of celebrations marking 90 years since the founding of the ruling Communist Party.

All foreign tourists need special permits to visit the Tibetan region – which Beijing calls an autonomous region – but the authorities have periodically barred all access, citing safety or security concerns.

Travel agents said the latest ban had been issued at least as early as June this year and would run until the end of July.

Another travel agent, at a hotel in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, said the ruling was connected to the 90th anniversary celebrations.

Many Tibetans say Beijing is attempting to dilute their minority culture, by encouraging huge numbers of majority Han Chinese to resettle there.

Beijing says it is bringing development and improving the standard of living in the area.

By ridding it of Tibetans, apparently.

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“We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Monks!”

How do you notice 300 monks are missing, anyway? They don’t exactly make their presences known:

China has denied claims by the UN that some 300 monks from a Tibetan monastery may have been illegally detained over the past three months.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said there had been no “enforced disappearances” at the Kirti monastery, in Sichuan province.

He said local authorities had taken some monks for “legal education”.

So, they’re in the law library? Is that what you’re saying?

“The relevant local authorities are conducting legal education for the Kirti monastery monks in order to maintain religious order there. There was no question of forced disappearances,” he said.

Next time I get a parking ticket, I’m going to hire me a Tibetan monk. With their “legal education”, they’ll be killer in the courtroom. “Officer O’Malley, can you tell the court what is the sound of one hand clapping?”

PS: I think I see the germ of the next David Kelly law drama: Lhasa Legal.

PPS: I think it’s time to slap another “Free Tibet” sticker in the rear bumper.

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Kick a Monk in the Junk

Reader Rob rightly chastised me for not differentiating between the abominations of the Chinese government and those of its citizens.

Bad government, bad!

Chinese police have raided a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in western China, killing two people, rights campaigners have said.

The International Campaign for Tibet (ICT) says an elderly man and woman were killed trying to prevent police arresting monks at the Kirti monastery.

Tension has been high since a monk set himself on fire last month in an apparent anti-government protest.

The US-based ICT said paramilitary police raided the monastery in Aba, in the Sichuan province, on Thursday night and detained more than 300 monks.

As the monks were being driven away, the police beat a group of people who had been standing vigil outside Kirti, resulting in the deaths of two Tibetans aged in their sixties, ICT said, citing exile groups in contact with people in the area.

“People had their arms and legs broken, one old woman had her leg broken in three places, and cloth was stuffed in their mouths to stifle their screams,” an exiled Kirti monk was quoted as saying by the rights group.

Elsewhere, burning oneself to death is thought of as horrific, even tragic. In China, it’s a provocation.

The milk there is tainted with so many chemicals, I wonder if it would make a good salve for the burns. Just trying to help.

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Starve a Cold, Beat a Flaming Monk

Or is it the other way around?

A group campaigning for self-rule in Tibet says hundreds of people have held protests in western China after a Tibetan monk burned himself to death.

The London-based International Campaign for Tibet says the young monk set fire to himself in Aba, in Sichuan province.

China’s state news agency said the monk died after protesters prevented him getting hospital treatment.

The reported unrest came three years after Tibet’s most serious uprising against Chinese rule in two decades.

The monk identified as Phuntsog, aged in his early 20s, set himself alight on Wednesday.

Tibetan rights groups reported that witnesses saw police put out the flames, then beat the monk to death, after which monks retrieved the dead body.

The account from state news agency Xinhua, however, blamed the monks for forcibly taking the monk out of hospital and hiding him in the Kirti monastery.

Well, what did the protesters expect the police to do, beat him before they had put out the flames? Somebody might have gotten hurt!

China looks around the world and thinks to itself, be you Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever—don’t [bleep] with us. Don’t even think of it.

And who are we to argue? I just imagine what would happen if the Chinese people took to the streets to oppose their government. Libya, Egypt, even the misery of Japan would look like a freakin’ Coke commercial by comparison.


I’d like to teach the world to string ‘em up
In perfect harmony…

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The One-L Lama, He’s Been Fleeced

The Buddhism columnist at About.com (yes, thyere is such a thing) took exception with our post (and those of others) leaving tank treads on the Dalai Lama for admitting he’s still a Marxist. She left a comment with a link to her defense of his Lamess, but I thought I’d bump it to the front page and comment myself:

A website called IndianExpress.com put together a brief news story on His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s press conference on Thursday that took some quotes out of context to distort what His Holiness actually said. And today some American right-wing and conservative Christian bloggers are using this story to smear His Holiness.

The IndianExpress story cherry-picked His Holiness’ words and re-assembled them to make it sound as if he supports the current Chinese Communist Party and the way it has governed China. Some American bloggers seized these words and used them as an excuse to hurl ugly invectives at His Holiness and anyone who supports him.

Since I was there, I can set the record straight.

She does, providing much more context and many comments critical of the Chinese Communist Party.

But she doesn’t exactly refute the point that the Dalai Lama is an avowed Marxist:

Then His Holiness said,

When I was in China, 1954 and ’55 — later part of ’54 and early part of ’55 — I was in Beijing, and also in many provinces in China. At that time, Communist Party of China — really wonderful. All those party members, were really dedicated to the service to people, particularly working class people. Relation [or religion] always there. At that time, world wide revolution, [garbled] for working class people, so strong. I was very much impressed.

So at that time, I asked some Chinese officials, I want to join Chinese communist Party. Still, I am Marxist. Some of my friends, you see, they always ask me, don’t mention that. [laughs] Because, you know, Marxist economy, I think only economy system where express concern of equal distribution, that’s moral ethics. That capitalism, only how to make profit.

So therefore, but now, 1957, what was called let a hundred flowers blossom. Different opinions, accept more open different opinions. Once these intellectual people express their feelings and criticism, then, overnight, all these people, wiped out. So the authoritarian system, any authoritarian system, including Communist authoritarian system, potential eventually made to [eliminate] opposition from their power, they erase.

But, as I mentioned earlier, now I think in China, most intelligent people, don’t accept central authoritarian system. They want more freedom. They want independence from China. They want a free Tibet.

So, for parts of two years—55 years ago—this man, by his own testimony, felt that the Chinese Communist Party was utopian. And on the basis of that brief perceived window of humanity in decades of a Great Wall of oppression and murder (like that?), he identifies with a system that in number of corpses leaves fascism (from which it differs in no appreciable way) in the dust? I don’t claim to be an expert, and Wikipedia isn’t a reliable enough source on this topic, but Mao’s China was purging perhaps millions of people before and during this supposed period of enlightenment.

The only exculpatory reading I can imagine is one of verb tenses. The DL’s command of English is good, but not perfectly nuanced. Maybe he meant: “Sure, I was a Marxist/Communist/Maoist. Who wasn’t? It wasn’t until I learned the truth of Mao’s abuse of power that I renounced him and his moral and political failings.”

But he doesn’t say that, not even close.

To be fair, however, he does say this:

Earlier in the press conference, His Holiness also had said, “China has to go along the world trend. World trend means more openness, more transparent, rule of law, democracy, inability to [not clear] — world trend. … Democracy as a system not always successful, in Africa and some other countries not always successful, but still, it’s the best system.”

However, he credited China’s embrace of market economics for breaking communism’s grip over the world’s most populous country and forcing the ruling Communist Party to “represent all sorts of classes.”

Capitalism “brought a lot of positive to China. Millions of people’s living standards improved,” he said.

The About.com columnist tries to excuse the comments about capitalism by saying they were addressed to the Deng regime, not today’s Communist Party—but she needn’t have bothered on my behalf: I agree with him. It may be an authoritarian capitalist system, but it’s still a capitalist system, communist in name only. There’s still plenty of misery in China, but it’s an immensely wealthier misery.

I can only conclude that the DL said two contradictory things: that Mao’s Marxism murdered and enslaved hundreds of millions of people; and that he still saw some good in that system.

I’m willing to admit I am wrong if anybody wants to try to prove it. The floor is yours. My argument is not with Buddhism and the Dalai Lama, but with China. As it has been for a long time now.

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“Put Down the Toner, and Step Away From the Photocopier!”

Cheese it—the photocops!

People in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa will have to register their names if they want to make photocopies.

City shopkeepers say the authorities are particularly concerned about material printed in Tibetan.
This appears to be an attempt to prevent ordinary people from printing political pamphlets and other documents.

It suggests the security forces still have a tight grip on the city, two years after serious riots.

Ya think?

One shopkeeper said she would not now make copies of documents in Tibetan without police approval first.

Material printed in Chinese does not seem to be too much of a problem.

The authorities say the change is aimed at stopping criminals carrying out illegal activities.

But the suspicion is that it is directed at those who might want to print political pamphlets critical of the Chinese government.

God, what a despicable country that is. China, not Tibet. I realize saying so does no more than smugly adhering a “Free Tibet” bumper sticker to my car (which I refuse to do until the proceeds of the sales of such ephemera go into the arming of the Tibetans), but I confess it makes me feel a little better.

Despicable. Why doesn’t China pirate a few million more DVDs, rip off a few thousand more copyrights, poison a few hundred more babies, and leave the Tibetans alone?

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Take Your Pick

What do want, a Free Tibet or carbon caps?

Cause you can’t have both:

China has warned the EU not to interfere in its affairs, at a summit previously delayed by a row over Tibet.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the two sides should “stick to the principles of mutual respect and not interfere in each other’s internal affairs”.

The summit in Prague was due to be held in December but was cancelled by China after French President Nicolas Sarkozy met the Dalai Lama.

Activists have urged the EU to press China over its human rights record.
The summit also addressed trade and global warming.

The two sides were also discussing climate change. Mr Barroso said China would be part of the effort to reach a new global pact on greenhouse gases this year.

China has said it wants to use carbon capture technology to mitigate the effects of its rapidly expanding network of coal-fired power stations.

If I know the EU the way I think I know the EU, they’ll sell the very real human rights of Tibet down the Yangtze River for China’s very bogus claims of attempts at efforts to try to reduce it’s carbon… what’s bigger than a footprint—crater, basin, trench?

Hey Aggie, you think “Free Europe” bumper stickers would sell? I want to get in on the ground floor.

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Boycott Tibet

What the &%#@ is the matter with these people?

China has re-opened the region after it was closed to travellers for almost two months because of security fears linked to a number of sensitive anniversaries.

A German tour group was the first to arrive at the weekend, and more than 500 tourists are expected this month.

But there is still a heavy Chinese military presence in the area, and foreign journalists and human rights groups cannot operate freely.

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua said it expected about 200 tour groups to visit during April, including tourists from the United States, Canada, France, Japan, Italy, Denmark and Australia.

“We are receiving more foreign tourists now than any other time since March 14 last year,” Liu Mingzan, manager of the Tibet Qamdo International Travel Agency, was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Xinhua also quoted a German tourist saying he felt comfortable, and Tibet’s head of tourism as saying the region was now “harmonious and safe”.

Of course it’s “harmonious and safe”: it’s been ethnically cleansed. Spotless.

executions

Why would anyone go near the place while the Chinese are polluting it with their heavy-handed, jack-booted presence? If Tibet were indeed free, fine, go; if the Chinese are charging for it, stay the hell away.

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Mysterious Asian Country Caught Spying

Hmm, who could it be?

Are you sitting down?

An electronic spy network, based mainly in China, has infiltrated computers from government offices around the world, Canadian researchers say.

They said the network had infiltrated 1,295 computers in 103 countries.

They included computers belonging to foreign ministries and embassies and those linked with the Dalai Lama – Tibet’s spiritual leader.

There is no conclusive evidence China’s government was behind it, researchers say. Beijing also denied involvement.

Well, that settles it, then, doesn’t it?

But you do have to wonder…

They were acting on a request from the Tibetan spiritual leader’s office to check whether the computers of his Tibetan exile network had been infiltrated.

Researchers found that ministries of foreign affairs of Iran, Bangladesh, Latvia, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Barbados and Bhutan appear to had been targeted.

Hacked systems were also discovered in the embassies of India, South Korea, Indonesia, Romania, Cyprus, Malta, Thailand, Taiwan, Portugal, Germany and Pakistan.

In an abstract for the report entitled The Snooping Dragon: Social Malware Surveillance of the Tibetan Movement – posted on the IWM website – investigators said while such attacks were not new, these particularly stood out for their ability to collect “actionable intelligence for use by the police and security services of a repressive state, with potentially fatal consequences for those exposed”.

Who doesn’t spy? I don’t blame China for spying. I do blame them for paranoia, bullying, repression, and rampant theft.

And I blame us for not calling them on their crimes. The Chinese government is the Keanu Reeves of bad actors on the world stage.

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