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March 24, 2008 | by  | in Features |
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China and Tibet

Chinese Voices Discuss Tibet

Tibetan Buddhist monks in Lhasa organized protests for 10 March this year to commemorate their people’s failed 1959 uprising. Chinese police stopped protestors at the Indian border, and three days later the situation turned violent. But there our certainty ends. Reporters are barred access to the region, and official reports of bloody flesh cutting rioters and poor innocent assaulted policemen cannot be trusted.

In such times we must turn to the blogosphere: in particular, to the Chinese-language blogs translated on www.globalvoicesonline.org.

Independent Chinese blogger Mr. Jun wrote about ‘The Lhasa Riots – How are we to look at them?’ on his blog http://cbjun. wordpress.com/:

I often feel that when you look at something from different angles, you get different views. If you look at someone from front-on, you might think he looks a little obnoxious; but then you look at him from the side, and you might just see someone with a heart of gold. Just like the riot incidents in Lhasa, depending on which way we look at them, we have different conclusions.

If…

..looking at this from this Chinese side:
-there’s a conspiracy behind the Lhasa rioting.
-it’s the Dalai Lama’s plot for Tibetan independence.
-another purpose to the Lhasa riots is to prevent the Olympics from being held.

…and from overseas?
-interfering with the Olympics is a mistake; past experience shows that boycotting the Olympics is guaranteed to fail. -there isn’t a single country which would accept Tibet as an independent nation.
And Lhasa and Tibet’s views?
-Stopping violence with violence, there’s nothing persuasive about it.

Peace is hard to maintain, because there are two sides to it. If peace on one side is broken, neither side will be able to just let it go. A lot of Lamas have been imprisoned, this is how one side began to destroy the peace. The incidents of rioting are the other side’s resistance due to dissatisfaction with seeing Lamas imprisoned. That neither side has reached a consensus is the origin of the mistake, and that division comes from lack of understanding, this is what history tells us clearly. And with the Olympics this incident will be used to say just how sacrosanct the Olympics themselves are, and that nobody should touch them!

A people’s awakening movement, as I see it, is a right a people ought to have, and that not all powers should be given to a leader. In ancient China, the emperor’s decisions were absolute, including going to war. People’s opposition votes weren’t recognized by the emperor, because the people had no right to choose. But this doesn’t suggest that the people should have all the power, and this is why division of power must be balanced. Back to the topic of ‘which side?’. If one looks at Chinese media, well, there might be some exaggeration, especially now with China suppressing Tibet with military power, and China being the source of these incidents, which is why it’s better to not completely trust what China has to say on this. For Tibet and Lhasa, they are one of the sources of these incidents, but at the same time they are the victims. They might also be exaggerating, but as they are the victims, their degree of reliability is still much higher.

A Kiwi Voice Discusses Tibet:

Don’t let a few dead monks get in the way of progress.

Thank goodness for China, a shaft of light, a column of good sense, a virile erection that looms proudly over its pitiful, effeminate enemies. Like the Tibetan people for example: they may seem timid and rustic at a glance, but underneath they’re parasitic and ruthless, just waiting to explode from their mountainous province with their… tanks. Yeah. Tanks. And their really tall mountains. Given the chance they would tear off the entire province of Tibet – practically China’s mojo – and set up camp there as if they owned the place.

The Tibetan contempt for the Chinese is palpable. Why, if a Chinaman so much as tips his hat to a Tibetan in Lhasa, SLICE and he’s missing an ear. Government has already noted that Tibetan protesters in the city of Lhasa recently went so far as to slice off the ears of passersby, manufacturing a violent clash with police where there was none. Why, the Chinese police all but tipped their hats off to the protesters. Indeed, as noted by our great bastion of knowledge, the China Daily: “In blatant attempts to create sensation, three monks in the Zhaibung monastery lacerated their bodies with knives and took pictures of one another, photos that were to be used to blame others for the harm they inflicted upon themselves.”

China’s Tibetan chairman, Qiangba Puncog, says that the riots were “premeditated, organized, and masterminded” by Magic Llama, who is ungraciously exiled in India (it would be gracious if he were not so close, say in Iceland). The Magic Llama is agitating all kinds of unruly unrest in Tibet, where the people are totally against any kind of autonomy from the Golden Kingdom. China is pretty onto it alright, they know when and how to keep those envious peasants in their place.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Helen Clark, has greeted the Tibetan problem with a straightforward request that the Chinese Government and protesters “exercise restraint.” Clark knows Free Trade Agreement with China would be totally choice. “To be honest, I could care less about the Tibetans,” she said. “And what’s all this business about a Magic Llama anyway? We all known the Chinese Communist Party has scientifically disproven the existence of magic. Using Science.”

Some parties have gone so far as to criticise China’s response to the Tibetan protesters, failing to see rioters for the criminals they clearly are. Clark has responded to critics by saying that the most influential thing New Zealand can do to remedy China’s allegedly poor human rights record is to help the country interact with an international audience. Indeed, if a Free Trade Agreement is signed, New Zealand businesses can look forward to boosted productivity as they shift manufacturing overseas, where their profits are not needlessly impeded by stifling regulations requiring safety provisions, job security, and greater-than-subsistence wages for staff.

“We all know how well the international dialogue works at freeing up human rights. Just look at Iran. Or how well it worked with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. History is on our side,” she explained. “And the fact that we’re all going to make LOADS OF MONEY is just an added bonus.”

Of course, Chinese labourers will benefit as well, gaining employment opportunities with much gentler, richer, more civilised Western corporations. While Kiwi factory workers may lose their jobs in the short term, the entire nation will benefit from a cosier proximity to China’s awesome, indomitable might – a thing of beauty, a source of pride for us all. Yes, it is good see the New Zealand Government does not let a few dead monks get in the way of progress.

Yours sincerely,
Joe Bloggs.

An Open Letter to Helen Clark

Dear Ms. Clark,

I applaud you for your stalwart position in support of Free Trade Agreements. Despite many commentators lambasting you, and the fact that public opinion would appear to diametrically opposed to your party’s support for an FTA with China, you have firmly stood up for what is right both morally and economically. Free Trade has delivered huge benefits for New Zealand over the last twenty years, and has historically been the most effective tool to eradicate poverty.

Restrictions on trade limit the rights of individuals to freely contract without arbitrary interference. They also replace the smooth operation of market forces that drive down prices paid by consumers and therefore improve our wellbeing with the all-toovisible foot of Government intervention, destructive and blind in its impact.

Free trade is economically beneficial because it allows each country, each firm, and each individual to concentrate on that area of production which is within its comparative advantage. Through utilising comparative advantage, wealth is created as firms specialise and lift the rate of production. The rejoinder to anyone questioning the wealth-producing effects of trade should be: “If you really believe that trade will make us poorer, then I suggest you become a barista so you can stop buying coffee from coffee shops; plant a garden instead of purchasing vegetables from New World; and in so doing return to the ‘wealth’ that individuals accrued when long-distance trade was difficult.”

Many people seem concerned about “losing jobs.” This at times seems odd in light of people’s other concerns – long working weeks, not enough public holidays, etc. The idea of ‘losing’ jobs is absurd when put within the context of reciprocal trade: China will gain jobs that they are good at (manufacturing, etc), while New Zealand will gain jobs in areas that we are skilled in (technology, knowledge-based jobs, etc.). People who ask why we would want to compete against sweat shop labour ask the right question but give the wrong answer – we only compete against sweatshop labour when we have restrictions on trade; such a market will never exist in an open trade environment.

Moral concerns about trading with a country that uses sweatshop and child labour are misguided. Yes, the conditions of those forms of labour are horrific – but they also existed throughout the Western World only a century ago. The only way to defeat such conditions is through capital accumulation, which trade delivers. Capital accumulation leads to greater investment in capital goods, which boosts productivity. In a competitive market, greater productivity is rewarded with better workplace conditions and wages.

Adam Smith pointed out that it is very rare that something that makes sense for individuals will not make sense for great nations. Since it makes sense for me to use my comparative advantages to earn money and trade for the other necessities of my life, then it also makes sense for New Zealand to adopt a similar approach. I congratulate you for continuing the reforms that began under the fourth Labour Government, advocated for by that New Zealand hero, Roger Douglas.

Yours sincerely,
Stephen Whittington

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

Comments (3)

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  1. Gwan says:

    “Reporters are barred access to the region, and official reports of bloody flesh cutting rioters and poor innocent assaulted policemen cannot be trusted.”

    Bloody flesh cutting rioters ahahahahaha.
    I think you mean bloody flesh-cutting rioters…

  2. Tom says:

    I am a chinese, in Beijing, we will hold 29th Olympic Games and that is a big and wonderful game for human, we are so friendly and kindly to prepare that.
    Do not make a link with polity. thanks.

  3. minghua says:

    I think there is some prejudice in this paper.
    I’m a Chinese, although China is not so gentler, richer, more civilised as your country are, I love my country deeply,In my eyes,China is the best country in the world, and I believe firmly that China will become more prosperous and developed.

    We are in a hard time these days, but the whole country are working hard to help the disaster area rebuld there new home. Noing can prevent China from developing.

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