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China: A most unlikely freedom haven

Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.

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Postby Evergreen » Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:54 am

If you do a search in Youtube of Tibet, you get this video as the most watched and highly rated video. It's been viewed at least 1.6 million times since last week. Or just go to the link there http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9QNKB34cJo

Tibet has a really long history of belonging to China so China will never give up Tibet.
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Postby Winston » Mon Mar 24, 2008 8:15 pm

My goodness. What a one sided video. It doesn't even mention all the atrocities and mass murders that China committed in Tibet.

I'll show this video to my dad and see what he thinks.
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Postby momopi » Mon Mar 24, 2008 9:32 pm

I'll quote from George Orwell, author of "Animal Farm" and "1984":

"The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."

Nationalism is a very emotional subject, people get crazy because they're playing for keeps in a zero-sum game.

As for the media bias issue, the CCP sucks at international PR and only reacts after the fact, like this:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2008 ... 563294.htm
Last edited by momopi on Tue Mar 25, 2008 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby DiscoPro_Joe » Tue Mar 25, 2008 3:00 am

On the subject of Tibet and media propaganda, watch this 4-minute video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSQnK5FcKas

And with regard to freedom in China, here's part of an e-mail I sent to a concerned member of a covenant group at my UU church last May:


------------------------------
For a long time, I've believed that no matter where you go in the world, the government is not the country, and the country is not the government. And by being a "passive libertarian," I probably would disagree with the policies of most -- if not all -- governments in the world. This includes China's regime.

But from what I've seen thus far, China the country seems like it can offer me plenty of professional and social opportunities, while the Chinese government apparently would intrude into my private life only to a small extent. (Personally, I'm the type who looks for ways to add freedom to my own life without getting involved in the political process. I don't vote, picket, petition, campaign, nor donate to candidates or political parties. I also had a vasectomy four years ago, and consider myself a humanist.)

I understand that for political activists, for those who wish to raise a family, and for certain religious groups, China may not be a good fit for them. But for me at this point, China seems to be. I could pay an occasional lip service to the Chinese regime when required to do so, and then go about my own business. I know that may seem strange to many Americans, but then again, *I* have always seemed strange to many Americans, too!

I believe that the 2nd-biggest threat to a person's freedom is his own government, while the #1 threat is *himself* and the decisions and choices he makes from day to day. As with me, by remaining in a country where the government tries to micromanage many areas of my life; and where my tastes, values, beliefs, lifestyle, and sense of inspiration are out of touch with almost everyone; I am seriously restricting my own freedom -- especially when I'm almost 30 years old. But I can gain liberty by finding a place that's a better fit.
------------------------------

There you are...
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Postby Jackal » Thu Mar 27, 2008 9:13 pm

Evergreen wrote:Tibet has a really long history of belonging to China so China will never give up Tibet.


That is a gross oversimplification. Here is a timeline of Tibet's history:

127 B.C.: The first king of Tibet begins his rule

The 600s: Tibetan first becomes a unified state under Emperor Songtsen Gampo. With his rule, an era of political and military greatness and territorial expansion started that lasted for three centuries. The Tibetans were allied with the Arabs and the Turks during part of this time.

The late 700s: Tibetan ruler Trisong Detsen expanded the Tibetan empire by conquering parts of China.

763: China's capital Chang'an (modern day Xian) was invaded and China had to pay an annual tribute to Tibet.

783 and 821: Peace signed treaties between Tibet and China which respected their borders at that time.

1240-1350: The Tibetans have a unique, symbiotic relationship with the Mongols. The Mongols give Tibet a high a degree of autonomy and military protection, while the Sakya order of Tibetan monks act as spiritual advisors to the Mongolian emperors and ruled Tibet.

1350: Tibet broke its political relationship with the Mongols when the Tibetan king, Jangchub Gyaltsen, replaced the Sakya Lamas as the most powerful ruler of Tibet.

The following 80 years were a period of relative stability. They also saw the birth of the Gelug order of Tibetan monks (The Dalai Lama's order). After the 1430s, the country entered another period of internal power struggles.

1578: Altan Khan gives a high lama of the Gelug School, Sonam Gyatso, the title of "Dalai Lama" (He was the first one).

1368-1644: The Ming Dynasty is in power in China, but it does not control Tibet. The Tibetans and the Ming Dynasty have diplomatic relations and little more.

1642: The Fifth Dalai Lama, with the help of his Mongol patron Gushri Khan, becomes the supreme political and religious ruler of unified Tibet.

1644: The Ming Dynasty is overthrown by the Manchus in China. However, Tibet still remained essentially independent. The Fifth Dalai Lama not only maintained a close relationship with the Mongols but also developed close ties with the Manchu rulers. The Manchu Emperor and the Fifth Dalai Lama visited each other and bestowed titles on each other. The Manchu army helped defend Tibet against invaders on several occasions but did not "occupy" Tibet.

1908: The Manchus do truly invade Tibet by force. However, the Manchu Empire collapses and the Tibetans are able to fight off the Manchus.

In the summer of 1912, Nepalese mediation between Tibet and China resulted in the conclusion of the "Three Point Agreement" providing for formal surrender and expulsion of all remaining Imperial troops. After returning to Lhasa, the Thirteenth Dalai Lama issued a proclamation reaffirming the independence of Tibet on 14 February 1913.

1913-1950: Tibet is independent.

1951: The Chinese Communists take control of Tibet.

more info: http://www.tibet.com/WhitePaper/white1.html

So the Chinese did not historically "rule" Tibet in any way that the word "rule" is normally understood. It's more accurate to say that Chinese dynasties had diplomatic relations with Tibet for the majority of the time. The Mongols seemed to have far more influence on the Tibetans and were closer to them culturally.

Tibet was independent for almost half a century before the Communists invaded Tibet.
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Postby momopi » Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:24 am

Jackal wrote:1644: The Ming Dynasty is overthrown by the Manchus in China. However, Tibet still remained essentially independent. The Fifth Dalai Lama not only maintained a close relationship with the Mongols but also developed close ties with the Manchu rulers. The Manchu Emperor and the Fifth Dalai Lama visited each other and bestowed titles on each other. The Manchu army helped defend Tibet against invaders on several occasions but did not "occupy" Tibet.

1908: The Manchus do truly invade Tibet by force. However, the Manchu Empire collapses and the Tibetans are able to fight off the Manchus.


Now that's gross simplification. I'm part Manchu so I should at least know my own history.

Tibet was under various Mongol Kings from 1637-1720, who deposed and installed Dalai Lamas. The Qing Emperor Kangxi ordered an invasion of Tibet in 1717 and successfully conquered the Kingdom in 1720.

The Qing Empire annexed parts of Kham and Amdo (formally eastern part of old Tibetan Empire), occupied central Tibet military, and installed imperial residents from the Colonial Affairs office from 1727-1911/1912. Tibet was imperial territory and all major political decisions had to be approved by the imperial residents. Thousands of imperial troops were stationed in Lhasa as insurance.

The 1905-1908 "invasion" was a punitive expedition to Kham and Amdo, not central Tibet (or even part of central Tibet administration). The central Tibet invasion took place in 1910, when Qing forces deposed the Dalai Lama.
Last edited by momopi on Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jackal » Fri Mar 28, 2008 1:38 am

You're probably right. I'm no expert on Chinese history, but I just felt I needed to get something out there to hint at the complexity involved. I also felt if I made it too long nobody would read it.

It seems what's needed is an unbiased account of Tibetan relations with the Ming Dynasty and the Manchus, but I couldn't dig one up yet.
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Postby Jackal » Fri Mar 28, 2008 2:35 am

Okay Momopi, what do you think of this summary from the Tibetan Government in Exile's website. I admit it might be biased in some ways, but I trust them more than I trust the PRC.


"Relations with Manchu

Tibet developed no ties with Chinese Ming Dynasty (1386-1644). On the other hand, the Dalai Lama, who established his sovereign rule over Tibet with the help of a Mongol patron in 1642, did develop close religious ties with the Manchu emperors, who conquered China and established the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The Dalai Lama agreed to become the spiritual guide of the Manchu emperor, and accepted patronage and protection in exchange. This "priest-patron" relationship (known in Tibetan as Choe-Yoen), which the Dalai Lama also maintained with some Mongol princes and Tibetan nobles, was the only formal tie that existed between the Tibetans and Manchus during the Qing Dynasty. It did not, in itself, affect Tibet's independence.

On the political level, some powerful Manchu emperors succeeded in exerting a degree of influence over Tibet. Thus, between 1720 and 1792, Emperors Kangxi, Yong Zhen, and Qianlong sent imperial troops to Tibet four times to protect the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people from foreign invasions by Mongols, and Gorkhas or from internal unrest. These expeditions provided the emperor with the means for establishing influence in Tibet. He sent representatives to the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, some of whom successfully exercised their influence, in his name, over the Tibetan government, particularly with respect to the conduct of foreign relations. At the height of Manchu power, which lasted a few decades, the situation was not unlike that which can exist between a superpower and a satellite or protectorate, and therefore one which, though politically significant, does not extinguish the independent existence of the weaker state. Tibet was never incorporated into the Manchu Empire, much less China, and it continued to conduct its relations with neighboring states largely on its own.

Manchu influence did not last very long. It was entirely ineffective by the time the British briefly invaded Lhasa and concluded a bilateral treaty with Tibet, the Lhasa Convention, in 1904. Despite this loss of influence, the imperial government in Peking continued to claim some authority over Tibet, particularly with respect to its international relations, an authority which the British imperial government termed "suzerainty" in its dealings with Peking and St. Petersburg, Russia. Chinese imperial armies tried to reassert actual influence in 1910 by invading the country and occupying Lhasa. Following the 1911 revolution in China and the overthrow of the Manchu Empire, the troops surrendered to the Tibetan army and were repatriated under a sino-Tibetan peace accord. The Dalai Lama reasserted Tibet's full independence internally, by issuing a proclamation, and externally, in communications to foreign rulers and in a treaty with Mongolia.

Tibet in the 20th Century: Tibet's status following the expulsion of Manchu troops is not subject to serious dispute. What ever ties existed between the Dalai Lama and the Manchu emperors of the Qing Dynasty were extinguished with the fall of that empire and dynasty. From 1911 to 1950, Tibet successfully avoided undue foreign influence and behaved, in every respect, as a fully independent state."

from http://www.tibet.com/Status/statuslaw.html
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Postby momopi » Fri Mar 28, 2008 8:02 am

There are 3 general geographic areas of Tibet:
Inner Tibet: Kham and Amdo (partially annexed by Qing in 1728, further annxed by PRC after 1951)
Southern Tibet: Annexed by British India in 1914 (now Arunachal Pradesh)
Outer Tibet: aka Central Tibet, conquered by Qing in 1720, annexed by PRC in 1951 as Tibet T.A.R.

During Ming Dynasty, all foreign states were required to enter a tributary relationship before official ties, agreements, or trade can be conducted. Central Tibet may not have been a tributary state, but Kham and Amdo were. In 1536 alone some 4,000 Tibetans from Kham and Amdo went to pay tribute to the Ming Court and conduct import/export business. There was so many of them that the Ming Court complained about their numbers.

To say that Ming had little or no relations with Tibetans would be incorrect, but we'd also have to ask "which Tibetans". The Tibetan empire fell in mid 9th century and central Tibet had no authority over Kham and Amdo areas at the time, which were ruled by local princes. So you'd have to draw your own conclusions.

The Manchus conquered Korea (Joseon) in 1627-1636, China in 1644-1683, defeated the Russian Empire in 1652-1686 (Nerchinsk Treaty of 1689), conquered Taiwan in 1683, Tibet in 1720, outer Mongolia in 1755-1757, Chinese Turkstan (Xinjiang) in 1758-1759, etc. to reach its maximum extent of control. The Empire did not lose territory to the Europeans until 1842, so I'd say that Qing power lasted a longer than few decades!

Tibet & Mongolia were handled by the Colonial Affairs office and not office of foreign affairs. The Qing considered them to be part of the empire and installed imperial residents that oversaw all major political decisions, as well as confirming the appointments of Dalai Lama's. This lasted for about 2 centuries (1727-1911/1912):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Qi ... s_in_Tibet

These guys were also backed by couple thousand Imperial Troops posted in Lhasa, as insurance and to enforce their decisions.

Does Qing history make Tibetan or Chinese nationalism any more or less valid? No -- the Qing Empire has been gone for over a century. My tribe had its day in the sun and that sun set in 1912. Yet both Han Chinese and Tibetan nationalists keep digging up our skeletons and drag it around. I'd say to them, it's your era now, go make your own history.
Last edited by momopi on Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jackal » Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:29 pm

I'm inclined to believe you, Momopi. However, the sentence,

"At the height of Manchu power, which lasted a few decades, the situation was not unlike that which can exist between a superpower and a satellite or protectorate, and therefore one which, though politically significant, does not extinguish the independent existence of the weaker state."

might just mean that Manchu power in Tibet lasted only a few decades (or at least that it was only very visible or apparent to the Tibetans at this time). They seem to be trying to say that the situation between the Qing dynasty and Tibet was something like the situation between present-day USA and Puerto Rico. Sure, we could dominate Puerto Rico in a second, but we generally leave 'em alone as long as they pay taxes.

I guess the Tibetan Government in Exile's arguments in these passages just seem to be along the lines of "Gee, we got along so darn well with our conquerors and they let us have such a high degree of autonomy that it hardly felt like we were conquered, and some of our monks were their emperor's spiritual advisors so this implies at least equal status and mutual respect."

From these webpages it seems like the Tibetans were happy as a clam with the Mongolians and the Manchus (until 1908). Perhaps a better argument than the "We were hardly ever conquered" argument would be: "Gee, the Mongolians and the Manchus treated us with respect--why can't you Commies do the same?"

Although Tibet was clearly independent for over a thousand years before the Mongolians arrived (127 B.C. to 1207).
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Postby momopi » Fri Mar 28, 2008 10:58 pm

...this is what I mean by digging up skeletons, LoL.

The Tibetans submitted to the Mongols in 1200's, because they saw Mongols liquidate the buffer state of Western Sha (Xia) between Tibet and Mongolia, Old Testament style. The Tanguts of Western Sha offended the Mongols and were wiped off the map.

After Qing conquered Tibet in 1720, the Tibetans had a good look at what happened to their neighbors who rebelled. The body count in 1800's was 12 million Hui Muslims, 5 million Hmongs, plus about 20 million Hans (Taiping). Long story short, natives rebelled with spears, Manchu army came with Krupp siege guns.

The Tibetan government in exile would like to think the relationship between Tibet and Qing as Priest and Patron. My opinion is that they were too smart to suffer the same fate as their neighbors, so they submitted and kept their heads down. Had they rebuffed the Mongols in 1200's, there wouldn't be a Tibetan civilization today. Your opinion may vary.

=============

Now, a little bit about Qing Dynasty social structure.

The Manchus were organized into banners. Men from the banners are supposed to train in martial skills and join as a solider. If you're born as a Manchu banners-man (or women) you received government subsidies in a hereditary stipend. The subsidies were paid in taels of silver and dans of grain/rice.

1 tael of silver is about 1.2 troy ounce, and worth about 1,000 copper coins. If you ever bought those "ancient Chinese coins" (real or fake) at the mall, the copper ones with a hole in the middle, 1 tael of silver = 1,000 of those. In Qing times a few copper coins will buy you a meal.

1 dan of grain is equal to about 60.5 kg, or 133 lbs. If you visit local Chinese supermarkets, the large bags of rice that are about same size as a pillow, is 25 lbs each.

A Manchu Banner solider typically received 3-4 taels of silver per month, plus 72 dan (72 x 133 lbs) of grain every 6 months. If you were stationed in a rural/frontier area, you received 2 taels of silver, the grain, plus 13-19 acres of tax-free land that you could have your family cultivate, or sub-lease to tenant farms.

If you're an officer, your pay was 2-3 times of lower-ranking soldiers. If a Manchu banner solider dies, his widow will receive 1/2 of his stipend, and each child given a smaller stipend. The government also subsidized weddings, funerals, etc.

Non-Manchus did not receive any of these benefits by birth, they were the sheep that the Manchus taxed. A non-Manchu who joins the army, received 1/2 pay of a Manchu solider of equal rank, with very little death benefits.

As a minority that ruled over much larger populations, the Manchus were ready and willing to use violence whenever and wherever necessary. Everyone else existed for the purpose of paying taxes or tribute for the benefit of the banners. Tibetans, Mongols, Hans, etc. were lower class subjects and not equals by race and ethnicity. "Equal status" between Manchu and other races was not an accepted concept.

Unfortunately for them (or fortunately for everyone else), 2 centuries of living on government welfare degraded the ruling tribes to a bunch of lazy bums. When the British consular Alexander Hosie visited a banner garrison in Chengdu in 1880, he noted that the people, including the women, were sloppy-dressed, lazy-looking, and commented "everything announced the presence of parasites battening on government pay, without affording any adequate return".

And that, lead to the downfall of the Qing. What does this have to do with Tibetans today? Very little. Qing Empire is dead and buried, digging up our bones won't help you.

My advice to Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama: find a way to land in Beijing this sumer during the Olympics. Declare "I surrender" in front of dozens of international press, then refuse to leave. Put the ball in PRC's court and watch the leadership panic.


p.s. Residents of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico pays no federal income tax. They have no representative in Congress and cannot vote in US Presidential Elections. They are allowed to send a non-voting Resident of the Commonwealth to the US House of Representatives.
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Postby Jackal » Sat Mar 29, 2008 3:10 am

Momopi, I'm going to reply to you in a new thread called "Tibet discussion".

It was not my intention to completely hijack DiscoJoe's rather ironically named thread, but I had to mention the obvious freedoms that China is lacking.

DiscoJoe, I agree with you that China is probably great for foreigners who are just looking for business opportunities, good food, and loose women.
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Postby momopi » Sun Mar 30, 2008 3:07 pm

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Postby Winston » Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:44 pm

Sorry if this might sound like a shallow question that's out of context here, but why is it that you never see any attractive women in Tibet?

Even the leading female Tibet character in the movie "7 Years In Tibet" with Brad Pitt, wasn't that attractive.

Does the media hide all the attractive women there?
Last edited by Winston on Mon Mar 31, 2008 4:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby momopi » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:44 pm

Tibetan women in Lhasa, 2005:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ed0aO6QcfEY
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