March 18th, 2008
|11:09 pm - Tibet from the Chinese Point of View|
NOTE: Posted this exact same post onto a politics community, saving a copy here on my own lj, so don't mind the weird wording.
Hmm....it looks like the Tibet issue is raising quite a few hairs on both sides of the debate. I was shown this video by my roommate and thought it would be beneficial to share it here with the community. I myself am Chinese by ethnicity (born in Beijing) but moved to the USA when I was 6 and later to Canada when I was 9, so most of my growing up was done here in the West. Therefore, regarding this issue I guess I straddle both sides a bit. I've been called "Westernly brainwashed" by my Chinese friends (Chinese as in international students that have only arrived here in Canada for a few years for school and therefore spent most of their life in China) and "Chinese Communist brainwashed" by my Canadian friends, so I guess I'm not solidly in either camp.
The person who made this video I'm guessing, from his/her language usage, did so in a fit of anger at the increasingly global focus on Tibet as the Beijing Olympics nears. A sentiment I can understand considering any and all of the accusations the West has thrown at China can be tossed back just as harshly. I will be the first to admit that China is not a perfect country and has much it needs to work on, humans rights and media censorship being two of the issues to top that list. At the same time, the one-sided coverage over Tibet has me stunned though not exactly surprised. Increasingly I find myself hesitant and even fearful to voice any appraisal or support for China and its government since any opinion in that line gets you labeled as brainwashed and information in that route gets stamped as propaganda by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party).
There seems to be this giant gap between China and the West, something that's not surprising considering the historical, language and cultural barriers that bar the two sides. For the Chinese, there is also a knee-jerk reaction towards nationalist sentiments in retaliation to any foreign attacks verbally, politically or otherwise due to all the conflicts the country had suffered at the hands of various foreign, and particularly what they label as Western countries, throughout the 20th Century. Whether this paranoia against the West is justified or not, however, is a discussion for another day.
I plead that you watch this video with an open mind in considering that there are 2 sides to the Tibet story, as there are 2 sides to every story. It seems, however, that in this trial over Tibet the defendant has been dismissed and the plaintiff has the floor. When around my Canadian friends even a hint that the Tibet issue should require a debate at all is rewarded with an exclamation of disbelief and discreet accusations that I am brainwashed...apparently CCP (Chinese Communist Party)'s propaganda reaches far and deep still resounding in me after 15 years of living on the other side of the planet, going back to visit for a summer only once within those 15 years. It is unfortunate, particularly when that is the response I received when bringing the issue up in a politics class where I always believed open debate was encouraged. For the first time I like I had stumbled upon a forbidden viewpoint unaccepted by people I had previously thought were very open-minded and accepting of new ideas and views.
The person who made this video is a Chinese student living and studying abroad, therefore do excuse the various grammatical errors in the captions and I apologize for his/her usage of the f-word in parts of the captions...not very professional nor productive in bringing his/her point across I admit, except perhaps as an expression of his/her anger. I do not claim that the facts presented in this video are all 100% accurate, whenever the word "fact" is used I believe it should be taken with a healthy dose of doubt, but I present this video to you merely to relay the reality that another opinion exists and is heavily supported by many Chinese. Amongst the circle of Chinese international students here at my university and amongst the Chinese international students' circles at other universities in Canada this video has gained undisputed support and an outpouring of anger at what they perceive as attacks on China's sovereignty to rule over its land and people. Even amongst my most pro-West Chinese friends that adore picking at the faults of the CCP when alone with me will fiercely defend that very government when asked for opinions on China by non-Chinese individuals...there's almost like a magical switch in them. It seems like the unspoken agreement is that it is better to have a Chinese authoritarian government than a Western-dictated democratic on.
Apparently the bridge between China and the West really does have a long way to be built before the two sides meet...between accusations flying, hidden agendas lurking, and the struggles to overcome rooted barriers, what is true, what is fact, what are the true intentions, what is truly being sought after, the questions must be asked before even a chance at an answer will arrive.
I don't know that the stuff about the Dalai Lama being the puppet of the CIA is going to fly, but there's really no way that the other stuff about Scotland, Northern Ireland, Quebec, and treatment of aboriginal peoples can be denied. All in all, while I don't have an opinion on Tibetan independence, I certainly have an opinion on foreign powers butting in on other countries' sovereignties.
And while we're at it, yes, people need to recognize that there is difference between a liberal democracy and an illiberal one, the difference between a "true" democracy, and one in name only. If democracy comes at the price of having riots every election time, or the fear of violence, is that "true" democracy? Most Americans forget that the Founding Fathers of the Continental States of America tried to keep as much voting power away from the uneducated population as they could... which is why we still have all this stuff about electoral collage and crap like that. Do you really trust 700 million people to make informed decisions about the future of one of the soon-to-be most important countries in the world? Uh, no. Not until they're educated. So Westerns need to quit whining about authoritarian regimes. Yes, they have faults, like media censorship, but simply being "undemocratic" is not one of those faults.
I do kind of want to see a few million people gathered here on Parliament Hill protesting something and watch how the Canadian government deals with that. Would the tear gases come out? The tasers? It would be quite a sight I'm sure, it's so much harder to implement true democracy in a country with a population of over 1.3billion and growing, I mean let's face it, numbers count in this case, and it counts for a heck of a lot.