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Updated 13/11/12: Mainstream media and Tibetan Self-Immolations with Commentary from my trip to Lhasa.

Updated: Oh Dear! 13Nov 2012, the little Northern Commie Minister Hong “Da man” Lei has lost the little plot! We down South are all laughing at his latest Paranoid Commie Rant! Seriously if Dalai Lama had that kind of power…gee, you don’t think he would have done more than ask his own people to burn themselves to death? That makes no sense whatsoever! Oh please,Northern dude, please grow the hell up, get yourself a proper passport and travel the world a bit like the rest of us do Down South before you start another boring 1000 yrs North-South civil war that you have no idea how to “end”…..:) Please! Stop this non-sense, you treat the people better, they don’t feel the need to burn themselves into Smithereens!

These crazy accusations of your own incompetence in Ruling with Wisdom is sounding silly! Get over it! 

Source: The Alpena News Michigan

China slams Dalai Lama; Tibetans self-immolate
November 13, 2012
Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — China accused the Dalai Lama of allying with Japanese right-wingers in an island dispute as a way of attacking China and blamed him for glorifying a wave of self-immolations among Tibetans. The comments came as state media reported two more Tibetans died after setting themselves on fire.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the Dalai Lama’s comments in Japan on the island dispute showed his “reactionary nature” and determination to split China apart under the guise of religion.

“To achieve his separatist goal, he associated with the Japanese right-wing forces. Chinese people despise him for what he did. We are firmly opposed to any country’s providing a stage for him,” Hong said.

Chinese media have said the Dalai Lama called the islands by their Japanese name during a news conference in Yokohama last Monday but an Associated Press review of a tape of the event showed he referred to them only as “the islands.”

On Monday in Okinawa, the Dalai Lama criticized Chinese media for making up a claim that he sided with the Japanese.

Tensions have run high over the islands, known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese, since the Japanese government nationalized some of them in September in a bid to prevent Tokyo’s right-wing governor from buying them. Violent anti-Japanese protests broke out in Chinese cities, and Beijing has sent ships to conduct near-constant patrols near the uninhabited rocks.

Note from Cecilia: My heart goes out to all the Tibetans who self-immolated because of the oppression at the hands of Communist Chinese Government. Everyone suffers, tibetans and chinese people from these dictators, killers and human rights violators. ♥ I want Tibet and China to be Free from their killing and torture. Freedom is priceless.It is difficult for the West to understand how oppressive the situation is. Perhaps as a Hong Kong Chinese person who has travelled to Tibet and have had life-long friendships with many Tibetans, I can share a simple “shocking” realisation by way of an antidote.

The last time I was in Tibet, I travelled alone to Lhasa on a flight to wait for my friend Amy who was coming by four wheel drive across the HImalayas. I had several days in Lhasa where I was alone and was looked after by an Urdu-Muslim guesthouse owner who was a business partner of my Sherpa friend in Kathmandu. His hotel was at the back of the Jokhang in the Urdu-Muslim section, opposite the Mosque. His people had been part of China’s diversity since the 12th century.

We spoke Mandarin to one another because it was the ONLY language we had in common. He did not speak English nor Cantonese. So we struggled on. He was very worried about my altitude sickness so he suggested that I went to a local place to take some Yak Meat Noodle, reasoning that the Yak Meat would help me adjust to the high altitude. What we saw along the way was essentially Tibetan houses with an imposed Chinese Characteristic. It looked odd as I had seen many many traditional chinese houses and traditional authentic tibetan homes.

As we sat through the Yak Meat Noodle, which really had the most revolting smell for me…this made my host laugh at my discomfort. I raised my voice to him and jokingly pretending to play slap him for laughing at me. All this seemed really “normal” until I noticed the reaction by a Tibetan couple at the next table, with a young child on the mother’s knee. They FROZE in fear when I raised my voice to my Urdu host. Yes, even the tiny child, who was not able to walk yet…all Three froze in fear and dared not utter a sound. The reaction was so spontaneous that I looked at my friend in shock.

The family of three only relaxed after my host leaned over and said,”She is from Hong kong. She is joking with me.”

Now, I would like everyone to think about what it is like, for all of us; Tibetan, Urdu-Muslim and Hong kong chinese to be in a situation like that where almost anywhere else in the world, this would just be a simple scene at a Nooodle house. When a child knows this level of fear, simply upon hearing the sound of a Chinese person raising her voice to a friend?

How then can you ask me or anyone why life can be so oppressive on a mental, psychological level that people wish to self-immolate? A simple Tibetan Child’s first learned reaction was to hold its breathe and keep quiet at the sound of a chinese voice! This was before that child even had a chance to learn to speak Tibetan, Chinese or any other language.

Communist Chinese Government did not just harm All Tibetans in their psychological oppression and physical torture, they harmed me, a simple Hongkong tourist because by association, they had turned me into the very Symbol of Chinese dictatorship.

Now, do you all understand why I always said,” I do not wish to live in a world where Being Chinese is the only way of life for the whole planet. Even though it would benefit me as a fairly privileged Hong Kong Chinese person in the hierachy, the fact is I would HATE to live in a world where my people Crushed everyone else’s diversity AND being Chinese was the ONLY Option left for those who do not wished to be killed. That’s not liveable for anyone.”

Please reblogg this article with care. It is time the world just stop pandering to Communist Chinese Government’s regime of torture. I am asking as a Free thinking Modern Chinese Woman for the world to take notice of what has happened to Tibetans inside Tibet. This is not a joke. Imagine if Hitler won and you are jewish, gay, black , a unionist or a gypsy. YES,  I know how I could be viewed by the Tibetan family I spoke of. What amazed me was that they didn’t treat me that way!

When they were all able to breathe again, they actually smiled back at me when I  offered them some of our Yaks’ butter tea (Honestly, I was not going to drink it and they all knew that because it smelt horrible!). Never in my life, have I ever had the occassion to be ashamed of my own culture. Even though I’m Chinese, I am urging the world to NEVER FORGET the Tibetans inside Tibet just as I am asking the world to NEVER forget the Chinese Nobel Peace Laureate LIu Xiaobo!

My heartfelt love and prayer goes to those who self-immolated. Though I cannot represent the entire Chinese culture, I want to say, the educated men and women from my limited Yu clan, wish to send this Prayer to them. Maybe that is not a lot but it is a start and sometimes in the chinese world, a small symbolic gesture can shift mountains effortlessly! Omanipadmehung

Reblogged from source: Asia Sentinel  http://asiasentinel.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4789&Itemid=189
(Reproduced in Full)

Why isn’t the western press more outraged?

The number of Tibetans who have self-immolated crossed 50 last week as the struggle against the Chinese rule inside Tibet continues unabated. Since 2009, the same ghastly image of a burning Tibetan, most likely to be a monk or a nun in his or her 20s, has been repeating ad infinitum on the Tibetan plateau.

The global media, however, has remained relatively silent, even though the reports and images of the self-immolations have spread among social networking sites, generating both controversy and confusion.

The media’s relatively muted coverage partly explains the lack of international response to the crisis unfolding inside Tibet. Scholars have often pointed out the correlation between media coverage of international events with the foreign policy priorities of the given nations.

Does the lack of coverage shows the Western world’s relative lack of direct material stake in Tibet and the growing influence of China? Or is it because Tibet is simply inaccessible to journalists, practically locked down to outside observers?

Such incidents have historically gained much bigger coverage in the past. The case of self-immolation of Vietnamese monk Thich Quang Duc who died protesting against the persecution of Buddhists by Vietnamese Roman Catholics in 1963 was reported by The New York Times – filed by its noted correspondent David Halberstarm – on the front page for several days.

In the case of Tibet, British papers have so far been slightly better, with the Guardian and the Economist writing about the issue. It is not Western writers who have written about it, however. Author Patrick French was one of the first to write about self-immolation in the context of Tibet when he opened his book Tibet, Tibet: The Personal History of a Lost Land with the image of Tibetan Thupten Ngodup who killed himself in 1998 in New Delhi, protesting against the Chinese rule in Tibet (“turning the violence inwards, killing himself and protecting others.”)

In the meantime, the Tibetan leadership based in exile is caught between a rock and a hard place. Supporting self-immolators send a major ripple effect across the Tibetan communities while the opposite is seen as insensitive if not weak by the Tibetan people.

“We have made several appeals to Tibetan people not to resort to drastic actions like self-immolation but it continues today,” said Lobsang Sangay, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile. “It brings sadness to Tibetan people and as Buddhists we pray for them.”

Such measured responses by the Tibetan leadership have not gone down well with some segments of the Tibetan cause. Yet both the Tibetan leadership and the Tibetan people remain unified in their concern over the Western mainstream media’s indifference over the Tibetan fiasco.

The media’s role in highlighting the situation inside Tibet is not to be underestimated, particularly if seen from the critical role played by the press and social networking sites during the revolt in the Middle East. The death of Tunisian Mohammed Boazizi and media reports of it touched off the Arab Spring. There is a definite link between the media’s silence on Tibetan self-immolations and the lack of international response towards it. (The economist Amartya Sen, for instance, had noted how famines have never occurred in a functioning democracy with a vibrant media.)

Quite ironically, the mainstream media’s mild response shows precisely why Tibetans were forced to take such drastic measures to win sympathy for their cause, as suggested the title of the Prime Minister Sangay’s own op-ed piece in the Washington Post in June of this year – headlined “For Tibetans, No Other Way of Protest.”

“Denied the right to less extreme forms of protest,” he wrote in the piece. “Tibetans are setting fire to themselves as political action.”

Indeed, much discussion centers around whether the self-immolation is a religious ritual or political protest as illustrated by a seminar organized by a consortium of French Asian-studies departments in Paris in May 2012: “Tibet Burning: Ritual or a Political Protest?”

Both it seems are true. But the question why the self-immolation is occurring is less important than asking what effects they are likely to have. And for outside observers, it is of course difficult to understand the exact motivation of the self-immolators.

Except for the letters left behind by the protesters, it is hard to access the thoughts of those carrying out self-immolation. Nonetheless, the commonplace thesis is that for Buddhist Tibetans, denied any recourse to protest, self-immolation offers the easiest means of non-violent political protest.

“Traditionally, ascetic practice targeted an inner enemy: selfish clinging, vanity, enmity,” wrote a professor of Tibetan Buddhism Janet Gyatso of Harvard University in journal Cultural Anthropology, earlier this year. “Today the target of Tibet’s recent self-immolations is an outer enemy: an intrusive, repressive, unsympathetic state.”

Yet the state is not an easy enemy. Pictures on the Internet blogs show masses of Chinese policeman walking around Lhasa armed with fire extinguishers, aimed to deny the Tibetan protesters the right to determine their own death.

Luckily, as the cases of self-immolations in Tibet grow, there has been a slight increase in media coverage. Reports also point out that situation might change for the better with the upcoming leadership shuffle in China. Also on September 1, China announced Ling Jihua, an ally of president Hu Jintao would take over the powerful United Front Department, the body in charge of dealing with negotiations with the representatives of the Dalai Lama.

Observers believe it is too early to say if Ling could break the impasse in China-Tibet negotiations that had persisted under his hard-line predecessor Du Qinglin.

A change in key leadership has also taken place in Tibet’s exile government. Earlier this year, the Dalai Lama’s long-time envoys to Beijing, Gyari Lodro Gyaltsen and Kyalsang Gyaltsen have stepped down – and the Tibetan administration is yet to fill in the vacated posts. Later this month, members of the exiled Tibetan community are to gather in Dharamsala to brainstorm how best to move forward with their negotiations with China and map out a unified response to the crisis unfolding inside Tibet.

The media is a powerful force of political change – as we saw in the Middle East and elsewhere – and its role could not be emphasized more, especially in a place as heavily censored as Tibet.

(The writer is a Tibetan writer and journalist based in the US.)

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4 comments on “Updated 13/11/12: Mainstream media and Tibetan Self-Immolations with Commentary from my trip to Lhasa.

  1. kav108
    June 18, 2014

    It is sad to see these people set themselves on fire.
    The article mentioned in depth NYT coverage in 1963, and it could be that the monks today are using that as precedent – if it worked back then it might work again – but it doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe the leadership could consider a change in strategy.

    I find China’s current efforts in the the South China Sea similar, “90% of the SC sea”. It is a slippery slope of sovereignty. Perhaps the monks would do well to educate more people how they lost sovereignty in the 1950s, especially since history seems to be repeating itself, though not on land.

    A bunch of Tibetan monks visiting the beaches in South East Asia and peacefully protesting and educating others, would probably get much more media coverage for their cause.

    I’m only playing armchair general. Strategic logic is complicated and there are many more factors. But something needs to change. A first step is realizing that living and continuing to struggle for their independence is a whole lot more difficult than the extreme suffering of 45 seconds of pure pain.

    I just wanted to stop by to thank you for sharing Lok San Ho’s translation of the Dao De Jing, and also for your inspiring work. Thank you.

    p.s I don’t know if this is a duplicate post. WordPress login required and the original one is gone

    • ceciliawyu
      June 18, 2014

      Thank you. I responded to your first comment.

  2. Kevin
    June 18, 2014

    It is sad to see these people set themselves on fire.
    The article mentioned in depth NYT coverage in 1963, and it could be that the monks today are using that as precedent – if it worked back then it might work again – but it doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe the leadership could consider a change in strategy.

    I find China’s current efforts in the the South China Sea similar, “90% of the SC sea”. It is a slippery slope of sovereignty. Perhaps the monks would do well to educate more people how they lost sovereignty in the 1950s, especially since history seems to be repeating itself, though not on land.

    A bunch of Tibetan monks visiting the beaches in South East Asia and peacefully protesting and educating others, would probably get much more media coverage for their cause.

    I’m only playing armchair general. Strategic logic is complicated and there are many more factors. But something needs to change. A first step is realizing that living and continuing to struggle for their independence is a whole lot more difficult than the extreme suffering of 45 seconds of pure pain.

    I just wanted to stop by to thank you for sharing Lok San Ho’s translation of the Dao De Jing, and also for your inspiring work. Thank you.

    • ceciliawyu
      June 18, 2014

      Yes. It is hard to get people to understand that “to win”…..it is important to never lose compassion for oneself and others but also the first precept of buddhism is harm no one……do not harm oneself.

      But I want to say that as a hong kong chinese – australian….I only saw hints of how awful communist chinese oppressions were to these poor tibetan buddhists. it makes me ashamed of my own culture to see how intolerant they are and it disgusts me that in todays Communist China run by those still stuck in the feudal dictatorship of Chairman Mao crowning himself emperor without the mandate of heaven. ……all can see the natural disasters that continues to plague the land. This is a reflection of the corruption of leadership and quite frankly….it is preferrable that One China dispersed…if Beiking cannot handle things in a way that means ordinary citizens feel so much oppression and feel so “silenced” and censored…they have to self immolate! Has Communist Chinese really changed from 6’4 and tanking of their own students? Talk is cheap. It is best to “use our conscience”…..the Tao favours no kin nor relations….it favours those who abide by the laws of compassion……

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