Views: 5201|Replies: 10

China's Wild Wild West [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 4

Post time 2008-3-26 09:08:23 |Display all floors
Tibetans ran riot in Lhasa on March 10. The otherwise idyllic ancient city, famous for its magnificent tourist attraction - the Potala Palace, turns suddenly to bedlam. Chaotic scenes, much like a ravaged war zone, created by the sheer madness of the mobs became a global focus. This was not a movie scene of "Wild Wild West" ala Chinese. This was real. There were no signs of it coming beforehand. Unbelievably, it just happened; things erupted ferociously out of control.

But this incident revealed more than China's internal problem. It has also revealed the kind of mentality that the western media possess towards China.

Senseless violence

Large crowds of mainly young Tibetans under the roll call of the 'monks', rampaged through the city committing atrocious acts of vandalism, arson, pillage and even killings. In a very short space of time, Lhasa was plunged into a complete state of anarchy. The city was effectively in crisis. 'Monks' were shown in news footages riding motorcycles like 'mat rempit' gesturing to the charged up mobs - some were standing by as if supervising, some were knocking on signboards with rocks and some even ran amok together with the crowds.

The appearance of 'monks' offers a slight reminder of a similar protest in Burma, not long ago. The only difference was the monks in Lhasa was a lot more 'active' and 'fiercer'.

Testimonies by foreign tourists, emerged days ofter the riots, gave similar accounts of what happened. They described how throngs of 'howling mobs' terrorise the city by damaging properties, looting shops, burning and overturning vehicles, beating and killing passers-by.

"They were howling like wolves... They started attacking anything and anyone that looked Chinese" - Claude Balsiger, a 25-year-old Swiss backpacker in Lhasa.

The disturbance also spread to neighbouring provinces with large Tibetan community. They set fire to Chinese busineses and stormed government buildings. The police were also the target of attacks. And yes, they howls all the same.

These are not 'peaceful demonstrations' as purported by certain parties. These are clearly a form of violence.

It was indeed shocking but to many Asian countries which enjoys the privilege of having alternative news reporting from the local and regional as well as from China and western news agencies, it was even more shocking to see, in disbelief, at the reactions mainly from western countries in which the government was blamed and that Chinese victims were ignored, altogether!

Restoring order

Two days of rioting which had severely threatens social security has prompted the authority to take measures to control the situation and prevent civil disorder from escalating further. About 170 rioters have surrendered to the authority for leniency while 24 others were arrested so far. The situation in Lhasa has returned to normal as quickly as it had started.

Sporadic attacks in neighbouring provinces, however, are still occuring. But all is expected to come to rest real soon as security crackdowns are underway to quell further unrest in the region. Troops are on standby, ready to be deployed anytime when needed.

Controversy which surrounds the approach in the clamping down of violence become keypoints in western media and to Tibetan activists and rights groups to denounce the authority. No fatal mishandling of rioters were confirmed although 'self-defence' of the police were reportedly to have wounded four. Western antipathy towards the Chinese authority was founded in the blame that the police used force while most in Asia think they were not using enough force to contain the violence which resulted in the loss of control.

The atmosphere will remain tense in months to come as the upcoming Olympic Games is likely to fuel attempts by the extremists to gain global attention to their radical political cause.

Gross injustice

Amidst the rioting that broke out in Lhasa, western media gave overwhelming prominence to voices seemingly sympathetic to the Tibetans and those of pro-Tibet while the plight of ethnic Hans who were the real victims in this attacks was appallingly neglected. Interviews with victims, some lying in beds covered with wounds, and eye witnesses were not shown and accounts by parents of burnt victims were simply not present in their reporting.

Why were the Tibetans favoured over the Hans? Is it because the Tibetans are more pitiful? Why weren't the non-aggressor Hans been given equal amount of coverage in their reporting? Is it because it's ok to attack the Hans? Who are the real victims in this riot? The Tibetans or the Hans? After a while, you will begin to see what it was all about.

The reason is because they want to make a point. It is not about the 'rioting'. Riot is not the main point in this issue. It is about giving the separatist Tibetans a chance and platform to voice their political struggle. It is about capitalizing on the momentum of the event to market and publicise anti-China sentiment to a potentially large audience. Then it all makes sense!

Western media are keen to present their side's of the story to Chinese viewers. But their accounts and reporting are depressingly bias. They were not showing the desired quality of being neutral, independent and impartial. Yet, they riled at the Chinese censorship whenever their transmissions are being blacked out and web access to their sites are blocked. Isn't it a manifestation of bigotry? It works both ways, gentlemen. If accounts from the Chinese side are not reported or are not getting a balanced reporting in foreign news and networks, so can the Chinese to disallow foreign media's one-sided accounts be shown and made available on their side. If the Chinese do not get fair treatment, naturally, the other side won't get it either. Isn't that how things work? Western media were mounting aggressive, unfair and insidious propaganda. The Chinese, which has no equal means of countering the attacks, are entitled the right to protect themselves from the media onslaught.

Western governments and political figures are also doing great disservice, not only to the Chinese people but also the people of the world, by making distortion of the truth.

"We urge China to respect the fundamental and universally recognised right of all of its citizens to peacefully express their political and religious views, and we call on China to release monks and others who have been detained solely for the peaceful expression of their views." - Condoleeza Rice, US Secretary of State.

To anyone's chagrin, 'violent protesters' are being portrayed as 'peaceful demonstrators'. That statement isn't 'solely' for the 'peaceful expression' of the 'monks' and Tibetan 'demonstrators'. It is solely to paint a negative picture of the Chinese authority as the aggressor.

European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering said political leaders would 'reconsider' attending the opening ceremony if the "repression" continued. This was a sinister comment which insinuates a perceived wrong on the part of the Chinese government. In other words, Chinese authority is not allowed to suppress the madness. Let the mobs burn, vandalise, loot and kill. If they stop the mobs from 'expressing' their insanity, the move will be labelled as 'repression'! Rioting and killing are not brutal. Stopping riot and killing is brutal.

In that sense, almost every countries are guilty of 'repression': Thailand repressed its restive south, Indonesia repressed Acheh, Turkey and Iraq repressed Kurds, India repressed Kashmir, Spain repressed Basques, France repressed Arab-Parisian youths... etc. So, the next time Mr. Poettering sees riots and disturbances in those places, he may want to express his concern about 'repression' in those 'free' countries. Will he not?

Rights groups are equally hypocritical on this issue. Is violence human rights? Is killing human rights?

It is futile to placate the implacable. But this incident reveals a residue of Cold War mentality in the west. Those who commits vandalism and arson are not demonstrators but 'anarchists'. And those who kills civilians are not civilians themselves but 'terrorists'. Western governments demands that Chinese government exercise 'restraint' towards 'anarchists' and 'terrorists'. How kanasai.

[end of part 1]
Malaysian-born Chinese

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2008-3-26 09:52:30 |Display all floors



What went wrong?

If there is something we can take from the 'howling' groups and media, it has to be that the Tibetans are having problems. What are their problems?

Maybe we can point our fingers first at others or somewhere else. So, were the Tibetans influenced from the outside? The riot began abruptly to full scale on March 10 to coincide with the last uprising which occurred exactly 49 years ago. It reveals a pattern of an organised campaign. Was Dalai Lama responsible? Or was he unaware of the plot in the movement himself? Is he still in control of the Tibetan movement? But why didn't the Dalai Lama condemns the violence right from the beginning? Why didn't he try to stop it? Instead, he was quick to accuse the government of 'rule of terror' and 'cultural genocide' in Tibet and calls for international involvement in the problem. Only when he was pointed out as being responsible for the mess did he issued statements for peace and declared would step down from leading the Tibetan movement if the violence continues. Was he play acting? Is Dalai Lama a hypocrite?!

Whether or not Dalai Lama was responsible for it or the Tibetan movement took action on their own without the approval and knowledge of the spiritual leader, these are outside influences. If an outside influence or a supposed 'instigation' was to blame, why did it get so well received by the local Tibetans in China? So, the problem has got to be also from inside of China. It all goes back to the local Tibetan people itself.

Why did they riot? Tibet has been peaceful for a long time. It enjoys a great degree of autonomy, experienced massive developments, flourishing tourism readily attest to Tibet's prosperity, freedom and peace. What are the reasons and justifications for their riot?

Are they 'oppressed' as alleged by the outsiders? This was one of the keypoints highlighted by the western media. If they are not oppressed, how can they be so devoid of conscience as to terrorise and kill their own fellow countrymen? In fact, they are waging war against the government with firearms and explosives. It was showing signs of planned attacks. Why are they so unpatriotic as to pluck out the national flag and burn it and replace it with the Tibetan flag?

Then we can ask why weren't the local ethnic Hans aware of an imminent riot? Don't they mix together?

The answer may lie in the way the Hans treated the Tibetans. Many have described how they regard the Tibetans as a special ethnic group in Tibet which require extra attention and respect. Some Chinese related how Tibetans are commonly given 'special treatment' on a wide range of matters, including free ride on trains. Nobody would confront them for not buying tickets, not even the police. No one bothers most of the time. The Hans tries to not cause trouble with the Tibetans. In fact, they are 'afraid' of the Tibetans. They think of them as mysterious people and would rob anyone in the street. So they try to stay away from them. Many have also resented the social norm of giving the Tibetans too much leniency for wrongdoings. If the Hans were wrong, they would be punished most of the time but when Tibetans were wrong, they could get away with it quite frequently, depending on circumstances.

Is that the way to make them feel nice? This doesn't seem right.

Another factor to consider is that the Tibetan community are still left behind the wave of economic growth. They did not benefit from it. Their lives are not improved. When they did not get headway in the economic world, they retreat back to their own world and religion was their only hope and pride and they clings to it tightly. Then comes the ultimate problem: regulation of the monasteries.

All these contributed to 'frustrations'.

These are symtoms of a 'polarised' and 'divided' society. Hans and Tibetans don't understand each other. It's not about how well you treat them. It's about your 'attitude' towards them and about how you 'think' of them in the first place. The Tibetans must have felt they're not one of the big family. They're not part of the mainstream society of China. They must have felt alienated! The Tibetans and Hans are not 'integrating'.

This is a very serious problem. The society in Tibet is fundamentally flawed. The cause of the riot can be both from the outside and the inside. But the internal one is the main issue and it must be given priority focus.

The peoples of Tibet - Hans, Huis and Tibetans - as well as the government need to understand their own problems first then find the answer and solutions. Solving the problems is the responsibility of all those involved. I think this is a 'national' issue which merits contribution and cooperation of all the citizens of China. There is no quick fix to social problems. It may take long period of time to heal and change. But they have to start now.


The Chinese authority has to act on the threats on public safety and national security. These are "Clear and Present Danger" situation - the most pressing issue facing China today - which require priority response and it needs to be tackled fast.

Therefore, I fully support the efforts by the government of China to restore order and stability in the region. I would also urge everyone who understands the actual situation that China is currently facing, to back the Chinese government on this cause. Many have expressed their support for China's stance on Tibet. Let there be no doubt that there are also voices of approval and support from Malaysia and Singapore. I for one am truly all for peace and stability; and I am against all forms of violence to achieve a political goal. Perpetrators of violence ought to be roundly condemned and punished. I would also like to send my condolences to families of the victims.


Solving Tibet's problems may involve a number of phases. First, control the situation, then monitor the region and lastly, work on the people's problems.

Getting full control of the situation, regulate the people's activities and monitor their behaviours are short-term measures. The authority can righly prohibit mass gathering, increase surveillance on problematic communities and intelligence gathering on splittist movements, prolong detentions of 'rogue elements' and monitor communications and web access in the western region. The authority also has to ensure that any possible retaliation of the Hans, although not likely, are preventable.

But these measures can only regulate the people's behaviour and not their heart and mind. It can only be used temporarily. They're not suitable for long period of usage as it is not healthy for the society to grow. Nonetheless, these are the first steps that must be carried out to bring order to the region in the shortest time possible. No policies, plans or development can be carried out under disorderly and unpeaceful environment.

Ultimately, the final, long-term solution to the problems of the western region has got to be from integrating the people. Before integration can be fully achieved, the Tibetans' quality of life or living standards will need to be improved and uplifted. This may entail implementing 'affirmative action' in favour of the Tibetan people to empower their life. Currently, they may not be able to compete with the Hans on equal footing. They must first be given the chance to learn and survive. Remove the policy when the time is right and they can stand up on their own. This was the Malaysian experience.

So, to really solve the problems, the people must be 'integrated'. It means bringing people of all ethnics together. Unify as one. All the people live together, work together, play together, sing together, cry together, dream together and beat as one heart. One people, one nation.

I do not mean assimilation where Tibetans are to be Sinicized (汉化).

Once again we're seeing how the western media play up anti-China sentiment to maximum effectiveness. The media were acting in concert with one another to whip up emotions and singing the same tune as the rights groups. Neutrality and impartiality were outright absent. We've seen how they used the media to vilify Iraq. They're doing it on Iran. And now they did it to China.

The Chinese authorities may not have endeared themselves to western public opinion. But to neglect the real victims of this incident in favour of the violent Tibetans is clearly a manifestation of prejudice and a political ploy.

Postscript: This commentary was written in Malaysian-Singaporean slang and terminology.
Malaysian-born Chinese

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2008-3-26 10:24:04 |Display all floors


We are under cyber-attack.

The two threads above (by Northwest and '37) both show signs of tampering (broken HTML brackets) and words like "action undefined."

Our foes aren't just liars, they are cowardly liars.

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2008-10-27 10:22:57 |Display all floors

This thread should serve as reminder to those 'new' western members why this board is so full of mistrust. Thanks to Wei Chao for pointing that out. Now you understand WHY.
Malaysian-born Chinese

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 8Rank: 8

Post time 2008-12-5 08:28:01 |Display all floors
Where's Taikor these days?  What is Seneca babbling about?

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2009-7-9 17:15:56 |Display all floors
The western region is in trouble again. This time, Xinjiang.

I had warn about a possible retaliation by the Han in the commentary above. This must be stopped before things gets worse.

I still think the root cause lies in the fact that ethnic minorities like the Uyghurs and Tibetans don't feel they're Chinese.

A fellow netizen in Canada, the author of Chinese In Vancouver, called for the abolishment of 'preferential treatment'for ethnic minorities. Make everyone equal, and that they're not special. If they're special, they're not part of the mainstream society. Then they won't think they're Chinese. They'll think they're different - NOT Chinese
Malaysian-born Chinese

Use magic tools Report

Rank: 4

Post time 2009-7-9 22:11:33 |Display all floors
These I said

cannot be shown
My English is soooo poooor....

Sooooo Can you HELP me? thanks very much..

Use magic tools Report

You can't reply post until you log in Log in | register

Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email:
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.