Social structure and grievances in Tibet

Thoughtful, longish piece on Tibet, somewhat favorable towards China. Worth reading.

A western journalist working in Beijing [said] editors based in the West are overriding the local opinions of Western journalists actually on the ground, and British ex-pats based in China complained that the Western press has under-reported the degree to which the protests in Lhasa are riots beating up Han Chinese.

Videos of the protests in Lhasa showed mobs trashing stores. Any government on the planet would come down hard against that. But when people do that to their own city then, well, obviously they are seriously not happy. The reaction of the Chinese government has been remarkably oafish and clueless too.

The Chinese state has emancipated Tibetan serfs, and brought roads, schools and hospitals; as well as economic development. They have brought the majority of Tibetans into national life, through improved literacy, communications and education. But they have also squandered what good will this may have brought through insensitivity to cultural and ethnic factors, and through not protecting the interests of Tibetans who are sidelined by the economic development in the region.

Um, sounds downright imperialistic to me. A strong power takes over a region, imposes their own mores and culture, with some benefit to many, but also with much ethnic tension and exploitation of that by the strong power.

The real problem, aside from the heavy-handed authoritarianism of the Chinese government, is that nobody, including them, knows what kind of government they have. Rather, it is something new, probably transitional, and at heart seems rather wobbly. Indeed, the article makes the fascinating point that perhaps the real problem for China is that the central government is too weak rather than too strong, which then allows for all sorts of mischief, corruption, and general ineptitude to occur everywhere.

Plus, there are protests and sometimes outright rebellions happening often in China now, like in the the Uighur region. Their problems with pollution, overcrowding, and water and energy shortages are becoming increasingly severe.

None of which excuses their thuggery against Tibet, but maybe Alvin Toffler will be proven prescient when, a couple of decades ago, he predicted China would eventually break into fragments.


  • I don’t agree with what China is doing with Tibet and how they are treating the people. However I also don’t agree with the media bias against China. Of course what China is doing in Tibet is horrible, but media bias does nobody good. Both sides have rotten apples, a little more Chinese ones the Tibetan.
    China has a really delusional view of itself and until it realizes it’s problems, they are sure to grow. Tibet, pollution, sand storms, China is a mess.

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