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Scholars blast China's 'serious mistakes' towards Tibet - Feature

March 25, 2008

Earthtimes, UK
Mon, 24 Mar 2008
DPA

Beijing- Despite all the propaganda, more and more people in China are
raising their voices to warn of nationalist fervour in the aftermath of
the unrest in Tibet. While not excusing the violence shown by rioting
Tibetans towards Chinese, some intellectuals have begun calling the
cause of the violence by name.

They say it was an inability on the part of Chinese to understand
Tibetans deep religious devotion or simply arrogance and it was down to
China's aspirations to power and unjustices resulting from foreign rule
of the country.

Speaking of the communist goal of a "harmonious society", Chinese poet
and filmmaker Tang Danhong wrote in an internet blog: "Other than guns
and money, and cultural destruction and spiritual rape, we do not know
other ways to achieve 'harmony'."

More criticism came from a group of 29 Chinese writers and scholars
including authors, professors, lawyers and journalists who have issued a
12-point "open letter" on the situation in Tibet where they charged that
China had made "serious mistakes" and called for a fundamental change of
policy towards its other "nationalities."

They wrote: "We condemn any violent act against innocent people,
strongly urge the Chinese government to stop the violent suppression and
appeal to the Tibetan people likewise not to engage in violent activities."

The personal attacks on the Dalai Lama, who had been described as a
"jackal in Buddhist monk's robes and an evil spirit with a human face
and heart of a beast" by the Chinese Communist Party Leadership in
Tibet, rekindled the language used in the Cultural Revolution and did
not help ease tensions. Instead it was damaging the image of the Chinese
government, the 12-point open letter said.

While such voices have not been heard in state media, they are easily
spread via the internet. Among them are many, self-critical Chinese
intellectuals who are not susceptible to propaganda, but who are also
convinced that Tibet, like Taiwan, belongs to China.

But voicing criticism of China's Tibet policy amidst the present,
aggressive nationalist mood takes great courage.

Two of the signees are Tibetan author Tsering Woeser and her Chinese
husband, writer Wang Lixiong, with both already under house arrest in
Beijing. Every step they take outside the door has to be approved and
they are constantly followed by state security agents.

In the open letter containing "Twelve Suggestions for Dealing with the
Tibetan Situation," the group called for an independent investigation
into the unrest and the number of victims as.

"In our view, the current news blockade cannot gain credit with the
Chinese people or the international community and is harmful to the
credibility of the Chinese government."

They called for an end to the animosities and national reconciliation as
"a country that wishes to avoid the partition of its territory must
first avoid divisions among its nationalities."

The group urged the government in Beijing to hold direct talks with the
Dalai Lama.

Danghong, 43, asked in her internet blog: "Why can't we sit down with
the Dalai Lama who has abandoned calls for 'independence' and now
advocates a 'middle way' and negotiate with him with sincerity to
achieve 'stability' and 'unity' through him?"

Every Tibetan revered and worshipped the Dalai Lama, wrote Danghong, who
lives in Chengdu in Sichuan province and who made several documentaries
about Tibet during the 1990s.

Anyone who had ever been to Tibet gained a sense of their profound
religiousness to the horror of many Chinese, she wrote.

Tibetan values contrasted to those of contemporary Chinese who have no
religion, she said. True Tibetan voices had been silenced, but their
echoes can still be heard.

Adressing her fellow Chinese, Danghong asked: "Why can't you understand
that people have different values? While you believe in brainwashing,
the power of a gun and of money, there is a spiritual belief that has
been in their (Tibetan) minds for thousands of years and cannot be
washed away."
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