Join our Mailing List

"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Blog: Breaking: Civil Rights, Honesty Lacking In Olympic Host

July 24, 2008

Agam Gecko
July 20, 2008

Is the Chinese government sincere about addressing the Tibet issue? A
better question might be, "Is the Chinese government ever sincere
about anything?"

After half a century of misrule in Tibet, the total failure of
Chinese policy is evident to all but the holders of that policy.
After major uprisings in 1959, 1987-89 and 2008 (with innumerable
less known events affirming Tibetan national identity throughout the
period), world leaders pressed China to deal with the problem
sincerely. That there is a problem is beyond question.

After two meetings between Chinese and Tibetan exile officials (since
the outbreak of the latest crisis), a Chinese official made plain
that as far as the "People's" Republic is concerned, only a single
narrow issue is on the table -- the personal future of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama. Nothing else will ever be considered.

One would expect such a bombshell announcement to have penetrated the
world's halls of power, and reached at least some of those who have
lately cited "progress" between the two sides. It seems not to have
done so. Only the Tibetans are willing to state the inconvenient
truth, while everyone else looks the other way.

On July 15, speaking to reporters at the European Parliament in
Brussels, one of the Tibetan envoys to China stated the obvious.

"We do not see any useful purpose in continuing the dialogue, since
there is obviously a lack of political will from the Chinese
leadership to seriously address the issue of Tibet," said the envoy,
Kelsang Gyaltsen.

This statement is objectively true, and proven so by China itself.
Straight from the horse's mouthpiece, Xinhuanet:

"He stressed that the contacts and dialogues were about Dalai Lama's
personal future, not so-called "China-Tibet negotiation" or "dialogue
between Han and Tibetan people"

Nothing could be clearer. The sky is blue; the sun is hot; China is
insincere. It's like a law of nature, as long as the CCP runs the place.


In a shocking display of insincerity, on July 17 China rejected the
notion that it is insincere, clearly smarting from the implication
that its own standard complaint about Dalai Lama actually applies
more accurately to itself.

"The central government is sincere about holding contact with the
Dalai side," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told reporters.

China perpetually issues demands to the Dalai Lama, and he just as
continually meets (and even exceeds) them. Their permanent response
to his goodwill, is to claim that his statements are "insincere."
While he goes around the world, proving that he means what he says at
every possible opportunity, it's never enough for the Chinese.

To make plain the depth (and longevity) of the Chinese insincerity,
the Office of the Dalai Lama issued a statement, which says in part:

"In fact, when the Chinese Government made a five-point proposal in
1981 which included that "the Dalai Lama will enjoy the same
political status and living conditions as he had before 1959", His
Holiness categorically made it clear to the Chinese leadership that
the issue at stake was the well-being of six million Tibetans, and he
personally had nothing to ask of the Central Chinese government.

For at least 27 years, the CCP has clearly known that the issue of
Tibet has nothing to do with the personal future of His Holiness. Yet
they assure the world that they sincerely want to meet with the
Tibetans, but only for discussion of that one thing that they know
doesn't matter at all.

The generally tongue-tied IOC, after being shamed by Chinese
occupation officials in Lhasa who launched hysterically political
diatribes at the "politics-free" official torch ceremony, expressed
dismay at this blazing hypocrisy and "hoped it wouldn't happen
again." It's been the only occasion of the IOC showing any sort of
principle in the face of all the broken promises of better human
rights, media freedom, etc. made during Beijing's campaign for this honour.

On July 17, Jacques Rogge, the IOC President, announced that his
"silent diplomacy" had resulted in new Chinese laws to protect child
labourers, media rights, the Olympic projects' dispossessed people,
and the environment.

"For the first time, foreign media will be able to report freely and
publish their work freely in China. There will be no censorship on
the Internet."

That's a pretty bold statement to make, "no censorship." He has
received "very strong assurances." Right. Like that's never happened before.

Call me cynical, but I don't expect "no censorship of the Internet"
to happen by August 8. Keep an eye on the live "China Internet
Censorship Index" button, added to our sidebar a few days ago. A
range of websites are continually tested from within China to gauge
the Internet's status there. Zero would be a complete Internet
shutdown, 100 would represent no censorship at all. The day I put it
up, the index was at 32.5. Click the button to get more about the methodology.

Beijing may claim to be welcoming the world next month, but as its
actions make clear, it doesn't consider Tibetans, Uyghurs or
Mongolians to be part of that world. If you happen to be a young
Uyghur family with a baby daughter, expect to get the Mary and Joseph
treatment.

"Most of the hotel clerks, mistaking them for foreigners, welcomed
them and offered a room. But when the couple pulled out their
identity cards, the clerks realized they were Muslim Uyghurs from
China. And then the response was always the same: Sorry, no room at the inn."

Of course Han Chinese are not treated that way when they go to
Xinjiang, where they now outnumber the locals.

A young British woman was recently subjected to the swiftest
deportation procedure imaginable. She stepped out of her apartment to
find security agents waiting for her. After letting her grab a change
of clothes, confiscating her Olympics tickets and her bank account
(and all belongings in the apartment), around 30 state agents mounted
the operation to get her to the airport and out of the country.

How could a British citizen (with a valid visa and work permit, no
less) be treated this way by a country claiming to be "welcoming the
world"? That's easy: Dechen Pemba has a Tibetan heritage. Citizenship
matters little to a regime which puts such a high premium on "race."
Hotels in Beijing have been told not to accept Tibetans, Uyghurs or Mongolians.

During this high-security operation, Dechen Pemba was even refused
her right to call her embassy. The entire episode was video-taped by
(in)security officials, probably not for use in the next "Beijing
Welcomes the World" advertisement.

The Chinese later claimed she was a member of the Tibetan Youth
Congress, which Beijing falsely claims as a terror group. Dechen
says, "It's amazing the things they just make up. It's absolutely not
true." Once again, the inimitable Liu Jianchao:

"Dechen Pemba, a key member of the splittist organisation the Tibetan
Youth Congress and a British citizen, took part in activities against
the law of China during her stay, and has been deported," he said.

As is the standard procedure for the CCP, anything can be justified
with hysterical accusations lacking a shred of evidence. Dechen had
repeatedly asked these officials what she had done wrong. The only
answer they could give was, "You know what you've done." They had no
idea either! However, the pudgy spokesperson falsely claims that she
had admitted to "activities against Chinese laws".

That guy has no shame in openly lying. Which should bring into
serious question his assurance of China's "sincerity" noted earlier.
The United Kingdom must respond to this outrageous treatment of its citizen.

Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, British -- is anyone else unwelcome at
the Welcome to the World event? After earlier incidents in which a
young American was attacked while crowds shouted "Kill him! Kill the
Frenchman!" and a French student was assaulted by a Chinese gang on a
Shanghai subway and told "You are not welcome here," many foreign
residents have been getting a similar (though less physical) attitude
from Chinese officialdom. With a policy that aims to "keep dangerous
forces outside the country," people such as English teachers are
feeling picked on. Who knew that conjugating verbs could be so subversive?

For the "leadership" of China, this is the silencing season. No
naysayers are allowed, and anything that might prove embarrassing
will be off the menu. Racism, however, is decidedly on the menu.

Bar owners in Beijing are now being forced to sign pledges to ban
"black people" and Mongolians from their establishments. Question:
Wasn't it the apartheid laws which disqualified South Africa from
Olympic participation not so many years ago? Can we now disqualify
China, or is there a double standard somewhere?

"Bar owners near the Workers Stadium in central Beijing say they have
been forced by Public Security Bureau officials to sign pledges
agreeing not to let black people enter their premises," the South
China Morning Post reported yesterday.

It quoted the co-owner of a bar who said that a group of police had
recently visited his establishment to order it "not to serve black
people or Mongolians."

In the Sanlitun bar district, owners are required to sign promises to
prohibit certain activities, including dancing and serving black
customers, according to SCMP. Mongolian women are perceived as
"prostitutes" and Africans are perceived as "drug dealers."

"In a notorious incident last September, dozens of black people were
detained by police in a raid on bars in the Sanlitun district.

"Witnesses said the police rounded up all the black people they could
find, up to three dozen in total, and beat some of them with rubber
truncheons."

In that incident, the son of the ambassador from Grenada was clubbed
on the head, sending him to hospital.

A businesswoman from Liberia tells of two-tiered pricing at a popular
nightclub; the entrance fee for "black people" is twice as high as
for anyone else. Those who really wanted to go inside and paid the
double price, were prohibited from sitting at the tables. Bar-raids
on establishments patronized by Africans frequently include urine
tests for all customers. Black people are asked to present their
passport before entry to some clubs, while other foreigners are not.

The Liberian lady knows what is behind all this discriminatory treatment.

"When the police come, you have to run," she said. "I've lived in
Holland and the United States and it was never like this. There's no
human rights here. It's racist and it makes me feel very bad."

China's leaders need to learn a civil rights lesson given many years
ago (40 years, to be exact). Here are two short video pieces from the
producers of Salute the Movie. Keep this in mind when you see "T for
Tibet" next month.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Developed by plank