A Lie Repeated: The Far Left’s Flawed History of Tibet

A lie repeated a hundred times becomes the truth.

— Chairman Mao

As a lifelong activist who has worked on human rights issues around the globe, I hold the view that the best representatives of a culture are its people; that people create their own history, and in the case of the colonized or the oppressed that history is often rewritten by the oppressor. I do not assume that simply because a country is communist or socialist or capitalist that its practices toward its own people or its foreign policies are more or less honorable; beyond all the rhetoric, the reality of a situation can always be measured by the affected people themselves.

The Tibet issue is one that the far left has found to be somewhat of a conundrum, for the simple reason that most other popular human rights struggles can be easily linked to a larger struggle against U.S. or European imperialism. Therefore these struggles — be it in Palestine, or East Timor, or Colombia, fit nicely into the larger — and often rather myopic — worldview of the leftist.

However, Tibet is a case in which the struggle for basic rights and nationhood is being carried out against a communist government, so it has brought with it a host of questions for the leftist, who naturally leans towards socialism or communism as an ideological example of a system that stands in contrast to the ‘imperialist west’.

China, the country that invaded Tibet in 1950, has stood as one such example — though the Chinese government’s practices over the last 53 years and its current bent towards totalitarian capitalism would tend to defy any labeling as a positive example. Nonetheless, China’s history of socialism and revolution remains as something of an inspiration for the Western left, and therefore certain historians — predominantly scholars with some form of Marxist or Maoist agenda — have seen the current popularity of the movement for Tibetan statehood and have taken it upon themselves to give a glimpse into the grim reality of ‘old Tibet.’

The most recent historian to embrace this view of ‘old Tibet’ is Dr. Michael Parenti, a Yale scholar who, in the course of his career, has written on a variety of populist causes. To be fair, Parenti stops short — barely — of condoning the Chinese occupation. He does however, cast a decidedly unflattering view of life in pre-1950 Tibet.

In his writing on Tibet, Parenti shares something in common with all of his predecessors — Anna Louise Strong, A. Tom Grunfeld, and Roma and Stuart Gelder among them — in that his writing on Tibet is essentially argumentative. He is not writing in order to give an unbiased history of a nation, he is writing in order to prove a point. In this case, the point he is trying to prove is that the society of ‘old Tibet’ was a terrible place, and that the resistance movement that is so visible today is essentially a movement to re-establish this despicable regime.

In Parenti’s words, old Tibet was “a social order that was little more than a despotic retrograde theocracy of serfdom and poverty, so damaging to the human spirit, where vast wealth was accumulated by a favored few who lived high and mighty off the blood, sweat, and tears of the many. For most of the Tibetan aristocrats in exile, that is the world to which they fervently desire to return. It is a long way from Shangri-La.”

I have chosen to dissect this thesis because it houses many of the common arguments presented by Chinese government propagandists on Tibet, as well as many of the arguments that modern day Marxists and Maoists regularly hurl at Tibet activists on internet chat rooms and at protests. As we will see, the flawed premise of this thesis illuminates how the far left has gone woefully off the mark in its efforts to undermine the legitimate struggle for Tibetan rights and statehood.

Again, I am a firm believer in people’s history. And the core problem with Parenti’s position is that it is simply at odds with the statements, testimony, and shared history of the Tibetan people themselves — the people Parenti is supposedly defending. The view of Tibet that Parenti ascribes to has been commonly put forward by Chinese government officials — particularly the ones in the ministry of propaganda. Once upon a time it was a view embraced by a handful of British historians — most of them turn of the century explorers and colonists in their own right. But it has always been an outsider’s view, completely divorced from the reality of how Tibetans of all walks of life view their own society and their own history.

In his descriptions of old Tibet, Parenti predominantly draws on the work of four historians — Anna Louise Strong, A. Tom Grunfeld, and Roma and Stuart Gelder. The fact that all of these historians had a romantic predilection towards Maoism and drew mostly on Chinese government statistics should surely be cause for concern as far as their legitimacy as source material. One certainly wouldn’t trust the Indonesian government’s party line on Aceh or East Timor. Or, for that matter, the U.S. government’s continued assertion that the Iraqi people welcome the current American occupation. Such manipulations of public sentiment, in which an occupation is presented as ‘the will of the people,’ are — as a rule — only employed to further the agenda of the occupier.

For the most part, Parenti and the handful of historians who have adopted the view of old Tibet as a despotic feudal theocracy have had little if no contact with actual Tibetans either in or outside Tibet. Therefore, they have no real way of gauging the sentiments of the Tibetan people. Neither Parenti, Strong, Grunfeld, nor the Gelders speak Tibetan — or Chinese for that matter — so the body of historical literature on the Tibet issue that is available to them is extremely limited. Tom Grunfeld never went to Tibet until after his book was published. Anna Louise Strong — a diehard Marxist — was given a tightly monitored Chinese government tour of Lhasa and then went on to proclaim that “a million Tibetan serfs have stood up! They are burying the old serfdom and building a new tomorrow!” One might say that one doesn’t need to go to Paris to know the Eiffel tower exists. However, before dismissing an entire culture’s history as despotically repressive it is perhaps worth speaking to a few of its representatives.

Instead, Grunfeld repeatedly draws on the writings of a handful of British colonial explorers, who — as explorers often do — wrote down every piece of suspicious folklore and hearsay as fact. Grunfeld’s source material for his depictions of Tibetans as cannibals, barbarians, and superstitious fanatics is no more credible than are the testimonials of early European explorers to Africa who spun yarns of three-headed natives. None of these depictions are corroborated by traditional Tibetan, Chinese, or Indian histories, which of course were not available to Grunfeld because of his lack of interest in learning the local language.

Grunfeld also makes extensive use of the writings of Sir Charles Bell, who he quotes regularly and with no apparent regard for context. Bell’s stance was actually that Tibetans had been brutalized by the Chinese army and that Tibet was an independent nation of far greater ‘character’ than its neighbor. This seems to elude Grunfeld, who chops up Bell’s sentences in order to isolate the worst and most sensational aspects of Tibetan society and present them as fact. Grunfeld also makes cultural blunders that would make freshmen history students squirm. As award-winning author Jamyang Norbu points out in his brilliant essay ‘The Acme of Obscenity,’ Grunfeld even mistranslates the Tibetan word for ‘Tibet’!

Parenti does little better in his treatment of history, erroneously stating that the first Dalai Lama was installed by ‘the Chinese army’. One would presume that a Yale Ph.D. would know the difference between Chinese and Mongols. But apparently, in the Parenti-Grunfeld-Strong school of history, one word is as good as another and a Chinese is as good as a Mongol, as long as the point gets across.

With such evisceration of history as common practice it quickly becomes obvious that none these historians’ writings on Tibet exist to illuminate true Tibetan history. In fact, neither Grunfeld, nor Strong, nor Parenti seem remotely interested in the specifics of the culture they’re discussing.

For example, as Tashi Rabgey points out in her dissection of Tom Grunfeld’s Making of Modern Tibet, the three social classes that Grunfeld and Strong lump Tibetans into — landowners, serfs, and slaves — have no relation to the actual breakdown of Tibetan society. It is a completely arbitrary classification that has no basis in reality — Tibetan society was never classified along these terms. Certainly a historian writing on the caste system in India would not reclassify Indian society according to their own liking or invent names to suit their own vision?

There were indeed indentured farmers in old Tibet. There were also merchants, nomads, traders, non-indentured farmers, hunters, herders, warlords, bandits, monks, nuns, musicians, theater actors and artists. Tibetan society was a vast, multi-faceted affair, as societies tend to be. To reduce it to three base experiences — and non-representative experiences at that — is to engage in the worst form of reductionism.

Not only are Strong and Grunfeld’s breakdowns of Tibetan society grossly miscategorized, their observations and criticisms are entirely removed from chronological and temporal reality. Folklore from hundreds of years ago, local myths, explorer’s whimsy, and selective historical incidents are presented all together as static truth. Every single bad thing, every monstrosity real or imagined that occurred in Tibet between 1447 and October 6, 1950 is ‘how it was’ in ‘old Tibet.’ Fundamentally, this is not history. It is the crudest form of argumentative politics, drawing on selective quotes from non-native history — quite often the history of the occupiers themselves — and presenting it as fact.

In fact the entire notion of ‘old Tibet’ or Tibet under the Dalai Lamas as a static is erroneous. Life under the 13th Dalai Lama was drastically different that life under the 6th or the 5th. By the time the 13th Dalai Lama came along, for example, the Tibetan government had banned the death penalty — it was one of the first countries in the world to do so. But somehow, in the mind of Grunfeld and Parenti and Strong, Tibetans are to be held accountable for the actions of their distant predecessors.

That there was an imbalance of wealth in Tibet is quite true (There still is, only now the Chinese are the wealthy ones). Tibetans waged war, robbed each other, had strict laws and engaged in corporal punishment like all societies have done at various points in their history. But what is insidious about highlighting solely these aspects of Tibetan society is that these historians — Strong and Grunfeld particularly — Parenti is somewhat excused from this particular outrage — seem to be using ‘how it was’ in ‘old Tibet’ as a justification for invasion and occupation, just as the United States used the ‘savagery’ of the native populations as an excuse for their liquidation. This is the politics of the colonist to the core, in which the native is dehumanized and debased in order to make occupation more palatable, even necessary, or ‘civilizing.’ Strong does not even conceal her glee at the ‘smashing’ of old Tibet. Politics aside, its rather frightening to think of celebrating the demise of a culture that one hasn’t had any direct contact with, whose existence one has only read about in books.

The romanticism that historians like Strong and Grunfeld hold for the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet and the smashing of the old ways is based on an inherently flawed presumption that the invasion was some kind of people’s revolution. The Chinese government line, which Strong and Grunfeld and even Parenti seem to have bought into — is that the Tibetan people, and particularly the Tibetan peasantry, welcomed the occupation and in fact that it was they themselves who ‘overthrew the landlords.’ Such a supposition has no basis in fact.

The Chinese army rolled into Chamdo in Eastern Tibet in October of 1950 and decimated the 8,000-man Tibetan fighting force that was assembled to resist them. That there were Tibetans who initially greeted the arrival of the Chinese is without question; that these Tibetans were the vast minority is also without question. Legitimate histories of Tibet, such as Tsering Shakya’s The Dragon in the Land of Snows corroborate this fact.

Whatever romantic picture the Chinese government’s propaganda department paints of enslaved peasants casting off the bonds of feudalism, there is little in the way of factual evidence to support this. Most of the evidence produced by Beijing comes in the form of testimonials recorded by party cadres, whose questionable nature as a source of objective information should not even have to be mentioned, especially coming from a government that excels in ‘extracting testimonials.’ These testimonials are written in such propaganda-speak that it is nearly impossible to read them with a straight face; even more impossible to imagine anyone actually uttering the words.

Oddly enough, in contrast to the Chinese government line that it was the Tibetan peasantry who readily embraced communism, communism was in fact much more popular — as it is in this country — among the educated elite. The Tibetan communist party was a creation of sons of wealthy aristocrats; the Tibetan peasantry on the other hand were the ones who eventually formed the brunt of resistance to Chinese government rule.

Whatever the case, Tibetan opinion towards Beijing quickly cooled after the signing of the 17-point agreement in 1951, and certainly was not favorable by 1959, when a popular Tibetan uprising threatened China’s very grip on the nation. This resistance was for the most part carried out by Khampa tribesmen in Eastern Tibet, who had suffered some of the most brutal treatment at the hands of the Chinese government. That these fighters were for a time funded by the CIA does not — as Parenti seems to presume — represent some kind of trump card that de-legitimizes the aims, aspirations, and existence of the Tibetan resistance movement. The CIA used the Tibetans just as it has it used nationalist movements in dozens of countries around the world; with little thought for the local people and as a means of waging their own cold war. The Tibetan resistance fighters, who came from poor frontier villages in Eastern Tibet, were happy to have anyone on their side. They had no way of knowing the larger political framework that they had been sucked into. Ironically, it was the Dalai Lama who put an end to this resistance, by calling on the fighters to drop their arms and embrace nonviolent means of conflict resolution.

As for the reality of the subsequent Chinese occupation, which every legitimate human rights organization in the world has labeled with terms like ‘cultural genocide’, it should hardly need further exposition. One of the most telling historical documents of the time is the Panchen Lama’s 70,000 word treatise to Chairman Mao on behalf of the Tibetan people. Not only is this document considered by serious historians to be one of the only reliable texts from that time period, it illuminates the extraordinary kow-towing that was necessary in order for even an elevated Chinese official such as the Panchen Lama to speak to Chairman Mao at that time. Apparently, Mao was not interested in listening to the day-to-day problems of the ‘serfs’ he ‘liberated’. The Panchen Lama was sent to prison for suggesting that people in Tibet were starving; the average Tibetan peasant who offered the same criticism to his local Chinese official did not fare nearly as well.

In his article, Parenti again quotes Tom Grunfeld — whose idealism of the cultural revolution should automatically remove him from use as an unbiased source of historical data on the Chinese occupation of Tibet — and asserts that ‘slavery and unpaid labor disappeared under Mao’. This sentence simply has no place in any legitimate historical writing. Perhaps Parenti would like to sit down and have a chat with the relatives of the thousands of Tibetans who were worked to death by Chinese soldiers at the infamous Borax mine in Changthang. I’ve met them myself, and they are far more deserving of a platform on Tibetan history and cultural issues than Parenti. Mao’s forced sedentarization of Tibetan nomads was certainly not a liberation; nor was the government-enforced switch to growing foreign cereal crops which resulted in widespread famine in many regions of Tibet.

But again, the true testament to the fact that Tibetans have been far from content under Chinese rule lie in the actions of the people themselves. Ever since the Chinese invasion and occupation there has been substantial popular resistance to Chinese rule in Tibet. This resistance has taken many forms over the years — leafleting, public demonstration, mass non-cooperation, economic boycott, and armed uprising are all forms of protest have been practiced by Tibetans inside Tibet, at the risk of their own lives.

The Chinese government has faced phenomenal opposition from the Tibetan people, certainly far more opposition than the Lhasa government ever faced from its own population, which does not do much to further the argument that ‘old Tibet’ was a terribly repressive society. Nor does the fact that Tibetan refugees continue pour out of Tibet at a rate never seen prior to 1959. In a classic case of uninformed conjecture, Parenti supposes that Tibetan refugees never left prior to 1959 because the ‘systems of control’ were so deep and that Tibetans were ‘afraid of amputation’. Any quick glance at a map of Tibet, with its vast, unpatrolable borders, or any basic knowledge of the structure of Tibetan society would quickly reveal that Tibetans — should they have wanted to escape their ‘feudal masters’ — would have had little problem doing so.

But perhaps there is no more telling testament to the Tibetan people’s sentiment towards their own culture than the fact that in the early 1980’s — when the Chinese government finally relaxed some of its draconian policies towards Tibet — the first thing Tibetans set about doing is rebuilding and repopulating monasteries — the very symbols of ‘old Tibet.’ The next thing they did was take to the streets and protest for freedom and for the Dalai Lama’s return. This is not the behavior of a people who are trying to cast off their old ways. It sounds more like a people who are trying to get their culture back.

This brings up again the essential flaw in Parenti’s reasoning: it is not based on the experience of Tibetans. The actuality is that there is now and always has been a people’s movement of Tibetans — in fact, the vast majority of Tibetans both inside and outside Tibet — who overwhelmingly support the Dalai Lama and more specifically are in favor of Tibetan statehood. This movement cannot simply be dismissed as incidental, or foreign-backed, or primarily aristocratic in nature. The argument that the Tibetan resistance is driven by aristocrats is fairly essential for Parenti et al because without it they would be forced to recognize the existence of this movement-and the existence of such a movement would suggest that perhaps the Tibetan people themselves are more enamored of the Dalai Lama than they ever were of Mao.

The Tibetan resistance, both historically and currently, has been made up of Tibetans from across the social spectrum. The Khampa fighters in the late 50s and early 60s were certainly not aristocrats, nor was Thrinley Chodron, a nun who led a bloody resistance battle against Chinese forces in 1969. The Tibetans who took to the streets and were gunned down in the late 80s were not former aristocrats. Nor are the hundreds of Tibetans currently languishing in Drapchi prison for expressing their desire for statehood.

Currently, there are over 150,000 Tibetans living in exile around the world. There are nomads-in-exile, farmers-in-exile, truck drivers-in-exile. To characterize this entire group as aristocrats or former aristocrats is ludicrous. In New York City alone, there are nearly 5,000 Tibetan refugees. I’m quite certain that Ngawang Rabgyal at the Office of Tibet, who is charged with helping this refugee community find jobs in the outer reaches of Queens, would raise an eyebrow at the description of Tibetan refugees as ‘aristocrats.’

The notion that the Tibetan community in exile longs to return to a ‘Shangri-la‘ and re-establish their aristocracy is a banal and uninformed argument that has nothing to do with the real and stated aspirations of the Tibetan freedom movement. First of all, Tibetans never called their country Shangri-La; it was an outsider, James Hilton, who first did that. They never saw their country as a paradise and the Tibetan community is certainly not seeking to reestablish the same political system that existed in pre-1959 Tibet (nor would it be possible). The Dalai Lama has all but abdicated his position as future leader of Tibet — despite the fact that 98% of Tibetans both in and outside Tibet would elect him in a heartbeat — saying that he would rather attend to his religious duties than be a political leader. The Tibetan Kashag is now made up of democratically elected officials and the Tibetan Government-in-Exile — which, whether Parenti cares to acknowledge their existence or not, is a legitimate entity charged with the welfare of 150,000 refugees — has already outlined a democratic structure for the future government of Tibet.

The movement for Tibetan statehood permeates all segments of Tibetan society. Nomads in western Tibet, herders in Changtang, farmers in Amdo, merchants in Lhasa — the vast majority of Tibetans are vocal — as much as they can be — about their nationalist aspirations. Anyone who has spent time around Tibetans inside or outside Tibet knows this as fact. This fact does not have to be footnoted; it is experiential history.

By way of personal testimony, before I ever became involved in the Tibetan political struggle I went to Tibet myself. I was there during a period of martial law and at certain sensitive locations I had to be escorted by Chinese guides, who made a half-hearted attempt to show me the ‘feudal torture chambers’ of old Tibet and a statue of a liberated serf ‘breaking the chains of bondage'; the guides barely seemed to believe it themselves. But even they could not produce Tibetan citizens who would rail against the Dalai Lama or speak of how they had ‘cast off the bonds of feudalism’. I know of no traveler to Tibet who has heard this type of testimony. There are Tibetans in government positions in Lhasa who will give you this line; and there are probably some Tibetans in Tibet who believe it. But again, for the vast majority of Tibetans, this is simply not part of the their experience. Get any Tibetan nomad, farmer, peasant, or monk a few hundred yards away from their local party cadre and the first thing they’ll do is ask for a picture of the Dalai Lama; the second thing they’ll do is ask you to help them free their country.

And there’s the core of the matter: ‘old Tibet’, the Tibet that existed pre-1959, simply does not represent to the average Tibetan what it does to Michael Parenti, Tom Grunfeld, and Anna Louise Strong. Scholars like Parenti and Grunfeld and Strong, with limited source material and no firsthand experience, see old Tibet as a horrible place; but the bottom line is they’re not Tibetan. And if Tibetans themselves don’t see their past as a past of feudal lords and merciless repression, then do they really need scholars like Parenti to tell them what their past is all about?

Saying debasing things about a culture is certainly not extraordinarily difficult; seen through the lens that Parenti and Grunfeld apply to Tibet, most if not all societies would come up short, as would many resistance movements. The real story then, is not what these historians have to say, but why they have chosen to say it in the way they say it.

Many Tibetans do welcome commentary and criticism on aspects of their society; I have certainly been privy to many heated arguments on old Tibet and on the future direction of Tibetan politics. But that is because I have taken the time to really get to know Tibetan society. Perhaps what is most striking about the history that Parenti and Grunfeld and Strong present is the tone with which they speak of Tibetan culture, without ever having experienced it. The facts they deliver are clearly not being presented in order to help Tibetan people. They are fairly serious charges, and as objective as the authors pretend to be, these charges are delivered with venom.

Oddly, Parenti — like Grunfeld — seems taken aback at the emotional response that his writing has evoked among Tibetans and their supporters. It would seem fairly obvious to anyone with any common sense that dismissing an entire culture — particularly one in dire peril — and making statements that run completely contrary to everything the vast majority of its people know from firsthand experience would illicit an emotional response. Perhaps these scholars are surprised because they have forgotten that words carry weight, and that their actions actually have tangible results in the real world. In the Tibet movement, the results have been clearly measurable — Tibetan activists, who should be focused on returning basic rights to a people whose lack of freedoms is documented by every major human rights organization in the world, instead find themselves in the position of having to defend the actions of a bygone society. Former torture victims are accosted by nineteen year old American college students who have never been to Tibet, never met a Tibetan, and surely never had anyone in their family tortured with electric cattle prods. This, for a people who are in a very real struggle for rights, is not only extremely upsetting, it serves to forward the agenda of their oppressor.

It is no secret that the Chinese government views propaganda as a key weapon in its efforts to undermine the movement for Tibetan rights and statehood. Chinese state run media — whose use of manufactured and manipulated history is indisputable — regularly debases and assails Tibetan culture and specifically the Dalai Lama, who is dismissed with regularity — and relish. The Tibetan refugee population is treated with equal disdain, the Tibetan government-in-exile, which, again serves the very real function of looking after the welfare of 150,000 refugees and lobbying international institutions for rights and recognition, is dismissed entirely. Luckily for Tibetans, Beijing’s Orwellian rants about Tibet — labeling the Dalai Lama a “serpent” and “the chief villain” — have bordered on the hilarious. That is, until recently. Now the war of words has spilled over into more legitimate circles.

Recognizing that Tibetans and the Tibetan struggle are generally well-perceived in the west, and seeking to win the war of perception, Beijing’s propaganda strategy has now grown, with regular meetings on external and internal Tibet-related propaganda. One key element of the new propaganda strategy is to make greater use of Tibet scholars, both Chinese and Western. In 2001 a leaked Chinese Government memo from the Chinese Communist Party’s Ninth Meeting on Tibet-Related External Propaganda stated “Effective use of Tibetologists and specialists is the core of our external propaganda struggle for public opinion on Tibet…”

With this as the political backdrop, levying ill-researched and unsubstantiated charges at Tibetan culture — in fact the very charges often employed by their Chinese occupiers to delegitimize their entire society — is a dangerous game indeed. It is one thing to offer criticisms of a culture or religion that is not fighting for its very survival. It is quite another to rewrite the history of a people who are already the victims of a propaganda war at the hands of one of the largest propaganda machines in the world.

What surprises me most about the far left’s flawed take on Tibet is how quickly a piece of propaganda turns into ‘scholarship,’ how a piece of hearsay becomes fact if given a footnote. Mao said ‘a lie told a hundred times becomes the truth.’ Sadly, in the case of the new Tibet ‘scholarship’, a lie footnoted once has already become truth. A pool of bad information now exists, ready for any scholar with an agenda to draw from and appear legitimate. Few will bother to look beneath the surface, at the highly questionable source of this information-colonists, oppressors, and outsiders, writing a history that they have no place writing. And what gets lost in the mix, as always, is the voice of the Tibetan people themselves.

There is one statement in Parenti’s thesis that summarizes how completely disconnected he is from any kind of Tibetan reality. In his thesis, he states that old Tibet was a society that was ‘damaging to the human spirit.’ Any person who has spent any time with the Tibetan people would laugh at the irony. Being with Tibetans of all walks of life, inside and outside of Tibet, one is always struck by the incredible, contagious spirit of Tibetan culture. From the Khampa drinking songs to the picnics that are the preferred activity of all Tibetans, Tibetan society is known for its passion and exuberance. This spirit is something that grows directly from the culture that Parenti is so intent on debasing. This spirit is what the Chinese government has tried so desperately to crush — making the singing of freedom songs illegal and prohibiting traditional Tibetan festivals. The struggle against totalitarianism is precisely a struggle for spirit, and I’m willing to wager that a populist like Mr. Parenti would find far more joy drinking chang and singing songs with a party of exiled Tibetans than he ever would at a Chinese cadre meeting; sadly, he won’t ever get to find out. He’s chosen his bedfellows, and more power to him. In the end it is the Tibetan people who will be the arbiters of their own fate. By the time that fate is decided Parenti will be long gone, onto some other issue, and Tibetans will be no worse off because of it.

* This article was published at Students For a Free Tibet.

** cf. “Q&A on Tibet.”

Joshua Michael Schrei is a lifelong activist who has worked on human rights issues around the globe. Read other articles by Joshua, or visit Joshua's website.

143 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. David Edwards said on April 5th, 2008 at 7:00am #

    Thanks for this superb contribution to a debate which has revealed that arguments rooted in blinkered ideology rather than fact are a feature of left commentary just as they are on the right.

    Best wishes

    David Edwards

  2. Lloyd Rowsey said on April 5th, 2008 at 7:55am #

    This should be posted (if posts there still be) all around Berkeley and San Francisco, two enlightened communities with Tibetian Wars in progress.

    I used to believe one must “Imagine the Truth.” Three-fourths of the way through this incredible article, I felt wonderously hopeful that the internet has changed all that. After reading the author’s concluding remark, however, that “Sadly, in the case of the new Tibet ’scholarship’, a lie footnoted once has already become truth,” I am far less comforted.

    In any case, thank you JM Schrei for this perfect piece.

  3. Michael Welch said on April 5th, 2008 at 8:07am #

    The spirit of George Orwell lives! Many thanks for being willing to gore the leftist ox. These people — like the poor that Jesus spoke of — will always be with us, it seems. The truth is the only remedy for the nonsense they spew in service to their “ideal.” Such willingness to lie for a “greater good” is what drenched the 20th century in blood.

  4. hp said on April 5th, 2008 at 8:39am #

    It’s the same old story. This attitude of history as ordered, or as an unassailable property of academia. This could be applied to the USA as well.
    In fact, it could be applied to the entire history of the human species.

    ‘Forbidden Archeology, The Hidden history of the Human Race,’ by Michael Cremo, is an interesting alternative, as is Cremo’s ‘Human Devolution, A Vedic Alternative to Darwin’s Theory.’

    ‘History is bunk.’
    Henry Ford

  5. Lloyd Rowsey said on April 5th, 2008 at 9:08am #

    History is more or less bunk. – Henry Ford

    See Link

  6. Danny Ray said on April 5th, 2008 at 9:44am #

    Words fail me after reading you superb paper. All I can say is thank you, Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  7. Jeff said on April 5th, 2008 at 9:54am #

    “For the most part, Parenti and the handful of historians who have adopted the view of old Tibet as a despotic feudal theocracy have had little if no contact with actual Tibetans either in or outside Tibet.”

    Historians put facts into their work. They are not supposed to interview people to ask them how they feel about their history. They are not legend writter.

    “Perhaps what is most striking about the history that Parenti and Grunfeld and Strong present is the tone with which they speak of Tibetan culture, without ever having experienced it. The facts they deliver are clearly not being presented in order to help Tibetan people.”

    Only politicians choose what to say to please certain group of people. The historican’s job is to present the truth of the past.

  8. George Nimmo said on April 5th, 2008 at 10:24am #

    Well put – may the revisionists – on both sides – take careful note. How will they, themselves, and their writings, conjectures and spectulations, be treated by future historians? But, I suppose, 4,000 years of history can be easily dispensed with, when one has a personal agenda, based upon almost nothing, save for one’s own mind’s eye. Myopia, with an exponent.

    Thanks for the article.

  9. hp said on April 5th, 2008 at 10:25am #

    Historian: an unsuccessful novelist.
    Mencken

  10. Emil DeVries said on April 5th, 2008 at 10:51am #

    Thank you very much for this article. I was not aware, although I’m not surprised, that some in the academic community believe the the Chinese invasion and occupation of Tibet was then and is now a good thing. Just more proof to me that academic (esp. U.S. academic) success has more to do with closing ones mind then it does with expanding it and becomming a free thinker. Intelligence can not be assumed from someone’s C.V.

    With apologies to Henry Ford (although I think he would agree):
    Academic Degrees are more or less bunk.

  11. John Wilkinson said on April 5th, 2008 at 10:56am #

    “For the most part, Parenti and the handful of historians who have adopted the view of old Tibet as a despotic feudal theocracy …”

    And then the writer proceeds to tell us why this isn’t true. But suppose it were true. Would it justify colonialism, repression, etc.? No, it wouldn’t. It would be for the Tibetan people themselves to find the solution to this, not to have one imposed from the outside their society.

    “What surprises me most about the far left’s flawed take on Tibet is how quickly a piece of propaganda turns into ’scholarship,’ how a piece of hearsay becomes fact if given a footnote.”

    I hate to disappoint the writer, but that is pretty much how the left, or the “progressives” deal with any issue. “Facts” are fitted into the mold of anti-US (and only US) imperialism. (Or whatever the applicable left mantra relating to the issue is, for example solar energy is only good and the only answer to all our problems). Chinese imperialism doesn’t exist. Serb hegemony in their parts doesn’t exist. Only the US oppresses people. Take the Kosovo thing. The same exact thing as Tibet, the left aligns itself with the forces of darkness, loses the moral compass, because its compass only shows anti-US, (or pet left dictates)nothing else.

    It’s really all about what sells in the left circles. Nothing different from the right in that regard, except the right is more honest, they come right out and say, we are selfish, greedy swine, while the left thinks they can snow us with their holier than thou bullshit.

  12. jim said on April 5th, 2008 at 11:24am #

    It is very shoddy report, In my opinion. By accusing other’s lack of crediability, it does not means that the writer has any crediability in this matter either. One can easily use similiar argument to point the fault of many points in the writer’s arguments.

  13. Mukarji said on April 5th, 2008 at 12:21pm #

    I am surprised to find this piece on Dissident. I agree that it is a shoddy report merely showing an emotional rather than a materialist reading of history. Should we interview the “Cuban refugees” about the true history of Cuba?

  14. Lloyd Rowsey said on April 5th, 2008 at 12:32pm #

    Or the Cubans, Mukarji? Should we interview the Cubans who are not refugees? Christ.

    The US of Astounding, all-pervasive propaganda. Take it easy, Jeff. Historians don’t “put facts” in their work, and the opinions of people are facts.

    This piece is not a frontal assault on leftists, anywhere. And it’s author was very careful to name names.

  15. Emil Decries said on April 5th, 2008 at 12:36pm #

    “Should we interview the “Cuban refugees” about the true history of Cuba?”

    In a word, YES!

    First person accounts of events and the situation at the time are the HOLY GRAIL of historical research. It is the histories written by the “winners” that is always flawed and biased. Basing further _opinions_ of history on these flawed and biased accounts is what the original author is decrying.

  16. Lloyd Rowsey said on April 5th, 2008 at 12:50pm #

    More or less Right On, John Wilkinson. But I must be reading and hearing about different folks on the right than you are. Who out there says, “We are selfish, greedy swine”?

  17. Lloyd Rowsey said on April 5th, 2008 at 1:09pm #

    But back to the subject. My son was perusing my bookshelf a couple of years ago and asked me how I chose history books. I told him a always wait for the first revisionism before buying. “A Lie Repeated” is so…so…beyond “historical writing” that I truly can’t imagine it’s being “revised.”

    So, well-said! – David Edwards and Danny Ray, too.

  18. Josh said on April 5th, 2008 at 1:38pm #

    Hey all, this is the author chiming in. Thank you for all the comments, both positive and negative. To clarify (as if you hadn’t guessed already) I am definitely not a historian. And this piece is very much a response piece to a historian — or ‘historian’ — who is injecting his opinion and agenda all over a history that he has spent very little time studying. I chose to follow the thread of people’s history because Parenti considers himself a people’s historian, yet in this case he is coming very close to the dangerous waters where the colonist justifies occupation by pointing to the backwardness of the colonized. That’s not very populist. The fact is that Tibetans are a distinct people who have suffered greatly in the last half century, and that this is even up for debate is frightening. As someone with fairly leftist views on most global issues, I find it remarkable the degree to which many leftists excuse China from their lens of scrutiny. Oppression is oppression, be it by Chinese, Americans, Russians, or whomever. And I don’t think it benefits anyone to be so bound to a greater worldview that we can’t recognize an unjust situation when we see it.

    -Josh

  19. Ron Horn said on April 5th, 2008 at 1:48pm #

    How dare you impugn the name of Anna Louise Strong, the great champion of working people here in the State of Washington. While working part time as a journalist in Seattle in 1916 she became very well informed on issues affecting working people having close hand information on the massacre of IWW workers in Everett. Because of the incident this Congregational minister’s daughter, having earned a PhD from the U. of Chicago, left a career in child welfare to champion worker’s rights in the Seattle area and then world wide.

    Your smear piece smells like a work of CIA disinformation. There seems to be a propaganda campaign going on right now spearheaded by NPR, America’s New Pravda Radio. I looked in vain for any kind of documentation following the article. Your self described expertise seems to be based on a visit to Tibet and study of some kind. If the readers of Dissident Voice wish to be better informed, I suggest you start by looking at the following sources:

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/JC26Ad02.html

    http://www.amazon.com/CIAs-Secret-War-Tibet/dp/0700611592/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1207426495&sr=1-5

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19605.htm#notes

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2008/mar2008/tibe-m19.shtml

  20. hydralistor said on April 5th, 2008 at 3:04pm #

    Your article is full of lies.
    You have zero credibilities.
    Dare you quote any serious history book to support your opinions?

  21. Adam said on April 5th, 2008 at 3:07pm #

    Josh,
    There’s no excuse for feudalism. None.

  22. Josh said on April 5th, 2008 at 4:12pm #

    Serious history book: Dragon in the Land of Snows. It is brutally honest, leveling equal, objective analysis of the policy failings on both the Chinese and Tibetan sides. Its the most respected book on the subject, for those of you who are actually interested in studying the situation instead of trying to fit it into a pre-ordained ideology.

    My credibilities (sic): I have spent 24 years studying the situation in Tibet and traveling there. And I know an occupied people when I see one. I’d be curious how many of you who have responded negatively have actually spoken to a Tibetan in or outside Tibet. Every legitimate human rights organization in the world — the same ones that leftists quote when they are trying to back up their arguments about Iraq, East Timor, and Palestine (which are all situations I care about deeply and have written about as well) –knows exactly what is and has gone on in Tibet.

    Feudalism: No one is suggesting a return to feudalism. A nation’s past — and most nations in the world have unfortunate pasts — does not in any way undermine its people’s fundamental right to determine their own future, pure and simple. Its the Tibetan people’s choice. And I am amazed how many socialists, who are ‘of the people’ never bother to find out how the Tibetan PEOPLE see the world or if they are content under Chinese rule. I’m also amazed at any lingering romantic view anyone might have about the Chinese government. They’re a capitalist one party system with no freedom to form opposing political parties. Hu Jia anyone?

  23. dan e said on April 5th, 2008 at 7:59pm #

    Ron Horn’s post demonstrates once again Karl Marx’s acuity when he said “I am not a Marxist”:)

    Who was it that said “concrete analysis of concrete conditions”? After the Imperialist Hegemon itself, the greatest enemy of the oppressed classes is Dogmatism, the tendency of Eddicated Fools to imagine that the axioms they’ve memorized out of their Vanguard Sect’s catechism are more real than concrete reality, than Life itself, which does not develop according to any pre-determined scheme.

    “No Hay Plana Fija”.

    That Anna Louise Strong may have done heroic deeds in her early career in the Pacific Northwest does not negate the fact that later she became an uncritical flak for The Great Red Sun In Our Hearts. Mao Zedong was undoubtedly a revolutionary and revolutionary thinker of the first order; he was also a Han Chauvinist, with an ethical philosophy based on The End Justifies The Means. What other ethic could he follow? He was a convinced disciple of Baron Ulanov and his crackpot theory of “a party of Professional Revolutionaries united by Democratic Centralism”.
    After the Super Rich imperial coupon-clippers themselves, the greatest enemy of the Oppressed are these goddam “Professionals” & their crackpot belief systems. We the subprofessionals are encouraged to Believe, but discouraged from Knowing.
    Example: Hillery & O’Bummer are required to disclose where the money comes from, but would a Ron Horn dare ask from where Gloria La Riva and her “Party of Socialist Liberation” (sic) derives the ol’ Geetus?

    Don’t mean to single PSL out, just to use as an example. Same principle applies to all these soi-disant “Vanguard Parties” as well as to outfits claiming to be “Democratic”.

    “How DARE you question a Saint of the One True Faith!”

    BTW I don’t speak Tibetan, but as one who has been exposed to a certain amount of Buddhism, the article at the top of this phread seems to have the ring of truth. I myself am much more impressed by certain Japanese and Chinese Buddhists I’ve encountered than by anything I’ve seen/heard of the so-called “Dalai Lama”, but once upon a time I did meet and hear a lecture by a Tibetan Buddhist priest who impressed me as much as anyone I can think of. Who was a refugee fleeing oppression at the hands of the “People’s Liberation Army”.

    Which is an example of the validity of the dialectical principles Mao took such pains to teach us in his little manual “On Contradiction” — LOL:)

  24. Sunil Sharma said on April 5th, 2008 at 8:40pm #

    Josh Wrote: My credibilities (sic): ” I have spent 24 years studying the situation in Tibet and traveling there. And I know an occupied people when I see one. I’d be curious how many of you who have responded negatively have actually spoken to a Tibetan in or outside Tibet. Every legitimate human rights organization in the world — the same ones that leftists quote when they are trying to back up their arguments about Iraq, East Timor, and Palestine (which are all situations I care about deeply and have written about as well) –knows exactly what is and has gone on in Tibet.
    Feudalism: No one is suggesting a return to feudalism. A nation’s past — and most nations in the world have unfortunate pasts — does not in any way undermine its people’s fundamental right to determine their own future, pure and simple. Its the Tibetan people’s choice. And I am amazed how many socialists, who are ‘of the people’ never bother to find out how the Tibetan PEOPLE see the world or if they are content under Chinese rule. I’m also amazed at any lingering romantic view anyone might have about the Chinese government. They’re a capitalist one party system with no freedom to form opposing political parties. Hu Jia anyone?”

    Well said, Josh.

  25. sumeet said on April 5th, 2008 at 10:18pm #

    Thanks for this critique of the left’s unquestioning acceptance of the standard Chinese history of Tibet.

    As an Indian, I know all too well how many aspects of Indian history were grossly distorted by Westerners, even by those who saw themselves as “progressives” or “communists”.

    I might note that a study of the history of Buddhists living in Indian Ladakh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh – whose culture and history has much in common with neighboring Tibet will be very revealing. As will a history of Bhutan.

    In all these predominantly hill (or mountain) Buddhist societies, there were some essential common features – a harsh physical existence which led to certain distinct cultural features – such as the important role of the monasteries – which performed several functions – educational, cultural, spiritual and ecological (even helping to contain excess population growth in a very harsh landscape)

    In these traditional societies, we see relatively moderate levels of taxation that prevented huge differences in living standards across occupations. Moreover (as anthropologists have observed) sparsely populated physically remote societies tend to have less rigid state control as opposed to densely-populated physically compact ones.

    In any case, high levels of taxation/exploitation would have simply decimated the population living in such a harsh climate.

    While it is convenient to describe all pre-modern societies as “feudal”, – too many Marxists make the common mistake of failing to differentiate between different types of pre-modern societies.

    The Chinese have deliberately presented pre-modern Tibetan society as a “caricature” so as to create justification for its colonization of Tibet.

    It is notable that in all the Tibetan settlements in India (supposedly populated by “counter-revolutionaries who wish to restore feudalism in Tibet) we see no trace or even hint of that horrible caricature.

    Tibetan settlements in India are remarkably pleasant, simple, and about as egalitarian and democratic as one can get in any modern capitalist society. They are far more egalitarian and democratic than anything one might see in “Modern” “Revolutionary” China.

    While I appreciate the commentaries of the American Left on the horrors of US imperialism, I am afraid that when it comes to China, they are grossly misinformed and too many are simply unwilling to admit that their knowledge comes from flawed or biased sources.

    For that reason, I greatly appreciate your article and am grateful for this opportunity to add my little bit in solidarity with the desperate people of Tibet.

    Truth must always precede idealogy – no matter how noble the professed idealogy of the messenger.

    Thank You!

  26. Martha Stein said on April 6th, 2008 at 1:13am #

    The writer criticizes Michael Parenti and others for categorizing the old Tibetan society as a “despotic feudal theocracy”. I went through the article couple of times trying to figure out what the writer’s class analysis of that society is. What was the dominant mode of production in the old Tibetan society? The following paragraph is the closest I came to an answer:

    “There were indeed indentured farmers in old Tibet. There were also merchants, nomads, traders, non-indentured farmers, hunters, herders, warlords, bandits, monks, nuns, musicians, theater actors and artists. Tibetan society was a vast, multi-faceted affair, as societies tend to be…”

    Wow, is that really what societies tend to be? I’m still not sure, does that make it feudal or capitalist, or is that a new discovery?

    What I’ve observed from feudal societies everywhere is that the landlords rule, the peasants (they were not farmers, by the way) toil like slaves, and the priests, mullahs, and monks interpret the laws of the landlords. If the writer is trying to imply that Tibet was not a brutal feudal society, he needs to state what type of a society Tibet was beyond expressions like “people resist”.

    Also, to compare this to the American experience where an entire race of indigenous people was annihilated (or even an invasion like Iraq where over a million and a half Iraqis were slaughtered) is a crying shame.

  27. Jeff said on April 6th, 2008 at 2:25am #

    Michael Parenti does NOT condone China.He made it clear,that Chinese “too often adopted supremacist attitudes” and that money “might have been better spent on water treatment plants and housing.”This article made him look like a Communist agent,dismissing his sources of information as either unreliable or irrelevant to Tibet’s cause.I read the article a few times,it seems that he who is accusing the other of being argumentative is guilty of the charge.At least quote a few sources!
    Michael Parenti is shedding more light on the whole issue,in the process also shattering some myths.It was and still has a violent side judging from recent events.(See Elizabeth Martens’ interview)Also,the banning of Dorje Shugden by Dalai Lama causes many of its belivers to be vioelntly persecuted.
    Currently there are many many regions aspiring to be independent:Basque,Northern Ireland,Quebec,Flanders,Nagorno-Karabakh,Abkhazia,South Ossetia,Khalistan,etc.None receives more attention than Tibet.Chechen came close but after its terrorist tactic lost much PR .Ironically,tiny Kosovo just gained it and Canada waited one month to recognise it.With no army,judiciary and currency,I wonder it came at what price?

  28. Cindy Luk said on April 6th, 2008 at 3:01am #

    What’s the fuss?

    Are you implying that pre-1950 Tibet was NOT a feudal theocracy? I see no attempt by Michael Parenti to justify Chinese rule in his article. He’s just stating an uncomfortable fact for most activists. If Tibetans were so damn happy being serfs, as you claim, then why don’t they yearn to return to that lifestyle? And just because the Tibetan cause is fashionable now, does that make it above any criticism? If one follows your logic, since most Chinese are happy with their government, then scholars like you have no right to tell them that they lack basic human rights.

    Just because Tibet’s sordid feudal history plays into the hands of the PRC government doesn’t negate its existence.

  29. Josh said on April 6th, 2008 at 6:49am #

    Jeff and Cindy: So you know, I wrote this article in response to the first version of Parenti’s article, which — after mine started receiving some attention — was revised to specifically say he wasn’t condoning the occupation, that the current Dalai Lama had shown some improvement over his predecessors, and acknowledging that there was indeed a Tibetan-Government-in-Exile that had a democratic structure. As I say in the article, he doesn’t condone Chinese rule directly, but he does make absolutely ludicrous claims like that forced labor was abolished after the Chinese invasion. He also spends a lot of time saying that the movement for Tibetan rights and statehood is based on re-establishing old Fuedal Tibet, which is simply not true, and which is why pro-socialists dismiss the Tibetans entirely. So thats what the fuss is. The fuss is also that Tibetan rights advocates are now in the strange position of having to DEFEND ourselves rather than spend time helping the people in question. Many Tibet supporters ignore or dismiss the voices on the far left and go about their business helping Tibetans. I choose to engage, mostly because I respect the far left and I probably agree with the politics of many people on this list, and it pains me that Tibet is an issue that remains such a sticking point. It pains me that intelligent people do not question a country that just sent 400,000 troops into a restive resgion, locked down an area the size of western europe, isnt allowing journalists in, has arrested 2,300 people, has instituted broadbased forcible ‘patriotic reeducation sessions,’ still executes thousands of people a year with a bullet to the back of the head, and above all, has a top -down one-party system and a lock on approve-information. That country should be questioned by all free thinkers, as should our own country and all countries.

    Re: feudalism. If you want me to say Tibet was feudal at certain points in its history, sure, I’ll say it. Like I said in the article, by the time of the 13th Dalai Lama, it had changed quite a bit. But what possible bearing or relevance that has on the current situation there now I can’t imagine, unless you are trying to use Tibet’s ‘backwardness’ as a justification for brutal occupation, in which case you may want to step back and look at how much like a colonist you sound. And I tire of saying this, but please read up — from balanced sources — on what the cultural revolution was really like in Tibet and you’ll probably get a better idea on why Tibetans arent exactly content right now. Read the 10th Panchen Lama’s 70,000 word treatise to Mao. He was a Chinese official! And I would also encourage you to study up on what’s really happening in Tibet right now. Lhasa has more brothels per capita than any city in Asia. Its like a frontier town, and despite the economic ‘development’ — which is happenng much in the same way that colonists always ‘develop’ their territory — the ‘natives’ aren’t happy. At the bottom line, that is what is about. We can intellectualize all we want about the larger political forces at work, but what is happening in Tibet is a direct symptom of a people’s unhappiness due to military repression and limits on personal freedoms. If you don’t believe me, try to go there. And if and once you get in, try and find five Tibetans who — without a gun to their heads — will go on about the glories of socialism. Not going to happen.

    Suneet: My sentiments exactly… and remember, most of the people who are commenting have never been to these communities, been to Tibet, or probably met a Tibetan.

    “It is notable that in all the Tibetan settlements in India (supposedly populated by “counter-revolutionaries” who wish to restore feudalism in Tibet) we see no trace or even hint of that horrible caricature. Tibetan settlements in India are remarkably pleasant, simple, and about as egalitarian and democratic as one can get in any modern capitalist society. They are far more egalitarian and democratic than anything one might see in “Modern” “Revolutionary” China.”

  30. Josh said on April 6th, 2008 at 6:59am #

    sorry, Sumeet. :)

  31. dan e said on April 6th, 2008 at 10:25am #

    Question for those who claim pre-PLA invasion Tibet was a “feudal” society: what’s your definition of “feudalism”? I myself think it worth investigating, before declaiming on the subject, whether it might not have resembled more closely another type of pre-capitalist social formation, perhaps one similar to what Samir Amin describes as the “Tribute Mode of Production”?

    Or to what Marx called the “Ancient” mode of production, i.e., resembling classical Hellas, Alexander’s empire, and pre-Constantine Rome?

    Are we expected to accept it as proven that “Old Tibet” was in most respects a duplicate of feudal-era Europe, on the sole grounds that the CCP Ideological State Apparatus applied the term “feudal” to it?

    A “theocracy” of a kind, certainly. But what characteristics of Feudalism were actually present? Professionally researched evidence, please? Conclusions supported by data obtained via something approaching Scientific Method as customarily applied in the Social Sciences?

    Beginning with the legal structure, and also with the system of property rights/relations that existed in fact, which often diverge from the formal/theoretical “official” reality?

    ??

  32. KR said on April 6th, 2008 at 10:39am #

    Interesting article and discussion. I live in a nation under occupation: Hawai’i. The arguments of the pro-US settlers here are strikingly similar to those mentioned in the article: Pre-conquest Hawai’an society was backward and uncivilized, so the efforts of sovereigntists are illegitimate by definition. This view completely ignores the validity of self-determination.

    Here, of course, it is a right-wing cause to oppose sovereignty for the Kanaka Maoli.

    I know next to nothing about Tibet. I agree on principle with supporting peoples’ self-determination, regardless of the politics of the imperial power in question. But I do wonder why so many people in the US put so much energy into fighting for a “free Tibet,” when there are plenty of examples of occupation and oppression by the US, over which we could have some influence. It’s not that the people of Tibet are suffering any less than the people of Iraq, Colombia, Pine Ridge Reservation, etc., but that it seems we need to put most of our efforts where our tax dollars are going.

    I think we should acknowledge what a marker of privilege it is to even be able to get mixed up in such a debate – and further, to do it at the expense of supporting the liberation struggles happening in our own communities with our own money.

  33. Vic said on April 6th, 2008 at 12:06pm #

    This article was written for SFT, people should not expect to be an unbiased views of the situation.

  34. Cao Meng De said on April 6th, 2008 at 1:10pm #

    For all Joshua Michael Schrei’s knowledge of Chairman Mao quotes, he seem to have forgotten the most important one

    “Power grows out of the barrel of a gun”

    Arguing all you want about ancient history, morality and colonialism. We got more people and more guns in Tibet.

    As far as I could tell, people like Joshua Michael Schrei would rather protest on the safe streets of Liberal Democracies where his personal safety would not be compromised. Perhaps he would prefer that some Tibetan peasants to do the real fighting and dying for his ideal of a “Free Tibet”?

  35. Diane said on April 6th, 2008 at 2:27pm #

    Its good to see articles reflecting the cracks now emerging in male patriarchal ideology, intelligence being applied rather than rhetoric imposed. I was raised on left ideology and to question the official left line on Tibet has been for me a hard ask, but I now fully support the views expressed in this article.
    As an old leftist, I understand the desire to cling to the mode of production argument, but Marx himself admitted that he had little knowledge of the East. The western left is deeply entrenched in an ideology that reifies the 19th Century “Idea of Progress”, to really understand this read Linquists,”Exterminate all the brutes”. To reflect on where this left brained, male, patriarchal system is going, Doris Lessing’s “Mara and Dann” captures its demise pretty well.
    Personally, I think the left lost the plot along time ago, my spiritual friends have better socialist politics, because they actually care about people.

  36. Josh said on April 6th, 2008 at 2:41pm #

    Well, I’m sure its reassuring to everyone on this list that you have more people and more guns in Tibet.

    Just curious, Mr. Cao. What is your opinion of Hu Jia? He is an AIDS/environmental activist who was just jailed by the Chinese government for 3.5 years for writing this letter.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/feb/27/china.humanrights

  37. ron said on April 6th, 2008 at 4:32pm #

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=RDySPYjJpqg

    nothing is really as clear as it seems.

  38. Colby said on April 6th, 2008 at 5:17pm #

    Cao Meng De said on April 6th, 2008 at 1:10 pm #
    For all Joshua Michael Schrei’s knowledge of Chairman Mao quotes, he seem to have forgotten the most important one
    “Power grows out of the barrel of a gun”
    Arguing all you want about ancient history, morality and colonialism. We got more people and more guns in Tibet. As far as I could tell, people like Joshua Michael Schrei would rather protest on the safe streets of Liberal Democracies where his personal safety would not be compromised. Perhaps he would prefer that some Tibetan peasants to do the real fighting and dying for his ideal of a “Free Tibet”?

    Power grows out of the barrel of a gun. Words put into action by every imperial power since the invention of gunpowder. Here’s a question for you, Ca. Consider that most united national insurgencies eventually achieve their agenda.
    Napoleon learned this in Spain. Hitler in Yugoslavia. The Red Army in czarist Russia. The US in Vietnam, and Iraq. And the Chinese under Mongolian rule. Unless the Chinese are willing to resort to genocide, they’ll learn the lesson they should’ve already memorized from first hand experience…

  39. hp said on April 6th, 2008 at 5:31pm #

    Colby, do you think they are not willing?

  40. Jeff said on April 6th, 2008 at 5:52pm #

    Michael Parenti writes about a gamut of subjects from Yugoslavia to Venezuela.This is the only time he writes about Tibet,if I remember correctly.
    In the updated version,Michael Parenti quotes Kim Lewis who “talk at length with a dozen tibetan women”.”When she asked how they felt about returning to their homeland,the sentiment was unanimously negative…They said they6 were extremely grateful not to have to marry 4 or 5 men,be pregnant almost all the time or deal with sexually transmitted diseases contacted from a straying husband…The women interviewed by Lewis recounted stories of their grandmothers’ordeals with monks who used them as”wisdom consorts.”By sleeping with the monks,the grandmothers were told,they gained “the means of enlightenment”–after all,the Buddha himself had to be with a woman to reach enlightenment” Your vision of Tibet as peaceful,harmonious people who eschew material possessions are prevalent now but there are other accounts pointing to the opposite,which I anticipate dismissal from many posters here.It went on to say”the monks who were granted political asylum in California applied for public assistance…She observes that they continue to receive government checks amounting to $550 to $700 per month along with Medicare.In addition,the monks reside rent free in nicely furnished apartments.They pay no utilities,have free access to the Internet on computers provided fro them,along with fax machines,free cell and home phones and cable TV”.(sic)There are also accounts that Dalai Lama prefers designer brands.Another famous guru Chogyam Trungpa was an alcoholic and once made W.S.Mervin and his firlfriend to take off their clothes,after he himself got naked first.
    Michael Parenti is not the only who made”ludicrous clames that forced labor was abolishe by Chinese…”Anna Strong ,Tom Grunfeld etc also gather ample evidence along same line.One of the reason the Llasa uprising 50 years ago failed is that the freed serfs did not want to give up their rights gained.The exiles were full of aristocrats and feudal masters who had lost their privileges.See the updated version with more footnotes.”Wangchuk, a former slave …added,”I may not be free under Chinese communism,but I am better off than when I was a slave.””Dalai Lama…In a 1994 interview…said corvee(forced unpaid serf labor) and certain taxes imposed on the peasants were “extremely bad.” And he disliked the way people were saddled with old debts sometimes passed down from generation to generation.”A return to old ways is acknowledged to be out of the question so I ,running the risk of putting words in Michael Parenti’s mouth,would say he is not accusing the Tibetan Rights movement of advocating that.
    To generalise people is most dangerous.There are all kinds of Chinese as well as Tibetans.Talking to Tibetan exiles would not be any more neutral than well-researched historians who happen to be not Tibetans.In an article in Time magazine,well-known reporter Melinda Liu said her Tibetan friend wants his children to learn Chinese to get better jobs.
    During cultural revolution, the Chinese suffered just as much as the Tibetans.
    Chinese governments have done bad things but recent events are anti-Chinese riots with victims mostly Chinese.The West, with its pre-conceived notions about evil Communist,would not believe it.As for Hu Jia,I admit Chinese government is notorious for over-reacting.One gets arrested for spitting or not flushing toilets.Zhang Ye Mou’s movies,innocent as they seem to me,were banned once,but not anymore.By the way,I am curious as to where one gets the exact figure of “2300 people”arrested.I am against death penalty too.Lethal injections are not any more humane.
    Bottom line minority rights should be respected,China or elsewhere.Tibet issue is so hot,compared with say Palestine,that a more balanced and neutral approach is warranted.In a way,all local cultures are destroyed by popular American culture and we don’t seem to have a problem with that.African American have gone through a long and painful journey of discrimination and civil rights movement to achieve what they have now.Native Indians are still fighting.So are many indigenous peoples…

  41. iPaul said on April 6th, 2008 at 7:11pm #

    I really enjoyed the article and I think the author makes an excellent argument that illustrates the subjects’ (Parenti, Strong, Grynfeld, Gelder) slavish devotion to ideology. To be fair, I will state that I am an American practitioner of a Tibetan lineage of Buddhism. I am also, more often than not, sympathetic to causes championed by the left, and not just the stereotypical ‘liberal’ ones. Several things strike me as interesting. First of all, the manner in which the Dalai Lama is selected, strange and ‘undemocratic’ it may seem, does offer any (albeit male) person a chance to become a leader…and yes, the upper leadership of the major communist countries, including the beloved People’s Republic, is an exclusively male club, so claims of gender equality in communist dictatorships fall to deaf ears here. Compare this to the way most communist leaders claw their way to the top of their corrupt party heirarchies, one that guarantees that only the nastiest, vindictive sociopath will rise to the top. Stalin anyone? Another argument against the thesis that Tibetans were freed from an oppressive theocracy, and one that is hard to believe an author of any merit would overlook, is the virtual impossibility of how an oppressive feudal autocracy could maintain power with an army of 5,000, which is the number of resistance fighters that the Tibetan leadership could muster to combat the Chinese invasion (they were almost all slaughtered, along with upwards of a million of their people). My main point, and this is something that I learned both from practicing Buddhism and observing the self-destruction of the American Left, is that all philosophy (including my own) is basically horseshit. At its worst, it offers an excuse for the perpetuation of human anguish in the present moment in the name of some utopia yet to come. Basically, it seems that people would rather argue about the color of each other’s shoelaces instead of tying their own shoes. I am certainly not perfect or even any better than anyone reading this article; however, I am just a little razzled to hear people defending the harmful policies of a oppressive regime with no regard to the actual, real human suffering that it causes.

  42. Josh said on April 6th, 2008 at 8:19pm #

    Recent events are that there have been protests and uprisings in over 42 towns in the TAR and in Tibetan areas of Yunnan, Sichuan, and Qinghai. There was one major riot, in Lhasa, with Chinese victims, which came after four days of peaceful protests. Yes, Tibetans killed Chinese. I don’t condone the violence, but its a fact of occupation. People under occupation rise up. Its what they do. And the burden is on the occupier to find a solution. Your statement that mostly Chinese have died is — how shall I say this — not the truth. No reporters are allowed in to see the truth, and the only ‘official’ information coming out of China is coming from Xinhua, which is not a viable source of information. But generally, in cases where the occupied people are armed with knives and stones and the occupying forces have tanks and automatic weapons, the occupied tend to lose a few more lives. I think we’ve all seen that before.

    The bottom line is this — and I appreciate all the comments the article has received but I have to get back to actually working for Tibet :) — the struggle for Tibetan nationhood is a reality, inside and outside Tibet. Its not some CIA plot — they lost interest in Tibet a long, long time ago — its not a Western conspiracy. It is and always has been a people’s movement. Tibet in its history was never under the degree of Chinese control that it found itself under after 1959, and Tibetans have never and will never accept that control. You can argue all you want, but its the reality. And rather than hurling insults — and armed forces — at Tibetans, it would probably behoove the Chinese government to accept that there is an issue and deal with it through dialogue, since there actually is someone on the Tibetan sidewho’s willing to dialogue. In the meantime, Tibetans are going to keep doing exactly as they see fit.

    Thanks again everyone.

    Here’s a good piece of analysis if anyone wants to read further. Its from the New Left Review, so hopefully thats on the list of acceptable sources.

    http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=2388

  43. Binh said on April 6th, 2008 at 10:02pm #

    Parenti whining about the “backwardness” of pre-invasion Tibet is the same as imperialism’s apologists who pointed to Ethiopia’s “backwardness” prior to the Italian invasion by Mussolini’s armies and who more recently decried the extreme practices of the Taliban in Afghanistan and hailed “liberation” at gunpoint by the U.S. military.

    To believe Parenti and other Stalinist fellow-travellers, the CIA is behind the Tibetan uprisings, the 1989 Tiananmen Sq. protests, the movement that brought down the USSR, the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, etc etc.

    Great work here Josh!

  44. Lloyd Rowsey said on April 7th, 2008 at 8:04am #

    I don’t see the inconsistency between NOT believing Parenti and the CIA being “behind” your list of WONDERFULS, Binh.

    Great work here Josh!

  45. denk said on April 7th, 2008 at 9:42am #

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19651.htm

  46. denk said on April 7th, 2008 at 9:53am #

    The Tibet Card

  47. denk said on April 7th, 2008 at 9:58am #

    Pakistan Beware, They Are Cornering China

  48. Max Shields said on April 7th, 2008 at 11:09am #

    Much of this discussion is reminisent of the Durfur angst. Here we are the biggest imperial kid on the block, knocking off world leaders, invading and occupying and then we have the gall to talk about Tibet.

    Now, I won’t deny that states are a major problem – China is certainly no exception. But since we don’t have the wherewithall to get our asses out of Afganistan and Iraq and the 700 bases of occupataion the world over we’re ensconsed in, the the fact that our military spending is twice the combined spending of the world, that we have by far the largest nuclear arsenal pointed every which way, it just makes you wonder what the hell is this all about. Can’t solve our own little murderous adventures, let’s go and conflate with the military industrial complex.

    Who knows if don’t can make a case for bombing Iran, may be China will sell!!!

  49. Ron Horn said on April 7th, 2008 at 11:16am #

    Josh writes: “Bottom line minority rights should be respected,China or elsewhere.Tibet issue is so hot,compared with say Palestine,that a more balanced and neutral approach is warranted.” I think this really is the bottom line to all his energetic efforts for, and concern about, the Tibetans–divert attention away from the Israeli crimes against the Palestinians paid for by the US taxpayer. Me thinks that Josh is really a Zionist wolf in a humanist’s sheeps clothing.

  50. Josh said on April 7th, 2008 at 11:27am #

    Actually Ron, I didnt write this — “Tibet issue is so hot,compared with say Palestine,that a more balanced and neutral approach is warranted.” — that was someone else on the list.

    I actively campaign for Palestine. I have friends who were there when Rachel Corrie was killed, and if you’d like to see my many articles about Palestine, Israeli oppression, and the US’s military backing of it all, I’m happy to show you.

    Go ahead, keep trying to fit me in a box. It seems to be what you’re best at.

    Oh, while we’re discussing, my friends just took a nice little climb up the Golden Gate Bridge. Check it out:

    http://www.cnn.com/

  51. Max Shields said on April 7th, 2008 at 11:46am #

    Josh,

    It is not the “box” as much as the reason for skeptism. With the USA the number one violator of human rights, as a human rights worker you have you’re hands pretty full.

    You may have a case for Tibet. I don’t know enough about Tibet to say that breaking away is any different than say our Civil War. I mean from an economic perspective the South had one helluva case.

    Is Tibet a fully self-reliant entity? I mean who really owns the land? If they have natural resources the capitalist system excavates like no tomorrow, and that’s about it, then they are not a self-reliant entity, they are a supplier. Maybe they’d like to be part of the corporate global marketplace selling to the highest bidder instead of part of China.

    From a purely international law perspective it appears China has the “law” on her side. So the colony issue may not figure here. But look at the supporters of Tibet separatism – Western neo-liberal/neo-cons should tell you something about the vulture case for what’s going on; and the flakey “Save Darfur” crowd. I’m not saying this to give China a pass, just to aid you in understanding (if you need such aid) why the skeptics give a big UMMMMMM

    Just an observation.

  52. hp said on April 7th, 2008 at 12:09pm #

    This is all another exercise in futility. The question, once again, was answered before is was ever asked. NO. The answer is NO. Even before you ask, even before and after all discussions, expressions, sermons, etc. are delivered, the answer is NO.
    No independence for Tibet.
    I don’t like it.
    You don’t like it.
    Tibetans don’t like it.
    China says NO and that’s that.

  53. Josh said on April 7th, 2008 at 12:22pm #

    Its not up to ‘China’. Its up to people.

  54. hp said on April 7th, 2008 at 12:33pm #

    Surely you Josh?

  55. Lloyd Rowsey said on April 7th, 2008 at 5:28pm #

    I withdraw my immediately previous, incoherent post. I was having a bad morning.

  56. Sunil Sharma said on April 7th, 2008 at 7:32pm #

    Ron Wrote: “I think this really is the bottom line to all his energetic efforts for, and concern about, the Tibetans–divert attention away from the Israeli crimes against the Palestinians paid for by the US taxpayer. Me thinks that Josh is really a Zionist wolf in a humanist’s sheeps clothing.”

    Good lord, you gotta be f**king kidding me! It’s this sort of kindergarten-level logic that really embarrasses me about some of our readers. So if we publish an article about, say, the plight of the poor in New Orleans, are we therefore “Zionist wolf in humanist’s sheeps clothing [sic]” because it doesn’t address Israeli crimes in Palestine?

    It might be news for some people, but not everything in the world has to do with treacherous Zionist plots and conspiracies.

  57. denk said on April 7th, 2008 at 7:45pm #

    link

  58. Josh said on April 7th, 2008 at 8:01pm #

    before you exhaust yourself posting links, I never said that there wasn’t Tibetan induced violence during the Lhasa riot. But it happened after four days of peaceful protests and standard Chinese arrest tactics. There was violence precisely because people with no freedoms rise up. It happens everywhere people are occupied. If you want to start comparing Tibetan vs. Chinese death tolls over the last 50 years, lets gor for it. Its not even comparable.

    The CNN link is from a reporter who was there during the Lhasa riot. The entire nation has been closed to reporters since.

  59. Jeff said on April 7th, 2008 at 8:03pm #

    I was a true believer,lining up from Central Park West to East for hours,to listen to Dalai Lama.Looking back,his teachings are either cliche or deceptively simple,depending which side of the fence you are on.I even plunked down 200 bucks to go to Free Tibet concert with Richard Gere and Tom Waits.Iraq war just started and there was no mention of it.I heard someone who had lived in Gansu for 50 years say that average lives in Tibet had improved since 1959.It’s a Chinese spy,no doubt.With the huge influx of Chinese,notwithstanding,according to census,Tibet is 92% Tibetans and 4% Chinese.
    Someone said Michael Parenti wrongly stated that 1st Dalai Lama was installed by Chinese emperor when it should have been Mongolian.It would be helpful to read up a bit on Chinese history since Chinese emperor at that time was Mongolian.
    Tibet was never under so much Chinese influence until after 1959 is another contentious point just like the whole notion of “occupation”.Again,one needs to look up history books.Yuan and Qing dynasties were not ethnic Chinese but they were bona fide Chinese governments.As early as 1207,Genghis Khan marched into Tibet and Tibet submitted bloodlessly and paid tribute to China (which was ruled by Mongolians).Kublai Khan’s spiritual tutuor was Chogyal Phagpa who let him took charge of Tibet’s military.
    There were eye-witness accounts of recent riots.Chinese shops were burned.Those who could not make it out on time were burned alive.Chinese were beaten up…Read Elizabeth Marten’s first hand account in this web-site.To justify these behaviours is highly repugnant to say the least.Lives are lives,Tibetan or Chinese.Media showed footages from Nepal and India to confuse people.No conspiracy here.Yeah,right.I would like to see dialogue too.Why are people not communicating?America does not talk with “terrorists”.Britain doesn’t talk with IRA.Eventually they have to.

  60. Josh said on April 7th, 2008 at 8:34pm #

    The Dalai Lama has been begging the Chinese government to communicate for 20 years, and they won’t. And now their obstinance is biting them in the face, because younger Tibetans are fed up with the Dalai Lamas passive approach.

  61. hp said on April 7th, 2008 at 8:47pm #

    So what will all that anger get them, Josh? Killed?
    Doesn’t this look a little like another Chechnya type scenario shaping up?
    ‘Biting them in the face’ is a tad dramatic, isn’t it?
    Maybe nipping at their heels, if even that.

  62. Josh said on April 7th, 2008 at 8:57pm #

    I’m not justifying violence. Tibetans have been on the receiveing end of it for 50 years. And they have been far more restrained than most occupied people. Yes, I said occupied. When a nation moves tens of thousands of troops into a region that has its own government, military, currency, language, food, customs, culture and religion, takes it over, and leaves the troops there, its called OCCUPATION. And China — while it had emissaries, border troops, and took taxes from Tibet prior to 1959, never controlled the Lhasa government, plain and simple.

    Again, read some analysis:

    http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=2388

  63. Josh said on April 7th, 2008 at 9:05pm #

    Who knows what the anger will get them. Maybe something, maybe nothing. But its a reality. A Tibetan reality, which much of this conversation has been removed from. The actual reality of the actual people. I don’t want anyone killed. But I certainly understand their frustration.

    As far as biting them in the face, if anyone doesnt think what happened today was a massive blow to the Chinese government, then you don’t understand how they think and how they operate. But the number of death threats we received at our office probably speaks for itself.

  64. hp said on April 7th, 2008 at 9:34pm #

    Josh, I feel the same way you do.
    I just can’t help but think the Chinese are immovable on this, though, and will pull out all the stops to maintain their control. Isn’t that their M.O., ultimately?

  65. denk said on April 7th, 2008 at 11:43pm #

    josh,
    i posted those links to show that your claim “the only ‘official’ information coming out of China is coming from Xinhua” is false.

    as for china imposing curfew and closing the border now, i think most countries do that after a bloody ethnic riots, dont they ?
    tibet has been opened to tourists for yrs, more than 3m visitors in 2005 alone, now the country is shut down coz outside agitated riots, many people, hans, huis, tibetans will suffer the consequence.

    i see tibet is being compared to the pastinian situation, down there if the “terrarists” inflicted something like this on the “settlers”, what was the standard reponse, we all know that dont we — strafing townships with apache gunships, cross border bombings at villages “suspected of harboring terrarists” by f16, “targeted assiasinations” of “suspected terrarists” regardless of “collecteral damage”.
    israel did all these and got away scot free.
    in tibet’s case, china is being savaged by the “international communities “, for merely struggling to control a murderous riot against the hans and the huis.
    some comparision !!

  66. Andres Kargar said on April 8th, 2008 at 12:14am #

    Speaking the heavenly truth in vacuum is OK, but it will not do the earthly human beings any good.

    One cannot talk about China and its actions in Tibet without also mentioning the role of the US imperialism, the CIA, and its support for Dalai Lama-in-exile. That would make one’s truth awfully lopsided.

  67. denk said on April 8th, 2008 at 2:22am #

    anybody who is interesting in connecting the dots [cia, ned, tam, flg, burma, tibet, xinjiang] can refer to this

  68. Lloyd Rowsey said on April 8th, 2008 at 4:55am #

    World on Fire, by Amy Chua. 2003. “Tibet” is not even in the Index.

  69. josh said on April 8th, 2008 at 8:51am #

    oh look, the friendly socialist Chinese government hiring a capitalist western PR firm to help with their international ‘image’ over Tibet. Now why would ‘socialists’ blatantly mingle with capitalists? Maybe its because they’re not socialists at all. They’re totoalitarian capitalists, and they have been ever since Deng Xiaoping said ‘To get rich is glorious.’

    See link

    By the way, none of the China apologists on the site have answered my question about Hu Jia. He’s an AIDS and environmental activist, who was just imprisoned for 3.5 years for writing this letter:

    See Link

    Seem fair? Thats the type of treatment ‘uppity’ Han Chinese receive. Now add to that a little Han chauvinism and a racist attitude towards backwards Tibetans, and you can probably imagine what life is like for any Tibetan who tries to complain that they don’t have freedom. Which they don’t. Tibetans want to be Buddhist without having ‘patriotic re-education sessions’. Its their choice. They’d probably love to be able to elect a leader as well. You can try and complicate the issue as much as you like, but, as I’ve said a thousand times on this thread, its about a distinct culture wanting to determine its own future. If your politics don’t allow you to see that, then I’m not sure you’re worth talking to.

  70. Madam Maiow said on April 8th, 2008 at 9:28am #

    I never realised feudalism could be so pretty, Josh. I guess the $1.7 million the CIA coughed up buys a helluva lot of beautifying.

    What we really want to see is a “Free Tibet” indebted to the West, and the US in particular, with control of the water for the whole region in the hands of Tibet’s new friends, with maybe a few Kurgestan-style US missile sites on roof of the world.

    Anyway, back to the million dead Iraqis and the possibility of a nuclear strike on Iran ….

  71. Madam Miaow said on April 8th, 2008 at 9:32am #

    I never realised feudalism could be so pretty, Josh. I guess the $1.7 million coughed up by the CIA and donated to His Holiness buys a lot of beautifying.

    Anyway, back to the million dead Iraqis and the plans for a nuclear strike on Iran …

  72. denk said on April 8th, 2008 at 10:01am #

    heck, my post at cif has been deleted,
    those who still want to connect the dots please refer to this.

  73. josh said on April 8th, 2008 at 12:22pm #

    I’m no fan of the Iraq War, Madame. Or the Vietnam War, which I consider one of the greatest crimes against humanity committed last century. 3 million dead vietnamese. it should be ranked up there with the holocaust. and with joe stalin’s russia (cue Ron Horn telling me that Stalin was a hero).

    But none of this makes the Chinese government the good guys. They’ve got PLENTY of blood on their hands. Go ahead and defend them if you want. But there still has been no response to my question about Hu Jia, which is interesting.

    Or is it uncomfortable to people who have an inexplicable idolization of the Chinese government that their regime imprisons people for writing letters, forcibly relocates the poor without pay for dams and olympic stadiums, executes over 5,000 people a year with a bullet to the back of the head, and, bottom line DOES NOT ALLOW FREE EXPRESSION.

    Apparently, its more comfortable to sit back and poke holes in the distant past of an occupied people, which has little to no relevance to their current position and their right to self-determine (which again no one ever responds to)

    So let me ask you this directly. Do you think the Chinese government are benevolent in any sense of the word? Do you think Hu Jia’s imprisonment was justified? Do you feel that distinct cultures have the right to self-determine? Lastly, do you think people should have the right to form independent unions and political parties? For instance, if there were a party of people in Tibet — like in Quebec — who wanted freedom, should that be a political stance that is even allowed?

  74. Paul said on April 8th, 2008 at 1:28pm #

    To imply that China had any positive effect on Tibet is like claiming that Cortes did the Aztecs a service by ridding them of their theocracy.

  75. heike said on April 8th, 2008 at 2:42pm #

    Josh: you are a breath of fresh air, but you shouldn’t need to justify the stand you take on this issue by the stand you take on others. What is your take on http://www.anti-cnn.com? I couldn’t find anything contradicting the official line, either in the English or the Chinese language fora. Maybe as an experiment you could post your contribution and see how long it stays up?

  76. Max Shields said on April 8th, 2008 at 5:57pm #

    Josh I think you’re missing the point. You and most here live in the belly of the beast.

  77. denk said on April 8th, 2008 at 7:02pm #

    the irony of the current hue and cry is that china is getting kinda gang bang by the “international communities” for………merely trying to contain a murderous riot. if anybody has seen anything like that before, i would like to hear it.
    worse still, this international campaign is being led by……..the world’s top hr abuser, uncle sham himself !!

    hmmm, brilliant isnt it ?

  78. Shabnam said on April 8th, 2008 at 7:15pm #

    The US government is increasing its propaganda against China trying to sell policy of destabilization of China, like Islamic countries, to a lesser ignorant population at this site. China is an ancient country with thousands years of civilization like Tibet or Iran. These countries have suffered at the hand of invaders and its populations were massacred by the Mongol and western power since 13th. Century. The funny thing is that the western imperialism always has been engaged in an old game of “divide and conquer” where puts people against each other, and gives military and financial support to one side and attracts few opportunists to train them as “leaders” and spies to enable imperialists and now Zionists to engage in break down of these countries to create large “cities” instead of “countries” with less than 2 million people based on ethnic and religious divide to control the population and their NATURAL RESOURCES and control their MARKET to enrich themselves, an old story. This is the end game for the American imperialism and its economic system which is a MODERN SLAVERY known as market economy.
    The history of China and Tibet is intertwined and it can not be separated easily, at least since the Mongol rule in 13th century, from each other. Since the European imperialism, the most brutal, more countries with artificial borders have been created to create tension among different ethnic groups to keep them weak and under control of the western power for the past 500 years. Tibet itself, like other nations, is not pure and homogenous. Tibet is consisted of 41 races, including Tibetan, Menpa, Luopa, Han Chinese, Hui (majorities are Muslim), Sherpa, Deng, and many more. It is not clear which one has gained the trust of the CIA to be used in destabilization of China. Have Tibetan been promised that they can force other groups out as soon as they become “independent”? Similar to Kurdish terrorists who have been trained by Israel and US to implement the same techniques that was used by European settlers, the Zionists, who came to occupy the land and forced the indigenous population of palatine out of their land to make rooms for themselves. Or like those European settlers who came to Americas and killed thousands of indigenous population to bring the land under their control.
    Tibet was formally incorporated into the Chinese territory of the Yuan Dynast in 1280s. This incorporation has kept its steadfastness until the 19th century; when China’s Qing dynasty was weaken by the opium trade imposed by the English. In 1865 Great Britain began secretly mapping Tibet. Trained Indian spies disguised as pilgrims or traders to go to Tibet and took readings at night for further use against Tibet.
    The British invaded Tibet in 1903 and signed a treaty and left by 1904. The provisions of 1904 treaty was confirmed in a 1906 treaty signed between Britain and China, the Qing dynasty, in which the British agreed NOT TO ANNEX TIBETAN TERRITORY or to interfere in the administration of Tibet. In the other words, they recognized Tibet as part of China.
    What is the reason behind America’s interest in Tibet, the Buddhist ideology of 1649 Dalai Lama and what Tibet hold underground that is so attractive to the empire? Tibet has the world’s largest reserve of Uranium and in addition to gold and copper, large quantities of oil and gas were discovered in Qiangtang Basin in western China’s remote Tibet area.
    http://www.gasandoil.com/goc/news/nts44532.htm
    Israel is also interested in Tibet and is very much involved in training and supporting the opposition movement in Tibet similar to Israel’s presence in north of Iraq and training of Kurdish Terrorists to attack neighboring countries such as Iran to weaken the country through destabilization for further attacks is known to everyone. The imperialists and Zionists train and support terrorist groups around the world to create riots through act of terror against various governments
    http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2007/870/op1.htm

    to destabilize and divide these countries to smaller pieces. Israel’s interest and involvement in Tibet is undeniable. Elie Wiesel, the famous “Holocaust survivor”, is recruiting fellow Nobel winners to press China on Tibet. The same gang from Hollywood, the Zionist Spielberg is involved as well. In campaign for Tibet like Sudan where many “Artists” are engaged in spreading lies about “genocide” in Darfur, here are spreading lies about China colonization of Tibet.
    http://www.tew.org/archived/agri.israeli.html
    As Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich asked:
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8462
    “Why these humanitarians are not concerned with the well-being of 1.4 million Palestinians described by the UN and the ICRC as being subjected to worst possible human disaster witnessed.”

    Israel’s involvement is wrapped around its “expertise on agriculture technology.” Israel on the one hand destroy the Palestinian’s olive trees to grab their land and to keep the population hungry and weak to be easier to control, and on the other hand is “training” The Israel’s Friends of the Tibetan People (TIFTP) in “agricultural techniques ” in order to have the situation under control in Tibet.
    In another article on Tibet on this site ,” The Q&A on Tibet” by Bénito Perez, Elisabeth Martens brought up many good points . She said:
    “The testimony of foreigners present at the time was in agreement on this point: the aggression targeted the Chinese (the Han) and the Hui, a majority of whom are Muslims. Some people were burned alive; others were beaten, stabbed or stoned to death. The weapons used were Molotov cocktails, stones, iron bars, shanks and butcher knives. There were 22 dead and more than 300 wounded, nearly all were Hui and Han. These were criminal acts of a racist character.”

    From her statement it is obvious that the nature loving and peaceful Tibetan people have changed into vicious aggressors who burned the Muslim quarter down. No wonder the Israelis are interested in Tibetans who have one thing in common with the Zionists and that is the hatred of Muslims. In 1960’s Israel build a hospital in North of Iraq and put its Mossads in name of “doctors” in charge and work closely with the Kurds as spies and trained them to act as Israel’s agent to carry out terrorist activities against other countries in the region. People should not support independent state, like Kosovo, for Tibet to create more puppet states for the Zionist and imperialist forces who have pushed the world towards nothing but MODERN SLAVERY. Those who want breakaway to be more common, first they must return half of the United States to its original owner, Mexico, and then talk about “breakaway” issues.
    When Europe is pushing towards unification, I think it is hypocrisy by the agent of imperialism and Zionism to push breakaway among ethnic groups of other countries especially countries with ancient civilization, like China and Iran, to rob their museum, like Iraq by American forces, to eliminate their contribution to civilization and humanity to deny future generation of such a treasure in order to eliminate any competition.
    http://www.geocities.com/strongmedicine51/sovereignty.html

  79. hp said on April 8th, 2008 at 7:25pm #

    Ever heard of Kosovo(a)?

  80. Josh said on April 8th, 2008 at 8:13pm #

    I know denk, it was so ‘ironic’ too when the international community condemned Apartheid, when all they were doing was controlling those uppity rioting blacks.

    I really wish you all could step outside yourselves and hear how you sound. You would be the first to condemn the Chinese government’s behavior were it any other government. And why anyone could think they’re a positive example, no one has answered. Hu Jia? Anyone? Anyone?

  81. Josh said on April 8th, 2008 at 8:16pm #

    and by the way, Norway, Germany, and France have been far more outspoken that the US on the issue.

  82. Dawa said on April 9th, 2008 at 1:02am #

    Ok Ok, i’ve been reading this enough…hence i read the whole thread and I’m amazed…AMAZED at how people are good at deflecting the main objective of this paper. THE TIBETANS.

    The irony is so freaking big I’m surprised it hasn’t hit anyone in the face just yet. You all (Josh opposer’s, I’ll call for now) have seemed to have tried to draw out the genocide China has inflicted upon my people for 60years by mentioning other genocides of the world. Thats classic. Take away the voice of a victim by replacing it with another victim, in order to NOT hear what that victim had to say. Ignore one genocide by replacing it with another genocide.

    Josh was talking about the Tibetan people, MY PEOPLE and yes he is right when he said my people have been raped of our identity and yes right now my people are being killed at this very moment. So as some of you mentioned, Iraq is a bigger fish to fry, forget China….why don’t you stop suger coating it, why don’t you just say it, you know you mean, Iraq is a bigger fish, forget TIBET.

    Please stop posting up links of the conspiracy of western imperialism, as if we don’t know but that is BESIDES THE POINT. The fact of the matter is my people are colonized, they are suffering and they are either being killed directly (for now) or dying slowly due to the system that benefits the colonizer. And that my friends, are my peoples reality and it doesn’t take any link of CIA bullcrap US imprialism away from OUR reality and of China’s IMPERIAL occupation reality.

    Why don’t some of you use the time to actually walking walk, as far as campaigning for the end of the IRAQ war rather then waste your time here to de-legitimize my peoples suffering for the sake of your own argument.

    At the end of the day, I don’t care for you skeptics and I don’t need to justify my truth to you cause in the end, only the victims know the truth about their own victimization. The rest of you can argue all you want but truth is on our side and my people will fight regardless of your privileged existence to have an “opinion” on the matter.

    Before I leave, I’d like to quote Paul “To imply that China had any positive effect on Tibet is like claiming that Cortes did the Aztecs a service by ridding them of their theocracy.”

    If anything, it seems History has not changed the way it interprets history. Pick up Howard Zins’s “A Peoples History of the United States”. It was written from the point of view of the victims.

    In this history, I suggest you start listening to history from the point of view of the Victims rather then argue amongst yourselves. Go ask a Tibetan before you want to have a “coffeshop revolutionary” moment.

  83. Dawa said on April 9th, 2008 at 5:51am #

    “…I am the monk and the nun that you abuse with cattle prod, beatings, starvation. I am the farmer whose old house was torn down by PLA and made to buy a new cookie-cutter house, far away from my sheep and yaks, with ‘loan’ from China Bank that State knows I can never pay back. I am the child whose aunt and uncle are taken away in the night because they posess a picture of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Kundun, Incarnation of Chenrezig the Compassionate. I am the young man and woman who has studied Mandarin language hard for years and years, at the expense of losing my own language, only to find that my accent is too thick, my skin is too dark to get ahead in the new ‘Tibet Autonomous Region’. I am the Grandmother who has lived all her life within sight of the Jhokang and Potala, whose house that has stood for two hundred years is now gone, replaced by a whorehouse and nightclub. Everywhere I look, I see Han immigrants. I hear putonguo spoken, instead of my own tongue. The cobblestones of the Barkhor have been torn up, and Han children ride in little electric amusement cars past me, pointing at me and laughing. I am the Khampa herdrsman who must sell his products to the State for whatever they care to give me for my endless labours. I am the fifteen year old girl in Amdo who is shot in the head because I happened to be at the wrong place, buying tsampa, at the right time. I am the monk in 1959 who was shot in the back of the head just outside the walls of Drepung for refusing to denounce His Holiness by walking upon his picture, along with scores of my Bhoe brothers. I got no sky burial; my remains lie in a common pit grave, alongside my brother.”

    –a post from phayul.com

  84. Max Shields said on April 9th, 2008 at 6:01am #

    Dawa while I’ll refrain from using the always reliant word “genocide”, the US is committing atrocities with in partnership with others (most notably Israel) on a DAILY basis!!!!

    How do you begin to discern that brutality, a history of brutality the world over, by deflecting it with the brutality in an area of the world that only a few in this country (a country whose people would still find it rather difficult to point out where Iraq is let alone Tibet).

    We’ve had this discussion and will continue with the Save Darfur crowd who seem to think that because there is murder and despair else where we should all drop our fight to get out of Iraq and Afganistan and take those energies (rare though they be) and shift them to Tibet and then Somalia and then Sudan and then and then and then. When it is the USA who is in the lead toppling governments, initiating riots and invading and occupying sovereign regions. This is the predatory capitalist juggernaut you want to HELP Tibet?????

  85. Josh said on April 9th, 2008 at 6:02am #

    Josh Schrei
    to Shabnam
    More options 9:02 am (0 minutes ago)
    Thats certainly a lot of words, Shabnam, but there’s almost no
    historical validity to any of it. The CIA dropped funding the khampa
    rebellion in 1972. And Tibetans have far more in common with the
    Palestinians that they do the Israelis. They’re both occupied people.
    Saying that the history of Tibet and China is so ‘intertwined’ is like
    reverting to that the common argument that Palestinians can’t have
    rights or a state because the situation is ‘complicated.’ And learn
    your history — Tibet and China were both part of MONGOLIA in the
    13-1600s. By that logic, Tibet would have equal claim to China. India
    would have claim to Burma because both were part of the British
    Empire. But thats irrelevant. Its a retroactive justification for one
    people occupying another, and its used over and over again by
    colonists to justify occupation. Its just interesting to see
    socialists and lefties on the flip side of it. As far as the market
    economy, the Chinese government’s not exactly the victim here. They’ve
    been pimping out their population for over 20 years now, and all the
    old party cadres have gotten mighty rich off of it. Its a neat trick,
    converting a one party communist system over to capitalism while
    keeping your friends in power and making sure they are the ones who
    benefit from the privatization of state run enterprise.

    But hey, according to the Chinese government this morning, the
    Tibetans have ‘democracy’.

    http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23512670-5005961,00.html

    “Australia, or other countries, should have better appreciation and
    understanding of the fact that people in Tibet are now enjoying
    democracy and have wonderful human rights protection,” he said.

    The Chinese government are absolute, total, complete liars. Ask Hu Jia. Anyone?

  86. Max Shields said on April 9th, 2008 at 6:28am #

    Josh you really don’t get it. The reason why the Palestinian and Iraqi/Afganistan conflicts and occupations are numero uno in the USA is because WE – you and me – are directly responsible for those murderous conflicts.

    If you think that every nationalist movement in the world ought to have our full and undivided attention then you are part of the problem because the ball, my friend, is where we sit, right here in the USA and our treachorous foreign policies.

    For every Tibet I can list a hundred other nationalist movements that could be pitted against American Empirism. And for me, the latter is the PROBLEM. Tibet is NOT Palestine.

  87. josh said on April 9th, 2008 at 7:14am #

    Chinese empirism aint so pretty either. And thanks for telling me that ‘I don’t get it.’ Apparently that means I’m supposed to see things exactly as you do? That sounds very populist of you.

  88. josh said on April 9th, 2008 at 7:26am #

    I hate to burst your bubble, but there are many problems in this world, and not all of them have American Empirism at their root. To suggest so is to demonstrate an utterly simplistic understanding of world affairs and history. Almost as simplistic as dismissing an entire people because once upon a time they were ‘feudal’ or because the word CIA enters the mix or because of some kind of idiotic romanticization of one of the most brutal governments in the world.

    And, Max, I can work on whatever causes I see fit. I’ve been to every major anti-Iraq protest since the war started. And here’s some of my writing on US aggression:

    http://www.gnn.tv/articles/202/Rant_The_Morality_of_it_All

    http://www.12ozprophet.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-77655.html

  89. denk said on April 9th, 2008 at 9:43am #

    josh,

    funny you should mention the south america case.
    take a look at us/uk track record……

    do a search for “south” [ south africa].
    on at least a dozen occasions, un resolutions condemning south africa policy were blocked invariably by….us/uk/israel, the typical score was 150 vs 3 !!
    and who is the leader of the current tibet fiasco but the same us/uk clique ?
    the current campaign against china has nothing to do with hr, just another “great game” shenanigan in “humanitarian” garb.
    as max and shabnam have pointed out, why cant u see it. ?

  90. denk said on April 9th, 2008 at 9:54am #

    hp
    **Ever heard of Kosovo(a)?**

    and you know whats common to
    kosovo and

    tibet ?

    ned [aka cia in pastor grab]

  91. denk said on April 9th, 2008 at 10:19am #

    josh,
    i meant south africa….

  92. Shabnam said on April 9th, 2008 at 10:33am #

    Max well said.
    Josh:
    Tibat was not even a unified place. A series of kings ruled Tibet from the 7th to the 11th century. It was Namri Songzen who first attempted to unify Tibet from 670 to 692 AD, but they were defeated by Chinese forces. Later in 13th century Tibet and china came under the rule of the Mongols who incorporated Tibet into China. So there is a lot of shared history between Tibet and China and both populations have suffered tremendously at the hand of the European imperialism, first the Portuguese and later the British. However, it is not fair to twist my words according to your interest and conclude that: “By that logic, Tibet would have equal claim to China. India would have claim to Burma because both were part of the British Empire. But that’s irrelevant.” I think this is irrelevant otherwise Iran (Persia) would have claim over countries in the central Asia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Chechen to the Middle East including Iraq and Palestine to Egypt to Libya and so on and so forth. But this is not my conclusion and it’s yours. Today, the American empire which is the extension of the European imperialism, the most brutal ever, rules over much of the world holding onto their occupations, military bases, which have been achieved by construction of “ethnic groups” and supporting their rights , as Gilad Atzmon explained “right to self – determination – A fake exercise in Universalism”, determination-a-fake-exercise-in-universalism/
    http://www.dissidentvoice.org/2008/03/the-right-to-self-when it when serves their interest, to use it as pretext to invade, to massacre
    (targeted assassination and terror squad), to rape and at the end to colonize those fools who made their invasion possible so they can add more millitary bases to their collection and take over their resources and make the neighborhood save for their allies, the Zionist, and save for their “investment” and expansion of influence which has caused more than 3 million deaths before turning the “no fly zone” into another military base, Kurdish area, with enough oil to play as Israel’s ally against the neighboring countries and that is called “autonomy” and “right to self determination”, a phony one, for the dominant power and its allies to destabilize the middle east for further military attacks and what have you done ? People like you, to stop these illegal acts according to their own international law. what have these “human rights” organizations done to force the axis of evil US – Israel – Britain out of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Sudan, Congo, the Middle East including Iraq? The answer is nothing because majorities of these organizations – women, youth, journalist without borders, Labor unions, doctors without borders, national endowment for democracy, freedom house and many more organizations with their NGO’s are at the service of the American, European and the Zionist intelligent services to destabilize, divide and conquer and therefore, under the established international system, modern slavery, a Euro-American, laws are followed as long as it serves their interests and if it does not, then all of them are broken. Examples of this hypocrisy are numerous. Palestine is only one example.
    You have intentionally or unintentionally distorted my words. Actually it is my curiosity to find out what have you done about cases such as: Sudan, millions of death, Palestine, massacre of people on daily basis by the European setters, Iraq – more than 3 million deaths since the first Gulf war so far, Somalia, Cuba, Latin America, Africa and so and so forth.
    Search under Josh Schrei in Internet gives us the following:
    GNN contributor Josh Schrei is a producer, writer, and nonprofit strategist living in New York City. Josh has closely followed the situation on the ground in Tibet for 19 years, writing numerous articles on the subjects that have been widely published. Josh served as Campaigns Coordinator for the Milarepa Fund from 1996 – 2001 and on the Board of Students for a Free Tibet from 1999 – 2004.

    I have not found much else which show you, as a human right activist has written anything about the above countries under the attack of the American imperialism and Zionism who have killed millions and millions, have raped many in Abu Gharib and elsewhere, more than
    http://www.ebratha.blogfa.com/post-2.aspx
    5 million deaths in Congo where almost all the female population of Congo from ages 8 to 80, have been raped and we do not hear much about that, but all the polititions, Hollywood and the stupid “Save Darfur” and “holocaust Museum” screaming about “genocide” in Darfur.
    Let me bring a quote by “Reverend Sequoia Rodrriguez Ade” on Milarepa Fund where you worked for them in the past:
    “Contradictions abound when the target of American public scorn is directed towards other nations (in this case China) who happen to do the same as the U.S. has traditionally done. (albeit, without U.S. or European sanction) To quote Andrew Bryson, director of the MILAREPA FUND founded by the Tibetan Buddhist convert Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys, “You can discuss the history and different things the Chinese point to as being historical precedents or you can just look at it as: obviously Tibetans are not happy with the situation at hand. Shouldn’t they have the right to determine their own future?” An incongruous position for a colonial Euro-American who manages a support group for an Indigenous Asian nation, while in his home country, the exact same state of affairs is taking place unperturbed, and supported by the general colonial population. The need for White Americans to look abroad to alleviate suffering and correct wrongs is touching until you query them as to why they offer Indian America no such support. While charging China with “oppressive actions” for violating the human rights of sovereign peoples within their claimed respective domestically recognized areas, the Milarepa Fund as well as other Tibetan support groups by default absolve the U.S. of guilt surrounding the genocide of Native Americans and the continual rape of what’s left of the Indigenous culture. By dismissing homegrown, American genocide and cultural, territorial theft as purely historical and eventual, these support factions allow such biases to proceed further, and for good reason.”

    Destabilization and partition of countries must stop. There must be one country for Palestinians and Jews and other indigenous population of Palestine who have lived more than 20 centuries together. Whoever is not comfortable must get out. Palestinians’ suffering must end. The US must get out of Afghanistan, the Middle East including Iraq immediately. China has been a victim of the Euro-American intervention and humiliation and its footprints are not seen all over the map like the Western imperialism. http://www.geocities.com/strongmedicine51/sovereignty.html

  93. Max Shields said on April 9th, 2008 at 11:40am #

    Josh said, “Chinese empirism aint so pretty either. And thanks for telling me that ‘I don’t get it.’ Apparently that means I’m supposed to see things exactly as you do? That sounds very populist of you.”

    Nobody is saying it is. You create a strawman (far left who think China can do know wrong) and than try to bring us along and away from our vicious annihiliation of Iraq and the devastation we continue to unleash with unmitigated zeal on those people and the people of Afganistan and then you want us to avert our eyes to Tibet.

    See the flaws in your logic?

  94. josh said on April 9th, 2008 at 11:55am #

    Yes, poor China, they’re such a victim. Today they announced that anyone who interupted the torch relay in Tibet would be dealt with ‘harshly and with no leniency.’ Do you know what that means in China? How many Tibetans have you met in your life, denk? Well forgive me if after 24 years of knowing my subject matter I don’t just jump on your ‘Everything-in-the-world-is-the-fault-of-US-imperialists’ bandwagon. Its hack politics. History is far more complex an animal. The Chinese government and US business are making billions off of each other every year. You think Coca Cola or any of the other olympic sponsors want this unrest in Tibet to be happening right now? You think that the US Government wouldnt rather be sitting back with no problems and letting trade flow as usual? China isn’t socialist, they are Totalitarian Capitalists and have been for years. All the old party cronies are making ridiculous amounts of money off western companies. Do you think they want that to change? Your ‘its all a plot against China’ rhetoric is like thirty years too late. Have you ever researched what the billions of dollars in ‘aid’ China is pouring into Africa are doing? How they’ve sent PLA soldiers to guard oil pipelines in Darfur?

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1571/is_27_16/ai_63692875

    And its not just Darfur, its everywhere in Africa. China’s buddying up to the worst dictators around. Thats not US imperialism — they’re creating their own imperialism quite nicely on their own thank you.

    What is happening is that the world is shaping into four dominant power spheres: US imperialistic capitalist, Chinese totalitarian capitalist, European social capitalist, and fundamentalist Islamic. India and Russia are the big X factors in terms of how they will effect the global power balance this century. Sorry to burst the bubble, but socialism isnt even on the global radar, unless you make it so. And if you can, more power to you. I’m all for people’s movements.

    Personally, I abhor the foreign policy of American Imperialist Capitalism. I also abhor the domestic/internal policies of Chinese totalitarian capitalism. I will continue to be actively critical of each.

    In my view, and I don’t expect you to share it, the struggle is for universal standards that all nations — including ours — are bound by law to abide by. I think that those standards absolutely must include internal pluralism and a right to self determine. I think that the US has egregiously violated international law, but so has China, and I don’t excuse either of them.

    Now excuse me, I have a torch to stop.

    Cheerio.

  95. josh said on April 9th, 2008 at 11:58am #

    by the way max, I’m not trying to bring you along anywhere. This site contacted me about reprinting this article. I just got suckered into it.

    ;)

  96. pierre said on April 9th, 2008 at 1:48pm #

    I must say, I have a lot to say about Josh’s article, but to cut to the chase, his attack on Parenti as a historian pales to the faults and inaccuracies in “A Lie Repeated.”

    For example the opening line, “A lie repeated a hundred times becomes the truth” was attributed to Chairman Mao which is wrong. That was said by Joseph Goebbels, the minister in charge of all Nazi Propaganda and Hitler’s successor as the Chancellor of Germany.

  97. Chris Crass said on April 9th, 2008 at 2:38pm #

    “It might be news for some people, but not everything in the world has to do with treacherous Zionist plots and conspiracies.”
    Thank you for this. Commenters calling everything a Zionist scheme occasionally cause me to stop visiting this site for protracted periods of time.

  98. Max Shields said on April 9th, 2008 at 7:43pm #

    Josh said: “What is happening is that the world is shaping into four dominant power spheres: US imperialistic capitalist, Chinese totalitarian capitalist, European social capitalist, and fundamentalist Islamic. ”

    Your world view speaks volumes. It’s this kind of shaping of the world that leads to the worst of wars. It creates a schism that divides rather than unites. It’s, in part, given rise to neoconservatives and in part the premise of the war on terror and our occupation in Iraq and Afganistan. There is only one military Empire with bases (some 700) throughout the world that it occupies and stands above international law. There is only one nation-state with a military budget that exceeds twice of that of all other developed and developing nations and the empire is not China, it is not Isam, it is not EU, it is not Russia or India. It is unquestionably the USA.

    It’s were you and I live!

  99. Josh said on April 9th, 2008 at 8:38pm #

    right, and if you lived in China and said any of these things about your government you’d be imprisoned for 5 years.

    what are you doing thats uniting? seriously, tell me, I want to know. Now that you’ve discovered that the US is the root of all evil, even though you benefit greatly from its pluralism, what are you doing about it?

  100. Josh said on April 9th, 2008 at 8:40pm #

    and if you think you’d want to live in a Chinese-model world, think again my friend.

    There are no good governments. Different empires have different qualities. And personally, call me greedy, I’d rather live in one that allows me to condemn it for its shortcomings than one that doesn’t.

  101. Josh said on April 9th, 2008 at 8:45pm #

    “It’s this kind of shaping of the world that leads to the worst of wars. It creates a schism that divides rather than unites. It’s, in part, given rise to neoconservatives and in part the premise of the war on terror and our occupation in Iraq and Afganistan. ”

    and what does that even mean? Again, people who don’t see things exactly as you do are fomenting the war on terror? Get a point, Max. Sheesh.

  102. Josh said on April 9th, 2008 at 8:53pm #

    And finally, have you ever been to China and have you ever met a Tibetan? And what do you think of Hu Jia?

  103. denk said on April 9th, 2008 at 11:17pm #

    josh
    **You think Coca Cola or any of the other olympic sponsors want this unrest in Tibet to be happening right now? You think that the US Government wouldnt rather be sitting back with no problems and letting trade flow as usual? **

    it has been going on for a while now, just that you havent been paying attention….
    U.S. big business wants it both ways with China. Boeing wants to sell its planes there. Intel wants it to buy computer chips. Philip Morris wants to market its cigarettes. But they all want to diminish China as a world power, tear pieces off if they can, and make sure that China’s modernization does not strengthen its socialist state property. It’s the job of President Clinton and the foreign policy establishment to facilitate commercial relations with China while also letting the Pentagon, the CIA, and the other agencies of imperialist aggression do their thing.”

    in plain language , its all about “how to exploit the chinese and screw them at the same time ” !!

  104. denk said on April 10th, 2008 at 12:23am #

    josh,

    your example of darfur merely help to crystalise the well worn routine of the “humanitarian intervention” scam,
    “Indeed, the Darfur crisis is following a pattern which is so well-worn now that it has almost become routine. Saturation reporting from a crisis region; emergency calls for help broadcast on the electronic media (such as the one recently on the BBC Radio 4 flagship ‘ Today’ programme); televised pictures of refugees; lurid stories of “mass rapes”, which are surely designed to titillate as much to provoke outrage; reproachful evocations of the Rwandan genocide; demands that something must be done (“How can we stand idly by?”, etc.); editorials in the Daily Telegraph calling for a return to the days of Rudyard Kipling’s benevolent imperialism[6] ; and, finally, the announcement that plans are indeed being drawn up for an intervention.

  105. Dawa said on April 10th, 2008 at 7:09am #

    AGAIN. This article is about TIBET. And yes I agree and am against all the atrocities all over the world. Tibet is not special but part of the underrepresented and under colonial occupation nations of the world. It seems Josh doesn’t seem to either….so what the hell do you guys get off in trying to bring up other occupied nation. Trust me, a victim would know best another victims victimization since we are all suffering under the same thing, colonial occupation. So who refuses to recognize it? it seems no one does then why bash over my head the same rhetoric when I already know and already agree.

    The point of this paper is to say that Parenti tried to de-legitimize a poeples history of suffering under China’s colonial power and all Josh did in his paper is point out Parenti has no agency what so ever to deny me and my people our history and suffering to the present. So what are you guys doing? Most of you seem to be here either trying to tell me other genocides are occurring (which I said I agree with) or it seems by most of you are trying to do exactly what Parenti did, try to de-legitimize our suffering by trying to block it out with, “hey look there’s something else going on!”.

    Give me a break guys, most of you sound like a bunch of ultra-leftist, who sit at coffee shops yelling up a storm about how the US is F***king up the world and then pack up feeling good about themselves cause they “talked about it” and go home feeling a lil bit less of the guilty cause you just admitted to everyone how not only are they guilty but you are also.

    Please. Start walking the walk rather then come here and deny another indigenous peoples experience of genocide by covering up with anothers.

    Most of you seem indeed to be coffee shop revolutionaries with nothing better to do then to comment on this post to try to deny my people and I, our realities of genocide for the past 60 years up to the present.

  106. Terry Townsend said on April 10th, 2008 at 4:04pm #

    Other views from the left in India, Australia, France and others are at http://www.links.org.au/taxonomy/term/146

  107. Max Shields said on April 10th, 2008 at 5:52pm #

    Dawa careful about those assumptions. You sound like you don’t give a f&&k about what the US is doing in the world.

    Genocide?

  108. Josh said on April 10th, 2008 at 8:37pm #

    Terry — thank you. Its very interesting that socialist worker UK and others socialist publications abroad are very pro-Tibet, when here in the US it continues to be a sticking point.

    Max — nice finger wagging. Dawa’s family is far more invested in the situation than you will ever be, so if anyone needs to be careful its you. Seriously, what do you know of the situation?

    Genocide: here’s the rub: leftists advocate the extermination of “feudal systems” but don’t get what it means on the ground to exterminate a culture. Killing a culture is killing a culture. And if the culture’s representatives call it genocide, its genocide. deal with it. What have you ever dealt with?

  109. Adam said on April 10th, 2008 at 9:24pm #

    The Chinese actions in Tibet don’t begin to approach the horrors committed by the US government and military in Iraq. More than one million Iraqis dead, millions more driven into exile, a country destroyed, four thousand US military personnel killed and tens of thousands physically or mentally maimed—at an estimated eventual cost of several trillion dollars.

  110. Josh said on April 10th, 2008 at 10:33pm #

    So whats your point Adam? That Tibet isnt worth protesting because Iraq is ‘worse’? How about we protest both (which we do)

    Plus, give it a fifty year view. During the cultural revolution, millions of Chinese and Tibetans died (sorry Maoists). More than in the Iraq war. Its not a contest. Its not about comparing atrocities.

  111. Dawa said on April 10th, 2008 at 10:43pm #

    Max- I’ll reiterate

    Trust me, a victim would know best another victims victimization since we are all suffering under the same thing, colonial occupation. So who refuses to recognize it? it seems no one does then why bash over my head the same rhetoric when I already know and already agree.

    As josh mentioned, what the hell do you know about genocide, my family and I have experienced it, so go spit that “white man knows better” bull somewhere else.

    Again, STOP TRYING TO DENY MY PEOPLE THE EXPERIENCE OF OUR GENOCIDE BY COVERING IT UP WITH ANOTHER…in the end, the suffered/suffering people see those who suffer better then you can ever.

    So i’d start pointing that finger you’re pointing at me at yourself. Go examin the privilage you think you have and the agency you don’t have before you try to point fingers at the victims.

  112. denk said on April 10th, 2008 at 11:24pm #

    dawa,
    first of all, i want to talk about the giant wurlitzer,
    “we can play world opinion like a giant wurlitzer”. [cia]
    one classic example was the 1965 indon putsch, the cia effected a regime change from pro china sukarno to pro us suharto, with a “collateral damage ” of 2m — simply by planting disinfo in a malaysian paper about an impending chinese sponsored coup !!

    since then, we have seen

    fake news planted in a foreign paper

    fake photo

    fake video

    fake map

    fake genocide

    “>fake evidence

    even fake porn, jeeze, what will they think of next ?

    and…………………..
    fake testimony

    these are just a sampling, the tip of an iceberg.

    more than a century of lies and deception

    sorry ,i am a very cynical man, i dont swallow anything hook line and sinker these days, not when i know uncle sham the certified serial liar,
    has been trying his damndest to put down china since 1949 and every
    “leftist” worth his salt knows that china is currently smack in uncle’s gun sight.

  113. denk said on April 10th, 2008 at 11:36pm #

    [my previous post with several links has disapeared into cyberspace, probably filtered out as spam, i am reposting without the links, but i can back up anything claimed in here , such as fake evidence, if requested]

    dawa,
    first of all, i want to talk about the giant wurlitzer,
    “we can play world opinion like a giant wurlitzer”. [cia]
    one classic example was the 1965 indon putsch, the cia effected a regime change from pro china sukarno to pro us suharto, with a “collateral damage ” of 2m — simply by planting disinfo in a malaysian paper about an impending chinese sponsored coup !!

    since then, we have seen fake news

    fake photo

    fake video

    fake map

    fake genocide

    fake evidence

    even fake porn

    and…………………..
    fake testimony

    these are just a sampling, the tip of an iceberg.

    more than a century of lies and deception

    sorry ,i am a very cynical man, i dont swallow anything hook line and sinker these days, not when i know uncle sham the certified serial liar, has been trying his damndest to put down china since 1949.

  114. denk said on April 10th, 2008 at 11:39pm #

    fake news planted in a foreign paper

  115. denk said on April 10th, 2008 at 11:40pm #

    fake photo

  116. denk said on April 10th, 2008 at 11:41pm #

    fake video

  117. denk said on April 10th, 2008 at 11:43pm #

    fake genocide

  118. denk said on April 10th, 2008 at 11:47pm #

    even fake porn, jeeze, what will they think of next ?

  119. Max Shields said on April 11th, 2008 at 1:28pm #

    Dawa look up the legal definition for genocide. Words are not simply for the picking.

    I have not made a case for or against China/Tibet.

    My case is clear and thoroughly documented: Americans live in the belly of the beast when it comes to foreign intervention and imperial adventurism and all the hell that follows.

    josh and you seem to want to ignore that fact to rile up American sentiment for yet another nationalist cause. It’s like going to Russians under Joe Stalin and asking them to aid Tibet. (For the literalist, mine is only an analogy to make a point not a historical analysis). Do you get the picture, or is America really a kind nation who just happens to have a temporary moment of insanity with a wacky president? Look at the history that preceeds this wacko before you answer that.

    USA at times in cahoots with Israel and others have created millions of victims. Here is the fight. Not Darfur, not Tibet. We can’t get our own guns and bombs out of Iraq and Afganistan where trial lynchings are done in the name of the USA…and you want what?

    That’s the point josh (and you) apparently don’t get…it’s not about some leftist plot to deny you justice.

    Max

  120. denk said on April 11th, 2008 at 11:17pm #

    eye witness accounts

    because of these, now china become the international pariah state, go figure, cia’s mighty wurlitzer is playing to full blast.

  121. Dawa said on April 12th, 2008 at 12:20am #

    Max, who said I want the help of the American government…

    One doesn’t need to “look up the word for Genocide”, cammon Max, don’t try a low blow, those who’ve exeprienced it know what Genocide is…or are you suggesting someone who “studied” the word but never quit experienced it would know better? Don’t get me started on Academic elitism and eurocentrism.

    There’s no use pointing fingers at other countries who are just as guilty (America, Europe etc. of colonial occupation). But it is however no excuse for China to use those same atrocities to escape pointing that finger right back at itself of the same crimes against humanity.

    The point is I want the American citizens to understand Tibet, as not something they recently saw blarred on their Television but as an occupied nation for the past 60years. Its not about comparing Tibetans genocide to other genocide, its not about the US government doing something about it, its about understanding that genocide on the same level has taken place long time before you were born, understanding and standing in solidarity. No one’s asking you to forget Iraq, Palestine…no, Tibetans would not want that…but Tibetans would like a tinny bit of understanding, of solidarity that we too stand in the same lines of the suffered/suffering victims rather then be cast out.

    It is not some leftist plot to deny me justice but it seems by the way you have been handling this discussion. You are willing to deny me and my people’s experience and on going genocide by deflecting it with the US involvement.

    How many times must I say, stand with you on being against Iraq war…or the whole neocolonialism bull thats taking over the globe? The question is do you stand with us, in recognizing genocide done to us? From the way you have been speaking, whether you meant to or not, I have no clue. But you did however succeed in letting me thing my peoples genocide is not worth recognizing because of the US’s involvement with their genocide in Iraq. But I see no harm in recognizing genocide for genocide whether its in Iraq, all of Africa, Palestine, et…or Tibet.

    Unless you can prove me wrong for what I thought was your intention or accidental intention.

  122. minna vander pfaltz said on April 12th, 2008 at 2:45am #

    The author needs to check his own version of history, which woefully stops with the present totalitarian regime in China. The author needs to realize that there IS no people’s history of Tibet: it’s all gotten via the Yellow Hats, who came to power with the help of the Ming emperors; before them, it was written by the Red Hats, who had the Yuan dynasty emperors to thank for their hegemony. Has the author lived in Tibet for a long time, both before and after the Maoist takeover? I think not. He’d have to be nearly well over 100. It’s always interesting to me that propaganda is what opposing governments/peoples believe and not what “we” believe. You know…I’m a foreigner living in America but all you Americans are foreigners to me. So, who’s the foreigner? who’s got propaganda?

    Now, let’s get down to what this entire Tibet thing is about: it’s wagging the dog. What’s the US gov’t doing behind all this blather that it’s stirred up to embarrass China and ruin the Olympics–not only for China but for the world’s athletes? Look…when you peer through a telescope, you only see a little round portion of the world, out of context. See?

  123. daniel665 said on April 12th, 2008 at 12:54pm #

    The author of this article is an Activist, Michael Parenti is a Historian. An Activist has Agenda, a Historian write about the facts.

  124. Max Shields said on April 12th, 2008 at 2:43pm #

    denk “Wurlitzer”

    Pretty incredible book! And it does speak to the smell of out could be going on in Tibet.

  125. spider said on April 13th, 2008 at 8:01am #

    Awesome discussion. Everything I was going to write has been
    brought up.

    One book that puts a big wrinkle in Josh’s perspective is “Struggle
    for Modern Tibet” by Tashi Tsering. He’s not a Marxist nor a Chinese
    apologist. He was killed after repeated arrests for raising the Tibetan
    flag in Lhasa. He knew the Dalai Lama real good. They were very close.

    He considered the Chinese effort to end feudalism in Tibet as an
    important and necessary process that brought an end to much suffering
    of the people. He then hoped that the Chinese would withdraw and
    allow Tibet to become independent. The book gives a precise description
    of what Tibet was like under the Lamaist theocracy. It certainly
    disputes many of the basic premises Josh Schrei uses in this article.

  126. denk said on April 13th, 2008 at 8:43pm #

    hello max,

    i have not been able to post here,
    this is a trial post

    the usual usspects, from cuba to kosovo, to tibet

  127. Shabnam said on April 13th, 2008 at 10:56pm #

    In an article “China and America: The Tibet Human Rights Psyop, Michel Chossudovsky has exposed the role of the US in Weakening China from within: Covert Support to Secessionist Movements. He writes:
    “While China’s alleged human rights violations in relation to Tibet are highlighted, the recent wave of killings in Iraq and Palestine are not mentioned. The Western media has barely acknowledged the Fifth “anniversary” of Iraq’s “Liberation” and the balance sheet of the US sponsored killings and atrocities perpetrated against an entire population, in the name of a “global war on terrorism.”
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=8673

  128. Chien said on April 15th, 2008 at 4:07pm #

    Upon first glance of this article it seems was well written. However, when examined closely, it has so many holes in its argument that I came to believe this is some sort of political rhetoric against the Communist regime in China and the Chinese in general.

    His opening argument stated that the Tibet issue by in large has nothing to do with European imperialism, and fast forwarded the time line straight to 1949, when communist China retook Tibet from its “quasi-independence” and incorporated it into the new China. The author continently forgot about the British invasion of Tibet in 1888 and 1904, which the British in its failed efforts to annex Tibet from the Qing government to become a part of its sphere of influence was well documented.

    The author made his second main point by asserting that Tibet was never a part of China stemming from the fact that during the Yuan dynasty, the Mongols were the predominant force in consolidating China and as the rightful ruler of the Chinese empire, had little to do with the Han majority that is the main Chinese population today. This view, my friends, is self contradictory to say the least, and with a little racial overtone that questions the validity and the definition of “Chinese”. Can anyone name me one country today that is homogeneous in terms of its population? The answer is no! All countries in the world today are comprised of diversified population, and China is no different. In essence, who are the Chinese? Are only the Han considered Chinese? The term has been used loosely and interchangeably for decades. China has 56 ethnic groups that make up the Chinese population. To say that one group of ethnic Chinese is not considered part of China is ludicrous. It’s kind of saying that the Native Americans are not Americans! It was clearly written in the history books and recognized internationally that Yuan was one of the Chinese dynasties in Chinese history! Not a Mongol dynasty, but a Chinese dynasty administered by the Mongols!

    The author also went on to discredit Michael Parenti, citing his work was based on a biased historical point of view on Tibet. I would have to agree with the author on that any society, especially an ancient Tibetan civilization, was complex in that its population should not be categorized by simple terms. However, one must ask the question that however diverse the population, what was the degree of social mobility to which governed Tibet in creating sustainable living for the masses? While there were various social and professional groups, as pointed out by the author in Tibet prior to 1959, the social-economic and political influence, however, as agreed by many were in the hands of the few privileged nobles, monks, and government officials. The Tibetan population was and still is an ultra religious, worshiping the Dalai Lama among other Buddhist leaders. This sense of deep devotion to its leaders and the religion has reached a fanatical level in creating a theocratic regime with absolute power, and at times ruthless in dealing with its own population. To say that Tibetans embrace democracy and respect human rights is up for debate, and that the government-in-exile is the savor of its people from communist China is somewhat of a stretch in their imagination.

    The Dalai Lama is a religious leader and a politician. Differences in that unlike your average politician, many Tibetans revere the Dalai Lama and he could do no wrong since he is the reincarnation of Buddha. In that sense, Tibetan Buddhism is no better or more enlightened in comparing with other major religions in the world. When you do not have separation of religion and the state, the idea of democracy does not exist and is in itself a fallacy in argument.

    The author proclaimed his understanding of the Tibet issue through the lenses of Tibet’s contemporary populous both inside and outside of China. His interactions with the native Tibetans, however frequent, may not represent the overall true nature of Tibetan’s desire for autonomy. The author questioned the fact thousands of Tibetans fled Tibet over the years, but offered little explanation. Were they in search of a better life in a foreign land, or to be closer to their spiritual leader? Or perhaps both? What is the average yearly income of Tibetans in China as suppose to Tibetans in India? What government institutional programs are in place to assist the Tibetans? These are just some of the questions to which the author offered little explanation.

  129. Tomasz Ciborowski said on April 16th, 2008 at 6:06am #

    Author of above article states that in Tibet in particulary and buddism in general there were no caste system. I might ask then what is this?

    Cf. G. P. Malalasekera & K. N. Jayatilleke, Buddhism and the Race Question (Paris: UNESCO Publications, 1958)
    http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/dharmadata/fdd53.htm
    “Despite this, various forms of the caste system are practised in several Buddhist countries, mainly in Sri Lanka, Tibet, and Japan where butchers, leather and metal workers and janitors are sometimes regarded as being impure.”
    Is the author aware of CIA meddling to internal affairs of China and Tibet?
    http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/history/vol_xxx/337_343.html

    Are these all the communist propaganda as well?
    and why the right wing historians are assumed to be better and unbiased compared to the left wing historians?
    Isn’t it just a prejudice of the author against the left supporters?

  130. Adam said on April 25th, 2008 at 12:10am #

    Regarding the author’s use of the term “far left” — A leftist is someone who advocates a more equitable distribution of social resources and human services. Likewise a rightist is someone who opposes such programs and seeks to
    advance the insatiable privileges of private capital and the wealthy few.

    So, to the left I say! As far as possible!

  131. james said on April 29th, 2008 at 10:47am #

    i’d doubt many people would disagree with the notion that it is the people en mass that make the history. I think Karl Marx made the point better than anyone long time ago. There are some issues regarding to the general population of places like Tibet since the illiterate rate was so high. However there are such accounts available if you look. there is a deeply moving account by Tashi Tsering, who was a court musician for the Dalai Lama, in his coauthored book “The Struggle for Modern Tibet”. it is such a good book that i would recommend who like a good book to read even you are not interested in tibetan matter.

    http://www.amazon.com/Struggle-Modern-Tibet-Autobiography-Tsering/dp/1563249502

    The issue of what i have with the author in this article is this. He is accusing the “left” do not support their account by Tibetans while not much of his accounts are supported by common Tibetans.

  132. Jason said on May 7th, 2008 at 11:46am #

    There is a very well researched article on the 21st Century Socialism website, which has a different take

    http://21stcenturysocialism.com/article/the_unusual_suspect_01635.html

  133. Sandy said on May 12th, 2008 at 2:41am #

    “Joshua Michael Schrei is a lifelong activist who has worked on human rights issues around the globe.”

    Are you the same Josh Schrei who was a Board Member of Students for a Free Tibet? If so, don’t you think it is misleading for you not to inform the readers here?

  134. Kim Petersen said on May 12th, 2008 at 3:57am #

    I will take responsibility for the bio. The article did note that it was originally from Students for a Free Tibet website.

  135. Sandy said on May 12th, 2008 at 5:58am #

    Kim, thank you for the quick response.

    What about the use of the name “Joshua Michael Schrei”? Is this the same person as Josh Schrei? A quick google search shows thousands of references to “Josh Schrei” who has been associated with the Free Tibet movement for decades.

    For “Josh Michael Schrei” to refer to himself in the first sentence of this piece “As a lifelong activist who has worked on human rights issues around the globe” but for “Josh Schrei” to refer to himself elsewhere as “Producer, Tibetan Freedom Concerts. Former Chair, Students for a Free Tibet” strikes me as somewhat misleading.

    Is the use of “Joshua Michael Schrei” (this name only appears in Google in reference to this article) your choice or his choice? I’m just trying to determine whether this is a deliberate attempt to obfuscate the source of this article.

  136. Sandy said on May 12th, 2008 at 6:54am #

    I did a bit more googling on Josh Schrei, and found this interesting exchange between Josh and Michael Parenti. It’s clear Josh Schrei and “Joshua Michael Schrei” are the same person.

    http://www.swans.com/library/art9/letter27.html

    Josh’s letter at Swans attacks Parenti and is signed,

    “Joshua Schrei
    Board of Directors
    Students for a Free Tibet
    Brooklyn, NY, USA – July 22, 2003″

    “Michael Parenti responds:

    To the Editor:

    In his passion for old feudal Tibet, Schrei repeatedly resorts to misrepresentations and slurs.

    I never said the situation in Tibet was “so rosy” after the overthrow of the feudal system, and even pointed to abuses by the Chinese.

    Schrei writes that my “use of state-controlled information as a prime source calls into question not only the credibility of the article but also Parenti’s credibility as a historian.” But throughout my article I used Western sources almost exclusively, and I also used reports by the Free Tibet people regarding Chinese mistreatment of Tibetans. Schrei’s misrepresentation of my sources calls into question his credibility as a critic.
    …..
    All the letters that have come to Swans complaining about my article on Tibet, including Schrei’s, have four things in common:

    (1) They give proof that the romanticized belief in Shangri-La is alive and well.

    (2) They never explain the immense accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few lords and lamas in old Tibet, an otherwise simple and poor agricultural land.

    (3) They accuse me of supporting the Chinese occupation of Tibet when in fact what I do is criticize the earlier feudal theocratic rule — while actually offering criticisms of the Chinese occupation.

    (4) They have not a word to say about the active alliance of the Tibetan ruling class with international reactionary elements including the CIA.

    Michael Parenti
    Oakland, California, USA – July 23, 2003

    [Ed. Note: Three other letters regarding Michael Parenti's article were published in the July 21 issue of Swans. Mr. Schrei refers to one of these letters, that of Nima Dorjee, in his last paragraph. Mr. Schrei should note that this letter had to be edited for some of its deeply demeaning content, though the unedited version was forwarded to Michael Parenti. Ad hominem attacks on someone's character tend to weaken one's argumentation, not strengthen it!] ”
    ******************

    Schrei’s essay here contains many of the same half-truths, exaggerations and omissions that Parenti characterized in his response. A close reading of Parenti at http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html against Schrei’s piece will quickly reveal where they are.

  137. Sandy said on May 12th, 2008 at 8:00am #

    One of scholars of Tibetan feudal society cited multiple times by Parenti in Friendly Feudalism, the Tibet Myth, is Melvyn Goldstein, professor at Case Western Reserve University. Goldstein is fluent in Tibetan and is Co-director of the Center for Tibetan Studies.
    http://www.case.edu/affil/tibet/aboutUs/center_info.htm

    Yet, Schrei never mentions Goldstein. Why?

    Schrei wrote, “In his descriptions of old Tibet, Parenti predominantly draws on the work of four historians — Anna Louise Strong, A. Tom Grunfeld, and Roma and Stuart Gelder.”

    Take a look at Parenti’s piece, and Schrei’s criticism quickly falls apart. Parenti actually predominantly cites Goldstein – 7 times. He cites the Gelders 7 times, Strong 5 times, and Grunfeld 2 times.

    Yet Schrei reverses this emphasis, and mentions Grunfeld 26 times, Strong 16 times, Gelders 4 times, and does not mention Goldstein at all.

    Why?

    Because Goldstein doesn’t fit the picture Schrei tries to paint of the “ideologically-driven Parenti”. Goldstein’s scholarly findings support all of Parenti’s assertions about the feudal and unequal nature of traditional Tibetan society.

    See for example “The Circulation of Estates in Tibet: Reincarnation, Land and Politics”
    http://www.case.edu/affil/tibet/booksAndPapers/Circulation.pdf discusses the competition and “sinister machinations” among the powerful monks and the leading aristocratic families for “significant wealth”, which meant “land and serfs to work the land.” Although there were about 300 aristocratic families, 6 families dominated, with about 25 families controlling the majority of land not held by the monasteries or government.

    Schrei’s piece is typical of the “Lies (and the Lying Liars who tell them)” approach to political writing. Once you look closely at their assertions using “fact-based reality” it all falls apart.

    There are multiple examples of this.

  138. Aaron Sternberg said on January 14th, 2009 at 1:29pm #

    This should be called “The Stalinist’s Flawed History of Tibet”.

    I am a leftist myself; I am exteremely liberal on social issues and economically socialist. I subscribe to Marx’s critique of capitalism and see the need for an egalitarian society based on socialist ideas. However I do not see how any well-educated invidivual with any sense of morality and a proper political training can justify oppression. And I support a Free Tibet.

    As a socialist who supports a Free Tibet, I urge you not to paint all of the “left” with the same brush, but rather isolate the problem – Stalinists – from the picture.

  139. werner h. fischer said on June 27th, 2009 at 8:57pm #

    Dear Joshua,

    thank you very much for your extrordinary great article. rangzen werner – helsinki

  140. Rong said on August 21st, 2009 at 5:45am #

    At least Dalai Lama never deny the obscene inequality that existed in old Tibet. His western pseudo-leftist apologists are even willing to say that these serf and slaves were happy people. Amazing what NED money can do to some people.

  141. Rong said on August 21st, 2009 at 5:47am #

    The article claimed that there was no serf or aristocrat classes in Tibet; everybody was happy in old Tibet.
    However, even the Dalai Lama disagreed with this.
    In an interview with the Time Magazine this was what the Dalai Lama said:
    [SEPTEMBER 27, 1999 VOL. 154 NO. 12]
    “Once I understood Marxism, my attitude changed completely. I was so attracted to Marxism, I even expressed my wish to become a Communist Party member. Tibet at that time was very, very backward. The ruling class did not seem to care, and there was much inequality. Marxism talked about an equal and just distribution of wealth. I was very much in favor of this. ”

    ———-
    Many of the CIA funded propagandists are telling so much lies that even the Dalai Lama couldn’t catch up with them.

  142. Gary said on September 18th, 2009 at 8:34am #

    No doubt I will get howled down as being fatalistic, simplistic, so be it.
    The Chinese government controls Tibet and as long as your backside points to the ground they will never relinquish it. Semi-autonomy for Tibet, possibly, independence, never, colonialism is alive and well, just as ugly as it has been for all of recorded history but much better publicized now. The fact that Tibet has huge oil and uranium deposits rules out the slightest possibility of independence. The Tibetans are a conquered people and had best make the best of a bad situation because there is no going back, such is the insidious nature of colonialism

  143. nobetter said on November 8th, 2009 at 9:03am #

    Goldstein is an anthro-apologist of Chinese rule in Tibet. Tashi Tserings biography that was quoted earlier in this discussion was written by Goldstein. For once, if you can accept a Tibetan viewpoint, read this article:

    “Black Annals: Goldstein and the negation of Tibetan history”
    http://www.jamyangnorbu.com/blog/2008/07/19/black-annals-goldstein-the-negation-of-tibetan-history-part-i-tris/