Author: Peng Ren
Originally Published at Peace and Conflict Monitor on: 06/02/2008
Category: Letters to the Editor
After reading the article entitled China’s Death Grip on Tibet in last month’s Peace and Conflict Monitor, there are several points I would like to make regarding the accuracy of the author’s analysis.
Firstly, in regards to the part about China’s interest in Tibetan natural resources, it is true that “Xizang” can be understood literally as “western treasury” in the context of Chinese. But it should be noted that “treasury” can not necessarily be interpreted as “natural resources”. The Tibetan culture consists of rich diversity within the broader Chinese culture – which is what “treasury” refers to in this case. Environmentally, the Tibetan region is barren and famous as lacking of livelihood.
Secondly, the author does not make it clear that China’s one child policy is referred only to Han Chinese, no matter where you are living. This policy favors ethnic minorities in China and works as an effective counterbalance to unsustainable population growth. As to the “convoluted problem” of this policy leading to more males than females among Han Chinese, I don’t see any connection relating to author’s topic.
Thirdly, it is strange to insist that Chinese investment in Tibet benefits one group more than another. The fact is that those who are living the region where investment goes are benefitting from the new roads and other infrastructural improvements – including all the Tibetans who are living the region. If all investment has to benefit people in a perfectly equal way, then I think there is no way to invest anywhere.
Last but not least, about the internal pressure, as we have seen from resources online, a large majority of Chinese, including many traditionally dissident groups are standing on the side of the Chinese government on the issue of Tibet. What’s more, the current Dalai, who was appointed by the Chinese Kuomintang government in 1938, is advocating for “autonomy”, not “independence”, so why do western media or politicians always talk about the “independence” of Tibet? It would not surprise me if many protesters had trouble finding Tibet on a map.
Most fundamentally, we need to ask ourselves if it is necessary that each ethnic group has to set up a separate country. Considering the fact that there is no pure ethic group living in only one country (Canada, USA, Britain, Spain, France, etc), I don’t think so. Why can’t people live together harmoniously on earth without national borders between them? It may be how the concept of EU comes out.
It is true that China was in a condition of disorder since 1840. People in China really need a peaceful situation in which to lead their own lives. Criticism encourages improvement and should not be repressed, but it must have a basis of accuracy.
China is a developing country. It is widely recognized that the situation in China is changing in many ways. As I said to you earlier, changes can happen step by step. I believe that people in China, including all the ethnic groups, know what they really need for the time being: a peaceful and stable livelihood.
DIPS programme 2008
Bio: Peang Ren is a Master’s degree candidate from the UN University for Peace.