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China: Different views on the Dalai's medal

Despite the current Dalai Lama‘s officially illegitimate status within China, bloggers nonetheless took notice when American president George Bush awarded him with a Congressional Gold Medal last month.

Blogspot user Master Zhong has written a fairly typical criticism post—as typical as all the other posts which discuss the futility of Chinese diplomatic protestations over the Dalai's visits with other countries’ leaders—which views the Dalai's acceptance of the award as just the latest in a long series of mistakes, among which Master Zhong includes the Dalai's ‘fleeing’ of Tibet in 1959, leaving his people to ‘suffer,’ distorting of numbers regarding his support there today, of having left the country illegally, greedily seeking charitable support, and overplaying Han-ethnic Tibetan division to his advantage whilst standards of living have continued to improve:

你接受布什这刽子手的勳章是另一错误。你号称观世音菩萨的化身,佛教领袖,却跟一个双手沾满鲜血的人揽肩搭背,还接受他的勳章。你叫天下的佛徒情何以堪。你身为”若贝尔和平奖”的得奖者,却和一个发动越南战争、朝鲜战争、伊拉克战争,还有发动许多弱小国家的政变的侵略者如此亲密,接受他们的援助。连小日本这个双手沾满中国、东南亚人民鲜血至今尚不知侮过的东西,你也和他眉来眼去。你连善恶的原则都没有。你不觉得这个奖章烫手吗?

Your acceptance of this executioner's decoration is just another mistake. You claim to be the reincarnation of the bodhisattva Guanyin, a Buddhist leader, yet you stand shoulder-to-shoulder with this person both hands dripping with blood, and then you accept his award. You're a recipient of the Nobel peace prize, yet so intimate with the instigator of the Vietnam War, the Korean War, the Iraq War, and the invader of many weak, small countries leading to coup, and accept their assistance. Even that ‘little Japan’, which to this day remains both hands covered the blood of the peoples of China and Southeast Asia and unaware of the insult it left, you side up with them too. You have no moral sense whatsoever. Don't you think this award is too hot to touch?

The Free Media for China blogger FREENEWMAN provides a contrasting view in a post looking at the Dalai's recent meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and whether average Germans might find the potential Sino-German diplomatic fallout worth it:

评论:默克尔总理是英雄
德国总理默克尔不顾来自中国的强烈抗议和威胁,于周日(2007年9月23日)在柏林的总理府会见了西藏精神领袖达赖喇嘛。德国官方将其称为一次私人会面。这是德国总理首次在柏林的权力中心会见一位西藏的宗教领袖。德国之声中文广播部主任冯海音在其发表的评论中称默克尔是英雄,但也提出了德国人是否希望自己的总理是英雄的问题。

默克尔称得上是一个英雄。来自北京的警告和威胁都没能动摇她的决心。她将自己认为正确的决定付诸实施:在柏林的总理府会见了达赖喇嘛。但问题是在于:人们希望自己的总理是一位英雄,还只是一位长于算计的德国利益的辩护人?

Chancellor Merkel is a hero
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, despite strong protests and threats from China, met on Sunday in Berlin with Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Germany's official stance is that this was a private meeting. This is the first time for a German head of state to meet with a Tibetan religious leader in Berlin hall of [state] power. Deutsche Welle's director its Chinese service, Feng Haiyin, in her piece on this, called Merkel a hero, but also raised the question of whether Germans hope this is how their own Chancellors become heroes.

Merkel can be called a hero. The warning and threats coming out of Beijing were unable to sway her determination. She did what she thought was right, and met with the Dalai Lama in the Chancellor's Hall in Berlin. But the question is: do the people want a hero for a Chancellor? Or an advocate for the interests of the German people?

Editor of Voice of Tibet radio Dekyi recounts on her blog [zh] the meetings the Dalai Lama has had with North American heads of state over the last few years, and how Chinese authorities responded to each.

Blogspot user Qiwei, currently studying in America, writes of having attended a talk given by the Dalai late last month:

这个星期,我很有缘份的在达赖喇嘛来我们学校演讲的前两天用一半的价钱买到了一张入场卷。我在买到之后才知道手上的这张票在8月份就已经卖光了。他来演讲的前几个小时,剧场门外已经拍了很长很长的队伍。我在美国5年了,还是第一次看到有这么多美国人站在这么长的队伍里面等待入场。可见达赖喇嘛对美国的影响力还不只是美国政府,而是美国平民心中的一个神话般的人物。这在介绍他的手册上也可以看出,美国人认为他是神圣的。像是这样次活动的标题就是:

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
Public Talk: “Cultivating Happiness”

上面的Holiness就是神圣的意思,没有多少人可以被这样称呼。

I got lucky this week, getting a ticket to the Dalai Lama's upcoming lecture at our campus at fifty percent off, just two days before his talk. It was only after I'd bought it that I found out these tickets had sold out back in August. Several hours before his talk, a long, long line began forming outside the theater. I've been in America for five years, and this is the first time I've seen so many Americans standing in line waiting to enter a venue. Clearly the Dalai Lama's influence isn't just on the American government, but even ordinary American citizens see him as a mythical figure. You could see this in the pamphlet introducing him too; Americans think he's a saint. Like the title for this talk:

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
Public Talk: “Cultivating Happiness”

Holiness, not many people get that title.

等到全部人进场的时候,已经差不多2点钟了,刚好在原定的时间范围内。在达赖喇嘛出来前,他们先上来几个西藏人我们我表演和教我们唱歌,然后再一段时间的介绍后,达赖喇嘛终于出现在我们的面前。在他刚出来的一刻,我突然感到非常的兴奋。我不是一个佛教徒,也不是一个很追随达赖喇嘛的人,但是现在肉眼看到一个平时只能在电视上或是报纸上看到的有争议的人,这还是第一次。达赖喇嘛前断时间刚被布什授予了勋章,之前又和德国总统会面,而现在却站在了我的面前,自己仿佛感到与名人站在了一起。

Once everyone got inside, it was already nearly two o'clock, just barely on time. Before the Dalai Lama came out, a few ethnic Tibetans went up on stage and performed and taught us a song, and then after a short introduction, we finally got to see the Dalai Lama. Just as he came out, I suddenly started to feel excited. I'm not Buddhist, and I don't really pay that much attention to the Dalai Lama. But this was my first time to see such a controversial person one normally only sees on TV or in the paper in the flesh. Not long ago, the Dalai Lama was bestowed a Congressional Medal of Honor by Bush, and before that he had met with the German Chancellor. Now he stands before us, and we feel like we're standing with a celebrity.

达赖喇嘛在中国是一个很有争议的人,而且多数的中国人可能还不知道他是谁。他所提出的策略和信仰是与中国的前进目标是不相符的。中国政府担心达赖喇嘛会把西藏独立,所以一直都反对国外授予达赖喇嘛勋章和荣誉。与其相反的,多数的西方国家对达赖喇嘛却是非常的崇拜,甚至愿意把与中国的关系放在一边,以个人的名义会见达赖喇嘛。我感到很好奇,达赖喇嘛为什么可以在美国这么受到欢迎,美国人和西方国家的人为什么把他看作是神圣的。同时,为什么在西方的眼里,中国是一个没有思想自由的地方,可是很多中国人却坚定社会发展稳定才是最重要的。我承认我以前就是那样想的,但是慢慢长大了,我开始站在中间看问题了。我发现这不但是文化和价值观上的差异,更是社会人类生存竞争。这些其实也就是我先去听达赖喇嘛演讲的几个原因之一。

The Dalai Lama is a very controversial figure inside China, and yet many people in China might not even know who he is. The ideas and convictions he puts forth are not in accordance with China's target of progress. The Chinese government worries that the Dalai Lama will see Tibet separate, and so all along has been in opposition of foreigners giving him honors. In contrast with that, in many western countries the Dalai Lama is highly worshipped, to the extent that they're even willing to put aside their relations with China, and meet with in their own capacity. It seems so strange to me, why the Dalai Lama is so well-received in America, why Americans and Western countries see him as so divine. At the same time, why, in Westerners’ eyes, is China a place with no freedom of thought, when it's actually that many Chinese insist that social stability is the most important. I admit, I used to think like that, but I slowly grew up, and began to see these issues from a middle ground. I noticed that this wasn't just about differences in culture or values, but more about social and human struggle for existence. These were actually a few of the reasons I went to listen to the Dalai Lama speak in the first place.

Tianya blogger Yao Feng has written a poem inspired, among other things, by American president George Bush, entitled Nightmare:

辗转反侧,难以入眠
但与缅甸军政府镇压僧侣无关
与布什会见达赖喇嘛无关
与股市指数又创新高无关
借酒催眠,却是一场噩梦
在地窖里发芽的土豆
梦见了锅里的牛肉

Tossing and turning, can't fall asleep
But it has nothing to do with Burmese juntas oppressing monks
Nothing to do with Bush meeting the Dalai Lama
Or stock market indices reaching new highs
Try to drink myself hypnotized, but I'm still stuck in the nightmare
The potatoes growing in the cellar
In my dream, are beef chunks in a pot

The poet and essayist Woeser (唯色), considered by many an ambassador for Tibetan culture, history and traditions, wrote a special feature for Radio Free Asia, which she reposted on her blog, wherein she describes through photos and text how news of the U.S.A.'s bestowing of the award was met in Lhasa:

尽管连日来,所有的党政机关、企事业单位以及各寺院、各学校、各居委会,已经大会小会严厉禁止各种庆祝活动,违者必究;所受到的惩处如开除公职和学籍、停发工资和退休金、取消劳保待遇、逐出寺院等等,不一而足。可是在10月17日这天清晨,身着节日盛装的藏人们在拉萨各条转经路上,以“煨桑”这一传统的庆祝方式点燃香草、抛洒糌粑,以至拉萨城的上空桑烟弥漫。许多藏人还去各寺院朝拜,供奉酥油灯盏,颂赞达赖喇嘛。布达拉宫广场人流如潮,即使拉上了警戒线,藏人们依然向布达拉宫磕头。拉萨最大的寺院——哲蚌寺的僧侣准备用传统的庆贺方式,重新粉刷佛殿外墙(结果信众被军警驱逐、殴打,寺院被封锁,僧人被软禁)。
….
诸多事例,不胜枚举。显而易见的是,对于达赖喇嘛获金奖,西藏人民的感情不但没有受到丝毫伤害,恰恰相反,全藏地为之欢欣鼓舞!难道西藏人民不是中国人民的一部分吗?换句话说,既然中国外交部发言人认为“严重伤害中国人民的感情”,这是不是说,中国外交部的发言人并不承认西藏人民是中国人民的一部分?那么,这算不算是“分裂分子”的行为呢?

For the last few days, all the Party and government offices, enterprises and institutions, temples, schools and residential committees were strictly forbidden to carry out any celebratory activities. Anyone going against the orders was to be expelled from their office or school, suspended of payment of salary or pension, deprived of the employment benefits, even driven out of their temple. Nonetheless, on the morning of October 17, people in the festival attire wove through the streets, celebrating in a traditional “Weisang” manner of burned sang (incense) and scattering tsampa (roasted barley), leaving the whole of Lhasa enveloped in sang smoke. In addition, many Tibetans went to temples to pray, consecrate the butter lamp and pray for the Dalai Lama. People thronged to Potala Palace Square in streams, despite the security line which had been drawn to keep worshippers out. The monks of Drepung monastery, Lhasa's biggest, went to paint white the outside walls of Ganden Podrang, to mark the honor bestowed to the Dalai Lama (as a result, believers were chased and beaten by troops. The monastery was sealed off and the monks were placed under house arrest).

The examples are too numerous to mention. Obviously, with news that the Dalai Lama had received the gold medal, the feelings of Tibetan people were not severely hurt; on the contrary, all Tibetans were elated and inspired by the award. Are Tibetan people not also Chinese people? Put another way, with the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson claiming “the feelings of the Chinese people have been severely hurt,” is the spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry not recognizing the Tibetan people as part of the Chinese people? What is this if not “separatist” behavior?

Meanwhile, with the current Dalai Lama nearing retirement and his intended successor still in Communist Party captivity, discussion surrounding those who would take over Tibetan Buddhism worldwide remains as heated as ever [zh].

19 comments

  • […] Di nuovo sulla vicenda Bush-Congresso Usa-Dalai Lama: il parere dei bloggers cinesi. (Global Voices) […]

  • hercules

    In the global geo-political chess game, there are players, and there are pawns. USA, Russia, China, India, EU, etc, Taiwan, Dalai Lama, Iraq, etc. etc. Dalai Lama is a pawn for the US. Taiwan is a pawn for the US. They are all expendable in the end game. The don’t really matter that much if the tide of history is to turn, the east way. It’s like market intervention by government agencies. They can twick the edges a bit but they can’t change the overall direction of the markets. China is to rise, unstoppable. China will improve, but not the way the wests want it.

  • Safod

    There is a need for dialogue and discussions between the Tibetans and other ethnic groups, especially the Han Chinese in China, so that there is more mutual understanding. People who understand Tibet only from Chinese official media will have very narrow and one-sided viewpoints on Tibet. Global Voices is a good alternative for cross-cultural communication and understanding.

  • chinese buddhist

    1. Any chance of a GOLD MEDAL (or even a Silver One) for any Leader, of the Navajos, or Apaches, or Seminoles, or ANY Native American groups? And why not?
    2. Buddhism is NOT limited to Lama-ism.
    3. Not so long ago, Christian missionaries used to label all Buddhists as “heathens”. Why the change of heart!?

  • Dr. Laurence J. MacDonald PhD

    Until we understand what happened in 1950 with the chinese invasion of Tibet, we will never understand what is happening today. There is so little history of the events surrounding the “take over” for lack of a better word. I have been to Tibet but have never understood the peoples undeniable devotion to this man. After all, he is merely a man.

  • Master Zong is a brain washed communi who works for the Chinese government. He is being paid to be critical of the Dalai Lama or anything that represents freedom. He is nothing more than another fricking communist barking crap out of his mouth. China claims Tibet belongs to them is bullshit and the whole world knows it.

    Dr. Laurence J. MacDonald PhD is just plain ignorant. What MacDonald is saying is like he is saying Jesus Chisrt “fter all, he is merely a man.” “never understood the peoples undeniable devotion to this man.” First of all if you are a real Dr., you would be too busy to post anything to this site. Any real Dr. would be smart enough to understand the peaceful intention of the Dalai Lama. It would not doubt that you are another damn commi behind that fake name.

    I’d say we boycot the Bejing Olympics and tell these commis they can stick it up there a$$$!

    • Dr. Laurence J. MacDonald PhD

      Mr. Zu: First of all what has my title got to do with my abilities to comment on this site? second, not once did I mention Jesus Christ in my posting. Third, I am entitled to my opinion, just as you are, although, yours is spurned by bias, anger, hate and over emotion. and finally, if you are going to challenge me and my educational background, at least have the decency to learn to spell Christ and rid your posting of the many syntax and grammatical errors displayed in it.

      In conclusion, I am not a communist, however, with that being said, my political views should not come under your sanction nor scrutiny. You my friend, need to read and understand your first amendment. If you wish to boycott the Olympics, that is your right. I am assuming by your name that you are Chinese American perhaps its time you delved into your roots in order to seek the root of your anger

  • Jane Overton

    to Chinese Buddhist,

    I think a person who espouses peace and whose job is to relieve suffering where possible is a very good role model. Why are you accusing modern Americans of the same intolerance of a century ago. One would think you are equally intolerant, like the Communist Chinese government.

  • mahathir_fan

    “I think a person who espouses peace and whose job is to relieve suffering where possible is a very good role model.”

    No, if the Dalai Lama is the true leader of Tibet, he should be encouraging its people to learn Science and Technology and to throw away its age old beliefs in reincarnation. He should encourage more Tibetans to become scientists, physicians, engineers and to use reasoning as tool to establish their belief systems.

  • G Merrick

    To mahathir_fan — exactly what we don’t need – more scientists to babble on about nonsense or introduce to society the next best piece of technology! Already the thinking of the masses has become so dulled which is why we are experiencing so much violence on the planet. Thank goodness for people like the Dalai Lama who is received around the world as an example of what clear thinking and heart-felt compassion is all about.

  • Pei

    I think the only thing needed to be said is hercules’ comment; right to the point and easy to understand.

    There is no point in name calling or debate as the only thing that matters at the end of the day is who won the game.

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