Support Global Voices

To stay independent, free, and sustainable, our community needs the help of friends and readers like you.

Donate now »

Taiwan: Support for Tibet

For Tibetan independence movement, most Taiwanese support and sympathize Tibetans, and many people changed their twitter profile figure to the flag of Tibet which represents Tibetan independence movement.

‘Free Tibet’ (Photo courtesy of skydaughter.)

Many artists, writers, musicians, and social movement participants held ‘Bringing love to Tibet’ to pray for Tibetans:


Young volunteers from Taiwan have worked overseas wherever help is needed. Now Tibet is violently oppressed by China, and these young Taiwanese identify ourselves with the Tibetans. We decided to support Tibetans, by our music and poems.

Compared to other countries, Tibetan independence movement has a very special meaning for Taiwan. Most of the discussions are based on empathy, because Taiwan and Tibet are both threatened and manipulated by China. Terry said,


I am afraid of this country (China) due to its past records of cruelty. When I was in high school, there was Tiananmen Square protests. A lot of evidence shows that there was military oppression in Tiananmen square, and many people were killed. Facing this neighbor with blood in its hand, I am afraid and alert.


Many people said that we should not put restrains on ourselves and give up the opportunity of prosperity by doing business with this neighbor since we have the niche of using the same language. However, if the opportunity of prosperity comes with oppression and loss of democracy and freedom, I will choose to be conservative. Living a poor life is all right, if I can speak, breath, and live happily and freely.

Some people reflected Taiwan's history and compared its own oppressed past with Tibetan independence movement. Judie said, Tibetans are in their 228 Massacre.


Tibetans are experiencing their 228 Massacre, making a difficult stand against the foreign ruler.[…] Their independence movement is misunderstood and slandered. The blood from these innocent people keeps running and the hurt is deepened.

Many people criticized the mass media in Taiwan. Jas took blocking the news about Tibet for example and said, because the sources and gatekeepers are different, this independence movement is reported differently.


(China) said there were only ‘a few’ people joining Tiananmen Square protests and there are only ‘a few’ people supporting the independence of Taiwan, and now they referred to the oppressed Tibetans as ‘a few’ again.

Tucci in Germany compared the news about Tibet in Taiwan and Germany, and said the news is obviously less in Taiwan than in Germany.


A country that uses its military to kill the protesters is depreciating and ruining human right.[…] I think this independence movement will be as important as Tiananmen Square protests. However, I am sorry to see the major media in Taiwan did not take it seriously, which is very different from how German media treats it.

Sindia in Beijing talked about the information blockage in China.


Some people asked me how people in Beijing view this Tibetan independence movement. Under this condition, most people in Beijing don't know what happens in Tibet. If some of them know, they only know that some Tibetans evoked violence and hurt innocent Han people, and Dalai Lama have orchestrated it to ruin the Olympic Games in Beijing and for their independence. This is what mass media in China said. In this condition, what do you think people in Beijing can comment?

Although China government blocks the information, due to the advance of technology, some people in China tries to use instant messanger and twitter to see people's comment about the protest in Tibet, even though they are confused or unhappy. A message in zola may show some people's opinions:


What Tibet needs is healthy development, protecting their culture, and solving political issues peacefully. For whoever says we should kill and oppress, if you have Tibetan friends, you will not say so any more.

Annpo asked Chinese friends through twitter, and one of them who worked in Tibet said:


The life condition in Tibet does improve a lot. We can see life in Tibet is better now compared to its neighbors. However, […] can we satisfy people only by making their life better? […] The government provides free education, but the textbooks are Han's textbooks. […] Not all Tibetans support the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. When Lhasa becomes prosperous, my Tibetan friends keep moving out. Can't these observations explain the problem in Tibet?

There are other people caring about Tibet. Reiw in Hong Kong made a detail analysis and zola shared the summary of the news. Chao-Chen Lin, a reporter interviewing Dalai Lama and many Tibetans before, explained the problem of Tibet is due to the failure of conversation between Dalai Lama and Chinese government, and the development brought by China government that destroys their culture.

Acknowledgment: Annpo wrote this article, and I-Fan edited and translated it into English.


  • Ur Chinese friend

    The main difference between Tibetans and Taiwanese is pretty obvious by the result of the recent presidential election. Tibetans due to their religious practices (just my opinion) are less affected by materialistic needs, while Taiwanese obviously care about their own economy a lot more. Hence you have massive popular support for the KMT although KMT was once the suppressor and is more friendly towards China today than DPP. Tibetans for the most part were against the railroad which would obviously bring them more business opportunities and are supporting Dali Lama.
    As a Han Chinese I do not like TI types who like to talk about BSR and WSR, nor do I care much for the loud Tibetans and Tibetophiles whose arrogance IMO is mismatched by reality. I am not sure why anyone would. If Taiwanese and Tibetans want to be independent the only way to do so is to appeal to the moderate Chinese and there are many out there. Stirring up Chinese nationalism as Tibetans did in this case is only helping Chinese government to gain more control over Western media. What the Chinese government fears the most is not the Tibetans revolting, but its own people revolting. This whole Tibet incident and the after myth where Chinese Netizens jumped on western media bias only gives the Chinese government more mandate over its suppression.

  • 虽然我是女孩子,外国朋友都说我很温柔,但今天请允许我开骂:我讨厌台湾人,真不明白大家干麻要收台湾,我真的不稀罕,没有台湾,我们照样高速发展,30年后让”狗们”看看. 亏每年大陆让台湾大笔顺差,那些个钱,还不如捐给慈善机构.我们还有香港和澳门呢.台湾人的电视剧也是很没深度,动不动就是就是涉及男女肉体接触的东西.告诉你们,不是"抗议",是"煽动",你就跟着美国喊吧.民族问题?那怎么一直没事,偏偏在奥运年?还有54个少数民族呢.
    you have ever been to China? could you know more than a people who live in China? Do you know what our text books teach us on religion and nationality unity? Our teacher tell us from childhood that 56 ethnical goups should help each other and live together happily, which is also our government ‘s nationality policy. China is a country of 56 ethnical groups . Not only tibatan chinese are minority goups. The han-chinese live wih other minority groups harmoniously for a long time.In my 25 years of life , i never heard any unhappy dispute beteen ethnical groups.we are very united.Don’t you know how strong the influence of religion can be? This time, i totally believe if a religion leader let his followers kill others, his followers can do . this time, it is just Dala who prompt his (followers)monks and small goup of Tibetan chinese to do those crimes. The small goup of criminals can’t represent the whole Tibetan chinese. Large number of Tibetan chinese are now scattered on all part of China. some of Tibetan chinese are famous singers and movie stars in Beijing, Shanghai.Oh, i know, many of your journalist are in Beijing now, i suggest your great jounalist can visit these Tibetan singers and stars to see what they say. i am very confident that they will support my standpoints . Dut to its geographical condition–Tibet are on 4000 meters plateau,Tibet is obviously less developed than other parts of China. Ordinary people who go there can feel ill because of the scarce of Oxygen there.Our chinese government every year send many scholors from other parts of china to help Tibetan chinese building their homes(even our president is ever the governor of Tibet) and carried out a policy that minority goups are more privileged than main chinese group in education such as score-adding on main examination. stop criticizing, mind your own business. All chinses people are like one family . we love China. our internal affairs should be decided by 56 ethnical goups of chinese. now, millions of young chinese are supporting our goverment. we only want peace to develop our economy. Tibet Independence??? no problem, we wonder what kind of economical condition they can reach to if they are without help from other parts of China.


    what do you guys know about what happened in Tibet?You’ve got pictures?you’ve got videos showing how “cruel” Chinese goverenment cracked down the uprising?Tell you what,I can show you lots of clips how Tibetan rioters burnt stores even school,beating killing Han Chinese people.

    You Taiwanese always like to link current status to history.Why don’t you damn Japanese cause they started 2nd WW?They treated you like what?Why’re you guys still speaking Chinese?Shame on you people.

  • ifan

    To Ur Chinese friend:
    In Taiwan, people can have different opinions. Even people support KMT can support Tibet. Most Taiwanese, like Tibetans, does not like China’s threat, and this is why many Taiwanese empathy Tibetans–we do not need to be identical to have empathy.

    To all 56 ethnical groups of China are united:
    You are right and wrong.
    You are right that Tibetans started this movement because everyone is watching the Olympic Game, as many cooperations have their advertisement in the Olympic Game.
    However, it is not a golden rule that “all 56 ethnic groups of China are united,” even though your teachers taught you so. If you do think this is a golden rule, please try to prove it.
    By the way, many Taiwanese have been to China, and I am glad to hear that you do not support China to “unite” Taiwan. And, if you feel like doing charity in Tibet, you should listen to their needs.

    To KDING:
    If your post is not a spam, you should know there is a link mentioned in this post that you can see the photos:
    In these photos, at least I can see:
    (1) There are Tibetans asking for independence.
    (2) China government have military force to oppress the movement.
    I would like to hear your opinions about why China government did not allow any journalist to stay when their military went to Tibet, if they did not do anything against human right.
    About your question, I like to study current events as well as history, and I believe most Japanese will not say ‘shame on me’ when I discuss how Japan started WWII.

  • Gina

    Go check out your own ROC map to see if Tibet is part of China or not. Even Mongolia if part of ROC map. I have many Taiwanese friends, none of them has opinions like those on this board.

    If you are Young Taiwanese so you say your are, your education system has failed you, you know neither history nor geograph. Your poor thing!!!

  • ifan

    Gina, if you did not receive Taiwan’s education, I recommend you not to draw any conclusion like this and to be polite. When our teachers teach geography, they teach something more than the map you mentioned. For example, we know Mongolia is an independent country although the ROC map doesn’t say so. Let me make this point clear again: Taiwanese can have different views toward the world, so you do not need to attack some people’s argument only because you happen to know others’ have different opinions.

  • History student

    Gina and Kding are absolutely right. this ifan’s teachers
    might be japanese origin. In Taiwan the young kids are
    brain-washed badly by the Chen s.b government.They feel
    it is a fasion to talk about independence without knowing
    the ultimate effect of it on the Chinese nation’s position
    in this world. it’s like kids loving Mc-Donalts’garbage
    food without knowing it’s harmful to health.

  • ifan

    To History Student,
    Thanks for your comment. However, as far as I know, China government also recognizes Mongolia’s independence, and I wonder why you think my history teacher who taught me that is Japanese origin? What’s the correlation?
    Our president, Chen Shui-bian, and his party, Democratic Progressive Party, and many other people, including professors in history and constitution and other related fields, have worked on the history about Taiwan’s status as independence for decades. We are still working on it, and it is too brash to say independence is a fashion in Taiwan. If it is a fashion, it might become a fashion that lasts for many generations.

  • lljude

    First of all, although I do not agree with ifan, I do respect your politeness toward different opinions! I am a Chinese from mainland, I hope when we talk something political, we can first of all calm down ourselves!
    Second of all, let me also assure you that we mainlanders love peace but we cannot bear our lovely country to be seperated. We will not give up any part of our country! We love and respect people and countries who love and cherish peace! However, if they do anything to jeopardize the integrity of our country and our nation, we will not just sit there and do nothing! That’s for sure!

  • ifan

    Dear lljude,
    Thanks for your respect to different opinions, and I think this respect is the foundation for discussion.
    Although I think the first priority is human right, I understand that some people think the first priority is the integrity of a country. However, if we take Tibet for example, the government Dalai Lama leads in India asks for an autonomic government in Tibet instead of independence or separation. How do you explain why China government refuse to set it as an important goal and have conversation with Dalai Lama with respect?

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency

No thanks, show me the site