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.


  • History student

    To ifan:Outer-Mongolia became independent when China was
    weak and helpless and it was part of the Russian plot to
    keep China smaller and devided. China is not that weak
    any more and she is becoming more powerful all along.Now
    some people in Taiwan still daydream about a similar
    plot by the Americans and Japanese to separate Taiwan
    from our motherland, how could we agree?! The external
    forces support you not in the least because they love
    you and care about your well-being but because they want
    to prevent China from claiming her historical place in
    the world. You said that some of the people in Taiwan are
    working to make the island independent, I don’t doult
    this, but I can tell you that We in mainland China are
    also working to keep China as one and I believe that with
    1.3 billion patriotic Chinese we fear nothing and nobody
    be they americans,japanese and chen cliches, the days
    when China was ordered by the west are gone and we will
    never allow any regional separatist forces to split our
    nation again.Taiwan has been part of the Chinese nation,
    it isn’t a separate nation, you speak the Chinese language, have the same cultural tradition and religious
    philosophical background as us, why are you so obsessed
    with the notion of independence? There are more than 5000
    nations in the world but just around 200 countries, why
    not stay as part of China and try to make the Chinese
    strong in the world? China doesnot want to control Taiwan
    as Chen propagates to you, China just doesn’t want Taiwan
    to be controlled by USA or Japan and used as a strategic
    base to chect China.Taiwan cannot afford to stay neutral
    even if it becomes independent,it will either lean over
    China or China’s enemies.I understand that the young
    generation of Taiwan has grown up under the education of
    the independent elements and talk about the regonal
    identity while forgetting about the inner link with the
    Chinese history.Independence will not change your identity, it just give you a different passport,in the end you are still Chinese Taiwanese or Taiwanese Chinese.
    You might be born in Taiwan but you shouldn’t forget where your blood comes from,you might be told that Japan
    helped to developed Taiwan but you shouldn’t forget the
    japanese had killed millions of Chinese in history, you
    might believe that Uncle Sam provides you with weapons
    but you shouldn’t forget he does this for his own national interest,not for yours; When national interest
    demands he will turn his back on you as President Nixon
    did in the 1970s.Taiwan is destined to be part of China
    due to its history and geographic position.What’s so bad
    about that? Chinese will not remain weak,China will rise
    whether her rivals like it or not.I think some of the
    young people are snobish, they are so eager to identify
    themselves with the rich and try their best to distance
    themselves from their not-so-rich-yet relatives, it’s
    betrayal.Your president Chen has done his uttermost to
    promote the separation of Taiwan from China and if his
    idea is so popular, why in the election the DPP failed
    and the UN referendom also failed? Independence trend
    in Taiwan might last for some years to come but China
    will not sit idleness forever waiting for the island to
    slide away.When it comes to the worst and war breaks out,
    who will benefit? Not the mainland,not the island,but
    China’s rivals.In history China suffered from one and
    half century’s humiliation during which all the western
    powers fought her and beat her,with this hurt dignity
    and pride nowdays no Chinese leader can still be accepted
    by the Chinese people if he or she could defend the
    Chinese territorial integrity. War is the last thing that
    any Chinese wants against Taiwan, after all we are of the
    same ancestral origin, however When the indepentent elements in the island pushes the mainland to the corner
    war might become the only option.

  • lljude

    To ifan:
    Yes, I also think that respect is the foundation for the discussion, so there we go!
    To answer your question, Tibet is in fact an autonomous region in China. The governor of Tibet is actually Tibetan and his name is Chamba Phuntsok.
    Talking about human right, I believe all the Chinese people take human right as our priority too. That’s why our government is working on bettering people’s living standard and our diligent people are striving for it! Looking at the Tibetan human right record, I don’t know if you have any comprehensive knowledge of its past history, but as far as I know, before the liberation of Tibet in 1959, most of the Tibetan civilians were slaves who were living under huge repressions! After the liberation, the majority of the Tibetans’ lives have been tremendously improved. I believe before talking about how beautiful and sacred the word human right is, one has to be able to feed themselves. And I’m not saying our government’s job on Tibet is simply perfectly or has no space for improvement, but at least, they’re doing it!
    Many Western Media say that Tibetans in Tibet are second class citizens, but as far as I know, our government’s policies allow them to have more then one kid whereas Han nationals are not allowed at all! And their kids can go to college with much lower entry requirement! And they can curry knife when walking down the street with them as it’s a respect to their custom. Plus the huge amount of investment that our government has put on Tibet’s infrastructure…. I believe the beneficiary of all those policies is the ordinary Tibetan people.
    As far as human right is concerned, our point is that we love human right, but we cannot tolerant the hypocritical western countries or western media who use the mass media to intervene in our domestic policy, development and to damage our national pride.
    The western media says that they have successfully liberated Iraq and made it a great democratic new country, however, what are the real lives of the ordinary Iraqis like today? Go figure. I bet most of the Chinese people and Tibetans would rather live in China instead of Iraq (No offense at all to the Iraqi people).
    Now, I really have a question. Why didn’t those western countries help to improve the human right of the Tibetan people before 1959? Why didn’t those western countries care about the human right in China while they were invading our country and grabbing our wealth and killing our people in the early 20th century? All the western countries who are accusing of our poor human right record have all got bloody hands in our country’s history! Just look at the Chinese treasures in the British museum, do you think we handed all those stuff to them with a huge hug and smile on the face?
    And now, when our government (I’m not saying is perfect) is working on strengthening our country and enriching our people (including the Tibetan people whom we regard as our brothers), they are criticizing our human rights? Why don’t they find something else to do for a change!
    Again, nice talking to you!

  • ifan

    Thanks for History Student’s and lljude’s response.

    To lljude, I know there is an autonomic government in Tibet, but why does Dalai Lama not have equal opportunity to be the leader of this autonomic government? Moreover, if China government is so kind to Tibetans, why do many Tibetans need to stay in India?
    I have been to XingJang and my friends have been to Tibet, and our observation agrees with the statement that the original residents in these areas (Muslims in XingJang and Tibetans) are suppressed and invaded by Han people (with economic force and culture). I saw this phenomenon by my own eyes, not by the western media.

    To History Student:
    First, not all people with any Han blood should be ruled by China. This is not the way to define a country.
    Second, not all the areas once ruled by China should be belong to China’s territory forever. If what you said is the case, China should be governed by Mongolia now or in the future, because China was once ruled by the sons of Genghis Khan.
    Third, when people criticize the human right problems in China, I do not think it is wise to attack others’ deficiency. China is a big country with long history and great culture, Chinese should try to make yourself as a leader in human right instead of trying to avoid being the last one.

  • ur chinese friend


    You say that most Taiwanese do not like the Chinese threat. Is this related to BSR people’s prejudice towards WSR? Because if you say that most Taiwanese are threatened by the Chinese then how is it possible that China is Taiwan’s number one trade partner, and that the recent Taiwanese election replaced a pro-Independence minded President with one which is a lot more friendlier with China? If the BSR Taiwanese can sympathize with Tibet’s plight because of the treatments from the bad bad Chinese (or WSR as the locals would like to call them), then how can it be that today Taiwanese majority has elected the KMT party, who was responsible for the slaughtering locals only decades earlier?

  • History student

    To Ifan:Thank you for your comments.My response are:
    Firstly,I don’t say all the people with Chinese Han
    blood should belong to one country,for us that’s neither
    necessary nor desirable. China has always been more of
    a cultural entity than of a nation-state,most of the people
    in the west and in the world at large fail to realize
    this, that’s why they often feel at loss when they try
    to understand China.
    Secondly,a nation-state exists and expands continously
    by maximizing its power,those who are strong do this with
    might while those who are incapable become dominated by
    others,that’s the essence of “Real Politik”.There is no
    morality in it.A nation is more often than not a mere
    imagination invented by various historical and cultural
    symbols bonded together to” Make-believe” and maintain
    the nationals’ emotions and sense of collective belong-
    ingness.It’s true that in history the Chinese nation
    was conquered and ruled by the Mongols and the manchus,
    however,those two nations were culturally less developed
    than the Chinese one,that’s why they had to use the
    Chinese cultural norms and traditions to conduct their
    rulings,in doing so they themselves were eventually
    melted into the Chinese culture and became part of it.
    That’s the inner strength of The Chinese culture,the
    Mongol one lacks it,therefore,it rose and fell,unable
    to maintain its empire for long.In mordern history
    China lost a lot to Russia and China should not lose
    more,our nation needs a gravitational force to maxmize
    her potencial in order to meet the challenge of the
    outside world.If China breaks into small pieces, she
    would lose her bargaining weight in dealing with the
    western domination,the West are simply very eager to
    see China breaking up.Look at the African continent,
    there is no one single country which is strong enough
    to counter a major western power,that’s the tragedy
    for Africa, isn’t it?
    Thirdly, let’s come to the big topic of human right.
    Human right itself is a very beautiful thing and many
    people love to talk about it,you also believe that
    human right should take precedence over national integrity,arguably it’s a very lofty political point
    to make,however,have you ever bothered yourself to
    think deeply why the West are so fiercely defending
    human right? and why they started to do it only in
    recent decades,but not before? and when they defend
    human right,in what way? when you start to study more
    about the issue you can’t fail to notice it’s all so
    dirty,hypocritic and disgusting !!! The West consider
    human right vitally important because human right is
    based on the ideal of individual liberty and christian
    values,by promoting human right they are advancing their
    own cultural values.When human right theory were
    invented,most of the other cultures were either too
    weak or still under the yoke of colonial governments,
    they didn’t have a chance to participate in the very
    construction and formulation of the theory,that’s why
    the current version of the so-called universal human
    right theory is mainly western-style human right.In the
    West human right became an political focus when the
    West has acomplished their cultural domination of the
    world,to maintain this position they use this theory to
    fight against other cultural and civilizational rivals.
    Now the West aggressively impose their human right
    criteria and political system on the rest of the world
    without caring about whether these things are compatible
    with the local conditions or not, the USA and Europe
    have exported their democratic system to many developing
    countries either by war or by other means of coercion,
    honestly speaking some of them haven’t worked at all.
    Different nations should have the right to persue their
    own path to achieve democracy,find a model that suits
    their countries the most and human right evaluation
    should also take into consideration of the country’s
    economic development level,citizens’educational level
    and degree of political awareness and cultural practices,
    to the West these factors do not count at all, they
    just want to impose their own model and their own norms.
    The West arrogantly believe that what is good for us
    must be equally good for you, western values are
    universal and all the others are just local and they are
    to dictate norms,formulate agenda and the others should
    follow suit,if they decline to do that, isolation and
    demonization will follow.Human right and democracy has
    become a tool for new form of cultural colonialism,just
    coated with a beautiful name.Personally I am no enemy
    to human right and democratic ideal,in 1989 I was among
    the students in the Tiananmen Square fighting against
    our government and the Western media was totally on
    our side,many years later,after having lived in the
    West, I feel actually we were then on their side and
    served as a political paw for them.Human right has been
    disdained and profained by the West, it has become part
    of dirty politics,people use it as a declaration,as a
    tool,as an excuse,as a cover,as a stick, as a make-up,
    as a gun,as a political and cultural bomb for the West.
    We Asians should have our own values promoted and we
    should inject our cultural traditions into the current
    Western-dominated international system and make it
    fairer and more universal.
    If you read world history,you will notice the most
    unforgivable human right abuses have been committed
    by the West:Two world wars were originated from Europe;
    The genecide of the American Indians by the European
    settlers;The slave trade and the enslavement of the
    Black Africans by the European colonial powers,The
    looting,exploitating and coloniazineg of the Third
    world;The various bloody wars waged against the weak
    and poor nations by the West.millions of white bones
    of the innocent civilians killed in the various wars
    waged by the British,the Germans,the French and the
    Americans in the names of “Enlightenment” and “Human
    right”.When the Sarcocys,the Browns,the Perloses,the
    Bushes open their mouthes to pronounce the sacred word
    Human Right,those dead civilians’weeping and grudging
    souls would curse and scold and condemn.When the West
    were savaging the world with their gunships and bombs
    they didn’t talk about human right, now when the world
    is dominated by them they start to talk about human
    right:They condemn the human right problems of those
    nations who reject the western domination,at the same
    time they conceal the human right abuses of themselves
    and their friends,human right issues are handled with
    double standards and shameless hypocracy by the West.
    I think they should be shamed of themselves and keep
    their fithy big mouthes shut,if they have to speak,they
    should be speaking about their human responsibilities
    and try to right their wrongs first and repent.
    China as a big and dynamic culture,of course should
    contribute more to the advancement of human values but
    she will not do this on the terms of the West,China has
    every right to persue her own path to modernity,follow
    her own development model,set her own agenda and priorities; China has the duty to defend her own
    cultural traditions,define her own missions and position
    in the world,we are not arrogant but we will not be
    ordered around by the West.
    The modern age is an age of fighting for definations,
    those who have the power and might would be the ones
    to define things, to dominate others, there is no fair
    play and morality in it.In the dirty game of politics,
    human right serves the national or supranational
    When I read your response,I feel you might be a
    decent and innocent personality,however,in politics
    innocence would eventually be destroyed and decence
    enbittered,that’s for sure.

  • ifan

    ur chinese friend,
    If you hope people understand what you say, you should avoid jargons like BSR and WSR.
    Since China citizens do not have much experience about electing your president, I am not surprised by how you infer the thought of Taiwanese only from the result of our recent presidential election. When we voted for the president, Taiwan’s independence was not the only issue for us, nor did it be the only factor that determined who won the election. As a result, it would be improper to say we prefer independence or not only based on the result of this election. When Chinese have the chance to elect your own president and your own legislators, I think you will understand what I am talking about.
    About China’s threat, most people know China has lots of missiles toward Taiwan. If this is not a threat, what do you consider a threat?
    About Taiwan’s trading with China, if we can make money and feed ourselves, we do not care where the money comes from, as long as the money does not bite us. On the other hand, if China government threatens us by its economic force, we will think about if we should make China the number one trading partner.

  • ifan

    History student,
    I do not play politics, so I am happy to keep my “decent and innocent personality.” Here I will show how this choice works.
    From your argument, although I do not identify myself as Chinese, I can put myself in your shoes and feel your pain caused by the western power. This empathy I have is the foundation of human right. Talking about human right is not a political game. Defending human right is a way of living.
    If you are hurt because western power attacks your society and your culture, please think about Tibetans. Many of them are exiled to India and their society is resolving. Their culture is vanishing, too. Please do not say this image is built up by western media. My friends observed this phenomenon themselves.

  • ur chinese friend


    First of all, you are right about the BSR WSR jargon. I will lay off these terms as they take too long to explain and probably won’t make much sense to anyone who is not into Taiwanese politics. However since you do understand what I am talking about, I would like to say that I am happy that despite the amount of discrimination which he had faced a WSR can win an election in Taiwan. Now, I do like your passion for elections and all, but I am also not surprised that you are dismissive towards ones such as myself by saying something like ‘you cannot vote therefore you don’t understand’. As a Chinese I often get this type of knee-jerk responses from Taiwan Independence people (let’s call them TIers). However, just because I say that I am Chinese doesn’t mean that I am a Chinese citizen. It also doesn’t mean that I have never participated in, or have no knowledge about a Democratic system. Would it surprise you that I volunteered on a political campaign before (yes, that would be in a democratic nation)? Have you? I do notice that you are at least trying to be reasonable, so instead of the usual belittling which you have for the Chinese people perhaps you can appeal a little more to the logic.

    Anyhow, I am not sure why I am flawed to conclude that Taiwanese majority have chosen economic stability over Independence. Most of the political analysts from both local and “western” new sources before the elections have stated similar things along with predicting a large margin of victory for Ma. Elections are by far the best indicators of what the people want. Since the biggest differences between the two candidates are their positions on China (again, not just my words), why shouldn’t I say that Taiwanese people gave Ma the mandate to develop a warmer relationship with China over their dream of independence? If you have a different interpretation I would definitely like to know.

    On the definition of a threat, it’s a matter of perspective really. I can say however that the stock market is probably the best indicator of how confident people are feeling about their current environment. People tend to make more serious decisions when their own money is involved. Shortly after election the Taiwan stock has skyrocketed. So all I can say is that at least the informed investors do not feel China poses a serious threat; otherwise they would of moved their money out of the market. Again, here if you have a different interpretation please share.

    On trading policies, I am surprised that you do not consider China’s financial leverage a major threat to Taiwan. DDP has been warning about this for years. That’s what policy initiatives such as “Go South” (encouraging taiwan business to develop in Southeastern asia as opposed to China) is all about. I am pretty sure that majority of Taiwanese people are not naive to think that China won’t be using economics to leverage its relations with Taiwan.

    I do notice that you haven’t responded at all towards my comments about past KMT crimes against Taiwanese people. This is rather odd since you were the one who brought up the 228 incident at the first place. It’s interesting that the KMT “mainlanders” (or WSRs as you probably would refer to them as) invaded, massacred thousands, and ruled over the local Taiwanese people for decades. Yet they ultimately won the election in a Democratic fashion which you are obviously very proud of. I know that most of the pro-Tibet types will deny this, but realistically I think Tibetans will eventually come to accept the ethnic Hans as well.

  • david

    ok, guys. I think it’s all about the political interests between the communist party of china(CPC) and the western world. If taiwan stays neutral against both sides after its independence. Then the CPC will reluctantly to admitt it and keep relationships with taiwan. But like Japan, Philippines, and Korea, taiwan will stand for the amrican ally.
    It’s a game. There’s no justice and rules in this game. The only thing that matters is how powerfull each side is.

  • History student

    To Ifan:
    Talking about human right is part of the political game
    whether you want to admit it or not.Your claim”defending
    human right is a way of living” sounds both hollow and
    self-righteous,everybody can say that,you should specify.
    Following your arguement,you should defend the human
    right of Taiwan abriginals in the same way as you defend
    the Tibetan independence,how about the Catalonians in
    Spain,Sardinians in Italy,Korsikas in France,Northern
    Irish people in Britain,the Faroe Islandish in Denmark,
    the American Indians in US,the Lappish people in Northern
    Europe,the Eskimos in Canada,over 100 minorities in
    Russia,the Kurdish in Irak,Syria,Iran,and Turkey.If you
    have the Chinese blood in you,then you are in the similar
    situation to the Australian whites who came to the land
    of the Australian abriginals,in the end you will find that you are fighting against yourself.
    “Please talk about the Tibetans” OK,let’s look at Tibet:
    Firstly,Dalai Lama is not equal to Tibet.No doubt,Dalai
    and his clique want Tibetan independence,although he say
    he only wants bigger autonomy,he is lying and playing his
    political game,from his speeches,interviews,writings and
    various activities,everyone with brain can see his hidden
    goal is independence,China is no fool and see through
    his trick.Dalai Lama is not just a smiling-face Buhddist
    monk,he is also a cunning and deceitful politician,by
    winning the support of the West he talks about peace and
    non-violence,at the same time he plots violent and bloody
    riot.many people just see the soft side of him not the
    cruel and vicious side of a politician. Dalai and his
    followers just represent a fraction of Tibetans who
    lost their previliged position when Tibet has been
    transformed from a backward slavery society to a more
    progressive and equal system.For decades,it’s the Han
    Chinese who substantially has helped the local Tibetans
    with massive economic aid and preferencial minority
    policy,Tibetans do not have to observe the one couple
    one child policy,Tibetans can be admitted to a university
    by a much lower grade than the Han student.It’s slander
    to claim that the economic and social development only
    benefits the Han people. “Tibetan culture is vanishing”
    is sheer propagandist rubbish.90% of the people who live
    in Tibet are ethnic tibetans and other minorities.The
    Chinese government has mobilized huge human and financial
    resources to repair the Potala Palace,to restore many
    other monastries,to build roads,hospitals,schools,to
    help the locals to establish businesses,to train local
    doctors. All these are delibrately ignored and distorted
    by the West and the Dalai Lama clique.I don’t know who
    are your “friends”.Do they know the past of Tibet and
    the history of China and Tibet? To comment on Tibet as a
    tourist is easy.you only need to pour out what your mind
    has swallowed from the Western propagandist literature
    and pro-Dalai lama stuff,then the job is done.If you
    really care about human right, you should be defending
    the right of those innocent civilians burned,stabbed,
    looted and killed by the mobs during the riot,you should
    also defend the minorities living under the yoke of
    many western kingdoms and republics and help them to
    become independent first.

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