Twelve Suggestions for Dealing with the Tibetan Situation

By Wang Lixiong and over 300 other Chinese Intellectuals

In line with the democratic principle asserting the right of oppressed nations to self-determination, we offer the following two informative articles in support of the oppressed people of Tibet’s right to rule their own affairs as a self-governing part of, or independent of, China—as decided, democratically, by the Tibetan people themselves.

At the same time, however, we are obliged to sharply differentiate ourselves from the bipartisan capitalist government of the USA which also claims to support the oppressed people of Tibet.

(What could be more hypocritical than the world’s foremost violator of the rights of the peoples of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan—to mention only three of its most recent victims—posing as the world’s foremost champion of freedom, democracy and, of course, self-determination!)

American imperialism’s motives have nothing whatever to do with its alleged defense of principles, morality or the so-called “American way of life.” Washington and Wall Street’s motives are purely self-serving. In fact, its motives are self-evident, if not explicitly stated. They make no secret of their policy of putting ever-greater force behind its demands that China make its exports more expensive by raising the value of its currency (the yuan) relative to the U.S. dollar—and other even more far-reaching economic concessions—all designed to serve the Empire’s social, economic and political interests. The least of their concerns, except as a mask to hide their real motives, is the rights of the oppressed nation of Tibet or any other nation victimized by a greater power.

U.S. policy is, of course, no secret. Everyone who wants to know, knows that its economic sanctions—whether imposed directly by the Empire with or without the help of its imperialist allies against its economic and political competitor—is only the first step in what the Prussian General Karl von Clauswitz eloquently called, “economic competition by other means”—a euphemism for “economic competition by military means.”

The message the American superpower is sending China is a warning that its aggressively pursued political and moral intervention in the dispute between China and Tibet over the question of Tibet’s right to self-determination will be followed by economic sanctions against China and ultimately by military means if China does not bend its knees to the will of Wall Street and Washington.

Thus, in the final analysis, we can say that we are committed to the defense of the Tibetan people’s struggle to defend its right to self-determination. And we stand in resolute opposition to the repressive forces of both the Chinese and the United States governments.

—The Editors

1. At present the one-sided propaganda of the official Chinese media is having the effect of stirring up inter-ethnic animosity and aggravating an already tense situation. This is extremely detrimental to the long-term goal of safeguarding national unity. We call for such propaganda to be stopped.

2. We support the Dalai Lama’s appeal for peace, and hope that the ethnic conflict can be dealt with according to the principles of goodwill, peace, and nonviolence. We condemn any violent act against innocent people, strongly urge the Chinese government to stop the violent suppression, and appeal to the Tibetan people likewise not to engage in violent activities.

3. The Chinese government claims that “there is sufficient evidence to prove this incident was organized, premeditated, and meticulously orchestrated by the Dalai clique.” We hope that the government will show proof of this. In order to change the international community’s negative view and distrustful attitude, we also suggest that the government invite the United Nations’ Commission on Human Rights to carry out an independent investigation of the evidence, the course of the incident, the number of casualties, etc.

4. In our opinion, such Cultural Revolution-like language as “the Dalai Lama is a jackal in Buddhist monk’s robes and an evil spirit with a human face and the heart of a beast” used by the Chinese Communist Party leadership in the Tibet Autonomous Region is of no help in easing the situation, nor is it beneficial to the Chinese government’s image. As the Chinese government is committed to integrating into the international community, we maintain that it should display a style of governing that conforms to the standards of modern civilization.

5. We take note of the fact that on the very day when violence first broke out in Lhasa (March 14), the government authorities in Tibet were already announcing that “we possess ample evidence that the violence has been organized, plotted in advance, and meticulously orchestrated by the Dalai clique.” If so, then government authorities knew in advance that rioting was going to occur and yet did nothing to prevent it or to stop it from spreading. There should be a rigorous inquiry into the possibility of official involvement and malfeasance.

6. If, in the end, it cannot be shown that the events were organized, plotted in advance, and meticulously orchestrated [by the Dalai Lama] but emerges instead that they were a government-instigated “popular revolt,” then the officials who were responsible for instigating this “revolt” and for sending false and deceptive reports about it to the central government and to the citizens of the country should be held to account. There should be conscientious reflection, and the learning of lessons, so that such things never happen again.

7. We strongly demand that the authorities not subject every Tibetan to political investigation or revenge. The trials of those who have been arrested must be carried out according to judicial procedures that are open, just, and transparent so as to ensure that all parties are satisfied.

8. We urge the Chinese government to allow credible national and international media to go into Tibetan areas to conduct independent interviews and news reports. In our view, the current news blockade cannot gain credit with the Chinese people or the international community, and is harmful to the credibility of the Chinese government. If the government sticks to true accounts of the events, it need not fear challenges. Only by adopting an open attitude can we turn around the international community’s distrust of our government.

9. We appeal to the Chinese people and overseas Chinese to be calm and tolerant, and to reflect deeply on what is happening. Adopting a posture of aggressive nationalism will only invite antipathy from the international community and harm China’s international image.

10. The disturbances in Tibet in the 1980s were limited to Lhasa, whereas this time they have spread to many Tibetan areas. This deterioration indicates that there are serious mistakes in the work that has been done with regard to Tibet. The relevant government departments must conscientiously reflect upon this matter, examine their failures, and fundamentally change the failed nationality policies.

11. In order to prevent similar incidents from happening in future, the government must abide by the freedom of religious belief and the freedom of speech explicitly enshrined in the Chinese Constitution, thereby allowing the Tibetan people fully to express their grievances and hopes, and permitting citizens of all nationalities freely to criticize and make suggestions regarding the government’s nationality policies.

12. We hold that we must eliminate animosity and bring about national reconciliation, not continue to increase divisions between nationalities. A country that wishes to avoid the partition of its territory must first avoid divisions among its nationalities. Therefore, we appeal to the leaders of our country to hold direct dialogue with the Dalai Lama. We hope that the Chinese and Tibetan people will do away with the misunderstandings between them, develop their interactions with each other, and achieve unity. Government departments, as much as popular organizations and religious figures, should make great efforts toward this goal.

Wang Lixiong (Beijing, writer); Liu Xiaobo (Beijing, freelance writer); Zhang Zuhua (Beijing, scholar of constitutionalism); Sha Yexin (Shanghai, writer, Chinese Muslim); Yu Haocheng (Beijing, jurist); Ding Zilin (Beijing, professor); Jiang Peikun (Beijing, professor); Yu Jie (Beijing, writer); Sun Wenguang (Shangdong, professor); Ran Yunfei (Sichuan, editor, Tujia nationality); Pu Zhiqiang (Beijing, lawyer); Teng Biao (Beijing, lawyer and scholar); Liao Yiwu (Sichuan, writer); Wang Qisheng (Beijing, scholar); Zhang Xianling (Beijing, engineer); Xu Jue (Beijing, research fellow); Li Jun (Gansu, photographer); Gao Yu (Beijing, journalist); Wang Debang (Beijing, freelance writer); Zhao Dagong (Shenzhen, freelance writer); Jiang Danwen (Shanghai, writer); Liu Yi (Gansu, painter); Xu Hui (Beijing, writer); Wang Tiancheng (Beijing, scholar); Wen Kejian (Hangzhou, writer); Li Hai (Beijing, freelance writer); Tian Yongde (Inner Mongolia, rights activist); Zan Aizong (Hangzhou, journalist); Liu Yiming (Hubei, freelance writer); Liu Di (Beijing); and 338 others;

The rules of signing one’s name are as follows:

1. No anonymous or pseudonymous signatures should be used.

2. Only one’s own name or commonly used pen name may be used.

3. One needs to include one’s name, the province of one’s current residence, and one’s occupation.

4. Signatures can be sent to one of the following e-mail addresses:

—Tibet Talk, March 30, 2008