Sunday, April 06, 2008

The following was originally published at the Linchpin/Common Cause site in Ontario. It has been reprinted at the Anarkismo site where a number of interesting comments have followed.

A Chinese anarchist on Tibet by EdwardW - Common Cause (personal capacity)
Sunday, Apr 6 2008

I've spoken to some people briefly about Tibet, but it'd be interesting to have a deeper discussion
.I think the situation in Tibet has been way oversimplified by both the bourgeois capitalist press and some left-wing comrades alike.
Even though I am from China, having lived their practically all my life, I can't claim to have the strongest analysis as I have not studied too deeply into the situation. So my opinion here is simply from glancing over pieces of information and my own anecdotes from traveling in China.
Firstly, I'd be critical of the whole Western free-Tibet movement based around the Dalai Lama. They seem to have a whole fetish/romanticism of the social organization in Tibet before the Chinese invasion in the 1930s. But from what I've read, Tibet was a religious theocratic feudalism, hardly an ideal and very much as repressive as the system in place today. That is why I do not doubt that the Chinese invading army had some support from Tibetan workers and peasants who opposed this order.
That said, as most of us can agree on, the Chinese government is hardly a genuine communist state, and has become if anything as capitalistic as the West. The current situation in Tibet, and in Inner Mongolia/Uighurstan/Manchuria (possibly Manchuria anyways, since I haven't heard of any independence movement and haven't read anything about the situation there), in my belief, can be traced back to the Chinese revolution (when republicans, communists, and anarchists, brought down the feudal Qing Dynasty). Despite attempts by anarchists to reframe the struggles as between workers of all ethnicities against feudal and bourgeois oppressors, the republicans and communists were able to frame the conflict as between the minority Manchurian (who made up the Qing dynasty) and the majority Han. This coupled with the continuous conflict between the Japanese and the Chinese, and the often-heard depiction of the Han people as the "sickly of Southeast Asia" - Dong Ah Bang Fu, may have led to the development of a reactionary Han supremacist ideology (again, this is my personal opinion, and I have not studied enough about Chinese history to claim this to be a substantiated conclusion - the history of my people was denied from me by eurocentric schools in Hong Kong). The feeling that Hans need to justify themselves against being subordinates, may have led to the desire to dominate other ethnic groups in the region.
This is illustrated by the cultural genocide occurring in parts of China. I remember traveling to Inner Mongolia by train, where ethnic Mongolians had lost their language. I could not find anyone that could read some of the old Mongolian calligraphy and writing on temple walls etc. Ethnic histories and books have also been burned, hearkening back to burning of non-Qin history and philosophy books by Emperor Qin Shi Huang. In addition, vast numbers of Hans have been settled in these areas (echoing the situation in West Papua (Indonesia), and Palestine), where they get favourable treatment and priority in the receiving of economic benefits. This is the reality faced by these people, and is, I believe, the reason why people are opposing Chinese rule.
Let's not forget, the West had also co-opted the Tiananmen Square Protests, framing it as Western liberal movement fighting for Western-style 'democracy'. Instead, it was a push by students and workers against the drive towards capitalist reforms and for the democratization of both the economy and political system. Likewise, the media has attempted to frame the current struggle in Tibet as a push for Western-style 'democracy' with the DL as its figure head.
I support the current movement in Tibet for independence because
1) I do not realistically think it will revert back to a feudal state, we should have a historical perspective on this, much has changed since the 1930s and I don't think the workers will allow this to happen
2) Cultural and political imperialism has occurred in Tibet, and Tibetans have the right to self-determination
3) I see a greater likelihood for revolution occurring in an independent Tibet It'd be interesting to see what others think about this.

No comments: