Quote Of The Day: Who Said That?! Edition
That seems like a normal enough quote, given China's long-time suppression of human rights in Tibet and its recent crushing of opposition demonstrations there. But normal it's not.
That's because it's from China's People's Daily newspaper, part of a recent lashing out at the "Dalai clique" that apparently is duping naive Westerners into getting this entire story 180 degrees misunderstood. It's poor, poor Beijing we should be worrying about!
And a big push this is. Here's what greets us front and center on the English-language edition of the People's Daily today:
• Documentary "The past of Tibet"The journalistic phrase for that is "full court press."
• Tibet regional chairman: Situation in Tibet returns to normal
• Tell you a true Tibet - Ownership of Tibet
• TYC, Common Enemy to All Human
• Eminent monks, masters condemn violence, pray for Olympics
• Tibetan Youth Congress = a terror group
• Commentary: Yet another show of lies by Dalai Lama
• Perspective on a Tibet with freedom, harmony and prosperity
• "A slap in face" to Paris itself
The aggressive push is generating news bits on many fronts, including the bold claim by Beijing that what it referred to as "modified automatic weapons" were found hidden in a Buddhist temple in southwest China, near the Tibetan border.
Reuters reports the item straight-up:
Chinese forces found firearms hidden throughout a Tibetan temple in an ethnic Tibetan area of southwestern China which has been the scene of anti-Chinese riots in recent weeks, state television said.If this item were about us in Iraq, it would have been reported much more skeptically, something like, "After raiding a holy mosque in a quiet Baghdad neighborhood, U.S. troops said they found what they described as firearms in the building. But local residents disputed the claim."
Police, responding to what they said was a tip-off from the public, found 30 firearms in the monastery in Aba prefecture of Sichuan province last month, state television said in a report, a transcript of which was posted on its Web site (http://www.cctv.com).
No local residents disputed this claim apparently -- probably because they feared they would be tortured until they, too, provided "a tip-off from the public" to the Chinese forces.
We break now for this little reminder to help you process this story:
Yes, it's Chinese soldiers with shaved heads carrying Buddhist monk robes -- evidence that the Chinese are manipulating events in Tibet. Sort of like planting weapons in a temple (not that I have any hard evidence that they did).
Also in the People's Daily offensive according to the Reuters piece:
- Charges that Western media trumped up coverage of Olympic torch relay demonstrations, making them appear more violent than they actually were. (I'm sure there were miles of violence-free torch-running somewhere, but who's going to cover that when you've got Paris and London to cover?)
- China's ambassador to Ireland stomped out of a speech when Tibet was brought up.
- Releasing news that five people had been arrested on a domestic flight after "acting strangely." If we read the Reuters report long enough, we find that that strange action was speaking a language no one could understand.
- And in Beijing, our good friend and ally Pervez Musharraf assured students the torch would be safe in Pakistan and added helpfully, "Tibet is an inalienable part of China."
They've got a lot of economic power behind them, but the Tibetans have a lot of emotional power behind them, and I don't think this will die down between now and August. The Chinese will continue to be troubled with outbursts of anti-Chinese sentiment up to and throughout the games.
In the end, nothing will change. They'll slap a happy face on the games, and when everyone goes home, it will return to business as usual in China and Tibet. If we are to take any lesson away from Tiananmin Square, it is that. If you need a reminder of what China will do to protect itself, watch this powerful, awful clip: