My concerns about the Free Tibet Movement
I hope this article will help some western readers who did not grow up in China as a minority to understand what it is like. One of my foremost concerns is for the Tibetan Chinese children who live in central China. They are like me; they are the real minorities as far as their number in the local population. When I was growing up, I used to enjoy looking at the map of China while sitting in a geography class in China. I smiled when I saw how big Mongolia-my part of the country was. I saw Mongolia as a home base for my ethnicity, and looked forward to going there to meet all my fellow Mongolians.
Then, Outer Mongolia became independent under the Russians' engineering, and nobody in the world realized what it did to me. I was saddened, sitting in my classroom, feeling my part of the country just became small. Had Inner Mongolia left China, too, I can't imagine how lost I would have felt. Would my friends around me look at me as one of them anymore?
We must realize, the Tibetans and Mongolians living near China's border regions are much more massive in numbers. They had never lived as the minority, but rather as the majority in those regions. But the Tibetans and Mongolians in central China are scattered, and sometimes isolated. The minority people in central China need all the support they can get.
I find it sad that while the Han admired Genghis Khan, and revered my heritage, the Tibet Movement denies minorities even exist in central China. Instead, the movement continually pushes the notion that China is a mono-ethnic Han nation. It finally came to me what is going on. There is something very wrong here. The minorities in central China are the real minorities in terms of local population. But they are forgotten.
The term "minority" is used for the independence drive for a group of people who are the majority in the bordering regions. They take advantage of the term, and kick the real minorities into oblivion by declaring to the world that we are assimilated "Han" now. They care little what will happen to the real minorities in central China.
As an American now, married to a spouse with Native American blood, with two children, and looking forward to grand children, I love this country. I can't help but wonder what an American will think if one of our own minority groups here declares the rest of us Americans, be we Chinese American, African American, Native American, are all "assimilated European Americans now". I'm deeply disturbed by three things:
1) How does this negative portrait of the Chinese as "mono-ethnic Han invading their neighbors" affect the self image of the young Chinese Americans? I think it is tragic if a young Chinese American is seeing posters for a Free Tibet, and feeling negatively toward his own heritage. It is important for the second generation Chinese Americans to know their own heritage is one of multiple-ethnic, and a beautiful, complex and rich culture that embraces many tribes of people.
2) I've discovered a very sophisticated propaganda campaign by the Tibetan Movement to gain the support of many American people. I'm worried by how a politically motivated foreign minority group can mislead so many Americans. That is a whole other subject: the infiltration of the American minds. While we are worried about how Communist China may be spying on us, we are letting our guards down with other foreign groups.
I don't believe I could have seen through the highly sophisticated Tibet Independence propaganda myself, if I never had the experiences of growing up as a Mongolian Chinese in Taiwan. I will write another article about this propaganda campaign, and hope it will serve as a guide on how we may combat other propaganda levied at our nation. I hope the Americans will pay attention to it, so we don't become victims down the road. I think it is a very important subject for our nation's future.
3) More and more SFT (Student for a Free Tibet) chapters are being formed. I see some of the most brilliant minds of our country - students in Stanford, and in Brown University, participating in the Tibet movement. What would happen if the future leaders of our country become thoroughly convinced at what the Tibet propaganda tells them?
In the 21st century, will there be an unbridgeable gap on the Tibetan issue between the future leaders of China, and the future leaders of the U.S.? Will America wage war on Tibet like she had on Kosovo? As I see in the case of the Kosovo bombing, the congress isn't even consulted. A few people in America can make the decision for the rest of us. What if a Brown SFT student becomes one of those few people in the future?
Will that lead to a war for our children?
I'm glad you, the reader, have given me the chance to tell you my view as a forgotten minority on the Tibet movement. In conclusion, I would like to point out some current situation in the U.S.:
As the number of Chinese immigrants are rising in the U.S., the multiple ethnicity of the Chinese people have traveled to the U.S. with them. One can open up a Chinese overseas newspaper now and find ads for Mongolian BBQ restaurants, Manchurian Chinese restaurants, and even Islamic Chinese restaurants. One of my favorite takeout food is from a Islamic Chinese restaurant, what I tell my kids are the "Chinese hamburgers". It's a sauted pastry with a filling of ground beef and finely chopped onion. The pastry seals the broth inside; and biting into this pastry gives one a delicious morsel.
As more immigrants from China arrive, I hope more Americans will come to experience the rich multiple-ethnic Chinese culture.
Buddhism was the major religion in China. There are many Chinese American Buddhists; my grandmother was one. Just about all Chinese Americans hope for eventual democracy in China, and for the preservation of the traditional Chinese culture, of which Tibetan Buddhism is a well-respected presence. But we are against the misrepresentation of the Chinese people's multiple ethnic culture and China's borders by the Tibetan independence movement.
The battle for Tibet is not one of ethnic mistreatment, but a clash between the principles of Communism and the ideals of Buddhism. I myself support the preservation of the Tibetan culture and the Tibetan Buddhism. I support Tashi Tsering, who has built 46 schools to teach Tibetan children the Tibetan language. I hope one day the Tibetan Buddhist temples will be built across China for all the Chinese people. Thanks for reading.
copyright reserved by the author
Back to top