Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A postscript, March 25, 2008

In retrospect, it seems that last Tibeto-logic blog entry might have given the impression that the demonstrations were over.  Hardly.  Although for the moment Lhasa may be silenced, as far as we know, demonstrations have been continuing almost without cease in different parts of Tibet. Today the visibly "hot" spots were in Kandze (in Tibet's Kham but China's Sichuan) and in Tsolho ('South [of the] Lake,' south of the Blue Lake of Amdo, the Koko Nor, the Tso Ngön). For a nice summary of the news with amazing testimonies of police deceptions and PhotoShopped photos, I recommend reading the blog called Agam's Gecko. Press here. And there are some encouraging signs today that at least a few more of the academic Tibetologists may be awaking from their seeming slumber. Let's hope so.

. . .

To gain insight into the reasons you don't hear anything about the Tibetan side of the story from Chinese news media, read this fascinating first-hand account by Mitch Moxley in The Globe and Mail.

. . .

Of course, bearing in mind that this is not a majority opinion, but that of a dissident, I'd also like to warmly recommend reading the words of Tang Danhong. When she says, "...have we ever heard the Tibetans' full real voices?" I couldn't have asked it better. If only more people in China would ask this question.

Don't misunderstand me. I'm not insisting on one solution or another to the Tibet issue, not at the moment. All I am saying to people inside and outside China is this: Give Tibetans credit for being humans with their own subjectivity, with their own agency. If only you were familiar with them you would know that this is exactly what they are. Sinological spin insinuating that their actions are due to some exile Tibetan NGO, PRC officials blaming it all on His Holiness the Dalai Lama, foreign writers awarding all power to the spooks in the C.I.A., those who say their aim is to sabotage the Olympics... Either they just don't get it or they're deliberately hijacking the truth. They need to be set straight to the best of our abilities. Denying subjectivity and denying agency is just what imperialists do. Don't let them get away with it this time around.

I say don't just be an engaged Tibetologist. It's time to be an enraged Tibetologist. Make sure you can be heard above the roar.


  1. Dear Dan,

    Some academic Tibetologists have indeed been awaken "from their seeming slumber" as reported by Xinhua: Chinese Tibetologists condemn Lhasa riot

    Should the IATS (International Association for Tibetan Studies) now not act accordingly? Particularly as those Chinese "colleagues" quoted in the above Xinhua report are IATS members.
    If ever the IATS meets in Beijing (which I hope they won't), it won't be the Dalai Lama speaking in the plenary session (as you suggested in a commentary to your last blog), but Lhagpa Phuntshogs, general director of the China Tibetology Research Center (CTRC). Another CTRC member quoted in the report is a longstanding collaborator of the University of Vienna: Dramdul. It would seem that he and the others are forced to take part in this game and this is a tragedy in itself. But this is the price they are now having to pay for their professorial ranks and salary. If you want to read more on the outrageous bullshit Dramdul said (and he really said it because I listened to it in a radio broadcast too), look at the following Xinhua report:
    Tibetologist: China's patriotic education of clergy "successful"

    Just a brioef quote: The patriotic education in monasteries has been very successful in increasing patriotism and citizen awareness among the clergy," Dramdul said in response to a foreign journalist's question.

    The next opportunity for Chinese Tibetologists to spread propaganda of this sort is not too far away:
    2008 Beijing Seminar on Tibetan Studies


    Arno Nym

  2. Dear Arno,

    Many thanks for adding in this information. I noticed brief statements by the two of them condemning the "riots" (in quote marks until it's clear just whose purposes the lhasa violence of the 14th served and who was really behind it...) and about 'patriotic education.' But I was unaware of the other matters you mention. I think it's obvious that the IATS as such won't be making any statements, but individuals or groups of members certainly will. The IATS after all is little more than a conference scheduling body. It doesn't rule its members. And to tell the truth I wouldn't be very sorry if it were simply dissolved and replaced with regional conferences. The travel fees paid for TAR, PRC and other Asian attendees was always the biggest financial burden anyway. Sorry, I'm just thinking outloud and it's late. Perhaps I can find something more intelligent to say in the morning. Perhaps we can meditate on how cultures of oppression make everyone into collaborators. Until tomorrow.

  3. Meanwhile, here is the link to the webpage put up by the international Tibetologists. All, or nearly all, are professors or hold research positions in Tibetology in institutions outside the PRC, obviously. (Yes, Arno, most or all are full members of the IATS.) When Phayul posted it, there were 75 signatories.

    Other professional Tibetologists, as well as graduate students in Tibetan Studies are invited to sign it online.

    It is here:

    Who is it to? Hu!

    Have a look.

  4. Dear Dan,

    I think this is just what was needed!



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