Commentary: Pricking the bubble of "terrorizing Tibet"

2008-03-20 05:51:05 Xinhua English

By Xinhua writer Zhou Yan

BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Probably the whole world is on tiptoes, eager to find out what's going on in Lhasa and other Tibetan-inhabited regions in western China.

While we highly appreciate the efforts of the global media in seeking facts and providing accurate, objective and timely reporting, we are somewhat disappointed to find, from time to time, rather biased news coverage.

The New York Times published an editorial on Tuesday, accusing China of "terrorizing Tibet" and associating the riots with the country's human rights record and the Beijing Olympic Games.

Not to mention numerous other hostile media reports that kept pressuring the Chinese government on the Tibet issue ahead of the Beijing Games.

Now wait a minute.

How come the riot in Lhasa, which featured violent manslaughter, arson and sabotage of public facilities by ransacking mobs, was being used by some people in the West against China?

Is it because they really know too little about China and China's Tibet; whatever they know always comes from the so-called "Tibetan government in exile" and other anti-China cliques?

Premier Wen Jiabao has very good reasons to say the riots were "organized, premeditated, masterminded and incited by the Dalai Lama clique".

Just look how well prepared the rioters were: backpacks of rocks, inflammable liquid or self-made petrol bombs. They all shouted "Tibet independence" and many of them waved the flag of the "Tibetan government in exile".

I don't think it was a coincidence that rioters in different places of the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southern Gansu Province all set out at the same time: around 5 p.m. on Sunday. And don't forget the similar riots in the adjacent Sichuan Province.

The Dalai Lama has acted as if he had been wronged. On one occasion, he said China had found a "scapegoat" in him and more recently, he compared himself to a "young deer in a tiger's hand".

He has certainly won some sympathy from the naive and from those who hate to see even the slightest signs of development in Tibet.

When attempts to foil development turn futile, slander of a "cultural genocide" becomes their rallying cry to isolate the plateau people from the rest of the world.

That is why some people are so critical of the railway to Lhasa.

Right as their claims to preserve the Tibetan culture may sound, the hidden intention behind their calls is for Tibet to maintain its status quo and remain a stereotyped cultural specimen for them to enjoy.

Would anyone of them readily choose to live in the old Tibet themselves, working under the whips of serf owners, and trekking for weeks just to get to Lhasa?

Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

It is not geographical distance but rather a stereotyped mentality or political bias that leads to prejudice.

The Dalai Lama claimed he did not seek independence but "a high degree of autonomy" for Tibet.

His call for "true autonomy" is tantamount to an eradication of Chinese sovereignty over the proposed "Greater Tibet", a region extending to Tibetan-inhabited areas in Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan, nearly a quarter of the Chinese territory.

This is not the right attitude to reopen dialogue.