[Reader-list] Han blog on Tibet

S. Jabbar sonia.jabbar at gmail.com
Wed Apr 9 09:48:44 IST 2008

First Time I Feel Ashamed to be Han, and Lucky to Not Be a Party Member

China Digital Times[Monday, April 07, 2008 17:26]

The following blog post was signed as written by ³a student from the Central
University of Nationalities³. Translated by CDT:

I¹ve wanted to write something for a while in the wake of the latest
developments in Tibetan regions. But after seeing press reports by media
outlets from home and abroad, I don¹t know whom to believe in. I lost my
judgment. I tried to start writing, but then couldn¹t continue because my
feelings are too complex. This afternoon, I talked to a colleague again
about this issue and the conversation escalated into a fight. The colleague
finally used a very ³Chinese Communist² style to stop me from ³venting angry
words.² Faced with irrationality, I zipped my mouth. I¹ve worked with a
variety of people, but I didn¹t imagine that there are people who have been
brainwashed so much, and I started to realize this issue isn¹t a small

The key is, a lot of Han and some ethnic Tibetans with vested interests have
become blind to the blue sky, white clouds, green mountains and water.
Amidst the long history and mystical culture of Tibet, their brains are only
thinking about how to commercialize these things. They don¹t know that many
aspects of the Tibetan way of life, religion and custom, culture and values
are gradually being dismantled. Neither do they know that the dignity of
Tibetans is shedding tears, and many Tibetans are strugglingŠ

Looking at Tibet, I sometimes feel ashamed to be a Han. Since first coming
to Tibet in 2006 I often think about these issues: What on earth does Tibet
need, how should it develop and who does it need to lead that development? I
have no power to resist anything, nor do I have the intention to resist,
after all our motherland is slowly making progress and our party is
gradually inching toward democracy. As an ethnic university graduate and a
Han who now works in the Tibetan region, these topics have surrounded me
every day of my working life.

In a civilized world in the 21st Century, when something incredible happens
in a certain area but many people around us (including Tibetans) yell out
about a crackdown and mass killing, should we seriously reflect on
ourselves: Why? I have picked an article by an alumni [of the Central
University of Nationalities] below. As a member of the Chinese nation, no
matter which ethnicity, we, the future of the country, shall rethink the
whole issue!

Those Who Throw Out Angry Rhetoric Please Apologize to Tibetan Compatriots

What I write has no intention to be separatist or to damage ethnic
solidarity. I love my motherland, love my people and love all my
compatriots. I only hope that in this huge family, we can truly love one
another, understand and tolerate one another, and truly live a harmonious

We always mistakenly believe that whatever we do is progressive, but we are
repeatedly committing mistakes.

While walking on the streets in Lhasa, I always have a subconscious sad
feeling. In a sacred place like Lhasa, I cannot find where I belong, and
I¹ve lost my direction. Jiangsu Road, Beijing Road, so on and so forth,
these names pop up in front of my eyes. Roads named in Tibetan are few in
number, and the city makes one feel like being in a mainland town. Children
beggars swarm around me and when I see their aspiring eyes and the joy of
getting some money, my heart bleeds, and language becomes pale.
Occasionally, made-up ladies cozy up and wave toward me, wanting to saying
something but I understand they are not just saying hello to me.

The whole sacred city is filled with aid construction. I am not saying this
is not good, and Tibetan people very much appreciate the help from other
ethnic groups and the care from the central government. But those
Hunan-aided and Shandong-financed post boards stand up high on the top of
buildings, fearing that not enough people will recognize their generosity.
But this philanthropic advertising is overstretched. Every ethnicity has its
dignity, so imagine, will this hurt the feelings of the Tibetans? And the
assistance buildings are not constructed based on Tibetan culture and ideas,
but wild shapes and structures. Will Tibetans like these houses?

Nowadays, there are so many prostitutes on the boulevards and small lanes,
they number at least in the thousands. There was once a women¹s movement
that put out a slogan that says ³Sichuan women get out, husbands return
home.² Imagine how many people are engaged in prostitution! We cannot blame
the Tibetan ethnicity, these are imports from the mainland. And their
influence is so deep that it¹s unimaginable. Those colorful women fill the
streets wide and narrow and beam their seductive eyes around the crowds,
which is for sure a blasphemy on Lhasa¹s image. Still, we have no regret
and, instead, have turned the sacred town into a setting of indulgence and
satiating lust.

Some even say that Tibetans are dark-colored and dirty. Yes, Tibetans are
dark-skinned, but they have a red heart and pure belief. Look at us who
believe ourselves to be light-colored. We feel proud about our faces being
covered with chemical compounds. Tibetans are not dirty, and their hearts
are pure and kind.

We always stress the importance of Mandarin. Indeed Chinese is important and
it¹s our national official language. But in Lhasa and many Tibetan ethnic
regions, there is a popular saying that goes, ³Tibetan is a formality but
Mandarin is the rice bowl.² That¹s exactly as I see it­Many Tibetan students
work hard on Mandarin for their future, and, as a result, many forget their
own language. Of course there are a lot of reasons for this, for example
some schools don¹t have Tibetan language curriculum at all, and classes of
mainland students are not allowed to speak Tibetan, etc. Language is the
root of an ethnic group and to a great extent is a symbol that distinguishes
one race from another. Without a language, an ethnic culture will also die
along with it. On the other hand how many Han people understand Tibetan
language and script? Which makes us feel deeply ashamed and sorry. There are
so many Tibetans who can fluently speak Mandarin. I don¹t know whether I
should be happy or sad about this, but I feel there¹s a serious lack of
understanding between the two ethnic groups.

Han people have their own holidays and customs, so do the Tibetans. In
Lhasa, along with more contact with other ethnic groups, many Tibetans
started to celebrate Han holidays, such as dragon boat festival and tomb
sweeping festival, etc. But few spend Tibetan holidays with Tibetans. Some
say Han culture is so tolerant and so influential. But do you truly
understand the Tibetan holidays?

When some people talk about sky burial, they associate it with cruelty and
horror. But have you ever thought about that when a dead body is incinerated
it perishes and when it gets buried it becomes part of the soil, while
heavenly burial benefits other animals and alleviates their hunger, thus
protecting them. What a noble burial and selfless funeral is this. But it is
regarded as barbarian, primitive, cruel. So when you talk about this please
read up a little and understand more about it!

Many still stubbornly believe that rice is the best staple food. But when
told that Tibetans eat Tsangba [roasted barley], their facial expression
reflects shock, contempt, dismissal. It¹s ridiculous and stupid and ignorant
because tsangba is actually a pure and unpolluted natural food.

All these examples are beyond reason but they happen around us. Some only
know that there are Tibetans in Tibet, but don¹t know that there are
Tibetans in other provinces. Some only know there¹s a Lhasa in Tibet but
don¹t know any other place there. But they still randomly say outrageous
things about Tibet.

Let¹s also talk about those cadres who assisted the development of Tibet.
Were/are they really coming to help Tibet? So many of them have returned to
their home bases for promotions after a short stint in Tibet. I heard about
a friend¹s uncle, who stayed in Tibet for less than four years and took
800,000 yuan back to the mainland. There are many stories like this, going
back home from Tibet to skyrocket in their career or buy villas, so on and
so forth. Did they come to Tibet to work for the good of Tibetans? How much
contribution did they make to Tibet? Where did the money go after the state
earmarked it for Tibet? I don¹t even want to imagine, the more I think about
it the more frightful it gets.

Let me also talk about the inner land (neidi) classes for Tibetans. I don¹t
know about other ethnic groups¹ neidi classes but I know quite a bit about
the Tibetan ones. Everything they study is written in Mandarin and the
history they learn is also Han history. What about Tibetan history? As a
Tibetan who doesn¹t know his/her own history, is he/she still a Tibetan? Of
course there is reason for this but shall we consider their racial feelings
and ethnic belonging? Many years later, many kids have made tremendous
progress in Mandarin but their Tibetan level is still elementary.

Let me also talk a bit about March 14.

China¹s coverage of it has been indeed thorough and detailed. But some
issues have been haunting me still. For instance, in the news, a lot of
information was ³according to reliable sources/materials.² I don¹t know how
reliable these pieces of information are. Where on earth are the sources?
Why not tell us, the public?

Videos on March 14 shown on the Internet are truly saddening. No matter
which ethnic group, it¹s heart-wrenching. But let¹s look at the comments and
our netizens, who speak about killing or exterminating in every sentence.
Why are we so extremist? Why so partial? How about let¹s try not to
preemptively judge certain people without getting the whole story?

No ethnic group is composed of all good people. Why not say things like
that? Shall we also reflect upon our own behavior and our own mistakes? To
kill all Tibetans, isn¹t it a little irresponsible?

We did make efforts to develop solidarity and the growth of Han and Tibetan
cultures. But we ignore the feelings and belief of Tibetan compatriots. We
did give, but we didn¹t do it sincerely enough and not perfectly enough. Not
only shall we give in terms of material, but also spiritual, support. We
shall offer our help with an equal and caring attitude, not just to do
cosmetic work. Think about it: China has run Tibet for so many years and now
we have this situation over there, there are so many things we should
reflect on about ourselves. We cannot always think that we are always right
and we are the best.

For those who randomly say outrageous things, please apologize to our kind
Tibetan compatriots. Only mutual understanding and trust can build up our
truly harmonious societyŠ

(Note: this article has been deleted three times on campus Internet forum.
It was delayed for republishing today [April 1], only to express my opinion,
there¹s no other motive. Viewers¹ tolerance is greatly appreciated.)

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