Phayul has a great post written by Tenzin Nyinjey, urging Tibetans to do their best to connect with Han Chinese. I think more along these lines, reminding people that the Tibetans and Han and Uighur and Mongols (and indeed all of the other minorities) have all suffered together under the current government, would be a good start towards unifying the currently-fragmented forces for change in China.
Indeed, my initial attempts to ‘understand’ China was more politically-motivated in nature – in the sense that, instead of trying to understand the complex realities underpinning China’s occupation of Tibet, I was keen on simply condemning China’s crimes in my country. Part of the reason for this, perhaps, lies in the fact that most of the literature that I read then was produced by exile Tibetan organizations, which appears to be concerned only with China’s destruction of our homeland, a truth that cannot be denied at all costs.
However, I feel this truth, understandably, was narrated with so much bitterness and indignation that, far from generating hope and courage in our minds, it has the contradictory effect of sowing resentment in our hearts against China and the Chinese people. This, in turn, spawned frustration and cynicism amongst us, whenever our leadership advocated peaceful dialogues and reconciliation with the Chinese leadership.
Readers might feel that I am condoning China for its crimes inside Tibet! What I am arguing, in fact, is that at times we are not able to uphold our moral courage and vision to see not just China’s occupation of our country, but also the fact that millions of Chinese people are denied freedom and suffer as much as we do. We seem to think that China is only about the ruling Communist party, crass commercialism and its twin brother, corruption. We fail to see the Chinese culture and its deep sense of humanism, as aesthetically shown in the writings of Lu Xun. We tend to forget, and thus fail to genuinely admire, the fact that despite the ruling Chinese Communist party’s desecration of Tibet and mainland China through its violence, corruption and destruction of cultural and religious values, the country, and its people, has not lost its moral conscience.
This is understandable, for we have suffered so much in the last more than fifty years. Our dignity and identity have been trampled upon, and the Chinese regime has not even acknowledged its errors inside Tibet, leave alone rectified them. The sheer lies, mendacity and hypocrisy of the Chinese regime can knock the compassion and tolerance of any person. What’s more, the majority of the Chinese people also follow the party line and think that Tibetans are ‘barbaric,’ and that China has done a great service by ‘liberating’ us! All these sad realities make it quite difficult for us to sympathize with the sufferings of the Chinese people.
However, these realities cannot serve as excuses to not see the fact that, apart from the likes of Liu Xiabao, Ai Wei Wei and Hu Jia, there are millions of ordinary Chinese peasants and workers who have the compassion to understand and sympathize with the tragedy and suffering unfolding inside Tibet, if they are given access to free information. Therefore, we must find out creative ways to reach out to as many Chinese people as possible in a spirit of reconciliation. We must reaffirm our deep understanding of the truth that, although belonging to a different ethnic nationality, the pain and agony we suffer at the hands of the Chinese Communist Party echoes in the hearts and minds of millions of ordinary Chinese too.
The more the different ethnicities support each other, the stronger they’ll all be.