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Commentary: Hush, it's time to mourn the dead!
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10:53, March 14, 2009

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On the eve of the first anniversary of the deadly riots that killed 18 civilians and a police officer, few people in the international community seem to be mourning.

Instead of lamenting the loss of lives, Dharamshala is blaming the Chinese government for "bringing untold suffering and destruction" to Tibet and its people and turning the plateau region into "hell on earth."

The "good guys" in the United States and the European Union, acting hand in glove with the 14th Dalai Lama, are exerting pressure on China, with congressional resolutions demanding end of "repression" and renewal of dialogue on "real autonomy for Tibet".

Infuriating and saddening as these acts are, many Chinese are trying to understand the Western mentality: they might aim well, after all.

In a globalized society, people of different nationalities have become citizens of the world. Their grievances are heard across the world and nearly everyone cares what is happening on the other side of the globe, as long as his own needs for food, clothing and shelter have been met.

As the ancient Chinese saying goes, "Men at birth are naturally good." For most people, to give is a great pleasure -- be it material or spiritual support.

This is why people on the western hemisphere are so concerned over the Tibet issue, particularly those innocent people who have never been to China or Tibet.

Not knowing what's actually going on in Tibet, these people are more inclined to believe the eloquent, English-speaking diplomat, the Dalai Lama. They have the burning desire to act Robin Hood and lift the Tibetans out of their "plight."

Now the Dalai Lama has once again made a scene on the international stage, whining and complaining about the "misfortunes" of his fellow Tibetans, as if he himself was their only savior.

Apparently, the Dalai Lama cannot tolerate any progress in Tibet, or any welfare for its people. His real intention is to have Tibet separated from China, become an independent, theocratic state under his own rule again. Only then would he be able to enjoy the supremacy he did half a century ago.

Knowing clearly such an attempt runs counter to the trend of global development, the Dalai Lama has clumsily hidden his ideas, under some fabricated excuses.

One of the excuses is alleged human rights harassment, probably the most eye-catching issue in the global arena.

"The Tibetan people are regarded like criminals deserving to be put to death," the Dalai Lama had said without double checking the facts.

Ironically, what he said precisely describes the poor Tibetans' fate under his rule 50 years ago.

When I visited a former manor of the Dalai Lama's family in the western suburbs of Lhasa the other day, the elderly villagers told me a doggerel, which, with a sense of black humor, tells the miserable life of the serfs.

"No food, no drink, but not a second's hesitation when there's work to be done; No shoes, no socks, trek along on your bare feet, day and night, all year round. So? Pray you had ironclad hoofs, and eyes of an owl so that you can work tirelessly day in day out."

Good for them. These former serfs have new, two-story homes built with government subsidies. The fertile soil and rich clay resources in the Lhasa River valley allows most families to earn two incomes -- by farming and by manufacturing.

The Dalai Lama would always point a finger whenever he sees economic progress in Tibet.

"What we have lost under Chinese Communist rule far outweighs what we have gained," he has kept warning the Tibetans.

He would then hold Tibet's economic development for every single environmental problem, from deforestation, pollution to the endangered wild yaks and Tibetan antelopes.

While China has long-sinced realized the importance of the plateau ecology and worked hard to preserve its environment, the Dalai Lama has always turned a blind eye.

He has also turned a blind eye to Tibetan people's religious freedom and the booming Tibetan culture -- not just in the Tibetan communities but across China. In his speech delivered Tuesday, he said the Tibetan religion, culture, language and identity were "nearing extinction."

Without the least knowledge of China and China's Tibet, the Dalai Lama certainly knows nothing of the popularity of Tibetan culture across the country. Nearly everyone around me, my colleagues, old friends from school and all the backpackers I met in Tibet, says they love Tibetan culture and literature.

"Believe it or not, every single Chinese bestseller nowadays is about Tibet," a young backpacker told me on the square in front of the Potala Palace.

He might be exaggerating. But Tibetan literature, culture, music and songs are prevalent in most Chinese cities.

In two weeks in Lhasa, I met dozens of young people under 30, who quit well-paid jobs in order to spend time in Tibet to study its culture, tradition, language and even practise Tibetan Buddhism. Their thirst for Tibet actually surprises me.

The Dalai Lama knows very little of the 21st-century China and Tibet. Most of the messages he receives about Tibet are biased and wrong. That is why the Tibetan people in his eyes are so miserable.

The "good guys" in the United States and European Union do not know this, and that is why they feel so obliged to play the Robin Hood.

They might as well bow their heads, mourn those who died in the Lhasa riots last year, and think twice before putting their fingers into something they are ignorant of again.

By Xinhua writer Zhou Yan, Xinhua reporters Niu Qi, Soinam Norbu, Yan Yuanyuan and Hu Xing also contributed to this commentary.





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