Thursday, August 14, 2008
PAGES OF INCONVENIENT HISTORY
ere are some selections from one of my old quote files, concerning Tibet's right to self-rule and compiled from various documents and sources (before I had access to the worldwide web).
On the 10th of October, 1996 an article appeared in Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper entitled "Views on several major state issues concerning China today." It was written by two mainland Chinese writers, Mr. Wang Xizhe and Mr. Liu Xiaobo, and it caused something of a sensation, touching on several little-known facts about China's modern history.
While these facts are little known outside China, they are virtually unknown inside China. To acknowledge these facts, about both the pre-Communist Republican government and the CCP itself, is to take a very dangerous step (as Mr. Wang and Mr. Liu would soon learn).
In 1924, in his 'Declaration of the First KMT [Kuomintang] National Congress', Sun Zhongshan [Sun Yat-sen] said '... the KMT solemnly announces it acknowledges the right of self-determination of the various nationalities within China.'That sounds pretty straighforward, but what would Mao have made of it? The article covered that too, quoting Mao's report to the seventh CCP National Congress (1945), which stated, "The CCP fully agrees with Mr. Sun's nationality policy."
Mao was even more explicit during his revolutionary "Chinese Soviet Republic" period, long before the communist takeover of China. On this, Wang and Liu wrote:
During the revolutionary war years, the CCP vigorously advocated the right of national self-determination. In the "Constitutional Programme of the Chinese Soviet Republic" set up in Ruijin, Jiangxi, the CCP not only acknowledged the right of self-determination of ethnic minorities in China, but also boldly announced that it "will consistently acknowledge that various weak minority nationalities have the right to break away from China to set up independent states".The writers further quoted from the first communist constitution of China of November 1931. Article Four:
"The Soviet Government of China recognizes the right of self-determination of the national minorities of China, their right to complete separation from China and to the formation of an independent state for each national minority. All Mongolians, Tibetans, Miao, Yao, Koreans and others living in the territory of China shall enjoy the full rights self-determination, i.e., they may either join the Union of Chinese Soviets or secede from it and form their own state as they may prefer."The promise was thus written into the communists' own founding documents, and was also spoken by the fellow who still looms over Tiananmen Square.
Mao Zedong, chairman of the Soviet Republic, also specifically announced in his policy address that "the Mongol, Hui, Tibetan, Miao, Li and Gaoli peoples can voluntarily decide whether to break away from the Soviet Federation to set up independent regions".
Unsurprisingly, it seems to have come at practically the same moment as the CCP's takeover of China, announced on October 1, 1949. Just four days later, the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee stated:
"It is necessary not to stress the right of national self-determination for ethnic minorities. During the civil war, to win over minority nationalities to oppose the KMT's reactionary rule, our party stressed the slogan. This was absolutely right.""This was absolutely right" -- to hoodwink the nationalities first in order to achieve victory. After that, the rules changed and it must not ever be mentioned again. Only four days old, and the new CCP government had already laid down the standard of integrity for which it will always be remembered.
The new rulers of the Chinese empire had no qualms about this instantaneous reversal, for their rule was based on their own foundational truth -- power comes from the gun. Most people have heard Mao's dictum on this. Here is the context, from a statement he made in late 1938.
"Every Communist must grasp the truth, 'Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.' Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party. Yet, having guns, we can create Party organizations, as witness the powerful Party organizations which the Eighth Route Army has created in northern China. We can also create cadres, create schools, create culture, create mass movements. Everything in Yenan has been created by having guns. All things grow out of the barrel of a gun."It's not just political power, but everything that grows out of those gun barrels. The founding father of the People's Republic, whose "Mao Zedong Thoughts" are still enshrined as the eternal founding principles of the permanent ruling party, knew how to coin an unforgettable phrase. All things grow out of the barrel of a gun.
Mao Tse Tung: "I would like to note that the air regiment that you sent to China was very helpful. Let me thank you Comrade Stalin, for the help, and ask you to allow it to stay a little longer so it could help transport provisions to Liu Bocheng's troops, currently preparing for an attack on Tibet.And so, with the approval and assistance of Stalin, Mao's armies invaded an indisputably self-governing country which held all the legal attributes of a fully sovereign state. Tibet was forced, literally at gunpoint, to sign a treaty -- the "17-point Agreement" -- the likes of which the PRC has never foisted upon any of its other "nationalities," before or since. Apparently, the communists themselves considered Tibet a unique case (they'll never admit that now).
Joseph Stalin: "It's good that you are preparing the attack. The Tibetans need to be subdued."
But even in this one single episode of a treaty with another nation deemed as within their own empire, the communists had to cheat. The Tibetan diplomats sent to negotiate were not authorized by their government to sign anything, and were thus dispatched to the meeting without the official government stamps required to finalize any agreement.
But such legal practices would not stand in the way of the communists. The Chinese simply had new Tibetan stamps crafted in China, and the counterfeit impressions were affixed to the treaty. The counterfeiting of intellectual property has a long history in the PRC.
The treaty promised Tibetans their self-rule but, true to form, the CCP itself violated every single one of those seventeen points. And they still cite it to justify their continuing rule.
More than half a century later, Tibetans continue to live under the overlordship of a foreign nation, one with which they have a much older treaty (carved in stone), denoting the boundary between the two countries. The contradiction demonstrated by this rather hard historical fact would be dealt with by simply counterfeiting Tibet's own history (more on that later).
While the rulers proclaim that all their citizens enjoy religious freedom, they also issue the proclamations which give the lie to that statement. Such was the official public notice posted around the Tibetan capital on June 24, 2001 by the Lhasa City Government.
"The People's Government forbids any person, any group, or any organisation, in any form or in any place to use any situation to represent celebrating the Dalai's birthday, to pray to the Dalai for blessing, to sing prohibited songs, to offer incense to the Dalai, or to carry out barley-flour-throwing illegal activities."He is called Dalai Lama, you over-indoctrinated blowhards frightened by a little tsampa-throwing "illegal activities."
How can they expect any respect, when they never show any? How can they expect trust, despite their consistent display of untrustworthiness? The answer, my friends, grows out of the barrel of a gun.