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4/22/2008

Misinformation on Tibet

Former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and a leading German expert have voiced their concern over many westerners' misconceptions regarding China, and some Western media's biased and misleading coverage of the recent events in Tibet. "We see China in a totally false way, " Schmidt said in a recent interview with German newspaper Westdeutschland Zeitung. The former chancellor's remarks came as major German television channels and newspapers adopted an anti-China tone, even with false pictures and deliberate selection of video grabs. Western hostility towards China is largely rooted in the strong perception of many westerners that China should develop according to the "democratic mode" represented by the United States or Western European countries, said Schmidt. "Why should it have to?" he asked. Schmidt, who has visited China 15 times, said many westerners have no idea about China's history and culture, or the complicated political and social issues that the country is dealing with, including Tibet. China is the world's "historic experiment" and "it has to go its own way," he said. "I do not say this," he added, "to defend the current Chinese communist leaders or to make the political situation (there) look better." "There is no judgment in what I have said so far," said Schmidt. Eberhard Sandschneider, director of the Research Institute of the German Council on Foreign Relations, said many westerners' fear of China is largely attributed to their uncertainty about what effect the country's rapid development may have on the Western world. "I firmly believe it makes no sense to have fears about China," said Sandschneider, one of the most prominent China experts in Germany. China does have social, economic and environmental issues, some of them deeply challenging, he said. Germany and other nations should stop their interference in China's affairs as long as what China does is "legitimate," Sandschneider said on an online chatroom of Germany's ARD TV. "It is too cheap at this point to only criticize China instead of raising questions about ourselves, something we must do to deal with global challenges," he said. Referring to a potential boycott of the Beijing Olympic Games, Sandschneider said it makes more sense in the long term to engage with China, including on the Olympics, rather than reacting emotionally to what happened in Tibet, which has long been a part of China. Adrian Geiges, a correspondent for the German weekly Stern, said in a recently published story entitled "Dalai Lama is no innocent angel" that he was "outraged" by the one-sided perception of many Westerners regarding Tibet. What happened in Tibet, including arson and assaults on innocent civilians, was "racial violence," which can by no means be justified, said Geiges, who was among the few foreign journalists in Tibet during the violent unrest in March. "However, many westerners are under the impression that the Chinese attacked the Tibetans," he said. "Where does this misunderstanding come from?" One of the reasons, Geiges said, is the idealization of the Dalai Lama and Tibetans, who many westerners believe are innocent and non-violent and should receive sympathy for the alleged human rights violations. However, the violent and deadly attacks on civilians by the rioters have instead "violated the human rights of the Han Chinese," said Geiges. Moreover, Tibet was no paradise under the rule of the Dalai Lama, the German journalist pointed out. About 95 percent of the Tibetans under the rule of the Dalai Lama were serfs who were not even allowed to learn to read or write, he said. The Dalai Lama, who has been traveling around the world since going into exile in 1959, has managed to convince many westerners that the Chinese government was responsible for the so-called "cultural genocide" in Tibet, which did not happen. In this sense, "the Dalai Lama is no innocent angel but a successful diplomat," Geiges said. The deliberate distortion of the recent unrest in Tibet by Western media has raised grave concerns abut professional ethics as well as its potential political and social repercussions across the world. The Chinese public is venting its spleen online over some Western media groups' inaccurate reports about the Tibet riots. Various inaccurate photos from Western media claiming to portray the Lhasa riots of March 14 have been collected and uploaded onto the Internet by some Chinese overseas students. The collection comprises dozens of pictures and footage broadcast by well-known Western media outlets, with netizens highlighting the misleading captions accompanying the images. The Germany-based RTL TV and N-TV have made corrections on their websites on March 23 and 24 respectively, and also apologized to the public. The Washington Post published an editor's note on March 24, saying the caption for an earlier version of a slideshow on the Tibet riot was incorrectly associated with a photo from Nepal where Nepalese uniformed police were dispelling Tibetans. The caption on the new version was corrected. On www.anti-cnn.com, netizens continue to pressure Western media, including CNN and BBC, to apologize to their Chinese audience. (What I want to add is that many of these western countries in Europe were accomplices to the semi colonisation of China during the Ching Dynasty. They looted, raided and took advantage of China and exploited all they could with no sense of guilt. And what had China done to any of them? Nothing. China was their victim for more than a century.)

5 comments:

Matilah_Singapura said...

All that gobbledegook is side-tracking the issue, right here, right now, not hundreds of years in the past.

And the issue is that China ought to leave Tibet alone and allow Tibetans to determine their own destiny.

Also, it remains my opinion that those people of conscience should abide by their own morality, and act in a manner conducive with SUPPORTING human life, and withdraw support on any state action which results in the DESTRUCTION of human life ("Human life" includes liberty, individual rights, and not living in fear of "authorities").

China's incursion into Tibet, and subsequent occupation, is definitely DESTRUCTIVE to human life.

As a gesture of retaliation, and to give the Chinese Sate a political bitch slap in full view of the whole planet, simply to embarrass them.

Anonymous said...

notwithstanding the many conversant people who had voiced out to express their cognition of western bias towards china, some over here, must be really pigheaded, choose to continue to hurl attacks against china. they just wont see beyond their nose.

if they are of chinese lineage, they are as good betrayers. during the japanese occupation such people are called "running dogs".

Matilah_Singapura said...

> if they are of chinese lineage, they are as good betrayers <

So, by similar reasoning, Americans who hurl attacks at America and Singaporeans who shoot venomous barbs at Singapore must also be "betrayers".

That would make someone like myself, a "betrayer".

I guess national day honours are out of the question then :)

Lost4ever said...

What if the Chinese do leave Tibet?? Is it going to be an Iraq, Afghanistan?? or annex by India like one other small himalaya country?? or a colony of another western power??

Anonymous said...

>So, by similar reasoning, Americans who hurl attacks at America and Singaporeans who shoot venomous barbs at Singapore must also be "betrayers"<

no. but yes, when one knows that an issue that concerns conspiracies other countries are working against his own, he is definitely a betrayer. People who are articulate cant pretend ignorance, although there are those whom they call ‘educated idiots’