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Thread: "they have a lot in common and many more similarities than differences"

  1. #1
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    "they have a lot in common and many more similarities than differences"

    Caught in the Middle, Called a Traitor

    By Grace Wang
    Sunday, April 20, 2008; B01

    I study languages -- Italian, French and German. And this summer -- now that it looks as though I won't be able to go home to China -- I'll take up Arabic. My goal is to master 10 languages, in addition to Chinese and English, by the time I'm 30.

    I want to do this because I believe that language is the bridge to understanding. Take China and Tibet. If more Chinese learned the Tibetan language, and if Tibetans learned more about China, I'm convinced that our two peoples would understand one another better and we could overcome the current crisis between us peacefully. I feel that even more strongly after what happened here at Duke University a little more than a week ago.

    Trying to mediate between Chinese and pro-Tibetan campus protesters, I was caught in the middle and vilified and threatened by the Chinese. After the protest, the intimidation continued online, and I began receiving threatening phone calls. Then it got worse -- my parents in China were also threatened and forced to go into hiding. And I became persona non grata in my native country.

    It has been a frightening and unsettling experience. But I'm determined to speak out, even in the face of threats and abuse. If I stay silent, then the same thing will happen to someone else someday.

    So here's my story.

    When I first arrived at Duke last August, I was afraid I wouldn't like it. It's in the small town of Durham, N.C., and I'm from Qingdao, a city of 4.3 million. But I eventually adjusted, and now I really love it. It's a diverse environment, with people from all over the world. Over Christmas break, all the American students went home, but that's too expensive for students from China. Since the dorms and the dining halls were closed, I was housed off-campus with four Tibetan classmates for more than three weeks.

    I had never really met or talked to a Tibetan before, even though we're from the same country. Every day we cooked together, ate together, played chess and cards. And of course, we talked about our different experiences growing up on opposite sides of the People's Republic of China. It was eye-opening for me.

    I'd long been interested in Tibet and had a romantic vision of the Land of Snows, but I'd never been there. Now I learned that the Tibetans have a different way of seeing the world. My classmates were Buddhist and had a strong faith, which inspired me to reflect on my own views about the meaning of life. I had been a materialist, as all Chinese are taught to be, but now I could see that there's something more, that there's a spiritual side to life.

    We talked a lot in those three weeks, and of course we spoke in Chinese. The Tibetan language isn't the language of instruction in the better secondary schools there and is in danger of disappearing. Tibetans must be educated in Mandarin Chinese to succeed in our extremely capitalistic culture. This made me sad, and made me want to learn their language as they had learned mine.

    I was reminded of all this on the evening of April 9. As I left the cafeteria planning to head to the library to study, I saw people holding Tibetan and Chinese flags facing each other in the middle of the quad. I hadn't heard anything about a protest, so I was curious and went to have a look. I knew people in both groups, and I went back and forth between them, asking their views. It seemed silly to me that they were standing apart, not talking to each other. I know that this is often due to a language barrier, as many Chinese here are scientists and engineers and aren't confident of their English.

    I thought I'd try to get the two groups together and initiate some dialogue, try to get everybody thinking from a broader perspective. That's what Lao Tzu, Sun Tzu and Confucius remind us to do. And I'd learned from my dad early on that disagreement is nothing to be afraid of. Unfortunately, there's a strong Chinese view nowadays that critical thinking and dissidence create problems, so everyone should just keep quiet and maintain harmony.

    A lot has been made of the fact that I wrote the words "Free Tibet" on the back of the American organizer of the protest, who was someone I knew. But I did this at his request, and only after making him promise that he would talk to the Chinese group. I never dreamed how the Chinese would seize on this innocent action. The leaders of the two groups did at one point try to communicate, but the attempt wasn't very successful.

    The Chinese protesters thought that, being Chinese, I should be on their side. The participants on the Tibet side were mostly Americans, who really don't have a good understanding of how complex the situation is. Truthfully, both sides were being quite closed-minded and refusing to consider the other's perspective. I thought I could help try to turn a shouting match into an exchange of ideas. So I stood in the middle and urged both sides to come together in peace and mutual respect. I believe that they have a lot in common and many more similarities than differences.

    But the Chinese protesters -- who were much more numerous, maybe 100 or more -- got increasingly emotional and vocal and wouldn't let the other side speak. They pushed the small Tibetan group of just a dozen or so up against the Duke Chapel doors, yelling "Liars, liars, liars!" This upset me. It was so aggressive, and all Chinese know the moral injunction: Junzi dongkou, bu dongshou (The wise person uses his tongue, not his fists).

    I was scared. But I believed that I had to try to promote mutual understanding. I went back and forth between the two groups, mostly talking to the Chinese in our language. I kept urging everyone to calm down, but it only seemed to make them angrier. Some young men in the Chinese group -- those we call fen qing (angry youth) -- started yelling and cursing at me.

    What a lot of people don't know is that there were many on the Chinese side who supported me and were saying, "Let her talk." But they were drowned out by the loud minority who had really lost their cool.

    Some people on the Chinese side started to insult me for speaking English and told me to speak Chinese only. But the Americans didn't understand Chinese. It's strange to me that some Chinese seem to feel as though not speaking English is expressing a kind of national pride. But language is a tool, a way of thinking and communicating.

    At the height of the protest, a group of Chinese men surrounded me, pointed at me and, referring to the young woman who led the 1989 student democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, said, "Remember Chai Ling? All Chinese want to burn her in oil, and you look like her." They said that I had mental problems and that I would go to hell. They asked me where I was from and what school I had attended. I told them. I had nothing to hide. But then it started to feel as though an angry mob was about to attack me. Finally, I left the protest with a police escort.

    Back in my dorm room, I logged onto the Duke Chinese Students and Scholars Association (DCSSA) Web site and listserv to see what people were saying. Qian Fangzhou, an officer of DCSSA, was gloating, "We really showed them our colors!"

    I posted a letter in response, explaining that I don't support Tibetan independence, as some accused me of, but that I do support Tibetan freedom, as well as Chinese freedom. All people should be free and have their basic rights protected, just as the Chinese constitution says. I hoped that the letter would spark some substantive discussion. But people just criticized and ridiculed me more.

    The next morning, a storm was raging online. Photographs of me had been posted on the Internet with the words "Traitor to her country!" printed across my forehead. Then I saw something really alarming: Both my parents' citizen ID numbers had been posted. I was shocked, because this information could only have come from the Chinese police.

    I saw detailed directions to my parents' home in China, accompanied by calls for people to go there and teach "this shameless dog" a lesson. It was then that I realized how serious this had become. My phone rang with callers making threats against my life. It was ironic: What I had tried so hard to prevent was precisely what had come to pass. And I was the target.

    I talked to my mom the next morning, and she said that she and my dad were going into hiding because they were getting death threats, too. She told me that I shouldn't call them. Since then, short e-mail messages have been our only communication. The other day, I saw photos of our apartment online; a bucket of feces had been emptied on the doorstep. More recently I've heard that the windows have been smashed and obscene posters have been hung on the door. Also, I've been told that after convening an assembly to condemn me, my high school revoked my diploma and has reinforced patriotic education.

    I understand why people are so emotional and angry; the events in Tibet have been tragic. But this crucifying of me is unacceptable. I believe that individual Chinese know this. It's when they fire each other up and act like a mob that things get so dangerous.

    Now, Duke is providing me with police protection, and the attacks in Chinese cyberspace continue. But contrary to my detractors' expectations, I haven't shriveled up and slunk away. Instead, I've responded by publicizing this shameful incident, both to protect my parents and to get people to reflect on their behavior. I'm no longer afraid, and I'm determined to exercise my right to free speech.

    Because language is the bridge to understanding.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...802635_pf.html

  2. #2
    Language is the bridge to understanding?

    Nonsense.

    The problem is, the Chinese have a way of rewriting history to suit themselves.

    A few "shaolin monks" have been more than guilty of this behavior, as we have seen. China did to Tibet what they did because they could, and, get away with it. It's an important region to have for national security, to protect themselves from India. I understand why they did it, but using their typical "smoke and mirrors" (ie, bullshit) explanations, is, well, typical Chinese behavior.

    Quite frankly, I tire of dealing with them. Maybe that's one reason why I don't train in Shaolin all that much anymore.
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)
    russbo.com



  3. #3
    If kungfu is doctrine, then would thaat do as a language to get it from do you think?? and if kungfu is developed through emptiness,
    ..
    What about emptiness? that's where shakyamuni got his understanding bridge to awakening from. so the story goes, at any rate. at least that's one story that cant be made up.
    by knowing thaat language.. you really cant misunderstand.


    Blooming tianshi lotus.
    "honestly girls dont seem to want anything other then whatever they want "atm" then that can always change:"
    maestro's love genius.

    first we work to live, then we live to work, ..& then when someone else can do it good enough without us - we can all run off and die.
    Blooming tianshi lotus

    "find something & thatd turn me on.." drahillionaire, warren buffet.

    'if you keep going, eventually you get there' chuck norris

  4. #4
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    well, this article was brought to my attention simply because it's relevent to a translation project that I'm currently working on.

    regardless, what's important to note, I think, is that this young girl IS Chinese. she doesn't have the desire, nor the luxury, too break ties with them.

    Secondly, a lot can be observed through this article in regards to Chinese behavior.

  5. #5
    I think you both make a good point.

    Sometimes it can be difficult to identify where the actions of people are inaccordance with any particular extradenominational ideology, but generally I find that that's because the people viewing it are doing so thus, and arriving at plateau for tools to do that with, is part of what activation energy is and iis the science of how it works. that iis what avataric progression is about though, and continuing to find that can be difficult.

    Concurrently to that is also the factor of the means for tolerance in the meantime, and abilty and existance of that that is a constant in the scheme, eluding that maybe it 's something to work with regardless.

    The onus to act within one's own belief system though, still lays with each individual. that's greatly why I believe that tibet, with a core philosophy of peace will manage to apply to their own behaviour in regard to what's currently happened there annd just as shaolin has demonstrated particularly over the period of the cultural revolution and thereafter. Even north korea have begun to demonstrate acknowledgement of their own best interests in assimilation with the rest of the world, and while I empathise with tibet, regardless of the stimuli or aggitator or reactant or catalyst even, it is the dynamic of that existing as such that draws to it the other factors to bounce off off and nothing else was ever going to fulfill the requirement for the product due to appear.

    When the student is ready, the teacher appears, and when the teacher is ready, the student does.


    Are we sure that "they" are what we tire of and not just growth or ourselves because of our beliefs that make us okay with stuff period for the logic we doo have? I find it cute to 'present' to work so hard to resist change and assimilation when clearly that's not happening. Like I said, emptiness is the mutual language, and that is understanding and the only real bridge.

    Amitoufo.


    Blooming tianshi lotus.
    "honestly girls dont seem to want anything other then whatever they want "atm" then that can always change:"
    maestro's love genius.

    first we work to live, then we live to work, ..& then when someone else can do it good enough without us - we can all run off and die.
    Blooming tianshi lotus

    "find something & thatd turn me on.." drahillionaire, warren buffet.

    'if you keep going, eventually you get there' chuck norris

  6. #6
    Two things of note here:

    The article made a statement about Chinese being "materialistic". Excellent point. A lot can be derived just from that statement.

    And the other thing I've noticed, is that the mainland Chinese understanding of history is warped. And understandably so. They "know" what they have been told, through their newspapers and television. What they "know" and what the rest of the world knows, are two different things a lot of the times. Especially when it comes to Tibet....
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)
    russbo.com



  7. #7
    Funny you should mention that materialism.

    http://acc6.its.brooklyn.cuny.edu/%7.../chinhist.html

    [quote]
    THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
    On Oct. 1, 1949, Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The CCP hailed its takeover of China as a people's victory over and liberation from imperial domination (especially that of the United States) and the oppressive KMT regime. The Red Army was renamed the People's Liberation Army. During the early days of the People's Republic, the troops were restrained, foreign-educated Chinese returned to help the country, and most local administrators remained in office.
    The first Communist government, the People's Consultative Council, included non-Communists among its 662 members. However, in the top committee, 31 out of 56 seats were occupied by Communists, and the constitution of 1954 drastically curtailed the role of non-Communists. After 1954, more authority was concentrated in the central government under the State Council. Real power, however, lay with the Communist party, especially the Central Committee, then composed of 94 members. This committee held together the triad of power--army, government, and party. The inner circle of the Central Committee was the 19-member Political Bureau and its seven-member Standing Committee.
    Land reform. One of the first tasks of the Communist government was land reform, redistributing land from landlords to the peasants. The Agrarian Law of 1950 began the nationwide land reform, which was almost completed by the beginning of 1953.
    Social reform. Land reform erased the social distinction between landlord and peasant. The new marriage law of 1950 and the campaigns of the early 1950s removed distinctions within the family. Women were given full equality with men in matters of marriage, divorce, and property ownership. Children were encouraged to denounce parents if they failed to support the Communist line.
    Thought reform. Believing that the revolution could not be carried on without reform of people, the CCP launched a massive campaign to change China's entire psychology. The Four Olds campaign was launched to eradicate old ideas, habits, customs, and culture. The Three Anti's movement was directed at officials, with the aim of eliminating corruption, waste, and "bureaucratism." The Five Anti's campaign, directed at the remaining businessmen and bourgeoisie, opposed bribery, tax fraud, cheating, and stealing state property and economic information. For Chinese Christians, The Three Selfs movement stressed self-government, self-support, and self-propagation, the object being to separate the churches in China from their parent denominations abroad. Leading churchmen were forced into denouncing religion as cultural imperialism. The idea of cultural imperialism was extended to art and literature, which henceforth were to serve the people, the class struggle, and the revolution.
    Economic planning. Along with the reforms of land tenure, society, family, and even thought, the CCP announced the first five-year plan in 1953 to speed up the socialization of China through a planned economy. The plan's aim was to produce maximum returns from agriculture in order to pay for industrialization and Soviet aid. The means chosen was the collectivization of agriculture. Land and farm implements were pooled into cooperatives and later into collective farms, which controlled the production, price, and distribution of products. By May 1956, 90 percent of the farmers were members of cooperatives.
    Similarly, 80 percent of heavy industry and 40 percent of light industry were in government hands by October 1952. The government also controlled all the railways and most steamship operations. To speed China's development even more, Mao Zedong, Liu Shaoqi, and others, after overcoming some opposition within the leadership, launched the Great Leap Forward in 1958.
    The Great Leap Forward
    The Great Leap Forward was designed to overcome the backwardness of China's economy, industry, and technology. It was to be achieved through use of the vast manpower and indomitable spirit of the Chinese. Steel production was to be increased by setting up small-scale "backyard furnaces," and agricultural output was to be raised by combining the collective farms into communes. About 26,000 communes were created by the Communist government, each composed of approximately 5,000 households.
    After a year, the leaders admitted that the success of the program had been exaggerated. The steel produced by the backyard furnaces was of low quality, and the quantity fell short of the projected goal. The people's reluctance to join communes was stronger than expected, and the size of the communes had to be reduced. Domestic life in homes, as well as private plots for family use, had to be restored. The effect of the Great Leap Forward on the people and the economy was devastating. Coupled with three straight years of poor harvests, it resulted in a severe food shortage and industrial decline. For the next several years, while lip service was paid to Mao's thought and to Great Leap-type activism, the real power was in more conservative hands.
    The Cultural Revolution [end quote]

    How much do you think native history deprivation has to do with all this?

    Blooming tianshi lotus.
    "honestly girls dont seem to want anything other then whatever they want "atm" then that can always change:"
    maestro's love genius.

    first we work to live, then we live to work, ..& then when someone else can do it good enough without us - we can all run off and die.
    Blooming tianshi lotus

    "find something & thatd turn me on.." drahillionaire, warren buffet.

    'if you keep going, eventually you get there' chuck norris

  8. #8
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    I had never really met or talked to a Tibetan before, even though we're from the same country. Every day we cooked together, ate together, played chess and cards. And of course, we talked about our different experiences growing up on opposite sides of the People's Republic of China. It was eye-opening for me.
    and she now is speaking out...meaning she has the capacity to look at the situation from another's point of view, whether materialistic, or not.

  9. #9
    She lives in America.

    That changes people. Especially mainland Chinese.
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

    "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

    (more comments in my User Profile)
    russbo.com



  10. #10
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    does it make a difference?

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