Xinhua: Many Countries Back China

From Xinhua, China’s government-approved news agency:

China garners broad international support over Tibet riots

And which countries are offering the “broad international support”? Xinhua’s choice of first place is rather weird:

A spokesman of the Foreign Ministry of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday strongly denounced the unsavory elements of their moves to seek “the independence of Tibet” and scuttle the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

I usually avoid blog-jargon, but I’ll allow myself a “LOL!” One wonders if someone working for Xinhua is deliberately subverting Chinese propaganda efforts – although the recent sight of Tibetan protestors being physically coerced into signing confessions on TV suggests that the Chinese leadership really doesn’t have much of a clue when it comes to “hearts and minds”.

Most of the other countries listed are either China’s regional neighbours or African nations now dependent on Chinese investments:

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Zainab Hawa Bangura said on Tuesday that her country sees clearly the intention of the Dalai Lama clique to instigate violence in Tibet to promote separatism of the region, and to disturb the Beijing Olympics.

Funny how Sierra Leone is using exactly the same phraseology as Beijing; is this a paraphrase, or did Bangura (known as a human rights activist) simply sign off on a statement prepared by the Chinese embassy? Ditto Benin:

A Benin government spokesperson strongly condemned the violence which was planned and instigated by Dalai Lama, saying that Dalai Lama uses these despicable methods to separate China and destroy the Olympic Games to be hosted by Beijing in August.

Also backing China is Fiji, Serbia (obviously seeing the parallels with Kosovo) and Syria.

A second report adds:

…The International Daily News of Indonesia appealed for a vigilant watch on attempts of such separatist forces as “Tibet independence” to sabotage the Beijing Olympic Games.

The newspaper said in a commentary that, like in Indonesia, separatist and terrorist forces are also the major enemies of the Chinese government and people at present.

The criminal acts of beatings, vandalism, looting and burning, plotted by the “Dalai Clique”, were aimed at attaining the “dirty” political purpose of the clique, and should be resolutely condemned, commented the Chinese-language World News newspaper of the Philippines.

This report also mentions a “Zambia Council for Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China”; this is actually the “Zambia Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification of China”; it was formed a couple of years ago and is run by a Taiwanese businessman living in Zambia named Roger Lee. Such councils exist in more than thirty African countries, and in Zambia the organisation has been praised by information minister Mike Mulongoti.

Meanwhile, the Australia Broadcasting Corporation’s Religion Report (ABC has the best radio coverage of religion available anywhere, by the way) has an interview with John Powers, an Asian Studies scholar at Australian National University. Powers explains that the “Dalai Lama clique” rhetoric is completely off-base:

…There are many, many factions within the Tibetan community. There’s a younger generation that’s highly radicalised and many of them are very upset with the Dalai Lama’s middle-way approach. And the monasteries have always followed their own way. Since very early times in Tibet the monasteries have often been at odds with the Dalai Lama, and that’s the case today, the monasteries see their own interest as being somewhat different from his. And he’s trying to push for this middle-way approach for conciliation and for negotiation with China. A lot of the younger generation is just fed up. It’s been over 50 years of this sort of approach and the Chinese are not even talking to the Tibetans now. And they also look at other liberation movements; they look at the Palestinians and the amount of concessions that are being made as a result of violence in the Gaza Strip and so forth, and they say, ‘We ought to be doing that, too.’

[The Dalai Lama] has been saying for years now that he wants to retire as a public figure and be a truly religious figure. He really I think is very tired of the political struggle, because it hasn’t gone very well. He’s tried to follow Buddhist principles in negotiating with China. The Chinese aren’t Buddhists, and they don’t respect these principles, so it really hasn’t had any resonance on the other side.

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