One topic that jumped off the pages of the China Daily (the national English language newspaper of China) with a clang and a bang for me was the different perspective on the Dalai Lama, who is also on the front page of many Western newspapers, particularly in the wake of protests that accompany the Olympic Torch each step of its trek to Beijing for opening ceremonies. Oh, and that March 14 riot thing in Lhasa, Tibet, which included monks. Maybe. (Not “maybe” on the riot but on whether the monks were monks or soldiers dressed as monks.)
Here are just a few of the juxtapositions:
Western View: Tibet was a free country since a treaty that ended 200 years of fighting was ratified in 821 A.D., but was forcibly seized and annexed by China as part of Mao Zedong’s 1950 invasion with the People’s Liberation Army that was ratified under coercion in 1951. China View: Yes, Tibet and China separated in 821 A.D., but Tibet became an intrinsic part of China between the 13th and 15th Centuries in response to Mongolian invasions; China was granted formal sovereignty in 1751 to protect Tibet from the Nepalese Gurkha invasions.
Western View: The Independent Tibet movement rectifies historical injustices by returning sovereignty to the Tibetan people. China View: There is no historical validity to a Greater Tibet, administratively, religiously, and especially ethnically–at least 10 other groups have been living on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau for generations, including Han, Hi, Mongolian, Tu, Monba, and Lhoba.
Western View: China wants to suppress religious expression in Tibet. China View: China has shown more than 50 years of restraint and respect on Tibetan culture, particularly in regards to religion. In fact, all of China is prospering and experiencing new freedoms, including speech and religion, to a much greater degree than Tibet, with its theocratic leanings.
Western View: The Dalai Lama is a man of peace and goodwill. China View: The Dalai Lama is a political operator–and sometimes instigator–who was part of theocratic feudal regime that enslaved and impoverished the Tibetan population; nobles and senior monks owned and controlled 90% of the land.
Western View: On March 14, awakening echoes of Tienanmen Square, the Chinese government once again crushed a peaceful demonstration of people who seek freedom. China View: The Tibetan Government in Exile, with the fundraising savvy and organizational skills of the international “Dalai clique” orchestrated a violent riot that resulted in $35 million (U.S.) in damage.
I spoke with one U.S. businessman who has lived in Hong Kong for a number of years and he commented:
Maybe I’ve lived here too long and have been brainwashed, but I’m no longer convinced that the Chinese government is all wrong on this Tibet issue and, in fact, may do more for the everyday Tibetan people than the separatist movement. For example, the government in exile has no plans on accommodating a multi-ethnic population.
So has he been brainwashed? The obvious answer is, yes, of course he has–and it’s tied to the simple notion that the official Chinese media can’t be trusted to produce anything more than propaganda. I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about that danger in America because I have objective, reliable, and trustworthy news sources like The New York Times to protect me. Okay, cheap shot. But there is a strong resentment in China that they aren’t getting a fair trial in the international court of opinion. A Western expatriate made this statement:
The official Chinese media may be clumsy, but at least they are not as hypocritical as the Western media which always claims to be impartial, yet are actually biased on many issues related to China … and in their own countries!
Well, I’m no expert on Chinese politics, but this exercise has helped me come to one iron-clad conclusion: to fight media bias on the issues near and dear to my heart, I’m going to hire the PR firm the Dalai Lama uses, not the one the Chinese government has on retainer.
2000 Mallory Lane, Suite 130-229, Franklin, Tennessee 37067
Oh I will dance with Cinderella
I don’t want to miss even one song
’cause all too soon the clock
will strike midnight
and she’ll be gone
About a year ago we got a call from a local Nashville music agent. He wanted to tell us about a new song written by Steven Curtis Chapman called Cinderella and to discuss the idea of a gift book by that same name. We absolutely loved the song and the concept and last January released Cinderella: The Love of a Daddy and His Princess to coincide with the radio release of the song. What a great tribute to a father’s love.
I had the air knocked out of me on the way to work this morning when I received a call with the news that Steven’s youngest daughter, Maria, was killed in a tragic accident last night.
It’s been hard not to be tearful today – and I haven’t succeeded. First of all I’m a father and I can’t begin to imagine the heartache Steven and his family are experiencing right now. As a publisher, I know he poured his heart into the words of the song and the pages of the book. A major inspiration for the lyrics was Steven and his wife Mary Beth’s profound love for their children – and all children. They founded Shaohannah’s Hope, a foundation that assists families hoping to adopt with information and financial grants – and named after the first daughter they brought into their family from China. Maria, the youngest, was also adopted from China and her beautiful smiling face sparkles throughout the book.
The name of Steven’s latest album is This Moment … and at a moment like this, I wish I had words of wisdom. There simply are none. St. Paul said that the only things that endure are faith, hope, and love, and never is that more evident than in a moment like this. Our deepest prayers and love are with the Chapmans.