Chinese students parroting communist party propaganda by protesting the Dalai Lama said a Chinese scholar from United States in response to the recent protests against the Tibetan spiritual leader being invited to the UCSD as their commencement speaker. The Chinese scholar said that it is good to see Chinese students exercising their rights to speech and thought which are not there in China but they should have some originality in these ideas.
Yang Jianli, a Chinese national with two PhDs from two Universities in United States is a survivor of the Tiananmen Square massacre and a former political prisoner in China. In his opinion piece in Times of San Diego, he writes that the Chinese students should welcome the Dalai Lama and not parrot the party line.
“As an ethnic Han Chinese myself, I am deeply troubled by the reaction of these Chinese students. Not because they are protesting, but because they are so decisively repeating the party line of the Chinese Communist government. Having studied in Americawhere, unlike China, there is freedom of expression and the free flow of information, these Chinese students don’t seem to have taken advantage of these freedoms to go beyond the rhetoric and propaganda taught to them in China and judge for themselves the Dalai Lama’s contribution to humanity.” writes the Chinese scholar.
Countering the Chinese students protesting reasons against the Dalai Lama, Yang give specific counter reasons against each other their accusations against the Tibetan spiritual leader. While the students are protesting that the Dalai Lama is a separatist seeking to split China, Yang writes “He has stood firm against violence and separatism, and has consistently shown a sincere desire to compromise and negotiate with the government in Beijing, even in the face of the Chinese government’s brutal treatment of Tibetans.The Dalia Lama abandoned the idea of Tibetan independence a long time ago and now promotes his Middle Way Approach, a policy that seeks genuine autonomy for Tibet under China’s current political system.”.
Explaining the Chinese propaganda of Tibetan society comprising of slaves, the Chinese scholar writes “China has demonized the Tibetan social structure that existed before the Chinese invasion as a “backward feudal society” or “evil serfdom.” Such characterizations aim to take a moral high ground to justify the regime’s illegal occupation of the country.” which most international scholars agree to.
He also explains that the Dalai Lama right from the onset of his enthronement in 1950s, he started to bring reforms in Tibetan society. Even when the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959 interrupted his reform effort, the Dalai Lama continued to reform the Tibetan society. He introduced the democratic system of governance in the Tibetan exile government and devolved all his political power to the elected leader.
Countering the UCSD’s Chinese students claims that the Dalai Lama is ill-suited to represent the University’s message of ‘service to humanity’, he said the Dalai Lama is globally admired as an outspoken advocate for peace and freedom. With the recognition as the Noble Peace Prize awarded to the Dalai Lama in 1989, he is well suited to represent the University’s message.
He writes that the Chinese students should not be so chained by the Chinese propaganda taught in China and take their act of freedom and liberty one step further to make their own judgements. “The Dalai Lama should be welcomed by all students, regardless of cultural and political background. He will provide a thought-provoking commencement speech, and challenge all to promote peace, pursue happiness, live with integrity, and remind us all that we are all interdependent and connected, including the Han and Tibetans.”