Sunday, April 6, 2008

"How To Find The Truth About Lhasa?"

In these two articles, a Chinese journalist and a blogger speak out against the nationalism fervor and media blockage in China. This voice is like the sound of footsteps in a deserted valley. Their courage is especially admirable not only because their view dissents from the government's, but because it is against the rising sentimental tide of the Chinese masses. For the former the authors might have a chance for the Nobel Peace Prize, for the latter the only reward they get is drowning in a sea of people's angry saliva. The journalist, for example, was condemned as a "traitor," not by the government but by readers of his article.

Sometimes what is important is not the exact view of a dissenting voice, rather it is the fact that you can hear such a voice.

I don't mind repeating what I said in another post: Propaganda works by providing one and only one view to the audience. In China it is achieved through government censorship. In the United States it is propagated by people who pick a side first then choose to eschew any other point of view.

If you are hearing one and only one voice without any dissenting view, in the media or in your community, it is time to question if you are receiving propaganda. Sadly, oftentimes it is much easier and more comfortable to accept than fight it.


Maryanne Stahl said...

OK, so what IS the truth? Do you think it is possible to get at it?

I tend to believe what(I read ) the Dalai Lama says. What am I missing?

Xujun Eberlein said...

The truth is we don't know the complete truth yet. :-)

The Dalai Lama is both a Buddhist and a politician. I believe his spirit as a Buddhist, while I don't believe every word he says as a politician.

Apparently the protesters in London, Paris, and the US don't believe the Dalai Lama either. The Dalai Lama does not seek Tibet independence. What he wants is autonomy, which I wholeheartedly support.

Maryanne Stahl said...

yes, I also support autonomy--and don't understand why it's so difficult to achieve/grant.

as for the protestors, the problem (as I see it, with my limited vision) is how to influence China. how does anyone persuade the lion that is China to consider any change? (I ask this seriously. What is it in for them? Why should they listen--when they haven't for 50 years?) That's why the seizing of the Olympic opportunity.

something I have never understood: Buddhism and violence. how can they coexist? the dalai lama argues against violence, and yet Buddhist monks have fought, when necessary, for centuries. seems almost a koan! when can the non-violent be violent?

Maryanne Stahl said...

>>In the United States it is propagated by people who pick a side first then choose to eschew any other point of view.

this is especially true of American politics, don't you find?

then again, there are some practical reasons for it. I know I will be philosophically opposed to the Nazi party, for example, so why should I consider their side?

Xujun Eberlein said...

Maryanne, I think what you said are very sensible. But as far as listening to points of view, it is important to distinguish between philosophy and fact. If someone, even a Nazi, claims that certain things happened, that does not mean they didn't, simply that the information is more suspect than if someone else had said it. To sift out the truth when only unreliable information sources are available, it is important not to listen to only one.

About the protesting: I'm not against protesting at all as long as it is peaceful and nobody breaks the law. In fact, peaceful demonstrations can show the Chinese government that democracy isn't that scary. However this wasn't the case in either London or Paris. Those radical actions are not going to get anyone anywhere.