Brooklyn, US – If Tibet is part of People's Republic of China, as the Chinese government insists, then why are Tibetans treated so badly? said Rose Tang, a Chinese born-activist and dissident based in Brooklyn, US.
The following speech was made by Rose Tang during the commemoration of the Tibetan National Uprising Day in Chicago, US, on March 10th, 2015.
"March 10 is not only a special day for YOU, my Tibetan brothers and sisters, but also for the Chinese people and all humanity.
The Tibetans were the first in the world to rise up against the Chinese Communist Party since it took power in 1949. And the uprising was the world's first Occupy Movement. Heroic Tibetan men and women who surrounded Norblingka Palace and protested in Lhasa streets showed us a great example of revolting against a monstrous regime while being severely outnumbered. You were the pioneers and I look up to you!
When the Tibetan people were rebelling against the Chinese rule in 1959, the Chinese people were starving to death in Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward, including 12 of my relatives. And while Tibetan protesters were jailed and tortured after the Uprising Day, Chinese intellectuals were being jailed and persecuted in Mao's Anti-Rightist campaign.
Thirty years later, in March, 1989, again, fearless Tibetans were the first to face off with the Chinese government and were butchered. They sacrificed for freedom, democracy and independence. At that time, I was a college freshman in Beijing. A Chinese friend who returned from a visit in Lhasa told us he witnessed how the Armed Police brutally beat up the Tibetans. I wish more students of Tianananmen had known such stories, and had connected with the Tibetan protesters before the massacres in Lhasa and Beijing happened, along with the people who were demonstrating for democracy in more than one hundred Chinese cities in the spring of 1989.
Back then, our movements were separate. We could blame the lack of telecommunication, the lack of mutual knowledge and mutual understanding. Now in 2015, in this era of the Internet and smart phones, we have nothing to blame but ourselves, our own fear and loathing. The Chinese Communist Party has been trying very hard to divide us, inciting hatred among us. They spread lies all over China, making the world, including President Obama and Michelle Obama, say publicly Tibet is part of China. What a blatant lie! It infuriates me.
I was nearly killed in Tiananmen Square in the morning of June 4, 1989, for what? For democracy. Hundreds, if not thousands of Chinese were gunned down or crushed by tanks, for this one simple right: to vote for our own leaders.
When it was my first time to vote as an American citizen in the United States, I voted for Barack Obama. I was hoping he would bring some change, because he said: "Yes, we can!" But he didn't bring that much change, especially in polices towards China. He has let us down. I'm not here supporting the Republicans because I criticize Obama. I'm here supporting humanity, justice and our basic rights as Americans.
Here in the United States, supposedly the beacon of democracy, our government leaders have not really represented us. They aren't going to make huge change. They just want to make money with China. That's why they spread lies for China and with China, a Nazi-like regime. Chinese President Xi Jinping is the most ruthless ruler since Deng Xiaoping. Under Xi's leadership, the Chinese government wages a Red Terror, ruling its people with violence and propaganda, spreading pollution to the environment and humanity. This is very wrong. This is a very dangerous trend.
It's up to us to say no to these government leaders. We're here also as Americans, we need to tell them this is not on. And now, Hong Kong people have been on the forefront of fighting against China's brutal regime. There's no such thing as "One Country Two Systems". Beijing threw it in the waste bin a long time ago, just like how they treated the 17-Point Agreement more than half a century ago.
Prominent Chinese investigative journalist Su Xiaokang wrote in a recent article that the Chinese Communist Party has been nibbling away Hong Kong, by adopting their policies in Tibet and Xinjiang (East Turkestan) where they succeed. What Beijing has been doing is an expansion of dictatorship, by using bloody violence. I totally agree. This is frightening. It's been an expansion of an evil super power. We see luxury brands and high value properties around the world being grabbed by corrupt Chinese officials, their mistresses, cronies and family members. Their princelings are in many Ivy League universities. They're here polluting our hearts and minds, our whole system, and encroaching on our democracy.
President Obama isn't willing to stand up against President Xi, but we don't have to behave like Obama or other government leaders who are adopting appeasement towards China. In my open letter to the Tibetans, my speeches and talks, I've been calling for all of us, the victims of the Chinese Communist regime, to unite and rise up together. We must not be silent victims. We can be fighters. I'm not alone. Now Su, another Chinese, is urging the Tibetans, Chinese, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, Taiwanese and Mongols to form an alliance of resistance.
When we individuals are united, forming our own "United Front Work Department", we can do something, we can be very powerful, and we can bring change. It's not up to the big banks, businessmen or politicians to tell us what to do.
In today's America, love is no longer in the air, fear is in the air. Everybody is so scared of China, refusing to open their eyes to see it's a paper dragon, a paper tiger, an emperor without any clothes on. Even the Americans are afraid of this so-called China super power. They censor themselves to make sure they can get a visa to go to China for vacation or business. China has been cheating and tricking the world to believe it's a super power, it's holding the whole world at its hostage.
Unlike what the Chinese government has coerced the world to believe, Tibet was never part of China. Tibet belongs to the Tibetans, and China belongs to the Chinese people. The People's Republic of China belongs to the people. Hong Kong belongs to Hong Kongers, and Taiwan is an independent nation. Uyghurs deserve their independence, and Southern Mongolians deserve independence.
On March 4, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang mentioned in his speech at the annual meeting of the National People's Congress that China would oppose any Taiwanese independence movements. Why did he say this? He should know, Taiwan has been an independent country since 1949. Is he afraid of Taiwan's independence, or perhaps he's afraid Taiwan acting as a role model for the people in the so-called People's Republic of China?
A survey conducted by Hong Kong University in March shows one third of Hong Kong people support Taiwan's independence. It's the highest number since 1994 when 36 percent of Hong Kongers said yes. During the last few months, more and more Hong Kongers have been debating and publishing thoughts, theories and practical methods of working towards Hong Kong's independence.
This is a new trend sparked by the Umbrella Revolution. Many protesters, especially the students, are questioning if Beijing would ever grant them any genuine universal suffrage. Police beatings, tear gas and pepper spray woke up many people and forced them to think of more alternatives which they didn't dare to think or dream a few years ago. What's been happening in Hong Kong already had a direct impact on Taiwan: the pro-Beijing-KMT (the Nationalist Party) lost local elections in a landslide last November. When I visited Taipei in mid-December, locals told me the opposition Democratic Progress Party won many seats largely due to its slogan: "Taiwan could become Hong Kong if you vote for KMT."
Today's Hong Kong is quickly deteriorating into another Tibet. When I unfurled a Tibetan national flag at Hong Kong's Umbrella Square in Admiralty last December, locals recognized the flag immediately and said: "We don't want to be Tibet!"
The cruel reality has been forcing more and more people to abandon the idea of negotiating with the CCP or waiting for it to conduct internal political reforms. We students of Tiananmen Square learned a hard lesson almost 26 years ago. We went on hunger strike, we marched and rallied for almost two months. We were slaughtered instead, for asking for what? A dialogue with the government. There was never meant to be any dialogue.
Hong Kong students went on hunger strike, camped in the streets for more than two months and were savagely beaten up by the police. They're mostly teenagers, high school students. Many are even younger than us, the students of Tiananmen. Until they were driven out of the protest sites by large police forces, they had been hopeful Beijing would keep its promise to grant them genuine universal suffrage. But the student leaders weren't even allowed to board a flight to Beijing when they planned to talk to the officials up north.
When Hong Kong police were driving us out of the Umbrella Square, a number of protesters told me: "They can clear our protest sites, but they can never diminish our spirit." The Umbrella Revolution is far from over, the largest protests sites were cleared out by the police by last December, but protesters or people inspired by them have since formed civil groups to carry on the revolution. These people are the most advanced thinking professionals including top lawyers, bankers and journalists. And dozens of people have been occupying sidewalks outside the government headquarters and the legislative council building to this day.
They've been staying in tents and are planning to be there for a long time. The oldest protester is a 91-year man nicknamed Uncle Wong. He spent the Chinese New Year in his tent. Uncle Wong escaped China after the Communist troops took over and he knows the price of freedom. They need our support badly, please send them messages by Facebook or other social media outlets. It's very easy to gain a visa at the Hong Kong airport if you happen to pass through the city. Please go say hello. They'd be so thrilled to see you. A Hong Kong professor and radio host who leads a civil group recently posted on my Facebook openly: "Rose, when are you coming back?" I replied: "Later this year." He wrote: "When you're back, let's do something about Tibet!"
Look at the Basic Law of Hong Kong and the Sino-British Joint Declaration. They only exist on paper, so does the Chinese Constitution. Article 33 of the Constitution says: "All citizens of the People's Republic of China are equal before the law. The State respects and preserves human rights." Article 34 says: "All citizens of PRC who have reached the age of 18 have the right to vote and stand for election..." Article 35 says: "Citizens of PRC enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration." Article 36 says: "Citizens of PRC enjoy freedom of religious belief."
If Tibet is part of PRC, as the Chinese government insists, then why are Tibetans treated so badly? Why is it so difficult for Tibetans to obtain a visa to go to China and a permit to enter Tibet? Why would Tibetans even need a visa? We can go through all the articles of the Constitution and see how many have been ignored and violated by the Chinese government.
Back in 1989, some protesters, including myself, were calling for a rewrite of the Constitution. Little did we realize, our rights and freedoms had already been in print but have been ignored by the Chinese Communist Party in practice. So why are we here asking for a dialogue with Beijing, to work within the framework of the Chinese Constitution that the Chinese government itself doesn't even follow?
The Chinese government has been cracking down on dissent harder than ever. "Under President Xi, China is rapidly retreating from rights reforms and the Party's promise to 'govern the country according to law,"' Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch said, adding "Repression of critics is the worst in a decade, and there appears to be no end in sight."
Two days before the March 8 International Women's Day, Chinese police arrested ten women's rights activists who were planning to launch an educational campaign to prevent sexual harassment on public transport in a number of cities. The police accuse these young women of "Picking Quarrels and Causing Trouble". It's Cultural Revolution all over again.
The world needs to wake up and realize this is a Nazi regime. Xi Jinping is worse than Hitler. It's time to abandon wishful thinking and false hopes. Instead of asking for a dialogue, we should demand our countries back. We should form our own resistance forces and fight with them, with peaceful means, not with violence. This is a great historical moment for us, because the Chinese Communist Party has seen all of us as enemies, either the "overseas enemy forces" or domestic "criminals" who "pick quarrels and cause trouble" (a criminal offense). They are forcing us to unite!
A few hours ago, I put out a message on Twitter asking the Chinese what they would like me to say in this speech. A college student replied: Don't forget to say different Chinese provinces and regions want our own independence.
One Chinese man inside China openly Tweeted back: "Do not forget history. Please tell our Tibetan friends we know they've been fighting for freedom. Today's Chinese people aren't that easy to be fooled. We're gradually waking up. This is where the future of China holds. When all the people take action together, that's the end of the Communist Party. China at this moment today is in the darkness before the crack of dawn. We're anxiously waiting for the ray of morning sun. Let's join our hands and work together!"
We should demand our independence and basic human rights back, instead of asking them nicely. It's not a nice battle here. It's going to be nasty and messy, because it has been nasty and messy. Tens of millions of Tibetans, Chinese, Uyghurs and Mongols have died under this tyranny. We have to hang on to our battle and keep on fighting, Bhod Gyalo!"
Rose Tang is a Chinese-born writer, artist and activist based in Brooklyn. She works on China's human rights and the Tibetan cause and has been a frequent speaker in mainstream media and at events. Tang's activism stems from her survival from the Tiananmen Massacre as a student protester.
The views expressed are those of the author (s), and do not necessarily represent the editorial views of The Tibet Post International (TPI).