Divergences, Revue libertaire internationale en ligne
Slogan du site
Descriptif du site
Jing Zhao
An observation on the recent Olympic events

origine : H-Net Network on Peace History and Peace Studies

Dear friends of peace, freedom, and justice:

I received some inquiries and comments from friends about Olympic,
Tibet, and China, especially after the April 9th, 2008 Olympic torch
rally in San Francisco. Without much knowledge about Tibet, it seems it
is better to write a letter to express my limited observation.

I did not pay much attention to the Olympic news, partly because of my
detestation of its overwhelming commercial advertisements. When I worked
in Japan for Dentsu group, the world largest advertisement firm, I
worked for several sports event/facility plans, and learned how these
sports projects were operated (manipulated). There are so many other
priorities in the world. As a stateless refugee myself for more than
one decade, I have abandoned the illusion that any state power in our
current political order will "grant" me passport or visa to enter
Beijing (my birthplace, though).

Four years ago in 2004, I decided to give the American constitution a
chance, so I applied for a U.S. passport (as Karl Marx did to the
British Empire). During the interview test with the CIS (Citizenship
and Immigration Service of the Homeland Security Department) official, I
made one "mistake": I answered that the American constitution protects
American citizens ONLY. The official politely corrected me and ensured
that the constitution protects all people (regardless their "legal"
status) on the land of America. At the end, he told me that he cannot
approve my application because the FBI was conducting a background check
of me. "It will take just a couple of weeks," he
said: "Your file is always on my desk. So when I receive FBI’s
clarification, I will call you directly." However, after four years,
the FBI still refuses to answer my inquiries about the background check
situation. My experience with Chinese and Japanese regimes tells me
that the FBI cannot, and dares not reject my application, but it also
will not "grant" "citizenship" to me. If Jesus, Socrates, Spinoza, and
Marx live today, which state power will "grant" them "citizenship?" Is
America’s constitution superior compared to China and Japan’s
constitutions to protect human rights? At least, we know that the
United State of America’s No. 1 founding father Thomas Pain and the most
famous anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman were not allowed to
enter the U.S. territory. The Wall Street Journal reported that when
some Muslim permanent residence holders tried to enter the U.S., they
were stopped by Homeland Security Department officials. They were not
allowed to enter unless they sign to become agents to spy in their own
Muslim communities.

It is thus quite beyond my expectation when Dr. Gilbert Guo called
several friends in the San Francisco Bay Area to prepare to participate
the April 9th event in San Francisco. About seven-eight people met on
April 3rd afternoon at my Dublin office. I have received quite a few
messages from several Chinese group lists (such as local Tsinghua and
Nankai alumni, Chinese engineers associations), from which we knew the
Chinese government was mobilizing the whole local Chinese communities to
anticipate this highly politicalized event. We decided to bring some
human rights signs (such as "Release Dr. Wang Bingzhang", "Release Hu
Jia", and "For Justice") there.

I rode a boat by an American friend Michael (who is Fengsuo Zhou’s
co-worker) to the port of San Francisco crossing the bay from the
eastern Berkley side. When we arrived near the torch rally’s start
location, I could see huge flows of five-star red Chinese flags with
noises. There were Tibet flags too. Police boats prevented us from
going closer. I counted six helicopters flying over us. There were
other three or four well-prepared boats for Tibet, and one for China
with the red flag. Our boat with five crew members had only a small
"human rights" sign in Chinese. We waited around the pier near the
ending-ceremony plaza for about two hours. Since the helicopters never
came over, we knew the route had been changed. From the cantankerous
noises and police sirens, we were concerned of the situation on land.
For us, it was a peaceful day. It was actually the first time I rode a
boat crossing the San Francisco Bay. What a beautiful scene in the

It turned out that we were fortunate on boat. My friends on land were
attacked by Chinese government supporters when they displayed their
"human rights" and "justice" signs. The organizer Gilbert Guo was hit on
his back head bleeding. The police came but could not protect them. It
is not difficult to image what happens in China when dissident people
speak out. This reminds me of my case in Japan. A Chinese agent hired
by a Japanese national university beat me heavily at a Sino-Japanese
Friendship conference. I reported to the powerful Tokyo police with the
hospital record and they took field photos with me. Later, however, the
Tokyo police searched but could find my case from their files record. I
realized that my case was brought to Japan’s Public Security Committee
(the secret police, evolved from the war-time special advanced policy
section), and I was warned not to pursue this case, because the secret
police could turn this case against me ("fighting each other") to expel
me from Japan.

With these life experience with state powers, I paid little attention to
media reports about Olympic, Tibet, and China. We will eventually know
the truth and facts behind the recent events. However, I did feel the
need to learn more about how Tibetan people thought about China. I have
a book of Tibet from a Chinese poet (who once visited Tibet), but I did
not read it. Now I realized how important for me (and other Chinese
without much knowledge of Tibet) to learn some basic facts from such
books. The book "A Tibetan Revolutionary: The Political Life and Times
of Bapa Phuntso Wangye" was written by M. C. Goldstein, D. Sherap, and
W. R. Siebenschuh, published in Berkeley by University of California
Press in 2004. Wangye was founder of Tibetan Communist Party
(independent from the Chinese Communist Party), led the Chinese People’s
Liberation Army entering Lhasa, was the translator for the Dalai Lama in
Beijing, and the highest rank Tibetan officer in the PRC government
until his arrest. Eventually he spent eighteen years in Beijing’s jail.

As a Tibetan, he also wanted a united Tibetan republic (including wide
areas in Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai and Yunnan provinces), with the Dalai
Lama as the head, within a federal system of China. He regarded the
1959 Tibetan uprising a tragedy mainly caused by the PRC mistakes. For
example, he pointed out that many Tibetan upper class families suffered
from the rush reform and fled from their estates without preparedness.
The Dalai Lama even left his diary in the Potala Palace when he rushed
to flee to India. His views are quite in line with the Dalai Lama’s
appeals, which are closer to Leninism than Beijing’s
Minority-Nationalism policy. The book starts with a traditional Tibetan
saying: "Tibetans are ruined by hope; Chinese are ruined by suspicion."

Ma Shaofang, a Chinese Muslim student leader in the 1989 Tiananmen
democratic movement, told me after one month stay in Lhasa: "The Hans
and Tibetans are never reconciled after the death of the Dalai Lama."
The more grievous reality, however, is that most Han people do not want
to face this situation. Criticizing the Western media’s bias is mostly
correct, but the root of the problem is in Beijing. Rather than the
manipulated fear and hatred of "Tibetan Independence", we Chinese people
should abandon such concepts as "national interest", "territorial
sovereignty," as European peoples are making the EU based on human
rights principle. The surge of the Tibetan problem shows again that
China’s democratization (in which Western state powers have less and
less influence) has more and more international significance.

The great Chinese democratic movement educated me to adopt Anarchism as
my belief to fight against dictatorship, racism and imperialism of
Beijing, Tokyo and Washington powers. They are actually one ugly
trinity to be abolished all together.

With best wishes to the Chinese and Tibetan people,

April 19, 2008
Jing Zhao