March 21, 2008

The Ogre

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kim @ 2:11 pm

Back last October when the Dalai Lama was awarded the US Congressional Gold Medal, I remember reading a particularly cretinous comment by Tibet’s hardline Communist Party boss, Zhang Qingli.

“We are furious,” Tibet’s Communist Party boss, Zhang Qingli, told reporters in China. “If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justice or good people in the world.”

Hmmm…sometimes a bit of hyperbole can add spice and I guess sometimes overblown rhetoric is what your audience wants, and politicians know it of course. But the comment above just seemed to me almost unbelievably stupid on several levels.

Surely he doesn’t need to whip up his Chinese audience into a frenzy about the Dalai? He could dismiss him much more calmly and that would do the job for his “constituency”. Because news about Tibet and about the Dalai is of course of great international interest, and so doesn’t Mr Zhang know that his remarks will be translated and whisked around the world? Didn’t he realize that the foreign audience reading that quote would think he’s a total muppet?

Further, despite what Mr Zhang may wish, the Dalai Lama is still very much revered by the majority of Tibetans and so you can add them to the list of those offended or baffled by his boorish posturing.

Tibet is a very sensitive topic and the CCP does itself no favours if one of its main spokesmen makes ignorant insensitive comments. My guess is that almost any non-Chinese who read the above remark would think that Zhongnanhai has sent their most annoying moron to the top of a mountain to get him out of their hair. But of course Mr Zhang is still supposed to be representing the CCP and so you’d think that some of the party elders would have had a quiet word in his ear and told him to wise up and tone it down a bit, lest he tarnish the image of the party with his embarrassing crassness.

Well, apparently not. The big oaf is back at it again and this is the latest drivel to gush from his ignorant gob:

“The Dalai is a wolf in monk’s robes, a devil with a human face but the heart of a beast,” said Zhang Qingli

Did this guy ever get an education I wonder? How on earth did he get his position…who’s his Dad? Someone really needs to tell him it’s like so not cool anymore to sound like you just stepped out of a pamphlet from the Cultural Revolution.

Why “Ogre” though? Well, because Mr Zhang’s rhetoric reminds me of the ogre in WH Auden’s poem, August 1968. This was written soon after the Soviet Union sent tanks into Prague to ruin their “Spring”. Some of the USSR’s attempts to justify their actions prompted Auden to pen the following:

August 1968
W. H. Auden

The Ogre does what ogres can,
Deeds quite impossible for Man,
But one prize is beyond his reach,
The Ogre cannot master Speech:
About a subjugated plain,
Among its desperate and slain,
The Ogre stalks with hands on hips,
While drivel gushes from his lips.

That said…I do not think independence for Tibet is feasible and I think that Western demands for a “Free Tibet” are misguided and usually counterproductive. Also, I am not Buddhist and I do not think the sun shines out of the Dalai’s behind…but he does seem to me to be civilised, rational, peace-loving, and worthy of respect. He has unambiguously and repeatedly opposed violence and he has made it very clear that he does not seek or expect Tibetan independence. He says that he wants “meaningful autonomy”, and what he means by this I am not sure, but I bet he’d be up for a reasonable compromise.

So maybe the CCP should sack the unpolished and absurd Zhang and start talking to the Dalai Lama. That would be much more valuable and impressive than another few thousand spiffy new skyscrapers or miles of railway.


  1. Why is it that such a concrete argument as that is not likely to see the light of day? That’s the part I just don’t understand about politics in general and Chinese politics in particular – it’s all so personal.

    I’m not saying our leaders should be machines that don’t have human emotions and failings, but seriously… holding a grudge against someone that could help to bring lasting and meaningful peace to a situation that has long, long, LONG been hugely volatile just doesn’t make sense…

    (also, just checking that comments are working – things are all moved over)

    Comment by Ryan — March 30, 2008 @ 4:51 am

  2. The Dali Lama is a thug. Plain and simple. He’s on the black list here in Bloomington, IN of all places, for tax evasion and a long list of petty financial crimes like illegal land purchases and fraud. His nephews beat up IU freshman- it’s ridiculous. Having had personal experiences with his family, i am much the wiser. Conspiracy theory, nah, just too typical.

    Comment by Craig — April 3, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

  3. here is good read, an essay by Melvyn C. Goldstein, Tibet, China and the United States: Reflections on the Tibet Question. (

    Even though I disagree with some of his views on history but it is fairly balanced, it detailed the on-going negotiations between the government and the Tibetan exiles. And here is an extract:

    “the exile government was deeply committed to the recreation of a “Greater” Tibet, that is to say a Tibet that included traditional political Tibet and ethnographic Tibet. This had been a goal of previous Tibetan governments (e.g., at the Simla talks in 1913-1914) and was deeply felt, but it was especially important in exile because of the presence of large numbers of Tibetan refugees from those ethnic areas. The Dalai Lama had worked hard since 1959 to meld the disparate refugees into a unified community by including these Tibetans in the exile government as equals, and by setting as a fundamental political objective the inclusion of their areas in a future “free” Tibet. However, the goal of a Greater Tibet was not politically realistic. Tibet had not ruled most of these areas for a century or more, and it is difficult to see how China could have handed over large areas in Sichuan, Qinghai, Gansu and Yunnan, many of which included Chinese and Chinese Muslim populations that had migrated there well before the communists came to power in 1949.”

    Here u go …

    Comment by stoogie — April 4, 2008 @ 4:28 am

  4. […] occurs to me that I should. Today, that message was delivered in the form of a poetic analogy on another blog that links, by way of poet WH Auden, the recent events in Tibet with the Soviet invasion following […]

    Pingback by Liberation Poetry « — April 4, 2008 @ 12:05 pm

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