An Open Letter to My Tibetan Brothers and Sisters
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Dear Neighbors:
The Tibetans, the Chinese, the Uighurs, the Mongolians, the Buddhists, the Christians, the Muslims, the Falungong people, the Atheists — we’re all up against the same brutal regime, run by corrupt officials of the Chinese Communist Party and their cronies. It’s very important for all of us to work together and consolidate our efforts. United we stand, divided we fall. Rangzen or the Middle Way, the Tibetan people will need to work with or deal with the Chinese people eventually, one way or another. Most Chinese don’t know the difference between the Middle Way or Rangzen. And for those who know a bit about the Tibetan struggles, they have the impression that Rangzen is about driving away the Chinese and even harm the Chinese who live in Tibet.
I only got to know about the division between the Middle Way and Rangzen a couple of months ago and I’m still trying to get my head around it. But some Chinese, and more and more, are supporting the Tibet cause, and some of us are supporting Tibet reclaiming its independence — the voice now is small because most Chinese don’t know much about what happened in Tibet. It’s an encouraging trend that more and more Chinese are coming out publicly to speak up on Tibet, or at least share information on Tibet on Twitter and Facebook, such is myself. I Tweet and post on Facebook about Tibet everyday. My posts and Tweets on Tibet are always shared immediately by the Chinese, so I see the eagerness there. Yesterday, I shared a video of the killings and beatings of innocent Tibetans in Lhasa in 1988 and 1989 on Twitter and wrote in Chinese language reminding my Chinese audience that the 1989 massacre started in March in Lhasa, months before the onslaught in Beijing. My Tweet was retweeted several times by my Chinese friends (some are inside China) within minutes.
Zhou Shuguang, a 33-year-old Chinese blogger from Hunan province who now lives in Taiwan, posted on Twitter (@Zuola) to his some 55,400 followers a few days ago a photo of him holding a banner that says “Let Tibet be independent; Let Tibet be as free as it used to be”. He wrote these words to accompany the photo: “The other side of the banner I showed just now that says ‘Taiwan Independence’ is ‘Tibet Independence’. Even the Dalai Lama knows, if the demands from the Central Tibetan Administration to have autonomy within the framework of the Chinese Constitution won’t be met soon, there will be fewer and fewer Tibetan elders against Tibet independence, and there will be more and more people pursuing Tibet’s independence.” I wrote to him asking why he posted the photo, he replied:”I myself don’t mind if Tibetans (pursue) independence, all can be negotiated slowly on the basis of respecting Tibetan people’s human rights. There won’t ever be any peaceful days if there’re arbitrary killings.” (“我个人对藏人独立无所谓，尊重藏人人权基础上一切可以慢慢谈判，胡乱杀人就永无宁日.”
Teng Biao, a prominent Chinese human rights lawyer, tweeted (@tengbiao) yesterday congratulating the establishment of the International Tibetan Chinese Pen center in Taipei, he wrote to his some 70,500 Tweeter followers:”Freedoms are connected, literature is connected. The hearts and spirits of Tibetan and Han writers are connected. The hearts and spirits of Tibetan and Han people who pursue freedom are connected.” (“自由是相通的，文学是相通的，藏汉写作者的心灵是相通的，藏人汉人追求自由的心灵也是相通的.”)
— 滕彪 (@tengbiao) 2014年4月27日
Yes, our hearts and spirits are connected and our dreams are the same. Never give up your struggles, my Tibetan brothers and sisters. I almost did, among my 25 years of confusion and depression after surviving Tiananmen Massacre. I worked my guts out for 12 years as a journalist and left my career in dismay a few years ago, thinking I could not even save myself. I lost hope because I saw many Chinese were too busy making money and didn’t want to know about the massacre or other atrocities in China. I thought they didn’t care about their freedoms or rights and didn’t want to demand any. I won’t feel that way now because I see passion and compassion from Tibetan people, Tibet supporters around the world and many Chinese, especially those inside China — many are very young and intelligent. Freedoms and human rights should be granted to us when we were born, now more and more people are fighting to reclaim these rights without much hesitation. We need to work together to destroy the walls that the Chinese Communist Party erected among us and around us. There’s a Chinese saying that I quote often on Twitter calling for unity:”A wall collapses if we all push together.” They use violence, and incite violence and hatred to divide us. They know this basic political trick so well: “Divide and rule.” They rule with terror and fear. They make Tibet, East Turkestan, Southern Mongolia and China a living hell and the world’s biggest prison. But we can beat them, in our lifetime, too, because we’re on the right side of history. The Communist Party is rotten to the core and it’s on its way of self destruction. Lies and violence are their weapons but truth and compassion are our weapons. We are not them, we should fight in a totally different way. There’s no point to wait for the murderers to negotiate with us. We should stop hoping they will suddenly have a redemption and grant us freedom. Freedom has a price and we need to fight to get it. But we need to stay away from violence. Say yes to revolution, say no to violence. The Tibetan people can guide and help the Chinese brothers and sisters from many aspects and on many levels, and I hope more and more Chinese people will support the Tibet cause. My biggest inspiration and guidance are from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, since I briefly met him in his teachings in Sydney in the early 1990’s. I apologized to him for what China had done to Tibet. I was a young university student, fresh from China. I also felt ashamed of what the Chinese government did to its people. So I started reading books by His Holiness and listening to his words since then. I was so astounded that I could not find a single word of hatred in his writings or teachings towards the Chinese, not even to Mao Zedong. It was when I started to learn about compassion, and the true story of Tibet. My Tibetan brothers and sisters, if you may, please work with the Chinese people: educate us with the truth of Tibet, teach us about spirituality and compassion. Get support from as many Chinese as possible. Not all Chinese are heartless or ignorant. We’re willing to listen and learn. I’ve been asking around my Chinese friends and can’t find the accurate Chinese words to translate “spirituality” and “compassion”, because these two basic elements of the Tibetan civilization have been sorely missing in Chinese society. More and more Chinese are converting to Tibetan Buddhism, among them are many famous film and pop stars, musicians, artists, writers and rich people, and of course many ordinary people, including my sister. There have been too many Chinese flocking to Tibet, but they’re not all dumb tourists or money thirsty migrants. Some of them document the military crackdowns and share their photos and thoughts on social media, some are observing and asking questions… You have been waiting for 55 years, we Chinese have been waiting for 64 years. Many of your relatives and friends have been killed or tortured in Tibet under this regime. Fourteen of my relatives died of execution, starvation and suicide. And many more, including my parents and grandparents, were persecuted for more than a decade. Now it IS time, because more and more people in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan are waking up and are learning the truth about China, and they’re learning the truth about Tibet, East Turkistan and Southern Mongolia. More and more Tibetans, Uighurs and Mongolians are rising up against Beijing. A Chinese peasant in Hunan sent me a message a couple of months ago: “The dawn is upon us!” And their end is nigh. So let’s work together. We will win. A free Tibet and a free China go hand in hand.Many thanks to my friends — Tibetans, Chinese, and Tibet supporters for inspiring me to write this letter. Tashi delek!Hugs and much love from,Gyaser Metok (two Tibetan kids, aged five and three, and a Tibetan poet gave me this nickname)A Chinese sister