An ornate monastery on the side of a mountain in Tibet Autonomous Region. Photo: Liang Chen/GT
Twelve Nobel laureates wrote an open letter to Chinese leaders recently citing the self-immolation of monks and criticizing China's Tibet policy. The letter did not mention overseas political organizations that encouraged self-immolations.
Ironically few of these 12 Nobel laureates have been to Tibet personally. They do not have enough understanding of Tibetan culture and the Tibet of today. Their intervention appears to complement Western opinion. It is doubtful whether they truly know what they talk about.
There is no religious issue in Tibet. The young monks who set themselves on fire are political victims of the Dalai group's clash with the central government. The Dalai group's survival relies on Western support. The core agenda of the Dalai Lama has been painstakingly veiled, thanks to careful publicity. This open letter could be part of this publicity.
Both China and the West are trying to convince the other concerning Tibet. But these are futile efforts. These Nobel laureates know their letter will not have any impact on China. What they are trying to influence is international media.
Chinese society has come to the firm conclusion that the Tibetan question is not worthy of note unless being instigated by the West. The public has become used to "ethnic problems" suddenly exploding into a major issue.
The Dalai group and the West may be eager to see the self-immolations of monks having a similar effect as the suicide of a fruit vendor in Tunisia had for the Arab Spring. But China is not Tunisia. The West has repeatedly made wrong assumptions about China.
It is difficult to draw an objective conclusion if the West paints China with too broad a brush. These critics have also brainwashed some Chinese, but they cannot cheat every person in the country. The 12 Nobel laureates outwardly look like they have a strong moral bond. But their insincerity tars them as the most mediocre of commentators.
The Dalai Lama's political aim to separate Tibet from China has zero chance of success. The world knows this. But the issue is a convenient excuse for the West to cause some troubles for the Chinese government. Various politicians can make a show out of it for political expediency. Chinese people should not expect the issue to die out. But the West should know the issue will not evolve according to its will.
Central and local governments have tried their best to stop monks' self-immolation. Only the Dalai group hails these monks as "heroes." It is easy to see who is creating the tragedy. If people pretend they do not understand, you cannot help them to do so.