SFT “misleading” and “hindering progress”

Chris Cheng (China, AC 08-10)


First I would like to claim that as a Chinese national; I insist there should be ‘One China’ and do not support any political ideas of separating Tibet. Yet it is always my pleasure to discuss the Tibetan issue with Tenzin, my Tibetan second year student at Atlantic College. Discussions usually focus on the main barriers blocking communication between ‘Student for a Free Tibet’(SFT), an Atlantic College Organization, and Chinese people.


Let me illustrate one of the main contributors to differences between the groups, misleading and misconception, by means of an example. To attract the attention of Atlantic College students, SFT had placed posters outside the dining hall, the 1st sentence on which said ‘Tibet is not a part of China’. They demanded for ‘independence’ in another poster. Note that even the Dalai Lama acknowledged in an interview with the South China Morning Post (A Hong Kong based newspaper) in 2005 that “We are willing to be part of the People’s Republic of China, to have it govern and guarantee to preserve our Tibetan culture, spirituality and our environment.”


No doubt people may have different opinions about notions of autonomy and degrees of self-rule in regard to the preservation of culture, environment etc. Yet just looking at the SFT sentences, we note that they clash fundamentally with the Dalai Lama’s words. ‘Autonomy’ is in fact completely different from the concept of ‘independence’. Self-rule is carried out within a nation while independence is breaking a region apart from the state to become a separate one. The statement saying that Tibet is not a part of China is misleading to both the Chinese and the Tibetans and thereby possibly indicating that the actions of SFT hinder the progress of the two sides to build mutual trust.


Reading through the interview of Mr. Sonam Dagpo, general secretary of the Department of International Relations of CTA (Central Tibetan Administration based in India), published on November 10, 2008 on United Words, I appreciated his effort to make dialogue with the Chinese Government and to respect China’s unity and stability. In contradiction with the media’s tendency to encourage acts of separatism, neither side is actually seeking to create a new nation. Without such common ground, it is almost impossible to establish any useful conversations.


To conclude, I would like to point out that if SFT and any other people supporting Tibet aimed to begin constructive dialogue with the Chinese and tried to reach mutual consensus, they should change several directions and policies.


– United World College Student Magazine –


3 thoughts on “SFT “misleading” and “hindering progress”

  1. these are all lies. Free Tibet. All Tenzins in Atlantic College will continue with this struggle against the oppressive yet oppressed chinese people. What is funny is that the chinese in Atlantic College do not know the scale of human rights abuses itheir marxist/maoist/communist government has piled up world wide. They do not see how their freedom is restricted and censorship is a norm in china.
    To all the tenzins, buddhists , atlantic college students, vegeterians and non-cat eaters, aluta continua against the oppression that is china.
    -another tenzin-

  2. This ariticle make some good points and ones that has started new questions which is positive. and I appreciate it.

    Whether out of legitimacy or one`s own version of trut, i dont know but u made some statements in the beginning.
    i disagree with it because ifor the part that says “separating Tibet”, t doesnt matter whether u r chinese or u r tibetan.Truth is Truth. Our identity doesnt change it and according to history, Tibet was an independent country when PLA came in 1949-50.

    Secondly, agreeing with the lack of clarity in our posters, the argument of using Dalai lama`s personal approach is rather a fallacy considering the fact that the tibetan govt. in exile is democratic and SFT being an NGO can share its own opinion on the ground that it has the right to do so. And, we told the truth. and it is so. SFT does strives for independence.

    A “progress”, out of urgency was initiated by SFT so we would probably be the last one to “hinder” it intentionally. but if such a thing as claimed is done by us, i think it is a great idea if we could talk more openly about this whole issue for the “mutual concerns.”

  3. I am not going to pretend or attempt to respond to the actual content of this article. This is because I really do not understand the crux of the issue (and the approach of NOT responding to a question with a black or white answer is something which I think many passionate people forget about). However, I do wish to respond to the comment made by “another tenzin” (not to be confused with Tenzin Yewong, whose response was completely reasonable).
    Clearly you do not really understand how to communicate. First, I think it’s cowardly not to leave your name, which is cowardly. You may have been trying to use the Spartacus Defense, but you should know that the Spartacus Defense only works when a) you are facing oppression and b) when you are actually pretending to be Spartacus. You are not Tenzin, and we know it. Instead, you are a supporter of SFT and probably a detrimental one, if your conduct is anything like your response to this. You also seem violently anti-Chinese, which is not very “AC” or “UWC”, don’t you think? There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with Chinese policy, but to label all Chinese as cat-eaters in a derogatory sense is neither polite nor progressive. Instead, by making these offensive comments, you draw the eyes of the reader towards the unreasonable emotion in your response rather than anything you might actually have to say (but, in your case, you did not really say anything, did you?). For example, I clicked on this article to read a reasonable interpretation of the China/Tibet conflict, which I did. I then read your response. What it felt like to me, as an outsider, is that the Chinese perspective is much more reasonable and balanced than the Tibetan one, since his article was much more reasonable and balanced than your response. Thankfully I know not to judge these kinds of issues based on thoughtless drivel like yours. Think before you act next time, or else you could end up having the opposite effect from the one you desire.
    Stephen Stich

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