How the NYT encourages dehumanization of the Han

One of the best methods used by colonists, genociders, and other racist oppressors is to use testimony from certain members of the victim group as evidence of the victim group’s subhuman nature. We are told that this member of that group agrees with the oppresser’s narrative of the inferiority of the victim group. White slave masters loved to show-off their House Negroes who went on about the natural inferiority of the black race and how slavery was a good thing for his people. This kind of co-opting of narratives to serve as a tool to justify racism and oppression is common throughout history. If even they say they’re inferior/evil/stupid/worthy of oppression, oppressing them has to be right!

Take a look at one recent example of this tool being used to dehumanize the Chinese, to make the Han, look subhuman and demonic from a Chinese “human rights” lawyer published in the New York Times. The lawyer can’t help but fall to his knees and plead for forgiveness of the Tibetan people for the evil ways of his Han brethren. His  teary-eyed mea culpa on behalf of all 1.1 billion Hans towards what they have done to the Tibetans.

I am sorry we Han Chinese have been silent as Nangdrol and his fellow Tibetans are dying for freedom. We are victims ourselves, living in estrangement, infighting, hatred and destruction.

What exactly is being done that warrants such collective mea culpa? The author doesn’t really say other than suggesting some vague prohibitions against religious or political speech (such as requiring a permit to go to Lhasa). He says that one Tibetan told him that he thought the Han were “devils” and you could feel that his bleeding heart bled profuse drops of bitter blood at the great injustice of being made to go through the process of receiving said permits. He seems to relish the thought that he is a modern day Han messiah willing to take on the sins of his fellow sinners and carry the cross on their behalf. “Do you hate Hans?” he slavishly asks his Tibetan companions on his way to collectively apologize for one auto-incinerated monk. You can easily envision the thought “I’m not like the rest of those devils! Please give me some approval!” running across his groveling mind. In his groveling, he is tacitly agreeing that most Hans are devils and that these Tibetan are justified in hating Hans. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere it’s important to realize that this defamatory propaganda is not just directed at the Chinese nation but at the Chinese people.

No real example is given of serious human rights violations but they are always alluded to in the story as being somewhere in the shadows. Trust him, he’s a bleeding heart Han. He’s gotta be right that the Tibetans are facing massive discrimination, oppression, maybe even genocide. You get the sense that these Tibetans are facing something like what the Chinese have endured at the hands of the imperial Japanese or what the Jews had to face against Nazi Germany.

The truth is is that these monks who call the Chinese devils and who burn themselves do so purely for religious reasons, not because their human rights are massively violated. They simply want the Dalai Lama to return (read their own statements made before suicide) and will kill themselves or others (as has happened most recently in 2008) to get their religious “fix.” They need to be near the DL. They must be near him. He is their god. This view seems even more extreme and nutty than the Catholic claim that hell is merely the absence of god but for these modern day serfs hell is not being in a certain proximity to the DL! And China and the Chinese people are to blame for him not coming back. That’s all in the background of the story.

These are incredibly silly religious fundamentalists. Their religious fervor is grotesque and what is truly demonic. They have no value for their own lives much less the lives of anyone else except for their godking. They feel entitled to anything, life, death, heaven and earth must be moved for their own religious predilections. Their primitive minds cannot handle reality and must resort to fantasy. Like all religious fundamentalists, they feel that all other people are obliged to satisfy their religious fix.

The Buddha was amiable and enlightened; on his deathbed he laughed at his disciples for supposing that he was immortal. But the Buddhist priesthood — as it exists, for example, in Tibet — has been obscurantist, tyrannous, and cruel in the highest degree.

-Bertrand Russell


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