Ugly Nationalistic Chinese Demonstration in Auckland

“Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!” – William Golding, Lord of the Flies

Sunday afternoon saw Auckland subjected to a mass display of ugly Chinese nationalism. Thousands of Chinese gathered in Aotea Square for what was billed as a ‘celebration’ to ‘support the Beijing Olympics’ and promote ‘peace and harmony’. In reality the event was clearly a political rally. Olympic references were drowned out by nationalistic flag waving and chanting. The chauvinistic demeanor of the majority, coupled with a lack of policing, encouraged a large and hostile minority to indulge in physical intimidation and random violence. Within a few minutes of arriving at the event I was assaulted and abused, getting rescued from the hostile crowd by a protest marshal. The marshal then politely asked me to leave, because the event was, in his own words, “not safe for New Zealanders”.

So what exactly happened here?

You know that ‘Sacred Flame’ that’s been tying up the world’s police resources for the last several weeks? What say we bring it to New Zealand?

I first heard about this event on Thursday evening. I had been reading about how the Australian leg of the Olympic torch relay had seen pro-Chinese demonstrators rampage through Canberra assaulting pro-Tibetan demonstrators. The police were so busy protecting the Olympic flame (the ‘sacred flame’ to the Chinese) that protecting Australian citizens from violent Chinese students took a back seat. Finishing that article I breathed a sigh of relief that the Olympic torch would not be coming to New Zealand. Shortly afterwards though, while browsing the New Zealand Herald website, I read that groups within the Chinese community in Auckland had decided to organize their own “Olympic Torch Relay”, as part of a rally to support the Olympics. In the words of Lincoln Tan from the New Zealand Herald:

Encouraged by organisers to wear red – China‘s colour – participants, expected to number more than a thousand, will wave Chinese flags and do a mock run with a replica Olympic torch in Aotea Square on Sunday”

I was stunned. Given the trouble associated with the Olympic torch elsewhere in the world (see here, here and especially here), why would the local Chinese community choose this moment to organize a nationalistic flag waving rally centered around a “mock Olympic torch”? The event was not even organized by radical students. It was organized by numerous Chinese community groups, and following consultation with the Chinese consulate.

I have nothing against Chinese community events to promote the Olympics. China is the Olympic host. New Zealand has a large Chinese community. New Zealanders are enthusiastic about sport. There should be huge potential for the Chinese community in New Zealand to organize Olympics related events. Such events could have all sorts of positive spin-offs. But was this event really going to be about the Olympics? Was it going to be a positive Olympic promotion or a negative nationalistic display? It sounded like the latter.

Chinese Rally to “Celebrate the Olympics”

Sunday arrived and I headed to Aotea Square to see things for myself, reaching the square just after midday. I was not surprised to find a noisy crowd of several thousand people waving big People’s Republic of China flags; they had been audible as far away as Albert Park. The crowd was almost exclusively ethnic Chinese. A full range of ages was represented, from children to the elderly. However, the majority were young Chinese from the PRC, many of them students. I could surmise this from languages spoken, accents, dress, use of simplified characters on their banners, etc. I saw no Hong Kongese or Taiwanese flags. Nor did I see any flags of the South East Asian nations that contribute to Auckland’s diverse Chinese population – places like Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. There were a few New Zealand flags, but virtually no non-Chinese participants. This appeared to be more a People’s Republic of China event than a wider Chinese community event. There were occasional Olympic flags, but essentially the flags were all national flags of the People’s Republic of China. There appeared to be no presence of Tibetan demonstrators, and nor were there any police.

 

Many people carried banners. The banner messages were mixed. There were many pure Olympic slogans. There were also many nationalistic and chauvinistic slogans that alienated certain groups and made them feel unwelcome at this “Olympic Celebration”. Some slogans were alienating even to other ethnic Chinese.One World, One Dream, One China” is a strange and contradictory slogan that links the Olympics to militarism. Until Beijing renounces the use of force to impose its “One China” ideology on Taiwan, banners reading “One China” will be read as threatening. Blame Beijing for this unfortunate situation.Oppose Tibetan Independence” is a political slogan that would make some ethnic Tibetans feel unwelcome and uncomfortable.The Dalai Lama is a Liar!” is hostile, offensive to followers of Lamaism, and has nothing to do with the Olympics.Seeing China’s powerful position, do you feel trepidation?” is unrelated to the Olympics or any current issue and can only be read as an odd attempt to intimidate non-Chinese. “Oppose Western Media Distortion!” sounds angry, inconsistent with a “celebration”, and unrelated to the Olympics. “Don’t politicize the Olympics” is a tricky one. Beijing boycotted every Olympics prior to 1979 over the Taiwan issue and currently humiliates Taiwanese athletes by preventing them from competing under their own flag. For as long as the ritual humiliation of Taiwan continues it seems ironic for citizens of the Peoples Republic of China to call for a non-politicized Olympics. I am not certain, but I believe the PRC has boycotted more Olympics than any other nation. Could there be a dash of hypocrisy here? The mixture of positive Olympics slogans and chauvinistic negativity was bizarre.

I snapped a couple of pictures of Aotea Square filled with red flags and political banners. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to me, my camera was in the process of dying, meaning my pictures did not turn out.

“Tibetan Splittists” threaten the fun! Vigilant patriots save the day!

Taking the scene in, I saw somebody was addressing the crowd from the Aotea Center. I was about to move in that direction, but then I realized that the focus really seemed to be outside the Town Hall. The words of the speaker at the Aotea Center were drowned out by the crowd near the Town Hall chanting “Go China!” (?????). The national anthem of the People’s Republic of China was being sung. People appeared more densely crowded near the Town Hall than anywhere else. That area was the focus of something important that I could not see. I briefly saw a Tibetan Snow Lion flag flash through the Chinese ones, carrying writing too small to read. No Tibetan demonstrators were visible though. What was happening? Perhaps the demonstrators were about to burn a Tibetan flag? Perhaps the Tibetan flag was held by Chinese and carried a pro-China message? Maybe a Chinese demonstrator was making some kind of conciliatory gesture*?

I went to investigate the Town Hall area before venturing across to the Aotea Center. Rather than approaching directly and getting stuck in the mass of people I took a circuitous route through the thinner parts of the crowd, trying to get a clearer view of the situation. My route took me into the middle of Aotea Square and then towards the back of the Town Hall. From my new vantage point I saw that pro-China demonstrators were using their flags to cover a small group of pro-Tibet demonstrators. I still could not actually see the pro-Tibet demonstrators, but people around me were shouting “Cover their flags!”, “Good job!” and so on. This was not an organized chant, just many people shouting more or less the same thing. I now partly understood the situation.

I still had many questions though. The focus of this drama was a raised stone platform suitable for addressing a crowd, displaying flags, and so on. Why were the Chinese all crowded around this platform when the speaker and main stage were on the opposite side of the square? Had the organizers arranged things so that the rally had two separate focal points? Were different Chinese groups simultaneously organizing different activities in competition with one another? Maybe the ‘Olympic flame’ was about to be carried from this point to the main stage? Why had the Tibetan protesters climbed onto the platform that was the focus of the Chinese rally? Couldn’t they have politely protested somewhere around the edge of the crowd instead of rudely pushing their way right to the middle of it? I wanted to ask the Tibetan protesters what was going on but there was no way to get close. I also wanted to ask a Chinese demonstrator how the Tibetans had got there, but it seemed imprudent to try questioning the hostile and excited individuals around me. I assumed there would be an opportunity to ask later.

Things got more intense as I watched. The Tibetan flags disappeared completely. The crowd cheered. People shouted things like “Drive them away! Beat them up! We don’t want them!” I saw a Tibetan protester for the first time. He was a shaved headed westerner, squatted on the ground, either with his fingers in his ears or using his hands to protect his head. The crowd surged around him and he disappeared. In the brief second he was visible I did not see him get hit. He did not seem to be crouched down in pain, just in reaction to a hazardous situation. I saw no more Tibetans and things up on the platform calmed down slightly. I assumed that the Tibetans had somehow left the platform (driven away, leaving themselves, or rescued by police). I was concerned for their safety, but since the dynamic of the crowd on the platform became less violent after the Tibetans vanished (changing from struggling to flag waving) I assumed they had escaped and were not somewhere in the middle of the crowd getting bashed.

Getting assaulted ‘Olympic Celebration’ style

At that moment I spotted a Tibetan flag on the ground a few meters from me. Presumably it had just been stolen from the Tibetan protesters. People were pushing forward to trample on it. I followed the press, holding back somewhat, and pulled my camera out to snap this image, an obvious focus for anyone holding a camera – others around me were using mobile phones to snap the same photo. As I tried to take my photo somebody kicked me from behind. I also felt I was punched. Somebody seemed to be trying to snatch my camera. Events were confused, with various people grabbing and shoving me. A Chinese marshal of some sort intervened and started to pull me out of the demonstration. I am confused about exactly what happened, but the marshal’s intervention in itself confirmed that I was a focus of hostility and at physical risk.

As the marshal pulled me out I became surrounded by people screaming “Fuck off!”, “Fuck you!”, “Fuck your Mother!” etc. The abuse was in non-native English and Chinese. The abusers must have been relatively recent arrivals from China. I tried asking in Chinese for everybody to calm down, hoping that using their own language might make them see me less as an ‘enemy’ and more as a human being they could converse with. This had no effect though. The marshal had steered me up against the wall of the Town Hall, protecting our backs and preventing the crowd from surrounding us. He then moved me along the wall and out of the crowd. There were big cheers as the marshal finally led me away from the crowd and towards the back door of the Town Hall. The marshal told me not to go back into Aotea Square because it was not safe for ‘New Zealanders’. I guess he really meant ‘non-Chinese people’.

Media stardom and meeting my fans

The attack was partly caught on film by a cameraman (Aaron Huang) from SODE Productions (a local Chinese media company). The cameraman then continued filming me after I was driven out of the crowd. He filmed me answering questions from a couple of concerned passers by, then phoning police to report the assault. Although the assault was minor in the sense that I was not hurt, it was significant in that it indicated an aggressive and out-of-control crowd. Therefore I wanted to report it officially. No police were available at the time though. The cameraman turned out to be quite amiable, and we chatted while I decided whether to continue waiting for the police or just give up and leave. The footage he took may appear in a documentary about the event.

After maybe ten minutes the cameraman suggested going back to the crowd to attempt a “reconciliation”. I had mixed feelings about this. There was a safety issue, an issue of disobeying the marshal, and questions about the real purpose of it all. In the end I decided there was no harm in going along with his proposal. I doubted we would achieve much, but assuming I didn’t get assaulted again it seemed as good a way as any to spend my time. Many attendees had previously been passionately ‘communicating’ with me. Perhaps I should give them the opportunity to express themselves more calmly?

The ‘reconciliation’ never quite got into gear.

To get things rolling, I had to demonstrate that I was not a “Tibetan splittist” by letting everyone see that the T-shirt beneath my (buttoned) leather jacket was not the dreaded Snow Lion Flag. Making things interesting, my T-shirt turned out to carry the equally alarming Republic of China (i.e. ‘Taiwanese’) flag [NOTE: In response to some comments made below I should emphasize that this t-shirt was never visible prior to my unbuttoning my jacket and showing it to the cameraman. There was therefore no connection between this t-shirt and my being assaulted. I was not "asking for trouble" as some have suggested. I had in fact done the opposite and covered up a potentially sensitive article of clothing.]. Adding to the confusion, the T-shirt itself was purchased at the Flying Tigers Museum in Chongqing, China, and carried text from a pilot’s blood chit that specifically asked Chinese people to assist this foreign ally (you can see the design on this page). Clearly I was not a member of the mysterious “Dalai Lama Clique”, but was I some other, equally pernicious, variety of “splittist”? Would the Flying Tigers Museum really dare hatch an audacious plot (albeit doomed) to split the motherland through subversive t-shit designs? Could I merely be a souvenir buyer? How much assistance should they give me anyway? Somehow they accepted the T-shirt and a fresh round of anti-splittist violence was averted. We were making progress.

Unfortunately, those who had earlier been most eager to communicate with me (i.e. those who had abused me the loudest), were uninterested in civilized communication. I only remember one of them, a middle aged man, asking me a question. His question was “Have you ever even been to Tibet?” I tried to explain that although I had not been to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, I had visited ‘Greater Tibet’, the culturally Tibetan area that extends into Gansu, Sichuan, and Qinghai. The man scoffed and turned his back before I could finish my first sentence. Another individual, a woman of around 50 years old, notable earlier for her passionate screams of “Fuck your mother!”, offered a small Chinese flag as a sort of peace offering. I declined the flag**. Interestingly, neither of these individuals were fiery young students. They were both middle aged – old enough to have little excuse for their earlier lack of self control. There were too many people to interact with simultaneously. They were also all holding back and fairly uncommunicative, presumably out of embarrassment, hostility, nervousness at being on camera, or the dynamics of them being a ‘crowd’ while I was an individual.

I have probably missed some things that were said, but the reconciliation attempt did not achieve much beyond letting them see I was not hiding a Tibetan flag under my jacket. Of course, so what if I had been? Anyway, it was good to have at least tried to talk. Personally I could have tried harder, but given the hostility I had just experienced I was not feeling particularly sociable. I more or less just put myself in front of them, put the ball in their court, and let them do what they wanted. They offered nothing much in the way of an apology, interest in me quickly died, and after a couple of minutes I left. The group I spoke with was not identical to the group that attacked me, though it included at least three individuals from the earlier attack.

The Aftermath

Saying goodbye to the cameraman I walked away via the back of the Town Hall and towards Mayoral Drive. This route took me away from where I was ultimately headed, but it seemed foolhardy to go back through the square alone. A solitary policeman came hurrying down from Mayoral Drive as I left. I asked if he could take my assault complaint. He told me that he had more urgent things to do and jogged towards the crowd looking stressed.

I headed home. Unfortunately I did not get a chance to hear the speakers or see the ‘Olympic torch’. I guess I was in the square for less than ten minutes before getting attacked. Walking home I avoided eye contact with Chinese people, not wanting to get involved in further trouble.

After I reached home a friend of mine called, wanting to meet up and get something to eat. I took the car out and drove along Queen Street to meet him. It was after 2.00 pm by this stage. Queen Street was filled with convoys of Chinese in souped-up cars, blaring their horns, waving flags, screaming, disobeying police directing traffic, and generally creating a disturbance. Chinese pedestrians occupied the pavement, waving flags and cheering the disruptive behavior of the convoys of cars. I was happy to be alone in my car and not sharing the pavement with the flag wavers. I picked up my friend on Queen Street and we went off for lunch.

Violence

Based on news reports, posts on Sky Kiwi, and my own experiences, the day was marred by multiple instances of violence. The following is a quick summary:

- Violence against the small group of four Tibetan protesters. There was clearly a lot of shoving and physical intimidation. One Network News showed a Chinese protester swinging punches at a Tibetan protester. However, no Tibetan protesters were reported to have required medical treatment. Overall it seems Chinese marshals prevented the violent crowd from causing serious harm. There were no arrests.

- Unprovoked violence against myself as detailed above. There were no arrests.

- An incident reported by and involving a non-Chinese builder. Details are not clear but it seems the builder intervened to stop protesters attacking a car (they were rocking the car and pushing flag poles through the windows). The builder and his car then became victims of an attack. There were apparently no arrests.

- An attack by a Chinese female on a taxi. This seems to be a separate incident to the above. In this incident a taxi driver shouted comments in support of Tibet and in response his car was attacked and apparently damaged by a Chinese female. The assailant was detained by the police and released with a warning. The driver was not compensated for damage to his car.

- An assault on a non-protesting Tibetan sympathizer. A man called into a radio station and described being shoved around and struck in the face with flag poles when he attempted dialog with Chinese protesters. There were no arrests.

- An incident outside McDonalds on Queen Street, in which Chinese protesters were verbally harassed and physically assaulted (having their glasses knocked off) by two or three female Polynesians. The Chinese on non-Chinese violence was ostensibly political. This incident sounds racist, probably an ugly reaction to all the Chinese flags. A European man participating in the Chinese protest (his face painted with Chinese flags) intervened by physically assaulting the Polynesians. Read translations of Chinese accounts of this incident here. Two of the three arrests made on the day were for this incident, and seem to have involved the Polynesian assailants. The assailants were charged with assault.

- There seems to have been a third arrest, involving a non-Chinese person, for disorderly behavior. I can find no details on the incident involved. It may or may not have been connected to one of the above incidents.

- There were probably other incidents in addition to the above. It would be unlikely for me to have found information on every single incident of violence.

So what to make of all this? First, there was far more violence than occurs at most political protests, yet this was supposedly a peaceful “Olympic celebration”. The numerous posts on Sky Kiwi denying that the event was a “protest” or “violent” are simply untrue. Second, the level of violence was astonishing given the near absence of opposing views at the event. Tibetan protesters were outnumbered 1000 to 1. One would have thought Chinese attendees would have been delighted at the huge turnout in support of the Olympics and the near absence of critical voices. It is difficult to understand why they began assaulting bystanders who expressed pro-Tibetan views (e.g. the taxi driver), or who they thought might be pro-Tibet (e.g. myself). The number of violent incidents, all occurring in separate locations, indicates a substantial minority of violent and aggressive ‘Olympics supporters’ who were thirsting for conflict.

Policing

So where were the police? The real Olympic flame has created mountains of policing work around the world, yet when the Chinese community decides to import this style of fun to New Zealand by organizing a nationalist rally with accompanying “Olympic flame” there is not a policeman in sight. The lack of a police presence made an odd contrast to the recent protests against the Electoral Financing Act, which saw a huge police presence line Queen Street to control a docile gaggle of retirees.

The timing of the rally could hardly have been more sensitive. The event was being held months before the Olympics (making it hard for many to appreciate the Olympic connection), weeks after the signing of the controversial Free Trade Agreement with China (opposed by many New Zealanders), and just days after the Canberra torch relay (which saw numerous assaults by aggressive Chinese students). There was clearly huge potential for trouble.

A private company called The Edge, which manages the Aotea Center and Aotea Square, was responsible for the event. I have spoken with their security manager. Apparently they were not expecting such large numbers, and on seeing the turnout they requested police backup that never arrived. At least one of the Edge security personnel was in Aotea Square throughout the event and says he never saw a policeman.

The Edge may have failed to arrange police assistance, but the police themselves were also at fault. On the Friday before the protest the police were quoted as saying that they were aware of the protest and had “contingencies in place should there be any trouble”. The police knew the event was happening and knew what had just occurred in Canberra. The police know the Auckland CBD has a huge population of Chinese students. The police have personnel monitoring websites like Sky Kiwi and presumably sensing the anger and extremism of Chinese students in New Zealand. There was plenty of trouble and the police were absent. The police and the mayor of Auckland failed to do their jobs.

The only security personnel that I saw were Chinese marshals, though personnel from The Edge were apparently also present. The marshals did a good job in terms of protecting targets of violence, but of course had no power to arrest perpetrators. Their actions prevented things from escalating further and nobody suffered serious harm. However, the message seemed to be that pro-China thuggery was acceptable within certain limits.

Criticisms of the Event

Overall, I think the event was an embarrassment to citizens of the People’s Republic of China in New Zealand. Rather than feeling proud of attracting a large crowd, the PRC community should feel ashamed at the nature of the crowd. The crowd was chauvinistic, and many were disruptive, aggressive and violent. Imagine thousands of Korean students descending on Tiananmen Square for a display like this and you will understand how it looked to outsiders.

Some people will be reading this and thinking I have been biased by my own negative experience. Of course that experience has influenced my thinking. However, I am not too concerned about what happened to me; it involved only a small segment of the crowd and would not have been noticed by most attendees. I am more concerned with how the crowd behaved towards the Tibetan protesters.

Admittedly, I do not really know what happened here. However, looking back, I doubt the raised platform on which the Tibetans were standing was being used in the formal proceedings of the Chinese event. My guess is that Chinese attendees crowded towards that area in response to the Tibetan presence. I may be wrong, but my reading is that hundreds of Chinese ignored invited speakers at their own event in favor of taunting and assaulting four Tibetan protesters. The official speakers were made inaudible by the people screaming at the Tibetans. I do not understand this behavior. The protesters were positioned such that anyone focused on the stage would have had their backs to them “they were at the ‘back of the hall” so to speak. Why were hundreds of attendees incapable of just ignoring them?

 

The organizers should be embarrassed at the conduct of this very large group. Why bother with speeches if nobody wants to listen? Why not just bill the event as “Smash up the LV store to celebrate the Olympics” and be done with it?

 

Discussion of the event on Chinese websites

 

Much of the online discussion of the event on Sky Kiwi (New Zealand’s leading online community for Chinese) has been concerning. There have been calls for larger and more extreme actions, celebrations of the violence that occurred on Sunday, and plenty of hostility towards New Zealand. Nationalistic extremism was the dominant voice in the lead up to and immediate aftermath of the event. To be fair, more moderate voices are emerging now that several days have passed. People have perhaps had time to do some thinking and realize that things got out of hand.

 

Alongside the calls for more violence, there has been some “anti-violence” rhetoric. For example, users have been asked not to post photos of scuffles and assaults. The purpose of the request is unclear though. Is it to hide previous violence (and perhaps protect the perpetrators) or discourage future violence? An acquaintance of mine went on to Sky Kiwi to question the violent nature of the rally (I am banned from the site ever since I questioned an earlier demonstration, as you can read about here and here). Initially most respondents either told him there had been no violence, or that the violence was “Chinese expressing themselves” and locals should shut up and accept it. Slowly, he started to attract some supportive or at least sympathetic responses.

 

Scofflaws have celebrated their actions online and received unanimous praise. For example, the female who attacked a taxi and apparently damaged its door is being treated as a hero. She has attracted dozens of messages praising her patriotism and holding her up as a role model. Not a single person has suggested she overreacted and broke the law. However, one or two people have hinted at tracking down the taxi driver and taking further action against him.

 

Hopefully an opinion shift is occurring towards less violent attitudes. You seriously have to wonder if New Zealand needs this type of minority community.

 

Positive Comments about the Event

A few comments on a more positive note:

- Apparently attendees were very efficient in cleaning rubbish up.

- Everybody seemed to know the words to the Chinese national anthem, yet even the All Blacks mumble their way through the New Zealand anthem. I am not sure thousands of people gathering in one place to sing the anthem of a foreign country for no obvious reason is a good idea, particularly when the anthem involves “rising up” to “brave the enemy’s gunfire” – but least they sang it well.

- Despite all the trouble large numbers of people managed to ignore the Tibetan demonstrators.

Suggestions for Future Olympic Events

 

Before making any suggestions I should first note that I am not very interested in the Olympics. My lack of creativity below can be attributed partly to this. For what it is worth though, here are a few ideas:

 

- Far fewer Peoples Republic of China flags: Large groups simply should not wave national flags in other people’s countries. The smaller the group the more acceptable the behavior. The behavior is more acceptable from visiting sports fans since their presence is temporary and their intent non-political. For similar reasons the behavior is more acceptable for short events like football matches. The Olympics do not lend themselves very well to flag waving. The competition continues for weeks, and the emphasis is supposed to be on individual competition, not national rivalries. Even were the Olympics in progress, Sunday’s display would have been over the top, but the Olympics are still months away. Large numbers of New Zealand citizens or permanent residents gathering to wave foreign flags is rather odd. International students doing it is just rude.

- Far more non-Chinese attendees: Achieving this might be very difficult. How many locals would want to be part of an event like that on Sunday? Were they even invited? Would they have been welcome? I have no concrete suggestions on how to achieve larger numbers of non-Chinese attendees. Obviously the key is a more welcoming attitude and less alienating behavior. If more non-Chinese attendees could be attracted it would create a better impression and help keep the focus on the Olympics rather than politics. Also, if politics really must be involved in an Olympic event, surely the clever way of winning support from the wider community would be to attract non-Chinese to the event and then gently try to influence their opinions (e.g. distribute leaflets, through speeches, etc.).

- Creative choice of ‘Chinese’ flags: Huge numbers of People’s Republic of China flags can appear alienating, but there are lots of other ‘Chinese’ flags to choose from. Examples include Qing dragon banners, and flags of the Hong Kong SAR, the 1911 Republic, and the Republic of China (i.e. ‘Taiwan’). Banners of Chinese sports groups are another idea. Even the Snow Lion should not be a problem for people that genuinely believe Tibet is part of China.

- Get rid of the ?????(Go China!) slogan. In the absence of any obvious focus (what exactly is China being encouraged to do here?) it sounds hostile.

- Don’t overdo the national anthem. Given that the PRC anthem is essentially a call to war, full of references to advancing on the enemy and so on, a little sensitivity is appropriate. There is also a difference between singing the anthem once to mark the start of an event, and singing it repeatedly to celebrate a crowd of four thousand successfully assaulting four lonely protesters.

 

Concluding Thoughts

 

I have written quite a lot. Hopefully, most people reading will find something of value. I doubt I will attend future Olympics related events in New Zealand. The politicization, nationalism, and hostility against non-Chinese are far too extreme.

UPDATE (16/06/2008):  Nearly two months have now passed since the incident.  At the time the cameraman who filmed me getting assaulted offered to put his footage online (and perhaps gather other footage) in order to help identify the people who assaulted me.  I took his offer at face value, considering it a kind and genuine gesture.  Unfortunately, despite me gently following the matter up he has never followed through on his promise.  There was always a possibility that the company he worked for would not release the footage.  However, according to the cameraman himself the company agreed to allow the footage to be used but he decided himself against helping me.  His rationale is that the Sichuan Earthquake made it inappropriate.  I don’t quite get the reasoning behind this, though it appears to be another variation on the ‘china as victim’ world view.  An earthquake in Sichuan makes it OK for Chinese (many of them visitors to New Zealand) to assault non-Chinese New Zealanders.  Or if the behavior isn’t quite acceptable it still isn’t appropriate to question it.  He suggested that I attend a Sichuan Earthquake benefit event and ask the organizers there to help me.  Umm. . . I don’t think so.  We either go with the original agreement Aaron Huang or you go fuck yourself.  All of my friends told me not to believe this guy.  I guess I should have listened to them not him.

 

 

* The Snow Lion Flag is an ancient Tibetan symbol but variations were used even under Qing Imperial rule. While the present version of the Snow Lion Flag dates from the period of Tibetan de facto independence following the Qing, there is no real reason that appropriate use of a Snow Lion Flag should be inconsistent with being a loyal citizen of the PRC. The flag is illegal in China, but New Zealand is not China. Setting the legality issue aside, how is a Chinese citizen using a Snow Lion Flag any different from a New Zealand citizen using the Flag of the Independent Tribes of New Zealand, or the Tino Rangatiratanga flag? It would be nice if 21st Century citizens of the PRC could treat the Snow Lion Flag as graciously as the 19th Century Manchurians did.

** Turning down gifts is rude. However, I felt it would be inappropriate to accept the flag. First, I was at the event to observe only. Given the political nature of the event I was not interested in becoming a participant. Second, there was no need for another person carrying a Chinese flag at that moment. Chinese flags were everywhere! I have nothing against Chinese flags, and in the right circumstances I might carry one (e.g. at a football match where I was supporting the Chinese team). I make an exception to the above for really cool Chinese flags – e.g. Qing battle standards or the flag of the 1911 Republic.

103 Responses to “Ugly Nationalistic Chinese Demonstration in Auckland”

  1. A casual reader Says:

    Why don’t you simply call it a Nazi rally? simply liken it as a parade of goons and thugs who were heading to an overseas invasion like what happened in 19th century?

  2. Another Casual Reader Says:

    Hi Bunny Hugs,

    Thanks for the great article. In the paragraph under the headline “Chinese Rally to �Celebrate the Olympics�” you said they are waving “Republic of China” flags. That’s not right. The Republic of China is the official name of Taiwan, which very few countries recognize as a country these days. The official name of Red China is the PEOPLE’s Republic of China.

    Cheers
    ACR

  3. Another Casual Reader Says:

    “One World, One Dream, One China”

    Goes nicely with “Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein China.”

    LOL

  4. seamus Says:

    Another Casual Reader, thanks for pointing out that I missed out a “People’s”. The mistake has been corrected.

  5. helen Says:

    i was reading your comments and it reminded me of events in my home country of Estonia last spring. You say: Why not just bill the event as “Smash up the LV store to celebrate the Olympics”? In Estonia it could have been called “Smash up a Hugo Boss store to celebrate WWII victory”. (we just don’t have LV :) )
    In such events people often loose their focus (herding behavior) and forget what they are actually fighting for. e.g. middle-aged woman starts shouting rude impolite comments. I think this is sad.
    Good report … put me to think …
    thanx

  6. perspectivehere Says:

    Bunnyhugs, this was linked in from ESWN.

    Thanks for the post and lengthy description. Despite being attacked, in my view you do a fair job of giving a balanced description of the events you observed and experienced first hand.

    What is most shocking about all this is how out-of-character this demonstration seems for overseas Chinese and Chinese foreign students.

    By and large, in my experience, political demonstrations for overseas Chinese have been pretty far down the priority scale, and most Chinese foreign students I’ve known are mainly focused on graduating and getting a job.

    I’m hardpressed to recall any large scale demonstration by overseas Chinese or Chinese foreign students in any developed country in the last 20 years, since Tiananmen Square in ’89.

    Your mentioning of the “middle aged” people at the demonstration reminded me of a comment made at Richard Spencer’s blog at the Telegraph.com.

    Spencer wrote a piece on how the Tibet independence protests (particularly against the disabled athlete holding the torch in Paris) have backfired because of their unintended effect of setting Chinese guy-on-the-street opinion against the Tibetans. A commenter wrote:

    “How could it have not backfired? My wife, who had not been paying attention to anything other than the good work she is doing here in the Silicon Valley – slaving for the gigantic global communications systems, just confessed to me that on Friday night the reason she was late to bed was that she was reading about the one-legged heart-throb being attacked. She hid in the washroom and was crying.”

    “This is a very apolitical forty-something lady and more so than I am. How can this have not backfired given that the protesters most critical constituency is now against them.”

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/foreign/richardspencer/april08/tibetbackfire.htm

    Violence begets violence.

    “He who cast the first stone probably didn’t” captures the psychological reasons why violence escalates. Tit for tat. Each side claims to be justified when making a reasonable retaliation for hurt inflicted by the other side.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/24/opinion/24gilbert.html

    Chinese around the world have felt hurt in a big way by all the negativity in the media towards the Olympics, and this hurt becomes a need to vent, and some of that has gone too far and turned ugly.

    For this reason I think some people reading your post may feel upset that you don’t articulate the frustration felt by Chinese and why these Chinese groups were out there in such numbers and with such passion. They may feel you don’t give the backstory, and this makes Chinese look bad to the uninformed.

    They would be correct, to a point. But then again, it’s not your job to present the backstory.

    And your observations on how to do better demonstrations I’m sure will be appreciated by future event organizers.

    Certainly the police needed to do better crowd control.

    Perhaps this essay by HuangFu Ping (translated at ESWN) will help everyone develop a more informed and rational perspective.
    http://www.zonaeuropa.com/20080501_1.htm

  7. Peter Says:

    Feel really angry about what happened to you, but as some of the comments are saying, this isn’t just about China, it can happen anywhere. However, I was present at some other rallies in London, and it is the same situation, where if you don’t have the same point of view as everybody else, you will get picked on.
    I was also asked “what do you think about Tibet” and then when I tried to explain my view, that I thought that Tibet was lost to China, because they didn’t defend it, and that in my view since they lost it and have been unable to claim it back they lose the right to have it, etc etc etc… suddenly she was screaming at me, “the fact you are calling it Tibet shows you are biased, you should call it Xizang…etc etc etc” and I was like , “er, you called it Tibet”, but that was no longer relevant, I had a screaming nutter on my hands…
    So even foreigners aren’t allowed a different point of view. One World, one Dream, one China… go figure.

  8. Anonymous Says:

    “simply liken it as a parade of goons and thugs who were heading to an overseas invasion like what happened in 19th century?”

    Oh brother, looks like the recent events have not only brought out the worst instincts in some Chinese, but they have also brought out the worst instincts in some of us as well. Hmmm, it was okay in the 19th century for Europeans to immigrate to other parts of the world, but when the Chinese tried to do the same they were labeled the yellow peril. And here we are in year 2008 and the commenter above still views the Chinese through such racist lens.

    It’s time both sides step back a little and try to understand each other’s perspectives. The Chinese you saw in Aukland may not be representative of the majority of Chinese worldwide. Let’s stay cool headed and not cave into our worst instincts.

  9. Leo Says:

    I want to point out that whatever the origin of the Snow Lion flag and whatever the historical meaning of it, this flag is used by the Tibetan-Government-in-Exile, which states itself as the sovereign representive of an independent country. This flag was disused during by the Tibetan government during 1950-1959 and resumed again only when the Dalai Lama declared the full independence on the Tibeto-Nepali border.

  10. The suffocated Says:

    “I saw no Hong Kongese or Taiwanese flags …… This appeared to be more a People’s Republic of China event than a wider Chinese community event.”

    Being a Hong Kongese, I’m so relieved to find that a foreigner can distinguish those people from mainland China from other people of Chinese ethnicity. The Chinese government (through their proxies in Hong Kong), though, has been trying to ‘educate’ the populace in Hong Kong to be more ‘patriotic’. I just hope that the majority of Hong Kong people will not someday become G&Ts like some of us already have. (Yesterday a female university student who exhibited the Snow Lion Flag during the torch relay in HK was surrounded by some local and some mainland G&Ts; the student was then escorted by the local police to leave the crowd safely.)

    A few years ago, when I was crossing the road in Wellington, I was cursed by a Maori man, for no apparent reason. If the same happens again today, I think I can at least explain that because I’m Chinese.

  11. MyLaowai Says:

    @Perspectivehere:

    “What is most shocking about all this is how out-of-character this demonstration seems for overseas Chinese and Chinese foreign students.”

    What is not in the least shocking for me, is how completely in-character this seems for fenqing, the angry young Chinese who has been raised on a diet of extreme nationalism. The Nazi’s were never as successful as the CCP has been at this, and I see examples of this kind of behavious on a weekly basis. Of course, I live in Red China. Overseas Chinese, are still Chinese. In fact, in some respects, they are even more extremely nationalistic that the ones that are still in China, as they are the ones who either did best at school, in an education system that focuses on political education, or they come from wealthy families, families who support the Party and it’s hegemonist outlook.

    @ The Suffocated:

    Well said. I know quite a few people from Hong Kong, and not one of them wants anything at all to do with Red China. In fact, it’s usually quite easy to spot the differences between Hong Kongers and Chinese, at least for those of us who have experience with the two groups, so relax.

    @All readers:

    What Bunnyhugs doesn’t stress, is that he has a great deal of experience with China. He speaks (and reads) the language better than most citizens of China, and he understands their various points of view very well. For him to be critical of the behaviour of Chinese citizens, is perhaps the most damning critisism I have yet seen of these ‘Red Nazi’s’. Kudos to him and thanks for a report that, were it written by me, would not have been nearly so forgiving.

  12. LOL Says:

    A bunch of Tibentans beat strangers on the street, robbed local stores, burnt down house with 5 girls alive in it, yet Nancy Pelosi called it a “peaciful protest”, freedom of the speech….

    Then a bunch Chineses went on street, waved flags shouted things, got on people’s face …. holly crap! the sky is falling! what an “ugly nationalistic” protest, what a bunch of “thugs and goons”….

    you people… opened my eyes like nothing before, wow…just wow…

  13. seamus Says:

    To LOL:

    Obviously the events in Lhasa were a violent riot. I am not writing about that because I was not in Lhasa to see it. There are accounts online of what happened in Lhasa and those who are interested can find that information for themselves.

    I am writing about the behavior of Chinese demonstrators in Auckland because that is what I saw. I am not writing about the background to all of this (i.e. the Lhasa riots, anti-torch protests overseas, etc). I am not writing about why the students are unhappy. I am just writing about their behavior. My opinions might even help them protest more effectively in future.

    Anyway, this blog is really about cocktails. Why not hunt around for a drink and relax a little?

  14. perspectivehere Says:

    MyLaowai, you seem to be making a deliberate attempt to smear Chinese protesters with the “Nazi” appellation. Set yourself up as an expert and tell everybody how bad the Chinese are from your own experience. Spread fear and hatred. Perhaps some will believe you and you will accomplish your purpose. Or perhaps you are just fearful and anxious yourself.

    Please stop. People are people.

    Instead of being divisive, can you try making peace instead? it’s better for your health and heart and spirit.

    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”

    “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

    “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.”

    May I suggest you read this. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2007/december/25.54.html

    There are estimated between 70 million to 100 million Christians in China now. Many Communist Party officials practice Christianity.

    In http://www.nationalreview.com/interrogatory/aikman200312220001.asp, author David Aikman says:

    “Many Chinese Christians believe that a broad Christian constituency throughout China will be one of the few assurances that China can make a successful transition to democracy governance without violence.”

    “I was struck again and again by how widespread the Christian presence is in China: taxi drivers in Beijing, businessmen in Wenzhou, academics in Shanghai.”

    “I would like readers of Jesus in Beijing to grasp how Christianity, though assumed by many in the West to be outmoded and irrelevant to modern life, is regarded by many Chinese as the absolute key to a successful, peaceful, powerful modern China in the future.”

    MyLaowai, would you condemn these Chinese the same way?

    Please examine your conscience – are you speaking from love? Perhaps you have difficulty with forgiveness, as you admitted:

    “thanks for a report that, were it written by me, would not have been nearly so forgiving.”

    Learn to forgive. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

    http://www.believers.org/believe/bel139.htm

    My God bless you and keep you always.

  15. Lorne Street Says:

    I live in the inner city and was curious about the noise, wandered down into Queen st and came across the scuffle outside McDs, the action was partly obscured by a crowd, but the police arrived in numbers of 6 only as the woman was lashing back out in retaliation, it seemed that 1 pregnant woman and another woman with a small child were attacked by the Chinese fenqing, these would be the 4 Polynesians that you referred to, but I was a bit confused by their actual identity and they did not seem to represent any group, although I had the impression that they had a sign about Human Rights. Glad that the police did arrest 2 of the guys there, though I await to hear what action is really taken; they better be deported with their student visas canceled, but by the whole official action I wouldn’t expect so. That camera team maybe got some footage.

    I did not venture deep into the event, but found it quite intimidating and totally out of order; thanks for pointing out how us kiwis are brainwashed by CNN.

    It was quite a dreary, drizzling Sunday and the city seemed quite empty and quiet of other usual human activity, so this was fortunate that there were less people than usual that would have had to witness this, but it was disgraceful for all those people who did.

  16. seamus Says:

    Lorne Street: I may be wrong, but from what I can gather no Chinese have been charged over last Sunday. The arrests at McDonalds were of Polynesians only so far as I know (possibly Maori – the posts on Sky Kiwi are not clear).

    I heard that those charged appeared in court already, and that the case is adjourned until the Chinese couple who were assaulted (a girl and a guy) appear in court as witnesses.

    The Chinese victims have apparently been harassed again by the same group of Polynesians. The Polynesians seem to be street kids who basically live on Queen St.

    It is interesting though that your impression of the scene was that the Chinese were attacking the Polynesians. On Sky Kiwi it was presented as Polynesians attacking a pair of Chinese, and a European then attacking the Polynesians. I am pretty sure there was no explicit mention of Chinese violence in relation to this incident. There was a mention though that the pregnant Polynesian has falsely accused one of the Chinese of punching her in the stomach.

  17. Mick Says:

    As a former Auckland resident I can only say that it sounds like the most exciting thing to happen there in a century. The Chinese mob mentality comes with the territory, it’s all pantomime. The Chinese guys who curse you will probably be trying to recruit you to Amway tomorrow.
    I love the “have you been to Tibet” questions. Having spent the last 20 years to-ing and fro-ing from Tibet I can only say the Olympic protests bear no relation to what’s actually happening in Tibet. It’s not really about Tibet at all, it’s about Han identity and respect..

  18. Mick Says:

    PS Having seen how your blog is about alcohol I shall recommend two decent Aussie brews: Murrays “Sassy Blonde” (the Pale Ale is good too) and the Lord Nelson Brewery Old Admiral. Try ‘em if you can find ‘em.

    Down the hatch!

  19. Lorne Street Says:

    Thanks Seamus, there was a crowd surge and I did not have an open view, the police turned up as the woman was striking back screaming “you kicked my baby”; a few minutes later a Maori man, who was not together with the ‘Polynesian group’ began telling me how he stepped in to shield the woman, he said he wasn’t with them, but felt he should do the right thing and shield the woman from being attacked, he said when he did this he received a number of punches and kicks.

    Who were the camera crew, independent or were they with the organisers.

    The Chinese seemed to be surging around looking for anyone who showed any disagreement with them and then to deal to them. The Government and the police should make it clear to them that any alternative view is allowed to be freely expressed.

  20. ROK Drop Weekly Linklets - 04MAY08 Says:

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  21. seamus Says:

    Lorne Street: The Camera crew were from a firm called SODE Productions. I don’t know much about them. They seem to be a Chinese New Zealand media company who are involved in stuff like wedding photos and videos (big business for Chinese!) and videos for the New Zealand China Friendship Society. I think they are just a local media company with a Chinese focus.

    As for whether SODE productions are affiliated with the organizers of Sunday’s rally I have no idea.

    Your comments on the McDonalds incident are interesting. Even assuming the Polynesians started the altercation, the way you describe things makes it sound surprising that no Chinese were arrested.

    Did you see any evidence of the European man with Chinese flags on his face who is said to have intervened to attack the Polynesians?

  22. Lorne Street Says:

    The police turned up as the woman was basically stepping forward and throwing arms wildly, screaming “you kicked my baby”; so I guess they acted on that; they had 2 Chinese guys standing and taking details, I presumed they were arresting them, but it seems not so.

    There was a crowd surge and mainly red shirts; one main voice calling for them to stop coming from a woman, shouting peace; I did not notice the police talking to a European guy who supposedly intervened, so I don’t have much credence for that.

    I was intrigued to understand who these people were who were titled as being ‘polynesian’; they did not fit into any easy category; maybe they were the usual types hanging out on the street who hurled some comments towards the students who should have known to ignore these types; but I did get an impression there was about 4 of them standing there doing a non invasive protest of some sort, this may have been enough to attract the attention.

  23. Michael Turton Says:

    Great blogpost, man. The appalling nationalism of the Chinese is worse than anything we saw at the height of European or American colonialism.

    Michael

  24. Special Brew Man Says:

    Thanks very much for this full coverage, which is not available elsewhere. As a New Zealander who lived in China for over three years I’m afraid to say this disaster is hardly surprises me.

    As always I am flabagasted that the Chinese make such full use of their right to protest/demonstrate – you can’t do that back in China mate.

    I imagine numbers took the Police completely by surprise – but it is very scary that downtown Auckalnd can be taken over by one nationality, who will actually violently attack locals expressing an opinion!!

    These people cannot be reasoned with, the hate and brainwashing is too deep-seated. Considering you were assaulted, I think going back to try and make up with them was crazy. Don’t be too hard on yourself for not accepting the flag and rest assured the woman who offered it to you is not analysing her own actions. To her you were just another foreign devil. I took Chinese at Uni and speak Mandarin well, I must say walking down Queen Street and hearing Laowai this and Laowai that, does not make me too happy. But anyway, no need to get worked up. I’m a Wellington man anyway.

    Looking forward to more from your blog

  25. Special Brew Man Says:

    …but, I do wonder how the large HK Chinese (and other Chinese) communities feel about this? Probably disgusted.

    I was amazed at the item on TV 3 News about a month ago. In members of the Chinese communtiy in NZ – said Tibet has been part of China for 1000 years and the western media were all liars. I know they’ve been saying it everywhere but it hit home them making these crazy statements right here in NZ.

    I ‘quit’ living in Shanghai in Jan – but I feel for the buddies I left behind – especially those who need new visas;)

    You say you breathed a sigh of relief when you found out the Olympic Torch was not coming here, me too. I heard there was a March here in Wellington, on ANZAC day no less! I missed it – I feel I should try and go along if there is another march – but I also wonder what’s the point. I’ve banged my head enough dealing with these kinds of attitudes in China – why start here. Although engagement is the best policy…

  26. Janman Says:

    At least, the so-called ‘appalling nationalism’ does serve a noble objective of defensing national sovereign and pride of China and Asia as a whole.

    What is the outcome of European or American colonialism; exploitation, slavery, divide-and-rule practises, white supremacy master…. and last but not least, causing millions of untold sufferings and deaths.

    Either Michael is dumb or blind for not being able to see the differences.

  27. OneFreeKorea » Pick Up ROK, Drop On Foot Says:

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  28. Shenzhen Zen Says:

    Special Brew Man was kind enough to leave a link to this compelling description of Chinese “patriotism” at its worst with a comment my (much more low key) post about a French boycott movement in Beijing. Anyway, glad and saddened to read it. Thanks to SBM for th tip and thanks to you for writing it. Looking forward to reading more of your blog.

  29. ferin Says:

    The appalling nationalism of the Chinese is worse than anything we saw at the height of European or American colonialism.

    World War 2 and the Holocaust ring a bell, or did you wash your hands of that with the blood of Arab children? Let me guess, it has nothing to do with you because you aren’t German. But it’s fine to tar 1,400,000,000 Chinese people for the actions of perhaps 100 people who stepped out of line.

  30. ferin Says:

    “Many Chinese Christians believe that a broad Christian constituency throughout China will be one of the few assurances that China can make a successful transition to democracy governance without violence.”

    i.e convert everyone to *our* religion and *our* religion only because I feel only people of my faith can have a soul or a conscience.

    the CCP is too soft on these arrogant, deceiving Christians.

  31. ferin Says:

    and how funny for Michael Turton to talk about minor scuffles as “worse than American colonialism”. What a fucking pig.

    Especially because this is about NEW ZEALAND, where much of the native population was butchered by evil Europeans.

    Yes, you enslaved blacks, wiped out many of the aboriginals of South America, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Siberia, tossed Jews, homosexuals, and leftists into furnaces, poisoned China with drugs, and bombed Arabs to steal oil. That doesn’t give you a right to wipe your bloody hands off on the nearest person you run by.

  32. perspectivehere Says:

    ferin, you wrote,

    “i.e convert everyone to *our* religion and *our* religion only because I feel only people of my faith can have a soul or a conscience.”

    I don’t know if that is what David Aikman meant when he said what he said in the interview I cited.

    I do think that many people outside China view the 1.4 billion Chinese in a dehumanizing way. MyLaowai, who says he lives in China, sounds pretty ready to make sweeping negative statements about them.

    The point of quoting Aikman is to say, wait a minute, those of you who say China is whatever may not realise that these people who seem so foreign to some of you actually share the same religion some of you do.

    I could have just as easily mentioned that China has about 200 million Buddhists, but that does not surprise people as much.

    People often make dehumanizing assumptions about people they don’t know. At the end of the day, people are people, but they seem to forget that due to ignorance, fear, suspicion, blindness.

    I appreciate Seamus’ post because he seems to try to see people as individuals, despite being attacked by some of them. He’s not going to hate all Chinese because a few of them messed with him. He tries not to be blinded by fear and anger, and really tries to understand what’s going on.

    But I do agree with you that sometimes there are people who can only identify with people of their own religious orientation.

    For example there were Christians in the U.S. military who finally woke up to the horror of what they did when they found out after bombing Nagasaki that it was Japan’s historic Christian city and the bombers had used the city’s massive St Mary’s Cathedral as the target for their bombsight.
    http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig5/kohls3.html At least they woke up.

    Anthony De Mello is an example of a spiritual guide who drew much from religious traditions outside his own. Check him out when you have time:

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2065/is_2_51/ai_56063940/print

  33. Lorne Street Says:

    @perspectivehere

    I wouldn’t bother trying to engage ferin, he is a prolific China Troll who lives in America

    “I call all Chinese ‘wives’ of anti-Chinese spammers whores. Just like their whore husbands, who lick CCP dick for a buck and then whine about it on the internet.” – ferin

    “Ferin sometimes claims to be American, sometimes Canadian and at other times he calls the Republic of China his home country. One thing is for sure, he doesn’t know the least bit about life in China and tries to make up for his ignorance by calling other commenters all kinds of names and even insulting their spouses. He’s most likely some spoiled high school kid suffering Yellow Fever.” -Peking Duck

  34. wongt Says:

    good!
    我可以用中文發表看法嗎?

  35. seamus Says:

    wongt, 歡迎你寫中文。 不過我怕會看懂的人不多。

  36. ferin Says:

    Kinda funny how a Christian nation dropped a nuclear bomb on a Christian city..

  37. sss_nz Says:

    Nothing serious. Do your bar work.

  38. seamus Says:

    Thanks for the comment sss_nz.

    I will take your advice and mix myself a delicious cocktail.

    I also just noticed this thread:

    http://www.chinese.net.nz/bbs/thread-123480-1-1.html

    Why don’t you get an early night so you’ll be full of energy for the Chinese consulate in the morning? You did say you would be asking them to deny me Chinese visas in future. . .

  39. ALISTAIR ZHANG Says:

    MISUNDERSTANDING? OR PREJUDICE?
    THE AIM OF THE RALLY IS “SURPORTING BEIJING OLYMPIC GAMES” INSTEAD OF PROTESTING THE BLAMING CHINA BY FALSE STORY FROM SOME WESTERN MEDIA.
    PLEASE DO NOT ENLARGE THE LITTLE ACCIDENT. DIDNT U SEE THE CHINES AND NEW ZEALAND FLAG? DIDINT HEAR SLOGAN ” I LOVE CHINA AND NEW ZEALAND”, “PROMOTE NATIONALITIES HORAMONY IN NEW ZEALAND”?
    DIDINT HEAR THE NEW ZEALAND AND CHINESE NATIONAL ANTHEMS?

  40. seamus Says:

    Thanks for the comment Alistair. I already described exactly what I saw and experienced.

    Thanks for singing the New Zealand national anthem while waving your Chinese flags. Unfortunately I missed that part on account of being assaulted and asked to leave within minutes of arriving.

  41. Alfie Says:

    It’s always good to see a Kiwi who tried so hard to express his personal interest on chinese community in NZ. Not many Kiwis will even bother to know what ‘Alien’ chinese are doing in their own country.

    Understanding the language means understanding the culture first.
    When you ‘de-code’ one cultural event without thoroughly understanding of its cultural background, it always brings confusion and misunderstanding.

    It doesn’t only happen to Chinese, but also to Maori or Polynesian who are also flaged as ‘Barbarian’, ‘Uncivilised’ by some Euro-NZers who are talking ABOVE others.

    I am pretty sure that majority of chinese community would not agree with your opinions expressed in your article.

    It doesn’t surprise me what happened to you when you was wearing a t-shirt with ‘ROC’ flag on its back and standing among a large main-land chinese group in a WRONG time. What were you THINKING about??

    Mate! It likes you are waving a ‘Union Jack’ flag when confronting with a group of Maori activists in Waitangi Day. The only thing I can say is that you will get a TROUBLE if you are LOOKING for a trouble.

    Read some chinese books FRIST, talk to chinese and understand their culture. Don’t be like some kiwis who even live in China, but never make any effort to understand the local culture.

    It good to be humble instead of pointing a finger if you don’t really understand a thing. This is also one thing that Confucius taught Chinese people.

    P.S. I strongly disagree with any violence intent to cause bodily harm. Those people who offered violence should be arrested and removed from the public place.

  42. Alfie Says:

    By the way, have you had the permission of the young chinese fellow to publish his personal photo in your blog?

    It is rude and also illegal to publish someone’s photo without his or her permission in NEW ZEALAND even if you accused him of assaulting you.

    The RIGHT thing to do is to make a formal complaint against the fellow and to send the photo to the Police.

    Do you agree with me?

  43. seamus Says:

    Alfie:

    On the ROC flag t-shirt issue, my jacket was buttoned up so the flag was invisible at the time I was assaulted. You can see this in the photo above, taken immediately after the assault. There was no connection between the t-shirt I was wearing and the assault. Therefore accusations that I was ‘looking for trouble’ and found it are not meaningful.

    With regards to your suggestion that I just need to ‘understand Chinese culture’ some more. I spent most of the last decade doing just that. You even suggest that since I “don’t understand a thing” I should be humble and refrain from comment. Sorry, I was assaulted for no good reason at a hostile political rally. I have every right to comment on my experience. If my experiences make Chinese uncomfortable that is unfortunate. However, the solution is for Chinese demonstrators to stop behaving in a hostile and unlawful manner, not for the victims of their actions to refrain from talking about it.

    On the photo issue. I am also in the picture and the picture directly relates to my experiences. In fact the photo is clearly intended to be a record of how the protesters attacked me and drove me away. My assailant was happy to see this picture displayed over at Sky Kiwi. He even proudly identified himself. I don’t see the problem.

  44. PowerOfChina Says:

    can you write some articals that describe how white people killed so many marios in history?

    We would like to kown that as well. Dont just write something to against china.

  45. seamus Says:

    PowerOfChina: My article is not ‘against China’. My article is about the nature of a Chinese political demonstration in Auckland.

    Why don’t you write a comment that relates to my article instead of raising the unrelated issue of Maori-European relations?

    There are plenty of books and articles covering the history of Maori-European relations. If you are genuinely interested in the subject I suggest you go and read those.

    Maori-European relations has attracted far more scholarly attention than, for example, Chinese-Aboriginal relations in Taiwan. Chinese in Taiwan have yet to seriously ask themselves whether and how they screwed over Taiwan’s Austronesian indigenous peoples. Only a couple of years ago Vice-President Annette Lu was suggesting aboriginals be shipped to South America!

    Furthermore, the English literature on Maori-European relations is far more objective than the Chinese literature on Chinese-Tibetan relations. Chinese writers who attempt objective treatments of Chinese-Tibetan relations frequently find themselves the subject of state harassment. One example would be Wang Lixiong, author of thoughtful, and emphatically NOT “anti-Chinese” articles such as this one: http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=2380. Wang Lixiong’s writing is the type of stuff that should be making both sides of the Tibet issue do a little soul searching. He has an objective perspective that is also Chinese. Unfortunately objectivity is not welcome and the Chinese government attempts to shut him down.

  46. RicoBoby Says:

    No one bother talking about Maori – European issue, Maori has been minoritized and even Maori people do not bother speaking their native languages. Talking about inter-race of inter-nation issues, jungle rules apply worldwidely. History is written by winner (more often than not are stronger, luckier, and shamelesser) in winner’s language, and dead people don’t protest. So called ‘human’ civilization is more founded on the expoitation of the seemingly unlimited resources and Modern People are addicted to it. There is no way back to stone-age. Talking about ‘human rights’ and ‘freedom’, there is nothing more attempting than that. First issue is who is qualified for human, of cause the stronger, I often hear dark people, barbarian, black people, criminals, man-eater addressed on loser unopenly. The page of history is always heavy to open. (to be continued).
    Thanks for the webmaster giving me a place to share some humble idea of mine.

  47. Steve Says:

    Seamus: I was there that day. Those Pro-Chinses demonstrators were friendly to me. I’ve been told they want the unbiased report to China and Beijing Olympic game from the media.
    Anyway, I agree with what Alfie said: “Mate! It likes you are waving a ‘Union Jack’ flag when confronting with a group of Maori activists in Waitangi Day. The only thing I can say is that you will get a TROUBLE if you are LOOKING for a trouble.”
    Esspecially the last sentence: ” You will get a TROUBLE if you are LOOKING for a trouble.”

  48. seamus Says:

    Steve: Thanks for the comments. I’m pleased to hear everybody was very friendly to you. My experiences were obviously different, as were the experiences of various other people up and down Queen Street.

    Yet again, I need to emphasize a couple of points. I have already made these points very clear but not everybody reads thoroughly.

    First, the t-shirt was not visible prior to my being attacked. The t-shirt only became visible when I unbuttoned my jacket to reassure the hostile crowd that I was not a pro-Tibet activist hiding a Snow Lion design. This occurred long after the assault was over. Nobody expressed any issue whatsoever with the T-shirt. The trouble occurred because they assumed (incorrectly) that I was a pro-Tibetan activist. My t-shirt is simply irrelevant.

    Second, I was not “LOOKING for trouble”. In fact the situation was EXACTLY the opposite. The people who attacked me were “LOOKING for trouble”. In fact they were so eager for trouble that they did not even attempt to confirm I was a Tibetan activist before attacking me.

    I am offended by the insinuations that I am somehow to blame when a bunch of people at an Olympics Celebration (it even wasn’t billed as a nationalist political rally) decide to attack me without provocation and based on incorrect assumptions.

    Can we stop chasing the non-issue of a t-shirt that nobody could even see?

  49. Steve Says:

    Seamus: Thanks for your reply.
    Ok, I give up. At least, I don’t have to listen to what other guys say, and I believe what I was seeing.
    Good luck to you, mate.

  50. Rich Says:

    Sounds like at least some of the Chinese demonstrators are like the English kids who go around disgracing my country of birth whenever we play soccer overseas.

    How do “overseas Chinese” feel about the mainland government? I know East Europeans and Cuban expats were/are mostly hostile to the communist regimes in those countries, but wondered if a Taiwanese or Hong Konger would feel the same way. Has China’s espousal of capitalism changed things? And what’s a G&T, other than a drink? (generalisation here, I know).

  51. Blue Says:

    I agree with Steve. You will get a TROUBLE if you are LOOKING for a trouble. Although you commented you were not looking for trouble, I guess at least you did not make effort to communicate to the people who “attacked” you. You are good at Chinese and you have done a good job for the translation of some stuff at Sky Kiwi. Yes, why didn’t Steve meet any trouble or unfriendly Chinese on that day? Why just you?

    Thank you anyway, because I am not “looking for trouble too”.

  52. seamus Says:

    Blue, thanks for joining the chorus of people blaming me for getting assaulted.

    In fact, you even seem to doubt that I was assaulted (i.e. you put quotation marks around the word ‘attacked’). Go and check on Sky Kiwi if you don’t believe me. Last time I looked there where photos up there captioned something like “The guy we kicked because we mistook him for a Tibetan protester”. So Chinese witnesses also say that I was assaulted and that it was unprovoked. You don’t believe me or them. It seems you just don’t want to believe it happened. Why?

    In any case, it was not just me that experienced trouble. As described above there were numerous violent events.

    I don’t doubt that Steve found the event friendly and experienced no trouble. Steve must not have been in the same places at the same time that I was. Steve may also be Chinese himself, or at least Asian.

  53. Blue Says:

    Hi Seamus,

    Thank you for your prompt rely.

    I feel really sorry that you experienced a tough time. I wouldn’t doubt that sometimes there exists the misunderstanding.

    I could also smell the lack of trust when you say Steve may also be Chinese himself. Usually people will make comparision(i.e. what Steve experienced and what you experienced) on the same basis. I believe if Steve looks like Asian, he would not compare his experience with yours. Anyway, I do not know who he is, but I hold the view that trust among people, especially those from different nations, will make the whole world become more beautiful and more peaceful. I believe that’s what God wants.

    I am afraid some of your words in your blog may bring more misunderstanding among people. That’s not what I hope for. We should admit there are both good people and bad people in any country and from any nation. The title of “ugly nationalistic Chinese …” just seems to be sending the message that you are against all the Chinese. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    As I said, I am not looking for trouble. I also have both Western and Chinese firends in Auckland, or in many other countries. Some of them are husbands and wives, and they have lovely children. I believe they wouldn’t want to face the situation someday that their children have to choose whether they are Chinese or not.

    So, why don’t we start to give others a sweet smile, rather than waste time facing to the computer. I believe nobody will hit a smiling face.

  54. kevin Says:

    have u been assaulted? physically or psychologistilly? stop making up stories, you are like a 60yrs woman – a gossipmonger.
    all right, nature of Nationalistic Chinese Demonstration in Auckland – ugly?? what about kiwi nature in auckland? lying, stealing, cheating?!?! i would like to use “disgusting” to discribe kiwi culture.

  55. seamus Says:

    Hi Blue,

    I do not question the truthfulness of Steve’s experiences. However, I do question whether he is misrepresenting himself. He gave the impression that his experiences were directly comparable to mine (i.e. that he is another non-Chinese attending the rally). I just suggest they may not be directly comparable. My reasons for being suspicious? First, he appears not to be a native English speaker. Second, he found this site only after local Chinese language sites linked here. Third, he was very keen to suggest that I must have instigated the thing (and in making that suggestion indicated some familiarity with the whole cross-Strait political issue). Therefore, I wonder whether he is not Chinese himself.

    Of course questioning Steve does not mean I am saying there were no non-Chinese at the rally who did not experience problems. Photographs online and accounts by Chinese attendees at the rally indicate that non-Chinese attendees were there. Obviously everyone had their own individual experiences of the event. I happened to arrive at a violent moment and get caught up in the violence. People standing around the main stage would not have seen what I saw.

    The title “Ugly Nationalistic Chinese Demonstration” means what it means. Let me break it down for you. The demonstration was certainly “Ugly” (maybe not the whole thing, but certainly some parts – e.g. the violence). It was “Chinese”. It was “Nationalistic”. The title is simply describing what I saw.

    The title should not give you the impression that I am anti-Chinese. The title simply refers to one event, an event that only a minority of Chinese in Auckland attended, and where only a minority of attendees (although quite a large one) behaved badly.

  56. perspectivehere Says:

    I’ve really been enlightened by the discussion here and even the occasional flamer because they all have made me think.

    Earlier I posted that the behavior exhibited at this event seems uncharacteristic from my experience of overseas Chinese and Chinese students, and that there must be some explanation for why they are expressing themselves this time this way. Then I came across this interview with Hung Huang (a media personality nicknamed “China’s Oprah”) that has given me some insight on some of the emotions that Chinese are feeling:

    http://www.danwei.org/featured_video/hong_huang_on_torch_fiasco.php

    Of course, the hurt that Hung Huang says Chinese are genuinely feeling (i.e., not made up, as some people suggest) still does not excuse acts of violence by some at the event in Auckland and that Seamus has experienced. But it does help us to put it into perspective.

    Seamus’ quote from Lord of the Flies made me reflect that everyone (even a bunch of innocent schoolboys on an island) is prone to joining in tribal irrational violent behavior when they mass in a crowd and there is a loss of authority in control (the 1963 movie has a memorable scene where the boys are rescued and the uniform of the naval officer seems to be symbolic of the restoration of order. Not sure whether that image was part of the original novel).

    I took part in a riot once after my university won a football (American) league championship. It started innocently with the fans rushing on the field, ripping out the goal post and throwing it into the river. Good fun. Then the crowd moved on to campus and trashed the library, destroying furniture and smashing walls. There were no guards. It was insane and I wasn’t part of the destruction although I laughed along with everyone else. Afterwards my roommate talked about how disgusted he was at the behavior, and I knew he was right, and felt a bit of shame at just going along with it all. I learned something about avoiding the madness of crowds.

    Now here’s a question for Seamus which is appropriate considering that this is a blog devoted to drinking. What beverage would be appropriate for Chinese parade-goers?

    The Irish have Guinness for their annual March 17 celebration of culture, faith and pride. 18th and 19th century Irish Catholic immigrants in America, a downtrodden but rising minority group, started the St Patrick’s Day parade in the face of what they perceived to be a discriminatory Protestant environment. The parade became an annual institution and now has spread around the world and back to Ireland itself.

    But in the U.S. the celebration is also widely criticised as a day of ugly nationalism and rowdy violence. Google “St Paddy’s Day Brawl” and you find 158,000 entries (although not all are about parade violence but for a boxing event called “Erin go Brawl”). People love it and hate it. Every year there are opinion pieces from the haters like this:

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/ian_williams/2007/03/how_green_is_my_guiness.html

    and this:

    http://obsidianwings.blogs.com/obsidian_wings/2004/03/st_patricks_day.html

    Some of the comments to those articles sound a lot like the comments to this one.

    But the annual celebration endures, and somehow our multiethnic society survives.

    Is there a Kiwi version of St Paddy’s Day?

    If so, do you think Chinese in NZ will develop their version of the St Patrick’s Day parade, replete with flags, silly T-shirts, buttons saying “I heart China” and “Kiss me I’m Chinese” and – ready for it now – red beer?

  57. Lorne Street Says:

    There is a St Patrick’s day parade which is colourful and children orientated; a few Asian groups always join the parade to dance and beat drums; this year Queen st was closed off for a period with a free concert. Any big drinking events are inside licensed premises and will follow responsible host guidelines.

    There is a large lantern festival held in the inner city every year; CNY also has events; so I would say that this is already covered, along with other suburban events that are also programmed.

    perspectivehere, your example of a riot was in your home town is not relevant; I have also been outside Beijing stadium after a soccer match between something like Beijing and Shandong and there was some very heavy action with big rocks thrown through bus windows and more; but that is quite another thing from being in another country and instituting violence against people who have a clear democratic right to express their opinion, and innocent bystanders like Seamus; going beyond the laws of the country.

    It is okay if about a thousand foreigners gather in Tienanmen during the Olympics; not to protest anything about China, but to protest about the great commercial crock of shit that the Olympics has become, protest about the Olympics banning overly commercialized and highly professional sports like soccer, basketball, tennis and many more; protest about banning athletes who have been in concentration training prisons since small kids; and a few other things.

  58. Lorne Street Says:

    perspectivehere believes the violent and ugly behavior exhibited to be uncharacteristic?
    By the mentality of Kevin, ferin and other posters here, and especially by what goes on Skykiwi, it does not seem to be uncharacteristic.

  59. Gosh Says:

    “A few years ago, when I was crossing the road in Wellington, I was cursed by a Maori man, for no apparent reason. If the same happens again today, I think I can at least explain that because I’m Chinese.”

    I found it interesting that most Hk nese put so much emphasis on separating themselves from mainland Chinese as those Chinese are somehow inferior and less educated than the Hong Kongnease. The comment above explictly expressed such view.

    The Maori man who screamed at you was being racist but instead of thinking it was his problem, you personalise it and attribute it to being Chinese. It’s pretty much a joke by itself.

    I wonder why all those HK movie stars including Jackie Chan proudly announce their affiliation with China so strongly because they see if there are problems, all Chinese (Mainland or HK) should work together rather than finger pointing each other and destroy other ppl’s esteem. Racism happens most often within the Chinese community. No wonder Chinese from mainland were so angry towards the outsiders. But such behaviours are definitely out of order and need to be deterred.

  60. Elliot Street Says:

    Nice one Blue, accuse Seamus of playing with words, using isolated words to confront people and attract attention; but this doesn’t stop you from straight away taking an isolated quote and twisting it to attack Seamus; hypocrisy doesn’t come to mind?

    It was blatantly obvious that Steve is not a native English speaker; no need to make accusations against him of being this or that, but it is clear that you can not take him seriously.

  61. seamus Says:

    Several people just left inflammatory and false comments.

    Specifically, people accused me of being a pro-Tibetan activist. I am not. People also accused me of attending a pro-Tibetan demonstration held outside the Chinese consulate. I did not attend that demonstration. I have never attended any pro-Tibetan demonstration.

    I have had no option but to delete a bunch of comments. Sorry.

    I have tried to be extremely fair to both sides. I have published all comments up until this point regardless of which side they support. However, if one side insists on lying and spreading false rumors about me, my only option is to censor that side. There is no reason I should let people use aliases to slander me on my own website.

    Of course at the end of the day it reflects more badly on the accusers than it does on me.

  62. seamus Says:

    I deleted several comments last night and removed a couple more than probably should have been removed. For example, Blue accused me of false translation and other stuff. It is hard to tell what she really means because it does not make much sense. Anyway, her original comment is below. I should put it back so people can see what Elliot Street is responding to above.

    —————-

    “Hi Seamus

    As an interpreter who knows both English and Chinese, I should say you are good at playing with words. But the fundamental principle of translation should be assisting the communication, rather than using isolated words to confront people and to attract attention. If you do that, you would have trouble in communicating even with someone who speak the same language, or come from the same nation.

    In your reply to my other comment on the incident in front of McDonald, you said you were banned from Sky Kiwi for expressing different opinions.

    “Anyone who has been following the recent Tibet riots will be familiar with the story. Peaceful protests in Tibet somehow become violent riots.”

    The above is what I quoted from the link you gave. Have you been in Tibet at that time? Did you get the idea of “peaceful protests in Tibet” from the media or by your own eyes? Whatever the protest is, ordinary people should not die. Is this the reason that you are banned from Sky Kiwi?

    Personally I strongly object violence. I could also understand that sometimes some people may take extreme actions when they are confronted. Especially when people feel that the truth is distorted, they might take it personally. I think we could still remember the story of a New Zealand MP punched the other MP in the parliament when he was confronted. I do not want to say he will represent all the local people in New Zealand. So why don’t we have more tolerance and patience with those people who may not behave in the same way as what you expect?

    I would like to say that New Zealand is improving, China is improving and the whole world is improving. We should focus on the good aspects and look at the bright side.”

  63. seamus Says:

    Blue,

    Can you find tell me exactly how I am “playing with words” in my translation? Give me an example.

    Can you also tell me what part of my statement “peaceful protests in “Tibet somehow become violent riots” is false? The statement means this: initially there were peaceful protests, subsequently there were violent riots; there appears to have been some connection but the details are obscure”. What part of that do you have a problem with? The statement does not mean “Peaceful protests in Tibet have incorrectly been labeled violent riots”. If you think it does mean something like this then you are a poor interpreter who gets confused by simple English.

    You say you disapprove of violence but can understand people behaving violently when “confronted”. Are you suggesting I “confronted” the people who attacked me? I didn’t. I had my back to them.

  64. Blue Says:

    Seamus, it is Elliot Street, not Lorne Street. I hope the two streets are not the only one street.

    I am done here, because I am busy with other things. Your reply is just a good example of you being excellent with handing language.

    Thank you anyway, as I won’t take it personally. bye.

  65. seamus Says:

    OK Blue, fine. Make accusations, don’t back them with fact (in fact don’t even provide an example of what you are accusing me of), then leave.

  66. Evan Says:

    I am from mainland of China. Whatever you experienced in the rally, please everyone keep in mind they CANNOT represent the majority of RPC people. There are over a thousand of people, I believe most of them intend to act peacefully but extremilist are always there.

    I don’t care about BeiJing Olympic, since by using my family’s money, we won’t benefit from it, we general public can’t even have a say on that.

    At least half of my (RPC)Chinese fellows have same opinion. Completing degrees and finding jobs are exhausing enough. Call us “materialism” is fine. We have learnt not to accept everything the government told us like in the old days and our number is increasing. Anyway the rally itself can exacerbate participants’ emotion.

    I always stay out of all these “patronic” stuff. But what happened in the rally may influence local’s view on us. Feel free to pay a visit on HanHan’s blog,he is one of my favorite writer,his thinking are rather criticial, it presents the view you may not be aware of which oppossed by a large group of Chinese people -
    http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_4701280b010094qa.html

  67. sabah Mail Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY3_tibj7Uo

  68. seamus Says:

    Evan: Thanks for the comments. You seem to be one of the saner voices out there.

    Sabah Mail: That youtube video on the Seoul demonstrations is itself rather controversial. To find out what happened in Seoul would probably require sifting through lots of accounts in Korean and Chinese. Regardless, it seems clear that some of the Chinese students behaved extremely badly, even if others really were framed.

  69. Evan Says:

    I am another Evan. I am also from China.
    The Snow Lion flag was the flag of Tibet Army granted by the Chinese Qing dynasty government to the Tibet local government. The use of Snow Lion flag reinforce that Tibet was and is part of China. You can research on google for the history of the Flag.

  70. seamus Says:

    Evan II, thanks for commenting.

    I agree with you that people who believe Tibet is part of China should not necessarily have a problem with Snow Lion flags. Why does this flag have to be illegal in China? Why couldn’t it just be used as the flag of the Tibetan Autonomous Region? The Hong Kong SAR has its own flag after all. Banning the symbol makes little sense to me.

    As for your comments about the Qing. Snow Lion flags originated in Tibet and were used there before the Qing. So saying “the Snow Lion flag was given to Tibet by the Qing” seems less accurate than saying “the Qing allowed Tibet to use the Snow Lion flag”.

    Of course there are various versions of the Snow Lion flag. The Qing version was different from earlier Tibetan versions, and also from the version the pro-Tibet movement currently uses.

  71. rong Says:

    I just got one question, which race you think in NZ would be the easiest one to be discriminated?

    Asian people, and mostly are chinese in NZ.

    So the easiest to get bullied would attack local people? Would they be thugs? and these people would assult pacific islanders?

    what a bullshit logic!! use your brain before you speak!!

    have you ever seen chinese people smash people on the street? who are the easier victims to be robbed, burglared?

  72. barberdude Says:

    @sabah mail

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orkroFB_T9k&feature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkkB2m1gh-E&feature=related

    Re the idea that the Koreans framed the Chinese, here’s what an internet commenter had to say:

    “The men who are holding the wrench and the rock are holding them AFTER they were thrown against the Koreans by the violent Chinese protesters.”

    Another angry Chinese crowd sourced vid. Lot of ‘em coming out lately.

  73. barberdude Says:

    @rong

    “have you ever seen chinese people smash people on the street? who are the easier victims to be robbed, burglared?”

    Hooboy. Read the article before you speak. And after you read the article, please “use your brain before you speak” as you would say. Especially if comprehension isn’t your strong point.

  74. barberdude Says:

    @Evan I

    “please everyone keep in mind they CANNOT represent the majority of RPC people”

    Sorry dude, with Chinese attacking Koreans (in Korea nonetheless, where a Korean girl protesting for Tibet got a hole in her skull because pro-China protesters bashed it open with a rock), Australians (in Australia, where people got spat on and attacked as well ), NZers (in NZland, hello seamus), and most probably elsewhere the torch passed through, it looks like these “patriotic” Chinese actually represent majority of the Chinese population, not only in NZ, but worldwide. Right now, the impression is that the cool, level headed, person is actually the exception to the rule. HanHan is worth applauding, however, as mentioned he’s probably the exception to the rule. A certain Grace Wang as well. It looks like they are exceptions though. And since they refuse to be riled up and be taken over with “patriotism” and get on with the “program”, they get abused by their fellow countrymen. Well, at least Grace Wang.

    http://tinyurl.com/6h55lz

    “Completing degrees and finding jobs are exhausing enough.”

    Yeah. Looks like Chinese patriots are full of vitality and energy though. They even have energy left to hold this harmonious “Olympic celebration”. And engage in some “physicals” as well.

  75. barberdude Says:

    @Blue

    Hooboy, I hope you’re not one of ‘em PRCbots that posts pro-china internet replies for a living. Haha, just kidding.

    “The above is what I quoted from the link you gave. Have you been in Tibet at that time? Did you get the idea of �peaceful protests in Tibet� from the media or by your own eyes? Whatever the protest is, ordinary people should not die. Is this the reason that you are banned from Sky Kiwi?”

    Come on, you can do better than that. The “have you been to Tibet” retort is getting real old. Make use of your brain and be creative once in a while, will ya?

    “Especially when people feel that the truth is distorted, they might take it personally.”

    Yeah, and when you take it personally, you are now excused and have all rights to run amok. Woohoo!

    “I think we could still remember the story of a New Zealand MP punched the other MP in the parliament when he was confronted. I do not want to say he will represent all the local people in New Zealand.”

    Happens in a lot of countries I think. At least it’s just one dude. I think Koreans (or was it Taiwanese?), have this video of their parliament where lawmakers were throwing punches and chairs at each other. It’s still not excusable, although it can be funny.

    “So why don�t we have more tolerance and patience with those people who may not behave in the same way as what you expect?”

    You’re missing the point genius. It’s an entirely different matter when foreigners attack and mob me in my own country, even if everything I was doing was just standing around, minding my own business… If they mobbed me in their own country, it would still be wrong but I would be a bit more forgiving.

    “I would like to say that New Zealand is improving, China is improving and the whole world is improving. We should focus on the good aspects and look at the bright side.�

    Yeah let’s. Although I think seamus and the other people that got wronged deserve a sincere apology first. After all, I think that’s in line with Chinese culture. I ask all Chinese who think that what happened was wrong, to sincerely apologize. I haven’t been wronged myself, but I am certain you agree that it is the proper thing to do.

  76. barberdude Says:

    @Gosh

    “I wonder why all those HK movie stars including Jackie Chan proudly announce their affiliation with China so strongly because they see if there are problems, all Chinese (Mainland or HK) should work together rather than finger pointing each other and destroy other ppl�s esteem.”

    Are you sure? Isn’t the reason economic in nature?

    “Racism happens most often within the Chinese community.”

    Really? Whoa. If racism is real bad within the Chinese, I wonder what happens when they start dealing with non-Chinese. Makes one think.

  77. barberdude Says:

    @perspectivehere

    “Earlier I posted that the behavior exhibited at this event seems uncharacteristic from my experience of overseas Chinese and Chinese students”

    You sure you know more than one Chinese person? Haha. Just kidding. Anyway, like I mentioned, basing on the torch’s path and recent events, it seems like it is characteristic of overseas Chinese. The hole in the skull Korean girl, attacks on Australians, etc., add to that the Grace Wang incident, where netizens hunted down her parent’s address and tel numbers, making threatening calls, attacking their house, vandalizing and breaking windows, forcing them into hiding all because she didn’t agree with other “Chinese patriots”; and the USC incident where a Tibetan monk making a speech (lecture?) got shouted down by Chinese students in the audience (heck, there was even a flying water bottle). Even the paraplegic Chinese torch carrier, who was lauded as a hero for defending the torch in Paris, got labeled as a traitor several days later because she opposed a boycott of French retailer Carrefour. So, yeah. It actually looks pretty characteristic.

    “Of course, the hurt that Hung Huang says Chinese are genuinely feeling (i.e., not made up, as some people suggest) still does not excuse acts of violence by some at the event in Auckland and that Seamus has experienced.”

    Yeah!

    “But it does help us to put it into perspective.”

    The vid was already down, but I scanned the comments. Sounds like it’s another “you don’t understand China, so you have no right to comment” argument, which is another argument that is getting pretty old. Would appreciate a fresh link though. Not sure if anything can actually put assaulting innocent bystanders in “perspective” (Dude, we beat you up but you see, you don’t understand our hurt. Please understand).

    “Seamus� quote from Lord of the Flies made me reflect that everyone (even a bunch of innocent schoolboys on an island) is prone to joining in tribal irrational violent behavior when they mass in a crowd and there is a loss of authority in control”

    Yeah. I guess it’s okay to mob and attack people because, after all, it’s not my fault I lose rationality. But even if I did, I’d try to not do it in foreign soil where I’m currently staying as a guest. I mean, my actions can be misconstrued as representative of all members of my ethnicity and nationality whose members happen to be a harmonious bunch.

    “I took part in a riot once after my university won a football (American) league championship.”

    Really? I wonder what university you’re referring to. Must be a lame one for having such students. Haha. Kidding.

    “…I laughed along with everyone else. Afterwards my roommate talked about how disgusted he was at the behavior, and I knew he was right, and felt a bit of shame at just going along with it all.”

    How can he not see the fun in that?

    “The Irish have Guinness for their annual March 17 celebration of culture, faith and pride.”

    Good for them. As long as they keep it peaceful. And it’s nice that its pretty inclusive of other nationalities.

    “But in the U.S. the celebration is also widely criticised as a day of ugly nationalism and rowdy violence. Google �St Paddy�s Day Brawl� and you find 158,000 entries”

    You’re pulling my leg my friend. Only 9,250 results. Are you sure you’re not one of ‘em PRC bots? Haha. Kidding.

    http://tinyurl.com/4eqhjo

    “People love it and hate it. Every year there are opinion pieces from the haters like this:”

    I don’t see any hate man. The guy feels like St. Patrick’s is a big pain, but no hate (I mean, the thing he hates most about it is the green beer). If you ask the people who got assaulted by Chinese patriots, they’d probably say that they the part of the rally they didn’t like most was being assaulted.

    “Some of the comments to those articles sound a lot like the comments to this one.”

    Erm, no. Did you even read the articles and comments? There were even references and quotes from poets and literature. None of that happening here. And there definitely weren’t any apologists there. Haha.

    “But the annual celebration endures, and somehow our multiethnic society survives.”

    Maybe because it doesn’t involve attacking passersby?

    “If so, do you think Chinese in NZ will develop their version of the St Patrick�s Day parade, replete with flags, silly T-shirts, buttons saying �I heart China� and �Kiss me I�m Chinese� and – ready for it now – red beer?”

    You forgot to mention the most enjoyable part – running after innocent bystanders and beating ‘em up. Haha. Kidding of course. I’m sure the red beer and red motif will match it though.

  78. barberdude Says:

    @kevin

    “have u been assaulted? physically or psychologistilly?”

    Please read the post again, you half wit.

    “i would like to use �disgusting� to discribe kiwi culture.”

    Well, go ahead.

  79. barberdude Says:

    @Blue May 9th, 2008 at 4:16 am

    “I could also smell the lack of trust when you say Steve may also be Chinese himself.”

    Uh, yeah. He could be Tanzanian masquerading as some other nationality for all we know. But you know, you have to trust everyone on “teh internets”.

    “I do not know who he is, but I hold the view that trust among people, especially those from different nations, will make the whole world become more beautiful and more peaceful. I believe that�s what God wants.”

    Let me guess, you are currently trusting that a Nigerian prince you’ve wired money to will soon send millions of $$$ to your bank account. After all, you do trust him, and that’s what God wants. And I would also like to ask you what it is God wants for my life.

    “We should admit there are both good people and bad people in any country and from any nation.”

    Duh. Haha. Too bad these “bad Chinese protesters” seem to be everywhere, assaulting and intimidating people. But hey, I’m sure they’re just a minority.

    “The title of �ugly nationalistic Chinese �� just seems to be sending the message that you are against all the Chinese.”

    Dude, you probably just interpreted the message the wrong way. Anyway, I guess we should call them beautiful nationalistic Chinese then. Or maybe harmonious nationalistic Chinese would be better.

    “I believe they wouldn�t want to face the situation someday that their children have to choose whether they are Chinese or not.”

    If ever this happens, it’s their fellow Chinese who will be forcing them to choose. After all, they’re the ones who coined the term “race-traitor”. But yes, hopefully this does not happen.

    “So, why don�t we start to give others a sweet smile, rather than waste time facing to the computer. I believe nobody will hit a smiling face.”

    I’ll smile at you if I see you. Haha.

  80. barberdude Says:

    Looks like I spent quite some time commenting. Anyway, I just realized that the quality of my comments deteriorated towards the end, and I apologize to seamus for that. It’s just that a lot of the comments I read were “party line” comments you encounter a lot elsewhere, and it’s just so tiring reading them here again. Add to that comments with no real substance and one with grossly wrong references and claims. I mean, come on, at least get the number of Google results correct.

    Anyway, I apologize if I appear as a troll, and would very much appreciate it if all the people I’ve replied to not take anything personally. I’m sure we can all get along in real life, PRCbot or not.

    And lastly, on behalf of all the people who have been assaulted all around the world by rowdy, out of control protesters, I ask that all reasonable peace loving Chinese citizens give them a sincere apology, all for the sake of global harmony. Please, a simple apology does wonders. That is all.

  81. perspectivehere Says:

    barberdude – salamat po. You’re right. I did mess up when I cited my google search results. I rechecked the google search for “St Paddy’s Day Brawl” (no quotes) and came up with only 47,600 results. Then I tried again with “Saint Paddy’s Day Brawl” (again, no quotes) and came up with 158,000 results.

    But I don’t know why your Philippine Google search only turned up so few results. Try entering “Saint Patrick’s Day Brawl” – you’ll get over 400,000 references.

    Of course, as I tried to suggest, not all of them were fights that took place as part of the St Patrick’s Day partying.

    And the 2 essays I chose took a light, reflective and humorous approach to describe the violence that often accompanies the annual St Patrick’s Day partying.

    But if you need more graphic examples to see what I am really talking about, here are a few representative examples:

    “St. Patrick’s Day Brawl between Massachusetts and Virginia Lines”

    March 17, 1778

    “Today a brawl developed between the various Pennsylvania Troops, German and Irish. The German troops rigged up a grotesque Paddym and displayed it in Camp. This caused the Irish to be indignant, but ascribing it to New England Troops, proceeded to wreak their vengeance upon them. His Excellency quashed it and ordered a grog for all.”

    http://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/youasked/072.htm

    “Jail for mass brawl on St Patrick’s Day
    17/12/2007

    ST PATRICK’S Day celebrations at a Burton pub erupted into violence, with a mass brawl spilling out into the street, a judge has heard.

    Drunken men attacked the landlord of the Byrkley Arms, members of his family and innocent customers “like animals”, Stafford Crown Court was told.

    One of the victims, 62-year-old Martin Cafferky, the father of the licensee, was kicked unconscious and spent 10 days in hospital having reconstructive surgery to an eye socket.

    His son, Michael, the landlord’s brother, suffered a depressed fracture of the cheekbone, said Alexander Jacobs, prosecuting.

    Around a dozen men were involved in the brawl, but only three have so far been brought to justice.”

    http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/burtonmail-news/DisplayArticle.asp?id=242452

    “Tuesday Apr 29
    Firefighter says police jumped him in Granville brawl
    One of two men charged in a Granville Street brawl with police on St. Patrick’s Day last year will be in the witness box Tuesday in Vancouver.”

    http://www.topix.com/holidays/st-patricks-day/2008/04/firefighter-says-police-jumped-him-in-granville-brawl

    St Patrick’s Day Brawl in Portland Maine
    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=30525457

    St Patrick’s Day Brawl
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/531451/st_patricks_day_brawl/

    St. Patrick’s Day Throwdown, Part 1/2
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VrGKqKmOUtM&feature=related

    “Brooklyn Youth Is Held in Near-Fatal, Videotaped Beating During Parade Brawl
    A Brooklyn teen-ager who the police said was caught on videotape viciously kicking and beating an 18-year-old Bronx high school senior near the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was arrested yesterday and charged with assault.

    ….Captain Roe said the police were still searching for another suspect who was involved in the beating, which left Mr. Sarti on life support.

    Although it is unclear why Mr. Sarti was jumped, Captain Roe said that several brawls broke out along Madison Avenue near 59th Street about 2 P.M. on Monday during the parade, as about 20 teen-agers from Bay Ridge squared off against another group from the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx. Teen-agers from both groups had apparently been drinking before the fighting, Captain Roe said.

    Mr. Sarti, who was kicked repeatedly in the head and suffered heavy bleeding in his skull, remained comatose in extremely critical condition late last night at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center, where his family and friends gathered all day. The family requested that the hospital release no further details on his condition.

    Captain Roe said most of the fistfights lasted only a few minutes, but no sooner had one ended than another would begin somewhere else along the block. Not all the Bay Ridge and Throgs Neck teen-agers were involved in the fights, the captain said.”

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9402E4DB1138F93AA25750C0A961958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=print

    This was just from the first few pages of google results.

    Despite this level of extreme violence that have accompanied the St Patrick’s Day celebrations each year, somehow people manage to deal with it.

    Violence is a terrible thing and people need to exercise more self control. But when you get a lot of people together, without good crowd control, things get out of hand. I don’t think it’s particular to Chinese, or Irish, or any other ethnic group.

    A lot of comments on this blog suggest that what Seamus experienced indicates a particular propensity to violence among Chinese. I don’t think that is accurate at all.

    To suggest that actually indicates the onset of racist stereotyping and prejudice. Instead of seeing people as they are, you see a stereotype.

    The discussion here is unfortunately devolving into mindless namecalling.

    Here’s a humorous take on stereotyping: Comedian Greg Giraldo on Black/White:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PZ_VK-Cbhw

    The point I’m making is — lighten up and put it all into perspective.

    And let’s not turn violence into hate.

    Seamus is thoughtful, and writes a lot about what he experienced.

    Seamus should consider himself blessed that he didn’t get hurt.

    And he should probably stay away from St Patrick’s Day parades – I would hate to see what he says about the Irish if someone picks on him there.

  82. seamus Says:

    Perspectivehere, thanks for the long post. Barberdude may reappear and reply in due course.

    I have never run into problems on St. Patrick’s day. Mind you, I have only ever spent St. Patrick’s days in New Zealand, Taiwan and China. I’ve never attended the New Zealand parade. All I have done is spend time in pubs. Speaking for myself, I have never encountered or witnessed any trouble on St. Patrick’s day. Obviously though, when you have large crowds of drunk people the potential is always there.

    If I did encounter trouble in a St. Patrick’s day parade I doubt I would be writing about it in a similar way to this event. I doubt the trouble I might encounter at such an event would have the clear nationalist/racist dimension (the marshal told me the square was “not safe for New Zealanders”, and so far as I can tell I was attacked because I was “not Chinese”).

    The parallel “St. Patrick’s Day” example you are seeking might be if Chinese attendees at a St. Patrick’s Day parade were attacked for not being Irish. I am unaware of this ever having happened at the Auckland St. Patrick’s Day parade. I have never attended myself, but I never heard of trouble associated with the Parade (perhaps because the event is held the weekend prior to St. Patricks and is disassociated from all the drinking). Notably, the Auckland St. Patrick’s Day parade does have a contingent of Chinese participants (not merely attendees). The Falun Gong join the parade with their own ‘Green Chinese float’. To me their presence is a bit odd (the Irish connection is obscure and I am not a Falun Gong fan), but nobody seems to mind them being there. I never heard of them getting assaulted by Irish nationalists.

    I would not say Chinese have a special propensity to assault people. However, I would say they have a stronger propensity than most to cover up or deny unpleasant events that could reflect poorly on themselves. So some extent this seems to be an Asian cultural trait. Many of the comments here from Chinese have ferociously attacked my credibility (when they started claiming I was pro-Tibet protester who had attended earlier demonstrations I censored several, meaning the comments now look more balanced than they probably should be). Commentary about me on Chinese sites (in response to this blog) has carried titles like “Chinese must be careful of this guy. Anyone with information on him please supply it.” Simply for describing my experiences I have become an enemy to many. There has been little to no interest in identifying who assaulted me. While some people support me, by writing about what happened I have mostly just opened myself to a fresh round of attack.

  83. fatty banana Says:

    so long, tired to read the whole thing, but i think i kindly know what you mean in thise post. and maybe some other comments through this issue, for all just happen in last few months, i feel really sad for human nature, as seems like people really think they are on the right side and talk very badly to those who have differet opinons, indeed speech attack.

    and i thinl around all those protests, no matter by chinese students and westerners for their salery, there do have someone talk very rude, and say dirty words, f**k, sh*t, etc etc. but can we say they are all like this? i was not there, but from what i know about chinese studetns and how aware they are now about how other people may contort their words, i don;t think majority will say such bad things.

    i am a chinese, i have that idea because i read their posts, replies, and many other things both in chinese and english, so if you don;t understand any chinese(language) there is a big chance that you just read what someone people wants you to read, i also read some posts by westners like “chinese are eating people’s flesh” well, can we say all westerners are all “nazi” ,interesting to see the real ‘nazi offsprings’ say other groups are nazi. can we say that? no, that is wrong, becaues there are also many many peaceful people who have more objective idea.

    i also saw lots of post like when people say something against their idea, such as tibetan history and chinese human rights, someone say they are from cv government, and that is fake posts, where that idea comes from? if you deny it, that better make the judgment after you do some research about what you don’t believe. that act doesn’t look like what it should be from a coutry and culture with more open mind and tridition. also as a chinese. i can tell that we don’t agree everything that governemnt say, and always deny what they are doing, but that doesn;t mean we will support everything that your newpaper say, and will support everything against our gov, we are looking forward that our gov can be more open and fix their mistakes, but it doesn’t mean we need other power to bother our inter issuse, especially those who seems like give their honest suggestion don’t speak and read in chinese and know little about our history and situation, and never been there.

    we would like to be discribes as patriotism, instead of nationalism, because it is two totally different meanings, so it won’t be a objective arrgument bese on the wrong definition. yeah, our english is not perfect, but we know the differences between the two, so once the media start using the word of nationalism, it leads to another way. a way that majority chinese will deny and say no.

    also i think there is a big chance that so many people from america and europe and other place have the misunderstanding about chinese, so do we. i hope people can give more respect to others and to their own at same time. when someone lights a candel in the church for the death of someone, it is also a time to light a candel for his contrary. because we can not simply say who is right, and who is wrong, things are complicated, and there are always a heavy fog cover the truth. back to the human nature, i don;t see any difference from people, no matter asian, european, african, and we are all selective blind to the stuff we don’t agree and don;t want to believe. the feeling is getting stronger and strong by the more i read in last few months, esoecially in english website and forums.

  84. wongt Says:

    seamus
    我覺得你寫得非常好!也引起了華人社區的注意,聽說有華人傳媒計划舉辦座談會邀請你參加,希望通過互動交流增進相互理解。
    華人社會是一個比較奇特的世界,有時表象未必完全反映其真正實質。除去浮躁輕狂,其實有更多沉穩睿智的內涵。更多的華人是尊重本地文化与价值觀的,他們也視此為自己的安樂家園。這里淳朴的KIWI、宜人的氣候与美麗的風景,都令人生出對上帝的感恩之心!認為自己和家人能生活於此,是人生之福家庭之幸。
    華社中有識之士正在推動華人關心本地時政,融入當地社會,知法守法,越來越多的華人將自己視為新西蘭人。
    你可能較少接触華人描寫新西蘭風景及生活的文章,很想推荐給你,并期望你能翻譯成英文,刊在你的网站上讓KIWI們欣賞,華人亦以盎格魯-撤克遜的人文情怀,謳歌著這片充滿英倫風情的凈土。希望你給我一個電郵地址,我從网上把文章轉給你,你會發現從華人視角看新西蘭的有趣与新奇。
    謝謝!

  85. Special Brew Man Says:

    Ultimately I think it was a bit of a tragedy you were attacked Seamus. The Chinese weren’t to know it, but they were attacking the one ‘foreigner’ around who really did have some understanding of their country. If it were me I would feel disheartened that people from a country I had devoted so much time to attacked me like this (I realise this to be subjective not objective). Their postion doesn’t seem to be anti the Tibet freedom cause, just anti anything non-Chinese.

  86. Special Brew Man Says:

    “你可能较少接触华人描写新西兰风景及生活的文章,很想推荐给你,并期望你能翻译成英文,刊在你的网站上让KIWI们欣赏”

    This is a good suggestion, I’d be interested to see NZ through a ‘Huaren’s’ eyes

  87. barberdude Says:

    @perspectivehere

    So that’s why it kind of felt like the google results felt funny… Haha. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Anwyay…

    “And the 2 essays I chose took a light, reflective and humorous approach to describe the violence that often accompanies the annual St Patrick�s Day partying.”

    Erm, the posts you cited didn’t mention any violence. Read ‘em again will ya? Kay?

    “But if you need more graphic examples to see what I am really talking about, here are a few representative examples:”

    �St. Patrick�s Day Brawl between Massachusetts and Virginia Lines�

    “March 17, 1778″

    �Today a brawl developed between the various Pennsylvania Troops, German and Irish….”

    March 17 when? 1778? Was electricity even already invented back then? And I think headhunting was probably still in vogue in some parts of the world during that time. Why did think that this would be a relevant example again? I’m really curious.

    Anyway, I’ve gone through your other cited “references”. Here’s my take on some of ‘em.

    “Drunken men attacked the landlord of the Byrkley Arms, members of his family and innocent customers �like animals�, Stafford Crown Court was told.”

    Note the mention of “drunken men”. Next. Vids? Of what? brawls? There’s a difference between vids of brawls and vids of mobs attacking a person. I was expecting vids of the latter. If you can’t show any, there are several red motifed ones floating on the internet. Haha.

    And lastly…

    “…several brawls broke out along Madison Avenue near 59th Street about 2 P.M. on Monday during the parade, as about 20 teen-agers from Bay Ridge squared off against another group from the Throgs Neck section of the Bronx.”

    “Squared off against”? So, is this like some sort of thug/ goon war? At least they weren’t attacking innocent bystanders like this certain group of people I know.

    “Teen-agers from both groups had apparently been drinking before the fighting, Captain Roe said.”

    Erm, drinking, again. I guess they weren’t too sober then.

    “Despite this level of extreme violence that have accompanied the St Patrick�s Day celebrations each year, somehow people manage to deal with it.”

    Dude, drunken gang members attacking each other? Come on! Of course people can “manage to deal with it”. And drunken people attacking other people? Probably happens during New Year and Christmas as well! To spell it out for you, St. Patrick isn’t at fault, just in case you still can’t get the point. On the other hand, like some comments above suggested, Chinese protests and protesters are actually very dangerous events for anyone with differing opinions. If merely waving a Tibetan flag can get your head cracked open…

    Oh, oh! I just realized something. You’re practically implying that:

    St Patrick’s day drunken gang member = typical Chinese protester

    Hmm. I don’t think the Chinese would like what you’re implying. Heck, I don’t think even the gang members would like it. Haha.

    “Violence is a terrible thing and people need to exercise more self control.”

    Yeah! At least be actually peaceful when “peacefully protesting”!

    “But when you get a lot of people together, without good crowd control, things get out of hand.”

    Dude, not necessarily true. Even if there’s no crowd control, as long as the people conduct themselves properly, everything will be fine. Or maybe you think that it’s the people in charge of crowd control that are at fault when a peaceful protest turns into an angry mob? Oh, sorry. I just realized that of course, it’s the crowd controller’s fault! (Seamus! you should blame the NZ police for you being assaulted by ‘em “peaceful” protesters! You should even sue the police! Stupid irresponsible wasters of taxpayers money!)

    “I don�t think it�s particular to Chinese, or Irish, or any other ethnic group.”

    Please cite instances of other ethnic groups mobbing innocent bystanders in countries where they are currently staying as guests. And please make sure that your citations are up to par this time.

    “A lot of comments on this blog suggest that what Seamus experienced indicates a particular propensity to violence among Chinese. I don�t think that is accurate at all.”

    Must be all the MSG. Makes ‘em cranky. Anyway, I don’t care that much if they beat up people in their own country, but please don’t do it in other people’s home countries.

    “To suggest that actually indicates the onset of racist stereotyping and prejudice. Instead of seeing people as they are, you see a stereotype.”

    Says you. Maybe they should just stop all of this “attacking other people” nonsense. I mean, amassing as a group, and attacking as a group? And calling their group ” We Chinese”? They’re practically stereotyping themselves. Don’t blame other people who may end up agreeing with their stereotype of themselves.

    “The discussion here is unfortunately devolving into mindless namecalling.”

    Really? I didn’t notice. Haha.

    “The point I�m making is � lighten up and put it all into perspective.”

    I thought that this was actually a light and loose discussion. I had no idea people were being tense. And yeah, let’s put things into perspective, with proper references and citations of course. Haha.

    “And let�s not turn violence into hate.”

    It’s the other way around my friend. I mean, come on. Randomly beating up people you meet? And hating them afterwards because you beat em up? Maybe it’s a Chinese cultural thing. I just don’t get it.

    “Seamus should consider himself blessed that he didn�t get hurt.”

    I hope this isn’t one of those “you’re lucky you didn’t get hurt this time, but if you’re not careful, you or your family can become really unlucky…” lines.

    “And he should probably stay away from St Patrick�s Day parades – I would hate to see what he says about the Irish if someone picks on him there.”

    No need to stay away. The parades seem benign enough.

    And lastly, I would once again ask all peace loving Chinese to apologize to Seamus at least. He has been wronged, and an apology will be a nice first step in mending things.

  88. barberdude Says:

    @fatty banana

    “and i thinl around all those protests, no matter by chinese students and westerners for their salery, there do have someone talk very rude, and say dirty words, f**k, sh*t, etc etc….”

    Let em curse all they want. As long as they don’t attack innocent bystanders.

    “…but can we say they are all like this?”

    Of course not. Just most of ‘em “peaceful Chinese protesters”. Haha. It’s global phenomenon I tell you, people getting attacked by these “peaceful protesters”.

    “…read some posts by westners like �chinese are eating people�s flesh�”

    Whoah.

    “well, can we say all westerners are all �nazi…�”

    Go ahead. No one’s stopping you.

    “…interesting to see the real �nazi offsprings� say other groups are nazi.”

    Yeah, blame ‘em Germans for their ancestor’s sins. That’s the way to do it.

    “can we say that? no, that is wrong, becaues there are also many many peaceful people who have more objective idea.”

    Like I said, you can think and say what you want.

    “i can tell that we don�t agree everything that governemnt say, and always deny what they are doing, but that doesn;t mean we will support everything that your newpaper say, and will support everything against our gov, we are looking forward that our gov can be more open and fix their mistakes,”

    Not bad.

    “but it doesn�t mean we need other power to bother our inter issuse,”

    Erm, wait. Is this the part where you start to discuss the CIA’s global conspiracy to split China? Oh boy. People are just protesting, see. It’s not like they can actually “split” Tibet from China. So don’t be mad at ‘em Tibet protesters.

    “especially those who seems like give their honest suggestion don�t speak and read in chinese and know little about our history and situation, and never been there.”

    Ho hum. Party line.

    “i hope people can give more respect to others and to their own at same time.”

    I agree.

    “…because we can not simply say who is right, and who is wrong, things are complicated, and there are always a heavy fog cover the truth.”

    Actually we can, especially if it involves mobbing and assaulting people.

    “back to the human nature, i don;t see any difference from people, no matter asian, european, african,”

    Not true. Lots of differences. Don’t tell me you think and act like your typical European. There’s a reason why there’s something we call “cultural barriers”.

    “and we are all selective blind to the stuff we don�t agree and don;t want to believe.”

    Don’t condemn everyone my friend. If you think that you are selectively blind, please don’t lump everybody else with you. That’s not for you to say.

    Anyway, good effort my friend.

  89. seamus Says:

    Fatty Banana:

    Thank you for trying to bring a more moderate voice to this discussion. And thank you for doing your best to write in English even though it probably wasn’t easy. I hope people reading what you wrote will bear in mind that because of English not being your native language you may not have expressed exactly what you intended. So hopefully they will be easy on you in places where they disagree.

    A couple of comments from me though:

    There was extensive violence around the world by Chinese nationalist demonstrators. That violence has mostly been strongly supported in Chinese language Internet forums. While these violent students may be a minority, they are a very large and visible minority. It would be very strange if people did not comment. I think you just have to expect the criticism, and I think Chinese need to accept it (at least the reasonable parts of it).

    I question your comment that selective blindness and ‘misunderstanding’ is more prevalent in English language than Chinese language websites and forums. I guess my experiences of Chinese language websites don’t match yours.

    wongt:
    謝謝你的支持。最近出來批評我的華人很多。在這個時候有向你這樣的人來支持我很不錯。真的會讓我覺得我寫東西不是浪費時間。

    關於座談的事,媒體沒有聯係我。我不知道他們會不會。反正如果他們要聯係我的話我不難找。

    關於華人描寫他們怎麽看紐西蘭的文章我會寫e-mail給你。

  90. perspectivehere Says:

    barberdude,

    A sense of history serves to put current events in perspective.

    The example from 1778 was to illustrate that incidents of anti-Irish bigotry and violent reaction have been associated with St Patrick’s Day since the very beginning. A “paddym” is a grotesque effigy of St. Patrick, intended to humiliate the Irish.

    http://www.stlhibernians.org/history/stpatrickaoh.htm

    “As early as 1799, frightened Irish Catholics on New York’s Lower East Side defended their national dignity against native-born Americans who paraded through their neighborhoods on St. Patrick’s Day bearing insulting effigies (dubbed “Paddies”) of the glorious saint. The custom of “Paddy making” became widespread in the early 1800′s and continued unabated until the middle of the nineteenth century. These provocative caricatures incensed those affronted by them.�

    St Patrick’s Day parades did not originate in Ireland. They actually started among Irish in the U.S. as a reaction to what they perceived as anti-Irish bigotry. Of course, that’s hard to understand today when the Irish are so well integrated into American life. But in the 19th century, many Irish were foreign newcomers to America. The parades were created, in part, as a public display of ethnic and nationalistic pride in the face of hostility and prejudice.

    See:

    http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/165067/st_patricks_day_in_america_and_ireland.html

    http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2008/03/happy-st-patricks-day/

    http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE4D71631F930A25751C0A965958260

    http://www.thewildgeese.com/pages/nycpara.html

    �The St. Patrick’s’ Day parades became a show of strength for Irish Americans.�

    When you read these articles on the historical roots of the St Patrick�s Day parade, you see them using some of the same words to describe how the Irish reacted to being surrounded by a hostile population, as the Chinese are using today. Acts of violence were commonly displayed particularly in reaction to perceived provocations by the surrounding population. For example, even today, there are those who warn you against wearing an orange shirt to a St Patrick�s Day parade, because that could be seen as a provocation, leading to violence. See this as an example:

    http://www.606studios.com/bendisboard/archive/index.php/t-60702.html

    When Chinese speak of the way they feel, they sense a widespread anti-Chinese sentiment being displayed in the world media. The attacks on the torch and the Olympics in general are by-and-large viewed by Chinese as attacks on them, not attacks on the government.

    This was predicted in an excellent article by James Fallows way back in October 2007. He wrote, with prescience:

    http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/postglobal/james_fallows/2007/10/ultimatums_wont_move_china.html

    �For every one Chinese person who said: �Yes! We respect Foreign Nation X for showing our undemocratic government the importance of human rights in foreign policy!� there would be a thousand more who said this instead: �Those foreigners! They humiliated our nation during the Opium Wars. They stood by while the Japanese humiliated us 70 years ago. And now, as we are preparing to welcome them and show them what we have achieved, they are determined to spoil our great event. That is because they simply cannot stand the idea of our success. Our long drive over the last 25 years should earn us success in the world, and the bastards simply won�t give it to us. We cannot trust them, because they will never accept us.�

    �I don�t see a lot of evidence of Chinese walking around with that chip on their shoulder right now. The Olympic Games cause a lot of grumbling � the shady land and construction deals, the razing of neighborhoods. But my observation is that many more people � average people � are actually proud of this upcoming event than skeptical of it, and that most of them think the world will be pleased and impressed by it, too. Foreign governments who deal with China surely understand this. If they don�t, they need new diplomats telling them what is going on.�

    He was right.

    The irony is that the more the anti-China rhetoric is raised, the more nationalistic the Chinese become.

    Actually, and I’m sure Seamus can attest to this, the Chinese are in fact culturally very diverse and disunified, separated by dialect, region, class, and history. People from Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong do not easily mesh, due to differences in traditions, language and culture, and left to themselves will more often than not break up into cliquish groups.

    But when the community faces an attack and the community reacts. External threats tends to build feelings of nationalism where none exist. The more the community is attacked, the more it tends to provoke a reaction.

    When this happens, people get agitated and some do and say stupid things. It�s an old story and happens to just about every race and creed. So what should we do about it?

    �Blessed are the peacemakers� means one should actively work to make peace, not simply passive �not fighting�, and certainly not to keep harping on who hurt who first, or who is more wrong, and insulting others.

    Peacemaking starts by seeing things from the others� perspective.

    The article below has a lot of good tips on how to make peace. It�s aimed at couples but it really can be generalized to all relationships:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/relationships/couples/comm_makepeace.shtml

    Here�s the best tip: �Assume the best – unless you have evidence to the contrary, always give your partner the benefit of the doubt.�

    It�s clear that Seamus loves Chinese language and culture, and no doubt he has a lot of friends in the Chinese community around the world. Perhaps he felt hurt that he was mistreated at the rally, and perhaps he felt a sense of rejection and disappointment that the �love� he has towards Chinese language and culture is not reciprocated. When he writes to SkyWiki and gives his opinion, he gets criticized and rejected (banned at some point), so he gets more upset. So he writes these long blogs to vent his feelings, and maybe it goes overboard here and there in some of the words he uses (if I were editing this, I would not have used the title he picked for it), but overall it is his personal experience, and he tries to put it all into perspective. I might not agree with some of the things he wrote, but I respect him for trying to understand it, and control his anger, and also for the advice he gives to community leaders on better planning for future events. A lesser individual would have taken a �Chinese go back to China� type of approach, which is all-to-common.

    Personally I think Seamus may be harbouring a romantic but unrealistic expectation that, once you know a foreign language, and love the culture, that everyone in that group will accept you. Or perhaps he expects that everyone will want to have a civil conversation with him. Actually, there will always be those that like to bully, or hector, or make fun of you. The maturity level of netizens vary, just like in the real world. It does not indicate anything unique to Chinese.

    The classic expression of this is in �Breaking Away� the 1979 movie about a teen bicyclist who is enamoured with the beauty and refinement of Italian culture only to be brutally disillusioned when he learns they can be just as petty and mean as anyone else.

    But as the �peacemaking� article points out, �It’s important to accept that arguments are a normal part of relationships. We’re all different and where there’s difference, there will be disagreement. But when arguing seems to be a way of life and leaves you feeling exhausted, hurt or wondering if you want to stay in the relationship, it’s time to call a truce and sort things out.�

    Wise words.

  91. seamus Says:

    Perspectivehere:

    A few comments about the above. You are raising some interesting issues with the whole Irish and St. Patricks day connection. Actually the similarities/contrasts between the Irish and Chinese diasporas is a subject I find very interesting. That said, I think the St. Partick’s Day example is of limited relevance here.

    What happened in Auckland was not an expression of strained relations between immigrant and host communities. It was not a case of immigrants responding to shoddy treatment by their New Zealand hosts. It was a case of the organized export of hostile nationalistic behavior (i.e. this was a carefully planned event, not a few drunken football hooligans misbehaving). The context in which to view it is what happened the same day in Seoul.

    I did not write about it on my blog out of any sense of disappointment at being ‘rejected’ by ‘the Chinese community’. I did not attend the rally to participate, but to observe. Attending as a non-participant does not strike me as necessarily problematic, though of course there are risks. I attended the anti-Japanese protest in Shanghai in a similar spirit and experienced no problems. In fact in Shanghai the protesters (rioters?) were rather friendly to me.

    Building on the above though. . . Not considering myself ‘one of them’ to start with, I never experienced any ‘rejection’. If I had wanted to be ‘accepted’ I would have started waving the little Chinese flag I was offered at the end. Other westerners were there and won enormous acceptance by waving flags and assaulting people. Such acceptance does not interest me. While I characterized returning to talk with my attackers as a shot at ‘reconciliation’, I would not say that the purpose was to ‘win acceptance’. The cameraman suggested doing it and I went along with the idea. To me it seemed like a way of gently confronting my attackers with the unacceptable nature of their behavior, of helping the cameraman fill out the record of what had happened, and of making sure the incident did not go on record as another Tibetan protester “rightfully” being attacked. By going back I hopefully caused some of them to ask questions about themselves. The fact that some were rude and most were reticent did not personally bother me. Getting the thing over and done with was probably better than getting into a discussion of Tibetan history with the middle aged guy – especially since I wasn’t even very interested in the whole Tibet question!

    Getting attacked at the Auckland demonstration was unsettling, but I do not believe it greatly impacted my reporting of the event. Obviously the attack provided additional material and led to me becoming part of the story. However, most of the violence I reported didn’t involve me. The only significant way in which my getting attacked influenced my report of the event was that after the attack it seemed wisest to leave. That meant I was unable to report on any non-political, genuinely celebratory, Olympics focused aspects of the event. I don’t know what people said in their speeches etc. I would have liked to have written about this. The attendees were treating the event as political, but what about the speakers? Where the speakers moderate? Were they angry and irresponsible like so many of the demonstrators? Unfortunately I never got to answer these questions.

    You questioned my title. Had I not been attacked, I would probably still have gone with the same title. Some aspects of the rally were very ‘ugly’, enough to taint the whole thing in my opinion. It was clearly ‘nationalistic’, and obviously it was ‘Chinese’. The title is designed to grab attention. I want non-participants to understand that the event was as much a hostile political rally as an Olympic celebration. Simultaneously I want participants to understand how the event appeared and to question their actions. Sometimes I write for myself, but on this occasion I am writing mainly for others.

  92. James Says:

    I was referred to the site by a friend. I think Seamus made an effort to present a balanced view. But as I see it, the rally was largely peaceful. I’d like to make a few comments about some bigger issues.

    Chinese protests worldwide have been labelled Chinese nationalism, largely because these protests are believed unjustifiable and the Chinese do not have a moral ground. As you’ll see below, my view is different. My comments about the Tibet Question are largely based on Western academic publications, not propaganda from Beijing or the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and my comments on Chinese politics are based on my research and my own experience.

    The Tibetan Government-in-Exile (TGE) claims that Tibet was an independent state before the 1950s when the Chinese military entered Tibet which the TGE regards as an invasion. The Chinese government insists that Tibet has been part of China since the 13th century and the Chinese military liberated Tibet in the 1950s. The Dalai Lama in the end accepted an agreement with the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) which was founded in 1949. The agreement, signed on 23 May 1951, was called “The Seventeen-Point Agreement for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet”. Point 1 said: “The Tibetan people shall unite and drive out imperialist forces from Tibet; the Tibet people shall return to the big family of the Motherland–the People’s Republic of China.” In points 3, 4, 7 and 11, the Chinese government agreed to maintain the Dalai Lama and the traditional political-economic system intact until such a time as the Tibetans wanted reforms (The Dalai Lama renounced the agreement after the 1959 violence. Beijing then followed and renounced the agreement, too)

    At that time, Tibet was a slavery society. About 40 percent of the population was monks who were the ruling class in Tibet. Many of the monks were also fighters (I note this because there is an advertisement in New Zealand saying that monks do not fight). At that time, 5 percent of the Tibetan population controlled 95 percent of the wealth. After its establishment in 1949, the PRC started social, economic and political reforms in China in its effort to turn China into a socialist country. The Central Government made efforts to leave Tibet alone. However, the reforms in the areas surrounding Tibet caused problems. There were many Tibetans living in those areas. They staged unsuccessful rebellions. Some Tibetans then fled to Tibet where they had some influence on the Tibetan hardliners. Moreover, the United States, which regarded Communist China as an enemy, was encouraging the anti-Chinese faction and in 1957 actually started to train and arm Tibetan guerrillas. In March 1959, uprising/armed riots (depending on which side you are on) broke out in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, which ended with the 14th Dalai Lama’s flight into exile in India.

    So the recent Tibet Question started in 1959. But the Tibet Question existed before then. Tibet was included in China’s map in the 13th century when China was ruled by the Mongols (the Yuan Dynasty). Having realised that the Tibetan culture was different, the Chinese seldom imposed direct rule over Tibet. They let Tibetans rule Tibet. From the Chinese perspective, Tibet was incorporated into China since the 13th century. The title of the Dalai Lama was created by a Chinese emperor in 1578. The word “dalai” means “ocean” in Mongolian.

    The TGE does not accept the Chinese interpretation of the relationship, saying that Tibet had always been an independent state. But while Chinese control of Tibet was weak, to say Tibet was an independent state is problematic. In 1904, the British, who were colonising Tibet’s neighbour India, invaded Tibet. The British initially intended to either support an independent Tibet or convert Tibet into an Indian protectorate. But fearful of international criticism, they decided to recognise Chinese authority over Tibet. The 1906 Anglo-Chinese Convention reaffirmed China’s legitimate authority over Tibet. In 1911, China’s last dynasty, the Qing Dynasty collapsed and China entered a period of chaos and was not able to take care of the Tibet issue. In 1912, Tibetan forces expelled all Chinese officials and troops from Tibet. Two years later, in an attempt to weaken Chinese control over Tibet, the British forced China to attend a conference (the Simla Convention) to talk about the Tibet Question. Tibet wanted independence but the Chinese government refused. At that time, Great Britain still had a strong economic interest in China and Hong Kong. In the end, Tibet did not get its independence but gained greater autonomy. The final draft of the Simla Convention declared that Tibet would be autonomous from China, but also acknowledged Chinese authority over Tibet. From 1912 to 1950 when the Chinese military entered Tibet again, Tibet had de facto (not de jure) independence.

    From 1949 to 1978 when China opened up, Tibet had a hard time under the Chinese rule. That has been the key reason why the TGE has been able to generate much support in the West. The TGE argues that the conflict is mainly an ethnic conflict. I actually disagree. The tragedies happened in Tibet are often part of the tragedies of China. I understand that many monasteries in Tibet were destroyed during the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). This is what the TGE calls “cultural genocide”. But the same thing happened all over China as religion was regarded feudalistic and it runs against Communism. I also understand that many Tibetans died from the 1950s to the 1970s– Han people oppressing the Tibetans according to the TGE. However, a large number of Han Chinese also died in that period. From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, millions of Chinese died of famine and Tibet Question many more died during the Cultural Revolution. So I see the issue mainly as an issue of bad governance.

    China has changed fundamentally since 1978. Notwithstanding its poor human rights record, the Chinese government has become more accountable.
    Unfortunately, the Western public does not seem to have a historical view of Tibet and China. They are either unaware of or uninterested in the historical relationship between China and Tibet. They also knew little about Chinese politics since 1949.

    In the Cold War years, the Tibet Question did not attract much attention in the West as human rights was not a major issue in international relations and China was on the US side against the Soviet Union. The Tibet Question remerged with the end of the Cold War in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A “Tibet fever,” spurred by films, appeared in the United States in the late 1990s. “Seven Years in Tibet,” starting Brad Pitt, depicts the friendship of a very young Dalai Lama and an Austrian Nazi mountain climber who became the boy’s tutor. The film’s adviser was Tenzin Tethong, long the Dalai Lama’s representative in international fora and ex-head of the exile Kashag (cabinet). “Kundun,” by US director Martin Scorcese, is an authorised biography of the young Dalai Lama; screenplay writer Melissa Mathison met several times with the Dalai Lama to receive his advice. These films portray the PRC government as villainous and generated much publicity and sympathy for Tibet in the West.

    Obviously, it is in the interest of the Chinese government to improve the conditions of Tibet. As a slavery society, Tibet was economically backward. Infrastructure was basically non-existent in the early 1950s. The literacy rates were extremely low. Tibet still is poorer than other parts of China. But even the pro-Tibetan independence activists acknowledge that the Chinese government has invested heavily in Tibet. However, Beijing needs to make sure that the ordinary Tibetans really benefit from the investment.

    Now, let me talk about human rights in China. People in the West often compare China’s human rights record today with that of Western democracies. I call it the horizontal perspective. Not surprisingly, they are shocked. I take a vertical perspective or historical perspective as I believe this is more meaningful.

    As you may know, China experienced the “Century of Humiliation” from 1840 when Great Britain invaded China to 1945 when Japan surrendered and the Second World War came to an end. It then was in a civil war from 1945 to 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) came to power and established the PRC. From 1949 to 1978, China was closed and the CCP launched political campaigns one after another. The most catastrophic one was the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. By the late 1970s, the Chinese economy was on the verge of collapse. At that point, the CCP realised that what they had done was wrong. They decided to open up China and start economic reforms.

    Today’s China is fundamentally different from that of the 1970s. While I do acknowledge China’s human rights problems, I must say that the Chinese are much happier today. China’s economic development in the past three decades has enabled China to dramatically reduce its population of poverty, from 250 million in 1978 to today’s 48 million (This is based Chinese poverty line. China’s population under the international poverty line of US$1 is much larger, about 10% of the Chinese population of over 1.3 billon. But if we use the international poverty line, the number of the Chinese in poverty was also much larger before 1978). The reduction of the Chinese living in poverty accounts for nearly three-quarters of the poverty alleviation by the developing world. The Chinese now have the freedom of choosing their jobs and can move freely. Such freedom was unthinkable before the late 1970s. Politically, although the Chinese do not have freedom of speech as we in the West understand it, they have many more channels to express their dissatisfaction. They have much more freedom in complaining about the government although they are not permitted to mobilise the public to overthrow the government. Up to the late 1980s, political prisoners accounted for 30 to 40 percent of the prison population in China. The proportion had fallen to 0.1 percent by the mid-1990s. In 1997, “counter-revolutionary” offences were removed from China’s Criminal Law which did not exist until 1979.

    I do think it necessary that the West imposes some pressure upon the Chinese government on the human rights issue. However, it is equally, if not more, important to recognise the progress that the Chinese government has made in this area. The best way to help improve China’s human rights conditions is to encourage China to continue to open up to the world.

  93. seamus Says:

    Hi James:

    Thanks for the comments. A few points in response.

    You said “Chinese protests worldwide have been labelled Chinese nationalism, largely because these protests are believed unjustifiable and the Chinese do not have a moral ground.” Sorry, but you are distracting attention from the core issue here. The protests have been labeled nationalism because that is what they are. The issues could be uncontroversial and the protests would still be nationalistic. Are you seriously trying to argue that an event where thousands of people gather to wave foreign flags and display political slogans dealing with territorial integrity is non-nationalistic?

    You are attempting to deny an obvious truth. Why?

    I am not going to get into debating history with you. I agree with much of what you say. I also disagree with some points. The gist of your account is that “Chinese view the Tibet issue more correctly than Westerners because they understand the history”. I do agree up to a point. The majority of pro-Tibet protesters in the west have a hazy and idealized understanding of the historical background. However, the Chinese understanding of the history is also skewed. The fact that the ‘pro-Tibet side’ are often wrong does not make the ‘Chinese side’ right.

    Your own analysis of the history is simplified. I don’t have time to go into too much detail. In any case, Sino-Tibetan relations are not a big interest of mine. However, I will say a few things.

    - You said “In March 1959, uprising/armed riots (depending on which side you are on) broke out in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, which ended with the 14th Dalai Lama’s flight into exile in India.” I don’t understand why the terms used to describe this event would depend on which side you were on. When armed clashes result in the political leader of a ‘state’ fleeing abroad surely it is an “uprising”? It doesn’t matter which ‘side’ you are on!

    - I see taking the borders of an empire seeking to create a nation state within those borders as a difficult exercise. I don’t mean it should never be done. I simply mean it is fraught with difficulty. Nations and empires are very different things. Empires have subjects. Nations have citizens. Empires merely demand that subjects pay taxes and do not revolt. Nations want their citizens to identify with and love them. I think some of the Tibet issue comes down to the problem of nation building. The Manchurians and Mongolians never demanded that the Tibetans ‘become Chinese’. Since the Dalai Lama’s flight to India the CCP has demanded that they do so. I am talking in very general terms here, but I think I am touching on some very real isssues. Simply because somewhere was once part of some empire does not mean it is going to neatly fit into a new nation state that wishes to occupy the same territory of that empire.

    - You assume uninterrupted Chinese control over Tibet from the Yuan Dynasty through to the collapse of the Qing. This is a simplification. The Yuan and the Qing empires ruled Tibet (tenuously at times, but as a generalization it stands up). The Ming simply didn’t. The Ming had more influence over Korea than Tibet.

    - Is claiming Tibet as part of China on the basis that a Mongolian empire once controlled China and Tibet useful? On this same basis should we make Korea part of China too? What about eastern Europe? Since this road has no end maybe it is best left alone?

    - Why do you talk in terms of British attempts to ‘colonize’ Tibet, versus China’s ‘legitimate authority over Tibet’? Why are ‘foreign’ powers’ designs on Tibet ‘imperialist’ and ‘colonialist’, while a Manchurian empire (surely an mperialist entity?) is simply ‘China’, the ‘legitimate authority over Tibet’? Is this not a type of bias? I am not saying I disagree with the British recognizing Qing authority over Tibet (the Brits shouldn’t have been going in there), but lets recognize the situation for what it was – two imperial powers fighting over a bauble that belonged to neither except by virtue of externally imposed force. The interests of the Tibetans themselves get completely ignored in this account of Tibetan history.

    - I don’t have any major problems with China’s current presence in Tibet. If China was not the ‘imperial power’ in Tibet then most likely the Indians would be there instead. The Tibetans might be worse off. Who knows? Anyway, China is already well established there so why create a mess by seeking to remove their presence?

    - Basically my only hope for Tibet is that Tibetan culture thrives and the Tibetan people prosper. So long as this is achieved I am not too bothered by the means used. Achieving this should not prove inconsistent with a Chinese presence in Tibet, provided that Chinese presence is considerate and tolerant of the Tibetans.

  94. James Says:

    Hi Seamus,

    I did not intend to engage a debate with you. But I have to answer a few questions.

    About nationalism. I focus on the connotation of nationalism, not its face value. As I said, my interpretation of labelling Chinese protests as nationalism is that the protests do not have a moral ground. Therefore, the protests in China are also labelled as nationalism instead of patriotism (they were not waving foreign flags). Instead of distracting attention from the core issue, I’m trying to address the very core issue. That is, how to interpret Chinese protests.

    Both nationalism and patriotism are expression of national identity. I understand that they sometimes are treated as synonyms. But in this case, I believe there is a difference. It’s not just because the protesters were waving foreign flags and displaying political slogans that they are labelled as nationalists. There is a deeper implication. That is, these protests do not have a moral ground. The protesters are identifying themselves with China blindly because they are just irrational nationalists. That may not be your understanding. However, it’s how I see it.

    So, when you say that I am attempting to deny an obvious truth, I’m afraid you are jumping to conclusions. My sentence “Chinese protests worldwide have been labelled as Chinese nationalism, largely because these protests are believed unjustifiable and the Chinese do not have a moral ground’ is an indication of my understanding of nationalism and I then try to present a different view about the protests. By the way, what you see as an “obvious truth” may be something different from other people’s perspective. That’s why we need discussion and communication.

    It seems you suggest that my views represent Chinese views. As I said, my views are based on Western scholars’ analysis. I tried to present a more balanced view. If you see that as a typical Chinese view, I must congratulate the Chinese. They are doing well. But yes, I am an ethnic Chinese although I’m no longer a Chinese national.

    I say “uprising/armed riots (depending on which side you are on)” because I wanted to be objective. The TGE calls it “uprising” while the Chinese government calls it “armed riots”. You say “When armed clashes result in the political leader of a ’state’ fleeing abroad surely it is an ‘uprising’?” Not so simple. Again, I believe the word “uprising” has its political connotations. An armed struggle against oppression is one. It’s a just cause. That is why some Western media attempted, unsuccessfully, to label the riots in Lhasa on 14 March as a Tibetan uprising.

    The concepts of nation-state and sovereignty did not appear until the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Chinese claims over Tibet can be traced back to the 13th century. Yes, the connection was weaker during the Ming Dynasty. It was under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) that the Chinese authority over Tibet was substantially and systematically strengthened. Remember, it overlapped with the emergence of nation-state and sovereignty.

    I agree that it’s difficult to define historical borders. The empires disappeared. Along with it, the borders of nation-states changed. To argue that the Mongols also controlled other parts of the world does not support your argument about Chinese claim over Tibet. If the borders of empires mean nothing, then China and many other countries will have to be divided into many states because much of their territories were incorporated during their empire time. On the other hand, historical borders of empires have limits. Territorial claims must be based on today’s political reality.

    I did not say the British were colonising Tibet. I said the British were colonising India. Weren’t they?

    You say “Basically my only hope for Tibet is that Tibetan culture thrives and the Tibetan people prosper. So long as this is achieved I am not too bothered by the means used. Achieving this should not prove inconsistent with a Chinese presence in Tibet, provided that Chinese presence is considerate and tolerant of the Tibetans.” I share your hope and I do think the Chinese government should and could have done better.

  95. seamus Says:

    James,

    You first post here made some good points. I can’t say the same for your second post.

    I’m going to quote a few parts and respond.

    - “As I said, my interpretation of labelling Chinese protests as nationalism is that the protests do not have a moral ground. Therefore, the protests in China are also labelled as nationalism instead of patriotism (they were not waving foreign flags). Instead of distracting attention from the core issue, I’m trying to address the very core issue. That is, how to interpret Chinese protests.”

    I can’t be certain what you are are trying to do. However, I can be certain that by rejecting the nationalist label you are obscuring the core issue. Why?

    - “By the way, what you see as an “obvious truth” may be something different from other people’s perspective.”

    No. When thousands of people gather to wave foreign flags and sloganeer about territorial integrity, what is happening is very obvious. Perspectives that deny the obvious are either dishonest or lack insight.

    - “It seems you suggest that my views represent Chinese views. As I said, my views are based on Western scholars’ analysis. I tried to present a more balanced view. If you see that as a typical Chinese view, I must congratulate the Chinese. They are doing well. But yes, I am an ethnic Chinese although I’m no longer a Chinese national.”

    I don’t really understand you. You say you are ethnic Chinese and imply you were once a Chinese national. Simultaneously you imply your views do not represent Chinese views, and instead represent “western scholars’ analysis” (presumably making them completely unbiased and something to be unquestioningly swallowed like a dose of medicine). Because I question some of your what you say I get accused of trying to suggest your views are ‘Chinese’. Can you step being cute? I’m not that thick.

    - “I say “uprising/armed riots (depending on which side you are on)” because I wanted to be objective. The TGE calls it “uprising” while the Chinese government calls it “armed riots”.”

    Needlessly splitting hairs doesn’t make one objective. Objectivity involves looking at what happened and labeling it appropriately.

    - “You say “When armed clashes result in the political leader of a ’state’ fleeing abroad surely it is an ‘uprising’?” Not so simple.”

    Actually, it is that simple.

    - “Again, I believe the word “uprising” has its political connotations. An armed struggle against oppression is one. It’s a just cause.”

    Just cause has nothing to do with it. An uprising can be just or unjust, well-intentioned or cynical, wise or misguided.

    - “That is why some Western media attempted, unsuccessfully, to label the riots in Lhasa on 14 March as a Tibetan uprising.”

    I’m not sure that the Western media were ‘unsuccessful’. While their reporting suffered problems and has been criticized, much of what they said was perfectly correct.

    Organized and largely peaceful protests occurred in Lhasa and throughout Tibetan China in 2008. Riots occurred in Lhasa and elsewhere. There were scattered events that could be interpreted as consistent with an ‘uprising’ – i.e. burning of police stations, and so on. Details on much of what happened are sketchy because much of the action occurred in remote communities, Chinese media reported little, and western media were obstructed in their efforts to cover the story. However, events before and after the Lhasa riots show them to have had a highly political context. The riots followed mass protests by monks, and in some cases involved the protesting monks. Subsequent events further bear out the political nature of the riots (e.g. they eventually led to protests like that in Aotea Square). Even the Chinese government framed the riots as political – saying they were part of a plot instigated by the Dalai Lama.

    Sure, the western media simplified and distorted the story to paint the Tibetan cause as a just and unfairly repressed one. But was there really never a Tibetan cause to begin with? Was it just a case of a random and isolated riot in Lhasa? Was there no purpose to it all? Perhaps the jury is out on whether the events in Tibetan areas of China in 2008 were an organized uprising, but they certainly displayed many elements of one. Much of the Chinese response is also consistent with an uprising (e.g. heightened security throughout greater Tibet, restrictions on foreign media reporting in remote areas, detentions of influential Tibetan figures, and so on).

    - “The concepts of nation-state and sovereignty did not appear until the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. Chinese claims over Tibet can be traced back to the 13th century.”

    What is your point? Is the Chinese claim stronger because it predates the nation state? Aren’t the claims based on the boundaries of old empires anyway? Empires are not the same as nation states.

    - “It was under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) that the Chinese authority over Tibet was substantially and systematically strengthened. Remember, it overlapped with the emergence of nation-state and sovereignty.”

    What is your point? China was not a nation state during the Qing Dynasty. During the Qing Dynasty ‘Han China’ (the basis of the later Chinese nation state) was part of a Manchurian (i.e. foreign) empire and Han Chinese were second class citizens.

    Modern Chinese nationalism was something that evolved only during the dying years of the Qing Dynasty. Moreover, it evolved in opposition to Qing rule rather than in cooperation with it. Before the overthrow of the Qing Sun Yat-sen would talk of driving the “Manchu barbarians” out of China. The Chinese nation state was initially conceived as something for Han Chinese only. The expansion of ‘Chinese’ to include non-Han minorities was something done after the 1911 Revolution to avoid ‘losing territory’.

    Incidentally the dying years of the Qing Dynasty were also a period when Tibet was becoming increasingly independent. Suggesting that the strengthening of control over Tibet at the height of the Qing was somehow connected to the building of the modern Chinese nation is simply baseless. The late Qing period that saw Chinese nationalism flourish and eventually overthrow Manchu rule was also a period of growing Tibetan self-determination and nationalism. Tibet was drifting further from China at this time, not moving closer. Tibet was taking steps towards becoming a young nation itself.

    - “To argue that the Mongols also controlled other parts of the world does not support your argument about Chinese claim over Tibet.”

    What is my argument about the Chinese claim over Tibet? What is not supported? In fact I have no argument about this. Pointing out the flaws in your arguments is already a full time job.

    - “If the borders of empires mean nothing, then China and many other countries will have to be divided into many states because much of their territories were incorporated during their empire time.”

    In many instances old empires have broken up into smaller states. Countless examples exist. That process has brought problems in some instances and much joy in others.

    In fact, that very process has happened in the present People’s Republic of China and with Chinese consent, and as a result of that process the Mongolians seem happy to be Mongolians rather than Chinese ruled Mongolians.

    Going back further to imperial times the Vietnamese and Koreans also seem pretty pleased about how things worked out for them with regard to Chinese rule.

    - “On the other hand, historical borders of empires have limits. Territorial claims must be based on today’s political reality.”

    So China won’t be claiming Poland then? The Mongol empire did briefly stretch that far.

    But seriously, effectively you seem to be saying it is all fairly arbitrary. We just take with the situation that exists in our particular time and work with it. Good. I agree.

    In that case we can drop the crap about Tibet having “been an integral part of China ever since the 13th Century”, since besides being inaccurate it is also irrelevant.

    - “I did not say the British were colonising Tibet. I said the British were colonising India. Weren’t they?”

    You presented the British as an imperial and colonial power that infringed on China’s “legitimate claim” to Tibet. My point was that the Qing were also an imperial and colonial power. That is, neither the Qing nor the British had any particular claim to Tibet beyond one imposed externally and by force. I made this point very clearly the first time round. Was it that hard to follow?

  96. RicoBoby Says:

    http://202.89.54.106/bbs/thread-128595-1-1.html

  97. RicoBoby Says:

    Happy reading

  98. THE REAL Says:

    SOME COMMENTS FROM MY BRITISH FRIEND…

    I’ve lived in China for 6 years and I am sick to the back teeth of people of statements like these. Chinese people trot out these idiotic statements without any consideration whatsoever of what they mean. I would like you to tell me Aladdin exactly what mistakes the communist party has made and why you think they are acceptable. I would also like to know why you think a more transparent system of government would be detrimental to Chinese interests.

    Indeed, the thought of China increasing its role in the international community makes me shudder. It does not give a damn about any other country but its own. To use a current example, I heard a report on cctv recently condemning Britain and other countries for tampering in the internal affairs of a number of African countries. Apparently they were peeved that we simply did not wish to throw away billions of dollars in aid. Instead we insisted on constitutional changes and electoral reform rather than pissing away our money to prop up corrupt dictatorships. Why would that be? Would it be because China has oil interests in the region and as a result has contributed millions of dollars propping up these regimes to enjoy access to their oil infrastructure?
    And to think of all the self righteous rhetoric certain western countries had to endure after Iraq. At least we got rid of a dictator instead of embracing genocide.

    People believe that China is a country on the move and perhaps they are right but God only knows how. They are backward bunch of arrogant xenophobes. They only explanation I have is sheer numbers. They lack innovation, common sense, diplomacy and a sense of history. The society is both culturally and morally bankrupt. They may talk about 5,000 years of culture but if you come to China you’ll have a hard time finding it. The’d tear down a 1000 year old temple arm off just to make a few yuan.

    They also claim all invention as their own, despite the fact they haven;t contributed anything of significance in hundreds of years. I say let the dragon keep on sleeping because the only thing they are likely to to when they do fully wake up is bore everyone some more with tales of an old culture that no longer exists.

    China is a vacuous and superficial shithole, a parody of what it may once have been.

    Now don;t get me wrong. I want the poor in China to propser. I want them to afford medicines and food for their children. I do however have a problem with China becoming a major player, if not the major player, in world politics. It has neither the sensitivity, the ability, the diplomacy or the compassion to carry out the job effectively. I am a Brit and I say give me the yanks everytime. Call me niave but in my heart I believe that they are on the whole a force for good.

    THESE COMMENTS ARE A RESPONSE TO A ANOTHER FOOLISH CHINESE MONKEY…

    XXX your comments sound like the ramblings of a drugged horse. Why exactly do I have no authority to make comments about China? I lived there for 6 years. You on the other hand have most likely never left your village. I might add that your media is shamelessly skewed in favour of your government’s policies. From which position of authority are you speaking? In our countries we have an open and free media in which we can criticize our own leaders as well as others . Why don;t you go out into your local town square and start chanting slogans against the government. Let’s see where that gets you. As for China operating with the bounds of the law, perhaps, but it is the thin edge of the wedge. Most European countries and indeed most civilized countries have refused to deal with Mugabe and other such corrupt governments. Indeed we have imposed sanctions to try and effect change. Your government however is as we speak quietly negating the positive effect of these policies by plowing money into these countries to gain access to its oil infrastructure. It is therefore implicitly, if not explicitly, supporting genoicide, torture and murder. And I do have the right to describe China as a shithole. Indeed the right to express one’s opinion , however distateful it might be to you, is the very cornerstone of democracy. It makes me laugh when Chinese people say that other people have no right to talk about China, suscribing, at the behest of their government to a policy of cultural relativism which is at best an illusory concept and at worst great evil. Perhaps if Hitler had not invaded poland or indeed any other countires and just went about peacefully killing Jews within its own borders, we could have saved ourself the bother. The funny thing is you would probably think that is morally acceptable. It is also irritates me when you say foreigners can’t comment on China. Why the hell not? YOu guys trot out the same bloody platitudes. What makes your opinion better than mine? How can you claim to have an informed idea when you are fed and willingly gulp down the crap that cctv or the China daily feeds you. Take your head out the sand XXX. As for not talking again that would be great. You’re patently a person with very little to say.
    Heard a great one today. According to cctv 1, all the people in Taiwan secretly want it to be a part of China. They are being held prisoner by a few rogue leaders. Funny, considering those rogue leaders were democratically elected.

    THESE COMMENTS ARE RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!!

    CHINESE ARE REALLY STUPID FUCKING MONKEY’S…

    D

  99. RicoBoby Says:

    http://202.89.54.106/bbs/thread-128960-1-1.html

  100. RicoBoby Says:

    @THE REAL’s british friend,

    I am sure you are biologically closer to a monkey than a Chinese.

    May you rest in shit.

  101. RicoBoby Says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d6aUEV9-MC4&feature=related

  102. Bunnyhugs » Blog Archive » CCP Style Nationalism Meets New Zealand Democracy, Hillarity Ensues. . . Says:

    [...] comment is interesting.  The pro-Beijing Olympic rally in Aotea Square was an ugly nationalistic protest at which myself and various others were assaulted.  Hostility was running so high that an organizer [...]

  103. Kaohsiung Living Says:

    Kaohsiung Living…

    [...]Bunnyhugs » Blog Archive » Ugly Nationalistic Chinese Demonstration in Auckland[...]…

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