Self-Determination vs. Plural Ethnic Culture
by Grain

This is a letter I wrote to R., a Jewish human rights activist.

Dear R.,
What you have said is quite admirable, to me anyway. I, too, feel there should in the end be no wars between nations on earth. In reality, an Earth Federation may be what we will need to face the next millennium where science fiction will come true, and our future generations will be facing aliens from other planets. I've read a report in which most NASA scientists expressed their belief in aliens.

I also think you have good ideals on fighting for human rights for everyone in the world. However, I hope to alert you that there are people who usurp the name "human right" and twist it to fit their judgment of others. For example, at the height of the human rights groups condemnation of China's one child policy, an American governor refused to meet with Jiang as Jiang visited his state. Instead, he sent his wife pregnant with their 3rd child to "show Jiang what human rights mean here in America". The governor totally ignored how life is in China. He also ignored the BASIC HUMAN LOVE for children. He paints China as the demon, forgetting the pain of any nation that needs to go to such a policy. In China, 800 thousand people had starved to death due to the status of her food supply could not meet the demands. How would the children be fed? The American governor's action of showing off his third child was no different than Marie Antoinnette's behavior when she scoffed, "Let them eat cake!" He showed off a precious child that many Chinese people would love to have, but their economy could not accommodate. These highbrowed "human rights" attitude will bring gloom to all of us, as it is basically a lack of understanding for others' problems, an arrogant, disdainful attitude toward those less fortunate. It is no different from the witch hunters in the middle ages who paint others as "demons", ignoring the good in other people's hearts.

And then, there are people who apply "human rights" to their own cause, and grossly misrepresent the truth. As a Mongolian Chinese American, I have seen the Tibetan exiles do exactly this. While China is one of the most advanced countries in terms of multiple-ethnic integration and fair treatment to her minority people, the Tibetan exiles have the gall to relate their experience to the Jews.

I just went to a wedding. The groom is a Jewish boy who made Eagle Scout in the American Boy Scout troop for which my husband was a scoutmaster. I've attended this boy's younger brothers' bar mitzvahs just last year. Both were very memorable events of my life, because they were fun! I'm sorry to put it in such a blunt manner, but my impression is the Jewish people know how to fill a formal ceremony with the sense of joy and warmth. Most other formal ceremonies are too rigid, by comparison. But let me tell you a scene from this party held in the U.S. We were standing there, my Caucasian husband and I, a Mongolian Chinese American woman, along with my across-the-door neighbors who are also a mixed couple - a white woman with her husband, a native of India. We chatted with a third couple (all of us were in this Jewish wedding, of course) who are from Germany. The Indian man said to the couple from Germany that he very much enjoyed reading Siddartha, by Herman Hesse, because that book showed the real spirit of India Buddhism. I seconded his sentiment of enjoying the book. I had read the book when I was in high school in Hawaii, and thought it showed me why the Chinese people love Buddhism. The German couple of course enjoyed hearing our comments. It was very fun for me to have been part of that chat.

It's moments like this that make me feel the world will eventually come together.

I have been trying to reach the American Jewish people to help build a multiple-ethnic culture here in America. I feel this country is too Christian-oriented, and that people of other religions should be included in important holidays, etc.

There are things I don't like about China. Her one-party political system lacks check-and-balance. But her multiple-ethnic culture is to be treasured and respected. The Tibetans out here keep insisting they were "an independent country" due to their "distinct culture, language" etc., etc. Does anyone realize this shows exactly how the Chinese people respect their minority? Yet, in these days, her very nature of accommodations to the minorities is abused. The language and culture she allowed are held up against her as reasons why this minority group "was never part of China".

Do you know how painful this is to the Chinese people? As a Mongolian Chinese, I feel it is important to speak up with the truth. Unfortunately, the Tibetan exiles know how to play "victim". They try to associate what happened during the Cultural Revolution to millions of Chinese people all over China to "genocide" on the Tibetans. In reality, they are no different from the white supremacists who try to have an Aryan Nation in the U.S. What they want is segregation when there was never ethnic persecution against them. What China had was a class struggle. Many Tibetans did not like the way they had been serfs under the old Tibetan system. A major problem right now is really the clash between communist atheism and Buddhism. I hope you will do some research in this matter.

After my experience of seeing how the Tibetan separatists have lied and manipulated the media for their propaganda,... frankly, it has given my a lot of doubt toward most of what I hear in the media. I will need to do a full study of opinions and facts in order to support your cause in Isarel. If you are inclined, please feel free to point me to some sources. At the same time, I sincerely hope you will also do a full research before deciding to support people who cry they are suffering "human rights" abuses. One must look very hard into issues. Or we will be used, just as the Red Guards were full of assurance that they were "doing the right thing", "ridding the Chinese system of traditional ills". In the end, they turned out to be the destructive force. We all need to watch out, so that we don't become the same.

Thanks for your friendly communication. I look forward to sharing more with the Jewish people. To me, the Chinese people and the Jewish have much in common--for example, the persecution of Indonesian Chinese. Whoever persecutes us usually try to sling mud on us first, for being "rich", for "dominating the economy", when it was our hard work that resulted in our success. And then we are forced to endure mistreatment.

As far as a world without boundaries, I think the first object we need to achieve is plural ethnic culture in each country. That will be the stepping stone to a world without boundaries.

A "Tibet Nation", and "Aryan Nation" are unfortunately heading the opposite direction. It is dividing the world into even more nations. These forces are by people who just want to enjoy sole power. In cases of ethnic persecution in any multiple-ethnic nation, I think it's important to reinforce equal treatment to all in that nation. The Jewish people should be respected all over the world, be they in the U.S., in China, or elsewhere. I hope once again you will check into the JourneyEast site to see an article on how Jewish settlers were respected in China.

And as a Mongolian Chinese, I will attest to you that we were never mistreated in China due to our ethnicity. The pro-independence Tibetans are untruthful. By their lies, they are not doing the world any good. As I pointed out before, please see how China poured in billions of dollars to help Tibet: [Atlantic Monthly, Feb. '99: Tibet--Through Chinese Eyes:

Did the Nazis pour in billions of dollars to help the Jews?

Look at the facts of Cultural Revolution. Many things that happened in Tibet happened in a worse way all over the rest of China.

Did the Nazis put other Nazis into concentration camps?

Here is a second letter to R.:

Dear R.,
I hope you will mull over the subject of "self-determination" vs. "plural ethnic culture" for a proper direction for the world as we reach the new millennium.

Is it better to work for self-determination for each of the ethnic groups in all human beings' countries all over the world? As modern transportation and emigration across the globe are happening at high speed. It seems to me it is much better to work on encouraging plural ethnic cultures in all countries.

If you have a vision of a world of peace in the next thousand years, I highly encourage you work on causes of "plural ethnic culture", and discourage acts of "self-determination". "Self-determination", be they for any exotic minority, white supremacists, or groups who actually do suffer, is an attempt at being the MAJORITY and sole power in a region.

Anytime there is a "majority", it means one group of people shall have power to drive out others, and to abuse the minorities. Did you know that the Tibetans, led by the Dalai Lama, already persecute even Tibetan Buddhists who simply follow the "wrong diety"? They have declared that people who worship the Dorje Shugden deity, whom the Dalai Lama has deemed to be evil, will be forbidden to serve on jury, will not be employed by the exiled government, and will be forbidden to travel outside of India. I can not imagine what they will do to Christians, or Jews.

For me, plural ethnic culture reigns over self-determination any day. I had fun growing up in China learning about the plural ethnicity of China. I love being in America for moments such as the wedding party chat I had with multi-ethnic couples.

What would self-determination mean? I will attend a party and only hear Tibetans talk? Take that back. I won't even be there to attend that party. It's a nation for Tibetans, where they have said they will throw Dorje Shugden deity followers off the jury.

I hope you will work on encouraging plural ethnic culture in every country all over the world. That is our ultimate path to world unity.

copyright reserved by the author