High Peaks Pure Earth has translated the second part of a blogpost by Woeser written in April 2012 for the Tibetan service of Radio Free Asia and posted on her blog on May 2, 2012.
The translation of the first part of this post was published two days ago, to read it, follow this link: http://highpeakspureearth.com/2012/how-did-a-christian-win-a-religious-lawsuit-part-1-by-woeser/
How Did A Christian Win A Religious Lawsuit? (Part 2)
I already wrote on Twitter that Song Xinkuan’s elaboration on this religious case (later I found two more articles about it on China Aid’s website) is about many intricate and complicated legal cases that we often see in today’s Tibet; they include political, religious, ethnic, or business related complications. But his words need to be examined in detail.
For example, in the beginning of his “Elaboration on the Tibet Lhasa Missionary Persecution Case” he uses the American blockbuster film “2012” as well as various other manmade disasters that occurred in recent years as examples to explain the pilgrimages of Islam followers and of Tibetan Buddhists and then writes: “it seems that ‘2012’ serves as a hint or rather as a warning, even the Dalai Lama in India does not seem to sit still anymore, so the silence after the incident of March 14, 2008 was broken in the whole of Tibet in 2011 and turned into fierce energy. It is said that in the Kham area of Tibet, some lawless monks have taken the stage and, similar to the Falun Gong movement, started self-immolating.”
The fact that Song Xinkuan, as a Christian who has been persecuted by the political regime, uses such a pejorative tone towards other religions, especially towards a leader of Tibetan Buddhism, the Dalai Lama, and the fact that he blames the self-immolators who protest against religious persecutions for being “lawless”, really gives rise to a very astonishing similarity between him and those persecutors themselves; at the same time, this kind of opinion also makes people deeply mistrust the Christians who come to Tibet to engage in missionary work.
In his three articles, Song Xinkuan gives a very detailed account of how the Lhasa police arrested him, how they interrogated him, beat him, stressing that “I constantly thought to myself that these Tibetan police officers must be extreme nationalists”, “those Tibetans in the national security police forces may possibly be ‘Tibetan splittists’ who have sneaked into the police force, or perhaps even worse than that… why else would they have exactly the same accent, the same language as those Tibetan splittists abroad, randomly saying that Christianity cannot exist or develop in Lhasa? Are Lhasa and Tibet a separate holy land of Tibetan Buddhism?”
My analysis goes like this: wasn’t Song Xinkuan’s case successfully settled out-of-court precisely because he accused Lhasa’s “Tibetan police force” to be “extreme nationalists”, to be “Tibetan splittists” and because he used the argument of “anti-splittism” to deal with the national security police that is engaged in “anti-splittist” work? Aren’t those people in the national security police who always persecute Tibetan monks and ordinary people by branding them as “Tibetan splittists” equally afraid of being accused of promoting “Tibetan independence” and even if it does not conform to the actual facts, don’t they know very well that such accusations are sufficient to result in them losing their jobs? Otherwise, how would Song Xinkuan come to say: “in the end, we decided to follow lawyer Zhang Kai’s advice to first of all leave the area because otherwise we would have to directly confront these people, and by doing so, Christianity would be drawn into the circle of extremely nationalistic “Tibetan splittism”, which, I am afraid, would not be worth it at all”.
If the above is really true, if the victim used the perpetrator’s methods to deal with or rather to retaliate against the perpetrator, in line with the saying “do unto them as they do unto us”, then, even though the legal case was won, it leaves us with a great deal to think about. In this lawsuit that was supported by the law, the victim had already taken on two identities: in a religious sense, he was a victim of political power; in an ethnic/national sense, he was a beneficiary and as a result, in Lhasa, a place that is characterised by complex webs of relationships, the victim and the perpetrator finally managed to come to what can be considered a very strange kind of settlement.
Hence, I am very curious to read Zhang Kai’s written pleadings, to see how exactly he managed to achieve this out-of-court settlement. As a Tibetan living in Lhasa, I would not approve of Zhang Kai’s statement that “the Security Bureaus in the whole country should learn from the one in Lhasa” because if that were really so, the situation would indeed be grave.
This post is also available in: English