4GW/xGW: Identifying Tibet Protest Narratives

Clearly, the Tibet protests in America and the rest of the world are unusual. They are not led by professional, ideologically Marxist protesters from International ANSWER, the Revolutionary Communist Party, World Can’t Wait, Code Pink, or any of the other communist front-groups that usually play such a significant role in the so-called peace movement. They are actually being led and filled out by people who care for the inhabitants of Tibet.

These protests are led by amateurs! And they are not popular with China or Cuba. This is not a coincidence.

This fact shows that protesters can be convinced to protest against Communist and other anti-American tyrannies if they are presented with a congruent narrative that appeals to them.

The conspiracy-minded hunter-seeker posted a link to a narrative about Tibet that reveals some of the structural and linguistic keys to creating a meme that will prove compelling to leftists. The very interesting “alternative journalist” Larry Chin, who shares the name of a spy who infiltrated the CIA, sold secrets to China, made a million in real estate using money he earned from espionage, and (supposedly) killed himself in prison by suffocating himself with a plastic grocery bag, attempts to shepherd leftists and protesters away from protests against China and back to the protests of which he approves (anything opposed to the US, UK or Israel).


For Applebaum the events in Tibet represent one manifestation of a wider reaction of “captive nations”, Uighurs, Mongols, Tibetans, rising up against the tyrannical rule of an old imperial and foreign power that has long oppressed smaller countries and societies surrounding it. Applebaum includes even such independent nations as North Korea and Burma in this category, hence, quite accurately, relegating Kim Jong Il and the Burmese military junta to the role of Beijing’s surrogate dictators. [link]

Every morality tale needs a good guy and a bad guy. What bad guy is worse, and by worse I mean better for the purpose of the narrative, than a tool of the evil empire? Nobody cheers for Darth Vader.

Echoes of Revolution

Then under the direction of the Prime Minister Samdhong Rimpoche, the exile cabinet and parliament created a special “Solidarity Committee” to take over the various independent campaigns and activities taking place around the world. It appears that members of the Committee approached the leaders and representative of these campaigns and organizations, and instructed them to terminate their independent activities and operate under the direction of the Committee. [link]

The word “Solidarity” reminds the listener of a revolution. Yes it was the Polish revolution against the USSR occupation, meaning that it will never find favor among ideological communists. But the Solidarity revolution won, and that cannot be discounted. The vocabulary of the revolution is of utmost importance, for the correct vocabulary will allow the narrative to be accepted by protesters.

The Movement Betrayed

Circulars have been sent from Dharamshala to NGO’s and support groups instructing them to stop using the term “FREE TIBET”. Earlier, only the term independence or Rangzen was regarded as taboo, but now even such a broad and inoffensive term as “freedom” is seen as too provocative. Instructions have also apparently been issued to the Tibetan public not to tear, burn or step on the Chinese Communist Flag. A week ago, Tenzin Choeden, a member of the Solidarity Committee spoke before Chinese UN mission in New York where Tibetans have been keeping up a vigorous demonstration since March 10th. The Solidarity Committee representative gave a lengthy and roundabout speech where he called on Tibetans not to shout slogans demanding Independence for Tibet, and a boycott of the Beijing Olympics. Much to the annoyance of the crowd he also told protesters not to display a large banner they were carrying which read “China Out of Tibet”. [link]

The official leadership of the Tibetan Solidarity movement have been suborned by the imperialist power. The leadership is working against its own people in an attempt to crush the revolution from both sides, hoping that increasing the pressure does not create an uncontrollably violent reaction.

The test to this theory is in Larry Chin’s article, titled “Is the CIA behind the China-bashing Olympics protests?

The legions of pro-Tibet activists also seem largely unaware of the historical fact that the “holy land of compassion” has been a CIA pawn since the end of World War II. The infamous Tolstoi Mission sent CIA operatives into Tibet, with plans to establish it as a US military base, from which the US could control the entire Asian region. This activity flourished under the US-supported, opium-banked Nationalist Kuomintang regime of Chiang Kai-Shek.

Notice Chin playing the same themes we found against the Tibetan Solidarity movement. America the real imperialist power: check. Tibet has been betraying China since WW2: check. Just like the Kuomintang counter-revolution: check.

Use these themes when constructing a narrative for why protesters should get together and protest against Saudi Arabian imperialism of the muslim world (and the west). Choose the name of a successful and popular revolution from the past. Identify a villain who has betrayed the revolutionary movement in order to assist the imperial enemy.

Other uses for the narrative should be obvious.


Trackposted to The Virtuous Republic, Rosemary’s Thoughts, Adam’s Blog, Right Truth, Shadowscope, Conservative Cat, D equals S, Chuck’s Place, third world county, Allie is Wired, DragonLady’s World, Pirate’s Cove, Celebrity Smack, The Pink Flamingo, Dumb Ox Daily News, , Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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11 responses to “4GW/xGW: Identifying Tibet Protest Narratives

  1. Imagine that. Standing up for something that just MAY have a chance changign! Great artlices.

  2. I was falling asleep when I wrote that last comment. I just woke up, and I have no idea what changign means! LOL. Changing? 😉

  3. I wondered what that comment meant. I’m not sure the clarification helped me, but then I’m easily confused. I know because my wife tells me that all the time :).

  4. Maybe I should read your article again. I was 1/2 unconscious when I read it the first time. I was just trying to figure out what the word ‘changign’ meant.

    PS. I will read it again. 😉

  5. Pingback: Rosemary's Thoughts

  6. Had you ever thought that perhaps the support Tibet (or any cause) gets has little to do with ‘narrative’ but rather human beings’ natural sense of right and wrong and of justice? Contrary to both conservative and leftist conspiracy theorist worldviews, most people who organize for change don’t do it as part of some ideological plot to help their ‘party’ conquer the world, but as a natural reaction to seeing injustice and being disturbed and offended by it.

    On a related note, what makes you think people who can hang a banner off the Golden Gate Bridge are “amateur” activists? While the protests inside Tibet have been largely unorganized and spontaneous in nature due to the extreme danger and difficulty of organizing there, the vision for the pro-Tibet Olympic protests around the world has been in the works for more than five years. And, probably much to your chagrin, many of the people involved in training and empowering activists for the movement come from the sorts of activist backgrounds you accuse of being “communist front groups”. This should be a wake-up call to you that the world is not so simple and that we in the movement for political and social justice do not seek to elevate one oppressive economic ideology (communism) or another (capitalism), only to fight the ongoing injustices of this world in whatever form they take.

  7. Rich, the fact that you place such emphasis on “justice” instead of another justification for protest is interesting in itself. This is the sort of thing that I pointed out in the post, since I want to be able to communicate things that I think matter, things that I think really matter to you and lots of other people who think like you, in a way that bestirs you to agitate for your definition of justice in the same causes I care for.

    I support the Tibetans’ right to observe their own religion and to decide the leaders of their own religion without the state interfering in the religion and, in the words of the Constitution, establishing a state religion. And I’m glad to hear that some frequent protesters spent a lot of time prepping for the Olympics protests, but I’d like to find out what causes they usually represent. If they normally protest for the Revolutionary Communist Party or World Can’t Wait I’m a monkey’s uncle. Are Buddhists really all that big in the protest scene?

    Anyhow, that is a sidebar to me. What is important is convincing protesters and other soft leftists that their long-term self interest is in supporting the counterjihad, and not in interfering with it. The counterjihad is the most urgent and important issue. Everything else comes after.

  8. The conflict in Tibet is not a matter of religious freedom but of national sovereignty and fundamental political rights. Religion plays a role in that and serves as a powerful element to unify Tibetans, but on the basic level Tibet is like any other situation of colonial exploitation in the world, where one nation with military and economic might systematically invades and overwhelms an indigenous population, treats them as a lesser form of human being, and tramples their rights both to political control of their own affairs and to the free expression needed to regain the former. The consistent demand of protesters across Tibet has been independence and human rights. Religious freedom appears as one small but important part among a multitude of issues.

    I think you’re mistaken to think that you can replicate the support for the Tibetan cause by studying and mimicing “narrative”. The leadership of the movement behind international Tibet activism has spent many years or even decades working closely with Tibetans, and now consists largely of Tibetan leaders. Naturally some naive parts of the Tibet support scene derive their support from sound bites and bumper stickers, but the people involved in serious activism do it out of either very high levels of personal involvement with the Tibetan people or respect for the leaders who have thoroughly “done their homework” and demonstrated a deep understanding of the issue. This type of support will not translate to support for islamophobia or any other cause which has ignorance, intolerance, and hate as its foundation.

  9. Rich,

    I have nothing but admiration for your opposition to the depradations of the Chinese commie government in Tibet. But I believe you are wrong about the reason that Tibet is in rebellion. It is not about the government. That is a Marxist-materialist frame on what the Tibetans want. They want their religion and their culture. The name of the big boss is irrelevant as long as their lives don’t change. Anyway, what are you complaining about, you who copies the leftist tactic of publishing hostile captioned photos of Bush against Wen Jiabao? What I’m talking about is the same thing, learning how to copy a style of communication.

    In the ad hominem attack that regrettably closes your note, you confuse Islam with jihad with muslims. If you studied islam as one would study a bug, instead of falling for the propaganda of apologists, you would know that. Perhaps you are the real ignorant one (ignorant of Jihadism), the real intolerant one (intolerant of classical liberals), the real hateful one (hateful against those who disagree with you), and the real Islamophobe.

    Besides, what is it to be phobic of a religion such as Islam? Isn’t phobia precisely what Sam Harris and Chris Hedges express concerning Christianity? Why is one okay and the other not? Or are you in agreement with me, that both are okay?

    I am against Jihad and against the spread of Sharia outside traditionally Muslim countries. I believe that Islam is a false religion, a Gnostic inversion of Judaism that idolizes a book and worships the Devil (Yes, that makes Muslims devil-worshiping Jews). I endeavor to love Muslims as Christ commands me too. That does not mean I love their sinful religion.

    Try to separate the religion from the believer next time in your ad hominem attacks.

    And the next time leave off the ad hominem attacks entirely.

  10. By the way, Chris, you never answered my question. What causes did you protest before you chose Tibet?

  11. Who is Chris? Did you get my name mixed up or is there someone else whose post I’m not seeing? If you were asking me, the answer is none, though I’ve protested against the Iraq war, against our war-criminal president who uses our Bill of Rights as toilet paper, and against the regime in Burma on many occasions since. I am not anti-American but rather ashamed when my nation behaves like a bully and a criminal (just like China does) and I want to see it live up to the ideals I can be proud of.

    If you want to discuss the causes and demands of the Tibetans protesting, perhaps you should learn their language and visiting their country first. Even after that and after many years of involvement I’m not qualified to speak for Tibetans, but at least I have some minimal degree of experience of my own to speak from, and it’s abundantly clear to me that the core issue is not religion but colonial domination and marginalization.

    If I was hasty last time in characterizing your cause, I apologize. Perhaps you have worked closely with Muslim communities for decades and come to associate with their issues? But when you calling them “devil-worshipping Jews” now, that seems doubtful. I don’t think I’m at all out of line in characterizing that sort of view of someone else’s religion as intolerant.