Tibetan Serfs Emancipation Day, 28th March, Part 3 - Tibet and the RoC

This is Part 3 of a series of 8 Articles best read in conjunction.

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8

A closer examination of the impact Tibetans experienced due to their encounter with the Han Chinese.

[3] Tibet and the RoC - Republic of China 1912–1949

During the reign of the Manchu empire, i.e. the Qing dynasty, the Han Chinese were forced to wear the Manchu style pigtails from the time they were conquered in 1644, and once the 1911 revolution gathered pace the Han would cut off their pigtails to show their “Freedom from Manchu Oppression” as Mao himself described it.

The revolution of 1911 was unequivocally an uprising by one race against another; by the Han against the Manchu.
The revolution even flew the white Han flag, which bore just one character; ‘Han’, in the clearest indication that the revolution was a fight by the Han against their invaders and overlords, the Manchu, which the Han deeply despised and resented.
All the passion and rhetoric by Sun Yat-sen and his co-conspirators at the time was designed to whip up utmost fervour and zealotry amongst the Han against their foreign overlords, the Manchu.

But this racist sentiment and loathing of their 'alien overlords', the Manchus, soon caught up with a realization that the hegemonistic aspirations of the Han race, essentially expounded and formulated by Sun Yat-sen, were exactly synonymous with what the much hated Manchus had done almost 300 years earlier; conquering the Han, and then ruled over them continuously ever since, which of course gave rise to the very reason for the revolution.

See Footnotes: i

Thus, in order to justify the conquest and subjugation of the other Nationalities’ indigenous lands and territories and ‘claim’ them as part of the new Han Nation, Sun Yat-sen, in an inspiration of thinly veiled duplicitous racism, changed tack.
Instead of continuing to fly the Han flag, the most visible and ostensible sign that the Han now were in control, he declared the ‘Republic of China’ a “Multiethnic State, composed of Han, Mongols, Tibetans, Uighurs and Manchus”.
In reality though, it was, then as it is today, solely the Han who hold all the power, in this ‘Multiethnic Nation’.

With this declaration the Han Chinese sought to legitimize their claim to the territories of all the other nations, comprising over 60% of today’s China, in spite of the fact that none of these nations were remotely willing participants, or had any share in the economic, military or political power.
And neither does any of these minorities today.

In fact, first in late 1911 Mongolia, and then in 1912 Tibet had just reasserted their independence. This of course was a catalyst to change tack for the Han Chinese, who sought to dominate all the territories of their erstwhile overlords, the so much loathed and despised 'alien' Manchus, (and of course much more by additionally including Tibet).

This stroke of racist genius by Sun Yat-sen, by enunciating the ever latent hegemonistic aspiration of the Han race, more than anything else, unites the Communists of mainland China and the Nationalists of Taiwan today in celebrating him as the ‘father of modern China’, though he wasn’t even in the country for the best part of the revolution!

Thus, he is credited by both sides for laying the foundations to the greater Han Empire of today; though no consideration to any legitimacy is ever entertained, given the forcible and involuntary inclusion of the other Nationalities.
The fact that the Manchus were considered an ‘Alien, occupying race’ and had to be overthrown and expelled belies any notion that the Han Nation could ever claim legitimacy to all the Manchu Empire’s territories now occupied, let alone Tibet, which never was under Manchu control.

See Footnotes: ii

Indeed, Sun Yat-sen’s conviction of the racist supremacy of the Han was such that he made the proclamation that “the Han had the rightful authority to rule all of ‘China’ and that all these territories were bestowed to the Han race”, even though, in the same breath, he proclaims that the Manchu were an ‘Alien Race’.
In a logical extension, the Tibetans, and the other Nationalities, must be counted amongst these ‘Alien Races’, nevertheless the Han assumed the ‘inalienable’ right to rule over them and their territory, along with the other three minorities, the Mongols, Uighurs and the Manchus. This is manifestly an extension and continuation of the century old racism, condescension and hegemonistic attitudes towards other races harboured by the Han race.

The ordinary people of the Manchu race paid a very heavy price, as once the Han had established themselves as the new power to be reckoned with, and the Manchu reign had collapsed, widespread ethnic cleansing took place and an orgy of Manchu slaughtering spread throughout the new republic.
See Footnotes: iii


Footnote: i

■ Sun Yat-sen, in a most bizarre show of deference to Han superiority, even went to the Yongle Emperor’s ( 永樂 / Perpetual Happiness, third emperor of the Ming Dynasty) tomb and addressed him as though he were present:
“The policies of the Manchus have been one of obdurate tyranny, motivated by a desire for eternal subjugation of the Han. The Manchus have governed the country to the everlasting detriment of the people. Today, the Han race has finally restored the government to the Han people. Your people have come here today to inform your Majesty of the final victory.”

Footnote: ii

■ The first president of the new republic of China, after the ‘provisional president Sun Yat-sen, Yuan Shikai, ‘invited’ Tibet to join the republic and asked for the acceptance thereof by Tibet.
The thirteenth Dalai Lama replied as follows:
“The Republic has only just been proclaimed and the national foundations are far from strong. It behoves the President to exert his energies towards the maintenance of order. As for Thibet, the Thibetans are quite capable of preserving their existence intact and there is no occasion for the President to worry himself at this distance or to be discomposed. The reason why the Thibetans do not approve of the Central Government is entirely due to the excessive ill-treatment inflicted upon them by the Chinese troops in Thibet. Their indignation has been roused. How many, to take an instance, of the temples and shrines have been set on fire or demolished by the Chinese troops, while the officers in command have been quite powerless! How could the Thibetans fail to oppose China?"

Footnote: iii

■ Dr. Sun Yat-sen wrote in his
“The Manifesto of the Military Government of the Revolutionary Brotherhood”:

1. To drive away the Manchus
“……… Now is the time to raise an army and overthrow the Manchu government and regain the sovereignty of our country. Such Manchus and such Han in the Manchu army as repent themselves and surrender to us will be pardoned. We will kill those Manchus who oppose us, and also all Han who traitorously helped the Manchus.”

2. To restore “China” to the Han
The Chinese state belongs to the Han; her political institutions should be administered by Han alone. We must drive away the Manchus and restore our China to the Han. If any are bold enough to support the foreign tribe, like Shih Ching-tang and Wu San-kuei of old, it is the duty of all Han to see that they are killed.

3. To establish a Republic
“……. A constitution will be promulgated for the Republic and every citizen will be obliged to obey it. If anybody plots to restore despotism in China, we must kill him.”

Such firebrand racist rhetoric would hardly be deemed befitting of a National Hero by most other Nations, but would rather condemn him as a felon and an odious racist, yet for the Han it strikes at the core of their world view and ‘values’; the noble, superior Han, versus the rest as barbarians who don't deserve to be treated as equals or even as humans.
Sun Yat-sen must shoulder the preponderance of the responsibility for the ensuing litany of racist crimes and the wholesale slaughter of Manchus under his watch.

This is Part 3 of a series of 8 Articles best read in conjunction.

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6 / Part 7 / Part 8

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