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Wang Xiaodong’s straight talk on Tibet

There have been several discussions of the book by Wang Xiaodong & friends Unhappy China. While most of the book features the sort of puerile lack of self awareness usually associated with teenage males and reality TV stars, I had to give props to this excerpt on China Digital Times:

Τibet: Don’t Play Games With Archeology! 1959 Is All That Needs to Be Said

Was Tibet anciently a part of China? Did it become a part of China during the Yuan dynasty or Qing dynasty? Or, did it become a part of China in 1959? Westerners insist that it became a part of China in 1959. Once, when interviewed by reporters about the Tibet issue, I stated, “In actuality, there is probably no dispute that during the Qing dynasty, Τibet was a part of China if not earlier. But, I can tell you Westerners: after 1959, what more needs to be said? If you have a problem with that, then come over and fight us! Quit blowing hot air. If you go back and ponder over this carefully you’ll learn a lot.” It’s proper for the Chinese government as well as scholars to argue over which year Τibet became a part of China; there must be this debate. But the people of China must ask foreigners what difference would it make if the year was 1989 or 1999. It’s not like they can come snatch it away from us anyway.

It’s not often I find myself on the same side of an argument as Wang Xiaodong, but two years ago I wrote:

“What the PRC really should just say is, ‘We invaded it, it’s ours. If you want it, come and get it.  Until then, take your “Free Τibet” bumper sticker and shove it up Richard Gere’s ass.  PS. Mind the gerbil.'”  I’m not saying that I agree with the sentiment, but it’s a helluva lot better than hiding behind increasingly shrill historical claims that twist and warp the past to serve a contemporary political goal.”

As for the bulk of Wang’s book though…utter sophomoric crap not even worth mocking.  Just so we’re clear on that.