Totalitarian regimes have a thing for burning books, and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) joyfully burn dissident books and destroys other material not approved of by the regime.
In the festive climate of the 100th anniversary year of the CCP, it is recommended that this is done in public ceremonies to “educate the masses.”
To explain how these modern auto-da-fés should be organized, a “pilot” book-burning and DVD destroying ceremony was organized by the Ministry of Public Security in Kunming, Yunnan province, on July 16, in two locations.
Professor Robert Barnett of the London’s School of Oriental and African Studies and King’s College is one of the most eminent living Tibetologists. He published in the “Asia Unbound” blog of the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) a provocative article where he criticized those who claim that Tibetans are experiencing “similar abuses” to those vested on the Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslim populations in Xinjiang. He mentioned in particular claims advanced by German researcher Dr. Adrian Zenz and by politicians and scholars connected with the Tibetan administration in exile, supported by some Western colleagues. Some Tibetan activists took exception to Barnett’s article, and one asked the CFR to publish his rebuttal.
The controversy has been discussed in several international media, and deserves some comments. First, it is important to clarify what Barnett did not say. He did not argue that Adrian Zenz is a partisan or unreliable researcher. On the contrary, Barnett wrote that Zenz “has done well-regarded work on Tibet and Xinjiang in the past. His more recent work has been attacked and abused by Chinese state media and others, including smears about his religious beliefs by a pro-Chinese denialist called Max Blumenthal, demonstrating a particularly ugly form of hypocrisy.”
Where, thus, is the disagreement? Barnett claims that, whatever the horror of the abuses vested on Tibetan nuns, monks, and laypersons, there is such a difference in “scale and degree” with what is happening in Xinjiang that equating the two situations is incorrect.
Impact as many lives as possible through the public and private teaching of God’s Word so that people are able to understand it, are led to believe it, challenged to apply it, motivated to love it, and equipped to study it on their own.
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