Friday, November 26 2010 @ 09:33 am GMT
High Peaks Pure Earth has translated two blogposts written by young Tibetan netizens on similar topics, Chinese tourists in Tibet and their attitudes to Tibetans.
The number of Chinese tourists to Tibet has dramatically increased over the past years and this looks set to continue with a number of luxury hotels either just opened or set to open over the next months. This article from UK's The Independent newspaper of November 3, 2010, centres on the opening of the St. Regis Hotel in Lhasa. The article says:
The surge of tourists to the Himalayan region has seen visitor numbers jump during the first nine months of 2010 to 5.8 million, up 23 per cent on the same period a year earlier.And newly wealthy Chinese want luxury accommodation. "The St Regis Lhasa Resort offers refined luxury and superlative service in a storied city," gushes the breathless blurb on the St Regis website. "Discover Potala Palace and Norbulingka, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Jokhang Temple, all minutes from our resort."
Tibetan netizens often use their blogs as spaces where they can vent frustration or anger or simply express their feelings on subjects that matter to them. Very often, these are written with a keen sense of irony in tone, our particular favourites have been by the Tibetan blogger "The Lost Curse" who wrote several incredibly sarcastic and witty blogposts that we translated, see here. Sadly this blogger stopped updating since writing about the earthquake in Kham in April 2010, a post that was deleted very soon after it was written. We hope to find this blogger blogging again one day!
Critical to understanding these two blogposts is the stereotypical Chinese view of Tibetans as being uncivilised, backward and primitive. As Tibetan historian Tsering Shakya writes:
The idea of the Tibetan being luohou (backward) is entrenched in the official state discourse on Tibet; and the perception has penetrated the Chinese popular image of Tibet. Yet it is notable how recent an invention this is: it has been systematised only after the conquest of 1959 [...] This makes it all the more shocking to the rulers when elements of this docile and indolent native population protest: like a fish speaking back to ichthyologists.
The following two bloggers are perhaps our fish speaking back to ichthyologists. Both criticise, in a creative and light-hearted way, Chinese tourists in Tibet and their attitudes towards Tibetans. The first blogpost, "I Dare to Ask, What Have You Come to Lhasa For?" was written by Gonpo Dorje in August 2010 and posted on his page on the Chinese language social networking site RenRen.com. The post generated many comments, some of which have been translated below. This post was subsequently reposted by another Tibetan blogger on October 3, 2010.