Josh Schrei takes on comments of China apologist Tom Grunfeld and really lays the smackdown. Schrei’s writing is a phenomenally clear rebuttal to the pro-colonialist arguments that because Tibet wasn’t, in fact, a Shangri La prior to China’s invasion in 1950, that Tibetans shouldn’t be able to ask for freedom and self-determination. Here’s an excerpt:
Tibet is a key issue for citizens of the world not, as Grunfeld would have us imagine, because of how it has been publicized. Its a key issue because it is an egregious example of colonialism and oppression which is still continuing unchecked today. Grunfeld and his cohorts can resort to any argument they can dig up or fabricate about ‘old Tibet.’ The current reality is that people in Tibet disappear for speaking their mind, monasteries are constantly under surveillance, prisoners are tortured, filmmakers are thrown in jail, protests are crushed, and an enduring colonial and racist mentality permeates all aspects of Sino-Tibetan relations.
Within this context, Grunfeld, like all good apologist/colonialist scholars, puts the blame and the burden on the oppressed people themselves. In this interview, Grunfeld seems to be saying to Tibetans and to the Dalai Lama:“If only you would acquiesce more, if only you wouldn’t publicize your issue so much, if only you would be more reasonable… then the hardliners wouldn’t have an excuse to be so nasty to you.”