Image via @tibettruth
Image via @tibettruth
As we’ve reported. people using cell-phones, tablets and laptops are being denied the choice to include in their tweets, facbook posts, instagram comments, and elsewhere across the digi-verse, an emoji of the Tibetan flag. The reason is due to a decision reached by the Unicode Consortium (UC), an umbrella organization comprised of major vendors such as Google, Apple, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Mozilla and others, who vote an approval for the emojis we use. No endorsement, no emoji. Now it’s probably no accident that many of the organizations who get to authorize on these have commercial relations with China, and we all know what the regime of that country thinks of the Tibetan flag. Right?
We are curently sending a direct appeal to all the major voters within the UC detailing why they should approve an emoji of Tibet’s flag. Not least of all because to deny Tibetans around the world, and those who support the Tibetan cause for freedom, the option to display that emblem in their communincations on social media is a flagrant denial of freedom-of-expression. Of course such lobbying may or may not realize a change of position from such organizations, and for sure it will prove a long haul. With that in mind until such time as Tibet’s national emblem is accorded an emoji we are hereby issuing notice that we’ve hijacked the Sunrise Over Mountains emoji 🌄 which we shall be using as substitute symbol for the Tibetan flag. Sharing as it does with the Tibetan emblem the central feature of the sun rising above the mountain we think it’s an apposite symbol.
In keeping with principles of compassion and non-violence we shall make every effort to ensure that the kidnapped emoji is comfortable and in good health. However it’s release is entirely contigent upon the Unicode Consortium and its multi-national corporations meeting in full our demand that they approve an emoji for the flag of Tibet.
Meanwhile we shall be inviting our friends across social-media and those supporting human-rights, Tibet and free-speech to join us in using this emoji to represent the Tibetan flag.
Useful communication, or annoying fad? Could be that emojis aren’t your thing, but they are an important and increasing method of communication across social media, especially Twitter.
There’s emojis for many flags of the world and yet this is the #emoji –> 🏴 which the Unicode Consortium (the authority which approves and cauthorizes emoji) has decided for the Tibetan flag!
We regard this as censorship, which no doubt greatly pleases the Chinese regime. Which is why today we appealed to the Unicode Consortium to approve and create an emoji of Tibet’s flag.
Our statement can be read: HERE
If you would like to see the Tibetan flag as an emoji which can then be easily included on posts acoss social media then contact Unicode Consortium via Twitter @unicode or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Image: courtesy of @tibettruth/bing
Double click for larger view
There is no untainted cinematic insight into the suppression and abuses inside Tibet, no full exposure of the harrowing realities of forced sterilizations, the destruction of a nomadic culture through a policy of re-settlement, nor any detailed documentary recording the environmental pillage. Which is transforming once verdant pastures and forests into a lunar-like landscape, with convoys of trucks heading back to communist China with their booty of timber and minerals. The transformation of Tibetan towns into yet another Chinese concrete facsimile, complete with gaudy excess and a range of previously unknown erosive social problems, continues apace, un-documented. No genuine independent film-making is of course possible under such a repressive totalitarian regime, one desperate to convince the world that Tibet is undergoing positive change, thanks, we are asked to accept, to the seemingly compassionate rule of communist China.
Unfortunately we’re denied any unbiased evidence which would reveal the progress claimed by the communist regime, only the testimony of some supposedly impartial western academics and politicians, who appear to specialise in an uncritical acceptance of any official propaganda that Beijing presents them. We then have seemingly unlimited amounts of Chinese films on Tibet, mostly designed for television broadcast, with sickly images of Tibetans dancing and singing in praise of yet another bumper-harvest, due no doubt to China’s enlightened agricultural policies. These are transparent disinformation with actors supposedly dressed in traditional Tibetan costumes, color coded to match the red and yellow branding of the communist Chinese flag! Barely able to move due to the overly abundant costume jewellery and obligatory fixed smile, set against images of modernity Chinese-style, like a crude layer of make-up they conceal a more disturbing reality.
More recently a subtler form of propaganda has emerged, more cinematic, carefully crafted to present some illusion of balance and independence, yet the underlying message remains the same, albeit diluted and sophisticated. A good example is the latest film ‘Jinpa’ currently misleading and manipulating audiences at the Venice Film Festival. Directed by Mr Pema Tseden , of course being an obedient and loyal citizen of communist China this Tibetan also has a Chinese name too, Wanma Caidan.
Like his previous works this film is a slick production filmed inside Tibet, while aesthetically his films have charm and nuance they cynically misdirect the viewer away from the brutal realities of life for Tibetans under Chinese rule. The alluring personal narratives and stunning landscapes he plays around with are an approved sleight-of-hand which assiduously avoid the erosion and oppression of Tibetan culture. Yet such corrosion is a direct result of China’s imperialistic aggression which has deliberately targeted Tibetan culture for over six decades.
It is a reality which the Director surely knows dare not speak its name, his films clearly meet the propaganda requirements imposed by the Chinese regime, in that context he is a willing and conscious collaborator. Perhaps that explains his insistence that: “…filmmakers are starting to more accurately capture the essence of life in Tibet. They are starting to let go of the old stereotypes.” SOURCE
Those who see his films at festival or art-houses need to be mindful of this. Sure his work can be selectively interpreted as offering “.. an uncompromising view of difficulty in modern society. They’re not deliberately provocative, but they also don’t offer us comfortable resolutions.”. A view presented by one Robert Barnet of Columbia University, top grade for nuanced euphemism there! However the ‘difficulties’ of forced-labor camps, torture, ethnic-‘cleansing’ and cultural erosion do not feature in the cinematic vision of Pema Tseden. While the ‘modern society’ (translating as occupied and oppressed Tibet and its culture) is never truly explored and it’s important to remind yourself that the work of Pema Tseden would not be made public without the authorization of the Chinese regime. in consideration of that we need to question what is it about his films that receives such approval?
No genocide exists in a vacuum and while responsibility can often be justly placed upon an originating tyranny, be it China’s regime, the Khymer Rouge, or dictators such as Stalin and Hitler the atrocities and oppression which spring from such fascistic authority are often enabled and tolerated by the political and economic interests of other states. Some go further of course and encourage and fund state-terrorism, we need only to assess the history between the CIA and Pol Pot to realize that ethics can be relegated below geo-strategic requirements. Sure the Western Allies went to war against the Nazis, but there was much appeasement, indifference and indeed financial, as well as academic cooperation with Hitler’s Germany that took place. Would the horrors that came to define Germany during that period have been prevented or significantly reduced had the world presented, from the rise of Hitler, a unified and determined stance against fascism?
Of course it was not in the political and more importantly commercial interest of countries to destablize relations with Germany in the years prior to the Second World War. Yet they were aware of the accounts of labor-camps, forced-sterilization laws and growing persecution of Gypsies and Jews, but took vitually no action. Such economically driven apathy sent a clear signal to the Nazis that the wider world cared so little of such reports as to be interpreted as an acceptance of their vicious campaign of suppression.
A similar theatre of callousness is emboldening the Chinese regime while Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, and Manchurians are suffering a genocidal assault against their cultural and national identity. Concentration camps are housing up to a million Uyghurs, existing in a dark misery, abused and indoctrinated with the approved ideology of China’s totalitarian authority. Human rights violations mostly ignored, the eradication of Tibetan and Uyghur culture barely mentioned, apart from the occasional platitude from a United Nations official or carefully worded report. Global media too facilitates the odious excesses of dictator Xi Jinpeng, its reportage, with far too few notable and sadly isolated examples, preoccupied with a narrative that in-the-main avoids or treads very softly on the nature and extent of tyranny that characterizes China’s policies towards Tibet and East Turkestan.
What’s behind such engineered disinterest? The political and financial concerns of states which have long elevated trade interests with China above unease on human rights and the brutal denial of freedom being witnessed against Tibetans and Uyghurs. What’s been a global scramble to profit from the opportunities of a Chinese market has resulted in a dilution of foreign policy anxieties on China and almost extinction of ethical structuring of such protocols. When governments issue bland and acutely worded cautions on human rights related issues on China their target audience is not the vile and corrupted terrorists of the Chinese regime, but a domestic one. Better show folks at least some pretence of valuing the principles we make so much noise about as exemplifying our national values on liberty, justice and rights. These of course are being trampled into the dust by China’s paramilitary as they inflict measures of control and abuse that Himmler’s SS would have recognized!
Yet it is largely silence that dominates the global response, as business, media corporations and politicians grovel to Beijing, signalling to China that in real terms they are unconcerned by the harrowing atrocities and war of genocide against Tibetan and Uyghur culture. Like their Twentieth Century counterparts their greed-driven indifference makes them complict enablers of the harrowing crimes being perpetrated against the people of occupied Tibet, East Turkestan and China itself.
Happy to see that common sense was restored as Twitter unlocked the account of our colleagues @tibettruth. There was huge support from many friends across social media and major thanks to all for the solidarity.
While it was awesome to see the account back online and getting information on Tibet out there, the day was darkened by the actions of a handful of trolls. Resulting we were sorry to hear of a new volunteer to the @tibettruth crew stepping down. He had unknowingly responded to what he thought, in all innocenece to be a genuine interest from an account to donate towards our work for Tibet. No crime there then. However the account in question turned out to be linked to the vitriolic dispute regarding a Tibetan Buddhist deity, which has resulted in much online disharmony and abuse among the wider Tibetan Diaspora and some supporters of Tibet.
Our former volunteer unaware of the background or detail replied to what he considered a bona fide approach, this error was then seized upon as an excuse to issue a stream of abuse against him and the activism we conduct.
We have previously made it known that we are entirely disinterested in arguments for or against this corrosive and divisive issue, unfortunately we hear that any attempt at reasoned and civilized communication failed. There was an agenda at work. Our Twitter team decided to block one of the accounts involved and reconnected with posting news and information on Tibet. To a degree though the damage had been done and we lost the activism of a decent and kind person who wanted to show his support for Tibet.
In response to the targeting of our Twitter colleagues we issued a statement, which is included HERE for anyone wishing to know our position.