You mentioned earlier that the older generation of Tibetans is much more bitter about being under PRC control than the younger ones, and you seem to be putting forth that many Han see Tibet as a vacation destination - do you think part of this bitterness stems from that attitude? I'm interested because this trend is understandably common among smaller territories gobbled up by larger nations - when I visited Hawaii, you wouldn't imagine how many areas outside of the main tourist destinations had articles pinned to the walls about the need for Hawaiian sovereignty.
I think you might be right Carbon016 - I don't think anyone wants their home to be seen as nothing only a tourist destination. I don't think people in the east like Beijing and Shanghai know much about Tibet at all (at least I don't). I think to say I see it as a tourist destination is accurate.
I'm not sure if I can knowledgably comment enough on your idea on 'smaller territory being gobbled up by bigger nation'. I don't know enough on that - but the idea sounds sensible. I had no idea about Hawaii and I've never been there. I guess I might be sucked into the 'aloha aloha have a bikini girl put flowers on your neck' media. Is there really a "Free Hawaii" movement?
Regarding Tibet, I have a purely personal idea that the greater resentment of the older generation Tibetan comes from the perception (or perhaps the reality) that the 'good old days' were better - all the new things coming in are things I don't need, all the old things going out are things I like and wanted.
As I tried to say before, I can sympathise why a older Tibetan farmer might be upset that his goats need to be moved to install the new wireless internet antennae - and blames his reduced lifestyle on the stupid new internet thing provided by the government.
I think the idea that the old times were better is not just an 'older generation Tibetan' issue. I think it might be an 'older generation of China' issue.
Often, I've seen that 'old Communist China' was very heavily control. I think this point is fair. But I think the other coin side is that control came with the idea of providing welfare. Every person had free or very heavily subsidised housing (1 US dollar a month), food, medicine, entertainment, guarantee of a job, if anything broken down it was repaired for free. If you just carry on, then everything will be provided for you.
(That was the general theory - there were of course times it went terribly wrong e.g. famine under Mao. There was also corruption whereby big boss gets all the luxury and little worker gets nothing. And of course there was the history of the cultural revolution - so I don't want to paint the old times as heaven. Just that there was some elements that older generation people liked.)
So, if you growing up in that generation and then suddenly come to a time when I need to pay for my own food, buy my own medicine, rent my own apartment, understand insurance, mortgage, compound interest etc. that's all pretty scary. For older Tibetans, I can guess it must be even more scarier since I must do it in a language I don't really understand. So I would be likely to blame the government for this new complicated life that is supposedly more "modern" and "free".
General Etrius made the point that I should not think like a Middle Class Chinese but more like a poor Chinese person who had things taken away by the Communist government. With respect, I feel that it is the poor Chinese person who is more likely than me to want the old days and go back to the time of 'control' - a time when I didn't need to worry about market rates, inflation or international competition. I grow carrots, I give the carrots to the government, I get provided for. But today, I need to fight to sell my carrots at a high price, I need to cut my costs to sell cheaper than the other carrot farmer, I need to make deal with the truck company to transport my carrots etc. If I was in that position, I suppose all this 'new Freedom' is not at all what I want.
All this new freedom, capitalism, open markets, WTO, etc. is good for me personally - My generation is getting jobs at international companies, getting paid in US dollars or at US rates, travelling to other countries and working with partners in London or Paris or Frankfurt.
To me, Harvard or Oxford or Yale is important. A PhD from the Sorbonne is meaningful and exciting. A Masters from MIT is impressive.
I am interest in the history of the French revolution, of the political movements in Eastern Europe or the issues in Uganda. Now they teach English and French and Japanese at school - not Russian. I have access to news from around the world in languages I understand.
I LIKE the fact that if I work harder, I get paid more - and my fruits are not shared amongst 100 people working next to me. I want to choose my own doctor, my own bank, my own insurance etc. So all the encouragement from the west about Chinese government needing to be more and more "free" is all good from my point of view. I like this style and if you want to call it 'freedom', then it does suit me.
But I never lived in the 'old' era. And I can't properly understand their thinking. And when I read about those that did, I get a feeling that they might prefer the old times - when life was more simple. What we might call "over control", they would perhaps call "more simple and more community and more welfare". And my guessing is that some the older generation thinks like that - whether Tibetan or Han (or Mongolian, or Hui...)