Hitler and the Dalai Lama
Godwin some, Xinhua lose some
Mar 26th 2012, 10:57 by T.P. | BEIJING
TWENTY-two years after Mike Godwin, an American attorney and internet pioneer, made himself famous by postulating a law of the proto-internet, Chinese propagandists have provided yet another data point suggesting he was right.
Godwin’s Law states: “As an online discussion continues, the probability of a reference or comparison to Hitler or to Nazis approaches one.”
And sure enough, on March 24th the government-run China Tibet Online went there. A lengthy and vitriolic commentary (in Chinese) attacked the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, by comparing him to Hitler and his polices to those of the Nazis.
“The Dalai Lama’s speeches can’t help but make people think of the fanatical Nazis during the second world war,” said the commentary, which was also carried by the official Xinhua news agency (which seems to have removed the English version of the article from its website).
The screed accused the Dalai Lama of wanting to restore serfdom to Tibet, and it slammed his frequent warnings that the steady influx of ethnic Han Chinese migrants to Tibetan areas threatens the survival of the native culture.
The Dalai Lama, winner of the 1989 Nobel peace prize, has repeatedly renounced any desire to seek independence for Tibet. Instead he has endorsed a “middle way” policy that would guarantee Tibetans “a high degree of autonomy”.
The commentary not only accused him of lying on these points, but also doubled down on its Godwin-validating comparisons. “Behind the Dalai Lama’s ‘middle way’ and ‘high degree of autonomy’ is naked ethnic expulsion. How similar this is to Hitler’s cleansing of the Jews in that era!”
Long after positing his “Law”, Mr Godwin wrote that his goal in doing so was to discourage frivolous and glib comparisons to the unique circumstance of that evil regime—not to let it serve as a facile device for summarily rejecting substantive analogies or comparisons to the Nazis. But where the Dalai Lama and Hitler are concerned, perhaps a bit of summary rejection is in order………….