News / Asia

Asia Mourns Passing of Peaceful Revolutionary: Mandela

Asia Mourns Mandelai
December 06, 2013 6:34 PM
Across Asia Friday, democracy advocates, political leaders and ordinary people paid tribute to Nelson Mandela as a peaceful revolutionary. Chinese authorities expressed remorse, while some pondered the question of which person in China most resembled South Africa’s freedom fighter. VOA’s Bill Ide in Beijing has more on the reaction from around the region.
Asia Mourns Mandela
Across Asia Friday, democracy advocates, political leaders and ordinary people paid tribute to Nelson Mandela as a peaceful revolutionary. Chinese authorities expressed deep grief, while some pondered the question of which person in China most resembled South Africa’s freedom fighter.
In Asia it was Mandela’s courage and compassion that was a source of inspiration in places where people still face serious restrictions on basic rights.

From ordinary people to Nobel Laureate's, many took time to celebrate a man who become an icon for his peaceful stand for freedom.
FILE Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu KyiFILE Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi
FILE Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi
FILE Burma's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi
Burmese opposition politician and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi said that South Africa’s first democratically elected president helped the world understand that no one should be punished for the color of their skin or the circumstances they were born into.

“He also made us understand that we can change the world," she noted. "We can change the world by changing attitudes, by changing perceptions. For this reason I would like to pay him tribute as a great human being who raised the standard of humanity."
FILE - Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai LamaFILE - Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama
FILE - Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama
FILE - Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama
Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, also a recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, said he considered Mandela as a respected elder brother. The Dalai Lama said that he hoped that those mourning his passing would use it as inspiration. 

“This is a very sad moment for those including myself who admire that great person. Sad, just feel sad, and pray, but not much meaning. How we must develop determination or enthusiasm to carry his spirit - that's really important. Because sometimes the sadness can translate into more willpower,” he said.

FILE - Indian President Pranab MukherjeeFILE - Indian President Pranab Mukherjee
FILE - Indian President Pranab Mukherjee
FILE - Indian President Pranab Mukherjee
India’s President Pranab Mukherjee spoke about how the world has lost another icon of humanity or as he put it “a struggler, a fighter, a crusader against all injustice.” He compared him to India’s own founding father, Mahatma Gandhi.

In New Delhi, resident Hemant Khurana echoed that sentiment. "It's very shocking news for all the world because he was one of the grand figures in the world today," said Khurana. "And he was very much inspired by Gandhi so India has a special feeling for such a great man."

Outside South Africa’s embassies from Australia to China, some came to pay their respects. In the Chinese capital of Beijing, several young Chinese students gathered and spoke about Mandela’s influence.

The student said that Nelson Mandela fought for freedom and was a fighter his entire life. He did not give up because of temporary setbacks or because there was no progress. His spirit has infected us, the student says.
FILE - China's President Xi JinpingFILE - China's President Xi Jinping
FILE - China's President Xi Jinping
FILE - China's President Xi Jinping
Chinese President Xi Jinping praised Mandela as a world-renowned statesman and noted how he led the South African people in their fight against apartheid.

Xi also noted his contributions to relations with China and how Mandela was one of the founders of Beijing’s bilateral relationship with Pretoria. In 1998, South Africa switched its diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to China.
China’s state-media heaped praise on Mandela and his passing dominated coverage for most of the day on state run television with commentators speaking openly about how he was a fighter for freedom and democracy.
While China's State media drew comparisons between Mandela and Mao Zedong, some noted that Singapore’s former leader Lee Kwan-yew earlier this year compared him with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Such comments, however were hotly debated and the postings quickly removed from social media sites.
Online, some drew comparisons to Chinese rights activists, including imprisoned Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo.

Others wondered if China could produce an individual similar to the African statesman. Historian Zhang Lifan said that would be unlikely.
Zhang said many have been asking online if China could ever produce someone similar to Mandela and some say it is a cultural issue. He said he agrees and notes that the culture the Communist Party has created in Chinese society makes it very difficult to have someone like Mandela.
Author He Baoguo wrote on his Twitter-like Weibo site that if Mandela has been born in China he would be tortured in jail and forced to make confessions on state-run television.

Aru Pande in New Delhi and Mandarin Service's Fred Wang also contributed to this report.

Interactive Timeline: The Life of Nelson Mandela

Error rendering storify.

You May Like

Video Russia’s Syrian Escalation Tests Obama’s Crisis Response

Critics once again question whether president has been slow to act on Syrian conflict, thus creating opening for powers like Russia More

Ancient African DNA Shows Mass Migration Back Into Africa

First genetic analysis of ancient human remains in Africa suggests massive migration from north around time of Egyptian empire More

NASA: Pluto Has Blue Sky

New photos also reveal the presence of water ice More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Wangchuk from: NYC
December 10, 2013 10:47 AM
It is bizarre to see the Chinese Govt praise Mandela while the CCP prohibits democracy in China and engages in severe human rights violations. The CCP has created a de facto apartheid in Tibet where Tibetans are treated as second-class citizens, live apart from Han Chinese, and have no political power. Chinese-owned shops in Lhasa openly advertise that no Tibetans need apply for jobs or offerTibetans lower pay compared to Chinese workers. Discrimination against Tibetans b/c of their language, culture & religion are common by the Chinese Govt and Chinese businesses. Tibetans are fighting for the same freedom & democracy that Mandela fought for in S. Africa.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugeesi
Henry Ridgwell
October 08, 2015 8:02 PM
Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs