On August 17 2009 Tibettruth received a response from the Lhasa Beer USA company http://www.lhasabeerusa.com/about responding to our post. An official named as J Casilo replied
“Thank you for your message and concern about alcoholism and other issues regarding Tibet. There is one thing you may not understand and that is that Lhasa Beer USA is a completely independent company from the Tibet Lhasa Brewery Company Ltd. of Tibet. We are based in the US and hold no interest in the brewery whatsoever and they none in this company. We simply buy beer from the brewery and sell it here. Furthermore we too share your concerns for the welfare of the people of Tibet. Toward that end we are dedicating 10% of our profits, on a permanent and ongoing basis, toward philanthropic efforts in Tibet”
J Casilo then went on to kindly invite Tibettruth to arrange a telephone conversation to discuss such issues, not something that can be explored in any great depth over a telephone line, so instead we have sent (today August 18) Lhasa Beer USA an email detailing our concerns. Here is that email:
Dear Lhasa Beer USA,
We received your email and note your comments.
This issue was brought to our attention by a number of Tibettruth subscribers in California, New York, New Mexico and Virginia, they are concerned that a company based in the home of justice, democracy, and freedom should choose to import products from inside Chinese-occupied Tibet. Perhaps you will be aware that a commercial enterprise as prominent as the Lhasa Beer Limited Company can only function with the sanction of the communist Chinese regime. Thus, in associating so closely with that company your business is (however much this may seem uncomfortable reading) collaborating with an authority, responsible for the violent suppression of Tibetan culture, and a range of human rights violations, including a policy of forced sterilizations.
Now while you refer to your website as being sympathetic and supportive of Tibetan culture, the wording featured there, which is largely extenuating and vague, makes no reference to the harrowing reality faced by Tibetans http://www.lhasabeerusa.com/tibet We do note that you feature a list of Tibet-related statistics, http://www.lhasabeerusa.com/statistics-about-tibet which of course are very worrying, however your company chooses not to mention what imperialist forces are causing such inequalities and deprivation. Imagine describing the crippling poverty, which existed during the 1970s in the camps of Soweto, without reference to the repressive policies of the South African Apartheid Regime!
It is biased and selective and distorts the truth about what has placed Tibetans in such a position by not exposing what is actually threatening Tibetan culture. Namely the occupying communist Chinese authority, its paramilitary stormtroopers and the ongoing colonization of Tibet, which is part of a policy designed to Sinocise Tibet forever. Now anyone visiting your website would not easily extract that understanding from the text you present there. Perhaps you are concerned that revealing such facts would negatively impact upon your profits?
Which raises questions about business making compromises when dealing with odious and bloodstained states such as communist China, does a company decide to ignore or soft-peddle on contentious and sensitive issues, such as human rights, and the oppression of a people when trading with China for fear of losing business? In the case of Lhasa Beer USA that question may have a particular resonance?
It is difficult to conceive that your business entered into a trading relationship with the Lhasa Beer Limited Company unaware of the circumstances inside Tibet, and ignorant that in establishing that business partnership you would be linking your company to oppression, violence and human rights abuse. How can any ethical and responsible enterprise be comfortable with such a negative and troubling linkage? As was pointed out in the original post, how would your company head, Mr. Witz, if coming from Jewish ancestry, have felt about an American businessman importing and promoting Polish beer produced in Nazi-Occupied Poland?
Anyone with even a limited understanding of what is happening in Tibet will recognize a propaganda exercise when they see it, and it has not escaped our attention, nor that of a number of our subscribers, that China’s Ministry of Propaganda has been very careful to feature the Lhasa Beer Limited Company http://english.chinatibetnews.com/news/Business/2009-06/12/content_258602.htm and the fact that its exporting to the United States as yet another exercise in disinformation. To create the illusion of a prosperous and contented Tibet. Even the imagery on the label has been crafted to convey that lie, and maybe you will note that the dominant color used just happens to be the same color scheme as communist China’s national flag! Every bottle sold in California is spreading such distortions.
Apart from these grave considerations, from which your company cannot absolve itself entirely, we have to remind you that inside Tibet the very beer you import, along with a freely available supply of other cheap alcohol, is used as tool of oppression by communist China to undermine Tibetan culture and family. As we made clear, alcoholism is reaching worrying levels among Tibetans, no doubt much to the delight of communist China, fuelled in part by industrialized supplies of beer, such as produced by your supplier, the Lhasa Beer Limited Company.
We recognize that your company has established links with a number of Tibet-related Non-Governmental- Organizations, and declares that a small percentage of your profit is directed towards good-works for Tibetans. While this is to be acknowledged such steps do not mitigate against the serious questions raised by your active association with the Lhasa Beer Limited Company, and the somewhat misleading nature of your website’s description of Tibet.
As an objective naturally we would urge you to reconsider your association with that company, however as a first step, since by your own words “Lhasa Beer USA is a completely independent company from the Tibet Lhasa Brewery Company Ltd. of Tibet” perhaps you will re-write the website to include issues of human rights and cultural oppression, which characterizes life inside the occupied nation you import your no doubt profitable product from.
Note: Despite our efforts to establish a constructive communication with Lhasa Beer USA all our emails a being being returned as unread. We have decided therefore to post our response on the Blog.