Lhasa Beer USA

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.

13 thoughts on “Lhasa Beer USA

  1. tibettruth says:

    Angie, we appreciate your choice not to recognize that communist China is careful to promote Tibet as being part of China in all ways possible, including at every opportunity featuring images which reflect the colors of the communist Chinese flag. As we have sought to explain previously it is not the Tibetan custom to wear bright red chubas, yellow shirts, or combinations of red and yellow head dresses. If you cannot accept the sincerity,experience or knowledge that informs our assertion on this matter we can only suggest your seek your proof from the mouths of Tibetans themselves, or consult an independent reference source on the subject. The Smithsonian Institute has some wonderul collections of images and descriptions. The colors of the Tibetan flag, as displayed here on our Blog include green, white, yellow, white red, blue, the colors of the elements. Very different to the two color dominance of China’s flag. Bye-the-way if you look carefully at the posts in relation to Lhasa Beer, you will have noticed the main coloration of the packaging, red and yellow! Another coincidence not doubt? As to the bandana sported by Tsundue, that is a political symbol of his choosing, representing the blood of Tibetan martyrs who sacrificed their lives for an independent Tibet.

    That said this issue has been explored in some detail now and we hope you will not be too discouraged that we will now draw a line under this subject.

    • tibettruth says:

      Thank you for your research into the issue relating to the use colors, as they apply to the misrepresentation of Tibet by the communist Chinese authorities. We have not included your comments as we have previously exhausted much comment on the subject, and had stated that a line had been drawn under any further discussion.

  2. tibettruth says:

    Well as with everything in life it is ultimately a personal choice, if an individual has no ethical problem in trading with a blood-soaked regime such as occupied Tibet then that is their freedom to do so, as it it ours to challenge that position. The point on Nazi-Occupied Poland was specific in the context of addressing the head of that company, whose ancestors may well have been Jewish, as such it posed a question of ethics, your extrapolation misses that point. Countries, are not simply forgetting about the cultural genocide in Tibet but actively trading with the communist Chinese Regime, in full knowledge of the plight of Tibetans. Their argument of so-called constructive engagement which your own comments lean towards, have proved a complete failure in terms of moderating the harrowing excesses of China’s illegal occupation of Tibet. They were always a cosmetic deception anyway.

    Please do not trivialize and misrepresent what is happening on the Blog, no one is simply griping about beer and colors, as anyone possessed of intelligence and political awareness will know these are but aspects of the same oppression and exploitation that abuses Tibetan political prisoners and forcibly sterilizes Tibetan women. Issues which, along with many others we have been actively campaigning on, and which there is considerable information available here.

    We are in a very good position to have a firm understanding that Tibetans desire freedom, not insignificant charitable hand-outs from companies that misrepresent the situation inside Tibet while collaborating with a communist Chinese enterprise that exploits Tibetan culture and serves as propaganda opportunity for communist China.

    But hey, if someone chooses to convince themselves that drinking a cold bottle of Israeli produced, owned, financed and state marketed beer will relieve the oppression and violence waged against Palestinians they have the right to be delusional.

    • tibettruth says:

      Thank you for your curious comments, would you have requested exiled Jewish groups not to protest against Nazi abuse, on the fallacious reasoning that they would acheive more by being in Nazi Germany? There are many people within Tibettruth who know all too well the realities of what is happening inside occupied Tibet, including some who have family there. With respect to ‘feeling good’ it is not a pleasant experience to interview Tibetan women who have been forcibly sterilized as they recount the harrowing reality of ‘birth-control surgery’ Chinese-style, Nor to document the systematic abuse inflicted upon Tibetan political prisoners. Alternatively it must be rather self-satisfying to operate under the illusion that participating in NGO projects inside occupied Tibet is bringing genuine progress..and what an exciting and exotic adventure to regale friends with back home!

      However concerning well-meaning, but limited, aid projects, it must be noted that these legitimize Chinese occupation, compromise those who are actively involved and obscure and distract from the true picture of the situation inside Tibet. While no analogy is ever perfect the following illustrates the point. Imagine a cruel and authoritarian prison-governor allowing a charity to enter a one or two cells in that prison to improve conditions for those inmates by re-decorating. While those privileged prisoners may look-up at their freshly decorated walls and think, of that is an improvement, all around them, the vast majority continue to live in terrible conditions with abuse, suppression and violence. Meanwhile, the charity involved is so concerned with doing, what it deems good-work, that it won’t say too much about the situation, for fear of not being allowed back in the prison. So the truth is damaged and obscured. This happens too with Tibet, such projects invest a worrying legitimacy in China’s occupation of Tibet, while compromising those actively involved, and obscuring the true situation. Meanwhile, the widespread oppression, injustice and atrocities continue.

      As in many such cases real progress can only take place if people are allowed to take control of their political, social and more importantly economic destinies, that is not possiblefor Tibetans under totalitarian Chinese rule. Any effort therefore to provide relief actively endorses the suppression of the Tibetan people and also endores Chinese rule. While there may be a self gratifying reward for those involved they cannot absolve themselves from such realities, would such individuals and organizations have happily collaborated with the Communist Regime in occupied Poland, cognisant that around them existed slave labor camps?

  3. John says:

    Lhasa Beer USA is purely a business entitiy, it has nothing to do with politics.
    Separatist people are trying to make everything from Tibet a political issue.
    Those supporter of separative movement should go to visit Lhasa Brewery in Lhasa, China, to see how many ethnic Tibetan are employed in the company, Lhasa Brewery employed large amount of ethnic Tibetan.
    Conditions of Tibetan in Tibet is 1000% better than before 1949, go to visit Tibet and you will know it all, stop arguing on paper.
    By the way, Tibet has more than 40 ethnic groups.

    • tibettruth says:

      Thank you for the automata-like repetition of official communist Chinese propaganda. Your comments only serve to underline the reason why this communist Chinese project, which exploits and distorts Tibetan culture, should be vigorously opposed.

  4. tibettruth says:

    We have detailed our position to you peviously and explained how collaborating with a totalitarian regime such as communist China, or indeed former oppressive states such as Nazi Germany, or Stalinist Russia, Cambodia under the terrors of the Khymer Rouge, and Apartheid South Africa, legitimizes the oppression and compromises the truth. Furthermore we have sought to open your mind to the reality that while some limited relief may be brought to a minority, the injustice, poverty, cultural erosion, violations and assimilation continue. Whatever the personal motivations of those NGO’s involved their presence in no way moderates the tyranny, and requires individuals to associate and cooperate with (and endorse, through its silence on issues of human rights and politics) the very regime which is engineering the violent destruction of Tibetan culture. Only when a people can freely determine their political, cultural and destinies can genuine economic, educational, medical and social progress be realized. That will never be possible while Tibetans remain under communist China’s bloody maw. Meanwhile, of course people have every right to take a different view, and if they are comfortable with collaborating with a regime which inflicts mass campaigns of forced sterilizations upon women, and happy to remain silent upon such atrocities; for fear of jeopardising their opportunity to bring a restricted degree of assistance to a handful of Tibetans, that must rest upon the individual conscience and an ability to rationalize away the odious reality of associating with an authority that inflicts such violations.

    In closing please note that we have explored this issue in sufficient detail and afforded you the opportunity of a response, there will be no further correspondence.

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