Viewing Tibetan Culture Through A Communist Chinese Lens

Pema Tseden’s Films Freeze Out The Facts

There is no untainted cinematic insight into the suppression and abuses inside Tibet, no full exposure of the harrowing realities of forced sterilizations, the destruction of a nomadic culture through a policy of re-settlement, nor any detailed documentary recording the environmental pillage. Which is transforming once verdant pastures and forests into a lunar-like landscape, with convoys of trucks heading back to communist China with their booty of timber and minerals. The transformation of Tibetan towns into yet another Chinese concrete facsimile, complete with gaudy excess and a range of previously unknown erosive social problems, continues apace, un-documented. No genuine independent film-making is of course possible under such a repressive totalitarian regime, one desperate to convince the world that Tibet is undergoing positive change, thanks, we are asked to accept, to the seemingly compassionate rule of communist China.

Unfortunately we’re denied any unbiased evidence which would reveal the progress claimed by the communist regime, only the testimony of some supposedly impartial western academics and politicians, who appear to specialise in an uncritical acceptance of any official propaganda that Beijing presents them. We then have seemingly unlimited amounts of Chinese films on Tibet, mostly designed for television broadcast, with sickly images of Tibetans dancing and singing in praise of yet another bumper-harvest, due no doubt to China’s enlightened agricultural policies. These are transparent disinformation with actors supposedly dressed in traditional Tibetan costumes, color coded to match the red and yellow branding of the communist Chinese flag! Barely able to move due to the overly abundant costume jewellery and obligatory fixed smile, set against images of modernity Chinese-style, like a crude layer of make-up they conceal a more disturbing reality.

More recently a subtler form of propaganda has emerged, more cinematic, carefully crafted to present some illusion of balance and independence, yet the underlying message remains the same, albeit diluted and sophisticated. A good example is the latest film ‘Jinpa’ currently misleading and manipulating audiences at the Venice Film Festival. Directed by Mr Pema Tseden , of course being an obedient and loyal citizen of communist China this Tibetan also has a Chinese name too, Wanma Caidan.

Like his previous works this film is a slick production filmed inside Tibet, while aesthetically his films have charm and nuance they cynically misdirect the viewer away from the brutal realities of life for Tibetans under Chinese rule. The alluring personal narratives and stunning landscapes he plays around with are an approved sleight-of-hand which assiduously avoid the erosion and oppression of Tibetan culture. Yet such corrosion is a direct result of China’s imperialistic aggression which has deliberately targeted Tibetan culture for over six decades.

It is a reality which the Director surely knows dare not speak its name, his films clearly meet the propaganda requirements imposed by the Chinese regime, in that context he is a willing and conscious collaborator. Perhaps that explains his insistence that: “…filmmakers are starting to more accurately capture the essence of life in Tibet. They are starting to let go of the old stereotypes.” SOURCE

Those who see his films at festival or art-houses need to be mindful of this. Sure his work can be selectively interpreted as offering “.. an uncompromising view of difficulty in modern society. They’re not deliberately provocative, but they also don’t offer us comfortable resolutions.”. A view presented by one Robert Barnet of Columbia University, top grade for nuanced euphemism there! However the ‘difficulties’ of forced-labor camps, torture, ethnic-‘cleansing’ and cultural erosion do not feature in the cinematic vision of Pema Tseden. While the ‘modern society’ (translating as occupied and oppressed Tibet and its culture) is never truly explored and it’s important to remind yourself that the work of Pema Tseden would not be made public without the authorization of the Chinese regime. in consideration of that we need to question what is it about his films that receives such approval?

Why World ‘Leaders’ Are Culpable Of Crimes Against Tibet

Turning A Blind Eye

Image: voxcdn

No genocide exists in a vacuum and while responsibility can often be justly placed upon an originating tyranny, be it China’s regime, the Khymer Rouge, or dictators such as Stalin and Hitler the atrocities and oppression which spring from such fascistic authority are often enabled and tolerated by the political and economic interests of other states. Some go further of course and encourage and fund state-terrorism, we need only to assess the history between the CIA and Pol Pot to realize that ethics can be relegated below geo-strategic requirements. Sure the Western Allies went to war against the Nazis, but there was much appeasement, indifference and indeed financial, as well as academic cooperation with Hitler’s Germany that took place. Would the horrors that came to define Germany during that period have been prevented or significantly reduced had the world presented, from the rise of Hitler, a unified and determined stance against fascism?

Of course it was not in the political and more importantly commercial interest of countries to destablize relations with Germany in the years prior to the Second World War. Yet they were aware of the accounts of labor-camps, forced-sterilization laws and growing persecution of Gypsies and Jews, but took vitually no action. Such economically driven apathy sent a clear signal to the Nazis that the wider world cared so little of such reports as to be interpreted as an acceptance of their vicious campaign of suppression.

A similar theatre of callousness is emboldening the Chinese regime while Tibetans, Uyghurs, Mongolians, and Manchurians are suffering a genocidal assault against their cultural and national identity. Concentration camps are housing up to a million Uyghurs, existing in a dark misery, abused and indoctrinated with the approved ideology of China’s totalitarian authority. Human rights violations mostly ignored, the eradication of Tibetan and Uyghur culture barely mentioned, apart from the occasional platitude from a United Nations official or carefully worded report. Global media too facilitates the odious excesses of dictator Xi Jinpeng, its reportage, with far too few notable and sadly isolated examples, preoccupied with a narrative that in-the-main avoids or treads very softly on the nature and extent of tyranny that characterizes China’s policies towards Tibet and East Turkestan.

What’s behind such engineered disinterest? The political and financial concerns of states which have long elevated trade interests with China above unease on human rights and the brutal denial of freedom being witnessed against Tibetans and Uyghurs. What’s been a global scramble to profit from the opportunities of a Chinese market has resulted in a dilution of foreign policy anxieties on China and almost extinction of ethical structuring of such protocols. When governments issue bland and acutely worded cautions on human rights related issues on China their target audience is not the vile and corrupted terrorists of the Chinese regime, but a domestic one. Better show folks at least some pretence of valuing the principles we  make so much noise about as exemplifying our national values on liberty, justice and rights. These of course are being trampled into the dust by China’s paramilitary as they inflict measures of control and abuse that Himmler’s SS would have recognized!

Yet it is largely silence that dominates the global response, as business, media corporations and politicians grovel to Beijing, signalling to China that in real terms they are unconcerned by the harrowing atrocities and war of genocide against Tibetan and Uyghur culture. Like their Twentieth Century counterparts their greed-driven indifference makes them complict enablers of the harrowing crimes being perpetrated against the people of occupied Tibet, East Turkestan and China itself.

UK Showering Taxpayers’ Money On Chinese Regime’s Film Industry

Seeing just how far governments sink to kiss the ass of China’s regime fills anyone supportive of human rights and freedom with a sense of outrage and disappointment, the State Department, under the corrosive influence of a profit driven China lobby, consistently grovels to Chinese sensitivities. None though kowtow with the class of the British government. We heard sometime back that their Foreign and Commonwealth Office had effectively censored a Tibetan play scheduled to show in London. See HERE

Some snake-oil ‘justifications’ were offered by officials but the motives were obvious, don’t upset China, even if that requires censorship! Meanwhile it’s now been revealed that while that artistic production was being shut down and banned to English audiences their government had agreed to direct tax-payers money to fund the Chinese film industry! see HERE

Yep, you heard it right, the world’s second most powerful economy, run by a totalitarian dictatorship that operates through torture, executions, forced labor camps and censorship is considered a suitable case for British aid. This means that UK taxpayers are now investing directly to China’s ministry of propaganda!  How so? Recently Mr Wang Xiahui a long-serving Communist party bureaucrat, was appointed  top executive of the China Film Bureau, a key part of China’s State Council which ensures conformity to the objectives and policies of the Communist Party from  radio and television. Cinema and film management falls under the control of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee.

 

 

 

Czech Politician Misrepresents What Tibetans Of Occupied Tibet Aspire

You would think that a culture and people with direct experience of being oppressed and ruled by a violent and foreign oppressor would possess an immediate and profound sense of empathy and solidarity with others whose national freedom was being brutally denied. Of course such a response indeed exists, yet human nature being what it is there’s always the exception, the thuggish and callous treatment of Palestinians by Israeli forces comes to mind.

Today we read of another example when a Czech politician, in declaring ambitions to support Tibet made the following comment:

“Tibetans are poor people, they are culturally oppressed and it is good that someone should pay attention to this without saying that they should be separated from China, while they themselves do not want this, (Emphasis Added) Marek Benda, Civic Democrat Deputy, Reported in Prague Monitor April 16, 2018 Source: http://www.praguemonitor.com/2018/04/16/pr%C3%A1vo-lawmakers-form-group-tibets-friends

This remark is a gross distortion and misrepresentation of the facts, and we wonder how Marek Benda would feel if political figures from beyond his beloved Czech Republic has commented during the German occupation of Prague that:

‘The Czechs are poor people, they are culturally oppressed and it is good that someone should pay attention to this without saying that they should be separated from German rule, while they themselves do not want this,’

The documented evidence, media reports and eye-witness testimony is consistent and clear on the subject of Tibetan protests inside Tibet, the demands of which are Tibetan national freedom and the return of the Dalai Lama. Facts which Marek Benda and his proposed Czech Parliamentary friends of Tibet should be very aware of!

 

Is The Ambition Of The Dalai Lama Returning To Tibet A Danger To The Tibetan Cause?

During recent public events and press statements the head of the exiled Tibetan Administration, Doctor Lobsang Sangay has issued a call to see the Dalai Lama returned to Tibet Source 

On the face of it such a goal would find no opposition from the global Tibetan community, often protests inside occupied Tibet, along with demanding Tibetan national independence also call for a return of Tibet’s spiritual and national leader. His Holiness has spoken of a hope to one day return to his beloved country. Is there though something darker behind this latest initiative, consequences which may not have been considered beyond the inner politics headed by Doctor Sangay and his Administration?

The reason we raise this question is that for years the Chinese regime has calculatedly responded to appeals for negotiations on Tibet by focusing upon the Dalai Lama. This is a cynical position engineered to avoid the matter of Tibet’s status in terms of its national and territorial sovereignty and the rights of the Tibetan people to external self-determination. China is acutely aware of, though can never concede, the reality of Tibet’s former independence and knows too that within international law it’s so-called ‘liberation’ of Tibet is more accurately and legitimately described and understood as a military invasion. These are subjects of the most intense sensitivity for the Chinese regime.

With that in mind the reader will see in a new light the conditions China imposes upon possible discussions on Tibet. It utterly rejects any notion of entering into talks with the exiled, Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) which it refuses to acknowledge, while contemptuously dismissing the office held by Lobsang Sangay. Instead it demands contact only with envoys of the Dalai Lama and when responding on the subject of Tibet is consistently intransigent and lays down a series of requirements directed at the Dalai Lama. In essence these demand a recognition that Tibet has always been a part of China and that he must give up what the Chinese regime describe as ‘splittist activities’.

As these political diversions serve China’s twisted agenda they come as no surprise, after all its totalitarian regime has been distorting and deceiving on the matter of Tibet and its status since 1950! What is more remarkable however is the recently adopted prominence, invested by Doctor Lobsang Sangay and the CTA, to promoting a return to Tibet of the Dalai Lama. It plays into the propaganda maneuvering of China’s authorities, enabling them to further manipulate and progress their uncompromising demands. But there’s another factor which adds to the concern at such a prospect.

The Central Tibetan Administration is actively promoting a dangerous set of compromises in an effort to bring China to the negotiating table, at the core of such concessions is a stated willingness to surrender Tibet’s lawful right to nationhood. Lobsang Sangay has gone much further in detailing the vision he has for the Tibetan people, a so-called genuine autonomy for Tibetans under the dictate of China’s rule and defined by Chinese national and regional law. Let that sink in for a moment and we are pretty sure the word which will surface is, surrender. Unless you are of a diplomatic persuasion then it may be realism.

For this politically suicidal objective to be realized China’s dictates require absolute compliance and at the very heart of such demands is the Dalai Lama. In launching this latest ambition to see His Holiness returned to Tibet is Lobsang Sangay offering further capitulations in the desperate hope of advancing his goal of seeing Tibetans living as a contented Chinese minority under the compassionate rule of China’s regime?

Organized Hypocrisy Of UN Women Ignores China’s Forced Sterilizations

Image:archivenet

Our activism is presently targeting the United Nations Commission On The Status Of Women (UNCSW) and associated women’s Non-Governmental Organizations, convened at the sixty-second session of the UNCSW at UN headquarters, New York, March 12 to 23 2017.

Regular visitors here will know we’ve consistently exposed and challenged the UNCSW and women’s NGOs for their refusal to oppose and condemn forced sterilizations. In particular their silence on China’s coercive population control program. Clearly anyone supporting human rights would be concerned that a UN body and NGOs, apparently dedicated to defending and promoting women’s rights, choose to ignore these harrowing violations. Yet that’s precisely what is happening.

Image:archivenet

There’s something deeply wrong at work, especially when you consider that their collective silence and evasion on this issue is in opposition to the findings and concerns of other divisions of the United Nations! Unlike @UN_CSW (and @UN_Women) the UN’s Committee Against Torture (UNCAT) is sufficiently concerned about the plight of women suffering under the harrowing realities of China’s population policies to take action. It also is not inhibited to express its concerns:

“In November 2015, the UN Committee against Torture conducted its fifth periodic review of China’s compliance with the Convention.18 In its concluding observations, the Committee stated its concerns about China’s coercive implementation of the population policy, such as coerced sterilization and forced abortion, and the lack of information on investigations into such allegations” (Source: CECC Report 2016).

We would like to thank the UN Committee Against Torture for its concern on this most disturbing of human rights violations and greatly appreciate their decision to investigate and challenge the Chinese authorities on this matter. A few months earlier they had requested China’s regime provide information on ‘‘the total number of investigations or prosecutions launched against officials and other persons” with respect to coercion within China’s population program. Responding during October 2015 China’s government failed to furnish the Committee with the relevant data sought by UNCAT. No surprise there then!

Image:newyorktimes

This clear refusal to comply with a official UN inquiry into reports of violations imposed by China’s population control program provides further evidence (not that much more be needed) that women in China remain subject to a range of draconian measures that contravene a number of human rights principles and breach the United Nations’ Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women on 15 September 1995, endorsed by UN General Assembly resolution 50/203 of 22 December 1995).

That document, to which China is a signatory, states that governments which participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women reaffirmed their commitment to: ‘‘Ensure the full implementation of the human rights of women and of the girl child as an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms; . . .’’ (para. 9) and ‘‘are convinced that . . . [t]he explicit recognition and reaffirmation of the right of all women to control all aspects of their health, in particular their own fertility, is basic to their empowerment; . . .’’ (para. 17).

Image:unwomen

UNCSW and Women’s NGOs may be seen across social media as championing women’s rights and demanding empowerment across all sorts of areas. Such as education, employment, social mobility and human rights. Indeed who would oppose such calls. The priority theme for 2018 is ‘Empowering Rural Women And Girls’, and we have witnessed limitless energy and arguments to advance that cause.

However their take on ’empowerment’ does not extend to a woman having a right not be forcibly sterilized, they do not advocate what any right-thinking person would consider as constituting a fundamental freedom. Even as their prestigious UN colleagues in the Committee Against Torture document their concerns on the subject and expose the Chinese authorities blatant refusal to cooperate, they remain mute!

Meanwhile the parallel NGO Forum, which runs as ‘Side Events’ over the same dates is hosting a series of meetings and presentations. These for the most part reflect the main theme. However, other issues feature, including of course Female Genital Mutilation. No one is arguing these are not worthy subjects to be supported. Yet the key point is that the same community of women’s NGOs has again chosen not to give exposure to the forced sterilization of women. Yet those organizations are aware of those violations, especially with regard to China, despite such knowledge they have once more cast a veil of indifference over the subject.

This censorship and denial occurs each year at the UNCSW and NGO Forum, making a mockery of the claim that such bodies are committed champions of women’s human rights. If truth be known it is an agenda, or ideology which is being supported, not human rights as a universal principle, hence the politically correct themes and issue selectivity on display.

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Anonymous Tibet Twitter Account Being Censored, But By Whom?

Image: courtesy of @AnonymousTibet

Something very strange is happening to a Twitter account run by @AnonymousTibet, (AT) the cause of which is uncertain, but before we continue here’s what we’ve learned from our colleagues @tibettruth. Seems that last month the anonymous account posted a video about activism targeting Chinese regime websites. They also tweeted to a few followers with an interest in Tibet an update on Tibetan Independence Day, which falls on February 13.

On that same day they were locked out of their account and despite several appeals and direct explanations it took a week to regain access. They received emails from Twitter Support apologizing for the inconvenience and acknowledging that their algorithms had wrongly interpreted AT as being a spam-bot.

Yay! Case closed and thanks to a whole lot of support from people across Twitter their account was again up and running. But wait a minute, when they logged in something was missing, only their 2000 plus followers! What’s more anyone trying to follow AT were being blocked from doing so! Meanwhile their emails and tweets to @TwitterSupport to help fully restore their account are being ignored, and at the time of this post the situation remains unresolved.

What is going down here? Is this administrative oversight by Twitter, or something darker? Are we seeing once again censorship? Has China exerted its suffocating influence once again? Whatever the facts it’s very worrying to see an account dedicated to human rights, justice and freedom being effectively banned. The only party which would welcome such a censorship is that of China’s regime!

We trust that Twitter will do the right thing here and lift the restrictions imposed upon @AnonymousTibet and restore their followers, anything else places into question their commitment to freedom-of-speech.