Destroying Tibet’s Language Will Not Eliminate Tibetan Cultural And National Identity

We just received a report that in occupied Tibet the Chinese regime is now forcing Tibetans to memorize the words of China’s national anthem, lyrics which praise the glorious ideology of the communist party and supposed progress of the so-called Motherland.

This latest example of tyranny is further evidence of a calculated campaign to eradicate Tibetan national and cultural identity, those failing to comply face the ‘choice’ of prison, forced-labor camps and torture.

Reading of such genocidal assault upon Tibet it’s natural to feel outrage, sadness and indeed for some a sense of despair. Others may regard the momentum of Chinese rule over Tibetans has an inevitable conclusion, the demise of Tibetan culture, crushed into obscurity by increasingly aggressive measures that aim to eliminate the language of Tibet.

Such colonial violence was waged against the Irish when under occupation by the English the reasoning, crude as it is, hopes that in destroying the indigenous spoken language any sense of cultural and national identity is diluted. To the point that with successive generations a compliant, and uncritical population emerges. No doubt thankful and loyal subjects.

While the ability to speak the tongue of your culture and ancestors is a critical component defining the idea of cultural and national identity it’s erosion and forced replacement as a consequence of being occupied by a foreign power does not necessarily mean the game is won for the colonizing tyranny.

Take Ireland and its loss of Gaelic, beaten and humiliated out of Irish mouths by English rule, despite such a loss the resentment and determination among many Irish people to honor and maintain their culture was immensely strong. The language of those taking up arms against England in the cause of Irish freedom, was often English, yet the hearts and minds which sacrificed themselves for that struggle remained profoundly Irish. That reality offers hope for Tibetans suffering under the asphyxiating pressures of Chinese cultural dominance.

While Chinese may in time become the first language of occupied Tibet such a disturbing development would not in itself extinguish a Tibetan identity. That flickering sense of distinctness, if protected and nurtured within, could enable Tibetans to retain a vital connection. Not only with their cultural tradition and past, but as a spark which at some opportune time could allow the re-ignition of Tibetan cultural expression.

Of course it would be preferable if the people of Tibet could maintain their language, but the genocidal policies of China’s regime seek to exterminate a separate Tibetan identity. Language is the prime target. What the psychopaths of the Chinese government fail to understand is that socially engineering, through force, a generation of Chinese-speaking Tibetans does not address the oppression, injustice, suffering and cruelty; which has scarred every single Tibetan family since China invaded Tibet in 1950. It is that harrowing legacy, scorched across the collective memory of Tibetans, which will continue to undermine attempts to expunge the distinctiveness of Tibetan character.

Sure, it could be that with 24/7 Chinese language internet and television pumping into Tibetan homes, with ‘must speak Chinese’ requirements for employment and schoolchildren taught only Chinese we may well see a future Tibet in which Tibetan is a relic language. The interest only of academics and linguists. But depressing as that grim vision is, we believe  it’s more than probable that political and civil dissent to Chinese rule will continue into the future, that the past will not be forgotten. What makes a people is more than language, and a culture and sense-of-belonging is not, as shown by history, vanquished by terrorism and persecution. Hope remains, even if its first words are in the language of an oppressor!

Remember Tiananmen Square-Remember Occupied Tibet

In the early summer of 1989 around 500 Chinese students began a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square, their demands for greater democracy were formalized in a statement which included the following words:

“This country is our country,
These people are our people,
This government is our government,
If we do not cry out, who will?
If we do not act, who will?”

Sentiments which would find some sympathy among Tibetans, who struggle against China’s violent and illegal occupation for their nation’s independence. A little reported aspect of the democracy protests that occupied Tiananmen Square in June 1989 was a previous event which proved inspirational to some Chinese students. In response to the imposition of Martial Law in Lhasa, during March that year, some Beijing-based Tibetan students openly protested, a protest which must have drawn considerable attention from the emerging Chinese Democracy Movement. It was an act of immense bravery and defiance against communist Chinese occupation.

Tragically, the popular uprising to liberalize China was to culminate in state-violence and bloodshed as communist Chinese forces slaughtered unarmed civilians in Beijing during that momentous month, followed by a witch-hunt against what the communist authorities described as “counter-revolutionary hooligans”. Arbitrary arrests, torture, long prison sentences, and forced labor was targeted at those who had dared to speak of democratic freedoms for China. Today the Chinese regime continues to persecute survivors, victims’ relatives, and any voice of dissent that challenges the ‘official version’ of events.

The sacrifices made by the Chinese pro-Democracy students at Tiananmen Square provide a singular reminder that despite ephemeral economic progress, and limited social moderation, China remains a highly repressive, totalitarian state. The widespread abuse of human, cultural, political and religious rights, and ongoing oppression inside Tibet and East Turkestan demonstrate its disregard of international agreements on human rights. While it may appear that little has changed since freedom dared to announce herself in Tiananmen Square, the hopes for justice freedom and human rights burns as brightly as ever. China shall be free from the tyranny of this dictatorship, an objective shared by Tibetans, Uyghurs and the people of Southern Mongolia.

The pain and loss resulting from the tragedy of Tiananmen can never be forgotten, especially by those who lost relatives and friends, yet its inspiring legacy, a spirit of hope and resistance endures. All dictatorships fall, as will that of China’s and with unity, sacrifice and courage the people of China, Tibet, East Turkestan and Southern Mongolia shall, sure as a sunrise, one day regain their freedom.

Anonymous Activists Target Chinese Sites

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Image courtesy of @tibettruth

Anonymous activists have been busy the past few days ahead of an action they are calling #OpGoldFKR, which launches April 1 and seeks to target Chinese mining corporations, whose presence in occupied Tibet is causing serious environmental damage and poisoning Tibetans. Today however a number of Chinese government websites have been hacked and taken offline by hacktivists operating under the title #TheDragonsDen #blackhat_global #TheCreed. Targets have included government, engineering sites and just announced on Twitter a bio-medical research center website was breached and its data results leaked.

Tibetan Self-Immolates Against China’s Illegal And Violent Occupation Of Tibet

In that tragic land of a once free and peaceful Tibet we are hearing today, reports of another self-immolation. Details at the time of this post are not completely detailed, but a Tibetan man named as Tseko, self-immolated today in Ngaba, within Tibet’s Amdo region. An action taken in protest at China’s illegal and violent occupation.

Image: courtesy of the bravery of Tibetans inside occupied Tibet

Thanks to those immensely courageous Tibetans for getting news of this to the wider world.

#Op_Tibet Release Video Showing Live Targeting Of Chinese Regime Website

Today’s Anonymous action for Tibetan Independence Day continues across the internet,  during the past hour our Twitter team @tibettruth received a video link showing a live targeting of a Chinese government site by Operation Tibet. This strike was taken in support of Tibetan Independence Day and is one of many which have invaded China’s cyber-space.

Special thanks to @Op_TibetHQ for the headsup on this and to all those anonymous activists who are supporting the just cause of Tibet